Learning- Stitch by Stitch

I’ve been thinking a lot about sewing lately (obviously) and thought I’d post a blog about how I started sewing and what my first projects were.

First, while you tube has definitely changed the game- the easiest way to learn anything is still to be shown in person and thenpractice, practice, practice. I signed up to have a one hour session with a sewing instructor- she turned out to be a sweet little 18 or 19 year old Mennonite (I’m guessing I didn’t ask) girl at a quilting and repair shop near my parent’s house. It was so inexpensive- maybe $20 an hour or less. But, compared to the sewing classes offered by joann’s or hobby lobby, it was a real steal since I was paying less or the same per class for one on one attention and I only ended up using two sessions. Now, you could eliminate this cost by getting a lesson or two from your favorite sewer in your life. But, I’d been saying I was going to do the latter for years and never had. In fact, as my first session approached I considered canceling as it was- I mean really- who has time for a hobby whenyou have an almost 1 and almost 4 year old? But, I went. The first session she showed me how to use my machine. Once you learn to thread it- you can officially sew something. I started with burp cloths. Four straight lines, some ironing, and some top stitching and you’re done (I make these with flannel and chenille fabric- softest burp cloths ever). Image

The next session, she taught me how to read a pattern. I made my first finished product with a pattern. It was a little confusing and not perfect but I’ve found that most patterns by mccalls are pretty easy to follow and straightforward. I would like to place a warning here- DO NOT get simplicity. Whatever you do, avoid them like the plague. I have several patterns and they are just confusing, not well written but most of all- not cut well.

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It’s been a lot of trial and error and I’m still learning every day but I have also now made two pillowcase dresses and one for Anya’s baby doll, two simple dresses for my girls for easter, and the ruffled Snow White dress I blogged about recently. I’m now working on a ruffle dress for Anya but I started making it in size 5 and it’s way too big so I’m having to redo the bodice (trial and error can sometimes mean a lot of stitch ripping and restitching!). I’ll blog about all those if I ever get around to it.

Happy stitching!

Win a FREE Custom Tutu!!

Trying to get my page out there so offering a contest to get up to 100 likes. Simply like Tutu Turtle Doves on facebook and share/comment on THIS POST to be entered in a raffle to win a free custom tutu up to a $40 value (all you pay is a flat $6 shipping fee). The winner will be drawn as soon as we receive our 100th like so share away!

Everyone has a little girl in their life who would love a princess tutu- so enter and encourage friends and family to enter…more likes = more contests and giveaways in the future.

Tutu Turtle Doves- Tutus and more

All right so it’s been forever since I blogged about crafting but here goes. I decided to go ahead and launch my etsy and facebook pages for my tutus and may as well blog it up as well. Ever since I finally took the plunged and learned how to use my sewing machine I’ve been designing and executing every little thing I can come up with. From burp cloths and blankets (have you heard? I hate minky) to tutus and ruffle bloomers. I also made a couple birthday items for Bianca. For now though, my main sales product will be tutus. I’m still experimenting a lot and I have my first craft show at the end of October in Front Royal. Here’s a sampling of a few of my favorites for now, check out my facebook for more: www.facebook.com/tututurtledoves

Cupcake partial ribbon edged tutu

Rainbow ribbon edged tutu

Snow White ribbon edged tutu

Pirate Petti Tutu

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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I know I’m tutu obsessed right now but here’s the one I made for Jocelyn- Anya’s modeling it for me! It’s not perfect- the layers should’ve been slightly longer or at least more even on the bottom but it still turned out cute and when Anya took it off she said she wished it was her tutu =)

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This was actually pretty simple except the darn casing for the elastic but that’s a whole story in and of itself. Here’s a brief summary of what I did. Folded over tulle in each color and cut. Put all tulle together and hemmed the top to allow room to run the elastic through one fold (this was a flaw though- I should have put all the tulle together and then cut it and folded it over together instead of cutting separately- then there would have been only one pocket- as it was I ended up with four). Next I sewed ribbon onto every other layer (so one layer of each color was ribbon edged- made the skirt fuller without all the extra work. Lastly, I strung the elastic through and (very poorly) sewed the waist on- I got some of the elastic when I was sewing- I need to make the casing of the waist a little longer I think. Oh and then I sewed on a ribbon bow to the front to cover up some mistakes in the sewing =). Overall, I’m not embarassed to be giving it as a “gift.” Hope my best bud and her “baby” love it!

A Tutu for Tatum

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I was talking to my friend Hope about the tutu I made for Bianca and she mentioned she’d like one. Since the one I made for B was a first (very poor I admit) attempt at a tutu, I knew I didn’t want to copy that “pattern” so instead I decided to try a no sew ribbon edged tutu. Of course, I cut the pieces first instead of just lining the edges with ribbon and then cutting them into strips so it kind of took a while but I’m pretty sure it turned out kinda sorta awesome- what do you think?

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Next up, finishing my rainbow tutu and fourth of July tutus for the girls (do I really have time to knock them out before the fourth??? We shall see I guess!!).

Easy Tulle Tutu Skirt

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If you can sew a straight(ish) line you can make a tutu- who knew? So, I have officially been sewing on my sewing machine for a week. Gosh, has it only been that long? So far, I’ve made a dress out of pre-designed fabric, a bunch of burp cloths and working on my third tutu if I can ever bring myself to sew the last row of ribbon on I’d be done. First, sewing on a machine is easier than I though. Sewing straight…not so much. However, once I learned to thread my machine I didn’t need much help with the rest. I still don’t know how to read a pattern (I picked one out and put it back when I discovered that I couldn’t even figure out how much fabric I needed), but I did make some really easy tutu skirts that I “designed” myself. There are a few things I’m still working on but they turned out pretty well.

Here’s what you need:

Tulle

5/8″ ribbon

7/8″ elastic- colored to match the skirt or white

7/8″ ribbon if you decide to leave the back open- unnecessary if you plan to sew the elastic closed

First, measure the child around the waist and quadrouple that number (for a fuller tutu you may even want to multiply by 5 or 6)- this will be the length of your tulle and ribbons. Then, measure from waist to knee- this will be the width of your tulle. You can make it as many layers as you want but for my sparkle tutu I simply folded it once to give two layers. This made a very very sheer tutu. I also made mine a little long. For the ribbon edged tutus I think a little shorter and fuller is better but it’s all about trial and error. For my three year old, I cut my tulle the full 3 yards of tulle and about 11-12 inches long. I cut the elastic about 18 inches long.

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Next, aline your tulle and iron the fold so that the ends of the tulle are even. If you’re doing more than two layers I actually recommend folding your pice of tulle several times and sewing them together before you cut all the edges instead of trying to piece it together after cutting because it’s hard to line the tulle up exactly right once it’s in pieces. Press the fold with your iron so that it has a firm crease (this will eliminate the need for pinning). Line up the fold about an inch from your needle and sew a pocket for the elastic. Make sure you sew straight because this is the only part of the product that needs accuracy. You cannot rip seams out of tulle.

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Now, cut your ribbon to the same length as you’ve made your tutu. Pin it to the edges of the tulle. If you have cut your tulle straight it is easiest to pin the ribbon even with the bottom of the skirt even though you will sew it onto the skirt at the top of the ribbon. Line the edge of the ribbon up with the presser foot. On my machine, I leave the sewing setting at 00 which puts the needle slightly to the left. This allows me to sew a line alone the very top of the ribbon. You could also sew it in the middle of the ribbon if you want. You can just edge the top layer or you can do every layer or every other layer depending on the look you’re going for.

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Lastly, put the elastic on a safety pin and thread it through the pocket to gather the tulle together. Sew up the end of the elastic to create a circle or attach to your 7/8″ ribbon and tie. If you close the elastic, hand sew the ribbon on the back edges together so it will stay together. You could also sew a seam all the way up but it doesn’t seem necessary.

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The next time I make one, I’m going to buy some satin fabric and sew a casing around the band to keep the itchy tulle from coming in contact with skin (if you do this you’d obviously need to do it before inserting the elastic and do it the entire length of your tutu). I also may thread a ribbon through on top of the elastic and put a bow on the front or back through an opening in the casing.

Hope that made sense and if not leave me a comment and I’ll try to explain. It really was a super easy project once I figured out the best way to do it.

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