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My latest sewing adventure has ended and I am thrilled with the results!

The pattern is Simplicity 2588 and the fabric I used was 3 yards Joel Dewberry Fabric- Aviary II Collection – Sparrows – Bark. (I don’t usually blog about sewing, so that sentence felt very awkward. How does one describe fabric? Is there a format?) I got the fabric from this Etsy shop. And, hey! I found out that fabric shopping is almost as fun as yarn shopping! Who knew?

I changed only one thing – I replaced the fabric belt with an old faux leather belt that came with a pair of pants and has been sitting in the back my sock drawer for years and years. It works perfectly.

This dress was inspired by a dress that I can’t afford, found here. I like mine better, but I still want that one, too. Ha! Amazingly, as expensive as it is to sew your own clothes, my handmade version of this dress dress cost me about half of the price of store bought one.
Disappointingly, The Man doesn’t like it. I don’t know about you, but I dress for my man and I want him to like what I am wearing. It is very discouraging that he hasn’t really liked any of my homemade dresses so far.

But, I really like it. A lot. A really a lot. Oodles and oodles a lot. So I can’t wait to wear it to my cousin’s wedding in two weeks.

Next I am going to try to sew some corduroy pants for The Boy and a dress for each of the girls to wear to the wedding. In two weeks. We’ll see if I can do it….

… in between all the spinning and knitting that I also want to do….

 

 

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Dearest Little T

Dearest Little T,

Two days before I went into the hospital to give birth to my little Fraggle, your sweet mama was giving birth to you. It was uncanny how similar our circumstances were – we both had high blood pressure and had to be induced, we each came through our trials with a beautiful baby girl to show for it.

Two baby girls and two mothers who were bedridden with high blood pressure. Two friends unable to help the other. Two lives beginning in more than a few frustrated tears. Your mother and I spent our pregnancy’s together with weekly knitting sessions and lots of dreaming about when our girls would come. It didn’t quite go down the way we thought at first, but here we are one year out, and I couldn’t be happier.

I have so enjoyed our weekly get togethers since you and The Fraggle were born. Watching the two of you grow and change so fast, watching you learn new things and explore the world around you, has been such a joy. Even some of the comparisons give me pleasure (you may be talking up a storm, but The Fraggle will walk first! HA!).

So, this year for your birthday, your first birthday, I wanted to make something special for you.

Go ahead, open it!

Okay, let me tell you about it. The shoes first.

When I showed your Mama the pattern for these shoes, I am almost sure that she swooned, so I knew you had to have a pair. Someday you may understand how much I love you when I say that these were crocheted (huge sacrifice on my part). I used some bits of Knit Picks cotton for the colored sections because I thought it would be sturdy and that you’d like the pink. The soles are made of jute twine so that you can wear them outside. (Ravelry project page here)

The shoes really are the main gift, but not so fun for you, right? I confess that I mostly made those for your mom. The doll is for you.

She is made of wool and muslin and cotton floss. She is stuffed with wool and potpurri that should help you sleep if you cozy up to her and breath in her sweet scent. But the best part is her hair. I know how you love hair, so I gave her a lot. Feel free to pull, tug, and frizz it up because she comes with a lifetime hair replacement guarantee. Whenever her hair gets pulled out or worn to wisps, just bring her by and I will needle felt a new wig for her lickety-split.

Oh, and the bag it was wrapped in should make a perfect purse for your little hands.

I am so excited about the years to come, My Dear. I hope that you and The Fraggle will become the best of friends as your mama and I grow closer as well. I also hope that someday the two of you will sit and knit with us (that would be so cool!).

Happy Birthday, Little T.

S.

Two More for the Wardrobe

The sewing machine has been a buzz again and I have two more dresses to show for it.

First up was a kind of personal challenge. I had two yards of jersey knit and I wondered if I could make a dress with it. I had a design in mind and I wanted to be able to nurse The Fraggle while wearing it. I acheived both, but it does require a tank top underneath (I am a modest kind of gal).

This fabric at first did not really do it for me, and I started out using it as a kind of junk fabric to make the pattern with. After it was all figured out my intention was to cut it apart and make the real dress in something more “me”. But, once I put it on I really liked it. I don’t think that I need a pattern to make another one with the originally intended fabric (a lavender and white striped jersey knit). That will be proven (or not) when I next get a sewing bug. I have no pictures of this one, because I can’t find it right now… maybe it is in the laundry? I wear it that much!

The second dress was a variation of the green dress that I made a few weeks ago (blogged here). Using the same pattern, I changed the neckline and the length and fullness of the skirt. This one feels more formal to me and I can’t nurse in it. I guess we will see how much I wear it once The Fraggle is weaned.

This fabric was leftover from a blouse that my grandma made for me when I was a teen (why she had four yards leftover is beyond me. She must have approached fabric purchases the same way that I approach yarn purchases). I was going through the “black” phase, as most teens seem to do and the blouse was a 1990’s fashion wow. I can’t look at this dress and not think of that blouse… and the bangs that I wore with that blouse. In time I hope the negative sentiment fades because I really do like it and I want to wear it. Time will tell.

Oh, and for the bonus, those headbands that I showed you how to make (here)? Yup, I made some for these dresses, too! 🙂

All of this sewing has been very fun, but I am getting frustrated with my lack of knowledge. So far, I have made up each of the patterns that I have sewn, and I have come to the end of that road. So, I just ordered some patterns and some fabric from Etsy so that I can keep going on this quest to fill my closet with handmade clothing. Should be fun.

Tomorrow we will start a new weekly comic strip. The Bookworm and I have been working on it for a few weeks and we are so excited to be putting it on the blog! See you tomorrow!

Doll Hair – A Quick and Dirty Tutorial

Okay – I don’t have a doll in progress, so I threw this together for you quick and dirty.

First, decide how long you want your doll’s hair to be, then find a flat item that is about that width. I have used CD cases or small books, or even some paper folded to the right width. Here I am using a wide ruler. You will also need scissors, scotch tape, a sewing machine, a needle, and lots of yarn.
Wrap your yarn around it a lot. Then wrap some more. You can always take some off later. It helps if you know the measurement of the dolls head from the forehead hairline to the nape of the neck. That is how wide you want your swath to be.
I didn’t make this example very wide. You will want more than this – wide enough to cover from forehead to nape of the neck on your doll. Now, cut your end and put a strip of scotch tape across the front.
Turn it over and cut it at the same point in back that your tape is in front, so that both sides are the same length from the tape.
Now it looks like this-
If you have a lot and the tape isn’t holding it well enough, put another piece of tape on the other side so that the yarn is held straight.
Now, sew a seam along the middle of the tape.
So that it looks like this –
(obviously you will want to use matching thread so that it doesn’t show). The sewing perforates the tape so that it comes off easily when you tear it off.
Make two of these.
To attach to the head, use your yarn and a needle and line the seam up with where the dolls part would be and sew it on right down the center. Stitch it securely down the length of the seam, from forehead to nape of the neck.
Sew on the second piece, lining up the seam up with the hairline around the face.
Obviously, my piece is not wide enough. Yours should frame the entire face. When you are done, flip the “bangs” part back and style the hair in pony tails or braids as you please.
 
You could even cut bangs if you wanted to. I haven’t tried that, yet.
These are the dolls that I have used this technique on.
Long braids in lace weight yarn.
Short pony tails in fingering weight.
And even a pony mane.
Inspiration for my technique was found here. She tells in better detail how to measure the head. I just eyeball it. 🙂
Enjoy your wig making!

There She Sews Again

In my daydreams of sundresses and strappy sandals (as described yesterday), my head is usually adorned in matching headbands. So, of course, I had to engineer a pattern for that, too. What I came up with was so easy, and looks so great, I thought I would show you how.

Welcome to another WoolAndChocolate tutorial! 🙂

How to make a reversible headband for summer wear.

1. Make your pattern. Roughly it should look like this. A single piece of paper isn’t long enough, so you may need to tape another page to the first to make it long enough.

2. Cut out two pieces, placing the wide end on the fold of your fabric. I chose two very similar fabrics for this one, but it is fun to mix and match contrasting fabrics, as well.

3. Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing each other. Sew along the sides, leaving the ends open. Now, notch the curves so that they lay flat and trim wherever it’s needed.

4. Turn right side out and press it flat.

5. Now turn the ends under and press them in place.

6. Using a matching thread, top stitch around the entire edge.

7. Tie on your head and enjoy!