Friday, September 19, 2014

Making A Ringer Tee with the Women's Raglan Top Pattern

Since I'm focusing more on sewing & crafting for my own enjoyment, I've started working on some Fall clothing for myself first.  I've wanted some easy wins to get me back into the swing of sewing for fun, so I tried a new shirt pattern and put my own spin on it.  I figured sharing those tweaks might give others more ideas & options too, so here's my "sort of a review/sort of a how-to". 

I used the Women's Raglan Top Pattern by Seamingly Smitten.  Jenny had sent me a copy of this one for me to try out for myself.  Right now I don't have the patience for projects that, well, try my patience, so this seemed like a good straightforward design to give a go.

Here are some pattern details:

- Covers sizes 0-26, in Petite, Regular & Tall
- Includes Short, 3/4 and Long Sleeve lengths
- Rounded or split neckline options (and two ways to finish them)
- Can be made in woven or knit

One of Seamingly Smitten's example pics
As you can see, I kind of went in a different direction on mine, but the plus is that it shows how one pattern really can look totally different with minor tweaks.  Plus having twice as many fabric choices with the woven or knit option is another big draw for me.  Heaven knows I've got enough hoarded fabric to use up around here. I did my shirt in a cotton knit I'd been hanging onto for about a year.  I loved the print (found at Jo-Ann's & still available fyi), but wasn't sure how to make it work for adult clothing until now.  Being such a busy & colorful print, I didn't want it to "wear me", so I did the sleeves in a matching purple solid.  

Based on my measurements I made a size 4-6 petite, except for the length which I did regular.  I ended up doing several modifications as I made mine, which added some extra fit options/ways to customize it too.  You can do just one or do 'em all.  Here's how....

Banded collar addition: After I cut it, I realized the neckline was a bit wider than I usually wear.  I have narrow shoulders and didn't want to worrying about bra straps showing.  To get around that I added some extra fabric to make neckband and turned it into a ringer tee - which worked great with my solid sleeves!

To do that I cut a band piece that was 4 inches high and the length of the raw neckline minus 3 inches (this knit was pretty stretchy so I needed it to be somewhat smaller to not gape).  

I stitched the short ends wright sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance to make a tube:

Then folded it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together to form the band.  I marked the collar into quarters and did the same with the shirt neckline and then pinned them together with the collar on the outside:

I stitched them together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stretching the collar band as I went. For knits you can use a serger or a regular sewing machine.  I used my trusty triple stitch (more info on that HERE), which provides plenty of give for seams and areas that get a lot of stress, like necklines and cuffs.  Then I pressed it upward using my tailor's ham to get it to curve inward a bit and top stitched to keep the raw edge from flipping up on the wrong side.

It would probably lay a little better if I'd been using rib knit, which would be stretchier than the main fabric and curve in a bit more.  Or maybe just have made the band height a little shorter. I couldn't find rib knit in that color locally, so it's a little note-to-self for my next one...or just skip the band and cut the necklines a little higher on the pieces from the get-go.

Fold-over Cuffs:  In retrospect I also should have cut my sleeves to the regular length - I'm always cold this time of year, so I like to wear 'em a little longer!  I couldn't add fabric back on this one though, so I decided to make some fold over cuffs to add some extra length and give it more of a long-sleeved tee look:

I cut two rectangles that were 8 inches high and the length of the sleeve edge (so it would be just a hair smaller once I stitched the short ends together).  

Then I followed the same procedure as the collar, matching up the raw edges and seams of cuff and sleeve end:

Then I pulled the cuffs upward, folded them in half and they were perfect:

Curved sides: Lastly, I wanted a slightly closer fit once I had it together, so I used my handy French curve to bring in and curve the sides a bit:

Even with my additions, it still came together pretty quickly.  I'd definitely make this top again, but probably in the 0-2 size next time.  It's really comfortable and I like that I can give it a few extra looks with these modifications.  

You can find the Women's Raglan Top pattern HERE and can see more shirt examples other people have sewn (with different fabrics, sleeves and necklines) on the Seamingly Smitten Facebook page.

Seamingly Smitten is a paying featured advertiser at Sew Can Do.  I received this pattern to review.  The opinions are completely my own, based on my honest experience using & purchasing patterns from this shop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bringing The Real Connection Back: A Simple Craft Blog Challenge!

Today's post is going to be short and sweet, but I'm putting it here because I know it would just get lost in the faceless noise of Facebook, Twitter or any other social media if it was just a shout out there.  One of my new goals to bring back the real person-to person connection in craft blogs and I'm challenging you to join me - and you don't need to have a blog to do it!

Starting this week I'm going to start making a conscious effort to comment on blog posts I click on or projects I bookmark with a Pinterest pin.  Less of the 2 second "click, skim & leave" or the even briefer "click, pin & forget",  I'm going to take a few extra seconds to let someone know I saw what they made and say a little something about it.  Not spend added hours seeking stuff out, but a few seconds when I'm already looking at something.  A genuine comment, not a quick, generic "That's so cute!".  Just to let them know their effort and creativity is appreciated and noticed.

I've really missed the direct person-to-person blog interactions since crafting went viral & social - both as a reader and with my own readers.  Clearly I'm not the only one, given all the comments echoing that feeling on my Quitting the Craft Blog Rat Race post from a couple weeks ago.  So why not do a little something to bring back a few personal connections?  It doesn't take much effort and it doesn't mean spending ages.  Let's all try to take an extra moment when we see something to let that person know what we liked about their work, ask a question or just share a feeling.  You might even get an unsolicited comment yourself:)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Fabulous Fall Craftastic Monday Link Party

Happy Craftastic Monday Everyone!  The weather around here is definitely feeling like Fall. It dropped from high seventies to mid-fifties a few days ago.  This new chill in the air has gotten me sewing up some cozy new wearables for the cooler days that are sticking around.  I've also been thinking about some new things I'd like to try out here at Sew Can Do that might bring back some of the old school blog fun before the days of Pinterest, social media and the crazy quest for perfection that's become the norm everywhere.  I'll be sharing one of my ideas - and the results of a new pattern I tried - later this week, so stay tuned!

And in giveaway news, it's time to announce the winner of the Groovy Lab in a Box Giveaway:
Tiffany D.

Congratulations Tiffany and I hope you have fun with this kit!  And big thank you to Groovy Lab in a Box for providing this fantastic prize.
Get some FREE advertising for your blog/crafty shop!

After linking your latest project posts below, head over to the Sew Can Do Facebook page to join in the Craftastic Monday Mixer.  It's a way to let even more people see your site or its FB page and find some new sites you might love at the same time.

How It Works:
Instead of a specific post, share your blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link on the Sew Can Do FB page.  More exposure for your crafty site every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!
Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

About Family Crafts transformed a thrifted dresser into a charming dress-up armoire:

These mini piñatas from Woods of Bell Trees were super cute and fun:

A Time For Seasons shared these fun Fall coasters:

And Pink Recipe Box showed this tasty rosé sangria recipe:

If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news.  

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
Follow Me on Pinterest

Ready to link up your crafty creations?

Party rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  The code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our More Fun, Less To Craft, My Little Pony Party

My daughter recently turned 5 and asked if we could do a My Little Pony theme for her birthday.  To say she's obsessed with My Little Pony is an understatement, so it wasn't a big surprise.  And I'll be honest, I was relieved it was something I could easily find party gear for around our house and at most party supply stores.  For the past 4 years I went into crazy mommy crafter mode for each birthday.  I'd come up with themes that required elaborate DIY'd decorations, fanciful favors, making the cake myself and sewn-by-me matching birthday attire (you can click on any of them to see the level of insanity detail I went to):


Sure the planning was fun and it felt great to say I'd made it all, but it also meant I had to make it all.  And that was exhausting.  Truthfully, kids don't notice - or care - that you spent hours handcrafting an entire party.  Most of the adults attending don't either.  Have some general party decor, a cake & some activities and they're happy.  Usually it's just other crafters who really notice all the small, labor intensive details, so who are you really killing yourself for in DIY-ing a party?  Complete strangers? That's CRAZY.  

So I vowed this year would be fun to put together & not require weeks of preparation. As I mentioned in last week's confessional post, in an effort to be less stressed and more fun, I've been scaling back my crafting & blogging efforts.  Trying to keep things more real life and enjoyable and less of the popular "look at how magazine perfect what I'm doing looks, despite killing myself while pretending it's effortless" blog style. Let's get real - who's got spare time to maintain that faux perfection ?  I know I certainly don't!

Now my "Keep it Fun, Not Crazy" party strategy:

Since ours was just an extended family party, emailing invitations was cheap, easy to send and didn't require my horrible handwriting to be on display (seriously - even when I try to write neatly it looks atrocious and illegible).  I did a quick online search for some My Little Pony images with a transparent background and used those + a free Equestria font download to make this digital invite with PicMonkey in about an hour and for free:   

Decorating-wise, I let the party store do most of the work - there were tons of MLP-themed and matching solid colored paper products.  I didn't spend hours picking stuff out either - just grabbed it all in one go.  I've seen a lot of custom My Little Pony parties online, but kind of scratch my head at why you'd spend hours of time hand-adding pony cutouts or stickers to paper products or pay $$$ for custom printables when there's tons of cute MLP stuff already available for just a couple of bucks at every party place.  Add in a yard of MLP-themed cotton I'd found at Jo-Ann Stores (but hadn't used yet), and we were fine for table decor:

Our big splurge was ordering a couple of themed standees from an online party place.  I was just going to get one, but the husband convinced me to get both Princess Celestia (her fave) and the Canterlot Castle.  I did have a coupon code to keep it reasonable and since the kids play ponies around here on a daily basis, it's not like they'd only get the one-time use.  My daughter actually gasped in awe when she saw them outside.  Since the party, we've flattened the stands on the back so they fit against the wall in her room for double decorating duty.  She loves having them next to her bed.  Tacking the $7 pin-the-cutie-mark game poster to some cardboard on an easel added extra big scale pony flair with minimal price/effort too:

My little miss picked out her ensemble from her already accumulated pony-themed attire. Even her footwear was pony-tastic (the My Little Pony socks were found in the $1 bin at Michael's, shoes we found at Journey's Kidz months ago for under $25):

I'd made her some pony bows last year, so those topped off her all-My Little Pony appearance without me having to put anything new together:

I'd always made her special occasion cakes/cupcakes, so I figured I'd treat us both to the ease and loveliness of a local bakery cake this time around.  It made turning 5 a little more special:  

Cake by Sorella's Bakery, MI

I covered a cardboard box in pink wrapping paper about 15 minutes before the party to make a quick stand for the cake.  This also meant cutting the cake was less messy since I could just toss the paper out after and added the bonus of not getting frosting all over our pony fabric.  I told the bakery we wanted two layers, a rainbow and some flowers & clouds and they came up with this beautiful design.  It was a delicious as it looked too:

I will take credit for the idea of using some of her mini figure collection as pony props on the cake. The bakery sprayed them with a bit of shimmer to make them look more magical and also added some surprise hard sugar butterflies to the sides:

Normally I'd be freaking out about trying to perfectly decorate a cake hours before the party, so it was nice to be able to just unveil it and enjoy how great it tasted.  

I saw this unicorn sprinkle holder on Amazon and thought it would be fun as a decoration and for the kids & cousins to shake on a little extra pony magic to their cake slices.  I justified to myself that getting it would help lure them to act as helpers more often and, by extension, get me to bake more....the jury's still out on if that'll actually happen, but rainbow unicorn looks cute on my baking stuff shelf:

Activity-wise we did a little pin-the-cutie mark on Pinkie Pie (ready to use from the store). Even the adults participated, but for the sake of staying on speaking terms with my relatives I'm not including those pics:

We also did "Guess how many mini figures?".  I have to say I was a little shocked at how many I counted in here...and that we still had more left even when it was full:

I think the MLP piñata was one of the things I liked best.  We found that in the My Little Pony section of the party store with all the other themed paper products.  I was also very relieved it had pull strings at the bottom instead of the usual bat-the-heck out of it until it breaks way to open it. Assault & battery of one of her favorite ponies would have been more traumatizing than entertaining. 

My husband came up with the clever idea of stringing it through some plastic pipe we had in the garage.  He was able to bob it around a bit for the older kids so it was more of a challenge:

The main "crafty bit" I did for the party was to make some pony soaps for the goody bags using the silicone molds from my DIY Soap Painting post.  Melt & pour soap is ideal because it only takes a few minutes to make - I just had to do a few small batches since I only had 2 pony molds.  I didn't do the detail painting this time, but I did represent the colors of the Mane Six ponies Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack and Rarity:

The other goodies were easy mints, tattoos and unicorn horn suckers.  Again, bought with the other stuff in my single visit to the party supply store:

And since she's a mega Celestia fan, we got her the new Rainbow Shimmer™ Princess Celestia snowglobe pony as her main gift.  I'd seen this on a My Little Pony fan site from the big NY toy fair earlier this year and thought it was so cool.  There was no estimate on when it would be available in stores, so I was thrilled to find a prototype for sale on eBay.  I'm usually pretty skeptical about that sort of thing being legit, but I just went for it.  It was definitely worth it - even husband & I were wowed by its sparkle + water-filled interior and it was pretty neat to have something before it was even in stores.  We also got the Princess Luna version but I couldn't wrestle both away from her pony pile for quick photo.  

The funny thing is that is party was just as fun as the ones I slaved over and probably cost about the same. Everyone had a great time and the birthday girl loved her party & all her pony presents.  It felt so good to give her a great party AND be able to enjoy it myself for a change!


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