Sunday, March 21, 2010

Even hopeless optimists have bad days.

Aren’t these shoes the cutest ever?  I have to put a plug in for my mom here, she made them for mini and I think they are adorable.  So adorable that I decided she needed a whole outfit to go with them!

I bought this black onesie at walmart - it was only a dollar!  

Probably because it isn’t New Year’s anymore.  And it’s kind of ugly, to be honest.  But it’s actually difficult to find black baby clothes... and I thought that with some changes this could be perfect for the leopard outfit.
My plan was to follow the idea of the original onesie.  I would make it a ruffled tuxedo top, with leopard material to cover the pink printing.  Easy enough in theory.  (Every time I start a project like this, I think to myself, this is going to be so easy, I won’t be able to expose all of my mistakes to the world!  I really should stop thinking this.)  
I do not have a serger.  I didn’t want the edges of the strips of leopard print material to fray, so after I cut them into strips, I folded the edges over, and then sewed a basting strip down the middle.  When I was done doing this with all the strips, I started pulling the bobbin thread to gather the strips up into the ruffle.  That is when the trouble began.  The threads just kept breaking.  One after the other... I would set one aside to re-bast, and the next one would break, and the next, and the next... The first lesson I learned here is that I will never again try to gather up 3 layers of fabric into one ruffle.  The second, and probably more important lesson, is to never buy thread at St. Vinny’s.  St. Vinny’s is usually good for toys, sometimes furniture, sometimes clothes but NEVER thread.  Someone got rid of this thread for a reason.  
So, after changing my thread out, I re-basted and re-ruffled each strip at least three times.  When they were finally all gathered, I pinned them onto the onesie in the tuxedo shape, starting with the longest one in the middle.  It took some shimmying to cover up all the pink beneath, and some is still visible (which bothers me... but everyone else says it isn’t noticeable).  Then came the task of sewing the ruffles on.  It’s a straight stitch down the middle of each strip.  Probably even easier than basting and gathering, right?  Pretty basic, right?  Yep.
So I got right to work, and after my third strip, proceeded to sew the ruffle to not only the front of the shirt, but the BACK of the shirt as well.   
I didn’t realize this at first, but when I did -  I was ready to throw in the towel.  I got out the trusty seam ripper and detached the back from the front.  Of course, in doing this, I put three very small holes in the cheap fabric on the back by the neckline.  Unsure of how to fix this, I went to bed.
With renewed vigor, I attacked the project once more.  I was determined not to let it get the best of me.  I safety pinned the back of the onesie down, to keep it out of the way.  I sewed on the rest of the ruffles, pulled out the basting stitches and hand sewed the little holes on the back closed.  I finished it off by adding some shiny black tuxedo-like buttons down the middle.

Well, I knew I wanted her to wear it to church, so she’d need a skirt to go with.  And a basic black skirt is a staple in any girl’s wardrobe, anyway.  So I made one out of a “Miley Cyrus” skirt ($1, Walmart!).  I didn’t have to do much to it... (wink, wink - I mean have you seen those skirts??  Not much fabric...)  I just took the waistband off and took the sides in.  It turned out kind of like a pencil skirt, which I liked because it seemed so mini-adult like.  But I don’t have a picture of that skirt in use because I lost it.  Not the picture.  The skirt.
Yes, that’s right.  I lost a skirt.  An article of clothing.  Do I do this often, you ask?  Well, the truth is that in one weekend I lost not only this skirt, but my cell phone, my credit card and $100.  (I found the $100 finally, though, so that’s good)  Basically, what I am trying to tell you is that yes, I am slightly on the forgetful side.  I forget to turn my hair straightener off.  I forget where I put my keys.  I forget to call people back.  My excuse is having too much on my mind at all times, so it’s hard to focus on any one thing.  
So, last night, I searched through my pile of "clothing to be recycled into something better" for something black that I could quickly turn into a skirt for church today.  I found a shirt of mine that had seen much better days.  What I liked about using this for the skirt was how soft it was.  It was a bit hard to work with because it was so stretchy; I had to keep stopping myself from pulling it while I sewed.  

I cut out a skirt shape, using the hem of the shirt so I could skip that step on the skirt.  (Actually this step wasn't even all that straightforward.  I just about took my finger off with a rotary cutter.  Those things are a little scary.)  I put in some elastic.  Then I used the arm of the shirt to cut into strips.  I used these strips for the trim along the hem, which is just folded in an overlapping pattern and tacked down.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but it’s a little long, so I will have to fix that.  The only rough spot was at the beginning, when I started sewing.  I couldn’t figure out why the machine kept jamming.  Then I thought back to the ruffle dress and checked to make sure the machine was threaded properly.  Nope.  (I do generally learn from my mistakes!)
I wouldn’t normally put her in a leopard bow on top of everything else, but I just couldn’t resist today.  I mean, if anyone can pull it off, she can!

Lesson from this project?  Don’t get over confident.  When you do, you sew your back to your front and lose your skirt completely.  

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