Monday, February 22, 2010

Pleats & Denim Refashion

Never let it be said that I do not appreciate a good tartan. Especially one on a wee lass. Especially especially a tartan I sewed on a wee lass of my very own. It started a couple weeks ago, while at the Early Years Family Centre having some fun in the indoor sandbox there was a little girl wearing the most adorable half denim skirt half kilt store bought refashioning kinda thing. It was adorable. And it was right after I made the Romantic Ruffled Skirt so I was all hopped up on self confidence. But not so much confidence that I was willing to chop up a pair of Wednesday's jeans. She recently just grew into her size three pants so they fit too well to refashion. So I had to bide my time until I had both the time and extra money to go thrifting. Well, I tell you size two to three jeans are not so easy to find in thrift shops these days. But, last week I scored! I managed to find two pairs of jeans that fit Wednesday from the crotch to the waist. So, this is what I made. It is not a perfect copy of the skirt I saw, that one was probably knife pleated and mine is box pleated. Hers had some embellishing on the front that I just wasn't inspired to replicate on a vague memory and mine is longer. But I love it. I mean I L-O-V-E it!

The top I refashioned from a shirt I thrifted a couple weeks ago when I was going to make a kilt out of the tartan fabric. I did a bit of refashioning. I cut off the flowers and then cut off the sleeves, bottom and collar and then lettuce edge ruffled it. I am not overly sold on it, but it helped to top off the skirt.

The skirt was super easy. Too easy. I see myself doing a lot of refashions along these lines. This one I think was easier though because I chose to let the denim fray in spots. I also frayed the plaid but I double stitch zig zagged the edge first. I then pleated it. The pleating was pretty easy although I defy anyone to show me the actual difference between a box pleat and an inverted box pleat. I didn't measure the pleats exactly, and the seam at the back I got excited and forgot to line up the pleats. But on the whole I am really impressed with my first pleats ever. I added the embroidery stitching last. I think it is the best part of the skirt after the pleats of course. I created a fabric belt to kind of top off the skirt, at first it was just a tying belt but I did not like the bow at all so I created a loop and like it much better. I added a yo yo and button at the back just for kicks, but I really think I might take the yo yo off and add more pocket stitching. I really really like how that stitching came out. Now that I have seen how low the top comes down on the waist line I think the yo yo AND belt might be too much. What do you think?
Also, Wednesday has worn this and I have washed and dryed it to check for wear and I gotta say I am getting really good it this. All seams held up well, all zig zag stitches kept the fraying in check.
Now my question is, would rather a tutorial on how to make the skirt from start to finish, or just the pleats? I started a tutorial but I realized the black and red tartan fabric was probably not the best choice for showing you certain techniques. Fear not though, I have plenty of ideas for pleated skirts. Depending on how much time I get to sew during daylight hours for best photographic light I should have one done by the weekend.
For more shots of my gorgeous daughter modeling the outfit, or detail shots of my handiwork you can check out the flickr set here.

Happy Sewing!

p.s. I will be posting this to Wardrobe Refashion and a couple link parties over the next few weeks so those of you that follow that blog to will see a bit of cross posting.

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How To - Baking With Toddlers

This is sort of a combination post. It is both a how to and a post for my MMmmm Good Mondays series. A few weeks ago I had a friend asked me how I was able to bake like I do with the help of a toddler. So last week when Wednesday and I made Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins I took some process pictures to share with you. You'll have to forgive the quality of the photos, my kitchen gets really poor light so I am playing with the exposure levels some were over exposed and so I had to touch them up. On to the how to though. Before i go on to the instructions though, I would like to point out the obvious. Do not choose a super complicated recipe that takes precise times and measurements and methods like something from Martha Stewart Cupcakes (Heck, I still have trouble with her icing recipes!)instead, pick simple recipes like oatmeal muffins or chocolate chip cookies. That way you and your babe get the most enjoyment out of the exercise from start to finish. Ok, now on to the instructions.

Baking With Toddlers
First things first. Measure everything (And I mean everything) before hand. Toddlers have little patience for you while you level of your quarter teaspoons of baking soda. I advise you to measure all big measurements like flour and milk into their own cups and combine the smaller measurements like baking powder and salt in single cups. Crack and fork beat any eggs that are called for in the recipe too. Toddlers love eggs but have yet to acquire the fine motor skills of not getting shell pieces in the goop.

Baking With Toddlers
Let them pour everything. So long as it is all pre-measured, you need only direct now. They can do just about everything all by themselves.

Baking With Toddlers
They are pretty good at stirring but you might have to take the wheel here just for good measure. Notice the tongue sticking out? That makes the whisk work better.

Baking With Toddlers
Now here is tip, one I learned while making these very muffins. If you have to do things in two separate bowls like mix dry with dry and wet with wet, you need to put the current bowl in front of them. It is not enough to say "In THAT bowl!". By that bowl I mean the clear glass one at the end of the counter in the photo. Thankfully, these were not an uber exact recipe and it was okay that the eggs went in with the oatmeal.

Now, we made mini muffins and as a rule I do not use muffin cups with mini muffins, it is one of the reasons I love them so much. That and come on...they're MINI! But, if you choose to make big muffins or cupcakes and do opt for paper cups, you would let your little one put each one in the tray. This was the first thing I would let Wednesday do when I baked. I would separate those tricky little cups and she would put them in. If she crushed them out of excitement, I would just replace it when she was not looking.

I do not advise letting little ones fill the cups though, this is messy even for an adult with leverage over the tray.

Baking With Toddlers
While you wait for your muffins/cookies/cupcakes etc. to bake, eat bowl of the filling. In this case we ate a bowl of frozen blueberries. Wednesday has loved frozen blueberries since she was a babe. And she still makes just as much mess while eating them.

Baking With Toddlers
Enjoy the fruits of your labours. Who doesn't love some mini muffys? I made the mistake of keeping these close to the counter edge where she could just grab one at will. But they were uber healthy so I was happy she liked them.

Blueberry Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffin
Oh yeah, this is how they turned out. Not bad for a two year old eh? She has skills. I let her help me whenever I can. And more importantly I am learning when is and isn't a good time for her to help. By knowing both of our limitations we are able to have much more fun together when we do bake.

I would like to thank Joy the Baker for the very delicious Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffin recipe. They were awesome. Especially with a cinnamon sugar sprinkle that I put on all of my muffins.


Linked to Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts