Sewing an Elsie Baby Dress for my niece

Last week for my baby niece’s first birthday I thought of sewing her a beautiful little dress. Of course! I found this beautiful Elsie Dress Pattern on Etsy. It was delivered as a PDF file and that’s actually the very first time I used a pattern to sew something. Go figure! It’s so darn easy it only took 45 minutes to complete.

I printed out the pattern, cut it out and placed it on the fabric as described in the pictures that came with the pattern. The dress is made of 3 big pieces and 2 pieces for the ruffled arms.

5 pieces of fabric make a little dress

Now it’s only 3 steps: sew the 2 small pieces for the back onto the front part.

sew 3 pieces together

The ruffle had to be folded in half and sewed together.

ruffle arm

The round edge had to be sewn into the round part of the arm (as shown here). Actually it was supposed to be ruffled but the pattern didn’t explain how to make ruffles in a way I would understand so I left it straight. The ruffled part I learned in the other sewing project I made for my niece (will post it on Saturday).

sew ruffle arm

After the arms were done the rest was easy and quick. 3 straight seams – 2 sides and one in the back.

sew side

sew back

FERTIG! Yes it was THAT easy! I tell you: don’t be afraid of using patterns. Just follow the instructions and even when you stumble over a part you don’t really get you can figure it out. I think the dress looks gorgeous with straight arm wings, don’t you think?

completed dress

The two pieces of the back are not sewn together completely. I left a bit of 10 cm open so Tiny could put her head through the whole and added a small fabric button made of the same fabric.

button detail

Ah ok… AND I added some white binding around neck and the bottom that I had leftover from the baby kimono I did some months ago.

That is just lovely. A perfect little project I enjoyed much because it didn’t drive me nuts and everything was nice and easy to understand and it didn’t take ages. The other present I sewed was different. Let me tell you more on Saturday :-)

Baking a Rainbow Cake

Last week my little niece celebrated her first birthday and that screamed for a special cake. Since I baked Martin’s birthday cake last year and another one for his dad I’m kinda addicted to bigger, better and more creative cakes. It’s so much fun and sooooo relaxing.

Looking for an inspiration I stumbled over Martha’s site and found a recipe for a rainbow cake and loved it instantly. Though I never managed to bake biscuit cake I thought I’d give it a try.

Actually I followed Martha’s recipe. Pretty easy.

ingredients

You mingle everything together until you have a big bowl of dough.

dough

Divide into 6 equal parts and add food colors. On Martha’s site they used a kind of gel. It is available here in Germany but you have to order it so I used normal food colors from the supermarket and hoped it would lead to the same result. It didn’t. The colors turned out very light but actually I really liked the pastel result. I had red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (mixed with red and blue).

6 colors

Since I only have ONE pan I had to bake them separately which took quite a while.

6 bisquits

Before stacking the biscuits I prepared the cream cheese frosting. 4 packs of cream cheese, a part of confectioner’s sugar, butter and some vanilla. Beat until smooth.

cream cheese frosting

I began with the purple biscuit, poured some of the frosting and covered it with blue and so on and so on until it looked like this.

stapled

Covered with the rest of the frosting it looked like this. Very innocent!

covered

Yes and this is one slice that I managed to photograph. It tasted great and the cake was finished within minutes.

result

That was fun and easy to bake. Maybe I should get at least one more pan for such occasions. This won’t be the last time I baked this fantastic cake.

Some fun sewing tutorials

This week I ran out of crafty projects. I have weeks where I do one project after the other, this week isn’t one of those. :-) It’s very hot outside and I’m glad when I come home and don’t have to do anything. Though I’m still browsing my favorite sites and blogs everyday and came across some very great tutorials that I want to share today.

My latest favorite discovery when it comes to crafty blogs is Noodleheads. Anna is one talented mom that sews the prettiest things for her kids and is so generous to share them. The other day she posted this super cute car pillow tutorial which isn’t that hard to make. Her instructions are very easy to follow and this little pillow makes a wonderful baby-shower gift.

Another tutorial I liked very much is by Martha Stewart. A tooth fairy pillow for little ones.  Perfect for my step-kiddo who’s loosing teeth every week at the moment :-)

I recently found Amy Bindel’s Early Bird Special Blog where she shows her beautiful embroidery projects. The cool thing about this blog is that Amy teaches her readers how to embroider with detailed step-by-step instructions and even a little video. How cool is that? See Lesson 4: The split stitch for example. I love to embroider but yet only know how to back stitch. She opened my horizons and I can’t wait to practice my skills as soon as the fall comes.

Anna Maria Horner posted this beautiful and ass simple to sew Museum Tunic Dress. Doesn’t it look fabulous? I must definitely try this as long as the weather allows me to wear it.

My second Quilt – Part two

The top for the chevron quilt is done. The last fabric arrived and so I could add two more rows.  It turned out bigger than I thought (M had to hold the top for the image ‚cause he’s really tall). The actual size is 125 x 145 cm (50″ x 57″), 7 x 8 squares, 56 single squares, 112 triangles.

This afternoon I’ll by the interfacing and hopefully can complete the blanket this weekend. The worldcup is kinda dominating my schedule these days ;-)

chevron quilt

detail quilt

A bag for the Nikon

Can you imagine? – you have an idea and a plan that you’re obsessed about but then certain circumstances interfere your plan and you can’t put it into action. And though you have plenty of other things to do you find yourself stuck in boredom because the alternatives are yet not so cool as the project you’re obsessed about and you end up doing NOTHING? That was me this week! The fabric for my new quilt didn’t arrive yet and since quilting was the only thing I wanted to do in my vacation week I pretty much didn’t do anything spectacular (besides starting a drink-more-water revolution).

On Tuesday my sister-in-law and I went to the little fabric store Stoffwerk (where I bought the fabric for my first quilt) and without intention of buying anything I fell in love with these 3 fat quarters. They’re from Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley collection and they’re in this incredible blue and grey tone I like so much these days.

I remembered this little purse that I’ve seen on the Stitch Magazine Cover Fall 09 and I imagined the Hope Valley fabrics would look nice. And I actually needed a bag where I could slide in the big Nikon when I’m on tour so the idea was SEW A PURSE!

Tuesday night I scribbled a bit – thinking of how the bag should look like. Since I have no pattern (which you actually don’t need for this kind of purse) I thought of how to enhance the fabric. Quilted and patchworked elements and stitches?

Yes… it turned out a little bit different but that’s the fun about it. You have to see the product in order to find the best looking treat.

This is what I cut out: 2 lining pieces, 2 outer fabrics, 2 pieces of interfacing, some stripes for the patchwork elements, a doily, and a stripe for the strap and zipper. The fabrics for lining and outer are all from Ikea. In our closet is a inexhaustible source of this grey fabric I could make another 194 bags from it….

I started with the doily bag in the lining. I cut half of the doily and sewed it onto the fabric. Stitched an additional space for the phone. Done! But I didn’t like this much because then I realized it wouldn’t match the style of the purse at all. THAT’S what I mean by you have to have your project in your hand in order to see if your design makes sense… I’ve put this aside and hoped for another idea later.

The stripes that I’ve cut from the Hope Valley fat quarters were randomly sewn together (I’ve added 2 stripes of plain fabric, too)

After sewing the patchworked part on the outer fabric I’ve drawn some circles and SERENDIPITY on (with a fabric pen that goes away after washing, of course) just to have a lead on where to stitch. On the back I’ve pressed on a piece of interfacing and started to machine stitch. I think as long as the interfacing is not too thick you can easily machine stitch little things with a normal sewing machine. I have a small Pfaff that isn’t a professional quilting machine but still this works pretty good.

I did this on the front an back and while I was stitching I thought of another design that I liked better and ditched the idea to stitch SERENDIPITY on the front. This is the result (and YES I’m too lazy to change my bobbin thread all the time).

Somehow I still wanted my sweet SERENDIPITY to be somewhere so my solution was to stamp it on the side panel of the bag.

After that I pinned the side parts onto the front (and back) and stitched along so that the first part of the bag was done.

Back to the lining bag. I took some of the outer fabric and a scrap from the blue Hope Valley and sew everything together.

Now it came to the tricky part that I’ve feared the whole time. I wanted the bag to have a zipper. But since I have the outer bag and the lining bag I had to think of where to put the zipper. Here’s how I assembled the zipper on 2 stripes of fabric.

The question now was: WHERE to sew this on? Lining or outer bag?? I tell you upfront: my decision was WRONG! I pinned and sew it on the lining bag. Then turned the outer bag on the left and put it INTO the lining bag. I left a bit open in the lining bag for the turn afterwards. After sewing everything together and turning the bag inside out  it first looked good BUT now the lining bag was outside and  my outer fabric was inside. Would have been ok if this was the intention. But it wasn’t so I ripped it all open again….

Pinned the zipper on the outer bag and sewed again. YAY. THAT WORKED!! Then I closed the opening in the lining and basically the bag itself was finished.

From the grey fabric I cut a long stripe, folded it right sides together and sewed along. To turn this stripe back to the right was the thing that needed the most time during this whole sewing project…. then pressed and stitched along randomly.

The strap was attached on the sides of the bag and finally – after 5 hours – I was finished. And in love.. I must admit.

I think after my first quilt this was my first BIGGER sewing project. It was not really difficult but without a pattern and with all the ideas what I could stitch on it just takes some time. And it’s so satisfying. A little bit of patchwork and quilting, machine stitching, a zipper… all the good things in one project :-) It’s a GREAT project for those who are not yet experienced with patchwork and quilting. Try small things first and see what happens. It’s fun!!

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