Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunny tank and not so Sunny days

If you've ever been to the Pacific North West, you know that this time of year we are diving back into rainy season.  For us that means rolling up the bottoms of our jeans and wearing more hoodies, for the tourists who like to frequent our little town it means holding newspapers over your heads, cinching up your hoodie (it looks ridiculous, in case you didn't know), and making brilliant observations to the locals like "sure is rainy here!" and "looks like you forgot your umbrella!" and the always popular "better get those kid home before you all float away!" 

Well, yes, it is very rainy here, sorry Edward and Bella will NOT be sparkling anywhere today.  No, I did not forget my umbrella, as much as I would LOVE to have something to poke you with to get out of my way, its too much hassle with two kids in tow.  And don't be ridiculous, its only been like three days.  The first year I was stationed here it went over 100 days of non-stop rain.  That was pretty miserable, everything was just soggy and wet and GREY... and that's coming from someone who had just spent four years at "Castle Grey Skull." (and anyone who just said "By the Power of Grey Skull!," I know how old you are!!)

Rainy season aside,  my children seem to be warm blooded.  They are never cold, even when I'm wrapped in a blanket, Inara will have stripped down to her undies.  So despite it being in the mid 50s and rainy today, when she came out in this shirt... I thought hey! I'll write about this one!
I decided at the beginning of the summer that there were two things I needed to learn to do well... shirring and a lettuce edge.  At the time my serger and I still had a slightly tenuous relationship, though now, we are on better terms.  I hunted around and found this free pattern on Baby Lock's website: (it's called the Sunny Days Tank from MODKid).

If anyone else has a slightly ridiculous sense of humor, let me know if you find file name at all amusing when you download it?  I cracked up, and thought maybe Day rather than Days would have been a better name.  

So I pulled out the manual and the "quick guide" for various stitches and determined that although the rolled hem settings were there, the lettuce edge was not, but never fear, the directions say to "slightly stretch the fabric" as you feed into the serger to get the lettuce effect.  I found rather quickly, that more stretch = more effect. But I got the hang of it pretty quickly,  though I will say i have a little bit easier time with it when it it on my sewing machine instead, but that may just be me being weird. 

Anyways, the shirring caused a bit of a headache as well, as I have a Brother, so off to google I went, and found some awesome videos/tutorials to help me figure out what to do.  I now keep a tiny screwdriver in my sewing machine for when I need to adjust the bobbin tension so I can shirr.  And, if you have a brother and worry about adjusting bobbin tension, there are a couple of options. 

For me, I just always turn it exactly a 1/2 turn and put my little screwdriver in the hole where you but the bobbin to wind it, that way I remember that I've adjusted it.  When I'm done shirring, I turn the tension back and put the screwdriver back in the "bin of misc things I need when I sew." 

If this method won't work for you, or you'll get confused, you can get a second bobbin case and write a big "S" on it in so you don't confuse it with your everyday use one.  This way, when you want to shirr, you can just pop the whole case out, and put the shirring one in. 

Either way, the top came together pretty well, though I do wish it was a little longer, which I will take in to account for the next one - I was thinking of making one that is more nightgown length for her. 

I also decided that I wanted to see how it looked in a woven.... so that day I did one up as well. 

Obviously it's just a rolled hem, since it's a woven and not a knit, but I still think it looks darling.  I only added 1/2" to each piece to account for the lack of stretch from it not being a knit, and even though it looks small, it fits her really nicely.

I think what I like about these is that even though they look really summer, if Inara ever decides she's cold I can layer it under a long sleeved top as well, and it will still look just as cute. 

We spent the week here battling the stomach flu, so two little grumps and I are going to continue to snuggle, and *hopefully* they will be feeling 100% tomorrow, and *hopefully* there will be a break in the weather, because I want to have some good ol' local fun and take the kids to Old Mill Days!

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