March 31, 2010

Spring Top Week : Entry #1

Spring top week is almost here at Made By Rae & I am sooo excited!!! I'm submitting my first top today! What better way to welcome in the spring, but to make some super cute new tops! This top I made with Simplicity 4750, but with some modifications to the shoulder straps, the bottom hem placement, and the interior lining.... here are, well, a lot of views: (Thanks Babe, for taking the pics!)

March 28, 2010

Inspiration to Dress!

About a month ago I saw an inspiration dress made by Sutton Grace here that she copied from a dress on Shabby Apple's web shop here. I thought it was a cute dress, and I have been designing and developing a remake dress of my own, pulling from pieces I already have. Here's what I started with: A shirt donated by my friend, Lana, and a gray and black remnant of fabric (leftover from a curtain I made in January). I usually "dress" my just-my-size mannequin to help my visualize the end result better:I cut the bottom off the shirt, added a black band, and gathered the gray skirt and it looked like this:

Unfortunately I tried it on, and my husband said, "you kinda look like a teacher or schoolgirl in a uniform" more altering needed to take place. I then decided to make it look more like the Shabby Apple inspiration dress, and so I cut off the previous collar and decided to do a scoop neck:
Then, I added a neck lining, and twill tape to the middle (old button up area) band, and made a gathered flower detail in the middle:
I thought about it overnight, and decided..."this flower is super cute, but really not me," so off it came (to be used elsewhere at a later date).

And then the dress looked like this:
And here's what the work in progress looks like on:

Just need a zipper in back and a much shorter hem (where the safety pin is). I'm thinking this will be the final design, but I'd love to know what you think? Am I done? Should I keep going? do you love it? Do you hate it? Please leave me a comment! : )

March 25, 2010

How to change a SWITCH yourself!

Today, my wonderful husband taught me how to change some old switches and outlets in our home. I don't know about you, but I LOVE to learn how to do these kind of things on my own! I documented my switch-changing skills, and am showing YOU how to do it YOURSELF. You can do it!!

**Here's what you'll need: a screwdriver (flat and phillips), needle nose pliers, electrical tape (maybe), a wire stripper (maybe), a new switch, and new wall plate.

Here's what my switch looked like before, and then the new one:


Unscrew the switch from the wall box:

Gently, pull the switch unit out from the wall:

Unscrew screws where the wires are attached:

Pull wires off of old switch: (Wow..mine were so old..covered in fabric insulation! Yikes) Use needle nose pliers to loosen easier:

I have old fabric casing, so if you do too, you must wrap each wire in electrical tape. If new wires were uncovered, then skip this step:

Attach wires to screws on side of new switch. The curve of the end of the wire should be placed on new screw, in the same direction that you will tighten the screw (clockwise). But, it doesn't matter which wire goes on which screw:

Tighten the screws down snug, but not too tight, which may damage the wires:

Try to keep wires in back of switch from touching as you tuck them inside the wall box:

Gently place switch back into wall box:

Screw top and bottom screws into wall box:

Recheck power by re-TURNING ON POWER to switch. Does it work? Then proceed... If not, a wire may have come detached..and recheck...

Screw on new switch wall plate:

Stand back & rejoice! You did it! Whew! Great job!!!

Now that you've done a switch, you are ready to change an outlet too! See how here!

How to change an OUTLET yourself!

My husband blessed me so much today! I've been wanting to learn so to change an outlet (receptacle) and switch. Well, I took a break from sewing, and he taught me how... Now you can follow the steps and do it too! Here's what you need: electrical kit, voltage tester, screwdriver (flat and Philips head), flashlight (I prefer the headlamp), and a new receptacle and wall plate (shown later). So, first, locate your breaker and TURN THE POWER OFF!!!!!
Here's my sad outlet. The wall around it is in progress of receiving new sheet rock and joint try to ignore the mess, if you can. IS YOUR POWER OFF TO THE OUTLET? It is? Okay then, unscrew the outlet from the wall:

Oh yuck! What a mess! Hope yours won't look like this. However, you SHOULD see one white wire, and one black (or red) wire, and hopefully a plain "grounding" wire (but mine did not). Time to clean it up...I should have used a knife, not my sewing snips! (That's the girl in me doing the man project : )!) :

After cleaning up the mess, I wrapped black electrical tape around each wire:

After the wires are nicely wrapped with the tape (only necessary to do if you have fabric covered old wires like mine), unscrew the side screws to loosen the wires. Separate the wires from the screws:

Using the needle nose pliers in your electrical kit, straighten out each hook in the end of the wires:

Using the gauge provided on the back of the new receptacle (backside), measure length of exposed copper wire and either a.) snip off the end if the wire is too long, or b.) strip the insulation off the wire if the exposed wire is too short. Most wires will be either 14 or 16 using that hole - 14gauge - on the wire stripper tool (in your electrical box), insert wire into hole, twist tool side to side gently, then pull straight out towards you, and outer wire insulation will slide right off! Again, recheck with gauge to make sure the exposed end is just the right size:

**If your wire is normal 14gauge size: leave exposed wires straight at end. Notice on back of new receptacle how each side is labeled. One says "white" and the other side says "black or hot". Insert the straight end of each wire into correct hole. It doesn't matter if you use the top or bottom hole on the side, but it does matter what color wire you put where:

**If your wire is bigger than a 14gauge size: with needle nosed pliers, curl up ends of exposed wire, remaking a small loop at each end:

**If you inserted the wires into the holes straight, you may skip the next 3 steps....

**If you curled the ends of the wires, follow ALL of the following steps....Next, loosen the side screws on the new receptacle:

Wrap "white" exposed wire end loop onto screw. IMPORTANT: the white wire must get attached to the side marked "white"! Picking the top or bottom screw on the side doesn't matter. After the wire is secured with pliers, you may tighten the screw down on top of the wire:

Now do the other side, making sure that the black wire goes on the side marked "black or hot". Here I am using the needle nose pliers to make sure there's a good fit of the exposed wire around the screw neck. Then, I tighten the screw down. Be careful not to tighten the screw too much, or you may damage the wire:

I know this is getting long, but hang in there! You're almost done!!! .... Just check both sides and make sure you've tightened the screws, and if there was a ground wire too, wrap it around the green screw on the new receptacle just like you did the other two:

Screw the outlet back into the wall box:

Open the new wall plate package:

Attach the new wall plate:

Insert the voltage meter into the outlet holes. Turn the POWER BACK ON to the outlet and you should now see the light glowing on the meter : )! Now you're good! And done! Great job!

March 22, 2010

Pour le Bébé...

These lovely giraffe rattles were inspired by Lotta Jansdotter, in her book, Simple Sewing For Baby available here. Here is Lotta's version of the giraffes. The baby can hear the gentle rattle of jingle bells inside, easily hold onto it's trunk, and will LOVE to munch on its ribboned ears. They are sooo easy.. I made a small army!

Ribbon Tag Blanket also inspired by Lotta Jansdotter, in the same book, Simple Sewing For Baby. The blanket is about an 8" square and easy for Baby to hold on to, and munch on the ribbons. Easy to machine wash too, and get rid of the germs!

Baby shoes inspired by Joanna of Stardust Shoes. She incredibly provides this pattern for free on her blog for home use (only). I have a special friend I intend to gift these adorable shoes to! Check out the adult slippers I made with this same pattern!

These burp cloths were inspired by a favorite blogger, Erin, @ Sutton Grace. She traded gifts with a blogging friend and showcased her baby-sewing skills. To check it out, click here! I couldn't wait to make those burp clothes for my friends, and I may try to copy that carrier cover next! Thanks so much for the inspiration, Erin!

Bibs for him... I used Simplicity 2924, view F for this one. I usually wait until JoAnns is having a sale and buy the patterns for $1. or $1.99. Then I stock up : )! For the closure, I used cute button snaps. They come as a kit, and I used the backing fabric to cover each button snap!

Baby gifts ready to mail. I think I made all this (and a little more) in 2 days.. Sure do get lost in it all when I am having so much fun!!!! Where do the hours go? So..... I say, "Bébé bienvenu"! (Welcome Baby)! And, I hope you enjoy your handmade gifts, my friends!