14 March 2012

Frog Tutorial

This is a sad and happy story, but you might call me the worst mom.  Every once in a while I'll take just one or two of the girls to the fabric store with me.  Recently I went to a little local shop and was talking with the owner.  I had Olive with me and she went off to play with the owner's granddaughter.  She came running up to me and asked if she could pick out some fabric.  Thinking it would keep her busy for a while, I told her she could pick out one.  Before I know it, I hear two little girls giggling and see Olive with a stack of bolts towering above her head.  That girl.  She had bolts of sparkle, glitter, and Asian prints.  We negotiated and decided she could choose her very favorite.  She picked out bowls and chopsticks and wanted a "big" Japanese dress.  I wasn't a huge fan of the print, but when she gets her big eyes and rainbow brows on and I can't resist.  Really.  When it comes to a child of mine being excited about fabric, I have negative will power.
Well, I must have had her try it on over her clothes, because when it came time for the final fitting, it didn't.  Fit.  The girl is a toothpick.  It fit Pearl like a glove.  With a heavy heart, rather with two heavy hearts, a few tears, we talked it over and decided I would make her a new dress, but that she got the better end of the bargain since she gets to wear this one, too, when she's a bit bigger.  I've almost complete her new one, and she's happy.  As I was down to the hand stitching, I realized I didn't have any frog closures, I almost made a mad dash to buy a couple when I decided that surely I had something that would suffice.  I think I might have been more excited than the recipient when I conjured my very own frogs (which was a question on Jeopardy the other day...about the only one I got right!)  It's so satiating to mock the voice that tells you to spend money when you're able to work with what you have on hand, and not just make it work, but really love how it turns out.  I might have even said, to nobody in particular, I am gooood.  (Perhaps I went a bit overboard.) So, what does a girl do?  That's right, Tutorial with a capital T.
The size of the frogs (or flowers) will depend on the size of ric rac you use, as well as the length.  This is fairly large (although there is jumbo ric-rac--ever seen that mammoth stuff?) and it is also chenille, but the regular ol' ric rac will do just fine.  Cut a piece so you have 7 full "humps" on top and 6 full "humps" on the bottom.  Double thread a needle because you're going to be pulling on it pretty hard.  Follow the diagram above and then end by threading it through the first couple of humps.  Don't cut your thread yet.
To complete each flower, you will need to treat the edges with Fray Block or Fray Check.  Next you're going to stabilize the flower just a bit more by loop stitching around through each low point (the ones facing the center.)   If these are working frogs, just fasten one side of the elastic.  I just used the small hair elastics I put in the girls' hair.  If they're not the closure for your garment, just hot glue them on.  Just kidding.  Hehe.  Sew them onto the fabric along with the flowers, securing the center together with thread.  That's it!

Pearl looks stunning, I think, plus she whipped out her birthday fan--her idea.  She was wearing it for the photoshoot when we had to run Mr. Drummer to the pediatrician's and the doctor said she looked like she just came from the red carpet.
I started with a pattern, but got distracted with baby piping and frogs, and gathering and petal sleeves....
I think it would be super neat to do a whole bunch of baby frogs down the back of a dress.  That might be next.  Unless I get distracted by something else.
By the way, the last time I let Pearl pick out her favorite fabric, do you know what she brought me, all stacked up and teetering on her arms?
Animal prints.  I'd rather work with chopsticks.

43 comments:

  1. what a nice mom - that is such a beautiful dress!!

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  2. That is lovely, the story and the dress. Its so funny but I have such a hard time letting my girls pick their own fabric. I love that you let her do the chopsticks... that dress is incredible. I love all the details.. the baby brings it to the next level. Amazing.

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  3. I have a hard time saying no to my oldest in the fabric store (I have 2 girls and 2 boys, boys in the middle, and my 2 year old isn't quite at the fabric loving stage yet- thank goodness).

    That dress is gorgeous, red carpet is right! And those frogs look great! I may need to make my girls new dresses just to make some!

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  4. I recognize the print on that fan! It's a very famous painting by a Korean painter. I got my mom a puzzle with that painting when I was in Korea last.

    Pearl looks fantastic! I love the sleeves and the piping. ^_^

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  5. Can I come and be one of your girls? My goodness, that dress and girl are stunning!

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  6. That dress is simply stunning, even with the sneakers!:) You are an amazing seamstress.

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  7. That fabric is actually really fun, and elegant at the same time. Way to go for figuring out how to make your own frogs. Cool!

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  8. The dress is beautiful! Can I tell you I have to laugh at the sneakers! My 16 year old went to a dance and she was all dolled up hair makeup pretty dress... wore her Converse!! silly kids!!

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  9. I had no ambition to make frogs before reading this post. Now I'm going to be dreaming up places that I can use them! Thanks for the tutorial. Olive looks fabulous in her new dress.

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  10. You're excited about the frogs (which just make that dress), and the rest of us are blown away by the Red Carpet wonder, fully assembled. That dress is STUNNING. I would have walked right by that fabric. Congrats to Olive for having such an eye. And thank you for showing us to actually use Ric Rak!

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  11. I love those frogs SO MUCH! And I have a healthy collection of rick rack. Can't wait to try! And you totally had me with the hot glue...I was thinking 'is she really serious!?!' Made me laugh! :)

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  12. Wow! I love the detail on the top! You are amazing!

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  14. Oh my goodness!! LOVE this!! That's awesome that Pearl is into fabric. The sleeves and baby piping are perfect and I love that you watch Jeopardy and that was one of the questions I got right (missed a few others in the fabric category though).

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  15. Ok WHERE did you get chenille rick rack?!?!?

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  16. You ARE "gooood"!!!
    I love all your creative ideas and the fact that you take on a challenge ... like making your own frog-flowers!!!

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  17. it's gorgeous! And I Love the shoes.

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  18. Really beautiful. Love the fabric too, who knew chopsticks and bowls could be so amazing. Maybe you have a fashion designer on your hands.

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  19. You are awesome!!! That ric-rac into frog idea is genius.

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  20. I really love how it turned out. I would wear it!

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  21. Haha, so funny - i just got back from the fabric store and MY daughter picked out...sparkly pink fairy fabric! Luckily she then noticed some more tasteful ballerina print, so I dodged a bullet there. ;) Love this dress, though, the petal sleeves, kimono, and baby piping are divine. I actually like the chopstick print too...you made it work!

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  22. wow..this is erm just wow!!! frogs and all the extras you put in it..red carpet? puttingit mildly...all she needs is a couple of real chopsticks in her hair...
    love it...xx

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  23. http://www.etsy.com/listing/93579506/refurbished-retro-bell-orange-push?utm_source=fp&utm_medium=trans_email&utm_campaign=ty&link_clicked=email_recs&euid=IUB7AqD-1JR61eSWqs_Bu38GAKd0

    hi hi hi katy, just found a cool orange retro phone on etsy, reminded me of you, thought you'd like it..copy the above link to find it :-)..i think from memory you already have a cool phone, but if you dont....here anther :-)

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  24. Love frogs (closure type not the jumping kind).
    Great job on the dress. What an awesome mom to make such a beautiful dress (even if you don't love the fabric).

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  25. This is so beautiful! It made me gasp out loud!

    Those frog closures are so ingenious, you ARE gooood!

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  26. My favorite part is actually the petal sleeves.

    Could you clarify if this is Pearl or Olive? Both names were in the story. But the picture looks like Pearl.

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  27. I actually LOVE taking my girls with me to the fabric store. I love seeing how their minds work and what they have for ideas...and TEACHING them about cute fabric and coordinating fabric. I am totally with you on the animals and steer very clear of them when possible:)

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  28. Oh my...that is just beautiful. My mom was always dressing me up in Asian gowns...because I'm half Chinese. :) I used to hate them. But this...is classic and beautiful. I really like the puffy frog closures. You should toot your own horn and do a dance around the house. They look incredible. :)

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  29. bjahlstrom--yes, this is Pearl. I hemmed it to fit her because it was just too perfect on her. :)

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  30. Love love love it all. The story behind the dress, the quirky cool chopstick fabric, the baby tubing, the petal sleeves, the frog tutorial, the doctor's comment, the sneakers. What pattern did you start out with?

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  32. Exquisite! I wish I could sew that well. My daughter is getting ready to go to her senior prom and wants a vintage 50's dress, of course we can't find one that fits, the sizing was a bit different back then! :) Ohhh imagine the day when you get to make their prom dresses and maybe even wedding dresses, what joy!!!

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  33. I know I'm late to this party (no time for blogging lately...boo) but I just had to add my 2 cents. Its official-- You are so creative! What a great idea. I'd have never thought of this. Way to use what you have...and make it look perfect.

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  34. Wowsa! You are a genius m'dear...a genius!!!! Love it!!!

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  35. Wow! I'm more of a blog lurker and I never comment... but I just wanted to say what a stunning dress that is! And of course you are so goooooood with coming up with that frog! lol ;)

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  36. Yes! I knew I had seen those beautiful petal sleeves somewhere! I would love you forever (not that I don't already!) if you could tell me how you get those sleeves to conform to the arm and not just jut out like a cap sleeve....
    Such a beautiful dress, and I love the baby piping too! Did you make your own piping?

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  37. jodes07--Yes, I made my own baby piping. I'm addicted. As for the sleeve, you simply use the original shape of the sleeve on top and draw out to pieces that overlap, so when you put them together, you still have the bell shape on top, but with the petals! Let me know if that answers your question.

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  38. Thanks Katy! Yup that's a big help, thanks again!

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  39. Came over from the beadinggem blog and loved the way this post is written and the tutorial too.

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  40. That's a great idea! I helped a friend make a tone with similar material but different pattern. She wanted frog closures. We could only find them in black and either really small or small. Plus they were expensive.

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