Monday, January 30, 2012

Pretty & Pink Felted Bag



Pattern: My own design. I think this is the third iteration you've seen. It's a simple cuffed tote with a curved bottom, fully lined.

Fabric: This bag is  a true upscycle. The sweater was a Gap sweater picked up at the local consignment shop and felted in my machines. The lining was from a much loved silk skirt at least ten years old. I had no plans of ever wearing it again but loved the fabric so it has been stash sitting. The stems and flowers are more hand dyed wools. (I can't wait till warm weather arrives so I can do some more dyeing outside.)

Constuction: This version has wool embroidery and hand dyed wool appliques on the front. The wool flowers that were too big for a former project were just the right size to utilize here.  In connecting the cuff section I used a triple zigzag stitch, one of my faves. The cuff and bag body were butted together over an inch wide poly ribbon for strength. They were then triple ZZ'd twice around the bag. The wool is backed with Decor Bond fusible interfacing and the lining is backed with a weft insertion interfacing.

On this version I decided to add a large snap to a short strap at the end of the lining inside the bag. This keeps the bag from hanging open.

The handle was made from the cording and facings of the sweater. There are buttonholes in the facings but you will never find them in the braided strap. Because I was limited in available length I made more strap out of the hand dyed wool. It was very thick to sew through but once under the presser foot it squooshed right down. The green part of the strap is topstitched. 


Conclusion: I think it is cute and whimsical and that is not something I normally can pull off but it seemed to work here. This is a gift for someone who is also very whimsical herself and loves being "pretty and pink". I know she will like it and even better, appreciate it.


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While I was handstitching the lining in, this was my view out of the window. I had the camera right next to me. Usually by the time I get the camera they are gone. It is relatively warm and the deer are not yarding up like they usually do all winter, taking time to come out of their yards for a stroll and maybe an old apple under the snow.

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I have a bit of client work to do next but aside from that my next plan is the slipcover for my office chair. I am a bit intimidated. I don't know why as I actually re upholstered a living room set once. Swore I would never do it again and haven't. But slipcovering, I think I can handle. I have been following Sivje over at Goosegirl Sews as she is currently slipcovering a chair. She is GOOOOD! She makes it look so easy. Another cyber sewing friend just sent me the piece of fabric for the back of the chair, all exquisitely monogrammed. I am so grateful for her efforts and she knows it (wink). Then someone else told me she is having a slipcover made. The seamstress came to the house with the fabric and welting and the scissors started flashing. Pin, cut, and STAPLE.  She stapled the entire slipcover, with welting, in the home, took it off the couch, and left for her shop to stitch it up. Now I am really intimidated...........Bunny

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pretty and Pink felted bag, Part # 3


The body of the bag has been put together with all of its embroidery completed. This wool is very thickly felted, stitchable but thick. To eliminate bulk I decided to butt the edges of the bag body and the cuff . Underneath I inserted some poly ribbon to straddle the two sides. First I straight stitched the body of the bag to the ribbon.


Then the wrong side of the cuff was butted up to the right side of the bag. This way the seams will be hidden when the cuff is turned down. I pinned the cuff to the ribbon. You can see the ease I planned in as the cuff needs to be a tad larger than the bag to fall properly. This fabric is so easy to ease. You just give it a little push and it is in there without any ripples. You can see how I angled back the ends of the seam to also eliminate some bulk.
 

I used a triple zigzag at it's widest width to straddle the two edges. I went twice around the bag to be sure. You can see the stitch on the ribbon inside the bag.


After that I straight stitched the ribbon to further secure the bag and cuff.
The cuff was then folded over, steamed with the iron and press cloth and held with the clapper till cool to build in some memory.
And this is my lining fabric, cut out and interfaced. It is an old silk skirt. I haven't worn this skirt since I retired but always loved the fabric. It's time has come and it will be the lining for this bag. As usual I interfaced the lining with weft insertion fusible interfacing. The body of the bag is fused with Decor Bond. I find with these "sweater bags" it is very important to put in a lot of body, otherwise they lump and bag and stretch like an old sweater. Hopefully tomorrow the bag will be finished and I can share with you all.
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Thanks for the comments on Sham's fabulous tablecloth skirt design. I think it should be renamed the "Happy Skirt" as it seems everyone who is making one has a big smile on their face in the photos. I think us more mature types are no different from little girls. We all love a good twirl......Bunny

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Tablecloth Skirt

I LOVE MY TABLECLOTH SKIRT. Can you tell? First off, I have to thank Shams for figuring out this design and inspiring and sharing it so generously. She even has a gallery of skirts where you can check out other interpretations of the skirt. It is such a simple concept. The skirt is basically a square with a circle cut into it for the waist. The circle needs to be big enough to go over the hips. Connected to each side of the square are four more rectangles, not squares. They then have their sides stitched together to make the points. Shams does a fabulous tutorial here. Try it. It is so easy and I can't wait to make more. This is definitely happening in linen for the summer.
This skirt is really fun to do in plaids and you will see a few in the gallery. I thought I would go the stripe route with a poly suiting from Joanns, nothing fancy but it has body with a nice drape. Drape is important here.

One thing I noticed in the pictures is that various people had their points at different levels of their legs. This is because the center square is an arbitrary size. I think my center square was 34 inches. Next time I want to try making the points more mid thigh with longer rectangles.

For the waistline I covered elastic with black ponte and then serged it all to the center circle cutout. The hem is serged and topstitched. I also topstitched all the seams to get them to have a little more definition. I think with a really drapey fabric that's a must but this is one of those designs where you can really express your own vision.

I can't tell you how many times I have worn this skirt already. Thank you, Shams, so much, and all all the other inspiring ladies on the gallery....Bunny

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ready for the Beach!

This is what I have been up to the past day and a half. Last weekend my BFF came over with a little topper thingy to throw over her swimsuit when she goes on vacation to Mexico next week. She asked if I could make or her one, or two, or howabout four? No problem. This was simple. I sent her shopping and she came back with some really thin knit that I think is Joann's Jet Set. It's very stretchy and would make a wonderful lining for a knit garment. She also gave me a little bag reminiscent of one filled with penny candy. (She sells penny candy in her store in Canada.) It was filled with assorted chotchkees to mimic the circular connection on the original garment. While I let out a little moan about "I don't know how I am going to do it" she spoke that eternal response every seamstress recieves. "You know how to do it. I know you'll come up with something good." I actually like that she has such faith in me but even more that she gives me free reign. She is not the clientzilla we all know but someone who respects my creative vision and just gives me full reign. So here is what I came up with. I'll start with the simplest iteration, the brown cover up which exactly mimics the original inspiration.

Pretty simple, eh? Next is the black version. For this one I used my own rings,left the straps very long, and tied a knot in them. The picture is wicked brightened.

  I really like this look. Next in the queue is the navy coverup. She purchased some "pendants", cute enough, but they were out of glass. She will be washing these by hand and drip drying. OK for the glass fishies.
Again, this was brightened for the pleasure of your viewing, (wink).

And last but not least, my favorite and the most beachy, IMO, the turquoise. In her goody bag were two big maybe plastic hoop type pendants. There was no way these were going to work the way she gave them to me. But if I flipped the small circle out of the big circle and let it dangle....SCORE! I think this one looks pretty hot and will be great with her blonde coloring.
And we are done this project. I hope she has a great two weeks in Mexico. I'll be content to live vicariously up here in the snow....Bunny

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pretty & Pink Bag


Today's sewing started with a trip to the felter. Some hand dyed wool strips were needle felted into the front of the bag.
Then I pulled out some wools and later some embroidery threads to get  some stems on the bag. There will be three larger stems, not shown, that will end under the flowers. This is like embroidering through a board with the thick felt and interfacing but it's manageable. Tonight I should finish the embroidery and then be able to finish up the bag. I think it will be cute in a whimsical sort of way, at least I hope so.

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A few days ago I showed a piece of sweater that I had practiced some "foiling" on. I decided I wanted a more matte silver and ordered a roll from Jones Tones. It came in today and they tucked into the package all sorts of their glitter samples. I haven't played with glitter in years. It is a fine glitter, not that chunky stuff I had in grammar school, and the colors are cool like hologram midnight blue and such. I really think these will be passed on to Sophie, as fun as they are. I have no affiliation here but can say they have given me excellent fast service and very quick turnaround. Its an interesting website too with lots of creative possibilities.

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It may feel like I am beating you over the head with showing this shelf a second time but yesterday I had to empty it, empty the adjoining wall and counter, and put it up on another wall. Now I am pleased with its placement. I had to take down my favorite pictures so they are just sitting there until I get them up on a different wall. My Dior poster is down too. I like how the antique canning jars fit just right now under the ribbons. In them are buckles, all my overdyed  flosses, and other goodies. On top are rovings and angelina. This part of the room re-dec is done, no more changes! Next will be the the slipcover. So we are getting closer. I can't wait till its done. But is it ever? ....Bunny

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Pink Felt Bag

I've had some questions about houndstooth felt bag I just completed. Since I was jumping right in to another felt bag I thought I would have you come along for the journey to see how I go about it. 


First you need the wool, preferably a knit but not totally necessary. A 100% wool sweater is the ideal. Don't get blends unless they are angora or mohair with at least 60% wool. NO synthetics! They will never felt. I get my sweaters from friends and family. They all know my addiction. I've been known to felt a sweater or two of hubby's that he never even missed. He learned a long time ago not to ask where I get fabric and certainly doesn't ask what I am doing with the washing machine .So all wool sweaters are the best. I also shop  the local consignment shop or the Salvation Army. I know of three craftspeople up here  who make their living selling felted mittens. They are in demand here with our awful cold. I swear they beat me out to the shops as here I am in one of the coldest climates in the lower 48 and I can hardly ever find a 100% wool sweater.  Lately I've been lucky.

Make sure you shop the extra large sizes, the triple exes and friends. The sweater will shrink substantially so start out as big as you can. The two sweaters I picked up last week were both extra larges. Once felted/fulled (not getting into the difference with this post) they would fit my 6 year old Sophie. So be careful of dreaming of a huge bag as you won't have enough fabric unless you piece with other sweaters. Keep your eye out for color and pattern. I can't tell you how many grey,maroon, and black felted sweaters I have. They get boring fast. But when you find a great color or pattern, even a Fair Isle type sweater, lots of possibilities open up. They are the real score. Remember, the hunt is part of the fun here. 

Take your sweaters home. Fill your machine with very hot water, very little of it. You want your sweaters to be peaking out of the top of the water in the machine. If they are in a water filled machine there will be less abrasion and therefore less shrinking. So just enough water for them to swim together tightly. Add some shampoo, not Tide. Anything meant to clean protein fibers, like our hair, is good for wool. The soap aids in the process so don't think of not adding it. 

At this point you can walk away but I don't recommend for more than a minute or two. Talk to a friend on the phone while you hang out at the machine. Every few minutes of agitation, pull out the sweater and check. You never know how much a piece will felt. Sometime they can felt as thick as carpet padding and other times they keep their drape. So watch closely. Don't let it get to the carpet padding stage  unless you will make slippers, mittens, or trivets/hot pads. Now if at the end of the agitation its not felted enough, don't fret. There's more to come. 

Make sure your rinse is set for cold. The shock of the cold water will cause additional shrinkage. Just let the machine run through the rest of its cycle on cold. When done, take your sweater out. Before you do one more thing, wipe down the inside of the machine with a paper towel to pick up as much lint as possible. You don't want this fuzz draining out and clogging something up. Many who seriously felt for profit have an old machine in the garage or basement kept just for felting, a word of warning. Now inspect your garment. Does it  look done enough ? If so place it somewhere to dry.It doesn't have to be flat as any lumps can easily be steamed out later. I use  my woodstove which has these hanger things that come out to dry clothes and boots on, which we love. 

If it is not felted enough to your liking, throw it in a hot dryer. That will further seize up the fibers. Once you have a dry felted sweater you are ready to create.

Here is where the planning comes in. REALLY look at your sweater. Think of the bag you want to make and its pattern pieces. How will you get a piece of fabric to fit each piece necessary? You have ribs, cables, and who knows what else going on with your sweater. For this bag, the back of the sweater provided fabric for one side of the bag. The front of the sweater had pockets knitted in so forget that section, although that could creatively been utilized, just not part of my vision on this one. I used the sleeves for the other side of the bag. I know, they are not wide enough. This needs to be pieced. Above you can see part of the sleeve cut off. It will be pieced with the other cut piece. Notice how the cut is in line with the knitted cable, just like matching stripes. Now there are a couple of ways to go about this. First I tried a way I saw written up in Threads eons ago. The pieces were butted and triple zigzagged together. I used an edge stitching foot to do this butting up each piece to the blade and triple ZZing away. Here is the result:
Ah, it has wavy bumps you say. Yes, it does. The wonder of wool is that those steam right out and here you can see it all pressed away:

While I have seen this treatment work well on clothing I did not like the look for the bag. How else could I piece this together? I looked at my slim inventory again and decided to put a section of the cuff in the center of these pieces. The seams would be traditional and hidden on the inside of the bag. That worked so well that I decided all seams will be on the inside of the bag. 
Notice how the ends of the seam allowances are trimmed back to eliminate bulk when stitching the cross seam. 

I needed a gusset for the bag as well. My sweater front had limited uses due to the pockets but I could squeeze out enough if I pieced two center fronts in the middle for the gusset so that's what I did. By the way, this fabric cuts like a dream even with the rotary cutter. 

So my next challenge is to piece together the cuff. The bag will have stems felted and embroidered on its face. The cuff will have flowers. Here is sort of a rough idea:
Before proceeding with any further decoration all the pieces needed to be interfaced. I used fusible Decor Bond. I cut away the seam allowances but leave them in at the top edge. I find this fabric can come unfused but if one part is stitched in the product will do its job. Now comes the fun!

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I completed my tablecloth skirt and I love it. I just haven't had the time to photo it but it will come. I really like it and hope to make more for the summer. 
I also picked up these two little black and white egg cups for my special pins. I love having the pins in egg cups,each holding a certain type. Today DH and I off loaded nearly everything in the studio into another room. We decided to hang the new shelf on a different wall and we are both happy with the results. It looks much better and frees up a lot of space. The neat thing is without any provocation from me, he has started calling it my "studio." Aren't guys funny?  I'm going to take that as a sign of respect for the seriousness with which I approach this craft. He knows all about that but it was nice to hear.

The studio is coming along. Every day I move something or other. A dear sewing friend offered to monogram my slipcover so while that is out being done I will work on other things. There is always some sort of idea waiting to be stitched up.......Bunny


Friday, January 20, 2012

Dibs and Dabs

Right now my sewing is a bit unfocused alternating between play and actual projects. Here is a bit of what is happening in the cave.
 First, I downloaded Gennie Wren's Emily nightgown pattern and glued it to oaktag. I know I will be making this over and over. The fabric is now cut out and getting smocked.
 


I took advantage of Joanns quilting fabric sale to pick up some fabrics for a summer dress for Sophie. Is this because it was a brutal 2º out while I was shopping? More than likely. It just felt right to get going on something not wooly. This fabric, along with Simplicity 2171 for a "Knot Dress" are now in the queue.
 
Next came some play time. I picked up these two extra large 100% wool sweaters at the local consignment shop. They both felted beautifully and I am anxious to go on these.  I also did some playtime with "foils". These have really intrigued me lately having seen some neat examples on Marcy Tilton's site as well as in retail. The foil actually works beautifully with sweater knits and that juxtaposition excites me. I'm still sorting out how this can be utilized in a garment or accessory. It's a fun medium. 
Here's a sample:
Yesterday was definitely a day of sewing ADD as you can tell. Today I am more focused and will hone in on the dolly outfit and some home dec for DD. Cabin fever is setting in..............Bunny

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blog Gossip and a New Bag, too!

First, the gossip, or I should say, "actual news".  I have been asked by Simplicity to be their guest blogger tomorrow on their New Look/Facebook website. I am thrilled at the request and hope you check out their page to see what is written. I am really honored that they sought me out.  So join in the fun and check it all out tomorrow on New Look FB.

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My felted houndstooth bag is complete. It was quick and easy to make and here are the details. 
Fabrics: The houndstooth is 100% wool coating purchased from the Fabric Fix a couple of months back. I bought it with the intention of felting it from the get go. One go-round in a hot water wash and a hot dryer gave me just the amount of felting needed. 

The rose and stem are out of hand dyed wool so have the variations in color that I think are so special. I haven't looked at hand dyed wools for purchase in a long time but wow, a recent search told me they are VERY expensive. I need to dye some more of my own as my stash is getting down there. 

The lining is a paisley 100% silk that has been languishing as well, circa early nineties. I have used it to line jackets and such but now there is just enough left to line maybe one more bag after this one. It is a crepe de chine and lovely. 

Construction:  As I have done on a few previous felted bags, I decided to have the seam allowances on the outside and leave them raw. The SAs on the cuff, however, are sewn to the inside. The bag is made, the cuff put toegether and lined and attached to the bag, then the lining was hand stitched to the bag at the upper edge. 
When using thin, slippery silks and silkies for lining I like to back them with a weft insertion interfacing. the pocket has two divisions, is self lined, interfaced and darted, the better to fit in a phone or such. 

The bag is interfaced with Decor Bond with a piece of Peltex in the bottom of the bag on the gusset. 

The handle is a strip of the felted wool that I did zigzag on the edges just for some insurance. It will get more rubbing and wear and tear so I thought this would help it last. To keep the wool from stretching out in the strap I lined it with a "ribbon" of the silk crepe de chine. I cut a strip about an inch and a half wide. Then a 3/4 inch strip of Steam A Seam was fused down the middle. The sides were folded over the SAS and ironed. This gave me the "ribbon". It was then edgestitched to the under side of the strap. The strap is much more stable now. 
The flower and stem were attached with SAS as well. Then they were blanket stitched by hand all around for a  little more insurance and "look". The wool flower was made the same way I made the wool flower on the felted clutch which you can see here, really easy with lots of dimension.

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So now it is on to the next projects. I am hitting my slipcover now and want to make a jacket muslin as well. The jacket will also require a lot of "messin' around" as I want to change the collar set up or lack thereof. I have also decided to get one of those "annual" pledges going. You know, make a jacket a month, a shirt a month, etc. Last year I did just that with pants and it really was a great learning tool but by June I felt I had enough pants and let go of the idea. This year my "monthly" will be much less demanding. I want to make one dolly dress a month and that way have a slew all ready to go at Christmas time. Anyone want to join me? We can designate one day towards the end of the month to show what we've done each month. Whadaya think? Either way, I will be making my monthly doll outfit. 

I just cut out Gennie Wren's  Emily Smocked Night Dress.  This will be my current hand work project as it has smocking and bullions, too cute. I have to go look for some tiny lace which I must have somewhere. 

Hope you stop by tomorrow on the New Look site. I will be available all day to answer any questions you post. Thanks everyone....Bunny


Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Wool Felt Bag

 

This is where I landed. I am making a simple felted wool bag. It is the same pattern that I developed for the leather and lace bag shown here. The seams will be on the outside. I am almost done appliqueing the flower on to the bag.  These are hand dyed wools. I did the green for the stem and leaves and purchased the red eons ago. I treasure my hand dyeds. You can always use the teeniest pieces and they add such depth. They can be pricey but I think worth every penny.  This is not the completed flower. It will be three dimensional. There are a couple of ways I could go and I will experiment to see what works best. Sample flowers can always be used somewhere. 

This bag is for a friend in NH, one who has been particularly kind to our children so sort of a thank you gift. She doesn't have a clue and I know does not read this blog. I want to line this with some red poly. I don't think it will take long to do this. Then I may be on to another bag for a barter situation I have going on. 
That is the news today from the very, very cold Northern Tier of NY. I got up this morning to 21.5 below zero at about seven AM. Right now it is 0º under bright afternoon sunshine. Brrrrrr......stay warm, Bunny


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Play Time


Last night was "palette time". This is that fun spell when you know just vaguely what you want to make. In this case it is a felted bag. That's all I know. So I started pulling out fibers and fabrics and patterns. I will stare at these for a while today, move them around, and make a decision. Hopefully I will be cutting by afternoon. I have no idea at this point where I am going with this other than that I will use my pattern I designed for the leather and lace bag. I think part of my play time will be bringing out the felter and trying some different fibers with that as well. Did anyone see that needle felted silk chiffon gown in Sew Beautiful? Spectacular! I digress....... I might do some sparkle with the angelina, or maybe a red heart would be nice on this houndstooth, or maybe a monogram, just not sure yet.

The base fabric will be this wool hounds tooth coating I got at Fabric Fix before Christmas. I brought it home and felted it. It cooperated nicely. It has been glaring at me every day, however, as I made my way through all the Christmas sewing. Now it's time has come. We'll see what I come up with.......Bunny

I am loving my new wall unit!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Erica Wilson

                                                                                 courtesy NY Times
Erica Wilson passed away on December 13, 2011. I am amazed that the sewing blogging world has not paid its respects. Ms. Wilson was responsible for bringing the art of hand needlework to the world. British by birth she settled in Nantucket where she taught and had a retail shop. There is much info here in the New York Times article.  

I spent many a Sunday afternoon watching Ms. Wilson on PBS. Her sense of color was glorious, her attitude wonderful. She wanted embroidery to be contemporary, bright, playful, and enjoyed.   She published many many books teaching everything from needlepoint to goldwork to knitting and more. She inspired me to take up crewel work and I am so glad I did. There are time worn crewel items around this house that hold sentimental value for me. This crewel work was done at a very difficult time for me and while they are worse for wear, they are badges of survival for me. She was a high spot in my life at that time and took me away, although briefly, from some of the pain I was going through. I so enjoyed her television program and books.

If you are at all interested in embroidery, or the use of color in needlework, or just want to see some inspirational work, check out her books. You will learn a lot. The sewing world truly lost a great one with her passing.
Do you remember Erica Wilson and her programs and books? Did she inspire you?....Bunny

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maternity Conversions

I do alterations and dressmaking on the side as I feel like doing it. I like to do really simple things like hems or something that is very challenging. The in between stuff doesn't interest me much. I don't post these alterations as they are just that, alterations, but this latest job was quite interesting and I thought worth sharing.

I was approached by her superior to convert some police uniforms for a female officer to maternity uniforms. There are several pants and shirts. This was one of those challenges I jumped right on, the type that look complicated but really aren't for those of us who do these things. I was given extra uniforms to use as needed  for piecing. First I did the maternity conversion on the pants. That was really quite easy and I won't go into detail on that. However, you can find all the directions for this refashion here on Grosgrain. After maternifying the pants they needed to be hemmed and have a gusset installed at the ankles for additional width. My client is a very small woman which made these adjustments necessary. She is thrilled to have pants that will fit better.

Now on to the shirts. These are the typical very tailored shirts you see on most police officers. I don't want to post the whole uniform with all its badges and such for obvious reasons but I think you will get a good idea  what was done. First, I found out my client gained 80 punds with her last pregnancy so would need ample room for expansion. We looked at the shirts and discussed various ways of adding in more material. The shirts had machine pintucks, sort of pseudo pleats that would make things easy to do. I had plenty of additional fabric to install where needed. In the end I decided on adding a 6 inch wide panel of fabric under each arm and another 6 inch panel on the back. This will give here 18 more inches all around. There is always the option for installing more if needed but I think we will be fine with this and she thought so as well.

First I needed to deconstruct.
Don't flinch. This has been my preferred method since I have been fifteen. I find it far less injurious to the fabric than the traditional ripper and I have never hurt myself on it, ( fingers crossed! There is a method here though. This is a flat razor, the kind you put into a box cutter. I always use a pretty new one. Accidents and holes come from dull blades. First your seam allowances must be ironed all to one side. I lay the  garment down, right side up with the side with the pressed seam allowance to my left. I don't pull the seam apart to  better expose the stitches. Then I use my fingers  to pull the seam taut along the length, not open.  I lay the razor flat with the fabric on the right, the side without the seam allowances. I then take just the tiny tip, keeping the blade flat with the fabric and just run it down the seam.  This will let the point of the razor just glide right down the seam and open all the stitches. They make a popping noise when I am  doing it right. BE CAREFUL! This is my personal method and I take no responsibility  here. It's is just something I discovered many years ago that  works for me. You should stick with whatever you are comfortable with for safety's sake. You also don't want to ruin a garment.  Now that I've shown you how I do that, on to the alteration.

The side seams are ripped open. Next rip open the amscye seam two inches to the left and right of the sleeve underarm s/a. You should have something like the above. Undo the hem.  I don't fret too much about all the threads as they will all be serged off but on the pieces where I want them out I use an art eraser.

Press all the seams open and flat. Cut a piece of fabric 6 1/2 inches wide by the length of the side seam plus and inch and a half. Place the corner along the top of the side seam extending 3/4s of an inch. Pin along the seam, stitch, then serge clean. Do the other side of the side seam/ panel. You will have some extending at the bottom.

Using a drafting curve, cut off the extra fabric at the bottom even with the undone hem. Mimic the curve of the hem.  Cut the excess at the armscye leaving a little for insurance. The curvier the armscye, the more excess you will need.

All this handling will undoubtedly make the under sleeve seam open a bit. Sew this shut. Here come the interesting part. I have tried this numerous ways, including hand basting first. The method I prefer is straightforward and no fuss. For now, leave the sleeve seam pinned out of the way. We will just be working with the armscye seam on the bodice.
Take the bodice/panel seam allowance and match raw edges together just up to the seam line of the undersleeve. Stitch the armscye up to theis point.
Push all the excess fabric out of the way and do the same thing, meeting raw edges, pinning and sewing the armscye s/a  this time on the other side, right up to where you stopped the first stitching line. You will have stitched the underarm closed with a big fold of fabric unsecured and left over in the middle. On the inside fold this to make a pleat.
It will have equal amounts of fabric on either side of center. Pin and stitch this. Once stitched trim to the shape of the underarm. Sew the armscye sleeve seam shut. Serge to finish.

Finish the hem edges mimicking the original hem construction.

The completed underarm which now has six additional inches of fabric inside. You can leave this loose or press nice and sharp. These uniforms are made of poly for washing ease and are very springy. They don't hold a crease so I let this just flow. I also put in a six inch panel in the bodice back but that process was very specific to this particular shirt so I am not going to show it here. However I thought this idea for the underarm area of the bodice could be used to refashion just about any top into a maternity top. Not matching the fabric could make for a cute upscycle.  This garment received a total of 18 more inches of fabric around the waist.

I hope you got something out of this. I thought it was a fun job and wanted to share as I know there are many young moms out there who read the blog and maybe wondered how to pull this off. There is no maternity sewing in my personal future. That shop is closed in this family. But anytime  I can help a young mom with my skills, it is my pleasure.....Bunny