January 26, 2011

crayon wallet

I've been wanting to make a crayon wallet for my son.  A few years ago I made him a crayon roll that holds 16 crayons.  I thought that would be a good thing to have in the church bag to keep him occupied.  I was wrong, and I realized this the first time we took it to church and he unfurled his incredibly long crayon roll and started whipping it around by the ties.  Bad idea.  I figure a wallet would be better to take to church because it only holds 8 crayons and has a pocket for some paper.  I knew I could come up with some type of pattern on my own but when I started factoring in the time that would take and the supplies used/wasted on prototypes that weren't quite right I decided to purchase a pattern.  I purchased a Crayon Wallet PDF Pattern from Vintage Market on Etsy.  It was a total bargain at $4 and was well-written and easy to follow.  I think it took me less than 30 minutes to make this--

The dinosaur fabric was a remnant I picked up at JoAnn's.  I had the orange fabric in my stash and used some gray fabric and my bias tape maker to make the ties.  Instead of a notepad, I cut down office paper scraps to put in the pocket.  Thanks for stopping by!

January 22, 2011

love shirt

I love making my son holiday-themed shirts. He just turned 4 years old, so I don't think I have many holidays left where I can dress him in handmade holiday shirts. I'm enjoying it while I can. He did inform me that he doesn't like tie shirts anymore, so a Valentine's Day tie shirt like the one I made him last year just wouldn't do. While trying to find an idea for this year's shirt, I was inspired by this cute Valentine's Day canvas art at Crap I've Made. I don't really decorate for Valentine's Day, but it was so cute I decided to use the same idea on a shirt. The super-cute results:

I used a bargain Target shirt I bought last year. I did have to remove the pocket, and it went much better than it did on this shirt. I used my word processing program to make the letters (Franklin Gothic Heavy in 300 point) and used a ribbed green knit fabric remnant. (Gray and green--very non-Valentine's Day-ish.) I've never fused knit to knit before but it went pretty well. I cut my fabric letters slightly larger than the fusible stuff so the fabric would fray a little around the edges in a Gap/Old Navy fashion. I stitched around each letter randomly twice. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Thanks for looking!

January 19, 2011

trying to be patient. . .

I cannot wait to get home from work tonight and start piecing together this fun little baby blanket!

I'm using the Road Trip Quilt Tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew.  My husband works late so after I get my son all tucked into bed I'll have some quiet sewing time to myself.  I can't wait!

January 18, 2011

baby blanket

I'm getting to that age where I don't have a lot of friends who are having babies. I guess that's because we're getting old. This past summer, I was very excited to hear one of my college friends was expecting and she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on 12/26. Yeah! A baby girl! Pink and flowers! (I have a son so I don't get a lot of opportunities to make cute baby girl stuff.) So I set out to make a blanket to welcome this sweet little baby, and the result? A very boyish little girl blanket.

There are flowers so I guess that makes it kind of girlie. I love how it turned out. My husband thought I should "just put a pink binding on it." I tried to explain that I couldn't just "put a pink binding on" something that has absolutely no pink in it. Especially when it has orange. He didn't understand. But baby's mom loved it (or at least pretended she did).

January 16, 2011

using up scraps

I really have a hard time throwing away any scrap of fabric no matter how small it is.  (And you can tell by looking at my craft room.)  I even save those long leftover strips of fabric that most people probably throw away.  Now what could one possibly do with these???

Why, sew them to a bag of course.

I made a morsbag out of my "chatham tan" shower curtain.  It was looking a little plain, so I jazzed it up with some strips of fabric.  I left the edges raw then rewashed the bag so it would fray a little. 

When I showed my husband, his response was something like "Why didn't you do that to the back?  Now you have to make sure the decorated side of the back is always facing out."  Typical husband response.

January 9, 2011

easy fabric gift bag--tutorial

Another Christmas has gone by and once again I had huge plans to "wrap" all of my gifts in fabric gift bags and never again buy/waste wrapping paper. I only made two, but they were pretty cute:

The bags are made from holiday-themed bandanas I purchased at Hobby Lobby. They had a rolled hem around the edges, and I figured I could easily make them into gift bags since most of the finish work was already done. This is only the second tutorial I've attempted, so if you have any questions or if something doesn't make sense, please ask. Also, if you make a bag using my tutorial, I'd love to see a picture/link.

bandana or napkin (something with finished edges)
ribbon, cord, twill tape for the ties (or scrap of fabric to make the ties)
sewing machine
fabric pencil or water soluble pen (optional)

1. Wash and press your fabric. I used a bandana that was approximately 20" x 20".

2. Make two ties. If you use ribbon, twill tape, or some other pre-made tie you can skip to step #3. I found a coordinating fabric in my stash (it had 1988 printed in the selvage so it's really old). I used my Clover bias tape maker to make my ties. I don't cut the fabric on the bias since there's no need for the ties to stretch. I used a strip of fabric 2" wide by about 28" long which will make ties about 1/2" wide by about 13" long. I won't go into detail on how to use the bias tape maker as there are good instructions here.

After topstitching both sides of the tie, knot each end and cut the strip in half so you have two ties.

3. Fold the bag fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together and pin at the bottom and side.

At this point you'll notice that since I'm using a bandana that was not cut very straight, my edges do not match up perfectly.

I would normally cut the fabric to even up the edges, but I don't want to remove the finished edge. (We'll deal more with this a little later.)

4. Decide where you want your ties. I placed mine approximately 5 inches from the top of the bag.

6. Place your ties between the two layers of fabric at the desired spot matching up the raw edges of the ties with the edge of the bag. Pin in place making sure the free ends of the ties are out of the way.

7. Make a seam along the bottom and side of the bag. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam to secure stitching. Go slowly when sewing over the ties (there's a lot of fabric here). I like to stitch back and forth over the ties a few times to make sure they'll be secure.

Normally I line up the edge of my presser foot with the edge of the fabric but that didn't work so well since this bandana wasn't perfectly square. It may be helpful to use a pencil or washable marker to draw lines to mark your seams. The seam allowances may not be even on the inside (which nobody will ever look at except my mother), but you'll want your bag to be nice and square when it's finished and look good from the outside.

8. Turn the bag right side out and press. Admire your work!

Make a bunch of these now and next Christmas, when you're thinking "how the heck am I going to wrap this. . ."

Problem solved!

January 8, 2011

old habits

One of my many goals this year is to decrease what I buy and use from my stash instead.  Easier said than done.  I was wandering through Target yesterday and made the mistake of checking out the clearance section in housewares.  And I found an entire endcap of clearance shower curtains.

A piece of 72" x 72" fabric for $2.48.  It's a neat burlap-type fabric but not as scratchy as burlap.  And it's a fancy color--"chatham tan."  So what is one to do?  Apparently you exercise some restraint and only buy four.  Of course I need a couple in "guacamole" too.

January 6, 2011

Goodwill t-shirt makeover

I purchased this t-shirt at Goodwill awhile back for 99 cents.

I think I bought it to use as knit fabric for another project? It's been sitting on the floor of my craft room for several months now which is why it's so wrinkled. It's 2 to 3 sizes bigger than I normally wear, but I hadn't re-donated it yet because I loved the color and the soft knit. It is a good length. (I love long shirts). It is a fitted style but was too wide in the body and the sleeves. I decided to use elastic thread (my absolute new favorite crafting supply) and try and shrink it up a bit. It could turn out to be a total disaster, but I figured I'd only be out 99 cents and my very valuable time. Using matching thread in the machine, a ball point needle for knit fabric, and a bobbin of elastic thread I started sewing. And sewing. And sewing. And I love how it turned out. Now the picture is not so great. It's late. The lighting is bad. And I'm trying to take a picture of myself using the timer on my camera. But I do have a great model pose going on.

I made 6 rows of stitching around the bottom of the shirt. Each row is about 3/8" apart. After the first row of stitching is done, use the outside edge of the presser foot as a guide for additional rows so they're nice and straight. This made it more fitted around the bottom. As an added bonus it perfectly hides the boring brown belt used to hold up my jeans.

I made 5 rows of stitching (about 1/4" apart--use the inside edge of the presser foot as a guide) around each sleeve. This resulted in a cute little ruffled sleeve.

I made 4 rows of stitching (again about 3/8" apart) on each shoulder (2 rows on each side of the shoulder seam). This pulled the sleeves up just enough to fit perfectly at the shoulder.

I made 7 rows of stitching (about 3/8" apart) on the front of the shirt. I wanted to add something interesting to jazz up the plain front, but maybe this wasn't the area to do it. It looks fine most of the time, but every once in awhile it will bunch up funny. And nobody likes funny bunching right between her boobs. Sorry-- you don't get a close up picture of this.

I really love the way the shirt turned out. It was a very quick project until the stitching was finished and I had to pull all those threads to the back and knot them with the elastic bobbin thread. That took forever. In 2011 I have vowed not to dress like a complete slob on my days off and to dress a little nicer on the days I work. I also don't want to wear a plain old t-shirt everyday. And I refuse to spend a lot of money on clothes. (I seriously buy all of my clothes at Goodwill with the exception of underwear and socks.) I wore my fancy new shirt today, and I actually felt cute and a little hip and trendy (aside from the old lady shoes I was wearing). No more shapeless, extra large sweatshirts for this girl! Now I just need an awesome accessory to go with my new shirt. Any suggestions?

I'm entering this project in Round 2 of Crafting with the Stars at Sew Dang Cute Crafts. I figure I don't have a snowball's chance, but 2011 is also going to be my year to try lots of new things. And you never know unless you try!

Also linking up to DIY Under $5 at A Little Tipsy.

January 5, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew! 2010 Reflections/2011 Predictions

I may be posting about this late, but here's my answers to Sew, Mama, Sew!'s questions for 2010 Reflections + 2011 Predictions:

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?
I don't follow trends much, but I loved the red/aqua color combination I saw so much of in 2010.

What were some of your favorite things? (Trends, fabric collections, patterns, blogs? Whatever you really loved.)
One of my favorite collections was Dream On by Urban Chiks because the fabrics remind of the vintage sheets I love so much. I also liked any fabric that was a really fun kids print--especially when it's suitable for little boys. My favorite new (to me) product from 2010 was elastic thread. I can't get enough of smocking and the beautiful ruffles it creates.

What was your very favorite fabric collection or print? (If not listed above.)
Dream On by Urban Chiks

What was the best thing you made in 2010? (Be sure to share a photo!)
I loved most of the items I made in 2010 but my favorite is probably this blanket I made for my son:

Don't ask about the unfinished coordinating bunting that should be hanging in his room.

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
I found so many great handmade things in 2010--I can't believe how many projects I have bookmarked. I really liked these upcycled boys hats, personalized baby quilts, and 4th of July shirts.

What do you think 2011 has in store? (Again, trends, fabric, patterns, etc.)
More projects using recycling/upcycling/thrifting? I'm so bad with trends.

Anything you’re ready for the sewing world to get over?
Since I don't follow trends much, I can't really comment on this. A lot of people have mentioned that the whole owl trend is getting old. It reminds me of the hedgehog trend a year or two ago. So I guess owls were the new hedgehog in 2010. I'm going to predict that 2011 will be the year of the skunk. You heard it here first, folks. I would like to comment on two things I'm ready for the fashion world to get over--rompers (for anyone over 5 years old) and skinny jeans.

What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?
2010 was a productive sewing year for me since my son was 3 years old and able to entertain himself while mommy "worked" in her sewing room. I want to accomplish even more this year and actually make some of the handmade gifts I have bookmarked. I want to participate in a craft fair in November. I want to actually try some of the ideas I have floating around in my head instead of convincing myself I would just end up wasting my time because they couldn't possibly work. And maybe I'll finish up a project or two in my "unfinished projects" box. :)

Thanks for stopping by!