February 28, 2011

cute & easy baby washcloths

Want to make a cute little baby washcloth? 

These are so much better than those washcloths you buy in the baby section. They're bigger and thicker.  Babies and toddlers are messy.  You need decent washcloths.  These are so easy to make it probably doesn't even need a tutorial.  But I made one anyway.

washcloths or toweling/terry cloth fabric
flannel fabric
sewing machine

I purchased a stack of washcloths at Target. 

They used to sell sets of various colors, but all I could find this time were sets of one color.  Make sure you get basic washcloths without a thick rolled hem or decorative border or anything.  Mine have a very simple serged edge on them and were $3.49 for a set of 8.  Target will run them on sale, and I see them clearanced once in while so you can get them cheaper.  Since they're going to be backed in flannel you don't need (and probably don't want) a really thick washcloth.  (You could also purchase toweling/terry cloth fabric and cut to the desired size to use in place of the washcloth.)

1.  Prewash washcloths and flannel fabric.  Remove any tags and stray threads.

2.  Place the washcloth on your piece of flannel fabric with right sides together.  Using your washcloth as a template cut out a piece of flannel fabric the same size as the washcloth.  You could pin the washcloth and fabric together before cutting it out, but I don't.  I like to live on the edge.

3.  Pin your washcloth and flannel fabric together (right sides together).

4.  Sew your washcloth and flannel fabric together.  I used the edge of the existing washcloth hem as a guide and followed the rounded corners.  Be sure to leave an opening (about 2 inches or so) for turning the washcloth right side out.

5.  Turn the washcloth right side out.  You made need to use a pencil or other similar object to poke the corners out.

6.  Fold the washcloth and flannel fabric in at the opening and pin.

7.  Iron around the edge of the washcloth.  You can pin around the edge to help keep the fabrics lined up when topstitching, but I don't.  Topstitch around the edge of the washcloth.  I like to use the inside edge of the presser foot as a guide and move my needle two positions to the right so my topstitching is nice and close to the edge.

8.  When you come to the opening, carefully continue topstitching making sure your fabric remains folded in to sew the opening shut.  Backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitching.

9.  Admire you cute little washcloth!

This is a great way to use up flannel scraps or an excuse to buy cute flannel remnants.  If you don't have flannel fabric big enough, piece them together to make an even cuter washcloth.
Now to make a stack of them for an inexpensive but totally awesome baby shower gift.

February 21, 2011

a little spring. . .

. . .on a dreary February day.

This is my first attempt at a disappearing nine patch which I worked on over the weekend (in addition to free-motion quilting another blanket and binding a third blanket).  I used 36 squares from a Moda Central Park charm pack.  It's much busier than anything I've ever made before, but I think it will make an adorable little baby blanket/play mat.  Not that I have any need for a girly baby blanket, but I couldn't resist the bright, happy fabrics.  I think I'll end up using it as a center panel, and this will be the first square blanket I've made.  I've decided when it comes to quilt-making, I really enjoy picking out the fabrics and piecing them together which is why I have 5 quilt tops and 0 quilts.  The quilting part I don't enjoy so much--probably because it takes me so long!  I don't even mind hand stitching the binding.  So what is your favorite/least favorite part of the quilt-making process?

February 19, 2011

patchwork pillow

Remember this cute Cloud 9 blanket I made for my son?  There is also a cute little bunting tutorial.  I'd show you the coordinating bunting I made for my son's room, but it's still not done and I started it almost a year ago.  I have all the bunting pieces cut out and a few are even sewn together.  After cutting all the pieces I was left with several scraps like this:

I knew the scraps could eventually be used for something and pillow month at Sew, Mama, Sew! provided the perfect opportunity.  I decided to use just the prints and played around with the pieces until I found a layout I liked:

I started sewing them together:

Until I had two panels:

At this point I forgot to stop sewing and take pictures.  Basically, I evened up the edges of my panels and cut each panel in half lengthwise so I had four strips.  I then arranged the strips until I found a pattern I liked and sewed the strips together:

I realize very few of the points match up correctly.  I didn't start with pieces that had been precisely cut so I guess I couldn't expect much.  I evened up the edges again and was pleasantly surprised to discover I had a 16 inch square.  What are the chances of that happening?  For my pillow top, I used my panel, a layer of cotton batting, and a layer of white muslin.  The pillow back is a coordinating blue chambray.  I used a 16-inch pillow form which made for a snug-fitting cover, but I like the end result.

Thanks for stopping by!

February 7, 2011

Valentine's Day cards

Hello, cardmakers.  Remember me?  I used to make cards until I got back into sewing, and I haven't made too many cards since.  I wanted to make some Valentine's Day cards to send my relatives so I could include birthday pictures of my son.  I found this adorable postage stamp paper at Michael's.

I wanted to be able to quickly make a bunch of cards, and the card sketch at 365 Cards Super Sketchy Sunday was perfect:

My cards:

The card base is made from cardboard I rescued from work.  The patterned papers are from a really old Provo Craft slab, and the colors worked perfectly with the postage stamp paper.  I used my Cuttlebug hearts embossing folder to emboss the hearts onto pink Coredinations cardstock then sanded and inked it.  I wanted a vintge look so I inked the edges with Tim Holtz vintage photo distress ink.  I think I overdid it a bit.  I added some pink staples (from the office supply department at Target) on the corners of the postage stamps.

Thanks for looking!

February 6, 2011

Anthropologie-inspired patchwork tote

There's a Knock it Off contest over at seven thirty three. I cannot resist a contest so even though I have a million other projects started, I dropped everything to start yet another new project. The contest is to link up a project that was made by "knocking off" a brand. I started searching web sites looking for inspiration and quickly found this beauty at Anthropologie.

Patchwork. Words of wisdom. Embroidery. On a bag. I think I'm in love. $198??? Absolutely insane. So I made my own, and I think my bag is pretty amazing--

Many of my fabric scraps are leftovers from various projects--mostly baby quilts I've made as gifts and morsbags so this bag is a reminder of doing what I love. I think it will make a nice library tote or shopping bag.

When I make something, I'm not very good at taking pictures of all the steps so here's a not very thorough how-to.

Materials Used:
various fabric scraps (for patchwork panel)
canvas or denim fabric (for bag)
muslin (for lining)
Wonder Under
fusible interfacing
sewing machine
black and ivory thread
rotary cutter, ruler, and self-healing mat
black embroidery floss
word processing program
freezer paper

1. Select several fabric scraps for the quilted panel. You'll want a mix of lighter colors for the center of the panel where the embroidery will be and some darker/bolder prints. This was my first time making a diamond pattern, and I used this tutorial. I still had a heck of a time figuring it out. After measuring, cutting, and ending up with several rhombus-shaped pieces but no diamonds I decided to make a cardboard template. I was able to make better use of my scraps that way, too. Since I was fusing my patchwork piece to sturdy fabric and the patchwork was just decorative, I figured it would be okay that the pieces weren't all cut along the fabric grain. I almost called it quits several times, but finally ended up with a usable patchwork piece. I thought it was hideous while I was piecing it but ended up liking the finished product even though some of the points don't match and it's not completely squared up.

2. Square up the patchwork piece and fuse Wonder Under (or a similar product) to the back of of the piece. From my canvas fabric, I cut a piece 16 1/2 inches wide by 42 inches long for the body of the bag. (The size was mostly determined by the size of my finished patchwork piece so it would be centered on the front of the bag.) I like not having a seam on the bottom of my bag so I always cut one large piece when possible. Fuse the patchwork piece to the front of the bag. Using ivory thread, zig zag stitch along all the seams between the diamond pieces. Using black thread, zig zag stitch along the four outside edges of the patchwork piece.

3. For the embroidery, I chose the phrase "do what you love." Using my computer's word processing program I typed out the phrase in a font I liked (Bradley Hand ITC in 150 point). Holding a piece of freezer paper up to the computer screen (shiny side to the screen), carefully trace the words onto the paper. (Do not let your husband see you do this or you'll get a lecture.) Trim around the words, place on patchwork piece in the desired location and iron into place.

Using a needle and 6 strands of black embroidery floss, stitch along each letter. As you're stitching, if the freezer paper starts to pull away from the fabric you can iron it back into place. This was another time-consuming part of the project and my fingers still hurt the following day after stitching through all that fabric. (It was totally worth it, though.) After the stitching is done, carefully tear away the freezer paper while trying not to pull the stitching too much.

This is where the pictures/instructions get a little sparse. (There is a nice bag tutorial here at Cluck, Cluck, Sew.)

4. With right sides together, stitch the sides of the bag. I sewed a straght stitch on each side (a little larger than 1/4" seam allowance) and a zig zag stitch in the seam allowance to help with fraying. I made a box bottom on my bag with a 3 inch depth (shown on this tutorial here).

5. Make two handles (or you can use webbing). I cut two pieces of canvas fabric 4 inches by 18 inches and made morsbag handles. I normally don't interface my handles but since my fabric was a little stretchy, I did use interfacing here to make them a little more sturdy. (Instructions are under the "make one" tab on the morsbags link.)

6. Place the lining inside the bag with right sides together. Between the two layers of fabric, insert one handle in the front and one handle the the back. Be careful not to get the handles twisted and I did on my first attempt. Stitch around the top of the bag with a 1/2" seam allowance leaving an opening between the handle on the back of the bag for turning.

7. Turn bag right side out through the opening and topstitch around the top of the bag. I did one seam at 1/4 inch and one at 3/4 inch.

Thanks for stopping by!

February 3, 2011

subway art-style Valentine

I'm intrigued by all the subway art in the blogosphere these days.  I wanted to try my hand at a very small subway art-type project and this week's CSI typography challenge was the perfect opportunity.  And I need a Valentine's Day card for my husband.  First I gathered up all of my rubber stamps with the word "love" in them and a few alphabet sets, a black ink pad, and a black brush marker (for those stamps where I only want to use part of the stamp). 

Then I started stamping.  And stamping.  And stamping.  It has been a long time since I've made a stamped card so my stamping is a little rusty, but I was very pleased with the result.  This is one of those projects where one wrong move with permanent ink can ruin the whole thing.  My masculine Valentine's Day card for my husband--

Thanks for stopping by!