Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Santa: A Haiku

Dearest Santa Claus
You've always been kind to me
Even though I'm old.

For Christmas this year
Some new fabric would be "Swell."
Yes, I've been Nicey!

Maybe I could sew
Something nice for Mrs. Claus?
You've been working late.

A nice springy bag
To bring on the vacation
She so much deserves

It's hard for Mama
When Daddy works extra hours
(Assuming you've kids?)

A fat quarter pack
Of lovely Swell Nicey Jane
From Heather Bailey

Wrapped under my tree
Would be the most perfect gift
For this sleepy Mom!

Wondering why I wrote a rambling haiku?? Check out the Fat Quarter Shop's awesome Dear Santa Giveaway!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Gifts... so far!

I am so excited to be hand-making lots of Christmas gifts this year. Last year at Christmas I had just started sewing and my confidence level only extended to rice bags- Which were nowhere near as fancy as the ones in that link! But this year I am feeling more confident and am making bags, an apron, a wall quilt, some capes, oven mitts, a kid-sized Snuggie (Yes, really!), a hat/mittens/scarf set... And I am sure there's more I'm forgetting. Not exactly sure how I'm going to get all of this done, but I'll figure it out somehow!

Here are a few things I've finished or nearly finished so far! All of these are for a handmade gift swap. I don't think my swap partner reads this blog, but if she does... Um, act surprised Serena!

Oven mitts from Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing. One is for the swap and one is for ME! The fabric is an Alexander Henry Christmas print from a few years ago, "Merry Modernica." I only had a fat quarter and it was just enough, and now I wish I had more! I love the colors.

A "Little Forest" quilted wall hanging. I got the instructions from The Purl Bee and it was so fun to make! I copied their layout but did only 6 rows instead of their 8, simply because I didn't have any more green scraps I liked enough! I think it still looks nice this way. It's about 15" by 22", and it went together fairly quickly, even for a beginner like me.

So far I've only pieced the top, and I think I am going to wimp out and finish it by turning, topstitching and tying. I just can't get quilting and binding to look nice. Anyone have a favorite tutorial?

I made an apron using Butterick/See & Sew B5125. For the life of me I cannot get a good picture of it! This picture at least shows the fabrics, but I really need a dress form to get better pictures of things like this. The red is the body and the other print is the ruffle at the bottom and the ties. It's really cute, I hope she likes it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And the winners are...

Using the trusty old Random Number Generator, I have chosen the three winners! Thank you SO much for all the comments, I will definitely be taking your advice and sharing lots more pictures, tutorials, and detailed information. A number of people said they liked to hear about the "not-so-perfect" projects, and I can DEFINITELY share lots of stories about those!

On to the winners!!! The winning comments were:

10: Coralee of The Angry Turtle wins the black and white FQ set.
259: Greta of Because I Sew So wins the dots and floral set.
130: Lil Bean wins the Lila Tueller set.

Congratulations, winners!!!

And a HUGE thank you to Katydid and Kid for the tutorial on how to number comments! This was my first giveaway and I started manually counting comments and... well, it got old really fast!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!!!

Thank you SO much for all your comments!!! I will be choosing and notifying the three winners tonight!!!

I am SO excited to be participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day!!! I won some nice gifties last time around so I am looking forward to sharing the love in this round.

I had a hard time deciding what to offer up for this. I decided to go through the stash and see what jumped out at me, and THREE separate bundles decided they wanted to be offered up! Three winners! Yay!

First we have a set of four black and white fat quarters.

Next, there are two coordinating fabrics, a half-yard of each. These are the same fabrics I used in Allison's First Day of School dress, and those dots are some of my all time favorites!

And finally, we have two half-yard pieces from Lila Tueller's Woodland Bloom line. I love these colors, and this fabric is SO soft!

To win, just comment on this post! I won't make you jump through any hoops, but if you're so inclined I'd love to know what you like to see in sewing blogs. My blog is not connected to a shop or anything, it's just for me to share my own little projects and cool things I see around the web. What would make this blog more interesting to you? What makes you decide to click that "Follow" button when you visit a blog? I'd be ever so happy if you'd follow my little corner of the blogosphere! Good luck and have fun visiting all the fabulous Giveaways today!

This giveaway will be open through December 6, and I'll post the winners here and e-mail them as well. Be sure to leave an email address so I can reach you! Winners will be chosen by the old fashioned names-in-a-hat method, or Random Number Generator if I don't have a willing name-drawer around when I close up the giveaway!

(Apologies for the poor pictures, I had a two year old "helping." Snowman, basket and peace sign not included!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I have been sewing, really I have!

I don't know why I keep forgetting to blog the projects I've been working on! But I will be participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day on December 2, so I figured I should have something posted more recently than Halloween!

I've been going to my weekly sewing class, which I love. Tomorrow night is the last session, and I will miss it so much until it starts up again in late January! It's so nice to have dedicated time with fellow sewing enthusiasts. Not to mention the HUGE cutting tables in the classroom, and no threat of wandering toddlers waiting for an opportunity to grab the pin cushion and run.

Most of this session's classes have been taken up by my attempt at Simplicity 3673, View C.
I am using the Posey fabric from Denyse Schmidt's County Fair line, in the "raisin" color. It's the 3rd from the bottom in that link. I adore this fabric and I'm loving how this dress is turning out. I had to make a few changes to the pattern to fit my body type, and I am SO proud that I was able to do that (with a lot of help from my wonderful sewing teacher, of course!) A year ago I could barely sew a button, so this dress, though far from perfect, feels like a real accomplishment. I hope to finish it tomorrow night and I will post all the details then!

Aside from the dress, most of my sewing for the past few weeks and for the next few weeks will be Christmas related! I'm participating in a handmade gift swap at The Fabric Obsession, I've got about a dozen fleece shrugs to make for the older members of the family (and one for myself!), a pair of Princess Tiana dresses for my daughter and her BFF, a car organizer for one nephew, a pair of lap quilts for my other two nephews, bags for my mom and mother in law, appliqued t-shirts for a friend's children, and... Oh dear, how many days until Christmas??? The only Christmas gift that is completely finished is a fuchsia fairy printed Snuggie for my 4 year old!

Here is one recent finished project, with a pair of terrible pictures! This is the ModKid Julia pattern and it was so much fun to make. I am already dreaming of more fabric combinations to try with this. And best of all, the kiddo loves it!

Come back on Wednesday, December 2 to check out my giveaway and LOTS of other great giveaways through Sew Mama Sew.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

This was the first year I made a Halloween costume from scratch. I have fond memories of my mom sewing costumes for me and my brother, so I was really excited about this. Allison wanted to be a cat this year, so I set to work a few weeks ago and she LOVED her costume!

Here she is (on the left) with her friend Gracie.

And here's another shot with her sister (the pink octopus) and her cousin the ladybug! Lizzie is still young enough to wear Allison's hand me down costumes, but next year I think I will be making two costumes!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Doll Mermaid Tail Tutorial

I've had so much fun and learned so much from all the scrapbuster tutorials over at the Sew Mama Sew blog this month, I decided to share one of my own. As I've mentioned before, my daughter Allison loves all things mermaid. She has one mermaid Barbie doll, but that mermaid got lonely with all those landlubbers around. I decided to make some tails for the other dolls so the mermaid would have some friends!

First I made a merman, then a merbaby, and now we have 6 or 7 mermaids swimming around! These take just a small bit of fabric, so they are a great quick stashbusting project. This will work for any size doll, teddy bear, or even a younger sibling. (Wouldn't that be the cutest bunting? Now I need a newborn!)

This is my first tutorial ever, so please let me know if anything needs clarification. All images are clickable to a larger version.

Start with the particular doll you are making the tail for. I noticed pretty quickly that the Barbies tend to have different body shapes. Allison's Barbies are all Disney Princesses; maybe "regular" Barbies have standard dimensions. So you need the doll, two scraps of fabric roughly 9 x 3 inches, thread and a piece of narrow elastic long enough to go around the dolls waist with about 1/2 inch of overlap. See, you can even use elastic scraps! Warning: Partial Barbie nudity ahead! (Although she does have those classy plastic undies on.)

Lay the doll on the wrong side of the fabric, with the top just above her waist and the bottom a couple of inches below her feet. Trace the doll's shape about 1/4" out from her body. Don't worry about the contours too much. When you get to the widest part of her hips, draw your tracing lines straight up from there- Don't trace her waistline or you'll never get the waistband over those hips. As you get to her feet, draw in the bottom fin shape. Just eyeball it, it's a simple shape and you can determine if you want long narrow flippers, short roundy ones, or however you like!

Your traced line is your sewing line. Now cut out the tail, leaving 1/4" or so seam allowance beyond your traced line. Sew along your traced line.

Now try the tail on your doll. Make sure you can get the tail over the hips relatively easily.
Yay! It fits!

Once you're sure the tail will fit, finish the edges. You could zig zag or serge them, but I prefer to just pink the edges to cut down on bulk at the seams.
Fold the top hem over twice, to create a casing for the elastic. I used very narrow elastic, so my casing is only about 1/4" wide. Just make your casing as wide as you need for the elastic you have on hand. Sew the casing closed, leaving a small opening to insert your elastic.

I turned my tail right side out first, I just find it easier to sew such a tiny loop that way. Do whatever works for you! When you do turn it right side out, use a turner or knitting needle to poke out the ends of the tail and edges of the "legs," then press.

Put a small safety pin in one end of your elastic and feed it through your casing.

Overlap the ends of your elastic by about 1/2" and stitch them together. I suppose you could machine sew this, but I find it easier to just do a few stitches by hand.

Sew up the opening in your waistband, et voila! A custom made (Barbie is accustomed to couture, after all!) mermaid tail for your favorite little girl's doll!

Oh look! I have a blog!

Well, look at that... It's been two and a half months since I posted! We were out of town for the entire month of August, then Allison started preschool, and the weeks just kept slipping by. But I'm back, and I'll be trying to post regularly, mainly to help me remember what I've done.

Here are a few projects I've done during my blogging absence.

Allison's first day of school was exciting for all of us. I made her a new dress with matching hair clip. I was really happy with it, and I'm glad she got to wear it once before winter decided to come to Wisconsin 2 months early!

I managed to get my Melly & Me Flower Garden bag finished before our trip, and I absolutely love it! I used Denyse Schmidt's County Fair Canvas, one of my favorite lines. Incidentally, that line is on sale for an incredible $2.99 a yard at right now. That is a ridiculously good deal on 54" home dec weight fabric.
I made a Rocket Man for a little man's first birthday. This was so much fun to make, and I think the recipient was pleased. I had fun taking the little egg man in and out of his seat!

I participated in a couple of swaps and the girls got these ADORABLE dresses from one of my swap partners. These have become instant favorites and are worn ALL the time! And I got the most beautiful bag- The front panel is made from one of my all time favorite woven baby carriers, so it's a wonderful gift now that my babywearing days are winding down.
I love "cheater" quilt fabric- I found these fat quarters of sort of vintage looking patchwork, and decided to try another quilt top. Of course, it remains just a quilt top, because I still have a fear of binding.
That's all for now! There have been other projects, and I am currently working on Allison's Halloween costume, a few flannel nightgowns, and then I am going to tackle a dress for myself!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Second Barcelona Skirt

I finished another Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt the other day. This time I used the regular A-Line pattern. It went together much more quickly and easily, but I miss the detail of the layered skirt.

It's not a great picture, but you get the idea. The fabric is from JoAnn- I bought it when I first started sewing because I liked it so much, but had no idea what I'd do with it. I'm glad I bought enough, I love it as a skirt! Some of the coordinating prints are still at JoAnn, so I'm contemplating making the apron overlay to jazz this up a bit.

But what I'm MOST excited about with this is the zipper! I still don't have a zipper foot of any kind, so I had to do this with my regular foot. I don't even know what kind of foot it is, it's got a wide opening like a zig zag foot, but it's clear plastic. Anyway, I am SO pleased with how this came out. With the last skirt, the zipper was functional but it's far from "invisible." Notice I didn't post any pictures of the zipper on that one! But this turned out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sewing Machine Cover- Check!

I crossed two things off of the To Do List today, thanks to my wonderful mother in law and her ability to read "The Monster at the End of This Book" dozens of times. I finished the second Barcelona skirt, but I need to get a few more pictures of that.

Anyway, here is the sewing machine cover! I love this fabric, it's perfect for a sewing machine cover, but I'm really not sure what I'll do with the leftovers... Maybe a bag to take things to sewing class in? I used this tutorial and am really happy with how it turned out. I used some very heavyweight canvas for the inside, so it's really sturdy. It's also reversible, if I ever feel the need to cover my machine in khaki! But I think the print is much more fun.

Friday, July 24, 2009

To Do To Do To Do

I've been trying to keep a mental list of all the projects I want to do sooner rather than later, and I knew there were lots- but everytime I get some time to sew, I can't think of anything to work on! So I decided I needed a hard list, and WHOA! A little out of hand, methinks.

  • The girls' bathroom curtain. I've got the fabric and the curtain rod, but I love the fabric so much I'm thinking of attempting a roman shade to show it off better!
  • Pez blanket for my cousin's baby, due in August. His wife collects Pez dispensers, so when I saw this fabric I knew it was perfect. I got a minkee remnant and I want to make a taggie blanket, but I'm so intimidated by the minkee! I've heard horror stories.
  • I want to make myself another Barcelona skirt before we have company next week.
  • I've got 2 quilt tops that need to be quilted and bound, and one that the binding is started but not finished. I think these will sit on the list for a while until I find a walking foot for my machine.
  • If my Black Forest Bag pattern arrives in time, I want to make a bag for my 3-week trip to the east coast. We leave August 8, so this is looking unlikely. I think I might make another McCall's 5944 in the meantime.
  • I need to repair one of the handles on that bag I just mentioned... And add one more note about something I'll change in the pattern instructions for next time!
  • Curtain for the 1/2 bath. No fabric chosen yet, have to get the husband to decide if he wants to paint it or not.
  • Curtain for master bath- Same issue as 1/2 bath!
  • Sewing Machine Cover. Got the fabric, just need the motivation. Would really like to get this done before I have to leave my machine unattended for nearly a month.
  • Fix my Sew Mama Sew Spring Ruffle Top. It is WAY unflattering but I used fabric I love so I want to try to salvage it.
  • A notepad/colored pencil wallet for Allison for the aforementioned FIFTEEN HOUR drive from here to my mom's house.
  • Appliqued Yo Gabba Gabba shirts for my friend Joyce's kids (the one who made the pigtail hat I posted about). She's so sweet and has made so many great things for my kids, I really owe her. She's moving in mid-September and has asked me not to send anything before then, so I have a little time on these.
  • This doesn't even mention the million and a half tutes I have bookmarked for "someday."
AAAACK! That's out of control. Wow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stimulus Package for Quilters

Elaine at "Faithful Quilter" is giving away a "Quilter's Stimulus Package." Cute idea, no?

Wow! Wednesday

This week I joined in a Square-A-Day Quilt Along at Crazy Mom Quilts. The challenge is to make one 9-Patch block every day for 70 days. It started Monday and so far I have made... zero! I will catch up soon, I promise! But I was browsing through the rest of the blog and saw so many beautiful quilts and really nice, clear tutorials, I just had to make this blog this week's Wow! She has 20 listed as "Finished in 2009." That's AMAZING! And they are all just beautiful. Here are a few:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tools for Tuesday- Pin Cushions

Pin cushions are one of those little sewing necessities with endless possibilities. Everyone starts out with one of these, right?
That's what my mom used, and I have somehow ended up with 2 or 3 of them myself. But there are SO many cute pin cushions out there, it's definitely time to branch out.

I love the idea of the magnetic pin holder- You can wave it over your sewing area to make sure any fallen stragglers aren't lying in wait for bare feet.

I love the idea of a wrist pin cushion. I am forever running back and forth from the sewing machine to the ironing board (where I lay things out and pin them) because I've left the pin cushion behind.

I have made several of these bottle cap pin cushions and I love them! They are a great size to throw in the sewing basket to take to sewing class, they are endlessly customizable, and they don't take long- I love instant gratification projects! Here are three that I made- The purple one was my first, and then I did the mushroom and then the eyeball. The eyeball simultaneously cracks me up and freaks me out.

I have Anna Maria Horner's Seams To Me on my wish list, and when I get it the first thing I'm going to make is this handy pin cushion. So cute!!! Someday when I have a nice big table in my sewing area, I know this will be great to have!

And lastly, here's a list of 46 Free Pin Cushion Patterns!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vote for Me!

Didymos, a German company that makes gorgeous woven baby carriers and other textiles, is sponsoring a contest for crafts made using scraps of their fabrics! People have been doing incredible things with leftover bits of wraps for ages, and I think it's really cool that Didy has decided to acknowledge that creativity! There are two prizes- gorgeous limited edition wraps.

My entry is this skirt:

You get ten votes, and some of my friends have entered too- So if you need help deciding who to vote for, might I make a couple of suggestions?

Jessi of Bratsacks made this amazing bag. She often uses Didy scraps in her work, and her bags are always stunning! Allison and Lizzie both have backpacks from Bratsacks, and we love them!

Julia of NuggleMe made this gorgeous Podaegi baby carrier. She has two other entries as well, check out her blog to see them!

Jaime of My Loose Threads made this adorable teething/knot doll out of one of my favorite underappreciated Didymos weaves.

And these teething giraffes come from Suzi at StarbrightBaby. I (um, I mean the girls) have two of these and they are SO well made and adorable! I know Suzi through and I was so excited to stumble upon her giraffes listed as a "must have" in a parenting magazine in the doctor's office waiting room recently! Go Suzi!!!

I have to add one more! These cupcakes by Sandra are modeled after the Didymos weave "Pfau." How cool is that???

Go Vote!!!

It's in German, but don't be scared- Just click the check boxes by the items you want to vote for, then click "Wahlschein Abgeben" at the bottom of the page.