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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter!!!

I am SO excited for today's release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Sadly, I wasn't able to make it to a midnight showing last night, but I will be going tonight at 6pm! I was browsing on Flickr for Harry related sewing, and found some absolutely amazing things!

The first thing I came upon was this incredible quilt from Jen at SewHooked, and it turns out her blog is a treasure trove of Harry Potter crafting!

Here is a great list of Harry Potter sewing patterns and tutorials from The Leaky Cauldron. They have all kinds of crafts here, including knitting, crochet, needlework, jewelry, even woodworking!

Here's a bag I made as a thank you gift for my husband's aunt- She took me to the fantastic Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

And here's a cover I made for my Bamberoo Mei Tai! I wore Lizzie in it when we went to the exhibit.

And today, Lizzie was kind enough to take a nap long enough for me to whip up a quick little messenger bag to take to the movie tonight!

Wow! Wednesday

This week's "Wow!" is one of the first things I ever put in my "Sewing" bookmarks folder, lo those many months ago.

10-Minute Trousers from MadeByPetchy were among the very first sewing projects I did last Fall when I started sewing in earnest. They are endlessly customizable, really easy, and you get to practice a lot of good skills that are applicable in all kinds of projects!

The first pair I made ended up being low riders- Lesson learned about seam allowances! Here's Lizzie, reminding me how many minutes these pants are supposed to take.

Here is the second pair I made- They are two layers of flannel, so they're SUPER warm. I am part embarrassed and part proud when I look at these pictures- Embarrassed at all the careless errors I made, but proud of how much my sewing has improved since then!

These were both made with flannel, but looking back at these pictures has inspired me to make a few more pairs in a summer weight. Maybe now I'll finish them in closer to the suggested ten minutes, as opposed to the several hours these two pairs took!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tools for Tuesday

Everyone has their favorite tools when it comes to marking fabric. Pencils, pens, chalk, markers, tracing paper, wax... So many options, each with their own pros and cons.

My favorite is this two-sided marking pen. One side comes off with a damp cloth, the other disappears within 24-48 hours. It's a gamble, sometimes- I prefer to use the disappearing side (it's magic!) but I never know when my sewing will be interrupted and if I'll be able to return to it within 24 hours. I started using these when I used to do a lot of embroidery- I'd draw or trace my design with washable marker and then stitch over it. Since I already had them lying around when I started sewing, I stuck with them and they became habit. I also really like a tool my sewing teacher gave me-- It's a little white waxy chunk, and the lines disappear when you iron them. It's especially great for dark fabrics.

Here's a design I traced onto the pocket of a sling and then embroidered over:

In Progress


Here is an article on different marking tools and methods!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Little Mermaid

Allison has been very into mermaids lately. It started with Ariel, but thankfully has expanded beyond Disney into a fascination with all things mermaid. I'd been wanting to make her a doll, and I had the Simplicity 2809 pattern. I was getting a little tired of the things I made for her being rejected- She's always appreciative, but rarely chooses to wear the things I make her. So I decided to alter the doll and give it a tail instead of legs, in hopes of winning her over. Is that bribery?

Here she is before stuffing and hair. I was extremely nervous about the hair. I found this tutorial on Crafty Sheep's site. I am SO pleased with how it came out and now I'm really excited to make another one!

And the best part-- Allison is THRILLED with her and has slept with her the last two nights. Yay!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fabric Friday- Hello Betty Retro

I absolutely love the colors in this line. Hello Betty by Chloe's Closet for Moda comes in two colorways. The 30's collection is the same prints, but in red, country blue, pale yellow, pink and mint green. It's cute, but it doesn't strike me the way the Retro line does. I'm still a newbie to fabric obsession, and I am amazed at how the exact same design in different colors can have a completely different feeling. The Retro is a light turquoise, chocolate brown, rusty orange and ivory. I have a honey bun of the Retro colors and I think I'm going to make myself a wallet!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wow! Wednesday

Every Wednesday I'll share a link to something I spied on another blog that made me say, "Wow!"

The inaugural "Wow" is the DIY Bag Lover Blog. This site is a compilation of about elebenty hundred FREE online bag tutorials. I have seriously spent hours looking for bag tutorials online and have only ever found a handful of the ones she has linked. Brilliant!!!

DIY Bag Lover

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tools for Tuesday

This week's Tool for Tuesday is OIL!

I probably wouldn't use this particular can.

When was the last time you oiled your sewing machine? Did you know most machines should be oiled after roughly 20 hours of usage? Some even say you should do it every 8-10 hours. I recently oiled my machine (30+ years old, never been tuned up, yikes!) and it really did make an incredible difference! It doesn't take long, you can do a good thorough lint cleaning while you're at it, and you'll be protecting your beloved machine from unnecessary wear and tear. Be sure to check your machine's manual for details on where, when and how to oil! Only use oil intended for sewing machines, and only the tiniest drop in each spot. It's very cheap- Under $4 for a bottle, and a bottle will last you an eternity!

Here are some links to good information about cleaning and maintaining your sewing machine.

Threads Magazine, Issue #91
New Mexico State University

Go clean your machine!!!

A Knitting Needle/Crochet Hook Roll for a Friend

I still don't know how to knit or crochet, but I have a friend who is incredibly talented at both. She has made some adorable gifts for my girls, like this hat with holes for pigtails! She also sent the great dress Allison is wearing. Awesome friend, eh?

She sews, too... and sewing for people who sew is very intimidating! So hopefully she'll be happy with her gift, and remember it's the thought that counts...

I made this based on a few different needle rolls I'd seen online, and changed a few things based on feedback from another friend who got an earlier version I made. I made space for needles, pockets for notepaper or circular needles, and shorter skinny slots for crochet hooks. It's all canvas, so it's sturdy, and it has ribbon to tie it all closed. And I practiced my satin stitch again to personalize it. I hope she likes it!

(Joyce, don't go watching the mail yet, I have a few other things to finish up before I send this off!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

This week's giveaway at The Fabric Shopper!

This week's giveaway at The Fabric Shopper is the Amy Butler Sweet Life bag! It's a pre-made bag, not a pattern, and it's SO COOL! It's the Dew Drop Sling Bag and it is the perfect bag for crafters. From the Amy Butler website, "Enjoy the modern oval shape and unique features of this craft bag – including a fabulously extra-long needle pocket and cell phone pocket on the outside of the bag. It’s easy to stash tools, yarn and belongings in great inner pockets; two large zippered pockets on the inside. A wide shoulder strap makes toting and carrying more comfortable."

Love it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A new bag for Mama!

I've been wanting a new bag for a while, but none of the patterns I had were quite the right size. I wanted something bigger than a purse, but smaller than a diaper bag. While I wait for my Amy Butler Birdie Sling Bag pattern, I decided to take advantage of the 99¢ McCall's patterns sale at JoAnn. I picked up pattern #5944, which makes either a bag or a tote with a removable liner so you can change it around between the bags. Neat idea, but not really something I thought I'd use much. So I just made the tote and skipped the velcro attachment for the liner.

First of all, unless I was missing something (and that's very possible) I think the instructions for cutting this pattern out were completely wrong. The pieces for the front, back and inner linings had markings for cutting on the fold. But the cutting diagrams had them smack in the middle of the fabric. There was no place in the instructions where those pieces would have been sewn together, so I put them on the fold. I was working with 54" wide canvas, so it worked, but I'd have been annoyed if I hadn't had enough fabric!

I used Denyse Schmidt's County Fair line, which I LOVE! Even with the outside and lining of this bag being home dec weight, it's pretty floppy. When I make another (and I will!) I'll use a stiffer interfacing. I think I'll also make a second set of outer pockets so that it goes all around the bag, and stitch it into three pockets rather than in half as the instructions say. Having only two pockets makes for wide, shallow pockets- I think narrower ones would be better for carrying the all-important sippy cup.

This is my first successful binding, so I'm very pleased about that (as long as I don't look too closely!).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fabric Friday

In honor of Independence Day in the US tomorrow, today's Fabric Friday will feature red white and blue!

Vintage fabric from FuzzyLizzie on Etsy.

From Sewing Supplies by LoraLee on Etsy

Another cool vintage find! This one is from Design Archives.
Fireworks! From FabricAnnex

Have fun and stay safe and good luck keeping the kiddos asleep when the neighbors think 11pm is a great time to start their own fireworks display!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Embellishment Fail

I was so happy with my successful bib applique, I decided to embellish a favorite t-shirt that had a few small holes near the bottom. I carefully cut a couple of flowers out of fabric, ironed them on, used a nice tight satin stitch so it would be really, really secure. I used a pretty variegated thread and was very pleased with the result. I held it up to see the finished product and... Found that I'd done the entire thing on the INSIDE of the t-shirt! Le sigh. It was really just so ridiculous I couldn't even be mad at myself. There's no way my seam ripper could get all those stitches out without destroying the shirt (it's a really thin knit). So maybe it's time to cut the whole thing off and try reverse applique!

funny pictures of cats with captions

A Vintage Pattern

A few months ago I picked up a stack of vintage kids' clothing patterns at a charity sale. I made one right away and learned that the sizing is very different than today's sizing, even on kid stuff, and I really needed to go by the measurements! So, a couple of years from now my daughter will have a really cute tunic to wear. But I tried again with another pattern, paying attention to measurements this time, and now she's got a really cute sundress she can wear now! I picked up this fabric at a clearance sale/sewing weekend at the Nancy's Notions warehouse and I think it's perfect for this pattern! The pattern is Simplicity 9996, made in 1972.

I think it looks really cute, especially since the pattern was made 33 years before this little model was born! In fact, I recently bought a dress very much like this at Old Navy for her. Funny how things come back around! And since the brick in my house is in the 1970s/Brady Bunch style, I thought this was a perfect spot for her to model the dress.

And unrelated but not worthy of its own post- I finally figured out the satin stitch on my machine! I made a bib for my niece, simply because her first initial was nice and easy to cut out and applique. I definitely need practice, but I'm excited to have this new option for embellishing!