Friday, December 30, 2011

Embroidered Toilet Paper

I first saw the idea to embroider on toilet paper a few months ago and decided it would make great Christmas gifts for some of the men in my family.  It's unique and inexpensive and I though the novelty would be fun.

When I saw this free download from DigiStitches, I knew it would be perfect for my Brother-In-Law.  He's a big Ohio State fan and my sister graduated from the University of Michigan, so it was the perfect design!  It also fit very nicely on a square of toilet paper.

I think this design was supposed to be for a onesie :)

I had trouble coming up with an idea for my dad, and ended up deciding on the phrase "Grandpa's Reading Room" since I figured the roll would end up as bathroom decor.  From there, I searched for book designs and found this wizard that I had downloaded free from Bunnycup.

He kind of looks like my dad, if my dad was a wizard
photo from Bunnycup Embroidery

I used Embird to remove the lightning bolts and the wizard's hat and bangs and the robe portion that pooled by his shoes.

That left him hairless (not bald, just with an empty spot above his head), so I cropped out the hair from this Bunnycup caveman freebie and merged the two designs, tilting the hair a bit to fit on the wizard's Grandpa's head better.

photo from Bunnycup Embroidery

I am really pleased with how it turned out, and my dad got a kick out of it.

I used the 1/2" Green Bean font from 8 Claws

For those interested in the technical details--I found several ways to embroider toilet paper, but ended up going with the simplest.  The only thing I did differently was wait until the end to do some of the trimming.  Also, since the design for my dad is a little wider than one square, I just centered it over two squares.  When I was all finished, I did use a little glue stick in the corners of the loose end to help it stay on the roll.

Here's an in-progress shot.  You can sort of see how
the toilet paper is just laying on the stabilizer

Polar Bear Outfit

I didn't get a chance to post this other outfit I made Samuel when I posted the penguin outfit, because I was out of town and didn't have a way to upload photos.  Now that I'm back, I have some catching up to do!

I made the little bear's eyes blue to coordinate

The fleece for the pants was a remnant from Hancock Fabrics and the polar bear design is from Planet Applique.  My husband thinks I should have used more contrast, but I like the way I stitched this design.  It's subtle and cute and fits my belief that babies don't need a lot of frou-frou to look adorable.

I used fleece to make him look fuzzy

I can't wait to snuggle my little bear in this outfit!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Penguin Outfit

Well, I didn't finish all my projects, but I got the majority of them done and I was pleased with the gifts I was able to give my family. I'll be sharing those projects for the next few posts...

I tried to buy some clothes for my son before he was born, to try to space out the expense, but I didn't buy many for winter because I wasn't sure how he would grow. Turns out he's a big boy and in 9 month clothes already. So I appliquéd him some onesies and made some fleece pants to coordinate.

I used fleece for the penguin so he'd be soft & fuzzy
I love this little penguin from Planet Appliqué. In fact, I have loved this design since before I even had an embroidery machine. So I was pretty excited to be able to use it on an outfit for Samuel.

This little penguin is a bit of a butterball, like my son :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve is coming to an end at my house, and I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  I have 11 items left to complete on my (revised) list of 29, most of them quick or already half-done.  I have a little more time to work, so I will get done what I can.

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases!

Regardless, the most important work for Christmas has already been done...many years a manger in Bethlehem.  When God gave the world the best gift of all--His son, who would later die for our sins so that we could spend eternity with our Heavenly Father.  I pray that you and yours have a blessed holiday!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Little Girl Gifts

We were having one last playdate before Christmas with one of Danielle's friends today, so I wanted to give her a little present.  She LOVES baby dolls, so I thought a baby changing set using the free wipes case design from digiStitches and some doll diapers would be perfect.

Inside are some "wipes"--rectangles cut from white knit fabric

I made the pattern for the doll diaper with a little trial and error.  This new model is smaller than the one I made for Danielle's babies a couple months ago. 

The velcro goes across the whole front, to adjust
for different size dollies and to make it easier to fasten

I also stitched out some penguin barrettes for Danielle's friend and her little sister.  I added a little bow like it shows at GG Designs, and I think they turned out adorable.

I lined alligator clips with ribbon instead of making a felt cover

I plan to make some of these for Danielle after the holiday sewing is finished.  I revised my list and just counted--I only have 10 out of 32 items done!  I do have on extra day (after Christmas) to work, but it looks like I will have to take some things off my list or learn to sew faster.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Zip Pouches

Well, I didn't make my goal of 7 items completed yesterday, I only got 3 items done.  But that's okay, I will persevere!

One of the things on my to-make list was these little zip pouches for Danielle and Samuel's Sunday school teachers.

We love Miss Marleane and Miss Betty!

Last year I made Key Ring ID Holders from Embroidery Garden.  I like that design a lot, especially since you can use complimentary fabrics.  I wanted to do something different this year, though, and I had purchased this zippered pouches design from digiStitches.  They make up quick!  I like that they can be monogrammed and "installing" the zipper couldn't be easier.

Miss Patty has a special place in Danielle's heart

These are the ones made in the 4x4 hoop, and are big enough to hold a gift card.

Ho Ho Ho!  Santa loves these zip pouches too :)

To monogram them, I hooped two pieces of tearaway stabilizer in my 4x4 hoop (to make sure the cotton fabric wouldn't pucker).  Then I unfolded the piece of fabric that sits below the zipper and placed it on the stabilizer so that the initial would stitch out in one corner.  After the first initial was done, I folded the fabric back out of the way, and stitched another initial on another piece of fabric in a different corner.

Here's what it looked like after the 3rd initial

I got all 3 pouches monogrammed in one hooping this way.  Then I removed the the hoop, tore away the stabilizer, and folded each piece of fabric over interfacing, finishing per the instructions.

I had so much fun making these.  I plan to buy some zippers in bulk after the holidays as I think these will make great year-round gifts (especially the 5x7 size!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Big 3-1

I was having trouble keeping track of everything I wanted to make for Christmas, so I made a list a few days ago. I counted and realized I have THIRTY ONE items on my list and there are only 8 days until Christmas!! Obviously, some of them will have to give, but I have been known to work well under pressure so I'm going to try to do them all anyways. They are a mix of embroidery, hand sewing, crochet, applique and sewing--but mostly embroidery. Several of them are in-the-hoop designs, so those might actually get done quickly.

**Updated to add:  Lest you think that 31 items is do-able:  one of the items on my list is to make Christmas pj pants for the family.  That's 4 pairs.  And I've got half a dozen items that I need to make double of, because they're for my twin nieces.  Why am I still on the computer?!?!?

My goal for today is to get 7 items finished. It wouldn't be so hard, except my husband has been waiting a year for this video game to come out. He has early access to it (because he signed up forever ago) and his computer is back from the repair shop. So, yeah, conflicting priorities in our household, since someone has to watch the kids :)

I probably could get more done if I wasn't trying to blog about everything I had to get done, whoops.  But I wanted to post some quick pictures of the other 2 sets of pjs I finished up for Danielle last week.

Ballerina flannel from Hancock Fabrics

I figure these pictures are as exciting as hearing about my to-do list, so this post is cohesive after all :)

Cat face flannel from the fabric angel
who donated the flannel for the last pjs

Anyone else working on their own Christmas miracles?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Posh Outfit

I made a second outfit for the little girl who is also getting the princess outfit from yesterday.

This is one of my favorite projects to date!

The white shirt is from Target and so is the little velvet skirt.  I used the Posh Circle Alphabet from Planet Applique to embroider the "R".

The striped fabric is Riley Blake's "Stripe in Red"

The matching barrettes are the Circle Monogram Felt Stitchies from GG Designs.

These stitchies were made by fusing fabric to the
felt using a double-sided fusible interfacing

I love how this turned out and will be on the lookout for the same skirt in Danielle's size next time I go to Target.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Princess Outfit

I got a few Christmas gifts done this weekend and can share this one I made for a little girl.

Princess Rihonna outfit

The shirt and leggings are a girl's XS from Target, and I embroidered the "R" using the Royal Princess Alphabet from Planet Applique.

Name added with the font "Curlz" from 8 Claws

I made some barrettes to coordinate, using some zebra print felt I happened to have on hand, and stitched on some little silver beads at the crown points.

Princess Crown felt stitchies from GG Designs

It's rather girlie, so I hope little Rihonna likes it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Elephant Blanket

A friend made some no-sew fleece blankets as baby gifts and asked me to embroider on them.  She was using a blue fleece for the back and the fleece for the front had animal silhouettes on it in various colors.

The fringe will be tied together

We picked a cute little elephant from Designs by Juju and added the baby's name in the font "Itty Bitty" from 8 Claws.

I used fleece for the applique fabric,
and water-soluble stabilizer on top when stitching

I did another one for her previously and it had the first and middle names with the elephant in the middle, and the name was on the diagonal in the corner.  Because of the short middle name, we did the layout differently for this blanket.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Outfit Preview

I'll be taking a picture of the kids in front of the Christmas tree for our Christmas cards this year and they had to have coordinating outfits, of course.  I decided not to start from scratch and mixed store-bought with home-made items (my part being the easy stuff).

Danielle's sweater dress with
poinsettia barrettes I made her

Samuel's sweater vest (button down
onesie not pictured), with black
corduroy pants I made him

The time I saved by not making their formal holiday outfits will be used to make matching pajama pants for us all (except for my grinch of a husband who doesn't want Elmo on his pjs). 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kitchen Towel Toppers

If you've seen kitchen towels with crocheted toppers at craft fairs, these are like those, only not so old-fashioned and dated looking (says the lady with the embroidered roosters).  The tutorial for these is simple and straightforward, as well as being clever (she used her iron to create the topper shape).  I have loved the shape of the topper since I first saw these last holiday season, and unfortunately it has taken me this long to get around to making them.

Black & red roosters because I live in SC

I made two pairs for an auction to raise money for a mom's group that I'm in.  I have no clue if they did well, but they were an affordable donation.  One hand towel makes two hanging towels, and I used fabrics from my stash and embroidery designs I already had to make these.
Both sets, "packaged" for the auction

The coffee design is actually the "Hot Cocoa" design from Planet Applique, but I removed the words and the marshmallows.

A hot cuppa

The rooster design is from the Barnyard Buddies set from Designs By Juju.  He's a little cutesie, but the only rooster I had.

The red on the rooster shows up better in person

I am thinking about making some of these as gifts next year.  And I want to make a pair for my own home too.  I love the idea of having hand towels that don't disappear.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Party Dress

My husband and I attended a Christmas party for his work and I made a dress for the occasion.  I have very few dresses in my closet that fit--3 actually--and I don't like any of them very much, not even the 2 that I made.  I was very pleased at how it turned out (until I saw the side view pics.  Ugh, does anyone who has had children look good from the side?)

Yes, we coordinated :)

I used Simplicity 3503 and made the long view with a deep v-neck and back.  I raised the neckline a bit, though, as I don't think undergarments should be optional (and, now that I've seen myself from the side--pics I won't be sharing here, by the way--I can see that Spanx should not be optional either.  Santa, I hope you're reading this!)

It's the left-most evening dress

My fabric was not as formal as on the envelope, but I wanted to use it because I thought it was pretty and the colors seemed wintery to me.  Plus I like to wear grey, black and blue.  I have no clue what dresses look good on me, and the thought of trying on a bunch of clothes at the store makes me a bit discouraged, so I decided to try this one and learn as I go.  This pattern has been very popular and I especially love Eugenia's version, though I made a different view.

The back

I consider this project successful for several reasons.
  1. I achieved a nice finish on the inside and out (not perfect, but I have far less practice on knits than I do on wovens and I was very satisfied with the progress I've made).
  2. I achieved a decent fit.  I made a few adjustments before cutting the pattern out and made several adjustments during the sewing process as well.  You can read the technical details in my pattern review if you wish. 
  3. I sewed myself something.  I don't sew for myself much, so it felt really nice to spend some time making something I could wear.
  4. I feel like I conquered my fear of knits.  Sure, the fear may creep up again, but having to make adjustments and unpick and re-do seams taught me that knits are not as intimidating as I thought. 
The dress held up great during an evening of dancing, even though I neglected to finish the waist seam properly. (When you're finishing up a dress the day you're supposed to wear it, sometimes you accidentally baste and go.  I was so nervous when I realized this on the way to the party!).  This project has gotten me excited about sewing for myself more after Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tip: Pattern Weights

One option for cutting out patterns if you're using a knit (or have a fabric that you don't want to put pins in) is to use pattern weights.  I never heard of this before reading about it on Pattern Review, but it's quite handy, especially if you also use a rotary cutter instead of scissors.

There are some really cute options, like these, and it would be really simple to make some pretty ones using fabric and washers.  But, if you're looking for a quick and dirty (and free if you have a well-stocked pantry) solution I suggest tuna cans*.  And Mexicorn**.

Even handier since I cut knits on my kitchen counter!

The piece shown in the picture above is the bodice for the dress I'm making myself.  Here's a better picture of the fabric I'm using.

I love the colors and it feels so nice
As for the pattern--I'm attempting to make Simplicity 3503, the long view with short sleeves.

*Tuna cans are especially nice since they are low profile (aka short).  You can put them near the pattern's edge and it's easier to get around them than a full-sized can.
**Mexicorn is taller than a tuna can, but a little heavier, so it's nice as well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Winter PJs

The weather got cold in October and I was unprepared for it since it's normally in the 70s until November.  Danielle got a few store-bought pairs to tide her over, and I got started making her some flannel pjs.  Of course, by the time I finished them up today it was back in the 70s.  Grrr.  That's what I get for getting sidetracked with other projects. 

She likes them!

Anyhow, I used the ultra-versatile peasant top (drafted from the indietutes tutorial) and lengthened the sleeves to make the pajama top.  I angled the inside edge some to make them more sleeve shaped.

The yellow line is the original short sleeve,
the red line shows the changes to make a long sleeve

The pants were made using McCalls 6224 in a size 1 width and size 2 length (for my 2 1/2 year old who last measured at above average height).  I wanted to use a pajama pattern so that the pants would have some extra ease and comfort, but these were waaaay off on the size.  The pattern is unisex, which might account for some of the sizing problems.  I sewed a deep hem and had to do a double row of stitching to hold the excess fabric up (they were about 3 inches too long).   There is also too much ease in the hips, even though I used a size 1.  I will using a different pattern in the future to make her more pants.

I only had enough of the heart fabric
to make the top, but I think these pjs turned
out cute with the solid-color pants

A lady who lives near my mom was giving away fabric because her grandchildren are now teens, so my mom brought it to me on her last visit.  (Thanks, Mom, for looking out for me!)  The cute heart fabric is part of that bunch.  I used some yucky pink flannel from WalMart for the pants.  I bought it a few years ago to make myself a robe, and decided not to spend the time working with the flannel after I saw how bad it looked after one wash.  It is good enough for pjs that will only be worn a season or two though.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Few More Burps

These are the last two sets of burp cloths I needed to make for my sister.

The first is for her sister-in-law, who just had a little girl.  I used the "Kindergarten" font from 8 Claws & a Paw.

Pink and Grey set

The other set is for a little boy named Nico.  I used fabrics from Riley Blake (love them!) and the "Mister" font from 8 Claws.

Bullseye Stars set

I really like how both sets turned out and it was nice to use my sewing machine again :)  Next up, some pjs for Danielle and a dress for me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Bibs

I wanted Samuel to have something festive to wear today, since his sister is wearing her turkey shirt.  Here's what he will be wearing for Thanksgiving.

Bibs are feeder bibs, with 5x7 designs resized to 90%

My son is 5 1/2 months old and drooling like crazy (no teeth buds yet though).  Making him a onesie that would be covered up by a bib was pointless.  So I made him this pair of bibs instead.  I made him two bibs because he likes to chew on them and they get soaked pretty quickly.

Design from Planet Applique

I like that the next baby can wear these as well (if we decide to have one, which my husband probably won't agree to unless Samuel starts to sleep through the night!)

Also from Planet Applique

I hope you and yours have the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reindeer Scarf

This Christmas, I will be making most of the gifts I give, which is something I started last year.  My family is fortunate to have what we need, and enough of what we want, so handmade gifts fit the spirit of the holiday (and my budget) better.

I have really gotten into machine embroidery this past year (though I've had my machine for a bit longer than that), and plan to use it more than my sewing machine for gifts this year.  I love to sew, but am just plain running out of time.

First up is this early present for my mom.  She saw this reindeer and wanted me to embroider it on something.  Since she picked out what she wanted and I will be sending it to her as soon as I can get to the post office, I'm not ruining any surprises here.

Isn't this fella cute?

This is my first no-sew scarf.  My MIL gave me one a few years ago and that was when I discovered that fleece is magical!  It's warm and cozy and I don't get overheated without warning.  I ♥ fleece!

Reindeer from Stitch on Time

My mom and I just happen to have the very same cream jacket hoodie, so I asked my reluctant happy-to-help husband to take a picture of the scarf being worn.  I am in love with it and wish I had a bigger piece of leftover fleece to make myself one.

*sigh* I want to keep it for myself...

Danielle must be feeling a bit jealous lately, as she enthusiastically yells "My turn!" every time we do something that looks even remotely fun (apparently, Samuel eating smashed green beans qualifies).  So she wanted to get in on some reindeer scarf action also.

She didn't quite understand that we
were supposed to see the reindeer :)

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