Monday, August 29, 2011

Big Changes!

Whew!  I have been hard at work on the computer for most of my spare time the past two days.  Not much sewing has gotten done in the meantime, but I'm excited about two big items I tackled.

First, I just ordered fabrics for EIGHT new burp cloth sets!  It was super fun to shop for them, and this new batch will be more colorful and a little less conservative than the first 8.  Here's a sneak peak at one combination:
I LOVE Riley Blake fabrics!

In addition to Riley Blake fabrics, I've selected some from Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman and Marcus Bros.

The other really big change is that I've now added a form for ordering burps directly from Facebook.   There are drop-down boxes and links to the font & fabric choices right on the form, so it should be very easy to order now!  If you have any comments, questions or concerns about the Facebook page changes, please let me know!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pattern Review

Did you notice, oh 6 faithful followers (one of whom is actually me *shame face*), that I added a new widget?  Over to the left you will see stuff I've made.  (Unless I've played around with my blog layout again.)  This new widget is courtesy of Pattern Review, my favorite sewing website (nayy*).  You can look up any pattern and read reviews if people have already made it.  It's a great way to find out which sewing patterns you'll have success with and which ones are not worth the time, fabric or money.

The site can be rather confusing to navigate, but that's in part because there is LOADS of useful information.  I use the site for:
  • submitting reviews
  • reading reviews
  • looking up patterns I plan to buy or try
  • cataloging what patterns I own
  • finding tips/techniques for sewing, fitting, organizing, etc
  • researching sewing machines
  • finding reviews of online sites
  • resolving fit issues (via message board feedback)
See?  There's a LOT going on here

The two best parts have got to be seeing what other people sew (it's so inspiring!) and being able to take part in a forum where others have the same interest.  You can even chat about Project Runway!

My reviews for the tank and skirt in my
last post are the 1st and 3rd in this pic :)

I highly recommend you check out this site if you haven't already.  Odds are, if you google a sewing question they will come up pretty high on the list.  The people there are pretty friendly and they are super helpful with all kinds of sewing questions.

*nayy = Not Affiliated, yada yada, which means I don't profit off of Pattern Review.  It's just a community that I love and wanted to recommend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday Outfit

So I was on top of things this year and made Danielle's birthday outfit in March, over a month before her April birthday.  It was a white onesie (which prevented her from taking her diaper off), appliqued to match a little ruffled skirt I made her.

The applique is hard to see--it's a
"2" with a flame on top, from
Planet Applique

Well, it doesn't make sense for her to run around in a onesie with a birthday candle on it the other 364 days of the year so today, FIVE months later, I finally got around to making a tank top so she can wear the skirt again.

I got ONE good pic!

The top is made using the pattern developed from this indietutes tutorial.  I have made adjustments to the pattern and used it for making pajama tops, nightgowns, pillowcase dresses, peasant tops, and now a tank top.  The tank top instructions came from this tutorial.

I had added growing room to the pattern when I made her pajama tops, so my first attempt at this didn't fit well.  I took some width and length off for this second try and it turned out much better.  If I make it again (it be a great "canvas" for embroidery), I will also add a slight A-line shape to give her a little more ease at the hem.  I also will raise the neckline a little bit (I thought I needed to lower it and I was wrong), and maybe even curve the neck for a more appealing shape.

The front elastic is shorter than the back

The skirt is from this ruffled skirt tutorial.  I had to sew it twice, which sucked.  The first time I scaled the measurements down because the ones provided were for a 5 year old.  I used ratios to keep the proportions between the layers the same but overall it was too short and poofy.  Especially in a quilting cotton.  The second time I made it I was very happy with the sizing. 

♥sigh♥ i love the little label in the back

All in all, I think the outfit is okay.  It definitely looks handmade, but since I had to make both the tank and the skirt twice, I'm glad I used fabric from my stash and not some uber-trendy stuff I paid a lot of money for. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sewing Room Organization

I could fill a ton of blog posts with my thoughts on sewing room organization, but I'll stick to one that highlights my main storage solutions.

I arranged them by color just for this picture!
Fabric Storage

I spent a lot of time looking for ideas on how to store my fabric.  My final solution--mini-bolts--involves folding my cloth onto acid-free comic book boards.  I bought the cardboard at a local store and it only cost about $10 for a pack of 100.  I cut some into thirds and they are perfect for storing fat quarters.  Knits and cuts of fabric over 2 or 3 yards don't do as well on these, so I usually fold those flat.  I use rubberbands or clips like these to hold the fabric on the boards.  Then I line all the mini-bolts up on my bookshelves.  It's like being able to browse at a fabric store any time I want--I love it!

Pattern Storage

My patterns got a little beat up from being stored in drawers that were too big for them.  So I was very excited to find these 2 drawer units at Target (they are also carried at Lowe's and probably some other stores).  They are just the right size to store patterns on their side, and they hold a pretty good amount.  I think I have about 200 patterns, so I'd guess each 2 drawer unit holds 100-150 pretty easily.  I used some comic book boards and cut notches in them (like file folder tabs) to label my different pattern categories.

Project Storage

I have found I can trace patterns and cut out fabric fairly easily while my daughter is awake, but sewing at my machine is often out of the question.  Plus, I am one of those people who likes to have a ton of projects going at once.  So, I decided to use baskets to hold my different projects until I can get time to sew.  I put the (cut) fabric, pattern, associated notions, etc, all together, and then store them in a sweater organizer, taking them over to my sewing table when I am ready to use them.  The sweater organizer is hung from the ceiling using "swag hooks" (like you use to hang plants), and a little bit of chain to drop it down to the right height. (Thanks for the idea, mom!)

Not my notions--but if you've seen one
white drawer unit, you've seen them all...
Notions Storage

 I use a variety of containers on top of my desk to hold my seam ripper, tape measure and other frequently used notions.  I have the BEST drawer unit ever--the Vika Alex--to store my elastic, bobbins, sewing machine feet, labels, interfacing, etc.  The drawers are fairly shallow (so things don't get lost) and I use plastic containers I got from the Dollar Store inside them.  Pretty straightforward, but pretty awesome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sewing Room Makeover

So, as I mentioned last week, I re-organized my sewing room.  Here is the final result:

Some comparisons to show how the room has evolved.  It's probably easiest (and less confusing to look at) if you click on each picture to see a bigger size.

The major change was swapping my fabric stash and desk corners.  I also took a few things out of the room and stacked my pattern organizers against the wall instead of having them under my desk and window.

So cozy now!

These changes made a much bigger impact in the room than I thought they would.  The room seems bigger and brighter, and, best of all, it should be easier to keep it neat.

My stash (well, maybe half of it)

Oh, added bonus:  I can watch movies and t.v. shows on my computer now!  I was watching them occasionally on a small, portable DVD player leftover from my Navy deployment days, but it's kind of tiny and the sound is pretty bad. 

See, I can peek around my embroidery
machine or just move it to the side

I plan to break down some of the details tomorrow.  I think I have a good system going (at least for me), and I'd like to share.  Hopefully you'll come back to check it out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Burps

Today's been busy with preparations for Hurricane Irene, so, in case I don't get any projects done in time to take pictures, I'm showing off some more of my burp cloths.  All 3 sets here were sewn to go together, since I think 2 (or more!) burps makes for a really nice gift.
Triceratops had some big heads!

I appliqued the last two designs in the fabrics that I offer for personalized sets.  This opens up a lot of opportunities for coordination, since any of the fabric pairs can be used for any of the designs.

I love this "Neutral Stars" set

I wasn't sure about using black on something for a baby, but I really like the way these sweet little animal designs turned out.

Made with "Bright Bugs" fabrics

All the designs for this post are from Planet Applique.  I really like her style and her designs always stitch out beautifully.  There really is a difference between the quality of work of different digitizers, so I want to have a lot more stitching time under my belt before I try my hand at my own designs.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Warren's Birthday Gifts

We had a great time yesterday at the birthday party for Danielle's friend, Warren, who just turned two.  I made him a personalized crayon roll and a hooded towel.  They are coordinated, don't ask me why!

I used the font "Fudge" from 8 Claws

The towel didn't go over so well with the birthday boy, who thought he was going to have to take a bath.  Note to self for future gifts....

Tonka Dump truck from Planet Applique

I can't wait to make my daughter a towel soon.  We still have two months of warm weather ahead of us and I have been in love with the design I plan to use since before I got my machine.  That will have to wait until I get a few other projects out of the way though.  Speaking of, I'm going to go get my sewing room finished right now while my husband is watching the kids. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

In Progress...

My priority today was to make birthday gifts for one of Danielle's friends who just turned two.  So, of course, I spent all morning re-arranging my sewing room instead.  I did get the gifts done but can't post pictures until after the party.  I also can't post pictures of my sewing room yet because I didn't take any (I still need to put pictures back on the walls).  I will share a picture of the room when it was a completely blank slate, since every post needs a picture (isn't that a rule written somewhere?  I'm sure I could find it online, you can find anything online...)

It's supposed to be a formal dining room

I did manage to make my sewing room cozier (because of the layout) and less cluttered (mainly because I removed items from the room and stuffed them in the closet upstairs where I shamefully hide large quantities of fabric).  I have a lot of open storage in my sewing room--instead of just a bunch of drawers and  totes--specifically to ensure that I wouldn't buy more fabric than I had room to store.  Hahahahahahaha!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Crayon Roll

I've seen crayon rolls on other blogs and thought they were a great idea.  Planet Applique offers a free in-the-hoop design for one if you sign up for their Yahoo! group, so I decided to make one for my daughter before we went on a recent road trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Here's how it turned out:

I used the font "Madison" from 8 Claws

I thought it was pretty cute, but was surprised because I didn't realize how small it would be.  I made this in a 5x7 hoop, so it's maybe six inches wide.  It holds 8 crayons and had room for her name (obviously).

For my little girl who loves to dance

I laid a ponytail holder down during the step that stitches the front and back together to use as a closure, an idea I saw on one of my favorite blogs: Stitched By Janay.  
All rolled up

Danielle struggles a little with the rubber band and I like the idea of using velcro, but I wanted to make the whole thing with my embroidery machine and I don't have any software to edit designs yet.  I'll be saving my allowance for that after I get a coverstitch machine.  In the future I would also like to try some of the other designs for crayon rolls that include pockets for little coloring pads. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Burp Cloths

I've always wanted to find a way to have sewing be my job.  As a stay-at-home-mom I already have a full time job, so selling my work is now an extra way to help our family.  When I saw how excited moms got over "pretty" burp cloths, I realized they would be a great fit for me.  The inventory is rather straight-forward, I could play with fabrics and I could use my embroidery machine.  And who doesn't love something with their baby's name on it?  Best of all, it's something I can make in a way that works with my family's schedule.  Added bonus:  I get to make samples and use them for my son!

Aren't they pretty?

Lately I've been working on some custom burp cloths that I plan to post about, but I thought I should show my "basic" burps first.  I use two, coordinating fabrics for each set and offer 8 options for now:

These were so fun to shop for!

I make one burp with a vertical strip and baby's initial, and one burp with the two fabrics horizontal that has baby's name on it.

"Purple Dots" set with Curlz font

I also started making burp cloths with appliqued designs on them, so there are choices for those who don't know the baby's name yet or who want to match a theme.  We have a jungle theme in our nursery, so I love this little guy:

Monkey from Planet Applique

If you want to see more of my work (or find out how to order) you can check out my Facebook page: daniKate Burp Cloths

Monday, August 15, 2011

Twins' Birthday Gifts

I have twin nieces who are 9 months older than my daughter and just turned 3.  I like to sew for them and my sister usually has a lot of requests for me.  She sent me some fabric she had to use for applique.

I ended up making shirts with a zebra print she sent.  They have a peace sign outlined with hot pink.  This was a request from my sister, who is much trendier than I am. 

peace signs from GG Designs Embroidery
They stitched out great and I really liked the detail of the running stitch on top of the satin stitch.

I also made some hooded towels, using the tutorial from Cole's Corner and Creations.
My cheesy model
 They were big, super soft towels I got at Target a few weeks ago.  The tag claims they are fast drying.  I didn't run any timed tests to check this claim, but they did leave a TON of fuzz in the dryer when I pre-washed/dried them.  I really like them though (did I mention they are super soft?) and they had a really good variety of colors.
I stink at taking straight photos...
The duck is a re-sized 4x4 design from Designs by Juju, made using fabric that matches the curtain in the girls' bathroom.  The names are stitched in the Whoa Nelly font from 8 Claws and a Paw.

The towels were a really fun project and quick to sew--the embroidery took up most of the time.  I plan on making more soon, they are rather addicting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And So It Begins!

Hello and welcome!  I love reading sewing craft blogs and getting inspired, and I've finally decided to start one of my own. My name is Angie and I'm a stay-at-home mom to two children--my two year old daughter (who is the inspiration behind DaniKate) and a two month old son.

Me and the kiddos
I've been a crafter for more than 2 decades and have sewn off and on during that time as well (yeah, guess who wasn't the cool girl in middle school?).  After my daughter was born, I found I needed a way to stay sane while I mother all day, so I started sewing a bit obsessively during naptimes, wee morning hours, and after the kids are asleep at night.  (Sane and obsessive somehow go together in my world.)  My hobby grew to include a serger and an embroidery machine (which I miraculously convinced my husband we should buy).  And now I am saving my allowance for a coverstitch machine as part of my dream to make most of the clothes my kids and I wear...

One of my favorite outfits

I plan to share pictures of what I make and, at some point, some original ideas/tutorials, now that my baby is sort of sleeping at night and I am starting to awake from the fog of the past few months.  I like to sew from patterns, though I have been giving some online tutorials a try as well.  You are likely to see gratuitous pictures of my kids and my embroidered burp cloths, the latter of which will hopefully make enough money to convince my husband that we can afford more kids and more fabric :)  I'm sure, given my love of run-on sentences and rambling thoughts that this blog will also be chock-full of inappropriately used parentheses and dot, dot dots...

Gratuitous burp cloth pic

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