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 :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mom's Embroidery Night In

Wow, it's Friday already.   I don't know where the week went.  I almost forgot to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving, yikes!

Earlier this week, the ladies in my MOPS group came over for a Mom's Night In.  I thought it would be fun for those who don't have an embroidery machine to get a chance to pick and stitch a project.  

We only got a few projects done (there was too much yummy food and good conversation, and too little time), but they turned out cute!  We got a turkey shirt made, using this design from Planet Applique.

Jodi picked out browns, green and camo--love it!

My friend Kelly wanted some felt stitchies for her daughters' Christmas pictures so we made these new poinsettias and they turned out so pretty.  We used some sparkly red felt that I had and I want to make a pair exactly the same as these for Danielle's holiday photos.

I don't know how well the sparkles show, but
the barrettes are so pretty in person

We also got a name/birthdate embroidered on a handmade baby blanket, which was really special.  I wish we could do embroidery night every month!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Prickle of Hedgehogs

Did you catch the "rafter" of turkeys in my last post?  I've enjoyed looking up what a group of my embroidered animals is called.  Today I present an array of hedgehogs, though I prefer the alternative--"prickle".

For my nieces.  No, really, I do sew for
people other than them...

Seriously, I'm wrapping up the sewing for my sister.  I don't know how she ended up with more projects on my to-do list than I did (especially since I keep my to-do list never ending).  Anyways, she wanted these hedgehogs from LynniePinnie on shirts for her girls.

Detail shot of the green one

She picked out a bunch of fabrics from The Little Fabric Shop, and asked me to use them.  I think she was tired, as they were not really all in the same color scheme.  My mom was visiting and came up with the order of the fabrics, along with the idea to have the colors reversed between the two.

Here's the pink one

I thought that was a great idea.  I must say I prefer this hedgehog from Planet Applique, but I made Danielle a shirt with this one after a slight sizing snafu (I couldn't have one twin's hedgehog be 90% the size of the other!)

One of these things is not like the others

These shirts were a little outside my comfort zone, but I like that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ribbon Turkey Shirt

I picked up some brown tees at Target back in September, wanting to make Thanksgiving Day shirts for all the girls.  My sister found this ribbon turkey design that she liked.  It's funny, because shortly after that I started seeing ribbon turkeys everywhere! (I told you my sister was trendy :)  I didn't care for that particular turkey, so I decided to buy this turkey design from Applique Market instead.

I wanted to make the shirts right away but had some other projects to finish up first.  In the meantime, Janay paraded out a whole rafter of turkeys for me to be envious of.  And Sheila at Savvy Stitches has been knocking them out too.  But, I finally got Danielle's shirt done and I am happy.

I thought the message was appropriate for
Veteran's Day, even if the turkey isn't

I had to modify the design a bit to make room for the ribbons.  So I used my Embird demo (I'm really loving it!) to remove the outer layer of feathers.  Then I added "Give Thanks" using the font Puppy Love from 8 Claws. I liked that the letters were all a consistent height and got the idea when Janay blogged about using the Butterball font in this post.

I used fleece under the fabric to smooth out the
lumps made by the ribbon ends

I've mentioned that my sister and I have different tastes.  She thought the result was cute, but wants a girlier turkey.  That works for me, because I really want to stitch out this cute girlie turkey that Lynnie Pinnie came out with recently.  Two more turkey shirts, coming up!

I can't believe I almost forgot--here are some barrettes I made to go with the shirt.

Turkey barrettes from GG Designs

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Owl Hats

I promise to get back to my regularly scheduled sewing soon.  But I wanted to show some more hats.

I made these for my nieces because my sister is crazy about owls.  I already made them owl shirts, so I think I'm done with owl gifts for the girls.

Danielle loved the braids

That's my daughter wearing the pink one. Don't worry, I made her a hat too.  It's out of purple variegated yarn, I just need to sew the eyes and beak on it. Hers is a beanie (no earflaps) and I don't think the braids will look right.  But I'll probably make her hats all winter, so she will get some braids :)

I call this picture "Owl in Flight"

These made up pretty quickly.  The longest part was sewing the eyes on evenly :)  I used this pattern from etsy and modified it slightly.  I made two less rows than the pattern said to, and I skipped a row of white on the eyes because I thought it made them too buggy.  There were no instructions on how to do the braids, even though they were shown in the photo.

Smiling owl

I am having a lot of fun with these crocheted hats.  They're not instant gratification, but pretty close.  I'm going to try to get some fabric cut out this week so I can get back to my regular sewing machine, though.

My want-to-do list:
  • I have a shirtdress from this Oliver + S pattern (the alternate view) that I want to make for Danielle for the winter
  • I have a bunch of PJ pants to make for our family and for gifts 
  • I have a bunch of Christmas gifts to make, mostly with my embroidery machine.  I will have to be careful which ones I blog about :) 
  • I want to make at least two tops for myself.  I desperately need some clothes and have been refusing to buy them because I have too much so much fabric.
  • I have 3 outfits planned for Samuel that consist of long-sleeved appliqued onesies and coordinating pants
I better get off the computer and back to work!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tip: Turning Skinny Straps

It's been bothering me that it's been so long since I've done a tip or technique post.  I have so many ideas for them, but not nearly enough time.  Then I realized I don't need to re-invent the wheel every week--I can share tips I've found on other blogs that I think are helpful! 

There are a number of ways to turn straps and tubes inside out, but it can be hard sometimes, especially if they're really skinny. This super-helpful step-by-step from the blog Handmade Things is the easiest way I've found to turn skinny tubes (like spaghetti straps or button loops) right side out.

I used this when I was making button loops for a top for my nieces.

I ended up hating the top--but loved the buttons!

Basically, you sew your tube, leaving both ends open.  Then you cut a small horizontal slit just below the opening on one end. Stick a bobby pin with one leg through the slit and one through the main tube (it may take a little wrangling).  Then you can slide the bobby pin through the tube and the other end will follow.  Let me know if you try it, I think you will find it works better than other methods!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Little Aviator

I recently got on a crocheted hat kick which led to a weekend filled with Papa Murphy's pizza (yum!) and lots of hooking.  I guess I failed to mentioned that I was the only girl in middle school making afghans?  Yep, I've been crocheting for more than 20 years, and cross-stitching that long as well.  And I've got fresh baked banana bread and pumpkin rolls in my kitchen as I type this...I'm a regular Betsy Homemaker :)

Anyways, long story short, I saw some photos on Facebook which sent me to Etsy which led me to Michael's and the end result is that I made this little aviator bomber hat for my son.

Here's a sort of front/side/top view

I had to crochet buttons because I couldn't find
any that coordinated well & were big enough

I bought the pattern on Etsy and am fairly pleased with the result.  I don't know if I'm just a bit out of touch with what current crochet patterns are like, but I felt like the pattern could have been more explicit.  It wasn't difficult to follow, by any means, but it wasn't what I was used to.

Chicks dig me because I can fly planes

I think he's adorable, obviously, but the hat would be cuter if I made a bigger size.  In my defense, he is only 5 months old and I made the 6 to 12 month size (based on his measurements and ensuring proper gauge).

He's just got a HUGE noggin

Ah well, it doesn't take long to make one of these so I'll just make a bigger one.  Next time, though, I will use two strands of worsted instead of the bulky yarn.

I love him!

If you're interested, here's how I made the buttons:

Ch 3.  8 hdc in second chain from hook.  Join with sl st, fasten off. (Make 2)

I sewed the buttons onto the front flap, then stitched the flap to the hat when I added the "X" in the center of the button.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bandana Burps

I made another set of burps for my sister to give as gifts--two sets actually.  Seems there's something in the water in her neighborhood, as every few houses has a set of twins!

I love how the "P" and "R" are so similar

This set sewed up so sweetly and I am a bit sad that I won't be making these to sell :(  The font I used on these is "Sweet Tarts" from 8 Claws and it's one of my favorites.

My traditional burp shot :)

The next post will be a bit of a switch--I'll be sharing a crochet project I've been working on!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween...4 days later

I was finishing Danielle's costume and sewing my coordinating shirt all the way up until dinnertime on Halloween--yikes! I was much more on the ball last year. But, it all got done and I loved the way our little pirate family turned out.

Me and my treasures:)

 The shirt says "My children are my treasure" and I'm pleased with how it turned out even though no one saw it while we were trick or treating (it was dark and I stayed on the sidewalk with Samuel in the stroller...)

Speaking of, here's what my little man looked like with the bib I didn't get a picture of before:

Mimi tied the head scarf and he
looks a little gangster...

We layered the kids because it was pretty cold this year.  Figures.  I made a fleece bumblebee costume for Danielle's first Halloween and it turned out to be 70+ degrees so she couldn't even wear it :(  It sure was cute though.

The flower headband was a last-minute idea that year

I really liked the way Danielle's pirate outfit turned out even though it was a bear to sew.  I just kept having off-days whenever I tried to work on it.  I think I ripped and re-sewed almost every seam on that darn outfit.  I did my own thing with the sash, in the interest of time.  I'm sure it's similar to what the pattern called for.  I changed her earrings just for trick-or-treating--she doesn't normally wear big ol' hoops!


I used Simplicity 3650, which I talked about in this post.  The design of the top was pretty genius--it's a black bodice with a white collar/facing and sleeves instead of a separate top and vest.  It would look like two pieces if I hadn't forgotten the buttons...

The back closes with velcro--
very kid friendly!

Danielle LOVED trick or treating this year, since she actually knows what candy is now:) 

Enjoying her booty

She kept asking for Halloween cake, though, because she thinks all special occasions are celebrated with cake.  So I think I will make some cupcakes for her next year.

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