Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween 2010!

From my family to yours . . .

Have a bountiful Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

crayon & pad folder

Last weekend, Logan said to me those words I have been longing to hear for 4.6 years:

"Mom, I wanna make something."

This is the time when you realize that your passions have made an impression on your little ones. 
He is actually interested in the things that interest you.
He wants to be part of that part of your life.
He has the urge to create!  What a wonderful thing to pass along to a child.

Anyway, when I questioned what he wanted to make, he replied that he didn't know but that he wanted to make it with fabric (to be specific, he said he wanted to make something with "fagric" but I got the point).  So the wheels started turning and we came up with a crayon and paper pad folder.

Last Christmas, my mom let me go through her fabric stash and take whatever I wanted.  She had this Crayola crayon fabric for probably 10 years and she used it once with plenty left over.  So I took it figuring I would find some use for it.

I have always wanted to make a crayon roll-up for the kids, but I never found the time.  I like the idea of all-in-ones, so I chose to make it a folder condusive to storing a pad of paper, too.  I was too lazy to go to the store and get a real pad of paper, so I trimmed up some paper from my ridiculously huge paper stash and stapled a stack to a piece of cardstock for stability.

I gave the folder more substance with a piece of quilt batting.  I might also stablize the main pieces with interfacing next time to make the folder even more substansial.  I topped off the folder with a strap and snap, but I forgot how little hands can't handle snaps very well.  Velcro would have been a better choice.

This little project got rave reviews from the recipients.  We even made a second one for the little brother.  Logan is so proud!  He asked if he could bring his to preschool to show all his teachers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ghostly halloween bucket

My two-year-old needed a trick-or-treat bucket for halloween this year.  He wasn't really into halloween last year so there was really no need for a bag.  But this year I think I have convinced him that costumes really are fun . . . especially when you get candy just for wearing them.

It's almost as big as he is, so it should fit lots and lots of candy . . . or chips since that's what the zoo was giving out this year.

My four-year-old has a pumpkin bucket that has been with him for 5 halloweens.  It's still in good shape.  I picked a bucket design that would compliment his pumpkin.  If only my four-year-old would let me be as creative with his costumes as I'm allowed to be with the buckets . . .

This pumpkin bucket was purchase before I discovered my true love for sewing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a new (oversized) patchwork pillow

I finally got to make this pillow as a wedding gift for the hub's sister.  Her wedding was a couple of weeks ago, but I got tied up with the boys' suits and my dress so the pillow had to wait.

It's an oversized pillow, about 19 inches by 37 inches.  Not a body pillow, persay, but close.  I chopped a little off the long edge of the pillow form so the pillow would appear more stuffed.  I like overstuffed pillows.  I also like the look of subtle quilting on a pillow, so I sandwiched a piece of batting between the patchwork top and the lining and quilted a few simple blue lines.  If you want more inspiration for quilted pillows, SewKatieDid has some amazing photos here.  That's where I found my inspiration.

I really like this fabric that I used for the backing (good thing I kept some for myself).  There's nothing like birds and leaves and whimsical tree branches to shout "wedding day" don't you think?

And finally!!!  An invisible zipper that is actually invisible!  If it weren't for the zipper pull, I would bet that no one would even notice.  I've read tutorials on inserting invisible zippers that say to iron the zipper.  But I didn't realize until this project that I had to iron the teeth toward the front of the zipper to allow the zipper foot to get deathly close to the teeth.  Duh.

I added a little personalization to the pillow via applique.  Hopefully you would assume this is their wedding date.  You would be correct.  A personal touch, but to be honest, I should have gone with smaller buttons.  I think the large buttons, although lovely in their own rite, overshadow the numbers.  But at least all the colors match.

Happy Wedding Day Angela & Mike!  The ceremony was lovely and the reception was a blast.  I wish you a very happy life together.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

quick zipper pouches

After my last few projects (that I absolutely loved making but required a major time investment), I wanted to make something quick.  I have plenty of scraps and remnants laying around (as I'm sure we all do) and they work perfectly for small projects like this.  I only had 6 inch zippers on hand so these pouches measure about 4 inches x 6 inches.

I used my invisible zipper foot for the first pouch (the greyish one).  I guess I've gotten a little too good with that foot because I sewed just a little too close to the teeth.  I didn't sew over the teeth, but the zipper is a little hard to open because it runs over the fabric just a wee bit.  Not too big of a deal, but I decided to use a regular zipper foot for the next pouch (I forgot I had a regular zipper foot).

I don't know what I will use these for, but I know that over the last several months I have thought to myself many, many times "I should make a pouch to carry those."  If that thought crossed my mind that often, I'm sure these will be put to good use.  And if not, I have a jump start on Christmas presents.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

i made my first dress

In addition to the boys' suits, I also made myself a little something for the hub's sister's wedding.  I thought a fancy dress was in order since the hub and both little ones would be dressed to impress.  By the time I was done with the boys' suits, I only had 3 evenings to make my whole dress.

I bought a pattern to use, but I wasn't paying attention when I pulled it from the drawer.  I bought the larger sized pattern and by the time I realized it, I didn't have the time to exchange it.  So I decided to try one on my own.  A risky bet for first dress.

I used champagne colored shantang for the fabric.  I made the top part first by cutting rectangles and pleating them.  I stacked the pleats at the top so the overall shape would form two triangles.  Then I attached the two triangular shapes at the top so they would form a neck strap for a halter top look.

Not so symmetrical here with the pleats at the neck, but it worked well enough.

I included a center sash just below the bustline.  This is really the only part that made me nervous.  I knew that if the sizing was off even a little that the dress would either be too tight or too loose.  During the process, I was sure that I had gone too small (a much harder problem to fix and a predicament I often find myself in for some reason).  But when I tried it on, it zipped better than I even expected it to!  It's for those seldom moments that I even bother sewing clothes.

My not-so-invisible zipper . . . and a fun tag chosen by my 4-year-old.

I also opted for a "blind" hem.  Why is it that my invisible zippers aren't invisible and my blind hems aren't blind?  Probably lack of practice . . . and matching thread.

This is the back.  Too low for a bra, so I had to go without.  It wasn't totally unexpected given the design I chose.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the result.  The dress is completely lined, too, which again was a first for me.  And it only cost about $40.  I really hope I can find another occasion to wear this dress.  It looks great with a black cardigan, too (thanks to my sister).  Some parts of it may look homesewn, but I think it's a pretty great accomplishment.  And it makes me want to sew more.