Thursday, March 31, 2011

a new {preschool} lunch bag

I made this other really cool lunch bag back in August for Logan to take with him to preschool.  He helped me pick out the fabric and has been enamored with it for 7 months.

But the minor problem with this other bag just became a huge issue.  I only had 6 inch zippers on hand when I made the old bag, so the opening is a little small.  And since Lunchables have found their way to the preschool menu, that small zipper opening causes a really tight squeeze (so much so that he has to ask for help unloading the bag).  So I decided it was time for a new one.

And when I showed Logan this baby, he finally agreed with me.

I really like how cute this bag looks.  I didn't like it at first.  The top flap is a little narrower than it should be and the bag was originally a little taller.  The bottom dimensions were supposed to be 6 x 4 inches but ended up at 5 x 5 . . . close but not quite right. 

I tried to compensate for the two layers of low loft batting that I added to the inside for extra weight by making the lining a little smaller than the original outside dimension.  But I overcompensated and ended up with extra fabric on the outer layer that I had to try and ease in.  I'm still working on my ratio of lining to outer dimensions.

Despite all these problems, it really did turn out pretty cute for a little boy's lunch bag.  And it does fit Lunchable boxes, so at least it meets the demand.  Logan says it's a keeper.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

shamrock shirt {happy st. patrick's day}

Here is another boy's t-shirt that I made from t-shirt scraps.  I just love creating t-shirts for my boys.  When I asked my 5-year-old if I could make him a shamrock shirt for St. Patrick's Day, he told me that I can make him everything that I want to make him.  He even prayed during grace that God would help me make one.  He is such a great audience for my projects.

Now that I've drafted my raglan sleeve patterns for my two boys, I spend much of my time things of new details to add to make the shirt unique.

In this shirt, I added not only a shamrock from a green knit, but also green stripes on the sleeve.  These were very easy to add with the help of double sided fusible web.  I used the kind sold by the yard that I use for all my appliques, but I know similar stuff comes in rolls that is more likely used for hems and bias tape.  That stuff would probably have worked great here.

I actually ran out of black t-shirt scraps for the sleeves, so I decided to go with the "mock double-shirt sleeve."  I used scraps from a white t-shirt to continue the sleeves.  I just sewed them to the short sleeve hem on the inside of the sleeve.

The best part about the construction of this shirt is that I was able to use all existing hems.  There are 5 hems on this shirt: one on each short sleeve, one on each long sleeve, and the bottom hem.  And I didn't have to sew one of them.  I really don't mind sewing hems, but it does cut down on completion time.

I really do like the details on this shirt.  This is a new twist on my favorite shirt pattern proving just how versitle one pattern can be.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

saddle up! {another boy's t-shirt}

This is my favorite shirt so far.  I spent some time a few weekends ago modifying the t-shirt pattern that I made for a boys size 4-5 into a boys size 2-3.  I'm sure this would have been easier if I understood the dynamics of pattern grading, but I consider myself a confident beginner and that it beyond the scope of such skill level.

Anyway, I just trimmed a little here and measured a little there and voila!  A new pattern size for kids ages 2-3 was born.  This was my test piece and I couldn't be happier with it.  The white part of the t-shirt was transformed from a ready-made woman's shirt that my sister was no longer enamored with (and she admits that it is much cuter this way).  The sleeves were refashioned from t-shirt scraps that I used to make a t-shirt quilt (top) for the hub.

I just love the raglan sleeve, particularly on little boys.  Girls gets all kinds of fun ways to dress up their wardrobe like ruffles, shirring, and other frilly things.  This is my way of making boys' t-shirts more interesting.  And the dual color style always reminds me of baseball . . . my favorite sport and a sure sign of spring.  These sleeves are sewn with wrong sides together, and the seams are folded to one side and sewn down.  I just love this look.  I've seen this type of seam finish on a lot of other blogs lately; they have been using a pattern from Patterns by Figgy.

And I am experimenting with neck seam finishes to give the shirt a cleaner look.  For this one, I took a scrap of white knit and folded it like double-fold bias tape.  I wrapped it around the back neck seam to hide the stitches.  I like the look, but I will keep looking for something a easier.  This takes a lot of concentration.

I just love this shirt!  At first I thought the shirt was a little too big for my 2.5 year old, but the pattern seems to lean a little more toward the 3 side.  So it really is perfect for boys clothes that will last at least another year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

swimsuit cover-ups {little boy and mommy}

We recently took a family trip to an indoor waterpark to celebrate Logan's fifth birthday.  I wanted to make both of the boys a swimsuit cover-up, but as usual, I had more imagination than time.  My idea was to transform an adult-sized robe into two little cover-ups, but my first attempt proved a little more snug on Logan than I thought it should be.  So I passed it down to the little brother.  And then I ran out of robe.  So Logan's will have to wait.

I gave this little boys cover-up inset sleeves, but if you are thinking of making one for your little boy, skip the separate sleeves and go kimono (or dolman) style.

I added this trim for an extra bit of boy color.  A swim cover-up, unfortunately, is not something that screams boy, so I tried to make it unmistakably boyish.

And a hood helps with that mission, too.

I'm not sure the tie at the waist is particularly boyish, but it's blue jersey knit from my t-shirt scraps.  I thought the cover-up needed a little waist definition.  I sewed a casing around the waist on the inside with regular cotton woven fabric and threaded the tie through it.  Then I cut a couple of tiny holes to pull the tie through the front on both sides.

It keeps him warm, so we're both happy.

And this one I made for me.  I used a yard of dark purple terry and sewed a basic rectangle.  I made a casing at the top with cotton woven and threaded elastic through it.  I would definitely recommend straps and I might add some.  It's a little too easy for this to slide down . . . but maybe that's just a small bust problem.

I left the bottom edge frayed and sewed a couple lines of stitching to prevent too much fraying.

And because I love extra details, I added a couple of in-seam pockets.  Genius idea, just not carried out all that well.  I didn't measure where I put them so they are a little too low to be really useful.  But it did help me understand how these types of pockets are formed.

A good start for my first attempt at both types.  Now if Summer would just come a little quicker.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

bean bag toss game

A lot of sewers have tackled this easy project.  I turned mine into a game.  I was enamored with the idea of creating some of these super simple bean bags, but I wanted more than just a few bags to keep the busy boys, well, busy.

I created this mat to toss the bags onto.  The mat was made with 6 different 8.5 inch squares.  I appliqued a number in each square so we can keep score (I always use double-sided fusible web to hold the applique in place while I sew).  Keeping the numbers low (1, 2, and 3) allows my 5-year-old to total the points on his own.  This game will help him start learning simple math. 

These bean bags are so simple to make.  I bought a Central Park by Kate Spain charm pack during my last visit to a local quilt shop and the size is perfect for this project.  I was nervous to use my coveted charm pack for the bags (I confess to hoarding gorgeous fabric), but I just love how they turned out.  I used the same fabric for the backs as I used for the binding, but I could easily have used more charms.

These bags measure 4.5 inches square.  I filled them with about 2/3 cup of cheap white rice.  This amount filled the bags about 3/4 full.  I used almost 2 lbs of rice to fill 6 bags. 

I just can't get enough of these.

And since I can't stand when accessories stray from their toys, I added a few extra details to transform the mat into a carrying case for the bean bags: a tri-fold style, side flanges with hook and loop tape, a hook and loop closure, and a convenient handle for easy transport.

Now the game can stay together and we don't have to go searching for the bags before we can play.

This was just one of the ideas I came up with for a bean bag game.  There are so many other ways to go with this (a bullseye style mat and nesting baskets to throw the bags into were a few of my other ideas).  I think this game might just be my go-to gift for little ones now.