Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween from . . .

The Super Mario Brothers!

Even if Mario is pouting on the hill.  But soon he decided to participate in the camera shoot . . .

And add a little spunk to his character.

I made both of the boys hats.  I viewed a couple of newsboy hat tutorials online, but I had to come up with my own pattern because I couldn't find one with dimensions.  Mario's hat looks like more of a baseball cap.  I altered the dimensions of Luigi's hat, maybe a little too much, to give it more of a mushroom shape at the top.  I think the right look is somewhere between the two.

I also painted the M and L on the hats with fabric paint.  This was a great opportunity to use the freezer paper I bought a year ago.  I just cut out the circle and the letters and ironed them on the hat.  Then I painted with white fabric paint and viola!  A perfect letter inside a perfect circle!

I also had to make Luigi's pants.  It turns out size 5 overalls aren't in style right now.  With no luck finding a pattern, I was on my own.  I used a pants pattern and just added the top.  These took me at least 10 hours; I'm glad to be done.  I think they turned out pretty well and they fit (barely).  What more can you really ask for?

Have a candy filled holiday!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

binding . . . and a few other things on my list

This is the binding that I'm adding to a new wall hanging quilt.  I just love to see binding rolled up like this.  It's too bad you can't just purchase it like this.  That sure would save a lot of time.

It's almost 11am and it's still foggy outside.  It snowed yesterday.  So I'm planning to spend another day inside sewing (for as long as the boys can keep themselves busy).  Here is my list of things I would like to get done today:
  • attach this binding
  • baste another baby sized quilt
  • start and finish a couple of snack rugs for the kids (these are like mug rugs but for snacks since I don't enjoy watching the boys maneuver ceramic mugs)
Not a particularly ambitious list but hopefully doable today.  I hope there are some fun things on your list today!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

t-shirt quilt for the hub {complete . . . finally}

I finished the top for this quilt more than 8 months ago.  I even basted the layers together, but then it just sat in a neatly folded pile for 8 months until I got around to quilting it.  Sad, just sad.  (But what's even sadder is that I have a small wall hanging that might break that record.)

This was a project for the hub.  I rarely get to make anything for him because he is, well, a man.  I have plenty of experience sewing for little boys, but grown up boys are altogether different.  It's hard to find cool quilting cotton for a man and solids just aren't that fun.  So a t-shirt quilt is a perfect gift and he requested it so I just had to do it.  With a project like this, most of the fabric is provided by him, so it will fit his personality just right.

This quilt was supposed to be his birthday gift this year.  Since his birthday was back in January, I guess I missed that deadline, but I am happy to say that I finished it up just in time for cooler weather.  And since I backed with a flannel bed sheet and put a layer of cotton batting in the middle, this sucker should keep him plenty warm this winter.

I cut the t-shirts all different sizes, so it was a bit of a challenge to get the layout to work.  I used a black solid for the sashing to separate the t-shirts.  I did not use interfacing on the backs of the t-shirts.

I quilted this in grey thread using double diagonal lines to make diamond shapes.  I actually used painters tape to help guide my straight lines.  I'm sure others have done this, but this also served an additional purpose.  The tape kept the knit t-shirts in place while I quilted (even with the walking foot, the shirts shifted), so I didn't really need the interfacing.

You will never find two t-shirt quilts exactly the same.  I think they always turn out a little quirky because the designs and colors aren't always complementary.  But I guess it's that kind of originality that makes them such a hit.  And it's a great way to preserve old or outdated t-shirts that you just can't bare to part with.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2x2 patchwork pillow {with piping}

I finished this pillow over the weekend.  I used 100-2x2 inch squares in a grid pattern, the largest number of the smallest squares I've ever sewn.  I almost changed the design so many times during the process because I'm always looking for that extra angle that will make something look really amazing.  The problem is that my original design may have been really great and I just don't give myself the chance to find out.  So for this one, I decided to forgo all changes and just go with my original thoughts.  Does anyone else drive themselves crazy trying to find the perfect design?

This was my first adventure with piping and I certainly learned a few things.  I'm documenting them here because I know I will forget next time.
  1. When covering the cord with fabric, don't sew as close to the cord as possible.  Leave a little room between the cord and the stitching.  You can sew close to the cord when you sew the layers together.  This will prevent the original stitching from sewing when the layers are sewn together.
  2. I sewed the piping to the top layer first and then added the back layer.  When sewing the back layer, follow the same stitching line created when the piping was sewn to the top layer.  This will ensure the top layer stitching line doesn't show between the piping and the new seam line.

I backed the pillow with light blue minkee that I've had for a couple of years.  I don't even remember what I originally used it for.  It's super soft, but I forgot how much it moves during sewing.  I lined each the front and back pieces with muslin, so I guess it could have been the muslin sliding smoothly against the minkee.

I even added a carry strap for little hands to drag the pillow around.  We do a lot of shifting rooms at my house to keep things interesting, so it was important to be able to easily carry the pillow around.

The pillow form is one of two down pillows that I bought at a white elephant sale more than a year ago (2 for $1).  Since this is down, it doesn't stand upright as well as other pillows, but man is it comfortable.  I designed this pillow for Logan, but I find the hub sneaking rest with it more often.

I actually prefer the wrinkled look of quilts, but I had a really hard time deciding whether I should wash this pillow cover.  I included an invisible zipper (great tutorial here) for easy removal, but I was afraid I would affect the look of the pillow.  Since the pillow was created for little boys, I'm sure I will have to wash it soon anyway.