Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tuesday Pillow finished on Thursday.

I spoke too soon when I said it would be a breeze to finish my Tuesday Pillow after I made all the squares. I somehow forgot that I had to sew the squares together, top stitch concentric squares on each individual square, put a zipper in the back, make bias tape, attach quilt binding (the bias tape I made), and finish the quilt binding BY HAND. I say that in all caps because I'm not a huge fan of hand sewing. All these steps meant that I took me a couple extra days to complete my Tuesday Pillow. I guess maybe this pillow is more appropriately called my Thursday Pillow!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday was much better than Tuesday!

I was not productive at all yesterday. Not only did my sewing room get neglected last night, but the dishes, the vacuuming, and some of the laundry got neglected as well yesterday. You need a day like that every now and again to really appreciate the days when you are productive.

Today was a very productive day. I love days like today!

Yesterday I got a hot link from a sweet friend of mine for felt flowers. I had a vision of using Alexander Henry's Aqua and Orange Birdseed fabric to make a pillow and to adorn it with the felt flowers. Just a stroke after midnight or sew, my pillow is complete. Vision accomplished!!

Of course, every pillow needs a zipper. Have you tried this tutorial yet?? You really need to!

I also worked on another pillow today. I really thought I might get it finished tonight as well, but tonight I needed to do some of the housework I neglected to do last night. Anyway, I have the start of a Tuesday Pillow. This pattern comes from Stitch Magazine Spring 2009. I first saw it last summer when Annee made it, and it has been on my sewing to do list ever since. Finishing it tomorrow will be a breeze. The actual pattern of each square reminds me of the photo banner I made for my dad for Christmas. I also really, REALLY liked that there were no exact measurements. All of the pieces I used for each square were cut freehand with NO rotary cutter which makes the cutting easy and quick. However, I'm contemplating redoing a square or two. Do any of the squares look lame to you?? I'm not going to point out which ones I don't like, but I promise my feelings won't be hurt if you tell me a square or two needs some tweaking.

Lastly, I made a hair clip for Grace a couple of days ago, and thought it was worthy of documenting here on MOM. I love this flower, and really it is a simple pattern to follow and to make. I fear the flower might be a little heavy for the clip I used. I think I need to find some clips that have claws and will hold Grace's hair better. Sew and learn. Next time I'll know!

And that is all for tonight!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sewing round up.

Speaking of banners, here is my version of the celebratory banner:

Essentially I make them the same as Liz, only I use a rectangle (5x7) and I like to leave a blank space/hole, rather than an empty pendant.  Also, I back mine with a plain white, rather than the front fabric.  Kind of cheap of me, but it conserves the main fabric.  This one was made with Heather Bailey Pop Garden prints, and has been sent off with love. 

Just wanted to report back in with the final versions of the birthday shirts.  I wrapped them up and then let the girls each pick which package to open.  That way I was not responsible for who got which outfit.  Kind of interesting, because it turns out they picked the ones that I would have picked for them.  Do you believe in coincidences?? I don't usually. 


Remember a while back I promised a full report on my designer felt purchase?  Well, here is what I have to show for it.  I went ahead and used the designer felt to make the rose barrettes from the Purl Bee tutorial, as the birthday party favors.  I would say that I do not yet believe that designer felt is essential.  As you can see, there is one barrette in that picture, NOT made with designer felt.  Do you really think it is so awful?  I'll admit I love the color spectrum of designer felt.  And it is more dense, as in, less fuzzy and stringy.  And it's totally easier to cut out.  So really, in the end, I might come to love it, but I probably won't ever love the price.

Moving along, somewhere before the rose barrettes, but I think after the birthday outfits, I just HAD to try the "All-Ages Classic Jumper", from the One-Yard Wonders book.  I thought I was going to follow Liz's tutorial, and be well ahead of the learning curve.  As it turns out, I wasn't able to fully follow Liz's tutorial, because I failed to cut out a second lining piece for my back band, and I was too lazy to go and cut out a second piece.  So I likewise DID NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS AS GIVEN IN THE BOOK.  But just decided to look at my pieces and figure out how to put them all together into a jumper.  The book doesn't show a picture of the back of the jumper, and it should.  And my back isn't even done the way the pattern tells you to make the back.  So, whatever.  I think it's a cute outfit all the same, just good luck with the instructions! 


And finally, last night, just because I can't help myself, in the 12-hours between the twins 5th birthday, and my husbands 35th birthday I sewed up this little number for church.  And I kid you not when I say that I thought I would actually have TWO of these before church.  But come on, WHO WAS I KIDDING?!  There was another birthday to celebrate and presents to wrap, and a cake to make and a breakfast feast and a dinner feast, etc, etc, so one dress was all I could pull off last night.  


But get this, the fabric was a gift Jane received at her birthday party on Friday afternoon.  The little friends' mom knew that I love to sew, and so she said she gave my girls each some fabric for their mom to turn it into something beautiful for them.  I took the challenge very literally, and thought how amazing it would be to turn it into something beautiful, immediately.  
Too bad I'm only human.  One more package of fabric to turn into something beautiful, before next Sunday.  Okay?!

P.S. This is Simplicity pattern 3857.  Of course, I altered it a bit.  Who can help themselves??  And, I had to choose one size for the top, and a different size for the bottom in order to like the fit.  Other than a bit of stress with the "invisible" zipper in the back, it's a pretty straight forward pattern.  I think I can recommend it without too much hesitation.  I LOVE the puff sleeves.  They are my favorite part of the dress.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fabric Banner Tutorial

I quite possibly could have sewn 50 fabric banners last year. I haven't counted, and I'm not really sure how I would count since most of the banners were given away. Fifty sounds like a lot, but I really think I made that many. Maybe more. You can call me the Banner Queen.

These are just a few...

I sat down to make my first (I think??) banner this year. I thought why not show all of my sewing friends how to make their very own banner. Banners are second to party garland. It's fun to throw up a banner that says "Welcome" when friends come over. Or, "Give Thanks" for Thanksgiving. Or to hang a name banner in your kid's room. Your options are endless!

Let's get started!!

Fabric Banner Tutorial

Things you need:

- scallop banner pattern - download and print HERE!

- fabric - The amount will vary depending on how many letters you need. You can use one fabric or coordinate as many fabrics as your creative brain can handle!

- felt - for your letters

- letter template - I taught elementary school for 7 years, so I make my own bubble letters. I'm pretty positive it's a requirement for lower level elementary school teachers to know how to make bubble letters. You could buy a template, or just find a font you like on your computer and enlarge the letters you need to your desired size.

- 1/2 inch double folded bias tape - You can buy already made bias tape or you can make your own.

-pinking shears - If you don't have a pair, buy some!! Wait until JoAnn's sends out their 50% off coupons, and invest in some. You won't regret it!

- The basics - thread, scissors, pins

Now that you've got all your supplies, let's start cutting!

Place fabric wrong side together. Pin your scallop pattern to your fabric, and cut around the scallop using pinking shears. I leave roughly 1/4 inch between my pattern and my pinking sheared edge. Make as many scallops as needed for the word or phrase you are spelling. Remember to do a blank scallop if you are spelling a phrase. You'll want a blank scallop between words.

Your scallops will look the same on the front and the back. In the picture above on the right, if I were to flip each scallop over, it would look the same. Well, the big flowers wouldn't be exactly the same, but you'd see the right side of the flower fabric.

Next cut out your letters. Pretty self explanatory.

Now pin all your letters to your scallops. This is the only pinning I do before I sew the scallop front and back together.

Zigzag stitch around each scallop except for the top. Your fabrics might move a little. Don't worry. You could pin the scallop more if you'd like, but you won't be able to tell once it's hung. Trust me. I'm the Banner Queen. I would know. The picture below is the best picture I took of the zigzag stitch around my scallop. Sorry!

Straight stitch around each letter. (See above.) This is the most tedious step in this project. If this is your first banner, I would suggest a short word, name, or phrase.

Your scallops are finished!

Move to a large flat space (I usually use my kitchen floor). Lay out your scallops in the order you want them. Check your spelling! (Yes, I have made a spelling error and had to fix it. Totally frustrating!) I overlap my scallops by about a 1/2 inch, but you don't have to.

Pin scallops inside the fold of your bias tape. Use your pins generously so the scallops don't fall out of the bias tape while sewing.

Zigzag stitch from end to end of the bias tape. At the beginning and end of the bias tape, fold the bias tape under. See pictures below the picture of me sewing the bias tape to my scallops if you need help with how to fold bias tape ends.

Open bias tape so that long edges are folded into the center. Fold short edge down 1/2 inch.

Fold bias tape. Now zigzag stitch along the bias tape. Remember to fold the bias tape under at the end!

You're done! Pour yourself a glass of sparking apple cider (sorry, I don't drink alcohol!) and *Cheers* to you for making your very own fabric banner!!

P.S. - I made this banner for a friend and tucked it inside a One Yard Wonder Folklore Bag. I really like this bag. Next time I make it I will be adding interfacing to the straps, and I'm going to need to review/rework how to add the top band to the bag. Overall, the design of the bag gets two thumbs up from me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Birthday countdown!

The birthday party is in four days!! I am a girl who thrives off of last minute pressure, but even I will admit now that I'm getting a little bit nervous. Happily the birthday skirts are now both made. Both shirts are conceptualized, and I can probably have them completed in about an hour. But what about crowns? What about birthday party favors? What about the CAKES??? And how about the apron that Ruby just asked me if I could make for her, in time for her birthday?

Four days certainly doesn't seem long enough anymore.

About this second skirt. I found the pattern HERE. I was drawn to it for two reasons, first of all the sash. I really wanted a skirt with a big bow on it. And secondly, I was very intrigued by the design, that it had a flat waistband in the front, and an elasticized waistband in the back. This was a technique/idea that I really wanted to learn more about.

For those two reasons, the patterns was very satisfying. But when it came time to attach the skirt to the waistband, I realized, I did not like the proportion of gathering/pleating involved. In my opinion it makes the skirt too bulky. And while the author of the patterns warns you about this, and steers you towards hand pleating the skirt versus gathering it, I still wasn't that thrilled with the final pleated results. It's just too much skirt to attach to the waistband.

In the end, I could have figured out this pattern on my own. I've made so many of these Twirly Skirts, from the "Going Sew Crazy" tutorial (which is a great tutorial once you get all the math figured out), that I really had the experience and know-how to figure it out. But I got lazy, and wanted to just have the answer handed to me. Don't get me wrong, I think the skirt looks adorable. And I still love the concept of the flat fronted waistband. I guess my second version of the Kristine skirt will be my favorite version. But this one will certainly make Friday's party festive!!

And that's all I've got to say about the "Kristin" pattern.

P.S. I think the sashes are about two inches too short. Note to self for the next time I make one!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A LOVEly Little Skirt

Love is in the air.

I share the same sentiment as Annee on party garland. I too *heart* it. I kept my Christmas party garland up until the end of January. George's birthday is coming up, and I'm thinking I should make some birthday party garland and leave it up from George's birthday in April until Grace's birthday in August. I think that's a pretty sweet idea. When I saw Annee's felt heart garland, I just knew I needed some in my house. Once mine was made and hung, I decided that a friend needed a chain of love for her birthday. This is a very simple project. Go and get yourself some felt and start cutting!

While thinking of love and Valentine's Day, I've been daydreaming of what kind of skirt to make Grace for the holiday of love. I have a toddler who will wear what I make, so the need to make a cute outfit has been on my mind for days.
As I looked at patterns online and lots of pictures, I finally decided to use one of my own Anthropologie skirts as my inspiration and make Grace a skirt with box pleats. This is the first skirt I've made with no pattern or tutorial.

I'm pretty much in love with it. Almost as much as I am with the little girl who gets to wear it.

While I'd LOVE to share a pattern or tutorial for the LOVEly Little Skirt, my day job starts in less than 8 hours, and a girl's got to get her beauty sleep. Maybe a little later....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some days I get sew carried away...

I don't think this pillow was on my "to-do" list today (or any time in the near future). I'm sure my list had things on it like, "make valentines", "finish birthday outfits", "do laundry", but all of that was scraped for THIS:

And so, probably tomorrow I shouldn't be allowed to touch my sewing machine. According to one list, I was a dismal failure today. But according to my own personal assessment of happiness, today was a total success! Because, I made THIS pillow, and dinner, and a to-die-for chocolate cake. Apparently, I was in the mood to make things today. Things that were somewhat unnecessary, but at the same time completely essential. Know what I mean?!

I saw this quilt on Flickr probably over the summer, and I've been thinking of it ever since. I'm not a "real" quilter. Everything I do with quilting I've figured out on my own. But, I have big dreams, and big ideas that someday I too could make art out of quilts. In the mean time, you have to start somewhere. I've been wanting to try to figure out how to make these little houses for a while. A quick google search led me to two very valuable basic tutorials (see side bar here), and from there, the rest is pillow history!

What's on the back you ask?? Thank you for asking, probably my favorite Alexander Henry fabric of all of 2009. When I saw it, the whole bolt was sitting in front of me, and since I didn't have a clue what I would do with it, I bought only one yard to come home and think about further purchases. By the time I went back to get more, IT WAS GONE (and surely that is part of why I love it so much, because it became impossible to find)! I've been waiting to use it somewhere, and think I found the perfect place...

And a zipper of course, because who can resist the "how to put a zipper in a pillow" tutorial?! It's the most genius tutorial you might ever stumble across.

I have only one pillow left before I have replaced every single decorative pillow that I moved to Korea with. The only problem now is, how can I top this one, or my most current, little row of house love?!

So anyway, maybe that's a big deal to make about a simple throw pillow (but seriously I could probably say more), the day before today, Darin suggested that I not be allowed to buy any more fabric until the sewing/laundry room was presentable again. Before I got too offended at his comment, I did some serious introspection and saw, he had a point.

To prove my love to him (or was it so that I could buy more fabric?), here's what I've managed so far (oh yeah, and I wasn't working alone, thanks Darin!!):

(Liz, I forgot to get a picture of my new Ikea scrap bin. It might be the thing that started the whole renovation. It really does deserve a post of it's own.)

Darin taught me that in order to do it correctly, EVERYTHING had to be removed. Honestly without him I simply wouldn't have had it in me to do it so thoroughly. But because of him, it's done thoroughly and it is making all the difference. I feel like I can breath again! So really, the pillow is like a celebratory pillow, right?!

And finally, I leave you with one birthday outfit almost done. The shirt is stumping me. I don't think I like it how it is. So I'm appealing to you my blogging, sewing, or otherwise friends, do you think it's working, or should it be changed? I was wondering if the cupcake holder should be a solid color? Maybe out of felt? Seriously, does anyone have any thoughts?

(The skirt is my version of the patch work skirt from the spring/summer "Stitch" magazine. It's the second time I've made it, and I have to say it's a great pattern, but only if you have a serger. Each and every seam on the back side is serged! That's a lot of serging. )

So that's what's been keeping me busy for the past three days.
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