Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Something for ME!

So many of my projects are for other people. Gifts, things for Jonah, etc. But this pieced blanket was something I wanted to create just for me!

Fred and I took a road trip up to St. Louis a few weeks back and on the way there I realized that I really should have brought a blanket with me. If I'm traveling by car I always take my own pillow, but didn't even think about taking a blanket.

Upon getting back home, I took note that I didn't have a blanket that I really would have wanted to take with me on a trip.

I can do something about that! I surfed over to Etsy and found this fabric, Bohemian Festival, that I kinda just fell in love with - as much as one can love fabric! I ordered a layer cake and planned a VERY simple pieced blanket with a self-binding minky velour backing. Whew, that was a mouthful!

I sewed a simple window pane with a 1" border around each 10" square. 4 blocks wide by 6 blocks wide, then 4.5 inch minky border (with mitered corners)

Here is the finished product. It took me 2 days from start to finish.

I also bought a little extra fabric and made a pillow case that matches.
It has a 4" minky edge with a bit of pink ricrac for added detail.
So excited for our next road trip!!

My First *Real* Quilt

I bought a layer cake (25-10"x10" squares pre-cut), I bought a pattern and off I sewed!

I decided to make the Disappearing Nine, or Magic Nine, quilt square. It's one of those "this looks hard, but is really easy" kind of things. And it is true. It looks like this quilt took tone of time to cut and piece, but it only took me working in spurts over 3 days. And that includes cutting, which is my least favorite part.

Then I sewed.

And then? I quilted. I really honest-to-goodness quilted. And it was a pain in the tooshie! Trying to control all the fabric? Half of it squeezed under the arm of my machine? Now I know why people hand quilt! Even though, it really only took me about 2 hours to completely machine quilt. Of course, I did the most simple, basic quilting in straight lines. Also, it's a BABY quilt... only 38x50... Don't know how much true quilting I'll be doing in the future. May be doing a lot of pieced blankets with a bit of top-stitching.


I selected a coordinating grey sweatshirt fleece to back it with. Gives it a little heft, it's a durable fabric and added warmth without added bulk.

And, yes, our grass really is *that* green!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another Day, Another Blankie

Jonah has a lot of blankets. The child will never need for warmth (...or kindling in the future). Anyway, I found this fabric panel at Hancock Fabrics and the flannel for the reverse at Joann.

I would normally have done basically a big pillow and then some top-stitching, but I've really been wanting to practice using bias tape. Especially around curves. So, in order not to have to miter the corners and to work with the bias tape, I rounded the corners. From all the tips I'd read online the key is to use lots and lots of pins and sew slowly. So that's what I did and lo and behold - it wasn't that bad! Really, it was quite easy and I am thrilled with the finished product.

Next time I want to try adding in a layer of think batting to give my top-stitching some real depth!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fat Quarter/Quarter Yard Storage

I cut 5"x5" squares out of cardboard.  And then I folded and wrapped the quartered fabric and then "filed" them away. So nice and neat and easy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Basket Liner Tutorial

All right here's my first tutorial completely from scratch. Most of the time, I tweek and pull from 2 or more tutorials to make whatever it is that I'm making. Unfortunately, after looking at 20+ blogs that featured basket liner tuts, I came away very disappointed. Even the "good" ones seemed to be incomplete. So I decided to just wing it and make it up as I went. Fortunately for me, and my baskets, it turned out exactly as I had hoped!

The baskets are the BRANAS baskets from IKEA in white. I have several of them in Jonah's room and decided that they'd be great in my laundry/craft/sewing room make-over. I got 2 and am kinda kicking myself already that I didn't get 3. Oh, well, I'll make do.
What you'll need:
3/4 yard fabric/basket
coordinating thread
20" ribbon/basket
enough elastic to encircle your basket + 2" overlap for stitching

rotary cutter and clear rule are very helpful, but scissors are sufficient!

First, I measured. Then measured a few more times to make sure I was getting everything straight. It's the old carpenter's line, "measure twice, cut once." Only in sewing I've learned to measure 3 or 4 times if you really want to be sure!
I cute my base piece first.
And because my sides are almost the same, but yet not, I marked the longer sides.
Using a 1/4" seam allowance, I sewed the four side pieces to the base. To ensure pretty corners, start sewing 1/4" (or your chosen seam allowance) in from the start and end points.
Iron all seams toward center base piece once all four sides are attached.

Then, back to the sewing machine. Line up aligning sides and sew a seam from the top of the basket liner in towards the base (makes for a prettier and much more even hem at the top).
Press seams open when all four side have been sewn.
I used my hem measure to then turn under one inch of the top to create a casing for my elastic. I pinned and ironed each side, allowing for ease where necessary.
After stitching my hem/casing seam, I trimmed the raw edge with pinking shears. I don't foresee these liners ever needing to be washed, so I didn't bother turning the edge under, though there was plenty of fabric to do that if you'd like.

I added button holes... which might seem contrary to the casing I just made, but I didn't plan on finishing the basket the way I did until it was too late to sew the button holes first then hem. I'll show you in a minute how I cheated! Also, I have an automatic button-holer now - it is fabulous!!!
Here is what I did. Sliced my buttonholes open, slid in a bit of ribbon and pinned it (after heat-sealing the edge with a lighter. Then I slit the inside piece of the hem with my seam ripper and fray-checked the raw edges so that I could still run my elastic through.
I decided to dun elastic instead of running ribbon all the way around because elastic is cheaper than ribbon and I had more on hand than of the ribbon.

Stitched my elastic together using a stretch stitch, and evenly distributed the gathers.
Slipped it on my basket and tied a bow with the end of my ribbon. When I had them tied I cut them evenly and heat sealed the ends.

And then I made another one...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

J's First Easter Basket

A tisket, a tasket, I made Jonah his first Easter basket:

I followed this tutorial. Amazingly, I followed pretty close to the tutorial this time, with one minor exception: I used ribbon to thread and attach my basket instead of using fabric cording.

I found the basket at Hobby Lobby on sale for only $5.85 (that includes tax) and I used fabric and ribbon from my stash. The basket's handle is hinged so it folds down for easier storage.

I'm really happy with the finished product, and happier that it only took me about 20 minutes to whip up (that doesn't include the time embroidering it though, that added maybe 10 more minutes),

Friday, March 9, 2012

Not Sew Much: Chair Redux

I didn't have to sew on this project, but I did use fabric! I am in the process of redecorating my sewing/laundry room and the easiest and fastest project in there is re-doing my sewing table chair. This is the chair. My sewing table originally came with a rolling stool, but it fell apart a couple years ago (one of the casters split) and it did not have any kind of back support. I found this one at Wal-Mart during their big college dorm sale one fall.
It's a great little chair and served it's purpose. It's in great shape, and office-like chairs can get a little pricey (even at WM it was $30), so I wanted to update it instead of replace it.

I have decided to paint my room a pale aquamarine with accents of orange and lime green. I looked around Etsy for fabric and found a few that I really liked, but they were a little more expensive then I really wanted to spend on this project. Then I remember seeing this color scheme in a fabric over at Hancock's - and! - it was a laminated cotton.

Measured my chair, grabbed a coupon and headed over there today. Lo and behold if they didn't still have the fabric I thought I remembered seeing! Yay! It was $19.99, I only had them cut 3/4 a yard for me, and then I had a 50% off coupon; my total came to $8.19. I was also able to pick up a couple of coordinating fabrics for a curtain valance and basket liners for the room.

For the back support I was able to disassemble it from the chair frame so that I could cover it easily. Staple gun to the rescue! I attempted to remove the original fabric, but the industrial grade staples were firmly planted, so I abandoned that and simply covered over it.
I eyeballed how far out I needed to go to be able to get a good wrap. I did end up cutting about an 1/1.5" off from this once it was stapled though.
I stapled top and bottom centers first, checking to make sure my pattern was centered and straight. and then moved out and then did both sides, then corners.
Completed back support! It took me about 10 minutes once I located the tools to unscrew the back from its support (some sort of hex screw thingamajig).

I briefly considered detaching the seat from the chair base, but decided against it. So I just covered the chair upside-down.
And the finished product:

I'm thrilled with how it turned out and very excited about getting the rest of the room re-done!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bib Bag Upcycle

Jonah is beginning solid foods, which means a necessity for bibs. I've never been one to put a bib on him while he ate a bottle and his "drool monster" phases have been brief to this point, so we haven't gotten to the wear-a-bib-all-the-time stage.

But I needed somewhere for his bibs to live now that he wears one when he eats solid foods (twice during the morning).

It hit me that I had a mesh bag that I was holding onto with no real use. I use mesh lingerie bags to wash his itty bitty socks so that I don't have to go on a scramble for them when folding his laundry and so they don't get stuck down in the feet of his footed pj's making me think I've lost socks!

The first bag I bought was very cheap. The others have been, too, but the first one's zipper stuck the first time it went through the laundry. But I couldn't bear to just cut it apart and throw it away. That would have been a total waste of $2.99!

I dug through my sewing stash instead and found some left-over bias tape. Cut the zippered portion off the bag and then sewed on the bias tape. It's been getting moved around my sewing room for a couple of months though, because even though I didn't want to throw it away, I didn't have a real purpose for it once it was zipper-less.

Until! I needed a place to store bibs. Aha! I attached to 10" pieces of ribbon to areas of the bias tape edge that I had marked to align with the slats on the back of Jonah's high chair. Sewed them on using a box stitch and then tied them on using a square knot.

It works so well because J's bibs are at-hand, but out of the way and pretty much hidden from view since his high chair sits in the corner of the kitchen.

I think I've just up-cycled and didn't even know it!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Toy Bag

Now that Jonah is getting to be more active (ha, when was he not active?!?) we have more need for toys when we go out, specifically to restaurants. Nana & Papa (aka my Mom & Dad) bought him a little set of Tonka trucks and book. We'd had it in a quart-size plastic sandwich bag, but it was starting to get yucky and the book didn't really fit when all the cards were added in.
This is where knowing how to sew can come in handy. Don't have a bag that works? Make your own!

I dug around in my stash of fabrics until I found 2 that coordinated and I deemed "boy" enough. I did have to run down to Joann to get a zipper, but that's only because I normally only use invisible zippers and I really wanted just a regular zipper for the bag.

Then I remembered that I'd pinned this tutorial on one of my Pinterest boards for how to make a flat-bottomed bag. Seemed just right for my purposes. The biggest problem with the plastic baggie was that it had no give for the chunky little trucks that needed to fit inside.

Following the tutorial I drew out a pattern based on my measurements of the book. I drew as she described adding a quarter inch seam allowance.
Then, I ironed stabilizer to my outer (patterned) fabric. The tutorial says to iron it to the inner fabric, but my outer was lighter weight, so I decided that it would be better to iron it to the lighter of the two.

Next, I laid my pattern directly on my fabric and used my rotary cutter and quilter's rule to cut out the pattern. I really, really dislike tracing and then cutting, and since it was all straight lines, I took a little shortcut.
I assembled the bag as the tutorial described. Once the zipper was sewn into place the bag was put together exactly like the snack bags are except that the hole to turn was left in the lining instead of the outer bag. (I think that's how I'm going to do the next snack bag because it looks so much neater).

Once everything was sewn, I did pink the edges of the inner (solid) lining fabric because it has a tendency to fray and the corners. Didn't seem worth hauling out my serger over...

Turned the bag right side out, pushed out all the corners, sewed the hole in the lining up and ta-da(!) bag was complete:
The book and four little trucks fit well inside. In fact, the bag is roomy enough to accommodate one more little books and maybe a couple more cars/trucks and it still slid well into his diaper bag!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snack Bags with Applique & Monogram

I love the snack bags. Love them! So much sew that I decided to Make Jonah a few more.

But since I've already demonstrated how to make the bag itself, thought I'd go through the embroidery part of it:
Gather your fabrics:

Use a grid to center the fabric or place it in the position you wantUse basting glue to secure fabrics to stabilizer which is what is stretched in the embroidery hoop.
Begin stitching
Trim excess fabric before satin stitching
Continue design
Then proceed with the construction of the bag.. and voila!