Friday, January 29, 2010

Thing 6: Lovey Bags

When I saw a tutorial for these bags over on KoJoDesigns, it struck me as the perfect project for me: my kids love bags, it looked super fast and simple, and I had all the materials on hand!

I modified the tutorial a bit. (Come on - do I even have to tell you now? I canNOT follow directions!)

The original tutorial used four pieces of craft felt. Last year, I scored several large pieces of felt off of Freecycle, so I used those. Instead of cutting out four squares and sewing them together, I just cut the bag in one piece.

I wanted a bag with 7" sides, so I cut a square of fabric that was 21" on each side. (7 inches for each side, plus 7 for the bottom.) Then, I folded it into quarters and cut a 7" square out of one corner (the corner with the single layers, not the folded layers) to make a cross.

After that, it was a simple matter of appliqueing the initials on each bag, and sewing up the sides! (I had received a ton of ricrac in a Freecycle pick-up that morning, so I threw it on, too. Is it just me, or does ric-rac make anyone else think of alligator teeth?)

The drawstring is super simple - since felt doesn't ravel, I cut slits every few inches and threaded ribbon through. Easy peasy!

A note on the slits - since I wanted both ends of the ribbon to end up coming out of the holes, I made sure to cut an even number of slits.

Hopefully, over the next two weeks I can find some goodies to stick in the bags. They're not meant to be magic or anything...just a bag where we can all stick valentines for the kids. They get to open the bags on Valentine's day. Extra bonus - Chinese New Year falls on Valentine's Day this year, which means two things: 1) their grandparents will be here to celebrate and 2) there will be lai-sih (little red envelopes with money) and small oranges in the bags, along with whatever candy I round up. 'Cause nothing says "I appreciate you" like money and chocolate! (Right, ladies?)
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thing 4 - Purple Pants

A friend came over for a playdate the other day. She walked in the door, and I swooped in to pick up her munchkin. "Wait!" she yelped. "He just poured a glass of milk in his lap!!"

No problem....threw the pants into the dryer and raided the stash to whip up a new pair for the little dude!!

His dad is a University of Washington alumni (Go Huskies!!!!) so when Liz saw the purple fleece, she knew it would be perfect. (UW colors are purple and gold.)

We followed my favorite pants tutorial, and 45 minutes later, the dude was pantsless no more! (Oh, they would have been done much faster....but my pieces of fleece were long and skinny, and...I cut everything with the stretch going vertically. Fine for the pants...reeeaaaaalllllly interesting when braiding the drawstring. We braided it for 20 minutes, and it quadrupled in length!)
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Generous Ladies

I set out to pick up an alarm clock for the Early Rising Preschooler from a generous woman on Freecycle. The woman mentioned that she had a bit of fabric she'd never used, and she'd noticed my etsy shop, and would I like it? Of course! After finding out that she is a talented cross stitcher, I offered to bring along a few of the random cross stitch supplies I'd collected in my stash, that I was never going to use. A fair trade, right?

I might have got the better end of the deal. From what I can tell, I scored at least 10 yards of vintage cottons. Lovely! (Well, nearly all lovely. You can't win them all, right? What shall I do with that unfortunate neon fabric up there?)
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Friday, January 22, 2010

Work in Progress

When life gets crazy, and you've got a million things on your plate.....start another quilt. (This one is for the toddler, and I hope to have it finished by his second birthday, next December. I like to get an early start...on things that I like to do. *grin*)
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Monday, January 18, 2010

An accomplishment

I crocheted a granny square. (Thing 3, right?)

Yes, I'm ridiculously proud of myself, and I love YouTube tutorials. (And it only took me 5 hours. I think I've got it down now, though....)
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Quilting Project

I found this in my draft folder. Oops! For Christmas, I made up 6 quilted table runners for the various ladies in my immediate family. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the finished just IMAGINE that they were fabulous, m'kay? Thanks a heap.

My friends, I have discovered that I have a finite amount of "disposable time" during any given 24 hour period. Shocking, I know.

Apparently, if I wish to have any sort of a Handmade Holiday...this precludes any sort of documentation of the process or proceedings. Forgive me.

Above, you see the fruits of my labors...and one of several projects. That particular one, I believe, is wrapped up and ready to be shipped to its final destination.

Farewell, Quilting Project No. 1 - I bid you, adieu.

(I also find that I am shockingly addicted to freemotion quilting, and quite unable to bring myself to sew in a straight line when faced with any sort of a quilt sandwhich. What a predicament! Something about the meandering and the looping and curving...almost like frolicking in a field. Or perhaps it simply illustrates the natural tendency of my mind to wander?)

(This voice of this post is blatantly borrowed and inspired by Tollipop. If you haven't met her yet, I highly recommend you head over and see what all the to-do is about, dahling. )
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

A New Year, New Projects: Things 1&2

I have a sort of goal this year to document my projects...everything that comes off the sewing machine or craft table.
Thing #1
Unfortunately, the first thing to come off (a hemming job for a friend) came before this resolution, so THIS will have to suffice: a new pair of comfy fleece pants for the toddler.

Thing #2
I used a tutorial from Kojo Designs. This is my second time using their tute (originally for fabulous lounge pants from an old t-shirt) and while I made some improvements over the first go, I also found a few things I would do differently.

First off, I think I've mastered the Seaming of Pants. The tutorial has you cut out four pattern pieces, two sets of two identical pieces, and then sew those pieces up to make your pants. My first attempt, I sewed up the outside seams first, and then attempted to sew the crotch and inseam. Umm...FAIL. At least, it's not the easiest (or neatest) way to construct pants! Looking at a pair of my daughter's pants as a guide, I think I've figured out what the tutorial was trying to tell me: First you sew up the seam that will follow the bum crack, then you sew up the seam that will be opposite that one (below the belly button). THEN you lay those pieces right sides together and sew the inseam: from one ankle, across the arch, down to the other ankle. Finally, sew up your long outside seams. *Whew* So much easier. And neater!

Also, I played with my machine's "overlock stitch" (#15, on the Brother EX-660) and it made a much more professional looking seam...even if it did take three times as long. (Turns out, sewing back and forth and sideways and crossways takes a lot longer than simply sewing in a straight line. Who knew?!)

My last step was to put the pants on my daughter, inside out, and fold and mark the cuffs and casing for the drawstring. The tutorial has one of my favorite tips of all time - make your own drawstring. It's easy! Just cut three skinny, long pieces of material, braid them together tightly, and knot both ends. Voila! (I adore tips that allow me to skip a trip to the craft store!)

However, when making up my drawstring and casing, I forgot to take into account the fact that my fabric is considerably thicker than the original jersey used in the tutorial. Oy. I sewed the casing, braided the drawstring, snipped two holes in the front of the casing and s.l.o.w.l.y. threaded my drawstring around the waist of the pants. My fabric was so thick, I had to cut off the cute tassels I had made - I couldn't fit them through! *sniff* Next time, I will do it this way: Braid the drawstring, snip two holes in the front of the pants, thread the two ends around the waist and through the two holes, then fold the casing down and sew. Voila! No more threading, and I can keep my cute tassels. (Of course, my drawstring is so THICK, it makes the pants a little I might just break down and find some elastic next time.)

And there you go: fleece-y, comfy lounge/PJ pants for the toddler!

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