Handmade Holidays underway

Got a little sewing done this weekend. I’m finishing up the binding on baby Erik’s (my gorgeous new nephew) quilt – finished pictures coming soon on that – but here’s a little preview.

Baby Erik's quilt progress

Also made some ornaments for family members. I used the awesome pattern and tutorial by Elsie Marley posted here. Super cute and simple. The best part about her pattern is that she sews the gingerbread man down to a felt rectangle and THEN cuts him out! So much easier that cutting two gingerbread men and sewing them together around the bite marks. Very smart!

Oh no!

And finally, I got to work on a zipper pouch – I needed a gift for a man…hope it’s manly enough! I used this super simple tutorial by terrabytefarm.com posted here. I’ve made quite a few box pouches, and they were all kind of a pain. This tutorial was super easy. The key is that the inside is unfinished. But since I’m not crazy about all those little threads and stuff, I think next time, I’ll add a 1/2 inch to the length on one side when cutting the fabric and do french seams. I also added a handle by jamming a little rectangle of fabric into my corners before I squared them off. I’ll definitely use that tutorial again!

Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I also made these pillow cases a few weeks ago for some ugly leather pillows we have. It’s funny, now we use those pillows all the time – it seems like someone is always putting one behind their back. I swear no one ever used them before. So that makes me happy!

Some new pillows for the tv room

Happy Handmade Halloween!

We had a great Halloween party with the neighbors. Flat-bed trailer with hay, Thriller on the stereo, at least 20 kids and 1000’s of pieces of candy!

Here’s this year’s handmade costume. I took an XS ladies’ sweat suit from Old Navy, cut it way down and embellished. Introducing the Lego Ninjago Green Ninja – a little before and after action!

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Hope your Halloween was awesome, too!

I also took this picture with my phone…no idea what happened, but it’s very creepy!
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pillow case dresses and matching t’s

I got to do some sewing this weekend (thanks, honey!). My neighbor has four of the cutest kids you’ve ever seen – two boys, two girls. She asked me if I could make them some coordinating outfits for a picture, and mentioned pillow case dresses she’s seen all over the interwebs.

I looked all around at the MANY pillow case dress tutorials (what did we ever do before the internet?) and found two that I kind of squashed together. For the basic shape/pattern size, I used this one from prudentbaby.com. For the arm holes and the ruffle, I used this one from CraftSnob.com.

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I actually ended up not doing the ruffle using her gathering technique, because I pulled too hard and snapped my thread mid-gather. So I ended up folding a quarter inch on my ruffle strip every two inches and pinning a lot.

I also went ahead and made my own tie string/double binding strip for all the dresses using 3″ by length-of-fabric (selvedge to selvedge) folding each long edge in, and folding the whole thing in half. This way, I could match my ruffle and tie strap without going to the fabric store. Not that that would be a hardship.

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I have seen another gathering technique where you lay a piece of thread down on the length of whatever you’re sewing, and then sew a zig zag over it, creating a kind of casing for your gathering thread – that’s worked better for me personally in the past. Also, I’ve seen sewing machines that come with a gathering foot! That would be awesome.

Anyway, for the two sweet boys, I made t-shirts with tie appliques in the matching chevron fabrom. I got the template fro the ties from here at CrapIveMade.com.

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The whole deal, including my rough draft Hello Kitty dress (below), took about 5 hours – most of which was ironing and stiching seams (arm holes, dress bottoms, ruffle strips, binding piece for bows.) The t-shirts took about 15 minutes total.

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Surfer Dude Quilt

Katie over at Katie’s Corner made this super cool Super Hero Quilt. So I started making my plan based on her photo.

Here are my initial sketches and measurements. I decided that I wanted the quilt to be about 60″x80″, and worked in from there.

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I knew I wanted to make one for each of my nephews with a surfer theme. Then, for the backs, I used their favorite team colors (FSU and UF). Here are the fabrics I picked out for the surfer side. I’ve been collecting surf-themed fabrics for a while, so I had everything I needed. I have some awesome hula girl fabric too, but I left that out because they’re still a little young.

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I pieced all the top and bottom strips, and next it was time to do the name applique. So I printed BIG letters in ‘mirror-image’ format on my printer.

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Then I traced them onto the paper side of Heat-n-Bond Lite. Then I cut each letter out and ironed the glue side to the back of my fabric. Then I cut them out from the fabric and peeled the paper backs off and glued them down to my kona khaki piece that would go into the quilt. I just kind of eye-balled the spacing.

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Then I just did a straight stitch around them about 1/4″ inside the edge. I tried a couple different stitches – zig zag, satin, but they didn’t look that great. The straight stitch looked great and was fast.

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And here’s the completed top!

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The backs are all done and Nathaniel’s is sandwiched. I’ll post some pics of the completed quilts soon. These were supposed to be Christmas gifts, but now they’re early January gifts :)

Super Boots!

We’re gearing up for Halloween around here. Instead of sewing a big costume this year, I decided to make a bunch of pieces. My kid loves costumes every day of the year, so better to have a little mix and match. Up first is super boots! They’re a little big, but I figure over pants and shoes, they’ll be fine. The Simplicity 5520 pattern was super easy to follow – we’re making the helmet and armor next. The shiny red fabric is something from the halloween shelf at Joann’s. It’s super silky and shiny. We got a bunch of colors (red, black, silver, gold) for the costume parts.

simplicity 5520

pattern pieces

super boots

supery

arghh

Jane Market Bag

I got to do a little sewing recently. I’ve been dragging around my Purl Soho tote bag for months and months and it is sorely in need of a wash, but I hate all my other bags. So I thought I’d make something similar, but less NPR-free-tote. (Not that I don’t totally love a free tote).

So, anywho, I started checking around the interwebs for some inspiration and found about a zillion people had made this lovley Jane Market Bag. As evidenced by the very numerous search results on flickr here and the fact that it has it’s own group here. I should note that this pattern is actually supposed to be used as a fun grocery bag. Most of the changes I made (that I’m about to talk about) came about because I wanted to turn it into more of a big catch-all purse.

I bought the pattern for the bargain price of $6. It took me longer to pick out some fabrics than to do the cutting for this VERY easy and user friendly pattern. (Kudos to Alicia at rosylittlethings.com for such an easy to use pattern.) Recommended for beginning sewists. (sewers? I always think that reads like sewers where rats live…not sowers.)

So first – here was my initial fabric selection:

planning a new bag

I really needed a neutral bag that I could carry anytime. So that eliminated most of my prints for the outside. I love linen, and although I’m not sure it’s really sturdy enough for a bag, I went with it. Sadly, I didn’t have enough of this brown linen to do a front and back pocket, so I just did a front pocket.

I deviated from the pattern a little by adding some piping strips to the front, back and handles. I also added pockets inside and a little key hook inside so I wouldn’t have to dig around for my forever-missing keys.

Front:
jane market bag front

Inside:
jane market bag inside

Back:
here's the back!

I really liked the piping, but it was a little too fat. I used a one inch strip, folded in half and sewn into the seams between the panels on the front and back. I should have just done a half inch. So it looked more like this piping (the super skinning piping on the left and right of the pocket):

vanessa prototype-1

For the straps, the pattern calls for 4″ x something (21″ I think?) strips. But that seemed like it would be too short for me (I measured my Kroger .99 cent grocery bags as a baseline because they never fall off my shoulder), so I went with 4″x 26.5″. But to get the print on the edges that I wanted, I did 1″ of brown and 3″ of pop garden – sewed them together along the long edge, and then closed the loop by sewing the other long edge of brown to the long edge of pop garden. Make sense? It gave me a tube – inside out. I used my crochet hook to flip it right side out, and pressed it centering the brown linen. Then I top stitched it inside and outside the brown.

strap detail

Finally, instead of sewing the straps to the outside of the bag like in the pattern, I sewed them in at the same time that I sewed the lining to the outside of the bag. I’m not spatially smart enough to explain how this works, but you sew them in before you pull everything out through the bottom hole. You can see a great video of this ‘birthing’ method here: birth of a bag video by sugar sugar bags. She’s got the straps sewn inside also.

I’ve been carrying my new bag around for a few days now, and overall, I like it a lot. I’m planning a 2nd one, and next time, I’ll sew a bottom seam at the bottom of all pockets so my cell phone doesn’t slide down UNDERNEATH the bag. I just hate that. Also, I may consider interfacing. I was too lazy to put it in this time, and the pattern certainly doesn’t call for it. But even cotton batting would make this bag a lot more stable.

Here’s the fabric selection for the 2nd one – natural linen body, green red riding hood fabric for the pockets, green solid for the inside and piping. Should be cute!

in the works - another jane market bag

Teacher Gifts

teacher gifts-1, originally uploaded by Beaty Family Fun.

I made these little zipper pouches for my son’s preschool teachers. Tucked inside each one was a matching coffee quilty, a key fob with a charged up Starbucks card on it, and a card. I think these little gifts were a hit!

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The floral fabric was a find at Joanns. I found three precut fat quarters and THAT’S IT! I’d love to find more. It’s got all my favorite colors in it.

gems on the web

We’re reading Skippy Jon Jones around here – have you read it? It’s awesome. So in the spirit of Skippito Friskito, let me say, “Holy Guacamole!” There is so much awesome stuff on the web. Here are a few beans from my pinata:

Latifah Saafir, co-founder of the LA Modern Quilt Guild, has reinvented her blog. Her new home on the www is http://www.thequiltengineer.com/, and it’s looking awesome. I especially love her latest quilt.

Tons of awesome new fabric on the way. I’m greedily eyeing the new LizzyHouse line, Castle Peeps. And not just for the awesome name! I especially love the castle-scape prints, although I truly love the whole line.

Castle Peeps - Gallant Green Castle Town by LizzyHouse

It looks like Fabricworm will have it on sale any day now. And look at this Villagers Rejoice quilt! Super awesome. You can read all about it and download the pattern here.

And of course, I’m counting down until Far Far Away II is released. Can’t wait!

Gems on the Web

ikea fabric-1

How awesome is this fabric? It’s home dec weight canvas from Ikea. This is a one yard cut – the fox is huge! And so perfect :)

New to quilting? Check out this fun little pdf download over at Sew,Mama,Sew! It’s a Quiltalogue, a printable mini-book of quilting terms. How handy!

Need some more inspiration to get sewing? If you didn’t get your fill browsing the Quilts of the Day on Sew, Mama, Sew!, check out my new favorite group on Flickr: { Handsome } Hexies.

Or how about Elizabeth’s new potholders?

Seriously. So much inspiration everywhere!

Another giveaway announcement

Fresh Modern Quilts on flickr

This one is super awesome. The Fresh Modern Quilts group on Flickr has reached 2000 members (awesome!) and to celebrate, rOssie is doing a giveaway. Leave a comment here by April 8 to be entered.