Friday, December 12, 2008
You can find tutorials for just about anything on the web. Want a tutorial for a drawstring backpack? Just type "drawstring backpack tutorial" into your favorite search engine and voila! A whole list of them will appear.
One of my gifts makes use of two great tutorials.
Having school age children, there is always the dilemma of what to do for the teachers. My son is in 1st grade and just has one teacher. My daughter is in preschool and has three teachers. I'm sure every teacher has more "#1 Teacher" tchotchkes than they know what to do with, so I try to come up with something useful....or at the very least, a creative and different tchotchke.
The November 8th entry featured gifts for teachers, and it was there that I found the link to the tutorial for the cute "Quilty Mug." And I just have to add, this tutorial was not only great from an instructional perspective...it was funny. This blog, Lady Harvatine, has become one of my regular blog stops.
I dug through my scraps, picked out some cute calico fabrics, and string pieced it together onto a piece of muslin. Slide it into the customizable mug (which ended up being the toughest part of the whole project) and there you go....a quilty mug!
Next was the tea wallet. This was another tutorial I came across from SMS's Handmade Holidays, under "gifts for a gift exchange." My original idea for this cute tea wallet was to make one for my mother-in-law, who is English and an avid tea drinker. The one I made for her turned out so cute, and they are so quick and easy to make that I'm giving them as stocking stuffers for several people, as well as giving them to my kids' teachers.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the teacher gifts, and I hope that they are pleased too. My children are fortunate to have wonderful teachers this year, and I just want them to know that they are very much appreciated.
Monday, December 8, 2008
When my son was about one, my sister-in-law made him a Quiet Book. It was such a great gift, that I decided I would come up with my own. So I took the one she made, plus a lot of examples I found online from googling "Quiet Book," and came up with my own set of pages.
This gift was truly a labor of love. I had no pattern, no instructions for putting it together. Just pictures and my son's book (which was put together differently than what I ended up doing). I sketched stuff up on paper and did a "mock up" to figure out how I was going to assemble it all. I know there are people who make and sell these, and my hat is off to you. I just don't know that I could do it and make it profitable....I'd have to charge $35 + a kidney to account for the housework that didn't get done while working on this!
I "super" sewed everything down to make sure no little choking hazards would come off...even used heavy-duty upholstery thread to secure the buttons. I tried to cover several different activities on my pages: textures, counting, zipping, buttoning, velcro, "peek-a-boo," and "I Spy" to name a few. I hope she likes it. I will be making one for my nephew too when he gets old enough to play with it (hmmm....first birthday gift.)
I also picked up a few injuries on this project: I sewed my finger (not the first time I've done this. Once, the needle went through my finger and stopped....and I had to turn the hand wheel to get it out), I cut myself with the rotary cutter, and I stuck a pin into the heel of my hand. Guess I shouldn't sew while
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So I started looking around, and I came across the perfect fabric online at J & O Fabric Center. It's called "My Little Cupcake"
After I had the fabric, I found the perfect "girly-girl" pattern: The Peasant Dress by Dainty Designs. I paired it with an all-purpose bloomer pattern that I happened to have, and the final result is just too cute!
Completely useless sidenote: Notice I didn't tie a bow with the sash, just a nice knot. That's because I am "bow challenged." I cannot, to save my life, tie a decent looking bow. That's because I have a really bizarre way of tying....I taught myself how to tie shoes when I was four from watching people tie my shoes. Since I was looking down watching them from a backwards angle, I now tie completely backwards....the result: ugly bows and my shoes never stay tied. Oh well....
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This week, my good friend Tracey (the handbag genius!) has invited me to be her guest over on Artiste, a conglomeration of artisans on Hyenacart.com.
And what little girl wouldn’t like to be perfectly accessorized with a matching tote and reversible headband?
Size 2: Chest size 13" , Length 19"
The skirt has an elastic drop waist and two tiers, each with a double-ruffle bottom, separated by two layers of gold tulle.
These items (and many others I'm listing, like my cute coloring totes) will be available on Artiste beginning at 9pm (EST) November 25 until December 5. Scroll down to "Cute2Carry" and there I'll be! And be sure to check out all the items from the other artisans. There are some really talented ladies out there!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I’ve talked before about how I have a fondness for sewing little girl items….face it, they’re just more fun! But I have been toying with the idea of “non-gender” specific items for my Etsy shop. I wanted something quick and easy that would make a good gift for the holidays.
These totes will be available for $15 in my Etsy shop and will come “ready-to-give” with a coloring book and 16 crayons.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The Gift(bag) That Keeps on Giving.....
Today's project was
stolen from inspired by my friend Tracey. Tracey usually makes her gift bags. So I thought I'd follow her example this year and make my own too. They are reusable, but don't get torn and wrinkled like store bought gift bags....plus they are much cuter!
I just made simple, unlined drawstring bags. I made five today in a variety of sizes, mostly from fabrics I had laying around.
On two of them I used ribbon for the drawstring.
The drawstrings are long enough that you can tie them in a bow at the top.
For the others, I made a drawstring out of coordinating fabric. I think these will look great under the tree!
Well, that's the first four days done! Tune in tomorrow!!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I used the "cannibalized pattern" method....take the bits and pieces from patterns I like and put them together to make a garment. I used the body from one pattern and the sleeves from another.
And here is the finished result:
All snug and ready for bed! Goodnight, Peanut!
Monday, November 3, 2008
And because I have tons of free time (insert sarcastic eye-rolling here), I thought what the hell...I join her. Besides, we can commiserate together as we frantically scramble to finish something each day.
So each day this week I will be making and posting something new. It may be something for my shop, or it may just be an unfinished project that is lingering in my sewing room (and trust me, there are many!).
Today, Monday November 3, is DAY ONE, and this is what I made today:
This adorable little tote and matching headband is made with the Alexander Henry "Apples & Pears" print, along with a cute pink courduroy and a brown twill. The opposite side of the bag has the print with the brown, divided again by the red satin ribbon. The interior is lined with white cotton broadcloth.
I actually made this accessory set to go with this, which I made last Friday:
This set is available now in my Etsy shop in sizes 2, 3/4, or 5/6.
Check back tomorrow to see what I manage to finish!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Ok, ok, I'm sorry. I couldn't resist the Monty Python clip. I'm married to an Englishman, and I guess after almost 10 years, his offbeat British humor has rubbed off on me! :)
So last week I wrote about my daughter's doggie costume. This week it's my son's turn. He doesn't go for the traditional scary costumes or the trendy Star Wars/Spiderman/etc. In the past he's been things like a dragon, a dinosaur, and last year, a police officer. This year, he chose to be a knight. Without further delay, here's presenting Sir Aidan:
To create this costume, I used Simplicity 5520. I only paid $0.99 for it on sale at my local fabric store. It was an easy pattern to put together. One thing, though....it has a lot of pieces. So although it wasn't hard, it was a little time-consuming. But once he put it on, it was definitely worth all the time....he looked so cute, um excuse me, handsome, and he really loves it.
We borrowed the sword and shield from a friend, and he's ready to do battle with the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog......
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Because I can sew, everyone always assumes that I will create wonderful handmade costumes for my kids.....that's not always the case. The truth is, with all the sales, online stores, etc., sometimes it just isn't cost-effective to make their costumes. It just depends on what they want to be and whether I can find it for a steal.
Now, one thing about my daughter....she doesn't wear pants. Ever. Well, hardly ever. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that she has worn pants. She wears dresses and skirts, and when it gets "cold" (cold in Central Arizona terms is almost comical), she wears tights or leggings. And of course all the standard "doggy" costumes are pants.
But then I came across a costume on some random costume website that was a little dalmation dress. It was cute, but at only $10.99, I was very skeptical about the quality. Besides, it's a dress.....if there is one thing I can sew, it's little girls' dresses. So I decided that I would make it.
First things first: the fabric. I knew I didn't want an obnoxious print, and a quick search on the internet turned up the perfect find.......Michael Miller "Spot the Dog"
Next up: the pattern. I wanted something easy and something that I would use again. So I went with this one....Simplicity 2825
To give the dress some fullness and make it a little special (it is a Halloween costume, after all), I made a petticoat-like slip with some lining fabric and about 8 yards of tulle. It gives it just the right "girly-girl" touch.
Next, I made some doggy ears with a black headband and some faux fur. Add some black tights and black shoes and there you go! A dalmation.
On Halloween we are going to paint a little black nose on her. She also wants me to make her a red "collar" to wear, so I'll be pulling out the red satin ribbon. I'm very happy with the results and think it fits her personality perfectly.
Here she is practicing her "doggy-ness!"
That's one costume down....next up, tackling my son's knight costume!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
One full size bath towel
One hand towel (this will be cut in half, so one hand towel will make two hooded towels)
1. Cut hand towel in half and serge or zig-zag the raw edge.
2. Fold the finished edge over until it covers the textured border of the towel, about 2 inches.
3. Stitch. Use whatever seam allowance you're comfortable with. I use 3/8" a lot because it's an easy one to measure on my machine....it falls right at the edge of my presser foot.
4. Pin the ribbon along the finished edge that you folded over.
5. Stitch ribbon in place by sewing along both edges of the ribbon.
6. Fold the hand towel in half, inside out (ribbon to the inside), matching finished edges.
7. Stitch along serged (zig-zagged) edge, starting from open, finished side and stopping about 2/3 of the way to the folded edge.
8. Open the hole along the edge you just stitched and flatten perpendicular to the seam.
10. Turn right side out, and there's the hood!
11. Find the center of the large bath towel, mark with a pin. Make two wide, flat pleats, each about 2 inches wide and 2.5 inches from the center. (I never measure these, just "guesstimate")See pics.
12. Pin the hood to the bath towel along the finished edges of the hood, right sides together, matching the center seam of the hood to the center of the bath towel. (It will be finished edges that are being stitched together.) Stitch, making sure to go slowly over the pleats (they will be bulky). I like to stitch this seam twice, just to give it some extra strength.
(View of inside of hooded towel after hood is stitched to bath towel)
13. If desired, zig-zag over your stitched seams on the inside (where the hood and towel were attached) to flatten them. Be careful not to zig-zag over your ribbon trim because it would show on the other side!
14. And now your hooded towel is finished!
I always like to fold them up nicely and tie with the same ribbon I used for the trim.....