Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let's Do Lunch!

[What are YOU working on this week? Join us for "WIWOW," hosted by Cute2Carry!]

Not a lot of time to sew this week. I have company coming and I have to at least shoot for the "illusion of clean" around the house. It also means I have to clean up my disaster area of a sewing room, since that's where the futon that we use for company lives. When it's not being used by guests, I tend to cover it with fabric and projects in various stages of completion.

On the heels of last week's Back to School projects, I decided to make up a nice little lunch kit to add to my shop. I've had this great retro-inspired lunchbox fabric in my stash for awhile, so I pulled it out and got to work.

I made a 12" by 12" sandwich wrap along with a 5" by 6" snack bag.
The sandwich wrap has the Lunchbox print on the exterior and is lined with the ripstop nylon. Just place your sandwich in the center, fold the side corners in and tuck around your sandwich, then fold up the bottom, fold down the top, and secure with the velcro! It will keep your sandwich fresh and then give you the perfect little portable placemat to eat on.

The snack bag has a Velcro closure all the way across the top to keep your snacks secure, and it is lined with waterproof ripstop nylon. The wrap has the lunchbox print on the exterior and is also lined with the ripstop nylon.

The matching lunch sack measures about 10" x 11" x 3." I sandwiched (no pun intended!) Insul-Brite insulating batting between the exterior lunchbox fabric and the interior ripstop nylon to help keep any lunch items nice and cool. The top folds over and has a loop and button closure.

Worried about your lunch items ending up in the Lost & Found? Personalize them! I also included a tag for personalization on each item. Just write your name on it with a permanent fabric marker!

The two best things about this cute little lunch kit? It's washable and it's reusable!

This wonderful lunch kit is available for purchase at itssewsweet.etsy.com!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something Old on Something New

[Welcome to another addition of "What I'm Working on Wednesday" ---curteousy of Cute2Carry!]

School starts early here in our district....August 3rd, to be exact. And our household is ready. My kids love to play together, but I think we are reaching some kind of "maximum togetherness" threshold. They are starting to tattle on each other for things they "almost" did or that so-and-so was "thinking of doing." I mean, really. Regular tattling is annoying enough, but tattling in advance? That I can't have.

This is a big year in our house. This is the first year that both of our kids will be in elementary school. Our son will be in 2nd grade and our daughter is going to kindergarten. And even better: our district has free all-day kindergarten. So my children will be at school from 7:55 am until 2:40 pm Monday through Friday. What will I do with myself! :)

So far, I have one day planned. On Monday, August 3rd, I am going to sit on the couch at approximately 8:30am and not move until about 2:30 pm, and I am going to watch some uninterrupted television.

But before the first day gets here, we have to do all the usual back to school things, like shopping for school supplies. And you know me....I have to make something for them for school!

Last year I made some of these great reusable sandwich wraps. I decided to revisit them, making a few changes. First of all, I'm no longer using the vinyl tablecloth. Why? Simply because I found something that I think is easier to work with....ripstop nylon. It's waterproof, it's very easy to sew, and it comes it a ton of great colors.

The other change came from a recommendation of a friend: a name tag. I'm now including a fabric name tag so I can write the kids' names on them with a laundry pen. That way if the sandwich wrap makes it to the Lost & Found, hopefully it will make it back to my child.

But first I had to choose fabrics. And I managed to find two that my kids love.

For my animal-lover daughter:

And for my son, the Cub Scout:

In my quest to create less trash, I also thought they needed some kind of reusable snack bag....something to hold their carrots, pretzels, etc. So I whipped up a little snack bag to go along with the sandwich wrap.

The sandwich wraps are a 12" by 12" square, and the snack bags measure 5" wide and 6" deep. The snack bags have a Velcro closure all the way across the top and are lined with the waterproof ripstop nylon.

You can see on my son's set how I added the name tags to both the wrap and the bag. I used Heat N' Bond to put them in place, then stitched them down. I used a permanent marker for fabrics to write his name.

My favorite thing about this project: the name labels I used on my daughter's set. My mother-in-law had some old labels that my father-in-law's mother had used to label his things when he was a boy. Well, my father-in-law and my daughter have the same initials, so she gave them to me.

They are in the original box and came from J&J Cash Ltd. in Coventry, UK.

They are small, woven labels with "B. Coffey" printed on them. I have no idea how old they are, but I'm guessing they are probably over years old.

So of course I will be using these on everything I can! I just love that I am labeling her things with the same labels that her great-grandmother used to label her grandfather's things.

Now that their lunches are taken care of, they need something for school supplies. How about a pencil case?

For my daughter's case, I just happened to have some leftover "dog bone" fabric from another project that I could use for the lining.

For my son's, I used a nice royal blue that matched the blue Cub Scout emblem on the fabric.

These cases are big enough to hold quite a few pencils, as well as a pair of scissors and maybe an eraser or two. So much cuter than those cheap plastic pencil boxes.

I've still got some of the fabrics left, so I think I might make another wrap and one more snack bag. I hope my kids enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

And if you like the pencil case, I have one for sale here!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Work In Progress....FINISHED!

What!!?!?! TWO posts in one week?!? Yep!

Actually, it's just a quick update to Wednesdays "Work In Progress" posting.

It's finished!

This adorable, A-line shaped jumper is made using a soft, light-weight denim.

I used Alexander Henry's Swedish-inspired "Delarna Stripe" fabric to give the dress a pop of color with a cute applique....

....and double-ruffle trim along the pockets.....

.....and hem. As you can see, my ruffler attachment and I have managed to work out our differences.

I also topstitched along the hem, neckline, and pockets. I just love the finished look that topstitching gives.

One of the best things about jumpers is that they can easily make the transition from summer to fall to winter by layering them over tights or leggings and wearing it with short or long sleeves.

And a girl has just gotta have a matching purse and headband, right? What's an outfit without coordinating accessories?

Like this outfit? It's available for purchase right now in my shop! And while you're there, don't forget to check out my other items!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Be Patient, It's a Work In Progress!

Here it is, Wednesday again. The day I've set aside to participate in cute2carry's "What I'm Working On Wednesday."

And since this is week THREE, you'd think I would have my act together. Nope. This stupid thing called "housework" keeps cutting into my sewing time....the nerve! And my kids are still home on summer vacation and wouldn't you know it...they want me to do stuff with them. Can you believe it? ;)


I've had this idea for a dress floating around in my head for a few days. It's a variation on another little dress I've made. So today I set aside time to get it done. Yeah right. After swimming lessons, the library, and lunch, time was short.

But I did get a start on it. In fact, I got some of the most time-consuming little details done. And I thought I could give a little sneak peek.

It involves some of this, Alexander Henry's "Delarna Stripe":

I love this print. I love the colors, I love the design...just everything about it. I bought a few yards on sale last year, not knowing what I was going to do with it, and I've used it in a few projects here and there.

And my work of progress also involves some of these:

Sigh....ruffles. Have I ever told you how much I love to make ruffles? Oh wait. Yes, I did proclaim my love for ruffles once before. I wrote about my ruffle-making weapon, the ruffler attachment.

Well, the ruffler and I had a bit of a falling out today (one of the reasons, the main reason, I'm not finished with this project), but we sought counseling and we're working out our differences. I think we have come to a place where we can work together peacefully. Either that or I will beat it into submission.

And finally, one last peek:

What's that!? An applique? Yep, I've dipped my toe in the applique pool.

So that's it for your sneak peek! You'll have to come back later this week to see how the whole project came together!

And don't forget to check out the links to other WIWOW projects over at cute2carry.com. There are some really talented people out there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WIWOW - The Selfish Edition"

It's time for another edition of "What I'm Working on Wednesday," courtesy of Cute2Carry!

This week was all about moi! As I've said before, I don't get to sew as much for myself as I would like, and when I do, it doesn't always turn out well.

But dammit, I wanted a dress. Something lose, comfortable, and somewhat trendy. My local JoAnn Fabrics had a sale last weekend that included McCall's patterns for 99 cents, so I went shopping.

And after scouring the pattern book and dismissing patterns for the usual reasons (too young, too old, too frumpy, too much work....), I came up with this:

Notice the words "contemporary" and "trendsetting." Not two words I would usually associate with my wardrobe. No, my wardrobe mainly consists of workout wear or t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and flip flops. In the winter months (winter being a relative term...it is AZ afterall), substitute jeans for shorts.

I love all these short, flirty dresses. I have skinny legs, so shorter usually works better for me. But...I have broad shoulders, so this type of top kind of scared me. I don't want to look like a linebacker. I was also scared by the fact that this was a Hillary Duff pattern. I mean really....I'm a 30-something mom, not a 15 yr old mall rat. And this "flowy and loose" style of dress....when you're in a certain age range, you have to be careful. If things are too loose, people start asking about due dates and stuff.

But hey, the pattern was 99 cents.

Not wanting to spend a lot on something that might not look good, I picked fabric (with help from my fellow fabric-aholic, Tracey) off the clearance rack. And wouldn't you know it....the clearance fabrics were an additional 50% off. Since the fabric was 60 inches wide, I only needed 1 1/2 yards. So at $5/yd + an additional 50% off, I only paid $3.75 for the fabric.

Grand Total for this project: less than $5. Can't beat that!

So how did it turn out? See for yourself!

[Disclaimer about this picture: I had just spent 2 hours at the pool in the hot sun, I have on no makeup, and I'm pretty sure I didn't even run a brush through my hair today. In other words, just a regular day! And my 7 yr old took the pic for me.]

I originally wanted to do the version of this dress that didn't include the ruffle on the bottom. I just feel a little too old for ruffles. But I did a major oops. The dress with the ruffle is View A and the dress without ruffles is View B. So the cutting line at the bottom of View A is shorter than View B, since you'll be adding the ruffle to the bottom. Well, I didn't pay attention to what I was doing and accidentally cut out View A. So I had to add the ruffle to make it long enough.

But instead of the three pieces you put together to make the ruffle, I only used two...making it more of a "flounce" and less of a "ruffle." For a $5 dress, it works.

I think I'll be making this pattern again, paying extra attention to my cutting lines this time!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Baby Love

This post was inspired by my dear friend Tracey's "What I'm Working on Wednesday," launched today. Go on over to cute2carry.com/blog and join in on the fun!

Most of my friends know that I sew, so they'll often come to me with a picture, an idea, a website, and say "can you do something like this?" I love it! Some of these requests have turned into great ideas. And I like the challenge of trying to come up with my own way of making something or creating an entirely new design.

My friend Melanie recently approached me and asked if I had anything in stock for a baby gift. I didn't have anything "ready made," but I do have some "go-to" ideas I like to use for baby gifts.

One thing I like to give is hooded towels. [Check out my hooded towel tutorial here]

Another gift that always goes over well with new moms is a nursing cover. Melanie found out that the mother-to-be is going to be nursing, so we decided to go with that.

I've made a few nursing covers for friends, taking ideas from different tutorials I dug up and changing or adding things as needed. I like the idea of a reversible cover (a woman has just gotta have options), so the first thing I had to do was choose two coordinating fabrics. The directions I got from Melanie were as follows:

"She's having a girl"
"Nothing too girly"
"She's kind of contemporary/liberal"

That's it.

Well, I came up with two fabrics from Heidi Grace's "Reagan's Closet" collection.

The nursing cover measures about 24" by 36" with a curved neckline made of 18" of boning for "peeking in" on the little one.

I added a convenient pocket to both sides for storing nursing pads or even a small wash cloth while nursing. The neck strap is adjustable with "D" rings, and the straps are sewn into the seam of the cover.

Melanie also asked me if I could come up with some kind of coordinating diaper/wipes holder. So I did what I usually do...scoured the Internet and stores for inspiration. As I looked around at some of the different options I thought that's great, but where's the changing pad? So I decided to make something that holds the wipes, a few diapers, and a changing pad all in one convenient location...kind of a portable "changing station." There are tons of ideas out there for these types of things. Again, I took in all the different versions and just put things together in a way that worked for me.

I used the same main fabric that I used for the nursing cover, but then I chose a super soft white Minky fabric for the inside. I wanted something very cuddly for Baby to lie on. I also sandwiched a fusible fleece layer between the two fabrics to give it a little extra "cushiness."

When folded, the "changing station" measures about 13" x 9" with a thickness of about 1 1/2", and is held together by a tab with a velcro closure.

Unfolded, the changing pad is 13" wide and a generous 26" long.

The pocket at the end of the changing pad is 7" deep and can hold a portable wipes container and 2-3 diapers (I didn't have any diapers to put in the picture...no more babies in our house!).

I think it will be the perfect addition to any diaper bag. I hope the mommy-to-be enjoys this gift as much as I enjoyed making it!