Saturday, October 23, 2010

Handmade Gifts for Birthday Twins!

I can't believe it's been a year since our friends' twins were born!  When their older sister turned 3 in August I made her a Mermaiden, and my friend was so happy to receive a handmade gift.  So when we started talking about the twins' first birthday, I knew I had to make a few more things.

For Vivian, I made a soft doll from this Black Apple pattern.  (It's a freebie! Woo-hoo!)
I used kona for the doll's skin, wool felt for her hair and the flower in her hair, and 2 batiks for the body and stockings.  The face was hand embroidered.  I didn't embellish her too much, because I wanted to keep her safe for little ones!  This is a great little doll to sew up.  I first found this pattern when I made a few dolls for the Craft Hope project #2.  I keep the pattern in my stash for times like this. :)

And for Carson, I made (my first) sock monkey!
He turned out pretty cute!  Addy and I sat down to watch Finding Nemo last night and by then end I had only the hand embroidery left to do-I chose to hand embroider the eyes rather than using buttons to keep the toy safe for little ones.  I now have another idea on my  go-to list for children's gifts!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Steps

My aunt recently asked me to create a baby girl quilt for her to give as a gift.  She's one of my favorite people to sew for, because she gives me so much freedom!
Just before she asked me to create the baby quilt, I purchased a charm pack of Origins by BasicGrey for Moda. I loved the look of the origins prints when combined with Kona in ash, so I pieced some 4-patches and played with them a bit.  I quilted this quilt with an all over meander and used Kona in buttercup for the binding as well as the backing.
I sent this quilt off to my aunt without a picture of the backing.  The backing was mostly Kona in buttercup with one 4-patch added in to break up the yellow a bit.
I love the floral prints paired with the soft grey.  A girl quilt that isn't pink!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Airing of the Quilts!

Join Dayle over at A Collection of This and That for a link up party!

November 5-6 Dayle is hosting "The Airing of the Quilts".  Stop on over at her blog and join in the fun!

Quilt Project Button

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quick Trick Brick Stack Quilt

I sometimes joke that my love language is quilting.  I love to gift quilts for all of the times that we celebrate life, and also the times when we need a boost.  Whether it's news of a new baby or news that a friend is suffering, I'm often trying to think of the right handmade gift.

I made this quilt for our neighbor, Sarah, who was recently in a serious car accident.  She's only 16 years old, and she has a long recovery ahead of her.

I happened to have several precuts of Soiree in my stash, and I started by cutting my layer cake pieces in half to form 5"x10" bricks.  I wanted to stagger the bricks, so I used charm squares to fill in the gaps on the ends of the strips!  And there you have it, a quick trick brick stack. :)  (Once that name popped into my head, I was reciting Dr. Suess whenever I works on this quilt!)
For the back, I started by piecing together strips from a jelly roll.  To break up the patterned fabrics I added in a few kona strips (color is lagoon). The strips didn't give me a large enough backing so I added some pieced charm squares mixed with chunks of kona.
To finish this quilt, I meander quilted and bound it with a few jelly roll strips. For the quilt top and back I used 1 layer cake, 1 jelly roll, and 2 charm packs plus about a 1/2 yard of kona.  Finished size is about 61.5"x63".
It's all washed up and ready to be gifted!  I hope that it brings some cheer and warmth to Sarah's room as she continues to recover.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Owls

I picked up this corduroy at JoAnn's a few weeks ago.  It wasn't actually the owl print that sucked me in, it was the coordinating polka dots!

Pattern: McCall's 5919, size 3
Pattern Description: 
Childrens' and Girls' Tops and Dresses
Pattern Sizing:
3-6 or 7-14
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yep, I had no issues.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the style-it allows for a lot of variation.  There is an optional ruffle around the yolk, optional pockets, binding around the sleeves.  All of these details can be done in contrasting fabrics, which would give the garment a fresh look!Fabric Used:
JoAnn Fabrics baby wale corduroy
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I used a coordinating fabric for the ruffle around the yolk.
Omitted all interfacing.
Top stitched and/or stitched in the ditch to avoid blind stitching by hand.
Lastly I sewed a piece of knit in the front so this can be worn without a top underneath.Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might make this again in the dress length.  I wanted to add pockets in the coordinating polka dot, but I didn't allow enough length for them.
I would recommend this to others.

When I first completed this top, I thought Addy would just wear it over a t-shirt because of the deep slit opening in front.  Then  I remembered that I had some aqua knit!  I cut a piece of knit at 5"x6", hemmed the top edge, layed it over the slit and pinned it down.  Then I turned the shirt right side out and stitched in the ditch to attach the knit.  It worked like a charm!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lots of little projects!

Sometimes I feel like I haven't gotten anything done lately, and then I remember 4 or 5 small projects that I finished recently.  These small projects don't usually make it to the blog, either, because I forget about them!  So here's a quick round up of what's been going on around here:

A set of 4 dish towels/cloth napkins.  I made these for our friend who is SO kindly letting Matt stay with her in Seattle.

A pumpkin twirl skirt for Addy.  How cute are those mice hiding behind the pumpkins??  The black layer is trimmed in mini pompons.

And a new pincushion for me!  I made this up last night after reading about Noodlehead's cute Heather Ross version yesterday.  The pattern is by Oh! Fransson, and can be found here.
I love this pincushion because is has a detachable thread catcher and a small organizer.  Plus it matches my sewing room better than my old pincushion!  As a bonus, Oh! Fransson's tutorial is fabulous.  She includes all of the extra little details that give her pieces an edge on most everyone else.

Hmm, I sound a lot more productive when I document all of my projects!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Addy's favorite toys are her kitchen and play food.  Before she sits down to eat, she has to make her dolls and stuffed animals their food.  If you ask her to play a game in the toy room, she will make you a cup of coffee and a snack before the game. So one day while I was rearranging her toy room I decided to try making her kitchen area into a little restaurant.
I pulled out a few coordinating fat quarters and decided to sew up some napkins and a dish towel.
I had a lot of scraps, and no restaurant is complete without a sign and a banner!
I think it turned out pretty cute.  When we move, I have a few more ideas for her restaurant space.  But for now, we have our very own cute little cafe! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Owl Softies

What could be better than a Halloween softie?  Well, maybe two of them. :) Plus a few Halloween barrettes....
These cute little owls turned out even better than I could have expected. I had this idea floating around in my head for a few weeks before I actually had time to sew them up, and I just love how they turned out!  I used wool felt for the eyes and bellies, and hand sewed the wool on with a running stitch.  These were so fun to make, and a great way to use tiny bits of some favorite fabrics.
These little guys are heading out to Seattle with Matt - I made up little trick or treat bags for his boss's kids.
I also decided to try making a few alligator clip barrettes for Addy.  Matt's boss has a little girl who's just a year older than Addy, so I made up a few extras to put in her bag.
And Addy's barrettes:
I happened to have an extra clip that I used to practice on, and I *just* saw a cute tutorial for creating a rosette from felt.  This may actually be my favorite!
I resisted making hair clips for over 3 years, that took a lot of self restraint!  There are tons of cute tutorials out there, and they make fast, fun projects!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halloween treat bags with Sweetwater Label Crew labels!

I signed up for the Sweetwater label crew when they first made the announcement.  I thought they would be nice little projects to work on when I wanted some instant gratification.  I just didn't realize how cute they would be!  I had these little treat bags complete the night that my labels arrived!

The label kit came with 4 graphic labels, a personalized label with my name on it, and the pattern to make these little guys.

Three of the bags became treat bags for my mom and two close friends.  The fourth little bag is all mine!  On my bag, I used a graphic label for the front and my personalized label for the back.

I added some candy and a pair of Halloween socks to each bag.  Then I wrapped them up and added a handmade card.  It seems like there has been a burst of cuteness in Halloween fabrics and paper crafts.  I don't remember being so swept up in the holiday before, but this year I have more fabric, paper, stamps, and ideas than time to create!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sleeve Vent / Shirt Placket Tutorial

Wow, this has been on my to do list since June! Back in May, Grosgrain hosted a Frock By Friday featuring a cute shirtdress pattern (pattern and instructions here). The pattern came from the Bernina website - in German! After translation, the instructions were very basic.  The placket instructions were especially lacking, and referred to a sleeve vent technique.  I wasn't happy with how my placket was turning out, so I did some internet searching.  I found another Bernina pattern involving a sleeve vent, which had better instruction.  Those are the instructions that I followed, and I thought I'd make up a tutorial following these steps!

Something that helped me when I was muddling through this process was to see a completed placket.  I went up into my closet and pulled out one of my husband's polo shirts.  Any time the instructions were unclear, I would refer to his shirt!

To start with, you will need a strip of fabric for the placket and the shirt front or sleeve.
I cut my placket piece at 2.25" wide and longer than 2x the length of the finished placket (in the photo below, my purple placket strip is folded in half).  If you want a 10" long finished placket, start with a strip that is 2.25" x 25".  The excess can be trimmed off later.  I like to press a light crease down the center of my strip, we will use that as a guide later.

Draw the center line for the placket on your shirt front or sleeve:
Next, sew down one side of the drawn line, sew 3 small stitches across the bottom of the placket line, and back up the other side.  This is stay stitching.  When sewing my stay stitching, I bumped my needle over 2 positions from center and aligned my drawn line with the center line on my presser foot.  I also shortened the stitch length from 2.5 to 1.25 for the small stitches at the base of the placket line.

Now cut down the drawn line, but do not cut through the 3 small stitches that you made across the base of the placket.
Let's apply the placket strip! With the main fabric on top, align the raw edge with the raw edge of the placket strip. Sew the two pieces together just outside of the stitching you've already made.
When you reach the base of the placket, you will have to slightly stretch the main fabric.  I like the stretch the fabric slightly to first sew across the base of the placket:

After you've sewn across the base of the placket, pull the other side of the main fabric towards you and align the raw edge with the placket strip.  Sew down the remaining portion of the placket strip.
When the placket strip is sewn down, iron the seam towards the placket.
If you didn't do so earlier, you'll need to iron a crease down the center of the placket strip now.
Then press the edge of the placket strip in to meet the center crease.
We are going to encase the raw edges now by folding the placket strip along the center crease.  You want to be sure that the folded edge of the placket is covering the stitching lines by about an 1/8 inch, or more.
I like to pin at this step.
Turn the piece over.  To stitch down the back of the placket, you'll want to stitch in the ditch on the front.
At the center, continue to stitch slowly in the ditch and gently pull the main fabric so that the placket is open.
When you finish stitching in the ditch, turn the piece over and check that you caught the folded edge of the placket in your stitching. If you missed any sections, pick out the stitches, repin the section and sew it down again.
Here is the seam that was stitched in the ditch:

If you're making a sleeve vent, you can follow the instructions in the pattern that I used above to sew the diagonal line on the vent and continue with your sleeve.
For a shirt placket, we have a little more work to do.
Press one side of the placket under the main fabric.  In the photo below, the right side shows the placket pressed under.
Now lay the piece down so that the main fabric is flat.  Press well.
Now we will stitch down the portion of the placket that was folded back. My placket is 3/4" wide, so I stitched down 5/8" from the folded edge.
When you reach the base of the placket, you'll have to pull the other side of the placket towards you to keep it out of the way.  Sew to the base and backstitch a bit.
I like to stitch across the base of the placket as well.  To do this, lay your main fabric out flat.  Press it if needed.

Now stitch across the base of the placket, making sure that you catch the placket fabric in this seam. It will be bulky, so just sew slowly.
And you're done!  Here are some pictures of the front and back.
You may notice some small puckers at the base of the placket.  To minimize these, you have to keep your stitching lines at close together as possible when sewing down the placket strip in the beginning.  That would involve sewing the stay stitching lines closer together and sewing as close to the stay stitching as possible when sewing down the placket strip.
A woven fabric will naturally show more puckering than a knit, because the knit will stretch. A lot of the smaller puckers won't be noticeable on a completed garment, though.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment or send me an email! I tried to include more photos than usual, because I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to tutorials.