Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simplicity 1952 Baby Backpack

I recently cut out all of the teeny tiny pieces for baby doll clothes and a baby backpack.  My plan was to make the backpack and some clothes for my youngest to go along with the Bitty Baby that we are going to get her for Christmas.  One part of the plan has been accomplished.  The backpack is finished and I am ecstatic with the results!!!

The cording was my major concern.  If you don't catch it just right, it doesn't look right.  Well, I lucked out (with my cording foot) and it looks great!  Can you see the bottle pockets on the side of the bag?

I do believe this is my best zipper yet.  It is totally hidden and works like a charm.  The webbing for the straps was stolen from another bag I am planning to make for one of the teenagers.  I forgot to buy the webbing when I was purchasing the rest of the materials (go figure).

As you can see the baby fits snugly in the carrier and there is plenty of room in the bag for any clothes I will make for the baby.  Thank you to Shelby for being a good sport and modeling the bag for me. 

This bag was challenging, but I learned several things while making it.  Reading the pattern and understanding what is being said requires me to reread the directions several times.  Sometimes even after multiple readings I just have to try it out and hope for the best.

I can't wait to give this to my daughter for Christmas.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Infinity Scarf

I have seen many Infinity scarves around the blogs I read lately.  They appeared to be easy to sew and super cute.  Imagine my excitement when Craftiness Is Not Optional posted a tutorial for making an Infinity Scarf yesterday, here. 

This meant an emergency stop at JoAnn Fabrics on my way home from work.  I don't often (never) work with knit, so there wasn't any laying around my house.  While there, I bought enough knit to make 3 scarves and the fabric to make the baby doll backpack. 

From there I rushed right home to start on the scarf.  After dinner and play time with the kiddos, I was able to get the scarf together pretty quickly.  I can't wait to wear it to work next week!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pattern Cutting for Simplicity 1952

There is a reason that Quilts are my favorite thing to sew!  I seriously dislike cutting out pattern pieces.  That being said, my evening was spent cutting out pattern pieces for Simplicity 1952.  The pattern is for clothes and a backpack for 15" dolls.  We are planning to buy one for the youngest for Christmas.

The hand cramps, from all the cutting, are affecting my ability to type!  This pattern has 24 pieces and most are very small with many notches to cut.  It will all be worth it when she opens up the doll clothes and backpack for her baby on Christmas morning. 

Look at all those little pieces.  I am really enjoying making clothes, but also looking forward to the squares, rectangles and triangles of quilting. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rule Breaking Quilts

I took a class with a friend of mine at a local quilt store for fun.  The class taught us about the techniques in the book Rule-Breaking Quilts by Kathryn Schmidt.  It was a very freeing experience, no measuring, no pattern, no master plan.  Just a few fabrics, a rotary cutter, and a sewing machine. 

If things didn't line up, just cut them off or add a little bit to them.  One great technique I learned was how to cut and sew together long free curvy pieces.  This was accomplished by overlapping the fabrics, cutting the curve and then sewing them together.  It worked great.

As you can see the quilt is still not finished.  My friend has already incorporated her pieces into a quilt, which she has had quilted and given to her daughter.  This makes me think this project should move into the finish soon category. 

This book was a great read, since the author has a wonderful sense of humor.  These techniques will definitely teach you about yourself as a quilter/sewer.  I learned that, while it is fun to let go of the rules and pattern sometimes, I really like to follow the rules.  Knowing how much fabric I need, what the finished project will look like and having a plan of attack, is what I am comfortable with.

I am hopeful that this will become a wall hanging for my "little girls" bedroom (soon).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fleece Flower Hair Bows

Today brings more hair bows.  This will be a tutorial in how to make them.

Supplies Needed:

Fleece scraps (at least 7 inches long)
Felt scraps
Hair clips
Hot glue gun
Thread to match the fleece

1.  Cut 2 strips of fleece 2" by 7".

2.  Fold the strips in half and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.

3.  Snip the fleece strips about every 1/4" to create the loops, being careful not to cut the stitching.

4.  Roll the first 2" tightly and tack (stitch) in place.

5.  Make a long basting stitch for 2" pull, like making a gather.  Wrap the gathered section around and tack in place.   Repeat until the flower is finished.

6.  Tie off the thread in the center.

7.  Measure the bottom and cut a piece of craft felt about the same size.  Mine measured 1", so I cut a square at that size and then rounded the corners.

8.  Fold the felt circle in half and cut 2 small slits to slip the hair clip through. 

9.  Hot glue the felt to the hair clip.

10.  Finally, hot glue the fleece flower to the felt.

You end up with beautiful fleece flowers, perfect for any little girl!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Simplicity Skirt 2226

I never sew clothes for myself!  One of the blogs I follow, Noodlehead, had a sew along last week.  While I don't have time to do this during the week due to my hectic life, I decided to try it out this weekend.  The whole time that I was sewing, I fretted about my fabric choice.  The fabric was a little more busy than I would normally chose for clothing.

As suggested, I made a sample waistband from muslin.  This told me that I needed to make a size 14.  Even though I was a little upset by the number, it was important that the skirt fit, so a 14 it was.  This tutorial was great!!  The steps were super easy to follow and the illustrations were incredibly helpful.

When the skirt was together and I put it on, I discovered that it was WAY too big.  Urgh...now it was time to employ my newly acquired alterations skills.  It was necessary to trim 1 1/2" from each side to make it fit properly. 

After much fretting and a little frustration about sizing, I love the skirt.  So does my 17 year old daughter.  That could be because I borrowed her shirt and sweater to wear with it, but she wants me to make her one (success)!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's a Wrap Fabric Bowl

After yesterday's fabric hot plate, I just knew I had to make a bowl.  So as soon as one project was finished I was in the laundry room digging through my scraps.  I found a promising looking wad of fabric left over from a scarf I made a few years ago.  The fabric matches my bedroom, how convenient!

Voila!  Finished bowl, perfect for putting my cell phone charger, Kindle charger and cell phone in at night. 

I put my keys inside the bowl to show the size of the bowl.

Now, I just have to clean off my dresser so there will be a place to put this fabulous bowl.  This is a small round bowl from the book It's a Wrap!  Off to start my next project!


Friday, November 11, 2011

It's a Wrap! Hot Plate

Lately I have been wanting to make fabric wrapped bowl.  Well, I wasn't quite feeling the bowl yesterday, so I decided to make a hot plate instead.  I had all of the supplies necessary for completion.  That was nice for a change. 

A few years ago, I took a class at my local quilt store and learned how to make a wrapped fabric bowl.  It was a great day spent with my sister-in-law.  We both came home with a fabric bowl. 

I used the leftover clothes line from the class and some fabric left over from another project. 

One of the really nice things about this project is that the strips don't have to be cut exactly.  Just cut somewhere between 1/2" and 3/4". 

Then wrap, wrap, wrap and pin as you go.  Another thing to love about this fabric, is that you can use up some of the small scraps that are left over at the finish of a project.

Presto!  One nifty place to put a hot pot to keep the counters and table safe from the heat!

I had so much fun making this one, I do believe that I can feel a bowl coming soon.  This project came out of the book It's A Wrap by Susan Breier.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yo-yo Hair Bows

I spent an afternoon, not to long ago, making yo-yos.  The intention was to make them into hair bows.  Well, with my crazy life, it has taken me awhile to finish the project off.  After many cross country meets, work days and a little procrastination, here they are!

Finished clips.  There are two of each.

The backside.

The clips easily attach to a headband.

One little piece of advice:  If your buttons have a top and bottom, make sure to test out the placement with the clips facing opposite directions, like they will be in the hair.  This will help to make sure the buttons are facing the right direction when they are in the hair.

I found the tutorial to put these together at Craftiness Is Not Optional, found here.  While perusing the blogs that I follow, these hair bows caught my attention.  In a house with 4 daughters, hair needs to be accessorized.  I used a Clover yo-yo maker to whip these up.  It looked like I was having so much fun that my 8 year old, Francis, decided to play along.  She was easily able to put together a set of these and had a lot of fun doing it!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Finished Dress!

The dress is finished!  I think this must be the quickest finish on a piece of clothing for me.  Despite my busy evening, I was able to finish the arm hole, hem the dress and attach the hook and eye.

When I got home from work, I finished the arm hole and retaught myself how to blind hem.  Luckily I save everything, including the tutorial packet from when I purchased my first sewing machine.  That was the last time that I used the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine.  Wow, was that a fast hem.  Why do I dread them so much, not anymore. 

Finished arm holes and neckline.  I used single fold bias tape, super easy!

After returning home for the evening, I attached the hook and eye to the top of the neckline, so the top will stay closed throughout any play session.

Finished front.

Finished back.

All that is left now is to wash the markings out!

This dress helped me to conquer two of my biggest fears:  zippers (in clothing) and hemming.  I will no longer allow zippers to send me running from a pattern that I love.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Little Pink Dress - Simplicity 2483

I began working on a little pink corduroy dress for Genavieve this Monday (Simplicity 2483).  On day one I cut out the fabric, sewed the front pin tucks and pockets on.  This is the point where I ran out of thread.  URGH! 

Day two started with an emergency stop for thread at my local quilt store on my way home from work.  After all of the normal evening duties, I was able to put in the zipper, finish the seams and complete the collar. 

All that I have to do tomorrow is get the 2nd armhole finished and the hem. 

The zipper was really exciting for me, yes you read this right.  I said exciting!  Last month I took a Prom Dress Techniques class at a 4H workshop.  During this class, I learned how to put in a hidden zipper.  The opportunity to practice on a simpler fabric was wonderful!  Successful installation of a hidden zipper.

Can you see it?

There it is!

The dress had tucks at the top, along the collar.  Tucks are not something that I had tried before.  They were really simple to sew, adding some interest to the collar.

These will be super cute once I wash out the marker.

I am learning new things about sewing, whether for quilts or clothing.  Quilting is my favorite thing to do, but most of the quilting going on here at the moment is for Christmas presents.  Those projects will be posted later, so the recipients are surprised! 

Hope to have the dress finished tomorrow, but we will see what my busy life has in store for me.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kindle Cover Tutorial

One old binder
main fabric
binding/closure fabric
1 large button
1/4" wide elastic
thread to match

Step 1:

Dissect the old binder.  Cut it open and remove the cardboard from inside.  Cut these pieces into 2 pieces at 8 1/8" by 5 1/4".  (I traced my kindle and cut the cardboard about 1/4" bigger around.)

Step 2:

Cut the main fabric into 2 pieces at 8 3/4" by 11 3/4".
Cut the batting into 1 piece at 8 5/8" by 23"

Step 3:

Layer the batting and cardboard, keeping the cardboard 1/4" from the edges.  The batting will wrap around both sides of the cardboard.  Sew down the batting keeping the stitching up against the cardboard (but not through it).  Do this next to both pieces of cardboard.  Then stitch all the way around the outside with 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 4:

Layer the fabric on both sides of the batting with right sides out.  Be careful if your fabric is directional.  Make sure they are both facing the same way.  Sew down the center of the 2 pieces of cardboard then next to each piece of cardboard in between them.  This makes 3 lines of stitching in the center, allowing the cover to easily fold to the back while reading.  Stitch around the outsides with 1/4" seam allowance again.

Step 5:

Create a loop closure with a piece of the accent fabric cut at 1" by 7".  Fold this in half with right sides out.  Then open and bring the edges into the fold line on both sides.  Refold in the middle with right sides facing out.  Stitch near edge.

Step 6:

Cut 2 strips of accent fabric at 2 1/2" wide.  Connect the strips into one long strip using a diagonal seam.  Fold this long strip in half with right sides out.   Open and fold 1/4" under on the short side, this becomes your beginning.  Attach the closure to one of the short sides of the cover on the opposite side that the binding is being sewn on.  Center the closure placing the unfinished ends of the closure on the unfinished edge of the cover.  Sew on the binding with a 1/4" seam allowance.  At the corners fold the fabric at a 90 degree angle to the seam you have just sewn.  Then fold into the opposite direction and begin sewing the next side.  Repeat for all four corners.  Then attach to the outside of the cover using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Tuck the end into the beginning to hide unfinished end.

Fold the binding over to the opposite side.  Pin and sew along the edge of the binding.  I do this from the same side I attach the binding to, so that it is a straight line.

Step 7:

Time to put the elastic on.  I positioned the elastic so that it would cover the corners without interfering with the buttons or screen.  I then sewed across it 3 times on each side in a seam that was already sewn, to hide the stitching on the outside.  Trim near the seam.  I used a lighter briefly on the edges to prevent fraying. 

Step 8:

Attach the button using the loop to determine the placement.  Hand sew the button to the front, trying to only attach it to the top layer of fabric and batting.

Voila!  Safe keeping for a very loved Kindle.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Dress for One of my Cuties

Hmmm...  This weekend was a crazy one.  I have been trying to get ready to sew together a dress for Genavieve all week.  It has been rough, since my husband has been working nights all week.  I managed to get the fabric washed, pressed, cut and marked by Friday night.  So Friday, I worked on it a little, getting to the point where I had to get a supply.  This time it was single fold bias tape.  When will I ever learn to read the supply list thoroughly? 
Well, after a trip for groceries with a side trip to JoAnn Fabrics, the project continued.  I was able to get the dress sewn together, the yoke on, and the hand sewing complete. 

I swear I read these directions about a thousand times, just to make sure I was doing it right.  There were still a few errors and some reverse sewing, but overall happy with the outcome so far. 

Notice that the pattern doesn't have the word EASY written on it.  I am kinda proud of myself because it actually looks like a dress.  I am not normally a clothing sewer, but I love to make things for my little ones.

Now I just have to figure out where my 3 year old put my tailor's ruler so I can hem the dress. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fun with Fabric Flowers

Just a few days ago, I saw a video tutorial showing how to make fabric rosettes.  After I watched it I just had to try it out.  Francis and I spent half a day just making flowers from scrap fabric.  What fun!  We started with the fabric rosettes from the video tutorial at Craftaholics Anonymous.  They were very simple to make and slightly addictive.

I can definitely see some headbands in our future. 

Next we made some yo-yos with our Clover Quick Yo-yo Maker.  Boy, where these ever easy. 

These are going to become some little girl clips, as soon as I can make it to the store for some buttons.

Both of these projects were no sew or barely sew, but they were super fun and I can't wait to put them to use in the hair of all the girls wandering around here.  Francis made 3 yo-yos, she was so proud she had to share them with everyone that came over.

What a great way to unwind after a long first week back to work.


Monday, September 5, 2011


It's that time of year again.  Back to school for the Teacher, that's me!  This week has been full of meetings, meetings and more meetings.  How exhausting. 

Before I returned to school, I worked on the Snake River Log Cabin quilt.  I set a goal of 10 blocks for the week.  I made it!  The goal will definitely have to be looked at, because this week I made 0. Busy week.

This is what my 10 blocks look like when they are arranged.  Isn't it gorgeous!  For the next several months, my goal will be much smaller, more like 10 a month.  At least I will be making progress!


Friday, August 19, 2011

I Must Be Crazy!

The last project I bought on my Anniversary trip was a kit for a Snake River Log Cabin.  This quilt has THOUSANDS of pieces.  For 2 months now, I have been thinking - "What was I thinking?"  Only to remind myself that I saw this the year before and have loved it each and every time I have seen it.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,...

So I started by figuring out how to organize my pieces.  Since I am frugal, I didn't want to spend money on silverware organizers or anything else.  I finally decided to take some empty cereal boxes from the cupboard and create my own organizers.

These are the organizers with the pieces that I cut out while trying to get ready for our Washington D.C. vacation.

Please notice the smallest pieces in the b compartment, they are only 3/4" by 1 1/2".  Again, what was I thinking? 

Yesterday my little girls spent the night with my mother-in-law.  Perfect time to dive into this project so that I would know what I was doing when everyone was around!  Thank you Meemaw.

Here is the one block that I finished yesterday.  It took about an hour and a half to put together.  Each block has 52 pieces and there are 64 of them. 

I also put these partially together.  Maybe I can finish these today. 

I can't wait to finish the quilt, but need to remember to enjoy the whole thing.  This is the kind of project that will make me a better and more confident quilter.  There will definitely be some smaller projects thrown in so that I don't loose interest in this quilt. 

I think I can, I think I can,...

Well I better get back to sewing.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


It has been a few weeks since I posted, mainly because we were getting ready for our family vacation to Washington D.C.  The trip was fabulous and I found quilt inspiration all around me.

This is on the ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial.  I think it could be a simple quilt with some complicated quilting in the sashing.

This would be way beyond my quilting skill, but maybe something similar.

The fabulous floors in the Library of Congress also had many quilt worthy patterns.  This was my favorite. 

I must make some of these dresses that my little girls played with at Mount Vernon!  They were adorable and lucky for me, did not have a zipper in the back, just ties.

Our vacation was wonderful and much needed family bonding time.  There is so much to see there that even though we walked our legs off, we still had so much more to see.

Yesterday was spent cutting out the many pieces for a Snake River Log Cabin quilt, which I am sure I will be working on for many years.  There are finally enough pieces cut out that I can begin to sew it together.  I am so excited to turn my sewing machine on and finally get to sew something together again!

Time to get to it!