New Tutorial: Swimsuit Wetbag

07-wetbagMy latest tutorial for Bernina’s WeAllSew went live yesterday and it’s perfect for summer… it’s a Swim Wetbag! The interior of this bag is made with PUL to keep moisture\wet suits ‘locked’ inside the bag and away from clothing and other items that need to stay dry. It also has a zippered closure and a detachable handle so that it can easily be used as a stand alone pouch or clipped onto beach bags, gym totes, etc.

I took this bag along with us on our most recent trip and it was the perfect size (the finished size is 15″ square) for all our wet suits and it worked wonders keeping the rest of our clothing dry in the suitcase. Can’t wait for everyone to give this one a try and let me know how you use your new Wetbag!

 

Poppin’ Cookin’ Sushi Making

This past week\weekend, we had a trip out of town to get away before school starts (in 3 weeks) and to give Easton his ‘roller coaster fix’ for the year (he is obsessed with theme parks and because he is finally tall enough to ride a new batch of roller coasters, he was ready to ride them all). Consequently, there wasn’t any sewing going on (although I did do some Halloween\cosplay planning), but we did do some ‘crafting’ once we got home yesterday…. candy crafting that is!

Chances are if you have kids, your child has watched at least one Poppin’ Cookin’ video. While out shopping, we stumbled across their sushi kit and had to give it a whirl:

07-sushi

 

The shocking thing is that the end result of our Popin’ Cookin’ kit looks just like the ones on the box and my 7 year old could do almost everything by himself. The flavors were good, although very sugary, and the texture is odd – if you don’t care for jello-like substances, a lot of this will be off-putting. Otherwise, this was a fun little project to do together and sample it’s flavors.

Now it’s back onto sewing! I have lots of projects in my mind that I want to get started: A few back-to-school shirts, more shorts for my mom, a pair of Elenore pull-on pants, and a circle skirt using the left over floral from the Summer Tee. Whew, I think I’m going to be busy this week!

 

Zoe the Zombie Doll

07-zoeThis summer has been filled with so many activities I’ve found that my sewing time has been rather limited. Consequently, a lot of the ‘larger’, more time consuming projects have been put onto the back burner until I have more time that I can devote to them…. so, ‘instant gratification’ projects it is! This week, it’s Riley Blake’s Zoey the Zombie Doll panel. I’ve had my eye on this since last year, so when I placed my last order at Fabric.com, I had to put it in my basket.

This little cutie was put together in a (short) afternoon and went together easily. As soon as Easton saw it, he asked if it was for him – and with his love of all things Halloween (and zombies) how could I refuse? Guess I’ll be buying another panel soon so I can make one for myself. Maybe I’ll try the orange colorway this time!

 

Linky Thursday

Need a pretty and fashionable swimsuit cover? Look no further than this drapey kimono tutorial. Want something with a little more coverage? Be sure to check out this summer caftan.

Create a pretty, asymmetrical skirt in 15 minutes.

I remember making a Japanese knot bag  years ago and used the heck out of it. Now you can make (and use the heck out of) one for free!

For diapers, wipes, and necessities on the go – The Big Pocket Baby Clutch. Want to make it a gift? Stitch up a coordinating baby changing station.

Look fabulous and keep your clothes clean in the kitchen with a pretty half apron with jumbo pockets or stitch up a full-sized apron with a gathered skirt.

No more naked boppies, make a nursing pillow cover using this tutorial.

Now your little one can beat the heat in a two piece bubble romper (full tutorial requires subscription to a newsletter).

If your summer plans include a road trip, then you’ll want to make a seat belt cozy that’s perfect for kids.

Pretty headbands that are simple to make (I love the 3 ‘strand’ version).

Back-to-school Backpacks

In a little less than a month, Easton will head back to school… which means it’s about time to start back-to-school sewing! One thing I seriously contemplated making was a backpack – the ‘serious kind’ with all the pockets, latches and zippers that you see in stores this time of year. I even went so far as to ‘research’ what was currently available:

07-backpack307-backpack107-backpack2

 

I had narrowed it down to 3: Peek-a-Boo Pattern’s Star Student Backpack (which also has a matching lunchbox for purchase),  Diedelbug’s Back to Campus Backpack (which looks the most like purchased backpacks (IMHO), and Sew Sweetness Edelweiss Backpack (the least commercial looking of the lot, but looks easy enough to sew). Simplicity 1388 almost made the cut, but I’m not sure anyone carries View B any more and View C is too puffy for a little boy to carry around.

07-backpack5In the end I started thinking about the time I would need to sew one up, the cost of materials and notions (the patterns are relatively inexpensive, but the supplies could add up!), and the possible frustrations that lie ahead (as much as I love bags and the end results after making one, I find that I wind up hating fighting the bulk while sewing) and decided that buying a new backpack didn’t seem so bad after all! Plus the bag Easton picked out (pictured on the left) is a ‘that’s so him’ print, it was on sale, and I had a reward certificate from that store that paid for it all in the end. I may break down and eventually make a  lunchbox (either using the Hungry Explorer or the Star Student Lunch Box), but last year’s had hard sides to prevent crushing the food inside and I have to admit I really liked that style the best.

So, my question is, who’s brave enough to sew their own backpacks and gear for back-to-school and which pattern did you prefer? I may take the plunge next year!

Installing Hardware

07-bbqFor me, the scariest part of a project is adding hardware. Since this part is generally reserved for the end, you’re left to make holes in your finished item before applying fasteners…. not only is it hard to purposefully puncture my project (say that 3 times real fast!), I have the constant nagging feeling that I’m going to have to start all over again because I did something wrong (made the hole too big, destroyed the hardware, ruined the fabric around the hardware, messed up the alignment of the hardware, etc).

This weekend I put the finishing touches on a large (mystery) project that required snaps. I will admit, I literally sweated putting all of them in (although this could have been because I installed them outside during the hottest part of the day), but am happy to report that they all set up the first time around! Whew! One thing I should note, rubber mallets (as seen in the photo, initially I couldn’t find our ‘regular’ one) do not hit the setting tool hard enough to flatten the post around the snap pieces.

Swingline

07-swinglineAs much as I complain about PDF patterns, I have resigned to the fact that they are here to stay. Not only do they provide instant gratification (no stalking the mailman waiting for them to arrive, plus I can easily shop in the middle of the night and have a pattern ready by morning), but some companies only work with this format. The thing I dislike most is putting the pattern together – all the cutting, taping, gluing (and then generally tracing) can be a lot of work depending on the number of printed pages. However today, I have a new toy device that will hopefully make things go faster….. a papercutter! Bring on the new patterns, folks, I’m ready to cut!

Linky Thursday

Use a bold, graphic print in your next pair of shorts to make an adorable (and comfortable) pair of ‘statement’ shorts.

This yoga tote has straps at the bottom to hold your mat, but would work great for beach mats and towels too!

Dress up this free shirt pattern by adding longer sleeves.

Easton and I went to see the Minion movie this week so now I want to make this pincushion.

Make your little girl an easy, breezy skater skirt this summer (sized only to 5). Looking for something a bit dressier? Try this gorgeous Dreamer Skirt, instead.

Transform two tees into one great poolside look.

It’s like two hats in one: The Reversible Bucket Hat (for kids).

Feel more comfortable wearing ‘straps’ with your tops? Add a bit of macrame to a tube top for a totally different look.

One of my favorite shirt styles is the raglan. Now even baby can have one with this great tutorial on how to do this style with a onesie.

Sugar Skull Darth

07-darthWhile I had all my embroidery thread and “equipment” out, I decided that I should finally work on my Darth Sugar Skull design.  Since I didn’t have any black fabric for the applique, I opted to use a stretch pleather. I wasn’t really sure how the material would hold up to embroidery, but was pleasantly surprised at how good it looks in the end (although if I work with pleather again, I think I need to use a slightly thinner needle). The only unfortunate part of this project is that the placement is ‘off’ – my mom had called while I was setting up the hoop and I went ahead and worked while I talked…. now the design leans slightly off to the left. Oh well, this was sort of a ‘tester’ project and was meant to be the top to pajamas anyway…..

Canvas Stitching

07-embroiderySince prototyping is done, it’s time to concentrate on the ‘actual’ project itself which means it’s time to start embroidering! This is my favorite part of the process because I love watching the machine stitch out designs before my eyes.

For this project I used canvas – which means that the embroidery design stitched out beautifully (it’s a nice weight that stabilizing is easy), but I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t use the ‘wrong side’ of the material…. since I can’t tell, no one else will either so I’m going with it (and making sure that I’m consistent on what side I use for the rest of this project)!