Monthly Archives: December 2010

Doomed, But With A Great Outcome

Rounding out the last of the holiday sewing is another apron – this one for my (other) sister-in-law. While I simply adore the final outcome, this particular project was ‘doomed’ from the start. Let me share all the fiasco’s that happened with this apron:

  • While I had enough material for stripe pleats at the bottom of the apron, I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t have enough for the tie at the waist – both length and width. Consequently, the tie isn’t as long as what I wanted and wound up having to use the dot fabric for the reverse side of the tie.
  • My serger blade is in desperate need of changing (I’ve never done it with this machine and I’m thinking it may have to go in for ‘service’) and couldn’t cut through the material – especially at the bottom of the apron where the pleat is attached to the apron. Consequently, this area looks like it was chewed up by a beaver (or other small animal with sharp teeth).
  • I broke out in a spontaneous nose bleed while making this apron and dripped blood all over it – talk about putting your blood, sweat, and tears into a project! Thank goodness for diaper wipes, they seem to remove almost everything!

Considering everything that went wrong, I still LOVE this apron – it may be one of my favorites. Ever have a project like that?

It Matches… Again!

Thinking that an apron and oven mitt weren’t enough, I decided to ‘top off’ my mother-in-law’s gift by embellishing a set of kitchen towels in matching fabric (I also made a set for my sister-in-law as well). For this project, I used a microfiber towel (found at Walmart) and I have to say, I don’t think I’ll ever use any other. They are soft, appear well made, and the fabric that I added to it ‘stuck’ like magic… no shifting, no ‘stretching’, I’m not sure I even had to pin it!
Look for me to be making a similar set (apron, towels, oven mitts) again this summer as my sister-in-law is getting married and I think it might make a nice bridal shower gift. I may even make a ‘his’ apron as well… now I wonder if her fiance cooks?

Linky Thursday

I love owls (not the real ones, they are noisy when you’re trying to sleep), but the cute, cuddly ones that appear on pajamas and pillows. The latest Sewing Republic project has you stitching up the most adorable stuffed version… and it won’t keep you up at night hooting!
With a name like Falalala Felt, the book has to be good! Win a copy for yourself and find out.
Sew a jacket in 30 minutes.
For the Harry Potter fan in your life, a Harry Potter doll pattern.
It may be because I’m hungry, but this Christmas Crack recipe sounds delicious (and economical to boot!).
A great gift for the sewer in your life – sew them up a beautiful Needle Case.
Cover an old baking tray with fabric for a cute room ‘pick me up’.
Have a little one interested in sewing? Win a copy of Sewing School for over 20 projects kids will want to make themselves.

Learn how to create a textured knit hem.

Don’t get rid of that old, funky shirt – turn it into a Christmas stocking!
Looking at Little Girls Big Style, I wish I had a little girl to sew for! If you have one, here’s your chance to win a copy of this cute book (or try your luck here as well)!

It Matches

My next project came right out of Simply Sublime Gifts – a potholder. While that doesn’t sound very exciting, I thought a matching one would make a nice ‘accessory’ to this apron. Since I wanted everything to match, I decided to skip pre-quilted materials and make my own.

To do this I started with two pieces of fabric slightly larger than what I needed and sandwiched InsulBrite (to reflect heat) in between them. Instead of pinning the layers together, I used a temporary fabric spray adhesive and smoothed out any wrinkles. Then I started quilting – I used the guide bar that came with my machine to keep my lines evenly spaced (I highly recommend purchasing one since the alternative is to draw lines by hand).
After all the quilting I was ready to get started. The only drawback to this project is needing to enlarge the pattern on a copier (I really dislike having to do that). Otherwise, everything went together without a hitch and I have to admit that even though there was a lot of work involved (in the quilting), it was worth it since I really like that it matches the fabric to the apron. However, if I ever make this pattern in the future, I’ll probably spring for pre-quilted material… it’s just so much easier!

Easton’s Mail

Quite awhile ago I joined A Week of Baby Onesies swap on Craftster. Unfortunately, my partner didn’t send her package(s) and I was given an angel to craft one up for me… and look and the wonderful shirts she sent:

A striped golfer tee, a Christmas tree (unfortunately the photo didn’t capture the tinselsparkles that were embellished on it), an airplane and train themed shirt, an adorable roaring dinosaur, and (everyone’s favorite) Oso! She even added a few extra goodies – Smarties (like M&Ms) and a chocolate and marshmallow Santa (which were immediately eaten).
Best of all, Easton was so thrilled with his package, he had to show all his shirts to Taylor when she got home from school and even picked out what he was going to wear tomorrow (which is a first) – Oso! Thanks again to my wonderful angel partner – your shirts are adorable and much appreciated!

Three Down

In between folding a mountain of laundry, I somehow managed to finish off all the Jayhawk boxers (I apologize for the poor picture quality, no one was around to take my pictures so I used my camera phone and a mirror). This project was truly a labor of love – not just in the construction itself, but in all the applique work as well… three times over. It was well worth it though, as my mom, Taylor, and I have a set of shorts that are not just cute, but no one else will have. I had hoped that these would have been finished well before the cold weather started in (I began this project back in September), but seeing that Christmas is only two weeks away, they are now Christmas gifts. Scratch one more item off my ‘to do’ list! What’s left on yours?

One Gift Down

With temperatures below freezing and a cold brewing on the horizon (stuffy headed haze), I thought it was best to stay inside and tackle some of my holiday projects. So, Nancy, if you’re reading – Stop NOW!

Continue reading

SWAP

For some sewers, SWAP means Sewing With A Plan (think coordinated wardrobe with mix and match pieces), but for others, like me, it means trading crafted goodies. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I love swapping (I’ve participated in over 40 Craftster swaps throughout the years), but the question I get asked the most is “Why do you do it?”
There’s several reasons why I tend to swap:

  • I am at my most creative when I swap. My favorite part is the day partners are released and I have the opportunity to see what sots of items my partner is interested in, looking at their ‘wish lists’, etc. and coming up with a package designed just for them.
  • It gives me the opportunity to make some times I would never make for myself. There are lots of tutorials and patterns out there I would love to try, but would never makewearuse myself (like a Scoodie, I just can’t see myself wearing one, but I really want to make one). Swapping gives me the chance to try some of them out and give them to someone who will appreciate it.
  • There are some crafts I just can’t do, but strongly admire. By swapping, I’m occasionally paired up with someone who is skilled at a craft that I’m not (knitting, resin, jewelry, soap making, just to name a few) – combine that with a Wist (basically a ‘wish list’) and you get some awesome packages! I am always amazed at the skills my partners have.
  • It’s like Christmas in the mail. You just never know what you’re getting so opening a package is always a surprise. I love receiving hand made goodies and proudly wear, use, and display what I get.
  • The kids love it. Even though I make things for my kids, they like getting little ‘presents’ from someone else. I’ve been very lucky to have some fantastic partners who have always kept their interests in mind.
  • I’ve made some great friends through swapping. Sometimes you have the opportunity to get to know your partner by chatting back and forth.

There are of course some downsides to swapping:

  • You’re working on a deadline. This can be a good thing, because I find myself being very productive, but it also means that I have to have a ‘clear schedule’ to participate (no other deadlines or busy with other projects).
  • Flakers – those people who never send out a package. While I’ve been very lucky to have this happen only a handful of times, it does happen. If you stick with an experienced site such as Craftster, there are procedures in place to deal with it so you still receive a package.
  • Swapping can be expensive. Between materials for the craft items themselves and shipping the items (especially overseas), swapping can be costly. However, there are some swaps that use stashed material or require you to send ‘small’ items that can help you save money.

Link Thursday

Make a cute little Yule House Ornament – a great scrap project!
There’s something about those Swedish Dala horses that I find so adorable, that’s why I find this applique stocking so cute. Learn how to make one of your very own.
Sweet little caroling dolls. Unfortunately, I think Easton would use these as bowling pins… boys!

Threadbanger teaches you how to make your own ruffled dress just in time for the holidays.

Stop by Sew News everyday for the next 12 days for loads of prizes. Yes, it’s the 12 Days of Giveaways!
Knit up a tiny tree ornament to adorn your tree this year.
Tips on how to make a holiday dress.
Needing a tag to finish off your gift? Lisa has a huge listing of free tags available for download!
I joined (another) swap on Craftster this week – a scarf swap. Consequently, I’m on the hunt for some great sewing projects like this Ruffled Knit Scarf tutorial for my partner.
Snail Soup – I just find this (non-sewing) project so fun and clever… I can’t wait until Easton is old enough to understand this ‘gag’.
These fabric covered notepads would make a great project for the teacher or ‘Secret Santa’ partner in your life.
‘Decorate’ you couch for winter with snowflake pillows!
Giving clothes you’ve sewn as a gift this holiday season? Then why not make a matching fabric hanger (with scented satchel) to go with it?

Revived

I glanced through the stack of projects (and magazines) that is my cutting table and decided it was time to get back work on my Jayhawk Boxers. I had originally intended on finishing this project up before the weather turned cold, but since it’s almost the holidays, they are now destined to become Christmas presents. I spent an entire evening ‘preping’ my materials. This particular pattern has you pressing all the hems before you sew which is nice because you don’t have to spend much time in front of the iron while you’re sewing, but at the same time I feel like I haven’t accomplished much since I really have nothing (completed) to show. Fortunately, last night I added the waistband to all 3 boxers and quadruple stitched them all for a more ready-to-wear look… now with any luck, I’ll have a chance to get back in the sewing room today and finish ‘the fly’!