Monthly Archives: May 2011


A lot of people assume that because you sew, you’re saving tons of money by making things yourself. While we all know that this isn’t always the case, one thing I’ve found: Home Decor sewing is always cheaper. I mean $50+ for a pillow? It’s 1/2 yard of fabric and some trim!

Today we’re getting rid of the toddler bed and ‘upgrading’ Easton’s room to a full size version. We’ve packed up all the baby items and have bought everything we need for the ‘big boy’ room… everything except the decorator pillows. Easton’s new bedding set is primarily solid with sports themed sheets. I decided to go with that look and bring in a whole sports look – which is good because he’s gravitated to those prints anyway. Consequently, I purchased 4 sports ball fabrics while at Hobby Lobby and decided to turn them into slipcovers. Normally I would buy pillow inserts, but this time around I decided to make my own forms:

For the pillow forms themselves I used some stashed fabric (it’s been in there for a very long time, like when I first started sewing) and a 50 oz bag of fiberfill. I like to stuff my pillows firmly (because I’m sure they will be ‘mashed’ in no time) so I probably could easily get 6 pillows out of one bag (if you stuff less firmly, you might get about 8 or 9). Now it’s time to quickly whip up the covers (I’ll be using the tutorial I wrote for The Sewing Republic) so they are ready before the bed arrives this afternoon!

Project Details:

The Sewing Republic’s Slipcover Tutorial

An assortment of sports themed fabrics from Hobby Lobby

Materials & Cost:
Fabric………$9.80 (+ stash)

First Recon Of The Season

Ever since I stumbled across this t-shirt recon on Craftster, I’ve been itching to make it. I even ran out to Old Navy to find a shirt similar to the one in the tutorial (I paid a whopping .99 for it). This weekend I finally sat down to make it… I should have done it earlier, it took about 20 minutes to complete:

Overall, the finished look is cute although the arm holes poke out some (I’m sure this is because the shirt is designed to have sleeves) and the bows are very full… in fact they look a bit like military epaulettes. However, neither will keep me from wearing this shirt this summer (although I do see this as a one season top – I just can’t imaging this being a wardrobe staple).

Opinions Needed

Let me start off this post by asking you your opinion. I purchased this fabulous print from Gorgeous Fabrics recently: it’s a cotton that starts out white, then gradually flows into a ‘field’ of yellow flowers. I’ve been toying with the idea of turning it into Vogue 8380 or a halter style dress with the white on the top and the flowers along the hemline. My question is, “Too much white for a wedding”? The more I look at it, I’m thinking it is. (I have a ‘backup fabric” if needed, a fun Hawaiian style print that I think will look great as a halter or sun dress) Of course, I’ll probably plan all of this out and not have time to make any of it before this wedding, anyway.

Speaking of weddings, I’m in casserole carrier sweatshop mode. I have 2 weeks to make 3 carriers: one for a wedding gift, and two for birthdays. Here’s what I have done so far:

Everything except the handles are cut. I’ve opted to keep the Insulbrite in place with some temporary adhesive spray so I can avoid all the pinning – that seems to have saved me a bit of time…. let’s hope I got it all neat before laying it down (I had a helper)! Now it’s time for some assembly line sewing!

Linky Thursday

What’s the best kind of blanket? One that stores itself inside a (coordinating) bag when not in use!

If you’re like our house, we have lots of bedtime books. Keep yours organized with this cute hanging book display.

Summer is almost here! Need a beach bag? Then this one will not only get you in style, but is large enough to fit your smallest child into!

If your sewing room is a disaster, don’t clean it! Snap a photo of it and you would win a sewing room makeover.

It seems very wrong that I’m following up a ‘summery’ link with a winter-ish scarf, but this one was too beautiful not to share: Ruffle Flower Scarf

I haven’t seen Capri-Sun bags in ages, but I still think there adorable… for kids. This tutorial will show you to make one for your little girl.

The ties on this Party Skirt remind me of the recent Old Navy commercials (for the shorts with ties)…. although I’m really partial to Hot Patterns’ free download – The Sporty Sarong-Shorts.

Make a cute, Sweetheart Ballet Tee in under 5 minutes.

Taylor was disappointed that this (20 minute) ruffle dress wasn’t in her size.

Did I mention that I got a Xoom for Mother’s Day? This means a cover for a tablet is in order! This one looks like a quick and simple one to start off with.

Quick Projects

One thing I noticed about the person I angeled a package for is that she likes ‘useful’ things (no ‘decorations’, etc.) – especially those that are recycled andor ‘green’. So, rounding out the last bit of her package, I made an Insulated Lunch Sack and some napkins. The lunch sack is the same design as the one that I made for The Sewing Republic – I like this one because it’s roomy enough to store tuperware containers, etc. or just a lunch for two. Plus this one, I used a laminated cotton – I loved working with it, I really need to find more excuses to sew with it.

I didn’t use a tutorial for the napkins, but if I had to reference one, this version from Skip To My Lou would be the closest to what I made. I always forget how easy it is to make napkins – I really should use cloth napkins more and not just save them for ‘special occasions’ (I think Martha Stewart recently said that it’s an easy way to bring elegance to an everyday meal)…. although that means more laundry, and I hate laundry.

Keeping Cool

Yesterday, we had record breaking temperatures – I know it get’s hot here sometimes, but this is the earliest 100 degree day we’ve ever seen. So what’s the best way to cool down? Ice cold water – and what better way to keep your water cool while you’re outside than an insulated water bottle sling? I designed this little sling for Sew It All Magazine (December 2010) and even though I’m biased, it’s my favorite carrier to date: It’s insulated (so drinks keep cold), it has a drawstring closure around the neck of the bottle so it doesn’t slide out (it also keeps the drink colder since the bottle isn’t entirely exposed), it’s large enough to hold bigger bottles of water (so it’s great to share with others), the straps are detachable so if you don’t want to wear it (like you’re taking it to a class) you don’t have to, and you only need fat quartersfabric scraps to complete this project!

This particular one isn’t for me, however, it’s for my angel package that I’m creating. For anyone that has Sew It All, you might notice that this looks exactly like the one in the magazine – I’m partial to those little dancers on the fabric.

Fabric Baskets

Happy belated Mother’s Day – I hope everyone had a wonderful day! After a great day with my family, I snuck away into my sewing room at the end of the evening and made these fabric baskets:

After having several terrific swap angels recently, I decided to do my part and angel for a someone who was ‘flaked’ on (hopefully it will bring me crafty good karma). One item she really wanted was some fabric baskets to keep her items organized. While surfing around, I came across this tutorial – I really liked it’s shape (it’s more elongated, while many of the ones I’ve seen are boxier) and best of all, it uses 2 fat quarters!

I have to admit, I just gleamed over the instructions. While reading over the tutorial, I figured out an easier way construct the basket (after sewing the gussets, I attached the handle to the basket, then inserted the exterior of the basket into the lining and sewed around, leaving an opening for turning) so I just kind of winged it, using her measurements as my guide for this project. Overall, a nice basket pattern, but because of it’s length, it’s a bit floppy. I think that the basket would retain it’s shape better if you did fill it with diapers and wipes like her tutorial photos (the basket’s actually intention), but next time I make it, I’ll use a stiffer interfacing.

Links For The Weekend

Make yourself a mini-reversible cape.

Looking to keep your sewing (or kid’s) room organized? Make some of these hanging storage baskets – they look like they’ll hold just about anything!

Planning a car trip this summer? Then you’ll definitely want to make one of these seat organizers – even the big kids need pockets for all their goodies!

Organizers made from buckets might not be anything ‘new’, but this is the first how-to (I can’t quite call it a tutorial since it just gives you suggestions on how to make it) l that I’ve seen that’s free (plus it would make a fun teacher gift).

I’ve never made slime (it just sounds too messy), but I might give this glow-in-the-dark version a try… it’s just too awesome!

Thinking about making some felt food (think kids play toys, pincushions, decorations, etc.)? This site has a HUGE list of links to free tutorials!

Looking for a cute, sewing-themed shirt? This site has a list of some of the most adorable designs currently available (I’m partial to the first one).

I LOVE this bib design – it’s large and looks like it might stay put!

A pretty little tri-fold wallet for your purse.

It’s finally feeling warm outside which puts me in the mood to make some summer dresses. This nautical dress looks like it might be a good start to the summer dress season.

Knit tube socks I think I need a pair of those!

An adorable polka-dot, ruffle dress for girls.

Sandwiches, Anyone?

They say “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind”… and I’m taking advantage of that saying today! I managed to spend so much time in my sewing room last night, it got too late to put up a Linky Thursday post (look for it tomorrow)… but in that time, I managed to finish a number of snack and sandwich wraps! In a last minute decision, I changed the design of the wraps from Betz White’s pattern to something of my own, modeled after SnackTaxi. These were so much easier (all serged in an envelope style design), although in hindsight, probably not as pretty as Betz’s version… next time, I might try some decorative serger thread.

I created my own laminate for the sandwich bags by fusing a Heat ‘n Bond vinyl to both sides of the material – this made it rather stiff and ‘cardboard’ like. In the future, I think I’ll just stick with fusing the ‘wrong side’ of the material and leave the cloth side exposed on the front. The snack wraps are the same design (although, smaller), but I eliminated the vinyl entirely…. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not, I suppose it depends on what you might put inside them.

I think I’ll play around with these a bit and see what works and looks best before I settle on using one design consistently. I’m also taking some advice in yesterday’s comments and testing out ripstop nylon for a liner in these bags – then you never have to worry about food safety!

Sandwich Wrap Debate

I had hoped to make it to the fabric store this past weekend for laminated fabric to make a few Sandwich Wraps from Betz White’s Sewing Green book (See all Parenting & Families Books). Since cleaning out closets took considerably longer, I never made it and am now considering making my own fabric. My first question “Is the material I’m using food safe”? This of course, lead me on a very long internet search and I came up with the answer: “Maybe“.

It seems as if some manufacturers claim that their material is ‘food safe’ while others (whom I am guessing use the same or similar products to make their fabrics) say otherwise. My guess is that ‘studies’ show that if you eat 30 wrapped (in PUL) sandwiches a day for the next 30 years you might wind up with cancer, etc. so to be on the safe side, they say that it’s not safe (to avoid some sort of lawsuit later on down the road). Consequently, I’m going with the idea that the products are food safe and chugging along with my Sandwich Wrap project. This brings me to my next ‘complaint’….

Dear (future and current) Authors: Please encourage publishers to print your patterns FULL SIZE. I spent at least 5 minutes trying to enlarge the Sandwich Wrap so that the pieces fit on the paper properly. I’m thankful that I have a copier in my house that I can do this with otherwise, I would have spent several dollars on wasted paper (I still wasted paper, but at least I can give it to the kids to draw onscrap pads). Oh yes, my second suggestion? Spiral bound books are great too.