Monthly Archives: September 2012

It’s A Zombie Bear Apocalypse

When I started out this week, I had a mental plan in my mind as to what I thought I could accomplish – little did I know that I would spend all my time creating two stuffed bears. This project was definitely more time consuming than what I expected, but I think that the end results are worth it:

After appliqueing all the details to various sections of the bear, I sewed up the muzzle, tail, and belly parts – the only change that I made to these parts is that I hand stitched the open hems of the belly so the stitches wouldn’t show. As for the bear body, I had to make a few changes out of necessity: since I forgot to add seam allowances, I wound up making my seams a scat 1/8″. Yes, that’s right 1/8″! I figured anything larger would distort the final shape (i.e. making them look tubular) of the arms, legs and ears. The other change I made is that I sewed up the left side of the bear, attached the green patchwork and stitches applique and sewed them down and then finished sewing the rest of the bear’s body together. The muzzle, belly, and tail were later hand sewn onto the bear, giving it a dimensional appearance.

The Bottom Line: While this bear took quite a bit of time to construct, the final product is professional, cute, and will definitely be well received. The dimensional (muzzle, tail, belly) and interactive (removing the intestines from the belly) portions of this animal definitely make it unique and look like something you might see in a store (but better, of course). The instructions are not as detailed as commercial patterns, but if you’ve had some sewing experience (especially with sewing stuffies) you’ll be able to work your way through this project without any problems. Overall, a fun, but time consuming project!

Linky Thursday

I know I’ve posted needle rolls before, but this one is so large and so awesome, it may be the mother of all needle cases.

Start gearing up for (Halloween) holiday decorating with this easy ribbon table runner.

It’s almost fall, which means it’s almost cute skirt and boot season! Get ready for the season with an adorable Anthropologie Ruffle knock-off.

Learn how to turn a desk into a sewing table.

Pregnant and in need of new pants? Don’t go out and buy new – learn everything you need to know about how to matern-ify your trousers.

Probably the simplest way to spruce up your living space for fall – turning shaped placemats into pillows!

A fun take on the kimono top.

Rock on! with this awesome guitar shaped bag.

Learn how to make a wristlet in 5 easy steps.

Have some burlappotatoflour sacks laying around? Add a little fabric and you can turn them into a super cute (not to mention unique) bag!

Even if school has already started, it’s not to late to think about switching things up and sending you child off to school with a new backpack. This one is so cute, you could make one for every season!

A great way to protect your carseats from pet hair and keep your dog(s) from jumping into the front seats.

It’s All About The Feet

I probably don’t need to say this, but using the right feet for your project can make all the difference in the world. Not only can it make your project look more professional, but it will speed up your sewing time and ease frustration as well. Take for instance one of my favorite feet, the open toe foot. This is ideal for applique (great when you plan on embellishing shirts, adding names to pillows, or in this case, adding features to a stuffed bear) because it allows you to ‘see’ where you’re going, plus it’s wide enough for you use a variety of stitches to your project. Just compare it to a standard foot and you can see the difference:

Not sure what foot is right for you? Here’s a handy guide as to some of the presser feet available for Bernina machines (don’t worry if you don’t have a Bernina, most companies have similar styles).

As for the progress on the bear, I’m finally adding the details (eyes, nose, scars) which is always a labor intensive process. One thing that I didn’t think of prior to adding some of the features is that I should have really used Wonder Under to affix them in place. I did remember to do this with the scars and some of the tinier elements (tooth, nose shine), unfortunately, my brain wasn’t with me when I traced so I didn’t reverse the image. Since I spent a great deal of time cutting them out (also labor intensive and a bit painful on the wrist!), I decided that no one would notice that they were a bit ‘off’ and kept them as is.

Edited to add: Speaking of open toe feet, if you happen to pick up this month’s issue of Sew News, there’s an entire article devoted to the subject!

I’ve Got Guts

I’ll admit it. I’m a Fluffle nut (I even have the ‘chicken’ sitting on my sewing room shelf). One of my favorite stuffies that designer Mariska Vos-Bolman ever made was a zombie bear for a Craftster (stuffed bear) challenge. Up until now, I just had to admire from afar, but recently discovered that she’s selling the pattern. So, guess what my next project(s) is? Yup you guessed it, our own zombie bears (Halloween gifts for the kids).

Fortunately, the pattern was available for immediate download and Hancock Fabric was having a fleece sale… so I set out to gather all my materials. I immediately got home, cut out (almost) all the pieces and realized I made my first mistake – I did not realize that the pattern pieces do not have a seam allowance. Consequently, my bear will wind up being about 1/2″ smaller that intended and I’ll have to carefully sew any pieces that have any applique on them because some are close to the seam line. I decided to tackle the least fun-looking element of the bear…. the intestines. I traced the pattern piece directly onto the felt, sewed the shape, and then cut closely to the stitching line. The truly tricky part? Stuffing little wads of poly-fill into the tube – not too firmly and leaving ‘pockets’ so it looks like, well, guts. While the photo doesn’t really capture how gruesome they look, I think I did a pretty good job making them look as realistic as what felt guts can get.

Project Details:

Pattern: DIY Fluffies Zombie Bear

An assortment of fleecesfelt from Hancock Fabrics
(no photo available)

Materials & Cost:

Monsters Rock

The last time I went to Joann’s, I spotted a fabric out of the corner of my eye that screamed, “Easton”. Good boy fabrics are hard to find and when I stumble across them, I have to pick it up. My latest? A “Monsters Rock” printed interlock. I knew that most of this material was destined to become a pair of cute pjs, so I pulled out my favorite pattern, Kwik Sew 3510. Once again this pattern went together without a hitch and the only modification I made was adding about 1/2″ to the neckband (I’ve found it to be a but snug when Easton pulls the shirt over his head without a little bit more give). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my model to put on the finished pair because it was “too hot out to try them on” so I was forced to use the “Flat Stanley” pose instead. All the details for this project are listed below:

Project Details:

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3510

Monster Rock interlock knit from Joann‘s

Aqua interlock knit from Needle Nook Fabrics

Materials & Cost:

S is For…

Rounding of the last of my Spell My Name swap is a “S is for Star Wars Onesie”. I dyed a white onesie ‘black’ (although the finished color is more of a charcoal gray) and added a patch from the Star Wars themed fabric that I also used for the burp rag – I would have rather used an entire comic book cover that appeared on the fabric, but it was much too large to sew onto the onesie. Now that my package is pretty much complete, it’s time to pop it off into the mail and get started on a few projects for me!

Linky Thursday

Only have a yard of decorator fabric? This floor cushion is a perfect project to use it up.

It may not be spring, but this blouse would still be perfect for a warm fall day.

Keep your cards hands and looking pretty at the same time.

A stuffy perfect for Halloween – Bellatrix Bat.

A sweet little dress for your favorite toddler.

This pincushion is as pretty as a package.

Cold weather will soon be upon us. Prepare for winter with this Snowblossom Hat.

For everyone who ever wanted to be Red Riding Hood.

It may not be sewing related, but this googly eyed bracelet is a perfect accessory for Halloween.

Have a car that’s in need of a little TLC? This tutorial will teach you how a bit of fabric can give it a makeover.

Keep your stroller organized and look fashionable doing it.

These animal masks may not be written in English, but they are so adorable, it’s well worth figuring out how to sew them!

Wet Bag

In light of the weekend baby booty debacle, I decided against starting another pair. Instead, I decided to go another route and make something else baby related. A wet bag. This is essentially a cloth exterior bag that is lined with PUL (a waterproof material that is typically used in cloth diaper making) and can be used to store cloth diapers, soiled clothingbib, or a handy storage for wipes and diaper for on-the-go diaper changes.. and if she decides to skip the diaper bag, there’s a nice little wrist strap that she can use to carry it all. Best of all, it’s not only in a fabric she likes, but matches one of the burp cloths I recently made for her.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The title of this blog post isn’t just the name of a movie, it also describes how my weekend of crafting went. I think it’s important to show the occasional ‘wadder’ because, let’s face it, even the most seasoned seamstress struggles with an occasional project. The first item up on my sewing table was a pair of booties from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones (I had intended this to be part of my Spell My Name Swap package). Even though I’ve made this particular item numerous times over the past 4 years, somehow, I managed to bungle this one… just look at how large the sole is compared to the shoe! After double checking to be sure that I didn’t cut out the wrong size, I realized that the bootie itself was just too small. My only conclusion that I could come up with is that I ‘shrunk’ the material when I added the interfacing. Whatever the cause, it’s now in the trash. I am debating on trying again or making something else.

The other project that went awry is a Japanese eraser kit. This particular product has been sitting in our storage room for over a year because my oldest never took an interest in trying it. So out of boredom, my 4 year old and I decided to give it a whirl (after looking up the English instructions online). The premise is simple: roll a ball of clay, press and remove into the mold, boil your creation, then cool it off in cold water. Little do they tell you the clay sticks to the mold, doesn’t blend together well, and will fall apart if multiple pieces have to be put together and aren’t adequately smooshed together. As you can see, the final products don’t look like the ones on the box. The bottom line? If you like fun erasers, spring for the kind that are already made – they’re probably less expensive and look great. If you’re looking for an interesting activity to do with your children and they don’t mind how the end product looks, then definitely give it a whirl.

Trick-or-Treat and So Much More

Happy September National Sewing Month! The start of Labor Day holiday means only one thing…. it’s time to start planning for Halloween. What better project to put on your sewing table than my new tutorial up at WeAllSew? These instructions will teach you to make 4 different bags: Two full size trick-or-treat totes, one with a contrasting band, and two mini versions that are perfect as party favors. Don’t do Halloween? Then change up the fabric on these bags for any occasion such as Christmas, birthdays, and Valentines Day and use the minis for gift cards, take home bags for children’s parties (you can even embroider their name on the contrast band), or just for decoration. The possibilities are endless! What will you be using your tote(s) for?