Author Archives: stacy

Halloween Bat

This morning I was able to cross one project off my list – this fun little Halloween Bat! I spent the day yesterday embroidering all the parts and cutting out all the pieces. Today I stitched them together to create this amazing little guy:

My favorite part? He glows in the dark (unfortunately, not his head or his eyes – just the “bones”)! This was my first attempt at the Free Bat Pattern (I also downloaded the embroidery files to make him skeletal) and I’m really pleased with the outcome. While this pattern is rated a “3” on the difficulty scale (so fairly easy), I personally found it trickier to sew than some of the harder rated ones for two reasons: first off, that body is tiny and the wings are big so when you’re sewing the body sections together, the midsection is very “full” and the pieces want to draw away from each other (it doesn’t help that Minky is slippery). There’s not a lot of room for forgiveness when you’re using a 1/4″ seam allowance either! Secondly, I’m not a fan of the way the head is attached to the body and stuffed. I think some of her later patterns make this much easier, but for me, this one was sort of a headache. The results are worth it, but fair warning going in!

Up Next

I would love to say that my lack of posting last week was because I was so busy sewing, but that’s not entirely the case. While I did do a bit of pattern testing (with a peek on the right), I didn’t accomplish much more than that.

I DID snag some hardware for October’s BOMC (and a few other goodies while I was there) and I did cut out the Balboa Shorts pattern (I would love to get those completed before it gets to chilly to wear them), but I really need to finish up a few gifts and send them out the door before I tackle those. So, up next is this little bat plush for my nephew – I intend on stitching this one up in glow in the dark thread to make it extra fun! What’s on your to-do list?

Boo

My niece started college this year and I decided to send her a little package to celebrate Halloween and decorate her dorm room. I found this fun little throw blanket at Target (and only $10!) and decided that she needed a pillow to match. While at Michaels (picking up supplies for yesterday’s project), I stumbled across this cute ghost fabric and knew this was it! Instead of making a standard pillow, I opted for a “lumbar” style and added a BOO applique so it coordinated even further.

For the applique: I traced the actual letting from the blanket (so that it was in the same font) onto the back of the Wonder Under paper, then pressed it onto some white wool felt that I had in my stash (the idea behind using the felt is that the edges won’t ravel and I was hoping it was thick enough so that you can’t see the fabric underneath). Once I figured out the placement of the letters, I used a blanket stitch (in glow thread) to stitch it to the pillow. I’m hoping she gets a nice surprise when she turns off the lights!

Sunflowers

This weekend’s project wasn’t sewing related, but Halloween crafting instead. What weird thing did I cook up? Skull sunflowers.

I had seen this as a GIANT sunflower project for Halloween, but since the large scale flowers aren’t available (I did see them this summer though), I went with table size instead. To create this arrangement, I purchased a “bag” of plastic skulls, sawed off the back portion of their heads, and glued them to a sunflower bouquet. I arranged them in a jack-o-lantern pot with some fall leaves and sparkly branches.

Overall, this was a fairly easy project to put together (and I got to use power tools!), but there are a few things I wish I had done differently. First off, my skulls aren’t a perfect match for the interior of the flower – they are just a bit smaller, so brown peeks out around the face so they don’t looks as if they’re “sprouting” as much as I would have liked. If you have the opportunity to shop at a store that has both items, looks for skulls that are the same size or slightly larger than the center of the sunflower. Secondly, I should have cut more away from the back of the skull so they didn’t protrude so much – I found myself cutting conservatively so that I didn’t shave off the hinge of the lower jaw, but I think it would have looked more “organic” if it was flatter.

Brownie

This week, the Cleveland Browns announced that they would be replacing their helmet logo midfield with Brownie the Elf (I 100% approve of this move). While I anxiously await all the Brownie merchandise to hit stores, I whipped up a helmet logo Zippy Clutch:

While I’ve made this project a lot lately, this one is just a bit different – it’s all cotton! I wound up having to scrap the idea of using vinyl (on the solid sections) because that color of orange is darn near impossible to find (and using a brown vinyl would just be so boring). So, I settled for a (fairly close) shade of orange in a quilting cotton and interfaced the heck out of it to make it a similar in weight to faux leather (2-3 layers of a woven interfacing) I’m here to tell you that if you’ve been putting this pattern off because you are avoiding working with vinyl – don’t. It’s 100% doable with cotton woven throughout!

If you’re wondering what I’m doing with all these clutches, I should probably let you know that I’ve been stitching them up for gifts for friend’s birthdays. This purse was made for a friend in Australia who’s husband is a HUGE Brown’s fan – I’m including it with a little Ohio care package that I’m putting together and figured she needed some things to wear for herself on game days.

Linky Thursday

There just a little over a month before Halloween so it’s time to start planning ahead with those holiday projects (and costumes). Here’s a few to get you started (and a few created by me thrown in there too!): Decorate your living space with “spooky” themed pillows like this Under Wraps mummy version (with glow in the dark eyes). Learn how to make a cute spider candy treat bag to use on Halloween night. Stitch up a Monster Munchies table runner for your kitchen or mini Halloween quilt for your wall. And my personal favorite, The Candy Cauldron – it’s perfect for handing out candy or just as a cute decoration.

Speaking of Halloween, if you haven’t downloaded this cute Witch Kitty or (skeleton variation) bat plush, be sure to stop by and grab yours. If you wait until tomorrow (Friday) to grab yours, I understand that a Jack Skellington will be released FOR FREE!

Looking for a dress you can make in a flash? Be sure to check out the Cross Your Heart by So Sew Easy. Looking for something less fitting? Be sure to stop by A Life So Savory and grab her loose fitting dress.

It was cool enough yesterday morning that I got to crack out the leggings! Need some for this fall, too? Here’s a free version to get you started.

These sweater pumpkins are a pretty way to add texture to your fall decor.

Enter to win a $30 gift certificate to the Fabric Fairy.

If you struggle to find patterns (especially bags) for men, then you’ll want to check out this Convertible Urban Day Pack pattern.

This twin set is a great transitional wardrobe piece for fall.

Wren Wallet

I wasn’t going to do it, but I caved.

When this season’s Bag of the Month Club started, I decided I would skip this round – I’m sort of hit and miss on sewing up some of the patterns and thought I would wait until the end of the season to pick something up if it caught my eye. Then I saw August’s pattern (The Wren Wallet) and had a tinge of remorse for not jumping in… but I held fast and didn’t join until the other day when I could resist no longer! I decided that I needed that little wallet to go with my new sling bag.

Because the Wren Wallet is compact, I had just enough scraps of vinyl to put this project together and am extremely pleased with the end result. Just look at how cute it is!

As for the directions, I found them VERY well written. Even if you’ve never made a wallet before, I think that just about anyone could follow these directions and get good results (there is also a video tutorial to help you along too). My only suggestion is to use a rotary cutter and ruler for the stiffer interfacing, I did not and found that my cutting was slightly wonky and needed shaped up in the end anyway.

Because I’m using a domestic (and vinyl) I opted to make the 2 card slot interior. While it was a bit thick, I didn’t find it overly bulky for my machine… so the next round I may try the three card slot. Speaking of bulk, I would suggest using a cotton for the side panels unless you have an industrial machine because it does get a bit thick in that area, especially when sewing the final steps with the folds.

Overall, this is a GREAT pattern – easy to follow directions, it’s scrap friendly, and super cute! It would make a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer, if you’re starting to plan ahead. I’m 100% sure I’ll be making this again!

Wayfarer

It always takes me a bit longer to sew up a bag, but in the end, the results are usually worth it. My latest make, the Wayfarer Sling Backpack is a great example – this project took me several days to sew (although I had some distractions in between that drug it out as well), but the end result looks professional and it’s certainly going to be fun to wear.

So, let’s dish on this pattern! For starters, there are 2 versions of the Wayfarer – the original (which is the pattern I made) and the Wayfarer 2.0 (which is larger, has 2 different styles to chose from, and can be worn as a sling or as a backpack). I opted for the original because the size was much more along the lines of what I needed and less “backpack” like (apparently the 2.0 can hold a small laptop). There are LOTS of pieces to this pattern, but several are optional (the interior pockets) which I wish I would have known before I cut and interfaced them (as I didn’t add all the pockets and card slots, more on that later).The pieces go together well and the directions are easy to follow and I liked that there is the occasional tip or trick to make things go smoother. One thing that I should point out is that all of the bag is “birthed” – so the finished edges are sewn (and not bound) and pulled out through pocket openings. I had seen people saying how difficult the birthing method was for this project, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that bad once you got started (since I used vinyl, I expected it to be hard to turn) and I like the way it looks over binding (because my binding is generally less than stellar). In the end, I opted for style 1 (with one zipper opening), the pen\notebook pocket and mesh pockets (both of which can be found when you unclasp the side buckle). I omitted the card slots (because chances are I’ll have a wallet to put inside and the padded gadget pocket (I wasn’t sure my big phone would fit and probably wouldn’t take the time to use it anyway).

Because it’s almost Halloween, I decided to use this fun Pastel Horror print from Zor-Elle and go completely OVER THE TOP – not only did I use coordinating splatter zipper tape and webbing, rainbow hardware (including a Ghostface and Jason Vorhees zipper pulls), and a “whipped avocado” vinyl that has just a hit of sparkle.

I realize that using vinyl on this project was a bit ambitious – it is a lot more difficult to work with, which probably drug out the time it took to sew this bag up. But overall, this particular vinyl “behaved” pretty well and isn’t too thick, but you can expect to have permanent holes (that you can’t close with heat) if you use pins or make a mistake. The webbing, on the other hand, was much more difficult. While it matches perfectly, it’s MUCH stiffer and thicker than any other that I’ve worked with so stitching over those areas was a little more difficult. In fact, it’s so thick that I couldn’t even topstitch the D-ring at the top of the bag down. Thankfully it’s so thick it just stays in place anyway.

Overall, I’m VERY pleased with this bag. It’s fun, functional, and just the right size for hands free shopping\hiking\going out. I would definitely make this bag again, but I think I’d like to try the 2.0 for when I need something larger (like traveling or for Taylor when she goes to work), too.

Up Next

I had grand plans to make a dent in my next project over the long weekend, but apparently Mother Nature had different plans. Between long delays for a soccer game and a power outage (apparently not weather related, but a squirrel “did damage” to our substation), it just didn’t happen. So, what I can show you is what I do have done on my next project: A Wayfarer Sling (OG) in a pastel horror print fabric (with coordinating zipper tape and webbing from Zor-Elle), and whipped avocado vinyl.

I’ve had this project in my head for awhile now. Although, my original plans were a bit different as I had purchased a fun, “ombre marshmallow” vinyl to go with this print, but between the bold design and matching zipper tape\webbing, I decided it would be WAY too much. So, I scaled back and went with a solid for sections of the bag. Currently, all the fabrics have been cut and interfaced (there’s a lot of interfacing!) and the zippers are inserted into the pieces that require it. Now let’s see how long the rest of this bag takes to put together!

Links for the Weekend

Every month SewCanShe asks readers what free tutorial they would like for her to create… unfortunately, the winning project was not a success, but she replaced it with a sweet little gnome that’s perfect for the holidays.

September is National Sewing Month and to celebrate Shannon Fabrics is giving away 3 prize packages worth $3,000!

Grommets don’t have to be functional on a bag, learn how to using them decoratively to make this fun statement bag.

This long, hooded cloak can be warm as the temperatures cool down or would make a great Halloween costume. Looking for something less casual? Be sure to check out The Lita Trench (best of all, it’s unisex!)

Enter to win an dream sewing studio – with $100,000 worth of prizes!

If you have a Pokemon lover in your house, you’ll definitely want to check out this free Mew plush sewing pattern.

This utility apron is perfect for the kitchen or the garage.

Enter to win a Conservatory fat quarter bundle.

This hooded circle top is perfect for chilly nights or just an interesting wardrobe piece.

Keep you valuables safe when you’re out with this anti-pickpocket bag (and the twist handles are super cool too).

Tote bags are a great staple to have on hand or keep in the car. Here’s a free pattern to get you started on your stash!