I have way too many “irons in the fire” at the moment so I’m discovering I have a little progress done on several items (instead of my usual work until it’s done and then move onto the next project). Since I haven’t really started on the Louey boxers yet, I thought I would do the next best thing… make a coordinating shirt. I used a scrap of the leftover Star Wars material to make a patch – fortunately I was able to use the entire comic book cover (this is a ‘toss’ so the rest of the comics that appear on the fabric are covered up by other designs, this image is the only one that is whole). Easiest project, ever – plus I feel like I’ve made a dent in my sewing list.
When I purchased the Star Wars fabric for my latest swap, Easton had decided that after I was done making a burp cloth and matching onesie, I needed to make him some pajamas. So, I bought what I thought would be enough material to make all three… apparently I was wrong.
Originally, I traced off the snugly pajamas in Sewing for Boys, but discovered that a one piece design was too wide for the amount of fabric I had left over. I figured that since a one piece pattern wouldn’t work, surely a two part pattern would be better. So I hit the fabric store (by the way, finding a pajama bottom for a child that isn’t in one piece is much more difficult than what you’d expect) and brought home Burda 9747. After cutting out the appropriate size (and making a few waistlength adjustments), I discovered, this pattern would have fit if my material wasn’t a directional design. Boo. I now realize the only real option is shorts and decided to get the sister (or is it brother) pattern to SisBoom’s Tommy Boxers – The Louey. Finally, a pattern that I know will work!
Pattern: SisBoom Louey Boxer/a>
Star Wars cotton print Joann‘s
Materials & Cost:
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!
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’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.
Pattern: DIY Fluffies Zombie Bear
An assortment of fleecesfelt from Hancock Fabrics
(no photo available)
Materials & Cost:
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:
Pattern: Kwik Sew 3510
Monster Rock interlock knit from Joann‘s
Aqua interlock knit from Needle Nook Fabrics
Materials & Cost:
My second distraction this weekend came when I decided that I needed a new shirt that would take me into fall. Originally, I thought I wanted to use Jalie 3132 and a solid ‘fall’ or even (wait for it……) neon-ish color for the entire shirt, but never found anything that interested me. I finally decided on a solid bright pink from Hobby Lobby and some of the remnant crown print left over from this tank. Once again this is another fabulous designed top that went together really easy. My only complaint is that the pink interlock is very thin and not very friendly to work with – in fact, my needle snagged a thread of the material while sewing and created a tiny hole right by the neckline (I wound up having to mend it so it wouldn’t eventually get larger), plus I never could get my serger to properly stitch on it. Lesson learned, while Hobby Lobby knits looks great, they might not be the most ideal for my project.
I am sure after last week, you’re tired of seeing doll clothes (I have more, I’ll just save them for another day!), so I thought I would share a new, upcoming project that will be eventually rolling out of the sewing room. A group of us have decided it would be fun to do a sew-along. Since there are a few quilters in the group (and one that never uses patterns), we chose something easy to start of with – Pajamas! This project eliminated the need for fitting, but at the same time introduced some garment sewing and pattern reading. I’m so excited! We selected Simplicity 9505 which wound up being perfect since the bottoms are one piece. Eventually we’ll thrown in the top (I picked view F, the tank), but we’ll see how long it takes us to stitch up the bottoms as a group. For the fabric, I decided to give some of Joann’s (polyester) ‘silky’ fabric a whirl – the animal print really called to me while I was there… let’s hope it’s not too frustrating to work with in the end!
Pattern: Simplicity 9505, Views F & H
‘Silky’ animal print from Joann
Materials & Cost:
Want to know the key to successful sewing? Follow the directions. For this pair of boxers, I actually followed the instructions exactly as they were written and didn’t have any problems. Well, I take that back, I still had the elastic issue I blogged about yesterday, but that seems minor in comparison to the fly. It’s not that the fly is difficult either, it’s just not something I typically encounter in my sewing, but it’s definitely something that make the finished project look more ready to wear. Overall, I’m thrilled with the way this pair of Tommy Boxers turned out and I think that the fabric makes a perfect summer pair… I’m guessing my mom will love them!
This weekend I was able to sew up two of the Tommy Boxer shorts I had on my table. I’d like to say that the sewing went well, but actually, I had lots of ‘issues’ – all of them were my own fault. The biggest issue I had was the elastic waistband. The pattern has you measuring at certain intervals so that the elastic matches up with the markings on the shorts…. I never could get either pair to work out right. I don’t recall having this problem with the other sets that I sewed up, so I’m not quite sure what the problem was. Instead of using the markings, I wound up inserting the elastic into the fly fronts, stitched them down, and then evenly distributed the elastic from there.
The second thing I fudged was the fly front. For what ever reason, I just didn’t feel like following the directions (and I thought I remember what I did on previous sets) so I winged it. I think they turned out o.k. (mainly because the fabric on both of these is so dark, no one will notice), but they just don’t look as ‘professional’ as the other sets I sewed. I’ve decided that my last pair, I’ll follow the directions to the letter – not just because this one is light colored fabric, but also because it’s a gift for my mom and I had giving ‘sloppy work’ to someone when it’s a present. Now tonight…. work on the last pair!