Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Craft Book Review - Sweet Booties!

The picture on the cover of this book is the sweetest thing. I had to check it out! I expected a bunch of sweet, retro projects for baby boys and girls. The pictures are very sweet and the book is well put together with the spiral stay-open binding.

This book has 30 projects but most of them are repeats. There are various bibs but they are all the same concept with just a few changes that anyone could come up with on their own. The bibs are cute though and I would totally draw ideas from then. Like most other sewing-for-baby books there were a lot of cute girl patterns and just a few suitable for little men.

The first pattern I chose was the baby boot. I've been looking for a baby boot pattern for a while now. Unfortunately these didn't work for me. I've made tons of baby shoes so I understand the basic concept. The sole was much smaller than the shoe top and so I had to do some gathering around the back. It doesn't mention gathering in the instructions and the pictures didn't show any sort of gathering. I felt like the foot bed was very tall and weird. Also, the strap is too short when making the largest size.

I'm leery of trying another new pattern. I do really love those bloomers and may have to give them a shot. I'll update if I give it a whirl.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Flea Market Fancy

Click the link above to check out this awesome giveaway! I love the Flea Market Fancy fabrics and would love to see a re-release.

Updated to include the link. (Oops)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Urban Flannel Scraps

Check out this giveaway on Brown Paper Packages. I would so love to win those scraps. How cute are they!

James Madison Costume

This year my son was James Madison for Halloween. I had so much fun making his costume. This would be a great costume for George Washington or any other founding father.

Here's the list of things you'll need to buy:
  • Simplicity Pattern number 2561
  • 1.5 yards of black craft flannel (72 inches wide) If you prefer blue, brown or gray, go for it
  • Two packages of 3/32" wide metallic soutache braid (by the bias tape)
  • A 'sample' of incredibly ugly gold fabric
  • 20 eyelets
  • Eyelet setter
  • Gold chain (by the buttons)
  • 6 star buttons
  • 1 doily
  • White tights
  • 1.5 yards of 1 inch pregathered lace

Things you may already have:
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Velcro (about 3 inches)
  • Cotton balls
  • 1/2 inch wide elastic to fit the waist of the breeches
I'll run you though each item and explain what to do.

The belt. This is not a mandatory part of the costume but it adds a little extra. Cut a two inch wide strip of your craft felt as long as your kid's waist plus 3 inches. Fabric stores are often willing to give you a sample of fabrics so you can take them home and make sure that is what you need. This ugly gold fabric was $18 per yard. I certainly didn't even want 1/8 of a yard because I have no idea what I would do with it. So, I got a sample for free. It makes a perfect belt buckle. Just cut a 2 x 3 inch rectangle. Cut a square out of the center and sew in on to one end of the belt. Sew a 1.5 inch Velcro strip on the back side of the buckle and the other part of the Velcro on the other end of the belt so it will stay on. Easy peasy.
The bag. Cut a 15 x 30 inch rectangle. Fold it in half and round one end. This will be the bottom. Add the gold soutache braid to the top of the bag. Sew the edges of the bag together with the soutache braid sides in. Since you're working with felt you don't have to worry about fraying, so you don't have to fold under edges and sew them. To make the handle cut a 2 inch wide strip that measures 20 inches long. Make two more 'belt buckles' for either side of the bag out of the sample of really ugly gold fabric. Each store is different as far as how much fabric they give as a free sample. If you don't have enough and you don't want to go in multiple times to get what you need, you can skip this step.
The jacket. Oh I love this jacket. Basically you make it exactly like the pattern. The pattern is actually a pirate pattern but the jacket works perfectly for James Madison. My son is 12 months and wears 12 month clothes. I made size 1 of the pants and jacket.

When sewing the sleeves remember to sew on the lace to the cuff before adding them to the jacket. Add the soutache braid around all the edges. Sew the doily and gold chain to the neck. Add 1.5 inches of Velcro to the neck to keep the jacket closed. Add three star buttons to each sleeve. Presto.
Since I was working with felt I didn't use interfacing at all. It certainly made the costume come together faster.

The breeches. These are so easy. Just use the pattern but instead of making pants, cut them off into shorts. I actually made the full pants and folded them up. I'm hoping it might fit him next year as well and if that is the case I can just lower them hem. After you have your basic breeches, add the soutache braid to the sides.
The shoes. To make these I used a pair of shoes my son wears as a pattern. I traced around the sole and added 1/2 inch all the way around. For the top I made a square the same length as the sole and about 1/5 times the width. Round the toe. For the foot opening you'll need to cut a horseshoe shape out of the opposite end of your square. You should leave about 2 inches on each end and cut out the middle into a rounded shape. If you need images just google baby shoe pattern and you'll see what I mean. Sew the top and bottom together. As a closing system I used copper eyelets around the top of the shoe with soutache braid laced through them. I would have preferred gold eyelets but I didn't have them and didn't want to buy them.
The wig. This was much easier than I thought it would be. I measured my son's head and added 1/4 inch seam allowance. Make a 4 inch wide strip as long as your head measurement. Cut a circle with the diameter being 1/2 of your head measurement. So if your head measures 30 inches the circle should be 15 inches in diameter. Sew the strip around the circle. Now to get the length right it is best to put your hat on your kid's head and measure how long it needs to be and how much room should be left for the face. You'll need to do a bit on your own here but it's pretty hard to mess up. Mine is about 8 inches long. Now you'll need to add the cotton balls. I tried gluing them with tacky glue but they didn't stick. I don't have a glue gun so I'm not sure if that would work. I sewed mine on. it didn't take very long and I know those puppies are stuck for good.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Craft Book Review - Simple Sewing for Baby

Simple Sewing for Baby

24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers

By Lotta Jansdotter

Photographs by Meiko Takechi Arquillos

I am loving this book. Usually I borrow craft books from the library to see if the projects are something I'm interested in. If so, I'll splurge and buy them. This is a definite must buy for me. I LOVE each and every one of these 24 projects. So far I've made the pants, the bib, the drool catching neck kerchief and the giraffe rattle. I'm going to whip up the buddy tomorrow for Calder's birthday next week.

The projects are quick, simple, customizable and so cute! They are all projects I could have come up with myself but I appreciate having them right there in the book with the patterns in their neat little pouch.

The sizing on the clothing is lacking. It will tell you the little girl dress (when finished) is 17 inches long but if you don't have a kid how do you know whether that will fit the child you're making it for? Luckily the pants I made worked perfectly for Calder now and it will be pretty simple to alter the pattern as he grows.

If you haven't seen Lotta Jansdotter's other books you should certainly check them out. I've owned and loved her Simple Sewing book for a few years. It has quick and easy home projects. I've made the apron, dish towels, hot pads, tote bags and duvet cover. I love it. These projects are simple and customizable. They would make awesome Christmas presents that didn't cost a lot. You don't need any sewing experience really. You just need to know how to thread your sewing machine and you're good to go.

Unfortunately I haven't looked through her How To Print With Anything book. Maybe I'll check that out next! If anyone has, what did you think?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Finished My 1st Quilt

I finally finished my first quilt! You may recognize it from this post or this post. It took a little longer than I hoped but I love it. The binding was much easier than I thought it would be (thanks Kathy) and I love that I'm not stuck with the store bought binding options. My stitches are big but I like them that way.

I'm totally in love with it but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I intended to keep it in the living room as a 'snuggle on the couch' quilt but it doesn't match the living room as much as I would like. It also turned out a little smaller than I would like for a 'snuggle on the couch' quilt. So, I'm open to suggestions. If you have any ideas, just let me know.

the back
big stitches
the front

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tree Skirt

This is the tree skirt I made for my mom. She hasn't actually seen it yet but I hope she loves it as much as I do. This was a really fun project that I had to use a lot of creativity for since I wasn't using a pattern. I started with a charm pack of the Moda Figgy Pudding collection and went from there.

I still need to figure out a closure system. I'll probably just use ribbon for bows. I also want to make cute little starts for the tree tops. I'm toying with the idea of making a tutorial for it. Let me know if it is something you'd be interested in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stroller Revamp

Calder's car stroller (as in, it stays in the trunk) was showing a little wear. It isn't bad but the cover was fading in just a few places. I bought the stroller on Craigslist and absolutely love it. It's small but still has the full reclining position. So, I decided to sew a new cover for it. I LOVE this fabric and was so excited to try it. It is fully removable and I didn't change the original, so I can revert back if needed.
This is the stroller without the sun shade. It is convenient that it is removable. I plan to use it like this at the airport and indoors.

Now here is the problem. The original fabric was blue, tan and white with red accents. I looked everywhere to find a cute fabric to match that wasn't girly. I gave up and chose what I really love. Well, now I have a brown, red and white stroller with a blue, tan and red sun shade. Does it look tacky? I am afraid to try a cover for the sun shade. But, if everyone thinks it needs to match, I will give it a shot. Also, if you hate the new cover and think I should just use the original stroller as is, please say so.

August Card Club

These are the cards I made for card club this month. The theme was celebrations and since I was plum out of baby cards I thought that's what I would do. Everything is basically from Close To My Heart. I think it would be a good card for someone close to you because it is really big. It's not a routine baby shower card where you basically just sign your name. It's also a nice size to include a check so you don't have to fold it. I love the pink envelopes. I got those at a great fabric store in San Diego called Beverly's. If you're ever in La Jolla you should go there. They have an awesome designer fabric section. And a decent scrapbooking section.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lucy Dress

I'm going to a baby shower tomorrow for baby Lucy. I made this dress last week and totally love it. It has ruffle sleeves, button details and ruching around the bottom. I found a onesie with yellow ribbing around the neck that matches perfectly. Of course it comes complete with ruffle bottom tights. Ruching around the bottom.

The back.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mei Tai

I have found as my baby gets bigger that the Baby Bjorn is getting less and less comfortable. I have been looking for other options but didn't want to spend $100 for something I wasn't sure would be worth it. We don't use the baby carrier on a daily basis but when we do, I want it to be comfortable.

I found this tutorial and decided to make my own Mei Tai. I have heard good things about them and since I have plenty of fabric in my stash I didn't spend anything to make it.

It is equally comfortable on the front and the back for me. My baby seems to prefer to be on the front but isn't upset on the back. I'm surprised how incredibly comfortable it is. I don't feel like one part of my body was holding more weight than the others. I highly recommend this.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Amy Butler

Kati Cupcake is giving away this awesome kit. It is the Quilt Soup kit and I want it something fierce. It is so cute and I would love to have it be my second quilt. You too can enter! Just post a comment on her blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


After finishing my pinwheel quilt top I am ready to baste. Basting just holds the top, batting and back together so it doesn't shift while quilting. I know some people use safety pins for this but I've heard it allows too much give. I've never tried it. I also know some people just run quick lines on their sewing machine. I prefer just to hand sew wide stitches across my quilt. My stitches are about 1 inch long and I run a row every six inches or so. It doesn't take very long at all and I know my quilt isn't going anywhere. Also, it is very easy to take out once I am all done quilting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

20 Minute Skirt

I saw this tutorial from Grosgrain and knew I had to try it! It was indeed as easy as she said it would be. I've made tons of skirts but never like this. This would be an awesome first skirt for a novice sewer. It's strait lines and you don't have to use a pattern. You can also adjust it to make it not so full. If I were to do it again I think I would decrease the fullness a bit. It's very comfortable and you don't even need a full yard of fabric to make it! If you try this, I would love to see it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My First (real) Quilt

This is my first real quilt. I have made patchwork quilts before but this is the first one where I had to do more than cut squares. I love it! I think it turned out really fresh and modern.

I am going to use this fabric for the back:

This is where I got the pattern.

I modified it by adding more blocks. The pattern calls for 12 and I did 20. I wanted it to be large enough for a lap quilt. So, instead of one charm pack, I bought two. I still have leftover squares and I may do something fun with the back. We'll see. I also bought 2 yards of brown fabric and just barely had enough. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do for the binding yet. We'll see once I receive the back fabric it will be easier to decide. The pattern is great and super easy. I highly recommend it for sure!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fabric Shopping Online

I get asked all the time how I can buy fabric without touching it. I've found that I like the feel of some designer's fabrics better than others, so basically trial and error. I love Moda, Michael Miller, Heather Ross and Amy Butler. You could just do a search on Etsy for any of these designers and I'm sure you'll find something you love. I've never bought fabric online that I felt was poor quality, it's just some feel softer and thicker than others.

I have also found that shopping online actually saves me a bit of money. I pay for shipping but I don't pay for gas or impulse buy. I agonize over each cut of fabric that I buy and often talk myself out of things I don't need. The plus to buying on Etsy is I can heart the fabric I like and go back later if I really want it. You will pay more per yard than you would at JoAnn's but the quality is often very different. Although I have found some gems at JoAnn's as well. You just have to be careful.

My favorite places to find unique and mostly affordable fabrics are:

Whipstitch Fabrics
Daffodil Hill
Fabric Supplies

Here's a link to a great post from Presser Foot about shopping for fabric online. I love how she talks about getting a group together to decrease shipping costs. I should definitely start doing that.


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