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Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Little One-Yard Wonders

Guys, I know most of you don't sew, but this book is SO adorable! I requested a review copy on NetGalley but I really really want to buy one of my own. The full title is Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids.

Here's the description:
This newest addition to the best-selling One-Yard Wonders series features 101 delightful projects for babies and kids, each using just one yard of fabric and many requiring just a few hours to complete. Step-by-step illustrated instructions, beautiful close-up photographs, and pattern pieces included in a bound-in envelope make it easy and fun to create all kinds of adorable items, including the Merry-Go-Round Dress, the Ruffle Romper, the Western Shirt, and the Secret Monster Overalls. From tops and caps to play mats, pillows, and plushies, this book overflows with creative clothes, accessories, toys, and furnishings for little ones from newborn to elementary-school age. Whether you're furnishing your nursery, making new clothes for a growing child, or creating a unique gift for a baby shower, this collection has the perfect project for you.

I didn't actually get a chance to sew something from the book because a) hexagons and b) when you are looking at a e-book you're missing the vital patterns for most of the items.  That said, some of them are just adorable. There are at least two or three shirts I'd like to try, a ruffly tiered skirt, some super cute little stuffed animals, a monster towel, this cute little crib rail- the list goes on and on. Only a handful look complicated, and there are so many cute gift ideas. Best of all- none of them require a ton of supplies or fabric and very few of them are ridiculous as many books of this sort tend to be. I would guess that many of the projects are suitable for beginner level sewing as well as some more advanced (there is one button up shirt that I am definitely up for! I'm no longer scared of zippers but buttonholes give me the fear!)

This one will be out in May, and I might just ask for it for my birthday...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Sewing and crafting, a photo essay

Finally I can show you guys a couple things I made! It sure did seem like a lot more while I was actually sewing....

First up, a couple of Reading pillows for my nieces. These are huge pillows, 18" square, with a pocket on the front to tuck your book into and a handle for carrying. I suspect I'll be making three more for my own kids.

Reading pillow

I didn't have another pillow form on this one, so it didn't get a formal photo shoot, dang it.

Read pillow

Then for my sister-in-law, this gorgeous pillow, if I do say so myself:

gathered pillow (green)

And another for my BFF:

Gathered pillow

Which is a lot squarer than it looks, but since most of my photo shoots turn out like this, you're lucky to see it at all:

How most of my photo shoots turn out

For our other niece, I made another one of the plaid purses:

Poachers bag for niece.

Totally crappy picture there, but at this point I was lucky to take one at all.

Then for the grandparents, I made photo canvases, using the tutorial found here:

Photo canvases.

Sorry, I failed to take a picture of them completely dry. They turned out GREAT. Unlike the tutorial, I added another layer of mod podge on top at the end.

We also made salt dough ornaments, but the only picture I took was this one, with Pajama Boy, Spiderman, and the Pantsless Wonder:

Making salt dough ornaments

They turned out about as well as you'd expect with that crew.

And for the Pirate's Christmas party, some Brownie Trees:

Tree brownies!
More tree brownies!

And last, some Christmas sewing NOT by me- a Christmas dress made by my grandmother, at least 30 years ago:

Hand smocked Christmas dress

Really, I should try to take a nice formal picture of that one, but who are we kidding?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Monsters and injuries.

Monster zipper pouches

  • I was holding off on posting until we heard from the lab on the Bug's biopsy, but so far, nothing. Yes, it's killing me too. The lump is harmless! Not cancer! Will dissipate on it's own! I totally cried.
  • This has been the most stressful week I've had in years. I'm fortunate to have a some good friends who have held me together and distracted me.
  • On Wednesday I was taking the kids to the car from the shop at the mall, and the Bug tried to escape. I gave chase, while carrying the Princess, and we all went down. The kids are fine. My knees are not. This is 24 hours later. The other one is less black, but much grosser. 24 hours later
  • I made some monsters for the mall. They are so stinking cute.
  • We woke up to snow this morning. My car doesn't do well on snow. Thankfully, we bought ourselves a new (to us) Blazer this week. $400 cash! It's not pretty to look at, but drives beautifully and has 4wd.  ($400= not a typo!)
  • As I type this I am resisting getting in my car and going to get a free kitten off Facebook. The Princess loves kittens with a passion usually reserved for women and chocolate, and she would be the happiest girl alive. 

What I Read This Week (not much!):

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Paper pieced hexagon basting tutorial

It is true that you can find tons of tutorials for paper piecing online, but sometimes you want someone you know to show you how they do things.  I make no claims that this is the best way, or the best tutorial, or the correct way (tho I do believe there is no correct way to do much of anything in sewing- except maybe thread your machine...) I am madly addicted to the little things, because you can literally pick one up and do ONE. You can do them while you are watching tv or while having coffee with friends. They are so easily portable. I love them.

Here's what you'll need:

Thread (it doesn't matter what type but I use hand quilting thread because it's stiffer and tangles less without having to do extra steps like run it through a dryer sheet.)
Small pins
Printer paper, card stock or freezer paper, your choice.
A printer
A hole punch (optional)

My instructions are for a 1" paper pieced hexagon. A hexagon is measured along one side, not across the middle. If you are using a different sized hexagon, your fabric measurements will be different. For a 1" hexagon you will need a fabric square that is 2.5" x 2.5".  You can find measurements for other sizes here.

Step 1: Make your paper templates. Print your hexagons onto your paper of choice. Freezer paper is harder to do, but it will iron onto your fabric, which is useful for fussy cut hexes. Measure one side of the hex to be sure your printer didn't resize anything for you, because if it did, you will be very angry later. Carefully cut out your hexes. I like to use this template that Megan showed me, because they are not nested and you don't have to be quite as careful. I find it goes faster even if I'm cutting twice as many edges.  Cut out way more than you think you'll use, because you'll get addicted. I like to use a hole punch to punch a hole in the center of each of my paper pieces, because it makes them easier to remove later. This is optional. If you are too lazy or pressed for time to do this, you can order precut papers from I ordered a small batch to test- they are made of card stock and do not have a hole. They are lovely to work with and the card stock does make making hexes easier, but it is not necessary. I'm not showing you a picture of how to cut paper (that's what kindergarten was for), but here's what they look like when you're done:

Step 2: Cut your fabric into 2.5" squares. You don't need to be exactly precise, so if you have a scrap that is slightly wonky, it'll probably work.  You just need to make sure you have about 1/4" margin all the way around. You can fussy cut them, or just whack through a bunch of fabric. I find it more relaxing to not be fussy cut, but it's awfully cute to do a little bird on a hex.

Step 3: Center a paper piece on the WRONG side of your fabric. Some people can pinch it firmly enough to not need to pin it. Some people like to use one pin, some use two. Some people use a couple basting stitches to hold it still. If you use freezer paper you will iron it on. I like to use one tiny pin, and then pinch it.  If you find it's still sliding, add a second pin in the shape of an X.  You will have little fabric corners hanging off. You can trim those, or not, it's up to you. If you do, leave a 1/4" seam allowance. From what I can tell, this will matter more on hand quilted quilts in the end.

 Or with the corners clipped, note how it doesn't have to be precise.

Step 4: The first corner: Carefully fold down the first edge and finger press. I like to start on the side the pin points at, because I find it shifts less that way. You might find differently. Fold down the adjacent side. I work counter clockwise, since I am right handed.  Be careful not to get overly enthusiastic and fold down your paper too. It will look like this.

Using a fairly long thread, withOUT a knot, and by coming up from the right side/ bottom make two or three tiny stitches holding that fold down. If you do small tight stitches, and leave about a half inch tail, you do not need a knot. It is much much faster to not tie it off every time.  Do NOT stitch through your paper. It will look like this:

Step 5:  Working counterclockwise, fold the next corner and tack it down with one stitch. You will work all the way around your paper in this manner. Be careful not to pull the fabric so tight that the fabric shifts on the paper.

Step 6: The last corner, which is the first corner. When you get to the last corner take two or three more tiny stitches, clip your thread and remove the pin. Your hex is done! It will look like this on the back:
 The difference between clipping your corners or not.

Step 7: Do it again. And again. And again. Iron those babies crisp and make a little stack. (I like to iron in batches, not one at a time.)

Because you did not sewn through your papers, you do not have to remove the basting stitches later. (Unless you basted the paper to the fabric in step 3. Then you have to remove those.)  After you sew your hexes together, you'll stick a chopstick or other pointy thing in the hole you punched and pop all the papers out. Don't do this until it's sewn onto another tho, or it'll lose it's shape.  Depending on your layout and paper choice, you may be able to reuse your papers several times before they are ragged. For example, if you do a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden, you can sew the flowers into units as you go. If you're going to do a more planned layout like my pink and gray hexagon quilt, you will have to make the majority of your hexes before sewing ANY of them together- which means you're gonna need a hell of a lot of papers. You can go here for a calculator to see just how many. If you're lucky, I'll come back and show you how to sew them all together later!

So now you all know how to make English Paper Piecing Hexagons. Go forth and make some! And then come back and leave me a link, ok? And if something seems confusing, let me know.

PS. If anyone wants to make a small handful of pink or gray or pink and gray hexagons I'd love to work them into the quilt I'm making, so I could tell her mommy's friends helped.

You might also be interested in this post where I show my hexagon organization.

EDITED TO ADD: Trish has somehow turned this into an informal quiltalong. There is NO time limit and no formal signup. I created a flickr group so we can share pictures, please ask to join even if you don't plan to jump right in, the more the merrier (but I didn't want just random people adding random pics, so you have to ask.) You can follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #hexchat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pink and gray hexagon quilt for baby girls

Remember when I told you I was obsessed with sewing hexagons? Well I talked and talked and dreamed and talked about the idea of doing a pink and gray hexagon quilt for the Princess with my friend Lisa from gitdownkitty.  Lisa happens to work at a quilt shop AND be a very generous person.  Friday in the mail I found this.

Pink and gray fabric stack 005

Guess it's time to put her money where my mouth is. (I'm gonna need more gray, don't you think?)

Pink and gray fabric gradient circle

I'm starting with these four, because I love them. (Seriously, who does not love polka dots?)

pink and gray hexagon fabrics

This fabric has little gray butterflies on it. Lauren loves "flyflies".

Flyfly on my hex!

I'm planning to do a layout that is somewhere between this (yes, I know this is not a quilt):

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

and this:

but all in shades of gray and pink. In theory, I'd like to finish this one before the rainbow one, but we'll see.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pin It and Do it! October wrap up.

This month I joined in with Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge. Some of my pins weren't worthy of an entire post devoted to them, and I failed to photograph many of them. Here are a few of them, with comments.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

I made this Spaetzle the night I made the Pomegranate Pork loin from Dinner: A Love Story. One of the commenters suggested that you use a cheese grater and spatula to push the dough through  into the water and it worked perfectly. After boiling it, I put it in the fridge for a few minutes before sauteing it in butter. It was terrific. And the pork loin was seriously the best thing I've eaten in months, and that's saying a LOT. Mike and I both wanted to turn around and make it again the next day.

This Honey Sesame chicken was a huge hit, but I ended up doing it on the stove top by browning the chicken pieces and then simmering it another 30 minutes or so instead of in the crock pot. I followed her recipe for the sauce and it was really great. Sweet, but not too strong of honey. (Which is good, cause I don't love honey.)

The kids and I made these crescent rolls one afternoon after school. They were good, but not as spectacular as you'd hope. I think that if I were to do it again I'd go with Nutella instead of peanut better and chocolate chips.

Oh yes I did. Let me tell you, 300 jumping jacks is no easy feat.

A+T faux bois embroidery hoop

Now that one is actually MY picture! This was an engagement gift for my cousin. I was unable to make it to her shower, so I sent this in my place. I used two other pins for my inspiration- this faux bois hoop, and this charming quilt. I considered wrapping the hoop in fabric or silk or something, but decided that the bare wood went with the tree theme.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The perfect purple tweed purse for fall (and pattern review)

Recently, I experienced wardrobe malfunction when one of the straps ripped off my the cute purse I'd been using. (Yes, I use wardrobe malfunction in the loosest sense.)  The bag was cute, summery, striped, and $.50 at a yard sale, so I wasn't totally heartbroken.   I temporarily swapped over to this yellow bag that I made a few years ago, but it wasn't really doing it for me. It was too summery and the crossbody handbag style wasn't what I wanted.  I've pinned a few bag patterns lately, and knew I had plenty of fabric in the stash if I found the perfect one.  For me, the perfect purse has one exterior pocket sized to hold my phone and keys, and is big enough to hold a fair amount of stuff, while not being monstrously heavy all on it's own.

I ran across the pattern for Charlie's Aunt's Poachers Bag in the Pink Chalk Studio newsletter and thought that was a terrific candidate.  The pattern is sent as a .pdf so it's instant gratification when you order it.  You print it out and then for the few pieces that are too big for one sheet of paper you tape (or staple) them together. I printed, cut them out, and read over my instructions. There were a lot of pieces, but it seemed pretty straight forward. On Saturday I got to cutting fabric, and had the whole bag together by 2:30! I have had this purple tweed in my stash for well over a year. (And after this bag, I have a couple yards of it left!) I'm pretty sure it originated at the thrift store or a yard sale. I lined it with some light colored fabric with large scale flowers and birds on it.

This is a remarkably well written pattern. I've done a handful of .pdf patterns now, and almost always there is a portion of the instructions that repeat themselves or just don't make sense, and I didn't run into that at all with this one.  She has you make your own interfacing with quilt batting, which was new to me, but worked beautifully. The bag has a good amount of structure without being stiff. You have the option of making a fabric strap or attaching a recycled strap from another bag, and I choose the latter. It has one gathered pocket on the exterior and one simple pocket on the inside, and it fastens with a magnetic snap. My only real criticism is that it has you do your last row of top stitching 3/4" from the top edge of the bag, which I didn't really like once it was done. I think it makes the lining look puffy in a way that closer top stitching doesn't. It is possible that I will unpick this row and redo it.

Overall, a great pattern and a terrific bag. I love how professional the front looks, and that it wasn't at all confusing or hard to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chevron baby quilt or Half Square Triange (HST) quilt

I finished up the Princess's baby quilt a full month ago. I made half square triangles and laid them out in a chevron pattern. I really love the fabric, it's got little red riding hood and some trees, and little foxes and birds and mushrooms and cherries. It's flat out adorable.

 I was very excited to show it to you all, but I kept running into problems. First, I store stuff under her crib, so I had to crop that out. And there's a curtain rod in the corner there. And since she doesn't have her own room, she doesn't have cute matching bedding.

So then I thought I'd just show you the pictures from when I gave it to her. She really loved it. But she wouldn't LOOK at me.

 She carefully spread it out flat.

 Then she wrapped herself up in it like a little burrito.
She wandered around the house for a while, at which point I gave up on having nice cute baby with the quilt photos.

This morning, I thought I'd try again. First I went with the lovingly draped over the couch shot. A quick preview showed me that that would require too much house cleaning. (Why yes, there IS a stick there on the floor. It's really a bow, don't you know?)
Then I considered doing it on my bed, which is reliably the only clear flat spot in our house. But my bedding turned the pretty white, gray and pink quilt yellow. And was too busy anyway.
At this point I was tired of being a fancy pants photo blogger and said to hell with it! They can see it just fine on the couch.
Maybe after we move and she has her own pretty pink and gray and white bedroom, I'll try again.

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