Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The week of pillowcases...

I made the two new crib/toddler sheets for my boys and also finished the two pillowcases to match them. I went to Joann Fabrics to pick up broadcloth for the trims and also bought some clearanced sleepwear knit fabric - that should make nice PJs for at least one of my boys - and some denim to test a pattern for a baby carrier for an online friend. I'll post pictures when it's done, which will hopefully be by the end of next week.

I went back to Joanns a few days later to get the trim fabrics for a Star Wars pillow for my brother. This has been in the works for quite awhile, so I'm happy to finally have it done! (He had bought the pillow panels; then after I made the first one, he requested that the second be a regular-sized pillowcase.) Now I just need to make the baby blanket he commissioned, and then they can both go out in the mail.
When I went for the trim fabrics, thanks to a big sale on clearance fabric, I also walked out with nineteen yards of nice flannel. That should take care of Christmas PJ pants for two people on my list, as well as making a bunch of crib/pack-n-play sheets. If you're near a Joanns, all clearance fabric is 50% off this week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Moving on to a new project....

I made another travel-sized pillowcase this morning, using leftover fabric from one of the full-sized ones. Now I have no scraps left from that - always a good feeling. I like leftovers, but I tend to accumulate them, which is not so good. I did enlarge the pieces slightly this time, so that Thing 1 will be able to take the pillowcase on/off by himself.

Now I've almost run out of cut out things to sew up! I have one final pair of shorts for Thing 1 cut out, but I'm thinking about what else I can cut and sew up while the serger is still threaded with black. I bought a couple of fabrics the other day for new sheets/pillowcases for Things 1&2, so maybe I'll at least do the sheets. I need to find some contrasting fabric for the trims on the pillowcases, though, so those might wait awhile. (Of course, if I use french seams on the pillowcases, then it won't matter about serger thread, right?) And Thing 1 could use a backpack when he starts daycare next month. I have Butterick 6735, which has a backpack pattern in it, and I have some Bob the Builder fabric that I bought on clearance two years ago - specifically for this backpack. :) I think I might even have a zipper that's the right size. I'll prewash the fabric once the dishwasher is done, and then I need to think about how best to do this, since I want to add a lining, and maybe some pockets....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The day of pillowcases

Yesterday was the day of pillowcases. Our nephews are turning 7 and 3 this weekend, and I thought that pillowcases would be fun gifts, along with a toy for each. One of those pillowcases is done, and the other one is being cut out this morning. The one that I finished is flannel - don't ever try french seams in flannel! Oops! It worked, but there were some hairy moments.

I also finally made Thing 1's daycare pillowcase. Things 1 and 2 are starting daycare in a few weeks, and Thing 1 will need a small pillow and blanket for naptime. After a long search in the spring, I found travel-sized pillows (12x16 inches) at Meijer - then a few weeks later, they mysteriously appeared in every store I'd searched through before. Go figure! At any rate, I have had the pillow and fabric for this pillowcase for nearly three months now, and an impending deadline finally motivated me to just get it over with.

Ta-da! I'm very pleased with how this turned out, with the minor caveat that I goofed and didn't make it an inch wider as I'd intended. So the pillowcase fits pretty tightly over the pillow. Oh, well! Not a big deal, since I can still get it on the pillow. I had originally intended to applique Thing 1's name along the band, using refrigerator magnets as patterns for the letters and using the dark blue of the trim band for the applique. I can still add it, but I'm not so sure now. Thoughts?
Whether I eventually add the name or not, Thing 1 found the pillow this morning and is very excited. He hasn't put it down yet! Maybe I'll have to get another small pillow and make another pillowcase to stay in the car for trips or something...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Current projects

I have a friend from high school who is pregnant with baby #4. She has cloth diapered at least #2&3, so I am assuming that she intends to do the same with this new one. As a baby present, I am crocheting her several new wool diaper covers (Tickle Turdle pattern). There are two sizes available, and I crocheted the smaller size. I used Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool yarn, as it is 100% wool and has the natural lanolin still in it. (My friend will have to relanolinize the cover after she's washed it a few times, but at least it will start off with lanolin.) I have made this pattern before and can get two to three covers out of one skein of yarn, depending on what size I make. For her last baby, I made her one of each size, and I still had enough in the skein to make about two thirds of another small cover. I think I will make two small covers and one large one. Then I will send it to her along with the pattern, so she can make more herself, if she chooses.

I am also working on a pair of PJs for DSIL's birthday....which is tomorrow. Oops! I had the hardest time motivating myself to start these. The shirt is from Simplicity 3935, and the pants are Butterick 6887. I have made several pairs of PJ pants for her from this pattern and have now adjusted a copy of the pattern to be "size Amy." This is the first time making an adult version of this shirt, however, and I don't know her measurements, so I sort of guessed at the size. I hope that it fits in the hips but isn't huge everywhere else!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Keeping track of fabric/projects

Does anyone else keep track of their yardage in/out? I started doing it informally last year - just kind of mentally judging whether I'd made parity or been off-balance each month. But after New Year's, I started keeping track for real in a spreadsheet I got from someone on PatternReview. It's an Excel file that is set up to keep track of yardage used, yardage purchased, and yardage donated/sold. The yardage used and purchased sections have space to enter the $$ involved, fabric or item description, and the pattern used or intended, as well as the date of purchase or finish. It's almost addicting to see the numbers add up! For instance, I am amazed to see that I've sewn nearly 85 yards of fabric so far this year, and I'm a little frightened to note that I've purchased 126 yards so far. (Note: I have not entered any of the fabric purchased before this year, though it is included in the yardage sewn. You just have to decide where to start keeping track and go from there.) Because I've donated 14 yards, my net fabric gain for the year is currently 27 yards. I am working on sewing that down, though! I have nine yards cut and waiting to be sewn, and I have some birthday deadlines looming on another six yards. Of course, who knows if I'll be able to keep myself from buying more before then! :)

As far as finished projects go, I keep more detailed records in simple wordprocessing files. I start a new one every year, and I just record each finished item under the month it was finished, and I make notes on the pattern and fabric used, as well as any pattern changes I made. For example, I can go back to see what length and width of elastic I used, as well as how far I turned the waist under for a casing. This has been very helpful when sewing infrequently for certain people! And I generally take pictures of my finished projects, so I can look at them again later to make sure that I don't use the same fabric again for that person.

First batch finished!

This is the first batch of new shorts/pants for Thing 1 - all using white serger thread. (There are actually two of the orange seashell shorts, just different sizes. So I didn't put both in the picture.) I really like how they turned out! Thing 1 wore both pairs of shorts this weekend, and they fit nicely. I'm hoping that with the addition of 1.5 inches to the length of the pants, they'll still be wearable this fall/winter. We'll see when the next growth spurt hits and how much he shoots up! The tan pair of pants will be especially nice for fall - it's a heavier stretch cotton, so it'll be a little more substantial. The two other pairs of pants are pretty lightweight, so nice for summer.