Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No sewing to report...

I really wanted to get some things done last weekend, but I have to admit that I pretty much procrastinated the whole weekend. The extent of my usefulness was folding/putting away a bunch of laundry, pre-writing a ton of health certificates for the cattle sale I'm working on Saturday, and packing for an unexpected trip out of town. My grandfather appeared to be dying late last week, so the Things and I headed for that area Monday, and we're getting ready to head back tomorrow.

In good news, my grandfather has taken a definite turn for the better, and he came home from the hospital today. And in completely unrelated good news, the Percy shoes fit well, even over footed pajamas, and they seem to be warm enough with the fleece. Unfortunately, Thing 2 greatly prefers the bug shoes, which are undoubtedly not as warm. Oh,'s not like he's staying outside that long, anyway. And I'll make sure that the Percy shoes are the ones for the travel days.

Hopefully this weekend will see some Christmas sewing done - like a tree skirt, to go under the tree that we haven't put up yet!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A shoe compliment....

So I was talking to a friend yesterday, and she wanted to know if DS#2 had outgrown any shoes lately. "Of course!" I said. "That's why I sent you pictures of 2 new pair of shoes that I made him."

"So do the old ones have any wear left in them?" she asks. I see the light. I had sent her a pair of old ones when I made the last two pair, so that she could try them on her son to check sizing. And apparently he loves them and uses them as his indoor slippers, but they are getting too small.

Unfortunately, the two pair that were just retired are rather holey. Still, if he only uses them in the house, I'll at least send them for size check, and then maybe make him a new pair for Christmas. It's nice to be appreciated!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

...and pair #2!

Introducing the Percy shoes! Thing 2 was so distraught over the loss of his holey, too small Thomas shoes, that I decided to make the next pair with Thomas appliques again. However, just to be different, I used Percy this time instead. (Yes, Thing 2 does know the difference! I'm truly scared...) And so, of course, he decided this morning that he didn't want to wear the Percy shoes. Oh, well....he'll change his mind.

These are the MTY pattern again, toddler size 9W. I did go ahead and line them with fleece, using scraps from Thing 1's Thomas fleece hoodie. I think they'll fit better, but I'm a little annoyed that I made the toe guards so small. I think I need to just draft a template so that my toe and heel guards are more consistent.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New shoes - pair #1

Finally! I finished a new pair of shoes (Make Them Yourself pattern again), and, as usual, I'm kicking myself for procrastinating so much. I'm liking these new shoes a lot, except for the extremely minor detail that they're too big and look a bit like duck feet. :) But that's entirely my fault. I made a size 9W this time, because the size 7 is too small and I wanted these to last longer. I decided to try it in the wide size, because my little guy has some chubby little feet. Note to self: not quite chubby enough for the wide size. Oh, well....they're wearable.

I've got a second pair partly done - also a size 9W. (I cut them both out at once.) I'm going to line those with fleece, though. That should add some warmth as well as possibly take up a little space. We'll see what happens with those before I start talking about the next pair. Actually, I might try making the boots next time. After all, it should start getting even colder, and he might want to go out and play in the snow this winter. I have some denim bonded to sherpa or something fuzzy like that - I might use that next time for warmth. We'll see....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And the next three....

These are the two new blankets for the Things. Thing 1's is the top blanket, the pirate parrots on one side and pirate kids on the other, bound with black fleece. The lower blanket, tractors on one side, solid green on the other, bound with blue fleece, is for Thing 2.

This one is for Thing 1's kindergarten teacher, who just had a baby girl last week. Hopefully she'll like it. I pulled five or six prints out of my flannel stash and let Thing 1 pick which he preferred - he chose these bumblebees! So I backed it with a bright yellow flannel and bound it with a fuschia fleece. I hope that she likes it.
Right now, all three blankets are in the wash, getting the spray basting washed out before the first use. And can I just say how much I'm liking the Shout color catchers? I used two in one load last week, when I was prewashing some of these fabrics and wanted to be absolutely sure that they didn't bleed on each other. Today I just threw one in - no way do I want this blanket stained before it's given away! - and it came out stained bluish-green. I'm so happy to have excess dye on the sheet instead of on the new blanket!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The first completed blanket!

So the first blanket is complete - yay! The next three are ready for the binding, so maybe I'll get those done tonight....unless of course I work on the shoes first, which are more needed. For that matter, I'm also on call, so....we'll see. Let's just leave it at that.

I like to make my baby blankets big, so I buy 1.25 yards of flannel for each side, spray baste them together, and then use the ruler and rotary cutter to straighten the sides and curve the corners. I don't really try to make them square, usually, but they should be pretty close. In this case, there was only 2 yards left on the bolt, so I had to work with less than I wanted. And I didn't have a good matching solid in my stash, and I didn't want to buy any more fabric for this. So I made this one approximately 1 yard wide and 44-45 inches long. It'll work. I did like the yellow fleece I had to coordinate for binding. I think that really makes it pop. DH liked the combination, too!

I have a whole lot of flannel that I bought last year to make baby blankets, and most of it is still sitting here. If I want to have the fun of buying more flannel this year (and I do! - I've seen some really cute flannel at JAF lately), then I need to move some of this off the shelf in the next ten days. In the next couple of days, I should get the next three blankets done, and that will help - about twelve yards gone.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nothing to report....yet...

So I've done very little sewing lately - too much going on, plus the slowly healing finger. I did finally finish two pairs of orange fleece slippers that have been patiently waiting for a cuff seam. And I'm probably a third of the way through the newest pair of shoes for Thing 2 - hopefully there will be a picture tonight. His current shoes are holey!

I also have flannel fabric prewashed for more quick blankets. Thing 1's kindergarten teacher is about to have her first baby, and one of my coworkers just took in her infant niece. So I shopped my stash from last year's Black Friday shopping and found girl flannels for both. And I have the flannel that I bought for the Things this summer - those will also be cut tonight. We'll see how far I get.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Still chugging along....

Here's my most recent output. Broken finger is still annoying, but over the last week or so, I managed to sew up five pair of knit pants for Thing 2, who had very little to wear once the weather turned cool. I have four pair pictured, but I made two of the firetruck sweatpants, mainly because I had an "oops!" moment while cutting and started off cutting two pieces facing the same way. That wasn't going to work, so I then cut two more going the other way (I have TONS of this fabric - I bought 15 yards on eBay a few years ago) and just made two! I'll keep one pair at daycare as the emergency back-up pants.

There are two more pairs cut out already - a navy blue and a brown - plus there's still the fabric from my retail therapy last month. That, plus a couple of pairs of woven pants, should take him through the winter, I would think. But I do foresee some knit PJs for Christmas. :) I have some knit train fabric that he'll love!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slow sewing

Yep, the broken finger is still slowing me down. :( Oh,'s not the end of the world. I followed up the amazing success of the Jeff Gordon nursing pads (wow, that sounds creepy!) with another set of 4 pairs, this time totally in tasteful white. This is a gift for a first-time mom whose baby shower is coming up in just a couple of days. Hopefully I'll make it there to give these to her!

I also finished the second pair of Halloween pants last night, but Thing 1 has not yet tried them on. These were cut from the KS 3042 (pajama) pattern. I want to see how the fit compares to the KS SFC ghost camo pants, and I'll probably post pictures. At any rate, I was glad to finish them in plenty of time for Halloween (though I'm sure Thing 1 will wear them after Halloween).
This time I cut and sewed the outer and lining pieces separately, then put them together to sew the leg hems and waist elastic. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! I think I'll do this again! Not that every pair of pants I sew for Thing 1 needs to be flannel-lined, but he'll probably outgrow some of these so fast that it's not a bad idea. And then the only serging I do is the waist and hems, prior to turning down and sewing. The rest of it is lined, so it doesn't matter.
I still need to work on the new shoes for Thing 2, and I've got more pants on tap for both of them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A UFO completed

Contoured washable nursing pads, customized for the recipient with an inner layer of Jeff Gordon fleece (leftover from the trim for this blanket). I had cut these out to have done for the baby shower last April, but didn't have time to finish sewing them then so ended up just leaving them as they were. I really felt that the cut pieces had been mocking me, so I took a few minutes to stitch them up last night. And it really only took a few minutes. Grrr....why didn't I just stay up a little longer in April and get them done? These are so quick and easy, and other than the fleece or the PUL (and lace, in my version), you can use thrifted materials for the absorbent inner layers and still be able to give them as great gifts! And the outer layers are small enough to potentially be scraps from other items!

This is a Make Them Yourself pattern, with two sizes of pads (I made the larger size) and a free bonus of an added delicates washing bag, which I have not yet made. Now that I've seen how easy it is to make these, I think I'll make a set or two for the baby shower that is coming up at church later this month!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trying to sew....

But a broken finger is getting in the way. Oops! At least I was able to get my wedding ring off my finger before the knuckle swelled too much - I was afraid that I was going to end up in ER to have it cut off. Thank goodness for slimy obstetrical lube!

I am still sewing, but I'm taking longer than I would want. Oh, well...what do you do? I just cut out another pair of Halloween pants for Thing 1, and I want to cut one for Thing 2 as well. We'll see if Thing 2's pants happen in time. But hopefully I'll be able to show pictures of the jack-o-lantern pants and a new pair of shoes for Thing 2 by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween pants

I bought this ghost camouflage fabric at WM last year but didn't get around to making it up in time. So instead I used it this fall to try out the KS SFC size S pants pattern. I also spray basted the fabric to white flannel from an old sheet, as it is starting to get chilly some days and the camo fabric is thin, then cut the pieces and sewed them with the fashion fabric and flannel as one. It worked well, but I have to say that the KS SFC pants pattern is too poofy at the hips and too tapered in the legs. I may have to just go back to the KS 3042 PJ pants pattern. Maybe I'll try morphing them first. I have another Halloween fabric that would work well. Oh, least Thing 1 loves these!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New pants! (And retail therapy)

Thing 2 is in need of long pants that fit for cooler weather. I made two pairs over the summer, to try out the sizing of two different patterns, and so I went back to the KS SFT knit pants. The blue pair on the right is size T1, made over the summer. Thing 1 can still definitely wear them, but I was concerned that they may not fit throughout the winter. So I decided to try out size T2, which is the orange pair. Well, he is swimming in them! In fact, I have to roll the cuffs up twice just so that he can walk around without being annoyed by the length. So I think that the next pairs will be T1 with maybe a 1/2 inch added to the length. That should keep them wearable now but usable for longer.

In other news, I had a rough week at work last week (including a very painful kick from a cow - I'm still limping!), and I decided on my way home Friday (at 8 pm!) that I needed some retail therapy. Well, in my world, retail therapy is best accomplished at a fabric store or book store. And I wasn't in the mood for a book when the library might still be open, so....

On the left, the colors are (from top to bottom): navy, gray, hunter green, brown, and black, all cotton interlock. The prints on the right are ones I fell in love with. So Thing 2 should be well ready for winter when I'm done! (Though of course I'll still make a few pairs of woven pants, too.) Only the black and navy interlock has been prewashed, but I'll take care of the others this weekend. I bought enough of the solids for 1 pair of pants each plus a little leftover for cuffs and necklines (you never know when that might come in handy!), but I bought enough of the prints for pants and a matching shirt. What can I say? It was a rough week, and knits were 40% off!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finally, some sewing!

When I get the okay from Misty of Make Them Yourself, I'll post my review. I think that she'll have the pattern up on her website soon. Suffice it to say for now that Thing 1 is ecstatic, and Thing 2 will likely be thrilled when he wakes up.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not much sewing going on here....

Nothing sewing-related has happened here since before I left for Washington, D.C. So instead I thought I'd show you two of my favorite pictures that I took there. The above picture was taken near the foot of the Washington Monument - I leaned waaaay back on a bench and looked up. I think it looks pretty cool! We were there on Sept. 11th, so all the flags around the monuments were at half-staff.

I still need to make Thing 2's new shoes. I really want to do that this afternoon. I also agreed to test a reversible cape pattern for Misty of Make Them Yourself - Thing 1 will love it! I'll post pictures when it's allowed. That will need to be done in the next couple of days, but it shouldn't take long. I'll stop by the fabric store after church to pick up what I need.

And finally, here is a picture of the Iwo Jima memorial (taken on Sept. 10th). My husband is a former Marine, and I've always thought the pictures of this memorial looked amazing. It was amazing to be able to see it in person.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Not much to show today....

Here's the picture of the finished lunchbag. Oops - actually, I took that picture before sewing on the velcro, it seems. Oh, get the idea. I still think it's too big, after we've used it for almost two weeks. But it works, and I haven't had time to make another prototype. Soon, I hope...

In addition to the new jammies for Thing 1 and the muslin of the Hawaiian shirt for DH, I've also cut out two new pairs of shoes for Thing 2. As I feared when I finished the last ones, they were not exactly roomy. They But they won't for long. I do like how the heel and toe guards are doing. Those were a toddler's size 7 regular, so I decided to allow for growth and trace and cut a toddler's size 9 wide. We'll see how those do. If I like the sizing in the denim shoes (I cut one of regular blue denim and one of white denim - both old jeans), then I'll probably finally make some black leather shoes. ;) In the meantime, before I sew these up, I need to come up with appliques for them. Otherwise they're a bit boring. I'll definitely put another Thomas on one pair, but not sure what to do with the other.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No pictures today...

So I've been plugging away at the kindergarten readiness thing. The prototype lunch bag is done, except for the velcro closure. I'm not totally happy with it, as I couldn't find my Insul-Brite (used Warm&Natural batting instead), and it turned out way bigger than necessary. But at least it is ready for use. And I'm sure that I will make more eventually and tweak the pattern. I also bought two ice packs and two drink bottles to use in said lunch bag, so I think we're good.

And I found a nap mat at WM and made a cover for it, to match the pillow and blanket. So naptime is set. I have enough train print left over to make a tote to carry the pillow/blanket/cover to school and back, but I'm not going to worry about that this week. It's not on the urgent list.

I also made a trip to JAF on the way home from church to take advantage of the Founder's Weekend sale! I needed interfacing for DH's shirts that I've been promising him forever....and I bought the Insul-Brite I needed for the next round of lunch bags. And I found a dinosaur knit print that Ruth (of SewChic)used recently for jammies for her son, so of course I had to buy some - it was on sale for $2/yard!

Now I'm ready to cut a new pair of PJs for Thing 1, so that I can take advantage of orange serger thread. And I'm ready to start actually stitching the muslin for DH's shirts!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting ready for kindergarten....

Thing 1 is starting kindergarten next week - yikes! So there are a few items we still need to get together. I finished one last night, when the Art Smock was completed:

I used the SewBaby Art Smart Smock pattern and made the 5-6x size. (There are only two sizes, and that is the bigger one.) For this project, I used white PUL, red bias tape, red ribbing, and cotton scraps - all from stash! It takes just one yard of the main fabric, and it really works up quickly. I wanted to use the PUL so that the smock would be waterproof and protect his clothes better - wasn't so crazy about the white, though, which is where the Thomas the Tank Engine appliques came in. But at least I didn't buy more fabric to use in this project!

Thing 2 is pretty happy with his art smock, and I can see more of these in my future. Depending on how stained they get, I could envision making a new one every year for Things 1 and 2. I think this would be easy to size up, and it certainly went together quickly and easily.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New shoes....

Thing 2 needed new shoes, as he's worn holes in the heels of his current shoes....go figure - I hadn't added heel guards to those. I had cut this pair out several weeks back...maybe when I made the last ones, come to think of I sewed them up this weekend. I also thought it was time to do an applique, and he (like his brother!) is really into trains and especially Thomas the Tank Engine. We'll see what he thinks in the morning!

These are from the Make Them Yourself pattern, and I think I used a size 7 again. This may come back to haunt me, since I added both toe and heel guards this time. I may decide that I should have gone up a size to account for the extra addition. I hope not, but I guess it won't be the end of the world.

I also need to get some more leather, I think. But first I'll make a pair from the black leather jacket DSIL thrifted for me. :) This pair is made with recycled jeans, once again; Toughtek soles; recycled white jeans for the lining; and scraps of leather for the guards.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A head start on winter....

Apparently I'm an optimist and am convinced that the hot summer will come to an end. :) Because I decided that now was the perfect time to make a new blanket for Thing 1. And not just any blanket - no, I had to make a warm blanket.

I bought the "car road" fleece for this blanket almost two years ago, during one of JAF's red tag clearance sales (everything on clearance goes to 50% off the clearance price). So I paid $2.50 per yard for it, and I bought two yards. (Thing 1 was 3 then, so I figured two yards would be astronomically long on him. Fast forward to 5, and it's not nearly as gigantic now, but still...) I then let the fleece sit for quite awhile before buying the hunter green fleece for the reverse side a few months ago. The blue fleece for the binding may have been purchased at JAF's Black Friday sale last year.

And here we are! I started putting this together Sunday, and I finished it Tuesday night. I used a basting spray to put the two layers of fleece together, then cut off the selvedges and evened up it all up, before binding the edges with blue fleece.

***Edited to add: I found this post lost in draft mode, when I was trying to finish up other posts! Poor post, lost for 3 years! This blanket is STILL in heavy rotation in our house.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hooded towel explanation....

I'm calling this an explanation because "tutorial" is entirely too formal a word for what I'm doing. :) I made two new hooded towels, because Thing 2 has really outgrown the baby-sized hooded towels, but Thing 1 still likes to use the two which I made a few years ago, so it's always good to have more.

So I started with two bath towels and a matching hand towel. (And for the record, apparently I wasn't paying enough attention and bought bath sheets when they were on sale - because these new hooded towels are huge!)

1. I laid both bath towels (one at a time) on my rotary cutting mat, wrong side up, and cut the left edge off one and the right edge off the other (long edges, mind you). I also cut the top (short) edge off both of them. I then put the two towels right sides together and sewed the long cut edges together. Then I serged the seam allowances and stitched them down to one side.

2. I cut the hand towel so that it was about 12 inches wide, leaving the bound (long) edge on one side intact. Then I cut the top and bottom (short) edges off. Next, I folded the towel right sides together and sewed along the long cut edge, eyeballing a gentle curve up to the fold. (The picture below shows the finished hood right side out and attached to the towel. You can see that it's about 11 inches long after seam allowances.) Like with the main towel, I serged the seam allowances and stitched them down to one side - I did pay attention and stitch them to the opposite side as the towel.
3. Next I joined the two pieces together: I pinned the center seam of the hood to the center seam of the towel, wrong sides together. Then I pinned the hood in both directions. I stitched the hood down, then serged the entire edge of the towel, including the seam allowances at the join. I turned the serged edge down and stitched it in place.

4. Happy customer! You can see how much my tall Thing 1 (5 years old) swims in this new towel. Oh,'ll just last longer, right?
These don't take long to make up, and they are great baby shower gifts, too. I just bought a bunch of towels on clearance to make more (though I did buy smaller towels this time!).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Up next...white and orange queues....

So I thought I'd do a double-post today and show a bit of what's coming up next....Thing 1 starts kindergarten in the fall, and he will need an art smock at school. I could probably have come up with something suitable without a pattern, but....I bought the Art Smart Smock pattern from SewBaby instead. I've had my eye on this pattern for quite awhile but could never find it locally. However, with this motivation, I went ahead and ordered it. I cut the main piece out of some white PUL I had on hand, and I'm trimming it with red bias tape. I have to check my supply of ribbing - I'll either use red or black for the neckband and sleeve cuffs. Then I will applique a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine to it, as Thing 1 is a huge fan. We'll see whether I applique his name as well....But the pattern is simple, yet open for lots of personalization, and I think it'll make some great gifts, too. Also in the white queue are some slippers and a scrub shirt, though I may bump the scrub shirt for a later queue.

After that comes the orange queue. The next test PJs for Thing 1 (shirt from KS 3042 and pants from KS SFC) are a green and orange aligator camo-type print. There are two pairs of slippers, and then the test Hawaiian-type shirt for DH has orange in the print. (I'm really hoping to get that shirt done soon so he stops pestering me about it! And it'll take up 3.5 yards from the stash.) There's also a fall print scrub shirt. And I think that's it!

More finished and green queues....

First up, the red queue!
I used red serger thread on these shorts so that I could get cracking on the other red stuff, and I think it looks fine. The shorts for Thing 2 are size T2, which I think fits him better and doesn't seem to pull across the front of the thighs. Both shorts have added slash pockets, using an old sheet for the pocket bags. I used KS SFT for Thing 2 and KS SFC for Thing 1, and the fabric is leftovers from boxers for DH (stash - yay!).

Knit pants and shorts for Thing 2. The shorts are size T1 from KS SFT again, but the pants are size XL from KS SFB. When I have a chance, I'll try these on him and also try on the blue pants (T1 from KS SFT) to see how the two patterns/sizes compare. The red interlock for the pants was purchased on sale at JAF, but the mystery knit for the shorts has been in my stash for awhile.

I had already cut out these pants for Thing 1 from the KS 3042 pattern prior to getting KS SFC. After sewing them up and seeing them on, I think this PJ pattern is just too wide-legged for normal use. I'm going to try the size S in KS SFC in another pair of PJs to see if it needs alterations before I start cranking out pants for Thing 1's fall kindergarten wardrobe. :) The shorts for Thing 2 are my now TNT pattern from KS SFT, and that fabric has been in the stash for almost two years now, I think. He's wearing those shorts today and they look great!

I added slash pockets to the pants. Instead of my usual plain white sheet for pocket bags for print pants, I decided to go with the seersucker fish leftovers. I think it looks pretty cute! Thing 1 likes it, so that's that. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More pictures....

Another pair of the seersucker pants - these are for Thing 1, using the XS size of KS 3042 again. I had already cut these out before getting the KS SFC book.

A colorful fish seersucker print I bought last year. I had intended to use it for a romper for Thing 2 but decided that shorts were more important right now. Thing 1's shorts are from KS SFC, and Thing 2's are from KS SFT. I may try the next size up for Thing 2 next time, as the T1 seems to pull a bit across the front of his thighs.

PJs for Thing 1, using stash fabric! I bought this sometime in 2006, I believe. It's not what I would have chosen for his PJs, but I had it on hand, so why not use it up? The shirt is from KS 3042, and I think that the size XS fits great right now with a little room. The pants are from KS SFC, and I'm either going to go up a size or add some length and a little bit of width at the bottom when I make the next pair. They're definitely short and maybe too tapered. But they'll be fine as these PJs. Now to decide what fabric to use for the next pair - might as well do another set of summer PJs for another wearable muslin!

I need to finish the next set of denim shoes for Thing 2 - I got them about half-done last night - and then I need to start some of the next pants/shorts in the various color queues. I am not on ER duty tomorrow night, but I will be over the weekend. Here's hoping I get plenty of time to sew and hang out with the kids and the DH! Oh, yeah - and watch the fireworks! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A few pictures....

New knit pants/shorts for Thing 2. This is the knit pants pattern from KS Sewing for Toddlers, size T1. I have not made shorts from this pattern before, and I was pretty happy with how they turned out. I used a twin needle to do the hems, and I'm happy with how it turned out. (It helped that it is a beefy interlock.)

New seersucker pants for Thing 2, and shorts for a friend's little boy (his upcoming birthday). These are the woven pants pattern from the KS SFT book, a definite TNT for my boys.

My first attempt at the KS Sewing for Children book. This is the size XS. It is about perfect for the shorts, but the pants (not yet pictured) are too short and maybe too tapered. So I need to decide whether to add some length and a bit of width to that or go up a size. My next attempt at the shorts will probably have added pockets.

The new leather shoes that were too small. :( However, I have discovered that they are wearable - Thing 2 had sores on his feet from hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is why he wouldn't wear them. Now that the sores are cleared up, he has willingly worn the shoes two days in a row. I will make some changes next time - I added toe guards to these, as Thing 2 gets holes in the toes, and I added Toughtek and a layer of batting to the soles. So next time I think I'll keep those changes but also add probably 1/2 inch of width to each of the pattern pieces when cutting the next ones. There is enough length that I think he'll run out of width before length right now, so another 1/2 inch should make these usable long enough to get full use out of the length. (I would not add so much width if I was not going to keep the layer of batting in the sole.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ARGH - continued

So I did get the leather shoes done, but they turned out a tad too small. :( So Thing 2 will not wear them for more than about ten seconds, if that. They're fine in length, but I added batting and Toughtek in addition to the leather sole, and I think that was what made them just a hair too narrow for his chubby little feet. And because Thing 2 got sick, I haven't been able to work on the denim pair yet.

I've also been steadily working on the cut pile, and I should have pictures tomorrow, I think. So far, I've finished two pairs of pants (one woven, one knit - both from KS Sewing for Toddlers) for Thing 2 ; one pair of shorts (KS Sewing for Chidlren), one pair of pants (KS 3042), and two pairs of PJ pants (one flannel - KS SFC, one knit - KS 2275) for Thing 1; and two pairs of shorts (KS SFT) for a friend's boy. I also finished two pairs of slippers (GP Polar slippers). I still have a pair each of knit shorts and pants (KS SFT) for Thing 2, a flannel PJ shirt (KS 3042) and a knit PJ shirt (KS 3043) for Thing 1, and five pairs of slippers. Which leads me to the next "argh."

The knit PJ shirt for Thing 1 is done except for hems. It's also a new pattern to me. So I sewed the size that seemed appropriate to test it out. It worked okay, except that Thing 1 couldn't get it over his head - oops! So I ripped out the neckband (I'd used unwashed self-fabric instead of ribbing) and cut a new one, this one longer and more narrow. Since my fabric has little stretch, I ended up using a neckband that was equal in length to the neckline. I'm hoping that it will shrink at least a little when I wash the shirt, but even if it doesn't, it'll work for a PJ shirt. I'll just plan to adjust the neckband next time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Yep, that's frustration you're hearing. I took the monsters along when I went out to work a rodeo last night, and I had planned to have at least one of Thing 2's new shoes done in time for him to wear. Yeah, the best laid plans and all that....

First, I kept getting interrupted by people calling. Well, actually, first I kept procrastinating and doing other stuff, and second, I got interrupted. Then I had major technical difficulties. Don't know if it was the leather, the thread, the needle, or all around bad sewing mojo. But I finally gave up. I had run out of the gold jeanstitch thread after stitching down the casings on the heels, so I switched to the cream upholstery thread I have. Got the trim and the toe guards stitched down, then started to stitch the uppers to the soles. I have one down and still probably a third of the other to go, but that's where the majorly bad mojo occurred. And I was getting awfully low on the upholstery thread, too. Oh, yeah, and I went through three leather needles, trying to rescue the attempt that way. No such luck.

So today I bought more jeanstitch and upholstery thread at WM while grocery shopping (along with a neat variegated green that I hope will be showing up on some green "disco" pants soon), but WM does not carry leather needles. Oh, darn, I have to go to JAF again....where I was good and walked out with the leather needles and three colors of heavy polyester thread. I keep hearing that polyester thread is best for shoes, since cotton will wick, but I've never looked closely enough to realize that the only kind of polyester only thread JAF carries is the "heavy dual-duty XP" thread. So I'll see how that works...maybe on the denim pair. Oh yeah, and I'm also planning to put a Thomas the Tank Engine applique on the denim pair. We'll see how that goes....hopefully later this afternoon....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not much sewing done....

So I haven't actually finished anything since my last post. I have, however, spent some time sewing the "cut" pile. I've been doing a modified assembly line - I sew seams on each item until I reach the point where I need to use the serger, then I set it aside. When I'm done with everything I can do on the sewing machine, I pull out the serger and start over on the pile. When I get through that, I make a trip to the ironing board. Then it's back to the sewing machine. It seems to take forever to finish any one thing, but this way I actually get all the stuff done faster...I think. Or at least I get a bunch done at once.

I went to the fabric store last night. Joann is having a sale - snuggle flannel prints and cozy flannel solids were both $2.49 a yard, and red tag clearance fabric was 50% off. I needed more fabric like a hole in my head, but hey! I had to at least look, right? :) So I came home with 12.25 yards. Oops! Guess I'd better keep on sewing. I'm now almost forty yards past parity. Not good. In my defense, I got 6 yards to make two new blankets for the Things, and about 4 yards are for scrub shirts - at least one of which will be a gift.

And now, in addition to the current "in progress" pile, I need to cut out another new pair of shoes for Thing 2. I think he drags his toes sometimes when he walks, because he's got major fraying going on in his shoes. This time, I'm going to add toe guards! And I think the next pair will be leather, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Interrupted by a quick project....

So I was planning to be good and tackle the large pile of cut stuff, since I was good yesterday and demolished the large mountain of clean laundry, but then I was interrupted by an idea. See, when I picked up the Things from daycare today, I learned that Tuesdays and Thursdays will be "swimming" days for Thing 2's class - why couldn't they have sent this note home last Friday??? - and so he needs sunscreen (check - already in his cubby), a towel, and a swimsuit (don't own) or swim diaper (luck is with us! Thing 1's swim diapers from last summer mostly fit Thing 2 now!). I also plan to buy him some water shoes this weekend, but that'll be this weekend....In the meantime, why would I just use any old towel that I found in the house?

Thing 1 has a special water towel for school, so I decided that Thing 2 needed one as well. Voila!

This probably took all of half an hour tonight. I traced the letters (backward) onto the wrong side of Heat-n-Bond, then fused that block to the back of some fabric I took from a pair of Thing 1's pants. (They had gotten a hole in the knee last fall, and I hadn't repaired them. Now that he's grown, I thought it made more sense to cut them off and remake them as shorts.) I then cut them out and fused the (right way) onto a towel that I found in my sewing supplies. (I think I had bought this to make more hooded towels, but it hadn't been used yet.) Then I satin-stitched around the edges. By the way, this towel is actually navy blue, and the stitching is a bright green.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, and I know that it won't disappear. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm back!

And I've been sewing....well, mostly cutting - I have a pile of things to sew, most of which use the current serger thread color. That will get started later and around emergency calls. Hopefully there won't be too many of those!

But in the meantime, I did finish something! This is a drawstring backpack. It's actually a birthday gift, but it may also be a prototype. I normally wouldn't use one, but it could be very useful for an upcoming trip. We'll have to see, though I'd need some modifications, like inside pockets. :)
I based this on a bag that I saw my sister use for years, and I'm pretty pleased overall with how it turned out. We'll see if I end up making it again. It uses 2 yards of fabric and sews up pretty quickly, so it's a good stashbuster. ;)

Friday, May 30, 2008

First pants attempts....

As previously mentioned, I had to find a new pants pattern for Thing 1. This was very traumatic for me, and so I decided to test the new pattern with a fun fabric, mainly because I thought this fabric would do better without pockets. (And pockets take a little more time, so...) I would say that the verdict is mostly positive. DH thinks that these look fine - I'll try to get a picture tomorrow of them in use. But I'm not sure whether I need to take out a smidge of leg width. So I guess my next attempt will be to adapt them for pockets and make the next trial. And Thing 2 is ready for some bigger pants. I haven't made him any side-seam pants yet because the KS SFB book only contains a knit (no side-seam) pants pattern. But I remembered that when I made a size T1 pair of pants for a friend's child at Christmas, it seemed to fit Thing 1 fairly well. So I decided to try it, too. (And I was annoyed because I couldn't find my T1 tracing and had to redo it.) These fit pretty well - and Thing 2 is nearly 2 - except for Thing 2's enormous potbelly. It would probably be perfect if I took out some of the front rise so that these fit a little better under his belly. But I'm not going to just yet.
Next up: another pair for each, using a mostly shark print in the same type of fabric. Then I also have plans to compare knit pants from KS SFB and KS SFT for Thing 2. After that, probably more new pants for Thing 1 and DH's Hawaiian shirt....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some shopping and some annoyances....

So I've really used the Kwik Sew Sewing for Toddlers book for Thing 1. And I would definitely argue that I've gotten my money's worth out of it, with all the pants, shorts, shirts, and PJs I've sewn. Unfortunately, he's getting big enough that it is time to start exploring other patterns to make said items. The current shorts pattern (size T4) still works, but the pants are looking as though the next growth spurt will do them in. (And I think we're about to hit a growth spurt, judging from his food intake these days.) Yes, I could just lengthen the pattern, but I've already done that. And I don't know if he'll outgrow the width, too.

Hancocks carries KS patterns, and there was a 10% off the entire purchase coupon for Monday. Guess where I went? :) Big surprise, I'm sure. Actually, the surprise was on me - apparently KS does not have any pants patterns for boys until they hit about size 8. Seriously not cool! So I bought KS 3042, a PJ pattern, in hopes of being able to modify the pattern to use as regular pull-on, elastic waist, side-seam pants. I have the first pair cut and partly sewn, so we'll see how that goes. I also bought 3043, a T-shirt pattern, and 2894, a raglan sleeve shirt pattern - both are Kwik Serge patterns. I don't know how quickly I'll try those out.

So on my sewing table right now is the trial pair of 3042 plus a size T1 pair from KS SFT, for Thing 2. Both are cut from a pirate-themed pucker print from JAF. If they turn out well and fit reasonably, I'll cut a second pair for each from a second print. And I may have enough fabric left from both prints to cut shorts for a friend's little boy for his birthday, we'll see...

Then I really need to cut out the shirt I've been promising my husband for months....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More weekend bedding....

So last year on Black Friday, I bought a lot of flannel at JAF. And most of it was in smaller quantities - just right for blankets like the one I posted yesterday. But I did get four prints in 3.5 yard lengths - intended for toddler bedding. I made two of them up last winter, but I just got around to the last two.

This is a cute tool print, and I used the "tie-dyed" red for a contrast band.

This is an adorable robot print - I would wear PJs out of this! I used a solid orange for the contrast band. My boys will love these!

These bedding sets definitely helped my yardage stats this weekend.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A new blanket

This looks like a very simple blanket (and it is!), but it does have a slightly amusing story behind it. So I realize that Thing 2 needs a school blanket, because he moved up to the next room, and they've apparently been using a pink blanket for him this week. Eeeww! And I had already cut this blanket out for a baby shower, but I didn't have time to sew it. Hey! I'll just use that! It's cute and not pink. And I already had plenty of black binding cut and sewn together. But then, as I'm about to pin the binding on, I think - "Hey! Should I use black or white for the binding?"

My sense of the aesthetic is not all that great, but DH is pretty good. He was putting Thing 1 to bed then, so I figured I'd just wait. But he never comes back. So I finally go looking for him, and then I find him sound asleep. Grrrr! Okay, next plan. Then I take pictures of the fabric with both binding options and call various people as I email them. No I decide to stall while watching recorded episodes of NCIS. (I haven't been watching TV since the strike ended - I just record my shows and randomly do marathons to catch up.) Finally one friend emails back and says white. Grrrr! The black binding was ready to pin, but I need to cut out the white and sew it. Oh, well....I agree that it probably does look better. As I'm chatting with her online, I go ahead and cut and sew the binding. Then DB emails back as I'm sewing the first row of stitching to bind the blanket. He agrees with white! So it's unanimous.

I don't normally stay up so late, but I have a three-day weekend, so I thought I could handle it. (And I felt energetic.) At nearly 1 am, the blanket was done! I'll just wash it this weekend to get rid of the spray basting, and then Thing 2 will have a school blanket. I like this print, so I may buy a little more at WM to make a matching travel-sized pillowcase. Thing 2 doesn't use a pillow now, but then I'll have a set ready when he starts using a pillow. We'll see....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Finished stuff at last!

No, I didn't start from scratch on all of this. All five pairs of shorts (plus one more not in the picture) were already done except for the elastic. I just finally had motivation to insert the elastic and make them wearable! (As in, shorts-wearing weather should be here any time!) As an aside, however, the lower row of shorts are from KS Sewing for Baby, and they're size 3-6 months. They now finally fit Thing 2, who is almost two years old!)

The "shoes" in the picture are the new slippers for Thing 1! Not pictured are the matching shoes for Thing 2, which are in the dryer. He has been wearing them all week, and they needed a trip though the laundry. :) And Thing 1 has been asking every day, "Mama, are my new slippers done yet?" Tomorrow morning I can say, "Yes, goofball, they are! And, no, you can't wear them to school." Hooray!

This weekend maybe I'll finally cut out the muslin of the Hawaiian shirt for DH! And maybe the Bears scrub shirts that I need to make for others....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not much happening here...

I traced the new size for Thing 2's new shoes, and I also traced the size for Thing 1 - both sizes are now also on template plastic.

*Off on a tangent here: I love quilter's template plastic! I get the sheets of heavy duty template plastic from JAF when the quilting notions are 50% off, and they are great! It is so much easier to cut out a template and then be able to use the rotary cutter to cut out the pieces. I've also used the templates to trace the pattern directly onto the wrong side of leather, and then used scissors to cut the pieces - that was before I got a smaller rotary cutter, and it was much harder to go around curves with the 60 mm size.*

So I have cut out most of the pieces for Thing 2's new shoes and none of the pieces for Thing 1's slippers. They will be matching, and I think that they'll love them. I have high hopes of getting them done this weekend, but we shall see. I'm on call, so all plans are subject to change. After all, I didn't manage to get the pieces cut yet, did I?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Need more new shoes!

So Thing 2 loves his new shoes, but unfortunately, they're just a hair small. And so apparently he's been walking on the edge of the heels. I just discovered today that the denim is wearing through. Guess that puts new shoes at the top of my list! I will try the toddler size 7 regular next time. Even though I thought that I'd make the next pair in leather, I'm starting to think that I'll do another pair in denim first. That can test out my new size and make sure that I have it right. I'd rather do that than risk wearing through another heel so quickly.

Thing 1 is also getting a pair, though his will be for slippers. He was so fascinated with Thing 2's new shoes that I thought he'd like a pair, too. I'll probably use denim and flannel again for his, as well. I haven't decided what flannel to use, but it'll probably be another leftover from bedding.

And while I'm at it, I want to make two new sets of bedding. These will be from flannel that I bought back at Thanksgiving for bedding. The Things can use them, and I could use some more fabric in my "yards sewn" column. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

At last, the new shoes....

I finally quit procrastinating and just sewed! And as usual, when finished, I thought, well why in the world didn't I do this much earlier in the week? Very silly! Thing 2 is very excited about his new shoes. He's still got them on, and I took this picture probably almost two hours ago. (That's mainly exciting because I know that he can take them off by himself.) I finally used the Make Them Yourself shoe pattern, in a toddler size 6 regular. The size was chosen by measuring the length and width of the foot, then flat measuring the pattern sole and trying to remember to allow for seam allowances. I think that next time I'll choose the toddler size 7 regular, because this pair won't allow for more than a hint of growth. But that's okay - they were quick and easy to make.

I used Toughtek for the soles - bought my Toughtek from - no affiliation. I was just pleased with their fast shipping and thought that their price on Toughtek was at least comparable to any others I'd seen. Others have said to watch eBay for the best prices on Toughtek, but I didn't want to wait. :) Because the Toughtek is so thin, I used a layer of Warm & Natural cotton batting between the Toughtek sole and the flannel lining. I think that should be enough - we'll see. I also changed the pattern to have a heel lining - you can see alteration details in my PR review. My only quibble at the moment is that I think the elastic is too long, and maybe that's why Thing 2 can easily take them off. But that can be easily remedied by simply shortening it. Overall, I'm pleased with this pattern and think that it may fit Thing 2's feet better than the Chloe Toes pattern. I will have to make it again in leather for a true comparison.

The outer fabric is thrifted denim from old jeans, and the lining fabric is flannel leftover from one of the toddler bedding sets I sewed before Christmas.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A baby shower!

I helped host a baby shower for a colleague earlier this week! We had a good time - made it about food and gifts, no shower games. (The three of us hosting did it the way we would have wanted it!) So, of course, I sewed some gifts! The baby is expected to be a boy, and the mother is crazy about Jeff Gordon. So I made a Jeff Gordon flannel baby blanket, using a Jeff Gordon camo print I found at JAF. Woohoo! I was planning to get a dark background NASCAR print for the reverse, but by the time I went back with the next available coupon, it was gone. Sniff! But I used a plain black flannel from stash instead, and I think it was just fine. I used a matching Jeff Gordon fleece print from Wal-Mart as the binding.

But the real hit of the gift bag was the corn bag, much to my surprise. Oh, sure, she loved the blanket, but the corn bag was for her! I used muslin for the bag itself, and it is stuffed with dried corn. Then I used remnants from her Jeff Gordon scrub shirt to make the outer cover. Once I explained what the bag was and how to use it, she got pretty excited! And she told me at work today that she's used it and it's great. Hmm....guess everyone else at work will get one for Christmas. :)

Next up, hopefully this weekend, will be the next shoes for Thing 2 (they're cut but haven't had a stitch put into them yet) and possibly the new blankets for both Things 1 and 2. We'll see...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Random mutterings....

Thing 2's new shoes were a hit! DMIL started talking about how popular the soft-soled leather baby shoes were, and DBIL informed her that I had sewn them. (He remembered from the discussion at Thanksgiving.) She seemed very surprised! Guess that means they look as good to her as they do to me. :) And despite the fact that they look enormous, both on and off Thing 2's feet, he gets around on them just fine.

I have traced the appropriate size of the MTY pattern to try out on the next shoes, and now I'm torn between using some leather or trying it in denim. Either way, I think I'll wait for the Toughtek to use on the soles. And either way, it'll be thrifted materials - I have the thrifted leather from jackets, and I have thrifted denim from old jeans. So we'll see....I think I'll line them in flannel scraps leftover from making bedding. That would be cute!

I also need to cut up and serge some corn bags. I was happy to see my YTD yardage stats change once I finally sewed again, and the corn bags are quick and easy. Plus it means more stuff done in advance of Christmas/birthdays, too! That should easily get another yard or two out today.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finally! Some Sewing....

I have intended to get Thing 1's hooded fleece shirt done for a long time now - heck, I've had it cut out for months! - and I finally got the motivation to do it....mind you, it was when I really should have been sewing new shoes for Thing 2. But, hey! It's done, so that's what's important, right? :)

This is Butterick 5164, done in a knit as suggested. (The first time I made it, I just used wovens, and that worked fine, too.) I left off the kangaroo pocket, as it looked rather jarring with the print, and I bound all edges in black fleece instead of turning a hem under. I also lined the hood, but I don't think I'll do that again if I make it in another fleece. Thing 1 is thrilled!

And I also managed to get the new shoes done, too. Yay! Thing 2 was in desperate need. His other shoes are both size 12-18 months, and the thinner pair was starting to come apart at the stitching, and the thicker pair is just getting gnarly and small, is the first new pair, in size 18-24 months. I did some decorative stitching on these, and I like how it turned out. I do wish that my machine had fancy stitches, but alas, it does not. Oh, well. I like the Chloe Toes pattern, but I still want to try the Make Them Yourself pattern. I also ordered some Toughtek so that my next pair of shoes will have waterproof soles. Maybe I'll try the MTY pattern for those....