Saturday, December 31, 2011


I was browsing through magazines at Lowe's, while my husband was checking out, and I saw some framed silhouettes on the cover of one of them. Unfortunately, I can't remember which one now - oops! Anyway, I skimmed the article but didn't buy the magazine. Unlike most classical silhouettes, which are black on white, these were white silhouettes, backed with a bright blue and framed in white. I thought they looked really cool, and I decided I had to try it!

The article had discussed making the silhouettes and backgrounds from artist's foam, so I bought white artist's foam in 12x18 sheets from Hobby Lobby. The profile pictures I took of Things 1&2 were printed out as 8x10s, and I was able to cut both silhouettes from 1 sheet. When we decided roughly where we wanted to put the pictures, I went back to find burgundy foam for the backgrounds, but that didn't exist. It was all bright colors. So I found a mottled burgundy 12x12 scrapbook paper instead. I tried to find frames at HL, but I wanted white, and they didn't have any that I liked in an 11x14 size. Instead, I found these frames at WM.

Originally, we were going to have both silhouettes facing the same direction, but then my husband got the idea to have them face each other and put a smaller color photo of them in the middle. I love this one that I took at the City Museum earlier this fall. They look so happy, and the balls are so colorful - it was a no-brainer choice! I had that photo blown up to an 8x10 and then found the frame at WM again. We'll get these hung tonight, before we ring in the New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sewing for pets

My dog, as has been previously mentioned, is quite senior. And while I'm not into cutesy dog coats and such, she does get cold. After last winter, I vowed that if she made it to this winter, I'd make her a jacket. And, well, she's still here! So time for a jacket. I had picked up Simplicity 952o last spring sometime, as it was the only pattern I'd seen for larger dogs, and it had some good reviews on PatternReview. I wanted to make her view E, because it looked like it would adequately cover her butt and belly but didn't have a hood. It calls for 2 yards of fleece, but it is completely self-lined, so really, I got by with 1 yard of fleece for the outer and 1 yard for the lining. (My lining is plain black fleece.)

This was the perfect length for my dog! It is a bit snug across the back, though. I had made the lining first and tried it on her, and it seemed perfect. But once I added the outer shell, it seemed to pull at the sleeves. So next time, I'll add about an inch in width for the back. But I think that's about it. You can see that the front comes up to cover her chest, coming almost as high as her collar.

Because my dog wears a harness for walks, I ignored the instructions for creating a leash opening for the collar. (Though I skimmed those and thought they seemed like a good way to do it.) Instead, I put her harness on, put the coat on over it (as she'll be wearing it), and then felt for the D-ring of the harness and marked it on the coat. I stitched a large buttonhole in that place and cut a slit opening for the D-ring.

I used snaps instead of velcro to fasten the coat, as I don't like washing velcro with fleece, and this coat will undoubtedly be washed frequently. And I bound the edges with nylon-lycra instead of doing a turn and topstitched edge. It enabled me to have no raw edges on the jacket, and it gave her just a touch more length in the jacket.

I will definitely be making this again! One to wash and one to wear, right? And I'll probably make a single-layer version for wearing in the house - because we do keep it cool inside, and she does shiver sometimes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Thing 1 has outgrown most of his jammies, and even the ones that he can still wear are starting to look like waders on him. Not a good look! And also not so good for staying warm at night when your parents refuse to turn the heat above 65....though they have plenty of double-layer fleece blankets....but still....

Time to have a jammie sewing party! I decided to start with KS 3042 in flannel. The most recent jammie pants from this pattern were a size S, so I traced a size M and added an inch of length. I also traced the size M top in long sleeves but did not add length to that. I had this robot flannel that I purchased early last year. I intended to make him a set from the flannel, but unfortunately I didn't have quite enough. Instead, I pulled this yellow flannel out of stash to make the top. Thing 2 has plenty of jammies that fit, so I wasn't going to make him a pair. However, since I had plenty of both the robot and yellow flannels, I figured why not? He loves new jammies, especially if they match his brother's. So I made his in a size XS - no changes. These fit great, with room to grow! (Which is good, as I have a penguin flannel purchased on Black Friday this year to become jammies for Thing 1.)

I love making/giving the boys a special pair of jammies for Christmas, and I had purchased a Christmas ooga booga knit velour for this year. However, I needed to be certain of the sizing for Thing 1 especially! I have used KS 2275 for the pants and KS 2894 for the raglan shirt. So I made up a pair in a turtle camo waffle knit I purchased on clearance in early 2009. I realize that the waffle knit is bad about stretching in width and shrinking in length (as happened to these shark jammies), but I figured that this particular knit has been washed 3-4x so hopefully that won't be much of a problem. And, besides, at least I could get a good idea of the size on the first wearing, and then it's all fair game. So size M for the shirt and size 7 for the pants - one size up on shirt and two up on pants from the shark jammies - and there is definite growth room in both! Oh, and I realize the ribbing doesn't really match, but it was the best I could do, unless I went with black, and I just wanted to keep it totally bright and cheerful.

And then the Christmas jammies! Thing 1 has fallen in love with the ooga booga fabric and has 2 shirts made from other colorways (grey/red/black and rainbow), and Thing 2 likes them, though I haven't yet made him a shirt from them. So I knew these would be a hit! I bought the fabric from the Sew It Seams coop (formerly This-End-Up) in both interlock (intended for shirts which didn't happen - there's always next Christmas....) and cotton velour, which I thought would make really nice jammies. The larger pair are the same as the turtle camo, and the smaller pair are XS shirt and size 5 pants. Both are definitely a bit big, but that just gives a chance that they'll still fit next Christmas! (Maybe?) And I took their picture beside the tree to go in our (late) Christmas cards.

Monday, December 12, 2011


It's time to be decorating for Christmas - some would say past time! - and I had the sudden realization that we'll be at our own home this Christmas, and that stockings should be hung over the fireplace. And then I remembered that my boys do not have their own Christmas stockings! Fortunately, I had requested the Burlap Christmas Stocking pattern from StudioCherie as my prize for entering the ThinkPink contest at PatternReview. So I got to work on new stockings for the entire family!

The pattern, as you may have guessed, calls for the front to be made from burlap. The "cuff" on the front, as well as the entire back, is made from the fashion fabric, and the lining is from a broadcloth to match the burlap. I want to be able to wash these through the years (we live with a cat and a dog), so I chose a linen blend instead of the burlap. And I ended up with a tan muslin instead of broadcloth, just because it coordinated better and was on sale. And I love the results!

The pattern describes how to do appliques on the stocking fronts, though it doesn't contain any applique patterns. The ornaments on the stocking on the far right are from the fabric used for the cuff and back. The two snowmen are from a wall hanging pattern in McCalls Quick Quilts (Dec/Jan 2012). And the penguin on the left was adapted from the fashion fabric - I scanned the fabric in, cropped out the penguin, and then blew up the image large enough for my purposes. My boys are going to be very excited when they see these!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Box bags!

Stacy Schluyer of Stacy Sews first started posting about box bags about three years ago and then posted her tutorial for them about 2 years ago. I had them marked to try when she made her first one and blogged about it, and then I downloaded the tutorial when it was posted, and you can see how far that got me! I even had fabric that I thought would be fun and perfect for it, and still I kept putting it off. Well, today I finally went for it!
I like them! The bags are made from a quilting cotton for the outer layer and a cotton broadcloth for the lining. The lining is interfaced with a lightweight interfacing. As discussed in the tutorial, because of my lightweight interfacing, the box is easily collapsible and doesn't retain its shape well. I'm okay with that, though, as I see this being good for shoving into a suitcase and not taking up much space. The fabric has been in my stash for several years, so it's nice to keep using what I already have.

I think this will be a great gift - it's cute and practical, and it can even serve as a gift wrapping! One of these is earmarked as part of a gift, and I think I will simply package the other items into it. It doesn't take long to make - I think I spent about an hour or so on these, and I could easily have streamlined that a bit. The size can easily be changed as desired, depending on what you want to put in it. My only dislike is that the inside corner seams are unfinished, but I simply serged them, and that's fine. I could change things up a bit to make those seams enclosed, but I don't think it's important enough to make the process take longer.

I definitely see more of these in my future! I think I'll whip up a few in girly prints for some teenage sisters I know, but there will be a lot more next year for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A birthday gift

My BFF loves to drink tea, and several Black Fridays ago, I found the perfect pink tea print flannel for PJ pants for her! Of course, then I promptly stashed it and did nothing with it, but this year was THE year. What should have been a perfectly uneventful pair of PJ pants became an exercise in frustration when I mistakenly cut two sets of FRONT pieces. Why, oh, why, couldn't I have cut two sets of BACK pieces instead??? So there they sat for quite awhile, during which time I stewed over my foolishness and tried to figure out how to fix it. I couldn't find any more of that print, of course, so I ultimately put the second set of pieces back with the scraps and sewed them together, then recut the pieces so that I would have the needed extra width. It will of course be noticeable to her when she puts them on, but I don't think anyone else will ever notice, as the fix is basically in the inseam and crotch. (I considered just putting in a gusset, but I wasn't sure if there was enough extra width in the pant legs already or whether I'd still need a strip down the inseam.)

I wasn't making PJ shirts at the time that I purchased this flannel, so I had no extra for a shirt, nor did I have any coordinating flannel for one. This wouldn't have bothered me, except that I then discovered the Think Pink contest was going on over at PatternReview, and I had no pink item to enter. (I realized too late to save these pants or my aunt's PJ shirt for the contest.) And since the sponsor was giving away a free pattern just for completing an entry, I really wanted to enter. So I thought my best bet was a coordinating pink shirt for these pants. Fortunately, the pale pink flannel at JAF was a near-perfect match to the background pink of the pants print. I brought the neck facings to the front to tie the set together a bit more, and I really like how it looks.

Hopefully my BFF will love them! They are a bit DIY, as I have no idea what elastic measurement to use. So I made a buttonhole by the CB seam and used that to insert the elastic. She can adjust it how she likes it and then stitch it in. And I added a drawstring from bias tape, but again, she'll have to adjust the length and stitch it in place. Also I wasn't sure if she'd need extra length in the sleeves, so I sent some of my leftover flannel print so that she can add cuffs if necessary.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gifts for Kids

I love sewing for kids, and I like giving sewn gifts when possible. We try to fill shoeboxes every year for Operation Christmas Child, and I just finished packing this year's boxes. We choose sex and age to match our Things, because then they can get more into helping choose things for the boxes. This year, both boxes are for boys aged 5-9 years. The suggestions include basic clothes, but it's hard to judge size when you have no idea where in that age range the child will fall. So instead of a shirt, I opted for basic pants, made out of a striped sheet from the thrift store (washed first, of course!). I used KS3042 size S, which I use for my older boy, and I cut the pieces single-layer to make sure the grainline stayed on the stripes. It was a bit annoying, but definitely worth it. I put elastic in to match my boy's waist but also added a drawstring to make it usable for smaller boys as well.
The Art-on-the-Go kits were a big hit for my boys back in the spring, so I thought it'd be great for these boxes! I bought colored pencils and packs of notepads from the Dollar Tree, but I wanted to make the kits to make the supplies seem a little nicer. I pulled two kid fabrics out of stash (4-5 years, I think) and cut two from each fabric. These I finished today for the shoeboxes, and the other two will be finished shortly for Christmas gifts! The only modification I made was to add two inches to the top of each so that a flap can be folded down over the pencils to hold them in place. I also folded these into thirds instead of halves before securing the elastic, and I think it works better.
Thing 2 had a birthday party to go to last weekend - a joint party for 6-year-old twins! The boy is in his class, but the girl is not. I felt a little weird giving him a gift but not her, and I also started thinking about the fact that Thing 2 has about 15 more kids in his class with birthdays, so it was time to go for some sewing! And I remembered the reversible superhero capes. I was thinking that I had a Batman and a Superman applique already prepared, but I was surprised to discover that I actually had cape pieces cut out as well, and the appliques were already fused on and ready for satin stitching! Hooray for a time-saver! I did start from scratch on the girl cape, though. ;) Thing 2 seemed pretty happy about the idea of giving the capes, so that was good. Hopefully he'll get good feedback later on....

Friday, November 18, 2011

There Must Be Boxers

If we're approaching birthdays/Christmas in this house, there HAS to be at least one pair of boxers sewn. No ifs, ands, or buts! we have five:My husband has been the recipient of so many pairs of boxers that I have lost count - I just know that it's over 30 pair. Because, let's face it, goofy boxers are fun! So I quit sewing them for him for a few years, because after all, he had enough to go for a month without having his underwear washed. But several pairs are 6+ years old, and they are starting to show their age. So I felt that I could safely make a new pair, since I recently culled some. ;) The Marine Corps boxers are for him.

The coin print and pin-up girls boxers are for my brother. His birthday is this month, and as he is to be a father shortly, I will send him the pinup girls and tell him that it's time to show some class and maturity. ;) Yes, that is our goofy sense of humor. I'll put the coins away until next year, probably.

The Day of the Dead boxers are for my dad for Christmas, and the sailboats are for his birthday in January. I tend to make him 1-2 pairs of boxers every year, but I think this is the first time for a Halloween pair. The skeletons are playing musical instruments, so I think he should really get a kick out of them.

As usual, all boxers are from S9958 (sizes S, M, and L). And in this case, all fabrics have been in stash for at least 1 year, if not much longer. Hooray for stashbusting!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And a PJ set....

My aunt loves her flannel PJs, and I try to add to her collection every year. This is only the second PJ shirt I've made her, though. Since she loved the cow set a couple years ago, I thought it would be good to make some more sets. So I bought coordinating flannel at the last Black Friday - just didn't get it sewn up last year, thanks to moving.

The shirt is a very vibrant fuschia tie-dye flannel. I used M5504 (raglan sleeve) for it. (I have also made myself a PJ shirt out of it - boring brown so no need to post - and I can vouch that it's comfy.) It's a quick shirt to sew up - nothing fancy. I did use the pants fabric for the neck facing, to tie it together. I thought about turning the facings to the outside but decided not to for this one.
A cute cow print flannel for the pants - my standard M3006. I really wanted a drawstring that matched the shirt but couldn't find any twill tape or bias tape that was the right color. Oh, well....
The set together. I think she'll be pretty happy with it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PJ brigade!

If I'm churning out PJ pants, you know Christmas must be coming! This is a standard, go-to Christmas gift for family/friends, especially adults. Who couldn't use a comfy, cozy pair of flannel PJs?

This first pair is for a friend. I use M3006 as my standard PJ pants for women. These pants are from JAF Black Friday flannel - I think I bought it last year. She got a set of matching pillowcases last year, and this year she gets the PJs.
For another friend, who loves the PJ pants I've made for her. I think this is only the third pair now, and her mom told me last year that she really loved the pair I made her five years ago, so I figured she definitely needed more! Also a JAF Black Friday purchase - this was supposed to be for my aunt, who got a pillowcase from it last year. But I must not have purchased quite enough, or it shrank more than expected. My aunt needs a size bigger, and there just wasn't enough length for it. (Since my aunt is taller, I didn't want to gyp her on length, and I just thought that adding white cuffs would look funny.) My aunt's loss is my friend's gain, though! And I still didn't have enough length to turn up a hem, so these legs are bound with white nylon-lycra.
PJ pants for my brother - for whom I use B6887, with adjustments for a working fly. This is a chamois flannel shirting, also from JAF, which I purchased about 2-3 years ago to test a long-sleeved shirt pattern for DH. However, he didn't want any long-sleeved shirts, so I shoved the flannel in my stash and pulled it out this year for my brother. I think he'll really like it!
PJ pants for my DSIL - also B6887, but adjusted for her (including no working fly!). This horse print flannel is one of several lengths of flannel that she and my brother gave me for Christmas six years ago, before they were married. I thought it was perfect to pull out for her, since I hadn't gotten around to using it yet.
Looney Tunes boxers (S9958) for a friend's husband. He's a LT fanatic, and I had this print leftover from making him a scrub shirt. I think he'll love it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More baby gifts...

First, the motorcycle newborn gown mentioned previously. I forgot to blog about it when I finished it! For this, I ended up cutting the front/back pieces from black interlock. I was able to reuse the shirt sleeves, which have a great design (like the front applique), and I used strips of grey from the shirt as the neck binding, which I liked better than futzing around with turning the edge under. And then I think the image I fused to the front is just gorgeous. The back is an eagle image that was on the back of the shirt - my DH really liked it, so it had to go on. I hope they like the newborn gown!

And last is a boppy cover. My mom found an icky colored boppy pillow for my DSIL, and I agreed to make a few covers. I found free instructions online - don't remember where at the moment - and this is my test. The horse print flannel is leftover from making PJ pants for DSIL for Christmas. ;) I'm waiting to hear how it fits before I do anything else.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Bag from the Underworld

My aunt came for a visit over a month ago, and while she was here, she requested a new purse. I had made (also at her request) a very large tote bag for her about five years ago, which she used to carry my grandma's laundry back and forth to the nursing home. She said that she still uses it but wanted something similar but smaller that she could use as a purse. While she was here, I had her pick out the fabric that she wanted - blue denim for the outside and a Charlie Brown print for the inside. Then after she left, we had a long email conversation about specific features of the purse.

I chose Simplicity 9958, which was already in my stash. In fact, it was one of the two patterns I had used to make the original tote bag. The only real changes I needed to make to the pattern were to line the bag and add inner pockets. I used a double strand of white thread for all topstitching that would be visible on the outside (I had tried topstitching thread, but for some reason, my machine was most unhappy with it.)

The lining fabric was interfaced with Pellon's ShapeFlex, as recommended by a JAF employee. The interfacing is a bit pricey for me ($5/yd), but I have to say that it worked really well - gave it stability and strength, but it still drapes nicely. I added two inner pockets. This larger one has boxed lower corners to give it more width than a patch pocket, and I added elastic to the top. It is self lined for strength and better appearance.

I also added a zippered pocket for a cell phone or small wallet. When I made my Amy Butler Swing Bag a few years ago for use at a conference, I added zippered pockets for cell phone and wallet, and I really liked it. Made it much easier to find a ringing phone. I also added a D-ring below the pocket for attaching a key leash, to make finding one's keys quick and easy.

As an extra bonus, I made a matching key leash from a Craft Stylish tutorial and a small tissue cover from a Quilting Board tutorial. Both were quick and easy, and I think they just add a little something to the bag.

I like the key leash and may make myself one soon - that would be handy if I could figure out where to attach it in my backpack. And I think the tissue cover will be a great addition to teacher gifts this Christmas! Cute and practical, and very very quick!

Despite how many times/ways I screwed up this bag, I still really liked the finished product. I cut a second one out when I cut the first, so after some "forgetting the pain" time, I'll be making it again at least once. After that, well, we'll see....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More baby stuff

The Husband has a work colleague who just had a baby, which is always an excuse to have fun with baby gifts, right? I did some snooping on her baby registry (always useful for things like colors or finding out what baby-related paraphenalia they already have) and discovered that she wanted neutral colored sheets for a pack-n-play. So I whipped up one from a white flannel sheet and one from a white jersey sheet with light-colored vehicles (planes, trains, trucks, etc.) on it. Both sheets were from thrift stores, and both yield multiple sheets, making them an economical source of fabric when available. I cut two sheets from each one, as you might as well make extras to store for future gifts, since they're so easy....

I also saw a tutorial for making newborn gowns out of recycled adult T-shirts. This got my creativity going. Both parents like to ride motorcycles, so I thought it'd be really cool if I could find a Harley T-shirt at the thrift store, or at least something with motorcycles. It took 5 thrift stores, but I ended up finding 4 T-shirts to use in this way! The motorcycle T-shirt is next on my list, but I wanted to make a prototype first to test the pattern, so that I won't screw it up on the motorcycle one.
This is for my niece, since my brother is a total computer geek. I figured he'd appreciate it - hopefully his wife will, too. ;) But while I liked the shirt enough to use it in this way, I also knew that it wouldn't really bother me if I screwed it up. However, all went well, so I'll be moving on to the motorcycles....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More gifts

One of my friend's sons had a birthday in July. Due to the sewing room being ripped apart as well as other things, I didn't get his present done on time. That's okay, though - it's always fun to get a surprise belated gift in the mail!

I had quite a bit of monster flannel left from the Things' summer PJs - I had thought I was buying enough to make them pillowcases as well as PJs, but I didn't account for the directional print, so I didn't have enough for two pillowcases.

However, I did have enough for one pillowcase and one pair of PJ shorts (KS SFC, size S), which worked out perfectly for my friend's son. I had the blue tie-dye flannel for the pillowcase trim, but not enough for a PJ shirt (KS 3042, size S). So I asked her what his favorite color was, and apparently he goes back and forth between red and blue. Perfect! I still have plenty of red tie-dye flannel from a previous Black Friday purchase, so I used that. I used the monster flannel for the neck facings and the pocket, to tie the set together, and I finally got it in the mail last week. She texted me a photo of him wearing his new PJs the night they arrived, and he looked very pleased. Yay! They also looked as though there would be some growth room - double yay!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baby gifts!

My brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so naturally I want to make baby gifts! I have a bunch of nursing pads cut out, but they're not terribly exciting to send pre-baby, so I had to work on other stuff first. I didn't send anything before now, because they were being very cautious with this pregnancy, but now that she's at twenty weeks, they're feeling better about it, so game on! The first item is the one that I've just sent, so hopefully they like it. When I cut out baby suit for my friend a few months ago, I had enough to also cut out a second jacket, and then I found enough leftovers from a previous project to make matching pants. This is from KS SFB, size M.
I've also been looking through my stash - because I'm trying to stash bust! - and I found two yards of a Winnie the Pooh cotton print and about a yard and a half of a Care Bears flannel print. I cut the Pooh print in half and used that and the Care Bears to make single layer blankets, just evening up the sides and then making narrow hems. These should be good for nursing cover-ups or for light blankets.

This piggy bank flannel print is one that my brother and his wife had given me for Christmas about six years ago, when I was pregnant with Thing 2. I finally used some of it to make myself PJ shorts (which I just realized never made it onto the blog - have to fix that soon) but still had enough for a baby blanket. I found a coordinating purple solid flannel for the other side and appliqued two piggies onto it, then bound the two flannels together with a sparkly purple nylon-lycra. I think it turned out really cute! (I thought the nylon-lycra would make a less bulky edge than my usual fleece binding, so it might be usable for swaddling.)

When I made the piggy banks and Care Bears blankets, it was before we knew that the baby would be a girl. I just thought that they'd be cute, and I could put them into my gift stash if the baby turned out to be a boy. But we just learned last week that she's a girl - my first niece! Woohoo!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back to school!

Despite my best-made plans, the new school outfits were not finished in time for the all-important first day of school. They were okay with that, however, and they wore other Mama-made clothing. I also didn't have them done in time for the second day of school - for shame! - but they were ready to celebrate the THIRD day of school (which really doesn't get enough love, so it was all good).

Thing 2 got a new button-front shirt identical to the one I made for Project First Day (B3475, size 5) and a pair of chocolate brown twill shorts (B3475, size 4). You can't see them in this picture, but the pocket flaps on the shorts are lined with remnants from the shirt. He was very excited to get his new outfit! The shirt has only been worn once so far, but the shorts have been worn several times. Thing 1 got a new Ooga Booga shirt (Fishsticks Designs Patrick Curved Raglan Seam shirt, size 7/8), this one in the Rainbow colorway. He loves the hooded shirt I made him earlier this summer in the red/black/grey colorway, so when he saw this fabric, he jumped on it! The shorts (B3475, size 6) are a blue denim, and the pocket flaps are lined with a green broadcloth. The shorts are a little long, so I'll probably shorten the next pair, but he says that he also likes this length. And while he has reworn the shorts several time, the shirt seems to be his first choice as soon as it comes out of the wash! Good thing I have more of this print as well as some of the other colorways! I foresee eventually making a long-sleeved shirt in this print, maybe with a green or blue solid instead of red.

And in other back to school news, my older son came home on the first day and told me that two students in his class had asked if I would make them backpacks, too! ;) I'll take that as a compliment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The backpack factory.....

It's back to school time, and Thing 1 needed a new backpack. His old Spiderman backpack was looking worse for wear, and the zipper has given up the ghost. (Though it will still be good enough for use as a library book bag, so I do plan to replace the zipper and give it a new lease on life.....)

Despite knowing this, he asked after church two weeks ago if he could bring his Spiderman backpack to church the following week. When asked why, he told us that the Sunday School classes were taking donations of backpacks and other school supplies to distribute to underprivileged kids. Um, no, remember there's a reason why you're getting a new backpack??? But hey, I decided that charity should be encouraged, so we told Things 1&2 that they could pick out other fabric for extra backpacks to donate, and I would make them in time for us to shop for school supplies to fill them, and bring them to church on the appointed day.

Thing 1 picked the fabric on the right, which I've been jealously hoarding for a few years now, just waiting for a project worthy enough for it. And Thing 2 picked the fabric on the left, of which I have TONS. (I bought the rest of the bolt when it was on clearance for $1/yd at WM a few years ago, intending to use it for toddler bedding and such. Yeah, this was the first time I used it.)
As usual for my backpacks, I used Butterick 6735, view A, with my usual changes. As per the previous backpacks, I quilted the outer fabric to a layer of batting and added a separate lining. As per the last one, I used webbing for the strap fastenings, though this time I simply used adjustors instead of actual parachute buckles (trying to save $$ - but I have to say that those worked really well!) This time, I also used webbing for the hanging loop. I think it will give more security. Time will tell....I found webbing that looked really nice with the bug fabric backpack but was forced to just use black with the Matchbox backpack. Because I have so much of the Matchbox fabric, I used it as the lining as well. But the bug fabric is much more limited, and I'm still in love with it, so I used a red cotton leftover from my stash to line that backpack. Another change that was made based on last year was to make the zippers non-separating - a little kid with a separating zipper seemed to be a recipe for a broken zipper....sigh....

Once I finished the donation backpacks (Sunday morning before we left for church!), it was on to the backpacks for my little students. Thing 2 picked the Batman fabric on the left, and Thing 1 picked the shark camo fabric on the right. I made these the same way as the donations, except that I lined these in PUL - my first time trying this. We'll see how I like it. (I didn't have enough PUL leftover to line all four backpacks with it, and I was trying to only buy notions for my back-to-school sewing this year.)

Again, I used webbing and adjustors to make the straps, and I'm pretty happy with that. The Batman backpack has black webbing, and the shark has white. But I could only find the black adjustors, and I didn't start early enough to have time to order any. But that's okay! The boys are happy with their new backpacks.

And a closer look at the shark camo, which I really like. I have enough left for some shorts for at least one boy, I think....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back-to-School charity sewing

Project First Day was started by Susan Stewart to help give the children of Joplin, MO, a sense of normalcy in the midst of the continued devastation from the tornadoes last Easter. She remembered that as a child, she always got a brand-new outfit for her first day of school, and she wanted that for these children, despite all the struggles their families may have just to survive. So she put out a request for sewers to make and donate brand-new outfits for school children, with a note attached to tell each child that someone was thinking especially of them while making this special outfit.

I thought about it and decided to contribute two outfits - similar in style/fabrics to what my own boys will be wearing for their first day of school. I even enlisted my boys to help pick fabrics. For the first, I used B3475, my go-to pattern for boys' button-front shirts. The shirt is a size 5, and the shorts are a shortened size 4. Both are perfect for my DS#2 while still giving a bit of growth room. I used all stash fabrics for this, only purchasing notions as needed.

Because I used stash, my boys will not have identical items, but theirs will be very similar. The shirt fabric is one that I purchased several years ago - it may have been from WM or JAF clearance aisle. I'm not sure anymore. But it has a nice feel to it, so even if it was inexpensive, it wasn't a cheap fabric. I had just enough to squeeeze out two shirts, much to my DS's delight! And I enlisted my DH's help on choosing button colors. For this one to donate, I sewed an extra button on the inside of the button facing, at the bottom of the shirt - a RTW touch! ;)

The olive green shorts are a cotton twill, I believe. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough for two pairs, so my DS#2 will have dark brown shorts. The pocket flap is lined with the leftovers of the shirt fabric to tie the outfit together.

This outfit uses B3475 for the shorts (size 6) and Fishsticks Designs Patrick Curved Raglan shirt (size M). I didn't think in time about shortening the shorts, so they will be long. More growth room, I suppose! The shorts are a black stretch denim that I purchased with the intent of maternity jeans - five years ago....I used the rest of it recently for long pants for my boys - which should still fit next year - and I think there's enough left for KS SFC shorts for DS#1, but not for these cargo shorts. I lined the pocket flaps with a red tonal cotton print. DS#1 will have blue denim for his cargo shorts.

The shirt front uses leftovers from a shirt DS#1 wears at least weekly. I only had enough length to cut out the front, so I decided to use a solid black for the back and neckband and a solid red for the sleeves. I was afraid that if I used black for the sleeves as well, it might look like I just ran out of fabric, instead of a design feature. ;) It seems to have worked - DH thought it was great, and DS#1 was drooling over it, despite already having a very similar shirt with that print! (He's now picked out an ooga interlock in a different colorway for his back-to-school shirt!)
Thanks to health issues and then sewing room makeover, I didn't get started on these nearly as early as I'd intended - oops! Oh, well - I stayed up late Friday night and got up early Saturday a week ago to get these done and to the post office in time to make the August 1st deadline. Whew! Still working on the versions for my boys now.....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Playing catch-up.....

Hard to believe it's been 2 months since I last posted, but a lot has happened....

My sewing room is in the midst of a renovation! These are the wall colors. We picked the light green on the left, then after painting two walls, decided it needed an accent color. The darker green color was used in the kitchen and part of the living room by the previous owners, and they had left us some. So that went on one wall. Then we decided to get color-crazy and throw in something totally different on the remaining (large) wall - that's where the dark purple came in! (This is especially shocking to some of our friends, as we painted almost every room in our previous house in the months of renovation before we moved, and they were all some shade of white/offwhite/tan.) I have to say, it's different, but so far I'm loving it!
The idea is to make quilted wall hangings to tie the room together. I don't know exactly what they'll look like yet, but I'm looking at quilt blocks for sampler quilts. And I hit a sale on FQs at the LQS earlier in the month - these are from that sale:

Under the FQs is a white on white print that will become the sashing and borders, I think, and in the upper left is a seafoam-ish green that was an almost exact match to one of the green shades in the paint color cards. (I grabbed all the shades in each of the color "families" that contained the actual paint colors we used - took those to the LQS to help pick out fabrics. Worked great!) I'll use that green as the background in the blocks. I can't wait to get started! I think the first sampler will be a 2x3 arrangement of 18-inch blocks. Maybe....

Before the room was dismantled for painting and shelves, I managed to squeeze in just a little sewing. The boys need more summer PJs, not that they always wear them, and I had purchased the monster flannel on sale "just because." So I made each of them PJ shorts in the next size up, then added appliques to purchased T-shirts. Quick, easy, and effective.

There's been more since, but that's a good stopping point for now. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More cutoff jean shorts....

The lighter pair are the ones I made about a year or so ago. Despite being worn pretty constantly for a summer, they're still in good shape! But I need more, because I plan to pretty much live in shorts this summer. (We've already hit 90 more than once - yikes!) So I made a trip to a local Goodwill and bought four pairs of jeans for $4 each, solely for the purpose of creating cutoffs. The jeans I found were darker, so I went in search of a swimsuit print that would coordinate better. Yeah, no luck there, but I bought this navy with white geometric print. I think it looks okay!

I hadn't found last year's pair yet when I made the first ones this week. I made them long, about knee length, and then wore them for a day or two to see what I thought. Hmmm....too long, I think. I'm going to whack off two inches or so and rebind them. I then made the second pair after finding last year's, and I've been wearing them nonstop for a few days. I like this length much better.
Tomorrow I'll work on fixing the first pair. I want to find the rest of the grey/white rose print I used in last year's so that I can make the third pair in that. And then I think I'll pick up a red solid over the weekend and use that for the final pair. Just to change it up a bit. I asked a friend if she thought that would look weird, but only about half an inch is visible at the bound edge, so she thought it would be fine.
Because these are a bit big on me (and I'm hoping that before the summer ends, they'll be a LOT big on me), I have to wear a belt with them. I'm using the webbing/ribbon one I made last year, but it's time to make another. This time, I might use a buckle instead of D-rings....we'll see....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Patching jeans....

So I have this friend who has done I don't know what to her jeans and needed repairs made, as she is broke and doesn't want to buy new ones, especially since she's losing weight.This is not the pair that is pictured with completed repairs, but this pair is fairly representative of the holes in her jeans.
This shows the inside of the jeans. I put these patches on in two pieces so that I could butt each patch up against the crotch seam. I'm pretty happy with them. These patches were made from Sew Classics lightweight denim from JAF (leftover from the dog crate) and Heat & Bond Lite. I think that these patches will work better than the ones I did with denim recycled from the legs of jeans that became cutoffs. That denim is a bit thicker - good for a single patch, but not for a double.
And this is the outside - not terribly noticeable! Unless someone is standing WAY too close to her, they shouldn't even notice. I did the V-shaped lines just to keep the two patches together, in case any of the adhesive ever wears out in the wash.
And I had to patch the hole where the button was and replace it. I used two patches again, then poked a hole with the seam ripper and installed the jeans button. First time!