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!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kid Clothes Week Challenge - Final

So I didn't do a great job in the kids clothes week challenge, but that's okay. The only completed items were the two Fishsticks Designs Tanks and this mouse shirt, which I didn't have time to blog about before we left for the weekend. I actually finished sewing it Thursday, but I didn't put the snaps in until late Friday night, just in time to pack it up and leave.

It was a huge hit! Thing 2 loved it, and he proudly wore it to graduation Sunday. It was cold this weekend, so he wore a sweatshirt over it, but he kept pulling the hem out to show people. I foresee this shirt will get a lot of wear over the summer!
You can see the engraved mouse snaps I used here, though the snap has gotten itself turned nearly upside down, and the picture is somewhat grainy. You get the idea, though - it's just a nice subtle touch. I was pleased that the red snaps matched the red background so well! He can easily fasten and unfasten the shirt himself with the buttons - I'm pretty happy!
This is the inside of the shirt. The pattern is B3475, which I've used before. I tried the previous four shirts on Thing 2 to check for sizing - he can wear all the sizes (2-5), but size 5 was definitely the winner for growth room! His size 2 shirt is getting a little short, and the size 5 wasn't ridiculously long, so it was the winner. I want him to be able to wear this for a long time. I changed the pattern to add a lined yoke, for easier installation of the collar neatly. I'm pretty pleased! As per my previous versions, I used french seams on the sides and bound the front facings and the armholes with bias tape. This shirt looks good on the inside, and it didn't take much longer to make it that way.
Thing 1 pretty much won't wear his button-front shirts at all, so I'm sticking with knit shirts for him. But Thing 2 seems pretty fond of these, so I'll likely make him a few more over the summer. We'll see....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New dog bed

Yep, making more dog beds. Nope, the dog didn't tear up the old one, and it's still fine. But my DH had suggested back when I finished the first one, that it would be good to have a second bed for her to lie on. At that time, I had no desire to start another one. Now, well, I still don't want to start another one, but I've been thinking for awhile that it would be good to have one that would fit the cargo space in the SUV. Especially since we're taking a trip this weekend, and we're taking Zoe with us. So it's time to suck it up and make the dog bed already!

And if you're making one dog bed, you might as well make two at once, right? My MIL expressed interest in a dog bed, so I'm making one for her as a Christmas present. She doesn't know about it, so it'll still be a surprise at Christmas. ;) I just didn't have time to get it done before her birthday. At any rate, I don't plan on making any more, so I made sure to take a few pictures along the way.

The SUV bed is needs to be much wider than the foam, and because of my foam-saving cutting layout, the small dog bed also needed some extra width. When adding the width, I simply lined the two pieces up and whipstitched them together. This is two-inch thick foam, so I whipstitched on both sides of the foam, so that I'd only have to go through half the thickness on each side. I figured that would stand up better to stress. Hopefully you can see that in the picture here.

For the smaller dog bed, I simply used the single layer, as his crate is shorter, and I didn't want him to hit his head when he stood up in the crate. But for Zoe's bed, I once again wanted it four inches thick. So I laid two layers on top of each other (with the patched ends at opposite sides) and then once again used a soft sculpture needle to stitch the two layers together in three columns. Those layers are not going to shift!

No pictures, but I then wrapped each mattress in a couple of layers of poly batting and stitched it down on all sides, before inserting the mattress into a permanent muslin cover. I've also made the waterproof, removable cover from PUL and a separating zipper (I bought these zippers at Cleaners Supply and was very pleased with price, selection, and fast shipping - NAYY). Today I need to make at least one outer cover for each mattress.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

There is a challenge going on this week at Elsie Marley - to sew one hour per day for your children for a week. Fittingly, I heard about it at Fishsticks Designs. I wasn't able to sew yesterday, but I did get a new pattern sewn up today. This is the free tank pattern found at Fishsticks Designs. The sizes range from 12 months to 5T, and I made both the 4T and 5T. I was sure that at least one would fit DS#2, and the 5T looked as though it might be large enough to fit DS#1. And if it didn't, I knew that it would fit DS#2 soon enough.

This pattern is another winner from Fishsticks Designs. There are only a few pattern pieces, and it works up quickly and easily. I used a knit jersey print from my stash and black cotton lycra from my binding stash. The pattern can be made with either a sewing machine alone or sewing machine and serger. I followed the directions and topstitched the bindings ed in place once they were serged on and pressed in place, but that and the hems are the only parts that require a sewing machine. All other seams can be made on either sewing machine or serger. I personally prefer my serger for knit seams, but they can certainly be made on the sewing machine alone with a stretch stitch.

In the end, my DS#1 (who just turned 8) said that the 5T shirt was slightly uncomfortable at the back armholes - that they were too tight on his shoulder. And I thought that the shirt looked a little snug on his belly. But I think that adding some width to both front and back and scooping out the armholes a little would make it wearable for him. I may try that next week. The 4T looks about perfect on my not-quite-5-year-old, and he can also wear the 5T, but it's just long on him. I'll wait to see how interested DS#2 is in sleeveless shirts, but I could see myself making quite a few more of these in the various knits I have stashed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have a friend who was extremely helpful to me during the process of writing my thesis. She was great moral support, she listened when I vented, she gave good editing suggestions, and she was willing to go all over campus to copy/scan articles that I couldn't get online. Needless to say, she deserves a big thank you. She wants me to make her a T-shirt quilt, using her collection of college T-shirts. She'll pay for my time, but since she's been so much help, I won't be charging her what it's worth.
Still, in the meantime, I wanted to have something to give her at graduation next weekend. Since she wants an Illini T-shirt quilt, it's pretty obvious that she's an Illini fan, right? So I bought Illini flannel on clearance at JAF and made her a pillowcase (only one, because it's a directional print, and there wasn't enough to make a second). She also teaches anatomy, and I found a Halloween bones print, so I made a second pillowcase out of that! I think she'll get a kick out of these.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hanging towels

Hanging towels are always extremely useful, I think. I used to cut hand towels in half and crochet towel toppers onto each half, so that I could hang them on drawer pulls for easy hand drying, especially in the kitchen. We used to keep one at the sink and one on the refrigerator door at all times. But as much as I enjoyed crocheting, the resulting towel toppers just didn't look all that pretty. A few months back, I started thinking about figuring out a sewing pattern. And then Gelbean came up with a hanging towel tutorial! Since then, I've made a ton! These make great gifts - small, pretty, and useful! I've started giving them for birthdays, holidays, and thank-yous - basically anytime I need a small gift.
This was my prototype: I used scraps and a towel I had hanging around. I also tested out my Singer vintage buttonholer to make the buttonhole!
The Beatles towels were part of a care package for a friend (a Beatles nut!), and the Nemo towel was part of a thank-you gift to the friend who took care of my dog for a few weeks (the one who requested the dog housecoat - her bathroom is decorated in fish). This was when I started interfacing the cotton fabric when making the toppers (I don't interface the flannel).
This is quite the batch! I had more Beatles towels ready to go but hadn't finished them yet, because there was no need. However, since I was working on the chili peppers, I finished them all. I had half a yard of chili peppers fabric, and it made 6 towels. I think that's pretty typical if the print is nondirectional. Directional prints will likely not yield quite as many. I also decided that I would try out my snap press on these. I like the way it turned out! (And it's definitely faster!) The chili peppers were purchased as thank-yous to my advisor and to the stats buddy who was so essential to my thesis. I just mailed my stats buddy's towels to her.
The Illini flannel was leftover from a pillowcase, and I have still more to finish - I just ran out of towels and wanted some to be orange towels. The brown towels are owl-wing fabric - my grandmother loves owls, and these are for her birthday. I wanted to find fabric that had the whole owl, but no such luck. And these were already going to be late, so I wasn't going to wait. I have two more of these, as well. And the cupcakes are also part of her birthday present. I have one more cupcake towel to make, but again, I ran out of towels. I mailed the two owl towels and two of the cupcake towels as the birthday gift.
And then these travel towels are for my friend who loves to travel. It's Nurses' Day today, and I usually send her a new scrub shirt, but I can't find the one that I finished before the move. And I didn't realize that until yesterday. So I whipped up these towels and mailed them. I think she'll be pretty pleased! I have plenty more of that fabric, and I bought another grey towel as well as a light teal one that should match the fabric perfectly.
I also use these in bathrooms, as my little guy can reach them without pulling the whole towel down (which is good, because he never puts the towels back up!). I'm really liking the snap closure now, instead of taking more time to make buttonholes and hand-sew buttons on. These work great! I'm quite certain there will be many more hanging towels coming from my machine!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New boy shirts!

I have been trying to remain on a fabric diet lately, only buying fabric to make specific gifts when I didn't have anything appropriate in the stash, and I've been....mostly good. But then I took advantage of a nearby doctor's appointment and a child-free morning to visit Jackman's Fabrics, thinking that I would look at the upcoming class projects, drool over eye candy, and leave empty-handed. But then I saw a cotton-lycra shark print.....Oops! My boys love sharks, and I really liked the look of this print. So I got a yard and a half, intending to find a coordinating solid and make them both new shirts for Easter. The dark blue cotton lycra came from JAF the next day, and I did get to work on these quickly. However, I was still polishing my thesis at that point, so they didn't get finished until the day after Easter. :( Oh, well - the boys love them, and they did get done fairly quickly.

These are both Patrick Curved Raglan Seam Shirts, from Fishsticks Designs. The previous PCR shirts I made for my boys were sizes 3T and 5T, but they're starting to get a bit small (short, mostly), so I sized up this time. I used a size M from the "Big Kid" size range for Thing 1 and a 5T for Thing 2 (mainly because I already had it traced, and it would give him a lot of room to grow). Thing 2's shirt is long on him, but definitely wearable, and Thing 1's shirt has some growth room but looks pretty good, I think.

Then for stash! I had bought a yard of red/grey ooga booga interlock a year or so ago, intending it for shirts for my boys. I finally cut a hooded PCR shirt (also size M) for Thing 1. I have some left over, but not sure if I have enough for a second shirt. The grey interlock was leftover from a previous project. Thing 1 approved this prior to cutting and decided that he wanted a hood. (I'm learning to ask first unless I'm really really sure, because I've made some things that he's refused to wear.)

Thing 2 doesn't need clothes as much as Thing 1 does, partly due to hand-me-downs, but he loves to get new stuff that Mama makes. And I earmarked this ninja fabric for him since I bought it at the same time as the red/grey oogas. Another PCR sized 5T, this uses a red cotton/poly interlock that I bought at JAF specifically for this project. I prefer 100% cotton interlocks, but JAF is not always stocking them anymore. :(

I did manage to screw up and cut all the hood pieces with the stretch going up and down rather than side-to-side. Oops! The only problem I ran into with that during construction was that it made it harder to ease the hoods into the necklines. I will have to watch to see if there are any further problems due to the stretch going the wrong way....