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!