Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some more Emmy dresses!

I've had fun making these Emmy dresses for my niece, and since the Valentine's Day dress was a hit, I thought it would be fun to continue the holiday trend.  When I was in central Illinois last month for a concert, of course I had to go check out my old fabric stores!  I found the St. Patrick's Day hearts woven fabric at HF there, and the green interlock and ribbing came from my stash.  I had found the giraffe print as a remnant at JAF awhile back, and I had to buy it - my sister-in-law originally planned a giraffe-themed nursery, so I thought it would be perfect.  The brown interlock and ribbing was also purchased at JAF.

Nothing new to say about construction - these are both size 18 months, and the only difference from previous iterations was using a woven fabric for the skirt part (which is also an option listed in the pattern).  I think they turned out very cute!  (And, yes, I'm just behind in blogging - they really did get to my niece before St. Patrick's Day.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New scrub shirts!

My friend who loves walruses has a birthday this month - she's the one who got the walrus PJ pants for Christmas.  And I had the passing thought that it would be great to give her a walrus scrub shirt, but I'd never seen walrus fabric (other than that flannel).  Without much hope, I gave eBay a try, and I was stunned to find ONE source of walrus print fabric!  I ordered two yards (these shirts take 1.5) and was extremely happy with my find.  I made this from M9123, which appears to be out of print, but there should be plenty of other basic scrub shirt patterns around to choose from.  I used Kadiddlehopper's "Bound Neckline on Scrubs" tutorial again - I love how it looks!  This one does not have a chest pocket - the pattern repeat is quite large, and even though I had extra fabric, I didn't have the right picture in the extra fabric.  I even looked to see if I could put the pocket on the other side, but no luck.  Oh, friend only wears her scrub shirts in surgery, so it's not like she really needs a pocket.  And I thought the print was way too large and awesome to have the jarring effect of a non-matched pocket on it.

Since I was in the scrub shirt sewing mode, I figured that it would be nice to have a new scrub shirt for myself!  I had two nice prints to choose from - this and a dolphin print (that may be up next!) - but decided on this one because it matches the dark green scrub pants I recently completed (apparently I didn't blog them).  This fabric has been in my stash for at least 2.5 years, maybe longer.  I bought it with the intent of making a scrub shirt, though I don't remember for sure now whether I had intended it originally for me.  At any rate, I thought it would be a fun change for surgery, so off I went.  Details are the same as the walrus one, except that the neckline is bound with green broadcloth left over from the pants, and there is actually a chest pocket.  (I barely eked a pattern-matched pocket out of my leftovers - phew!  Because I wear these all day, and I definitely need a place to keep a pen.)

I'm really happy with how these turned out, and I can't wait to wear mine to surgery and hear how my friend likes hers!  This kind of put me back in the mood to sew scrub shirts, so there may be more coming up soon....But right now I'm switching gears to Bible costumes.  Need to stitch up some of the sheets (used for inexpensive, durable fabric) currently occupying my sewing room floor!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Christmas tree skirt - 6 years in the making!

So way back when we got married (cough - fifteen years ago - cough), I crocheted a tree skirt for us to use under our new tree.  In the spirit of marital harmony, I even let DH pick out which pattern he preferred from the book.  I don't think I have any pictures anywhere, but it was simple and pretty.  It was crocheted all in one piece, but it looked like squares joined together, with tree images made from front and back post stitches.  The skirt itself was ecru, and the trim was a beautiful hunter green.  As I recall, I found a matching plaid ribbon to run through the outer spaces and kind of tie it all together (no pun intended).  Anyway, it took a long time to crochet, but it turned out great, and we used it happily for years.  Then about eight years into it, we bought a new artificial tree (I'm allergic to real ones), and DH was thrilled to burn the old one.  Since then, we've been unable to find the tree skirt, and we suspect that it was packed in the box with the old tree.  (DH burned the tree in the box.)  :(

I bought prequilted tree skirt panels from Wal-Mart before Christmas in 2006 and made them into a tree skirt for my aunt's Christmas present that year.  And I liked the finished tree skirt so much that I bought the same prequilted panels for myself - but on clearance in January. :)  Well, every year I plan to work on my tree skirt, and every year I get bogged down in Christmas gifts and other things that jump ahead in priority.  So after years of a naked tree, I finally decided to work on the tree skirt immediately (or close enough) after Christmas.  And here it is!

I lined the tree skirt with a coordinating Three Kings print (also purchased on clearance from WM that year).  I knew it was unnecessary, but I wanted it to be really pretty, especially after all this time. And I went a step further and cut the lining in four quarter circles so that the print was always oriented correctly.  (My aunt's was lined with a simple white flannel sheet, but I've had six years to think about this.)

And I agonized over the binding fabric, too.  When I made my aunt's tree skirt, I used a purchased blue bias tape that went pretty well with the light blue in the tree skirt.  And I had enough of the same bias tape to make this one, but when I asked DH for his opinion, he wasn't thrilled with it.  SO I asked for opinions in my online sewing group, and I got some good advice, including some that I had no intention of taking (to find a gold that matched).  I made trips to both local chain fabric stores without any luck, so then I took the tree skirt to the fairly local quilt store.  I came up with three options, including this gold fabric with metallic swirls in it, and I took them all up to the cutting table and asked the women working there.  It was unanimous - the gold carried the day!  So I used my trusty bias tape makers to make bias tape from the gold fabric, and I have to admit that it turned out beautiful.

There are two pictures that are repeated around the tree skirt.  This is the Nativity scene, with the three kings worshipping the Christ child.

And this is the picture of the kings on their journey (which is very similar to the picture repeated in the print that lines the skirt).

I'm so very happy with how this turned out, and I am thrilled to finally have it done and ready for next Christmas.  Obviously it was time to make my own stuff a priority!  (Also, there's 7.5 yards of fabric in this thing, between 2 panels, the lining which had to be cut unidirectionally, and the bias tape - I needed that to be in my "out" column of my spreadsheet!)

Each panel also included a Christmas stocking, so I have four of those to make up.  I'm thinking about lining them with the Three Kings print and giving them out at Christmas....we'll see....

Friday, March 8, 2013

PJ pants

I think we're finally at the end of the Christmas posts.  I hope so, anyway!  These two gifts are the ones that got the best reviews, I have to say.  The shoes flannel was a Black Friday purchase from JAF.  I had made three pillowcases out of it last year for the teenage daughters of a friend, and this year, I used the remaining yardage for PJ pants for their older sister.  I had no idea just how well that would go over!  Most inspired fabric choice ever, it seems!

Well, actually, that honor may have to go to the walrus flannel.  Also a Black Friday purchase, but one that I knew at the time was inspired!  One of my bestest buddies looooves walruses, so when I saw that flannel, I knew that she had to have it!  And I was right!  She was so excited to unwrap her walrus PJ pants!  (There's even enough left for a pillowcase for her birthday - shhh! Don't tell her!)  They even have a version in the ultra cuddle fleece!

I used my TNT PJ pants pattern for these - M3006.  Works great every time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sleep sack

I had asked my sister-in-law before Christmas what she needed for my niece, and in addition to dresses, she mentioned sleep sacks.  They were using Halo SleepSacks, but they only had one, and my niece would only sleep through the night if she was in that sleep sack.  (I'm guessing that they keep their house as cold as we do ours!)  I looked at the product specs, and then I looked through my patterns.  When Thing 2 was a baby, I made him sleep sacks from Butterick 5220.  My sister-in-law wanted a sleeveless sleep sack, however, so instead I turned to Butterick 3315, which is apparently now out of print.  I ended up combining two views to get the sleeveless bodice and the long sleep sack part, and it seems to have worked pretty well!  The fleece is one that has been in my stash for years now, so I was happy to find a use for it.  And I intended to put in the zipper similar to the Halo sleep sack, so that it zips "up" to the bottom.  But I forgot that I would need a separating zipper for that, so this one is more conventional.  I haven't gotten any feedback on how it fits so far, but if my sister-in-law likes it and wants more, I'll look for separating zippers for next time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Box Bags!

Yep, still more Christmas gifts to catch up on.  I made my first box bags over a year ago (also for gifts!) from Stacy Schluyer's tutorial.  And in rereading that post, I see that I had mentioned making some the next Christmas for some teenage sisters I know - I had totally forgotten about that idea, and yet that's exactly what I did!  One of my friends has three teenage daughters who are very close in age, and I usually make/give them similar things, especially since I don't know them really well these days.  But I do ask their mom questions and pay attention, so I was able to customize these to their favorite colors and interests.  I made two box bags for each one - reversing the lining/outer fabrics.  I also made matching key fobs.  And I heard later that they were a huge hit. :)

I also made box bags for the older sister.  Hers used a brown linen blend as the outer fabric, leftover from the stockings I made for our family for Christmas 2011.  This one is lined with leftovers of a cat/bookshelf print I used to line an Amy Butler Swing Bag I made for her six years ago.

And this one is lined with a neat travel print - leaning tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, things like that.  It reminds me of how her bathroom is decorated.  Her key fob was a Tinkerbell ribbon, leftover from the trim on a pillowcase I made for her three years ago.  She loves Tinkerbell. :)

I have to say that I really like these box bags as gifts.  I need to remember to make more next Christmas!  They're easy to make, easy to customize to the recipient's interests, economical (especially if you can get a good deal on zippers - I buy mine from Cleaner's Supply), and so very useful.