sewing


This tackle has been a very, very, very long time coming! Approximately four years ago, my husband’s grandma gave me some old clothes that had sentimental value to her, and asked me to make a quilt out of them. I had already made a couple of baby quilts, and I figured it couldn’t be too hard. I didn’t count on getting pregnant, having a miscarriage, getting pregnant again, and then moving across the state! All that stuff happened within six months of my starting the quilt, and it kept getting put away to finish later. Then, my sewing machine was packed away, too when my daughter was born. It didn’t see the light of day again until earlier this year! Now, I sew so much that I can’t believe I ever did without my sewing machine!

This spring, when I unpacked all the quilt pieces I’d cut (surprisingly, I managed to save every one, and even a few extras), I was astonished to realize that the quilt was more than half finished! In the midst of an early pregnancy and horrible morning sickness, the quilt had seemed impossible, like something I’d never in a million years be able to finish. I’m happy to say that wasn’t true! With a little help and advice from my mom about backing and binding, I was able to finish the quilt in time for our visit to my husband’s grandparents’ house last week! I was so thrilled, and my husband’s grandma was pretty flabbergasted, in a good way. I think she’d given up hope for the quilt to be finished, too. She’s the sweetest lady ever, and it felt so nice to be able to make her so happy! :) Here she is, opening the long-awaited quilt:

For today’s tackle, I made this sweet pink dress for my daughter. She is a pink fanatic, and as I mentioned previously, would even like me to dye her hair pink! This feels like a big tackle for me, because most of the sewing projects I make don’t use patterns. I haven’t used a real, honest-to-goodness, store-bought patterns since high-school. But, I wanted to make her a super-cute dress, and my mom had given me this pattern, so I tried it. I am so surprised by how good it looks! I didn’t even mess up in a way that made it unfixable (had a brain fart and sewed wrong sides together. Thank goodness for seam rippers!)!

My daughter is sleeping right now, or else I’d have action shots of her in the dress. I promise to post those tomorrow! It looks even cuter when she’s wearing it!

Months ago, I found this project on Craftster. I forgot about it, until recently. I had an old bedsheet made out of t-shirt material and needed to do something with it. I also wanted to try my hand at lettuce edging. I love the results! Here are some great shots of the dress. Don’t mind the sad face. My daughter was feeling a little melancholy because we had to let our new butterfly go free. Pictures of that tomorrow!

Here’s a closeup of the lettuce edge:

It took me about an hour to make the dress. I used thread that my  mom gave me, and an old sheet, as I mentioned before. Total cost: $0! It’s very soft and comfy, and my daughter loves it!

I’m not getting much sewing done lately because the air conditioner in my sewing room went kaput, and if you’ve ever been on the upper floor of an old house, in the summer, without a/c, you’ll understand why I’ve been staying away!!

I did venture up there last weekend, and sweated profusely while putting together this vintage-style apron, according to the directions in Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, aka Angry Chicken.  I think it tuned out decently, considering it was my first try, and that I was getting pretty hot by the time I finished:

I apologize for the wacky photo; my two-year-old daughter took the picture! I got the fabric at Wal-Mart for $1 a yard, so the total cost for this apron was about $3, including thread and trim. Not bad, I say!

 

Other than that, I haven’t been creating much. I’ve been spending way too much time on Ebay, looking for vintage fabrics. It’s really disappointing. I can’t get enough fabric to make a skirt for a reasonable price!! If anyone knows of any resources for ultra-cheap fabric (I mean less than $3 a yard), please let me know!

Happy Friday!!

Yesterday, since it was a very rainy day, I decided to finish a handbag I’d previously started. Since I already had about 1/3 of the project completed, I whipped this baby up in about an hour. I LOVE it!! (It looks a bit funky here, because it’s hanging from a doorknob, but it’s so blasted difficult to take a picture of my own shoulder!)

It’s made out of an old skirt that my husband’s grandma wore as a young woman. Isn’t the fabric fantastic? I learned the basics of making a handbag when I made the Pleated Beauty Bag from Bend-the-Rules Sewing. So, for this bag I didn’t use a pattern. I just cut out a shape I thought would be nice and mae sure all the pieces were the same size. It was remarkably easy!

I lined and faced the bag with white cotton felt and put a cell phone-sized pocket on the inside. It’s just the right size for me!! Here’s the best part: Total Cost: $0!!

 

Some day soon, I might post a tutorial about making handbags, but I need to score some more fabulous fabric first. (Try saying that five times fast!) I think this may be the beginning of a new handbag fetish for me. And why not, when I can make them myself?!?

 

I found a tutorial that I am totally smitten with! It shows how to make a sweet toddler dress out of an adult’s button-up shirt. Click here for the original tutorial. By the way, if you haven’t discovered craftster, check it out! Tons of tutorials and networking among crafty people like us! :)

I made this dress as a practice run. I had an old button shirt I wore during high school. I never liked it much, but couldn’t part with it either. I knew I’d be able to make something out of it someday! I never knew that the something I made would be so darn cute, though! I was saving an cool blue button shirt to make an even sweeter dress to match my daughter’s eyes, but while my back was turned, making this dress, my son got creative with his scissors and cut that shirt up!! Oh well, such is the life of a sewin’ mama!

 All together, I spent about an hour on this dress. Total cost: ZERO DOLLARS!

This week, I made a pillow for my stepdad’s birthday. It seems a little dorky, but it refers to an inside, family joke. If you’ve never made a simple pillow, why not try it? It’s super easy (I made my first pillow when I was about 5 years old!), and it can even be accomplished without a sewing machine. Here’ how:

  1. Cut out two pieces of fabric, the same size. Each piece will be one side of the finished pillow.
  2. If you would like your pillow to be more than plain fabric, now is the time to embellish it. I used a freezer paper stencil to spell the words on my pillow, and then I stitched around the edge of the stencil by hand, for a nice finishing touch. Make sure you embellish the side of the pillow that will face out (the right side).
  3. Put your two pieces of fabric together, with the right sides facing each other. Pin in place, so you won’t end up with a funky, misshapen pillow.
  4. Sew a straight stich with your sewing machine, about 1/2 inch around all the edges of the pillow, or sew by hand, using a regular hand stitch. IMPORTANT: DO NOT SEW ALL THE WAY AROUND THE PILLOW! Leave an opening about four inches wide, so that you can stuff the pillow!
  5. Turn the pillow right side out. Press to make the edges look really nice.
  6. Stuff your pillow with cotton batting. Make the pillow rather firm, as the stuffing will soften over time, and you don’t want to end up with a flat pillow!
  7. Sew the opening closed by hand.
  8. It’s that simple! Enjoy!

 

Happy Friday!

Jean, over at the Artful Parent blog, has frequently sung the praises of The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections (Trumpeter Books, 2008) by Amanda Blake Soule. On Saturday, during my weekly trip to the local library, I was browsing the new books and, to my delight, I found this little gem of a book! I immediately snatched it up, and the only thing that disappoints me about The Creative Family is that I will have to eventually return it to the library! I wish I could keep it forever. I guess I’ll have to head over to Amazon!

The Creative Family is chock-full of amazing insight and fun projects. In the following weeks, I plan to try out as many of these projects as I possibly can, and I’ll share them here on my blog.

The day after I checked the book out, I bought some elastic and made reconstructed shorts for both of my kids.  Since they were made out of my old shirts and I already had matching thread, all I had to purchase was the elastic, and it made one pair of shorts for my son, and two for my daughter! In total, I paid $2.76 for three pairs of oh-so-comfortable, perfectly wearable kids’ shorts! I’m so jazzed about this project that I’m going to scour the Salvation Army this weekend for old shirts that would make neat shorts!! 

My son has plenty of pairs of solid color shorts, and when I offered to make him some reconstructed shorts, he agreed, on one condition: they had to be “stripey.” Here are his “new” shorts:

I had an old pink shirt that I didn’t wear any more, which made perfect girly shorts for my daughter (Isn’t she a HAM??!?):

Plus, these shorts will match perfectly with some of the Sunny Day Tank Tops I’ve made for her! Yay!

If anyone reading this knows of any other reconstructed clothing projects (tutorials preferred), I’d LOVE to hear about them!

If you’d like to know more about Amanda Blake Soule, read her Artful Parent Interview, and of course visit the Soule Mama blog. You can also buy the book now by visiting Amazon.

I have always wanted to be one of those cool moms who handmakes special things for herself and her family. I want to be the mom who can make the most unique Halloween costumes or whip up a tutu in an upon request. I’d love to learn how to crochet, but I don’t have anyone to teach me (If you know of a good learning book for the TOTALLY CLUELESS beginner, I’m all ears!). Luckily, I do have limited sewing skills, and I’ve made a promise to myself that over the next year, I’m going to sharpen those sewing skills, and there’s no better time to start than now! Each week barring injury, illness and family crises, I want to accomplish one handmade good that my children and I can enjoy, and I’m hoping the old saying, “Practice makes perfect” is really true.

 

 

This week, I made a dress for my 2 1/2 year old daughter. It’s not exactly professional enough that I would have her wear it anywhere. For one thing, I didn’t have the right color of thread, and the glaringly obvious seam lines are the result. But, my daughter loves it, and I now know that I can do it! Yay for me!

 

I found the pattern at MakeBabyStuff.comm, and I modified it, making the neckline square, for simplicity’s sake. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, if I do say so myself! If I keep practicing, I think I can easily make some pretty good stuff before too long.

Anyone out there have any good advice for a novice sewer?

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