Monday, May 30, 2011

a clutch for me!

I finally did it, I got around to making myself the clutch I have been wanting/needing for ages. I got it into my head that I wanted to use one of my Anna Maria Horner voile fabrics (first impression, in blush from the innocent crush line in case you were wondering) and some of the natural colored fabric I got from Ikea and I just couldn't get it out of my head. It went quickly, as I knew it would. I cut out the fabric during one naptime, along with a couple other projects, and sewed it in another.

I used what I learned from my sisters zip clutch and added the two layers of flannel (instead of interfacing) to help make it a bit sturdier. Honestly, it is still pretty floppy and I kinda worry about my phone being banged up in there, but maybe I'll make a little case for that too. Anyway, it came out great and it fits everything I need it to. This time I made the large size and really all it needs is a pocket inside, so we'll see about that for the next one. I love using the keyka lou patterns, they are so easy to follow and give such great results! Again I added the wristlet strap from the curvy clutch pattern since I need something easy to hang on to and to fish out of a diaper bag.

I actually have fabric that would be great for a bunch more clutches, but I would have to sell them or something since I can only use so many bags haha. We'll see when/if I get around to making all those, for now I have quite a few more immediate projects.

Friday, May 27, 2011

picture me dress

Remember back in January when I bought Anna Maria Horners Handmade Beginnings book? No? Well I did, and I have been waiting and waiting to make something from it, while at the same time, my little girl outgrows half the stuff (I never even got around to making booties! None! And I am pretty sure that ship has sailed...). The one thing I have been determined to make was the Picture Me dress for this summer. Then one day we were stopping at Joanns and the knits were half off and we saw this sweet fabric with pink skulls on it. I had to have it and I knew exactly what I was going to do. I figured using a woven pattern with a knit wouldn't be too bad, it would just stretch more and maybe need to be a bit smaller. So I cut the pattern in the 6-9 month size with some extra length (my lady is very skinny, but tall), and honestly it is still a bit big.

I got rid of the panels on the front and just calculated it out to cut the front and back as single pieces. I hemmed it quite a bit since my lady is still a crawler and I didn't want her to get stuck on it, so I'll just let that down when we need to. That also means it should easily last through the summer and really, I think it will fit better in a month or two. I had a horrible time sewing in the elastic. The first time it was not at all tight enough and even once I fixed it, it is pretty uneven. I also think I should have put the elastic all the way around instead of just the sides and back, but who knows, that might have messed up the way the front lays.

[sorry the pictures kinda stink, I'm having trouble getting nice days around here]

She is quite the cute little model even if she never stops moving, but you can see how big the arm hole is. I ended up doing some big stitches in the front too, to keep it together because even though you can't see in this picture, the front where it crosses was just hanging open.

Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll try it again with a woven fabric and see how it goes. But for now I've got enough on my list, including another dress pattern for her that will hopefully end up being used for her first birthday dress. Can you believe that in another 6 weeks my baby will be 1??

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little Folks Jr.

That is what I've taken to calling this quilt. I really wanted to make a second quilt using my scraps from my big log cabin quilt, and I had been seeing these beautiful baby blankets (like here and here) with voile on one side and flannel on the other --a seemingly perfect soft combination that I just had to try. Since the middle of my log cabins were 4.5 x 4.5 squares, I had a bunch of strips that width and decided just to go with that and make it patchwork and quilt it instead of just single pieces on each side. I used 100 squares for a 40 x 40 finished size (pre-washing) which seemed the perfect baby size. I rounded the corners, something I have been dying to do, and I just love it. Not that my little girl is a baby any more, nor is she going to be calmly laying on a blanket any time soon, but I am thinking of letting her sleep with it a night. If I can get past the SIDS fear so strongly instilled. Anyway, voile. flannel. awesome.

The quilting is a grid that is on both sides of every other seam. I really like it a lot. It compliments the basic patchwork really well and it is possibly my best quilting yet. There are a few puckery spots on the front which I think is partly working the the voile, but the back is so nice and perfect. Oh it makes my heart happy. I used navy flannel for the back and white thread so it's pretty obvious too, so good thing it came out well. The back was its own issue. I was unsure of the flannel, especially since I didn't pre-wash it, if I had I would have needed 2 pieces for the back instead of 1, and that sounded like a bad idea since we all know a single piece looks better when possible. I don't usually do a plain back either, without any sort of piecing detail, but I really love this. It was also really hard to decide on a color for the back, but I think navy works.

The binding is a white flannel. That may or may not have been a mistake, I haven't decided yet. I like that it is all soft and such, but it was a beast to hand sew it down since it is much thicker. I even had to readjust my seam allowance so that I could wrap it to the back far enough. Oh, plus it's white and we all know white=gray very quickly. But it worked and I am very happy with the result.

The back did shrink quite a bit, more than the front even, but that just gives the front a nice puff between the quilting. The only problem I've had (there's always at least one, right?) is that when I washed it (with a shout color catcher in case the navy ran), it developed a little hole in the front along a seam. It just ripped. I don't know why, and it was only in one spot. I hand stitched it up but it makes me a little afraid to use it. I just have to keep reminding myself, it is better to have it loved and used and fall apart than sitting somewhere alone and unused. I can always make another. And I have lovely pictures of this one. We'll see. The little one really seems to like it so she will probably get in for her bed; I'd rather have the joy of her loving it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler

BWS tips button

Yesterday I was perusing blogland (as usual) and stumbled upon this Skill Builder Sampler quilt along going on over at Sewn. Like the crazy person I am, I have decided to join and commit to making the 36 blocks over the next year. I am sure that I know how to make many of the blocks, but there are many other skills I have been wanting to try and this pretty much covers them all. I am simultaneously totally excited, nervous and wondering what they heck I am thinking.

That said, it doesn't seem bad to do 3 blocks per month and it should give me a nice queen size quilt for the bed when I am done, something I have been meaning to do but haven't been able to decide what I want. And I think having a group of people to do it with will make it much easier to try some of these scary skills.

I even know what fabric I am planning on using I think.

I bought this bundle from fabricworm not too long ago (one of the brown fabrics is a substitution, but I like it better), with the intention of making a second quilt for an event on June 3rd, but since that's next friday and I'm not done the first quilt, I don't think it will get done. I love the fabrics and the colors and this seems like the perfect thing to use them for. It will be nice on the bed, not to bright, but certainly not boring. I have a feeling this quilt will be a labor of love, and that will make it that much better when I am snuggling up with it, hopefully next summer some time. Wow, a year seems like such a long time to work on a quilt! And then I'll still have to put it all together! Oh boy, this will be quite an adventure. I'm so excited!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

makeup bag

Part III of the graduation gifts!

A makeup bag was requested. Apparently her new makeup doesn't all fit in her old one so she asked me to make a bigger one. And bigger it is! The dimensions of her old one were 9 x 3.5 x 4 or something like that and this is roughly 9 x 5 x 5. The fabric is an alexander henry print and the lining is an acrylic coated fabric from Ikea. It is supposed to be safer than vinyl (which I believe since it doesn't smell like it will kill you) and is still waterproof. I got it as a spill mat for under the high chair and now am using the leftovers for smaller things. I even remembered to switch to polyester thread so moisture won't wick through the stitches (like it does with my changing pad) so it should really be waterproof.

I found a tutorial here that I used and just cut my fabric 16" instead of 14" since that was the size zipper I had. I actually sewed the zipper slightly differently since I liked the way the pattern had me do it for the zip clutch, but it probably didn't make a huge difference. My corners are not perfect an I think it could have used a pull tab on the other end too, but overall I like it and I think it came out well. I was told next time to make one with handles so I'll have to figure that one out haha.

I think I am going to use the rest of the fabric to make some reusable snack/sandwich bags one of these days. Hopefully.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

zip clutch

You may remember that for christmas, I made a couple of curvy clutches as gifts using keyka lou patterns. At the same time I also got a pattern for a zip clutch and just hadn't gotten around to making one. Well my sister asked me to make her one with a zipper since she leaves loose change in her bag and it was just falling out of the curvy clutch (I could have just made a change purse I guess, but oh well). I asked her if she wanted this one to be fun{ky} or classy and chose the first option. I debated the perfect fabric for a while, and then I found it. A zebra print pillow case on clearance at Bed, Bath an Beyond! It is so soft and pillow case-y and makes quite a nice clutch. I used some nice green fabric leftover from the peekaboo quilt for the lining, just for a nice pop of color. I love how saturated the green is, even though it was harder to sew with.

The pattern is great; easy to follow and really nice results. I am actually planning on making the slightly larger one for myself. My only problem, which I intend to try and fix with mine, is that there is really no structure to the bag. I put some interfacing in, but I think it needs a layer of batting or flannel or something similar to the curvy clutch. The wristlet strap comes from the curvy clutch as well and worked out really nicely.

Stay tuned for graduation gifts part III tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

an updated laptop case

On Friday, my baby sister graduated from college! I am so proud of her and excited for her and it seemed just the excuse to actually make a bunch of the things I've had on my to-do list for her.

I have been promising her a new laptop case for a while now, ever since I made her one for christmas a few years ago that didn't fit. It was bad, made of felt and just....yeah, bad. So since I have used this pattern a couple of times with great results, I thought I would use it again with a few small changes. The most important is that I wanted it to open the other way, along the long side so it is easy to just pull it out of a messenger bag when you need it. It was an easy change with the way the pattern is laid out, just swaping one measurement for the other for the flap piece. I also opted for changing the velcro from a strip to two circles. I just got the idea in my head and couldn't get it out. Of course I couldn't find any anywhere, so I bought some 2" velcro strips and cut them out myself. I totally love them and can't wait to use velcro circles on a few other things.

The fabric is from Ikea and she picked it out one time when we were shopping. I had wanted a green flannel lining but had to settle on orange since the greens that I found just didn't go with the green in the pattern. I really like how it turned out. It was still a bit small for her laptop and I'm not sure why, but it seems to stretch out a little as she uses it and she assures me it will be fine.

So this is part I of her graduation gifts, parts II and III to come! I have so many things to make I am just overwhelmed and hope to be able to sit down and knock some things out soon. I have to remind myself, one thing at a time...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

a little knit yoga skirt

As the weather {s l o w l y} gets warmer, a cute little stripey yoga skirt seemed in order for the little one. It just seemed the perfect answer for what to do with that knit fabric :) Tutorial here. I did shorten the fold over waistband a bit and the length of the long pieces since it is for such a small person and I chose not to hem the bottom. It's way cute. But then again, it could just be the model...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

one big granny square

Things have been quite busy around here. I have actually been pretty productive, and got a lot of smaller things done. My amazing hubby gave me some extra crafting time for mothers day (although really he would have given it to me anyway, because he is just that great) and I was even able to make some good progress on some quilts. We are heading to see my sister graduate this weekend so when we get back I have a quilt deadline to meet. More on that later.

One of the things I finally managed to finish, is what I consider my first crochet project. The headband really doesn't count as far as I am concerned since it was just a chain anyway. What initially got me started on the whole learning to crochet thing was that I wanted a small blanket for the little one. Somehow a crochet one seemed like it would be better than a knit one, what with being full of holes and all...better for breathing or something like that. At any rate, that is where the idea started.

So one day at work the other girl I was working with taught me how to crochet. The pattern is just a large granny square. I got some Bernat soft boucle yarn which is a bit harder to work with but hides mistakes just wonderfully. Really it was just one of the few yarns that was machine washable and dryable which seemed important for something I was planning to put in a crib. The yarn is brown with pink flecks.

I got a good amount done that first day, but then I had less time and the rounds were getting so much bigger that it was taking more time to do a round (and I'm a finish a round or don't bother starting it kinda gal) so I stopped for a while. I also didn't love it. The yarn is okay, but it is just so lightweight it didn't seem like it would be a great blanket. And then the skein ended. And I had to decide whether to get more of the yarn to make it a reasonable size, or stop and forget it. I chose option c, using yarn from my stash that is the same weight and doesn't really match to make a fairly ugly blanket just kinda ridiculous. I used some Lion brand Jiffy yarn in whatever colors I had on hand, until I ran out of said colors....and actually I think it is still under 30" square which was the finished size I was kinda aiming for.

Oh well. The picture makes the colors actually look worse than they are in person. For example the border color is actually purple but in the picture I think it looks blue and the pink/brown center just looks way worse when photographed. Oh well, it's done and one of these days once I finish up some other things, it will be on to a bigger and better crochet project, I already have some ideas. For now, crocheting anything else is on hold since I have so many other things to do. And I promise that my other things coming up are much prettier. It just only seems fair to put up the ugly things too. Who knows if this blanket will even get used or for what. Maybe the cat just got a new blanket to lay on :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fabric Beach Balls

I am slowly working through my projects. This is one that was meant to be a christmas gift for the little lady. Ha. Not even close really, but that's okay. I actually had the big pink one done for christmas, but I ran out of stuffing and Joanns kept not having the bamboo blend I wanted so I kept waiting and finally sat down and finished them. They have been sewn since December but just not stuffed and sewn up.

I used this tutorial from purlbee, and just decided not to bother sewing on the end circles. I think they look cute enough as is. That and I'm kinda lazy. The little one seems to like them. I made two medium size and one small size, and the small one is just her size. It was a pretty simple project and I wish I had gotten them done sooner, but oh well, it works out since she enjoys these things more as she gets older and can really play with them.

I have been a busy little bee. I have a bunch of small things done, some of which can't be revealed for another week and a half (gifts and all that), and I am making good progress on some bigger things. It is nice to be back to sewing more, and the little one is even going down for naps at this point so I have time most days to work. Of course the challenge is not to get so overwhelmed I don't work on anything...with any luck I'll get two more things checked off the list today.