Posts tagged ‘sewing’

Monkeying Around

Amy Winehouse- Monkey Man (The Specials Cover) https://bittycakes.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/01-monkey-man-the-specials-cover.mp3

Monkey1

This little monkey and his buddy below are their way to find new friends at the Little Heroes Preschool Burn Camp in Livermore, California. The camp, for burn survivors age 3 to 6, helps children and their caregivers to deal with the physical and emotional challenges of burn recovery. Best of all, thanks to generous donors and volunteers, the camp provides this opportunity for free.

Monkey2

Check out the project’s Flickr page here. Some of my favorites are here, here, here, here, here and here. OK, OK, I love them all.

Monkey3

Thanks to Marjorie and Craft Hope for organizing this project! I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it. And now that I know how to make sock monkeys, I just can’t stop!

Monkey6

Monkey4

You might say I have monkeys on the brain.

Monkey5

September 18, 2009 at 11:50 am 4 comments

From My Cupboard to Yours

mouse1

Appley Dapply,
a little brown mouse,
Goes to the cupboard in
somebody's house.
In somebody's cupboard
there's everything nice,
Cake, cheese, jam, biscuits,
-all charming for mice!
Appley Dapply
has little sharp eyes,
And Appley Dapply is
so fond of pies!
--Beatrix Potter

As part of the 3rd annual Holiday Ornament Swap, these little mice are off to cupboards in Nova Scotia, Missouri, Cape Town (South Africa), New Mexico, New York, Donegal (Ireland), Somerset (United Kingdom), Colorado, Florida, and Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa). Here’s hoping they bring holiday cheer, and find bits of cake and pie wherever they go!

micegroup

December 13, 2008 at 12:12 pm 13 comments

More Quilty Goodness

Here are some photos of my latest quilting project. OK, it was over a month ago, but better late than never, right?

I designed this pattern myself (drawing inspiration from many quilting bloggers.) I enjoy the process of sketching everything out on paper. It’s sort of like a puzzle because you’re trying to make the dimensions of the quilt work with the dimensions of the fabric, backing, and batting that you have on hand. Of course, when you work that way you never quite know how things will look when you’re done, but that’s part of the fun.

I improvised each of the twelve squares and then framed each one using several different white fabrics. You probably can’t tell from the picture but some of the white borders are gingham, some are subtle polka-dots, and some are adorned with cherries. If you click on the photo, you can see a little more detail.

I used Warm and Natural needled cotton batting for the first time, and I LOVE it! The needled cotton feels so much nicer than polyester and is also easier to work with. Rather than machine-quilting, this time I hand-tied at the four corners of each of the twelve squares.

Front:

Back:

Of course, as with nearly any finished project, I think I would do a few things differently next time. I keep meaning to make my own binding and hand-sew it, but never seem to leave myself enough time to do it. That would really give things a more finished look, I think. I also want to try this method of putting the whole thing together next time, as this is my least favorite part of the process and is usually the point where things start to get wonky. One of these days, when I finish a project and feel that I wouldn’t change a thing (if that ever happens!) I’d like to create a PDF pattern and make it available here.

October 31, 2008 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

A Charming Handbag

I finally made something from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol (also known as Angry Chicken.) I was flipping through it looking for something to make for my aunt Susan’s birthday (I won’t say which birthday it is, but let’s just say it involves “over the hill” wrapping paper and black balloons.) When I saw the “Charming Handbag” project., I thought it looked like a really simple and pretty bag so I decided to try it out.

Based on this first project, I am impressed with the book so far. This bag was really easy to make and is truly do-able for a beginner (which is unusual for a handbag.) I had one gripe with the instructions (specifically: step 6 should tell you how to lay out the lining and fabric pieces before you sew them. If you are making this bag, lay them out in the following order from bottom to top: first a flannel piece, then a lining piece right side UP, then a lining piece right side DOWN, then another flannel piece.)

Of course, I made few alterations of my own. I enlarged the pattern about 10% and added a snap to hold it closed. I appliquéd a piece of fabric to the front instead of using ribbon, and I sewed on three buttons instead of making a bow. I also used fleece as a facing instead of flannel, as the instructions called for. This made the bag a little more difficult to sew but made it much sturdier in the end.

Next time, I think I’ll stick with the flannel facing and try using a home-decorator weight fabric on the outside. I usually have trouble finding heavier-weight fabrics that I like, but I’ve seen some gorgeous ones lately. Feast your eyes on these lovelies:

From Denyse Schmidt’s Country Fair collection

From Amy Butler’s August Fields collection

From Anna Marie Horner’s Drawing Room collection

From Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng collection

September 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

A pretty picnic blanket

Last weekend I made a quilted picnic blanket. My last project, this baby quilt, reminded me how much I enjoy the process of designing a quilt. Its tiny size, however, made me forget how much more time-consuming making larger quilts can be. Even this project, which is relatively small at about 62 inches by 62 inches and is relatively simple in design, was a lot of work! Of course, as is usually the case, I started out with a somewhat simpler plan and decided to get a little more elaborate as I went along. I worked most of the kinks out this time though, and I’m sure it will go much faster next time I make one of these.

You know you have a substantial fabric stash when you’re able to put together a quilt like this one with coordinating fabrics without going to the store! Most of these fabrics were left over from old projects, and a couple were fabrics I bought without knowing what I’d do with them (which I’m trying to stop doing, now that the cabinet I keep my stash in is full, but that’s another story.)

Here’s the plan I drew up:

I made the center out of small squares, about 8 inches, in a 4 by 4 pattern. Then I did a border of the larger squares, which were 16 inches.

If you want to attempt this pattern, I recommend cutting the small squares a bit larger, say 8.5 or 9 inches, sewing four of them together to form a larger square, and then cutting the large square to 16 inches. Then everything will line up better. I learned this (as usual) the hard way. The problem arises because four 8-inch squares sewn together are not exactly 16 by 16… they are somewhat smaller because of the seam allowance! I tried to fix the problem by using double the seam allowance when I sewed the larger squares together. What I would do next time is make a 16 inch cardboard square and cut a circular hole directly in the center of it. Then I would use that hole to center my large square (made from four small squares) and then cut it to exactly 16 inches. Then the large squares and the small squares would line up perfectly.

For the back, I trimmed the selvedges off of a piece of fabric that was 45 inches wide. I needed to add about 20 inches of width so I cut 8 squares using a legal-size FedEx envelope, which was 10 inches by 16 inches, as a template. (Shhh, don’t tell FedEx I misappropriated one of their envelopes, they get rather upset about this kind of thing.)

I added triangular corner pockets to the back side of the quilt, to put rocks into for holding the blanket down. I got the idea from this tutorial, which was my starting point in designing this quilt. (Of course, I had to make things more complicated.) I recommend checking out that tutorial for much more detailed instructions than I have written here, and very helpful photos.

I thought about adding ribbon ties to the center of one side so that the blanket could be folded into thirds, rolled up, and tied together neatly for travel. I would probably make the ties from double-fold bias strips from a coordinating fabric, or possibly from twill tape. I didn’t add them though, because I thought they might be bothersome when the blanket was being used for other things, like cuddling up on the couch on a chilly night. (Did you ever use a sleeping bag as a comforter and wake up with those darn ties stuck to your face, or is it just me?) I’d love some input on this idea, and maybe I’ll try it next time.

At the last minute, I decided to quilt the layers together, rather than hand-tie them. I really love that quilted look, although even when quilting by machine it is time-consuming to make sure all the layers are laying flat as you sew them. I think I need to buy a walking foot. Maybe that will make this part of the process easier. Or maybe I will just hand-tie next time. Does anyone have an opinion on whether either method is preferable for a picnic blanket?

Forgive the blanket for looking a bit rumpled in the photos. That’s what happens when you roll around on a pretty picnic blanket with your puppy.


August 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm 6 comments

A sweet quilt

With a stolen hour or two here and there over the last two weeks, I made a baby quilt for a friend who is having a baby soon. I used this adorable fabric as my starting point. I decided to keep it very simple– I like a simple look these days, plus I didn’t have the time to do a lot of detailed piecing. The fabrics I found are so cute that the quilt didn’t need a lot of embellishment anyway. I used a colorful, delicate plaid fabric as a thick border on all four sides, and a dainty pastel alphabet fabric that I happened upon at Marden’s in Lewiston last month as the back.

I quilted the layers together by machine, so all in all this quilt took only a few hours to make. I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and I’ll definitely use this method again when I need to whip up a baby quilt quickly.

August 4, 2008 at 12:09 am 3 comments

Inspiration

For my birthday, my mother gave me (among other goodies) a couple of craft magazines, and I found lots of inspiration within their pages.

The two photos below are of fabric collages that captured my imagination. These could be created around any theme for any room in the house. Wouldn’t they look cool matted and framed?

Below is a picture of adinkra, a stamping technique used on cloth that originated in Ghana. This caught my attention because I have been thinking about the possibility of silk-screening or freezer-paper stenciling fabric. Adinkra cloth is made up of panels which are hand-stamped and then embellished with stitching. The symbols in the picture below are traditional, but I think their simplicity gives them a modern feel.

You know that lumpy, stringy stuff you cut off the ends of your new fabric after you’ve washed and dried it? Can you believe it can be turned into a beautiful landscape quilt? This one reminds me of Van Gogh. Maybe it’s the swirly quilting lines in the sky.

Check out the magazines for detailed instructions. The fabric collages are from the May/June 2008 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, and the adinkra and landscape quilt are from the June/ July 2008 issue of Quilting Arts. Let your imagination run wild!

July 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Must Love Dots

A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to find some very cool sheet sets(green with white polka dots!) at a very cool price. Yes, I get excited about sheets. What can I say– I’m a textile geek. I snapped up two sets– we need four pillowcases anyway, and it’s nice to have an extra fitted sheet. With the two flat sheets, I made a duvet cover for our down comforter. Nothing complicated about it, but I thought I’d share the process in case it helps to get someone else’s wheels turning.

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(1) Since all the seams on the sheets are already finished, a top-stitch around the perimeter should be sturdy enough to hold the duvet cover together– so no need to sew the whole thing together inside out and turn. Just pin the two sheets together, right sides OUT. I used what had been the tops of the sheets as the bottom of my duvet. [Here’s why: at the top of these particular sheets, like many sheets, about six inches of the fabric was turned over at the top and sewn down when it was manufactured. At the bottom and on the sides, there is only about half an inch of fabric turned over. Since the bottom of my duvet cover is going to have an opening (although it will be closed with velcro, buttons, or snaps), a little bit of the inside of the duvet cover will sometimes be visible and I don’t want the wrong side of the fabric to show.]

(2) Begin sewing (using a pretty small machine stitch for strength) about four inches from the center of what will be the bottom of the duvet. I chose a seam allowance that felt right when I lowered the foot (remember you’re dealing with sheets that already have seams around the edges, so you do have to work around them.) When you begin, you want to start with at least four or five backward stitches, and then start going right over them again as you begin sewing forward. Do the same thing when you reach the end of the seam– this will strengthen the places you’re going to be yanking on when you pull your duvet in and out of the cover for washing. Sew all the way around the outside (yawn) and stop about four inches from the other side of the bottom of the duvet, leaving about an eight inch gap. The easiest way to close the gap is with iron-on velcro. Buttons would be great if your machine makes buttonhole.

(3) If you get annoyed with the duvet sliding around and bunching up inside the cover, try this trick: sew ribbon ties onto each cover of your duvet, and a ribbon loop into each corner of the duvet. Then when you put the cover on, you can just tie the corners into place, and no more slipping around! When I lived in Japan, I noticed that many duvets and duvet covers came this way when you purchased them– genius! I haven’t gotten around to doing this yet because I was eager to get my new duvet onto my bed, but I plan to.

I hit one unexpected snag– it turned out the sheets were not exactly the same size. Yes, they were both full-sized sheets, the exact same brand, style, and color, but one of them was a full two inches longer than the other. So my plan for this to be a super simple project didn’t quite work out. I had to trim the excess off of the longer sheet and hem it, and then topstitch the two sheets together. Grrrrr.

If you don’t have two matching flat sheets, you could use two coordinating sheets. This would be a great use for vintage thrift store finds. You could simply use one as the front of the cover and one as the back, or if you really wanted to make things interesting, you could cut the sheets up and piece them back together so that you had part of each sheet on both the front and the back. You could do this in a very simple manner by cutting one strip out across the width of each sheet and then sewing it into the other. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

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Oh, and P.S.– no comments about my shoddy bed-making! I come from the toss-your-duvet-on-the-bed-and-be-done-with-it school of thought, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

May 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm 5 comments

A new sofa for a new home…

I love my new sofa! It’s going to look so great in our new place. This shade of green is just perfect. Only at IKEA can you buy a sofa in pieces and fit it comfortably in the backseat of a tiny Kia Sportage!

The icing on the cake is that the people who will be moving into our old apartment (which is kind of surreal to think about) are very happy to be inheriting our old couch. We won’t have to move it (which is a big deal because it’s pretty huge) and I won’t have to feel guilty about it going into a landfill, so it’s a win-win situation!

Let the sewing of throw pillows begin.

April 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm 3 comments

A Crafty To-Do List

For the next few weeks, I’ll be busy packing and unpacking, cleaning, decorating and all the other (ahem) joys that go along with moving. There won’t be a whole lot of crafting going on, although I do hope to somehow make some curtains, a duvet cover, and a baby gift for a friend. How I’m going to manage that with most of my crafts supplies in a box remains to be seen. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a list of things I hope to try (and blog about) once the craziness of the move is behind me.

This list should keep me busy for a long time to come. Of course, before I get around to all of these fantastic projects, I’ll probably get distracted by others. Ooooh, like the free embroidery pattern posted last week on Wee Wonderfuls. Or Suey, the Super Sock Pig! Here I go again…

April 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

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