Monday, July 20, 2009

Princess crown

Today, I was asked to make a princess crown, so I did. Not like I had anything else to do! I didn't have any fancy wool felt; all I have in my stash is the 9x12 stuff made from recycled plastic bottles. Thus, it's not as thick as the wool felt, but it ended up working. The fusible interfacing I have is light/medium weight. Regardless, the crown sits up straight on the princess's head, so all is good.

I found the pattern and tutorial from a blog that many others seemed to be referencing, and it was very straightforward and simple. I was not in the most creative mood for decorating it, but felt kind of Amy Butler-ish, so I used a couple of the smidgens of AB fabric left in the bottom drawer. A couple of felt flowers and sequins, a strip of flower ribbon, plus a cute flower button from my mom's stash (got that at Christmas -- thanks, Mom!). The only thing I'd check closer next time would be the head measurement. It seems a bit tight, and my 3-year-old has a smallish sized head. She says it fits, though ... And who's to argue with a princess?

(oops: updated 7/22/09. I realized later on that the reason it's tight is b/c I only had 9x12 felt, so each side was probably 1/2 an inch shorter than the actual pattern. My fault! I should have added the extra inch to the elastic and fabric, and we would have had the right size! But ... she still doesn't care!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crazy sewing

This is getting a bit ridiculous. Two nights ago, I couldn't sleep and what finally was occupying my head was how to create a backpack for Miss E. There just are very few preschooler-sized simple backpacks out there. How hard can it be to make one, I thought. That is always a dangerous thought for me. I get this challenge in my head, and I have to figure out how to make it. I don't buy many patterns, and the more I sew, the more I do from scratch. It's just how I get my kicks! Anyhow, at some point, after laying there too long, I got up and sketched it out and the next morning (yesterday), since the baby had not made an appearance yet, started on the pattern. I used my purse as a model for size and shape (Judy makes absolutely gorgeous purses!) It is a tad big for Miss E's back, but I wanted to make something that she wouldn't outgrow right away. I didn't want to mess with adjustable straps because 1) that is a bigger learning curve, and 2) I wanted to do it with existing supplies, not have to make a trip to JoAnn first. The only instructions I followed were from the Simple Tote in the Amy Karol book, just so I could figure out the assembly at the end.

I cut the pattern pieces from freezer paper and held them up to her time after time, finally getting it to the point at which I was happy. By lunch, I had all of the fabric cut out and ready to go. I had a half yard of Sugar Snap from Melissa Averinos that I had not used for my friend's tote bag, plus scraps left from that project, and it was just enough to do a backpack. I love the colors -- rich and vibrant, with the lavender zigzag for the inside to contrast. Miss E loved the fabrics when they came in the mail, and I'd promised that I would make her something with the leftovers, so this was perfect.

After a brief nap, I was back at it, almost fanatical, really. I had decided it HAD to be completed before I went into labor, so it was a high-adrenaline afternoon of sewing. What a trip! The toughest part for me was figuring out how to assemble it with the straps attached only to the outer layer (I think that was the ONLY way!), and then the whole matter of putting the lining and outside layers together always leaves me temporarily stymied and babbling out loud to myself. However, I am very excited to say that this is the first project in a long time that had NO seams ripped out. I did it! Sure, it's a bit big and I suppose it's not absolutely perfect, but for something with no pattern, no instructions and only one day to complete it, hey, this looks pretty darn cool! Miss E, of course, loves it.

Now, we didn't make it out the door for dinner until 9:30pm. Oops. But we closed down Chuy's and we had an excellent Tex-Mex meal, complete with jalapeno ranch dressing and some delicious green chile chicken rellenos. YUM!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Which came first?

Well, looks like the quilt came before the baby. The race was on, but nothing yet from baby girl, so Miss E finally got her quilt. The fabrics are Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom collection, in cotton and flannel, and a bit of minky added for texture and color. The back is her choice of kona cotton from JoAnn in hot pink.

The quilt instructions are from the Amy Karol book (see Easy Lap Quilt), except I decided to speed things up and skip the hand-sewn binding. Instead, I just sewed a double topstitch on the right side before doing the basic machine stitch up the rows and a few extra lines in between the rows.

It has been good practice for a lot of things, straight stitching in particular, and I learned a lot from making it. After all, it's my first. Nothing is perfect, but it's pretty! I was planning to wash and dry it after it was fully sewn, following Amy's suggestion in the book (to hide imperfections), but I realized as I was pinning it together today that -- oops! -- the Eco-Craft corn-fiber batting I am using cannot go in the dryer. Darn. So we'll see how it looks after it's washed and hung to dry. At the moment, I've been told I can't wash it. I even got some tears when I mentioned I was going to wash it. I guess that means she likes it! She's been wrapped up in it since it was completed and wouldn't even let me take a photo without her in it!

If this baby is still waiting tomorrow, I may try making a much smaller baby-sized blanket with a quilted top and chenille back. See, I keep making plans, and she hasn't interrupted yet ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pimpin' my sister's Etsy site

My sister just launched her Etsy site, winning the game of who is first. She beat me to it by a long shot, and she launched before I had my baby (still waiting). She's got some adorable baby stuff and excellent kid stuff, so check her out:
Wild Asparagus on Etsy

I'm so excited for her!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baby hats

Okay, I know it's beginning to sound like all I do is sew ... but hey, I'm waiting on this baby and it's summer. No music class. No preschool. No planned activities and it's 100 degrees outside. I have all the boring stuff done, so it's finally time for the fun stuff! Today, I tackled the hat project. Conclusion? Too dang easy!

I surfed around, looking at patterns and tutorials online. This is a good one: Easiest Baby Hat Ever Tutorial. I finally realized after reading a few, though, that I didn't really need more than a simple understanding that you're just creating a square or rectangle. There are other designs that have cute, long "tails" on them, fun animal hat designs, and lots of creative options. I went with the simplest for now.

How does it work? Measure the head, add 1/2 inch. Figure out how high you want it, add 1/2 inch or so. Cut rectangle from fleece, fold in half, sew side seams. Trim corners at top, turn right side out. Fold brim edge under to depth of hem you prefer, stitch. Then, the decorating ... you can pinch the corners, put a few stitches through to hold "ears" in place, or tie up with pretty ribbons, stitch to hold in place, and voila, you are done.

I made the doll hat first and it was so fast I don't know how long it took. I timed myself on the actual baby hat, and it took a whopping 23 minutes! The hardest part was pushing the needle through the ribbon bows and fleece -- ouch. Besides that, piece o' cake!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's totally addictive

So this morning, I told the baby she couldn't come today. I needed to sew. I made another burp cloth, in maybe half an hour, and love that one. (Shown in the photo below.) I was going to start sewing Miss E's quilt together during the afternoon, but I got caught up playing on Facebook and Etsy ... and by the time Miss E got up, she told me that was NOT what I should be doing. No quilt today. Hmm ... So instead, I listened to her and pulled off another project that I've been wanting to try.

I took the simplest onesie from her Tidoo dolls, traced it onto a sheet of paper, cut it out, determined how I wanted to sew it, and an hour later (or less!) had a brand-new onesie for her dolls. (Saves me a whopping $20. I can't believe prices on doll clothes.) Miss E is in love with the fuzzy outfit. We found the fabric at JoAnn in the remnant bin and have held onto it for a month or two, wanting to use it for "something special" as Miss E likes to say. I have to admit, this was the easiest doll outfit imaginable. I just finished the edges and didn't even bother to hem the neck, sleeves or leg openings. The back closes up with a strip of Velcro, and I added a bright pink ribbon across the chest. Piece of cake, and darn cute, too.

And for grins, here's a look at the bedroom/office/sewing corner before we picked anything up. What a mess! Lucky for me, while I typed this, Miss E cleaned up ALL of her stuff, proudly asking me, "Doesn't it look marvelous?!" Why yes, it does!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Babies babies babies

I'm 38 weeks pregnant, and instead of packing bags for the birth, what am I doing? Sewing. I should be working on quilts for the girls. I have all the strips cut, and they are fairly simple. But no ... instead, I'm making fairies, and now burp cloths, wash cloths and probably bibs. Maybe a small blanket. Oy. I just can't help it! It's seriously addictive, and since my mother-in-law gave me a generous gift card to JoAnn for my birthday, I bought a pile of pink, flowerly flannel, pink and lavender terry cloth, and cream chenille. I also had this adorable kitten print (flannel) that I've hung onto for a year, wondering what to make of it, and it worked out, ahem, purrfectly.

I keep seeing all these cute baby things at baby stores and thinking that I should be home making them, so yesterday I went to work and made this whole pile, plus an extra wash cloth for Miss E (to match baby sis's) and two Miss E-sized burp cloths that she can use with her dolls. We have to match, you know!

I found some great tutorials and then just went crazy. I'll probably fit in a bib or two yet, like I said, but the burp cloths are so dang cute -- and simple, too. Sometime, I'll pack those bags ... hopefully before it's too late!

Blissful bunny

I can't believe I never posted the bunny. I just love her. She was a birthday gift for Miss E's BFF, and I think a big hit. She's made from two cute Sandi Henderson fabrics and a whole lot of muslin. Miss E decided she should have the muslin face, and I went with button eyes for a change. Cute?


Around here, fairies are a favorite. Miss E received a very cute fairy book for her birthday, and every time I read it, I think, "Hmm. I could make a doll like that ..." And one day, last week, it hit me. I could NOT suppress the urge to create, so here is Harmony the Peace Fairy, as she turned out. I still need to work on the pattern for face and neck joining to body, but ... Miss E doesn't care. Harmony now hangs out with Poppy, the first fairy I ever made, and they are quite chummy.

She's only about 7 inches tall, and those arms, legs and braids were ... um ... a royal pain, putting it mildly. Turning those was an art form. Or something. But I managed to get it all done, and she's pretty cute.