Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I had never seen a crayon apron until I opened a catalog that came in the mail the other day. I was overcome by the cute, girlishness of the crayon apron pictured and the clever idea. But, the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that it wasn't really a practical idea. Crayons break constantly, immediately upon use. Then they wouldn't work in the apron pockets anymore because they would be too short. I also didn't think that little ones, of the crayon using age, would be all that interested in putting crayons back into little slots. I decided to make one as a gift that uses Twistables, the Crayola colored pencils that you twist up rather than sharpen. They will always stay the same height and are a bit more appealing than crayons to the preschool/kindergarten crowd.
After I made mine, I searched and noticed that they are all over Esty so the idea is hardly new, just new to me! I am guessing that there are several tutorials out there too. In case there are not, I will share the measurements that I used. My apron is appropriately sized for those age 4 and up.
1. For the main body of the apron, I cut a piece of fabric measuring 33" wide and 11" high.
2. The pocket piece measures 33" wide and 6 1/4" high. I finished the top edge of the pocket with a 1/4" hem. I then sewed baby rick rack 1" down from the finished edge.
3. I placed the pocket piece on top of the apron piece, right sides up. I located the center of the pocket and stitched straight down. I then made vertical, parallel rows of stitching 1" apart to form the pockets.
4. Next I made a narrow hem on the sides and bottom of the apron. I think bias tape would have been a better choice but I was bias taped out from recent projects and didn't feel like using it again! The hem worked fine as an alternative.
5. I then gathered the top of the apron to 14 1/2".
6. To make the ties, I cut one piece out of the pocket material measuring 15" long x 2" high and two pieces from the main apron fabric measuring 22" long x 2" high. I stitched the narrow ends together with a 1/4" seam, with the pocket fabric in the center.
7. I then pinned the center portion of the tie to the apron top and stitched (about a 1/2" seam).
8. Then I pressed under 1/2" all the way around the ties and folded it in half and pinned. Then I stitched close to the edge of the ties beginning at one edge and ending at the other.
9. Now for the fun part, I arranged the pencils!
Monday, March 30, 2009
He is six, in kindergarten, and loves pink. I was so happy to find this shirt in Marshalls, on sale no less, because it included pink. It seemed to be an acceptable way for a boy to include pink in his Easter outfit without teasing! My son also likes to dress up for holidays and wanted to wear a tie, like he did last year. I decided to try to make one following the great tutorial on The Purl Bee, http://www.purlbee.com/little-boys-tie/. I asked if he wanted me to find fabric to match the blue, the green or the pink. He chose the pink. I was able to find some material that I thought coordinated nicely without being too pink, you know the bubble gum shade that I am referring to? I think he will look so cute. I couldn't tie the tie for the picture because I don't know how! He'll have his daddy do that on Easter! It was nice to have something to sew for him because he does get a bit jealous over the sewing the I do for his sister. It's harder to find projects for boys but I do try to even things out the best I can.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I'm pretty sure that I have the neighbors talking, or perhaps more likely, laughing. Last year, the deer came right up to our house to a garden that I made in the center of our circular driveway. The garden is mostly herbs and I have read that they dislike the smell of herbs and stay away. Well, they didn't. They left the herbs alone but just as my trellis full of morning glories was about to blossom, they ate off each and every leaf from the vines! I also have three hybrid tea roses in this garden and sure enough, just as the buds were about to open into beautiful blossoms, the deer would eat the flower right off! I was livid! In addition to this garden, they also disturbed my holly bushes and yellow twig dogwood. They also entered into my perennial garden which had a tee pee of morning glories, and decimated them as well. I just located a picture of the morning glory disaster (We were working on the house at the time, as you can see.):
My mother had similar experiences in her yard and we are both determined to try to do something about it. Last summer, she visited the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate and gardens in Vermont. The gardeners had hung bags of Irish Spring soap on 1-2' stakes every 3' around the perimeter of the gardens. They did this in the early spring when the deer map out their paths for the season. Apparently, they are creatures of habit and tend to follow the same trails each day. The scent of the soap is distasteful to them so they make paths that avoid the garden. We thought it was worth a shot. I have since read many mixed reviews on line but am still hoping for success.
My mom found little green bags that she hopes will help this spectacle blend as the plants grow. I picked up stakes and Lowes and soap and BJs. Actually, my husband was sent to pick up the soap and felt very silly buying 3 packages of 20 or so bars of soap each! We cut the soap into quarters, put them in bags, stapled them to the stakes and put them every 3' around the gardens and near the shrubs.
It looks ridiculous. I hope it works!
Friday, March 27, 2009
My friend requested donations for a silent auction at her son's preschool. Her mom also teaches there so I thought I would like to contribute something. I gave her a list of possibilities to choose from and she thought that an American Girl doll outfit would be a hit. I made this from a Simplicity pattern 8692, bought a number of years ago when I was making outfits for my husband's cousin for Christmas gifts. It is a frontier prairie dress with bonnet and pantaloons. I learned that there is an American Girl doll named Kirsten that is supposed to be from the Minnesota frontier prairie. I am hoping this will be just right for someone's little girl and it makes some money for the school. It is modeled here on my three year old's 18" non-American Girl doll!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today we heard a sweet birdsong outside our sunroom window and ran over in time to see a little bird entering the wren birdhouse that I was given for my birthday. I don't think that the bird was a wren though. I need to try to take a quick picture of it if it returns (I hope it will) so I can figure out what it is for sure.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I was excited to hear from a number of people who share my love for pintucks and would like to try out this little dress. It's just a simple pattern but that is my preference for baby clothes. My disclaimer is that my baby hasn't been born yet so I haven't tried the dress on a real living creature! From holding it up to store bought clothing, I believe it to be about a 3 month size. It is also the kind of style where it could be worn as a dress when the baby is little and then with leggings later on. That adds some flexibility.
1/2 yard lightweight cotton fabric
6 small buttons (about 3/8" diameter)
1 yard lace (optional)
40" of 1/4" wide double fold bias tape
pintuck presser foot and double needle for your machine
1. Cut your pattern pieces. Cut piece A along the fold. You should have three cut pieces of fabric when you are done: one piece A and two of piece B.
2. The next step is to add your pintucks along the neckline of piece A. See my tutorial (http://duringquiettime.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-pintuck.html) for making pintucks. You can arrange your pintucks in many different ways. Begin by finding the center of the dress front by folding the dress piece in half along the fold line and marking it with a pin at the center of the neckline. Draw a chalk guideline to follow for your first pintuck. For my first version of the dress, I used a radiating design. In case it isn't clear enough in the picture, I started in the center and stitched a straight line. Then I stitched to more rows of pintucks on each side. The center pintuck is the longest and the outermost pintucks are shortest. For this design, you will want to draw guidelines for each "arm" of the radiating design and then stitch your pintucks.
You could also try vertical rows of pintucks as I did in the second version. First, make a guideline in the center and stitch. Then you can simply make pintucks to either side, no guidelines necessary. I used 15 pintucks.
3. Once you are happy with your pintucks, it's time to sew the side seams. Place your pieces right side together, pin and stitch. I have allowed a 1/4" seam allowance for this pattern. Press seams.
4. I wanted to make the hem while reducing bulk since the dress is so tiny. To do this, I chose to edge-finish the hemline on my machine rather than folding it up a 1/4" and then another 1/4". You could do that if you prefer. After edge-finishing the entire length of the hem, I folded it up 1/4" and ironed.
5. Next, I made the placket for the back of the dress. On both pieces for the back, piece B, I folded under 1/4" and ironed. Then I folded another 3/4" and ironed. At the bottom, I folded the edge finished hem to the inside to leave a clean corner at the bottom of the placket. Then I stitched along the edge as closely as I could. Perhaps this is most clearly shown in the photo below (pardon the yucky ironing board cover. I was reading today about an online tutorial for ironing board covers. I might have to look into this!).
This picture shows the edge-finished hemline folded in on the placket portion for a clean corner.
6. At this point, you can add your edging to the hem. I used lace in one version and a ruffle in the other. For the lace version, simply fold under a 1/4" at one end of the lace and align it with the edge of the back placket and pin along the hemline. At the other end, again, fold the lace under 1/4" and align it with the edge of the back placket. Then stitch. Your stitching will catch the edge-finished hem.
If you prefer the ruffle, cut a 2 1/2" strip across the full width of your material (44-45"). You could use a contrasting material for the ruffle, or even the same material as the bias tape if you are making it yourself. I chose to use the same material as the body of the dress. Fold under 1/4" at the narrow ends, iron and stitch. Then fold the strip in half and iron. Then edge finish the top, raw edges on your machine. Then make two rows of long stitches along the edge, just shy of 1/4". Pull the threads to gather. Pin the two ends of your ruffle, aligning them with the edges of the back placket. Adjust the gathers to fit, pin and stitch. I used two rows of stitching for the ruffle.
7. Now it is time to stitch your shoulder seams (1/4" seam allowance). Iron seams.
8. Next I made the bias tape. I took a piece of fabric that was 1" wide and 40" long and folded it in half and ironed, then folded each raw edge in and ironed, resulting in a double folded bias tape measuring 1/4" wide. You could just buy this type of bias tape or use a bias tape maker and save your fingers from potential ironing injuries!
9. Pin the bias tape to the arm openings and to the neck, folding under the raw edges. You can then stitch the bias tape on the machine or by hand. I can never seem to sew the bias tape on, using the machine, and feel happy with the results. I prefer to take the time to stitch it by hand. This is clearly a personal preference.
10. The final step is to make the button hole on the left side of the dress, as you look at it from the back. I made my top button hole at the neckline and then allowed 2" between each of the remaining button holes. You will need to make 6 button holes. Mark the placement of the buttons on the opposite placket and sew them on.
You're done! I hope that this tutorial was clear. If not, please let me know and I will try to clarify.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
For starters, you need a pintuck presser foot and a double needle. These will be specific to your sewing machine. I use a 10ish year old Husqvarna Viking Easy Sew 350. My double needle is a Schmetz 2,0/80. When you buy your presser foot, the packaging will tell you what kind of double needle to buy. I believe that I have a 5 groove pintuck foot. There are many varieties. For my machine, the current prices for the feet are under $20 and the needles are about $4.00.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
If the ultrasound tech was wrong about this baby being a girl, I will be so upset after all of this sewing! However, I do have a cute train quilt being formed in the back of my mind.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In another attempt to sew spring into reality, I made a spring-time table runner for the dining room. It suits the subdued colors of the room well. I saw the idea for the disappearing nine patch (http://turkeycookies.blogspot.com/search/label/twelve%20square) a number of weeks ago and knew I needed to try it. I love to try out new patches on table runners because they give you a good feel for it without the commitment of a whole quilt.
Spring has sprung!
Then they sat in the barn for a good year. Last summer I finally finished sanding and priming and painting one of them for my dining room. I recently finished painting the second one as well. Only the first has cushions. I made one for fall/winter and one for spring/summer with fabric that I bought on Sew Mama Sew. Today I decided that I would jump the gun on spring and put out the spring cushion.
I attempted to use up batting scraps for the chair pads. The fall version is a bit more tailored. I used some of the old puffy awful batting that I don't use anymore and covered it with the nicer cotton stuff for the padding. I made three covered buttons to secure the batting, sewn in a little triangle pattern on the chair pad. The spring version used only the awful polyester batting so it is puffier and I hand tied it in many locations with matching embroidery floss.
My other chair is still waiting for a cushion. It sits in the opposite corner of the dining room now, painted the same color as the other chair. I think it might be my new sewing chair though and will replace the folding chair that I have at my sewing machine table. It's in the ajoining room so it will coordinate well. I am thinking of making a cushion with selvages for that chair (see post below). Now I just need to collect enough selvages.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
This would have been a great project to try out with some fun home dec. fabric but since my husband needed to like it and be willing to carry it, I went with a basic blue and neutral striped exterior and tan basket weave patterned interior fabric. I used home dec. material for both the bag exterior and lining and used lightweight interfacing. My husband is happy with it and said that he likes the way it stays close to his body.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sew, Mama, Sew was gracious enough to share the link to this tutorial as part of their Spring Sewing-Easter Tutorials, http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=771. I thought I'd set up a Flickr group for those who pop over and decide to make their own bunny bag. Please feel free to post your pictures on the new group site: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1076311@N21/. I can't wait to see them!