Monday, January 31, 2011

Just Roll with It

Our family has an upcoming vacation which involves over 10 hours on the road with three kids. When going over what keeps the three kids entertained we came to crayons and coloring books. In hopes of keeping things neat and tidy I decided to make some crayon rolls using the tutorial over at The Pleated Poppy . As always my first step is a trip to the fabric store. I brought the oldest with because I know he can be picky about patterns. I also picked up a bit of rick rack to try and trim it, and over-sized buttons to wrap the elastic around.

The first was for my daughter I of course the one time I needed it I was unable to find fabric ruler. I took out one of the kids school rulers and attempted to use that. Sadly my cuts were not squared like they should have been, however the crayon roll is functional and still cute. The second attempt I tried to use the rick rack along the outside edge of the crayon roll. The rick rack created a bit of a challenge, it looks cute but isn’t even. I have one more to make to house the oldest colored pencils. For that one I’ll be trying the tutorial over at You Go Girl. As always here are the obligatory pictures of the first two I made.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OH MY TUTU! A Giveaway.

There is nothing I love more than making tutus. For me it is how I relax after a stressful day. As evidence of this my daughter has more tutus than I can count. I’ve traded tutus for cloth diapers, made them as birthday gifts even. Next to my sewing machine sits several totes, the largest tote the one full of tulle. Anytime I go to the local craft, hobby or fabric stores I buy several yards of tulle. Shimmer tulle, matte tulle, in all colors of the rainbow.

Yesterday was a particularly stressful day for me. The youngest was reminding me how terrible the second year of life was, he had a day full of meltdowns. The older two were out of sorts as well. Yesterday was a hard day. Once all of the kids were fast asleep I needed to unwind. I did this by crafting two tutus and getting rid of all the stress from the day and make room for more tulle. Since my daughter doesn’t have any birthday parties coming up and she doesn’t need any more tutus I am going to give them away here. The first tutu I’m giving away is pictured below I am also including a secret coordinating item. Sadly my flash washed out the color it is lovely lavender, mint, and chocolate colored 2 tiered tutu it has an elastic waist should fit 2-7 year old and tied with a chocolate brown ribbon.. The drawing for the winner will be on February 28th.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

A Lettuce Edge

I love the look of a lettuce edge especially on little girls clothing. When I started making clothes for my daughter I did numerous searches on how to make a lettuce edge. Each one mentioned a need for a serger, something that was out of my budget. Since that time there have been numerous tutorials on how to create a lettuce edge with a basic sewing machine. Some have additional steps others basically follow the same steps you would use if you had a serger.

Here is how I made the lettuce edge on a dress I made for my daughter. I started with a stretchy fabric, and a color coordinated thread. I set my sewing machine to the widest zig zag stitch available, I than set the stitch length to the shortest possible. With my standard presser foot I lined the fabric up sewed a couple of stitches and started stretching the fabric as I fed it through. I think the most important thing I did was to make sure the stitch fell just over the edge. As I came back to the starting point, I found that it didn’t have the finished look I desired. Rather than stopping I kept sewing around the bottom of the dress until I had gone around 2 times. I now had the finished edge I was looking for.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The First Attempt

I was looking through various websites looking for a craft idea when I stumbled across some purses. While I didn’t like any of patterns, I figured I could whip up something of my own. I toyed with a few designs before settling on a small tote style purse with a knotted strap. My first attempt was going to be sized for my 5 year old since she loves purses. I think it was my immense dislike for patterns that caused me to think I could simply whip something together and it would be perfect.

The first attempt wasn’t perfect but my daughter loved it none the less. I used a cute green butterfly and floral seersucker fabric for the outsides and straps; the inside of the purse is teal broadcloth, the bottom of the purse is teal satin. There is plenty of room for improvement. The first step at improving it would be to make my own pattern, or get over my dislike of using patterns altogether. The next step would be to move the straps to the ends of the bag rather than the sides. My next attempt will be making a purse a bit more my size.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Passing on the Passion

One could say sewing and crafting is in my blood. My grandmother loved sewing. She would sew quilts for all special occasions or just because. She taught my mother to sew at a young age. My mother is also amazing when it comes to sewing and crafting. As a pre-teen I showed enough interest in sewing that she tried to teach me to sew. First it was a few scraps of cloth and running a straight stitch and working my way up to “actual sewing”. After about a month of sewing I decided it wasn’t for me. I would have never have guess it would become a passion for me.

Now I have two children who love to craft and sew. They often beg to go to the craft and fabric stores in search of their next project. Although I am sure that most children love to craft things I’d like to think that my recent journey into sewing and crafting has helped to make their passion for crafting to flourish. They each have an area where they really shine; for my son it is designs and wood working, for my daughter it is pom pom and pipe cleaner creatures and designing clothes for her Barbies. The next step is buying a child friendly sewing machine and teaching them to sew.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

I always try and teach my children the importance of minimizing our footprint on the Earth. I try and practice just that with my sewing and crafting. I recently made 7 pairs of pajamas for my nephews, my children and a cousin’s child. The result was 7 pairs beautifully made pajamas and a ton of fabric scraps, both fleece and flannel. I looked at the pile of scraps and felt defeated. I was certain there wasn’t enough to make anything for my kids.

I contemplated making a fitted diaper for the youngest but after some measurements decided there wasn’t enough of any one single fabric. My daughter begged for me to make her Barbie and LaLa Loopsy doll pajamas that matched the ones she got. I knew this would only use a small portion of the scraps but I set some aside for that. I was once again back at square one trying to figure out how I could reduce the amount of waste, and set that example for my kids. I had the scraps folded up and set on my sewing table so that I couldn’t ignore them. Than it came to me; as I was sitting folding diapers I heard a familiar call from the back of the house… “Can I get some wipes back here?” AHA! WIPES!

While our diaper stash is quite large and can last us nearly a week we have only about 2 dozen wipes. Those wipes are generally used up within a couple days. So I started at it; I laid out the fabric and started cutting it into wipe sized pieces (5-6"x8"). It was tedious work but I was happy to do it. I knew that the wipes would be of great use and it would greatly reduce the amount of scraps left over. Some of the fabric was used up entirely others all I had left was the selvage, and a few small scraps which were perfect for my daughter to use on her sewing machine. The amount of wipes in the house has increased significantly and there is still a stack waiting for me on my sewing machine waiting to be top stitched. The fleece well some scraps were used to make the skate soakers and I’m thinking about fleece socks for the kids.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So it begins...

Well so this blog begins. This past week two of my children got ice skates. With ice skates comes the needs for soakers to prevent the blades from rusting. I looked at them while we bought their skates, 9 dollars for one pair seemed a bit much especially when I factored in the cost I've already spent on skates for two kids. I looked at the guards again and decided I could make two pairs for far less than they wanted for one. The best part is my kids could decide the colors they wanted.

I knew I had supplies, old towels and other fabric that would be absorbent enough to get the water off the blades, and a bunch of decorative fabric or fleece for the outside of the soakers, not to mention elastic. My costs for this would be negligible because everything I was using we already had.

After studying the soakers at the store I had my plan on how exactly I could construct them. My daughter decided she only wanted a white towel inside and a bright blue fleece outside. This made it easy on me for my initial attempt. I cut rectangles from both the fleece and an old towel approximately 5" wide by 15" long. With wrong sides together I ran a zig zag stitch around the the outside leaving just enough to turn the fabrics right side out. Once turned the fabric I sewed a straight stitch about 1/2 inch in from the outer edge creating a casing for the elastic. I threaded the elastic through the casing stitched it down and sewed the opening close. The first pair was a success! The second pair was made much the same except I went with rounded corners orange fleece and a light blue towel.