Tag Archives: sewing

One Night, One Fabric, Two Projects

My sewing machine was still humming late into the evening yesterday as I anxiously attempted to wrap up the last few details. There are few things worse than going to bed with a nearly complete craft project — only a really good book is worse to walk away from. So I stayed up past my usual time.

One reason I was trying to wrap it up before bed is the two projects were (literally) cut from the same cloth — I had already finished one and felt I should complete the second one, too. The other reason is I am stubborn and I wanted to finish everything that night. Unfortunately, I got a bit sloppy and I was working with a few materials I’m not as used to.

The first project was a fabric waste receptacle to hang in the car. I’m hoping my husband and I will actually use it, but even if not, it’s pretty cute. The pattern is from the first One-Yard Wonder book and the fabric is Odyessa by Momo for ModaFabrics.com.

"Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag" from One-Yard Wonder pattern

"Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag" from One-Yard Wonder pattern

I love that fabric! I bought it quite some time ago with the intention of doing just this. The One-Yard Wonder book doesn’t always use up a whole yard, and that was the case with this one. I lso just noticed the loose thread on the bag in the first photo. Luckily it wasn’t attached — just a scrap.

It fit nicely on the passenger’s seat:

Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag

Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag in the car

It may have used half a yard or less, which is why I had enough to make this DIY Kindle cover:

Handmade Sewn Kindle Cover

DIY Kindle Cover to protect my little e-reader

Maybe I should call it a Kindle cozy? I just made up the pattern as I went. Basically, I cut two long strips of fabric a couple inches wider than my Kindle. I determined the length by doubling the height of the Kindle and adding five inches for the flap. I bought some batting to place between the two, then I sewed the red bias tape from my grandmother’s stash all the way around (this is where I got sloppy). I then folded the piece to create a pocket for the Kindle, leaving enough to create a flap over. I sewed the two sides together to create the pocket, and then I turned it inside out.

Unfortunately, my sloppy stitches meant that the bias tape had not been sewn in place on the bottom side (though it was all stitched on the top side). I had to make the pocket even smaller to make the stitching work, but that turned out to be a bit of a blessing. The Kindle now fits much more snugly than it otherwise would have.

Fabric Kindle Cover -- handmade!

My little Kindle fits nicely in my finished e-book cover.

I still haven’t decided how I want to keep it closed. I added that ribbon as a last minute effort, as I was fading and didn’t want to mess up any more stitching. I may actually stitch the ribbon in place to act as a tie or I may just use no-sew Velcro.

All things considered though, late night sewing or not, my DIY Kindle cover and car trash bag turned out pretty well, actually. Even more importantly, one of my craft New Year’s resolutions was to finish that trash bag project! On to that dress …

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Sewing Christmas Loot and Crafty New Year’s Resolutions

BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

Custom outfits and patterns here I come!

My crafting time was severely reduced this year — Turns out starting your own business takes up a majority of your time (who knew?). However, I recently learned one of the most valuable pieces of advice a business owner can get: Take a day off!

Being an entrepreneur can be a 7-day-per-week job if you let it, but you risk burning out and closing shop if that’s the route you take. I realized that I have to give myself time off. Otherwise, I become a horribly unproductive person. So now that I’m taking weekends off, I can get back to crafting!

And my Christmas haul has made sewing even more tempting. My mother picked up the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook for me — I’ve always wanted to learn how to make alterations effectively and I feel like this book is a step in that direction. They offer alteration suggestions and show you a few variations on five master patterns: blouse, dress, bag, skirt and coat.

Altered Clothing book

Not quite what I needed.

Last year I bought a book called Altered Clothing, but it really wasn’t what I was looking for. That book focuses on altering clothes you already own, and sadly there isn’t much you can do with a plain t-shirt (only one suggestion in that book). Most of the other options I either didn’t have the clothes necessary to alter or I didn’t want to alter them.

As for New Year’s resolutions …

Finish old projects (in various stages currently):

  • Finish blouse
  • Finish dress
  • Finish car accessory

Start new projects:

  • BurdaStyle skirt
  • BurdaStyle  dress
  • More amigurumi!

What are your crafty resolutions?

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12 hours to Make a Mermaid Costume for Halloween

It was my step-daughter’s first Halloween to trick-or-treat this year and she had a blast with the costume I made her … yesterday. While I was working all day today and did not get to enjoy the festivities with her, she was able to go to two carnivals plus door-to-door with her father. She picked out all the fabric from Joann’s a few weeks ago — going for the satin and princess-style fabrics, of course.

Mermaid Costume from McCall's pattern M5498

Mermaid Costume from McCall's pattern M5498

The pattern was McCall’s M5498 — unfortunately there was a misprint in the mermaid costume instructions, mislabeling the skirt pieces with the wrong numbers. Fortunately the cut out instructions were right or else I wouldn’t have been able to make the dress at all.

I’m still not much of a seamstress, so I had some trouble following the instructions and messed up the bodice quite a few times. I did decide to use Velcro and snaps instead of a zipper to close the skirt and shirt. There is also a crown that goes with this and I cut it out, but after 12 hours I didn’t have the time or energy to sew it together. Maybe next year? The costume was a bit big on her so she may be able to use it again next year.

She had a blast for her first Halloween in Humboldt County, so the labor was completely worth it!

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Topsy Turvy Doll Finds a New Home

I was really proud of how this topsy turvy doll turned out. It was the first doll I had ever sewn together and she is now safely in the care of my sister-in-law, who is soon to be the mother of a sweet baby girl (aside from already being an awesome “bonus mom”).

For those who don’t know, topsy turvy dolls are reversible dolls that when flipped upside down reveal a whole other doll that has a different outfit.

Topsy Turvy doll from Margot pattern in Wee Wonderfuls

Reversible for cuteness on either side.

I went a little outside the pattern, using a fat quarter of soft flannel to make the dresses (which is why there are stripes down the centers of each dress — the pieces weren’t quite big enough). The other major alteration was having different hair color on the two faces, as the book pattern had the same hair color on both sides.

The face is embroidered, which definitely put my needlework skills to the test to make each look exactly the same.

Why a topsy turvy doll? Honestly, I really loved them as a kid but never had any large ones, just a couple plastic, reversible toys. Surprisingly, very few people at the baby shower had ever seen such a doll, but I suppose that style of doll hasn’t really be in vogue for quite some time.

Any one who knows me well knows that I can hardly stand to wait until a gift-giving event to give my presents to the intended recipients, and this one was especially challenging. I finished this doll, called Margot in the Wee Wonderfuls book, a couple months ago and had been itching to send it early. The wait was worth it though, as my sister-in-law was very appreciative.

If I make another topsy turvy doll, I intend to make it a “sleeper” doll with one side awake in a bright dress and the alternate side asleep with a nightgown.

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Twin Monster Sewing Project Complete

Two Kojis - only one can survive!

Koji 1.0 and Koji 2.0 will soon be unleashed into the hands of babes.

From the silly and sarcastic Muppets to the wild rumpus in “Where the Wild Things Are”, children love monsters. One of my favorite books as a very young kid was “There’s a Monster at the End of This Book!” featuring Grover, one of the most endearing monsters of our time (right next to Sweetums).

I want to pass my monster loving ways to the next generation, and, as luck would have it, I found the first of many an opportunity.

My friend Jessica is due to bring twin boys into the world later this year. While monster adoration is not strictly boy territory, I jumped at the opportunity to work on this project for them and wrapped it up this weekend. The pattern comes from one of my favorite pattern books — Wee Wonderfuls.

There are two differences between these nearly identical twin monsters: One has yellow eyes while the other has pink and the spike colors are reversed. If I could do one thing differently, I would likely machine sew the spikes, tail and mouth before sewing the body together. I loathe hand stitching and although the effect is nice, I’m just not good at it.

Koji Profile

The back and side profiles of the Koji twins.

Never having been a little boy, I asked those with experience in such things if my monsters are likely to win the approval of the soon-t0-be-in-this-world twins. So far, the response has been  “yes,” with a close friend of mine predicting that the boys will keep them at least well into their twenties.

Whether these monsters will survive that long in the chaos that is any child’s playtime is hard to say, but I certainly hope the boys have fun with them.

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Sewn monster seeking brother


Koji looks mournfully out the window into Eureka's foggy skies ... He knows he has a brother soon to come.

“Koji” is one of 24 patterns in the Wee Wonderfuls book and is made from corduroy, vintage buttons from my grandmother’s sewing drawer, felt and striped flannel. Angry Chicken mentioned a few times how adorable the dolls in Wee Wonderfuls are (which prompted me to seek out the book) and I have to agree. Blogger Hillary Lang  wrote the book and each doll pattern is unique, not just variations on a theme. Upon first seeing the Koji monster pattern, I knew I would have to make one but I didn’t realize when I bought the book that I would be making two.

My friend Jessica became pregnant with twins earlier this year, and I immediately set to crocheting her a bird baby mobile based on a pattern in Amigurumi Two by Ana Paula. If you want to have a project done by the time the baby shower comes around, you have to start early! I did not know the gender of the babies-to-be when I started the mobile, but I figured birds were a safe bet no matter what the kids would be.

Turns out first-time mother Jessica is destined to give birth to two boys (ack!). I knew immediately that matching Kojis would be the answer for my post-baby shower gift. Jessica and her husband are both lovers of all things tie-dye for their babies, and I happened to find hand-painted corduroy fabric from Arcata’s Fabric Temptations that looks a lot like tie-dye. I still need to add the spikes to the first Koji before he is finished, and then I will cut his brother from the same cloth (and potentially give him different colored spikes and eyes).

Until then, Koji 1.0 waits.

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Knitting and Sewing and Thinking

It may seem like I’m not making anything with the lack of posts going on. I found that when I started blogging over here, ideas were flowing like water. Besides, I had a large back-up of things I wanted to talk about, but were too crafty for my personal blog. So, for a few weeks, I managed to get a post up nearly every day.

I kept up hope that my crafty friends would join me. They all craft and blog, and seemed really excited about the idea of a group blog. But the days went on, and it turns out that they were petrified of posting something not interesting, and so it is still all me, all the time.

However, since it’s just me, the posts have been trailing off. I don’t really do too many in-process posts of my projects because either things are going well but slow, or don’t take me too long at all. Also, I try to be crafty every day, but that hasn’t yet translated to writing every day. (Trust me, I’m working on it.)

For the last few days, as I work exclusively on my Icarus shawl, I have been thinking about the differences between knitting and sewing.

Continue reading

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