Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Fall

It's turning a little cooler here so we can get outside and enjoy ourselves! Baby P is getting big enough to really enjoy playgrounds. We started on the swings, it's always more fun with Papa!

This was P's first time on a slide! How cute is that, this might be one of my favorite pictures!

I also wanted to make a little something "fallish" for our front door. I stretched some rough muslin on an embroidery hoop and hand stitched the pumpkins, simple border and FALL with embroidery floss.  

I decided at the end that it needed a little something. I pulled out the scrap bag and snipped out some leaf shapes, placed them sort of randomly then stitched some stems and veins to keep them on. I liked the crinkly look and I pulled up some of the leaves that are on the bottom so that they would have a little more dimension.

This is allright on the door, but I think it would be cute propped in a kitchen window. I love the idea of stitching pumpkins and leaves to a table runner for a fun Thanksgiving tablescape.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Great Christmas Gift Idea

I recently discovered the cute blog "Noodlehead." The author, Anna, has lots of great tutorials that are super clear and really well photographed. I recently discovered THIS ONE in my search for Christmas gift ideas, in hopes that this year I'm going to be really organized and NOT sew like a mad woman the last few weeks of December. We shall see.

Anyway, here's my first attempt. I used Anna's tutorial for a zipper makeup pouch (still need to add the zipper pull and my sewing label to the inside) and also used some embroidery (inspired by Doodle Stitching).

I think it turned out well and I'm going to make a few more!

I used inexpensive, rough muslin for the outside, some of my favorite scrap fabric from the scrap bag for the middle section (it always delights me to pull out little pieces of a print that I loved), and a bright orange zipper to close the top. Anna's tutorial calls for quilt batting, but I used fusible fleece. There is a surprise pop of polka dots in the lining--there's something fun about an unexpected bag lining. I love the way these pouches stand up on their own, the little boxed corners make that magic happen.

I might fill these with some candy or homemade goodies or make-up/perfume samples or a handmade pair of earrings...the possibilities are endless (as long as said possibilities are smaller than a bread basket i.e. the pouch). I think they will make sweet gifts!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Impromptu Fall Mantel Makeover

So Baby P and I are visiting Grammy and we took a little trip down to the lake over the weekend. It was so much fun and we had nice weather. Can you believe husband W wants to cut off that sweet baby hair? I love how wild and wavy it is and it makes me sad to think of losing it!

While at the lake, I noticed that the mantel looked like this...

Everything else looks super cute, my Mom is good at rounding up cozy, interesting things for the cabin. But this mantel was just so EMPTY! So I started gathering some things from around the house. Books, lamps, placemats, fake ducks (actually there were maybe 5 to choose from), and some goldenrod from outside. There is tons of it blooming right now (Goldenrod is the state flower of KY, BTW).

The things I tried to consider were the many textures already existing (stone chimney and wood mantel) and the high ceilings (meaning lots of exposed chimney). The fish was not optional. Ideally it would be hung a little higher, but I needed help, a drill and a ladder so I left it alone for now.

I really like the chunky, unfinished wood mantel.

This is a neat textured basket that I found, filled with pinecones and walnuts.

The vase is just a plain, clear glass florist's vase. I wrapped a plaid placemat around it and tied it with a little piece of raffia. The chubby, little pumpkins were swiped from my Mom's dining table arrangement.

On the left is an old-fashioned oil lamp converted to an electric light. I put it on a stack of books to try to get some height. I found an old checkerboard that I stood up against the chimney, it helped the lamp and wooden duck stand out a little against the texture of the stone and added some visual interest. There's a small mason jar full of checkers behind the piece of goldenrod. On the right is a big basket of pine cones and walnuts with the vase of goldenrod and little pumpkins. Also on the right are two small, fake oars. I found them floating around the house and I think they were from a canoe shaped coffee table my parents had years and years ago. Again, I was thinking "Height."

This is not an elaborate change and it was definately not time consuming. I think it suits the rustic feel of the cabin and it's not overly symmetrical. There are some things I would change or do differently given unlimited supplies and resources, but it's nice to know that you can do a cheap, easy upgrade with what you can find around the house and outdoors. Puts me in the mood for fall and Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Sewing this week but there has been...

Lots of this: My sore bum can attest to the truth of that fact.

Lots of this. Our clothes are full of sand...not to mention the beach bags, stroller, suitcase, shoes, hair, ears...

Lots of this. It's been a great trip so far!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pattern Review: McCall's 4756

McCall's 4756
Size CCB (1, 2, 3, 4)
Contains boys shortall, boys overall, girls A-Line top (with or without sleeves), girls pants or capris and optional "chick" applique

Description and My Experience:

I recently made the boy shortall in size 2 and the girl A-line top, also in a size 2. I was very pleased with how the shortall turned out ( I did make a few minor alterations, see "What You Should Know About McCall's 4756). It's simple and relatively easy to put together. Because the straps attach on the inside of the "bib," you can easily add some length to the straps for adjustment later as your child grows. I also really like that there is a long-all option. It makes this pattern season friendly. The crotch is finished with bias tape and the directions indicate using snap tape, but I sewed on my bias tape then applied snaps with a snap setter. (You'll see in the pictures I used leftover white bias strips, I should have made some matching).

The girls top was a little more challenging to sew and I chose a fabric that was a little difficult to work with. Flannel. I like that there a few different finishing options- sleeveless, short sleeved, button choices, applique, pants or capris. It would be easy to add ruffles to the bottom of the pants. I also think if you made the shirt in a heavier fabric like corduroy, it would be very cute for the fall over a turtleneck and leggings. The directions are very clear and make the finishing easy (when you don't skip steps like I might have accidentally).

 The pattern includes directions to top stitch all around the edges of the top. I liked the look of a double line so I also sewed around the bottom hem twice for continuity.

Directions are included for trimming with ric-rac around neck and hem, I used leftover bias tape that I had on hand and added some bright orange stitching.

Things You Should Know About McCall's 4756:

1) Once or twice I looked at a direction and thought, "Ok...and then what?" I would say just read through the whole thing before you start sewing and if you're new to sewing and a step doesn't make sense, bother a friend and have them explain.

2) The cutting guide for the back neck facing on the girls shirt, is the same piece for all sizes. There is the difference of one or two millimeters between each size. It is important that this difference carries over when you cut your fabric. I had to re-cut this piece becaues it was just a millimeter too big and would not lay flat when I turned it to the inside.

3) Use fusible interfacing for the straps if you are sewing with a very lightweight material like seersucker. (Even though the pattern doesn't call for it.) It wouldn't hurt to also use it to reinforce the buttons and button holes.

4) The width of the overalls can be a problem in this pattern. Toddlers are usually moving around more and starting to slim down in the belly and thigh regions :). I made a size 2 for my 15 month old, he is shorter but has a very long torso. The size 2 fit well in crotch length, but it was "unwearably" wide. I ended up taking it in about an inch on each side. I would say try it on your child before sewing up the sides if possible.

5) Stitch in the ditch in the seam under the arms of the boys shortie and overall to keep the lining from pulling out when washing. The bobbin thread will show on the inside, but top thread is totally hidden on the outside.

Here's McCall's 4756, boys shortall, size 2
Blue, white, and lime stretch seersucker (great fabric by the way, it washes so well and doesn't wrinkle), quilter's cotton lining, white 3/4" buttons. All supplies from Hancock's.

Sewed on my Pfaff, love that integrated differential feed!

Plenty of room for the ol' diapered rump!

I recently completed the full length boys overall for fall. It turned out great! I decided to line them fully so that they would be reversible and not to include the snap crotch closure. I also added a turkey applique.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirt

I found cute little boy t-shirts for $4.00 at Target this week. The colors are adorable and they don't have a pocket (I like this because there's more you can do with them. The $3.00 Garanimals shirts at Wal-Mart have a pocket that sometimes gets in the way).

My friend Hannah found a really cute, simple T at Carter's for her little boy earlier this summer. It had a navy alligator chomping across the bottom of a bright green shirt. After finding the perfect t-shirt, I started searching the web for simple clip art images that would be easy to cut out of freezer paper.

I found a great website! It's called "Fun Fonix" and the creator has drawn these super cute, simple, black and white pictures for each letter of the alphabet, I'm assuming they're intended for flash cards to help kids learn to read. They are free for personal use-you can right click and copy then resize in a program like Microsoft Word. She did ask that these only be used for personal projects and not saved or sold.

What You Need:
Freezer paper
some kind of design (your own or clip art)
exacto knife
cutting board
foam brush
fabric paint (I like Tulip Matte, Soft Touch)
iron, ironing board

Tape freezer paper (shiny side down) over your design on a cutting board and  start "exacto knifing." With a line drawing like this, just be sure not to cut out the important parts. Here, it would have been really easy to snip off the tooth outline piece.

Here it is fully cut out, you're left with a measly little pile of scraps that does not accurately reflect the amount of work involved in cutting out this design. I'm kidding, it doesn't take too long. The fact that most of the shapes were geometric rather than curved was a big help.

Iron it on, shiny side down! Turn heat to medium and don't use steam, I did that last time and had some "bleedage." Dab on your Tulip Soft Touch fabric paint with a foam brush. Peel off the stencil before the paint dries.

I think the used, painted stencil looks so cool, makes me sad that I can't use it again. After the paint is dry, cover the design with some cotton scrap cloth and iron over your design to 'heat set' the paint.

I'm happy with how  it turned out! I will be raiding the "Fun Fonix" site again for stencils!

With a little pair of madras shorts? And yes, my baby is chewing on an emery board.