Monday, September 27, 2010

mountain of bags

I joined a preschool activity swap a few weeks ago.
Here's how it works:
Everyone is assigned an activity that a preschooler can do on his/her own
while momma is busy doing school with the bigger kids.
Everyone makes 20 sets of their one activity.
Then we all get together and swaps activities,
giving 20 kids
20 different 
self-directed activities.
pretty sweet, huh?

My assignment
 was to gather a tumbler and 12 - 20 plastic colored clothespins
for twenty activity bags.
I'm supposed to draw a face on the cup
so that the kiddos can not only have a
 'drop the clothespin in the cup' game
but a 'make funny hair for the face' game, too
by clipping the pins around the rim of the cup.

I ran all over town choosing just the right tumblers
and collecting enough clothespins.
15 seemed like a perfect amount for the cups I bought.
That's 300 clothespins!

When I got home from shopping
instead of putting all my activity sets together
 like I should have done
I started thinking,
"Where are these little kids going to put all those clothespins
while they're playing with them - when they're not in the cup?"
So I decided I had to make them all 
little drawstring bags to hold the pins.

I would have liked to have made these with cute fabric
but decided to go with something I already had
so I cut twenty notebook-paper sized pieces from 
an old sheet I'd used to make a muslin for some pants for Ton'.

Now, these bags are admittedly small at 4 1/2 x 6 1/2
but they're perfect for little hands and this project.
I accidentally made 21 instead of 20
and let me tell you
that one extra bag is a hot commodity!

Once cut, these only took 5 minutes each to make
so even though I made a buttload - it didn't take too long.
(Lana has always wondered - how much, exactly, is a buttload?)

I simply folded  and ironed the top (one of the long sides) down 1/4" or so
and then folded it down again maybe 3/4" 

then I unfolded the second fold, but left the first one
and sewed down the side and across the bottom

leaving a bit of an opening for my drawstring
just a tiny bit past that second crease

Then I clipped the bottom corners
re-folded the top that I'd ironed down earlier
and did a row of stitching along the top of the bag
 and another just a bit below that 
to create a casing for the ribbon.

I threaded ribbon through the hole I'd left in the side 
when I sewed it up which - if in the right spot -
was perfectly centered between my two rows of stitching.

Now that I've got that out of my system
I need to put together the requested activity.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tutu for Lex'


I wanted to make just a little something yesterday.
I tried
to make some boxer briefs for Josiah
using his too-small shirts.
Let's just say - he doesn't have any new underwear.
Which means 
I hadn't made anything;
I'd merely attempted to make something.

I remembered the tulle I bought several months ago
to make a tutu for Lexi.
I'd made a no-sew one for Lily and wasn't overly thrilled with it
so I knew I wanted to make Lex's differently.

I used every bit of two 25 yard rolls of tulle
which was the perfect amount for a size 2/3, I think.
I like the look of it sewn
much better than the tied style
and still it only took about 40 - 45 minutes to make.

It also doubles as a fabulous hat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ruffles galore

I was so excited when I found the fabric on clearance
a couple of months ago;
I figured within an hour or two of arriving home
 from Hobby Lobby
I'd have two adorable little outfits all sewn up.
Should I do skirts?
or jumpers??
I was already writing a post in my head.
I knew Lana'd be jealous 
so I bought enough to make a skirt for her, too.
I considered one for moi,
 but I'd feel like a cupcake in so many ruffles
and I'm pretty sure my booty couldn't really carry off the look.

Problem was, 
when I laid out the fabric
with all its glorious rufflage
I couldn't quite figure out how to make a skirt that would look decent;
where there were seams, the ruffles would be sewn down - flat.
So you'd have ruffle, ruffle, ruffle. seam. 
With a narrower ruffle fabric, I think that'd be okay,
but these ruffles are 4 inches!
I even cut off a few ruffles and made a little doll skirt as a test
and just as I suspected, it looked less-than-adorable.

So my fabric sat.
When I'd think about it, I'd sigh.
Darn it, I'd wasted $7.50!

And then Monday,
marvelous Monday,
Katy posted a tutorial for a lovely skirt 

I didn't manage to get to it Monday,
but the first chance I got yesterday
I whipped out a skirt for my grown girl.
It's not nearly as elegant as Katy's version
but still it's cute
and quite fun
and most importantly, Lana loves it.

Thanks, Katy!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

quality vs quantity

I re-read my latest post.
My goodness, I do sound like the bragger!
I suppose I did warn you, though.

You see,
up until very recently,
I wasn't really much of a seamstress.
I sewed.
But I focused a lot more on finishing
than making something I could be truly proud of.
A piece of clothing that I could pack away in the clothes tub
and not be embarrassed
but rather, delighted
at the thought of anyone else actually using the garment.

I know many people enjoy
and I suppose she does a lot to further the idea
of using what you have and upcycling
but there's something that bothers me.
(besides the ridiculously low-cut styles she prefers)
Her clothing re-makes lack it.
I'm not trying to be ugly here;
when one tapes a hem with packing tape
they clearly (haha clearly - packing tape - get it?? :-)
they clearly aren't shooting for 'quality'.

When I sew
I want what I am making
to be better than the last thing I made.
that desire has paid off
and I am really beginning to love what I've sewn.
I don't think I'm bragging
so much as
Because a job well done
is something to celebrate, don't you think?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

my very own mini boden

Up 'til about 3 weeks ago
I'd never heard of mini Boden.
Or regular Boden, for that matter.
Miss Chris mentioned she was going to make some
mini Boden knock-offs for her girls.

I thought I might join her.
"What other lovelies were in this catalog?" I wondered.

Sure enough there were some cute
reasonably easy

I've never fully lined anything before
and I was tempted,
to skip the lining all together
reasoning that the dress would still be cute.
And then I asked myself,
"What would Katy do?"
No doubt about it, she'd line it!
And seeing that
she'd challenged us to try new things,
this being National Sewing Month and all,
I decided to go for it.

(the inspiration dress)

Although you can't really tell in my photos,
I put 3 pleats in each of the four sections of the dress.
After I did that
I cut out my lining pieces.
Everything fit together perfectly!
I don't know if I'll ever buy a pattern again.

I absolutely love how it turned out
and I am so pleased with my workmanship.

Aside from a serger malfunction near the end
(that I haven't yet managed to fix. hmmm)
which caused the inside of my sleeves to not be exactly the same
my work is very nearly flawless.
Well, maybe not flawless, exactly,
but very, very good!
And I'd be proud for my mother-in-law to pick it apart
if she were still alive to do so.

I can't wait to show it to Lily when she wakes up tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the chair

I bought this little beauty
when I bought the buffet and hutch
for the dining room that - as yet - does not exist.
I had great plans for it;
I knew it'd be a quick project,
but I was waiting on a sale for the fabric.

Then I got the fabric
but I was busy with other

Finding just the right color spray paint
proved trickier than I anticipated
and in the end
the color in the can
was a bit brighter than the color on the lid.
I like it okay
but it wasn't a perfect match.
Which is pretty much always what I'm going for.
(although - it is a closer match
than this photo would lead you to believe)

But it'll still look fabulous on my porch, don't you think?