Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite Bias Skirt from One Yard

I keep showing ya'll the awesome projects I have made following patterns in the book One-Yard Wonders, because I know ya'll would like to make them too.

I am not sure how I haven't said much yet about the bias skirt pattern in this book, because this has been my most loved and favorite project I have made from the book yet.

I have made 6 or 7 of these bias skirts and worn one most every day for months now.  Here is my most favorite:

Besides the awesomeness of making a skirt from just a yard of fabric, this skirt pattern is super easy, too.  If you use your serger to roll the hem, as I do, you can make one in under half an hour.  The bias cut is super flattering and the elastic waist is most comfortable for a skirt.  I have found that this pattern, cut just a tiny bit smaller, makes an excellent half slip, too.   This pattern alone has been worth the price I paid for this book.

As you all know, I highly recommend this book chock full of (101) easy sewing projects to wear, use, and give as gifts.  If you haven't yet, you should buy it now

I will be back soon; Happy Sewing!

Easy Baby Jacket to Sew: Another One-Yard Wonders Project

The Baby Fly Away Jacket in the One Yard Wonders book caught my attention when I first looked through this book.  I knew I would be making at least one of these cute jackets, and now that I have, I predict I will make more.

This is a super easy project that makes up in just minutes.  The directions in the book call for one layer of flannel, and then using bias tape to bind all the raw edges.  Which will work beautifully, I am sure.

But I decided to skip the bias tape and make this little jacket lined and reversible instead:

To make this jacket this way, all you have to do is cut and sew 2, instead of one.  Then place them right sides together and sew a narrow seam allowance all around the sides, neck, and bottom, leaving an opening for turning.  Clip your seams, notching around the curves, turn, press, and then close the opening and top stitch all around.  Then you just fold under the raw sleeve edges on both sides (together) and top stitch these down.  and Voila! This works out even easier than the original instructions of using bias tape, in my opinion.  Next I want to try to enlarge this and make one for my toddler, and add a hood.

I must have made more than a dozen projects from this awesome book by now, and I will make many more.  Here are some I have shown on this blog already:
casserole cozies
the Folklore Bag
Ladies Jammies

I thought I had posted the bias skirt as well; I have made half a dozen or more of these skirts and this is my favorite pattern in this book so far.  I will go and photograph my most favorite one and post that next.

If you don't have it yet, you really should buy this book now!
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Easy Sew Diaper Bag Alternative with Bonus: Upcycle / Repurpose Outgrown Baby Clothes

When you have a baby, besides carrying the baby, you also must carry baby things.  Some women ditch their purses and carry their things in a diaper bag instead.  But some of us prefer our purses.  And I, for one, really dislike having my things mixed in a jumble with the baby's things in an oversized bag.

So I came up with this simple idea, years ago, and it has always been a big hit.
My big baby never got to wear this little suit I found at the thrift store.  I just love corduroy, so I made it into his bag.

This one is a good bit bigger:

But if you turn the baby's bag toward you when you carry it, your purse shows:

(This is an old purse; but it was my favorite for years).

This works great for so many reasons.  I still get to carry my purse, without having baby things mixed with my own, and without lugging two separate bags.  It is an ideal solution to having to unpack and repack bags, too.  Say you are out and about and you drop your child off to stay with a grandmother or just unbutton baby's bag and leave it with baby and take yours with you.  Or if you run out to the store and leave baby with Daddy, you just disattach baby's bag and leave it at home.  The size is perfect for carrying a few disposable diapers and wipes, a burp rag, pacifier, bottle, toys, snacks, or whatever items you really need to carry for your baby.

And the bonus is great, because it is always sad when baby outgrows a favorite garment.  Now you can continue to enjoy a favorite bubble suit, jon-jon, overalls, or dress long after baby has outgrown it!  You will even use such a bag long after you need to carry it on your purse for your baby, too.  I use one to hold clothespins, one for keeping lady things corralled and accessible in the bathroom, and I have one made from a larger baby suit that I use as my knitting bag.  I sometimes strap this to my purse, and sometimes I just carry this one as a bag itself.

These couldn't be simpler to sew.  Just take any baby clothes item that has shoulder straps that button, snap or velcro.  Turn the garment inside out and sew the bottom closed with a short straight stitch.  That is it, you are done!  You can stitch the seam again for security, bt otherwise, turn it right side out, strap it on your bag, and go.  You may be surprised, as I was, to hear nearly every person who sees this exclaim at how clever and cute it is.   But more importantly, it is practical and convenient and works well.

Happy Sewing!

Creations by Kara


Monday, October 25, 2010

Chic and Simple Sewing Fall Dress = Easy Holiday Dress to Sew

I made this dress to wear for Thanksgiving:

I made this easy dress to sew by following the "back to school shift dress" pattern in Christine Haynes book, Chic and Simple Sewing.

I already said a lot about this awesome book when I showed ya'll my little black dress.  I will say again that this book is PERFECT for a beginner who has never made clothes before.  Because of the fact that it includes a whole wardrobe of patterns, and because every single one of the patterns are easy to sew.  There must be at least half a dozen different dress patterns you could choose from to make a holiday dress.  I will soon try to make "the opera dress," and  I am about to make one of the jackets from this book tonight.

But this post is about this dress.  I wish I knew what fabric it is made from!

The other night I was watching Project Runway, where Christian Siriano was the guest judge, and he commented about how Michael Costello did not know what fabric he made his BEAUTIFUL black dress from (speaking of chic and simple; it was inspired by the statue of liberty).  But Michael Kors said, basically, -it doesn't matter, he knew what to do with it!  And Michael Costello certainly DOES know what to do with fabric; even though he wasn't chosen as the winner, I predict he will be the stand out success story from this challenge.  I hope Mondo goes far as well.

-I mentioned that story as an aside to soften my stupidity, because the fact is that I made a really dumb mistake (never to be repeated) in the fabric store. What happened is that I made a rare shopping trip on an occasion when I had plenty of discretionary money to spend.  lol  And there was an unannounced 50% off sale, as well as rows of bolts for ridiculously low prices.  I did exercise restraint and I thought I was being careful, but WRONG.  lol  I should have looked at the bolt ends!

Always pay careful attention to what you are buying, people, when you are in the fabric store!

When I cut out the dress, I set the iron on low and pressed the backside.  But my iron leaked some water and put a (nearly invisible round) spot on my fabric and there is another place where if you look closely there is an iron mark.   

This fabric (my baby's favorite color now: "puh pul") is plush with a nap, velvety, lovely, and must be DRY CLEAN ONLY which is something I should not buy (unless I know for sure what I am doing.  :)  lol

So today I decided to finish the dress, and I like it a lot.  It is perfect for Thanksgiving; the loose fit means I can get full and fat.  And the color is a good one for this season, according to Vogue Patterns (fall issue 2010).  I didn't put the pockets on this dress to save enough fabric to make a fabulous structured handbag.

So, I am wondering if I can wash this dress made from unknown fabric in my new front loading washer (oooh I LOVE it, and the dryer; they are Frigidaire Affinity).

Thanks, Mr. Green!  Let's let them show their affinity and remove the space between them

Search for frigidaire affinity

A front loading washer washes TWICE as many clothes so you use half the soap in half the time, AND it makes almost no noise....not to mention saving tons of water.

Maybe it could fix the spotting and not ruin the dress.  I am also tempted to cut this off to a tunic length top (the affected area is lower on the dress).  and I am wondering about pairing it with some champagne colored yardage I have, for slacks or a skirt.   I would rather just leave this a finished dress and make this pattern again as a top, though, maybe with the champagne.

If I actually take it to the dry cleaners can they fix the spotting, or could that make it show worse?  As it is now, you really can barely see the spot unless you are looking for it.  Have you ever washed a dry clean only fabric and had it work out?  I would love to know!

handmade projects

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thanks to a beautiful blogger.... and a personal post

I need to post a big Thank You to Donna at Comin Home blog.  On Tuesday, I read this beautiful post she wrote about something that I had never before seen as beautiful before....paying bills.

Mr. Green has asked me to take care of this for us, and I have not been being near as responsible about it as I should.  I have always felt overwhelmed by paperwork and have not been on top of this chore, to say the least.
I had some current bills in my purse, some in a pile, and I (LUCKILY) discovered today in doing this task an important bill well past due in my car!  Not to mention receipts galore filling my purses and scattered all about and a checkbook that had no idea what was going on with the receipts

This morning, Donna laid out instructions for getting started with a system and inspired me to tackle this problem today.  And now ya'll just look at my desk:

I certainly didn't take a photo of before, but it was covered completely in clutter and piles of paperwork and other things.  And now, look in the basket:

This basket holds bills due (only one because I took care of  most of them today), a calendar, the checkbook, and a small notebook for my budget.   This is so simple; I love it!

 When I saw this suggestion this morning, I said "Oh NO I don't want to do this today!"  But it didn't take very long and felt SO lovely to have done that THIS happened, too:

I can't begin to estimate how many tiny and various things, along with fabric heaps and unfinished objects were piled on this poor table and it makes me so happy to see it clean!  I can't wait to sew!

I really appreciate Donna's positivity and inspiration she shares by blogging.  I have not been blogging much at all for too long now, and neither have I been sewing.  For most of the summer I have been feeling ill and have been deep in a depressive funk.  It started with this oil spill crapola, but it has obviously been exacerbated by my reading blogs with people sharing their negative opinions about the news and our world.   I am not reading negative blogs any morning again and instead will have a cup of tea with Donna at Comin' Home!

Tomorrow I am going to follow her lead again in my bedroom, which is such a beautiful place but marred badly right now by a mess spilling from my closet.  Donna posted earlier this week showing the great job she did on her master bedroom!

I will be back here soon (and back on our topics!).  Peace and happiness and health to you and yours!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tutorial: How to Sew a Reversible Tote Bag with pockets

I recently figured out how to sew a reversible tote and now I am making a tutorial so you all can make this easy project, too.

Here is what I started with:

You can make your bag any size.  I like 14" wide by 15" tall, as this is plenty roomy to hold notebooks and lots of stuff.

So, I cut two pieces 14"x15" of each fabric.  I lined my selvedges up and cut from the selvedge sides, and used what was left of the fold to make pockets for both sides of my bag.  I had more fabric left over of this purple print, so I am going to make the pockets 2 different ways.  You can see my folded piece of the purple print laid out at the bottom of one bag piece. and the orange print pocket, at top in photo, is a bit smaller.

 I took that smaller orange rectangle, folded it in half with the right sides together and sewed all of 2 sides (one side is the fold), and then part of the 4th side, leaving room to turn.   Turn it right side out and press.

I used pellon 808 craft weight fusible interfacing on the back of the orange bag pieces, but you do not have to use interfacing at all if you want to skip it. Or you could use fusible fleece. The interfacing makes it a little sturdier and able to stand up a little better.  I made the next bag without any interfacing, and it seems plenty sturdy enough.

Pin the patch pocket you made to the center of one of the orange bag panels, and sew along the bottom and sides.

Then take both orange bag pieces and put them right sides together (RST).  Sew along three sides, making sure the pocket opening points towards the open side of your bag.  Turn it right side out, set aside.

Then take one of your other bag pieces and attach the pocket.  I lined the pocket on the side across the bottom of the bag, and sewed a seam along the middle, to make 2 pockets.  Then put these two pieces RST and stitch along three sides, again aligning the pocket and bag opening. Turn.

Next, stand each bag upright on a table, and push the corners of the bag back towards the inside and pinch to determine where to sew the corners in order to make a flat bottom for your bag.

Above you can see this step from the inside and the outside.

Next, you will sew across these corner tucks.  Here you can see the corner as it looked just before I sewed it, just to be clear.  You want to make a note of exactly how great the distance between the corner point and your seam, so that you can sew all four corners (two for each bag piece) evenly.  For this bag, I lined the corner tip with the edge of the throat plate on my machine.

Now you will sew together your other bag fabrics.  If you are using interfacing, you will only want to do one bag piece with that, and we have already sewn the interfaced piece.  So we will be making another bag exactly the same as the first, except for the interfacing.  And in my case, the pockets are also different on this side.

First, I pinned the pocket piece, folded edge up, raw edges aligned with the bottom of one bag panel.  I stitched one row of topstitching down right in the middle of this panel, making two pockets.  Then I placed both pieces rst and sewed them together.  Then repeat the corner pinching and sewing.

After this, you will need to prepare your handle pieces.  I happened to have many yards of a wide black satin ribbon, and so I am folding and sewing this to make easy straps for this bag.

If you don't have suitable ribbon, or want to do it a different way, there are many ways you could make straps.  Before I remembered this ribbon, I planned to use the same fabrics, one on each side of each strap.  You could just sew these rst down the long side and turn.  What I had planned to do was put them wrong sides together and sew them together using some very narrow bias binding I had to match.  This would have worked and been pretty I am sure.

So then, put the two bags together, one inside the other, with RST.  Pin the side seams to line up.  Then you will place your handles down between the two (right side facing) layers.  Pull the raw edges of your straps out and pin all four, being careful to line them up evenly spaced from the side seams and lining up on both sides.  Also make sure they have even lengths extending into the seam you will be sewing.  In other words, be careful that everything lines up evenly and pin carefully.  After I pin my straps, I also pin the section between them on each side.  Here is a picture of it all pinned up and ready to sew.

Now you will sew along this top edge, securing all four straps, but leaving an opening between the last strap and the first you already sewed, so that you will be able to turn your bag.  Remove pins and turn.  Then you will topstitch all around the top of your bag to close the opening and secure the straps.

Here is this bag, both views.

For some reason, I took these pictures before I sewed closed and topstitched.  whoops.  I did topstitch this and I used orange thread with the orange fabric on the top and purple thread in the bottom for the other side.

Then a made a smaller one, for my toddler nephew, using some white grosgrain ribbon for the straps- which is an even easier way to make straps, as you can just use it as is, and don't have to sew the straps at all, other than attaching them to the bag when you sew it together.  I made his with this same purple halloween fabric on one side, and this Christmas print on the other.

It has pockets, too, although you can barely see it in this photo.

I have cut out another bag and am going back in there now; I would like to make a stock of a few of these bags for sale.  I need to get my etsy store opened and start sewing for cash.

I was inspired by Aunt Pitty Pat to applique, and have cut out a snowman and pocket for another bag.  I have even started knitting a tiny black scarf (it will actually be 2 pieces, since he will only have the front of a neck, and sew it will have to be sewn on).  The snowman will be too sweet to have halloween fabric on the reverse, maybe it could turn to a plain or embroidered black side.  But that will (hopefully) be for another post!

I hope to be back to post again soon.  Ya'll have a great day and be blessed and well and you come back to this blog, too!  Peace to everyone.     

handmade projects

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aunt Pitty Pat's Adorable Applique

Hi, ya'll.

I signed up for a Halloween tote swap over at Aunt Pitty Pat's blog.   I was lucky enough to get Aunt Pitty Pat herself as my swap partner, and I just had to show ya'll the adorable appliqued bag she made for me:

I just think this is maybe the cutest applique I have ever seen!  She did such a great job on this bag, which is lined, with a big pocket inside.

Aunt Pitty Pat has an etsy store, where she sells the cutest dog clothes I have seen, and she also sells stuff on Artfire and is a link to her shop blog.  Ya'll really ought to check out her shops, as she has all kinds of cute things for sale.

I made her a reversible tote with two different halloween fabrics, but I shipped it off without taking any pictures.  I think I will make another one, for the librarian, and if I get to it, I will do a tutorial for ya'll.

Since the subject of this post is this adorable applique, let me say this.  I was scared to try applique for a really long time.  I know many of you are beginning sewistas, and so you may not know (as I didn't) about wonder under.  This makes applique super easy to do.  It is fusible web, meaning it is sticky on both sides and you can use your iron to adhere the applique pieces to the fabric, which makes the sewing much more easy and foolproof.  Since I found out about this stuff, I have had some good fun playing with applique.  Although I must admit I have not yet made anything nearly as cute as Aunt Pitty Pat's Frankenstein!  But she has inspired me, and I am going to do more applique soon.

I hope ya'll have an amazing day today!