Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday Extravaganza! Let the Games Begin!

Phew!  Birthdays are quite a bit of work when creativity joins the party.  Tomorrow is the big day my two-year-old becomes a three-year-old *sniff, sniff* and I've been buzzing away on my machine trying to whip a few things together.

First off, she'll be getting the apron I used as an example for sewing class.  Bought these fabrics years ago.   LOVE THEM.

Fits me perfectly.

The Pattern

The Front

The Pocket

The Top

The Innerds

The strappies.

That's all of the time I have for now.  Stay tuned for more!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Softie Flip Doll

Saw this softie flip doll over at Prudent Baby and thought I'd give it a shot for Native #2's first birthday.  Each page has a rhyme:
Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green.

Father's a nobleman.

Mother's a queen;

And Betty's a lady who wears a gold ring;

And Johnny's a drummer and drums for the king.

Holy smokes, this doll was labor intensive!  The original version was probably not as labor intensive as my version, but I couldn't help myself and tweeked it a few million times.  What can I say?  Sewing is like cooking.  You can't help but throw in a dash of this and a dash of that to make it your own.

Had a few hair pulling out technical difficulties along the way.  I learned that sewing on vinyl is impossible without tissue paper over it.  TAKE MY ADVICE: put tissue paper over your vinyl.  And while you are at it, restrain from using velvet of any sort.  Should you make the mistake of using velvet and thereby ruin the bottom half of your queen, do not - under any circumstance - use a metalic brocade for your replacement fabric.  Those darn brocades, they shred you know.

A few of the innovations were made for longevity's sake.  I put vinyl over the words, because printer ink is water soluble.  Also, I used a satin embroidery stitch to keep everything from fraying.  Got the idea from the artist Chris Roberts Antieau (I know someone who used to sew for her).  Some of the other changes I made had to do with necessity.  For example, I didn't have felt for the baby's hair, but I did have yarn!

If I ever make another one (say, ten years from now), I would make the baby part a little bit bigger around because it looks smaller after it's stuffed.  Also, I wouldn't attach the Betty all cock-eyed!  Or burn the first blue ribbon with my iron.  Or...

All in all, it turned out pretty darn fantastic, if I don't say so myself!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Are You A Creative Mess?

I definitely am!!!  I really should take a picture of the layers of crazy going on in my sewing room right now.  Small girls are having birthdays this month and I've been terrorizing my stash like a two-year-old while trying to throw a few presents together.  I'm always a mess, though.  Nothing new there. 

My mother keeps an immaculate workroom.  My father, not so much.

I feel a special kinship with my father.  I mentioned our creative similarity (aka messiness) once and he just shrugged and said he could never get anything accomplished if he cleaned up every two minutes.  True, true.  I clean up once a month or so, he says.

Hmmmm.  Maybe I should start emulating that part too...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIY Bean Bags


Here's a quick tutorial on how to make bean bags.  Great for using up scraps.

1)  Cut out 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares.  Twice as many squares as you want bean bags.  Like so:

2)  For each bean bag, stack two squares of fabric together.  The right sides of the fabric squares should be on the inside - kissing each other :o).  Like a fabric sandwich.

3)  Set your machine stitch length to something closer to 2.

4)  Sew around the edges of each square with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Leave a hole open about an inch wide on one side (don't forget to backstitch at the start and finish of the seam).  Then trim the corners, like so:

5)  Turn the bag right side out through the little whole in the seam:

6)  If you have one of these thingies, they work great to turn the corners:

7)  Next, pull out the beans.  Can you believe I found some from 1998?!!!  I used black beans, but I'd recommend a lighter/smaller type of bean, if ya have it.

8)  Fill up your bag!  I used a makeshift paper funnel to keep those pesky beans in order.  If you want the bag to be on the floppier side, use fewer beans. (Sorry, I'm just too lazy to flip and reload this pic.  Satellite internet is TORTURE :o)

9)  Now, it's time to sew up that hole.  You have a couple of options.  You can hand sew it shut with a beautiful invisible blind stitch of some can do what I did and plop that sucker on the machine.  (I have a rule that life is just too short to be a perfectionist!)  I sewed an 1/8" seam along the side with the hole in it.  Word to the wise, pin your hole shut before you turn the bag sideways.  The beans have a slight tendency to fall all over the place!

10)  Stack em' up and take a picture.  You are done!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sewing Class - Apron Creations!

The ladies who took my (first ever!) beginner sewing class (mentioned here) were super fabulous.  Above, the charming Chribis works her bold and beautiful apron creation.  Below, the lovely Dawn sparkles in all her home made hot pinkness.

Can you believe such skill from a girl that never touched a sewing machine in her life?

I'm looking forward to teaching another class if I can find more victims students.  All in all, it was a great learning experience for me.  Here's hoping no one's sewing career has been permenantly damaged by my fumbling help. 

Thanks for the fun and frills ladies!  We should totally get together once a month for some social sewing...

Snipper Details:  Simplicity Pattern #2555 for both styles.  Children's sizing included.  Chribis' apron is also available in the Simplicity "It's So Easy" line of patterns, #2319.

Chipper Pattern Review:  The best part of this pattern is that the neck tie is adjustable (the waist tie tightens the part that loops around the neck).  Practical and cute!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Snipper Inspiration - Crazy (Beautiful) Quilt

This quilt belonged to my grandmother, but it's origin is unknown.  She may have purchased it at a flee market.  Curious, I opened it out the other day and was blown away.

Every seam is decorated with hand stitching

This black one reminds me of Queen Ann's Lace

Betcha all of these stitches have a name.

Each one is unique, almost like a sampler.  I wonder how long it took to make.  Hours? Months? Years?

Notice the different colors.  Suppose they were sewed by candle?  Lantern?  Light bulb?

I love the whimsy.

The sweetness.

I would like to meet the person that sewed this quilt.

She was a creative soul.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thrift Sewing Machines

Found this little New Home, HF106 machine (made by Janome) at Salvation Army for ultra cheap yesterday.  The box said it sold for $129.99.  It is B.A.S.I.C. to say the very least, but the darling is pretty much brand spanking new and I couldn't pass it up for thirty bucks.  They had a higher end Brother machine too, but one of the dials was ripped off and something about the way "Tammy" was scrawled on it in pen made me wonder if it hadn't suffered some serious abuse at the hands of a home economics class.  Do they still have those?

I've looked for sewing supplies at thrift stores before, but never once thought to look for machines.  Will keep my eyes open from now on.  It may not be the brightest idea to buy a sewing machine without knowing why the original owner abandoned it.  What if the tension was irreparable and it's mother kicked it to the curb in frustration?!  I like to imagine this baby was purchased for some girl by a loving family member, used once or twice throughout college, and then given away to make room in a closet somewhere.  Or maybe it was owned by some scrapbooker who bought it in the spirit of crafting (scrapbooking can do that to ya), and then realized sewing is really not her thing...

Anyway, the jury is still out on whether or not I'll keep it, or pass it on to someone who needs it more than I do.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social Sewing

I took a second part time job at a fabric store while my husband was in law school and every once in a while, a bunch of the ladies who worked there would disappear on a quilting weekend at a cabin somewhere.  Socializing and sewing.  I never went because I'm not a quilter, but by gum, wouldn't that have been fun????

Let's face it, everything is better when there are friends about.  Friends will ooh and ahh over your fabric choices, share in your thread knotting woes, and cheer you on when the going gets tough.  They might even pour you a drink.

Maybe someday, when I retire and become rich (a girl can dream!), I will host 'get away' sewing weekends at my cabin up north where we will make frilly things and gab until the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, yes.  A girl can dream.