Friday, December 28, 2012

A Poinsettia Pin Picture As Promised

Here it is.

Retro dress from Goodwill ($4.99), Target sweater I got for my birthday, shoes from Marshalls from four years ago, tights from Meijer (from the kids section), and poinsettia pin made out of felt, sequins, and an antique glass button from my stash.

Um, yes.

A girl's gotta live a little!  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Don't Forget, a Finished Gift, and a Poinsettia Pin for Christmas

Are you gifting hand-sewn goodies this year?  I'm always so excited to wrap up the little things I sew, I often *almost* forget to go back over them and trim off all of the strings and loose threads and whatnot!

So, here's a Merry Christmas reminder from me to you:  Trim, trim!

It's all in  the details, doncha know?

I finished up that baby doll clothes gift last night.  Here's the set:

(sorry about the grainy pics, my house is lacking in natural light!)

I had a bit of trouble with the little white top.  I think the instructions could have been done better.  For any sewing newbies who think patterns are overwhelming, I can't blame you!  I have been sewing most of my life, and I often knit my brow in consternation at sewing patterns.  Though, maybe I should actually read them instead of wandering off like I do?

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to wrap each piece individually.  More to open, right?

On another note, I didn't get a new outfit for Christmas Mass this year, but I wanted something fun and red...

It's a pin.  Find the instructions here.  Maybe if we are crazy organized, I'll update with a photo of it in action.  With three children five and under getting ready for church, I make no promises!

That's it for this post.

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Sewing for 2012

Popping in to talk about what I've been up to in the last week or so.  How are your Christmas preparations going?

I just have one more Christmas present to finish this year.  Only two handmade gifts on my list for 2012. I would love to make more, but I want to make sure I'm giving things that people want to get and not just what I want to give!  Like many families, we do exchange gifts on both sides.  My husband has ten siblings and I have six siblings, but we only had to shop for nine exchange gifts this year.

For our baby girl niece whom I needed a small gift, I put together a large tag toy. (I have a post about tag toys here.)

What did you say?  You've seen this fabric before?  It's like the never ending 1/4 yard of fabric!

I try to use high-contrast, bright-colored fabric for a baby things.  Here's the back, more girly:

And for my seven-year-old neice who apparently has twenty million baby dolls and can't get enough of baby-doll stuff, I'm in the process of putting together three baby doll outfits using McCalls' pattern M4338.

You can see the pattern in the corner of this pic.  I'm actually really glad to have an excuse to have this pattern because it's a great staple for those of us with little girls!  I'm trying to make a cohesive little gift of three mix-and-match sort of outfits, so I chose coordinating fabrics -- three different (printed) ginghams, light pink eyelet, and pink polka dot.

The first item is that pink dress.

I used eyelet to cut down on hemming time for the skirt and sleeves.  I also cheated a little bit.  I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but I used the selvage edge of the white lining as the hem so that I didn't have to do anything with that layer either.  Less thread and hemming!  Because I know the recipient and nobody is paying for this little outfit, I don't feel guilty cutting a corner or two.

The second outfit is a green check dress, reversible hat, and reversible diaper.

The pattern doesn't give instructions to make the hat reversible, but I couldn't help myself.  More options for play, right?

As it turns out, not all baby doll heads are created equal.  We have a bunch of them in our toy bin and on one doll, the hat fit like this:

But on another doll the same length, it fit perfectly:

This was the smaller hat size, so from now on, I'll stick to the larger size.  Better too big than too small.

This hat and diaper set keeps disappearing from my sewing table and ending up in the hands of my five-year-old.  Maybe she needs some doll clothes of her own!

The last outfit is a blue check jumper with a white collared shirt underneath.  If I get everything done, maybe I'll put together a pair of bloomers for that pink dress.

For anyone who is considering learning to sew, let me tell you -- it is a great money-saver for those of us with limited means!  Using fabric from my stash (the green check is from a valence, the blue check is from a sheet, and the pink check is from a curtain -- all fabric people gave me), I've put less than $5 into this gift!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gift Tags Out of Old Christmas Cards

I hope you don't mind a quick crafting post...

Sometimes I keep old Christmas cards because I love the images on them and plan to use them for something, someday.  Does anyone else do this?

This year, maybe you can join me and use those old cards to make gift tags.  My mother-in-law lent me this snazzy hole punch, but I think I might need to invest in one of my own!

You can see the dimensions of the tag on the punch.  It's the big size, but not very big.  Just right to highlight a special scene.  A shape, a  face, a color...

You can get a few tags out of each card if you plan ahead.  And the up-and-down orientation looks great too.

Doesn't it make you feel good to make beautiful, useful things out of 'trash'?  That little red bird makes me smile.

Peaceful Christmas preparations to you, dear friends.

Vintage Felt Ornament Pictures, As Promised

As  I mentioned in the Matyroshka Ornament DIY, I was inspired by vintage felt ornaments.  Here are the pictures.  (And my apologies for the blurry trees!  If I get the chance, I'll retake them.)

I think these ornaments may have been made from kits of some kind -- can you see the ink line on the white? 

The front and back of the tree are identical.

I think the bells add that special Christmas touch.  

The felt is more dense than the polyester felt you buy these days.  I'm not sure if it is wool.

And there's the new ornament you saw in the DIY.

I am completely fascinated by antique ornaments.  I would cover my tree with them if I could!  Do you have a favorite sewn ornament on your tree?  You should post it and link back here in the comments for everyone to see!

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Matryoshka Fabric Ornament

It's that time again.

Ornament time!

I thought I'd pop in today with a little tutorial on how to make this matryoshka doll ornament.

To begin, assemble the following:

  • any image cut out of fabric (I used the fabric on the right to cut out the doll on the left)
  • two pieces of felt cut out so that there is an extra 1/4 inch around the edges of the image
  • craft glue
  • sequins
  • thread (you can either use embroidery floss or regular thread)
  • seed beads
  • small-eyed (beading) needle
  • ribbon (6 inches long)
  • fiberfill (aka stuffing)
My apologies for the slight fuzziness of the pictures.  It was very dark and gloomy here in Ohio today but I decided to use natural light anyway.

Start with your image and the two pieces of felt:

Glue the fabric to the felt using craft glue.  It's a good idea to smear the glue right to the edges.

Next, do all of your beading.  Remember that to keep sequins on, you don't go back through the bead when you sew back through the sequin.

Overlap the fabric a smidge with each sequin because the stuffing will pull the sequins away from the image.

(Once you've beaded to your heart's desire, you can trim up the felt if you need to. Mine wasn't perfect, but I didn't trim it.)

Pick up the other piece of felt and sew the ribbon to it.  The ribbon will be sandwiched between the layers.  Be sure the ribbon is on top of the back piece, especially if your pattern is asymmetrical!

Put the beaded side on top and start sewing the two pieces of felt together around the circumference of your ornament.  I used regular thread and a very small whipstitch (the stitches were maybe 1/8" long).

You still need to stuff your ornament, so stop about an inch from the beginning (or I guess you could call it the end?) and stuff:

Once you've stuffed, sew the rest of the way around to close the opening and knot off the thread.

I like to put the year on the back of my ornaments -- just in case future generations care to know when their great-granny made that old sequinned matryoshka.  For this, I used one strand of embroidery floss because I was too lazy to find a larger needle, but I highly suggest using at least two strands of floss.


It would have been super cute to hang a small bell off of the bottom, don't you think?
This ornament was inspired by some antique felt ornaments I have.  When I get the chance, I'll be sure to post a picture or two.  (Update -- Here are the vintage ornament pics.)

Let me know if any part of this is unclear or I left out any important details.  Unfortunately, I don't know the designer of this particular doll-print fabric, but there are all sorts of Russian doll prints available if you make a quick internet search.  (The size of this ornament is about 2" tall.)

Last week, I used this same fabric to make mini plush dolls.  (They are currently for sale here at my Etsy shop.)  And I'm thinking about using it to make a crinkle toy or two.  Isn't it amazing what you can do with 1/4 yard of fabric?

Are you as crazy about felt ornaments as I am?  Here are more ornament idea posts from last year:

"1st Christmas" felt stocking
Felt mittens
Sequin angel