Monday, April 20, 2015

Lovebirds

I'm on a roll! I'm slowly working through my backlog of photos for the blog which is why you're hearing so much from me lately! I just like to spend my time making instead of fussing with html for blogging :) Also, I'm about to go into quilting hibernation, and I won't come out until those quilts are done! I'll still be on Instagram, but I'll keep the blog quiet so I can knuckle down and get these quilts made before the weddings in July and August :)

And speaking of weddings, here's a cute bridal shower gift I made for my friend when she got married last November (which I kind of still can't believe).

Crocheted Lovebirds

I used the (free!) Cute Bird Pattern by Lisa Auch on Ravelry and you can view my own modifications here.

Crocheted Lovebirds

As you can see, this is not my first time giving nested lovebirds to newlyweds. I'm still on an impractical gift giving kick! (But I did get them something off the registry anyways).

Crocheted Lovebirds

I just used puffy paint for the banner instead of embroidery on this version, which saved me a ton of time. Plus, I'm definitely an embroidery n00b, so my stitches never turn out all that pretty. Let's call it charming.

Crocheted Lovebirds

One last thing, can we talk about how everyone seems to know social conventions about these kinds of things except me?? And when I say "these kinds of things", I'm talking bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings; all things I am expected to know about because I am a ~girl~ apparently. Where are you all learning about these things? Is there a secret "girl basic training" that I forgot to go to??

Well, don't mind me, I'm just going to sit in the corner over here and knit then. I'm planning on bringing my knitting to a bachelorette weekend, is that a huge faux pas?

Monday, April 13, 2015

DIY Woodburned Bamboo Cutting Boards

Whoops! I kind of forgot I didn't talk about these cutting boards yet with my other Christmas gift handmades. 

I bought a set of 3 different sized cutting bamboo cutting boards for about $10 at Ross.  There's not too much to add about these that I haven't already said about the wooden spoons, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. I used these three pins for the designs, but again, I have just free handed it onto the board with a pencil without tracing.

Woodburned Cutting Board

This one was the smallest board which is why I went with a full floral border. it was almost all done with my fine point tip with some of the small triangle leaves done with the universal tip.

Woodburned Cutting Board

Woodburned Cutting Board

This was the medium sized one, and I used both the fine tip and the flow tip. It seemed a little like there was a waxy residue building up on my fine tip, so watch out for that if you also choose bamboo. How cute is this little bird?

Woodburned Cutting Board

Woodburned Cutting Board

And finally, this was the largest of the three, and the only one that I did in a more seasonal (holiday) design. I think I used the flow point exclusively on this one.

Woodburned Cutting Board

They're almost too pretty to use, but I do hope that their recipients will at least use them to serve cheese or something :)

Woodburning has been a really fun little thing to do and has great wow factor! I think my mom will be enlisting my services to do some more spoons for her sisters this year :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fleece Lined Cat Pajamas

I made some super cute, super warm pj pants! I just couldn't pass up this cute kitty print, but what else can you make with flannel but pajamas?

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

I used this tutorial from My Cotton Creations to create some almost adult sized pajama pants.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And now you see what I mean. I had to include the selvage in order to get things to fit (and even then I had to flatten out the crotch curve). Because flannel comes in ~45" width, I would not recommend using this tutorial to make pants for anyone larger than a size 0 in RTW sizing. Believe the other lady when she says this is for kids. However! I might suggest using a cute printed fleece, those come in 60" widths (I think) and JoAnn has a pretty decent selection. That way you can get away with buying fabric for the length of your legs! This means one cut of ~1.5+ yards instead of 2 cuts.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Front and back. I copied some pajama pants I own to get the basic shape of the curves, but I needed to flatten out the front curve and add some to the back.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And a very important visual reminder that was not emphasized enough in the original tutorial (that I did actually forget). Make sure your waistband can stretch! Learn from my mistake! Luckily (unluckily), I am shaped like a flat board, so I can get that waistband over my hips/butt without needing the stretch from the elastic, but it's not as comfy as it could have been.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

My waistband with useless elastic. I tucked the fleece into the fold of the waistband and then folded under the flannel so it makes a pretty seam.

And here are some more insides shots in which you can see the fleece lining. This is just your basic anti-pill blizzard fleece, nothing fancy. I underlined the flannel with the fleece which means my seams are still sticking out, but it's not that bad since there's only 3 seams. To finish the seams, for the flannel's sake, I trimmed the flannel so it was enclosed within the fleece in the seam and then just sewed it up since fleece doesn't fray. Easy!

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

The inseam is one looong seam from cuff to cuff.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And the cuffs, same deal with the waistband with strategic tucking and folding. Turned under twice and top stitched down.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Ahh, the perfect length, just grazing the tops of my feet. Usually, I have to roll my pants up at the waist so they're not crazy long.


Details:
Pattern:  Tutorial from My Cotton Creations
Size: Based off a RTW pair I own
Fabric: 1.5 yards of snuggle flannel and 1/5 yards of anti-pill blizzard fleece
Notions: 1/5" wide elastic
Construction Notes: As mentioned above, don't make the same crotch curve for the front and back, copy the back curve from your other pair, and flatten out the front so it's more of a slanted line than a real J.
Will you make it again? Maybe. While I really only need one pair of kitty pajama pants, I would like to have a pair that fit better. And in my infinite wisdom, I already have flannel and fleece for another pair. However, I may try another pattern.
Final thoughts: Yay kitty pants! These things are fun, don't include upside down prints (grr cheap RTW), and are crazy warm thanks to the fleece. In fact, when I was in Philadelphia, I would wear these around the house at night and actually get too hot and have to change into some shorts instead.

And I'll leave you with this hilarious outtake/really bad posing.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Oh pants, you're so funny.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Claire's Itty Bitty Dress

Obviously I've been on an Itty Bitty Baby Dress sewing binge, and I'm setting new finishing records every time I sew this. This one took me just 2 hours and that was with futzing around with the cutting layout and stopping to take a bunch of process pictures.

This particular bundle is for my coworker and his wife who just had their first baby girl, Claire!

Claire's Itty Bitty Dress and Blanket

Can we talk about this flannel? How cute are those cats?? If it was remotely acceptable, I would literally own 100 simple flannel blankets with all the cute prints I keep coming across (I have, as of now, only one such blanket with adorable zebras on it that I totally swiped from my mom's stash, which was definitely earmarked for a baby.) This is a current(!) print that they are selling at JoAnn, so you can totally get some if your store has any left :)

The simple blanket is just two pieces of flannel (44" square) sewn right sides together and then flipped RS out and top stitched with a decorative stitch. I'm very fortunate to have access to my mom's fancy embroidery machine, and so I usually ask her to embroider the name of the new babe on one of the corners.

I did take step-by-step photos of putting the entire dress together from cutting to finishing (because I do love me a good hand holding photo tutorial), but I thought it might violate the spirit in which Rae shares this pattern, so I have just pulled out a couple of photos on my clean finished lining which is not covered in the original instructions.

So jumping into the middle of construction here...

Lining the Itty Bitty Baby Dress

I'm at the point here where I have attached the two bodice pieces together on one side only and attached the whole skirt piece to the bodice (I only cut one super long skirt piece instead of two). I used my go-to tutorial for making that clean side seam which I'll show more of below.

Lining the Itty Bitty Baby Dress

It's a little difficult to tell since I used the same fabric to line the bodice, but I have folded the dress right sides together and matched up the unsewn side seam.

Lining the Itty Bitty Baby Dress

And then flip up the lining and sew all the way down that seam (from left to right in my picture). I like to do it this way because then I only have to finish one side seam below where the bodice is joined to the skirt as opposed to doing this twice with two side seams if you cut two skirt pieces.

Lining the Itty Bitty Baby Dress

And the final step in my construction (because I don't use piping) is to fold under the lining and enclose the waist seam on the inside of the dress. Then, on the outside, top stitch near the edge of the waist seam taking care to catch this folded under lining on the inside.

Leave me a comment if you would like me to talk you through this in a little more detail (or if this is just plain confusing)! Happy sewing!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Itty Bitty Baby Sister Dresses

Ahh, I'm getting to that age where everyone gets married and has kids. Or I guess I work with people who are all having babies.

I always give embroidered baby blankets to people, and I always used to do stuffed animals (Atlas, Avery, and Ronan), but babies do not appreciate those and tiny clothes are just so cute! Aren't I the best coworker ever??

My coworker had her second baby at the very end of September last year, and I finally got around to getting a blanket and dress made for her. I wanted to do some cute matchy-matchy sister dresses for her older daughter, Avery, and for the baby, Allison.

I used this adorable (and free!) pattern from Made by Rae and the associated 3T toddler enlargement.
I did not adjust the 3T at all and made it straight from the pattern, however; for the baby dress, I did enlarge the pattern so I'm guessing it may be around the 6-9 mo. mark?

I used a yard of each fabric but I did have to seam two of the lining pieces in the smaller dress in order to get everything cut out, and the skirt on the bigger dress is not as big as written in the instructions. Side note: I was originally going to make each dress with self fabric for the lining and bought some other fabric for one of these, but I loved it so much, I swiped it for myself and substituted this dotty cream colored cotton I already had. Then I had the brilliant idea to mix up the patterns for two matching dresses since the cream and birdies went together so well. I love when these kinds of things come together without planning :)

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You can see here that I had to seam the lining piece, and since I made the 3T size out of the birdies, only one of the lining pieces has birds. The other is the dots again.

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I did not use piping at the waist because I was trying to keep my cost per project low, and I didn't want to buy (or sew in) any piping. I ended up having to top stitch the waist to tack down the lining.

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Inside shot of the lining enclosing the waist seam. I actually shot some more pictures detailing how I constructed this type of dress from start to finish which I will share next time!

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Approximately 10 inches is a fine length for the smaller skirt, and there is an extra ~1.5 inches from the band. I probably cut this one a little too long.

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I cut a 3 inch piece for the contrasting hem, but I failed to think about how the bird placement would be when I folded it in half, so I had to get creative about what I was going to do. I ended up doing the fold over twice hem for the bottom, and then zig-zagging the raw edges so I could keep two rows of birds on the outside.

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This is how I actually intended this band to be attached. Brief summary of the process: Match edges RS together, sew a 1/4" seam, flip and press, fold under slightly more than half so the edge will be caught by another row of stitching and press, and top stitch close to the edge.

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And here's the inside, you can see I used the selvage to avoid having to do another double hem. But hopefully this makes the above instructions make more sense, and you can see that all the raw edges are enclosed.

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I clean finished the armholes and side seams! The instructions that come with the dress don't really say much about this part, but I like a clean finish, and it was easy. Again, more photos on the process next time!

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Clean inside and out on both dresses :) I like to enclose raw seams as much as possible without having to resort to zig-zagging all the edges. I mean, what's the point of having a full lining otherwise?

Whew! That was a lot to say about these baby dresses, but I just love them so much! And they're so easy to make, the second one only took me 2 hours to make, and I am definitely getting faster. No closures and mostly straight lines makes the whole thing so simple, and it doesn't make me feel too bad when the babies inevitably grow out of it in a few months.

Anyone else being inundated with babies? And don't you just love all the tiny adorable clothing options? (I promise I have zero baby fever, let me be your baby's cool aunt!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

DIY Woodburned Utensils

I picked up pyrography/wood burning! Like I really needed a new hobby though ;)

We love wooden spoons for just about everything in the kitchen; consequently, we have about 10. I've been having a good time burning fun little designs into a set of spoons we picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond for real cheap, so I figured other people might like them as holiday gifts! I'd consider these to be a great return on time investment, because it takes very little time to do, and they have a pretty big impress factor. I finished all of these while watching Tangled :)

I found that the best designs for wood-burning beginners are embroidery designs and quilting lines (basically anything that has a nice clean line drawing). I used these pins as the basis for my designs, but I free-handed them, so I have no advice about tracing. I did pencil in my design first so I could get the spacing even, but feel free to just go for it.

This turned out to be quite the economical holiday gift, too, because I picked up this pack of 5 bamboo utensils at Ross for $5. I recommend picking utensils like these with flat handles because it gives a nice big surface to work on (I have also burned the classic wood spoons with thin round handles, and it's much harder to see the design/burn evenly). Personally, I prefer to burn the handles only as opposed to the bowl of the spoon because I don't want food to get stuck in the grooves. The pyrography tool itself can be found at Michael's, and I also saw lots of tip choices and even an alphabet set. I have the value pack that includes a universal tip, calligraphy tip, flow point, and fine tip.

DIY Woodburned Spoons and Spatulas

I pretty much exclusively used the flow point and fine tip point for nice smooth lines, and the universal tip just a little for tiny fine lines.

DIY Woodburned Spoons and Spatulas

I found the bamboo pretty easy to burn, although it did seem like there was a bit of a waxy residue, it didn't seem to cause too much of an issue. Just go nice and slow and you can always touch up any lines by going over it again.

DIY Woodburned Spoons and Spatulas

Next hurdle, learning how to do some shading!

As always, I would love to see your creations!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Philadelphia Art Museum

Since I'm such a SoCal girl, snow is still magical to me, so I couldn't resist taking some pretty snow pictures while I was in Philadelphia. I'm just glad I didn't get stuck at the airport like last year!

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I've been to the snow in the mountains before, but it just feels so different to see snow in such an urban setting. I would love to live in a snowy area - I think I'd make a good East Coaster ;)