Friday, March 21, 2014

Baby costume - Jack o' Lantern

Back in October, I sewed a Halloween costume for my baby. I was a pumpkin for my first Halloween, so I wanted to make her a similar outfit. I ended up making a fancier outfit than I had first planned, but it was less ideal than I consequently envisioned. Evidently, my mom had just hand-sewed a piece of fabric she had laying around. She's kind of amazing like that.
Me as a baby
First, I measured her head circumference to ensure that the neck would fit over her head. Next, I measured the circumference around the bottom. If I were to do this again, I would make it much larger. It was kind of fitted, which would have been fine if it didn't go below the waist or she was standing the whole time. Otherwise, it bunched up. My third measurements were for the armhole: distance from neck to edge of shoulder and distance from top to bottom of arm.

I took the total neck and bottom circumferences and divided them by six so that I would have three orange pieces in front and three in back in order to imitate the sections of a pumpkin; I added an inch to each piece for a 1/2" seam allowance on each side, top, and bottom. I cut out a pattern piece on a piece of cardstock from a cereal box. I stacked the fabric to cut out all six pieces at one time because I LIVE DANGEROUSLY! Seriously, it's a better idea to not cut out more than one piece at a time. I'll have to check, but I think I used less than a yard of the orange fabric. It was a quilting fabric from Joann's, pumpkin-colored. The liner fabric was a pretty green I had laying around that reminded me of the stalk. I cut two pieces so that I wouldn't have to cut openings for the arms.

I sewed the front three orange pieces together, then the back three. I ironed down the seams even though that's super tedious and one of my least favorite parts of sewing. I was going to make my baby's outfit look as good as I could. At this point, I had to make a concession. I was planning on putting batting between the outside and liner. I would have sewed the quilting down between the six pieces to emphasize the separation, making it go down between pieces like a real pumpkin. However, it was waaay too narrow add padding. I had to forgo this step. Instead, I went ahead and appliqued the jack-o'-lantern face so that the threads in the back would be hidden by the lining. I cut pieces of felt and attached them with a machine-applique stitch. I love my electric sewing machine!

Next, I sewed the front and back together, leaving the armhole open. (This required attaching from the top down, cutting the thread when I got to the armhole, starting again at the bottom of the armhole before continuing to the bottom.)  I then attached the front and back green pieces, repeating the armhole process. With right sides together I attached the orange and green pieces with a 1/2" seam allowance. I turned it so that the wrong sides were together and ironed the top flat. Then, I sewed a casing around the neck for the elastic. I wanted it to be tight enough to not fall down her shoulders but large enough to go over her head comfortably. Lastly, I closed up the armholes and the bottom with topstitching.

Me with my baby

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beginning quilling

Last night, I started using the quilling set a friend got me as a gift this past Christmas. I got half of the sample card done.



I'm not sure which of the tools I prefer yet. When loosening the rolls to make the shapes, I have trouble keeping he integrity of the core while having enough swirls to make the shape. Hm, I wonder if instead I would get more of the shape if I started with a longer strip and if I made the initial turn really tight. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Crib-side organizer finished 9/15/13

Finished project! I used Vogue pattern 7245 for a baby's room. It includes patterns to make matching bumpers, crib sheets, dust ruffles, quilt, diaper holder, organizer, and note board. I got the pattern on sale and used materials I already had.
Front
Back with dowel rod inserted


Detail of bottom of top pockets
I got myself turned around when ironing the pleats on the bottom so the outside pockets don't extend as far as they should. I made all of my markings on the wrong side so they were lost when the pockets were sewn closed. I used a nifty embroidery stitch on my machine to sew down the top pocket. It got really wonky in places. I wonder if the stitch lengths shortened when there were more layers of fabric? Something to keep in mind.  Also, bias tape is tiny! How are you supposed to get close to the edge but not go off? In a few places, I had to go back over the bias tape because I hadn't sewn it in the back. Is there a foot to help with this? Or would it just be easier with even tape?

Finished.
Well, here's the finished product. I tied it tightly at the top, but it sagged with the weight of what I put in the pockets. I'm glad the pattern called for putting a dowel rod in the back to stabilize, but I think if I were to do this again, I would add another set of ties in the middle. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bias tape for crib-side organizer

So, I tend to prefer multi-tasking tools and don't usually buy single-task crafty tools. In the past, I've seen bias tape makers in JoAnn Fabrics. They seemed to be not only for one thing, but for only one size at that.  I was just going to use some leftover white bias tape for a crib-side organizer I'm making, but I didn't think about how there might not be enough since it's a remnant. I also had some white fabric in my stash that I figured I could use instead if I needed it. Problem with using stash bias tape and/or fabric: I didn't check ahead of time, and there's not enough bias tape or enough fabric to cut on the bias! I'm having to use some of the fabric that is the background color instead of having a contrast. The organizer is going to be a lot darker in tone now. Ah, well. I'm pretty excited that I'm able to make it entirely out of fabric and batting I already own. The only thing I'll need to get is a length of dowel rod.

Anyway, bias tape.  I am trying to do it by hand, which is super tedious. How are you supposed to hold down 1/4" of fabric on either side while ironing and not burn yourself? What I ended up doing was pinning lengths of the fabric to my ironing board, using my hem ruler to quickly make 1/4" folds, pinning, sliding the hem ruler over, and repeating. After pinning an ironing board length, I folded it in half and pinned in a couple of places before doing the next section. I then went back and ironed the tape in half.  This is still tedious but speeds the process up a lot.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crafty-ness

I am a new mom. I want to be able to make things for my little girl, but my crafting tendencies go back years. Not only did I like doing crafty things, drawing, painting, etc. growing up, but I taught myself to crochet from a book when I was about 12 years old. Since then, I've dabbled in all sorts of crafts both on my own and in group situations.

I worked at a Girl Scout camp for eight summers. Three of those I was a counselor, being THE craft room counselor my third year and being program director for the next two years. I got to be in charge of making sure the girls had all sorts of fun things to do! Since then, my crafting has been mostly for personal use.

I've been really lucky to have a husband who supports my habit. "Could you knit me a hat with ear flaps?" "Can you make me a scented candle?" It helps that I'm actually pretty good about my stash and supplies buying.  ^_^ I love making something from nothing if I can. I would usually rather have my project turn out slightly wonky (or not at all) than to have used a kit. Kits can be good for a first time for a new craft though...

I plan to use this blog to help me keep track of my projects. If I do something once and then try to do it again months later, I want to be able to remember the lessons I learned the first time. Ravelry is great for knitting and crocheting, but I want to keep track of all the crafts I do. My first instinct was to just do a word processor journal, but I think a blog is a better place for this. I know how many times I've either found inspiration on someone's blog or hints on how to accomplish a project. I don't expect followers, but if someone Googles something, is taken to one of my posts, and finds it helpful in their own project, then I will consider that this was the right place to post these entries.

Current crafts I have done: crochet, knitting, shuttle tatting, bobbin lacemaking, seed bead weaving (on- and off-loom), candlemaking, basic sewing, making dream catchers, soap-making, basic decoupage (tedious! do not plan to continue), painting (I dabble... not particularly well), papermaking (did some at Arbor Days growing up, once on own)

Those I want to learn (look forward to my adventures trying these out in the future?): quilling, basketweaving (made one years ago...), weaving, leather crafts, quilting, needlepoint, artisian breadmaking, mini-painting (husband's craft with which I will tag along)

I welcome polite comments! I would love to know if you find something useful, have suggestions for other resources, etc.