Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Apron in cotton lawn

My daughter outgrew her apron so a new one on my to-do list. Initially, I chose a "kiddie" fabric, but she grabbed this floral from my stash instead ("because it has pink"). Her choice worked for me, because this fabric was purchased with the intent of making a vintage-styled apron. This cotton lawn (from JoAnn's red-tag area for $1/yd!) reminds me of something I might have found in my great-grandma's kitchen! I love the feel of the lawn.
I used McCalls 5551, View A. This pattern is nice as it contains patterns for several different style aprons in kid and adult sizes. I also used this to help size the recent soccer apron. I cut out a size 6-7 thinking my daughter can wear it for several years. I was right....the apron nearly fits me! I can actually fold the bib portion over and wear it comfortably as a hostess apron. The pattern calls for lace trim, but I used magenta ric rac to add even more vintage feel. Here you see the apron being put to use. You can also tell it is plenty big for my four year old. Conveniently, the fabric matches perfectly with her new slipper boots from Grandma :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules

Puppet Theatre current from Bend the Rules Sewing
I made the Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules Sewing as a Christmas gift for my daughter. I also gave her an animal puppet-making kit (picked up at Michaels a year or so ago). The colorful puppets paired well with the Puppet Theatre and led to a hilarious puppet show on Christmas day with my sister, mom, daughter and me as the puppetmasters. It was one of those priceless moments that only happen with a little one around! I deviated from the book instructions slightly, because I didn't use cuts of fabric. The main fabric with large circles is a nursery curtain panel and the white fabric with small dots is a coordinating crib sheet. Both are from Dwell Studio for Target. I lucked out and found these on a clearance endcap for $5 each because they were an internet return. I love the colors and happy dots! As a side note, if you are in the market for nursery linens, these are great quality - soft, smooth cottons. The curtains are fully lined, too.
The pattern and instructions for this project are straightforward. I suggest planning to make this over a few days. Sewing all of those long straight seams gets tedious :) To make the project go a bit faster, you could leave off the ball trim and even skip the valances. I don't know if using the curtain panel was a shortcut or not. It did save me from hemming the bottom, making a casing for the tension rod and hemming one side. On the other hand, it added a few steps adding pieces to create the window.

All of the white there in the middle section is feeling a little boring to me, so I may cut out some of the large dots and applique on the bottom valance.
Since my 63"x44 curtain panel was wider and shorter than the main fabric piece that the instructions call for, I had to make a few adjustments:
  • I cut about 1o inches off the side and hemmed to the book measurements (give or take). (the ten inches I cut off should work well to make the storage case.)
  • Then I cut the curtain into two separate pieces, across the width about 14 inches down from the top edge. I hemmed the top piece. I left the edges raw on the bottom piece.
  • From the crib sheet, I cutoff the elastic/casing off to create a flat piece of the white dot fabric. (I saved the elastic/casing...I'm sure I can use it later at some point.)
  • From the white dot fabric, I then cut two rectangles measuring 8"x16"and hemmed the long sides of each rectangle. I also cut my valances from this fabric.
  • I attached the bottom valance to the bottom piece of the main panel (and enclosed the raw edges) using double fold bias tape in blue.
  • Next, I sewed the short sides of each 8"x16" rectangle to the far ends of the two main panel pieces to create a "window".
  • From this point I just followed the book directions for finishing.
That lengthy explanation may make a straightforward process seem more complicated than it really is, but it might help someone!
Note that in these photos, the dowels are not inserted (they still need to be cut down to size), so the opening appears droopy. When the dowels are in place, the panel and window are nicely squared up.

Small projects

My creativity has needed a boost lately. Even with the holidays approaching, I just didn't have it in me. (I did make a few holiday gifts which I need to post) Honestly, I think the whole craft fair thing, coupled with machine failures and lack of time, zapped my creativity. Craft fairs are not for me, I'm afraid. To get back in the swing of things, yesterday I decided to do some small projects that were short on time and full of instant gratification.

The first project was strap covers for my daughter's car seat. Her seat in my car has cozy covers around the straps that can be positioned around her face. Her seat in my husband's car does not have the cozies and she has been complaining about the scratchy straps. I decided to whip up some covers.
I simply traced the existing cover to make a pattern. I used grey fleece for the top side and fusible fleece on the underside. Then I added velcro strips on the underside to secure the covers around the straps. To finish the covers, I sewed on double-fold bias tape. My husband should appreciate that the trim is Tarheel Blue for his favorite college basketball team!

My second project of the day was a sewing machine cover. For about a year, I had an IKEA pillow cover sort of draped over my machine. I decided my new machine deserved a proper cover. For this I just cut the side seams off the pillow cover, cut the length to fit and then hemmed the raw edges to make a slip-on cover. To close the sides, I sewed on some twill tape ties. Easy, quick, done...cute.

With the remaining fabric from the pillow cover, I made a needlebook and wrist pincushion from One Yard Wonders. I truly need the needlebook. I usually just throw my needles in the bowl that holds my pins (pictured at the top of this post), so it is like looking for a needle in a haystack (er...pin bowl) when I need to handstich.

The pincushion is sewn using an offset square technique. You may not be able see in my pictures, but the end result is a cool zig-zag effect where the two fabrics are joined. I am thinking this same technique might make a nice floor pillow for my daughter's room using two contrasting fabrics to highlight the zig zag result. See, my creativity is slowly but surely returning :)
By the way, One Yard Wonders is full of fun projects. I keep flipping through the pages
or inspiration!! FYI, if you have the book, there are some corrections posted at Storey Publishing and a group set-up at flickr.

Secret Santa Shoulder Bag

I was commissioned to make a bag for a secret santa exchange. Green is the recipient's favorite color, so I paired this green Robert Kaufman print with a chocolate corduroy. The bag is a simple shape and will be a good size for everyday use.
For the closure, I made a corduroy loop and used a large button.