Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Shirts for My Mom

Here are a few more shirts that I made and brought down to Kansas City for my mom. After my sister asked if I could make some things for mom, I went shopping. I really didn't find too much to embroider one. One day, Taylor wanted to go thrifting. I picked up this nice t-shirt for $1.75. Looked brand new to me.
The fabric used for this applique is Sugar and Spice from Riley Blake. Love that fabric! The love bird applique is from Stitcheroos.
Too bad I had bad lighting for this picture. The applique looked so cute with the red and pink fabrics.  The tweeting bird is from Hang to Dry Applique.
 I live near a Jansport factory. Every couple of months or so, I go and see if I can score some $1 shirts. I get lucky every now and then. Usually the shirts are nice quality and no flaws that I can see. This shirt had a mark on the front. I thought for a buck, I'll take it home and wash it and see if it come out. Well, it didn't come out. Now to think about what to do about that.
 You're probably wondering how many times I'm going to use this frayed flower design. I guess I keep thinking of things to put it on. I have one more dress in mind for Kayla. Notice, no more spot!
The fabrics once again are from Riley Blake. The aqua and red are happy colors to me. I think my mom needs a little bit of vibrancy out in the Alzheimer's home.The design is from Hang to Dry Applique.

Upcycled Pillowcases

About a month ago, I had a weird feeling in the middle of the night that my foot was caught in my sheet. Well, it wasn't a dream. We wore our sheets plum out. When I got up in the morning and looked, there was a 12 inch rip in the fitted sheet. We've had these sheets for maybe 15 years. They were the first flannel sheets that I purchased and here in Wisconsin, I keep flannel sheets on the beds for at least six months.
No doubt about it, the bottom sheet had bit the dust. It was pretty thin all over. I'm surprised I never noticed this while doing laundry. However, the flat sheet still had a lot of life left in it. I hated to throw that away. After looking at it, I decided to make the sheet into pillowcases. We have four pillows on all the beds in the house. So I'm always looking for an extra set of pillowcases. So often when you buy a sheet set, regular sized pillowcases come in the set, even though you're buying queen sized sheets. I was able to make these queen size and I have enough left to make another set.
Here's the flat sheet that still has a lot of life left in it.
For the first pair of pillowcases, I'm going to take advantage of that band that's at the top of the sheet. This will save me some time. A nice clean finish all ready for me.
I need to carefully lay the sheet on the cutting mat. There is a lot of width here so I tried to smooth out the wrinkles as best I could. I am cutting slightly larger than I need to so if there are a few wrinkles and the cut is wonky, that's ok. We're going to even this out right away. I'm going to measure down 33 inches and cut. So my piece will measure something like 50 inches by 33 inches.
I take my cut portion and I now fold it the opposite way. This will be along the longer length. I hope your following me! I'm cutting this in half.
You can see the two layers here.
Here is one half, the measurement is 27x33. You can see the band on the left side of the picture and the other end is nice and neat. I retrimmed this.
I was going to do a French seam and kind of forgot. I pinned right sides together. With French seams, you start with wrong sides together. Oh well, this method will work it just won't be a pretty on the inside.
 We are going to take this to the machine and stitch a 1/2 inch seam.
 Now I'm going to trim. Because I was thinking I was doing a French seam, I trimmed a little too close. Otherwise, you should just trim to about 1/4 inch. My seam allowance is more like 1/8 inch.
After I trim the seam allowance, I zig zag down the seam. This will keep the fabric from unraveling. Now all that's left is to turn your pillowcases right side out. Now I need to go back and make two more out of the rest of the sheet.

Burp Cloth Tutorial

My goal was to work on this tutorial last year, but I'm close. I was only a few weeks late.  They're not too difficult. Basically you are making a flannel diaper then adding your embroidery. I prefer making flannel burps instead of using the Gerber birds eye diapers. Flannel gets softer and more absorbent with each wash.

I do want to mention that this is not an original idea from me. I saw a tutorial several years ago over on Sew Forum. My measurements are a little bit larger than the original tutorial. Click the Scribd link to get the PDF file for the burps. Enjoy!


The haystack boy design if from Lynnie Pinnie.

The "E" is from the Jack and Jill Alphabet from Planet Applique. The font used for Ethan's name is Just Another Serif from 8 Claws and a Paw. Another great font from Julie and Joe.
The barn design is from Applique Alley.
Finally, this tractor is from Applique Chick.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jungle Shirts

Lauren's friend Melanie is taking her kids to New York for a birthday trip. Jordan apparently wanted a jungle themed party and Melanie decided to take the kids for a big adventure. So Lauren thought having some jungle themed shirts that they could wear would be fun.

My biggest problem with embroidery is the thought process. With garment sewing, I can go into a fabric store with a vision. I may change my mind once I see the fabrics available but I'm more confident with my choices. I have the toughest time with embroidery trying to pick out the perfect design, the perfect threads, the perfect font and the perfect fabrics for the applique. It can take me over two hours getting the design ready and I haven't even taken the garment to the machine yet. This jungle theme was no different. Did I want the designs to match? Did I want applique or a fill stitch? What size design. What an affair.

For Mikayla, I ended up with a design from Applique Corner. I thought I had some giraffe print fabric and found none. So I used this golden yellow polka dot. . Then I for the life of me find a ruffle that would work for the mane. I came across the bag of trims that I bought in NYC this summer. I held up the pink stretchy loops and said "go for it". As usual, by the time I get finished with something it's night time that is the only time I can take pictures since I don't have time in the morning in addition getting ready for work. Hence, the blurry pictures. This design was a tad more of a challenge. For one, it took a while to get it lined up on the shoulder. It still wasn't quite where I wanted it but hey, it could always be worse! The one thing I didn't like about the design is the size difference between the head and the body. I felt the body should have been bigger.  The second challenge was getting that trim to stay clear of the needle without getting my fingers in the way of the needle. I'm ok with most of the trim except for the tail. That is a little messy but I just was not going to rip it out.

For Jordan, I decided not to do applique but a fill design. I had several monkey designs from Embroidery Library and this design was my final choice.The t-shirt is still a little wet from spritzing the shirt to remove the purple marker that I use to line the design up.

A Birthday Onsie for Stacy

My daughter Lauren called and asked if I could make a onsie for her. She was making a birthday tutu for someone and wanted a onsie that would match. The tutu will be turquoise, hot pink, orange, green and yellow. We decided to do this little birthday balloon. The design is smaller than I like. But bumping the design up to the next larger size would be too big and I didn't want to deal with a large embroidery hoop on this little garment.
This font is called Girls and it's from 8 Claws and a Paw. It's a gorgeous font. The balloon is from Planet Applique.

A Penguin for My Mom

I sent my niece a nice little care package right before the holidays. My mom was up from Florida and was at Brenda's house when the package arrived. My sister caught my mom looking into the box a few times. She thought that those little garments belonged to her. You see, my mom has Alzheimer's.  My sister called me to let me know that the package arrived and I should really make mom some things.

I figured that if she thought the little designs that I made for Kayla were hers, then I better make her something Kayla-like. I went to the store and came home with this chenille sweater. I decided that I had some cute penguin designs and I would try one of them. This design is from Hang to Dry Applique.

It was a little bit bulky stitching this up. Besides the thickness of the sweater, I used polar fleece and then a chenille plush for the little guy's face. Yes indeedy, very thick but my machine kept on chugging. In all seriousness, the machine is making a buzzing sound now so that is not good.

Upcycled Girl's Dress

I was wondering if there is a difference in the terms recycle, upcycle and repurposed. I think they are kind of interchangeable. So I did a search for upcycle. The one definition I found said "transforming used things into other useable things of great value." Hmmmm. I don't know if this dress qualifies as far as a great value goes. But it does meet the definition of recycled though.

One day I found part of a piece of clothing in my sewing room. When I say part, I do mean that part of the garment was missing. Chopped off. I asked Taylor about it. She said she cut up something because it was too long and she thought I could make her cousin something with the part. Oh I love it when another project gets added to the list.
The "part" sat around for maybe six months and I decided Christmas vacation was a good of time as any to do something about this and clear it out of the house. My vision was a low-waist, flapper inspired dress. I found a t-shirt in my stash. It was one of my many one dollar deals at Wal-Mart this year. My sister sent Kayla's measurements and I went to work. My guestimate was that the tshirt would hit Kayla at the hip or hopefully lower. Then the skirt would put the length to the middle of the calf. So far, so good.

I first had to trim the top of the skirt. It is gauzy fabric and it has a mind of it's own. Unfortunately, in order to even the top out, I had to cut off most of the pink/mauve top. After the flounce was ready to go, I took my t-shirt and cut off the lower hem.
I basted a lining to the flounce since it was pretty shear. I then gathered the two and attached it to the bottom of the t-shirt. I then serged the seam.

I was going to applique a frayed flower on the skirt and because of the location, I had to heavily pin the area.
The embroidery would be over the gathers so they needed to lay nice and straight.
Here's a picture of the beginning embroidery process.
And here is what went to the landfill when I finished.
And viola! The finished frayed flower applique. The applique still needs a little bit of trimming. You can see that I also used fabric from the skirt on the flower.
So let's tally this up. Flounce was free.T-shirt was $1.00 and came from stash. Lining was from stash that I purchased on clearance this summer. I used 15 inches of lining at maybe $1.00/yard. Now in my mind, this was a free garment because I didn't have to go to the store to buy anything. My spouse would do the math differently and tell me it cost maybe $1.50. Still a darn cheap garment.

Monday, January 2, 2012

They Love Me. They Really Love Me!

I hope that everyone had a joyous Christmas and a fantastic New Years. Things were quiet here in the frozen tundra for the holidays. Not a bad thing sometimes.
I had a great Christmas. I received some great sewing gifts. Nothing says love than a sewing related gift! My husband commissioned his friend Paul to make this child's garment stand for me. I either had to lay my garments on the floor and photograph them or I put them on a hanger and hung it on a kitchen cabinet knob. Not good. So I've been wanting this for maybe two years. So a few months ago he emailed Paul to see if he would be able to make my garment stand. I wanted something that I could hang toddler/infant and girls clothing on. I needed something simple but Paul went all out and used cherry and black walnut wood. I think it does the trick. You'll be seeing my garment stand in action as time goes by. You know my sewing room is a disaster when I take projects into the dining room.

Whitney and Joshua sent me some heirloom cotton hanks. Last year, Whitney was introduced to Luc from Fine French Laces. Luc is from the Netherlands. He does a few shows in the United States each year. I used to visit his booth in Chicago but that show is no longer there. Last year, Whitney, Jeff and I went to the Houston Quilt show and Luc was numero uno on my list to shop at. Whitney went back to Houston this year and purchased more lace for Luc. I haven't done any heirloom sewing for maybe five years. But, I have been replenishing my stash so I'll have plenty of fine French laces when I need to do another christening gown.
Lauren crossed several items off my sewing list. I wanted a more functional storage container. One that I could also bring to quilt camp. The rolling container that I have has slightly larger drawers so I wanted something a little bit smaller to hopefully organize more efficiently.
My next gift from Lauren was something that I've also been wanting for some time. I had a large gift card for both Hancock Fabrics and Jo-Ann fabrics but Hancock's won't allow use to use coupons on it and Jo-Ann's always has theirs at 10-15% off an inflated price. One day Lauren was badgering me to send her some ideas for Christmas and I went on Amazon to show her what I wanted and my bias tape maker was marked down temporarily and about $22 cheaper than normal AND about $50 cheaper than Jo-Ann's. I haven't used it yet, but trust me, it will get a work out.

Finally, a favorite magazine. I missed the September issue this year. I've been wanting a subscription and missing that issue made me put that on my list. A sewist can take a lot of inspiration from all the designer clothing and accessories from Vogue. I can't wait until it comes right to my door. Thanks Lauren!
Now, I need to get to work and put my new toys into use.