Sewing Birthday Gifts December 2014

21 Nov Sew20Something

Every year as October approaches I start to plan out my gift ideas for my nieces’ and nephew’s birthdays.

I also plan Christmas at the same time, because they all fall very close together. I have to plan ahead if I want to be prepared, and I try to be as frugal as possible. I always try to use fabrics I have, and this year I was successful in not even having to buy any notions! I patted myself on the back.

Anyway, I am completely done with birthdays and really, almost done with Christmas! This year I even have enough time to sew my own kid’s P.J.s for Christmas! I’m so excited.

Ok, here’s where I warn the family members, if you have a child that I know and love and their birthday is coming up in late November or early December, I am spoiling things for you. If they are puttering behind you as you read this and you want them to be surprised on their birthday, close the window NOW!

If you want to be surprised on their birthdays, close the window NOW!

If you are a completely random visitor to my site and I do not know you personally, welcome, I’m glad your here, continue reading if you’d like, but don’t tell my nieces’ and nephew what they’re getting unless you want to break their hearts. (Don’t do that, I love them, and I do not want their hearts broken)

So here goes:

Birthday #1 is for my niece who is turning 2 (WHAT?!? that’s not possible, I still call her a baby). I used this free pattern from PiePie Designs. It’s called the Izzy top and I love the price tag on this top pattern. The instructions were simple and well done, but not printed with the pattern, she has them as a sew along on her blog. I ended up making a few of these in varying sizes for assorted birthday and Christmas gifts. This one is a size 2T

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I used an old sweater that I accidentally washed and shrunk for the front bodice and a really springy, GLITTERY, knit for the skirt. I nixed the button closure in the back and made it all one piece all the way across because I was using knits. I also altered the pattern a bit and lowered the neckline in the back, that way her adorable noggin won’t have any trouble getting into it.

This little one’s birthday is in late November, but she celebrates with her brother and sister in the beginning of December, so she’ll receive this just in time to wear to all of her happening Christmas parties, and she’ll happily spread glitter everywhere she goes. Don’t worry, I asked her mom first if this amount of glitter was ok. She said yes.

I also made this one at the same time and with some of the same fabric, along with the same pattern.Sew20Something

This one was for Olive, to wear to Christmas events (her birthday is in March). She has been eyeing this fabric for a year or so, hanging in my stash, and she loves all things glitter. She is very excited, to say the least :) I used a pink cotton for the top here, and completed it as the pattern prints, with a button closure. She just loves it!

Next up are the twinnies. One boy and one girl, turning 4! They have early December birthdays and their mom put an idea in my head that they don’t have big kid hooded towels. I just happened to have inherited some half finished towel projects from one of the grandma fabric stashes, which means I didn’t even have to buy terry cloth! I was beyond thrilled, but I had a challenge, What can I make with these random towel colors? I laid them out and played around.  This is what I came up with.

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The clouds are from an old fleece robe I cut up ages ago that had fake lambswool around the cuffs and collar. Just enough for a grouping of clouds on each towel. I love how they turned out, so sunshiney. And the personalized monograms int he middle of each sun makes it all theirs (except that their initials are both M, haha).

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Last but certainly not least is my niece who is turning 5. Goodness, these kids are growing fast. For my sweet, soon to be 5, niece I made a blinged out purse. She loves pink and all things sparkly. I actually made this sequined name applique last year, but failed to finish my hand sewn birthday/Christmas gifts (oops), so it got turned into a new thing for this year. I had a lot of fun sewing the sequins on, and I know I got the idea from Pinterest…. somewhere…. but it was a year ago and I honestly don’t remember. I do, however, remember where I got the bag design! I read through this whole “course” on ikatbag, and followed her instructions. What a great resource! I’ll be heading back there again, to get more practice making different kinds of bags!

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That’s it! I finished early this year, and I think they all turned out pretty well. I’m excited to party party party!

Next post will be the handmade Christmas gifts for the kiddos (which might actually include my own children this year, yay!)

Happy Surprise!

8 Oct

I could not be happier to figure out that my sewing machine does little tiny letters!

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I never paid attention to that section of buttons because it’s all about memory functions, which I don’t use.

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Here I am trying to figure out how to make size tags and all of the sudden I find this little gem hiding in the corner of my machine. This is a game changer! I’m so very excited.

This leads me to realize I really need to take a class on my machine. I would love some more decorative stitches and I have this plate:

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Does this mean I can find more stitches sonewhere? I really need to figure that out! Anyone out there have this machine and know the answer?

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Pattern Review: Sewaholic’s Minoru Jacket

4 Oct

I completed the Minoru Jacket! Of course the minute I finished it, Ohio weather went from nice crisp fall air, to a steaming 80 degrees in a matter of 24 hours. I knew it wouldn’t last long, though. Alas, today it’s back down to 50, and it’s even sleeting. So I get to test drive this baby today, woohoo!

The fabric I used was from my hand-me-down stash (thanks grandmas), so I am not 100% sure what these fabrics are, but I have a pretty good guess.

The outer fabric is a wool; black and grey, speckled with red, blue, and yellow. It’s a beautiful fabric with a hint of detail and the red top-stitching really makes it pop, but it is way itchy.

Most of the lining I used is a cotton with a printed on plaid design. I would have used a true flannel if I wanted to spend the money on new fabric, but I was committed to not spending any money on this project past what I absolutely needed to. I also used a tan lining fabric (also from my stash) for the sleeves, to help glide my arms in and out. I used a small amount of thermal cotton knit in the side seam pockets that I added, as well.


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There are so many things I super love about this pattern. The first is that there is a sewalong to go along with it, tucked in the archives of Sewaholic’s blog. This was so handy during several steps, as I could check it out before I completed that part and had a better grasp of what I was doing.  It also helped me determine what I should change beforehand, such as lining the hood, adding side-seam pockets, and putting the lining fabric in the parts of the jacket that would come in contact with my skin.

I love the use of elastic to give this jacket a bit of a curve, and I even love it in the cuff, even though it’s not completely necessary.

I love how this coat looks on me. The versatile collar with optional hood is perfect for Ohio’s unpredictable weather, and the huge collar will cover my face on windy days. The raglan sleeve was fun to sew up and I love the way it looks on a jacket. I feel feminine while wearing it, whereas most jackets make me feel rigid.

I saw some reviews about the hood being too big, but this ended up being one of my favorite features. I have big hair, end especially when my hair is in a bun, most hoods don’t fit around my head, and guess what? This one does. I love it.

Hidden pockets are fun, and I actually love them in the mid section. I see these coming in handy from time to time, when I want to keep things safe and not run the risk of anything falling out as I put my hands in to keep them warm. That brings me to the lack of sideseam pockets. I did add side seam pockets in, and I can actually see why they aren’t there in the original pattern. The side seams are a bit too far back for a comfortable hand in pocket position. I’m glad I ended up adding them, because I know I use side seam pockets a lot! However, in future versions, I might try adding a front pocket instead.

Minoru - Sew20Something

Minoru - Sew20Something

Inside View.

The instructions were clearly worded, and with the help of the sewalong, I had no problem following along, for the most part. I did find the collar zipper step to be a bit confusing. Actually, I thought I wasn’t confused, I sewed the big long rectangle, snipped the zipper line, snipped the comers, and just folded it in before attaching the zipper. It wasn’t until the jacket was completely finished, and I was sewing another top, that I realized she actually wanted you to flip the liner through the zipper hole to the other side. I’ll make sure to correct that the next time I sew up a Minoru (which will 100% happen).

I only had to rip out one seam to do over (the stitch in the ditch)!

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My least favorite parts of sewing this jacket came few and far between, but there were a few. I really wish I had realized the inside of the hood pocket was completely exposed. I would have finished those seams, and I also would have lined the liner (does that makes sense?). I used the liner for the inside of my collar, due to the fact that I didn’t want itchy fabric rubbing the back of my neck, and my liner fabric happens to be obviously one sided. When my hood is out, you can see the exposed inside fabric, and if you really peak down in there you can see lots of layers of exposed seams.

The only other thing that bothered me was the stitching in the ditch along the bottom of the collar. I totally get the purpose of it (to keep the hood in, and to help line everything up), but I did it twice, and it still doesn’t look pretty. The first time, it was way off, so I ripped it out and really took my time pinning everything well. It was better the second time, but as you can see in the picture with the tag, it still isn’t great looking. It’s completely unnoticeable from the outside, which is awesome.

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Cost

Pattern: $17.98 +Shipping

Fabric: Free (Stash busting!)

Notions: $9.36 (Elastic, Front Zipper, Thread)

Total: About $30

Time:

I competed this from start to finish in 6 sewing sessions, spread out over about 2 weeks. Most of my sewing sessions are 2-4 hours in a sitting, with lots of child responsibilities/breaks thrown in.  It felt like it went together quickly.

Special Notes:

  • I love the way the top-stitching turned out and the edge-stitch foot was vital.
  • This was my first time (I think ever) sewing with plaids. I think I did a decent job minus the inside collar. In fact I have a lot to work on for my next one in regard to the collar.
  • With a wool outer layer and a cotton lining, I think I can get away with wearing this coat decently far into the winter. We hit negative temperatures last year, and if that happens again, then I’ll most likely need a warmer coat. I think my next Minoru will be a lighter weight trench type coat for the spring.
  • If I want to take better pictures (meaning not with my phone camera) in my tiny sewing room, I’m going to need something different than a 50mm lens.
  • Last but not least, I learned diffusing essential oils is my favorite new addition to my sewing tools. There’s nothing like needing to rip out a seam and not wanting to rage quit because your sewing room smells like lavender. Lavender makes everything suddenly seems awesome, even seam ripping.

I had a blast sewing this jacket up! It was a great way to jump back into the craft. Sewing is such an awesome hobby because you can take a year long break and jump right back in feet first, and barely feel like anything was amiss. I am already back into the swing of things and sewing up Christmas/birthday gifts! Oh, and Halloween, too.

Happy sewing! And if you have sewn a Minoru, I’d love to see it!

Minoru Sneak Peek (P.S. I’m Back!)

19 Sep

I’m back in the sewing room. and it feels gooood. Seriously, why, how, did I wait so long?!

I decided to get back in the game with a pretty big project. I decided I needed a jacket. and sewing a jacket has been on my list of things to sew for about 10 years. Speaking of which, I am squeaking in the last half a year before I turn 30 to stay true to my blog name :) I’ve still got time, so I’m running with it.

Anyway, back to the jacket. I’m loving it so far, but I’m not yet half way through. I’m using fabric I already had in my stash from grandmother’s donations. A black speckled wool for the self fabric, and a cotton printed plaid for the lining. I have a slick synthetic of some kind cut out for the arm lining, but it might be a bit too thick, I haven’t decided yet.

I’m not finished yet, or even close! But, I wanted to go ahead and talk about the things I am doing this time around that are different. I’m taking my time and changing things up a bit. So, In no particular order:

  • I actually cut into the pattern this time. I have traced my fare share of patterns and it is pretty much the worst. I have yet to try the freezer paper method, and I do plan on trying that one, but this time I decided to cut out the biggest size and fold in to my size. That way I can unfold when I need to make another size and I don’t have to buy another pattern. That makes me happy. It worked out well, I thought. It’s not the easiest thing to move the pattern around with all the folds and snips, but it got the job done and I don’t feel like I ruined my pattern. Plus, double plus.

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  • When I cut out my fabric from the patterns, I used hand stitching  and tailor tacks to show the pattern details. Typically, I try everything possible not to hand stitch anything, but my other methods were not working on this fabric, and this pattern has so many important markers {elastic casings, mainly} that it was very important for me to mark everything and actually be able to find it later. I’m kinda terrible at hand sewing, I despise trying knots, and I’m usually not very good at creating a strong stitch. Those things don’t matter one bit when you’re transferring markings onto your fabric, though. And even though it took a bit of time, it was really easy! It even inspired me to hand sew the gathering at the collar later on, and that might have just changed my life.
  • I’m not racing to the finish. When I sew something up, I generally try to get to the end as fast as possible. And don’t get me wrong, I really can’t wait for this to be finished, as the weather is a bit chilly already. But, this time, I am taking my time, making sure to add personal touches along the way. One major way is that I am adding a red topstitch in every chance I can, and I am loving the end result. I’m using a thicker thread so the topstich is popping out and it’s really tying the lining in with the wool. It takes time to switch the thread every time, but it is so worth it.

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  • I’m adding to the pattern! I decided to add a lining to the hood because I wanted the plaid to pop when I had the hood out, and I am so excited about the result! I am also going to add in some sideseam pockets {hopefully with a nice warm fabric to keep my hands warm}. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think I might also make the cuff with half self fabric for the outside, and half lining for the inside. The pattern calls for the self fabric to wrap all the way around, but this wool is as itchy as itchy can be. I’m going to experiment a bit and hopefully the results work out like they look in my head.

So there you have it, the sneak peek of my Sewaholic Minoru Jacket!

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See you when it’s finished!

Birthday Tank

18 Jun

After a major break in sewing, I gave myself a birthday present and made myself a shirt! I used this lovely tutorial I found on pinterest: http://cottonandcurls.blogspot.com/2013/01/side-split-top-tutorial.html?m=1

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I am thrilled with how this top turned out, I used some stretch cotton polly blend I had in my stash and I was able to whip it up in a couple hours. I am currently obsessed with the petal look, and this shirt is no exception. I love it paired with a skinny jean. Nothing fancy, just comfortable and a quick project!

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I Drew a Line, I Drew a Line for You

5 Mar

And it was all yellow:)

I have been absent from documenting, but certainly not absent from the sewing machine! There are so many things I sew for gifts and secrets that I would ruin a surprise if I blogged about it right away! I also have a commissioned project that’s going on right now that is taking up most of my time, and I am loving ever second of it!

In little spurts I have been sewing little things here and there, like a baby shower gift, and Love’s yellow dress to wear for her yellow themed 2nd (what?!?!?!) birthday party next weekend. It was such an easy, simple design, and I am thrilled with the result! Once again, I was able to use fabrics I had in my stash. The neon yellow skirt bottom came from my sister in law who actually got it from her grandmother (my sister in law had this hanging up as make-shift curtains in her master bedroom right after they built there house, and it turned their whole room neon, lol)

The bust and bow fabric is from my great grandmother in a box of unfinished quilting she had.

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I just love using these fabrics. I love knowing where they came from, and how many hands have touched this fabric, contemplating what to make with it. I love knowing that my mother’s mother’s mother had UFOs (unfinished Objects) just like me. Maybe she would prefer WIP (work in progress), maybe she wouldn’t, she was pretty feisty:)

Simple Yellow Dress

She used to watch me when I was 3 or 4 and I always loved sneaking into her sewing room. It was a tiny little room that had a mini door leading to it (she was under 5 ft, and her husband was over 6 ft, so I imagine this was quite an escape for her, as he physically wouldn’t be able to fit in this sewing room). I often wonder if these UFOs were sitting there while a secretly glanced around, allowing me to experience this fabric in two different ways within one lifetime. 24 years later I am helping Granny make use of this yellow fabric that she probably lost interest in finishing after chasing after me:)

Simple Yellow Dress

I find it lovely to have these connections with people through fabric, and I pray that someday my children will find unique connections to me and my mother, and her mother and so forth. It may not be fabric, or even something physical, and that’s ok. But for the record, there will probably be a basement full of fabric for them to inherit:)

Fabric Organization

24 Jan

I sat down to finish a project tonight {and I finished it! YAY… pictures to come!} and I realized that my fabric is a giant mound of craziness. CRAZINESS. I have gotten a few hand me down boxes from grandmothers and mothers, and each time I have just thrown it in the sewing area. Then I’m excited to get started on something random, and I rummage through such boxes, spilling them, throwing the random pieces about. There are so many tiny pre-cut quilt squares all over my sewing area, I just simply felt overwhelmed every time I thought about organizing it.

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Anyway, tonight, I thought of it, and decided I should get started. I did! I started it, but about half way through I realized I really just realized I don’t know the best way to organize fabric as a clothing sewer. Quilters organize their beautiful quilting cottons (perfectly squarely cut) into color stories. Just like The Cottage Home, she makes children’s clothing, but uses mainly cottons.

But what does great fabric organization look like when it’s not just cotton. When it’s jersey knits, poly blends, cottons, cotton blends, and the mysterious fabrics that come along with inheriting other people’s fabric stashes?

I would love to know how people organize their fashion fabrics! Please give me some pointers, links etc to help me get the ideas flowing! I need inspiration!

Under Pants

11 Jan

Love has eczema. Severe eczema. And you know what? It’s awful. Awful for her mostly, but for us as well {her parents}. She itches something mean 24 hours a day and if she can ever barely see the skin on her legs, she scratches down to the bone. It’s heart breaking to watch her go through this, and I am always looking for an answer. A way out. A way for her to experience life without the constant irritation of painful, itchy skin, or scabby legs.

We are trying two things right now {we’ve been trying things her whole life, so this is actually normal around here}.

1. only 100% cotton clothing {but mainly on her legs, because that’s where her skin is effected the most}

2. no wheat {I can’t even begin to explain the crazy links I have read about, linking everything to the cause of eczema, so we give each one a try}

So far the wheat is working ok, it’s not been long enough for me to tell if she is itchy or not. But Keith and I both noticed she had been in a better mood since we stopped buying grocery bread. We haven’t officially transitioned fully to no gluten, she still has some snacks. So time will tell with that one.

What is working is the 100% cotton. She is still itchy, but the cotton doesn’t irritate her skin, and as long as she doesn’t have access to scratch, her legs look close to normal {!!!} However, it’s actually difficult to find clothing for kids that is 100% cotton, especially pants! And top that off with it’s actually IMPOSSIBLE to find socks that doesn’t have a “filler” we were running into a problem with her being able to get at her legs to scratch them to pieces. So, mama, the sewer came up with these bad boys:

Under Pants! Made from 100% cotton :)

They are working like a charm, and I couldn’t be happier. Now if only I could figure out the root of the eczema so she doesn’t have to feel the urge to scratch, we’d all breathe a little easier!

P.S. I drafted the pattern myself. And I’m proud of it. Woo!

2012 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

How to Dress myself {Basics: Navy Blue Skirt}

19 Dec

Phew! I’m finally finished with the pjs, and I got to sew something for myself! A while back I started to realize I need to revamp my wardrobe. I have a lot of clothes that simply don’t fit. partly because I have had them since high school, and partly because my body has changed in the last 4 years. I also took a pledge not to buy ready-to-wear clothing along with a bunch of other fantastic ladies!

So I started with a simple cotton, very light weight fabric that my husband bought a long time ago as a photo backdrop in high school. It’s still on the bolt. It’s a beautiful navy blue and the perfect color and texture for a staple A-line skirt. I didn’t use a pattern at all. It’s a square front panel and a square back panel. the top is gathered over the elastic. the only measurement I took was the elastic around my waist, and I used the actual elastic, not a measuring tape! Then I eyeballed the hem as the last step.

I used some no twist elastic for the waistband, and some hemming lace to make a wide hem just below the knee. I’m really excited about the versetility of this skirt, as I can wear it with boot ans tights for winter, or just a slip in the summer. I cardigan in the fall and just a tank if it’s warm. I can wear it with a simple tee, or a light sweater, and if I add a sparkly top, I feel it would transition nicely to a semi dress up.

Cost: 100% free, thanks to my stash.

ALSO, I am sooo sorry the mirror I used was gross. When you have toddlers running around, you tend to sneak in photo opportunities, and that sneak didn’t include walking past them watching Veggie Tales, increasing my chances of the distraction not working, just to get windex. Please look past the fingerprints.

Makes a beautiful wide hem. And a touch of surprise underneath.

Makes a beautiful wide hem. And a touch of surprise underneath.

Hemming Lace

basic staple, in navy

basic staple, in navy

My serger broke a thread, and I got annoyed, so I took a different approach.

My serger broke a thread, and I got annoyed, so I took a different approach.

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