Monday, October 25, 2010

Toddler Winter Jim-Jams

My little guy grew out of pajama pants that fit.  So rather than buy new sweats for winter, I took it as an opportunity to use some of my fabric stash I need to use.

I used another pair of his pants that fit him a little big as my pattern, you can see the new pants are a little long for him.

I made a printable instruction sheet here for using your own pants as a pattern to make pajama pants, and there are many more in the sewing blog world.

For this set, I used some red sweatshirt fleece left over from my fall jacket, and some thick grey fleece.  I don't bother to hem fleece on these pants.  It doesn't fray, and these are just pajamas.
Lately he has to carry his entire Toy Story collection everywhere. Big Buzz, Big Woody, Baby Buzz, and Baby Woody.

The next two pairs were flannel remnants I had.  Flannel isn't as warm as the fleece, but still comfy.  I did hem these ones, although they are still too long.
I put his flannel pirate pants on and RJ said: "Pirate!" and ran away.  I was getting up to go find him to snap a photo of his pants, when he came back with the Halloween Pirate Skull we made.  So he dropped Toy Story long enough to pose with the pirate skull wearing his pirate pants.

I know lots of people give pajamas on Christmas Eve as a tradition.  They are easy if you make them, and while you're cutting one out, it was nice to whip out a whole batch at the same time.  You can also embellish with applique, paint stenciling, etc. to further personalize.  I thought about putting words across the butt of his pants, as a joke.  Like adults who wear words like "juicy" on the bum of their sweatpants.  In the end I got lazy and just left them all plain, but maybe I'll go back and add "squishy" or something on his bum.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Office Chair Update

This project has been sitting in my garage since August.  We've had a lot of things going on, and I finally finished it.  We've needed an office chair for a long time.  In front of our desk now we use half an office chair, just the seat with the back broken off.
So this baby is quite the upgrade.

This chair came from the thrift store originally.  Sometimes I'm shocked how high prices can be at thrift stores, considering most of the stuff is junk, and they got it for free!  But this chair was a deal at $6.50.  It's an all metal frame, and I'd guess it's from the 60s or 70s.  It seems like very few things are made completely with sturdy metal anymore.
It was actually a pretty quick project, although it took me months to finally get it done.
1. Remove cushions from frame
2. Wash the frame down
3. Prime frame with spray paint primer

4. Paint
I used probably 1.5 cans of oil rubbed bronze spray paint
5. Remove all the staples and old nasty fabric from cushions
6. Recover Cushions
For the arms, I just hot glued the fabric over the rubber grips, since there was no way my stapler could get down in there.
The back was originally just fabric covered wood.  I added a layer of 1" thick foam.  This chair allowed me to just staple the fabric around the foam and into the wood of the chair back. 

Then I added the a piece of fabric to the back, and the frame ended up covering the staples. 

I made the piping and just hot glued it to the edge, then attached the back rest to the chair frame.

The seat was more involved.  I sewed the cover with the white piping in the seat seam.  I didn't include instructions on making the piping or the seat cover because it's the same as the green vintage chair I reupholstered in the spring {here}.

With paint and new fabric, and a little foam, we have a totally new chair that should hopefully last a long time.

He likes to give mean faces lately.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anthropologie Inspired Suede Jacket

I've only stepped foot in an actual Anthropologie store once, earlier this spring in Vegas.  I am not a shopper, and we were on a girls trip which included a ton of shopping.  By the end of that day, I was so tired I just sat on the couch and looked around the store.  So I didn't really check it out.
But I do however, enjoy looking at their website.  I saw this outdoor wool coat, and loved the flattering seams and buttoned  ruffle.

So I planned out my own version, using this pattern: Simplicity 2313 as the base.  I adapted things to make a dressier jacket, rather than an outdoor zip-up coat.

I chose to make the jacket out of moleskin, which is fabric sueded on one side with a satin back.  I like the feel of suede, and the satin back made it so the ruffle didn't need to be lined, just hemmed.  The moleskin also has some stretch to it, so for clothing that's nice.  I like teal, and my mom hates it because it reminds her of being sick.  It's funny how certain colors evoke certain emotions, memories, connections.
I love these leather looking woven buttons.  I had 3 different colors and sizes stocked up from 50% off sales, and Lynette made the final decision that it looked best with these lighter brown buttons.

Once again, the best part of making my own jacket is having the ridiculously long sleeves for my orangutan arms.  I also liked the slight gathering in the shoulder of these sleeves making the slight puff--nothing to Anne of Green Gable's Christmas dress, but just enough to add some femininity.

The back is just basic princess type seams, nothing fancy.

Lynette actually ended up helping on this jacket a lot.  I was visiting and finishing it up, and she hemmed the sleeves and back at her tailor shop with her industrial blind hemmer.  It's just a lot nicer with the professional blind hemmer, rather than using the blind hem stitch on my machine.  She also thought of the equestrian name/ association, and let me use her bodice form that happened to be at home rather than her shop.  Man, I really enjoyed using that thing and wish I had one of my own.   A dress form would be so handy, especially if it was adjustable to my size.
She also let me snap a photo of her in the jacket as she was leaving for work, as I feel so dorky modeling and hate to do it.

I think I'll go back and tack down parts of the ruffle at the chest and waist, as they can lay funny with the fabric being lighter.  Then the ruffle wouldn't gap from the actual jacket as much. 

I actually get nervous about sharing clothing I make on here, because I really have no sense of fashion or style, I just like what I like, and I'm sure that a lot of people don't like it and would never wear it.  Which is fine and part of sharing your ideas, someone out there is always going to think your idea stinks.
But anyway, I thought I would wear black under the jacket on top, with a black/charcoal wool skirt with a small print, black opaque tights and black shoes.  I have some mustard earrings I thought might be fun to add some contrast.  But I know nothing about putting outfits together, so maybe if you have cute ideas of what you'd wear with this leave me an idea!
Also, I'm assuming the light brown buttons would work with black underneath right?  You don't have to match the buttons I hope...not that I would probably if someone says I should.
Anyway, this jacket isn't perfect because I made it.  But it was fun to see something I really loved from Anthropologie and make my own version for less than $15.00, and with sleeves that actually go to my wrists rather than the middle of my forearms  (I'm not exaggerating, it is that bad with jackets/ coats!).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reader Projects!

Adorable onesie dresses from Sew Woodsy with amazing fabric iron ons cut with her Cricut.

More Halloween Jack Skellington t-shirts!
Cute blue ones from Sonja, adding the black on top of the applique rather than having holes for a black t-shirt.

Classic black made by Megan at Do It Yourself Divas

I love to see your variations of the tutorials I post!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Fleece Jacket for Fall

A few different things inspired this jacket.  I saw jackets at Target made out of sweatshirt fleece.  I thought it was a good idea, a casual, comfy hoodie, but made with buttons to look a little nicer than a hooded sweatshirt, even though that's what it is.
Then I saw a coat from Anthropologie, which isn't on their website anymore, I should have saved the image.  The coat I can't show you had the waist seam and the 3/4 seam on the sleeves.

So I got some sweatshirt fleece when it was 50% off and used a basic coat pattern I had to adjust for this coat.  So far I really like it, I think my favorite thing about making my own jacket is the fact I can make the
sleeves long enough!
My family has really odd proportions.  I have a short torso, then really long arms from my mom.  Then I have these huge man hands with witch fingers from my dad.  All of these traits together makes proportions like an ape or orangutan.  In elementary your shorts had to be longer than your fingers, and the ends of my fingers almost seem to go to my knees, so there was stress back before bermuda shorts were popular.
So I've never had a jacket or coat with sleeves that actually made it to my wrist.
I think because of this, making my own jacket, these sleeves were going to be long enough and then some.
The pattern I used seemed to have a ginormous hood.  I planned on making it smaller, but just went with it.  It ended up have a huge hood, which is fine.   It makes it kind of unique I guess when we pretend I wanted it that way.  I lined the hood with charcoal yard dyed shirting that was on the clearance rack for $2.00/ yard.  The rest of the jacket isn't lined, as this is a glorified hooded sweatshirt.
The back has the same waist seam, then to diagonal seams going up to the neck.
I decided to add pockets to the outside, and went with puffy rounded pockets.   You can see I left a lot of the edges raw, the waist seam and 3/4 sleeve seam and around the pockets.  I thought it would add a more casual look to the jacket. 
So far, I've loved this jacket/ sweatshirt for fall.  Keeps me warm without pulling out the big winter coat, and light enough for the warmer days.  I think it's kind of cute too... for a hooded sweatshirt.
We were down visiting my mom and this is her porch filled with all the pumpkins she grew!
As kids we'd sell them, I think one year between myself and younger brother and sister (Lynette) each made over $50.00 which seemed awesome to us.
(his crusty face is what resulted from my mom telling him to make a scary Halloween face when she took the picture)

Monday, October 18, 2010

How To Dye Fabric with Tea Bags

I found some yellow sweatshirt fleece for a great deal online.  It arrived, and the color was a lot brighter than I wanted.  A bright banana yellow.  So I figured I'd use tea bags to dye it and give it a muted tone.
I read up online, and got into it.

First I steeped a handful of black tea bags (probably around 10)  in a big pot for quite a while, over an hour.
Then I threw the soggy tea bags away.
Because I was trying to dye 2.5 yards of fleece, I didn't have a bucket or container large enough.

So I dyed my fabric in the bathtub.
I filled the tub with enough water to cover fabric, getting it all wet before it touched the tea.
I pulled out the fabric and dumped the pot of concentrated tea in.  It looked pretty gross.
My two year old asked who went poo in the tub.
I let it soak for a few hours, squishing it around when I'd pass by now and again, trying to prevent streaks of dye.  Of course you want a uniform color, and so stirring it is important, so I'd just swish it around every now and again, and it worked and I didn't have dye lines.

Once the fabric has achieved your desired color, put it in your washing machine on just the spin cycle to get all the tea water out.
Then throw it in the dryer to set the color.

Also, because my fleece was 80% cotton, 20% poly, I think that made it harder for it to accept the tea dye.  The more natural the fabric, like 100% cotton, the better it will soak up the dye apparently.
So now it's the color I want, and I'm excited to get working on this next project!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lynette's Birthday Gift

I am not a great quilter.  I've made some quilts over the years starting with my first tie quilt in 7th grade, but I'm still learning and working on quilting.  I have a lot of awesome quilters to look up to, I've shared a few of my mom's quilts: airplane bedspreadlove quilt for the blind.
My family are purist quilters, quilting by hand on quilting frames.  All my aunts and my mom will get together in my grandma's basement to all work on a quilt and chat.  When you get married, Grandma Shirley and the aunts make you a ginanormous quilt with your names and wedding date. 
As young girls, my cousins and I would learn to quilt, but it took a while to get it down before your stitching didn't get cut out.  My grandma would say: "Who did these Frankenstein stitches?" meaning crooked, large, and uneven.  So I feel like I've learned to be a decent quilter by hand, graduating up from the Frankenstein days, and I've had mutilated thumb and middle fingers in my day.
But creating a quilt from beginning to end is a lot different.
Also, not owning quilting frames limits me to machine quilting, something I'm a total novice at.
So this quilt:
I ordered a Moda layer cake of fabric for a quilt I hope to make for our living room, and as part of the order, I got to choose a free turnover pack--80 triangles of fabric.
Looking through my options of the bonus fabric pack, one collection caught my eye and reminded me of my little sister: Nostalgia by April Cornell. 
So I got that and started planning this quilt for her birthday.  I was so inspired by thinking of ideas for Lynette, I still haven't planned my quilt yet.
This little lap quilt used every single triangle of fabric from the turnover pack.  I like to have some artistic aspect of my quilts lately, rather than just a geometric patterned quilt top.  So I planned the large block to top the quilt: a couple in Paris meeting together under the trees with their bicycles, the Eiffel tower in the background.  Very Lynette.

for info on applique, I used this starch applique tutorial for applique for quilts
link on making the thread drawings

The saying in french means the joy of living, and to me that phrase kind of made me think of the little moments in life where everything seems just perfect.  Obviously if you were in Paris with your love, that would be a perfect day I think.
I liked the trees that go from applique to thread drawing, getting less and less detailed in the distance.  I quilted leaves in the tree tops, and just straight vertical lines on the applique trunks.

So a quick little demo on the little quilt top:
-turnover pack

-white fabric for strips
cut strips 2 1/2" wide, and the length of one side of the square: 5 1/2"

-light patterned fabric for sashing corners
cut squares 2 1/2"

**all seam allowances were 1/4" for this quilt

1. I sewed all the triangles together to make squares, just grabbing different colors to match them together.
I left 16 triangles unsewn for the edges.
So: 16 plain triangles, and 32 sewn squares.
2.. Lay out triangles in pattern below, rows with 3 squares, then a row with 4 squares, filling in the sides with plain triangles. 
NOTE: 2 of your plain triangles will be cut in half to make the 4 little corners

3. Sew the squares together with white strips, making diagonal rows {shown above}

4. Make the sashing strips with white strips and patterned squares. {shown above}  You'll make them for each row, adding a strip as you work to the center of the quilt.
Use the sashing to connect all your diagonal rows into the quilt top.  You'll need to trim off the patterned little squares that will end up sticking out the sides in the end.

From there I added my scene block and the borders.
The white border was cut 5" wide, and the sage border was cut 4" wide.
I backed the quilt with the sage green, which was a full sized flat sheet.
I used warm and natural for the batting and machine quilted it.
{remember that blue bench we made? I finally got the dark baskets for the shelves at Target}

This is where I stunk it up.  Machine quilting for me went crappy.  I was glad I used invisible thread, so my quilting was less conspicuous.  After the quilt was done, I talked to my mom about my issues, and have ideas to make the quilting better on the next quilt.
When I gave Lynette her birthday quilt, I told her it was the thought that counts in this gift, and not to look to close at the crappy quilt job.


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