Friday, May 30, 2014

Making Bunny Peeps

Morning friends! Pockets here.

I bet you didn't know that Buttons is OBSESSED with Peeps.  She doesn’t really care to eat them but she collects them in all other forms: plush, egg cups, cups, etc.  For Easter she got a bunch of medium sized plush bunnies and chicks in various colors but wasn’t able to get a complete set despite three of us (Buttons, mom, and I) looking in stores in our respective parts of town.  

Anyway I was trying to get out of cleaning my house and suddenly decided to attempt to make one since I have a TON of leftover batting from a quilt I also finished today.  

First I tried to draw a pattern.  I did print one but it turned out to be like 2 inches by 2 inches.  I wanted something bigger than that but got too lazy to try to print out more.  So I drew it freehand and cut it out..

Once that was done I just traced it onto the fabric.  It was small enough that I felt I could manage without pinning it down.

I folded the fabric so that I got two when I was finished cutting.

Putting the right side to right side, I sewed around the whole thing, almost.  I left about 2 inches at the bottom so I could flip the thing right side out and also stuff it.  I had a tricky time with it because I made the opening so small.  My hands are freakisly tiny so it did work but I would recommend leaving a larger opening.  I will next time.

I used the green colored pencil to help me flip it out and also to get the stuffing in.

Once it was stuffed I just pinched the opening closed, trying my best to get a tiny fold so the seam looked similar to the rest of the peep.  Yeah, that ended up not working out so great.  Maybe pinning would work better next time even though it’s such a tiny hole.  

The shape was definitely distorted by the sewing.  I think next time I’ll add a larger seam allowance, that might help it keep the adorable peep shape that the pattern had.  I had intended to add eyes but I think they would get lost in the pattern.  Version 2.0 might have some since it’s my intention to use solid colors for those (7 colors to be exact *wink*).

So there you have it.  Wonky peep.  :D  Hopefully Buttons won’t be too embarrassed by this one to add it to her growing collection.  


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hogwarts House Bows!

Hello there!!  Pockets here with a very important question!


It is AWESOME!  The only thing that makes me a tiny bit sad is that even if I was a witch, I'm an American one so I wouldn't be going to Hogwarts.  :(  What would the American schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry be like?  Would they have similar Houses?  More?  Less?  None at all?  Now that I think of it, did Beauxbatons or Durmstrang have Houses?

Anyway, back to the important question.  I recently signed up for Pottermore and got my wand and was sorted.  I've always fancied myself a Ravenclaw since I retain knowledge pretty easily and LOVE to read; but I've never been one to apply myself or even been able to really care about furthering my education.

I took the Sorting quiz very seriously and was very disappointed to not be in Ravenclaw but am now absolutely thrilled and think it's perfect that I was put in Hufflepuff!!

Yes!  Potato! 

Anyway, since I immediately made Buttons sign up and be sorted, (Ravenclaw for her, the aspiring math teacher) I have been obsessed with all things Hufflepuff. So as a quick project we decided to make little felt bow barrettes.

One sheet of felt in both colors
Hot glue gun
Alligator clips

Start by cutting two rectangles out of your main color. I think we did our about 4 or 5 inches long and maybe 2 inches wide. You will also need two much smaller rectangles to go around the middle of the bow.

Take the large rectangle and pinch the middle of the bow to make a pleated look.

Gluing the pleat in place makes the next step easier.  Once the pleat is secured wrap the smaller rectangle around the middle and glue that in place.  We forgot to take pictures of this step.  These were so quick to make that we let a few steps slip.  :/

Once your smaller rectangle is in place glue the bow to a barrette.

Ta da!!  All done!  Miss Buttons sporting her very stylish Ravenclaw barrette.

We also did large ones on alligator clips.  The procedure is exactly the same just bigger.  We also wanted a bit of a different look so we added a stripe down the middle.  

NOTE:  For these when you are gluing to an alligator clip it has to be open or you will glue it shut.  I almost did this but luckily Buttons is a pro.

And there you have it.  Hogwarts House bows!  I've been wearing mine every day since.  :D  Now I just gotta get some other cool Hufflepuff swag.

So what houses did you guys end up in?  Any other Houses represented in bow form yet?


Tutorial: Turn an ugly shirt into a cover-up

I needed a white cover-up for work today, and don't have any on hand that would have worked with my outfit.  But, I do have a plethora of old and forgotten shirts hanging out in my closet.  I found an ugly white one and transformed it into something that would work.

An ugly shirt
Sewing machine

So, this is what I started out with:

(Actually, it's not that ugly of a shirt.  I just really didn't like the buttons, and the fancy fabric behind the buttons.)

Cut from the top of the shirt to the bottom on either side of the buttons.  If your shirt doesn't have anything decorative on the front, just cut one line right down the middle.

(That background fabric is nice on its own, just not on this shirt.)

After removing the middle, your shirt should look like this:


Take one side and fold the rough hem in 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  Iron it flat.


Fold that hem under and iron again. This will give you a nice, clean edge.


Sew the hem.  I used a decorative stitch that looks like leaves just for the hell of it.  You can also use just a plain old straight stitch.


Repeat the folding, ironing, and sewing on the other side.  And you're done!


Not the prettiest thing, but it kept me warm at work today.  And it took me all of about 20 minutes.  Super easy project!  I might add a decorative button around the middle to hold it closed if I needed.  But, maybe not.  We'll see how I feel about it tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tutorial: How to make a fairy skirt

I saw this tutorial on how to make a square skirt for children.  But why should kids have all the cute clothes?  So I decided to make one for myself.  It looks like a fairy skirt to me, so that's what I'm calling it.  :D

Fabric--I had about a yard, and the skirt turned out kinda short.  I would prefer it longer, so next time I'll use more material
Sewing maching
Measuring tape


I bought this fabric just because I liked the color.  The plaid lines made it ideal for this project too.  So, I put it on the floor and measured the width I had.  It was 34" wide, so I cut it so it would be 34" long as well.


I cut out two squares.


Pockets made a pattern for me for a circle skirt (which was what I had planned on doing, but the green and teal material she gave me was too short, and this material would have looked weird as a circle).  So I folded both squares so that I could cut a hole in the MIDDLE using the top of the pattern.  If you don't have a pattern, you can follow these guidelines for figuring out the dimensions of your inner circle:
"Measure your waist

Add two inches to that number. You need these extra two inches so the fabric has “give” and will actually “stretch” when it’s sewn on to the elastic. It will create a very subtle gather to the skirt but will make it easier to get the skirt on and off. This will make more sense as you sew.

Take your “waist + 2 inches” measurement and divide it by 6.28, and you have the radius!"


And this is what it looks like with the middle gone.  You can see the edges are still perfectly square.


And laying flat, it should look like this.


For the elastic band--the directions I followed said to measure your waist and add 1 inch.  Then sew the two edges of the elastic together with a 1 inch allowance.  For me, this led to a pretty large waistband.  Next time I think I will subtract an inch, or just leave the extra inch off.


The size of the elastic and the hole in the skirt should be roughly even.


Next, pin the elastic to both layers of the skirt; you'll want the skirts lined up so that they are at 45 degree angles from each other.  I pinned it inside to inside, so that when flipped over, the raw edge would be on the inside of the skirt.


Once it's all pinned, sew the elastic to the fabric.  If the fabric is longer, stretch the elastic as your sewing.  If the elastic is longer, you'll need to trim off the excess elastic.


And you're all done!  I left the hem edges raw because of the gauze material I used.  If I had made this out of cotton, I would have hemmed the sides of both layers 5/8".

This was super easy to make, and so cute when finished.  It probably took me about 45 minutes total to finish this project.  And look how adorable!  I think I can be a Sugar Plum fairy for Halloween.  *ggls*





Baby/Toddler Pinafore

Hiya!  Pockets here.

I just recently bought a new sewing machine.  The hand-me-down one that Buttons gave me finally wasn't worth the frustration anymore.  So I went and purchased a Singer Patchwork.  Since then I've been sewing A LOT.  Much more than I normally do.  I also recently sewed my first dress.  I loved making it so much that I think it prompted my purchase of a better machine.

Anyway, I've been sewing a lot but I don't have the attention span at the moment to work on any large projects like another dress.  My easy solution?  Baby clothes.  They're so tiny that they take hardly any time to put together.  My first attempt was a pinafore that I saw on Pinterest that I just absolutely fell in love with!  The pattern and instructions are found here, on a blog I've been obsessed with since called Smashed Peas and Carrots.

I printed the pattern and traced it onto parchment paper so I didn't have to worry about keeping printer paper taped together.    I laid out the pattern and pinned it to my fabric.

I pinned, cut, and sewed before moving on to fabric number two.  It's just a necessary evil for me to break up a bit of the monotony.  

Once your fabric is cut out you'll end up with three pieces.  The front of the pinafore is cut on the fold and two side arm pieces.

Take one arm piece and, right side to right side, sew the arm to the front of the pinafore.  I used a 3/8 in seam because I hate huge seams.  Also I don't have a serger as of yet and she recommended that you serge the remaining hem.  So the smaller the better in my opinion.

Repeat with other arm.  At this point I went back to fabric number two and pinned and cut the pattern and sewed the arms to the front.  And then you end up with two wonky shaped pieces.

Going right side to right side again, pin and sew the wonky pieces together. This time I used a 1/4 in seam. NOTE!  Make sure you leave a few inches somewhere along the seam unsewn so that you can flip the pinafore right side out.  When in doubt go a bit larger, I've got freak baby hands and have run into issues trying to flip it through a tiny middle hole.  I always do the very bottom middle of the pattern.  I also put more pins in at a different angle just in case I forget.  Can you see my three yellow pins down there??  Should have taken a better close up, sorry.
Once sewn, turn this bad boy right side out.  I've seen a lot of people do this with help from a chopstick, for the front bumps and arm straps.  I didn't have any chopsticks around so I just very carefully used the handle of a spoon.  

Another side note: if possible set your machine to have the needle end in the down position.  I found that this helped tremendously when pivioting around the bumps and curves of the straps, the needle keeps your fabric in the exact right spot when you move it.  Buttons' machine doesn't have this option but I did notice that she would just crank the hand wheel forward so the needle was down before she pivoted.

Almost done!

All that's left is the buttons and button holes. I'm extremely new to this newfangled button business. So I think I'll have to save a more detailed explanation for when I actually know what I'm doing. For this pinafore I just use the button hole stitch on my sewing machine. 

My button was actually too large for my button hole foot so I was forced to do it with the manual stitch. To do this I just marked in chalk where I wanted the hole to be and made it slightly longer than my button.  Like I said, I don't actually know how to use the button foot yet so I actually found this easier because it was way less complicated to me. Unfortunately not every machine has the stitches for doing them manually.

After I had my buttonholes sewn where I wanted them I stitched on the buttons. I was having technical difficulties with my machine at this point and had to sew these on by hand.  I'll have to do a better button/button hole tutorial in the future.

And that's it!  I promptly mailed this to my friend Bird and CAN NOT WAIT to see how her beautiful five month old looks in it.  Hopefully she'll shoot some photos my way that I can post.  

Anyone else tried this pattern??  Isn't it amazing?  


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tutorial: How to make a shirt larger

I work at an elementary school in a classroom for Autistic children.  It's called a SPICE class (Social, Pragmatics, Independence, Communication, and Emotional Regulation).  For Autism Awareness Month--which is April--we bought custom shirts with the line, "Keep Calm and SPICE On."


Very cute.  However, once we got our shirts, the sizes were much smaller than we thought.  I got a large, and I usually take an adult medium.  And it was still too small!

So, after looking through so many tutorials on Pinterest, I decided to try this one.  Essentially, what you do, is add two rectangle pieces of fabric under the arm and straight down to the waist.

So, what I did was find a complimenting fabric (which was lucky, because we only got the shirts yesterday, and I didn't want to run out and buy more).  I chose a blue flower to match with the blue on the shirt.


I cut two 3inch long rectangles.  I cut the length as long as the shirt is from the bottom lip of the arm sleeve, to the very bottom hem of the waist.  I actually cut it too small and had to sew on just another inch at the bottom. What a pain!

With the shirt inside out, you cut along the seam on both sides, going all the way through the arm sleeve.  If you cut both sides at once, it would cut the shirt completely in half.  That scared me, so I only did one side at a time.  With the seam cut, pin your rectangle fabric to the shirt fabric (right side to right side).  Sew a straight seam.


Repeat on the other side to finish one half of the shirt.  Then, cut the shirt on the opposite side, from the sleeve to the waist.  Sew in the other rectangle of fabric.


And here's what it looks like!


I am a dummy and didn't realize I didn't have black thread (who doesn't have black thread?!?).  So, I had to use blue.  Because of this, I had to go over the black seam of the waist and the sleeves just to get it to match.  It added a bit of decorative flair, so I didn't mind.


You can also see here that I folded the remain of the rectangle and hemmed it like the rest of the shirt.


This is a close up of the sleeve.  I didn't have enough fabric to hem the sleeve in the same way as the waist.  I didn't mind since it was the underside of the arm and no one would notice.

And here's the "decorative" stitch up close.

And the final product:


It fit much, much better!  And everyone at work just loved how it looked!

Overall, this was a very easy project.  It took me about 45-60 minutes (and some of that was just doing the decorative stitching which wouldn't have been necessary if I'd been more prepared).  I wish I had a better contrast fabric, but for pulling it off in less than 12 hours, I'm pleased with the outcome!