Tuesday, November 6, 2012

McKenzie Giraffe Coat

Late this summer we happened upon an amazingly soft giraffe print faux fur at our local Hancock Fabrics. My older daughter had a giraffe obsession for months already at that point, so a giraffe costume seemed like a safe costume. I really didn't want to do the typical jumpsuit-and-hood-type costume that would only be worn once or twice, so I decided a dressy coat would be perfect for Halloween and beyond. But then came the problem of finding a suitable coat pattern! I considered several different patterns, and even made a muslin of one when I came across BariJ's new McKenzie Coat! I knew instantly it was perfect!

It wasn't set to release until October 29, but sweet Bari sent me an advanced copy!

I made the long sleeved version so it is really wearable throughout the winter. It is fully lined in the same chocolate satin I used for the sleeve ruffles. Rather than using a contrasting fabric for the pockets, I used the same fur. I added in satin piping to the tops of the pockets to give them a little more definition, since they blend right in. 

Another minor deviation from the pattern instructions is the large pair of hooks and eyes I used instead of buttons and buttonholes. 

Faux fur and satin aren't my favorite to sew with, but I think the coat turned out really well! It is extra snuggly and cozy too! 

And best of all, she loves it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pinterest-inspired Paint Chip Calendar

Today I knocked off one of the projects on my must-make Pinterest list! This is my twist on a combination of the paint chip calendar and a DIY dry erase board. 

To start, I picked up an assortment of pretty paint chips, an inexpensive poster board frame (18"x24"), and a can of spray paint for plastic. When I was standing in front of the paint chips, it occurred to me I should use my very favorite fabric design in the background and picked paint chips accordingly. The frame I bought was black plastic, so I picked up a dark brown spray paint. 

I didn't take pictures of the frame painting process, but it was quick and easy. Just take out the plexiglass, lay the frame out on cardboard headed for the recycle bin, and spray away!

The paint chips were an odd 3 1/4"x5" so I cut them in half, then trimmed 1/2" off the width so they fit my frame better. I liked that the color names showed, so I left them but you could trim the text off. I used some of the scrap as the days of the week labels. The photo below is when I was playing with placement, but before I trimmed the 1/2" off the sides. I trimmed the pieces down to 2 1/2" x 2 5/8".

I considered several different ways to attach my fabric and decided on using Heat & Bond fusible adhesive to both attach the fabric to the cardboard frame backing and the paint chips to the fabric. I like how well the Heat & Bond worked for attaching the fabric, but knowing what I do now, I wouldn't use it again for the paint chips. The text on couple of the chips smeared a bit and one of them seemed to leave a bit of paint on my iron which transferred to another paint chip. Happily it's not noticeable once the whole thing is assembled! Here is my finished calendar with a few of this month's activities added to it with dry erase markers. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Little Things To Sew: Explorer Vest

The March project for the Little Things To Sew-Along (LTTSA) at a little grey is either the Explorer Vest or the Red Riding Hood. I still do owe my older daughter a cape, and maybe I'll get it done if my machine cooperates, but I was determined to make the Explorer Vest for my little guy's 4th birthday!

My sewing machine has been misbehaving for most of 2012 it seems, and trips for repair seem to have it coming back even worse! I'll take it back in soon, but somehow it sews just fine on multiple layers of heavy fabric still. So, I took advantage of that and whipped up and Explorer Vest!

I was a bit nervous about the pocket bellows, but I really wanted them. There was nothing to be afraid of! It was so simple I felt silly for not trying it earlier!

I used a lightweight canvas for the outside and a fun construction truck print, Michael Miller Tot Town Dig It, for the inside. Kona solid for the bias tape around the armholes. The buttons are just decorative. I sewed Velcro squares on so it would be easier for my little guy to put on.

My little guy agreed to wear it only briefly, but I think it's really cute on him!

We made a deal that he'd wear it and sit for a photo if he could take a picture with my big camera. I love how the vest makes him look like a tiny photographer!

Head over to a little grey and see all the projects linked up from the sew along! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little Things to Sew: No-Tie Scarf

I've had a hard time getting around to posting about projects lately, so I'll be doing some catching up over the next days/weeks. The most recent project finished is a sweet little No-Tie Scarf from Oliver+S Little Things to Sew. 

The print side is Dena Designs McKenzie (also seen in her very purple Ice Cream Dress) and the strips are assorted purples from my stash -- there's another McKenzie print also in the dress, a ladybug print from Mo Bedell's Party Dress line I used originally in a Music Class shirt, the daisy print from Central Park that I used to bind my Suduko quilt, a dotty print I used for one side of her hooded cape, and a few other random fabrics. The reverse side of the scarf is a sweet pink felted wool from a thrift store sweater. I had to piece it together a bit, but it is super soft.

This scarf is especially for my purple-loving little girl. She hasn't been feeling well for a long while, and is often cold. As soon as I showed it to her she put it on, and hasn't taken it off. She even slept with it (but I made her unloop it). She wanted me to take a picture of her wearing it even though she's battling pneumonia, round 2.

Last month the sew-along over at A Little Grey was the cute play town, but the scarf was calling to be made instead. Head over there and peek at all the other great Little Things To Sew that have been made recently!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle ~ my choice

There's a fun contest going on at Quokka's Quilts right now and I couldn't resist joining in! Fat Quarter Shop has specially selected fat quarter bundles that have been chosen by various designers and bloggers. The winner of this contest will get a bundle up for sale at Fat Quarter Shop this year AND wins 1/2 yard of each of the fabrics included in the bundle they created!

As the base of my blogger's choice bundle I had to choose some prints from the new Urban Cowgirl collection by Urban Chiks - I just have to get my hands on it! And once I started looking around, I found that Butterscotch & Roses by Fig Tree Quilts and Curio by Basic Grey also coordinate beautifully! I love the browns in Blueberry Crumb Cake by Blackbird Designs too!

From left to right, top to bottom:
1. Blueberry Crumb Cake Cake Bouquet - Blackbird Designs
2. Urban Cowgirl Turquoise Bandana - Urban Chiks
3. Urban Cowgirl Turquoise Pony Ride - Urban Chiks
4. Urban Cowgirl Pond Cowboy Shirt - Urban Chiks
5. Urban Cowgirl Mud Jolie Yardage - Urban Chiks
6. Curio Asparagus Camellia Yardage - Basic Grey
7. Curio Butternut Victoria Yardage - Basic Grey
8. Butterscotch & Roses Fresh Tarragon Acorn Mosaic - Fig Tree Quilts
9. Urban Cowgirl Rose Cowboy Shirt - Urban Chiks
10. Butterscotch & Roses Frosting Rose Queen Anne's Lace - Fig Tree Quilts
11. Urban Cowgirl Mud Lace - Urban Chiks
12. Urban Cowgirl Cotton Lucky - Urban Chiks
13. Bella Solids Willow (#119)
14. Bella Solids Stone (#128)
15. Bella Solids Together Tan (#179)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Windy Days Quilt Feature!

I'm excited to share that my Windy Days pattern is being featured on Pink Chalk Studio's Countdown to Christmas today!

In case you are hopping over from Pink Chalk Studios or Moda Bake Shop, I wanted to point out these additional instructions in case you are using yardage for the background rather than 2 solid charm packs.

If you are looking for a little inspiration, head over to flickr to see some of the other Windy Days quilts that have been made! Such a variety! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Things to Sew: Red Riding Hood

The adorable Red Riding Hood cape is a pattern in Liesl Gibson's Little Things to Sew book! It's on the schedule for a little gray's sew along in March, but I couldn't wait!

The plaid is a cotton flannel, in her favorite purple of course!

The lining is a purple dotty quilting cotton.  I added a button on the lining side too so the cape is reversible!

Another cape is on my to do list!

Little Things to Sew: Bias Trimmed Apron

October's Little Things To Sew-Along project was the super-cute Bias Trimmed Apron! 

I found this cute cupcake-printed canvas and knew it was just perfect for my little M! She LOVES cupcakes and I used the same purple swiss dot fabric I used on her hooded cape (still need to post about it!) for the bias trim. My bias tape machine came in so handy! :) 

If you haven't picked up Liesl Gibson's Oliver + S Little Things To Sew book yet, do it now! Back in April when I first got my copy, the Bias Trimmed Apron was my project! Here it is. :)

Be sure to head over to the Little Things to Sew-Along link-up post at a little gray and see all the other cute aprons! November's project is the Puppet Theater! It's going to be my big Christmas surprise to my kiddos. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Homemade Spray Starch

I don't typically use starch when sewing or ironing, but when making a shirt with homespun plaid it became very evident I needed some! I'd seem homemade spray starch recipes before, so instead of running to the store, I just whipped some up at home! The extra benefit to making my own (besides the cost savings) is that I was able to use a starch safe for my allergic little guy. :)

This is the recipe I used:

* 1 cups water
* 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (you can use corn starch instead)

Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the starch completely. Let cool and transfer to a spray bottle.

Shake your bottle before use, spray generously on fabric and press with a hot, dry iron.

It created such a stiff fabric and made placket and sleeve cuff insertion so much easier! I've seen recipes say to only keep this for a couple days, then make a new batch, because it may go rancid. I haven't needed to use it again much since I mixed it up about a month ago, but did check mine and it seemed absolutely fine. I probably will go ahead and mix up a new batch just before a project requiring a lot of starch, just to be careful.

Orange Plaid Sketchbook Shirt

I had always planned to make my little guy a few more Oliver + S Sketchbook shirts for the cooler weather, but when I happened upon this lovely orange homespun plaid, I knew I'd found the perfect fabric! He ADORES orange and I can't resist a nice plaid, so it was a perfect match.  

The homespun is so very soft! But that also means it ravels a lot! The Oliver + S patterns hide most the seams, and I always do French seams wherever possible, but that leaves the edges around the sleeve seams raw. I usually just do an overcast stitch there, and the fabric doesn't fray much in the wash, but this time around I wanted to make sure everything was really covered. I made a narrow bias tape (finished to 1/4"), trimmed the sleeve seams by just about 1/8" after stitching (to removed fraying and threads), then applied the tape. I love the result!

I'm happy to say he LOVES his extra special orange shirt! As you can see, it's perfect for doing a little victory dance….

Or just standing around looking cool!