Sunday, July 3, 2016

A focus friend

As I mentioned in my previous post, my daughter goes to a French Immersion school. The children are allowed what they call, fidget toys, to be used at certain times of the day, like when they have 'carpet time' and have to sit and listen. So I got the idea to make her one, as she loves playing with my fabrics. I found THIS great tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew site and they call it a focus friend. Perfect!

My daughter had so much fun picking out the different fabrics, beads, ribbons, lace, and zipper for it! For fabrics, we used some hand dyed velour scraps, silk, drapery fabrics, waffle weave, faux fur, and even fleece from two of her favorite toddler jammies. The grey elastic and buttons were from an old pair of her pants.

I sewed and filled each pocket with white pellets just like in the tutorial. I had used a piece of muslin for the backing and I didn't like the roughness of it. So I used Jenny's method, from MSQC, to make a backing and self-binding out of soft fleece. You can see the video for it HERE.  My machine struggled with the thickness of the fabrics, so the stitching didn't come out well, but my daughter is just happy to have it done!
The only real tricky part I had with it, was not striking the pellets with my needle, as I did the sewing. So next time, I might try piecing the whole top first, then sewing up like a pillow and then fill with the poly pellets.
It was a very fun project for us to do together and if it proves helpful for her in class, I'm sure we will make more.

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching!♥

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A teacher's gift

This past school year has been a year of change for my family, as my son started high school and my daughter started in a French Immersion school. It has been challenging for my daughter, as she is a year behind her classmates. The school is a grade one entry only, but they made an exception for my daughter and allowed her in at grade 2. Thanks to her wonderful teacher though, we feel it's been the best thing for her and she's getting a far better education than in our local English school.

So I wanted to make a little something to say thank you to this great teacher. I used the same tutorial as in my previous post, found on Moda Bake Shop HERE. This time, I used the same size strips as in the tutorial, whereas in the other one, they were cut a bit smaller, so I had used more. I used the fusible fleece to line the outer pieces and a light interfacing for the lining.

I just stitched in the ditch to quilt it this time and made a small square pocket on the lining.

For the zipper, I made end tabs again...I really like doing zippers this way! You can see, it's shorter than the lining and outer fabrics, so it makes it easy to sew up the sides, with less bulk.

And the finished bag...

I think these make great gifts as they are different than what you can buy in a store, and are fun to make. It's a great way to use up left over squares from a charm pack! I'm sure I'll be making more of these...but not for awhile. I'm going in for gallbladder surgery, so I don't expect to be sewing much in July.

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A few small, zippered bags

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to make a cosmetic bag. I was trying to use up the scraps I had left over from making the blue tote, and ended up doing some rather wonky piecing! I can't decide if I like it or not. But my 8 year old daughter decided she liked it and it would be great to hold her drawing things, which she takes everywhere we go.

For the inside, I made pockets and a divider.

 It's been great to have both our bags together, ready to grab and go out the door.

 I still needed a small bag for inside the tote, so I just did a simple bag, using up some old, favorite fabric on-hand.

For this one, I used fusible fleece, and really liked the outcome. It's soft, yet holds it's shape nicely.

This lead me to wanting to do some machine quilting, using the fusible fleece. I found THIS cute pouch on Moda Bake Shop which was perfect. I used charms from the Patisserie line by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda,  and quilted the seams with machine embroidery stitches.

To do this, I pieced the prints, fused them to the fleece, embroidered them, then added and fused on the bottom piece.

For the inside, I made two pockets for charge cards.

I did do the zipper differently than the tutorial, by adding tabs on the ends. I'm really happy with this one and already gave it away as a gift to a kind neighbour.

I have made another one, but I'll save it for the next post. There is something so satisfying about doing smaller projects! I'm sure I'll be making more of these in the future. It's such a great way to use up your scraps from other projects.

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A zippered, lined tote bag

I'm finally back to sewing a bit these days. I had some health issues, and let's just say, it's resulted in a complete change in my diet and surgery scheduled to have my gallbladder removed. Not fun, but I'm adjusting. Hence, there has been little time to sew, as it seems like all my time is being spent in the kitchen these days!

But awhile ago, I found THIS great video tutorial by Debbie Shore, on a zippered, lined tote bag. I decided to re-purpose an old shirt of my husbands', and a pair of my pants, for this...both were well worn and very soft.

This is how it turned out...

I'm really happy with it! It has lots of pockets and holds everything I need.
The other side,looks like this...

 I did the outer differently than the video, because I wanted to piece it, using my new serger. I've always wanted a serger to finish off seams, and it's so much fun and fast to use!
I used the technique found in THIS video tutorial, to do the piecing. I used up strips of batting left over from when I've trimmed down a quilt, prior to binding. The batting was not all the same, but it doesn't matter to me. I even zigzagged some pieces together to make the size I needed.

For the inside, I used a shirt pocket and made it a pocket, and did a zipper on a pocket. So I ended up with 4 pockets!

The inside of the bag is hard to take a pic of, but this is how it looks...

I also added loops to the lining sides, for my keys and phone to hook onto, and I want to make a detachable shoulder strap for it, that could hook on the loops.
This is with it holding everything I need; even books and toys for the kids! Considering it is from re-purposed clothes, old zippers and scraps of batting, I'm really happy with the outcome.
Now I just need to use up any leftover scraps, for a matching cosmetic bag.
Thanks for reading and dropping by! 
Happy stitching! :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

draw string bags

Finally I have something to post about! It seems like this entire month, one or more members of my family have been sick, including myself. Hence, not much sewing has been done. But I did just finish up these little bags for my daughter and her best friend.
I used a combination of methods found in two videos, HERE and HERE. I didn't box the bottom because my daughter liked it this way. It does keep the outside pockets, on either side, deep enough to hold a little treasure. We will be putting some goodies in the one to give to her friend.

I also made up some bookmarks for the girls. Here is one:

 You can find the video tutorial HERE on Crafty Gemini Creates. I just used regular elastic for mine, as that is what I had on-hand, and since my fabrics were rather thick, I didn't bother with an interfacing inside. But I think they came out fine. It's for the girls' school agendas, to help mark the week and find the date quickly while in class. I think it's a very simple and clever design, as it won't fall out of the book.
Thanks for dropping by and hopefully next month, I'll be able to post more often.
Happy stitching!

Friday, January 22, 2016

knitted dish cloths

After a long break, I finally picked up my knitting needles again. I've been so immersed in sewing, that I forgot how much I loved to knit. I don't do anything fancy..just things like hats and dishcloths. They are useful and easy to make. Here are my latest:

What motivated me to dig out my needles again, was the Creativity Challenge #2 that Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts is doing this year. For this past week, it was to:

Make your initial out of something.

At first, I was going to do it in needlework, but figured that would take too long. So then thought about knitting and a search of the web, turned up THIS wonderful page of free knitted monogram dishcloths. I'm sure I'll make more in the future for my family.

And it's not too late, if you want to jump in on the fun of this challenge. You can read all about it HERE on Shelly's blog. The supplies she recommended to have on-hand, I found that I had them already!

 The only thing I didn't have, was an adult coloring book. I was going to just use my daughters', but then found some beautiful one's in our local craft store.
Just look at this page!
I'll just have to do this one and frame and hang it in my sewing room!

So if you're up for a different kind of challenge this year, to spark your creativity, hop on over to Shelly's blog! I'm sure this will be a lot of fun!

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching, drawing, quilting, painting...whatever makes your heart sing!

Friday, January 15, 2016

pot holders

To go with the apron in my previous post, I made up some pot holders.
 Tutorial used: pretty little pot holder found at Nana Company
What I did differently: instead of the ruffle, I used rick rack.And I hand stitched the binding down on the back instead of by machine.
Where I goofed: the fabrics I used were too thick. Next time I'd be sure to choose lighter weight cottons. And the pieced front I'm not keen on, but I only had scraps to work with.
Will I make it again? Sure. It was a great pattern, clearly explained and easy to follow!

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching!

Friday, January 8, 2016

an apron

While folding fabric and trying to organize my sewing area, I found some fabrics of my mom's. She needs a new apron, so I decided to try to make her one.
I took an old apron and used that as a pattern. I had just enough fabric left to make a neck strap, but not enough for the waist straps. So I used some cotton belting for them. For the hem/edges, I used some old rayon seam binding that I had never tried before. THIS tutorial taught me how to use it. I really liked gave a nice, crisp and smooth finish to it. I'll certainly be using it some more to finish hems.
Here is a close-up of how the edges look on the back:
 What I would change when I make another?
-  make smaller pockets
- don't line the pockets

Overall though, I think it turned out okay. And I have my first finish done of the New Year on a Friday, which is what I'm going to aim for each week.

Thanks for dropping by and happy stitching!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Final Countdown Challenge - Task Three

The last challenge Shelly has for us, you can read about HERE on Prairie Moon Quilts. It is to:

Get out of your quilt box!

Learn a new technique.
This shouldn't be particularly hard to do, but just something I haven't done with any of my quilts yet...that is to tie them with yarn instead of machine quilting. I recently came across a large bag of polyester quilt batting that we had stored in the attic. I think it will be hard to use it in machine quilting as it's very puffy, but tying should be fine. It would be a great way to finish up some of my UFO's, so the quilts can be actually used and not in a box half done!

Use a different color palette than you usually do.
 I'll have to think on this one some more. I do have a few UFO's that are not my usual color choices, but I'll have to think about what new project/fabrics I could try.

Take the leap. Challenge yourself.
It's not quilting related, but it is sewing. I have the patterns and supplies to make Waldorf style dolls. I would dearly love to make them for my daughter before she's too old and not interested in them. They are made with wool stuffing, knit fabric, and wool yarn and are constructed in a particular way. So I'll challenge myself to just get them done this year!

Join in on something you haven't before.
I'm still researching this one. Maybe a block-a-month group or a quilt-along?

And just because I like posts to have pics, here is one of a beautiful bird that stopped by my yard awhile ago. We think it is a young Northern Goshawk,

Thanks for stopping by and happy stitching!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Final Countdown Challenge - Task Two

First of all, Happy New Year everyone!

This next task of Shelly's was a good one to do. Again, Shelly wrote a great post about it, that I'm sure to refer to often. You can find it HERE. The task is to:

Organize ALL our UFO's.

So I went through mine and they are now all stacked like this by my machine, to remind me to get them done!
I broke my list down, like Shelly mentioned that she does, into columns. I discovered that out of 23 total UFO's, 12 just need to be quilted and the remaining 11 projects are still in progress.
I went through each one, and I feel that I do want to complete them all. So what is holding me up, especially for the 12 projects that just need quilting and binding done?...
It's the quilting aspect and deciding what batting to use. And the backing...should it be cotton, flannel or fleece? I tend to ponder these questions too much, and then put it aside and move onto something else. It's time to change that.
So in the coming weeks, I'll aim to finish up those 12 UFO's that are almost done...maybe even post a finish each Friday? Now that would be great!

And Shelly also mentioned about having a wish list of things you'd like to make. This is a great idea!
Since I've got enough quilts on the go, I'd really like to make more things for my daughter while she's young. They include Oliver & S dresses and Waldorf dolls.

So here's to hoping for a productive sewing year! I'm really looking forward to it. Hope you all are too!
Happy Stitching in 2016!