Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1st Sewing Project

So, this post is an example of the typical life of the middle child. I wasn't the middle child, but I'm sure this is what my sister experienced. If anyone out there can help me make my middle child's life not so middle-like, please let me know!
Last Christmas, she really wanted a sewing machine. A real one. Not just a child-size plastic one. I didn't want her to get the plastic one, knowing it would be a disappointment. But I disappointed her anyway, and convinced her that she should learn how to sew first and see if it's something she wants badly enough to use her whole Christmas wish list on. She reluctantly understood.
So, as a compromise, she got a gift card to Hobby Lobby and a promise from me to help her with her first sewing project. And now, 6 months later, here it is. That's the middle-child issue. It took me 6 months to finally sit down with her and do this. Sorry, sweetie.
She chose to make a tote bag from these bold prints in duck cloth. Not an easy fabric, but it will be durable. We looked at several free idea sheets, and settled on a rectangular shape with 2 handles and a tie around the body, through belt loops. Nothing too advanced, but cute.
I'm so proud of her. And of my self. I held myself back and let her do the sewing herself! Well, 90% of it. Just wanted to keep her from too much grief on the most challenging parts.
Gotta say, she did and awesome job, despite my inherent need to take control!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pattern for T-shirt Dress Trim

Thought I'd share the pattern for the pineapple motif trim on my t-shirt dress in the last post.  I found this pattern from Crochetology.net.  I loved the look of the motif in the sweater shown.  The pattern simply came from a book displayed on the site.  


I used the first 10 rows of the pattern.  And, for the halter strap, I used the first three rows followed by a row of single crochet.  This trim would add a touch of romance to a pillow, or other accessory.  I'm not sure what yarn or hook the original pattern called for.  I used Aunt Lydia'a Crochet Thread #10 and a C2/2.75mm hook.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

T-shirt Remake: Dress with Crochet Trim

Here is the crochet trim you saw last week.  After making this dress from an extra large tall man's t-shirt (Goodwill), I decided it needed something more.  This trim gives the dress a more feminine touch.
Making the dress was pretty easy.  This tutorial from Sweet Verbena gives you step-by-step instructions.  I photographed my process of making this dress, but made so many mistakes, I'd rather direct you to a better tutorial and add my finishing touches.
A few differences:
  1. Using a tall size shirt allowed for a bit longer hemline, since I will be wearing it and I'm not quite young enough for the shorter dresses (unlike my model above, who can wear anything!).
  2. I also tried on the t-shirt to find how long I wanted it to be, measuring my top cut down from the top of the shirt the appropriate number of inches.  And to determine how full I wanted the skirt (the fuller the better for me).
  3. I attached elastic below the bust to give it some shape without a belt. (see A)
  4. And, I attached a crochet trim around the top and for a halter-type strap. (see B)

To attach the elastic below the bust, measure the elastic around you as you wear it and place it where you want it sewn.  Pin it to the wrong side all the way around, making sure the folds of the dress fall evenly between your pins. Oh, and pin it evenly, (not like mine which dips a little low on my left side) When you sew, you can use a straight stitch if you stretch the elastic to match the width of the dress as you sew.   
The easiest way to attach the crochet trim is to pin it to the top edge of the dress and sew it before inserting the elastic.  Then, after trying the dress on, you can pin the halter strap and sew it.  Be aware, it will stretch when you wear it.  I wanted mine to actually hold the dress up enough that it wouldn't slip down as I sit and stand in it.  So, I sewed it pretty tight, and must be cautious when I put it on and take it off.

That's it!  Now, the trim I used was crocheted specifically for this dress, but you could substitute with a ruffle made from available fabric, like scraps from this dress or another t-shirt.  That would be very cute!  I also thought of using purchased lace.  But, I chose this trim because I've been wanting to try my hand at making some.
I found a pattern for it from Crochetology.net.  It's my first attempt at using a chart for crochet, but after a bit of research (including the Japanese terms), I did it!  I simply measured my beginning chain stitch to fit the width of the dress where it was to be attached, then adjusted for the number of stiches needed for the pattern's repeat (which is nicely labled, 16).  I crocheted from row 1 to row 10 (and apparently used it upside-down).  The halter strap is the first three rows of the pattern (including the beginning chain) again, followed by two rows of single crochet.

       From this . . .                  to this . . .                  to this!

This project was my first sewing project in a long time, and I am quite proud.  Now, to get rid of my farmer's tan so I can wear it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father's Day Gift Idea

                             Fiskars' Cozy                        My Koozie

So, I found this idea on Pinterest to make a koozie for my husband for Father's Day out of outgrown jeans.  So cute!  And so easy!  Or so I thought.  Well, it would probably be pretty easy for anyone with a good amount of sewing experience - Not Me!  But, I tried.  So, my inspiration came from Fiskars' Dad's Drink Cozy.
I'm not sure why mine was so hard, except I know this:
  1. I don't have the fancy Fiskars tools.
  2. I think the jeans I used were a larger size.
  3. I tried to use the front panel instead of measuring from the zipper around to the back.
  4. And, probably most important, I set out to do it different from the instructions, and it didn't work!
So, here is my story, just to show you why it would be better to follow Fiskers' model.
I started with a beer bottle (cause my husband rarely drinks cans of pop, mostly a glass of tea or a bottle of beer), and the jeans.
I cut the jeans so I could center the zipper and thought I'd just fold the extra on the bottom under the bottle and tack it down.
Pinned up the back and sewed it.
Then realized it wouldn't work to fold the bottom under and sew.  So, I cut the circle the pattern described.
Pinned it to the right side of the outer piece.
And, sewed it.  Only to realize it was way too tall.  Nearly came up to the rim.  Why?  Because I forgot to trim the outer piece down when I decided not to fold under the bottom edge. 

At this point, I should have ripped out the seam, shortened the outer piece, re-cut the circle, and then sewn it again.  No, I tried to skip ripping out the seam, and proceeded to struggle through sewing it with all of the extra fabric.  DON'T DO THAT!
So, here is the finished koozie.  Notice the "ring" of fabric that was trimmed away after I finally finished sewing.  By the way, I couldn't have done it without the handy little clippers in the picture.  Which, I have a feeling Fiskars makes, too.
I tucked a cute little bottle opener in the pocket.  Sure hope he enjoys it, for like FOREVER!  :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

My favorite baby blanket

So, I think it appropriate to have the first project posted be crochet. I came across the pattern for this blanket about 8 years ago and since then have made several versions. This baby blanket was first given to my son as a gift by one of my dear friends, Kristy Werner. My college roommate and one of my biggest supporters, she lives about 80 miles away with her beautiful family. Interestingly, she has made several versions of this blanket since then, also. I was thrilled when I visited her at her craft fair booth a few years ago where she proudly displayed some along with her homemade candles. Thank you, Kristy, for this inspiration. Take a look at Kristy's blog about her life on the farm.

What I love about it is how absolutely easy it is. Once you get through a few rows, you can lose the pattern and enjoy. Plus, there are so many colorways you can come up with. Here are a few I have done.

The purple stripes is finished.  The pink and brown stripes needs the ends weaved in (my LEAST favorite part of any project) which I have so cleverly hidden, and a start of green and yellow stripes that may or may not get finished.  That depends on whether I can finish all of the other projects I have in mind!  These are available if you need a cute baby gift.

Some versions that I no longer have to take pictures of are shades of blue and shades of pink. I also like to make it using the colors chosen by the mom-to-be.  The pattern is available from Leisure Arts in the Beginners Guide, Ripples For Baby pamphlet. I would love to give you the pattern here, but alas it's not mine to give. Share with us what colors you might try. Keep in mind the color pattern is A B C B, repeat, ending with A. And, I tend to make mine a little bigger than the pattern so it can be used into toddler hood (although my 8 year old still enjoyed his).

Coming soon, my next project. 
What do you think this will be?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Here we go . . .

Welcome! As my introductory post, I'll give you a sneak peek into my head (watch out for cobwebs) and what I have planned for this blog. I definitely have specific ideas for what this blog will be, but, beware, I will change my mind, and then change my other mind, again, and again. Just so you are prepared.

What inspired me to start this is all of the super cool DIY ideas I have found through Pinterest. Yes, in know how corny that sounds. But it really opened my world to all of the awesome websites and blogs out there and the vast amount of incredible ideas being shared. If you are like me, you are a bit overwhelmed at times. So, why would I want to make another blog to "compete" with all of the rest? Well, not so much to compete as to express my own ideas and give my creations a purpose. Yes, a purpose. Most of what you will see here will be crafts. Some will be for my own or my family's enjoyment. But, sometimes I need to make something for the pure joy of creating it and I have no purpose for it afterward. So, then I plan to post it for sale, and this blog gives me a venue to do that.

Ok, so what will you find here? I love all kinds of crafts, and you will see that. But, the one hobby I have stuck with for the past *ahem* 30 years, is crochet. So, expect to see a lot of crochet projects. A combination of my own designs and creations from patterns, along with some of the wonderful works I find out there to share with you. You will see some sewing since I have been dabbling with that recently. And, I already have plans to recreate things from Pinterest like refinishing some furniture pieces, holiday gift ideas, home decor, recipes, and crafts for kids (some for at home and some for teachers, since I work as a pre-k assistant for my "real" job) and who knows what else. I'm sure my husband is thrilled that this how I will be spending my summer and then weekends during the school year!

Which leads me to another subject you see me comment on, family life. With a loving husband, three beautiful kids, two adorable dogs, and a bird (who is more annyoying than loveable), there is plenty going on around here. And, I know I won't be able to resist sharing it with you.

So, that in a nutshell is my plan. . . for now Hope you enjoy. Please contact me anytime with your thoughts and ideas. I'd also love it, if you want to contribute to this blog. The more the merrier. So sit back and relax, and here we go . .