Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Top

The Bug needed something to go with her cute little Christmas skirt and I wasn't digging the look of the sweater that I'd intended for her to wear with it.

Enter this little Christmas procrastination project.

I'd seen the tutorial for this peasant blouse on blueprints a while back but honestly, I passed it up because the fabric she used just wasn't my thing. Yes, I am that superficial.

But then I saw these dresses made from the aforementioned tutorial and quickly saw the error of my ways. Bam! Wouldn't you know it, this shirt idea worked it's way into my brain and I couldn't stop until it was done.

The Bug hates it.
But I'm getting used to that.
She will wear it anyway. Because I'm the Mom and I said so.

I did all of the stitching in red to make it extra Christmas-y. And, to be honest, because I didn't want to spend the extra two minutes it would have taken to wind a bobbin with green thread. But it works, right? (Please tell me it works)

The inspiration for the ornament applique came from the girls at crafterhours (gotta love the name of that blog!). I like that she embroidered the ornament tops and string but I just didn't have that kind of time so I simply stitched a red line from each ornament to the top of the shirt.

I like it. I will most definitely be using this tutorial again with a few tweaks. I have visions of dresses made of some of the vintage fabrics from my grandma's stash. But those will have to wait. There are two more Christmas presents for two special little boys yet to be made and a baby quilt that still needs some quilting. . .

I'd best get busy.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Gift 4: Drum Stick bag for Dad

The last but not least homemade family Christmas gift for my side of the family was a drum stick bag for my Dad. I went back and forth on whether or not to make it like the bags I saw for sale on-line or to go with more of a roll like people make for crayons or crochet hooks.

In the end, I just couldn't wrap my brain around how to make a traditional drum stick bag from the materials I had on hand in the time that I had available to me so I went the route of making a big roll out of some heavy weight white canvas I had.

I didn't manage to get any close up photos, but I did all of the stitching in red just to add some color and visual interest.

The best part of this project was that the large rectangle of blank white canvas on the back made a perfect place for the Bug to create a unique work of art for her Paw Paw. I had envisioned primary colored handprints all over (almost as if she were drumming) but my sweet, opinionated little fire cracker had her own vision. After the first yellow handprint she freaked out about the paint on her hand and refused to do any more until her hand was clean and we broke out the brushes.

So there you have it. A one of a kind gift any rockin' grandpa would treasure!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Gift 3: Purse for Michelle

Over Thanksgiving, my sister and I went through boxes and boxes of vintage fabric from my grandma's attic. Jackpot!! What a gift!

It was almost all amazing. Even so, Michelle and I really only argued over one piece. She was kind enough to relent her claim on it and let me take it home. So, I thought I'd make her a purse out of it for Christmas!

See why we fought over it? Isn't it cute?

This pattern is the Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae. I did my pleating a little differently, left off the buttons and free styled the pattern a bit but it is essentially the Buttercup.

It is so cute! A little on the smaller side, it's great for an evening out or just a quick run to the store.

When I cut the bag out the first time I realized the fabric I had cut had a bit of age spotting on it so I had to cut another. The first one was still nice, just not perfect, so I whipped up the slightly spotted one quickly and used it as a White Elephant gift last Sunday. I'm pleased to say, spots and all, it was the hit of the party!

This is a super easy pattern and I'm looking forward to making more purses from it. Who knows, I may even bite the bullet and buy the rights to sell them! What do you think?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Gift 2: Purse for Mom

Forgive the terrible lighting and staging in these photos please. I work primarily at night when the Bug is in bed and I get so excited when I finish a project that it's hard to wait until day light to photograph them! And so, you get my wood floor and shine spots from the flash.
With that in mind, understand that this photo does not to this purse justice. It is so cute it was hard to part with it but alas, I wrapped it up nicely and put it under the tree!

The front, with button flap.
This fabric is a really nice wool. I wish you could see the true depth and color of it. It's beautiful and I rescued this scrap from the remnant bin at JoAnn's! Score!

On the back, I tried my first pleated pocket. No one warned me of the dangers and difficulties of pleating with wool. It probably wasn't the best fabric choice for my first revisit of pleating techniques since I was twelve (just 10 short years ago).
Many burned fingers and frustrating hours later, I think the pocket turned out quite nicely. It's imperfect, but I love it just the same. I think there's a parallel in there for a mother's love, isn't there? Or am I over thinking the deeper meaning of my sewing projects again?
Here's a pocket detail.
I left just a tad of the pocket lining fabric showing at the top to break up that large expanse of brown wool back there. I love the little pop of color.

And the button. Found, once again, at the aforementioned Black Friday sale at JoAnn's. I sure am plugging them a lot here lately. But, they have regained a special place in my heart since my local store cleaned up it's act.

When I showed my Mom the buttons I bought that day she looked at this one and gasped a little. I think that's a pretty good sign she liked it, right? I knew when I saw it that this was the button for this purse.

And here's the button hole. Number two reason this purse almost did not come to be. I was an idiot and used two pieces of fleece interfacing inside of this button flap. I wanted it to be strong and to hold up well to lots of use. And, it is, so I've at least accomplished that.
However, it was so chunky that my sewing machine flat out refused to feed it through and the button hole foot kept getting caught. It was just messy and there was no way I was going to force it. So I broke out the embroidery floss and painstakingly stitches my way around the slit in the fabric. It has a cleaner look on the front side of the flap, but of course I didn't get a picture of that. I do like the yellow. Again, it's just a pop of color to break up all that brown.

And the inside.
Remember this vintage sheet? While I wouldn't necessarily want it on my bed--that would just be too much--I think this print is perfect in smaller doses. When I saw it laying next to the wool I just knew they were ment to be together.
And that's what my Mom got for Christmas this year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Gift 1: Lunch bag for Mom

Years and years ago when I was just a crazy college kid I made a lunch bag for my Mom out of fabric I dyed in my fiber arts class. She used it everyday to take her lunch with her to work. But I was in college a long time ago and that bag has been well used. Mom has been subtly hinting that a new bag would be appreciated.

So, Merry Christmas Mom!!

This lunch bag is loosely based off of a paper bag. It's a pattern that's super easy to make. I got the basic idea and dimensions from this post at Skip to My Lou.

I love it in this linen fabric. All slouchy and paper bag-ish!
And check out that button! I think it's my favorite part. I found it at JoAnn's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm kicking myself for not picking up more of them.
And that button loop? It's a little girls hair elastic. Genius. I wish I could remember whose blog I read that tip on. I would like to thank them personally for being so creative and thinking outside of the box. Whomever you were, you rock!

On the front I stitched the word "Lunch" in red with a basic back stitch.

And on the back, what we all hope our lunches will be, Yummy!

I am really loving what a special touch just a little bit of embroidery will add to a project. This is nothing fancy, I just wrote the words on the fabric with a disappearing ink pen and stitched them in! Easy peasy.

Here's the inside, a sweet daisy vintage print straight from my grandmother's attic. What a neat personal detail to be able to include! Thank you Grandma!!

And wait, do you see what I see? There's a button in there. . .

Is this bag. . .no it can't be. . . .

Yes! Yes!! It is!!


Of course!

I hope you love it Mom and that it serves you as well as the first one did!

Merry Christmas!!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Dresses for Christmas

I could not find a single store bought dress I liked for the Bug's Christmas dress this year. I am afraid this is the beginning of a dangerous trend where I look at everything in the stores and think, "I could do that myself".

Dangerous because what mother of a two year old has the time to craft an entire wardrobe? O.k., maybe some do but I don't.

So I found this sweater in my pile of clothes that just don't fit right and it looked so nice with this Figgy Pudding print I had. . . . and my brain started envisioning a cute little bubble skirt. . .

Here's the results.
My reviews are mixed, to be honest. I don't hate it, but I don't love it.

I've been fighting with this dress for over a month. I finally just surrendered, finished stitching the lace on the collar and called it done. I really can't put my finger on what I don't like about it. I guess it just doesn't quite live up to the picture I had in my head.

I do like the little pleat in the front and the puff to the sleeves.

And the bubble, while not as bubbly as I'd hoped, is cute. I still really love that fabric. Very festive and fun.

The sweater fabric is soft at least and should be quite comfortable IF I can get the Bug to wear it.

Moving right along. . .
I've been wanting to try my hand at an upcycled tee shirt dress for a while and when I saw this circus tee at Goodwill I knew I had found my muse.

I based this loosely on the dresses made by Lil' Blue Boo. She is amazing and so stinking creative. And she has a daughter who actually poses for pictures. . . but I digress.

Here's the back. I love that the picture is just a little different on the back than it is on the front.

The Bug adores this one. She wanted to put it on the moment she saw it, which just happened to be last night after her bath (thus the wet hair and bare feet).

She thought it was just perfect for a little Wii time with Daddy. So comfortable and easy to move around in.

(Don't worry, I fixed the issue of the too long sleeve by just turning it up a bit and stitching it under. It now fits perfectly.)

Hooray! I finally have a hit with this discerning critic!! Her Daddy approves too. Said it's his favorite thing I've made for her so far. I'm glad they both like it because I have a huge pile of old tee shirts that could stand to be upcycled!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Camera strap cover (special order)

I received a request for this camera strap cover this afternoon. And because I'm just crazy like that, I added it to my list of projects to be completed before Friday.

It's for a special girl. Can't tell who. It's a surprise!

Side one is this super cute modern leaf print. If it weren't nearly 11 pm I would look up whose print it is but my brain was in bed about an hour ago.

I've been dying to use this ever since I bought it the day after Thanksgiving. I still think that I need a purse from it.

The other side is this fun, very retro yellow floral. No idea who the designer is here folks. I got this puppy courtesy of the Goodwill. Hooray for vintage sheets! I'm pretty sure the girl working the register thought I was totally crazy for buying this but come on, it was $2.50!! You just can't beat it for that ammount of yardage. And maybe I'm crazy, but I think it's really cute.

I'm thinking maybe one of these days (say after Christmas craziness dies down) I might attempt to write up a tutorial for these reversible strap covers. Goodness knows it would help me to record my process. This beauty was my second attempt. My first wound up half the required width because I didn't think through the measurements correctly. Oops! That's what I get for rushing.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've some cookies to bake and presents to wrap. . .


Monday, December 14, 2009

Hang Tight Friends!

There is lots of sewing going on, but it's Christmas sewing and so is top secret for a little while longer!

Family Christmas #1 is Saturday, December 19th so I'll have lots to show you after the gifts have been opened.

Until then, thanks for your patience!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Skirt

I've been wanting to make something with this fabric since the moment I got it and just finally got around to it. The skirt is Micheal Miller's Santa Holiday Stripe and the yoke is Joyful Damask.

I drafted this pattern up on my own, based on a cute denim skirt that my sister found in a catalogue. I wish I had enough fabric left to make one for myself but this will be just perfect for the Bug. I have been working on a Christmas dress for her, but I just am not loving it.
This skirt? Love. It.

Here's the yoke detail. If I had it to do again, I would have paid more attention to the pattern placement. I think that would have just kicked it up a notch. But I was working quickly and I only have a fat quarter of the damask so I was trying to be frugal with it. The yoke is fully faced and top stitched and the exposed seams are all french seams so the skirt looks finished inside and out.

I used this sweet little loop trim from my stash for some detail at the hem line. I love the whimsy of it. Works so nicely with this fun print.

And this may well be my favorite part, the slightly exposed PURPLE zipper. I know it's crazy, but I thought it looked fun and totally unexpected.

I can't wait to see the Bug in this at all our Holiday functions. She has a striped green sweater that I think will be just perfect with it. Super fun and funky.

The sad part about this skirt is that, while ripping out some rogue top stitching I accidentally ripped a little hole in the back waistband. Yikes!! I repaired it, but it totally rendered this garment un-sellable. Thank goodness I have just enough of the damask to make another one for the Etsy store!


Blue Purse

Yes, that is the most creative title I can come up with.
This little beauty is going in the Etsy shop today.

Much thanks to my sister for helping me figure out the buttonhole foot on my machine. It made sense for small buttons but this red monster button had me stumped.

The strap is a long one. Long enough that you can wear it across your body. As a mom, I like that because it's more secure. You just never know what I'll be toting around and it's nice to know my purse isn't going to slip off my shoulder when I respond to the inevitable, "Mommy hold me!"

Guess what? It's reversible! I love having options and I like that you can use the dark side in the cooler months and the lighter side in the summer. Or, whenever you want really. Maybe I'm the only one that's anal about my purse color "matching" the seasons?

I am really loving these big buttons. I guess it's slightly more labor intensive than the magnetic snap but it's so much cuter! I just stocked up on big buttons at JoAnn's Black Friday sale so I see more of these in my future!

And just because I am a pocket freak, two sweet little rounded pockets on the back.

Just perfect!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turkey Dress

I've been wanting to try out a men's shirt refashion for a long time and a recent trip to Goodwill combined with the approach of Thanksgiving provided the perfect opportunity.

This project was a piece of cake and it turned out so beautifully. It looks like I spent a lot more time than I did on it!
You'll see I did not stage this picture. The Bug doesn't do photo shoots, she is far too busy making important phone calls. I think here she was talking to Fran the cat while working on puzzles and putting her doll baby down for a nap. See, far too busy for pictures.

There are so many tutorials for these dresses on-line but I sort of just did my own thing. For once, winging it really worked out for me.

I simply traced the shape of a dress in the Bug's closet right onto the freshly ironed shirt with a disappearing ink marker and cut it out (with seam allowances, of course). I used the buttons from the shirt front for the front of the dress and the back has the yoke and pleat from the back of the shirt. I cut the sleeves from the actual long sleeves of the shirt because I loved the cuff detail. All I had to do was move the button and gather at the top to accommodate the extra fabric. I love the super duper poofy gathering at the top of these sleeves. I normally would have toned it down a bit but these remind me of turkey legs, so I thought it fit the occasion.

The ruffle on the bottom was cut out of extra shirt fabric, as was the binding around the neckline. The perfect finishing touch was the brown lace along the button placket. I found it in my stash and it couldn't have fit more perfectly.

All those fun extra details from the shirt would be so time consuming to do from scratch but since this was a refashion, it was all done for me! Hooray for time savers! And hooray for re-using something that otherwise might have gone to waste. I think I paid $2.50 for this shirt at Goodwill and I'm sure I can score some freebies from her Daddy's closet for future attempts!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pillow and Blanket

Part two of the series: "Things the Bug needs for Day Care"
O.k. so the Bug has enough blankets to keep a small country warm. But I couldn't help myself. She needed to have a blanket and pillow that she could keep at day care. We are used to bringing her blanket home every night so it was no big deal just to take the favorite blanket. But she needed one that she could leave at school. And it had to have her name on it.

Since I'm no fan of the "Sharpie on fabric" method of labeling things I broke out some more of my hand dyed fabric and cut out itty bitty letters.

The blanket is fabric picked out by the Bug. I think she did a good job with this sweet owl flannel. And I picked out the soft minky dots for the back. I know she will love how soft it is and the bumpy texture is just bonus.

I added the brown rick rack detail at the bottom to dress up what would have other wise been a wide expanse of green owl-ness and to highlight her name applique. I think otherwise it might have gotten lost in the busy print.

I think the pillow is her favorite. She is just learning to recognize certain letters and, of course, this particular letter is her favorite.

I tied the pillow in with the blanket with more rick rack detailing. The minky fabric is on the back so she can choose the most comfortable sleeping side.

This is one project that she loved on site. I will always remember how she squeeled with glee when she saw it. I think someone might have a new favorite blankie. I only hope she's o.k. with leaving it at day care.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Art Smock for the Bug

I had a few hours of solitude this past weekend and put them to good use. The Bug needs some new things for her new day care next Monday. And far be it from me to purchase something I could make, right?

So I found this tutorial on-line. Super cute, right? I didn't stick to the tutorial completely but used it as a jumping off point. I am constantly amazed by the creativity of others.
The main body fabric is a heavy canvas that I had in my stash. The arms are home decor weight fabric by Jessica Jones (also from my stash). How amazingly awesome is she, right? And she lives in the same suburb as my dear sis. I am star struck.

I haven't done a whole lot of applique, but this was fun!

The fabrics I used for the applique were hand dyed muslin. I dyed them myself about 10 years ago in my college fiber arts class. I think it's pretty cool that my sweet girl will be creating beautiful artwork while wearing some of her momma's creations--past and present.

I also had the opportunity to use my sewing machine in a way I haven't before, to "draw" with thread. It was challenging but fun. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I've yet to convince the Bug to try it on. She is fickle and uncooperative when it comes to her momma's sewing projects. Ah well, I think it's beautiful. And hopefully it will inspire her creativity as well!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Custom Order #2

After completing the Halloween apron for my co-worker, another co-worker asked if I could make an apron as a birthday gift for a friend of hers. My co-worker picked out the fabric from Hancock's of Paducah (my main fabric supplier) and a pattern from the A is for Apron book.
You may recognize the pattern. It is the same pattern I used for the Holiday Twirl, which I had made in order to try out the pattern before making this apron for my co-worker. The only difference is that she wanted to make it reversible (I of all people can't blame her for that decision.)

I wasn't sure how I would like the dots as the main fabric and the big bold patterned fabric as the accent. It seemed to me that the dots were more well suited to an accent fabric and the big bold pattern as the main fabric. Now that it is done, I couldn't disagree with myself more! The ties are long enough to make a bow in back or a tie in front. I actually really like how the tie in front looks, but who doesn't like a big bow in back. Can you tell which side is my favorite?

Oh, who am I kidding - I LOVE both sides - and the options and possibilities they create.
With the exception of a minor topstitching false alarm that I was able to address before it was too late, the apron went together easily.
I can't wait for the big reveal on Monday. I know she is going to LOVE it. My favorite part of creating these items is making something that people can enjoy!

Interested in a custom order? Just contact me via our 402 Center Street Etsy Site.

~ Michelle

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Officially Crazy?

I'm still here folks but I think I've officially gone crazy. Despite the mountain of Christmas gifts I'm wanting to make, and the pile of "to do" projects for the store. . .

I have decided to hand quilt the baby quilt I'm working on.

I know. I'm nuts. But I HATE the way my machine quilts and I just can't make it do what I want it to do. I think maybe I just need to spend a little more time figureing things out. But for now, for this project, hand quilting is the way to go.

I think part of my problem is, I don't just see this quilt as a functional piece. To me, it is a work of art. I've put so much of my heart into it, I just can't settle for less than my ideal.

So there you have it. If I'm not putting out as much stuff for the store as quickly as I'd hoped this is why. Baby will be here soon and she needs her quilt! So I'll be stitching away fervently with every minute of free time I can manage until this project is completed!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Holiday Twirl

I know it isn't even Thanksgiving yet and I am thinking Christmas. But can you really blame me, think of all the great things that Christmas brings with it - time with family, crisply wrapped presents, Starbucks' peppermint hot chocolate, fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-thing. This is the perfect time of the year to think of all the good things and still be able to ignore all the not-so-good-things (i.e. driving in the snow! AH.)
Anyway, for those of you who are eager to get on the Christmas sleigh with me, I introduce you to the Holiday Swing Apron. When I was making this my sister commented that it would make a cute skirt. She was thinking of a skirt for the Bug, I was thinking of a skirt for me!

While, I finished this as an apron I may attempt a skirt with a similar pattern.

This is my first non-reversible apron, so I used French seams to give it a clean and finished look and to extend the wear of the garment.

As is usually the case, I am having a hard time not keeping this whimsy apron for myself! But alas, until I can excuse an apron-a-day lifestyle, I will continue to sell them on Etsy.

*Please note, that I can accommodate custom orders, if you see a pattern you like on the blog or in our Etsy store, but would like it in a different fabric, just contact 402CenterStreet through the Etsy site and I will work with you to design the perfect apron for you or as the perfect gift for someone special.