Tag Archives: fabric

Sew, sew, sew…

I’ve been sewing it up lately. I am really loving sewing because of the instant gratification factor. I can cut out a pattern and have it pretty much done in 1-2 days, sometimes even 1-2 hours.

So here are all my projects:

This was the first one. I love the maxi dresses that are everywhere right now, but I am super short so they all drag. Come summertime most fabric stores have this fabric that is already gathered with elastic at the top as you see here so you just have to do a single seam, hem and you are pretty much done. I decided to put in a couple darts on the side so the dress would fit me a little better and I didn’t hem it. I figure this was probably meant to come just under the knee on most adults, but it hits right at the ankle for me which is perfect.

That project really got me on a sewing clothes kick.

I had bought a bunch of fat quarters from a local quilt shop with a gift card I got last year for my birthday. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, but I loved them all and loved that all the fabrics went so well together. After a bit of pondering and experimenting I decided that I wanted to make a patchwork skirt. I found the book, Free-Style Handmade Bags & Skirts, which has a bunch of basic skirt and bag patterns. After making a panel of patchwork I used the pattern pieces to cut out the skirt shape for the Basic Yoke Skirt. Then I cut a second set out in a solid fabric to line the back of the patchwork top and create a border at the bottom as well as the yoke in the solid color.

Here’s a blurry picture of me with it on:

I was so excited when I finished it that I put it on right away even though it was 11pm and I had no where to go. Also, note the fact that I was wearing a sweater in JULY! It has been so drizzly and cold here lately. I love it though so I am not complaining.

Here is a non-blurry picture of the skirt:

I have been slightly afraid that it borders on being a crazy craft lady project, but I think as long as I stick with good fabrics and don’t go overboard with the patchwork projects I will be okay.

Next up my nieces are having a combined birthday party this weekend and I decided to make them a couple dresses.

My original plan was to make two of these dresses, one for each girl, just because they are so simple, but then I fell in love with some other fabric and found the perfect pattern for it to make my other neice.

This is “Inspired by Project Runway” Simplicity Pattern 3510. I kind of thought the whole Project Runway materials inside the pattern were pretty dumb. They marketed it like, “you get to be the designer just like on the show.” Um, well, the whole point of making your own dress from any pattern or not is that you get to be the designer to a certain extent and make your own little customizations or not. I also felt like the pattern instructions flowed in a very disjointed way. Most patterns also have numbering information that help you figure things out like how much fabric you will need depending on which version you are going to make and this one didn’t. I wound up buying an entire yard of each of the fabrics just because I was having a really hard time figuring out how much fabric I would need. I’ve done patterns before, I learned how to read this information in 4-H. So, in other words, I am not dumb and I am slightly experienced and even I had trouble with this. I can’t imagine being some random person watching the show and deciding to sew for the first time using one of these patterns. I think I would give up pretty quickly.

Alright, enough ranting. Hope you enjoy my projects. I’ve been sketching out about a million new design ideas and can’t wait to try them out! I may never buy clothes again.


Filed under Craftopia

How to make a ring sling (finally)

I’ve been asked many times over about how to make a ring sling. When I made my first one, I just sort of improvised and then took a picture of the final project. I basically did the same thing with the second one I made for Talia, except that time I didn’t even remember to take a picture at the end (she did though at her shower and someday you might see evidence of it when she finds some time). So I found a tutorial online and was sending that to everyone. Unfortunately I think the tutorial is not easy to understand and knew I needed to put one together.

After making Talia’s sling, I was completely envious because her’s turned out so much better than mine, mostly because I used puchased fabric that was wider and could envelop the baby better, instead of cannibalizing a dress.

The budget has been pretty tight with the move and all that so I didn’t know when I would be able to purchase fabric and make a new sling that was better. Well luckily this weekend we sold my guitar to Jeremy (for Talia, how cute the guitar’s love story continues…) and so I had a teensy bit of cash that I was able to spend. Yay!

Today I found the perfect fabric at JoAnn’s and then headed home to make my sling and document all the steps. So for all of you wanting to make a ring sling here you go!

I just want to say really quick though that I am not in any way liable for any mishaps that should come from slinging your baby. Please research baby wearing saftey tips prior to doing it. There is a great chapter on the subject in The Baby Book from the Sears Parenting Library.

What you will need:
-2 1/2 yards of fabric
-sewing machine
-2 rings about 2 1/2 inches in diameter (mine are stainless steel from the hardware store, you can also purchase lightweight (and colorful) rings specifically made for baby wearing from SlingRings.com)

Step 1
Fold fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together and pin about 2ft along selvedge edge and sew (all seams are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated).

Step 2
You will now have a 2ft tube at one end of your 2 1/2yds of fabric. Turn it right side out and fold flat so the seam you just made runs down the middle.

Step 3
Fold the tube in half so that seam edge is on outside. Pin and sew about 2ft again.

Step 4
Turn your new, narrower tube right side out again and fold as you did before with the seam you just made running down the middle and the other end of the fabric ballooning out at the end.

Step 5
Cut a rectangle of quilt batting about 10 inches wide and 20 inches long. Place inside your tube about 4 inches below the end of the fabric to leave room for the rings. See picture below for approximate placement.

Step 6
Pin in place and quilt. If you are into quilting, you can do something fancy for the shoulder pad. I just did three straight lines, one down the middle and one on either side of that.

Step 7
At the narrower end of your fabric, turn the unfinished edge under about 1/4″ and sew in place.

Step 8
Fold the corners of the narrower end to the center, so that the turned under edge is hidden.

Slide both rings on to the fabric.

Fold over, pin and sew in place along the same seam that you made at the begining of this step.

The pictures for these next two steps didn’t turn out, sorry about that! I think they are pretty easy to understand without pictures though.

Step 9 (optional)
My fabric had some ugly selvedge edges with writing that said “Designed exclusively for JoAnn’s”. So I turned under the selvedge edge and hemmed that to cover it up. If you like your selvedge edges there is no reason to do this.

Step 10
Hem the unfinished edge at the tail end.

Ring slings work like those t-shirt ties from the 80s or those double d-ring fabric belts that are still around. You slide the tail in through both rings and then back through one of the rings to secure it.

This allows the ring sling to be adjustable as your baby grows which is one of the main reasons I like this sling so much. I also like that there are so many positions to carry your baby in (again research baby wearing to find out what I’m talking about).

You will have quite a bit of tail left over. I just tuck mine back into the sling. You can also use the tail to cover up while breastfeeding which came in REALLY handy yesterday when we were at the funeral.

Happy sling making and baby wearing!


Filed under Craftopia

Bean meets Archie

I love how every time I say that my blogging is going to be sparse I find a million reasons to blog and then wind up blogging like regular.

Oh well.

So today no packing got done. Which is OK because a load of diapers and a load of dishes did get done.

My friend Tiffany came over today and we cut out the pieces for our Olive and Archie dolls. Except she’s only making Olive. So after she left and I finally finished cutting I just kept right on working on Archie. I just finished him and I love him! He’s so cute.

So then I had him meet Bean…

As you can see they are going to be great friends. Sorry for all the crappy photography and overexposed pictures. You know how it goes.

I’ll be finishing Olive up with Tiffany either later this week or next week. So there will be more to follow.


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Homemade

Despite moving…

…craftiness continues.

Yes, I know, I should be packing. And I did do some of that. Almost all my books are now in boxes thankyouverymuch.

But now that I am no longer consumed with Harry Potter, I still need some kind of hobby/outlet. So I finally cut out all my quilt squares for Bean’s big girl quilt (twin size).

I laid them out tonight and I have tons leftover. Enough for another quilt. That’s probably because I used 18 different fabrics.


I can’t stop looking at it. I love it so much.

Now let’s hope I can do a better job of sewing this time around and actually make it look cute.


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Homemade

Because I needed to start more projects…

Yesterday I met up with my friend Tiffany for lunch and a trip to JoAnn’s. Tiffany just recently stopped working and we decided that once that happened we would be doing lots of stay-at-home-mom adventures together. Yesterday was the first one.

When we told our husbands we were going to embark on a sewing project together, they said, “Why don’t you just finish the projects you’ve already started?” (Well, something along those lines anyway). And while I’m sure that at some point I’ll get around to the quilt I bought fabric for over four months ago, that was not exactly what I had in mind for our first playdate/adventure.

Olive and Archie, however, were EXACTLY what I had in mind. Especially after seeing all of Cara’s examples, including Will’s Archie up close at Chinese New Year.

So I conspired with Tiffany and we decided this was the perfect project for our first adventure. We met up at Brinks for lunch (mmm… Ortega melt) and then set off for the fabric store.

Stephen, by the way, has no idea how much time can be spent in the fabric store and how that alone is enough for one adventure. Monday night he said, “Well aren’t you getting together after the fabric store?” I was like, “No, the fabric store will probably take up the whole time. A good couple of hours.” And it did. I left the house at 11:50ish, stopped at Kinko’s to print our patterns, then we had lunch then JoAnns and I didn’t get back home until 2:40ish.

Stephen said I could spend $20 and I miraculously stayed within budget (only went over by 47 cents). I was even able to procure fabric for the sling I am supposed to make for Talia.


Anyway, that’s about it for now. I will be back with a Bean update later today, but right now she’s doing the “I’m tired and cranky” hum so I’d better change her diaper, wipe her nose, feed her and hopefully send her off to sleep for an hour or so.


Filed under Craftopia

A diaper bag attempt begins…

Today I took all my gift cards to Target and Babies ‘R Us to purchase all the items that we still needed.

One of the items I still needed was a diaper bag. I did not get my dream diaper bag (which at $158 I definitely did not expect to).

I looked at the ones they had available at both stores. I’m sorry, but they are just ugly. They’re huge and industrial looking. I couldn’t find a single one that I liked even remotely. I thought about going to JM’s, but I had already been there a few weeks ago and knew the prices were not what I was willing to spend even though they do have cute bags.

So I decided to head over to Beverly’s and see if I could find some fabric and maybe a pattern to make one myself. Well, I found a pattern pretty quickly:

And I was able to find some fabric and vinyl too:

The pattern has instructions for a changing pad, diaper bag, tummy time pillow (basically a Boppy with toys attached), bib, and a pacifier holder. I’m just going to attempt the diaper bag and the changing pad for now.

I really hope these turn out well. My previous attempts at sewing have definitely left something to be desired. But since this is one size and I’m holding myself to following the pattern very closely I hope I can pull it off.

I took 4 years of 4-H sewing for gosh sakes, I should be able to do this.

Also in other pregnancy news, since Saturday I’ve been getting tons of Braxton Hicks contractions. I even had to sit down in the fabric store for 15 minutes today because my stomach was so tight it made it hard to breathe. It doesn’t really hurt though, just a reminder that I need to not overdo myself, drink lots of water and take rests.

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Filed under Craftopia, Pregnancy and Birth