Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade Christmas Presents

I wanted to share with you a few of the handmade gifts that s and b received for Christmas. The little vanity and stool was hand-painted and refinished by my sister. It's such a sweet piece of furniture. s loves to sit on the stool and look at herself in the mirror.

And this dress was made by another sister from the Kyoko Modkid pattern by Patty Young. I recognized the print right away as Alexander Henry. You can read more about the dress at Elvy Crafts, my sister's blog.

Here is the same dress with the reverse side of the obi sash. So cute. S loves it; but I think I love it even more than she does. Modkid has a doll-sized pattern too. hmmm.....

Speaking of dolls, remember the cinderella dresses? Well, here they are in action. S hasn't really warmed up to the AG doll yet. But I have big plans for her. It will be fun to sew sweet little matching doll clothes.
I've taken a few days off sewing but am now itching to get back to my sewing machine. More clothes for s and maybe even something for baby b. And I've also signed on to the Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge. You can find details of the challenge here.
Have a safe and happy new year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Princess and the Pea

I was inspired to make this gift set for s. when I read this post, by Make it Perfect. I love how this turned out! The book is The Princess and the Pea, by Lauren Child. It is a well-written, beautifully illustrated story.

For the doll, I used the Margot pattern from the book Wee Wonderfuls, by Hillary Lang. The doll is actually a topsy-turvy doll that when flipped is two versions of the same doll. This end is the dressed-down version. The picture above is the dressed up version.

I must say that the doll was more difficult than I expected it to be. There was a lot of handsewing and little details that were a bit frustrating. I don't think it really had anything to do with the pattern, just my lack of patience and the fact that I had a self-imposed looming deadline. So after a couple of nights of going to bed in the early hours of the morning, I was able to finish her in time for Christmas.

The backpack is of course made from the Made by Rae Toddler Backpack pattern. The print is Heather Ross Far Far Away Princess and the Pea fabric. I could only find this print in double gauze which is a very light thin cotton with a more textured and looser weave than voile. So I interfaced it and lined it with canvas. I added a bit of length to the pattern, about 3 quarters of an inch, to fit the whole princess in. Originally, this was supposed to fit the doll and the mattresses, but ended up way too small for everything. So presently, the princess resides in a cardboard box. I am thinking of gluing some cute paper in the box to make it look like a wallpapered bedroom. But that is a project for another day...

Here is a detail of the mattresses. I only had time to make seven, not the twelve that was in the book. I found some trim scraps I had to add a bit of detail and interest to the mattresses. I also made a liitle pillow and a tiny purse to hold the pea. The pea itself is a from a pom pom trim.
I would love to add a blanket and a crown someday and maybe a little coat. But for now I am taking a couple of days rest from sewing and going to bed at a decent hour.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Keyka Lou Bags

My last bag for one more niece! This is a Keyka Lou City Tote. The pattern can be found here. I really love how this turned out. The bag is smallish, more like a purse in my opinion. It has an inside pocket and an outer pocket with a button and loop closure.

The pattern was super easy and quick. It was done in basically a couple of hours from start to finish.

The focus fabric is by Erin McMorris from her Weekends line and the polka dots are Michael Miller. I have tons of his polka dot left and it will probably show up in a few other projects.

And here is a coordinating little keychain pouch, pattern also by Keyka Lou. Again this is a teeny tiny "clutch." It will probably fit a lipstick, a few cards, a bit of change, but not much else. The attached key ring makes it perfect for a night on the town. I think that next time I make this I will add a little wristlet loop. Oh, and I made this for S's dance teacher as a teacher gift. Along with a starbucks card and a little mug.

If you are looking for quick--almost instant gratification--projects, then I highly recommend these two patterns. Keyka Lou does a wonderful job of providing very clear and concise directions. Thanks Linh, for turning me on to such a great designer!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bags, Bags, and More Bags

So happy to be done with these bags. I think my tolerance level was really stretched by the 4th bag. But now they are done and I love the fabric combinations.

The fabric for this one is Anna Maria Horner Drawing Room Home dec for the main panels and a home dec from JoAnn's for the handles.

This bag is a total copycat from the book Style Stitches by Amy Butler that this pattern came from. You might recall that the main fabric was used for S's coat. The orange solid is Kona.

A couple of home dec fabrics again from JoAnn's. I used the main fabric to re-cover a chid-sized rocking chair in the playroom and had lots left over. Enough to make this bag and part of another bag.
All the fabrics came from my stash and were either left overs from other projects or just fabrics I had lying around.
I'm super proud of myself for using up some of my stash.
Still have lots of Christmas sewing to do. But I think I'm done with the Cosmo Bag.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Handmade Christmas?

This is what my ironing board looks like today. Three Cosmo Bags all cut up, almost ready for sewing.

You can find the Cosmo Bag Pattern is Amy Butler's newest book, Style Stitches. This is the first bag that I completed over the Thanksgiving Weekend.

Here is an inside view. I added a zippered pocket. The pattern had plain divided pockets like the other side. I also omitted the interfacing on the lining; the bag didn't need the added thickness because I used a home decor weight fabric.
I really like the end result. So much so that I am making 4 and possibly 5 more for my nieces and a friend. It's a very roomy bag that can easily convert into many functions: beach bag, book bag, shopping bag. I like the zippered pocket to keep wallets and keys from falling out. The big covered button and button loop adds a lot of style.

And finally, my friend and neighbor hosted a craft night where we made collages using canvas, modpodge, and scrapbook paper. The idea came from Martha Stewart and she has a couple of ready-made templates on her website. I came up with my own. Not really, I borrowed the Holly Hobby image from the internet and it was just a matter of tracing, cutting and pasting. A simple and quick project and oh so cute!
Hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another Cinderella Dress

This Cinderella dress is for an 18" American Girl doll that was a hand-me down from S's cousin. I am cleaning her up to give to S as a Christmas present. She will be outfitted in this dress, and packaged with the child-sized version.
I stuck a ruler in the picture above to give you an idea of the scale of this dress. As with all things in miniature, it is even cuter in real life. The pattern is another from Simplicity (5705) and has 5 other disney princess gowns in the same package. I am getting my money's worth from those 5 patterns for $1 each sales at JoAnn's.
In other news, I've been playing around with my new Evolution Babylock Serger. Along with the serger, we bought a really cool sewing cabinet and it was finally delivered yesterday. The serger also came with 16 foot attachments, everything from hemmers to double bias tape binders. I am essentially set up to sew anything and everything.
So finally last night I unpacked the serger and succeeded in threading and serging the doll cinderella gown. Today I will work on cover stitching and maybe playing around with the piping attachment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cinderella Dress

I just finished this cinderella dress. It took me all of a day from start to finish, and that is with lots of interruptions; a few minutes here and there, and a solid couple of hours during rest/ naptime. The pattern is Simplicity 2563 in a size Toddler 2. I tried the bodice on S earlier in the day and it is slightly big for her and should fit (I am hoping) for the next year or so. The fabrics I used are all from JoAnn's: a crepe-back satin for the skirt and bodice lining, a stretch panne velvet for the bodice, and a sheer glittery material for the pouf and sleeves. It's hard to tell in the picture but the panne velvet has little dots of silver all throughout and so does the pouf material.

The only change from the pattern was that I put in a velcro fastening in the back instead of a zipper. The velcro made finishing the dress 10 times easier than having to sew on a zipper.

So I am off to hide the dress from S. It will be a part of her Christmas present. Let's hope she doesn't ask about it tomorrow morning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My New Serger

photo from

I am so excited about my new babylock serger! We sort of went overboard and bought a serger that also does coverstitches, which means that the machine not only serges, it also sews a nice seam at the same time. You don't even have to bother with threading the thing, just stick the end of the thread into a hole, push a button, and the machine threads itself. You can read more about this amazing machine here.

Thanks to my husband for my wonderful early christmas gift. Now I am truly committed to making this purchase pay for itself. The girls will be wearing hand made clothes from now on, up to and including their wedding dresses.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Day, Another Toddler Backpack

i finished another made by rae toddler backpack. this one is for a little girl who is turning two.

s liked it so much that she wanted it for herself. i had to promise her that i would make her a princess backpack. better get on that.

the polka dots are michael miller and the stripes are amy butler lotus. both fabrics are quilting cotton that came from my stash. i used the same process as the previous backpack; lining the quilting cotton with heavyweight interfacing and bottomweight twill.
i am officially obsessed with making these backpacks. they are just so fun and satisfying. tomorrow i am making the trip into the city to look for fabric for my two nephews and another of s's little friends. all three are boys so it will be a challenge to find something cute and boyish. did i mention that these will be christmas gifts?
speaking of christmas gifts, i have a couple of projects that i want to make for s. one is a cinderella dress-up dress. and of course the princess backpack and a doll from this book:
that's it for now! going upstairs to cut the cinderella dress.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Made by Rae's Toddler Backpack

can you believe how adorable this little backpack is? well, i can't. it was made from this pattern.

this was made for one of s's little friends who is very into cars and trucks. the fabric is a quilted cotton from joann's. i used heavy-weight interfacing and lined it with a bottom weight twill. this combination i thought gave the backpack a sturdy structure that was perfect.

the pattern itself was easy to follow and fairly simple. and the result is so cute! it is the perfect size for toddlers. i've already pulled fabric to make another backpack, this time for a little girl who is turning 2. i am thinking polka-dots and stripes!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

oliver and s school days coat

i'm finally done with the oliver and s coat! it took me awhile just because i kept making silly and careless mistakes. first off, i somehow missed cutting the placket and didn't realize this until i was almost finished with the coat. the other mistake that i made was that i cut the cords a half inch too short, and of course when i tried to button the jacket, the placket ended up looking puckered.
anyhow, here are the details. i used a double faced designer wool melton and a fun amy butler quilted weight from the midwest modern line. The wool was beautiful to work with and ironed really well, although the bulk was a bit problematic at times. the pattern did say to use a walking foot for thicker fabrics, but because i didn't have one on hand, i just used an ordinary one. it worked fine but i am definitely saving up for a walking foot.
all in all i am pretty happy with the result. the coat is just a bit too big so hopefully it will last s this winter and next. i gave it to s today and she loves it! she kept saying thank you and even gave me a kiss. so all the time and effort was worth it just for that.
Next up is a made by rae toddler backpack for one of s's little friends who is having a birthday this coming weekend. i guess i'll have to get busy...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

cribs and bags

well, i'm happy to say that i finally finished baby b's crib bedding. i started this 2 years ago, intending it for her big sister but never got around to finishing it. finally this week, i finished the bedskirt and now baby b is the happy recipient. i based the design on the modern crib pattern in amy butler's "little stitches for little ones." i omitted the pockets and added an edge trim to the bumper. i also added a true pleat to the skirt.
i also finished a dance bag for s. i used fabric from anna maria horner's drawing room line of home decor weight. the lining is a sandra hendrickson fabric that has been in my stash for a while. i used a pattern from pink chalk's "mailbag." this is the mini version. it was a super easy pattern and i finished the whole thing in less than 2 hours. i am half-way done with the bigger version for me.
next up is the oliver & s school days coat for s!

Friday, October 8, 2010

making progress

re-upholstered child's rocking chair. my first !

crocheted hat with flower from my own pattern

a cardi that i knitted for my niece a couple of years ago. from a pattern by debbie bliss out of wool yarn and store bought ruffle trim

i really am making progress. it's slow, but still progress. the crib skirt is finished; all except for the ironing and picking out all those loose threads that is. the curtains for baby b's room is about 90 % completed. it's actually been a pretty tough week. both girls were sick with colds/stomache virus, so i've been dealing with snot, puke, and poo all week. so for lack of new pictures, here are some past projects that i've dug up from my flickr page.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

winter sewing

i will start with a list of the projects that i would like to accomplish in the next few weeks. here they are in order of importance.
  1. finish b's crib skirt. i only have the center to cut out and sew on to the sides. everything else is hemmed and ready to go.
  2. finish b's curtains. one panel is pretty much done and the other has been cut. i also need to buy a set of rings for the top panel.
  3. sew a winter coat for s from the oliver & s school days pattern.
  4. sew the oliver & s sunday brunch outfit for s.
  5. sew pants for s. all her pants are either too big around the waist for her or if the waist fits, then they are too short.
  6. sew warm winter pj's for s from the fleece i bought a while ago.

if i can do a little bit each night, then maybe i will finish all of this by the time winter sets in. hoping to surprise myself with my industry and productiveness!