Tag Archive | sewing

Making a baby sleep sack

Ever since I found Pinterest  I have been saving a ton of baby items….especially since Christmas was coming. I wanted to make the sleep sack I found on this site a few weeks ago, but it seemed kind of complicated. Also I first had to buy zippers (found a great set on Amazon, then print the pattern and then actually make the sack!

2014-11-14 16.05.10While I was debating on making the sleep sack, my grandmother showed me how to sew a zipper (fold a small hem against the zipper teeth, pin and then use your zipper foot to sew a straight line) and thankfully it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

 

 

I wasn’t going to use cuddle fabric (I wanted to use some lightweight cottony flannel material already on hand), so I wanted to check out a few more tutorials to see what other options were out there. I found this page had a great idea – attach an extra piece of fabric to the back of the zipper so that the teeth never touch the baby. It also has clear pictures that I found made it easier to confirm I was doing the right thing along the way.

I had to make a small hem on the extra zipper piece. I faced the hem outward towards the zipper so that the flat part will touch the baby

I had to make a small hem on the extra zipper piece. I faced the hem outward towards the zipper so that the flat part will touch the baby

I finally decided to go ahead and try to make one and it was so easy. I think the one change that I would make to the instructions in the tutorials is to pin the behind the zipper piece to one side of the zipper at the same time you sew that side of the zipper to the main fabric. This way you save a step and you end up with only one stitch line down the front. I don’t like the way the two stitch lines look running down the front of the side of the zipper.

Other than that, I think it came out pretty nice, if I do say so myself!

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Adventures in Sewing – Personalized baby blocks with ribbon

Getting a sewing machine at the same time my sister was pregnant was great timing. I immediately set out on a quest to find projects to do. One of the projects I found on Pinterest was this set of cute blocks for babies.

I followed the directions and found the project fairly easy except for the one time I sewed two of the wrong sides together and the time I forgot to put the sides pretty side to pretty side and one ended up upside down.

The other issue I had was that the blocks didn’t actually come out to be perfect squares. This could be because I have issues cutting straight and also because I probably sewed in a crooked line. I also had to manually close a few corners, because I wasn’t sure where to stop sewing with the machine.

I used old t-shirt scraps for the letters which I sized and printed a template for using Microsoft Word. I tried to freehand it first and it was a disaster! I also realized that I should sew the letters onto the fabric BEFORE I sewed the block together. Unfortunately, I only realized this after I put the first block together. DOH!

Luckily I  remembered that I had extra stuffing from the pillow I dismantled for the cat bed suitcase, so I was able to use that instead of expensive fill.

Overall, I think the blocks came out okay and will serve their purpose considering they are just going to be chewed on by an infant. They are cuter when they are imperfect, right? RIGHT????

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Adventures in Sewing – Make your own playmat

Recently, I have taken up sewing. I bought myself a snazzy new Brother XL2600i sewing machine for a whopping $80 (okay, I talked my sister into buying it for me as an early Christmas present, but I digress). I bought a ton of fabric remnants from Joann’s (mega sale AND 50% off!) and I found some old spools of thread I had laying around from God knows where.

Terrible shot since Mimi never stays still, but you get the gist

Terrible shot since Mimi never stays still, but you get the gist

The next project was deciding on what to make. I tried to make a dog outfit – it came out okay but it definitely needed work. I also started making little items that I hope to give away as Christmas gifts. I did these things to practice my foot pedal control, keeping a stitch straight, not having the bobbin thread bunch up, etc.  For a while I was a complete failure. So what did I decide to do? Do a big project! Yes, yes, I don’t make sense sometimes, but alas, that is me!

I Googled ideas for easy baby items as my sister is about to give birth any day now and came across this tutorial on how to make a playmat.

I thought how hard could it be? Thankfully it was not difficult at all.  Of course, I didn’t follow the directions as well as I should have and I kind of ghetto rigged it which means it is not perfect at all, but it’s cute and decent and I won’t be embarrassed when people see it and know I made it.

Had I measured better and actually cut the fabric and batting correctly on the first try (or second try), everything would have been much easier. Instead, some of the batting doesn’t actually go all the way to the edges of the blanket and one corner is kind of wonky. But hey! it’s for a kid to lay on, and puke on, and poop on…………I think it’s good enough! And good enough is always good enough 🙂

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It will be washed and ironed or at least steamed before being presented as a gift. 🙂

How I made a cat bed from a vintage suitcase

Several years ago I inherited a couple of ugly old school suitcases from my grandmother’s estate. Personally, I loved them and knew I would find a use for them. Initially I built a stand and used them as a nightstand / storage unit, but then I saw some posts about using them to make cat furniture. Well that settled that.

I first set the suitcase on the floor to see if the cats would actually use the bed. As you can see from the picture below, Freddie in particular loved it.

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I thought it looked a bit plain just sitting on the floor and I was nervous that they would knock the ugly stick over and decapitate themselves like my hamster did when I was a kid (side note, don’t use a brick to keep your hamster’s cage cover on), so I headed to the hardware store to find some legs. Turns out legs are expensive so I picked the cheapest of the ones I liked (4 for around $12 total) and spray painted them with some metallic paint I had laying around.

I first tried to just attach them to the suitcase by drilling four holes in the bottom and sticking them in, but this resulted in no stability – the suitcase just collapsed to the floor. I had to wait until the weekend when I would see my dad, so I could steal, I mean borrow and never give back, a few pieces of wood and a saw. Okay, okay, I admit it. As usual, when my dad knew I was doing a project that involved sawing, he stepped in and helped me out…..okay okay, he did it for me….but I stood there and watched!

My idea was to cut four pieces of wood and place them inside of the suitcase to stabilize the material. My dad, the genius handyman that he is, pointed out without nuts, it would still wobble. Off to the hardware store we went. With the proper tools, the rest of the project went pretty quickly. He even cut another piece of wood to lay on top of the four stabilizers so that the cats would have a flatter surface to lay on in case they pushed the pillow out of the way. Yay Daddy!

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To ensure the lid didn’t decapitate the cats, we wedged a few pieces of wood in the hollow space between the top and the bottom pieces.

The final step in this process was to enlarge the pillow I was planning on using. I cut open the back of the pillow and sewed on a piece of old t-shirt. This way the top shows the pretty satin blue colored fabric, but the entire suitcase and edges would be comfy.

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The final bed looks pretty cute, if I say so myself! However, I have only seen a cat jump onto it to take some of the catnip I sprinkled on it. I guess they prefer low-key designs instead of the fancy stuff.:(

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PS My parents’ dog, Jack, liked the bed just fine, so maybe I should give it to him for Christmas!

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Master of sewing – Earbud pouch

Since I have become a master sewer after one month of practice, I have been scouring the web for projects to tackle. One of the projects I came across is this nifty earbud pouch.

Usually I just shove my headphones somewhere in my purse and then yank out half the contents of my purse trying to get out the tangled mess they easily become. This pouch was going to fix all that.

However……..I may have overstated when I said I was a master sewer. Perhaps beginner+ is more like it. For this project, I followed the instructions, cut out the circles and thought I was doing everything great! That is, until I looked at what I thought was the finished product. It wasn’t a circle by any means. I don’t think they have an official shape for what I created!

Instead of a zipper, I decided to just try to overlap the two front panels. Unfortunately, I misjudged the size I would need – I didn’t calculate the space I would need to fold over the inside panel to make it look pretty. The template also was sized to include a zipper, so I should have allowed for even more extra flap than I did – I forgot about that. Oops!

In any case, I just tightened up the edges so that it would mostly stay closed, and it seems to be doing its job. If I find that the headphones fall out, I will simply add a button and a small piece of crochet thread to latch it closed. Easy Peasy!

After this picture was taken, I also added a small carabiner so that I could easily move the pouch from purse to purse!

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