May 31, 2012

Free Sewing Tutorials for Kids: Ruffled Halter Dress and Diaper Cover


I love free sewing tutorials. I scour the web and Pinterest in search of easy and adorable free patterns, and I was thrilled to run across this cute Ruffled Halter by Oliver + S. I can attest that the pattern is easy to follow, spot on size-wise, and cute as can be. I combined it with a free diaper cover pattern from Prudent Baby and improvised a bit by adding a ruffle. The Tutti Frutti fabric (a diagonal stripe and a polka dot in purple) I chose was on sale at JoAnn's for $5 a yard and it worked out well. I'm thinking about making it in the next size up with a nice cotton -- the Tutti Frutti was a little "papery," which made the ruffles stiffer than I would have liked. I'm keeping an eye out for some cute coordinating fabrics in the meantime.

Here's Little G modeling the ruffled diaper cover -- and it wasn't easy to get this photo. I have a new appreciation for photographers that specialize in toddlers!


May 29, 2012

Big Finish: Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

I recently finished this scrap-tastic Raw Edge Circle quilt for a special little baby. Her Gigi (aka grandma) asked me to make a baby quilt that was gender-neutral, colorful, and featured some fun little critters. I suggested this pattern from Cluck. Cluck. Sew. because it would allow for a variety of fabrics (and the steps looked simple and straightforward).

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Happily, most of the fabric I used in this quilt came from my own stash. I purchased small cuts of a few prints to supplement certain colors that I thought needed to show up more, and I found a couple of great prints that pulled in a lot of the colors I'd already used. I bought the yellow owl print for the backing and used a little in the front as well. I love those owls and squirrels, and the yellow is so bright and cheery.

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

This quilt tutorial was easy to follow, and the quilt was fun to make. I enjoyed watching it come together on my design wall, arranging and rearranging the small blocks to avoid putting the same prints next to each other.

My only complaint about the tutorial has to do with the frayed edges on the circle appliques. The tutorial advises that fraying will be minimal because the circles are cut on the bias. After a wash and tumble dry, I was surprised (to put it lightly) to find that while some of the circle edges frayed just a little, others frayed a lot -- to the point that the fabric was threadbare at and beyond my applique stitching line. I knew I'd need to do some additional work to reinforce the stitching in the threadbare areas, so I decided to add small sections of satin stitching where the fabric was most compromised. You can see a little of this in the upper left corner of the following photo.  Although I was disappointed that the tutorial forced me to do this repair work, the stitching isn't obvious on the front because of the curling frayed edges, and the print on the back is busy enough to camouflage the repairs.  And I know that now the quilt will hold together through years of use.

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

After Baby Lily arrived in April, I added a hand-embroidered label and finished the quilt.  (I also added one of my own labels from Jen.)  Lily and her parents live in NYC but were visiting family in Knoxville recently, and it just so happened that I was visiting Knoxville as well, so I left the quilt for Gigi and Grandaddy to give to their darling little granddaughter.

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

Lily's Gigi took some wonderful photos of Lily with her quilt.  When she wakes up, I'm sure she'll enjoy looking at all the colors and prints!

Raw Edge Circle Quilt

May 28, 2012

May Ornament: Mom's Flower

May ornament: White Dahlia

Jen has her hands full with a very busy toddler right now, so it's inevitable that her ornament challenge entries will be a bit delayed. To keep me company in this month's flower ornament challenge, our mom made this gorgeous white felt dahlia. She used this tutorial from It's the Little Things, making one modification to replace the fringe in the center with a little fringe and festive beads.  Won't it look striking on this year's Christmas tree?  Great work, Mom!

May 25, 2012

May Ornament: Flower

May ornament: Flower

Flowers are the ornament theme for May, and I wanted to make a festive red one that will be appropriate for the tree come December.  A quick search of "felt flower ornament" or somesuch led me to the blog Under the Table and Dreaming by Stephanie Lynn and this tutorial.  I haven't spent a lot of time exploring the blog yet, but it seems to have a little bit of everything -- crafts, decor, plants, and plenty of DIY project ideas.

This ornament was sooooo easy to make -- really, I put it together while visiting Jen for a week.  All it took was a little time spent cutting the petals from Jen's stash of felt, an assist from my dad to drill a hole in the edge of the jar lid that the flower is glued to (oh, right -- under that flower is a lid from a jar of roasted red peppers!), and a scrap of ribbon from my mom's stash.  The ribbon is knotted through the hole drilled in the edge of the lid, so it's easy to adjust in order to make it hang a certain way.  It looks pretty spiffy on the wall like this, in fact -- wouldn't an array of flowers in a bunch of different bright colors be nice?  Better start saving more jar lids...

May 13, 2012

Crazy for Drawstring Bags

Drawstring bags

Can you tell I'm a big fan of this drawstring bag pattern from Jeni Baker of In Color Order?  The pattern includes 8 sizes as well as instructions for creating bags in any custom size.  They're so easy and fast to make, and they're a fun way to personalize gift wrapping while featuring favorite fabrics.  I've starting making the Everything Bag size to go with my felt memory games (pictured above), and the slightly larger Project Bag size is perfect for knitting and crochet projects, as Jen and our mom can confirm.
If you're looking for a simple sewing project to play around with, download this pattern and just try to stop at one bag -- I couldn't!

May 2, 2012

Flowers: 12 Months of Ornaments {May Theme}

photo by Vickie Wells
This month's ornament theme is flowers -- either spring flowers or something more wintry and festive, seeing as we're creating Christmas tree ornaments, after all.

Jen and I will get to work on our ornaments, and we'd love for more of our friends to join in as well.  Just post a picture of your ornament in our flickr pool here.


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