Monday, May 31, 2010

Gathered Clutch

I wanted to make something personal for my sis-in-law's birthday in addition to a group gift. She is always so kind and willing to help me out. I decided to try this tutorial from Noodlehead. I love how it turned out. Now I just need to make another for myself!

For the inside I did the variation with the divider pocket on one side, and added a second row of credit card pockets on the other. Thanks Anna for a great tutorial!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Personalized Totes

A. was invited to her first birthday party for friends where she went without her older sister... "just me?" she asked incredulously. She was so excited! The girls hosting the party are twins, so we wanted a gift that was similar, but not identical.

These bags have become my go-to gift for birthdays I guess. I try to keep a number of the plain, inexpensive canvas totes in my stash and then embellish with whatever fabric scraps I have on hand. They are cute and personal and double as wrapping... just fill with fun little goodies. This time I included a flower hair clip and clipped it on the outside of the bag... where I thought it looked kinda cute as well.

For the applique, I cut the letter from my fabric square (already backed with Heat N Bond) using a template I printed out from my computer. Then I iron it onto the bag. If I have time, I like to hand embroider around the letter edges with a blanket stitch. Recently, however, I have been using a bead of Liquid Glass from Close to my Heart scrapbooking to finish the edges. (Confession: I don't scrapbook, but I love this stuff.) This works really well – looks nice and dries really fast too. Then I sew a coordinating ribbon or ruffle around the top of the bag, but beneath the top hem where the handles attach... that part of the bag is too thick to sew through (learned that the hard way).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Birthday skirt

Every girl needs a fun new outfit for her birthday right? Here's the pettiskirt I made for E's birthday this week. I left it hanging on her chair in the kitchen so it would be the first thing she saw when she got up that morning. I woke up to her squeals of delight... totally worth staying up late the night before to work on it while she slept! She decided that this skirt, a leotard and the cowboy hat that grandma gave her would make the perfect outfit for her party... even though she'd instructed all her friends to dress like their favorite princess.
I had some silk charmeuse in lavender that I had intended to use for the waistband section... but when I saw the chiffon laying next to this Kaffe Fassett print on my table I couldn't resist making a last minute switch. I am so glad I did. I think the beautiful print made a cute thing even more beautiful. Kaffe Fassett, I am obsessed!

The last time I made a pettiskirt, I made some notes here. This time went a lot faster. I've learned even more tips and tricks that I need to document too.

If you'd like to browse a lot of other really great projects, check out the link parties going on at:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Straw-ba-ba-ba-ba-berry: Cheater Quilt

My girls are HUGE fans of Strawberry Shortcake and can be heard singing the songs from the movies all the time. Even the baby attempts to sing the main theme, joining in with an impressively synchronized "ba ba ba ba" at the right moment.

E saw this fabric panel at JoAnns and begged for a blanket out of it. It was on clearance for $1.50. I bought the last two panels. But how to finish it into a blanket? I know the standard way would be to purchase quilt batting and a cotton print for the back and quilt it ... but since I had to make two to keep the peace, I was looking for a shortcut. I decided to try using the same technique for making a self-bound flannel receiving blanket. (There is a great tutorial here at Everyday Mom.)

I used fleece as the backing/binding fabric which made it really soft and cozy. It also made for a nice quilted effect (with no batting) when I top stiched around some of the designs in the print to secure the two layers together.

Let her eat cake

First birthdays are so fun. There are so many milestones in that first year. It has always been a tradition in my family to get pictures of the birthday baby smashing cake into her mouth. For me that just means a few snapshots in the highchair. As a photographer, my sister takes it to a new level. So, one final post here of my adorable niece enjoying her birthday cake while sporting her birthday bloomers and mostly NOT wearing the birthday hat I made to go with them.

For the bloomers I used McCall's pattern M5834 and added my own cupcake applique. The "frosting" is just a ribbon that I ruffled by sewing a basting stitch down the center. So many of the infant/toddler dress patterns also have a pattern for bloomers. Any of them would work. I think is easiest to put on the applique, ruffles or any other embellishment onto the cut out fabric before you actually sew the sides together.

The cake was made by another talented family member, my cousin Mindy. Just ask if you want her contact info as well.

My girls thought this hat was a pretty fun project. E wants one for her upcoming birthday too... although I was thinking more along the lines of a crown for this little princess. We'll see. We just took a party hat that we bought in a pack from the dollar store, gently removed the elastic, and undid the tab so that we could lay it flat and traced the shape onto a piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper. Then we used ModPodge to adhere it to the hat. We reattached the elastic and added the rest of our embellishments.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tutorial: Easy Bubble Dress

Just in case you didn't get enough of this cute little model from my last post, I decided to post one more photo and a tutorial on how to make this dress. This is a super easy thing to sew... basically a tube with straps. To get started, you'll need to have a few measurements of the baby for whom you are sewing: Chest circumference, just under arms, and the length from armpit to knee.


3/4" elastic to equal chest circumference + one inch

1/4" elastic to equal chest circumference + 4 inches.

Fabric for straps: Two 4" x 22" strips

Fabric for body:
1.5 x (Chest circumference) = width
armpit to knee measurement + 4" = dress length.
My baby's chest measurement was 20 inches and the knee length was 15 inches, so I cut a rectangle 30 inches by 19 inches.
(With a 45" width fabric, you should be able to get the width with some to spare, so when buying your fabric, purchase by your length+4 measurement above.)

I took a lot of photos to go along with the instructions, so I'm going to try posting the tutorial on Flickr. Follow this link for step by step instructions with photos.
This link will take you the first step, then click on the next photo at the right to get through the rest of the tutorial. Please leave your comments and questions if there is anything you think could be made more clear. Thanks and enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Dress for Audrey

This delicious little baby is my niece, Audrey. When people mistake her for my own in public because of our matching hair, I don't even correct them. Her sweet personality is as lovable as that little face. My girls and I can't get enough – which is admittedly a problem at times for my 18 month old whose "love" can be a bit much for a defenseless baby. Audrey just turned one and it gave me an excuse to make her a dress and matching hair clip out of some fabric that I thought would look so cute on her. Combine her cuteness with her mom's photography skills and this is what you get... check out the whole series at Meredith Carlson Photography.