Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Handkerchief-Hem Shirt

It's been far too long since I actually sewed anything. To scratch the sewing itch while my machine is (STILL) in the repair shop, I thought I would try to sew something up using only my serger.

  I had some grey knit that I found at Walmart half a year ago, so I used that. It's a much thinner knit than I like to use, and rolls like nobody's business, so I starched all of my pieces well before seaming them together. It does drape nicely though. =)

  I created this pattern from a basic tee pattern I drafted last year.... it has a curved front seam and a straight back seam, and attached is a square piece whose middle circle is closer to the back than to the front. Like this:
Please excuse my meager paint skills... my free trial of Illustrator ended. ;-)

  The front curved seam was a little difficult to draft... my first iteration was too low in the front and too wide. I had to seam-rip it and re-cut the curve. The second try was still too wide, and the whole shirt was too large, since I drafted the base while I was pregnant with Beckers. So to help with both of those issues at once, I hand-gathered a 4 inch section at the front center seam, tacked it tightly together, and stitched a bow on top. This is actually my favorite detail of the whole shirt. =)

  The sleeves have a pale-pink lettuce-edge hem, and the neck is the prettiest banded neckline I've ever done. There is one wavy section in the back of the neckline, but it still miles better than my last attempt. I was undecided as to whether I should lettuce-edge the hem as well, so for now it is raw, despite my dislike of raw edges even on knit. I'll see if I want to finish it better later.

  I'd like to try this again with a few alterations... I want to test it with the whole bodice seam lifted by an inch and a half, so it is closer to my actual waistline in the back.

  And of course, I want to tighten up those side seams a little more, and I'd also like to use a better-quality knit... I have a feeling that this one isn't going to last through many washings.

  So this is my verdict: it's not difficult to sew a shirt completely on the serger, as long as the needle tension is high enough, but I do like to have a sewing machine handy to finish the hems and neckline.

  Speaking of sewing machines... mine is still in the repair shop, and it's going to cost around $70 to fix. That pretty much guarantees that I won't be letting anyone else use my sewing machine again, since I can't afford that happening regularly. (I wasn't the one using it when it broke.) I definitely need a back-up, preferably something that I won't mind breaking.

  So now I need to find some more knit fabric so I can serge more stuff so I don't go crazy because I can't sew stuff. =)

 Oh! And one more thing... I took a cue from Bethany at Sweet Bee Buzzings and added some social media icons to my sidebar. They are up at the top, so if you'd like to check out my Facebook or Pinterest, email me or subscribe to my feed, now it won't be so difficult! =) I used these icons and edited one of them to create the email version.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Puzzle Ball

  The final installment in the series of gifts that I made for Christmas... a puzzle ball for Gaiw.

  I used this tutorial, and it was great.... with one caveat. Trace a dish that is about 1.5 inches larger than you want your final ball to be, since no seam allowances are added. Here is my version in the bowl I traced from:

  It was a lot of hand-sewing, but I still finished it in one day. I love that it is actually a puzzle:

  Although one of the pieces has disappeared since I took these photos.

  The fabric for this one was from Tia Eva. =)

  I honestly think I like this one better than the daughters do... it's the perfect weight, size, and shape to throw around. I have another (slightly larger) one cut out in primary colors for my young nephews, but I haven't been able to sew it up yet.

  And that is the last of the Christmas gifts for 2013... now to get started on this year's offerings. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Corduroy And Denim Hats

 Ever since I made the kid-sized cap for Booper, I've meant to make an adult-sized version for myself. Well, I still haven't made any hats for myself, but I did make two adult-sized ones for my sister-in-love. First, a corduroy one:

  This one is a little less full than the one I made for Booper, mostly because I was short on fabric.

  I hand-sewed the band lining down this time, since I'm always disappointed with my stitch-in-the-ditch skills:

  I used a double layer of interfacing in the brim this time, and it was perfectly stiff. I do wish I'd added a bit of interfacing to the band, but it looks better on an actual person.
Just imagine it on a cute blonde instead of on me. ;-)
  Having tried it on for the purpose of these photos, I can honestly say that it is super soft and comfortable, and I had definitely wanted to keep it. I guess I will just have to buy more corduroy and make another one!

  The second hat I made was from a really lightweight denim:

  For this one I added a second strip around the circumference and cut a matching circle for the top. Next time, I'd make the second strip a half-inch shorter and the top circle a bit smaller as well, but it still works.

  This one is fully lined in a fun floral fabric, sent to me by Karen:

  It can be worn flowered-side-out, but since there is a small bow on the denim side it isn't the most comfortable of hats that way.

  The brim on both hats is shorter than a typical base-ball cap. Both were quite difficult to sew in! That extra layer of interfacing made them hard to manipulate.

  I wasn't nearly as tempted to keep this one... but I still like it. =)

  Just one more gift to show you... what I made for Gaiw this year.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mushroom Coin Purse

  My mother is one of those people who can take photographs of very mundane objects and make them beautiful. She is especially good at photographing mushrooms, so when I found some mushroom fabric at a yard-sale last summer, it instantly reminded me of her. In honor of that, I made her a coin purse from it:

  The mushroom button came about since lace just didn't seem right for a mushroom coin purse, and I didn't already have any buttons that I loved with it. I made a button from air-dry clay at the same time as making a bunch of ornaments, as well as this tiny mushroom figurine.

  The coin purse itself is another new pattern I made. I developed it after seeing a pin with coin purse pattern pieces... I refuse to actually pin the pin because it links to a site that steals people's ideas. Anyway, the pattern still needs some tweaking. This purse was actually version number two... the first version, which mimicked the pin much more closely, was so bad that it didn't even warrant a frame, and it now belongs to Gaiw.

  The main difference between this and my gusseted coin purse pattern is that there are four pieces that meet at the bottom:

 I lined this one with some solid dark brown, like the rich earth that surrounds the mushrooms in my mom's photos.

  It was really difficult to get into the frame, so unfortunately it's a little bit glue-y on the inside, but other than that it came out well.

  I also gifted two other coin purses for Christmas... the original purple one to Booper, who has begged me to make her one just like it ever since I first sewed it, and the larger pink plaid one to my sister, because I wanted somebody special to have it. =)

  I have a lot more ideas for these, and more coin purse frames on the way, but it may be a while until any get made... my sewing machine's tension went kaput and it is now in the repair shop. I have so many ideas, and nothing to sew them up with! I'm particularly disappointed that I can't sew along with this season of Project Run and Play... but if you have time, you should definitely check out the amazing creations over there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Handprint Mugs

  These hand-print mugs were absolutely the most difficult gifts I made for Christmas:

  I didn't think they would be so hard when I started... a couple of basic mugs, a bit of glass/ceramic paint(affiliate link), and a few kid hands. I failed to take into account how difficult it is to keep little fingers from twitching and smearing paint.

  Booper's hand-prints didn't go too badly... I had to wipe them off and restart only two or three times per mug:

  Gaiw though.... that was harder. She liked to rub her fingers back and forth on the mug. After about 4 attempts I printed most of her hand, wiped off the smeary parts, and painted them on with a brush.

  They are still mostly composed of her actual hand-prints though.

  And Beckers.... well, if I ever say that I want to hand-print a 4-month-old again, please just put me out of my misery. It went something like this: paint hand, press hand on mug, pull hand back to find that it was cupped and only half of each finger and none of the palm printed, wipe paint off mug, repeat. I even tried splinting the poor child's hand to keep the fingers straight, to no avail. Finally I just used what small bits of the hand that did print and painted in what I guessed the rest should look like:

  Which is why the two 'prints' are so dissimilar:

  I still think these would have been a great idea if the littler daughters had been completely sound asleep while I attempted it. ;-) And even if only half of the print is actual real hand-print, they are a good reminder of how small the girls' hands are at this age. These were gifts for my dad and father-in-law, and were well-received in spite of their multitude of flaws. I even had a request from my husband's grandma for one.

  The other things I painted this year were ornaments to go on the gifts:

  I used air-drying clay and cut the shapes with cookie cutters (Thanks for the cutter set, little sister! I've really enjoyed them.) I rolled some of the clay too thin, and about half of the ornaments didn't make it because they curled a lot while they dried. Also, the back of each ornament developed some odd wrinkles:

  I did really enjoy painting them though, and they made great tags.

  Also! I wanted to show the gifts I wrapped this year! I was low on time and inspiration with the set I sent my family, so I don't have any photos of those, but here are the gifts I wrapped after spending some time on Pinterest:
  As you can see, I still used all-white paper (freezer paper, since I completely spaced buying actual wrapping paper until it was too late) but I added some pretty details. There are several here that I love!

The gift bag I made from freezer paper with washi tape, ric-rac handles, and a handmade ornament:

  The tiny package with the gold bow, faux greenery and berries, and a wooden tag:

  And the gift with the plaid ribbon and handmade ornament:

  Just a couple of posts left to wrap up (how punny!) the Christmas gifting!

 Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Resin Creations

  About a year and a half ago, I bought some EnviroTex Lite Resin (affiliate link) to use in this perfume locket I made for my mother. I had most of the resin left after making the locket, so I stored it carefully away and didn't use it again until now. Around that time I read this post with resin and coffee beans.

  When I was thinking of gifts for this past Christmas, the coffee bean jar seemed like the perfect gift for my coffee-loving, coffee-shop-owning brother and his wife, so I pulled my resin back out. The hardest part of this project was finding a jar with the indent in the lid, but I finally found one in a similar style to the original post, but a much larger size. Here (affiliate link) are the ones I bought, if you are looking to create something similar.
  I pretty much did the same thing as the original post, but used more beans, but I did get a lot of tiny air bubbles that I couldn't get to rise to the surface. Next time I would mix a super small batch of resin and pour it on, add the beans and let cure, then add another thin layer on top of that, and so on until it was as thick as I wanted it.

  Other than the tiny bubbles I love the way it turned out. I packaged it up with some homemade biscotti inside to further the coffee theme. =) I would have added some homemade coffee syrups etc, but since he owns a coffee shop, he has a surplus of those items already.

  Soon after I made the jar I saw this phone case tutorial on Etsy. Since my mother-in-love now has an iPhone, I made her one.

  I think this one turned out absolutely gorgeous!

  I wish I had an iPhone just so I could carry it around in a case like this.

  I coated my flowers in Mod Podge and let it dry before adding the resin.

  Also, I put the phone case on a small box so it hung above my work surface and let the resin cover the sides, since I wrapped part of the pressed leaves around to the sides. I just wiped away any resin that dripped below the sides.

  And finally, for my sister-in-love who also has an iPhone, I painted a case with acrylic paint, screen-printed on some pretty butterflies, and added resin to protect the paint.

  These are the same silkscreens that I used for my painted lace shirt last year. I added resin pretty much the same way for this case as the pressed flower case. I love how this one turned out too! =)

  It's difficult to see in the photos, but in person the underlay of paint looks like fabric, because I brushed the first thin layer on vertically, and the second on horizontally. And yes, this one only makes me want an iPhone more. =) I'd be switching out cases quite regularly.

  Next up: some more painterly things. =)

Thanks for stopping by,