Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Easy Dog Coat

There is a free dog coat pattern over at Circle of Crafters. It works best if you have a small dog, as the pattern is one you print out. I'm guessing you could resize it for larger dogs on a photocopier using big paper.

I used a layer of plaid flannel and a lining of brown flannel. The result is warm, but not bulky. I also added top stiching that wasn't part of the instructions, but it made the coat look more finished. My dog isn't a fan of the coat, but she hates any kind of clothing. I like the velcro closure, so it can be easily taken off (by you, but not by the dog!).

Dog lovers: there are lots of cute pictures of dogs wearing the coats their owners made for them at the Circle site

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Handmade Ornaments

These fabric bird ornaments are quick, handmade gifts for some of the special people on my list. I was inspired to make them by this blog. You can find a free pattern here at Spool Sewing and make some of your own. You can try out a variety of fabric combinations like I did.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And the winner is...

Baba! Congrats. I'll send the pincushion out to you soon!

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. I hope you'll be back to my blog and checkout my etsy store too. I'm going to be adding things to it in the next few months, before our new baby comes home!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Give-Away Day!

Here's my free give away item!

Leave a comment, and I'll pick one person at random to receive this cute, handmade pincushion. It is made from Heather Bailey's pattern, and is about 4 to 5 inches square by 1 to 2 inches high. It'll add a lot of personality and color to your sewing table, or give it to your favorite seamstress!

Sorry, I can't ship internationally, but I will ship for free to those in the lower 48.

I'll post the winner on December 4th.

Give-Away Day Tomorrow!

One of my favorite websites is hosting a fun give away tomorrow. Check it out for a huge list of blogs offering a chance at free, handmade items for one day only. I know I'll be looking.
Look here first thing in the morning for your chance at a free something, handmade by yours truly. I'll even ship it free!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Korean Pojagi-inspired Quilt

It's finished! I'll try to get some better pictures in the morning, but I had to share the first glimpse of the finished quilt.

I had no pattern, so I followed a method of crazy quilting by Weeks and Ringle. The piecing is random, but if you look closely, you can see that the pieces are sewed into stips of a certain width and pieced in a log cabin (around and around the center) style. The hand quilting is also random. I mostly outlined the larger pieces or groups of pieces, but I snuck some personal symbols in too. Can you spot one below?

It was inspired by Korean piecework called pojagi. I don't know much about this style (most sources are in Korean or Japanese!), but it doesn't appear to be layered or quilted, just pieced. My version is obviously a Korean-American hybrid because I layered it and quilted it the traditonal American way.

Here are some of the photos of real pojagi which inspired me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hand Quilting

I finished hand quilting my son's baby quilt tonight (yes, he is 2 1/2, but to be fair I didn't start making it until he was 18 months old). I find hand quilting relaxing and oddly comforting.

I'm ready to get this quilt done though, so it's on to binding. I found a good tutorial here. It completely eliminates the bulky ending of the traditional method.

More about this quilt and its inspiration when I have finished photos!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thomas Costume Tutorial - Part 2

See what a difference the paint makes? Pick a lighter colored blue for your Thomas though. This cadmium blue is darker than Thomas should be. The whistle, buffers, and numbers are cut out of craft foam ("Foamies"), and they add some nice dimension, I think.
The next step is to add straps so your train engineer can wear Thomas. I used peel and stick velcro. I cut four small strips (the prickly side of the velcro) and put them inside the train.
Then I used the soft side of the velcro for the straps. This way, your straps are completely adjustable. They can be worn straight across the should or crossed in the back. I left the peel away paper intact on the straps.

When I did a test run on the costume I found it was back heavy. To add ballast (?), I taped a 16oz can onto the inside of Thomas' head. This worked very well, but it did make the costume pretty heavy for my little guy. If I were making it all again, I'd make the back of the train much thinner and forgo the extra piece to cover the seams. Try to make it as light as possible. You might also cut the engineer opening further towards the rear of the first box, rather than in the middle.

The only remaining step is Thomas' face! You can print out a face from this website. I believe this is actually James' or Percy's face. If your little one is old enough to tell the difference, you can change it to look more like Thomas by drawing more of a triangular eyebrow with a black marker. My guy didn't care. To fit my "head" I printed out the face at 80%. You may have to fiddle with this a bit to get the right size.

As you can tell the costume turned out to be too large for my 2 year old. These instructions make a train that would better fit a 3-5 year old. If your person is smaller, be sure to start with smaller boxes! Comment with any questions you have about the process, and I'll try to clarify!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thomas Costume Tutorial - Part 1

My little guy is enamored with Thomas the Train, so I naturally looked for a costume for Halloween. I wasn't impressed with the sandwich board style ones available in stores, so I did a little research online and found several fun, homemade examples online. I decided to make my own costume, as well as a tutorial for the rest of you parents trying to please your little Thomas enthusiasts.

You'll need:

cardboard boxes (I bought a three pack of 18 x 12 x 12 boxes from Staples)

hot glue gun and glue sticks

packing tape

acrylic paint in blue, red, yellow, and black

scissors and X-acto knife
peel and stick velcro strips

You need two boxes and a third box to use for additional pieces. Put the first box together, using hot glue to close the flaps (you don't want to use packing tape, as the paint won't stick to it later). This will be the main part of the train. The second box needs to be thinner, so trim the body of it down about 4 inches before shutting the flaps. This is the back part of the train. I cut a piece from the third box to glue over the backside, so there would be no seam on the back of the train.

You can see in the second picture how I cut out an opening in the first box. This is where your little person will be as he/she "rides" the train, so cut it to fit. Cut the flaps off the bottom part of the first box. Your child's feet will come out the bottom.

Next, glue the second box onto the back of the first box, so that it sticks out higher than the first train.

The next step is to cut out the train wheels. I used the third box and a salad plate as a template. I also cut a long strip to connect the wheels. I'm not sure what this is called, but you see it on the real Thomas' wheels :).

Glue the wheels onto the body of the train. I overlapped the wheels on the underside of the train by a couple of inches. At the back of the train, where the second box is, I folded the wheel under a couple of inches and glued it.
The final step in the contruction phase is to make Thomas' head and smokestack. In my research, I saw that many people used premade containers like oatmeal canisters for the head. I thought this looked too small for the scale of the train, but you may be able to find a bigger cylinder. I decided to make my own. I used a bowl to trace and cut out a circle, and then I used a strip of cardboard to wrap around the circle (I also cut a slightly smaller circle to fit inside the cylinder a few inches down to stabilize it). Use the hot glue to secure.

Trace around the cylinder on the front of the train, and use an X-acto knife to cut out the circle. Shove the cylinder through the circle. You want a tight fit. Then use packing tape to secure the cylinder on the inside of the train. Follow the same steps for the smokestack. I used a papertowel roll cut in half. The only difference from the head is that I secured the smokestack on the inside by cutting the tube lenth-wise several times on the inside of the train and folding those pieces outward. I taped them to the inside of the train.

Now you have your Thomas costume constructed. At this point I used a ruler and sketched out where I wanted the lines to go. Do this with a light hand. Some of my lines and color notes were hard to cover with paint later.

When the paint goes on is when this bunch of cardboard starts looking like Thomas, so stay tuned...
You can find Part 2 of the tutorial here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bibs, bibs, and more bibs

Check out Amy Karol's bend-the-rules Sewing for an easy, cute pattern for baby bibs. I got on a bit of a kick and made a bunch last week. They are a great way to use fat quarters. They'd be fabulous baby shower gifts too - so vibrant and fun.

I fiddled with the pattern later though, and enlarged it to fit toddlers. I found baby bibs pretty useless once my little guy was about a year old - just when he was the messiest eater. You need more coverage, you know? I couldn't find any larger bibs in stores.

I've got a set of three toddler bibs in cute, coordinating fabric in my etsy shop if you need a great gift for the toddler, really for the toddler's mom, in your life.