Tuesday, October 14, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

Today I woke up and October was half over. When did this happen? I've been buried in Halloween sewing projects that have kept me from concentrating on my blog or any other sewing. But I hope to have some fun finished items to share in the next week or two. In the meantime, I can finally share my last project from September . . . a Dorothy doll that I made for a very dear friend of mine who loves "The Wizard of Oz"!

In keeping with my recent obsession, the pattern is a Dolls and Daydreams creation that I am completely in love with. I may need to make one for my little one for Christmas! 

I designed her face myself and hand embroidered it. I also created a skirt that was not included in the pattern. This one was perfect to make while sitting with a sleeping baby on me since it had a lot of hand sewing details!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Quilt That Almost Wasn't

Remember many months ago I shared a quilt that I was trying to make for our bed (the love-hate relationship quilt)? Well the quilt ended up getting scrapped. I will use the blocks in another quilt at some point. But I took the remaining fabric and began to work on another attempt with it. I should mention, I began this attempt back in May as I awaited the arrival of our little one. 

The quilt top came together beautifully and I loved it, until I began quilting a king-size quilt on my small throated sewing machine. Nothing like stuffing an entire king-sized quilt through a 6 inch space. Needless to say, this caused much frustration with the backing of the quilt getting bunched in spaces. Being a perfectionist this really was bothering me but there was only so much seam picking I could do before I finally had to give up and just let some bunching remain on the back. After all, I wanted to finish the quilt sometime this year. 

But I really do finally love this quilt. I had some fun with this one as I tried to expand on free-motion quilting. This time I added lyrics from some of our favorite songs. 

I also labelled my quilt directly in the quilting. 

The greatest feeling of accomplishment was washing the quilt and getting it laid out on my bed! My room has been waiting for this quilt for a year and a half. 

I am so happy to have this quilt finally off of my to-do list. 

Until next time . . . happy sewing! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fast as Lightning McQueen: My First Serger Quilt

Life with little ones leaves little time for in-depth projects. Which means I am always looking for ways to make things quicker so I can actually accomplish what I need to. So when I saw an episode of Sew It All that showed viewers how to make a baby quilt using your serger I was beyond intrigued. Rather than cutting time with the kiddos short I was going to be able to cut the sewing time in half! And so I decided to test it out on a quilt I was designing for my son's bed. 

It all began with this panel that I found on eBay (which I backed, basted and quilted before doing anything else). And let me just say, after much frustration with shoving another quilt in progress through my small home machine . . . quilting in stages was pure heaven. No bunching up in the back and no killing my arms as I shove an entire bed quilt under the throat of the machine. 

My son has recently become obsessed with Disney's Cars and Cars 2 so I knew that this panel would kick off the perfect bed quilt. 

Invisible thread was perfect for outlining the cars and their features. Once I finished quilting it I trimmed all the sides to be straight. Then I laid a piece of the backing on the back with right sides of the backing facing each other. Another great feature of quilting this way, I did not need to purchase a large backing piece. I was able to use up remaining chunks of fabric since the back is pieced along with the front.

Then I laid a piece of the quilt top on top of my panel with right sides facing each other. 

Then a piece of batting is placed on top of that piece and I am ready to feed it all through the serger. 

Of course, the serging is unbelievably quick and also wonderfully sturdy. It also smashes down the multiple layers of batting so that everything lays together nicely in the end.

Once I was done serging, I simply flipped the back panel up.

And then I flipped the batting and the front panel up. 

Of course, at this point you should press your pieces/seams into place but, being the hurried momma that I am lately, I skipped right to the quilting part. Quilting in stages like this is unbelievably quick since you do not need to fight as much bulk through the machine each time. 

I continued on like this all the way up the length of the quilt. 

I also added on to the sides once the length was there. Before I knew it, I had finished a twin sized bed quilt in a week and a half! That's a record for this tired momma who usually gets only an hour or two a day to set up my sewing area, sew and clean  it all up again so that the family has somewhere to eat dinner that night.

I will definitely be creating more quilts that will allow for this sort of piecing! 

But I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime . . . like finishing a king sized quilt, sewing more charity dolls, creating Halloween costumes and perhaps finally taking a stab at paper piecing. Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Creating Dolls from our Daydreams

Oh my! Where did August go?! I swear I have been sewing, only the sewing has been done in such small doses that it seems like it is taking forever for to finish projects. I am in progress on 2 bed quilts and still greatly enjoying working on items for the hospital. I also tried to work on a few dolls for ourselves this past month too.
I got through 2 more batches of charity dolls. I cannot stress enough how wonderful the Cuties for a Cure pattern is from Dolls and Daydreams. I cannot wait to deliver my first box of dollies to the hospital.

I have been trying to complete a doll for charity between working on each personal project.

I have almost filled a box with the dolls. I really cannot stress how excited I am to deliver that first box.

A few weeks ago my son was watching the show, "Sarah and Duck" on Sprout and turned and asked me to make Sarah. I absolutely love that he can request things from me now and I love watching his face light up when I make it happen. So I immediately got to work. 

That night I went back to the Dolls and Daydreams website and found a doll (the Wendy Poppet) that had a nice round face like Sarah from the show. I swear, I am not affiliated with the pattern store and I do not get paid to write about it . . . I am just a woman obsessed with these adorable and easy to follow patterns. 

My son absolutely loves her . . . he didn't even wait for me to finish her shoes before swooping her and running off with her. He has slept with her every night since. He had me create Duck too but, as happy as he is with the duck I designed, I see too many flaws and am too embarrassed to share it. Haha.
I also started working on a doll for myself finally. I absolutely love old movies and one of my favorite actresses was Marilyn Monroe. So I knew I had to create a little Marilyn to keep at my sewing table. I, of course, used another Dolls and Daydreams pattern, the Tiny Tot. Again, I swear to you I am not affiliated . . . just obsessed! I traced the pattern head and then designed a completely different face and hair to make my Marilyn come to life. 

I also switched her body up a bit to create her white dress from "The Seven Year Itch". It was so fun to finally make something for myself!

I am hoping to finish up one of the bed quilts this weekend! The other one is a great frustration to me right now and ended up angrily balled up and thrown into a corner in my bedroom. I have put in way too much time on it (4 months and counting) but at the moment I daydream of tearing it to shreds with my fabric shears! Perhaps next week I will try to calmly tackle it again.

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sewing in a New Direction: Cuties for a Cure

Last month I stumbled upon a blog post that was reviewing a doll pattern from Dolls and Daydreams. I had never sewn dolls before but I was falling in love with nearly every doll pattern she had for sale. I was sitting with my son and he went crazy over the pirate pattern so I decided to buy it and give it a shot. Boy, am I glad that I did! He sat and helped me pick fabrics, he watched me sew the pieces and helped me stuff the limbs and doll. In the end we ended up with an awesome pirate that was nearly as big as his baby sister!

My son didn't even want to give him up so I could take pictures. He was running through the house with him yelling, "Arrrrr matey".

After our pirate success I returned to the website and continued to plot what would be our next adventure when I stumbled upon her Cuties for a Cure pattern. I knew immediately that I wanted to make some to donate. I contacted our local Children's Cancer Center to see if they would be interested and when they said yes I got right to work collecting supplies and getting started. This past week I finished my first 3 dolls. 

I already cannot wait to get a whole box ready to take over to the hospital. They turned out so cute. And I am learning new techniques as I go . . . like fabric painting on the faces! And once again my son helped me with these. I love that we sat and stuffed all 3 together. While we worked I explained that they were going to sick kids who don't feel good. My son smiled and said, these dollies will make them happy! 

I will be working on 3 little boys this week and I hope to get quicker with practice. It is great to be working on something that I know might bring a small smile to the face of a little one who is fighting a huge battle!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Side Note: I am in no way affiliated with Dolls and Daydreams and receive nothing for writing about the patterns. I am just a very happy customer, now a nearly obsessed customer, who wanted to share her extraordinary patterns. Most importantly, I wanted to spread the word of her Chemotherapy dolls in hopes of inspiring others to create some to donate as well!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Not Your Ordinary Skirt: A Simple Summer Blouse

I was able to squeeze in a little bit of sewing time this evening so I decided to try my hand at another refashion. I bought a skirt at the thrift store last summer because I loved the color and print. 

I wore it a few times but not as much as I had hoped I would. There just isn't much need for skirts when I am running around with the kids. So I decided to turn it into something I could get more use out of. I threw it onto the dress form and brought the old waist line in to create a boat neck hem. I also began seam ripping the sides where I wanted my arm holes to be.

To keep it easy and add some contrast, I grabbed some navy blue binding and used it to finish the arm holes. 

The top was nearly there. 

I then created a thin navy blue tie to add a beautiful shape to the top. I love how it creates the illusion of a peplum top. 

So feminine and yet nice and casual too!

It also looks great under a blazer for dressier occasions.

I will be on the hunt for a navy blue blazer now to complete the ensemble. This was a great refashion for a mom without much sewing time lately.

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Fast Refashion: The Tie Belt

As I mentioned before, I have not been getting as much sewing time as I would like lately but I have been trying to accomplish small projects when I can. This week's project involved two 69 cent ties that I had picked up from the thrift store.

This one was a fun refashion because I got to combine my favorite things; thrifting, re-fashioning and quilting! Using a piece of felt as a base, I crossed the ties over each other and did some straight lined quilting to help stabilize everything in place. I then cut away the overhanging felt.

Then I simply had to wrap the belt around my waist and tie it up! Or for photographing purposes; wrap the belt around the waist of the dress form and tie it up. Definitely a fun belt for adding shape to a cute tunic!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thrifty Furniture: My 69 Cent Coffee Table

I haven't gotten as much time as I would like at the sewing machine this past month. But I did get some time outside to work on re-finishing a piece of furniture! Last month I found a coffee table at the thrift store for 69 cents. Yes, you heard me right . . . 69 CENTS! I was so thrilled. Of course, it wasn't in the best shape. 

One leg was loose and there was some damage on the back side. I also am not a fan of the honey finish and I was hating the chunky wood handle. But I saw great potential in the size and I loved the little game drawer. 

So I got to work repairing the table, sanding it down and refinishing it. It took a while to accomplish since my only chance to work was during nap time but it was well worth the patience. 

I stained the top with Minwax's Early American stain and painted the bottom. I finished the top with 3 coats of polyurethane and then replaced the handle on the drawer. It is funny to say, but the handle cost more than the table did!

The coffee table ended up costing me less than 6 dollars to complete and it is just perfect in our living room. I hope to get back to sewing this next week.

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: A Country Chic Tunic

As I've mentioned before, I am a mom on a budget . . . so I just love 69 cent Saturdays at our local thrift store. I go in and buy whatever I think might be able to be turned into something new again! I love trying to see the good in things. So when I saw this too tiny tunic for 69 cents I snatched it up.

It was way too tight and a kind of boring but I loved the red print and let's face it, a button up top can be a nursing mom's best friend! So out came the seam ripper and away went the sleeves because it's hot out and I need clothes to wear right now. I also picked out the darts on the back and cut some slits where they existed because I had to make this bad boy fit.

I ran my new raw edges through the serger to keep things easier to work with.

Then my new armholes got hemmed.

My top then got put back on the dress form so that I could pin my slits into position to figure how much fabric I would need to add to my top to loosen it up.

These new slits definitely loosened up the shirt but also left it sitting a little funny on the form. So I added some darts that ran perpendicular to the new slits. 

I then had to find a fabric to dress this shirt up with and I had just the thing. A thrifted lace valance proved to be just what I needed to add a pop of wow to this tunic. 

Seriously, doesn't it just add a rustic romance to this shirt?

I loved the pop of lace so much that I decided to add a bit of it to the armholes as well. 

Finally I had to remove part of the darts in the front of the shirt. Why, you might ask? Because my child bearing hips needed room to breath! So once again I picked away with the seam ripper but this time only up to the waist. A quick stitch with the sewing machine ensured that the rest of the darts did not come unraveled with wear and tear. 

And with that, I had a new old top that is perfect for summer and nursing! 

I just love finding the good in things!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!