Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Heart Crochet

I never really got the hang of knitting but I love to crochet. There’s nothing like crocheting in the fall or winter when the weather is cold (below 65 degrees is cold for a California gal like me, brrr). When Ally was born I was obsessed with crocheting baby beanies. Here's the first one I made…

I added ears, pink trim, and ribbon to the same beanie for Easter…

Some beanies to keep her little ears warm…
The patterns for these beanies came from an amazing crochet tutorial blog called Allicrafts. Go check it out sometime. Alli has so many adorable FREE patterns on her blog.
Little plush animals are fun to crochet too. When I was a girl visiting my great-grandmother “Ella Mae” in Missouri, she gave me these crochet booklets that include a lot of plush projects.  Can you tell the decade they came from?
nice 80's hairdo
Now I hear they call it amugurumi– the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals. Patterns for these are all over the internet.

I found a great blog with some free amigurumi patterns...

Here’s a beautiful crocheted blanket that my Nana made for Ally. I was so touched she made this since her eyesight is poor these days and I’m so glad she’s around to meet her great-grandkids. 

My mom is a great knitter and crocheter too (what can’t she do?). She made Ally some cute baby clothes.
so much pink
My next tutorial will be a half sewn, half crocheted plushie hedgehog. It's simple, soft, and super cute. I can't wait to show you how to make it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sew Simple Solutions: How Velcro Saves My Life

I think I may be in love with Velcro this week. It’s making my life a lot easier. Here are a few things that I modified and improved using it.
The Car Seat
Whenever we load Ally into her car seat the straps end up behind her back and we’ve got to dig them out from behind our squirmy baby. So I added some Velcro straps to the the sides of the seat cover.
small piece of "loop" on top and a long tail of "hook" at the bottom
This way we can secure the straps to each side, put baby girl in more easily. I used sew-in Velcro because with sticky-back Velcro there’s a danger of baby ripping the pieces off and sticking them in her mouth.
the "hook" tail wraps around the buckle and attaches to the "loop"

The High Chair
It’s the same situation with the high chair – a squirmy baby and the straps hidden behind her somewhere. For this one I hand sewed the Velcro pieces on. As you can see my stitching is not-so-great but it does the job. This makes buckling Ally into the seat so much easier.
my beautiful hand-stitching

I plan to do the same for her strollers.
Reusable Bags
Our beautiful neighboring city of Long Beach, CA just recently banned the use of plastic bags. Shops in the “LBC” are now offering only paper bags and charging 10 cents a pop. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve always tried to use green bags anyway but I tend to forget to bring them with me. They’re always in the car but I’d like to keep one in my purse for those instances when I take a walk to the market.
So I attached a small strap of fabric and some Velcro to one of my bags.
Now I can fold it up and keep it in my purse!
That's it for now. What have you done with Velcro lately?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Necktie T-Shirt Tutorial

This is a quick and easy quick that I did it during naptime!

There are some really cute and cool baby tees available now with fun graphics and appliques. A popular one for boys is the tie t-shirt. I’m making this one for my nephew. He’s turning 1 year old next month!
You’ll need:
-          a blank tee
-          a small piece of fabric
-          bonding web - (Stitch Witchery or Heat 'n' Bond)
-          The basics: sewing machine, iron, scissors, thread

Step 1:   Use the pattern below to cut out the 2 shapes of the tie.  (If you right-click the image and chose PRINT, it should print out letter-sized for you).
Tie Appliques

(I included a bow tie as well for those preppy boys)

Cut 2 of each shape using the dashed lines in the pattern.  I cut my gingham fabric at a diagonal. 

NOTE: You can use just one layer of fabric and skip steps 2-3 if you’d like. I just like the 2 layer approach for added durability.

I cut the tie end at a diagonal, and the knot straight on

Put the 2 pieces right sides together
Step 2: Pin the shapes together, right sides together and sew them using a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a small space for turning at the top of each piece (the areas between the small dots on the pattern).

Stitch (leaving top area between dots open), clip and turn

Step 3:  Clip curves, turn and press. I used an old pencil (eraser side) to help turn the shapes. Carefully press the open part of the tie knot piece so it matches the seams. Don’t worry about the tie piece. It will be tucked under the tie knot.

Step 4: Cut the 2 pattern shapes out of bonding web, cutting on the solid line this time (you can make these pieces a tad smaller so they don’t stick out from behind the tie).
Cut the shapes out of bonding web

Step 5: Place the shirt on your ironing board. Position the pieces on the tee shirt with bonding web behind them. The tie knot will overlap the tie piece.
position the pieces with bonding web underneath them

Step 6: Iron using your bonding web instructions.

Step 7: Finish off the applique with a straight stitch, zig-zag or satin stitch.
I used a satin stitch using black thread

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quick Cloth Baby Wipes

Repurpose Project #1 - Quick Cloth Baby Wipes

I got this flannel swaddle blanket free from the hospital when I had Ally but never used it. We used the easy Summer Infant swaddle blankets because I was never very good at swaddling. So I’m repurposing this blanket into cloth wipes.
Using my rotary cutter and ruler, I cut out as many 7” squares as I could get.
I ended up with 14 squares.  
Then I put pairs of squares wrong sides together...

...folded them twice and rounded off the corners. 
If you have an overlock machine, you can overlock the edges and be done. I don’t have one (yet - hello Christmas list) so I used an overlock stitch on my machine, then used a zig zag stitch to go around one more time.

 That was easy. We’ll see how they hold up.
         * Tip: if you keep the fabric scraps from your projects (even the tiniest ones), you can use them   as stuffing. I’ll have a cute plush project tutorial coming up shortly!
my fabric scrap bag - to use for stuffing
Here they are at my feeding station where I keep Ally’s bib, flash cards, the wipes, and a spray bottle filled with water. 
feeding station
 Now to scour the house and find more things I can make wipes out of...7 is definitely not enough.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial

I don’t really consider myself a “green” person but deep in my brain, next to my regular conscience is a little green conscience busting my buns every time I throw something away, use a paper towel, or forget my reusable bags at the store. I just can’t squash that little monster. And it’s purely personal. I don’t look down my nose at other people when they don’t do green things…I’m not beating on a green bible or anything. It’s just me. So I find little things to do my part.
Plastic storage bags are great for keeping food fresh but they’re so hard to clean so I’m making some reusable ones that I can just pop into the wash and use over and over. They are a little larger than a standard sized sandwich bag but you can alter the size to suit your needs. And they’re really easy to make.
You need:
½ yard of Rip Stop Nylon (makes 6 bags)
½ yard of cute cotton fabric
1 1/3 yd hook and loop tape (for 6 bags)
The basics: Sewing machine, matching thread, scissors, ruler, etc
I’m using some more fabric from my Ann Kelle collection that I bought from Poppyseed Fabrics on Etsy. It’s called “Retro Market Apples”. I also found some cute banana fabric at Joann. Food themed fabric is great for these bags.
Easy Instructions:
1)      Fold the ½ yard of nylon in half so it measures 9 ½ inches folded. Cut a width of 9 ½ inches. You’ll end up with a rectangle measuring 19” x 9 ½”. But keep it folded into a square. Repeat with your cute fabric.

2)      Sew the two sides of the nylon together leaving the top open. The bottom is the folded side. Use a 1/2” seam allowance.

3)      Repeat for the cute fabric: sew the two sides together (right sides together) only use a ¼” seam allowance this time.

4)      Trim the seam allowance of the nylon piece down a little bit.

5)      Clip the bottom corners of the cute fabric pocket, turn it right side out and press. (Leave the nylon pocket alone)

turn right side out and press

6)      Slip the nylon pocket into the cute fabric pocket, all the way down until the top edges match. (If they don’t match, trim the nylon pocket to fit)

7)      Pin and baste the top edge of the fabrics together. It may turn out a little wonky. Mine did but that’s OK.

8)      Fold the top edge inward once, and then again, and pin. Stitch the top edge.
fold over twice and pin


9)      Cut a length of hook and loop about  7 ½ inches long and pin the hook to one side, the loop to the other. Make sure to pin them a little far down so there’s enough room for your fingers to pull the bag open.
pin hook and loop on

10)   Stitch the hook and loop on all four sides.

It’s that simple.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hanky Drool Bib Tutorial

It's reversible!
Ally in her hanky drool bib

 I love the hanky bib trend going around. Baby’s can wear bibs and be stylish too? I’m in. Here’s my version of a reversible hanky bib. Print out my pattern and let’s get to it.

Here's a Link to PDF 

The pattern is made to fit my peanut – a 14 pound, 7month old girl. You may need to enlarge it for your little one.
You’ll need:
- 1/3 yard of 2 fabrics (or a couple of fat quarters)
   You can use cotton, flannel, terry cloth, or waterproof fabric

“light to medium weight” fusible interfacing
- Matching thread
- "sew-in" hook and loop
- The basics: Sewing machine, scissors, iron
For the girl’s version of the bib I’m using some super cute Ann Kelle fabrics. I just can’t get enough of Ann Kelle stuff right now and am building my own little collection.  Here’s a link to the website.

I got these fabrics on Etsy from Three Rivers Fabric.

Here’s how to make the bib:
1)      Cut out the bib pattern from your 2 fabric choices. Make sure to place the center of the bib pattern on the fold.

2)      Cut out the bib pattern from 2 layers of interfacing.

3)      Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric pattern piece.

4)      With right sides together, pin and sew the bib together leaving a 2” (or more) space open at the neck for turning rightside out.

5)      Clip curves , turn rightside out and press. Press the opening space carefully to match the seam of the bib.
clip curves

clip the point


6)      Sew along the edges of the bib about 1/8” from the seam.

7)      Add hook and loop to the bib closure. Remember to place the hook and loop on opposite sides of the bib for correct closure. Now you are done! Guess what? The bib is reversible. Try it…you’ll see.
The Boy’s Version…                                                                                                                    
Ok, here I am, a big old hypocrite for using skull fabric after I said I had an aversion to putting skulls on Ally. But it’s a boy’s bib and I couldn’t resist the camo print
cotton front, terry cloth on back

camo skulls fabric from Joann

*If you want to add an applique to the bib, sew it on before you sew the two bib pieces together.
-Happy Sewing