Monday, December 29, 2008

Partridge in a pear tree

I wanted to make fabric apples for monkey pants' preschool teachers from Heather Bailey's Fresh-Picked Pincushions pattern for Christmas gifts, but I couldn't convince myself to spend almost $13.00 plus shipping on a pattern to make apples and pears. By the time I convinced myself, it was too late to order it. Well, it all turned out because I found this cute, free online bird pattern from Spool. What could be better -free and downloadable.

It was such a fun, quick, and easy little project and it was specially sweet because monkey pants was so excited to help make it for her teachers. She picked out the fabric scraps, I cut and sewed the birdies, she stuffed them, and I hand sewed them shut. She was surprisingly good at stuffing them and didn't even abandon the birdies half-way as I might have thought.

We simply stuffed them into clear gift baggies and attached a home made card with ribbon. I made the card using this adorable little figure from a free gift tag download from Kitty Genius.

I think her teachers were pleasantly surprised by the fact that monkey pants had helped to make these with her own hands and I felt it made it all the more special.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Emmeline Apron 2

Just got done with this one. Another Emmeline Apron for a Christmas gift. I wanted to try something different with my choice of fabrics this time, although not too different since they are still Amy Butler prints. I chose some darker blue fabrics from the Daisy Chain (Aquatic) line that I wouldn't normally be drawn too. But I'm glad I did. I really like the result.

This time, I did a few things a bit differently. One thing about the pattern I'm not fond of is the wordy, yet poor instructions on how to place the waist straps onto the sides of the apron at the right angle. I really don't know why the correct angle isn't just printed on the pattern. So to minimize the trial and error approach encouraged in the pattern instructions, [TIP:] I laid out the fabric and the strap as it would appear once constructed and simply marked a line on the strap corresponding to the angle of the apron. Then, I flipped both apron and strap layers over together; lined up the strap with the marking flush to the side of the apron and pinned; then basted in place.

I also didn't cut the halter straps on the diagonal. I don't find this necessary at all and it just takes up more fabric. Last, I was able to get away without hand-sewing the finishing touches. As long as the bodice top and the straps are well pressed, you should be able to pin them in place and just top stitch through everything and come out with a fairly decent top stitch on the other side too.

I added the oven mitts from the Amy Butler patchwork apron pattern and that's it.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Pattern: Tuck-in or Bow-Knot Scarf
This is a free pattern I found on the web a while ago, but now I can't remember where. I did find another link to it here.
Materials: Mission Falls "1824 Wool" (I thought this was worsted weight, but upon checking, it's not) Aran 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Rhubarb 534
The yarn was a little irregular in places and one of the balls had a join in it which bugged me. And it didn't pull out from the center. I was drawn in by the colors.
Amount: patterns says it will come out of less than one 50 gram ball but I had to buy a second one to finish with this yarn.
Needles: US4 bamboo
Cost: $12.00

I made this scarf a couple of times before and decided to make it again using a superwash merino wool because I thought that would be practical for gifting. I picked this super saturated crimson color I couldn't resist. I thought it might really liven up a dull wool coat or a neutral jacket.

This pattern is pretty easy to make and super fast. Another one of those rewarding projects for immediate satisfaction. It's made up in garter stitch and has a slot on one end through which you insert the other end to hold it in place. I made it last year from a cashmere blend in a smaller gauge for an accessory that's more wearable even away from the cold.

I also made another scarf gift in the same yarn. The website says the color is Charcoal 004, but it looks more like Ink 022. It's a deep blackberry color. I used two 50g balls and just made it up in moss stitch for the bow scarf's counterpart. Moss stitch is apparently very stretchy which I guess should work well for a scarf. My only concern is that it might get kind of mis-shapen easily. This seemed like a lot more knitting compared to the bow scarf. Boy, I really like that bow-knot scarf pattern. This scarf doesn't look too exciting just laying there, but it looks really cute sophisticated and cozy on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kimberly Bag

Kimberly Bag from Amy Butler pattern - check. Again, used the same fabric as the pattern (different colors). I love this bag in this pattern in pretty much all the colors. I would probably like to keep this one too, but it is a Christmas gift.

This bag took me a bit longer, probably three days. I had a bit of a set back when I started cutting because I didn't realize I was out of fusible fleece and had to go back to the dreaded Joann's. I think I need to take psychotropic drugs to deal with the people at the cutting counter. Anyway, this pattern doesn't take up a lot of fabric which is nice, but apparently I didn't realize the fabric I picked from Amy Butler's Nigella line is a home decorating weight fabric that is also 54" and not the usual 45" so I ordered a yard and you really only need 1/2 yard for the exterior. I used a subtle two tone floral from Amy's Midwest Modern line for the lining. I was surprised that the pattern didn't include an inside pocket, so I added a little one with a zipper. For the main zipper, I used the same technique I came up with for the Sophia Carry-All Bag, but I used a slimmer one instead of the more bulky coil separating zipper that is used for the purse zipper.

The bag was fairly easy except for dealing with the bulkyness of the interfacing and zipper on the sewing machine of course. I had better luck with the fabric fusible interfacing this time than I did with the Sophia bag as I followed the instructions a little better. But I'm still not a fan of it. It seems to ripple a little no matter what. The zipper ends on the bag don't look as tidy as I would have liked but I think that's as good as their going to come out with the sewing machine I have and the fact that it needs to be oiled and I can't figure out how to oil it.

I was pleased with the result. I think it makes a cute gift so I'll probably make it again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Frenchy Bag

One Frenchy Bag from Amy Butler pattern done. I know, it's not very original. I used the same fabrics on the pattern, but I really liked it that way. I made this for a Christmas gift, but I have to admit I took it for a test run to see how well I would like it. The pattern design has two large open pockets on either side of the inside of the bag and I wasn't sure how practical that would be. Well, it really isn't very practical. Things get kind of jumbled up in there a lot and it's hard to reach in and find stuff because you don't know if your hand is the the bag or in a pocket. But, I'm still having a hard time parting with it. I guess I could always make it again and try to improve on the inside pocket design.

I really liked that I was able to make this bag in one day from start to finish. It doesn't require any heavy duty interfacing or zippers. It was pretty easy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Village Frock

The Village Frock from Sugar City got completed in time for Thanksgiving. It was such a cute little project. I think this is the first real item of clothing I've made for monkey pants. I wanted to make it out of a lightweight denim, but I didn't have enough. I took a trip to the dreaded Joann's and decided on this creamy wool that was on sale. I thought it might be a nice wintery version. My only gripe with is that I would have liked the sleeves to have been longer so the billowy part was further down the arm. I thought the arms looked longer on the pattern but I don't know what happened there.

I decided to make the three year old size and use the four year old length to give it a more fitted silhouette (European cut as the pattern instructions would say). I like the little booklet pattern instructions and the hand written pattern pieces were very charming for a change. The instructions were pretty thorough and I liked that it included good measurements for the different sizes. Not even the commercial flower girl dress pattern I made had a full finished length measurement for the dress which I struggled with quite a bit.

The gathering was a bit of a challenge but not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I lined the inside so monkey pants wouldn't complain about the gathered seams scratching her and so the dress wouldn't stick to tights. I lined each piece instead of the dress as a whole to make it easier. Alas, I searched high and low for some brown italian styled leather boots to go with the dress and found nothing so here she is wearing with pants which actually seems to work somehow.

I think this is a very unique little design and I've already got my lightweight denim ready for a spring version of the dress.