Saturday, January 17, 2015

Senna Tote

I loved this senna tote pattern when I first discovered it and bought it sometime last year when they had a 50% off special at Willow & Co.

I don't make bags very often. I can't even remember the last time I made a bag. But I loved this bag design so much I bought the pattern.

I was most concerned about how to put the zipper in the curve but it went together very nicely. This is a thick bag, which is why it has such a nice structure to it. It has canvas interlining in addition to the quilt cotton being interfaced with fusible interfacing. My Bernina 350 did great even on the bulkiest seams. 

I used a quilt cotton from my stash and a piece of gold leather from Fabric.com. The bag is lined with black Kona Cotton (also in the stash), which I also used for the straps. At this point shown above when I was basting all the layers together I got out my walking foot to keep the layers from shifting. It helped a bunch. Although I'm not much of a quilter I am surprised at how useful I find my walking foot to be. It was also great for sewing on the leather because it doesn't stick to the leather surface.
I was able to make this bag in a day, between nursing Little D. Then I put it on my dresser in my room to show off to The Hot Italian. 

"What are you going to use it for?" he asked. 

"I have no idea," I replied. 

Silly hubby...since when does sewing need to be practical?

I actually took it to a sewing class today. It was perfect for my little stash of supplies. It would also make a great diaper bag if I didn't already have one.

It's a great size. I only wish the straps were just a little longer. It's pretty snug under my arm when I put it over my shoulder.

I guess I'll have to make another one to determine the ideal strap length.

Baby Shoes: Simplicity 2491

It's true that babies don't need shoes until they start walking, but they sure are cute aren't they?

I bought this leather from Fabric.com a month or so ago. I didn't have anything in mind for it, but I bought a half yard to get my order up to $35.00 to qualify for free shipping. Do you ever do that? I do it all the time and maybe I shouldn't.

I wanted to try making baby shoes just for fun, and since I'm still on maternity leave for a little over a week and sewing is more fun than housework I've been filling nap times with sewing projects.

I used Simplicity 2491 view C. I scanned through the instructions and then kind of did my own thing. Because the leather already had some weight to it, I used the heat'n bond to just fuse a layer of Kona Cotton to the back instead of the recommended felt. And instead of the ribbon and velcro I put a 3" piece of 1/2" fold over elastic (FOE) through the front flap. 

I made the XS size which is supposed to be 4" long. When I measured my little D's foot it was about 3.5" so I knew that they would be a little big. Little D is 2 months old and still pretty little even for his age, so these were pretty big on him. They stay on his feet with the elastic in them, but I haven't given them a full day's audition yet to see how well they stay. The truth is Little D doesn't have much use for gold shoes and I have a small piece of black leather in my stash, so we might see if his cousin Sissy B can wear these and I'll make him a black pair.

In any case this was a fun and easy project. I'm still thinking about seeing if I can modify this pattern into a pair of those cute but oh-so-pricey moccasins that are so popular right now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Camera Adds 10 lbs, The Baby Added 20

A fourth trimester wardrobe is definitely a thing and I'm thinking more and more about it as I ponder what I'll be wearing when I go back to work in a few weeks.

This is what I'm wearing today, a knit top I made either pre-pregnancy or very early in my pregnancy and my black twill maternity pants.


The top is Simplicity 1463 made with a fairly thin cotton/poly knit from Nuttall's. If I make this again I will make it an inch longer. I did make another version of this top in a polyester slinky knit and I didn't like the way it hung, so I'll stick to something with a more cottony feel to it if I make it again. I think that this top was intended to have a looser fit, but I'm still working on my baby weight and I think it's alright for now.

The pants are a modification of the Sewaholic Thurlow Trouser. I used a pant pattern with a slim leg to modify the legs, omitted the fly, and used a 3 inch elastic encased in cotton rib knit for the waistband. This elastic is about $4.00 a yard at my local fabric store, but I got 12 yards of it for $12.50 from Wawak. I didn't lower the front rise at all like some maternity patterns do and they worked great until about 6 or 7 months into the pregnancy. As you can see, they also work postpartum and really could be a great comfy option for any time at all (Thanksgiving dinner anyone?).

A New Year's Resolution

Last year my sewing resolution was to make items that were useful to my wardrobe. I didn't foresee at the time that I would be making a lot of maternity clothes.

My most worn handmade items were a pair of black twill maternity pants, a couple of maternity dresses, and a few t-shirts.

The pants were a pair of Sewaholic Thurlow trousers made maternity friendly simply by replacing the waistband with a 3" piece of elastic in a knit casing. I also made them with a slim leg instead of the flare leg on the pattern. They were great until the end of my pregnancy when nothing but dresses seemed to fit comfortably. And since I'm still far from my pre-pregnancy size I foresee that I'll be pulling them out again when I go back to work in a few weeks.

My favorite dress was a mid-calf length version of Burda 6956. I probably wore it once a week ever since I made it.

I made Megan Nielsen's maternity t-shirt 3 times. I wore the printed version the most, but here's a picture of me in the coral one (about 22 weeks pregnant, when pregnancy was still cute).


This year my sewing resolution is to use more fabric than I buy. I'm going to keep track of yardage sewn and fabric purchased to hold myself accountable. So far I've sewed up 3 yards of activewear knit to make 3 tops and I've ordered 4 yards of fabric. I'm already behind!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Handmade Holidays - sewing for kids

I fell in love with this fabric from Girl Charlee the first time I saw it. I can't remember exactly when I decided to go ahead and order three yards of it, plus a yard of matching green. They have a very similar pattern available right now, but I think this version is cuter.



My first vision for this fabric was the raglan t-shirts. I used the Field Trip Raglan T-Shirt from Oliver + S.  I made three for three of my nephews. Since they weren't close for fittings I just made their sizes according to their ages and what they wear in ready-to-wear. It turns out that this pattern seems to run a little small and a little short in the arms and body. I ended up making another shirt in 4T for my 3 year old nephew and passing down the sizes to the younger ones. Luckily these three little guys are all a year apart. Hopefully the 12-18 month will fit our little guy next year because it certainly wouldn't go over my 12 month old nephew's huge noggin.

My sis in law has been eyeing these cute bow headbands since she found out she was having a girl way back in March. Luckily Megan Nielsen released this awesome free pattern. I'm sure I could have drafted something up or used something else on the world wide web, but Megan has done such a fabulous job with hers. Bella looks adorable in this headband and I also made her some cute leggings to match using Burda 9423 (not pictured).

And of course my little guy needed some cute jammies too. I used a pattern from Burda. The silliest part of this pattern is that the pants don't call for elastic. Instead they have a fabric band at the top like you'd see on a pair of yoga pants. Since this fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch or great stretch recovery I omitted the top band and made the pants themselves an inch taller at the top. Then I sewed 1" elastic in a self casing at the top. The part I do like about this pattern is the pants with feet on them. Although sewing the booties on was a little tricky I appreciate them because then I don't have to worry about losing socks on my guy's tiny little feet.

Handmade Holidays - Christmas Stockings


Little D needed a stocking to match the ones I made a couple years back for the Hot Italian and I. I wanted to use a different piecing pattern than what I used for the first two. Equilateral triangles seemed like a fun idea. I found this tutorial for the triangles. I made my strips 3" wide and used cream, red, and green scraps from my stash. I decided to make two stockings because two seemed just as easy as one and now I have one in the collection for the next time a little one joins our family. This year Uncle Steven will use it because he's spending the night Christmas Eve. The stocking template is from Amy Butlers free Christmas Stocking Pattern.

I used fusible fleece for the batting. I pieced a big rectangle of triangles, attached the fleece, and did the quilting with my walking foot on my machine before cutting out the stocking shapes. The backs of all my stockings are not pieced.

The top is finished with a 1/4" binding.

I'm pretty happy with all the stockings. Can you tell which one belongs to the pooch? Our dog sure is spoiled.

"Little D" is here

My sweet boy arrived November 6 at 6:59 pm. The delivery went smoothly and mom and baby came home without any issue.

I am loving motherhood and am still sewing quite a bit. I'm lucky that this little guy still takes at least one long nap during the day (for the most part).

The Hot Italian is such a cute daddy.

Milo is adjusting well. The first few nights were rough for him, probably because he got a little tummy bug at the boarders. He's getting spoiled having me home and misses us more than ever when we leave him home.