Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Drawstring Bag from an Outgrown T-shirt (tutorial)

This was literally a ten minute project. I'm sure that there are tons of little things you could do to fancy it up, but I didn't want fancy this time.

The Little Man has tons of toys. Tons. One of them is this great peg board, which has provided him with hours of entertainment.

I'm sure those of you with small children spot the problem already. I'm missing nearly half of the pegs that come with it, and they are constantly underfoot. A little bag seemed like just the thing to keep the pegs together and organized.

You will need-

A child's shirt
1 yard of ribbon or string.
Standard sewing supplies

This is the shirt I used. It's a 12m, and a little too scruffy to sell back to the baby stuff store. I started by cutting out my shape-

Even out the edges, then sew the sides and bottom of the shirt together so the only opening is the neckline.

If you look carefully, you'll see that I also sewed across the corners. I wasn't happy with how this step came out, so I'm skipping it for the tute.

Turn the bag right side out, and snip a notch in the neckline.

Use a safety pin to thread your ribbon through the neckline. Tie the ends of the ribbon together to prevent little people from pulling the drawstring out. Fill it with toys and you're done!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pajama Thing to Toddler Sleep Sack (tutorial)

My favorite fabric shop, Fabric Bliss, hosted a crafty get together last week with wine and sewing. It was totally free, with no obligation to buy anything, but you know how it is. You'll see some of what I ended up with later on in this tutorial. Anyway, if you happen to read this blog, own a fabric shop, and are not Aurora, consider starting up a crafty fun night- it was great fun and you will get business from it.

This project is days late in being posted, partly because it was a lot of work but mostly because I'm tired and lazy and trying to get a lot of subbing in before the end of the school year. But at last, here it is.

There are other tutorials for this kind of thing out there, but I didn't use them so I'm posting my own in the hopes that someone out there will get some good out of it. First of all, though, I need to apologise for the photos. A grey sleeper on beige carpet comes out looking pretty blah. I tried, but there just wasn't much I could do to perk these pictures up.

Anyway- the sleep sack. A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that is usually intended for littler babies, to keep them warm without risk of suffocation. My son, though, sleeps so well in his that I haven't been able to give it up- we had a lot of trouble teaching him to fall asleep and stay asleep, and I don't want to jeopardise that. The thing is, these sleep sacks run about $20, and you can't get the toddler sized ones in the store, usually. I never see them in resale shops in his size, either. So I decided to make my own. Out of this one piece pajama thingy.

In front is my model sleep sack, and the gray ugly thing under it is what will become my new sleep sack. I'm not even sure what the official name for such a garment is.

The final product. Much cuter in real life.
You will need-

-An adult sized shirt with a front closure and enough length to comfortably cover your toddler's legs. I found a men's large shirt that will work, and the pajama thing.
-A sleep sack that fits for a pattern
-(optional) Fusible interfacing and cute fabric for accents.

Start by removing tags and other silly things from your material. I removed some elastic and a ribbon bow. Then, lay your template overtop and cut out the shape of the sleeves and sides, leaving about 1/2 inch of fabric for a seam allowance.

The pajama thing was the right width at the bottom, but I wanted it a little narrower at the top.

If you are using something with legs, like I was, cut those as well so you can create a smooth sack-like bottom. If you're using a shirt, just leave the bottom hem alone.

Removing the crotch!
Then, sew up the side seams you cut and finish the sleeve edges. I would have done better to have used a trim here and bind the sleeves with that, but I was lazy. So unintentional lettuce edges it is!

I neglected to take a picture of sewing up the legs, but what you want is to make it one smooth piece all the way around, like a skirt. I hope you can picture it.

Our little man somehow managed to poke or punch himself in the eye this morning before getting out of bed. Hence the mini-shiner.
At this point, I decided to try it on my son to see how the neckline fit. I thought it was a little loose, so I folded over the shoulders some to tighten it up.

Sewn accross, then folded over and sewn down.
A lot of adult necklines won't fit a child very well, so adjust as necessary. You want it to be loose and comfortable, but not to slide down over their shoulders during the night.

Now we come to finishing the bottom. At this point you have an over-long nightgown, but we're making a sack. There are a couple of ways you can handle this step. You can just sew it shut. That's how the ones in the stores are made, and they're perfectly serviceable. However, it limits the useful life of the garment. Also, this pajama thing didn't open all the way down the front, so I wanted to be able to open the bottom and pull it over his head.

I decided to add a drawstring, instead. You could use elastic, and I think it would work better, but I didn't have any thin enough for the casing I had. See, the decorative trim at the bottom of this thing had a gap just big enough to thread a string through, so I went for that. If the hem of your material doesn't have a gap, you can fold it up to make a casing for elastic or string.

Threading my drawstring into the seam. This drawstring comes from an old pair of cargo pants.
I decided on the drawstring option after I'd sewn up the legs, so I had to undo some stitching to be able to thread my drawstring all the way through.

Now for the fun part! At the craft night, I saw some adorable kids fabric with a pattern of little cars. I thought it would be perfect to liven up this drab little outfit. So I ironed on some scraps of fusible interfacing, fussy cut out the cars, and ironed them on the pocket.

Beep, beep!

I love this fabric so much. I got helicopters, too. I don't know what they'll be, but something fun for sure.

And that's it! It wasn't quick, but it's such a useful thing to have for our sleepy little baby and it saved me eighteen dollars.

EDIT: while I didn't actually intend for this to be made from a teeshirt (I meant more of a button down shirt), once I read the blurb on Craft Gossip I realized it would work just fine with the drawstring bottom. That might be my next project!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Off with my head! (With felt applique)

It figures- I set myself a schedule and fall off of it the next week. I may need to rethink the whole Mondays and Fridays thing. But I'm only a day late with my Off With Their Heads playing card shirt.

I had this idea last week when I wore my cool playing card socks, and I was planning to make it last Friday before I got distracted by baby bibs. I have several plain tee-shirts which could use a little personality, and I've got a few other ideas kicking around in my little skull that I might go to later when I'm feeling like a quick and easy project.

The neatest thing about this one was that it was free! I already had the shirt, and the felt came from a box of craft supplies my friend Troy gave me during spring cleaning. I cut out my shapes from the black and red felt, making templates for the spade and club because they're surprisingly difficult to do freehand.

The cut-outs are cut out- see the nice recycled paper template!

I played around with the layout until I liked how it looked, then stitched the shapes in place with matching color thread.

I am still getting the hang of sewing with knits. And by "getting the hang of" I mean "get really frustrated by."

Finally I switched to contrasting color thread and zig-zagged around the outside for an accent. Guy said that if he were to change one thing, he would have done that stitch in matching colors, and I think I agree with him. You can't see it very well in the picture, but it looks messy to me. Never mind, scrappy and scruffy is always in.

The finished project!
No one was home to take a picture...
There are plenty of felt applique tutorials on the internets. I didn't use any of them, but if you wanted to try it at home, this one looks good. I didn't use any fusibile interfacing like she suggests, but I wish I had.

And that's all for today!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bibbity Bobbity

I've made a lot of stuff for Kai recently, and I was planning on making something geeky for myself this week. Turns out, though, I didn't make anything for either of us. Instead, I made an emergency baby shower gift. Wednesday morning, Guy told me that we had a baby shower to go to Saturday afternoon. Mostly, we'll be getting the family practical gifts such as clothes and diapers, but I wanted to give something cute and personalized. No time to make a quilt, and truth to tell I'm pretty terrible about actually finishing them anyway, so I did some searching and found this tutorial from Lia's Space for some simple and cute baby bibs. I dug into my stash of fun kid fabrics and whipped them out in a day.

These would totally be a one nap project if you were just making one, or if you skipped the appliqué. I thought they were a little drab, so I decided to give them a little more oomph. I like how the appliqué shapes turned out, although the happy face seems slightly disturbing to me. I think because the zigzag stitch looks a little like teeth.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jumbo Animal Concentration (tutorial)

So, I have decided to set myself a posting schedule for this blog. I'm going to try to post on Mondays and Fridays. That way, I have the whole weekend to finish a project, and then the whole week to finish another. That shouldn't be too difficult.

With that out of the way, on to this week's project!

I bought this fabric from a super-reduced clearance rack at Hancocks, thinking that I could make something cute for the little man out of it. I was thinking of a little book, but then I hit on the idea of making a concentration game. I've played concentration with little kids before and they always have a hard time picking up the cards- this set will be easy to pick up and it won't matter if he crumples the cards, either.

18 squares, 9 of each. Your mileage may vary!

Jumbo fabric concentration-

You will need:

Picture fabric- I'm using animals.
Backing fabric
Heat-n-bond (optional)
Decoration fabric (optional)
Standard sewing supplies

Red sheet of DOOM!

I didn't have enough of the fabric I was originally going to use for backing, so I searched around and found this red fitted sheet. Fitted sheets make a ton of fabric- you will definitely be seeing this again. I cut out my cards and backs. If you have a rotary cutter, this would be a great place to use it. Mine is packed away somewhere, of course.

After looking at what I had so far, I realized that the card backs were going to be really visually boring unless I did something. I decided to use some orange butterfly fabric that I got at the same sale. I know that butterflies aren't usually considered very masculine, but (1) I don't want the little man to be bound by those kind of gender stereotypes and (2) that was what I had. So I fused the heat-n-bond to the back of my butterflies, cut them out carefully, and fused them to the backing fabric.

I sewed them together, leaving a gap so I could turn them right side out, and then ironed again and top stitched. I forgot to take a picture of the top stitching, but you can see it in the title picture up at the top.

Et viola! Here's the little man ignoring his new toy in favor of his drink.

Don't you know that I'm not old enough for this game, mommy?


These turned out pretty cute, but they took a long time to make. Actually, I haven't finished them yet, just enough to take a few pictures. They would look even nicer with some binding and a layer of batting, and would make a cool and different gift for a toddler/preschool aged kiddo. You could use appliqués to make shape, letter, or number cards. Just make two of each!