Combining Toys

January 11, 2012 § 3 Comments

My kids were working together on something. I walked away after seeing this started. I was really excited to see where they took it. I also provided some green fabric for their cause.

After a bit of time, I got called back into the living room to see their work. Look what they made!

It reminds me of the I Spy books. See how many objects you can find!

This is how my kids play. After they’ve exhausted the play of a toy, it gets sucked in with all the other toys in an order I don’t pretend to understand.

There is order to their madness and it’s exciting. Don’t you dare move any part of their collage. It’s all part of a puzzle.

One of their new toys is a dollhouse that you can change into anything you want. It can start as a house then transform into a spaceship or a shelter like you can see in the picture above. After I took this picture, it became the home of two little fairies with beautiful fabric from my daughter’s sewing basket for rugs.

The one thing I suggested was to use the fabric letters my mom made for the kids a couple of years ago. They put them under some of the fabric to create mountains in their landscape.

After seeing the way that they played with their toys, I am eager to make some peg people for their little world. They could also use some miniature furniture. As soon as I can, I’m going to make my way to a craft store and investigate the woodworking area to see what I can create for them. Plus, with Ayyam-i-Ha coming soon, I have some tangible ideas for gifts for them.


Knitting Cases

January 3, 2012 § 6 Comments

My friend M loaned me her sewing machine so I could finish a Podegi. After it was done, I sorta went crazy and without really thinking about it, made 3 cases for my knitting and crochet needles. I’ve been on the lookout for cases like these for a while and more recently posted something about them on this blog.

I finished a crochet needle case

The circular needle case

The DPN (double pointed needle) case

Organizing isn’t on my to-do list for 2012, but there you go. I’ve been wanting to do something like this forever and now that I know I won’t have a sewing machine I guess I figured I should get it done. Thanks to M!

So quiet around here

December 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m glad there are new faces on this blog. Perhaps you’re a new parent just getting jist of the many decisions you need to make for your new baby’s health. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed. Perhaps you really just need some support.

Dive in and have fun reading what’s in here. Check the date I posted cos a lot of times the stuff that really drove me wild back in 2008 has stopped doing so. Lately, and you know this if you only started following me in the last couple of years, I blog about making stuff while my kids play together. I don’t know if it’s cos they’re homeschooled or if they’re just a great match but they play together a lot.

A lot of times they don’t want me to play. A lot of times they do. When they want to play alone, I sneak off to sew, knit, or plan my next project. I’ve been quiet around here because I can’t divulge my current projects. Yup. They’re gifts.

I don’t think most of my family reads this blog anymore, so I’m probably safe, but I’m trying to keep these things a secret for that look of disbelief when they are opened.

This link will give one of the gifts away but I don’t even think it’s that much of a hint, unless you’re me.

So, onward and upward. And someone please buy all of the Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. They are my weakness. Thank you kindly.

Knitting Needle Case

November 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

Keeping my knitting centralized hasn’t been too hard since my stash is pretty small. I buy yarn for a particular project, make it and usually have a small amount left over that I can’t bring myself to throw out. I’ve got circular knitting needles, a handful of straights, and a host of double pointed needles, and I think it’s time to get them organized.

I have a small pouch that I carry some of my double pointed needles in, but the needles poked a hole in the fabric and they keep slipping out.

One of these days, I’m going to pull out all of my knitting needles and crochet hooks (oh, yeah, I have some of those, too) and put them in a row so I can see what all I have and create a knitting needle case that will fit the needles I own.

I’ve been doing some research and found a couple of tutorials and pictures that I think are along the lines of what I like. Check them out here, here and here. I’ll probably make one that has a zipper and a lot of spaces for my circulars. I’ll add this to my things to do after the New Year list.

The Henry Shirt – Day 7

November 3, 2011 § 5 Comments

Finish and Reveal! Today’s the day.

Don’t rush your finishings. Not that you would. But friends don’t let friends hem in a rush… or do buttonholes in a rush… or in my case today, do snaps in a rush.

The pattern calls for snaps but you can also do buttons and buttonholes.

For the snaps, I used the mini-anorak snaps from Dritz- these are called post snaps, opposed to prong snaps, which also work for this shirt. Here’s a tutorial for the prong snaps. I already had the tools, also from Dritz, so I chose to use what I already knew and had on hand. Besides that you need a hammer. I’ve had good luck with these tools and can recommend them, not just from this project but from two others.

Here’s a visual so you can see the difference between post and prong snaps:


The directions in the book don’t go into visual or written detail as to how you should apply the snaps. The packaging on the snap tools and snaps also doesn’t give you a ton of visual instructions. Check out this video from beSewStylish on how to attach post snaps. Below you’ll see some of my photos of the process.

First, follow the directions from the book and measure out and mark how far apart the snaps should be placed. I marked them with a felt tip marker. Measure twice, mark once.

In the photo below, you can see the capped post on the left and the socket on the right.

Make the holes along the closure strip where you marked for the snaps. I put the capped posts on first, and see that I ended up putting them on the opposite side of the shirt than the book shows. I was going off one of my husband’s shirts.

Follow either the pictures below or the youtube video I linked above.

Just make sure that you align the socket on the clamp (with the right tool- the back of your tool kit will help with this) so that yours looks just like mine in the picture below before you set the snap, aka. pound it with your hammer.

I was setting snaps on another project a couple of months ago and didn’t notice that my socket wasn’t aligned and ended up wasting a couple of them.

Next, the post and stud. To mark the second side, I aligned the first side so that I’d match up the capped posts, rather than remeasure and possibly end up with mismatching my attaching units and closure units.

I hope all this snap talk was helpful.

Finally, the Reveal!

I absolutely love this shirt and I’m planning on making another at some point. The second time around is bound to be easier.

Thanks to Karen for being so attentive of my concerns on Twitter. And a big thanks for getting this book made. I’m already thinking about what to sew next from Sewing for Boys.

Things to check out:

Patterns by Figgy’s

Karen’s blog- One Girl Circus

A Flickr Pool for Sewing for Boys creations

And last, but not least, my Sew Along partner, Krista, from TharSheSews. She was looking for a sew along for this shirt and since we couldn’t find one, decided to sew along together. I hope it’s been helpful.

The Henry Shirt Sew Along – Day 6

November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

We are soooo close.

Today, we’re forming and attaching the collar. Don’t be intimidated by collars. Just do them. Worst thing that can happen is that you attach it upside down, you rip out the seams and attach it right side up!

Yeah, that’s what happened to me. As I was attaching it the wrong way, I had this feeling in my candy and chocolate filled gut that was telling me that something was wrong.

Listen to your gut! Yes, that does mean that if your gut says, “Eat more chocolate!” that I’m giving you permission to do so. But then again, who am I? Anywho. Back to sewing. If your instincts tell you something looks wrong, you’re probably right.

Oops! I just noticed that the lower left box says Step 27 and it should read Step 28.

I hope these photos help you see which side is the top (which you sew with right sides together). I do wish there had been more photos and/or diagrams for this section. I’m such a newbie at collars.

I searched online for a tutorial on how to do a rolled collar but either I’m impatient (likely) or there’s very little out there. If you see such a tutorial, would you link it in the comments? Thanks.

Here go more process photos.

Steps 26-30. Understandably, it doesn’t look like 5 steps but I remember breezing through this… the second time. Once you get which is the top raw edge, you’re golden.

The bias cut under collar really will stretch enough to match up to your upper collar. I can see why you’d cut the under collar on the bias. You end up with a nicely fit collar overall and I think it’s due to having the under collar pull a little when it’s all done.

Again, if you’re also new to collars and advanced patterns, don’t skip over the understitching of the under collar. It helps the collar lie flat. And if you’re like me, you’ll end up understitching everything that just begs to be understitched. It’s such a handy technique to know about and perform.

In Step 30, you’re supposed to “trim the seam allowance, clip the corners at an angle, and clip in along the curves.” I left the seam allowance and left the corners unclipped, though I did clip along the curves. My mom always clips corners but in making Podegis (a baby carrier I sell), I don’t clip the corners of the straps and have found that the corners then are sturdier than the clipped corners. I’ve also clipped a corner too far only to find a hole after turning.

Step 32

Steps 33-35

I’m big into pressing as I sew. You can see that I only minimally pinned the upper collar before topstitching it. I opted not to use double-sided basting tape. I felt comfortable enough pressing with a really hot iron (burned myself at one point during the making of this shirt) and I think the result is pretty darn impeccable. I’m thrilled with myself.

One of the tools that came in handy with the collar was my pressing ham. You’ve seen it in the pictures above. Also, I mentioned the really hot iron I use. It’s an iron I bought at a second hand store. This bad boy gets hot. So hot that one pass and my seam is pressed open. It’s very handy. My other irons (I have two that don’t get love) just don’t get as hot and I find I get frustrated, even with steam. My bad boy iron can take water but I usually just have a bottle of distilled water on hand to create steam when needed.

Tomorrow’s the day, peeps! We finish the shirt! Can you believe it? Anyone sewing along?

The Henry Shirt Sew Along – Day 5

November 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Today we’re attaching the yoke and sleeves, Steps 14-25.

We’re more than half way done! However, today is the big day. Today you’ll be doing the trickiest part. Only because we’ll be sewing around some tight corners. After this, you’re pretty much home free.

As you can see above, it’s pretty straight forward. Back of the neck, sewn; sleeves, sewn. Move on.

This was the trickiest part for me. You just have to take it slow, especially around the curves and especially if you’re going to sew over the pins. I’m not a huge fan of sewing over pins. I think my stitches get all wonky but it does help keep things together. If you want perfection, pin first, then hand baste, take out the pins, machine stitch and take out the basting.

Me? I pin and machine stitch. I hope the pictures help.

Again, a tricky part because you’re sandwiching the outer yoke/sleeve with the body and the yoke/sleeve lining. If you have a doubt about how it should look, baste your layers together, just in case.

Here you see Step 21, or at least the clipping of the yoke seam around the curve. Now to the part I did differently. Instead of following Steps 23 and 25 (I did follow Step 24) for the sleeve, I decided to make my own bias binding out of my print fabric. It turned out rather narrow and looks like piping, if you ask me, and I almost remade my bias tape, but decided I liked it.

Here is a great tutorial for how to make bias binding that Sarai, owner and designer of Colette Patterns, put up on her blog. I agree with her that making your own bias binding is one of the coolest things you can do and it adds a touch that store bought binding just can’t provide.

Now that we got through this yoke bit, I think we can relax a little. They are calling this an advanced pattern, after all.

Come back tomorrow to form and attach the collar and see another mistake I made.

A special thank you to Blue Cricket Designs for the tutorial on how to make your own basic photo collages using Picnik. See, I did it!