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Our cousin has a daughter a little over a year older than Lillian and they have been nice enough to give us a lot of clothes for Lillian.  I decided that I wanted to do something for them other than just a thank you card.  So I decided to make a few things for the kids.

My first project was a soft baby block for their six month old son.  It was kind of fun to finally pick out boy fabric.  I used the cloth blocks tutorial from Make It and Love It.

Soft Cube

This was a super fast project to make. I guess it did take a little while to cut out six squares but once that was done it took no time.  For me it seems to be easier to cut larger pieces of fabric than a bunch of smaller pieces.

Soft Cube

I used quilter’s cotton for four of the sides and then the other two are flannel. I wanted a slight texture difference but wasn’t sure if attaching different fabrics would be an issue.  The flannel was not an issue, at least not while sewing (hopefully not while playing either).

Soft Cube

There are other ways to make a cube but this way seemed to be the easiest.  I haven’t tried other ways so I can’t say that for sure.  For example, you could sew all six pieces together in a “T” shape like in this tutorial.

Soft Cube

Cutting out the notches helps the pieces to lay better when sewing them to the main part of the cube.  The two pieces below are my flannel pieces.

Soft Cube

I did have to learn how to do a ladder stitch before I could finish the block.  Here is a great PDF tutorial but it was a little easier for me to learn from a video so I recommend watching this one.

Soft Cube

The hardest part of the project was probably the ladder stitch.  I didn’t sew close enough together at first so I actually had to go over it again.  It’s still not perfect but it wasn’t too bad.

Overall, I think this would be a great beginner project.  Especially to learn how to ladder stitch and just to practice sewing in a straight line with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

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I wanted to make Lillian’s Easter basket and decided on this style from Pink Penguin.  I did change it a little so that it would have one strap instead of two, since I think of an Easter basket as a basket with one long handle.

Easter Basket

I decided on three different fabrics for the body, plus one other fabric for the handle, bottom, and lining.  You could really do any combination that you wanted, going as crazy or plain as your heart desires.  You could also make the outside one fabric and the lining another.  So many possibilities!

The basket is smaller than you would think but is perfect for an almost 2 year old.  The finished basket is about 6 by 4.5 inches.  But again, you could easily change the size of the squares to make it larger.  Just remember that you will also have to change the size of the lining and the bottom of the basket.

I started out by cutting my fabric and then laying the squares out on the floor in the pattern that I thought would be the best.  If it didn’t look right, then I could change them at this point instead of having to rip out seams later.

Easter Basket

I then sewed the first two squares in each row together, next two, and so on.  Keeping everything in order so that I had less of a chance of sewing the wrong pieces together.  Again, I didn’t want to have to rip out any seams!

Easter Basket

After that, I ironed the seams in opposite directions before sewing the pieces together to form the two block by six block rectangle.

Easter Basket

I was so excited to see the blocks go together.  It was actually easier to keep everything lined up than I expected.  Mine isn’t perfect but decent.  I just made sure to line the seams up before sewing.  The blocks are so small that I didn’t even pin them together before sewing.  I have found that sometimes it’s actually easier to not pin everything.

Easter Basket

Here is the back showing the middle seams ironed every other way, and then the other seams not ironed yet.

Easter Basket

I followed the tutorial and pressed the rest of the seams open.

Easter Basket

I did not use linen for the bottom but instead used quilters cotton.  I also used TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus as the batting because that is what I had here at home.  I can’t complain about how it worked and the finished basket stands up well so I would use it again.  I am guessing it’s about the same as using a fusible fleece batting.

Easter Basket

Since it was a fusible batting, I did not cut it bigger than the fabric because I didn’t want to fuse it to my ironing board or my iron.  At first I wasn’t going to “stitch in the ditch” but my walking foot came in so I had to try it out.  Especially since I got the new edge plate with it…more on the walking foot in another post.

Easter Basket

“Stitching in the ditch” is where you stitch along a seam.  It should not be seen and in this case is used to attach the batting to the fabric, except since I used fusible I didn’t really need to “stitch in the ditch.”

Easter Basket

I used one type of fabric for the handle instead of two.  I cut the piece 4” x 17” instead of cutting out 2 – 2” x 17”and sewing them together.  It’s a little long, so I would probably do 15” if I make this again.

I decided to try using Pellon 809 Décor-Bond again and it fused much better this time.  I don’t know if you remember my comment about it in this post but I had trouble getting it to fuse to the fabric.  I have found that handles/straps (whatever you want to call them) are much sturdier if an interfacing is used.  A fusible interfacing is probably the easiest and what I would recommend.

Easter Basket

I attached the handle the same as the tutorial describes except I only had to attach one on each side.  I just had to make sure that it wasn’t twisted.

Once turning everything right side out it looks like a mess.

Easter Basket

Nothing a little ironing and top stitching doesn’t help!  Now Lillian is set for her first Easter egg hunt this weekend!

Easter Basket

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Changing a rotary cutter blade is a pretty basic thing to do but I thought a post about it couldn’t hurt, right?

This is what it looks like from the front (well, what I consider the front).

Changing rotary cutter blade

There is a a black nut on the back that you loosen to get the orange screw off.  It comes off with the normal rule of “righty tighty, lefty loosey.”  So to get it off you will need to turn it to the left to loosen it.

Changing rotary cutter blade

Here you can see the case of new blades along with the orange screw and black nut.  This one has five blades and at first I couldn’t get them apart.  I was trying to pull them apart when actually sliding them works better.

Changing rotary cutter blade

To prevent the blades from rusting they put some sort of oil on them.  I wiped this off with a paper towel so that it wouldn’t rub off onto my fabric while I was cutting it.

Once you have the new blade ready, you just lay it on the front of the cutter.  Either way is fine, there is not a difference between the two sides of the blade.

Changing rotary cutter blade

Reattach the orange screw and put the black nut back on and you have a nice new sharp rotary cutter.

My rotary cutter is Fiskars brand but I am guessing most are assembled in about the same way.  Really, all that you need to do is pay attention to how you took it apart and then reverse the steps.

Happy cutting!

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I wanted a makeup bag to match my toiletry bag so I decided on a smaller version of the same design.  I would actually not mind it being even a little smaller than this one.  Since I made the toiletry bag too tall, I figured I could fix that mistake this time and I found a tutorial on Warehouse Fabrics’ site that doesn’t have raw seams on the inside.

Making the bag this way is harder than with raw seams on the inside, but in my opinion it looks much better.  If you don’t fully understand what is going on in this tutorial, it might be easier to first make the bag with raw seams on the inside, and then later make another one following this tutorial.

2011 Makeup Bag

I did not use iron on vinyl this time since my makeup doesn’t have any liquid (other than foundation, but that doesn’t count).  I still decided to sew each piece of fabric onto the zipper separately because I have found that I get a better finished appearance this way.

This time I also only used two pieces of fabric instead of four.  You could still basically make this the same way as I did the toiletry bag, but with the few changes so that you don’t have raw seams on the inside.

2011 Makeup Bag

It was incredibly important to stop a half inch from the edge like it mentions in the tutorial.  But, be sure to make each side even because where you stop might show on the outside of the final project.  I have a picture near the end of the post, showing what I mean.

2011 Makeup Bag

When sewing each end together you do not want to include any of the other piece of fabric.  So if you are sewing the lining, be sure not to get any of the outer fabric.  This was kind of difficult for me, but I did manage.

This is also when I attached the zipper tab since I wanted a small tab instead of a whole handle.  I used scrap fabric that matched my lining and just sewed the two long sides together with right sides facing.  Turned right sides out and ironed with the seam in the middle.

2011 Makeup Bag

You will box all the corners except for one in the lining fabric, so this means seven corners.  (I know I was a little confused at first whether I needed to do the lining and outer fabric separately)  You do all but one so that you can later turn everything the right way.  I attempted doing boxed corners by cutting out squares and it just didn’t work for me, so I went back to the other way of making triangles.

2011 Makeup Bag

Here is what my boxed corners looked like before clipping the corners.  It does take some maneuvering to get each corner to fit under your needle, but if you pin it well enough, it will be easier.

2011 Makeup Bag

In this picture, you can see where I didn’t stitch far enough when attaching the zipper.  I suggest locking your stitch and also making sure that you stop at the same place on each side of the zipper.  That way if you end up having the end of your stitching showing it will at least look uniformed.

I also thought that the seam allowance would cover the selvage edge on my fabric, but it obviously didn’t.  Yep, another mistake that could have easily been avoided!

2011 Makeup Bag

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This is my favorite project that I have made so far!  It just went together well, plus I love the fabric.  It is a tote bag from Skip to my Lou.

I followed the tutorial pretty much to a T, except I decided to use interfacing to make the bag a little sturdier.  I chose Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight.  It has a decent stiffness which allows the bag to stand up on it’s own.  I fused the interfacing onto the lining because I wasn’t sure if the stiffer interfacing would cause a harsh look to the fabric.  It did not, so you could fuse to the outer fabric.

2011 Tote Bag

First was making the straps…it was your basic fold down the middle, then open, and fold into the middle type of strap (detailed pictures in the tutorial for the bag).  I did not add interfacing to the straps but probably will when I make another one of these.  Here is a tutorial to add interfacing.

As I have mentioned before, in order to get a straighter stitch that is so close to the edge, I use my blind stitch foot.  I’m sure there is a foot specific for doing this but why pay the extra money when I can just use what I have?  I first mentioned this in my post about the Simple Party Clutch.

2011 Tote Bag

After you make a strap, you then cut it in half so that you have two straps.  I can’t decide if it would be easier to cut the long piece of fabric in half and make each strap separately.  I guess then you would have two smaller pieces of fabric to work with, so it depends on what you are comfortable doing.

2011 Tote Bag

The bag part was super easy…to sum it up…you just sew the pieces together on three sides for the lining and the outer fabric.  Since I used a directional fabric for the outer fabric, I had to double and triple check to make sure I was leaving the correct side open.  I didn’t want birds flying upside down!  Also, since the bag is a rectangle and not a square, make sure that you are using the short side as the top and bottom for both the lining and the outside.

2011 Tote Bag

When boxing the corners, I find it easiest to pinch the corners and sew instead of cutting out squares.  I still clip the corners off before turning just so there is less bulk on the inside.  Here is a great tutorial for boxed corners.

2011 Tote Bag

Fitting the two pieces together can sometimes be difficult, not too much for this project though, but with patience you can get it.  I find it easiest to pin the seams first and then go from there.  I guess I consider the seams the most important thing to match up perfectly.

2011 Tote Bag

When inserting the straps, I always make sure that it is not twisted and I measure from both side seams so that the strap is equal distance from the edges.  Again, this is something that I make sure to check multiple times because I am tired of making these little mistakes that can be prevented.

2011 Tote Bag

I used two pins on each end of the straps and then pins where ever else I felt they were needed.  Once pinned, sew everything together.  I didn’t find a need to sew over the straps multiple times  because there will also be a top stitch.  Plus, I am probably not going to be using this bag for anything too heavy.

2011 Tote Bag

Turn right side out and see how well you did, and how well your fabric looks together.  Get excited that you almost have a completed tote bag!

2011 Tote Bag

Push the lining into the outer piece and iron the top seam so that the lining isn’t higher than the outer fabric.  Top stitch near the top of the bag and you are done except for….

2011 Tote Bag

giving your little helper a hug.

2011 Tote Bag