Sweet lil' half apron

Sunday, February 21, 2010

There are about a million kajillion tutorials on aprons---let's add one more to the stack!

Here's what you'll need:

-20" x 43" fabric #1, for the bulk of the apron (I used cotton, Elvis faces--why not?)
-6" x 43" fabric #1, for strap
-6" x 21" fabric #2, for strap
-2 pieces 10 1/2 " x 7 1/2 " fabric #2, for pockets

Here's how I did it:

1. Cut that one long strip of fab #1 into two, equal pieces. Put fab #2 strip in the middle. Sew them up, right side to right side. Like this:

2. Fold the strap right sides in, and starting at the folded corner, sew a 45 degree angle and then straight down the rest of the way. Note---I had started with the navy blue thread, then ran out and then realized that I didn't have anymore and that maybe gree would look better anyway. That's why there are two sewn lines, and then one abruptly ends...
3. Turn it right side out, use a point turner to make the points pointy and iron.
4. Now the open end. Cut the open corner off at a 45 degree angle and then fold it in--iron. Topstitch that end and the other end so they'll match.
5. Meanwhile, hem all four sides of the large, 20" x 43" piece. Double fold it in, I do about a finger's width.
6. Pinning the apron the the strap:
Pin the ends about 3 inches beyond the contrasting section of the strap. Then find the middle and put a pin there. (The scissors and point turner are just in the pic to show you where the pins are) This will be the inside of the apron.
7. Pleat the sections between the pins, as evenly as possible. I personally dislike pleats that all go in the same direction. On this one I made both sides "face" toward the middle. Does that make sense? Like they are all looking to the middle...like the pleats have faces...
8. Sew the strap to the pleated apron, I used a good ole straight stitch.
9. Pockets: Double fold the top edge of the pockets, iron and sew. Then double fold and iron the other edges. Lately, I have been making the pockets on stuff by folding the bottom triangles straight in, like a 45 degree angle. It seems to come out much smoother for me than trying the make a curve at the bottom of the pocket. Pin them wherever you like them, and sewing the sides and bottom only, ofcourse.

I really like the wide strap bc it looked good whether you wanted to wear it high waisted, retro style...or low, slung modern mommy-style. The pockets are deep so they could actually be functional. I thought of it as an all-day sort of apron...to cook in, pick up polly pocket shoes in, keep chapstick in, etc. Anyway, I know there are lots of these out there, this is just a very simple jumping off point for you---have fun tweaking it and mixing it up!

Cleaning Naturally...with STYLE!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My sister recently got married and got a new FABULOUS place to live and so I wanted to get her a lovely housewarming gift. So, ofcourse, I got her...cleaning supplies??!! Yes, I did that. These were no ordinary cleaning supplies though, they are natural, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies! I did, however, feel the need to explain the gift a little just to reassure her that I was NOT getting her this bc I felt she needed to clean the place up...but I was just giving her things that are necessities to a new place. Hopefully, that message got across! Plus, I am a cleaner and anyone who is a cleaner, or knows a cleaner, should know that if we give you a cleaning related gift it is out of love---love of you and love of a clean house! :)

Here's what I put together:
-an assortment of empty plastic spray bottles
-a plastic basket
-some various scrubbers
-a few key essential oils (I chose sweet orange oil and rosewater)
-typed out some recipes of natural cleaners on scrapbook paper (some from my own recollection and some from a book, but you can seriously find these ANYWHERE on the web!)
-sewed some of those cute rubber gloves with the ruffle on the cuff, so hat's some scrap fabric and rubber kitchen gloves
-terrycloth and bias tape for some fun cleaning rags
Cleaning doesn't have to be dull...does it??

*Now, I was sending this in the mail so I kind of had to leave out some of the heavier, yet essential, items on a natural cleaning menu: vinegar, borax, washing soda, olive oil, baking soda and lemon juice--to name a few. If I were able to give this in person...I would def put these in!!

Here's some things I did:

1. Cut rectagular rags from terrycloth and sewed bias tape all around the perimeter. I had never used bias tape before and I thought this would be a good experiment. If you haven't either I would definitely recommend going with the WIDE to start. Also, I did see a tutorial on the "right" way to sew bias tape. But I just couldn't see why in the world that extra step in the middle was necessary...so I literally just sandwiched the terrycloth between the fold of the bias tape...and sewed. What's the big whoop? Am I missing something with the bias tape?

I did do a nice and neat little fold at each corner, like so:

2. For the ruffle cuff on the gloves I just double folded the edges of a long, skinny rectagle scrap of fabric...the longer the rectangle, the more "ruffley" it will be...I made less of a ruffle and more of a pleated skirt for the gloves. HA! I really did. I did little pleat folds and pinned it and sewed that rubber glove with skirt on WITH THE MACHINE! It was fantastic! I thought the rubber glove would do horrible things...but it was actually very easy....I sewed rubber glove on bottom, fabric ruffle on top.

3. I had a roll of lace from my mother-in-law (Thanks!) and I wrapped a piece of that around the the basket to measure, took it in like a 1/2 inch and sewed it up like a band, then put it back around the basket. Then, I hand-sewed it in a couple of places just so it would stay in place. (The basket I chose had open holes around...if yours is more of a bucket you could probably use a little hot glue.

So it's a very practical housewarming gift...just dressed up! You know it's a good gift if it's one you want too...right?!

Upcycled Sweater Hobby Horse (and accessories)!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A little boy I know had a special bday coming up and I'll tell you...it took a WHILE for me to come up with something good to make him (this was before the AWESOME ideas showing up on Made and Made By Rae for "Celebrate the Boy" month!). I decided to go with a cowboy theme because I had been DYING to make these preciously hilarious felt moustaches from Little Birdie Secrets here. What goes better with black felt moustaches on a 1 yr old than an UPCYCLED sweater hobby horse...umm, NOTHING!!

Here's what you'll need:
-Sweater you can't fit in anymore
-1/4 yd of fleece (if even that)
-scrap contrasting fabric
-two buttons for eyes
-hankerchief or like-patterned material
-two large rubberbands
-hot glue and hot glue gun
-acrylic paint and some sort of sealant
-1 1/2 inch wooden dowel

Here's how I did it:
1. Draw and cut out a horsehead-like shape from the BODY of the sweater, back and front together. It's basically like a bubble-letter "L." Mine was about 7 in wide in the neck, 14 in from top of head to bottom of neck and 12 in from back of head to tip of snout.
2. Cut 2 triangle ear shapes from both the sweater and the contrasting fabric. I did about 4 in tall X 3in wide ones. Pin them together right side to right side. Sew up the two "sides" of the ears and leave the bottom open. Then turn it right side out and use a point turner or something pointy and get everything nice and triangle-y again.

3. Now, take the ear and pinch the back of it and stick it under the foot of your machine. I sew it about half way to the "front" of the ear---now the ear will have a more realistic bend to it. Neat!

4. So, this project has a few of what I call "clever" sewing moments...here's one of them. I simply cut a slit in the upper side part of the head, slipped the ear through the right side of the fabric so the back unsewn end was coming up through the wrong side and sewed it across---head, ear and all!

And here's what that looked like from the front:

5. Now here's a non-clever moment I had, but I am hoping that that you LEARN from my mistake! Sew the button eyes on, if you can place them easily, BEFORE sewing up the head and mane. It will be way easier on you- trust me!

6. Next is the mane...cut a strip of your fleece about 8 1/2 inches wide by whatever the measurement is from the bottom of the neck to the top of the head between the ears. I actually cut mine a little longer for wiggle room. Fold it in half lengthwise and stick it open side down in between the two head pieces (which are right sides together now) from the head down the back of the neck. Sew it up all the way from one side of the neck to the next...leave the bottom open.

7. Turn that horsey right side out! Now, fringe the mane all the way down and WAH-LA! Hobby horse head mostly complete! Stuff it nice and tight, like a pillow, except leave the bottom 4 inches or so unstuffed.

8. Ok, now the stick...I didn't cut mine at all bc by the time it went up into the head, it was the perfect length. So, I just painted it blue (to tie in the blue from the ears) and sealed it with spray paint type sealer.

9. Stick that dowel up into the stuffed head and gather the bottom and slip a pre-doubled or tripled up rubber band over the bottom of the dowel and bring it up around the gathered bottom of the stuffed head. This took my husband and I together because one person held the rubber band open and slipped it on and the other held the horsehead on the dowel. Like so:

10. Tie the bandana around it in a cowboy sort of way...

11. Here comes the next clever part. My friend has wood floors and I didn't think she'd appreciate a wooden stick being dragged all over it. So, I cut the cuff (plus a few inches) off the same sweater. Turn it inside out. Gather up the cut edge just a touch and sew it straight across. Turn it right side out. PUT THE OTHER RUBBERBAND ON THE BOTTOM OF THE DOWEL. (otherwise, you will be looking at it like a dog trying to figure out what a fork is for...like I was!) Put a little stuffing in the bottom of the cuff, then put the dowel in the cuff and stuff all around it. Gather the end of the cuff up and put the rubberband around it. Here's how all that looks:

Now, I didn't cover up the rubberband on the bottom bc it was nice and tight and I didn't see how any human could possibly ever take it off.
The last thing I did was put a line of hot glue under the rubberbands between the sweater and the stick so they wouldn't slide off. Again, I needed the hubby to help lift up the sweater right there.

Yay! Hobby horse, moustaches, and cowboy hat (from local toy store) and we have a wonderful boy gift! I was seriously beside myself with joy to give this one!! Now try wrapping this sucker-- that wasn't pretty...
PS-- Let me just tell you that I saw more than one adult at this 1yr old's birthday party modeling the moustaches for pictures!!

Fabby fab fabrics

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello newly acquired, freshly washed fabrics. I will be tearing through some of these lovelies this very weekend...I can't wait!! How's THAT for a teaser???
PS-- Thanks to my birthday gift card contributors...you made this stack of wonderfulness possible! :) Except for the blue and purple dishtowels...yep, dishtowels from the Target dollar section...I have plans for these too, believe it or not!!

Clippy CRAZY!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

So we aren't too into bows around here...I know--- two girls---how can I NOT put them in bows everyday?? We even have a friend who MAKES wonderfully cute, creative bows, but it just never caught on at this house for some reason. We do, however, like the "clippy"--otherwise known as a clip or barrette. The problem lately has been that my eldest's hair is so darn thick that I have to buy the huge, adult-sized clippies to even sort of hold it back...and they don't come in very kid-ish styles and colors. Thanks to the inspiration from the felt/ribbon barrette tutorials from The Long Thread and Angry Chicken...my daughter's curly mane can now don cute clippies again! Check out some clippy MANIA:

The bottom one on the next pic is ribbon. Much squinchier (my technical sewing word for "slippy") to use and you have to fold down the two cut ends so they won't fray. Although, now that I think about it, I may try one without folding and just singe the edges...hmmm, yes...yes, I will...

That little felt butterfly is a leftover scrapbooking accent that just happened to be felt...could that be considered repurposing????

Here's some more:
The top 2 are felt, the bottom is IKEA fabric...love that stuff sooo, sooo much!

I did do them slightly differently than the tutorials in that I just cut a slit in the bottom piece of felt/ribbon and then sandwiched the clip in between, and sewed it up all the way around--clip still inside. It was just lazier, but with the same result, therefore, I did it! I did find it easier to sew with the back of the clip facing me bc then I could just kind of go with the curve of the clip. Also, I made mine straight up rectangular instead of the shape of the clippy bc I just thought it was a little more our "style"...you know.

Using the felt had the extra *bonus* of really keeping that clippy in it's place! Easy, fun and lots of possible variations...love it!