Friday, April 30, 2010

my new green wallet

After finishing my Charlie Bag earlier this week, I just had to make a wallet to go inside.  I used some leftover fabric from this messenger bag.  It was simple to put together really.  It just stole some extra brain cells.  I may have thought more on this little project than on anything else I've made.  But I often have a pattern or visual inspiration, but this one came totally from my head.

I included plenty of slots to hold my cards, but I do wish I had a few more.  I just have so many cards to carry these days and my insurance cards are hiding behind the top slots where I really want my receipts to go.  But I'll figure it out . . . probably by adding a small pouch that attaches to the wallet (notice that I planned ahead by attaching a D-ring to the side).

But my biggest success with this project was the pocket zipper where I keep my coins.  I've never sewn a zipper quite like this before.  Well, I did give it a go with a gym bag that I made for my sister last Christmas but I didn't know what I was doing then.  I think this one looks pretty sharp and I'm really proud of myself.  I even put lining on the inside of this zippered pocket so the zipper seams wouldn't show.  Pretty fancy if you ask me.

The only thing that I would have done differently with this wallet is to add more interfacing.  I put one lightweight layer in the middle because I knew I would add extra bulk and stability with the pockets.  Those parts of the wallet are very stable, but the top flap is super flimsy and it takes me a few extra seconds to unvelcro the opening.  This small issue is not a deal-breaker.  I still really like the wallet, but I know myself well enough to forsee slight annoyance in the future (like when I drag two active little kids to the store with me, stay too long browsing for nothing, and then have to try and quickly pay before one wonders off and the other yells at me for taking too long standing in one place).

So this project definitely goes on my wall of successes.  And I do think it goes well with my new Charlie Bag.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a charlie bag

So for my first project in over a week, I chose to make something for myself.  I have had a purse for me on my list for a while, but I could never decide on a style (nor could I find some selfish time).  When I saw this bag, I just had to have one.  It's definitely much larger than I originally had in mind, but I am also in desparate need of a stylish tote to carry my stuff (which usually isn't much) and lug around stuff for the boys (which trumps my stuff tenfold).

And guess what I used to make this bag . . . two of my old maternity skirts!  They weren't getting any use in the box, and they were both just so cute.  I thought this would be a fun reminder of pregnancies past. 

I figured that the skirts would be plenty big enough, but I just couldn't get a good cut.  I ended up a little short on both the lining and outer fabrics.  To remedy, I just added some plain fabric.  I like the look.  It adds character.

And look--it's reversible!  I originally meant for the white and green fabric to be the lining but I liked it so much that I've decided to make it "the usual look."

This Charlie Bag pattern is available for free on the Burda website.  I used this tutorial for the lining, and boy was it confusing.  But after about 45 minutes, I figured it out and it turned out better than I expected.

Now I can spend the rest of the week creating things to go inside . . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

t-shirt transformation: boys pajama shorts

I have a basket that overflows, not-so-neatly, with t-shirts too sentimental to give away but too big wear.  I save them for future projects but this future rarely comes quickly.  With a little extra time this weekend but little energy to start a large project (I'm conquering a sinus infection), I decided to make Logan some pajama shorts.  None of these t-shirts is in good enough shape to make shorts that will actually be seen by other people, so they'll just have to be pajamas.  (The photos don't lie . . . the t-shirts are really faded.)

I made these pajamas using McCalls #4283, the same pattern that I used for his pajama pants.  But since those pants were way too big, I trimmed an inch off each side which seemed to work a lot better.

I made these shorts from my brother's old brown Dale Earnhart t-shirt left over from a Jimmi bag.  I used the original hem at the bottom of the shirt because I was lazy and included a regular elastic waistband.  I also added a dog applique from the pack of scotties that my sister sent me.  Logan spent a whole 3 minutes looking over the dog, so I think it meets his specs.

These black shorts were made from one of the hub's ARMY t-shirts that had a couple of holes.  I made them with a drawstring because I just happened to have a black drawstring laying around from some other garment that probably has no way to close.  I had to hem the bottom of these, so they turned out like shorty shorts and the drawstring makes them look a little girly.  But since they are black and they say ARMY, I think I fooled everyone.

After seeing that there was a little bit of unwanted bulk in the front of the brown shorts, I decided to swoop down the front waistband of the black shorts.  This got rid of most of the bulk and the black shorts sit nicely below the potbelly.

So nice, I think we have an admirer . . .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

little girly skirt

My sister requested that I make a gift for her friend's daughter who will turn 2 this month.  Since I don't have any girls of my own, I have to recruit other people's kids to satisfy my urge to make things super girly. 

I love this fabric!  I found both at Hobby Lobby which (a little surprisingly) has some really fun and modern feminine fabric.  And after seeing these two together, I'm considering making a return trip for something for me.

I used this tutorial as inspiration for the skirt.  There are some great tutorials out there, but this one is my favorite.  I skipped the pockets because I was short on time, but they would have looked uber delightful. 

This skirt was extremely simple.  I even used a fancy french seam on the inside because I don't have a serger; it hides the raw threads so they won't fray.  But the elastic casing gave me all kinds of problems (again) so I think I will have to find a better way to add elastic; I probably just have to make the casing wider.  After all the fuss, it turned out pretty great.

To accessorize, I included a matching headband.  I had to use my 18-month-old's head as a test (and I used him as a model for the skirt . . . I think he liked it).  For this headband, I just made a casing (wider than the elastic this time) and let the elastic flow freely through the band.  This way, the headband can fit any head smaller than the elastic can stretch.

I hope this little girl has a very happy second birthday.

My cooperative model . . .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

a binder and two kinds of pouches

Today is my sister, Laura's, 28th birthday.  She will be very disappointed that I shared her age; I think she is trying to figure out a way not to get so close to 30.

For her birthday I made this binder cover, notebook pouch and coin pouch in matching fabric.  She asked for a lap desk, but I ran out of time (as usual).  So I hope she can settle for these.

This binder slipcover was super simple.  I just measured the length of the closed binder from front to back and added seam allowances.  Same thing for the width of the binder.  After embellishing (I'm still having a hard time sewing ribbon on straight), I sewed up the flaps and slid in the binder.  I am extremely impressed at how the binder fit on the first try!  I must be getting better at accounting for seam allowances.  She can use the binder to house all the pages that will eventually go into many a published book.

I also wanted to give her an easy way to carry around a small notebook to jot down book notes.  I didn't want to make a full-size notebook pouch because I wanted her to be able to carry this around in her purse (I think this turned out to be about 6.5 x 7 inches).  I made the pouch without a real notebook, so I hope she can find one that fits.

And there is plenty of room in the back to carry writing utensils.

This coin pouch was a bonus.  I saw this tutorial one day and desperately wanted to have one.  I knew it wouldn't take much fabric, so I decided to make one for Laura.  Plus, she is the one who supplied me with that bundle of zippers and clasps so it seemed appropriate to use one of each on a project for her.  The front pocket was made with clear vinyl so she can slip an ID or something in the front . . . a picture of a gorgeous man maybe?. . . it's her birthday.  I added a pocket to the back as well for extra organization.

I would typically have said here that you can never have too many pockets, but with this project, I will refrain from this bold statement.  I thought it would be triple the delight to add an interior pocket, but the pouch is just too small.  Every time I practiced unzipping the pouch, the pocket was open and the lining would not stay in place.  So I hand sewed (and glued) the pocket shut.  Maybe she won't notice.  So the lesson learned here is to go easy on the extra pockets with projects that can fit in one hand.

My plan is to have one of these for myself before the end of this weekend.  These are so cute and fast it would almost be a waste of my time not to make more, right?

I hope the sis enjoys her gifts.  Nothing large or expensive, just special.  Happy writing, Laura!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

scrappy hot pads

I've spent the last several weeks on lengthy projects to donate to others, so I decided to spend a couple of hours making something quick for me. 

I have a problem keeping track of hot pads.  Following the way of the sock, I only have one left of each set that I've ever had in my lifetime.  That means I have a total of two hot pads.  I have to use the same hot pads for picking up hot stuff that I use for resting hot stuff which often leads to a tricky maneuver that I have all but mastered.  So I thought it would just be easier to make myself more with some scraps.

I used two layers of heat-resistant padding the middle, and I'm glad I did.  Believe it or not (because I'm not sure I do), the hub convinced me to use two layers.  I wasn't sure I actually needed two layers but I figured more was probably better.  Have you ever used a hotpad and been able to feel much of the heat almost burning your skin?  Not fun.  More is definitely better in this situation.  After they were done, he felt the thickness and accused me of ignoring his advice (like I would do that).  So two layers is definitely the way to go.

And I get to keep them.