Sunday, April 24, 2011

chic & simple jacket

I tackled a pattern came from this book by Christine Haynes for a birthday gift for my sister.

Chic & Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes: Book Cover

This book contains some really great patterns.  Most of the designs do not have fitted elements so this book would be good for beginners, too, but be warned that the instructions have very few illustrations.  Many of the designs have a rectangular body and use a tie around the waste to "fit" the garment.  And I have never seen so many hip and modern designs in one book.  Just about every one of these designs is on my to-do list.

A few things I really like about this jacket:
  1. The raglan sleeves.  I have mentioned before that I love raglan sleeves, particularly on little boys.  I don't get much a chance to add them on my own clothing, so this was a nice change.  And I love how much easier they are to sew on than a set in sleeve.
  2. The sleeve length.  The photo in the book shows these sleeves a little longer.  I think it's because the jacket in the book uses a cotton fabric without a lining and turns the sleeve hem under 1/4 inch twice.  I used a different seam allowance, so my sleeves turned out a little shorter.  But I do like 3/4 length sleeves for springwear.
  3. The jacket length.  I am picky about my jackets being just the right length.  I think this length is pretty good.
  4. The bias tape. I used a neat bluish-green fabric with different colored dots. I love this fabric. I also (surprisingly) did a pretty good job attaching the bias tape.
  5. The gray cordoroy.  I just love cordoroy.  Especially gray.
  6. The tie.  It's a fun element.

I added a lining to the jacket.  The pattern in the book does not have a lining.  I wanted my jacket to have more weight, so I added a lining.  My original intention was to use the bias fabric for the lining, but my brain must have been taking a break when I bought the fabric because I only bought 1 yard.  So I had enough to line the sleeves and that was it.  I bought 3 yards of cordoroy and that was enough for outside and front and back parts of the lining.

I think it's a little inconvenient to have a tie without a way to keep it in place if you have to untie it.  So I added belt loops to each side.

Some things I would change next time:
  1. The sleeve pattern.  There isn't enough ease in the armpit.  This jacket is intended to be worn in the fall probably over a very light, fitted shirt.  In that case, the ease is okay.  But I would add a little extra room in the pit so I can comfortably wear the jacket over thicker shirts, too.
  2. I wish the jacket was a little more fitted.  I will have to research the few other patterns in the book that are a little more fitted to see if I can adapt this pattern a little.
Too bad this jacket isn't for me.  But this project was quick enough that I should be able to whip up another in no time.  I'll be on the look out for a great fabric!

Friday, April 22, 2011

bridal shower gift :: casserole carrier

Here is another gift that I made for the same upcoming bridal shower.  This bride loves to cook, so she will make great use of this casserole dish carrier.

 This carrier is made from a single cut of fabric, quilt batting, and a lining (I used white terry cloth) to resemble a "+" shape.  You can made this carrier using 1 yard of each of the three layers.  Each of the four sides folds into the center to surround the casserole dish.  The sides are secured with Velcro.

I found the idea here at 2 Little Hooligans and used the finished dimensions to make this one.  Melanie's tutorial uses two separate rectangles sewn together, but I decided to use a single piece shaped like a "+" for mine.

Another note:  I used webbing for the straps instead of fabric.  I took 2 yards of webbing and sewed the ends together to form a circle.  I stretched the circle into more of an oval shape with two long straight sides and sewed these long straight sides to bottom of the carrier.  If you use fabric straps like the 2 Little Hooligans tutorial does, you might need a little more fabric.

This was a quick project.  I find myself truely needing one of these only about twice per year, but if I had a customized carrier in a cool modern print, I might just have to find a reason to bake casseroles more often.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

bridal shower gift :: oven mitts

How about some new oven mitts for a bridal shower gift?  This bride loves to cook so she should really appreciate this gift.  I adore this pattern with the thumbs on the front!

I lined the mitts with terry cloth for a luxurious feel on the inside and an extra bit of protection from the oven heat.  I also have to admit that I'm getting pretty good at bias tape.  I can't believe how straight my lines are getting.

I used this tutorial from The Crafty Cupboard.  She didn't post a pattern, so I had to size my own.  Here are a couple of notes I would add to her tutorial.
  • Be sure to clip a triangle in the seam allowance where all three pattern pieces meet to reduce the bulk.

  •  It's irritating when linings slide out, so I sewed the lining and outside pieces together at the very top.  Turn both the lining and outside wrong sides out and press the backs of each (the side without the thumb piece) together.  I just zigzag stitched in the seam allowance.  Now the lining should stay inside.

And I just love this fabric.

Monday, April 18, 2011

a simple tote by request

My sister wanted a new tote.  Her requirements were simple: navy with khaki-colored straps and just large enough to fit a notebook.  Pretty simple . . . a little too simple in my opinion.

I had a hard time finding just the right shade of blue.  I was shopping in the home decor section at JoAnn's for some navy fabric, but what I really wanted was duck cloth.  I just couldn't think of what it was called nor did I know where in JoAnn's to find it.  So I had to settle on royal blue because it was the only solid blue available in home decor.  Believe me, I found so many other worthy fabrics that were neither solid nor blue for her tote, but this was a special request and I wanted to try to stick to it.

The khaki-colored straps I managed to find pretty easily.  I just used webbing.

I'm just not sure how she will like the rest of it.  I wanted an outside pocket, but I thought I would use a matching solid color since she wanted something very simple and she obviously had something in mind.  I hope these stripes don't complicate the design too much.  They might make the tote feel a little too young for her taste, but I just can't help myself.  You can buy any old solid colored tote in any old store, but I would bet a couple of hard-earned dollars that you won't find a replica of this one in stores!  Wait, maybe that's for a reason?

There is one thing I would change in this design.  There is no break between the pocket stripes and the bottom stripes.  I think I should have placed some ribbon around the bag on the seam line between the blue and the bottom stripes to give the eyes a break between the pocket and the bottom of the bag.  Its also possible that I am the only one in the world who overthinks details like this, but somehow I doubt it.

Here is the back.  Very simple.  And probably a little more of what she was looking for.  She can always wear it backwards.

And to finish the bag, I rolled the blue around the inside edge to create a bias tape look without the bias tape.  I like this method for its simple construction, but variations in the width of the roll are very noticable so I have to be very careful.  I also added a pocket inside because what's a tote without pockets?

I lined this bag with both a lightweight interfacing and quilt batting as I usually do.  This makes the bag feel like it can stand up to just about anything.  This is no flighty springtime tote.

The finished dimensions on this tote are about 10 inches long by 4 inches wide by 12 inches tall.  So at least I got the "just big enough to fit a notebook" part right.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

baby changing pad

One of my son's preschool teachers just had a baby and this is the gift we made for her.  You can never have too many changing pads and this was a perfect gift to utilize the quilt-as-you-go method.  I took the idea from table runner tutorials like the one I found here at Diary of a Quilter.

I covered this changing pad in vinyl to be sure it would easily wipe clean.  I picked up a good chunk of it as a remnant a couple of years ago and have been slowly using up my stash.  This is a little thicker than I would have liked it to be, but I have spent zero time researching vinyl choices.  I simply cut a piece of vinyl the same size as the pad and sewed the vinyl to the changing pad around the edges to hold the vinyl in place.  I'm not sure if this is necessary, but I was really concerned about the vinyl slipping around.

I also added this nice pocket for holding a couple of diapers and a small pack of wipes.  I sewed elastic at the top of the pocket to hold everything inside.

Then I used binding to hold all the layers together and conceal the edges.

This changing pad measures 12.5 inches wide by 28 inches long with about 22 inches in length of useable pad (the rest is the pocket).

I did not make a closure of this changing pad.  It holds together surprisingly well, so I didn't think it was necessary.  But I will probably try a closure on my next one just to change it up a bit.

Cute, cute!  And hopefully very handy.