Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Reusable Shopping Bag
August 13, 2011

I made this reusable shopping bag out of decorative canvas for my mom’s birthday. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out actually, considering that it was one of my first solo sewing projects, and I didn’t use a pattern.  I used a brown bag as a template, and cut out my pieces with a rotary cutter. Then I just sort of… figured out in what order to sew it in that would make it easiest to put together!

I folded the straps over a few times to make them nice and sturdy, and used a zig zag stitch to seal them in. I used the same plastic grommets as the shower curtain I made a few months ago, I love them! They are so easy to use and add a great dash of color and accent wherever you use them. I handsewed this little star to attach the straps them themselves through the grommets. While the grommets are a little spendy (10.99 a pack, but I always use a coupon) the cool thing is that if you buy them with the intention of making a bag, you get 8 per pack so each will yield two bags. If you use a half off coupon, it makes it worthwhile for two bags, especially if you are selling and expecting a small profit.

I’m also pretty proud of these pockets that I “made up.” I somehow managed to hide all the seams, partially with some more zig-zagging, but I also made a little tab for it to fit in under the top rim of the bag, which not only hid the pockets beginning but also acted to reinforce where the grommets went in. Genius! If I do say so myself 🙂


SushiBooties on the Martha Stewart Show!!!
April 4, 2011

My friend Della was on the Martha Stewart Show!!!!

Della was one of five finalists in the show’s “ReMarthable” contest, to find the crafter who best embodied the style of Martha herself.  She got airtime last friday, to show Martha her Fortune Cookie baby booties. See the clip here! I’m so incredibly excited for her, and needless to say, am living vicariously through her. This kind of prize is pretty much the ultimate reward to any craft enthusiast.  While she didn’t win the grand prize from Martha (a customized bmw) she won the people’s choice award, determined by online votes. I may be biased, but I think she should have won everything.

You can also check out Sushibooties on Etsy!

Happy Floral Shower Curtain
April 4, 2011

I have been looking for a new project to work on sewing skills. Often I will find fabric at work, and the only way I can justify not buying it on the spot is that I want to dedicate it to a project first, because I splurge.  I’ve got terrible crafting hoarding tendencies, so I’m trying not to fall down the same slippery slope with fabric.

I have been admiring these cool plastic grommets at work, and have been trying to figure out what kind of project I could make that would showcase them. We have them in all colors, bright yellow, kelly green, cherry red, a dark true blue… They look so fun.  Unfortunately they were a little spendy – $10.99 for 8! I made sure to save coupons.

When I found this bright floral material, I knew I could make a really great shower curtain using the pink grommets. I love the color scheme of the material, the print that is just busy enough to be this side of chaotic, and it’s a poly/rayon that is soft and silky so it drapes really nicely. I added in panels of blue cotton because the material wasn’t wide enough on it’s own, and I didn’t want to have a seam running through the floral print. I also made a tab of cotton at the top to hold the grommets, for aesthetic reasons and also because I thought the cotton would be more stable.

I bought a set of metal shower curtain hooks at Target for $6 and we were in business!

This was a really fun project and a great way  for me to practice sewing. I used a large cutting mat and rotary cutter that I found in my mom’s sewing stuff downstairs, which greatly helped cut straight and clean lines.

I have four grommets left over – I’m thinking of a cute, sturdy cotton reusable shopping bag!

Krafts For Boyz
February 15, 2011

As I’ve said before, I make every effort to hand craft all my gifts. This doesn’t exclude boys, and it definitely doesn’t surpass Valentine’s day. Rian is actually really easy to craft for, now that I have narrowed down his two favorite things: video games, and dachshunds.

This plastic canvas “gameboy” ipod holder I made for both Rian and my brother, who just had a birthday. It’s a really simple design, not only practical but a great conversation starter.

doxie approved!

Rian has been requesting a Mario themed Kleenex box for some time now, and I figured it was time to deliver. I sewed the question mark panel first, and then decided to do the other 3 sides as scenes from various parts of Mario games. I had a lot of fun googling pictures for ideas, there is an unbelievable amount of mario themed crafts out there, from plastic canvas to perler beads. Here’s a noteworthy favorite, and probably my next craft to tackle…

(click pics to see larger versions!)

(the shirt was his Christmas gift, got it on etsy!)

last but certainly not least, I found this dachshund pillow kit when I was rearranging the clearance fabric last month at work, and was going to surprise Rian with it. But then I decided it should be saved for something a little more special…. It’s funny because once it was made it looked a lot more like a strangely stunted golden retriever than a doxie, but nonetheless he loveddddd it!! This was one of my first sewing projects, so it was great to practice doing curves and sewing the bottom piece on. I stuffed it really full so it’s a firm pillow, and then as a crowning glory I added the plastic animal nose to make it a little more realistic. HA! I’m thinking now I need to go back and get another one for myself…


In case you were wondering about my presents, I got treated to a night away at a nice hotel at the beach, and these amazing gifts! We obviously know each other so well:

Sewing Kitten
February 1, 2011

does this even need a caption?

Fleece Penguin Hat
February 1, 2011

I would estimate that about 75% of my projects start out as a seedling for a great idea. The other 25%, well, they are usually the fruits of a silly idea or a half joke, half challenge.  (Case in point: my boyfriend sent me a facebook comment: “you up for this challenge?” with this photo.)

This idea was actually the reason that Darcy decided to attempt to make me a sock monkey for Christmas, returning the favor of a homemade present.  I’ve noticed a new trend lately of really cute knitted animal hats, and I thought it couldn’t be too hard to make something similar out of fleece. So I prepared myself for the task.

The hardest part, by far, was developing a pattern for the base of the hat. I have a very basic knitted cap with ear flaps on it, and my mom helped me to lay it out and trace the basic design. It is virtually a tube with the top part sectioned off and sewn to created a rounded top, but it was a little tricky to figure out the angles of the cuts.

This was another project that got a lot of help from mom. I think I may need to create a tag for that…

It took a few retries, trying on and adjusting, and a lot of paper pattern making, but we were finally able to design the white face and orange beak to attach to the hat. I cut  little black wing/flippers for the sides, and braided strips of black fleece for the ties. I attached black animal eyes to the front, and sewed circles to the inside of the hat to cover the posts of the eyes.  As a finishing touch, I crocheted a little blue bow, to make the hat a little more…. feminine. Ha!

It was a well received gift!

The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Frightening
December 31, 2010

Every Christmas, you know it’s inevitable – you will get at least one handmade gift. Most crafters rejoice during the holidays, they get an excuse to spend countless hours perfecting gifts for everyone in their family. Sometimes it’s a way to save money on presents, and other times it’s an excuse to spend money on new supplies with a purpose.

This kind of phenomenon occurs most often in elementary school kids and their mothers day gifts – I see a lot of lumpy clay ashtrays, painted figurines, and handprint plaques at Goodwill in the tchotchke section.  It’s excusable, even charming, in little kids.  Once you get older, more and more people start to hide their sequins and glue when you come over. Unfortunately, it just needs to be said that not everyone has “the touch”… and it can result in some pretty terrible monstrosities.   One such person is my good friend, Darcy.  She’s one of the smartest people I know, extremely mechanical and intuitive when it comes to machinery and the way things work – but the poor girl should not be let anywhere near a craft project.

Now I will say up front, I sort of knew this was coming.  Darcy’s “creations” are something I like to poke fun at, especially since the unfortunate night she came over and tried to use my mom’s sewing machine to make her Harry Potter scarf. (And that’s all I will say about that night… for both of our sakes)  It somehow became this inside joke that she should get a sock monkey kit from work and make me one for Christmas.  I predicted it would come out “with one cyclops eye, and maybe just three arms coming out of its butt.”  Famous last words…

“cute, cuddly, non-mutant sock monkey – do you hear someone crying?”

On Christmas Eve, Darcy hand delivered this beautifully wrapped package, slowly handed it over, and said, “I’ll give you a dollar not to open it.”

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, or better yet, the optimist, I tore into the wrapping. Only to find….

Dun Dun DUNNNNN!!!!!

He looks like a science experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Darcy’s mom came into the store a few days later, and told me, “I’m so glad she gave it to you, we all couldn’t wait to get that terrifying thing out of our house.”  I felt a little scared to go to sleep that night, knowing he was somewhere in my room.  I didn’t know if I should turn my back on him.

Brother from another mother — obviously.

There are so many pathetic aspects of this guy, I can’t bring myself to verbally point them all out.

Eat your heart out, Dr. Frankenstein

“Dude – Theres’s something… wrong with your face.

The truth is, I don’t think I can bring myself to throw this thing out.  It feels like kicking a three legged dog, laughing at a one eyed cat… He knows he’s a hideous sea monster with a transplanted mouth. The least I can do is give him someplace warm to sleep at night.

You’re A Wizard, Harry!
December 31, 2010

If you know me even a little, you know I’m totally dorky. That along with the lethal combination of being able to “totally get into things” is the entire basis for this craft project.

Early October, my friend from work mentioned that she was planning to take her younger siblings to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, pt 1. We got to talking about the books, and at the point I had only read up to the last one, so she lent it to me and I read the entire thing in just under 4 days. Now I will be the first to admit, unabashedly, that I am a grown-up who likes Harry Potter. The books are entertaining and well written, the characters are relateable, and I think the author has done a suburb job of creating this entirely believable wizarding world.  I don’t consider myself a fanatic, but I will admit to taking pleasure in reading the books and getting swept up in the stories.

So you can see where this is going.. I decided to go to the premiere and bring Rian along as well. I couldn’t help it, I knew the hype would be huge, everyone would be so excited and having a great time, and I wanted to be a part of it! But of course, we couldn’t show up in regular clothes, we would be ostracized.. rather than investing in an entire wardrobe, I decided to make Rian and I Gryffendor scarves out of fleece.  The glasses were a last minute addition, which I think turned out to be totally appropriate..

You should be so proud of me, faithful readers, this was my first sewing project! I sewed together all the strips, and then my mom helped with sewing the whole thing in half, because I was having trouble catching the hems in. My sewing was by no means perfect, but this was a great project to start with because once you turn it inside out, you can hardly tell that the seams are totally crooked and my sewing is erratic at best.  So for all intensive purposes, success!

The best part was that Rian got totally into it. One more reason I love him – he’s not afraid to dork out! I’m sure the physique helps, nobody’s gonna mess with an uber buff looking dude, even if he is dressed like Harry Potter.. Yet another example of how my boyfriend is the greatest sport ever.

Even Zowie got into the festivities!

Stuffed! Magazine
March 9, 2010

A great magazine I came across at work!

While the price is a little out of my range ($14.99 – ouch! we’re not talking about a hardcover book here..) I had a chance to flip through it during a slow time at the register and it has got some really great projects. While this specific magazine focuses on the crafting of “Softies,” or plush toys and dolls, Stampington & Co. printers market a ton of great craft, scrapbooking, and artists magazines, which are worth a look. I’m going to see if my library has this magazine so I can make some photocopies and study the projects in depth.

see also:

Flickr Softies image group

Softies: Simple Instructions For 25 Plush Pals