Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tutorial - Making a drawstring backpack

Aaahh... camp time. An embroidering Mommy's dream time. (Honestly, EVERYTHING nees a name? How can I beat that!)

Off to camp she goes tomorrow- for the first time. They have to bring a little drawstring bag to carry their water bottle/sunscreen/etc around with them, so I whipped these up for her and her friends.
I'm going to give dimensions, but I made these for girls under 7. You might want to make yours a wee bit bigger if it is for someone larger.

First, you'll need a piece of fabric, in a rectangle shape. I used a piece of Michael Miller Dumb Dot pink, measuring 14" tall by 22" wide. Fold this in half horizontally, and work on one side first.
If you want to put the name on it, do that first.

Then working just on one half, make two button holes 1.5 inches down from the top. Make these close to the edges of the 1/2- as they will be on the top edges of the finished bag.

Next, finish the raw top edge. You can either turn it under and stitch it, or run it through your serger. This will not show, it's just to make the bag wear better.

Now. fold the bag in half, right sides together, and serge or seam and finish the edge.

Now you have a tube of fabric. Turn under 1 inch of the fabric (with your finished edge turned underneath.) This will make a casing for the drawstring that has a button hole on each side. Stitch the casing close to the edge. Make sure you catch the turned under fabric, and that your button hole is in the casing, not below it.

Cut two small squares of interfacing and fabric, and place these in the bottom corners. This will reinforce the corners and make them stronger for the grommets.

You can tack them down with stitches, or a tiny bit of fabric glue to hold them in place.

Stitch the bottom seam, catching the squares of fabric. Then, turn your bag inside out.
You now have a small pillowcase!

On the bottom corners, put in grommets.
Now, you're ready to add the straps! The straps can be made of anything, but I prefer multicorded braid. You will need two pieces, each twice the height of the bag + the twice the width of the bag. (For these bags, it takes 2 pieces, 1.5 yards each.)

Starting on the right side of the bag, feed the cord through the button hole, and back out the same button hole after going around the casing. There is a button hole on the other side, but do not go out that button hole. The string should start and end on the same side.

Repeat this with the other side. This means when you are finished, there will be two drawstrings at the top, ending on opposite sides.

Even out the cord, and pull both ends through the grommet at the bottom and tie a knot. (The knot should be on the pretty, embroidered side of the bag.) Do this on both sides.

That's it! Super simple!
Wouldn't those be a cute little take home gift from a slumber party?

MaryKay is slowly trying to dig herself out from under a mountain if fabric, one tutorial at a time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tutorial - Make your own bow cards

Something for the bowheads! :)

I'm not a huge maker of bows. Every once in a while though, the mood (or idea) strikes me and I can't resist.
Since I don't do this all the time, I wanted away to present my bows neatly, without a lot of fuss. Enter the homemade bow card.

I ordered ( postcards with two imprints on the same card. They are basically my business card template- except they have a place to price and size. I use these with my clothing often as hangtags. Why postcards? I like the white spaces at the end. I cut the two prints apart, retaining the white space.

Now, to turn this into a bow card, I get out the exacto knife.
Cut two parallel slits (very close together) on one side and two on the other. To determine the distance of these two sets, measure the length of the barrette or clippy prong, then reduce the size slightly. (A 2" barrette needs to have slit sets that are 1.5" apart, for example.)

Then, still at the cutting board, cut a diagonal slit between the parallel slits. (Photo.)

This opens the area for inserting the bow. If you have hang racks, the other side can have a punch hole in it to hang from the pegs.
Cheap and quick, but still professional looking!

MaryKay is slowly trying to dig herself out from under a mountain if fabric, one tutorial at a time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tutorial - Lining Barrettes with ribbon

Today I was putting the bats on barrettes, so I thought I'd go ahead and type up how to ribbon line a french barrette. This step really makes the barrettes look better, in my opinion- and it's super quick.
The first step to lining the barrette is to take it apart.
Next, measure your a piece of ribbon that will just fit between the end pieces that stick up. Heat seal the ends of this piece before putting it on the barrette. (I like to do this with a wood burning tool, but a lighter will also work.)

Remove the middle piece and set it aside for now.
Now, glue the piece to the center. You can use any glue you like, but I like to use hot glue. (Mainly because my fingers need the abuse....)If you use glue that takes a while to set, you might need to hold the ribbon in place with an alligator clip while it dries.

Then, bottom side up, glue the end of a ribbon piece to the bottom of the end of the barrette. Again, a glue gun will yield immediate satisfaction and crispy fingers.
Flip the barrette over (top side up) and continue gluing the ribbon around the end and across the back.
Then, flip the barrette back over (top side down again) and glue the ribbon to the other edge underneath.
Now you can put the little extra piece back. But first check that the edges match up nicely, and peel off any extra hot glue strings ( and finger pieces).

Now you can glue on your little bat (or whatever). You're going to want to hand sew this also. (Trust me!) but gluing will hold it in place nicely while you do.
MaryKay is slowly trying to dig herself out from under a mountain if fabric, one tutorial at a time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tutorial - Going Batty Barrettes

Now ya'll know I recycle things by storing them in my house, right??? (Drives my poor hubby nuts...) Well today I was crafting up some little poodile skirts from left over felt. I had a 50's party for the girls a while back, and ended up with too much felt for the little skirts. Anyway, when you cut a poodle skirt as a full circle, there's this great round piece left in the middle, about 20 inches in diameter.

There's no way I was throwing that away!

So with the upcoming Halloween fall season around the corner, I came up with the perfect use. Now I have two girlies. But if you are a few girlies short, these would be wonderful little treats for extra special visitors or as prizes at a school party.
Here's how to make the barrettes:

1. Take two pieces of felt (a few inches is plenty) and using a double threaded needle, sew through both pieces in a bat shape. (I drew out a little shape like Batman sort of...)

2. Hand stitch on some eyes,teeth and a little smile. (French knots would be super cute eyes, too!)
3. Cut out your double thickness bat, outside of the stitching. Turn it over and cut a small slit in the back.
4. Place a clippie into the slit and tack down with some little hand stitches.

5. Voila! Little Bat clippies!!!

They went together so quickly, I forgot to take pics! I'll make another batch and try to take some in progress...

Now, being a little lazy to whip up a bunch- I actually digitized my 5 x 7 hoop to make 8 of these guys at a time. I think I'll bring a few cards of them to Fall on the Mound. If you'd rather not stitch by hand, I'll put my design up for 99 cents in case you too, need quicker gratification. It's a quickie- less than 4000 stitches for all 8!

MaryKay is slowly trying to dig herself out from under a mountain if fabric, one tutorial at a time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Awww.. Baby! New Carriage / Pram design

This one's in honor of a new little cutie I met at the pool this summer. Her mom is learning to sew, which inspired my to make up a few baby designs.

This is the first of several applique designs.
For more information, please see the Keeps Me In Stitches embroidery section.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Halloween Designs Get one Free!

I've been working on some new appliques for the upcoming Halloween season. Something not too scary, just a little fun!

All are done in stitch as you go applique, with minimal overlap stitches.

As a special for those who are readers of the blog, just write the word "blog reader" with your payment and when you buy 2, I'll send you the other one free!

They are up now in the Etsy shop!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lunch Letters Introduction

Do you remember the good old days, when you could throw out a baggie and not feel guilt? How little we knew!
Parenthood turns us into super recyclers, and I've been trying to ramp up my sustainablitiy at our household, starting with lunches. I've always been a HUGE fan of bento lunches, and the blog Just Bento. But truthfully, the bento concept isn't catching on in my house as fast as I'd like.
Since I'm the one making the lunches, I have no one to blame but myself! So, what's a poor Suburbian mom to do? Ah ha... enter the reuseable lunch wrappers!

These are not exactly new, they are everywhere. Reuseable lunch wrappers are basically a piece of fabric sewn into a reusable baggie. There are lots of free patterns out there. I fashioned mine after an actual sandwich baggie, cut apart and used as a pattern. I wanted them (including my snack bags) to lay flat so they could be wiped out when messy. I also wanted them to be food safe-- not made from PVCs or other questionable materials.

The answer seemed to lie with Nylon. Now there are different types of nylon. If you are attempting to make these yourself, try to get your hands on Nylon that is thick and durable. If all that is available is ripstop Nylon, that would probably work but might not hold up to food as well.
So, with much fanfare... I'm introducing Lunch Letters. Little reuseable sandwich and snack wraps for a better world, or just a better lunch.

Here's a peek:
These two are available in the store. Although there are already several great tutorials out there, I'm working on a tutorial for my take on these, too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Feeling Girly with New swirly Fonts

Today I did some quick local work for someone who is quick becoming one of my favorite customers.

One of the things she wanted was a simple, swirly initial on a bag-- something to separate it from the masses. I do so many things for children, I had almost forgotten how elegant a single script initial can look!

So Lisa, in honor of you-- I have in my shop a new set of single inital monograms, Mommy style!

These stitch out all in satin stitches, full of graceful curves. Simple elegance!

I've given them a low starter price, as I need some feedback at my Etsy shop. Go check 'em out....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Buzzzzzz!!! Bumble Bee Bibs

Love love LOVE these new bibs. Almost makes me wish I had someone this little again. (well, almost...)
I've been sewing up stuff in anticipation of an upcoming showcase. These just sort of struck me, as I had the perfect fabric in my stash! I'll make them until the fabric is gone, then move on.
The pattern (yes, sometimes I use one...) is from Precious Patterns on Etsy. She does a wonderful job of designing cuteness and supports the cottage industry by allowing you to sell up to 5 things from her patterns at a time. I've changed the pattern a bit because although I love her cuteness, I could never stand tie bibs. This one has been adapted to have velcro that doubles back, so it's not easily yanked off. Easy on, but Mommy off. :-)
Can't wait? This one's in the store....
Here's a glimpse on something else I'm working on:

I can smell the newly sharpened pencils! :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tutorial - Balloon Shades Part two

These went back up in the same spot, out of the same fabric as before. So why bother? Well, they didn't actually close before. That really bothered me. Now (thanks to a very sweet sister who donated the impossible to find discontinued fabric) they do!

So here's the rest of the directions.

When we last left off, you had made a box, finished on four sides. This box is 2.5 times the width of your window, plus the length from the ceiling to the bottom of the floor.

Lay the box on the floor and do some marking in pencil (very lightly.)

If you want three swags (as in the photo) you are going to have four columns of rings. Two will be 1" from the outside egde. To get the measurements for the other two:

  1. Measure the width of the fabric box, subtract 2 inches.
  2. Divide this number by 3.
Sew rings 7 - 10 " apart (the same for each one) from the top of the box to the bottom of the box 1" from the edge.
Next, take the measurement found in number 2 and measure from the ring at the top right. make a small pencil mark.
Sew the next set of rings, parallel to the other two columns, equal distance from the first columns.

Start the fourth column of rings, the same distance (found in number 2) from the other columns. This will give you four columns of rings, equally spaced on the back.
Now, calculate the amount of cording needed. Standing by the window, visually choose a comfortable distance from the floor for the pull chord to end. Mark this spot with a small piece of painters tape. Let's call this spot Point B.
  1. Measurement 1: Length of finished shade + Measurement from top of shade to Point B = ________ (C)
  2. Measurement from above X 4 = _____ (D)
  3. Measurement from left side of shade to far right hand column of rings = ______ (E)
  4. Measurement from left side of shade to third column of rings = _______(F)
  5. Measurement from left side of shade to second column of rings = _____(G)
  6. Total yards of cord needed = D + E + F + G / 36.

I always add a little extra so I can braid the cord.

Next section, how to hang the shade and run the cord.