A Little of This, A Little of That

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I’ve posted this fat quarters apron and this “totally cute” apron, and have made several of each. Last Sunday, I wanted to make a holiday apron. With only four or five fat quarters and about half a yard of red-and-gold dotted cotton, my options were limited–until I combined these two patterns into one apron. Here’s how I did it.

Using Sew4home’s directions  for the apron skirt, I constructed the apron skirt using holiday-themed fat quarters.

French seaming the apron skirt

French seaming the apron skirt

As directed, I added a pocket to the skirt, using the dotted fabric for contrast.

Attaching the pocket

Attaching the pocket

Then, I added a band of the dotted fabric to the bottom, following the the Sewmuch2luv pattern.

Sewing the bottom band into a "burrito"

Sewing the bottom band into a “burrito”


I also used the red for the waistband and ties, which I adapted from the Sew4home pattern.  I cut those pieces 4 inches wide, and then attached them on either side like a traditional apron.  Turning the apron ties with a dowel, as shown in the Sewmuch2luv pattern, is a real time saver.

Using a dowel to turn the apron ties

Using a dowel to turn the apron ties

These fabrics were so colorful, I kept embellishments to a minimum. The rickrack trim from Sew4home made a nice touch, and I used red so it would blend. Green or black would have worked, too. My apron will be a hostess gift. I may have just enough fabric left for one more, I believe. Although it appears labor-intensive, this was a quick project. Frankly, it would have been even quicker if I’d serged the skirt instead of using French seams. Since I’m picky about how I finish my work, I have no regrets.

Hope this inspires you to do some quick December sewing. Happy holidays!

Holiday Apron

Holiday Apron

The Accidental Sewist

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Maybe you’ve pricked yourself with a pin, or even caught your finger in your sewing machine.   Needles and scissors are sharp.  Sewing can be hazardous.

And yes, I would know. Several weeks ago, I wound up in the emergency room after an unfortunate incident with a rotary cutter.  Four stitches! Ouch! So my hubby ordered me this mesh glove online, and now I use it religiously (mostly  because I can’t stand the sight of blood–especially  my own).  I believe it’s intended to be used by people who cut leather and fabric for a living. Thankfully, it also works for those of us who are careless with everyday objects.  Let’s be careful out there!

Mesh glove

Mesh glove

Trick or Treat, Chapter 2

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Zack's Trick or Treat Bag!

Zack’s Trick or Treat Bag!

When it comes to families, we all know the more things change, the more they stay the same.  So it is with my sister Jackie’s family. Two years ago, after her daughter Samantha was born, I made trick or treat bags for Sammie and her big brother Jake.  Then last September, Zack arrived! Hooray! (Poor Sammie, stuck inbetween two stinky brothers…But I digress.)

Of course, I couldn’t leave little Zack out. Now that he’s walking, he’ll probably dress up for Halloween, even if he won’t really understand what’s going on. But how do you find a fabric you bought two years ago? Well, you don’t.  What you do is, you scour your fabric cabinet for any small remnants from the original bags, and then you get lucky finding fat quarters on sale. So I was able to whip up a third bag that’s not exactly like the other two, but close enough.

Again, I began with the applique of Zack’s name on the bag’s top panel.

Applique

Applique

Then, i finished it using the same pattern as before. It’s very cute, if I do say so myself. Sadly, my success led to a new problem–how could I send a box to these three little ruffians–er, three little angels–without including something for Jake and Sammie, too?  (Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head enough in that house already.)

Jake, Zack, and Sammie

Jake, Zack, and Sammie

Back to the fabric cabinet for me.  (While it doesn’t exactly deliver fantasies on par with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, it never disappoints.)  On one of Jackie’s visits (and she was last here two years ago!) we found a remnant of some Patriots fleece–their daddy Dave’s favorite team, coincidentally. It was just enough to make a throw big enough for a four-year-old. I’ve never made a fleece tie blanket, but thanks to the miracle of Google, tutorials are even easier to find than than it was to make the blanket.

Jake's Patriot Blanket

Jake’s Patriot Blanket

Now it was two down, one to go. In the cabinet, I found some fabric my mom gave me last summer.  The very cute white and aqua polka dot cotton would be just perfect for a pillowcase dress.  Again, there are many tutorials out there. The one I used, from Sew Like My Mom, is specifically for a serger, which made even quicker work of a quick pattern.  Sammie’s dress was 2T, but the instructions go up to size 8.  I think it will be a little big, but that’s ok–she can wear it next spring.

Sammie's pillowcase dress

Sammie’s pillowcase dress

With all three projects done, I’ll be off to the Post Office tomorrow morning. I know the ruffians will appreciate these little gifts from their aunt, and I certainly enjoyed putting them together.

Finally, just in case you’re wondering, here is my fabric cabinet.

Aslan's not here...

Aslan’s not here…

Gypsy Romance Patchwork Throw

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I came across this Gypsy Romance Patchwork Pom Pom Throw on Sew4Home, one of my favorite sewing sites,  several months ago.  Just a few days ago, I finally finished my interpretation of this project. Not all the fabrics shown were available, so I put together some additional patterns I liked from the Gypsy Bandana collection by Michael Miller. And, as I was unable to find a velvet color I really liked,  I used polar fleece instead.  I’m very pleased with the result, especially since the pattern was quite challenging, even for an experienced sewist.

Of course, as you’ve seen, I have a passion for patchwork–mostly patchwork squares.  This throw was certainly much more complicated! Once I had all four panels done, it was time to sew them together.

Putting panels together

Putting panels together

Fortunately, the directions were easy to follow.  Unfortunately, I cut two of the pieces for Panel 1 an inch too , and had to improvise a solution.

Note three strips of fabric  together in middle of Panel 1, instead of just one strip on 2, 3 and 4

Note three strips of fabric together in middle of Panel 1, instead of just one strip on 2, 3 and 4

Of course, no one but me knows the pattern didn’t call for those three strips of fabric on the left!  I also added a feather stitch between the panels, because I believe small details are important.  (Actually, I’m more than a little neurotic about those things. My friends love me anyway.)

Featherstitching between panels

Featherstitching between panels

Since I didn’t like how the batting seemed to pull away from the two fabric layers, I stitched in the ditch between panels to hold it together.

Stitching in the ditch to anchor batting underneath

Stitching in the ditch to anchor batting underneath

Sew4Home gives just about the best explanation of fussy cutting I’ve ever read:  “You fussy cut when you select and cut out a specific motif on printed fabric. For example, a quilt where you cut each square to showcase a specific element of a fabric’s overall pattern.”  And their tutorial on the technique of fussy cutting is excellent.

Cutting strips from the Aqua Gypsy Road fabric wasn’t easy (cutting isn’t my strong suit).  The rotary cutter was my best friend here. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t say how essential the Big Board was, too, especially for cutting the long panel pieces.

My Big Board

My Big Board

My throw took weeks to finish. Having to use the floor for layout was especially annoying. Still, there just wasn’t any other way.  I love my Soon, I’ll put together some matching pillows with the remaining fabric.  For now, completing this very complicated design is enough.

Ready for its close up

Ready for its close up

“Totally Cute” Hostess Gift!

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We got back from Florida last Monday night, which meant I had only four days to come up with a hostess gift for a party on Saturday. Luckily, I remembered this “Totally Cute Apron Tute” by SewMuch2Luv  from a Pinterest board.  It was perfect for my friend Irmina, a fellow sewist who loves all kinds of crafts.   I stitched it up in very little time, and I absolutely love how it turned out.

My interpretation is different from the original, because I used traditional floral prints instead of the dots and more graphic floral Karen used.  What I like most about this apron is the encased hemline. Just FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY, and her “burrito” sewing technique comes out great!  Here’s a view of the apron skirt, with encased hem and pocket ready for sewing.  Note the professional-looking hem. (My sad photography skills don’t do it justice!)

Laying pocket over apron skirt with encased hem

Laying pocket over apron skirt with encased hem

Next, I attached the waistband.  Note that this entire apron is made of 30″ rectangles and strips, making both cutting and sewing very easy.  (As always, the rotary cutter is your friend.)

Topstitching waistband

Topstitching waistband

Since I had a little extra fabric, I decided to take out my stitch regulator and try another potholder. Since I didn’t photograph it with a ruler, there’s no perspective, but it’s about 9″ x 4″.  I used the apron skirt fabric for one side of my potholder, the pocket fabric for the other, and the hem/waistband pattern for the binding.

The stitch regulator, part 2

The stitch regulator, part 2

Finished potholder

Finished potholder

Thank you, Karen, for posting this totally cute and totally easy apron at Sew Much 2 Luv. I know I’ll be making more of these as gifts!

The Stitch Regulator

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The Stitch Regulator at work!

The Stitch Regulator at work!

Although I’ve had my Bernina 240 for years, I’d never used the stitch regulator (presser foot #9).  Did I read about it in the manual? Yes. Still, I didn’t really understand what the little thing was for.  Of course, I was judging: after all, it doesn’t  even look like a presser foot!  And yet, that’s the beauty of the stitch regulator. Because it’s not really a presser foot, it won’t squish the quilted layers together. And in back it has a little spring, which further inhibits any pressure and leaves your work intact.

This all started, of course, with an apron I made as a gift. The polka-dot canvas is a nice weight–not too stiff, so it drapes nicely.

Red, green and yellow polka-dot apron

Red, green and yellow polka-dot apron

After cutting strips for bias tape, I had some 8″ triangles left over. I thought I’d see what I could do.  They became a potholder, constructed of four triangles, with 2 layers of batting.  Then, I just quilted them freehand, following no pattern. Since the fabric had dots, I just sort of did random serpentine lines.  I used Nancy Zieman’s tutorial on quilt binding to finish the potholder. While I must admit the binding isn’t my best work, well, practice makes perfect. And always remember the three-foot rule: “If it looks good from three feet away, it’s good enough!”

Polka-dot potholder

Polka-dot potholder

I also resurrected some patchwork squares I’d tried and failed to match with another apron from last year. Thanks to the stitch regulator, that potholder is pretty cute, too!  If you look closely, you’ll see that the bias tape isn’t really made from the same fabric and the large floral print squares.  The three foot rule, uh, rules.  Really.

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(P.S. If you want to see what a “real” quilter can do, check out the quilting page on Maddie Kertay’s Domestic Anarchy.  She’s a true artist!)

Color and Pattern–Fat Quarters Apron, Part 2

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Eliza’s purple apron was such a hit, I decided to make one for Emily as well.  Again, using 5 fat quarters from my stash, I followed the Sew4Home pattern.  The inspiration for all this color was this rainbow rickrack I found at JoAnn.  Being printed only on the front, it was a little tricky to work with, but worth the effort.

Pinning rainbow rickrack on apron bib--matching right side to fabric

Pinning rainbow rickrack on apron bib–matching right side to fabric

Back of apron bib and waistband. Note that the back of the rickrack is white.

Back of apron bib and waistband. Note that the back of the rickrack is white.

Emily loves color, and really likes the mix of patterns in her apron as much as Eliza likes her purple one.  For now, or at least until the next crisis, my work as a mom is done.  ;-)