YearofHandmade

An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

Scooter Fun! July 25, 2010

I can’t remember ever having as much fun sewing as I did making this Scooter Bag!

OK, now I just need to travel to France and wear it while I drive around on a real scooter ;0)

The pattern is the Mischievous Gnome Messenger Bag from Sew Liberated HERE

and made up in all Echino Fabrics from Superbuzzy HERE.

I admittedly have an addiction to Echino Fabrics ;0)

The fabrics are a heavier weight linen/cotton blend so I used a featherweight interfacing which was perfect!

I love the large back pocket and the peek-a-boo scooters on the underside of the quilted strap!

The front also has 2 pockets…or rather one divided pocket.

and a nice zippered pocket on the inside…

with some more scooters in the lining!

Oh and my favorite part ~ the frayed scooter applique!

R. is totally in love with it

but its awfully big for such a little peanut

so I am thinking I might shrink the pattern

and make her a matching mini one for Christmas this year ;0)

Such fun!

A few quick notes on the pattern:

I can’t imagine making this without a walking foot ~ really I wouldn’t even try!

Lots of cutting and fussy cutting =0)

To attach the pocket decorative edge, you first need to put the pocket FRONT and LINING wrong sides together

and then lay the decorative piece face down and UPSIDE down on the LINING side…the instructions are not very clear here and I had to seam rip a couple of times.

When boxing your corners or sewing the lining to the exterior bag ~ be SURE to sew with the seams away from each other

or you’ll never be able to get your walking foot over all of the fabric.

Other than those few tips, this bag was pretty easy to make and I think it looks FABULOUS!

Now I’ve got to figure out something to whip up for my Nephew’s 4th Birthday (that was last week!)

Happy sewing,

Colette

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A Finished Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox! April 6, 2010

We have a tad bit if an obsession with foxes over here!

“Fern” (aptly named by R.), a beautiful red fox living across the road above the pond, provides us daily with many hours of amusement…although she drives our dog (a border collie mix) batty.

We love watching her go about her day.

She often creeps into our yard to hunt in the many holes hiding rabbits and woodchucks…she is always welcome!

I think I permanently damaged the nerves in my thumb and first two fingers, ha ha, but I managed to finish this Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox last night.

Not a moment too soon…he will be coming with us on our trip to D.C. so I can give it to R. along with the Fantastic Mr. Fox book for her 9th birthday!

This little fox was made from a kit from Bird and Little Bird (original post here).

I love supporting local (local enough anyway) crafting Moms!

I simply adore his right ear that flops forward ~ the unplanned wonkiness of my Mr. Fox and Ms. Rabbit (here) ears is certainly growing on me!

I know R. will fall in love with him the way she did with Ms. Rabbit a.k.a “Funty” (have you read the Penderwicks?)

Simple enough pattern for even beginner sewers to follow.

Getting the needle through all of the stuffing to attach the limbs was the most difficult part…just takes time and patience (and the feeling out of your fingers!)

There is quite a bit of hand sewing involved, but there is a great “ladder stitch” tutorial at Sewing Stars (here) to help you along.

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

“Mostly” Marvelous Ms. Rabbit April 3, 2010

Phew!  After much hand sewing this afternoon, I am so proud to present (just in time for her to hop into R.’s Easter basket!) my finished “Mostly” Marvelous Ms. Rabbit!

I love that Annie’s (from Bird and Little Bird here) directions for embroidering Ms. Rabbit’s face clearly states not to be a perfectionist, that indeed is why she is called “Mostly” Marvelous, and that any imperfects only add to her handmade charm!

Certainly mine is charming, ha ha, look at those wonky ears!

Next time I will baste the ears before sewing.

This rabbit kit (more about that here) was custom in that I had Annie give me the fabric to make a patchwork scarf (like the Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox here) instead of the usual felt one and she gave me fabric for the pocket (and even made me the carrots!) instead of the usual felt flowers.

Now I’ve got just under a week to get Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox stuffed and put together for R.’s 9th birthday…

Happy sewing (and Easter!),

Colette

 

My Prairie Girl Top is Finished! March 31, 2010

I love love love my Favorite Things “Prairie Girl” top (really more of a tunic length) made up in Anna Maria Horner “Little Folks Baby Bouquet Sweet” cotton voile!!!  The pattern pieces (obviously larger) and instructions were exactly the same as the “Little Prairie Girl” top (pattern review here).  You would have thought that I would have whipped it out with no problems, considering how easily I made the first.   Sadly, no, I ended up doing quite a bit of seam ripping on this one.  I got a bit full of myself and didn’t pay attention ~ arggh!

In all fairness though, this is the first time I have worked with cotton “voile” and had some difficulties working with it.  I had seen this voile referred to as “butter soft”, ha ha, no joking, it was slippery like butter in my hands.  Cutting it out was a breeze, but manipulating the buttery fabric to make the gathers was a tad tricky.  Distinguishing the right side of the fabric from the wrong side of the fabric was difficult at times, and I actually sewed the ties to the wrong side of the “skirt” (this top could also be made into a dress) and had to rip and start over.  You really MUST pay close attention when working with this fabric.

When finishing the seams on this top, I so wish I had had a serger!  Because voile is such a sheer light weight fabric, I ordered the Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP “Fine” thread (here) in white, and it worked superbly!   Fabulous thread, but I had problems with the tension on my Viking sewing machine when trying to finish my seams with a zigzag stitch.  After some fooling with it (and lots of seam ripping) I was able to get it just right.  It really is time to get it into the shop for a tune up!  I managed to get a clean enough zigzag on all of the seams, with the exception of the sides of the “skirt”, and after ripping them out a couple of times because the tension was too tight, decided to just use my pinking sheers and see what happened after washing.  I’ve washed it twice since, and there has been no signs of unraveling on any of my pinking cuts (I typically cut the excess fabric after zigzagging with pinking sheers).  Next time I will skip the zigzag stitch and just pinking sheer the edges.

As for the sizing, the instructions for the top suggest making the size according to hip size over pants.  Because of the adjustable ties on the back, I went with the size for the bust measurement (I have small hips) and the fit is fantastic.  I was debating between two sizes, ended up going with the smaller one, and am quite pleased with my choice (sorry Molly, no top for you this time!)

Even with all the difficulties I encountered working with this voile, I am so happy that I used it!  When you wear it, it does feel buttery soft next to the skin, is so feminine, and has such a nice drape!  I think the quilting cottons are a bit stiff and don’t flatter the figure the way this voile does.  I will definitely be ordering some more of these “Little Folks” voiles to make up a few more of these tunics!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Little Prairie Girl Top Finished! March 23, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,March 2010,Pattern Reviews,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 4:48 am
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This is the sweetest little top ever and R. loves it!  An early 9th birthday present to wear for her tea party.

The instructions left much to be desired, but I happily figured it out with out having to do any seam ripping.

I especially love the gathered detail on the bodice front.

Simple back with a tie.

Comfortable enough to cuddle with a kitten in.

Need to get a simple tank to wear under it for her birthday…

I would not recommend this Favorite Things “Little Prairie Girl” pattern (information on pattern and fabric here) for a beginner sewer, it presumes the sewer is experienced, but Advanced beginners and up should do just fine.  I definitely prefer the detailed diagrams and clear instructions in the Amy Butler and Sew Liberated patterns.  There is no cutting diagram with this pattern.  It makes me nervous when working with expensive fabric to just ‘sew by the seat of my pants’, ha ha.

Admittedly, I was lazy when it came to securing the inside facing to the shoulder seams and opted to “stitch in the ditch” rather than hand sew it.  This was my first time “stiching in the ditch” and it was surprisingly easy and not at all noticeable unless you look really closely; I will definitely do this when I make mine.

R. was on the edge of the measurements for the 5/6, so I actually made the 7/8, which fits her pretty well and leaves plenty of room for her to grow into it.  Fortunately, the tie in the back helps to make it fit her tiny frame now.

I am dreaming of making her the dress with slip version in one of Anna Maria Horner’s “girly” cotton voiles…if only she still loved to wear dresses!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Anna Tunic Review March 16, 2010

First off, I have to say that Amy Butler rocks!  Her fabric and her sewing patterns are amazing!  Here is the Amy Butler “Anna Tunic” (available here) I finished over the weekend…it is by far my most favorite piece of clothing I have made thus far!

I used the Amy Butler cotton quilt weight fabric in “Park Fountain Mustard” (available here) and I can’t tell you how in love with it I am!  It is the most beautiful shade of mustard and is so soft!  I chose to line mine (yes, it is lined!!!) with a Moda muslin in natural, but really wish I would have taken Rhea at Alewives suggestion to line it in a fun fabric.  If I had to do over again. I would use “Diamond Dandy New Day”, a Denyse Schmidt fabric from her Hope Valley collection (available here).  It definitely would have been worth the extra $10!

When cutting out my fabric, I found that folding the pattern up (on top) made it much easier (than folding it under) to cut and pin.  For the first pattern piece, I folded the bottom at the tunic line (it is available in three lengths) under and accidentally cut the pattern piece underneath it…I will never make that mistake again!

I consider myself an “advanced beginner” sewer and this pattern was perfect for me.  I found the written instructions and diagrams to be very clear and concise, and other than me not reading the directions carefully enough on a few occasions, they were not difficult to follow.  When sewing the back exterior and interior lining of the yoke together, I missed reading the entire line on starting a half of an inch up from the bottom, so when it came time to sew the yoke to the bodice I was befuddled on how to separate the lining from the exterior.  While sewing the tunic, I ran across several sewing “firsts” for me.  Understitching was one of these “firsts”, and I went through my sewing books and online tutorials to try and figure it out…not realizing the next step of the directions thoroughly explained how to understitch, ha ha.  Please read the instructions carefully!

This was the first time I ever made button loops or actually even used “functioning” buttons on clothing (other than doll clothing) and am quite proud of how it turned out!  I had to adjust the pattern because my buttons are 3/4″ and the pattern was designed for use with 1/2″ buttons.  No problem, I added an inch to the button loop pattern so that when I cut it down to four loops they would each be 1/4″ longer.  I also had to figure out my own positioning of the buttons (as I couldn’t use the button template transfer dots to position them) and admit this was a little tricky.  I had to reposition the top two buttons a couple of times to get it just right.   Once they were properly aligned, I used a ruler to measure the distance from the edge of the back yoke and the distance between the top two buttons, and then used those measurements to mark the placement for the other buttons (which made positioning the third and fourth buttons a piece of cake).

I adore this large removable fabric flower pinned on the left side of my tunic.  This was another first for me, and I was impressed with the final result and the ease with which it came together.  Next time though, I would sew my rows closer together make a fuller flower.

The matching belt was super easy to make, but it looks horrible on me.   The belt causes the fabric to bunch and adds too much bulk to my waist line, which I don’t need (thank you very much!)  I had to go up a size to accomodate my bust and should have listened to her instructions (in the pattern) to adjust to your measurements and taken the waist and hips in when cutting the pattern.  I admit I was a bit afraid to alter her pattern, but I promise the next time I will be brave and try it!

All in all, I think this was a very easy and enjoyable pattern to use and I will definitely make another Anna Tunic using some of Anna Maria Horner’s cotton voiles ( a much lighter fabric) for the summer.  If you are less than an advanced beginner, I would suggest starting with the Sew Liberated “Schoolhouse Tunic” available here.

I liked using her patterns so much that I just ordered the Amy Butler “Sun and Surf Halter” pattern (here) and will tuck that away for a project next month.  I love that this is a mother and daughter pattern (in one!) and that I can make one for R. too!

Happy sewing,

Colette

 

Schoolhouse Tunics Finished! February 24, 2010

OK so the first Schoolhouse Tunic (Sew Liberated pattern here) was a tad small across the bust, so off it went to Molly in California as a very early birthday present (ha, ha her birthday is in late June!) which is good because last year her present was three months late!  I had planned on making her one anyway and had her help me pick out the fabric (Amy Butler Daisy Chain in gray) by sending her various links to Alewives Fabrics (here).

I apologize for the horrible picture, but D. was on his way out the door and offered to take it to the post office for me, so I had just a second (and terrible lighting) to take a pic and wrap it up.  This first one was made up in the tunic length.

I chose to go with an Anna Maria Horner fabric, Little Folks ~ Fortune Sun, for mine and to make it in the shirt length instead of the tunic length.

The pictures don’t do it justice…the colors are so pretty and springy (as I sit here typing with a foot and a half of snow outside and it is still snowing!)  I don’t love the turquoise tank under…I will have to pick up a soft lavender next time I am in town.

I wish I would have looked at her pattern sizing in terms of xs, s, m, l, and xl instead of numbers…this is the first piece of clothing I’ve ever made for myself…and I should have used my measurements instead of my “normal store-bought” sizing, as I had to go a size up.  I don’t feel too terrible though, Molly is such a tiny little thing and it fit her perfect!  Lesson learned…really…I know I should have learned that when making my daughter’s “twirly skirt”!

This pattern was easy enough to follow.  A few suggestions though…make sure you mark the pleats on the skirt front and back accurately, as well as the marks on the bodice bottom (where the center of the pleat is supposed to match up), and use an embroidery needle, a double strand of sewing thread, and a  small whip stitch to hand sew the top of the placket to the bodice shoulders (so it won’t show through on the bodice top).  I finished all of my seams by using a small zig-zag stitch and then cut the excess fabric with pinking shears (although I wish I had a serger to finish the seams properly!)

I am excited to make up another one, tunic length, in one of Anna Maria Horner’s cotton voiles.  But first I think I want to make the Amy Butler “Anna Tunic” (here).  I am trying to assemble a small collection of blouses to throw on with Jeans to bring on our trip to D.C. this spring.

Happy sewing,

Colette