Swaps Project Archive
This page contains the entries from the Swaps category. For categories with more than 50 entries, please use the search form to locate older entries.
I present to you the last completed project of 2011 (I'm attempting to be realistic)... the Dalliance Gloves. I'm not really much of a fingerless glove\arm warmer type of person, but the details of this pattern made me want to give it a try. My scarf swap was a perfect excuse to try it out, too since I was making an accessory to match my Scoodie.
Besides the design itself, I liked the idea that the Dalliance Gloves could be made in a woven or a knit material. Since I was going for a 'matched set' look, I decided on using the rest of the boucle and flannel to make this pattern. Consequently, I had to 'size' my gloves for a woven material - I measured my own hand and was slightly larger that a medium so to be on the safe side, I cut and sewed a large for my partner. Most of the pieces have to be cut on the bias so it 'stretches' a bit when you put them on, unfortunately, I found that there's just not enough stretch there for them to fit well - while I could put my hand though just fine, I had Taylor try them on and she struggled. I'm not sure if the sizing runs small or I did something 'wrong' (cut wrong, printed it off too small, etc.), but I'm guessing that my poor partner won't be able to wear them. Other than the 'fit' issue, the end result looks good although is a bit bulky because of my fabric choice. Next time I guess I'll try the knit version and see how it turns out.
Call it swap anxiety, but I decided that the t-shirt scarf might not be 'enough' for my Scarf Swap (I since this one time wise might not take as long as what knitting one would)... so I made a second one to send with it. This time I went with a scoodie! I debated back and forth with myself as to making a pattern myself or using a pattern. I settled on this one from Just Tutorials because I liked the hood shape. I wound up using a purple\pink boucle for the exterior (note to self: cutting boucle fabric on a newly vacuumed floor is a bad idea if you want to keep your room clean) and a cute skull and crossbones flannel for the lining. Overall, the pattern was easy to put together (just a few pieces to tape), easy to sew (although I thought of an easier way to make this project with fewer pieces), and actually looks cute on (I was a bit on the fence about how I liked Scoodies until I made this one). You may be seeing more of these in the future - just not in boucle. Now I remember why I don't sew more with this material - messy, messy, messy!
Well thanks to an upgrade by Movable Type, I've been unable to post for awhile. Thankfully Bret was able to figure it out for me and I can now write again. Good thing too, I have a new project to share... the T-Shirt Scarf! This one was extremely easy to sew and definitely fun. Basically, I used 9 shirts, cut them into 11x11" squares, and sewed them together. I did the same with the back of the shirt and sewed the fronts and back together.
I think if I try this one again, I'll do a two things differently:
- I'll use kids shirts - this will make a thinner version of the scarf (you really need it to be 11x11 to get most of your images fully onto your scarf when using adult shirts) and allow you to use more designs as well.
- I'll rotate the images at the 'halfway' point of the scarf (in the scarf above, all the shirts are going the same direction) so that when you wear the scarf, both edges are 'right side up'.
I am officially in vacation mode. Taylor is out of school until next year and we've already visited family for the holidays (and done gift exchanges) so my Christmas sewing is finished (I have a few things I'd like to make, but they can wait until later if I can't get to them). Consequently, sewing around here is going slow... the most I've accomplished in washing all the shirts for this scarf, making a template (I figured if I was cutting out a lot of shirts an 11x11 template was the way to go), and cutting out the squares for sewing. I've decided that if I make one for myself I may make a skinnier version (possibly cutting 6x6 inch squares) using children's shirts - that way you keep the entire design of the shirt intact, but have a thinner look to the wrap.... sounds like a good project for the new year!
Scarves In The Works
Well, I went and did it again. I joined another swap... of course, I couldn't pass this one up because it's all about scarfs (I am using the cold weather as the perfect excuse). Not only does this give me the perfect excuse to make this scarf, but I am thinking of playing around with a second style as well (I kind of have some crafter's guilt about how long it takes to to knit a scarf vs sewing one so I've decided I'll stitch up two). Since partners have already been announced, I couldn't wait to get my material's together so I've already headed to my local Goodwill in search of some awesome shirts to reconstruct.... stay tuned for the final results this week!
For some sewers, SWAP means Sewing With A Plan (think coordinated wardrobe with mix and match pieces), but for others, like me, it means trading crafted goodies. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I love swapping (I've participated in over 40 Craftster swaps throughout the years), but the question I get asked the most is "Why do you do it?"
There's several reasons why I tend to swap:
- I am at my most creative when I swap. My favorite part is the day partners are released and I have the opportunity to see what sots of items my partner is interested in, looking at their 'wish lists', etc. and coming up with a package designed just for them.
- It gives me the opportunity to make some times I would never make for myself. There are lots of tutorials and patterns out there I would love to try, but would never make\wear\use myself (like a Scoodie, I just can't see myself wearing one, but I really want to make one). Swapping gives me the chance to try some of them out and give them to someone who will appreciate it.
- There are some crafts I just can't do, but strongly admire. By swapping, I'm occasionally paired up with someone who is skilled at a craft that I'm not (knitting, resin, jewelry, soap making, just to name a few) - combine that with a Wist (basically a 'wish list') and you get some awesome packages! I am always amazed at the skills my partners have.
- It's like Christmas in the mail. You just never know what you're getting so opening a package is always a surprise. I love receiving hand made goodies and proudly wear, use, and display what I get.
- The kids love it. Even though I make things for my kids, they like getting little 'presents' from someone else. I've been very lucky to have some fantastic partners who have always kept their interests in mind.
- I've made some great friends through swapping. Sometimes you have the opportunity to get to know your partner by chatting back and forth.
There are of course some downsides to swapping:
- You're working on a deadline. This can be a good thing, because I find myself being very productive, but it also means that I have to have a 'clear schedule' to participate (no other deadlines or busy with other projects).
- Flakers - those people who never send out a package. While I've been very lucky to have this happen only a handful of times, it does happen. If you stick with an experienced site such as Craftster, there are procedures in place to deal with it so you still receive a package.
- Swapping can be expensive. Between materials for the craft items themselves and shipping the items (especially overseas), swapping can be costly. However, there are some swaps that use stashed material or require you to send 'small' items that can help you save money.
It's Begining To Feel A Lot Like Christmas
Yesterday was a day filled with fun holiday activities: a Santa parade, Night Before Christmas children's theater dance, and unwrapping Christmas gifts from my Stocking Swap partner! As you can see above, there were all sorts of AWESOME goodies inside: A pretty pink quilted stocking, a Dunder Mifflin prank kit (jello, mold, and stapler) and some gifts from Dwight (all wrapped in Dunder Mifflin 'packaging')! A gorgeous (and super snuggly) blanket that was stowed away in a matching bag! Ornaments for the kids and I, some horror movie magnets (we were partners in the Halloween swap and had sent me some previously), a crochet scarf that matches a hat she made me in the Halloween swap, Japanese erasers like the ones on my wists, a memo pad, and a cupcake pincushion. But wait, there's more! My partner also made me these AWESOME soaps that look like popsicles and a set of sewing themed and cupcake pins... both inspired by my Wists!
Last, but not least, she made a beautiful bracelet:
Not only did I wind up with a fantastic package, but I'm definitely feeling the holiday spirit... I can't wait to start decorating for Christmas!
A few post back, I mentioned joining the International Snack Swap - it's a fairly low pressure swap that required you to craft one item (plate, container, etc.) and send the rest of the package as snacks and candies. This is what I came up with:
I 'painted' a metal container (I use Sharpies) with cute Kawaii style designs (after several emails back and forth, I thought that was something she might enjoy) and filled a rather large box full of non-chocolate goodies (she doesn't like chocolate). This proved rather difficult since she is from Canada and so many of our candies and snacks are the same or similar. Some of the more unusual items in her box included BBQ Pork Rinds (we had a discussion that she had never had them), Funyuns, a sucker with a cricket inside (hope that passes customs), Mexican cookies\pastries, and some retro candies. Crossing my fingers everything makes it there in one piece!
If you've ever participated in a (Craftster) swap with me, you know that I send really early. I tend to do this for a number of reasons:
- I hate deadlines looming over my head - it tends to cause me lots anxiety (grouchiness, lack of sleep, etc.) when something is unfinished and the due date is almost near. I don't like the stress.
- You never know what's going to happen. I always have the fear that 'something' will happen that will prevent me from being able to finish (like I'll get sick and won't be able to craft, etc.) or the project I'm working on will take far longer than expected to complete. This kind of relates to my first reason.... "anxiety".
- I'm more creative when the swap first starts. Swaps tend to give me the creative nudge I need to sew up a storm.
Since I've been done for awhile, I've been waiting for my partner's packages to arrive. Yesterday, my Wists package was delivered and look what was inside:
An awesome Wonder Woman poppet!!!!!! I've had this on my wish list for some time, but never attempted to make one (doll making just isn't my forte) and have never been paired (before now) with anyone who made dolls. I am so thrilled - now I just need a 'safe' place to put Wonder Woman where Easton won't play with her. Also included in the package was a fun Wonder Woman bag and cuffs.
Christmas All Wrapped Up
The best part about a Christmas Swap is that it get's me in the mood for the holidays. Between all the holiday themed creations, glittery bows and paper, and just the spirit of giving, I can't wait for Christmas to get here. The last thing I did this week was gather up all the projects I made for my partner, round up some purchased items, and set out to wrap them all:
Besides all the items I made for this swap (including some pastie and panty sets, a hair clip fascinator, devil hat, pinup ornaments, handbag\tote, and raglan shirt), I also found a number of 'fun' purchased stuffers: Some vintage horror movie poster cups (I have a mug and love it), fun candy (including 'coal' gum), a glittery shoe ornament, socks, a candy bowl stuffed with M&Ms, and an ornament with her name on it.
Once again, I had a great time with this swap - I've been paired up with some amazing and skilled partners and this time was no exception. I really get my creative juices flowing and now I can't wait to tackle some of my own holiday projects..... my list is getting VERY long so I suppose I better hop to it!
Mad As A Hatter
Usually when I join a swap, I make a list of projects that I intend on making and stick with it. However, there are times I see something that screams my partner so much that I have to change my plans and go with something completely different. This is what happened with my last Stocking Swap project.
While out shopping, I stumbled across a Mad Hatter nightshirt - it was XL, super long, and screamed to be reconed. I originally intended using Michael Miller's dalmatian clown stripe and a raglan hoodie pattern (it was a toss up between Jalie 2676 and Sew U Home Stretch) , but then I found a perfectly matched poly, pink and black stripe in my stash and I knew I had to use it. Unfortunately, once I 'opened up' my Mad Hatter shirt, I realized I didn't have enough material for the body of the hoodie and went to Plan B.... finding another pattern. After some extensive searching through my stash, I decided on the XS size (thankfully, the material is super stretchy) of Kwik Sew 3144. While it's not exactly what I wanted, I still like the way it turned out - I'm just crossing my fingers it fits my partner.
I am attempting to wrap up (literally and figuratively) my stocking swap package. Of course, the most important part of this swap is the stocking itself......
In keeping with the 'theme' of my package, I created a burlesque style boot to put some of her goodies into - it's a combination of fabrics and styles that my partner had indicated she liked. For the design, I used this Fancy Boot pattern available on Disney (they really have some fun stocking patterns on there - I highly recommend you check them out), a faux, leopard print suede for the body, a rich burgandy and gold polyester for the lining, and a beige faux fur for the trim. I left the buttons off of the finished stocking because it seemed to detract (and blend in) with the material.
As promised, I'm also including a picture of the Scrunchie bag from yesterday's post.
Let me start off by saying, there are no pictures of today's project..... yet. Bret is in the process of building a new computer so our 'main' computer that houses a bulk of my photos is currently out of commission. Once it's up and running, I'll be sure to post it because the end results are pretty cute. What am I talking about? Why another item for my Christmas Stocking partner!
One thing I really wanted to make was a 'Pin-up Bag' - a fun little purse\tote using Alexander Henry pinup fabric (I thought it matched the burlesque them I have going on) that my partner could use to carry around all her new goodies. These prints run pretty large so finding a bag design that wouldn't cut off a head mid-design was fairly difficult. After browsing my patterns and books I decided to try One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects Scrunchie Bag. What drew me to this particular design besides the overall shape and size was the hardware and the use of ribbon and webbing for the strap.
I did make a few changes to the bag: Instead of using all the same material for the exterior and lining, I used a coordinating print for the inside. I also skipped adding a bit of elastic on the bottom of the bag. While I think it would look cuter gathered a bit at the bottom, I just didn't like the idea of having visible stitches on the outside of the bag and didn't think that I could match the lining and exterior fabric seams enough for it not to get the bag wonky and distorted. Overall, it's a fun bag - I hope my partner likes it and doesn't feel that it's too 'loud' to carry around. I completed this look by making a matching key fob..... I have definitely got to buy more hardware for these - they are so easy and fun to make!
Queen of Hearts
With the Stocking Swap due date quickly approaching, I've kicked up my sewing\crafting into high gear. My latest project involved lace, felt, and approximately 240 rhinestones.
A set of rhinestone heart pasties and a pair of Brazillian panties! I actually really pleased with the way this round turned out - it took considerable more time to adhere all those rhinestones, but the end result was totally worth it. Plus I was excited to find a stretch lace that had hearts on it to match!
I hope setting the clocks back one hour (for everyone who participates) gave everyone a chance to do a bit more in the sewing department this weekend..... I know I did! I've actually been on a roll with completing projects for my Christmas Stocking swap. Before I show you my latest creation, I have a quick question for all you in Canada:
I just joined an International Snack Swap (also on Craftster) and my partner is from Canada. What snacks\treats\candies do we have that she might not be able to get a hold of? She's not into chocolates either. I've done some surfing and came up with a few items (Combos, Bugles, PayDay bars, Orbitz gum, Fruit Stripe gum) - is that correct? If worse comes to worse, I'm going to try to find some 'local' candies that might be unusual..... we went to the zoo yesterday and found some "Monkey Poo".
Getting back to my latest project:
Pinup Ornaments! These are very similar to the ones my partner had Wisted and I was thrilled to be able to find all the materials to make her something so close. For this particular project, I purchased Shrinky Dinks for Ink Jet Printers and a purchased PDF file of images from an Etsy seller, piddix.
Prepping the images for printing was a bit more work than what I expected. Initially, I figured that you just use your existing photo and you're good to go. However, it's important to lighten the image, etc. so it doesn't look like a big black blob when it shrinks down. It's also handy to have an original image of your photo handy when cutting out your shrinky dink paper - because you make it so light, it's difficult to see what you're doing. Of course, the fun part is watching your images shrink before your eyes. Unlike traditional Shrinky Dinks, the ink jet version of this product is opaque and I think might shrink down a little bit more as well.
I Love This Pattern!
With Halloween costume sewing and several swaps already sent out, it's time to concentrate on finishing up my Christmas Stocking partner's package. So I headed to the sewing room and whipped up a fun little project:
A devil hat! This is the second style I've made from the Fun Fleece Animal Hat pattern and I have to say, it's absolutely adorable. Once again, the hat was easy to put together, but I had a bit of trouble poking out all that fleece to make a nice point for the horns. What I found most surprising is that there's no stuffing involved with the horns - they are firm and small enough that they stand up well on their own. Taylor has requested one for herself, but I'll have to purchase more fabric - once again, you can't make more that one hat with the yardage suggested on the pattern instructions. Before I do, I think I'll test out the cat design.
I crossed another item off my Wists swap partner's list - a bunny hat (the one on her Wists was even in a camo print). I used this downloadable pattern for fleece animal hats for the pattern - the only change I made was widening the ears a bit so they looked more like my 'inspiration photo.' While my scissors didn't like cutting through all that fleece (it may be time to invest in a good pair or at the very least a new cheap set), sewing this project was super easy and I highly recommend it for newer sewers (this would make a good teen project). There are a few things I did want to mention:
- The hats run small. If you're intending on making one for a guy or someone with a larger head, you may be in trouble. I made the large size and it fit my head (and it's small), although there was still some 'give' to the hat.
- The instructions say that you can make up to 3 hats from your fabric. I really think that this was intended for the kids version as I can't see how you can squeeze even two hats out even if you make the smallest size.
With that said, I do intend on making this one up again, well, twice. One for Taylor and another for my Christmas Stocking partner - although you can expect some different designs for both.
Hello Kitty For The DS
One of the best things about Wists is that you can keep track of all the projects you want to make and design a wish list of everything you can't. This way, when a great Wists swap rolls around on Craftster, you're prepared. My partner for my latest swap had over 200 items to choose from so picking projects has been easy so far. The first item I decided on was making a DS case\purse for her - I chose a Hello Kitty print since she had a lot of items with this them on her list as well. The entire bag is padded, not just to give it some support, but to protect the DS when she's carrying it around. There's an inside pocket for games and accessories with a velcro closure to prevent losing items from the bag. The bag also has a velcro closure as well - I was afraid using a magnet snap (even though they say it's safe) might damage something... it's just better to be safe than sorry.
Rounding out my Week of Baby Onesies swap is my final shirt - a dinosaur tee (you may recognize this fabric from Kwik Sew 3034) made using Jalie 2918. This fabric is one of my favorites not just because it screams 'boy" but also because it is one of the softest, beefiest, and easier to sew materials I've worked with.... too bad Joann's doesn't have more like this one.
After sewing up a few more aprons, I'm moving onto Halloween and more swap items. I joined a Wists Swap, have been paired up, and have selected several fun things to make. I'm also hoping to make some larger items for my Christmas Swap partner next week. If all goes well, I'm making one for myself too.
Parades and Stencils
This weekend was a whirlwind of activities. Not only did we take in a fall festival parade (this was one of the more interesting 'floats' that came down the street), but I also made my way into the sewing room - except I did a bit more than sewing. I decided to work on another shirt for my Week of Baby Onesies swap partner. For this shirt, I used a freezer paper stencil method and some awesome glow in the dark fabric paint.
For those who haven't tried this style of fabric printing, the premise is simple. Draw your design on the non-glossy side of freezer paper (with this method, keeping your stencil simple is the best rule of thumb). Remove all parts of the design that you want to have printed on your shirt, leaving the rest of the paper intact (this will protect the rest of your shirt from paint splatters, etc.). Iron the glossy side of the freezer paper onto your shirt - the heat will make this part 'stick' to the fabric. Apply fabric paint (I use a foam brush) and remove stencil.
This particular stencil turned out very well - this design seemed to be just the right size for this method and the paint is very cool. Too bad it doesn't photograph better.
Another Skull Shirt
Although this shirt bares a striking resemblance to my Scientific Seamstress version from the other day, the skully themed shirt you see on the left is slightly different. For this version, I used Jalie 2918 - the double sleeved, round neck tee. The Jalie pattern is quite a bit longer in length than what the raglan ran, so I've decided to give this one to my partner to make sure it fits him well (I don't know his height, but Easton is on the 'smaller' side according to the charts so I know the raglan will fit him for awhile). Easton even got to break in his new shirt the other day - thank goodness for fall-like temperatures!
There are times that sewing just doesn't doesn't work with a project and you have to crack out the glue gun. My latest project is a prime example (so if you're my Stocking Swap partner, don't peek!).
My partner for this swap is a burlesque dancer and preferred items that ran along that line. I thought that this gave me the perfect opportunity to try out some crafts that I've either never tried or haven't done in awhile. My first set of projects ran along the 'never tried' line. First I made a fascinator hair clip - using several different styles of feathers and a beaded flower brooch. The second item I made was.... pasties. While the concept of pasties are quite simple. The execution, however, is not so straightforward. While they turned out o.k., the sequins are stacked up too much and don't lie quite as flat as what I think they should be. On the upside, they do 'sparkle' a lot - they will definitely be seen on a stage!
"Tie Shirts" are probably one of the most popular kids tee embellishments (at least on the web). Since this was one of the styles that my Onesie Swap partner had indicated she liked, how could I pass it up? Of course, I couldn't just make any tie, so I decided to put a spin on it - using an Alexander Henry tattoo print for the fabric. I actually like the way this one turned out so much I wish I could keep it for myself.... well, Easton at least.
My Halloween Swap partner mailed my package off this week and it arrived.... yesterday! I felt so spoiled because inside were all sorts of fantastic goodies:
Inside was an apron (oddly enough we both made this for each other!), an Elmo tote for my Easton to carry for Halloween, some fantastic (handcrafted)Halloween soaps, candies, toys, and tats, a knitted kitty hat, some spider web fabric (that I have already determined with be a witch hat fascinator), some vintage movie poster magnets (that are on my board in my craft room already), and an icecream scoop headband for Taylor (she LOVES it and it really is amazing). Here's some closeups of the last two:
I Heart Mom
I 've had lots of ideas swirling round in my head as to what I could make for my partner in the Week of Baby Onesies Swap, so it's been hard narrowing down which ones I wanted to make. One shirt she indicated she wanted was a "Mom Tattoo" shirt so I knew this was one that I had to make. Originally, I had wanted to paint this shirt up, but I wasn't sure how it would turn out in the end, so I decided to applique it instead - after all, I've been on an applique binge with all those shorts! After I finished, I was wishing I would have used a print with more red - the heart just blends into the shirt too much and gets lost, but overall I like the end design.... I'll definitely have to keep it in mind for future shirts.
As I'm stitching up this round of swap goodies, I'm planning items on my next one. Partners were released the other day and I was paired up with the same person from the Halloween swap (I've never had that happen before and especially after not two consecutive swaps!) - and after reading two of our questionnaires, I see why.... we have a lot of the same likes and dislikes. Consequently, 'stalking' for this one has been easy since I've done most of that already and she's given me some great starter ideas. I'm very excited about the package I'm thinking of putting together - now I just need to settle on which projects to make otherwise this stocking is going to be HUGE!
Back To School
Thanks to everyone who left comments and emails about my embroidery machine questions! It really was helpful and gave me some things to mull over! While daydreaming about machines this morning, I realized.... it's almost time for back to school (2 1/2 weeks) and I haven't sewn a lick for Taylor this year. In part it's due to our busy summer, but it also has a lot to do with the fact there are very few patterns for teens (not to mention the fact teen friendly fabrics are difficult to come across). I may eventually just sew up some hoodies as this seems to be one of Taylor's staples when the weather (eventually) turns cool.
Are you skipping the back to school sewing or are you whipping up some goodies for your kids before the first day arrives? (I'd love to hear what you're making!) In the mean time, I leave you a parting shot of Taylor's stunt group at cheer camp this year - she had a great time this week, but is horribly sore this morning.
Stick a fork in me, I'm done with my latest swap! I finished up the large item in The Office Swap - a cute little messenger style bag. While the bag doesn't look like something that you would see in a themed swap, when my partner opens up the inside.... she'll see a "Property of Dunder Mifflin" tag on the flap. I think that it keeps the bag functional (so she can use it for everyday use), but at the same time it's fun and keeps the theme of the swap.
As for the bag pattern, I used Sew What! Bags's DJ bag. I have to admit that I didn't follow the directions - I glanced over them, but didn't notice anything unique to construction so I just put it together as I have other bags with a similar style. The one thing this bag is missing is interfacing. The directions didn't call for it and seeing that I didn't have enough on hand, I didn't bother. Consequently, it's a lot floppier than what I would have liked. I probably won't be making this particular bag again (I think I have other patterns that I like better), but I will definitely be using this fabric combination again - I just love this material with the faux suede!
By the way, Happy Valentines day!
Progress & Rambling
I managed to make a nice dent into my DJ bag project, but I have to admit, I made a mistaking using the material I did for the lining. While it matches perfectly color-wise, the fabric is a pain to work with - it stretches, moves around, and never did cut nicely. Now I know why it was in a Fabric Mart freebie bundle..... no one wanted it! Now I just need to put everything together and work on the image transfer for the inside of the bag.
With this project almost finished, I've been planning ahead for my next projects.... and shopping. Built by Wendy Dresses was released yesterday and I've been itching to get it since I saw she was coming out with a new title. Both U-Handbag and Angry Chicken had previews\reviews of the book and now I want it more - even though I don't wear a lot of dresses. Seeing that the book is under $25 at Amazon, this also means I 'need' another title (for free shipping) and have been mulling over a few books. I had Sewing Clothes Kids Love, but after reading some reviews, I see that it only includes 2 patterns for boys (bummer) so I've crossed that off my list, but have been seriously considering Cath Kidson's Make! Anyone have this book? I'd really like SEW! but it doesn't appear that Amazon (the store, not independent sellers) has this title yet. Any other suggestions before I decide to place an order?
Property Of Dunder Mifflin
Seeing that I'm on a roll with completing swap items, I thought it was time to start on my third and 'largest' project. I've been mulling it over for quite some time - taking into consideration my partner's requests, wist items, and preferences. One thing she wanted was a purse, but I really couldn't come up with something that was Office themed so I've decided to go with a bag. Instead of turning to a TNT pattern, I decided to head to the bookshelf and settled on Sew What! Bags's DJ Bag - a boxy, messenger style bag.
I've opted to use a fun, floral print (with darker colors) for the main panels of the bag, a faux suede for the strap, sides and bottom of the bag, and a beige\yellow mystery fiber for the lining (I can't help myself to use it because it coordinates so well). I plan on making an iron on with "Property of Duder Mifflin" for the inside lining flap - my goal is to keep this bag functional enough for everyday use, but fun so it looks like she 'took' the bag from The Office. I've already got all my pieces cut and ready to go - now it's time for some sewing!
The Office Tea Wallet
If you're ever looking for a nice, quick gift to give, try this tea wallet tutorial (I'm thinking teacher gifts). This was an easy to follow, simple to construct project that went together in under an hour. Of course, I always seem to complicate projects like these by doing something like..... using printable fabric paper. I'll spare you the details on finding an image, getting it to print correctly, etc. because that whole process didn't go so well. The fabric sheets didn't sew up very nice either - I would say top stitching is not recommended (neither is making a mistake because it's likely that your needle will make a permanent hole). Overall, I like the way it turned out, I'll just be using 'real' fabric next time! By the way, the Peach Iced Tea quote is from an episode of the Office.
It came, it came, it came! My Christmas Stocking swap package arrived in the mail! Check out all the fun goodies inside!
Not only was there an adorable stocking (in some of my favorite colors), but some of the most amazing goodies from my Wist and questionnaire! In fact there was just about something for everyone! It's hard to see from the photo, but included in my package was a name plaque that she painted for Taylor (Taylor was amazed at her painting skills, there are some very intricate designs around her name that don't show up on the photo), a sign for Bret (that reads "a fisherman lives here with the catch of his life"), an apron with the most adorable coffee print, a mug cozy and hand painted mug that reads "French Roast and Hazelnut" (she knows my love of coffee and my favorite flavors!), a fabulous Jack Skellington (from a Nightmare Before Christmas) ornament, a planner to keep myself organized next year, some pretty pink velvet ribbon, and Wonder Woman ribbon (I'm saving this for just the right project)!
However, two of my absolute favorites deserve photos of their own:
A Zero (also from the Nightmare Before Christmas) stuffie! She said this was her first attempt at making a stuffie and I have a hard time believing it - she did an amazing job on this one!
The most amazingly knitted intarsia scarf - The Dark Illusion. The photo really doesn't do this scarf justice because it is totally fabulous and is very cool to see in person. I've been wanting this particular scarf for 2 years and am so excited that someone could make it for me - now I'll just be fighting over it with Taylor. I wonder when it's going to snow again so I can wear it?
Thank you once again to my wonderful partner! We absolutely love all of our presents!!
Christmas In November
Let the Christmas festivities begin..... I just mailed off my Stocking Swap package yesterday! (Marie, please don't read on - there's spoilers ahead)
Here's a shot of the 'before\after' wrapping, etc.:
Inside my partner's package was everything I've been working on for the last month and a half (can you believe it's been that long?): The GIANT stocking, two mini baskets filled with Kansas candies, magnet, and lint brush for her dogs), "His and Hers" box bags (his filled with candies, hers with some mini bath goodies), plush dog toys, a pajama set and with matching slippers, and a monster covered copy of Cables Untangled.
With this swap finished and sent, I'm ready to get back to my own pajama sewing..... now to decide which one do I want to start first?
51 Days Until Christmas
For quite some time I've been talking about and sewing up items for my Christmas Stocking swap and with the completion of the stocking yesterday..... I'm finally done!
This was a stocking panel that I purchased from Fabric.com and quilted. Considering it was a panel, I must admit, there seemed to be a lot of work involved (it was all the quilting I suppose). The finished project is HUGE (I think I could easily fit Easton inside, although he might be a bit too heavy to hang from the mantel), although it's a perfect size to stuff a majority of my partner's gifts inside. Now I just need to gather everything I've made, wrap it, and make sure my box is large enough to send in!
With all this Christmas sewing finished, I'm really starting to get into the holiday sewing spirit.... I wonder what I should start next?
I love it when the mail arrives and brings..... packages! My swap partner for the week of baby onesies sent 5 fun shirts for Easton:
Included in my package was an applique car shirt (it's hard to see in the photo, but there are little men driving racecars on it), a BAM onesie, a Halloween themed pullover, and my two favorite a firetruck striped shirt (not only do I love stripes, but the applique and stitching are adorable), and a shirt and 'tie'! I've been wanting to make one of these for ages, and am thrilled to finally have one! Of course, nothing shows off these onesies like an action shot (too bad Easton wasn't as thrilled to pose for them):
I've been plugging away at items for my Christmas Stocking Swap, the other night I completed (what I think will be) the last 'gift'.
An embellished shirt to go with the flannel pajamas that I'm sending my partner! I'm really pleased with the finished look, let's hope she feels the same way (and it all fits!). And guess what? I have one set finished for the pajama sew along! Don't forget entering gives you a chance to win a copy of One-Yard Wonders">One Yard Wonders and some fabric to complete some of the projects in the book!
Now I just have the stocking to finish up and I believe that this swap will be complete. Unfortunately, that is going to have to wait..... Halloween is just 14 days away and I really need to get started on Taylor's Halloween costume. Guess what I'll be doing today?
Ever since I got Weekend Sewing, there's been one project that I've been meaning to make.....
the Guest Room Slippers. My latest swap gave me the excuse to finally sew them up!
These little ballet flats match the pajama bottoms I recently made for my swap partner - I did a bit of 'fussy cutting' to get some of the cute little characters on the toes, used the same material for the lining, and skipped the rick rack. So what were my impressions of this pattern?
Overall, it's not a hard pattern to sew up, although it requires some hand sewing at the end (which I don't care for). The hardest part, (IMHO), is trying to evenly attach the rickrack - after several attempts, I just gave up and decided to scrap it.... it looks scratchy anyway! The thing I found most surprising was how long it took to sew this set up. While the sewing at the machine isn't time consuming, attaching the felted sole of the shoe is (unless you're fast at hand stitches). I had envisioned making several sets of these as Christmas gifts, but because they took longer than expected to make, I'm rethinking my holiday presents. Any suggestions on a ballet type slipper that is made predominately with a machine?
I love having a good hour or two to sew - not only is it therapeutic, but productive as well...... (Keep reading for more details. Everyone except Marie, because this one is for you!)
These are the flannel pajama bottoms I made for my Stocking Swap partner (after I work on embellishing the shirt, you can chalk this as one set done for the Pajama Sew Along) - and if you're wondering, she is not elfen sized... they are shorts. Why shorts? One word, shrinkage! I had purchased just enough material to make McCall 3019, but after washing the material I found that it had shrunk considerably. Thankfully, my partner lives in a warm weather state so shorts seemed like a good save.
While I've made this pattern several times, this is the first time for the shorts. Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed with the way they turned out - they are really too long (IMHO). I'm hoping that she's taller than me otherwise they'll fall right below her knees.
Oh, Joy! I'm Finished!
I managed to finish off the last few shirts for my Week of Baby Onesies swap. I sat on these for quite awhile since my partner wanted something Christmasy for her 3 children (a set of boy\girl twins and a baby girl) and never could come up with a good idea. I finally got inspired the other night and decided to make something that might work for some cute holiday op photos:
If you're interested in either monograming some items or spelling out a holiday message like I did, Skip To My Lou has a wonderful, free alphabet set.
Everyone Loves A Parade
Yesterday we hit our city's Fall Festival parade. Taylor crutched off to meet her friends (did I mention that Taylor was on crutches?) and Easton enjoyed eating candy thrown into the streets (now how do I let him know that eating off of the street isn't acceptable any other time?). When we came home, I decided to tackle my sewing table - it looks so much better, but somehow all the piles have moved to the floors and chairs!
I also worked on a variety of projects including my Christmas Stocking swap partner's stocking (I'm over 1/2 way finished with it) and Easton's Halloween costume (look for the sidebar on this tonight along with an update on progress tomorrow). Today, however, I think I'm cleaning, making a rather large pot of chili, taking in some football, and tracing off the 'pants' for Easton's costume. How are you spending Sunday?
Tribute To Dr. Seuss
One thing that I love about swaps is that everyone in the family can get in on the action. This time around, it's a swap entirely for Easton - a week of baby onesies. My swap partner requested that I make shirts for each of her children, twins (boy and girl) and a baby girl. I had a ton of ideas for the twins, but I narrowed it down to these:
I also added a little 'thing' to the back of the shirt (right where the 'tag' sits):
Overall, I like the way they turned out, although I had a very difficult time finding two red solid shirts that would fit them - I wound up having to go up one size. I think that they might swim in these and am wondering if I should try to alter them a bit so that they would fit (I have no idea of their measurements) or just leave them and let the twins grow into them?
Another - This Time With A Twist
It seems like I'm on a roll for getting some projects finished up in my Christmas Stocking Swap as I have managed to finish one more fun gift.
Yes, it's another box bag. I can't help myself - I just love making these things. This version, however, is for my partner's husband (because I am a firm believer that everyone in the Christmas swap should get something) and is made from leather. I had purchased this cow hide from Fabric Mart quite awhile ago, but hadn't had a chance to use it. It's very stiff and it wasn't going to work for what I had originally envisioned, but it is perfect for project! I lined the bag using a tan Alexander Henry tattoo print - I just LOVE the way it turned out. In fact, I'm going to have a hard time giving this one up. Before I do, I plan on taking it with me today when I teach my box bag class - I think it would be nice to show how this bag can look made up with different materials.
Over the weekend I hope to start on the stocking itself. I had purchased some materials from Fabric.com just for this reason and it should show up today (more on that later)! I also hope to put up some book reviews on the site - I've gotten behind on posting them!
Some days, things go so wrong you just need some sewing therapy to make things better. Yesterday started off fine, but ended up a mess. The capper? I think Easton locked my keys in the car.... and Bret is out of town. If the keys aren't inside, then he's hidden them so well I won't be able to find them until we move again - which will be years and years from now. So after retreating to my sewing room, I came out with a quick little project for my Stocking Swap partner.
Stuffed dog toys! When I went to Hancock Fabrics last, they had a flyer with fleece ideas. I had picked one up (it entertained Easton while I shopped) and this was a project suggested by the book - although they recommended using Kwik Sew 3207. I couldn't imagine spending over $10 for a pattern that I could make myself, so I drew out a bone pattern and enlarged my version for the bigger bone. I actually think I made it too long, but hopefully it will work - where's a dog to test it out when you need one?
Thankfully, Bret comes home late tonight so we can unlock the car and (hopefully) find those keys! I guess since we're trapped at home today, I'll get some sewing time in.... and maybe some housecleaning.
I find swaps not only bring out my creative side, but also allows me to sew up things that I probably would have never thought of making if it weren't for the wishlist of my partner. Because 'planning' is one of my favorite parts of sewing (besides the actual sewing), I find myself spending hours daydreaming of things I might want to make and how I can go about sewing it up. My latest project is a prime example (so no peeking Marie!):
A Harry Potter Book of Monsters (you can get an idea of the inspiration book by checking out this 'toy' found on Amazon - but take a deep breath before you do, this plush is $49.99!). Actually, it's a book jacket for Cables Untangled - my partner had 'wisted' the blanket that appears on the front cover and since my knitting skills are not that advanced, I thought this was the next best thing (she also had listed a jacket cover similar this).
For this particular cover, I used a shaggy faux fur and a stretch paisley, brown knit that was a remnant from another project (in hindsight, I wish I had used a red or pink so it looked like the inside of a mouth when you opened it up) for the jacket flaps and lining. I opted to use a knit in these areas so it would have some stretch and fit snug over the book edges. The 'teeth' are made from a white felt and the tongue is from a felted wool sweater. From there I glued on some large googly eyes and used half circle felt pieces for eyelids.
It Looks So Much Bigger On The Screen
All I can say is, "Thank goodness it's the weekend!" With Bret gone this week and so many activities every night (not to mention the homework), I've needed some sewing therapy.
Earlier in the week, I had picked up some supplies (although, I found myself shopping again this morning since I had forgotten a few things) for my Christmas Stocking Swap partner - and this morning, I have a few things to show for it (so no peeking Marie)
One of the items she had 'wisted' was a cute patchwork basket. It totally reminded me of Orange Flower's Fabric Basket pattern that I've been itching to make for months. I compared both tutorials and found that they were roughly the same size so I decided to use OF version since I thought that the fabric designs would get lost once they were cut up.
So what do I think about this online tutorial? The one thing that shocked me about this pattern is the size - it's so tiny! It seriously looks much larger in the photographs. I hadn't really paid attention to the cutting dimensions until I sat down to work on it, but once it's finished it comes out to be a 4 1/2 inch cube that's 4 inches high. Nice for tossing some keys into or some loose notions on your sewing table, but don't expect to store anything much larger. Overall the directions are fantastic and I love the finished look. The only thing that I would change if I would make this again is that I would lightly interface the lining - it's kind of loose on the inside. I might also play with the dimensions as well, it might be fun to make a nesting set of these as a holiday gift.
It's been a very long while since I participated in a Craftster swap (maybe 9 months or more). It's not that I haven't wanted to, but I found that I just haven't had the time. The other day I decided that I was going to make the time and joined the Christmas Stocking Swap (Round 5). This is probably one of my favorite themed swaps - not only do you sew up the stocking, but the goodies inside it! Plus it's always fun receiving your package and getting the chance to open presents early!
If your a member of Craftster and would like to join in the fun, you'd better hurry.... spots are filling up fast!
In The Mail
I was very excited when I opened my mailbox yesterday afternoon. Inside was my Bag of Talent Swap package from my partner:
I'm afraid the photo doesn't do the bag justice - it's absolutely gorgeous in person! My partner had adapted a pattern so that it has plenty of pockets for storage (here's a shot of the inside of the bag when it's open) and also included a matching covered notebook (with interior pockets) and cute s'more material. I love it! I think I'm going to get it ready for some outings this week with the kids - since Taylor is off almost all this week, I'm thinking we need to get out of the house and do some fun activities!
Quick Bag Project
Before I get started sewing up my pants (or Burda top, I can't decide which should come first) I thought I had better finish up the rest of my Bag of Talent Swap package so I can mail it off before the due date.
This is just a simple drawstring bag that she can put dice into when she plays Killer Bunnies Quest for the Magic Carrot. I had a hard time finding a fabric with a small bunny print - this '30's bunny\bear reproduction was the closest I could find. Unfortunately, it looks as if most of the bunnies are covered up by the logo.
Bag Of Talent
I had the opportunity to work on my Bag of Talent swap bag some more and am happy to report.... It's done! (no peeking Amy!)
Aside from using the cutting dimensions, I did not follow the directions on the website. The more I looked at them, the more I didn't like the way they were written (I didn't even see mention of what the seam allowances were, however from doing the math, it's 1/2 inch). However, after "winging it", I wish I would have just done it the way the tutorial described - I made myself a few issues during construction that I had to figure out (which contributed to the fact it took me longer to make this bag than what it should have). The biggest problem? Bulk. The material (twill and denim interfaced with a woven) combined with the Insulbrite created very bulky seams - especially around the zipper which made it very difficult to topstitch. If I had it to do over again, I would trim the Insulbrite (and Timtex\Peltex that the tutorial calls for when using quilting cottons) close to the stitching after construction.
Overall, I'm really pleased with the outcome. In fact, I'm wishing I could keep this one for myself! Next up, a small drawstring bag for my partner and then it's time to work on some clothing just for me!
Pincushion Swap Goodness
TGIF! What a long week this has been. Bret's been out of town all week and I just haven't had the time or energy to get much sewing in. I am making steady progress on my swap partner's Bag of Talent, but not making as much progress as I had hoped. I'm crossing my fingers that I have an opportunity to work on it some more very soon.
In the mean time, I received my pincushion from my partner!
Isn't it cute? I love it's boxy-ness and the fact that she firmly stuffed it - it should keep it's shape for quite some time. I wish I would have taken a before photo because the pincushion was wrapped in cute little Japanese patchwork fabric! Thank you so much Kelly, I'm already putting it to good use and have pins ready to go for my next project!
Start Of The Swap Bag
I've started work on my partner's Bag of Talent....
and I have to say, I'm not thrilled with the directions (they seem a bit confusing, but maybe it will sort itself out as I start sewing more of the bag). I would have opted for a different pattern, but I already have everything cut out so I'm feeling stuck.
I have already made a slight change to the pattern - adding a utensil pocket to the lining of the bag. It's difficult to see in the photo below since the print is so busy (she likes skull fabric so I thought this would be a fun lining), but I made an interior pocket that can hold a fork, knife, and spoon with a larger area that will allow her to put in 'extras' like salt, pepper, hand sanitizer, etc. I always think these things just get lost inside lunch bags and keeps them out of the way when you're packing you lunch or snack.