Sunday, 2 December 2012

Baby's Blanket

When my first daughter was born, she received a ton of baby blankets.  Her favourites were always the ones that had satin on one side and minke on the other.  She loves how cool and soft the satin is while the other side is "warm."   My youngest daughter didn't receive nearly as many blankets and while we've been on the hunt for these special satin blankets, we've never been able to find one.  I decided that I would make one of these for her and give it as a gift for Christmas.
I bought some beautiful raspberry minke, satin and then blanket binding.  I began by sewing the minke and the satin together (wrong sides together).  I then pinned the blanket binding around the blanket, one side at a time, stopping at each of the corners. 

Upon reaching the corners, I mitred the corners by bending the binding around the corner and then folding the excess fabric into a diagonal line.  There are many tutorials on how to do this, I checked out this one from  I am happy how this turned out, but it was extremely frustrating sewing this together.  The satin and the minke are both super slippery and I found that I needed to pin every 2" to prevent the binding from sliding around on the blanket.  I ended up going back after having sewn the blanket to hand stitch the underside where I had missed the binding.  It did get better as I went along and I think that my daughter will likely love it, but I will definitely think twice before making this type of blanket again!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sleep Sacks Round 2 (& 3)

My youngest daughter is growing like a weed and her little sleep sacks are no longer fitting.  As the weather changes, it's becoming more and more important that she stays warm while she's sleeping.  I decided to make her two new sleep sacks that were longer and wider.  Once again, I adapted the tutorial from Make It and Love It.  To create the pattern for these sleep sacks, I took a larger t-shirt of hers and traced the neckline and shoulders.  I then extended 30 " below the neckline (along the fold) and made the bottom wider slightly.

I cut the pattern out, after tracing it onto freezer paper and ironing it onto the fabric.  I cut the back piece on the fold and the two front pieces, lowering the neckline.  I sewed the separable zipper onto the two front pieces, zipping down from the neckline towards the feet.  I started the zipper at the top of the neckline and then sewed downwards.  There was a small bit of fabric that was longer then the zipper.

I sewed the bottom of the two front pieces together so that her little feet wouldn't get drafty with the opening.

I then sewed the front and back pieces together at the shoulders and along the side and the bottom.

This is the sleep sack flipped right side out.

I cut strips of bias to finish off the edges of the armholes and the neckline.  I didn't bother doing anything fancy with these as the edges won't fray.  I think it did a nice job of finishing off the sleep sack, though.  One my daughter wears this to sleep she looks so comfy and cozy.  I love the way it stretches and she has tons of room to move around in it, she can even crawl.

I duplicated this pattern in a minke/cotton mix.  The interior of the sack is a pink soft minke while the exterior is this cute ladybug quilting cotton.  I sewed the zipper in, between the two fabrics.  I then followed the pattern exactly but with two fabrics.

I used a store bought bias tape around the armholes and neckline.

Of course, I've added one of my new fancy labels!  

I think that this sleep sack is super cute.  I love the fabric and the minke is so soft and cozy.  My only complaint is that the sleep sack seems a bit tight.  The fabrics were all cut from the same pattern and I used the same seam allowances for both.  Perhaps the lack of stretch to the fabric made the difference in the two?  I'm now considering ripping the zipper out of this cute ladybug one and using it to make another fleece sack.  I will definitely think again before making another sleep sack like this!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Circle Skirt

My four-year-old loves to wear skirts and leggings (often together).  I've been finding that lately, they aren't selling skirts for her size in the stores.  I've decided to make her a skirt (and some leggings) for Christmas.  I figured that a circle skirt would an good way to go.  I found this tutorial at MADE and chose a pink jersey knit to get started.  My daughter measures 21" around the waist and I decided to make the skirt about 11" long so that it comes to her knee level.  I cut out the circle of fabric according to the tutorial and serged the edges.  

I then serged the elastic edges together and fastened them down with a straight stitch.  I covered this up with one of my new fancy labels!  I pinned the skirt to the elastic, being sure to line the front and back of the skirt up with that of the elastic.

I stitched the elastic to the skirt using a straight stitch, being sure to stretch the elastic to match the skirt, as detailed in the tutorial.

I haven't hemmed the skirt, it isn't necessary with the knit fabric and I wasn't sure how long the skirt was actually going to be on my little one.  I will include photos of my daughter wearing the skirt after she receives her present...hopefully she likes it!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Clothing Tags

For Christmas last year, I made some flannel pyjama bottoms for my husband.  He really likes them and wears them often.  The only problem with the pants is that I didn't mark the front or back with a tag.  Since that time, I've also made many other gifts for people and I would love to be able to mark that I've made them.  I saw this post on ikat bag on making your own labels using iron-on transfer paper.  I picked up some iron-on transfer sheets from Staples and designed my label.  I then printed these out on the transfer paper (remember to flip the image horizontally).  I cut the labels out into strips and then ironed them onto strips of ribbon.  I made quite a few of them so that I would have them ready to go (especially with all of my upcoming Christmas sewing, heaven forbid we should have any more unlabeled pj bottoms!)

I was so pleased with how they turned out.  They look exactly like clothing labels from what you would buy in the store!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Princess Cloak

The weather in Vancouver for Halloween 2012 was 13 degrees Celsius and very wet.  In order to protect our little "princess" from the elements, I decided that she required a cloak to keep her dry and warm.  I decided to adapt the cloak from the Red Riding Hood Cloak from Make It and Love It.
I used a kitchen bowl to form the neckline of the cape.  I then measured 24" from the edge of the bowl and using a string and compass method I cut 1/3 of circle from both the satin and the purple fleece.  I stitched these two pieces together (not including the neckline of the cape).  I left the neckline of the cape open.  I flipped the cape right sides out and basted the neckline.

I cut the hood out, in both the fleece and the satin.  The height of the hood was 12" tall and 11" wide at the widest part.  I sewed the two pieces together down the back, right sides together in both the satin and the fleece.  I then joined the two hoods together and flipped them right sides out.  I serged the hood neckline to the capes basted neckline.  

I cut some of the crushed velvet material on the bias and used it to cover the serged joining seam.  I added the two ties to each end of the neckline.  I had bought some silver decorative trim, that I used to line the back seam and then decorate the two ties.  I wanted to add some velcro to the ties but opted to just tie them for the sake of time.

This cloak was so cute on Isabella and really gave the princess costume the final touches that it needed. It also helped to keep her dry and warm.  The outside of her cloak was wet, but her dress was dry and her hood kept her head dry.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Halloween Princess

This year for Halloween, my four year old decided that she wanted to dress up as a princess.  I was actually really looking forward to making this costume and embellishing it with all sorts of rich looking details.  To begin with I found a tutorial of something similar to what I was going to make.  I chose the Cinderella dress from Make It and Love It.  This dress had enough princess flair to make my little "princess" happy.  I would need to make some alterations, to account for our colder climate.
My daughter and I began with a trip to the fabric store.  She had mentioned she wanted her dress to be purple, so we chose some crushed velvet for the bodice, a bright pink lycra for the centre of the bodice and some blue satin for the skirt.  Once again, I was doubtful that the colours would all work together, but it ended up coming together quite nicely.

I began with the bodice and chose a shirt from her closet that fits her well, traced this onto freezer paper and cut out the fabric for the front piece on the fold.  For the back pieces I added an inch to account for the overlap of the velcro closure.  For the sleeves, I chose to do a puffed cap sleeve out of the satin and then a longer sleeve out of the crushed velvet.  This would keep her warm when she went out trick or treating.  I measured the diameter of her bicep, wrist, the length of her arm as well as the opening for the sleeve.  The crushed velvet sleeve looked like this.  I cut out 2.

The puffed sleeves were made to be 12" wide at the widest part and about and 4" tall.  I then tried to match the curve to the opening of the sleeve.  I cut the band for around her bicep to be 10" and allowed for a bit of gathering on both sides of the puffed sleeve.  I basted both the top of the sleeve and the long end, that would be attached to the band.  

I began by joining the front and back pieces together at the shoulder.  I then pieced in the sleeves, sandwiching the puffed sleeve in between the long sleeve and the bodice.  I cut out the centre pink piece for the bodice and sewed that onto the bodice and used some purple sparkly rick rack to crisscross across the chest.  I hemmed the sleeves at the appropriate length.  After attaching the sleeves, I stitched down the sides of the bodice and sleeves, closing the top part of the costume.

I closed up the back of the costume by folding over the hem and then adding velcro to both the front and back pieces.  

To finish off the collar, I cut some of the crushed velvet on the bias (about 1.5" wide and the length of the neckline.  I then sewed this strip around the neckline, folding in the rough edges.  

For the skirt, I cut two rectangular pieces from the satin, (24" by 45").  I serged the short edges together and basted the top edge of the skirt.  

Turn the skirt right sides together and slip the bodice inside right sides out.  Pin the skirt to the bodice and sew around and then serge the edges.  

Flip the skirt down and hem the bottom according to the length needed for your little princess.  


My little princess was thrilled with her costume.  We were able to put warm pants underneath as well as two long-sleeved shirts to help keep her warm on our rainy Halloween night.  We topped the costume off with a little tiara. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Roman Blinds

Let me begin by saying that I REALLY don't like horizontal blinds.  They are just great big dust collectors.  Of course, our house came equipped with nothing but venetian blinds.  My husband (the taskmaster) declared one day that I should learn how to make roman blinds.  He even bought me a serger for my birthday, which I later learned he figured I could use to make us some blinds.  The window that he really wanted us to work on is our 7 foot wide bedroom window.  Me being the practical one in our relationship, thought that it would be better to begin with one of our smaller windows.
To be honest, I wasn't super thrilled about the idea of making roman blinds.  For one thing, choosing fabric to match the walls and decor is really difficult.  It typically involves me going back and forth to the fabric store with swatches of fabric until we find one that fits.  The second thing that I absolutely dread is having to cut yards and yards of fabric in straight lines!  Luckily, my husband volunteered to do the cutting.  
We chose a lighter fabric for the front, and a thermal blocker for the back, which blocks out about 50-70% of the light and also helps to insulate.  We bought enough fabric to furnish two smaller windows (one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom).  The saleslady at the fabric store was nice enough to map it all out for me, detailing the number of rings, the length of strings and the distance between the dowels.  Combining this knowledge with what I had found on various websites (Terrell Designs, and Brown Paper Packages), I figured I was ready to get started.
We measured our window and had to make a blind that was 33.5" wide and 33.5" tall.  We cut the exterior fabric to be 35.5" wide by 43" tall and the interior fabric to be 34.5" wide by 48" tall.  We also cut out strips of the thermal blocker that were 3" by 33".  These would be the pockets for the dowels.    I began by hemming both the exterior and interior fabrics separately at the bottom of the curtain.  I then measured the placement of the dowels.  I was told to leave 8" without a dowel at the top of the curtain, I then measured 3.7" according to the calculations of the saleslady for the placement of each dowel.  I marked each placement with my aqua-trickmaster pen.  I then sewed the pockets onto the front of the thermal blocker.
From here, I sewed the front and back pieces together with the right sides together.  According to the Terrell Design website, I sewed the one side of the fabrics together and then realigned to sew the other side together.  This allows the exterior fabric to wrap around, keeping the seam hidden from the sides of the blind.  When sewing the sides, I was careful to not close the pockets for the dowels.  After sewing the two sides, I flipped the curtain and ironed the edges.  I inserted a dowel into the bottom hem of the thermal blocker and into each of the pockets.

My husband covered the headrail with the blind fabric, attached the screw eyes for the strings as well as the pulley along the right side.  We stapled the blind top to the headrail.  I then marked the placement of the screw eyes and pulley and attached the rings to the alternating dowels in the corresponding places.  I proceeded to string the blind by tying a knot after the bottom ring and then pulling the string through each ring, up through the corresponding eye screw and then into the pulley.

After making the blind, I realized that roman blinds are not as complicated as I had originally thought.  They came together nicely and are definitely a HUGE improvement over the horizontal blinds that they replaced.

Upon hanging the blind, we realized that by deciding to put the pockets onto the back of the thermal blocker my measurements were off.  Therefore the blind doesn't pull up as high as I wanted it to and there is a bit extra hanging down below the blind.  These are definitely things that I will need to take into account for the next set of blinds that I make.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Library Book Bag

A while back I decided to make a bag that my daughter could take with her to the library.  This bag would need to hold the books that we would take home as well as a place for her library card.  I had previously used this pattern to make a similar bag for my daughter's friend.  I used this pattern again to make the bag for my daughter but rather then put an apple applique on the front, I used various fabrics to write "Books".  The letters were made using interfacing and were stitched onto the front pocket using a blanket stitch on my sewing machine.   I used an accenting colour to each letter for the thread.  

The fabric that I chose for the letters is from various children's classics.  The Lorax, Winnie the Pooh, Richard Scarey, Berenstain Bears and Arthur.

On the strap, similar to the Mo Bedell pattern, I included a small pocket, with an elastic closure to hold her library card.  

Overall, I was really happy how this bag turned out.  The canvas exterior makes it sturdy enough to fill with books.  The pattern is really easy to follow, and the bag looks really good when it's finished.  I love how polished the french seams are inside the bag.  The lining of the front pocket allows you to put any applique that you want.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Birthday Owls and Swim Bags

Back in May, my daughter turned four and for her birthday party we had a slumber party with two of her best friends.  The theme of the party was a Night Owl party as I figured that none of the kids were going to get any sleep (I also loved this idea from SnowyBliss)!  The girls ending having a great time, they decorated cupcakes, painted and slept in a tent in our living room.
To go with the theme of the party, I made a few favours for the girls.  One of the things that I loved from the SnowyBliss party was the owl stuffy.  I decided to buy the pattern and make each girl their own owl, which would hopefully help them to feel comfortable enough to sleep in a strange house!  I made all of the owls the same, giving them each a frilly skirt and altering the colours just a bit between all three.  I ended up using fleece to make the owls as I figured it may be necessary to wash them at some point and in my opinion fleece is just a bit more cuddly then felt.  I also ended up using my machine to blanket stitch around the eyes and stomach.  I figured it would save me tons of time.  Below is a photo of my daughter's little owl.

At the end of the party, I gave each little girl a treat bag.  I ended up making little bags that I filled with a few things that the girls would enjoy.  The bags themselves are simple with a quilting cotton on the exterior, the lining is waterproof.  All of the girls have done swimming lessons together and I figured these bags could be used to put their wet bathing suits into after going to the pool.

Here you can see the inner lining of the bag that is waterproof.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sleep Sack

My second little one is quite the kicker, while she sleeps.  Ever since she was born she kicks her blankets off as soon as you lie her down and they somehow manage to get from her feet up to her head.  A good friend of mine, made her a lovely sleep sack, it was lined with minke, making it so cozy. This was the perfect gift for my little kicker!

I've since tried to make 2 sleep sacks of my own.  The first one has snaps on the shoulders and a zipper that goes along the bottom and up one side, much like the style of the gift sleep sack.  I was trying to make this sleep sack larger then the original gift and I wasn't thrilled with the way it turned out.  I found it difficult to get the shoulder snaps to match just perfectly and I feel like I made them a bit too wide in the end.

The second sleep sack that I made was for my newborn niece.  For this one, I used a store-bought sleep sack (from Babies R'Us) as the prototype.  I decided to try to have the zipper come up the middle.

This one was much easier to put together, the only tricky part was completing the zipper at the bottom.  I had chosen a separable zipper (which I had never sewn before) and I made the zipper zip up towards the neck so that the opening of the sleep sack would be wide enough to fit the baby in.  After a bit of fiddling I managed to get this to work and it looked pretty good, unfortunately I didn't take a photo up close.