Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tie day

This week has been school spirit week at E's school. She wore pajamas on Monday, a mustache on Tuesday, I already don't remember Wednesday, and today was classy day. One teacher wore a wedding gown, apparently. Tomorrow is tie day, and it was the only day for which she couldn't figure out what she wanted to wear. Her little brother's ties were uncomfortably tight. Her father's ties made her feel embarrassed, she said, because they were so long.

Somehow now that I know a tiny bit about sewing I think I can make anything that comes in fabric. "What if I make you a tie, something really girly and cute?" I said without realizing just what that meant.

Oh, yay! she immediately brightened, envisioning once again a complete set of spirit week plans. And suddenly I was committed.

You know how that blind stitch scares me? Okay, so why didn't you tell me that ties are pretty much entirely hand-sewn in a blind stitch????


I used this free pattern called Little Boy's Tie but whoever named it obviously didn't use glitter-embedded rainbow unicorn fabric.

It took me more than three hours, which is ridiculous, probably, but: blind stitch, kids. My nemesis.

Okay, fine, the practice was good for me.

It looks like a real tie, right? If I made a matching one for her father, do you think he'd wear it to the office on Monday?

So all the kids will be wearing ties tomorrow, and will be undoubtedly adorable. Kindergartners usually are, I think. And Friday is uniform day: white shirts, blue bottoms. Hey-- that tie fabric is blue.

So I made her a matching skirt. Cuteness multiplied!

The skirt was based on this pattern, which I rearranged. It calls for sewing the ribbon on as a last step to finish the bottom hem, sewing it on the wrong side, pressing it, and sewing it again from the right side. Instead I used pre-made quilt binding tape, sewed it all at once in just one run, and did it as the first step. That way when I pieced the skirt I didn't have to worry about lumpy seams. Can you tell I'm pleased with myself?

These are the first two pieces of clothing I've ever sewn. Three thoughts:

1) Sweet girl will be really excited tomorrow morning when she wakes up.

2) I made both pieces for about $7 in materials, which is pretty incredible, isn't it? Unless you count the value of my time. But mothers don't do that, do we?

3) I made that tie, but I have no idea how to tie it on her tomorrow. That's the lovely husband's job entirely.

Fabric - I can't even tell you, it's so cheap and glittery and ridiculous. Needless to say, she loves it SO MUCH. And I've already been made to promise her younger sister that I will make a little rainbow unicorn clothing something for her this weekend, as well.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oracles says Happy Mother's Day

Oracles wishes you a very Happy Mother's Day. He brings you flowers in his teeth.

By a strange quirk of E's school calendar, both my mother and the lovely husband's mother is here with us this weekend. Friday was Generations Day in kindergarten, which obviously can't be missed, and they've stayed for the weekend. 

So naturally they received sewed gifts for Mother's Day.

The brown purse-ish shape is for my mother-in-law, and the wider tote is intended to be a project bag for my knitting-obsessed mother.

This is the tag I put in my sewing projects. Heart-comma-bird = 'love, Robin.' Get it? I had a quarter yard of canvas printed on Spoonflower with this design that I drew in one of those digital drawing programs, and I cut out a little inch square from it each time I need another tag. Now that I have a tiny idea of what I'm doing, though, I'm going to reprint them with wider margins one day so that I don't have to frame them to piece them into a project.

They're not perfect but family is good for practice work, right?

Oracles wonders why you haven't taken his flowers yet. I hope his feelings won't be hurt.

Happy Mother's Day, mama friends.

Fabric details:
Purse--brown twill, two prints from the Chocolate Lollipop line by Anna Maria Horner.
Knitting bag-- Bah Bah Black Sheep from Taali by Monaluna Organics; Amy Butler's Glamour River Shine in Charcoal from the Lark line for the pockets and straps; and Dew Drop in olive from Prince Charming by Tula Pink for the lining.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

The magnets that almost did me in

It's Zakka time again, and this week we made adorable little quilt magnets. We made tiny quilt squares, added batting and handstitching, and slipped a magnet between the front and back of the quilt before sewing it shut.

These are the first quilt blocks I've ever made. Most people make 5" or 12" blocks. I made 2" blocks for my first blocks. That's a little nuts.

I sew in our dining room, and I think it's safe to say that our dining room has terrible lighting for photography. Sorry about that: let's move them to their natural habitat, the kitchen. But see the grid lines on my cutting mat? These magnets finished out at about 1.5" each.


On the fridge with some of our letter magnets.

This is my favorite one. I had a whole dialog planned between paper and magnets and the things they must say to each other, because think how intimate they get when they're together.

But then I realized that I only had about one linear inch for text per magnet, and also that I've never actually embroidered anything before, and while it's adorably optimistic of me, isn't it, that I can take on anything, maybe I should limit my crazies to small doses per project. So the other magnets will just have to think their little love conversations with all the fridge papers.

Because then I still had to close the little jerks, and I started to hate them.

Seriously. They're tiny, but arrogant. They were not interested in my gentle admonitions to stay turned in. And this little margin, less than 1/8", was no time for me to face my fear of the blind stitch. The directions, of course, called for a blind-stitch closure. Let's just all acknowledge that I've never felt that beholden to following directions, and thank goodness.

I topstitched those little suckers closed and now they can't stick their little batting tongues out at me any more. So rude. I shut them up for good. I win.

Now they've leapt across the kitchen to the kids' magnetized chalkboard. My two-year-old made this handprint last week, so you have an idea of their absurd scale.

Of course, they're tiny and everything tiny is cute as a general rule. So I love them. Quilts on the fridge! Who would've thought.

And that's why I'm loving this sew-along. I'm learning things that I never would have thought of on my own in a million years. But also: I'm grateful that next week's project looks much simpler.

Fabric details:
the linen is a really dark purple that I used before on the house pouch project.
The cottons are from from Good Fortune and Terrain by Kate Spain.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Zakka Style Sew Along Week #5: the pencil case (that isn't)

This week's assignment is a cute little pencil case. It's adorable.

I have a philosophical struggle with cute little things. I admire them for their cute littleness but in a house filled to the brim with the dailiness of life for five, I can develop inappropriate levels of anger for inanimate objects that don't serve enough purpose. So a cute little pencil case? But widen it by an inch? Mama has a much-needed sunglasses case.

I should have widened it by an inch-and-a-half, but I'm pretty happy with it.

The eyeball patch makes me super happy. Did you know that Ikea sells fabric? I recently bought a panel of this:

VĂ„NNERNA TITTA Fabric IKEA Pattern with wide eyes.
and since I only used a tiny scrap, I am fairly certain I need to make myself an eyeball skirt soon, don't you think?

While the original pattern made a case so narrow that it only held a few pencils, with a little widening like this I can imagine making this project again.

Fabric details:
Eyeball is from Ikea's Vannerna Titta print.
Lining is Seedpod in Stream from Kate Spain's Terrain line.
Scraps are Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelet in Aqua Blue; Novelty Fan in Reflection from Kate Spain's Good Fortune; and Sweater Check in Aqua from Aneela Hooey's Little Apples.

Sunglasses are from Ann Taylor Loft two years ago and I love them so.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When the answer is a pop-up mustache

Oh, you guys.

Tonight was the kind of night where the two-year-old was his utmost twoiest and I wasn't sure the other four of us would survive. And tonight was a decent night, in terms of zone defense. The lovely husband was home and we co-managed until it was all over.

But then I realized that the lovely husband won't be home four out of the next seven nights, which means a long stretch of Three of Them vs. Just Me, and I knew I needed to find a little fun in tonight while I still can.

Thankfully, Sew Fantastic decided to post a mustache mug rug tutorial, and since I have a beloved biomorphic mug, I knew I'd found my fun.

I knew I wanted a simple project, because I've never actually completed a quilt yet, so I've never basted or bound or any of those details. But at 7" square, I could figure this out in an evening, right?


Here's the problem with being a beginner: the scope of my ideas far exceeds the extent of my abilities. But the thing about Oracles (that's the mug (yes, I named him)) is he tries to be so manly and then I fill him night after night with dainty herbal teas. Is he emasculated, poor guy? And that's when I decided that he didn't need a mustache on his floor, he needed one on his face.

It's possible that this is the world's only 3-D mustache mug rug. Profound, I know. If you need a minute for that to sink in, I understand.

If you haven't met him before, say hi to Oracles.

The top of my quilt sandwich has two layers instead of one. The channels created by the parallel quilting lines and the two top layers serve as skinny pockets.

I bent two hair clips into L shapes. 'Tis a noble cause, sacrificing one's ability to pull back scalp hair in the name of serving as mustache struts.

I topstitched the lower mustache seam so that the 'stache is a little fringe-y.

Standing 'stache.

And behold, the new and improved Oracles. Does he look more manly? Not so much, with the pink raindrops, huh.

Suddenly those closed eyes of his don't look so deep in thought; they look long-suffering instead. Hmm.

And here's the best part. I suspect, don't you, that the mustache as trend is on the way out? I can customize his look so he can keep up with the latest fashions. Maybe next month, Oracles will take up pipe smoking. What do you think?

Fabric details:
Kona Marine and two prints from Erin McMorris's Summersault.