Making a Nine Patch Disappear

If you’ve ever been on the Maelstrom in EPCOT, you know how to say “disappear!” (OK, maybe it’s just my family.)

I bought a layer cake of Basic Grey’s Fruitcake, because my mother is an enabler and asked me to make something for her table for her birthday. After going through about twenty ideas for placemats, I settled on the disappearing nine-patch. Which, of course, is better done with charm packs.

But I got the layer cake cut in fourths and sorted into the various patterns.

Sewed rows together, making sure the big prints were in the corners (definitely snowmen and the big ornaments; everything else was subject to slicing.) I used the nearly-solids in the middles.

Two easy cuts and you have an entirely new set of blocks.

Which are arranged so very neatly on the design wall.

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Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 8:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Upcycling Some Clothes

Every time we go away, I become determined to post here while we’re there. I even upload pictures so everything is ready to go. But the beach…it’s easier to do nothing there.

So here we go on catch-up!

Sent this off to my niece before we left. The tank top is one that my sisters and I wore in high school – I think at one point, we each had one. Unfortunately, none of us are high school size any more.

I cut the straps on the tank to make ties and cut the sides and bottom down to Gator-size.

The skirt was originally a shirt from Old Navy, and such high quality that it ripped the first time I wore it. I sliced it off right below the holes and stitched it right to the bottom of the tank. No hemming!!

It’s a little too big, but hey, at least it’s at my sister’s house now and not at mine. Anything that moves fabric out of my piles is good!

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 9:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Shirr, why not?

I’ve been a little afraid to try shirring. I have no idea why. It’s so freaking easy! And with long straps and a Mommy who can hem, I can make the Gator a dress that will last a couple of summers.

I wound the elastic thread by machine, because I’m lazy. On the slowest setting, it wound nicely – not too loose, not too tight.

It was harder to get used to sewing on the right side of the fabric!

Two rows down and it was already starting to bunch up nicely. I used the gathering stitch on my machine and straightened the rows out only about five inches ahead and a couple of inches behind while I stitched.

After ten rows, my hands were starting to hurt, so I decided that was plenty of rows.

The finished back. That lovely shirring hasn’t even been steamed (that feature broke on my iron a long, long time ago.) It’s a bit long so that my sister can let down the hem next summer, and the summer after, and…

And don’t call me Shirley!

Published in: on August 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Exploring the feet of my machine

Specifically, overedge and blind hem.

Ooh, look at that! Professional!

(Though she, of course, posted it about a week after I finally figured it out, the Scientific Seamstress has the best tutorial I’ve seen on blind hems. I hope she does rolled hems next…)

Followed by the gathering stitch on the machine. I would kill for a ruffler foot. (Hint, hint, moms that read the blog.) I adore my machine. I just push the screen to the task I want to do, and it tells me the correct foot and sets the tension and such automatically. Coming from a very basic Brother, it’s magic!

A summer dress and two bloomers for my niece, A. We’re going to the beach with them in a few months and I can’t wait to see the ruffles on her butt! I have enough leftover fabric to make another top, one of my favorites that I stole from my mother. (In fact, that top is the reason I went hunting through her patterns in the first place.)

This dress and bloomers was Simplicity 4243. Not difficult at all, although I wasn’t thrilled with finishing the collar and armholes with single-fold. My mother-in-law made the same top and finished it with pinked fabric, and I think it looks nicer. Love the pleats, though! (Hey, a ruffler foot does pleats, too…)

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 10:21 am  Comments (1)  
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Twisted Sister Ribbon Blankie

Hmmm, what to do with all these scraps?

Matching ribbon blankie!

This is the first thing I’ve ever made “wonkily” – it’s very un-OCD! I sewed together four varying strips, twice (okay, in the same sequence on both blocks), then sliced them in half – ooh, but NOT in half! More like three-quarters and one-quarter! Daring! And then pieced as shown.

Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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New-to-Me Janome MC10000

This is my March surprise! Okay, it’s not really a surprise to anyone since I haven’t stopped talking about it. I’ve been looking into buying a new sewing machine, possibly a sewing/embroidery machine. But oh man, the cost. I was trying to decide between a new Pfaff sewing-only, or waiting for a used dual machine, when my sister stumbled on this one.

It’s a Janome MC10000 from someone who upgraded to the MC11000. I think I hesitated about thirty seconds before saying “yes yes yes I want it!!” And she sent the stabilizer table seen above, and four hoops, and four or five embroidery cards with it. Not to mention the feet.

All these plus another couple I found at the top of the machine. I think I’ve identified all but three at this point. Pin tucking, check. Gathering, check. Three sizes of rolled hems, check. Cording, piping, zipper, buttons, check, check, check and double check. Quarter-inch quilting foot? No check. Thank goodness there’s a machine dealer in town! And the zig-zag foot has a quarter inch marking on it, I think. Still need to go measure.

And yeah, I haven’t a clue how to use this sucker. It has three manuals! Terrifying! But I’m still going to try it out, because it’s National Quilting Day. 🙂 Really. I’m not going to spend the whole day online, shopping for quilting embroidery patterns. And definitely won’t spend the whole day waffling over the Love U jelly roll on someone’s Etsy page. (It’s on sale! Totally justified! Just because it’s for my cousin’s twins and I haven’t even finished big sister’s quilt yet doesn’t mean I can’t shop…)

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Happy Dr. Seuss Week!

Did you eat your green eggs and ham? Would you, could you, in a house? With a mouse?

In honor of Dr. Seuss, the Wee One’s show-and-tell tomorrow is Seussian. I suggested an elephant (I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.) or two fish from his fishing set (One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish.)

But nooooooooooooo, the Wee One’s special toy is Kitty. And Kitty wants to be the Cat in the Hat. (Which is, for the record, my least favorite Seuss book.) So we stopped at Hobby Lobby at 7 pm and grabbed two pieces of felt. Thirty minutes later, I realize I should have gotten more white for the brim, but oh well. For a last-minute thing, it works.

We looked! Then we saw him
Step in on the mat!
We looked! And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Yummy Apron

Another gift for the Gator, this time for her birthday. This one wasn’t about the design, but the yummy, yummy fabric. Couldn’t you just eat it up? It just screams “make an apron out of me!” It’s Just Desserts by Diane Knott for Clothworks, but I can’t find a photo online. I bought it at Jackman’s in Fairview Heights, IL.

There’s nothing special about the apron design – it’s a basic chef’s apron to showcase the fabric, with a ruffle on top. (I’m never doing ruffles again without a ruffler/gatherer foot for my machine. Just so you know. But since I’ve got bunches of patterns that need gathering and ruffles, guess what I’m buying?)

I did cut and pin and sew it very carefully to make the sprinkle row continue on. Because I’m that anal awesome.

My Cabbage Patch Kid, Dorothy Kathryn, models the matching doll apron. Yes, she’s an original from the 80s, and yes, the Wee One does not appreciate her. The Gator adopted my sister’s CPK, though, so Dorothy Kathryn will be a model a lot.

After it was done, I realize the neck loop was way too big (a hint: it fit over my head) so I ended up slicing it in half and quick hemming it before putting it in the mail.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the extra half yard…. It doesn’t go with my kitchen (though Diane Knott’s Caffeine Cafe does!)

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PJ pants are so easy!

Man, I love the remnants bin. Dino fleece, just enough for PJ pants, for $1! Whipped it together yesterday when I ran out of variegated green thread for the jungle quilt.

Used the same pattern as the Christmas jammies, except added four inches to the bottom. Maybe these will last longer than two months!

Tried to figure out the blind stitch hem on the waist. Even when folding an index card to match the picture in my manual, I couldn’t figure it out. I’m going to hunt down a tutorial on Youtube and try to get it right on the pant legs. After I finish up the jungle quilt, now that I have another spool to work with!

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Homemade Christmas – Tutu

What? Just because Christmas was two months ago, I can’t have a post about it? I’m telling you – I’m just that far behind!

Anyway, this is a great, easy, year-round project. Every girl needs a tutu. And my niece, the Gator, needed a “purple and hot pink” tutu, to be exact. I used the knotted method of tutu-making.

Things I did differently:

I bought three spools of 6″ tulle (25 yards). It’s more expensive. Way more expensive. However, it also involves less cutting, since all the strips are the right size.

I cut the strips to about 20-25″ long. (This used about 25 yards of tulle, total, so you can get it out of one spool. But who wants a single color tutu?)

I didn’t stack the tulle in each knot – I knotted each one separately. Actually, I did double-stack them at first, but I thought it made the waist very thick, so I undid the whole thing and single-knotted it.

I did add ribbon every three knots, in the requested hot pink.

Did she like it?

Well, she wanted to wear it to swim class the next day. So… 🙂

(BTW, yes, she’s wearing the Christmas jammies I made. I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate how the top came out. Ick. Not to mention, the Wee One needs a new name because he grew two inches after I made his Christmas jammies, hence the wearing of the Christmas capris.)

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm  Comments (2)  
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