December 29, 2010

Using Scraps: Throw Pillow

You may already know how I am always trying to use up scraps of fabric. For some reason every time I buy fabric I end up with way too much! I have several large pieces, big enough for pillows so I've begun making pillowcases with the excess cloth.

To give this particular pillowcase a little extra pizazz I decided to add piping! So here's a little mini tutorial and tips on how to sew a pillowcase with piping and a zipper.

Cut 2 squares of fabric the size of the pillow you want to use + seam allowances (1/2in allowance on a 16inx16in pillow for me). Wrap the piping around the edge of one fabric piece right side facing up. The stitched line on the piping should match the stitch line that you will sew.

You can clip the corners of the piping to help it stretch around the point better.

You'll need a piping/zipper foot so you can get good and close to the piping line. Stitch all the way around the edge.

On one of the edges you'll add the zipper. I used an invisible zipper lying around but I sewed it like a regular zipper. Luckily the width of the zipper and the width of the piping are the same to they line up well. Pin the zipper face down and line up the edge with the piping edge and stitch.

Now you'll have one whole half of the pillow finished. Now you need to attach the other side.

Pin the two pieces together, right sides facing. On the zipper side (make sure the zipper is open! You don't want to sew the pillow and realize it is inside out and zipped closed!) pin the zipper to the fabric like earlier - don't forget your seam allowance measurement! Stitch all the way around.

Yay, almost finished! Now turn inside out and poke out the corners with your finger and insert a pillow.

Pretty cute. I originally intended to not use a zipper closure and instead have one of those fold over back openings but I accidentally went scissor happy and cut my fabric pieces without thinking ahead of time that the back piece would have needed more fabric. Oh well, luckily I had a zipper!

December 28, 2010

Unfinished sewing projects

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions (why wait until tomorrow when you can do it today?) but I understand the appeal. After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays you need a restart and what good timing with New Years. Anyway, if I did make New Years resolutions one would be to finish all my unfinished projects! Anyone else have piles of crafts or fabric lying around mocking you with their incompleteness? I hate that! This year I vow to be better! Click on the pictures to find more info about these patterns.

I was so excited when I bought this skirt pattern and the fabric for it. The perfect project to test out my new dress maker's shears. But the holidays caught up with me and I'll I've done so far is cut out the fabric pieces. This will hopefully be my first project to tackle.

I've already cut the fabric pieces for this dress (A) out of a super soft baby blue-ish silk. The slippery and stretchy nature of this fabric is what is holding me back from finishing. I'll have to do some very careful pinning and sewing to make sure I don't end up with the dreaded "one side is 2 in longer than the other" situation. Ever had that happen? This is more of a springtime dress so I may make some other more seasonally appropriate projects first.

My first attempt at this shirt was with a way too slippery fabric that was bulkier than I imagined and didn't suit the pattern well. I gave up about halfway through. My second attempt with a lightweight plaid flannel was much better except the shirt bodice ended up way too big. I'm going to have to go back and sew up the sides and add a few more buttons. This size discrepancy was discovered several weeks ago and now I've almost completely lost interest in fixing it. Who knows when I'll get around to it. That's what I get for using the manufacturer's sizing instructions instead of cutting a couple sizes smaller. Anyone ever have that happen?

I bought a lovely soft organic sweater weight jersey for this Burda Style cardigan (in a similar color as the picture) and then I printed out the pattern and that's about it. I need to tape up the pattern pieces before I can move further but after that it should be an easy sew. I'll need to set up my serger and then I'll be good to go. We only have a couple more good months of sweater weather here so I'd like to finish this project sooner than later.

I've also got a pair of shorts that are about 1/3 finished and have been sitting in a box somewhere since 2008! Simplicity discontinued the pattern or else I'd find a picture. What is the longest you've had a project go unfinished? I hope you are more diligent than I am.

December 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

And merry Christmas to everyone else! I'll be back on Monday!

December 21, 2010

Dixie DIY Christmas: Felt Tree Skirt

Supplies: 1 and 1/3 yards of felt - the width should be at least 24in (mine was 72in, and I had plenty of felt leftover for flowers!), small jingle bells, needle, thread, yard stick or long ruler, pen

Cost: $3.00 for felt (on sale), already had bells but a small bag will run you $1.50.

Time: about 2.5 hours, depending on how fast you can cut

Difficulty: Moderate

Casualties: my cat now thinks that under her tree is her bed.

I wanted to make a tree skirt for my white tree in my bedroom (I have another tree in the living room) so I bought some more felt. So. Much. Felt!

To make a 24in diameter tree skirt I luckily had a two foot long ruler handy. I folded the felt in half and marked a center point on the fold and placed one point of the ruler on it. Then I made marks at the end of the ruler with a pen as I pivoted the ruler around to create a half circle. I cut it out, unfolded and had a full circle.

I folded the circle into a 1/4th wedge and used the same idea with the ruler to cut out the center circle for the trunk/pole of the tree. I also used this time to smooth out the outer edge of the felt (my circle wasn't perfect, oh well).

After unfolding the circle again I cut one line along the fold from the outside to the inner circle so I could fit it around my tree base.

Using similar templates for my poinsettia wreath I cut two different size flowers out of the scrap felt and layered the small flower on top of the bigger one.

My skirt fit 25 flowers spaced slightly apart.

I attached the flowers like I did with the wreath, this time with little silver bells.

Thanks for reading along with my little holiday craft-a-thon. If you did any of the crafts featured here over the past weeks please let me know!

December 20, 2010

Dixie DIY Christmas: Re-purposed Vintage Cards

Phew! I got the last of my cards and packages mailed out just in time today. I didn't mean to procrastonate about it. The time flew by and before I knew it it was almost Christmas!

I made these cards for my extended family by cutting up and re-purposing bits of old vintage cards that I bought along with some leftover doilies from other Christmas projects as well.

I loved the printed pictures and sentiments on these old cards and wanted to mix them with new papers and embellishments.

Christmas is right around the corner but I've got one last DIY project coming up tomorrow. Yeah, it might be a little late but it was fun to make and I can use it over and over again for years to come!

December 19, 2010

Creative Books

Funny story - I bought this book for a friend of mine and turns out a different friend bought the same book for me! We must be on the same wavelength or something. But I think this book is so fun that I was tempted to keep the one I bought as a gift all to myself.

You've probably already been to Bakerella's blog which features an oven full of baking and decorating ideas including super cute cake pops and now she has a book!

Cake Pops are cute decorated cake balls on a stick. I've never tried my hand at cake balls but these pops look super cute and I can't wait to make some.

Luckily for me she includes lots of instructions as to how to go about making them.

Justin has an odd phobia of aliens so I don't think I'll be making these any time soon.

Too adorable! I think the ice cream cones are my favorite. I have a thing for foods that look like other foods.

And, because you always need a present to yourself I bought myself Little Green Dresses, an awesome sewing book created by an Austin native (yay Austin!)

The book focuses on re-purposing old clothes into something new and the designs are young and fresh.

For people who want to learn to draft their own patterns there are plenty of pictures and guides.

I love how with simple shapes and a little math you can create really cool clothes.

Justin and I are celebrating mini-Christmas tonight at our place just the two of us before we leave to spend Christmas with his family. Gonna eat turkey sandwiches then drink hot chocolate and open gifts!

December 16, 2010

DIY Christmas: Hot Chocolate Peppermint Spoons

These spoons would have made extra special party favors if I could have located my clear plastic treat bags.

These spoons are for stirring in hot chocolate or coffee on those cold winter nights and in the warm liquid the peppermint chocolate will infuse into your drink making an already great treat even better, yummy! These are plastic spoons so you don't want to run around dipping them into boiling fluid or anything like that but if you're really worried you could go buy metal spoons at the thrift store and do the same thing.

To make these stirrers you need a bunch of spoons, chocolate chips (melted), and crushed peppermints. You could buy a packet of pre-crushed peppermints. They sell it to make peppermint bark this time of year but it's cheaper to crush your own. I put a handful of those little round mints between two paper towels and mashed them will a rolling pin.

First just dip your spoon into the chocolate then sprinkle with or roll the spoon through the peppermint bits. Let cool on wax paper in the fridge.

You can buy little clear plastic treat bags and stick a spoon or two inside and then tie a pretty ribbon around the bag and spoon handle. Which is what I would have done if I had found those darn bags. The bags, like so much else I own, is lost somewhere in the closet or the garage. Luckily in about two months I'll be moving to a more permanent residence and I'll fully unpack and organize all my crafty supplies.

Instead I just arranged them in a wine glass and when the guests left I put a spoon in a little snack size ziplock bag. Not as cute but it still works!

December 14, 2010

DIY Chirstmas: Santa Claus Face Cupcakes

I had a bunch of these at my party on Friday and I had to keep convincing people to eat them because they kept saying the cupcakes were too cute to eat. It's food, people! Eat it!

To make 24 cupcakes you need

1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 tubs icing (I used cream cheese icing because I like it but obviously plain white works just fine)
Pink and red food coloring
24 black or brown jelly beans cut in half for eyes (you could use blue or green or whatever)
12 pink jelly beans cut in half for the nose
24 red paper cups
Piping bags and tips

Bake your cupcakes in the paper liners according to the directions.

In one tub of icing dye it a very light pink. I only used one drop. Cover all the cupcakes with a thin layer.

Next, dye the rest of the pink tub with red food coloring. I hear if you use the gel kind of coloring and let the icing sit for awhile the color will deepen. I wasn't that patient. With a big circle tip inside fill an icing bag halfway with red icing and make Santa's hat by piping across and back in a zig zag over the top third of the cupcake (make sure you leave some room for the white part of his hat.

Then, with a smaller tip (I used a Wilton #3) and white icing in a bag pine a tight zig zag along the bottom edge of the hat. Add the poof on top of the hat with the same tip, just hold the bag in one place and keep squeezing until the poof is big enough.

Using a bigger circle tip and white icing I made the mustache and beard. For the beard I just made a series of big elongated blobs of icing.

I had some leftover sparkly red writing gel that I drew a smiley mouth but you could just as easily do the same with the red icing with a very narrow circle tip.

Stick your jelly beans on the middle of the face and you're finished!

Wilton has lots of decorating tips on their site if you've never piped icing before. Really helpful.

Funny story, one cupcake was sitting too close to a candle on the table and Santa's beard melted off!

December 13, 2010

DIY Christmas: Gift wrap ideas

Here are all my lovely wrapped presents (I have a few leftovers waiting for their own paper treatment) under my skinny tree (one of two trees). Most of these are for Justin's side of the family who feels that each person should receive an amount of gifts equal to the number of years he or she has been alive. Ok, that is a slight exaggeration, but still, they like to go all out for the holidays... Moving on!

Pom Poms: I made these with leftover thick green yarn and a pom pom maker. Fun for a kid's gift.

Add something extra: Little seasonal floral picks like this are super cheap at craft stores and tying a candy cane on with ribbon is like a mini bonus gift.

Ornaments: I had these old plastic small ornaments from a previous tree and had no intention of using them again on future trees so what to do with them? Put a couple on gifts, of course!

Non traditional ribbon: This ribbon had cute snow flakes on it!

Scrapbooking Supplies: I had some leftover holly and wreath stickers from another project so I used some to dress up tags. You could also stick them directly onto a box instead of a bow. It looks like with smaller boxes. You could try foam, chipboard, felt or other kinds of textural stickers or even use sticker letters to write "to and from" directly on plain wrapping paper.

Wax Paper Flowers: I made one of those flowers I told you about. It turned out nice and poofy!

Doilies: You can tie a doily to your box with ribbon or even use a handmade paper snowflake.

Other ideas include layering gift wrap. Wrap the whole present in one kind of paper and cut a strip of different coordinating paper to drape across the present and top off with some ribbon. Along the same lines I also like mixing and matching different widths, textures and colors of ribbon on one gift.

I have plenty of "regular" looking gifts as well. I have to use up all those shiny plastic bows somehow. You know, the kind that you pluck off of every ripped piece of wrapping paper on Christmas morning because you can re-use them OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It is a vicious cycle.

Phew, I'm glad I'm not rushing at last minute to get presents like last year. Happy gift wrapping everyone! Just remember, gift wrap is recyclable!