Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cloth Wipes

Looking back over the last couple years I notice that I am progressively becoming a greener mother, homeowner, shopper, etc.  I admit that there's more that I could do, but I am taking baby steps and I am proud of that.  The largest green transition I've made thus far is that a few months before my second child was born, I switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers!  I could honestly go on and on about why I made the switch, the pros, the cons, and glories of cleaning a poopy diaper, but I will spare you.  If you are interested in reading all about it, here's a link to a blog entry I made a while back about why we switched, and here's a link to some blogs that talk about my experiences with cloth.

But back to the point.  Along with cloth diapers I have tried cloth wipes.  Having 2 babies in diapers meant we were going through wipes like you wouldn't believe!  So I tried cloth wipes.  I still use them from time to time but we still primarily use disposable wipes.   The great thing about cloth wipes is that you aren't limited to using them on a baby's butt.  They can be used at bath time, as a burp cloth, or for general clean-up.

Several of my crunchy friends recently gave birth, so I decided to take some of my old receiving blankets and make cloth wipes out of them for my friends.  It's really quite simple and they are quite possibly the quickest things to make.  I was able to get 6 double-sided wipes out of each blanket!!  I tied a little ribbon around them and gave them away.  My friends loved that I upcycled old blankets instead of buying new fabric!

I figured not everyone would want my old stained blankets so I went and bought some awesome flannel fabric and made some brand new cloth wipes to sell on my etsy website:

Friday, July 29, 2011

made is my absolute favorite sewing blog to date.  She's full of creative ideas and is seriously talented with a sewing machine.   She has a great variety of tutorials free to the general public, and even some patterns for purchase. 

Personally, I've made several projects based on her tutorials.  I'd like to share them with you now:

My first MADE project was Monogrammed Felt Ornaments

Next I made my son and daughter Hobo Sacks

I was so in love with these bags that I decided to make one for each of my sons little friends

I ended up using some semi-hideous corduroy fabric to make my son a pair of pants using her basic Kid Pant tutorial.  I wasn't happy with the end result, but they were still fun to make.

I even added pockets using MADE's Pocket Tutorial, though it's hard to make out the pocket in this photo.

For Valentine's Day I couldn't resist copying off of her Heartbreaker Valentines, although I did add a few different ones into the mix. 

I finally mustered up the courage to try using freezer paper to make a posterized image stencil.  I chose to do Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies.  I put the image on knit fabric, then sewed it onto the 90 Minute Shirt I made him.

The most intimidating project I did of hers was probably the recycled grocery tote bag.  I was worried that ironing the plastic bags would release certain toxins in the air, but I went for it anyway.  God knows I had/have plenty of grocery bags in my pantry just waiting to be made use of.

When I saw this incredible robot fabric I knew I'd be making my son and husband matching PJ's.  I made my sons pants using MADE's basic kid pant tutorial.  I used a pattern to make my husbands PJ pants.

For a friend I made a couple crib sheets using the crib/toddler bed tutorial

A summer scarf seemed only appropriate.

The Shirt Dress tutorial is one I had my eye on from the beginning.  After nearly 10 months, I made a couple. 

Last, but not least, Sprinkle Shirts.  I made a "T" shirt for my son and an "e" shirt for my 1-year-old second cousin.

Am I done making stuff from her website?  Heck no!  Will I continue to cyber-stalk her projects?  Yes.

As I said, hers is my favorite sewing blog out there!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One of my favorite items

Back in November 2010 I decided to make my son a little dress coat.  I was sure to have it finished in time for him to wear it on Thanksgiving day.  Not only did I want him to look dapper on the holiday, I also wanted to show off my latest  project to our family members.

I used a wool "suiting" fabric and the most adorable leather buttons! 

It's Simplicity pattern #2526

 Check out these cute little (working) pockets!!  So stinkin' cute!   And the buttons....!!!!!!

 He's never thrilled about wearing a jacket but he found something to be hysterical at this moment.

 Here's the back of the jacket, complete with a little vent at the bottom/center.

I made this before getting my serger, so the inside of the jacket leaves quite a bit to be desired.  A few people have questioned me about lining the jacket, but when that happened I'd just stare at them like they were crazy - I mean, I'd only been sewing for 3 months at the time.  What did they want from me!!

I didn't put the coat on my son nearly as much as I should have, and that's something I really regret!  I lent it to a friend for her son to wear, but he only got to wear it once because I gave it to them too late in the season - DOH!  Fortunately, that same friend is having another boy, so hopefully next winter he will get some use out it.  Perhaps I will try it out on my daughter this upcoming winter.  It's neutral enough, right?!?!  We'll see.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tab Curtain Tutorial

I'm going to start my blog off with a tutorial I made for a friend on tab curtains.  They are really quite simple to make but since you might not have the same size windows as me, there's some calculating to be done before you buy fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of each step :-( 

What you need:
sewing machine
scissors or rotary cutter
general sewing supplies

I recently made tab curtains for my daughters bedroom and tab curtains for my mom.  I will reference both in this tutorial.

Start by measuring the windows and deciding how much larger than the window you want the curtain to be, taking into the account the location of the rod you will be using.  For my daughter's room I made the curtains several inches longer than the window sill and each panel was several inches wider.  My mom, however, wanted her curtains to basically sit on the sill and be wide enough to just cover the window when the curtains are closed.

It's all personal preference. 

Once you've determined the size you want, go to the store and pick out fabric.  You can use cottons, sheers although I don't have any experience with sheers), indoor/outdoor fabric, home dec fabric, etc.

Once you've found the fabric you want to use, find out how Wide it is. 

You've already determined the overall size you want the curtains to be - now add in the seam allowance you plan to use.  Seam allowance is basically personal preference.  With my daughters curtains I used 1" on all four sides.  With my mom's curtains I was afraid she'd later come back to me and tell me she wishes they are wider and/or longer, so I did a 2" seam on the sides and on the bottom, with a 1" seam on the top.  Plenty of room to play with, if need be.  If you feel confident that your pre-determined size will be perfect you can use as little as 1/4" seam allowance if you want to - but I'd recommend doing at least 1/2" seam along the top seam.

Now that you know what size you want the curtains and have added seam allowance, subtract 4 inches from the overall height.  This is the size you will cut out of the fabric for each curtain panel you want. 

(as an example: my mom wanted her panels to be 24"Wx36"L. I cut her pieces 28"W [24"+2"seam+2"seam] by 35"L [36"+2"seam+1"seam-4"]

You will need enough fabric to also cut out approximately six 4"x8" pieces.  These are the tabs.  You may want more, depending on the width of the curtains.

Once you have your pieces cut, serge the edges.  If you don't have a serger you can zig-zag the edges or leave them raw. 

Next, iron down the seam allowances you decided on.

With wrong side facing up, sew close to the serged edge. I prefer to sew the left and right side first, then the top and bottom.

Repeat for all the panels.

To create the tabs, take a 4"x8" piece and fold it in half long-ways so that right sides are together.  Sew down using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn right side out and press so that the seam is in the center of the back.

Repeat for all the tabs.

Lay the curtain panel wrong side up.  Lay out the tabs so that you have 1 very close to, or flush with, each end. 

for my daughters curtains I offset the tabs a little bit.  You don't want to bring them in too much or the corners will droop. 

My moms tabs are flush with the edges

Evenly space the other tabs in between the 2 end tabs.  Now, fold each tab in half and pin them to the curtain so that the raw edges of the tabs line up with the raw edges of the sewed seam of the curtain panel. 

Once they are all pinned, sew a straight line across the top that will catch all the tabs.  I like to sew this line with the right side of the curtain facing up and I like to sew it 1/4" from the top. 

That's it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



My name's Barbie.  Welcome to my blog. 

I've actually been a blogger for three years now - I have a blog I started when I was pregnant with my first child as a way to keep distant relatives in the loop.  It's mostly pictures of my babies and the day-to-day activities we do.

This particular blog is going to document my adventures in sewing and crafting.

I've been known to sew a thing or two every year since I was 18 years old - usually it either had to do with a Halloween costume or I was sewing a hole closed.  My very first sewing project was a quilt I made for my boyfriend (now husband).  I had no prior quilting experience, no pattern, no internet, no real sewing machine.  Just some fabric, pictures (it was a picture quilt), cheap thread, and one of those hand-held battery operated sewing machines that broke down more than it worked.  Most of the quilt ended up being hand stitched, and now it sits tucked away in a chest at home. 

Fast forward about 10 years to the present.  I have two lovely children - Trent is 32 months and Claire is 16 months.   They are the lights of my life, and believe it or not, they are the reason I sew.  After I had my daughter I quite my office job so I could stay home with my kids during the day.  In the evenings I had a part-time position at a fabric/craft store.  Did you hear me?  A FABRIC STORE!  That's when my addiction began.

I have been sewing hard core for a year now and it's safe to say I am obsessed, and I love it!  I am 100% self taught (so far) and I've been taking pictures of all my finished products since the very beginning.   I usually use a pattern or a tutorial, but more recently I've been branching out on my own and just winging it.  By "winging it" I mean sometimes I literally just use what I consider common sense and cross my finders that I don't screw it up.  Other times I will carefully plan out each step, design the pattern, do the calculations, price it out, then proceed (so basically I'm not wining it at all).  Regardless, When I am working on my own creation I take pictures of each step along the way.  I do this partly because I want to be able to reference them if I ever decide to make another, but also because I knew the day would come where I create a sewing blog and want to share my creations with the world (or whoever you are that's reading this.    Anybody?)

So here we are.  Another sewing blog.  Another blog about Barbie.  I'll try not to bore you.

p.s.  the dog in my header is Maggie, our 8 year old pug!