Monday, September 26, 2011

first etsy sale!

On Friday evening I checked my email to find a message from etsy telling me I sold something!  Someone finally bought something from me!!  A guy from Ohio joined etsy just that day and ordered a Pittsburg Steelers crib sheet. 

I think Kevin sensed my eagerness and excitement, because he suggested that we (as a family) go to Joann Fabrics right away to get what I needed.  Of course, he mentioned more than once (to the people helping us at the store) that WE are NOT Steelers fans, haha!

When we got home I washed and dried the fabric.

On Saturday night I ironed the fabric, cut the fabric and serged the edges.  As you can imagine, this didn't take long at all.  Ironing the fabric took longer than anything else.

On Sunday night all I had to do was sew what needed to be sewed and add the elastic.  Again, this really took no time at all.  Once that was done, I put it on Claire's mattress to make sure it fit properly, then I learned from youtube how to fold a fitted sheet.  I then wrapped the lumpy square of fabric and tied a bow around it.

I mailed it Monday morning. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

felt roses, take 1

A few weeks ago I got together with a girlfriend to try to make some felt roses for our daughters hair.  I did a quick search online and found several tutorials.  I was immediately drawn to this tutorial and pattern, and it was the first one we tried.  I decided not to do the full tutorial because I wanted to use a different kind of clip than she used.  I thought Claire needed something that would be more gentle on her thin hair, so I used a different clip and I lined it with ribbon.

In the end, the ribbon I used doesn't hold any hair.  The clip falls right out unless it's only clipped onto a couple strands of hair, and then it's top heavy and doesn't stay put. 

I definitely plan to make more felt roses using this pattern in the near future, and when I do, I plan to try the clip she uses in her tutorial, as well as others.  I will also use elastic to make a headband or two.

cutest little girl on the planet!

I'd love to hear if anyone has any suggestions!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

toddler backpack

In a few short months my husband and I will be taking our little rugrats on a DISNEY CRUISE!!! 

Since Trent is over 2 years old and we have to pay for him to have a seat on the airplane, I decided he might as well have his own carry-on.  Since Mommy and Daddy always use backpacks as their carry-ones, I decided a toddler-sized back pack would be perfect for the little guy.  Choosing the fabric was kind of a no-brainer ;-)

I was supposed to use 1" rectangle rings, but these were the smallest I could find.
I got the free pattern and tutorial from That Crafty Mrs. V's blog.

The verdict:  well, it wasn't the simplest thing I've ever made.  The interfacing made the fabric stiff and difficult to work with at times, and working with piping can be a little time consuming, depending how anal the sewer is.

As for Trent: he will let us put it on him, and he'll even wear it for a couple minutes, but that's it.  Hopefully he will grow a little more fond of over time, and maybe once he sees us wearing our own backpacks he will open up to it even more.  And if not....Ma or Pa will be rockin' a nifty little accessory through the airports ;-).  Maybe I can make it convert to an adult hip pack, haha (people actually still use those things!).

In case you're wondering, Yes, I plan to make one for Claire as well.  I already purchased the Disney fabric for hers!  I'm just waiting for the right sale to go buy the rest of the fabric and materials.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Chair

Since interest was expressed (Katy), I will go into greater detail with this post that I normally would have.

My sister-in-law is pregnant with her first and is getting the nursery together.  She inherited her great-grandmothers chair many years ago and wants to put it in the gender-neutral nursery, but she wanted to have it reupholstered with something more her style....something more modern.  She contacted me to see if I ever reupholstered or if I knew someone.  My answer to both was: no. 

I have considered re-doing the chair I have in my own daughters bedroom (similar back story, it was my grandmothers chair) but I've been to chicken to do it.  It doesn't help that I don't hate the fabric that's currently on it.  But my chair is a different story for a different post.  Back to my SIL. 

As I was telling her that I have never reupholstered anything before I started wondering just how hard it actually is.  I told her to go ahead contact the professional company she had in mind, and that I would give it some thought.  I did some internet research and quickly realized I could totally do it myself!  I warned her it would not be professional grade, but she also wouldn't be paying professional prices, so you get what you pay for.

That Saturday we went to the fabric store to get supplies.  She ended up buying the very first fabric she saw. It immediately drew her eye and she kept going back to it.  So....perfect!  We got almost everything else we needed in addition to the fabric, and we were on our way.

As for HOW MUCH fabric:  first I thought 5 yards would do it, as a blog I referenced used 5 yards to do a similar-style chair.  But then a popular chart recommended 6.5 yards for her style chair.  The third recommendation came from the professional company my SIL contacted - they said 8 yards would be necessary.  Since the fabric she chose had a specific pattern that needed to be centered in certain areas, and it could only be oriented one direction, we went with 8.  Just to play it safe. 

I started by making the cording.  My SIL did not specify that she wanted cording, and the chair didn't have it originally, but it was something I wanted to do.  I had never done it before but I feel like it adds so much to a chair/cushion, so I gave it a shot.  I made 10 yards of cording one night after the kids went to bed. 

Second step was the cushion.  Sadly, the foam padding needed to be replaced.   It was in multiple pieces and I (not a professional) just couldn't work with it.  Our fabric was just too smooth and thin for me to risk it.  I didn't want the cushion to be lumpy and piece-y to the eye or to the touch.  Anyone who knows foam knows it's not cheap.  And of course we are talking about the 5" foam!  But hey, that's what coupons are for, right?

I used this amazing tutorial to make the cording and cushion!  Of course I had to adjust the tutorial to work for my non-square cushion, but it was easy enough.  The cushion took 3 nights after bedtime to complete.

Once the cushion was done I needed the actual chair and sent my manly husband next door to get it ('next door' is where they live).  I had looked at many "how to's" and blogs about reupholstering chairs, and I think the most helpful one for me was this one.  Even though the chair styles aren't the same, the concept and techniques are.  I basically spent one entire Sunday taking the existing fabric apart and putting the new fabric on.  It took extra time and extra fabric to make the chair as symmetrical as possible, but I'm glad I took the time and care to do it. 

The buttons are hard to see in the photos, but they are in the same positions they were in originally.  The buttons were fun and easy to make, but interesting, and at times frustrating, to work with (especially when little children would pull the buttons out after you spent 5 minutes getting them positioned correctly).  I used this tutorial to help me figure out how exactly to install them.

A few general rules for reupholstering:
Label and number each piece of fabric as you take off the chair
Use a seam ripper on the old fabric, then using the old fabric as a pattern to cut out the new fabric
Put the chair back together in the opposite order in which you took it apart

There were times when I wanted the fabric to sit differently on the chair than the way it originally was, which meant I had to use as much common-sense as I could come up with to figure out how to do it my way (i.e. the arms of the chair). 

In the end, it's not perfect by any stretch of the word, but I'm happy with it.  Hopefully she is too!

~I saved her $500 in labor - the price the company would have charged her
~I saved her 68% on the fabric by telling her about an amazing sale and by giving her a coupon to use on top of the sale
~we used four or five 40% and 50% off coupons to use on the other items we needed (piping, tacks, etc)
~She got $20 in gift cards to use on a future purchase for spending x-amount of money - thanks to me telling the cashier about a promotion they were running (she was clueless).

So as you can see, you make it extremely affordable by knowing the right time to shop and by doing the work yourself!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

simple serging

I started seriously sewing 12 months ago.  I decided I wanted a serger 11 months ago. 

Some people need the latest gaming system.  Others need the most advanced i-thing.  I need sewing supplies.

I found an inexpensive serger that had great reviews and my mom gave it to me as a Christmas present! 

There's a bunch you can do with a serger, but I have to admit I haven't played with it nearly as much as I could.  I generally stick to the basic serge and rolled hems.  I did a pretty sweet blind stitch once, but I haven't attempted an overlock stitch and I haven't experimented with different threads. 

Here are a couple basic project I undertook recently.  First, a friend of mine is EC'ing her daughter, so she wanted to turn all of her onesies into t-shirts to make access to the diaper easier and quicker.  Super simple!  All I did was use my straight-edge to draw a line (with disappearing ink) across the onesie at the top of each leg on the front and back, then I serged using that line as reference. 

It may not look like it but there are over 50 onesies pictured above!
Next up, tablecloths.  My mother-in-law bought some great fabric that was prepackaged in lengths of 2 yards.  I used a rolled hem to get rid of the raw edges and selvages and ta-da - tablecloths!

They went from this:

To this:

Monday, September 12, 2011

another cape

I just finished making another reversible superhero cape.  It's the same as one of the capes I made last time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

AIO cloth diaper

I mentioned in a previous post that we use cloth diapers.  I originally bought 2 dozen bum genius 3.0 pocket diapers from

Now that I sew constantly I decided to make one of my own.  Not because I need another one.  Just because I wanted to.  I used this pattern and tutorial.

I used a fun gender neutral polka dot PUL fabric for the outside, along with pearlized snaps.  The inner liner is micro suede.  The soaker pad is 2 layers of cotton flannel and 2 layers of terry. 

It's the only all-in-one cloth diaper I've used since Claire was a tiny newborn, so it's different from what I'm used to.  It's nice to not have to stuff a diaper!  And while I hated purchasing ($$) the snaps, and they weren't super easy to install (though not terribly difficult either), Claire is going through a phase where she tears her diaper off any chance she gets, but she can't undo the snaps!!  It's been coming clean no problem and I don't have any stink issues with it. 

The only 2 downfalls I've noticed is that there's no elastic at the waist in the back.  That's not a huge issue for us, but if I was using this diaper on a younger baby I would be seriously worried about blow-outs.  Second, the PUL isn't holding up very well in the dryer. 

If I ever make another cloth diaper I will be sure to add elastic to the waist and I would line dry (which I should really be doing right now anyway!).

Overall I am extremely happy with my diaper!!!  If my Joann Fabrics had a better selection of printed PUL fabric I would probably be going overboard crazy making diapers that I don't actually need.