Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toddler Pillows and New Friends

My girls want pillows so they can be like Luke, but I think they're still too young to have regular pillows. So, I made my own "toddler pillows". Super easy. I used two receiving blankets from when they were babies, so I get points for repurposing, right? I folded the blankets in half, cut them to 13"X21", and sewed half inch seams. Then I took four layers of extra loft batting, basted them together so they won't shift inside the pillow, and sewed it into the pillow. Really easy and now my girls have pillows that I'm not afraid will suffocate them and we're all happy!

I'm going to make pillow cases for them because I'm certain they won't wash well unless I quilt the pillow. If I do that they'll be flat and the girls are sure to protest. So, I'll make pillow cases out of two other receiving blankets I have from their infancy.

I also made these two guys:

In these photos you can also see how thick the toddler pillows are...or should I say, how thin they are. They have just the right amount of softness, I think.

Sunny loves the pink teddy. No one loves the rainbow teddy. Poor guy. He's unloved. He was the first one I made and I forgot to embroider his face before I did the decreases to close his head, so I had to do it after I had finished him. That's why he looks like a train wreck. Its not his fault! The pink one turned out pretty cute and Sunny has claimed him. Elle wants a green one, so I'll get right on that!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bad Sewing Habits

My bad sewing habits, exposed!

1. Sticking pins in my mouth. Aside from poking my tongue with a pin every now and then, I think this is a bad habit because it probably makes the pin rust a bit, which is bad for fabrics you are pinning.

2. Blaming missing implements on Luke. Poor kid. Its just that more often than not he is the one who ran off with my seam ripper or my seam gauge or my tape measure. He also likes to use my 22" clear ruler as a ramp for his Hot Wheels. So, its easy to yell, "LLLUUUKKEEE! Did you take my fabric marker??!!!" Hey, at least if he draws on the wall with it, it will disappear in about an hour.

3. Not ripping a seam that really needs to be ripped. When I was working on my greenery quilt I had sewn a seam that was all wonky, but I SO didn't want to rip it because it was a long seam and I wanted to just. keep. working. So I tried to keep working, but all the other seams started to look off thanks to the one seam I refused to rip. I ended up going back and ripping it and re-sewing it and was so glad I did. Lesson learned: always rip a nasty seam. Nasty seam=sloppy work.

4. Sewing with hairy legs. Just kidding. My legs really need waxing and I'm doing everything possible to motivate myself to wax them. Telling myself its a bad sewing habit will go a long way in getting me to finally do it! (Plus, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention! lol!)

5. Not transferring all the pattern markings onto my fabric. There's a reason why the pattern has those markings (who knew!! lol!). Last Halloween I tried to make Luke a Super Why costume and the pants turned out great. The top...not so great. After 3 tries I finally realized I had not transferred a VERY IMPORTANT pattern marking to the fabric and that's why things weren't lining up. And how I managed to make the same mistake THREE times, I'll never know. Too bad I realized my mistake a week AFTER Halloween!

6. Not bothering to make a muslin. I've made shirts and pants and even 2 jackets for myself, but I didn't make a muslin for any of them. And they all had fit issues. The shirts I made almost always were too big in the shoulders and the bust is often baggy (I have no boobs). Ditto with the jackets. If I would make a muslin I could address fit issues without wasting my fashion fabric.

7. Not making ample use of basting. If your fabrics seem to slip a lot, then basting is your best friend. I used to think it was a waste of time to baste, but I do it all the time now.

8. Feeling rushed. Since my kids are very young, I only get small pockets of time to sew. So, I frequently find myself trying to rush through a project and it always results in a project I'm not proud of. My kids will only be young once; I frequently remind myself of that fact. Keeping that in mind helps me to slow down and enjoy both my time with them and also the little time I have with my sewing machine. I've learned how important it is to enjoy the process of sewing and not just the finished product. Plus, my sewing machine will always be there for me, but childhood only happens once.

Those are my bad sewing habits and I'm working on all of them (especially the hairy legs thing!) because I truly wish to be a talented sewist and quilter. What are some of your bad habits??

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Necessary Items

We go through wash cloths very quickly around here and it seems I never have enough. I also hate to buy them because since we go through so many I buy the cheapies and they're SO flimsy. This morning I was going to throw away my thick terry cloth bath robe, but then it occurred to me it would make great wash cloths. So, some cutting and zigzagging and wa-la:

Nice, thick, soft wash cloths. I zigzagged some and used another utility stitch on others. In all I made 10, so that should last for a while! I used a pink variegated thread, so the stitching is darker in some places and lighter in others. I love how they turned out and will probably look at the thrift store for bath robes to turn into wash cloths!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Super Duper Luke Quilt

Here is the finished quilt top. I really love it. It is definitely the loudest, brightest quilt I've ever made and it was a lot of fun! Luke loves it so I'm trying to get the quilting and binding done quickly.

Luke made a block, too. Well, sort of! He likes to watch me sew and wanted to "play" (yikes!) so I let him pick out some decorative stitches and press the "start" button. I love that you can operate my machine by either the foot pedal or the start/stop button. There was no way I was going to let Luke use the foot pedal; he likened it too often to the gas pedal on my car, so I had him put the fabric under the presser foot, press the start/stop button, and cut the threads when the stitching was done.

The middle block with the cars, airplanes and dogs is the block Luke made.

The quilt measures 50"X60", so it shouldn't take too long to quilt and bind.

EDIT: This quilt grew...I added to it so it now measures 60 X 75. To see this quilt quilted and bound, click here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I was stitching a quilt label and Luke wanted to stitch something, too. So I thought I would share his first stitchery:

Its a mess, but I love it just the same! Its pretty sweet, actually.

Here's the quilt label I stitched...

I finished Luke's quilt top this morning at 5 am. The girls woke up at 3am, so I had to rock them for a while to get them back to sleep. Thing is, once they fell back asleep, I couldn't! So, I finished Luke's quilt top and then knitted for a while. I really enjoyed my time alone and am thinking of trying to make myself go to sleep every night at 9 pm and wake up every morning at 4 or 5 am. That would give me 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night and a few hours every morning to sew or knit. Not a bad idea. Making it work is the hard part!

I'll have photos of the whole quilt tomorrow. Happy Thursday!



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