The CRAFT magazine “Last-Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids” segment was on the CBS Early Show this morning, and here’s the monkey costume I made! Complete instructions for how to make it are here. It’s a very easy project — just grab a hoodie and pants that fit your child and embellish them with a little felt and fleece, and add a couple of felt bananas to a treat bag!
I got a chance to do some crafting for fun this week, for the first time in far too long! I whipped up some fun appliqued pieces for my dear friend and for her little boy, due in December. I found a onesie, a baby shirt, a bib, and a t-shirt for her at the Children’s Exchange (a maternity and kids consignment store down the street), and added some fun, simple appliques to liven them up (and cover up a boring design, in the case of the red onesie).
I have always loved whales so this seemed like the perfect little thing to decorate his pieces with. The applique process is so simple: just draw your design on the paper side of a piece of steam-a-seam, press the sticky side to your fabric, cut it out, peel away the paper, and press it onto the garment with a hot steam iron. It worked perfectly on each of these little things. Then I just edged the designs with a tight zig-zag stitch for added security.
I also added a little heart-shaped applique with a monkey on it to a plain bib the same way!
And I appliqued a little sewing machine on a plain t-shirt for my super crafty friend.
This is a great instant-gratification craft project — just fancy up something plain, or cover up a rip, stain, or ugly design with a bright, cheerful applique!
I just wrote these up for Adorn, but I wanted to show pictures of my latest sewing projects, which I worked on this weekend after retrieving my sewing machine from deep storage. I haven’t had much time to sew lately (for months, actually) so it was exciting to actually pull off a few things.
I finished my first log cabin pillow on Saturday! I love looking at it, I’ve been intimidated by quilting for years and was so nervous I’d screw it up somehow. But I didn’t, and here it is on my couch. Yay!
I machine-quilted it with rust-colored thread and made an overlapping back with light-brown-and-off-white measuring-tape fabric. It’s about 15 inches across, so it’s a nice size for sitting with, and I like how much of the fabrics show. I still need to sew the back on my other log cabin, which is quilted (with white thread) and waiting for me in Los Angeles.
I also made my Sew U skirt with the olive cord on Sunday, and did a few little pattern hacks to customize it along the way. I made the outer lines slightly more straight/a-line instead of curved, and added a little button tab to the top of the back zipper:
I just cut two 1-inch by 2-inch pieces of corduroy, sewed them right-sides together, flipped them right-sides out, top-stitched it, and tucked it into the zipper seam. (By the way, the pin is only on the outside to show where it goes — I sewed it with the pins inside, like usual.) Then I hand-sewed a tiny snap under the tab and stitched the button on to make it cute.
I also shortened the skirt by a few inches and turned that extra fabric into a long, skinny headband/belt — another super easy switch, just sew it right sides together, turn it right-side out, and top-stitch all the way around.
Hooray for starting my next two months of Wardrobe Refashion off right!
I made my first-ever log cabin squares yesterday and just snapped a photo of one before I turn it into a pillow:
The other one, in a different color mix, is tucked away in my flickr instead of posted here because it’s a gift and I don’t want the recipient to track it down yet. And that’s all I’ll mention about that, until April anyway!
I really love the look of gorgeous all-patterned log cabin pillows, but I’m a compulsive project-alter-er, so I changed the proportions a little. I wanted to show larger sections of my patterned fabrics so I made the center square 4 inches across, the patterned strips 2.5 inches wide, and the solid corduroy strips 1.25 inches wide. The finished size is 15 inches square.
I really like how the thin corduroy frames the busy patterns and calms them down a bit. I cut up two pairs of Andrew’s frayed old Levi’s cords and salvaged lots of the material, and all the other fabric was from my stash. Oh, and I found it easiest to press all the seams facing toward the center, I’m not sure if that’s what everyone else does, but it worked for me. I’m a total quilting beginner, but I’m feeling a bit more confident with one successful patchwork project done.
So I think I’ll stitch up 14-inch pillow forms with plain fabric and polyfil I have here, so it’s a self-contained project I didn’t have to leave the house for or spend any money on. Very Wardrobe Refashion!
I went to Portland Church of Craft this Sunday, which was so much fun. Fifty-two people came out to craft with felted sweaters, and everyone made such cool things! I already knew that I wanted to sew a pig-something to celebrate the Chinese New Year. So I thought about doing a pincushion or a stuffed toy, and then realized that my iPod could desperately use a soft little case — bingo. I improvised this one on the spot and took some pictures along the way. So if you want to make a lucky little Year of the Pig iPod cozy, here’s how I stitched mine!
But first, a quick note: If you’re a knitter, be sure to check out M.K. Carroll‘s “Mobile Monster” pattern from Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation — that’s what I used to make my pink pig cellphone cozy last year. Since her design definitely inspired me, I want to give full credit to her beautiful work. Like her adorable pattern, my new felted pig has buttons for the eyes and nose, and triangles for the ears, even though its construction and materials are different. (p.s. don’t miss her super cute etsy shop!)
This is a very easy piece to sew, and you can probably finish it in under an hour. It could also be adapted to hold a camera, phone, or any other little electronic-type thing.
A piece of felted sweater, at least 12 inches by 4 inches for a full-size iPod
Big-eye sewing needle and heavy thread (for the blanket stitch)
Regular sewing needle and thread (for stitching on the buttons)
Two small buttons for the eyes
One large button for the nose
1. Place your iPod on the piece of felted sweater (as shown in the first pic above) and cut it to size so it’s slightly wider than the iPod on both sides. Just eye it, erring on the generous side — you can always trim it to size later. Length-wise, just make sure it completely folds over the iPod twice, plus there’s enough for a flap for the pig’s face. For a full-size version, I cut my felted wool piece so it was 3.5 inches wide and 12 inches long.
2. Make a narrow fold on the bottom edge and pin it down. Use your big-eye needle and heavier thread to sew a running stitch securing that seam (as shown in the second pic above). Then fold that bottom section up towards the middle with the raw edge inside, pinning both sides, so that your iPod can slip in easily.
3. Now you’ll use a blanket stitch to sew both sides of the cozy. Once you finish the first side, knot it securely. Check to see if your iPod fits in neatly or if there’s too much room — if there is, trim the second side and re-pin it. Blanket-stitch the second side the same way.
4. Shape and trim the top so it’s a neat curve, and blanket-stitch all the way around that, too.
5. Now it’s time for the fun part: making the face! Cut two small triangles out of felted wool for ears (mine were about 3/4 inch on each side) and blanket-stitch two sides of one. Attach the third (bottom) side of the ear-triangle to one side of the top of the cozy, also using blanket stitch. Repeat with the second one.
6. Use your smaller needle and normal thread to stitch on the eyes and nose buttons. You could also do a little embroidery or felt applique, or add rick-rack or something else cool.
…and I even got to meet Heather of CROQ, and got a peek at the new issue (which I have a craft project in!). It looks awesome, I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail. And if you want to see more cool felted stuff, Diane posted her pictures and a cute write-up, too! It was such a fun afternoon.
I got home yesterday to a surreal 60-degree spike in temperature — from gray and below freezing in Brooklyn first thing in the morning to 83 degrees and sunny in Burbank in the afternoon. It was so strange to lug my heavy coat, two sweaters, hat and gloves off the plane and through the warm, nearly blinding sunshine, but I have to say it felt so good on my skin, after I’ve been so cold all week. And even better than the unexpected spring/summer weather, I got to have a joyful reunion with my sewing machine!
Last night I went out to Lisa Congdon‘s art opening at ReForm School, which was amazing — I’m writing a review for the Adorn blog tomorrow with my pictures. Lisa was so nice and her work just shone in the intricate groupings she created, so seeing it all together was dazzling. I bought the very first piece at 7:15! I also got to hang out with Cathy, Jessica, and Charles Phoenix, which was lovely. It was such a fun night, and really inspiring!
So this morning when I woke up with tons of energy before 7 am (thanks to the time change) I decided that it was finally time for my first Wardrobe Refashion project — altering a super-preppy whale skirt I spotted for $1 last week in a Connecticut thrift store. I love whales — here, here, and here are some of my favorites — and I have three skirts with whales on them. So what could be better than a refashioned fourth one??
The waistband on the skirt was teeny-tiny and the length was pretty unflattering on me, it hit at mid-calf and didn’t look that great. So I cut nine inches off the top, created a simple 1/2-inch double-fold elastic waistband, rethreaded it with 3/8-inch elastic, saved and re-sewed the belt loops, and ended up with a comfortable, perfectly sized 19-inch-long a-line skirt!
I still have that top length of fabric left — I’m planning to sew a tiny reversible handbag with a contrast kelly green and navy print soon. I may steal the piping belt for the handles but for now it looks so cute on the skirt, I’m leaving it in place.
And I still haven’t bought anything new! The other cool and unexpected side effect of doing Wardrobe Refashion is that I’m really loving the very last new thing I did get, a pair of pink pajamas I bought in January… they seem a lot more [I can't think of the right word here... valuable? special? I don't know] than if they had been sandwiched between whatever my second-to-last purchase was and the mini H+M spree of t-shirts I chose not to do. And everyone else’s blog posts and pictures are super inspiring, too.
It really feels like restricting my buying has shifted my perspective away from acquiring without appreciating to appreciating without acquiring. So thank you, Wardrobe Refashion!