Good-Bye Stitched

Good-Bye Stitched

Less than two weeks before we leave NYC.  Holy cow.  Not so calm anymore.

This week’s big task is closing down my studio.  Sorting supplies.  Selling furniture and equipment.  Gifting some of my crafts to friends and students.  Packing everything else up, because it’s time to go.

I don’t like good-byes.  There are quite a few of those this week.  I suppose my panicked packing and sorting state will serve as a good distraction from the sadness of farewells.

Stitched and me.  What a time we’ve had.  High hopes.  A huge learning curve.  Lots of new friends.  Some tough times.  But even more good ones.  I’m so glad for the chance to share my love of making and crafting through lessons and classes.

Some crazy weeks coming up.  Please excuse me if I post only sporadically during our moving time.  But once we’re in our new home, I’m anticipating lots and lots of serious crafting, gardening (and harvesting?), cooking and exploring opportunities.  Stay tuned, ok?

Finger Puppets and Such

Finger Puppets and Such

Just two more weeks til I close my studio down and get serious about packing for our upcoming move.  Thought my kid-students would want to make an ambitious final project; perhaps an item of clothing?  But no.  They’re all suddenly in the mood to sit at the table together, chat and make things by hand.

So instead of working on bigger pieces on the machines, it’s little felt finger puppets, tiny stuffed figures and amigurumi time.

Which is fine with me – ‘cuz I love it all!

T-Shirt for Maddie

T-Shirt for Maddie

Meet Maddie.  She was one of my first students when I opened Stitched in the fall of 2013.  She’ll be my final student, on my very last day, when I close the studio at end of April.
We’ve had so much fun dreaming up projects, planning and sewing together.  Here’s something we planned a few weeks back and executed during today’s lesson.

We started with this bright green Mickey T-shirt.  I bought it during a holiday Disney trip.  I chose the ginormous XL size just in case my husband wanted to share it with me.  Of course, he took one look at the shirt and refused to have anything to do with it.  I wore it once or twice as a night shirt and then relegated it to the upcycle projects pile.

Enter Maddie.  She loves over-sized T-shirts and Mickey.  A perfect match.  Except this particular T-shirt is a little too over-sized even for her.  We decided to remake it for her.

Maddie wanted to keep the boxy shape of the T-shirt (nothing too fitted and nothing curvy!).  And she wanted to wear it long with leggings.

I wanted to preserve as many of the existing seams as possible (first rule of upcycling anything).

We layered one of Maddie’s current T-shirts on top of Mickey to figure our how much we wanted to cut away from the sides.

Once we had our outline for our T-shirt, we pinned front to back to make sure the fabric didn’t slide around.

We left the collar, hem and shoulder seams intact.  But needed to trim the sleeves down to fit the paired down T-shirt body.

Once we trimmed the sleeves to size (being sure to leave the sleeve hem intact as well), it was time to reattach sleeves to shirt body.

 If you’re trying this at home, remember to set your machine to stretch stitch.  If you use a plain old straight stitch, you risk having your threads break the first time you try to stretch your T-shirt in any way.

It was a little nerve wracking to use stretch stitch and sew a curve… but look what a gorgeous job Maddie did!  Once I pressed the seams open, she needed only to sew the sleeves together and then follow the curve to sew the body sides back together.

 Et Voila.  Beautifully done and all ready to wear.  Terrific job, kiddo!  You should be proud of yourself.

And Maddie?  You know that question you ask me every week?  Well, the answer is yes.  And I sure am going to miss you.

Valentine’s Card Making Party

Valentine’s Card Making Party

My craft group made Valentine’s cards last night.  It was the perfect midweek pick-me-up!
Each person brought craft supplies and tools to share.  We ended up with quite the pool of things to work with:
  • Card stock
  • Stamps
  • Specialty scissors
  • Washi tape
  • Duck tape
  • Felt pens
  • Vintage Valentine’s printouts
  • Stickers
  • Pompoms
  • Doilies
  • Heart cutouts
  • Stencils

 Once all the supplies were on the table, we all got happily to work making whatever pleased us best.

Annie loves owls – so her first Valentine’s card was, of course, a heart shaped owl with cute “owl be…” messages.

I was was very taken with this vintage elephant image.  After I cut out the image, I stitched the paper onto card stock and added a couple of stickers.

Kris brought all the vintage card images (which turned out to be the big hit of the night).  She seamlessly blended card stock, images, washi tape, stickers and stamps to make some fabulous cards and mail art.

XiaoNing started with this simple card of felt heart sticker and washi tape.  She went on to collage and stencil a whole slew of cards… but by that time, I was too involved in my table art to take pictures…

While the rest of us were puttering through one card at a time, Liz mass produced ladybug cards to hand out to her fourth grade class.  Aren’t these sweet?
What fun we had last night.  I even got everyone to contribute to my table art – show you what we made next time…

Valentine’s Envelopes

Valentine’s Envelopes

Need a Valentine’s day crafting idea?  Check out these envelope clutches I’m working on!
I came across the idea for this project on pinterest.  The set of 4 felt envelopes made by missprettypretty (and sold on etsy) was for children’s imaginative play.  Very cute.  But the girls I’m making these for are older so I tweaked the materials and size and came up with a little clutch instead.
Please pardon my sloppy sketch – but I figured a diagram with measurements would better explain my pattern than a wordy paragraph.  Suffice to say, I wanted my finished envelopes to measure 9 inches by 7 inches.  I machine sewed the envelopes with 1/4 inch seam allowances.  And if anyone needs more details on how to make your own pattern, please do comment in with your questions.

 Materials to make the envelope clutch:

  • Fabric for envelope body (I used canvas duck)
  • Fabric for envelope lining (I used a printed cotton)
  • Velcro (I recommend the sew-on kind)
  • Fabric ribbon (12 inches per envelope)
  • Felt scraps to create the stamps
  • Red thread

 Making the envelope clutch:

  • Create paper pattern.  Again, I wanted my finished envelope to measure 9 inches across and 7 inches high.  I also added in margins for quarter inch seam allowances.  If you want a different sized envelope or sew with larger seam allowances, be sure to adjust for that.
  • Cut 1 envelope body and 1 envelope lining.
  • Create stamp by cutting small rectangle from felt with pinking shears.  Cut out heart (or whatever shape you want) and hand stitch heart to felt rectangle.
  • Machine stitch felt stamp to right side of envelope body.
  • Machine zigzag the “address” to envelope body.  I used fabric chalk to mark the lines I wanted to zigzag.  I used red thread for all decorative machine stitching.
  • Sew bristly side of velcro to right side of envelope body.  Note, for my first three envelopes, I sewed the velcro on where you see it pinned above.  However, I think it should actually be moved away from edge another inch or so.  You’ll want to play with this little.
  • Optional:  Sew soft side of velcro onto right side of envelope lining flap.  It’s actually kind of tricky to get velcro placement on the flap correct.  If you don’t mind stitching through both lining and body, I’d recommend sewing this piece of velcro on after you sew the envelope together.
  • Pin envelope body and lining right sides together.  If you want the ribbon strap, pin this into place as well (ribbon should be folded in half and tucked between right sides of body and lining).
  • Stitch around perimeter.  Be sure to leave an opening to flip fabric right sides out.  I leave my opening toward the bottom third of one of the long sides.  This way, I’ll sew the opening closed when I fold the fabric and sew the side of the envelope up.
  • Clip excess fabric around corners and points (making sure not to clip seams).
  • Flip fabric right side out.
  • Use your fingers to push all corners out.
  • Press.
  • Fold bottom up (with lining tucked inside) to form envelope shape.  Leave a little space below triangle portion so there is room to fold the flap down.
  • Edge stitch the envelope sides closed.
  • If you haven’t already, then sew soft side of velcro to envelope flap.

I think these little envelope clutches are adorable.  I still have some sewing to do since I intend to gift one to each of my sewing girls and to my little niece for Valentine’s.  Hoping the girls will be as tickled with these as I am and will be further inspired by another idea of what they use their developing sewing skills to create.

Fleece Hats and a Wrap

Fleece Hats and a Wrap

It’s been so cold lately I just want to crawl under a pile of blankets and hide from the winter winds.

Since staying in bed all day isn’t really a  viable option, I had to settle for pulling out my supply of fleece to sew with this week.  Handling the fuzzy fabric really does warm me up (especially when I drape myself in it while sewing hats and scarves).

I started by sewing multiple versions of fleece hats.  Studied various tutorials to see how others make their hats.
  • For my first attempt, I followed instructions by the “Hat Ladies.”  Initially, I liked their pattern because the size of hat can be adjusted to fit either an adult or a child simply by using different seam allowances.  Unfortunately, my result was so ugly I’m not even going to show you a picture of it.  Suffice to say, I named it the “Mushroom hat” shortly before I tossed it on the reject pile.  I also didn’t like it that the seams were visible inside the hat.
  • Next, I came across a tutorial for an “Easy Double Layer Fleece Hat” by Monkey See, Monkey Do.  It’s a good, clear tutorial.  However, I wanted a pattern with only one big vertical seam in the hat so I read on.
  • Finally decided to go with a diagram I found in the book “Sew What!  Fleece” by Carol Jessop & Chaila Sekora.

I followed the Jessop & Sekora instructions to create my pattern.   Then went with the technique outlined in Monkey Sew, Monkey Do post to sew the hat.  I made a short beanie version.  Then a longer slouch version with a fleece pompom.

Once I’d tested my pattern, I was ready to share it with two of my students.  Both ladies are also moms so we had fun making the hats for our kids (it remains to be seen if said children will actually wear them).
After the hats, I decided I “needed” a big fleece wrap with giant pockets.  
Here are my notes:
  • Cut two rectangles measuring 17 inches wide by 74 inches long for the body.
  • Cut two rectangles measuring 10 inches wide by 13 inches long for the pockets.
  • To form each pocket: rotate fabric with short side of rectangle on top (portrait not landscape).  Fold top edge down by one inch.  Edge of folded fabric should be on wrong side of fabric.    Run finger along the fold to flatten it.  Do NOT iron fleece.  Pin.  Edge stitch the fold down.
  • To attach the pocket to the scarf, position and pin pockets on either end of one of the big rectangles.  I left 4.5 inches margin under each pocket.
  • Zigzag pockets into place.
  • Line big rectangles up together.  Right sides in.  Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew around the perimeter of the wrap.  Leave an opening large enough to flip wrap right side out.
  • Flip fabric.  Poke corners out.  Run fingers over all the seams to flatten them.
  • Slip stitch the opening closed.

My friend walked into my studio just in time to pose for this picture (Thanks, Rachanee!).  She agreed the wrap was super cozy and perfect for lounging around the apartment.  

It’s Friday night now.  The wind is blowing hard and a cold draft is seeping in around my windows.  Still have some chores to take care of before I can finally crawl back under that pile of blankets.  Luckily, I’m sporting my new wrap and I’m happy to say it’s exactly what I need right now to fight off the creeping cold.