more Rallying for Roma

My mom saw my Facebook page post on Craft Hope’s Rally for Roma and wanted in on the action. She doesn’t get to sew as much as she would like so she took the opportunity to make a couple of quick blankets while stash busting some fleece.

She wasn’t sure what she’d bought the fleece for originally, but it was possibly to make something for my brothers. Either way it ended up as these awesome blankets for the people of Romania.

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I love the satin blanket binding she used (purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics)and will have to keep it in mind for future projects. Both blankets look lovely and got sent off earlier this week.

I’m so glad my mom has joined in on my charity sewing endeavors. We may be hours apart but crafting keeps us close!

P.S. My vintage sheet bag giveaway is still going on at The Vintage Sheet Blog, so check it out!

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baby bibs for China

My latest sewing project has been for Craft Hope. Project 20 is making bibs for orphans in China (more info on their Facebook page). I decided this would be a great opportunity to try out some of the bib tutorials I’ve been adding to my Pinterest board for babies and kids. It’s also been great for using fabric and notions from my stash.

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The first three bibs, cut out and ready to go.

I came up with a list of several bib tutorials and sewed six bibs for the project.

#1 – a whale of a bib

tutorial: applique boy bib from skirt as top

fabric: leftover from boyfriend’s mom’s apron, thrifted flannel

modifications: used flannel instead of terry for the backing, used felt instead of fabric and fusible web for the applique

This is my favorite bib so far. I just love that cute little whale! I used a wider stitch to sew on the whale because the standard blanket stitch didn’t look right. I put the eye on using this french knot tutorial. (It was so much simpler than I thought!)

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#2 – baby apron a.k.a. the bapron

tutorial: bapron tutorial from craftiness is not optional

fabric: leftover lining from yellow sweater purse, thrifted flannel, thrifted bias tape (leftover from the cowboy crochet hook case)

modifications: none! made as instructed.

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This seems like a great idea, but I don’t have kids currently so it’s a bit hard to tell how well it would work out a baby. It looks so cute on the “model” though! It was easy to put together and I’d definitely make it again.

#3 – simple polka dot bib 

tutorial: simple baby bib from Shwin&Shwin

fabric: leftover polka dots from baby car seat blanket, thrifted flannel, brown remnant

modifications: used flannel instead of batting for the middle section

I tried something different on this bib and quilted around the circles with the top and middle sections basted together. It didn’t turn out as nicely as I liked because it’s hard to sew tiny precise circles on a machine. Here’s the back view before I put the bib together.

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So it was a cool idea that lacked a bit in the execution, but will still function to protect babies’ clothes from food 🙂

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I really liked the simplicity and shape of this bib pattern and can see myself making it again. The button was a cute touch too.

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I made an exact copy of this bib for a friend whose sister was having a baby, minus the quilting. I used velcro instead of a button for the closure and the whole thing turned out well.

#4 – tie bib

tutorial: simple baby bib from Shwin&Shwin as the base, tie pattern for use on a onesie

fabric: an outgrown shirt of my brother’s from my mom’s mending pile, leftover navy for the background, navy felt for the tie

modifications: I created this by making the bib as suggested and adding the felt tie applique on the front. I used velcro instead of a button once again.

It turned out pretty well, but when I make it again it’ll make the bib a little longer or the tie a bit shorter.

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#5 – button down bib

tutorial: button down bib pattern and tutorial

fabric: an outgrown shirt of my brother’s from my mom’s mending pile, leftover navy for the background, leftover white bias tape

modifications: I had to eliminate the pocket and button placket idea and just cut out a regular section of the shirt. No buttons are allowed on the front of the bib for the project, and my pocket had a stain.

I would have liked to follow this tutorial more exactly as far as pattern placement, but the shirt had a few tiny stains on the pocket. It would have looked really cool as illustrated, but it turned out okay this way. I think I’d add a layer of flannel in the middle next time to give it more weight.

#6 – bandana bib

tutorial: bandana bib tutorial from The Purl Bee

fabric: leftover navy again, leftover fabric from my new apron

modifications: I tacked down the whole folded edge of the bib to secure it all the way across.

This is my second favorite of the bibs I made. (Maybe one day I’ll make an whale bandana bib. Hmm…) I loved these fabrics together and this bib is definitely a functional fashion statement! I liked the simplicity of the large snap closure.

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front view

Just be careful if you’re a perfectionist using a grid-like pattern. Trying to make my fabric line up diagonally and horizontally drove me a little crazy.

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and back view

And those are the bibs I’ll be sending off to Craft Hope shortly!

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the whale bib’s eye wasn’t done in time for the group shot.

I had fun picking out fabrics from my stash and putting these bibs together. Plus when friends have babies, I know I’ll be able to whip out some cute bibs.

That’s one charity sewing project done for 2013 so far. I’d like to get to work on some more soon.

aprons for Haiti

After I finished sewing my little dresses for Africa and Love without Boundaries, I was looking for another opportunity to sew for charity. I found a great project where people are making aprons for women in Haiti in this blog post from Maureen Cracknell Handmade. Some of the organizations that take handmade items for charity have specific requirements about designs and materials, so it’s nice to come across a project where you can use what you have around already.

I used fabrics that had been hanging around in my stash for awhile and had already been used for several things. (Vintage sheets keep going and going!)

This first fabric was given to me by a friend of my mom’s and I wasn’t crazy about it. Of course, now that I’ve seen it paired with black and with white in this crochet hook roll, the fabric is growing on me.

All the aprons I made were half-aprons that used a large rectangle folded in half for the skirt, and very long rectangles for the ties. This apron has long ties that go around to the front so it can fit a variety of sizes. The pockets are also rectangles, sewed in half and turned, and then topstitched on the apron. I’ll put more specific directions at the end of this post.

I cut all my apron skirts to maximize the fabric I had left over. This rectangle was very long so I gathered it to lose some width.

This second apron I did the same way. The skirt is a vintage sheet, and I added vintage pillowcase scraps for interesting pockets. I could have gathered this apron as it goes all the way around me, but I left it wide.

This apron (also a vintage sheet) has contrasting rectangles added on the back to make the pockets pop. The pockets have rounded corners and are placed on at an angle.

The colors are hard to see in this photo, but the contrast rectangles for the pockets are brown and the pieces on the ties are burgundy.

I sewed all the details (pockets, sash, etc.) with contrasting thread. My design elements were mostly dictated by what fabric I had left and the scraps I could cobble together. I’m happy with how they all turned out and was pleased I was able to use up a good chunk of these fabrics.

The aprons are now in the mail headed to Tennessee. More info about the aprons for Haiti project can be found on the Craft Hope Facebook page, and their apron event on Facebook. The deadline is May 31st, but you still have some time left to make an apron or two.

Edit: The deadline just got extended until July! I’ll have to make a few more aprons before then.

These aprons are pretty simple and I made it up as I went along, but here are some basic directions. If you are looking for more specific details, there are tons of apron patterns and tutorials out there.

What you need:

– a large rectangle for the apron skirt

Cut your rectangle as wide as you like to wrap around your waist. I used an apron I already had to figure out the width and length. Remember you will be folding this rectangle in half, so make it twice the length you want. If you want to gather your skirt, cut 1.25 or 1.5 times the width you need depending on how much gathering you want.

– one or two long rectangles for the apron ties

You can make the apron ties long enough to wrap around your waist once or twice. The width of the strip depends on the look you want. A wide strip would be about 6″ (folded in half = a little less than 3 inches wide after narrow hem). A narrow strip would be 3-4″ or two 2″ strips. I wouldn’t suggest going much narrower than 3″ for a single strip or 2″ for two strips, taking seam allowance and a narrow hem into account.

– one or two rectangles (or any other shape) for the pockets

I made mine just big enough to put my hand in, but keep in mind what you will want to put in the pockets: spoon, towel, etc. These will also be folded in half, so make them twice the length you want.

1. Fold your large skirt rectangle in half, right sides together, and sew around three edges. Turn the skirt right side out, press and topstitch the sewn edges. You can staystitch the unfinished edge at the top above the seam allowance to prevent shifting.

If you are gathering your apron skirt, you may want to skip to step two and sew on your pockets first before you gather. To gather, sew two lines of long stitches (I sew mine at 4.5) on the top and pull the back threads to gather to desired width. To keep your gathering in place, you will probably want to sew a seam at normal stitch length to secure it.

2. Sew the pockets the same way as the skirt, along three sides and turn. Fold the top of pocket in 1/4″ and topstitch close to edge. Attach pockets near center of skirt with topstitching. I used two rows of topstitching on mine.

3. If you cut your apron ties as two rectangles, sew the tops of the ties together and press along the seam. If you cut the ties as one rectangle, you can just press the strip in half. You can topstitch along the finished top of the ties if you want.

Then fold under 1/8″ or 1/4″ twice on the bottom edges to make a narrow hem. I sewed the raw edges of my ties closed right sides together and then folded the seam allowance back under on the edges before I started attaching the ties.

(I realize this part may be a bit tricky without a photo…)

I sewed one side of the ties to apron skirt the same way I sew on double-fold bias tape: I unfolded the wide part and sewed where the folds overlapped. Make sure you are attaching the ties below your gathering stitches and staystitching. After you’ve sewn one side of the ties to the front of the apron, fold the rest of the ties up and over and pin carefully trying to match the front and backs as best you can. This part took me the most time, but you only have one seam left and you’re done! After you carefully pin the remaining open part of the tie to itself and to the front and back of the apron and are sure it lines up, sew a long seam close to the edge. Make sure you’ve got both sides sewn down in the seam and you’re done!