rainbow mini swap

The rainbow mini swap wrapped up in April. I started off with nine colors of polka dots and an idea for a log cabin, but the colors weren’t working in the pattern.     I did sew the warm colors together in the center before I decided that it wasn’t working out so I ended up using that part of the block as a zipper pouch.   I was messing around with the layout in Adobe Illustrator and came up with this when I was trying out another idea.   It got much more of a response from the swap group than I was thinking it would and my partner, who is a big fan of polka dots, was very pleased with it. 

And here’s the back. 

 I made some colorful extras too, including a rainbow tote and a key fob. Those two items have become my go-to extras for swaps. And here’s the quilt I got from my partner. I’m still pretty amazed by it and will catch myself just staring at as it hangs on my craft room wall.   I still have several more swaps to catch up with on the blog, and three shipping this month!

zipper pouch addiction

Want to sew something quick and satisfying? Try a zipper pouch.

They are quick and easy to sew and don’t take a lot of fabric.

Here are some I’ve made since my blogging hiatus started last fall.

This first one is using the noodlehead open wide pouch.

IMG_2305

IMG_2340-0

IMG_3585

IMG_3653

IMG_3558-0

IMG_3852-2

IMG_4658

IMG_4741

I bought some bags of scraps on Instagram over the summer and those have made for some fun scrappy pouches. It’s also a good project where you can use a little bit of pretty fabric when you can’t bear to part with the whole piece at once. I’m sure there will be more to come as I always find myself coming back to making zipper pouches!

sewing machine cover

For years I dreamed about a sewing machine cover. I bought the fabric to make one over Easter weekend 2013. And it sat on my shelf for a long time before my summer craft room reorganization brought it back to my attention.

When I’d think about making the cover, I would research different sewing patterns and then draw my ideal cover out, trying to figure out a design. I wanted a pocket. I wanted it to go around the cords so I wouldn’t have to unplug. I wanted it to slope with my machine. None of the patterns had what I was looking for.

So I would decide it was too hard and would put it aside again.

Then a revelation came to me, as it often does with sewing. Nothing makes sense until it makes total sense. So I realized I could trace my machine, and it wasn’t that hard after all (just two side pieces and a middle piece) and I had myself a reversible sewing machine cover start in finish in less than a day. I attribute the cat bed construction process with helping me realize how to put the cover together.

Here is an in-progress shot of the lining construction, making sure it would fit.

IMG_2763

And here’s the finished cover. I love it.

IMG_2767

I didn’t quite come together how I thought it would when I drew it up in 2013, but you know what? It’s functional, colorful, fun, and most importantly, complete! I’ve been trying to get over my concerns about things not turning out by just going start to finish and getting things done. That is certainly a confidence booster, when things turn out and they weren’t as hard as you made them out to be. (I’ve been enjoying my cover since September… Just found this post in draft!)

I had picked out a different fabric for the lining, but I decided to go with the same Wildfield fabric I used for the reverse side of my sewing machine mat. I bought several yards and love it, but still have plenty leftover. And when I’m feeling super matchy, I can have a matching mat and cover. (The original lining for the cover found a place as a lining for the bag I made to take to Italy.)

Anyway, what have you been thinking about making for way too long? Or have you completed some long awaited projects lately? If you haven’t made yourself a sewing machine cover, I definitely recommend just doing it!

super simple crochet shrug

This shrug kind of took forever. My mom bought me some yarn for my birthday back in September and shortly after I started this Lion Brand shrug pattern.

My first attempt was no good. The gauge seemed good but my stitches were way too tight and when I had gone through a whole skein I only had a few inches complete. I only had three skeins, as per the instructions, and it’s supposed to be 40″ tall when finished.

My second attempt was working with a very loose stitch but doing back loops only in a super simple rectangle that’s 32″ wide was so boring.

2015/01/img_3631-0.jpg
I got distracted by several knitting projects along the way, but took the half-finished shrug along with me to Italy since I knew that there’d be plenty of downtime (at least 8 hours flight each way and bus time).

I could have finished it up on the flight back but foolishly thought that I’d met the height requirement. I finished out the rest of the third skein of yarn back in Kentucky, stitched it up and was surprised at how pleased it was with the result.

2015/01/img_4433.jpg
So here it is all finished. Considering the whole thing is just one giant rectangle, it’s really quite flattering. And warm!

key fobs, round one

My key fob mania started because I’d been wanting to make something to carry my keys on and DIY key fobs popped up in my Pinterest feed one day. I ordered the supplies right away and got going.

keyfobs01A

The first one I made was for my tote swap partner.

keyfobs02A

While making my first one, I realized I didn’t have much ribbon that was the right width. Shortly after, I found the ribbon clearance section at Hancock Fabrics.

keyfobs07A

Then when Crystal came to visit I showed her how to make one since she’s always wanting to learn more about sewing. Here are the two we made that day.

keyfobs03A

keyfobs04A

Crystal did the bottom one by herself, and the blue flowered one I made has been hanging out with my keys ever since.

So after she left, I go to work making the rest of the key fobs I had hardware for and sending them off to friends.

keyfobs05A

Yes, that’s a second blue one. Loved the color combo!

keyfobs06A

I’m keeping that long fabric one for myself, but the rest are headed out to friends and family.

These are so simple to make I know I’ll be making more soon! I just need to order some more hardware. I think I’ll be trying some more with fabric instead of ribbon for the next round.

 

big beachy striped tote

I was flipping through an issue of Lucky magazine and spotted this tote. I loved the stripes and handle treatment.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 9.48.25 AM

Then I recalled that I had a very similar fabric in my stash and decided to make a knock-off for my friend Crystal who lives near a lake.

I started by making a lined zipper pocket to sew in at the top hem of the bag. I really wanted a sturdy lining so there wouldn’t be anywhere for sand to hide out. I basically just made a square zipper pouch like I’ve made before, but on a larger scale. The lining was a little fiddly, but it all worked out. (I don’t know that I’ll ever do a tutorial because I generally hack things until they turn out how I want them.)

stripedtotezipperpocketA

 

Quite proud of that pocket! And I like how the vintage metal zipper finishes it off. Here’s how it looks in the bag. I just sewed it right in to the top hem between the straps.

beachstripedtote01A

The bag itself is pretty large. I figured it would fit two or three towels, snacks, extra shoes/clothes, water bottles, and anything else you might need on a trip to the beach.

I finished everything off on the inside with French seams to stop this home dec fabric from fraying.

beachstripedtotecollageA

To add some form to the floppy bag, I boxed the bottom and added seams along each of the four corners to reinforce the shape.

I was going to buy cotton webbing for the handles but it would have been around $10. Instead, I bought a remnant of nice crisp off-white cotton for less than $2 and made my own handles and pocket lining from that. Crystal said she preferred that for the handles anyway!

So leftover yard sale fabric (previously used for an apron for my brother) + vintage metal zipper from stash + $2 remnant = way less than $77 for a beach tote for my friend!

I threw in the second sunnies pouch and a pair of baby pants to finish off the package.beachstripedtote05AMade by Rae’s newborn baby pants are probably my most sewn pattern to date. They sew up quickly, make good use of small bits of fabric, and are perfect for anyone having a baby, especially people having boys as you can’t just whip up a cute dress or hair ribbon for them.

plaidbabypantsA

My plaids don’t match up because I didn’t have much of this fabric left and what I did was in an odd shape, but I think they’ll looking darling with a red onesie or yellow or navy sweater.

 

belated birthday dress and infinity scarf

I gave my mom a store-bought infinity scarf for her birthday and my Aunt Amy, whose house we were visiting at the time, was intrigued by the concept. I am not sure how she hadn’t heard of one before but I decided to make her one with this red flowery chiffon I found thrifting back in Alabama.

 infinityscarfA

I’d been considering making a top out of it, but am glad I used it for a scarf instead. I probably could have chopped it in half since it was wide, but worried about the fabric being difficult to work with since it felt so silky. I just french seamed the short raw edges together so no threads would escape, left the selvedges alone along the long sides, and it was a scarf! Since the weave was very fine it condenses nicely when worn even with a larger than normal amount of fabric.

While I was at it, I made my little cousin Emma a belated birthday dress in summery plaid. (Also made myself a top that I need to photograph.) The fabric is perfect for summer, very light but not sheer like everything else seems to be this season.

emmaplaiddressA

I had some white eyelet fabric leftover from a skirt refashion (that also needs photographed) so I used it for the yoke to add some visual interest instead of just using plain white.

plaiddress_cuA

This was my second time using the popover dress pattern. I also used it to make her a birthday dress last year. She actually wore last year’s dress for Easter while I was visiting. It was fun to see it in person and she looks so cute in it!

emmapinkpopoverA

And here’s my aunt and Emma wearing their new stuff.

aa&mA

Many more things to blog and photograph as this summer has been declared to be my summer of sewing after a near hiatus over the winter/spring months. Hopefully I’ll catch up a little on posts over the long weekend.