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!


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.


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!)


#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.


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.


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


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.


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.


#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.


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.


and back view

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


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.

goodwill refashions

I haven’t been thrifting very much since the move, but I did take advantage of a Friday off a few weeks ago and made a Goodwill expedition. The store was crazy that day for some reason. Everyone in the long lines was asking each other what was going on. (It was Veterans Day, but there weren’t any sales or specials.)

My goal for the trip was to find some items with long sleeves. I have lots of half or three-quarter sleeves, but few tops with sleeves that go all the way to the wrist. (Though I did get swayed by a few items with shorter sleeves…) I was also looking for items that didn’t need a lot of work to make them wearable. I have so many materials for projects I want to do that I don’t need to add anything involved to the queue. I got a few fixer-uppers and a few items I can wear as is. I’m just sharing the fixer-uppers today.

First, the quickest fix. This shirt had navy polka dots, piping, lots of detail, and the tag was still on it. The only flaw: a missing button.

shiny gray plastic buttons with a shank. no thanks.

Cue the button stash. I didn’t like the buttons anyway, so I tore them all off and replaced them with the navy buttons originally on this shirt. It’s funny how the buttons looked matronly on the navy shirt, but on this shirt with navy polka dots they looked perfect.

I only had five buttons, so for the sleeves so I used these shiny blue buttons with a shank. You can’t see the front and back of the shirt at the same time anyway.

The next item didn’t have long sleeves, but I was drawn to the colors. They remind me of summer fruits and honeydews, but the shirt started off way too big. Baggy chic doesn’t work on my frame.

I took in the arms and sides, and then a little bit around the armholes to bring the shoulders in. I also got my hair cut, so no looking baggy or shaggy!


I’m wearing this shirt right now and it’s quite comfy. I like the boatneck.

This last piece was also too roomy. (I got tired of taking before pictures.) It looked baggy, I took it in along the sleeves and the sides with both straight and zig-zag stitches to prevent unraveling, and now it’s smaller and fits well. It hits at a good length too.

I could tell it was a quality sweater with thought-out details and almost passed it by because it was a few sizes too big. I’m glad I scooped it up for $3; it’s nice and toasty. I also like the navy color, though it’s not coming across well in this photo.

I’m getting a new camera with higher ISO and hopefully better white balance coming for Christmas. So excited! My D200 has been with me through oodles of life experiences, but a lot has happened with digital camera technology in the last six years.