Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sewing Extravaganza

A few weeks ago, I had a bit of sewing fever. Hubby was out of town (and son - Scout campout) so I stayed up late a couple nights and got a lot done. I cut out and sewed 4 skirts, 1 pair of pants, 2 pajama pants, the back of a quilt, and cut out curtains (not sewn yet). I also bound a quilt, had a movie girls' night with dinner at a friend's house, took a big shopping trip and lunch out with my girls, and read a book. Here's a look at some of the projects . . .

. . . skirts for my girls.
. . . a skirt for a friend's daughter (modeled by cousin W) and a skirt for Grandma.
. . . pants for Katie.
. . . and pajama pants (hiding 'till Christmas).
Here's another sewing project I did earlier this summer. Jessica has decided to take band, and needed a folder/bag for her music books. I couldn't tell you how I did it, I just made it up as I went. Basically, a double layer, heavily interfaced back, 2 pockets, and handles. I made it so the handles would slip over the handle of her clarinet case, making it easy to carry.

Jewelry Love

My sister and I made my mom a watch with interchangeable watch bands for her birthday last month. We forgot earrings to match. So we set out this week to add this necessary accessory. My mom doesn't have her ears pierced, so we had to look for clip findings, which proved to be the hardest part. There were plenty of clip findings with sticky fronts, but we were looking for the ones with a hole to loop a wire to. Finally found, we made Mom 4 pairs of earrings to match her watches.
Of course, I had to make myself some. There were a few colors of earrings I don't have. And a watch band I didn't have any to match. The yellow and green will both match said watch.
Of course, my niece loves to do anything her mom does, and wanted to make her own earrings. We used the last clip findings to make her little dice earrings.
The dice were chosen by my daughter (Jessica) for me to make her some fun earrings. She just got her ears pierced (b-day gift) and is anxious to take out her studs and wear fun earrings. I think I'll save these for her actual birthday (since she's forgotten about them already) in a few weeks. Now she'll have some colorful earrings to add to her earring holder.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beach Bums

My parents had a week timeshare at Bear Lake and invited us along. So, we took one last quick vacation before school started. The days we were there, my sister also came with her husband and 4 kids (the cousins close in age to my kids). We all spent time on Dad's boat, especially on the platform tube. It seems the favorite activity was flying. A couple of the kids became quite the experts on flying. The most funny was to see the tube bounce on several consecutive waves, throwing one kid off in one direction, then another in the opposite direction. We were having so much fun, I forgot to take many pictures, but here's a sampling of our weekend . . .

. . . on Grandpa's (Dad) boat.
. . . with cousins.
. . .just hangin' in the condo.
For any of you familiar with Bear Lake, it is the highest it has been in ~20 years. There are spots where the water does splash up on the road when it gets real windy. Those are the tops of some trees - granted, small trees, but trees, not bushes. There used to be a lot of beach that people would drive down onto to park in front of the water. Not this year. The water is up to the road.
Bear Lake, we love you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hooded Baby Towel

I know it's been a long time. This summer has turned out to be busier than the school year. I'm not promising anything miraculous, but I'm just going to start sharing some of the projects and activities we've done this summer.

Earlier this summer I made a few baby gifts. This is my go-to gift (along with baby soap and shampoo) because I love them so much and feel that homemade is so much better than storebought. When I had my second baby, a neighbor gave me a homemade hooded towel. It was 100x better than the cheap, thin ones I had from the store, and much better than the hooded towel I had made for my first using a washcloth for a hood. This towel stayed on her head better and wrapped around her better. The trick is to use a hand towel for the hood instead of a washcloth. I looked at what she had made and found it was so easy to copy. I made subsequent towels for my other children, and they used them for years. I had to take them away from my youngest, or she'd still be using it at age 9.

Let me show you how. . .
The hood takes 1/2 a hand towel, so I usually make 2 at a time. Gather the 2 bath towels and 1 hand towel and take the tags off the hand towel. Baby doesn't want an itchy tag in their face.
1. Start by folding the hand towel in half and cutting it straight across.
2. Then serge (or zig zag) the edge to prevent the towel loops from fraying everywhere.
3. Set one half aside for a second towel, and fold the remaining half in half, serged edge to the finished edge. Don't worry about having the two edges flush - the give in a towel makes it so they won't line up. It's okay, they don't need to line up. Focus on the now short edges. That's what needs to line up. Notice in the picture I have the serged edge just short of the finished edge. It's not really necessary, but will make the edge 10x easier to sew and serge, later.
4. Next, on the folded edge, measure in 5" and pin.
5. Now draw a line (or pin, or eyeball, however you need to mark it) from the pinned point to the corner of the serged edge. This is where you will sew.
6. (Sorry about the blur, I don't have the best camera.) Now sew on the diagonal line, backstitching at the beginning and the end.
6. (con't)Here's where it becomes easier if you didn't line up the edges exactly. Sewing this corner (and especially serging) is hard if you have to go through so many layers, and can bog down your machine. I broke several needles before figuring out I could avoid that corner. Look closely at where my seam is ending. Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 with the other edge.
7. After sewing both corners, serge off the outside triangle, or trim and zig zag. You end up with this:
8. Turn the hood inside out and measure (or fold) the halfway point of the serged edge. Mark with a pin. Measure the halfway point of the body towel and mark it with a pin, as well.
Next you'll be pinning the hood to the towel. Make sure you pin the right side of the hood. The wrong side is this one with the seams:
9. Match up the 2 centers and pin the right side of the hood to the towel. Now, towels do have a right side as well, but most people don't pay attention to it. If you don't care, don't worry about it. If you're giving this as a baby gift, or notice things like this yourself, the body towel has a tag on it. Consider that side the wrong side. I always place the tag on the inside and make it the bottom of the towel.
10. Now you're going to make a pleat. Start on the left side of the middle pin. About 1/2" from the pin, fold the towel towards the middle pin, then fold it back at the middle. This makes a 1/2" pleat. The picture shows 2 pleats, one to the right and one to the left of the middle pin.
11. Make 2 more pleats, each about 2" from the last, on each side. I use my fingers to measure, and I've done this enough I can eyeball them to be evenly spaced. If you need to, use a seam gauge and measure so they're the same distance apart and the same size pleat.
Pleat on both sides of the middle. Make sure that the pleats on each side are facing the middle. So, on the left, you fold right, then left. And on the right of the middle, you fold left, then right.
12. After pinning the pleats, stretch out the remaining hood and lay it along side the towel. Pin the ends down. The end of the finished edge of the hood, the part just past the diagonal seam, will lay down along the edge of the towel as if it were part of the serged edge.
13. Now sew the hood to the body of the towel, backstitching at the beginning and the end. Sew with the pleats facing up and go slow so you can take out the pins and make sure each pleat is laying flat.View of the inside of the hood:
View of the outside of the hood, and finished pleats:
All rolled up, tied with a ribbon, ready to give:

Now, sometimes, I like to add a ribbon or lace to the hood, especially if it's for a baby girl. If I already have a towel sewn, I'll add the trim by folding the edge under and sewing it on the hood right at the end of the fluffies, starting at the seam where the hood meets the body of the towel:
But if I know I'm putting trim on at the beginning, I'll sew it on the hood before I pin the hood to the rest of the towel. This towel will be for my next new niece, and I'm adding a bright pink ric-rac. Sew the trim (ribbon, lace, or ric-rac) on right after step 7.
There's no need to fold the ends of the trim over. They'll be sewn into the finished seam between the hood and towel body. Cut the trim flush with the edges of the hood. Then continue with step 8.
And here is the finished towel with the trim: