Friday, November 7, 2014

Scrap Buster #7 - (Ugly) Clothespin Bag

I used to have a friend in college who asked me to make him ugly mittens to match the ugly scarf his mom had given him.  It was the most hysterical and difficult thing I did.  It's hard to purposefully make something ugly when I usually do everything I can to avoid that.  And I wasn't sure if he wanted hideously ugly or just not very pretty.  I made them hideous.  He loved them.  That worked out.  He later commissioned a hat of the same variety.  Also hideous.  I learned to let go of my need for everything to always be esthetically pleasing.

Bringing me to my clothespin bag.  We line dry everything and desperately needed a bag in which to carry our clothespins.  I didn't like the ones that hung on the line because I'd have to drag it along the line as I pinned things up.  I didn't plan on keeping it on the line in between dryings since I didn't want it getting rained on.  I ended up just making a basic bag shape and then put straps closer to each other on one side than on the other to tie around my waist, making the opening fall open away from me so it would be easier to get my hand in and out.

The bag is made from 2 9-patch squares I made over 5 years ago with random fabric I had at the time.  I had 2, so I decided to use one for each side of the bag, but I didn't really like all the fabric and I didn't like how they were arranged.  I just wanted to use them up.  I ended up doing a disappearing 9 patch on it first.  Then I did the disappearing 4 patch technique on it, mixing up the pieces from both sides until I liked the arrangement better.  (I still don't love it as a beautiful thing, but I like it better than what I started with.)  I then used some fun palm tree fabric (again, stuff I wanted to get rid of) as the bottom and sides to make it big enough to house all my pins.  I lined it with some greenish/purple floral fabric (again, get it out of my stash!) and made the handles out of the same material as the lining.  Sewed the handles on and BAM! Clothespin bag.

It works just great.  Do I think it's beautiful? No.  Do I love it's function?  Yes.  Will I redo it?  Probably not until this one falls apart, so not for a while.  There you go.  I let go of perfect beauty for the purpose of function and clearing out fabric.  I feel good about that.  Yay for line drying!

See you soon!
(I've been doing better at keeping this promise lately!)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Scrap Busters #4 and #5 - A Bassinet and Mattress Pad

I had a baby!  I figure if I start with that, no one can complain about a little lack of posts.  Though my baby is three months old and I haven't published a post since way before that, but hey, prepping for a baby is time consuming, too!  Anyways, as my husband holds our baby (both are actually sleeping, cuddled together.  It's how they bond) I get to write this post!

I made my baby's bassinet.  I really wasn't liking anything I saw online, I don't like frills and stuff (we didn't want anything too gender specific anyway).  I had looked into baskets, something we could line and put a pad down in, but they were so expensive.  I don't like expensive things, even if someone else would buy it for us as a group gift.  Sometimes things just shouldn't be that much money.  So since my mom came out early (because I started having fake labor and she's about a 14 hour trip away from us and didn't want to miss anything if it happened fast) we decided to make one ourselves.

Of course, she has all the pictures of the making of the bassinet, so I only have the finished product.  Every single piece of fabric in the bassinet is something I already owned.  Yay for using up fabric!  The outside is pieced, made from some heavier fabric, possibly duck cloth?, that I got for 50 cents at some thrift store.  We almost made it strips like the German flag, but thought that was a little too much, so we settled on paying homage to Germany through the colors and mixing up the strips a little.  (Those three colors are the only ones I had, they just happened to be the German flag colors and my family just happened to live in Germany, so that was fun).  It was actually quite easy to make.  We just sewed long strips together in the following order - black, red, black, orange, black, red - with the red and orange strips being 2.5" wide and the black 1.5" wide.  Then we cut them into strips 2.5" wide and flipped every other strip upside down and sewed them all together to make a huge loop.

The inside is an old rice bag that I had carried around forever and found out that my mother actually got it from Hawaii when she was young, so yay for finally using it!  We just cut it in half and used part of the back added above and below the two halves to make it long enough to fit the pieced outside loop.  The bottom is two layers of the same fabric as the outside, as are the handles.  

The inside and outside both have a layer of batting sewn to them and we made little pockets between the lining and it's batting layer to put 8 pieces of boning in to help keep the sides upright.  Then we stitched a bottom to both the inside and outside (leaving a space on the inside one to eventually turn it right side out).

We sewed the tops of the two layers together, adding the handles in as well.  We then did a little quilting, stitched in the ditch in the seams near the boning (sometimes it was right through the boning, other times it was the two seams surrounding the boning) to help keep the two layers together and not bow with the boning.  We then hand stitched the opening in the lining shut and Ta DA!  We have a bassinet for my baby!

It ended up being about 3 feet long and about 18" wide at the longest and widest points.  We also made the mattress pad using old fabric (every piece of fabric that I've stored for years and always hated but could never get rid of) and 4 layers of some polyester batting that I bought a while ago and never used.  It's all stuffed in a big oval shaped pillowcase, basically (also with ugly scrap fabric).  We made two sheets for it (we bought fabric for the sheets - shock!) and it was ready for a baby to be laid in it.  Which was good, because my water broke later that night and I had the baby the next day!

I really like this thing, even though it was a little bit of a pain at some points (always double check things are right before you sew them.  Unpicking stinks when your stitches are small and plentiful because it was on a handle that you wanted to be secure.)  My favorite part about it (and the reason I wanted something like this) is that when the child is old enough to no longer fit in it, we can use it as storage for stuffed animals, toys, blankets, etc., and it can become something the kids will play with (which was proven when our niece (2 yrs) and nephew (9 mo) came to visit and both immediately went and sat in it.

So there you have it.  An awesome bassinet for an amazing baby.  I hope you enjoyed this haphazard explanation of my project.  I also am counting it as my Scrap Buster projects Nos. 3 and 4, since it was the bassinet and the mattress pad.  Yay for progress!

See you soon....?
Maybe with another already finished project!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scrap Buster #3 - Personal Progress Values Bag

I am an Activity Day leader for girls ages 8-11 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It's really fun and the girls are amazing.  One fabulous girl is graduating in a week because she is turning 12.  She is moving on to the 12-18 year old group of girls in Young Women and she will be starting Personal Progress, which is really exciting (and I have a feeling she will looove going through the activities in there).  The sad thing is she is leaving us.  Luckily we still get to see her every Sunday!  As a little goodbye gift, I decided to make her a bag.  Of course I decided this about an hour before her goodbye party started.  After 5 (frenzied) minutes of looking through bags on Pinterest, I decided to go for a floppy bag.  It closes without closures and it's a quick, basic structure.  

I ended up choosing to make the body with the 8 colors representing the Personal Progress Values (Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue).  The colors are white, blue, red, green orange, yellow, purple and gold.  I had the blue through purple fabrics left over from my WhirlyGig Quilt.  

The gold and white were other scraps, not quilting cotton.  I decided to put a band of those on the top of the other colors, one on each side of the bag.  The strap is from webbing that I had picked up at a thrift store.  It's sewn into the sides where the rainbow and top block of color meet.  The inside is just black quilting cotton.  

This bag was designed, cut and sewn (and last minute photographed) in 45 minutes.  I'm pretty proud of myself.  It's not perfect, but I didn't use a single pin (most obvious issue is the puckered white fabric, but it's quaint because it was homemade, right?)

I hope when she uses this bag it will be a regular reminder of all the amazing qualities she has and is working to strengthen.  She already said she wanted to use it for her Sunday scripture bag.  I love when what I make is used.  

See you soon! (I promise!)
(With projects that have been completed and just need pictures added to the posts)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Scrap Buster #2 - Fabric Tray

As promised, this project was actually completed before the sweater/scrap fabric pillow case was done, but I felt the need to get that one posted considering I'm already working on the next clothing revamp project.

This project was super simple.  I wanted a place to contain our wallets and keys on our table, otherwise they ended up falling to the bottom of the bowl where we keep our gloves and odds and ends.  I also like the look of having a specific, contained place for things to go, instead of just being put straight on the table top.  I looked into quite a few different fabric buckets and bags, and loved a whole bunch, but for this project, I ended up going with noodlehead's fabric trays.  They looked like a quick sew, they used up a little batting (which I've got a bunch of odd, small shapes left over), and they make a tray, not a basket, meaning the sides aren't too high, but you're not sewing tiny pieces of fabric to make tiny sides.

I read how it was all put together and then made my own dimensions for my tray, since I didn't want lots of extra space for other things to crowd it up.  I decided to use a quilting cotton weight fabric for the inside and an upholstery weight fabric for the outside.  I don't own any fusible type anything and I didn't want it to be too flimsy on the bottom (though it's not something that's going to be carried anywhere, I just wanted it more sturdy because I did.  End.).

The upholstery fabric made it just stiff enough where it doesn't droop down sadly when picked up.  At one point I considered putting cardboard in it to make it stiff.  Then I decided it was way too much work and would require me to leave my craft room.  Bad idea.  I stayed put and sewed a tray!  I love it.  It's the perfect size and just keeps things looking nicer.

Now I have to figure out a way to organize the hats and scarves now that our coat rack is slightly broken and can't hold as much as it used to.  Any ideas?  Ones that involve sewing with fabric are highly encouraged!

See you soon!
(...with details on the next clothing revamp project!)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Clothes Revamp No. 1 Complete!

I did it!  And don't worry, I finished it on March 3rd (just in time).  I have been having a hard time remembering to take a picture of it during sun light hours.  Our living room is so dark, you wouldn't be able to see it at night.  I can't see it and I'm looking at it right now (I think).

So I proudly present to you, my sweater-turned-pillow case Clothing Revamp!

I love this because it serves quite a few purposes.
1.  It motivates me to now recover the couches (since you can see our couches are basically the same color) which I've been wanting and planning to do for coming up on 2 years now.  (I'm terrified about it, that's why I haven't done it yet).  
2.  I finally get to enjoy the awesome fabric manipulation I did on the sweater, since I didn't wear the sweater before, and it was on the back so I didn't see it anyway!

3.  I ended up using some of the scrap fabric that I'm trying to sew my way through, so it also becomes project 1 of my Scrap Buster projects as well.  YAY for reaching 2 goals with one project!

I still did an envelope style pillow back (with a general idea of how to do it from Martha Stewart, though I had to alter it a little because I was using a different fabric for the front).  But I made my classic mistake and ended up with the bottom folding over the top - which may not necessarily be wrong, but I definitely prefer the other way around.  I just always get confused when I'm sewing it inside out.  One of these days I'll figure it out.  Otherwise, I'm quite happy with it!

The hardest part was cutting the green knit.  Since I had pulled it in so may directions and not equally on both sides or from top to bottom, it was hard to cut it in a square.  Or really, it was hard to cut it so that when it was sewn to the back it would stretch properly to become a square.  I think I did a pretty good job at it, though.  If my backing fabric had been a little stiffer it would have helped keep a squarer shape once it was on the form, but I prefer softer fabrics for pillows (so I can snuggle my face on them without being scratched), so I like it!

I have chosen my denim dress to be my next clothing project.  That post will be coming soon, at least the post saying what I'm thinking of doing with it!

Clothing Revamp #1, done!
Scrap Buster #1, done!

See you soon!
(...with Scrap Buster #2!  It's already done!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

I Don't Wear Sweaters - Clothes Revamp No. 1

So I picked the article of clothing I plan to reinvent for this month.  I actually had it in mind before I even published the last post so I'm giving it a starting day of February 1st, meaning I've got until March 3rd to do something with it.  Luckily, I had it in mind because I had a plan for it already.  So here's the piece - the Roots Sweater.  Yep, see, I have a tendency to reinvent something and then not really love the final result.  In this case, I loved what I did, but I haven't worn it twice that I can remember.  I don't like turtlenecks and I rarely wear sweaters.  I'm not sure why I did this in the first place.  So.  Revamp Attempt #2!  And I'm not making it wearable.  It's going to turn into a pillow cover.  I plan to add a few more roots and extend them out to the edge of the pillow.  But then a simple (fingers crossed) cut and sew with probably an envelope backing because it requires no extra hardware and is easy! I've already pinned the new roots, so it's hand stitching time!  This is when I wish I lived in the city again.  Nothing like 45 minute train rides to give you some good forced hand craft time.

Anyways, I got off topic (and I wrote the previous paragraph last week).  I have finished sewing the extended roots and they look awesome.  I have to now figure out exactly how to do the envelope style cover.  I don't have a lot of extra fabric for the back since the bottom 6 inches of the sweater body is a knit rib, but I think I've figured out a way to actually use the ribbing to give me enough fabric to do the envelope binding, because that really is my favorite way (can it be a favorite if it's the only way you've ever done it?).  Either way, I have about a week left to finish it, though it'll only take me an hour or two from this point, so it's all dependent on when I get to it!  So excited for a crafty finish!

See you soon...
(with a new pillow cover and pictures!)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Goals and Motivation

I love crafting.  I also love how I go through phases in my life where different things become more intriguing and compelling for me.  I got a little burned out on crafting over the holidays.  I made 2 aprons for my husband's brother and his wife and then I made a 2 sided appliqued fleece blanket for my brother.  They both turned into last minute works, delaying our departure to my husband's parent's house to finish the aprons, and cutting off the extra fabric for my brother's blanket in the car to the airport.  So I came home to a messy, disorganized craft room.

Needless to say, I haven't really entered back in except while looking for index cards (which I couldn't find).  So I've decided to make organizing and cleaning up (and out) the room my new crafty priority.  One thing I have is 2 giant boxes full of random fabric (from quilting cotton to corduroy to lining material to who knows what this is for).  Another thing I have is a pile of clothes that I either almost love or have bizarre, unreasonable attachment to and can't get rid of, but I haven't bothered to do anything with them yet.  I have been following Amanda Jean on Crazy Mom Quilts and she has this goal of making 101 projects purely from scraps to help control her quilting fabric.  So I was thinking I could do the same sort of thing.  

I plan on:
  1st, picking an article of clothing that I either need to alter or rework and give myself 30 days to do something with it.  If the 30 days goes by and nothing happens with it, it's being donated.
  Once that first one is done, I pick the next article of clothing that day and have 30 days to work with that.  So worst case - I end up giving away 12 articles of clothing by the end of the year (meaning this may take a few years to get through all of them), or best case - I'll have 12+ new items in my wardrobe by the end of the year.  And some I may refashion and realize I don't like the new one any more than the old so off it'll go.  

  2nd, picking a number (101 seams...ha totally unintentional pun!...seems a little high, but maybe it's good to aim high.  Go for Gold!) of projects that I'd like to complete that use up my 2 boxes of random fabrics.  While doing that, I'll go through and decide if some fabrics just aren't worth saving (or should be used as filler or batting for another project).  The idea is to hold off on the next quilt until I get rid of a bunch of this other fabric.  So I'm going bold, but not too bold.  57.  I plan on doing 57 projects with the box fabric before I can look to do another quilt.  

I like this kind of pressure.  Not overwhelming, but for the box fabric, it'll be great motivation to be creative and think of what I need in life and how I can make it out of fabric!  It'll be like my 31 projects in 31 days that I used to do (hey, it's February! I totally missed it this year!  Awkward embarrassment) except that this time they have to all contain fabric.  But that's cool, most of my other one's did anyway.  

Already I've got my mind thinking hard.  Like, if I plan on organizing my craft room, I'm going to need some nice containers for things and I really have loved all those fabric boxes/baskets that I've been seeing and I've got some heavy weight material that would stand the test of time.  

Do you have ideas for me?  I've got a lot of projects to do and any piece of inspiration is helpful!  I'll post them as I do them and I'll show my clothing article that I plan to redo as well, and show the finished product if I end up refashioning it!  So excited for progress.  And cleanliness.  And orderliness.  I like those things.  

See you soon...
(with projects!)