Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This week I have done a little sewing.. but mainly alterations. I bought 2 tank tops, a blouse, and a tank top for my little man from the thrift store. The tanks for myself I just shortened the straps, so simple but satisfying. The blouse has a lovely swirly pink and brown pattern on it, but in long sleeve it was just too much. So I cut it off just below the elbow and put in a little elastic, I wore it today and love it.

The tank for my little man has a print on the front which says 'tiki beach party' I thought I would try some free-machine embroidery.. a palm tree seemed to fit. I went over the whole thing several times. Now I have a couple of new things I am excited to wear, all only costing a couple of dollars.

I have dabbled in hat making for toddlers before and thought it was about time to make one for myself. I bought 2 secondhand curtains that were heavy cotton a few years ago and have since used the fabric in a number of items. I decided to make a hat from my friends pattern over at Red Raven (her hats are a must have in our town). I was really happy with the hat, it did take me a few minor alterations... to get it to sit just right (due to my sewing ability not my friends pattern) I put a patch (of one of the screen printed birds from my course) on it. I love it! It is deep, not too tight and provides lots of shade. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

rainy day craft for kids

it has yet to be summer for more than a few days at a time here, so today at 8am me and my little man decided to get crafty. I thought I'd do a little tutorial for some kid friendly fun, it is using the same idea as the post below this one.

first: you'll need something to paint on I chose a tee, you could also use a sweater, a tote etc.

second: tape of any kind, scissors, contact paper/draw liner paper (you can also use freezer paper and iron it in place), a bryer or a childrens rolling pin, a paint brush and cookie cutters or objects to dip in paint and stamp with.

third: paint, you can buy small tubes of fabric paint at Walmart and some dollar store it's about $2 larger ones are about $5 if you have the option I like the 'Soft' type (over the Slick). note: these paints can be a little thin so you could prepare a decent amount of paint in a container and leave it to dry just a little while you organise the rest of the project.

fourth: shapes to put on your tee, my little man is only 2 so I photocopied his hands then traced them on to the contact paper and cut those out but you could let you children cut out hearts, animals etc.

fifth: optional tape any areas you don't want pain on and cover any work areas you don't want paint on (paint wipes off my counter really well so I skip this). Then tape the tee to the work surface so that it doesn't move around.
note: don't forget you are working with fabric paint so wear a smock or like Rio, wear nothing at all :)

sixth: stick on your contact paper shapes (this I did in the picture above but the hands are clear so you can't see them). Then the part your children will really enjoy start painting. If you have chosen to use a roller of some sort use a paint brush to apply paint then roll it across the tee. Now you can see the hands as they are covered in paint.

note: you need to make sure that there is good paint coverage around your shapes so that when you take them off you'll have a good outline of the shapes.

note: to speed up drying in between colours you can use a hair dryer.

seventh: dip your stamping object in a shallow amount of paint and stamp away. (re-dip after each stamp)

hair dry when you are finished and peel away all the tape and your shapes and there you have it a little wearable piece of art.

Monday, July 25, 2011

nap time quicky

I had a very successful visit to the Thrift store today, I bought 8 meters of natural cotton,which I spilt with a friend because that would last me forever. I also picked up a plain tee for my little man.

I was reading I am Momma this morning and she did this super simple tee that used bubble wrap to apply fabric paint to a tee. I didn't have any on hand so I improvised, I cut out an elephant from contact paper/draw liner paper and stuck it onto the tee. Next I brushed a bryer (rubber roller) with fabric paint and dragged my finger nail over it to make squiggly lines then rolled it in different directions re-applying more paint to the bryer each time. I let the paint dry then peeled the elephant off. I hand stitched around the elephant with embroidery floss to make it stand out a little more an there you have it my new fave tee.

A dress for me!!

Inspiration can always be found while hanging out with A. from Our Ilan & Quinn, who was incredibly sweet and gave me 2 half yards of her new fabrics (from her Etsy store).

I headed home with a plan to use one of them in some way with some fabric I already had. I am not a pattern person, I run from them in fact. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of crafts has a 'shift dress (pillow case dress) which is seriously a rectangle for the front and back, I thought this was do-able. As I am pregnant I thought I could cut the front rectangle in half and sew a triangle of the wood grain fabric A. had given me in the centre. I put a little elastic under the bust and it was done!! I love it. It is simple i know.
As usual I printed something on it, I put little ants around the hem line. The following evening made a fabric belt kind of like the one on Two Peas in a Pod. I plan to wear the belt tied at the back for this dress, but for other uses the tie can be at the front.

So here is the dress and belt.

a small gift

I needed a hand made gift for a friend's little man who just turned 1. I had been racking my brain till I found these bibs on a blog Delia Creates. They aren't super flashy but I could see them being well used so I made 2. Of course I had to print something on there somewhere, so the word 'messy' seemed to work. These fold and tie up really cutely for when you wrap them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

more of the same

I have absolutely no ideas for new projects. It shows how out of it I am. However, like I said I just want to enjoy sewing, so I made another diaper clutch using I print I did a while ago. The fabric is kinda plain so at least the print adds.. something. Last night I wanted to make something for myself.. as I don't need a diaper clutch just yet ;) so I made a larger fabric bucket, I am really happy with how it turned.

Not sure what's on the agender for tonight, but tomorrow I have my little man in day care and will be heading over to a friends for crafting and a catch up. I can't wait, my friend is always really inspired and as I said above I have no idea what to work on. I do have 50 small cotton bags that I could print on... Only thing I have to do then is cut a few stencils...eeek

Other than the sewing I was inspired to make bread this morning as we were out. mmm. I changed a recipe I found on the net to suit, it was a really simple loaf that I added some thyme to an sprinkled with sunflower seeds, so yum.

Monday, July 18, 2011

yes, i am still hear

Wow, it has been to long since I have had anything to update my blog with, how sad.

I have been busy and stressed about a few things going on in life over the last few months. Now that summer is here, I find myself with a lot of free time especially with my husband gone for the summer. The first thing I had to do was find my sewing table, then sew.. sew anything, whatever just to get the feeling back. It is a passion and definitely something that makes me happy.

I have made 3 projects in 3 days.. which made me think that i should keep this going for the whole week. Not a huge challenge I know, but let me ease into this. :)

Friday night I tucked my little man into bed, sat down with a treat to watch one soap then headed for my room.. PJ pants was the project that came to mind. I loosely traced my PJ pants (a feat that wasn't as easy as I thought as the back panel is wider than the front). Once finished I used a wide bias on the inside of the pants so that I didn't have to fold fabric over to make casing for the elastic.. they looked ok. I put them on, and what do you know they are about a mile to short at the back.. he he I had to laugh. this sort of thing happens all the time as i avoid using at pattern at all costs. Anyway just sewing was nice.

Saturday I set out to sew a tote, a style I have seen on the net quite a lot. I like long straps so I extended it and added a pocket to the outside for a bit of interest. When it was complete I was happy with it but it doesn't sit well when you try to wear it on your shoulder. So I undid the seam and used some belt rings so I can put it around the stroller handle. It's a great size for this.

Enough sewing for myself, sunday night I thought that I should really get to work on a baby gift for my new nephew. What to make?? Diaper clutch was what I came up with. I have made one of these before but it just didn't look as amazing as what I had envisioned. Using only fabric I had I am really happy, and I don't want to give this one away (as is the way with most of the things I make).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

yoga pants

After making my first pair of pants out of a tee I had to make another. This time I wanted to try a simple style I saw when I was home in Australia, Bonds Roomies, ( I love anything Bonds!).

This tee was a long sleeved tee that I bought for $3 at Zellars. (I have already made a pair of pants out of the sleeves). Note: the cut of this shirt is a little off so keep that in mind when you look at the photos.

First I measured the length of the pants I made in the last post and added about 2 inches, total 17".

Second I drew the shape (from memory) of the pants. There are only going to be 2 pieces to these pants so there needs to be a big space between the legs to create the crotch. The hem of the tee with become the hem of the pants which will save you some time.

Third: The bottom of the tee's side seams can be used as the leg seams so you will just sew the top half of the legs (this saves sewing and pinning). Cut out the pattern leaving 1/2" for seam allowance, working with jersey like this can move a little once you start pinning and sewing so it's better to be safe than sorry. :)

Fourth: cut out an oval. I know that the Bonds version of these pants doesn't have a gusset, but I wanted to try one.

Fifth: pin the gusset, and sew all the seams.

Sixth: line your pants up with a pair that you already like the fit of to determine where to fold over to create the waist, then pin it.

There you have it a pair of Roomies, if your little fellas bottom doesn't have a diaper on it then these will be baggy in front. They are definitely comfy pants. I will add a pic of my little man wearing them soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

man oh man do i love these pants

The weather here is lovely, my little man and I are spending more and more time down town, browsing and playing at the park mostly. Today we were out by 9am to grab a few things at the store, followed by a visit to the cafe.
Next we, well I decided to hit the Thrift Store, seriously, it is my fave store in town. I have been finding some real treasures lately, today I bought 2 tees for myself (woohoo) and then this Nikita tee. With the plan to make the perfect pair of comfy pants.

This was such an easy project you should really try it. I laid out the tee and cut to pattern pieces (one to become each leg) this means I don't need a seam up the side. I was also able to use the hem of the tee as the hem of the pants, which saves time and looks really neat. Sewing the crouch first then the inside legs, followed by sewing the waist band and threading some wide elastic. Last I sewed in one of my little tags and the original label off the tee on the back and there you have it my fave pants.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my first accessory

In December my lovely friend Kat organised another stocking exchange, there were 8 of us & it was a blast as usual. My Friend A. over at our ilan & quinn gave me a fabric cuff, it's now one of my regular accessories. Anyway today while enjoying coffee I saw a few cuffs that she is putting together & I knew that I just had to try one.

I love these cuffs, they seem to tell a story. The story of my cuff: the brown with tiny flowers is from the first dress I bought since high school prom/graduation (I seriously wore it for four years, since then I've turned it into and skirt and enjoy using the scraps in other project.), the blue floral is from A., the linen is scrapes from the printing course I did in January, the elephant is from an Australian company Umbrella Prints (a little piece of home), the back fabric (not shown) is from mum. Wow that was a mouth full :)

The button is off center as I didn't want to cover the elephant... and it works as the cuff is angular anyway.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

a quiet week..

Yesterday my little man and I hit the thrift store for our weekly visit. Oh my, there was a lot of stuff in there this week. I picked up this plain purple tee, a summer jersey top and lots of flannel fabric, woohoo!
So what to do with an over sized tee to make it wearable?? First of all I rouched the side like the Green Tee I did in an earlier post, only this time I used elastic thread instead of actual elastic.. it seems to sit nicer. Then at craft night, I printed the pens around the neck line. I am on the fence about whether or not I will print one white pen somewhere there too...???

When I get a chance I will post a pic of me wearing it.

With so many friends pregnant at the moment, I should really get a wriggle on pressie wise.

This is the same soft fabric as my little man's baby blanket and the flower flannel was one of my (brand new) finds at the thrift store. The corner fabric, felt and ribbon are something for a little bub to play with. The blanket is 18" squared just big enough to fit in the car seat.
I really like it, I really needed to clear my head after the half an hour of madness before bed time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

just playing around

I was playing around with the idea of random shapes cut out of paper, as a starting point for a print. It turned into a fish bowl, which I really liked, of course a fish bowl needs a fish. I wasn't sure if the fish would be in or above the bowl so the bowl is a little low. Rather than printing I appliqued one on, next time I think I would print it. This is a another thrift store tee, lots of fun for only 75c.

This was inspired by a book of baby animals that I read to my little man repeatedly. I love this print! The only thing is doing really small holes with a craft knife in plastic is tricky. So for some reason I thought I'd try leaving them out of the stencil to worry about later. Not the best idea my practice tee worked better than the new tee, which had to be touched up. There is a tool I have seen for really small holes that I think is called a Japanese punch. If any body knows where I can get my hands on one let me know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

boring tee to new fave.

Getting out of town for me is a treat, so when I found myself having to run an errand in Cranbrook I was very pleased. I had just enough time to run through the thrift store and the super store, woohoo! I bought a few very cheap tees at the super store (all $6 each), when I got home and tried the plain one on again I realised it was way to long.

So what to do.. I didn't really want to try hemming it, I considered ruching the waist.. but then of course A. from our ilan and quinn had the idea of sewing elastic up the sides! Great, that solved the length issue and added a bit of interest. Then I wanted to do something I have seen on a lot of blogs which is to sew strips of jersey fabric to create a flower.. the only jersey on hand was brown.
It's my first attempt at a jersey feature on a tee and i don't mind it at all. I've been waiting for a chance to incorpate a sewn embellishment and a print, so now that I'd sewn the flower I cut a stencil of a similar circular flower.

Inspired by a dress I was given that had the same colour used for the print as for the fabric. I decided to print the flower it in three different shades of green to match the fabric almost perfectly. Looked great on the dress not sure if it has the same effect on my tee... Having said that I love the way this turned out and will be sporting it any chance I get. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

just for the practice

While my little man had a 2 and a half hour nap today (unheard of in our house) I decided to test out the stencils that I cut out at craft night yesterday. I like the stencils, but I really liked making craft night for the 3rd week in a row!!

I am trying to try doing some more floral-ish prints as everything I have printed lately has been for kids tees

The best part of the day though was when my bike trailer arrived at the front door. I am so excited to take it for a test run, it is a Burley Bee. I did a lot of online window shopping so I will let you know what I think of it. Must just say that it is one of the lightest weighing in at 19lbs, which will help for the hills as my little man is already 30lbs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

simple screen printing for small projects

My first Tutorial! I really enjoy screen printing with stencils and plan to run some short courses in my community by the end of the year. So as a bit of a practice I put this together.

I always thought that you needed a lot of expensive equipment to screen print. Not so at all, you can use a lot of cheap, easy to find craft supplies.

You will need:
1 Embroidery hoop plastic or wood (you can find these at a thrift store)
1 sheer curtain panel/fabric (Walmart sells these under $10 and you'll have heaps left over)
masking tape
craft knife
fabric paint
a piece of paper or thin plastic (Mylar) for your stencil
a simple picture for you stencil
an old bank card
a spoon

Note about paint: you can buy fabric paint at places like Walmart and it's a good way to get started and it's cheap. However if you enjoy printing, for a better result you can buy screen printing fabric paint like Speedball. This is a must if you buy or make a screen with actual screen printing mesh.

Put you fabric into the embroidery hoop and do up the screw.
Cut around the hoop leaving an 1/2 to and inch of fabric.
Then gently go around pulling fabric until it is tight and smooth across the hoop, to form the screen.

Printing: first you need to draw or trace your image onto you plastic/paper, then use a craft knife to cut out the areas you wish to be printed. I am using Mylar (plastic) as I will keep this stencil and use it again.

Align Center

Getting ready to print: first you need to tape you fabric to a smooth surface (put a piece of paper under it to make clean up easier), you want to stretch the fabric a little as you do this.

Set out an area beside where you are printing, covered in paper and place your paint here and a spoon (not pictured) this is so you can put your screen down in between prints and clean up.

Lay your stencil on the fabric, (some people tape it to the screen so it won't move however using a plastic stencil that bows means you can have a less than perfect print).

Place the screen on top of the stencil and fabric, I drew a boarder around my stencil so that I don't put ink over the edge, you can do this with tape if you tape the stencil to the screen.

Use a spoon to put a generous line of paint above the cut out part of the stencil.

Pulling the Paint: tilt your old bank card towards you, put it just above the line of paint, and with the other hand hold your screen in place.

Now pull the paint down till you reach just under the cut out area of your stencil staying inside the boarder. You can do another pull of paint if there are any areas that need or missed paint. (I usually do to pulls of paint)

Your bank card will have a lot of paint on it so put it down on the papered work area.

Last step, gently pull the screen up from one side. You can move straight over to another print if you have more fabric set up. The stencil will be stuck to the screen which is handy so just lay it down on the fabric as is.

If not take you screen to the sink and wash it out as paint left in the screen will dry and not come out. Also wash your stencil if it's plastic, your bank card and spoon.

This screen set-up can be re-used again and again, just let it dry out before you print again. You don't want to use paper towel to dry a your screen as the fibers can stay in the mesh and effect your next print.

Heat setting: once your print has completely dried you have to iron it on the highest heat setting within a week to set the paint, then it can be washed as needed.
*Different paint brands may have different guidelines so read their info before you do this step.

I hope you have as much fun with this as I do.