Zippy Keepers pattern testing

In my latest series of pattern testing adventures, I got a chance to test a fun little pattern from Fenna of FABulous Home Sewn. The Zippy Keepers gives a step by step tutorial for making 2 sizes of zippered pouches with a whole bunch of decorative options. Fenna asked me to make the small version with the improvisational pleated center. I love the fabric ends on the zipper and the tiny size is great for reusing zippers I have pulled out of upcycled projects. The scale makes it perfect for using up small pieces of treasured (hoarded) fabrics.
Here is the one I whipped up.

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I love the teeny size. It is perfect for a change purse. For the photo I put some wonder clips in it because they were handy.

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There are also options for a pieced center and I can imagine it would be very cute with piping too! I think my kids might find some in cartoon fabric in their stockings on Christmas morning. The pattern is out today on Craftsy here. Pick one up and get started on that Christmas list today.

Plum Princess Purse and Gloves testing

Last week I had the pleasure of testing the Plum Princess Purse and Gloves pattern for Angela of ZuzzyPatterns.  This was one of those quick sews that makes you feel so proud when you are done.  I was skeptical starting, thinking there was no way my gloves would turn out but I followed her simple directions and ended up with this!

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I couldn’t believe it either! I can’t take complete credit.  My fabulous model also picked great fabric for the gloves. It is from a thrift store shirt, I first used to line a super hero cape last Christmas.  I don’t have many scraps left now but I am saving them because this stretchy red with stars is fabulous.  I still have the wonderful star buttons looking for a good home.  The fabric lead us outside for  a super hero photo shoot.   At first when I told her to be a super hero she said, “What?”

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After some coaching she got into it.  Here she is using her super hero powers:

to climb the walls

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to fly

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and to battle the bad guys.

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I have to admit, being able to sew these up made me feel like a sewing super hero.  Angela wrote a very clear and beginner friendly pattern.  It really does sew up quickly.  I have already made a second pair in a fuzzy knit that sort of makes me think of cookie monster.

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You can find this pattern here on Etsy and for only 6 dollars you get the pattern for the gloves and a sweet little dress up purse.  This would be great for sewing up a quick Christmas gift for all of the little super heros (or princesses) on your list.  I can tell you that the purse is also a quick and fun sew but I can’t show my pictures of it quite yet!

What have you done lately with your super powers?

PS. I linked up with Sew + Show at StraightGrain!

A Quilt for a Friend

Have you ever had someone ask you to make something that made you feel honored, creatively challenged, and a little bit terrified all at the same time? That is pretty much where I was at when my part of this story began. Four years ago, a dear childhood friend’s life changed when her sweet baby boy made his arrival much earlier than anticipated. His road has been a bumpy one but he is a thriving healthy 4 year old boy today. Everyone who knows Ian is so grateful to see him healthy and strong. She shares details of his medical journey here:

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Katie is a fierce advocate for her son and the most organized person I have ever known. The information she has compiled here is a helpful resource for other families going through similar challenges.

When she asked me to take his premie clothes and make a quilt, I had quite a mix of emotions. I was grateful that Katie could give me a lot of direction to start. She liked the rag style quilts she had seen, knew she wanted blue or brown for any added fabrics, and told me to not avoid the stains on the clothes. Those stains are just part of the story. I also felt blessed that she encouraged me to be creative and surprise her with the results. Her confidence in me got me past the terrifying idea that I was cutting up their precious memories, and made me realize that this was a fantastic chance to make something beautiful, comforting, and lasting. If you just want to see what I ended up with, scroll on down to the bottom. I don’t mind! This is going to be a long post. But I do want to record how I got there, just for me and because I couldn’t find much information specifically about premie quilts and I know there are other people out there trying to figure this out.

Getting started I researched rag quilts. The tutorial at The Cottage Mama was a great place to start. I also got inspriration from this tutorial at Mominizer. The idea she shares for using small squares to make the larger squares was instrumental in the success of my design. I tested it with some fabric scraps and my baby boy ended up with a quilt to snuggle his stuffed animals in. IMG_20140808_173721
After measuring some of the clothes she sent, I decided to go with a 6 inch finished square. Here you can see evidence of my figuring:
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This meant cutting 7 inch squares out of clothes and I can tell you that many premie clothes are too small for that. So I also cut 4 inch squares and 4 by 7 rectangles.
Here you can see a typical pair of pants with the 4 inch template. It wasn’t going to fit. By deconstructing the pants, I was able to pull a 4 inch square from each leg.
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For pants with a cute little detail on the butt, I opened the waist band to squeak out the 4 inches.
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Those teeny tiny onesies came apart a little more easily and it felt like a win that the scrap left over was so small.
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Long sleeves could be opened and a 4 inch square squeezed out. I ended up with lots of the little mitten sleeves included in the final quilt.
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Thankfully there were plenty of clothes and I had asked Katie to send some extra blankets and bedding. I figured filling in with other special fabrics would be better than impersonal quilt shop fabric. It is amazing how many squares you can cut out of one of those swaddle sacks with the wings that velcro around the baby. When I was done petting all of those itty bitty clothes and it was all cut, I had this:
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Next I had to make sure that any snaps and zippers would not be pulled open by a curious preschooler. I have my own 4 year old and I know how they think. All of the snaps and zippers were securely sewn closed.
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And I sat down at my machine with this view.
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I sewed the 4 inch squares in pairs and then each pair was sewn to a 4 by 7 rectangle. I had a few more rectangles and those were paired together. I tried to do this as randomly as I could while not putting two from the same garment together.
Next I tackled my pile of little details that were too cute to leave off but to small or to close to the edge of something to cut into a rectangle.
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These were raw edge appliqued on to some of the simple 7 inch blocks.
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I cut 7 inch squares of Cotton Candy blue Kona for the backing and 6 inch squares of batting.
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After this, it was like any rag quilt. I made the small quilt sandwiches and quilted each with an X. I did notice that sometimes my machine would pull the leading corner into the throat plate. It helped to chain feed them one after another and when I was starting fresh, I would sew on a small piece of woven fabric and then chain on the square. The 7 inch squares were pieced together randomly into larger sections. It was strange to be sewing wrong sides together but I concentrated and didn’t have to use a seam ripper once (on that part at least!). The sections looked like this.
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After this I did lay out each section to make sure fabrics were distributed well and there were no odd groupings to draw the eye. However when the whole thing was pieced, the real work was just beginning. Do not underestimate the time and effort clipping the edges will take. I had to take several days off between clipping sessions or my hands would ache. Finally, the clipping was done.
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Then I washed it and dried it to get the fabrics started fraying. There was a lot of lint! This was my lint trap half way through the cycle:
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My machine also needed a good cleaning to get all that lint out!
Finally, this baby was done. Here is my finished picture.
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But the best pictures came from Katie when Ian opened the package. His smile lights up a room! So glad I could play a small part in this big story.
Thanks for reading along on this long long post and if you are ever tackling a project like this and want to talk it over, please email me. I would love to help you figure it out.

Testing for the Tinley Tee

Last week I had the pleasure of testing the Girl’s Tinley Tee pattern for Chelsea from GYCT designs. It was a wonderful experience. The directions were great and I really enjoyed being part of the testing group. Today the pattern is available.

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This is a slim fitting girlie tee pattern with tons of options. I sewed a size 4 with gathered cap sleeves and banded hem.

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You can find out more about this pattern and all the options here.
Annabelle loves it. It’s great for running, playing and mastering the hula hoop!

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After my first one, I had to try a second from a thrifted shirt. Using the existing hem made it sew up even more quickly and I used the existing sleeve bands to make the elastic casing for the sleeves.

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(Love my little photobomber peeking out in his pj’s.)
You can get the Girl’s Tinley Tee pattern on Etsy here or Craftsy here. It is on sale today and tomorrow so don’t miss out!

Think Ruffles: my day!

Many thanks to Mdm. Samm from Sew We Quilt and Amy of Sew Incredibly Crazy for organizing and cheering us on through this hop. I have loved seeing everyone’s ruffled creations and now it is my turn to share.
Here is what I ended up with:

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A fabulously frilly and ruffly outfit for my little girl who loves to play in the mud but wants to look as girlie as possible while she does it!
I used a pair of pants that I had scored from the thrift store a while back. They were very inexpensive because they were missing a button but check out the brand!

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I started with a skirt pattern from Octtobre magazine. It was my first time using one of their patterns and I was nervous. If you haven’t seen one you might be wondering why. Here is why:

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This page has the patterns in lots of sizes for lots of patterns including the ones I needed. Fortunately they are color coded and when I stopped panicking and took my time, I ended up with this.

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The ruffles in the back are made by cutting U shaped pieces of fabric and straightening them as you sew them on. I had to read the manual and rethread my serger 3 times but I got the rolled hem on those ruffles!

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I used a spare strip of floral fabric and made a double ruffle to add the flower on the store bought t-shirt. I am proud of my free hand stem and leaves on the shirt. It was my first time “doodling” with thread on my sewing machine and I loved how it turned out. Lastly, no ruffles but I whipped up a quick pair of sweater leggings from a thrift store sweater and the Go-To leggings pattern that I love to use. The leggings will keep her warm enough until our South Carolina spring really gets rolling! I am thrilled with how this outfit turned out. I love it! My daughter loves it!

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Even the chickens love it. They kept following her and trying to peck the ruffles.

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Thanks for coming by to see what I made. I hope you come back again soon.

Be sure to check out the rest of today’s ruffles at the blogs below:
March 11th

Needle and Hook
Marjorie’s Busy Corner
Blessings From Our Nest
Little House on the Dairy <–This is me
Just One More Stitch
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Just Sew Quilter

A big thank you and a quick link up!

A few weeks ago, I was enjoying all of the posts on the Hugs and Kisses blog hop. While I was there, I entered a giveaway at Sandy’s lovely blog Upstairs Hobby Room and I won! My prize was a $25 credit to Zipit an awesome zipper store on etsy. Jennie was so sweet and made it easy for me to email her my order. It came quickly and wow I am excited. I love finding neat zippers at thrift stores but this package of rainbow goodness might make me a new zipper addict!

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Look at all this! I was amazed how far $25 dollars went in her shop.
She threw in a beautiful zipper pull and a fortune telling fish that my daughter is going to claim as soon as she sees it!

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So thank you thank you to Sandy and Jennie and if you are in need of zippers, Zipit is the place to go!

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In other news, Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting a link up for people to show off how they travel “crafty.” I had to take a chance to share my camera strap.

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I made it for our Disney trip and put it on flickr but never got around to blogging about it. I used leftover scraps from Annabelle’s twirly skirt and loved how it turned out. I followed a tutorial from lbg studio but adapted it for my small lens cap. I love that it has a pocket on each end to hold the lens cap and spare battery.

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I wore it all over Disney World and the corduroy was definitely comfy against my skin.

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Thanks for the chance to link up! Head over to Ellison Lane to see other great crafty traveler’s creations.

First day of the Ruffle hop

I haven’t disappeared but I have been busy sewing behind the scenes and enjoying a visit with out of town family! I have a quilt finish to show soon and after a battle with my serger, I am most of the way ready for my day on the Ruffle Hop.
Since I don’t have any pretty pictures to show you today, I will send you over to see Mdm. Samm. If you are looking for some great sewing and beautiful pictures there is lots to see on the first day of the Ruffle hop!

Have a great day!