Saturday, March 10, 2012

Christmas Round Up: Cat in the Hat Quilt

It's March, and I'm finally getting around to blogging the last of my Christmas sewing projects. Better late than never, I guess. In sticking with our very Seussy Christmas, I made a Cat in the Hat quilt for the Monkey.

I found some Cat in the Hat panels fabric, similar to the Grinch panels fabric I used for Baby Brother's Grinch book, and turned it into this little quilt for the Monkey. I cut out the panels, and used the fun polka dot fabric for the border. The green Dr. Seuss character fabric provided a nice contrast for the back.

The quilting was very simple. I stitched in the ditch around each panel, and added a little stitching around the shapes or letters in each panel. Some plain red binding finished off the quilt nicely.

The Monkey likes pointing out the different Seuss characters on the back of the quilt.

I was planning on making this a wall quilt, but the Monkey kept saying he wanted a Cat in the Hat blanket. So I left the hanging sleeve off. He's slept with the quilt almost every night since Christmas. It makes me happy to see how much he loves it!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tutorial: Felt Leprechaun Hat

I grew up in an Irish family, so we've always had fun celebrating St. Patrick's day. The Monkey has been looking forward to St. Patrick's day for a while, regularly asking me if it's here yet, and telling me that he's "celebrating being Irish." So I wanted to make him something fun to help him celebrate. This felt leprechaun hat was just right.

Little Leprechaun

Before you get started, figure out how big you'll need to make the hat. Measure the circumference of your (or your child's) head. This will help you figure out how big to cut your pieces. And keep the following formula in mind: circumference = pi x diameter.

In my case, The Monkey's head is ~18.5".
18.5 = 3.14 x diameter
Diameter = 18.5/3.14 = 5.89"
I rounded up to 6" to make measurements easier


Green Felt -- 3/4 yard
Black Felt -- 1/8 yard
Yellow felt -- 8 x 11 sheet
Green, Black, and Yellow thread
Basic sewing supplies

(This hat was made to fit a toddler. More yardage may be needed for a larger hat.)

1.) Start by cutting all your pieces.

From the green felt, cut:
2 x 12" diameter circles (If your head diameter is more than about 7", you'll want these circles to be a little bigger)
Cut a circle from the center of the 12" circles that is the diameter of your child's head. (Based on my calculations above, I cut my circle to be 6"). Save one of these circles to be the top of the hat.
Rectangle that is 12" x (circumference + 1" seam allowance). My rectangle was 12" x 20".

From the black felt, cut:
Strip 4" x (circumference + 1" seam allowance). My strip was 4" x 20".

From yellow felt, cut:
4" x 5.5" rectangle

2.) Make the brim

Sew the two large circles together with about a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn through the holes in the center and press seam flat. Baste center circle edges. Set the brim aside.

3). Make the buckle

Start by grabbing your yellow rectangle.

Mark cutting lines about 3/4" in from each side, and starting about 3/4" from the top and bottom. Cut slits into your rectangle along these lines.

Thread your black strip through the slits, and center the buckle on the strip.

Place the belt and buckle on your green rectangle with the bottom of the buckle about 1" up from the bottom of the rectangle, and pin in place.

Stitch the belt in place. You probably don't absolutely need to stitch the buckle down as well, but I did. I thought it would reduce the chances that it would get caught on something and rip off.

4) Now it's time to make the hat

Fold rectangle in half, right sides facing, and stitch up the side with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn right side out and admire your handiwork :-)

Now it's time to put the top on the hat. Begin by using a needle and thread and making a long running stitch around the edge of the top of the hat.

Once you have a running stitch all the way around, you will be able to tug on the "tails" of the thread to gather the top of the hat. The top of the hat will probably not match the circumference of the circle exactly, so this little gathering technique will allow you to adjust the size of the hat to fit the circle.

Pin the 6" circle (that you cut from the center of the brim) to the top of the hat (right sides facing) and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Now the top of the hat is done, and is ready to be attached to the brim.

5) Attach the top of the hat to the brim

With right sides facing, pin hat to center circle of brim.

Stitch in place with 1/4" seam allowance.

6) Enjoy your hat!

The Monkey loves his new hat!

He's been wearing it everywhere, and has told me he can't wait to wear it on St. Patrick's day. And since the first attempt at this hat was too big for the Monkey, there's one for Grandma too.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Christmas Round Up: Grinch Fabric Book

Because I'm a slacker (or rather, because I am too tired to blog after a day of chasing two boys around), I still have a few Christmas gifts I haven't blogged yet. One is the taggy fabric book I made for Baby Brother.

We're big Dr. Seuss fans in this house. As soon as I saw this Grinch panels fabric at Whipstitch, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Sewn together with some batting and ribbons, it would be a wonderful little taggy fabric book for baby brother.

The fabric condenses the story of the Grinch into ten "pages."

To make the book, I sewed on the tags, and used fusible fleece to give it a little more "poof."

Not all the panels were the same size. So I sewed the narrower panels onto a larger piece of fabric to make the page work.

I found some Christmas tree fabric in my stash and used it to bind up the book.

The bulk of all the fabric and batting was more than my sewing machine could handle. But Suzanne at Hip Stitch set me up with a good machine in the sewing lounge to finish up this project.

Baby Brother approves :-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tutorial: Adding Long Sleeves to a Short Sleeve Shirt

When posting about the great Valentine's shirts I made for the boys, I tried to find a link to the tutorial that inspired my short-sleeve-to-long-sleeve conversion. I searched and searched, but google completely failed me! So I figured I'd make my own tutorial.

The layered tee is a pretty popular look for kids these days, and it is actually a pretty simple conversion.

To start, grab an old t-shirt and a long sleeve shirt that fits your kid.

Lay the long sleeve shirt on top of the old tee, with the sleeve hem even with the bottom hem of the shirt. Trace the sleeve onto the tee, adding 1/2" for a seam allowance. I learned the hard way to also measure the width of of the short sleeve you will be sewing the long sleeve into. You want to make sure the long sleeve is not too narrow or too wide, or it will make it much more difficult to sew in. (I trace all the way up to the shoulder. You don't actually need it that long, but I found it helps line the sleeve up correctly. You can cut off the extra material later).

Cut the sleeves from the shirt. If you fold the shirt in half, you can cut both sleeves with one cut.

Pin sleeve with right sides facing, and stitch up side. Knits can be kind of finicky to sew. I've had success stitching with a strait stitch on the seam allowance, the using a zigzag stitch just inside the seam allowance. Then trim the excess fabric to the seam isn't too bulky.

Turn the sleeve right-side-out and pin inside the short sleeve of the shirt. Make sure to line up the seams of the two sleeves, and center the shoulder of the long sleeve on the shoulder of the short sleeve.

Next, stitch the long sleeve into the short sleeve shirt, stitching along the serged seams of the sleeve. This just allows you to hide the stitching better.

Again, I used a straight stitch, then used a zigzag stitch just outside the stitching. After zigzaggint, trim the extra material just outside the zigzag stitching.

Turn the shirt right-side-out and you have a great looking layered t-shirt!

It's not only a fun look, it's also a great way to extend the life of some of your kids short-sleeve shirts. They can wear them for another season before growing out of them!

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine's Tie Shirts

Valentine's Day is around the corner, and I wanted some cute shirts for the boys. I love little boys shirts with ties on them, and thought a tie shirt with a little heart cut out of it would make for a cute Valentine's shirt.

I looked all over for a plain red long-sleeve shirt for this project and couldn't find one. I was about to give up when I remembered reading a blog post (which I didn't bookmark and can't find now) with a tutorial for turning a short-sleeve shirt into a layered-look long sleeve tee. So, I grabbed one of my old t-shirts and cut some sleeves out of them to sew into the short sleeves.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to design and cut the ties, and ironed them onto the shirts with fusible interfacing. Then zigzag stitched around them. Quick fun project, and the boys look cute in their new shirts.

Of course, just 'cause you dress them up, it doesn't mean they'll behave! Boys will be boys!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fabric Box Dresser Organization.

For the sake of my craft space (and my budget), I won't buy fabric unless I have a project in mind for it. If I find a fabric I like, I will do whatever I can to think up a project to justify the purchase. That's how The Monkey ended up with these cute boxes to help organize his dresser.

I fell in love with these fabrics the first time I saw them at Hipstitch. I made several trips to the store before I finally bit the bullet and bought them. I turned them into little boxes to put in his dresser so his socks and underwear don't get lost among all his pajamas. Yeah, I know, quite a stretch to justify the purchase of these fabrics.

I roughly followed my own fabric box tutorial, with a few modifications. I didn't need quite as much structure in these boxes, so I used fusible fleece instead of a heavy-weight interfacing. And rather than sewing the lining in inside out and turning the boxes, I placed the lining in the box, wrong sides together. Then bound the boxes with some red grosgrain ribbon I had in my stash.

I love the way they came out. And now there are no more complaints from The Monkey that he can't find his socks when he gets dressed in the morning!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Round Up: iFlirt

Baby Brother is quite the flirt. He loves to smile and babble at people, then coyly turn and bury his head in my shoulder, only to look up and grin again. It charms everyone he meets.

After watching him flirt with all the other passengers and flight attendants on a trans-Atlantic flight, I joked that I needed to find him a shirt that says "I flirt." And as soon as I said it out loud, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

We're big Mac fans around here, and I thought iFlirt, a play on the i-everything from Apple would be really cute. I wanted white letters on a black shirt. When I went looking for a shirt to use, I found this black turtleneck a la Steve Jobs, and it was perfect.

I found a font that is very close to the font Apple uses for iPods, iPhones, iPads etc. and traced the letters onto fusible interfacing. I cut them out of the fabric/interfacing and ironed them on to the front of the shirt. It was a quick, simple project, and I love the end result.