Monday, January 10, 2011

Clifford Suit

The Little Monkey loves Clifford. So when it came time to start thinking about Halloween, I asked him if he wanted me to make him a "Clifford suit." I got a very enthusiastic "YES!!!"

The Clifford suit was my first attempt at sewing from a pattern. It was quite the learning experience!! I'm glad I started working on this early, because with all the trial and error (and there was LOTS of error), it took me several weeks to finish the costume.

The first lesson I learned was the importance of choosing your fabric wisely. The fabric for this costume was super soft, and warm and fuzzy. It felt so good as I was petting it on the bolt at the fabric store :-) But when I got home and started sewing with it, I realized it was extremely difficult to work with. I still love how soft this fabric is (even on the back), making it very comfortable for The Monkey to wear, and warm enough that he didn't need a coat, even on a cool Halloween evening. But it was extremely stretchy, and the edges frayed quickly and easily when cut, making it difficult to sew. The fuzziness of the fabric made it difficult to see the stitching, so when I did have to rip seams because of all the errors (the worst of which was sewing the tail to the FRONT of the costume...Oooops!), it was almost impossible. On some occasions, it was actually easier to just rip the fabric next to the seam and re-sew than to try to find my stitching and rip it out. And it shed so badly I had to keep a lint roller on my sewing table to de-fuzz myself after each sewing session!

The pattern I used was Butterick's 6695, and it was very a very forgiving pattern. Because of the elastic on the arms and legs, if the sleeves or legs were a little too long, it was no big deal. The elastic kept them from falling over his hands, or tripping him up. The body suit was roomy and generally shapeless enough that if it was a little too big or too small, it wasn't too noticeable. I had a little trouble with the hood, but overall I was really happy with how well the costume turned out.

He loved wearing it out trick-or-treating, and we got lots of compliments from other trick-or-treaters, as well as the people handing out loot at the houses we stopped at. One teenager even stopped us and said that seeing The Monkey dressed as Clifford made her day.

This was a fun, though occasionally frustrating project. But I learned a lot, and it helped give me a solid foundation in pattern sewing that has opened up many doors for future sewing projects.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Pot Holders

Pot Holders are one of my favorite things to make. Because they are so small, they make for a super quick project. You can just keep churning them out and feel really productive :-) And they make great gifts, because they are both pretty and functional!

I inherited most of my stash from my Mother-In-Law, and it included a BUNCH of Christmas fabric. I don't do a lot of Christmas themed sewing, mainly because if I'm going to put a lot of effort into a project, I want it to be able to be used year round! But at the same time, I had so much nice Christmas fabric, I felt it needed to be used. So I decided my family would be getting Christmas Pot Holders in their stockings :-)

White Christmas

As soon as I saw it, I LOVED this snowy Christmas fabric (In fact, I love it so much, and I have enough left, that the rest may become an apron at some point in the future). It has a vintage feel to it, and it kind of reminds me of Christmas in a little town like the one where my Grandparents live in Ohio. I almost didn't use this fabric for pot holders, because, as I was going through my stash of Christmas fabric, I couldn't find a border fabric that worked with it. I could have bought some, but I wanted to work completely from my stash. It finally occurred to me that I might be able to find some non-Christmas fabric in my stash that would work. I pulled a few different greens out, and found one that was just right!

I kept the quilting on this pot holder fairly simple, because I did not want the quilting to detract from the simple serenity of the fabric. I simply stitched a grid pattern around the little squares on the fabric for a clean, simple look.

Oh Christmas Tree

For these pot holders, I decided to complement the Christmas trees on the fabric with a quilted Christmas tree pattern. The gold dots on the border fabric coordinate nicely with the gold stars on the Christmas trees.

Holly & Ornaments

It's too bad the quilting on these didn't photograph well, because it's the most intricate of all of them. It's two ornaments with a pair of holly leaves and berries next to them. There were lots of small circles, so my machine quilting skills got quite the workout with these pot holders!

Elves & Holly

I love this elf fabric! It's fun and festive, so I wanted to make sure that the quilting kept that feel. The stars just felt right. While fairly simple to quilt, I think these pot holders are the most fun of the set.

I had so much fun making these pot holders, I think they might become a Christmas tradition!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Blog!

As I was sewing away at my Bernina today, it occurred to me that I've made quite a few things recently, but haven't had a place to share them. I thought about resurrecting my old blog, but as I settled into life as a mom, spending lots of time cooking and baking took a back seat to playing with trains and cars, reading books, and chasing a toddler around the house. And while I do still knit on occasion, my primary crafting happens at my sewing machine.

I am a self taught sewer, learning from each project, through trial and error. And my favorite person to sew for is my Little Monkey!

And I hope to do just as much sewing for the second little monkey due in April. As I continue to grow in my sewing, and my monkeys grow up with the things that I make for them, our whole family will be Growing in Stitches!