Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagine: Five Minute Friday

Today you get to join me for an exercise with one of my besties!  I have know Lisa-Jo over at the Gypsy Mama for 15 years!  Amazing!  And every since she started her blog I have wanted to participate in her Five Minute Fridays.  I have even suggested topics and gone so far as to write out entries, but without a blog myself I was link-up less...

So, finally, here it goes:


For years I pictured what life would look like now: a great husband, three kids, a dog, a career.   Then suddenly I arrived.  And it is wonderful.

Except...  What's next? 

For years my life was molded, guided and formed by this life, these dreams, these snapshots in my head of perfect fed by other people's pictures of bliss.  But now that I have arrived, where is the slide show, the map of my new future that will keep me rolling forward? 

It's scary to think my childhood dreams have arrived - the teenage plan is behind me now.  Yet, at the same time, it's so freeing to think with all I know, I can now imagine a future that is completely my own. 

But not quite...  Because now instead of voices from past telling me whshould do, there are tiny, high pitched squeals that I never could have created on my own, reminding me that anything's possible through Him. 
at I

Start a blog! Learn to sew!  Take a class!  Start a company!  YES! 

So now I have a new goal.  To show them that anything they can imagine is possible so that someday they will know that for themselves.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Game Case Fun!

I promised something boy-ish!  I do have more - clothing related even, but I thought I'd start with these:

So, I finally broke down and got my boys handheld electronic game players.  Boo, I know.  But, for Spring Break we drove to my parents house - a 12 hour drive.  And by "we" I mean me...  and 3 kids... ages 5 and under.  Unfortunately, my husband has this boring thing called work he has to stay home for.

Anyway, that means I needed to strap them in and encourage some kind of quiet activity that would hold the whining at bey. At least the players are the educational kind... 

So now they need cases, right?!

Step 1 - Measure

I started by measuring the circumference of the player.  Be sure not to just measure across because some of these are quite thick and you may end up with an ill fitting case otherwise.
In my case, my dimensions were 17 inches lengthwise and 10.5 inches width wise.

Step 2 - Calculate the Dimensions and Cut

Width wise I divided by 2 (10.5/2 = 5.25) and added 2 inches to compensate for the thickness of the batting and seam allowances.

Lengthwise, I added 4.75 inches.  2 inches for padding and seams and 2.75 inches to fold over the top as a closure.

Final cut measurements - 21.75 x 7.25

The batting I wanted a little smaller than the width at 5 inches wide and a little shorter at 21 inches.  This way there is plenty of padding, but also room to stuff the padding in the material once it is sewn.

I also wanted the case to have a little pocket to hold ear buds or cartridges so I cut an additional rectangle that ended up being 3 5/8 x 8 1/2. 

Finally, there is the strap, which I figured at 14 inches by 2 inches wide and some fusible interfacing at 1 inch by 14 inches.

Step 3 - Sew the Pocket and Strap

Fold your pocket rectangle lengthwise with Right Sides Together (RST).  Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving about an inch and a half open at the bottom for turning.  In the picture to the right I stopped sewing at each of the two pins on the bottom.

You'll also notice some elastic in there.  Yes, I attempted an elasticized pocket.  Turns out that 1) it made it much more time consuming and 2) is didn't really do much as far as function.  I would recommend just forgetting it! 

Clip the corners and turn your pocket right sides out through your hole.  Then fold your raw edges in and topstitch about an 1/8 of an inch from the edge like below.

Next, fold over 1/2 an inch from the top and sew it down.  This is not really necessary, but I think it adds detailing that looks nice.  Then set the pocket aside for later. 

Yay! You finished the pocket!

Now, for the strap!

Here, I took my 2 inch wide strip of material and ironed both edges into the center until the met.

Then I ironed the strip of interfacing in the middle, folded the edges back in around it and ironed the whole thing in half. 

Don't you just love my groovy ironing board cover?  Some day I'll get around to replacing that....

Finally, sew the strap together by topstitching 1/8 of an inch or so from the edge.
Step 4 - Sew the Main Case Body

First, fold your long rectangles in half RST and round the corners of one end. This will give you a nice rounded flap detail.

Next, pin the long rectangles together RST like below.  Sew up one edge, around the curve and down the other side, leaving the bottom open.  Clip the curve and turn right side out. 

Now, take your batting and cut a similarly shaped curve on one end.  Stuff it in to the open end of your case body.  Make sure you get it all the way in and centered somewhat. 

Next turn the raw edges in...

and sew the raw ends together about 1/8 inch from the edge.

Now you are ready to sew your case accessories on!

Step 5 - Sew on Accessories

Fold your main case body in half lengthwise so it looks like a case.  The rounded flap should be able to fold over the straight end and hang down some so that it will close when you add your Velcro.  Now take your square pocket and place it about 1 1/2 - 2 inches down from the straight edge with your boarded facing the straight edge.  I like my closure flap to hang over the pocket a little to make it harder for stuff to fall out.   

When you get the pocket where you want it, pin it to the case body.

Start sewing down one side from the top and around the rest of the pocket about 1/8th of an inch from the edge.  Try and sew directly over the stitches that closed the pocket and you will hardly be able to tell they are there!

Now, take your Velcro and pin it place it above the pocket.  It can be any shape or size as it fits in the space.  Sew around the Velcro and then sew a little X in the middle of the stuff - this really helps reinforce it as it is continually pulled on.

Next, turn your case inside out and pin up both sides.  There should be enough material so that you can sew a 3/8th inch seam with out sewing the batting.  

Then, take your strap, fold it over... 

and place it between the edges about an inch down from the top with the main strap loop inside the right side of the case.

Then sew up the sides of the case.

Finally, pin and sew your Velcro on the top flap of your case...

And fill and enjoy!

These are super easy and fun to make!  And my little guys love them almost as much as the players.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Infinite Love

 My mom is awesome!

So, for Mother's Day this year I thought I would make her something to show her how much I love her.  Tall order.  And I haven't really been doing this sewing thing long enough to be THAT good at it... 

But no matter really because I discovered this super easy tutorial for the Patricia Infinity Cowl from  I mean who doesn't like a cowl?!  So easy to just pair with any old shirt and look awesome.  And this one is particularly cool since you get 3+ looks in one as it uses three different fabrics. AND it is specially made for fat quarters!  OK, so I'll admit that I had no idea what a fat quarter was when I found this tutorial, but it seemed really cool when I found it...

For those of you that also don't know what a fat quarter is, it's a half a yard of material (18 inches) cut in half lengthwise (usually equalling 21 inches for ordinary cotton fabric).  What is cool about the pattern using fat quarters is that they are sold in awesome patterns everywhere and sometimes quite inexpensively.  And then you don't have to measure and cut... Neato.

In my case, I'm not a quilter, so I didn't really care.  I just bought a bunch of cute fabric in 1/2 yard and full yard incraments and cut them down. Easy enough.  The tutorial is super easy too - even for a beginner.  Basically, sew 3 fat quarters together end to end.  Sew another 3 together.  Sew the two strips together.  Sew the tube together.... and there you have it!

The material I used is from Dear Stella.  I have no idea what the name is though as it wasn't printed on the selvage and I didn't pay any attention.  Sorry.  I got it from a lovely store in town called Pacific Fabric and Crafts.  Oh dear can I spend money in that store....

However, I am not satisfied to leave well enough alone when I get an idea in my head, so I actually modified it!  I know, look at me, getting all designer-y.

 One modification was actually not designer-y at all.  Turns out that the lovely people that cut fabric at fabric stores don't always cut the fabric straight....  I know they try and I also know (now) that if I were really concerned, I should buy a little extra. 

So, my fat quarters were actually only 17 inches wide instead of 18 inches...  No biggie, no one can tell, but a little annoying to the perfectionist me.

Any-hoo, for the real modification, I decided that instead of just a big tube, this thing really needed to be "infinite." By playing around a bit I realized that if you sew one fat quarter of your third fabric on to one end of one strip and the other on to the opposite end of the other strip you can actually add a little twist in the middle of the tube of material and connect the third pattern together creating a third continuous fabric block and therefore an unending cowl....  Fancy, I know.

The bottom line is that my mom LOVED this easy cool gift that I put together in 45 minutes.  We played with it for hours trying out all the different ways she could put it on, fluff it and match it to things.  And really it was the least I could do for such a great mom! 


Monday, May 6, 2013

Opening Day

So in Seattle the Opening Day of Boating Season is a BIG deal.  Frankly, I'm not really sure why since, with our moderate climate, our boating season never actually closes.  Any excuse for a good party, I guess.

My husband's family is a boating family so every year we go to the big fiesta decked out in our nautical finest!  Red, white and navy nautical wear is the uniform and I have to admit that I take special pride in finding the cutest for my three cuties!

This year I have big intentions of sewing matching outfits for all of them - unfortunately I only actually got finished with one...  oh well.  
My little guys did end up in Boating outfits - just not the cute matching homemade ones I'd envisioned...   I promise some boy clothes soon!

So for Lizzie I made this great little nautical tunic.
It's the Maggie Mae Tunic from Shwin& Shwin.  It's the third one of these I've made and I LOVE the simple color blocking. I also love the clear, helpful instructions in the pattern.  It makes it super easy for a newbie like me who is teaching herself.  The fabric is from the Seven Seas collection at Cloud 9 fabrics and got tons of complements from the yacht club set! 


I also realized that I should have taken more pictures of the boats and lovely, sunny Seattle weather!  Live and learn.  I'll get better at this blogging stuff soon! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring Break!

So I've been obsessing about a tutorial that I wanted to share for my first "official" post.  Then I realized WHO CARES!  I'll get to it eventually.  Right now I'm just excited to get going and put something out into the world!

So here's a little something I whipped up over Spring break!

 It's the Carousel Top designed by Anna Panelle for Go To Patterns!  I bought this as a part of the
Sun and Surf Collection of the Pattern Anthology and I couldn't be more pleased!

It was my first real time working with knits and it was surprisingly easy.  I'm still not sure if knits are just easier than I thought or if my machine is just really good for knits, but either way it was FUN and not scary to sew this gorgeous top.

I just love the gathers in the front and on the shoulders and that cute little keyhole in back.  It's sized well and has an easy relaxed feel to it, but is just detailed enough to look a little dressed up too!  Perfect for little Lizzie Jo!

The fabric is a chartreuse jersey knit from Girl Charlee.  They have an awesomely stupendous collection of knits, great prices and super fast shipping!  Highly recommend.

 As for the skirt, it's my first time too!  I made it from the simple skirt tutorial over at Made.  Love her stuff.  It was quite easy. The material is Robert Kauffman, I believe.  I got it on the bargain table at a local fabric store and really can't remember.

The only thing I would have done differently?  I would have left myself more room for the casing of the elastic.  I kind of had to wiggle and shove the stuff through.  But it worked!  And Voila!  Cute Spring Break outfit!