Category Archives: Sewing

Valentine's Day Pillows

I promised I would report on all of the projects I made over the weekend, so here goes. My friend Claudia spent the day with me on Saturday when we were trapped indoors by a massive snow storm (18 inches!) She is not as crazy about crafting as me (politely put, she thinks I’m a bit looney), but I managed to force her to create a few projects while she was with me.

To get in the Valentine’s Day spirit, we started with small throw pillows based on this project I’ve posted previously about. Since I was tailoring our pillows for the crafting novice (cough, Claudia, cough), we used a 12 by 12 inch piece of scrapbook paper for a basic pillow pattern. We used white fleece as the fabric and cut four squares each to make two pillows. Then, we used 5 varying shades of felt for the hearts. We used my Cricut to cut out our heart patterns. I used the Accent Essentials shape cartridge and made the largest heart 6 1/2 inches. I reduced the heart size by 1/4 inch each time I cut a new one for a total of 5 different sizes. Other than those few modifications, we just followed CraftyPod’s great tutorial.

Although she looked like she was playing tortured seamstress in a sweatshop while making them… Claudia was very pleased and proud of her final products. She also made the scarf she’s wearing, but I’ll save that for another day!

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Yet Another A is for Apron Post – Twirl Girl

Friday, Saturday and Sunday came and went as fast as ever this past weekend. My lofty plans to whip out several aprons were quickly shoved aside and replaced with must-do mundane trips to the grocery store and so on. Determined not to let the weekend past without at least one creation to my name, I made the A is for Apron pattern Twirl Girl. I’m calling mine Flower Child – not super original… but you have to admit it goes with the print.

The Twirl Girl pattern – as with Mornu‘s other pieces – wasn’t without its issues but I think it turned out quite well. I LOVE the zig zag effect the two fabrics make on the bottom! I used IKEA fabrics so I had to line it.  It was extra work, but the print was too fun to pass up :) I have a thing with pretty bows so I made the ties extra long as well.

Unlike the other aprons I’ve made recently, this one will not be going up in my Etsy store. Instead, it’s embarking on a journey to Danville, PA for a faux sister of mine. It’s always an adjustment when you move and adding a new job and city on top of it is really overwhelming. Hopefully this little apron will bring a smile to Miss Caryn’s face. Caryn is most definitely a modern lady; I know she will put it to good use. (Kudos to her real sister, Claudia, for always thinking of her siblings first and soliciting presents on their behalf!)

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Digging Deep for Patience – A is for Apron: Deep Pockets Pattern

I’m not going to lie, I’m sort of starting to despise the A is for Apron book. The patterns are AMAZING. However, the enlargement issue is REALLY getting old fast. What a PIA that I have to scan them in, crop them properly, enlarge them correctly, print them out, make sure they’re indeed accurately enlarged, cut them out, etc. Lark Books, you are getting a letter from me! How you published this without a set of patterns or instructions on how to enlarge them on your own is beyond me. My name is Beth, I’ll be in touch.

On a more positive note, I’m very pleased with how the Deep Pockets pattern came out. This is my version… I’m calling it “Seedling.”

This apron was much easier than the first, mostly because I’d gotten my reintroduction to sewing 101 out of the way. Again, I made a few changes to the pattern. I cut the waist band piece shorter and in the same fabric as the pocket. I also double lined the pocket; I hate when you have an amazing print and then you look into a pocket to see the back of it – yuck. My favorite part of this apron is that I made the back (you can see it in the pocket area) out of a cotton canvas. This reinforced it and made it very durable. It will be perfect for gardening or doing other outside chores (go away winter, I want to play in it!).

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A Fruitful Project: A is for Apron, Fruit Tart

A week ago today, I started an apron from the book A is for Apron by Nathalie Mornu. After 7 lonely days of the pattern pieces sitting in my “latest creation” jar… the Fruit Tart apron is complete!

I call my version of this apron, “Tweet.” My husband told me I should wear it when I post on Twitter – classy.

The apron took longer than I expected… I don’t follow directions well (at all) and I made my own pattern modifications. It also turns out I missed a few of the sewing basics along the way so I had to watch a lot of how-to videos in the process.

Here are some of the resources I personally found helpful:

  • A lot of the patterns in A is for Apron call for making your own bias tape. This was a first for me but it turns out that was easy; the hard part was putting it on. Can you believe I didn’t know how to put on bias binding?! Yikes. This bias tape tutorial from Angry Chicken saved me :)
  • As embarrassing as it is to say… I also didn’t know how to baste. In fact, I read the line “Baste 1/8 inch (3mm) from the bottom edge” in the instructions and thought… wtf?! Although this video looks like it was made in 1972 (is that lady’s outfit for real?), this video tutorial on How to Machine Baste was very useful!

I’m so excited about this apron that I’m starting on another – “Deep Pockets.”

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How to Make a Pillow Cover

With the New Year rung in, it’s time for the dreaded decoration deconstruction. I had a blast this year decorating my new home for Christmas and did a lot of little projects around the place to make it feel festive. Some of my favorites were the Christmas pillows I made.

 

  1. I started with 6 completed pillows in various sizes. My mom had a bunch that no longer matched her decor that she gave me to “play” with. Thus, the idea of the Christmas themed pillow covers came to mind. Covers are a great way to change your decor for the holidays or reuse something you otherwise would have given away or thrown out.  I think some Valentine’s day pillow covers might need to go into production here soon.  
  2. I then found an online tutorial for how to make a pillow cover with an invisible zipper. I’ve never made a pillow cover before but this blog post from Never Yawn had a great tutorial on this (others listed below). I used fleece for the fabric. I had a guest at our New Years Eve party tell me how much she loved them because they felt like Snuggies!  
  3. Once I was done with the covers, I created shapes and letters out of remaining fabric to attach. I did four of the circles and buttons and two with holiday phrases.
  4. I applied the cutouts by hand, sewing them on with coordinating embroidery floss. I didn’t use any fancy techniques just a simple straight stitch. I threw some buttons on the pillows with the circle design for a final touch and voilà!

Here are some other great posts on how to make a pillow cover:

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A is for Apron … B is for Big Pain in the Butt

During one of my many leisurely and expensive trips to Hobby Lobby before Christmas, I played the part of average consumer and got sucked into the DIY book section by the checkout (nice ploy for us to by more craft supplies HL). It didn’t take me long to spot a treasure in the racks –A is for Apron” by Nathalie Mornu. Judging the book only by its cover – yes, I do that – it immediately went on the must-have gift list. Santa (my brother) came through and I must say “A is for Apron” was one of my FAVORITE gifts this year.

If you’ve done any research on the book, you’ve read a lot of smack about the patterns it contains. There are 25 unique designs created by a community of pattern makers that range from traditional waist aprons to smocks for little kids. Downside: Most of the patterns need to be enlarged 400% to use them but some even go so far as having different percentages for each piece in the pattern! (Insert sigh of disappointment here.) At the Amazon.com price of $12.21 for the book, I have a problem with paying a copy place to enlarge the templates to the right size – and those are the only instructions you get from the author on how to make them larger. Could that be any more annoying for those of us who 1.) don’t like to spend money and 2.) just want to get down to business?!?!

Part of the reason why I’m a crafter is because I don’t care what it is, I always think I can make it/do it on my own. So last night’s mission critical was to tackle one pattern enlargement. It was a successful operation but a painful one as well. So, here’s what I did in hopes that it helps someone out there create the apron of their dreams.

Step 1: Scan the pattern onto your computer and save.

Step 2: Open the image into a program that allows you to enlarge the print. I used Adobe Photoshop CS4, but there are a TON of others that will work as well, just find out what software you have on your computer or Google it and go from there. Post a comment if you have questions :) Check if the enlargement is correct using the heights Mornu includes on the pattern pieces.

Step 3: Enlarge the image 400% (or whatever other percentage it is based on what pattern you’re using from the book.)

Step 4 (and this was the hardest): It’s time to print. Locate a program on your computer that allows you to print the images into a tile format – like you would a banner or a poster. This will print the image at a large size across multiple pages without the use of a commercial printer. Working on a business laptop, I didn’t have Microsoft Publisher but I read that was the best program to use. I ended up using the standard Windows Live Photo Gallery that comes with Windows 2007 and finding “Poster Printing” under the Advanced print options. Apparently there are lots of ways to do this… just find the easiest and best way for you and your computer. NOTE: Make sure the entire image is included in the print – I made a whoopsies and cut off the top and bottom on my first try.

Step 5: Once the image is printed, assemble it (another PIA). My tip here is to use the original, smaller copy of the pattern to work off of so you know what it should look like when you’re finished. I think that goes without saying but just in case! Also, don’t reorder the papers when they come off the printer. In a tile formatted print, you can usually go row by row in the order they printed off in making it less of a puzzle piece nightmare.

After writing this post, it seems like a lot of work for a silly apron pattern. However, I’m confident the final product will be well worth it. Stay tuned for an update on the finished apron :)

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