Friday, July 30, 2010

My First Applique


As I mentioned on our Facebook page the other day, I've been working on a backpack for Ben's 3rd birthday, using the Toddler Backpack pattern by Made by Rae.


Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I'll go into more details on actually making the backpack soon. It's not quite finished yet. And yes, I know Ben's birthday was 3 days ago. He's cool with it. I think the few tons of gifts he received from family and friends are keeping him otherwise occupied.


Jenny: Rocket Ship Backpack

So, I thought that today I would show you how I embellished the front of the backpack. Since I selected a pretty muted color scheme for the fabrics, I felt like it could benefit from some kind of fun design on the front. Ben has been obsessed with space and rocket ships lately, so I started looking for rocket ship illustrations.

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I wasn't sure whether I should iron on a fun rocket ship image or applique some fabric in the shape of a rocket ship. When I showed my husband some examples of both to help me decide (see above for the applique I put in front of him), he basically answered "The applique is much cooler!" though he didn't actually use the word "applique", he probably just said "Doh, that one."

So I went with applique. Thanks husband, for picking the difficult option! Here's the little sketch image I selected during my Google Image searches. I love the shape of it and thought I could use ribbon and a button to create the levels and the window.


I picked fabrics that matched my striped backpack fabric, except brighter. I ironed the scraps onto lightweight interfacing, then cut out my shapes and laid them out on the fabric for the backpack front.

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique
Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I was pretty happy with the look of it, so I went ahead and sewed some green ribbon onto the main rocket ship piece to replicate the levels on the sketch.

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I pinned everything and started sewing with a tight zigzag stitch. Now remember, I have never done any machine applique before so this was an experiment. After sewing on the first wing, I realized my stitch width was way too broad, so I shortened it for the second wing. See the difference below?

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I ripped out the wider stitch side (that was fun...) and fixed the right side. I then appliqued the fire. Tricky tricky tricky with all those points and tights corners. It turned out okay, I think, though not perfect by any means. But once again, first experiment with applique ever!!

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

The last stitching I did was the green around the main rocket ship piece, so as to cover the edges between it and the smaller pieces. Here it is.

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I sewed on a wooden button for the window, and my rocket ship was ready to take flight!

Jenny: Rocket Ship Applique

I'm hoping to post about the finished backpack next week. Wish me luck with finishing that sucker!

Angel-mini-buttonSo Ben was spoiled a little for his birthday? You might as well get used to it, you are such a generous gift giver that he is simply cashing in on your good karma.........
I can't believe what a difference changing the stitch width made! Wow. I had to look at the photo for awhile to pick up on it but you are right, the smaller stitch looks much better. Very creative way to use the sketch, too! I love seeing how you find your inspiration.......

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That Little Love Chickie

By-Jenny2

Hi Angel! I posted about my work in progress last week, a "love chickie", and since then you have received it in the mail for Silas' birthday. So, it is time to show you the fascinating behind-the-scenes process for making these. I have made 3 so far, and I have to admit, they are pretty darn cute!

Jenny: Love Chickie

I wanted to make a little toy for Silas' first birthday. When browsing through my favorite blogs' archives, I came upon a link to this little Love Bird by Molly Chicken. It is meant to be a tiny Valentine's Day gift, with a soft heart and a heart note in the pocket. I thought it was adorable and decided to adapt the pattern into a baby toy by enlarging it and adding a string from the pocket to the heart so Silas could pull it out but not lose it. (I think Gymboree makes baby overalls with that system, with a tiny stuffed animal living in the front pocket).

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

Prepping and sewing this project is quite straightforward. It is a great one for using up cute scraps! Here, I used linen and fun fabrics like polka dots and Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy. Sewing these with the machine was fine once I made a point to set my stitch to a short length (1-1.5) to smooth out my curves. The embroidery is also simple: a misshapen beak and two black dots.

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

The heart was a bit trickier. It is quite small, and I sewed around it with a 1/8 inch allowance, which made the finishing pretty atrocious. When I made it a third time, I cut the pattern piece larger and sewed with a 1/4 inch allowance -- much better! I sewed the cord into it, securing it in place with a tiny piece of masking place (I love masking tape!!).

I then added the heart inside the pocket before sewing it to the chickie's body (which you can't see in the pics above, because I forgot to do it and had to rip a few stitches at the bottom to insert the cord...).

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

I added the little felt comb and legs. These were pretty tricky to cut out, I think I need better scissors. I sewed the front to the back fabric. Then, I flipped them inside out, ta-da!

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

Unfortunately, when I flipped Silas' chickie inside out, one of the felt legs stretched out and nearly ripped! Tragedy!

Jenny: Love Chickie

I decided to be practical about it, thinking that a one-year-old would most likely have been quick to rip out those chicken legs if I hadn't, so I cut them off altogether. The other chickie is for an older child, the daughter of an acquaintance who's been ill and having to undergo a lot of procedures in the recent past. I thought a love chickie would be a sweet gift for her to tote along to doctors' appointments.

Stuffing these chickies takes about 2 minutes. Sewing them shut is another story. My finishing skills are atrocious, as mentioned above, and I am less than pleased about the final result. I say that so often, don't I? Oh well.

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

Hearts in, hearts out. Sounds a little surgical, he he.

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

Just because I'm a bit of a masochist, here are some detailed shots of my poor stitching. I really should have picked matching thread to sew those shut, it probably would have helped to hide my crappy handiwork. Lazy, lazy.

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

All in all, I think this is a quick and easy project with sweet results. It took me a total of about 5-6 hours to make 2 on my first try. It took me about 3 hours to get my 3rd one made -- that's because I hurried like a madwoman and, of course, made a bunch of mistakes. This 3rd one was for a friend who underwent surgery last week. This gift really is a lovely way to share some love with someone who needs or just deserves it!

Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie
Jenny: Love Chickie

I'm proud to report that all 3 chickies were enthusiastically received. I hope Silas enjoys squishing and playing with his!

Angel-mini-buttonWhat a surprise! I didn't guess that you'd put that into the box, I was so happy to see him in there. Silas loves him dearly and is carrying him around (as he's WALKING) and I even caught him giving it a little kiss yesterday. I absolutely love the materials you used, this type of pattern could be quite cutesy using pastels or satin or something like that, but the linen and felted sweater combined with the embroidered features and the eclectic patterns give it that organic modern look I am so attracted to.

I will post a picture of Silas with his baby bird this week, I had the camera out and then he fell asleep........

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Show and Tell: Urban Craft Uprising

By-Jenny2
A couple of weeks ago, I finally made it to the Urban Craft Uprising show. It is a local indie craft fair here in Seattle, and happens twice a year. I was so bummed to have missed it last December, I made a point to attend this one. My friend Frannie and I left the kids with the husbands at the International Fountain on a gorgeous Sunday and ventured into the Exhibition Hall to explore the crafty offerings.


Urban Craft Uprising

We were not disappointed! What talent and inspiration! Jewelry, art, household items, clothing, baby stuff... We saw a lot of screen-printed stuff, that seemed to be the new "it" thing: printing original designs on various fabric scraps that customers can purchase to applique on a tote bag or a t-shirt, or to frame -- Frannie got a few cute ones. I was blown away by all the original designs in clothing and accessories, quite impressive.

Here are a few crafters who caught my eye...

I think my favorite was Laura Bucci, due to her aesthetic and the professional quality of her collection. Her stuff incorporates a lot of retro designs and natural fabrics like plain linen, with clean, modern lines. You can see a selection of her items in her Etsy shop, and more on her blog. I loved her linen pouches and other such accessories.



The paintings by Rachel Austin were gorgeous. A lot of her scenes are painted onto old maps, giving them a layered and upcycled look. I look forward to the day when I can afford to furnish my home with real, independent artwork! You can check out her Etsy shop here and her blog here.



Visiting from Oakland, Field Day Wearables offered quite the selection of original designs sewed from re-purposed or organic materials. Their style is more edgy and rock-n-roll than what I'm likely to wear, but they had a whole series of super cute, vintage-y dresses made solely from thrifted bed sheets. Very cool. They also had a bunch of those screen-printed patches I mentioned earlier.


urban-craft-2

Hoot Organic had the cutest baby hats, made from organic and eco friendly materials. Check out her online shop here. Seriously, too cute! And she has found some adorable boy prints too, no easy feat.


urban-craft-3

And finally, BoodleBags sold an array of diaper bags and other baby accessories. I thought her Baby Boodle design in particular was pretty brilliant: it's a diaper changing pad, but with a wrist strap and two flaps that hold diapers and wipes. Nifty.



There was so, so much more but these are the vendors from whom I grabbed business cards! I will have a newborn by the time the December show comes around. Maybe I can drop by with him in the sling, we'll see... If some of our readers are in the Seattle area, I definitely recommend checking out Urban Craft Uprising.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sandwich Wraps

By-Jenny2

Hello friend! This will be a brief post, since it's already after 9PM at the end of a long, crazy, busy day for me. I hope you had a wonderful day and that Silas' first birthday was a ton of fun!!

Jenny: Sandwich Wrap

I wanted to let you know that Ian's sandwich wraps are done! After you showed me that tutorial, I realized I actually own the book in which this pattern is featured: Sewing Green by Betz White.

Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap

Since I had that Nicey Jane laminated cotton on hand, it was easy peasy to get rolling on this project. I am happy to report it took less than a couple of hours to get a pair of these sandwich wraps made, start to finish. And this included a lot of issues with the tension on my sewing machine, including much snapping and breaking of my thread. Ugh. I still am not sure what the deal was, quite possibly working with laminated fabric? Either way, quick project to complete.

Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap

I do have one minor concern about using this fabric. It is laminated, but only on the "outside" of the wrap, not the inside. Does that defeat the purpose of using a waterproof fabric for this project? I hope it still works fine to properly wrap sandwiches. You'll have to report.

The PUL that Betz White uses in her project looks so similar that I didn't really question the fabric thing until I was nearly done sewing. From what I read online, the laminated cotton is machine washable, and even dryer-friendly according to some. If these wraps end up being super lame though, there's always these from Reusit. (I'm thinking of trying to replicate that pattern, I like it!)

Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap

A few tips... Pins poke holes in laminated fabrics like this one or oil cloth, so pin only if you have to and try to stick to the seam allowance. Velcro is a pain in the butt to sew onto this, I found it was easier to start with the diagonal than with the circumference as instructed. Before working with laminated fabrics, I would check the user manual for your sewing machine and find out their recommendations for tension, needle size, etc -- something which I didn't do and which resulted in rather sloppy stitching (sorry!).

Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap

Here they are! I am so pleased I was able to contribute a little something to Ian's big debut in kindergarten. They'll be going in the mail to you by the end of the week, along with Silas' belated birthday gift which I will post about here later.


Jenny: Sandwich Wrap
Jenny: Sandwich Wrap


Angel-mini-buttonJenny those look great! I love the fabric. I can't wait to show these to Ian! He loves the snack bags you made him, he always says "Hey, let's use those bags Jenny made me!"

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