Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Serving Through Sewing

"No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow man."  That quote rings true to me and today, I'd love to get you thinking of ways you can use your sewing talent to bless others.  Below is a list of six organizations that need sewers who are willing to give of their time and create specific projects.  If you're up for a little challenge, choose at least one of these groups and make something for someone you don't know.  When you're done, I promise you'll feel good inside. Service just does that to you! 

Skirting The Issue- Sponsored by Simple Simon. From July through August, sew any size of a skirt for girls in your local foster care system.  These skirts are a blessing to girls throughout this system so they can have something new for back to school. Below are a few tutorials that can help you create a cute skirt:

Free skirt tutorials:

Easy Back to School Skirt, a Refashion & Tutorial

Flock of Birds Skirt

This year Simple Simon has also added quilts to their list of handmade items to donate to the foster care system in your area.

Sew Powerful- Sponsored by Liberty Jane, asks others to sew cross body purses for girls and women living in Zambia. Below is a link to teach you how to use your scraps to make this project.

Using Scraps to Make a Cross Body Purse for a Good Cause

Primary Children's Hospital- Sew monsters, safe sleep sacks, or medical play dolls as shown in the photo below.  You can even make no sew soft blankets.

Feel free to go to this post and download a free pattern and tutorial on how to use fleece scraps to make a few monsters:

1 Million Pillow Cases- "American Patchwork & Quilting is challenging quilters, sewers and crafters to help us reach our goal of donating one million pillowcases to local charities.  Many charities can benefit from the donation of a pillowcase and the challenge gives you the opportunity to donate and make a difference in your community."

The Linus Project- "Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."

Humanitarian Quilts- Make a quilt that will be given to those in need.

If you know of any other organizations that you think should be added to this list, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to add them.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, August 22, 2016

How to Sew a Few Little Monsters

One of my favorite charities is looking for people to make stuffed monsters for the children's ward.  Working toward my goal of using up the fabric stash I've accumulated, I found some scraps of yellow fleece. So why not use this fleece to make monsters for them? It worked perfectly. 

If you want to make some little monsters of your own, here are the details: 

  1.  Download the free pattern here. Then cut out the pieces as follows:  2 each of the body, 4 each of the horn, 2 each of the eye, 2 each of the pupil and how ever many teeth you want your monster to have.
  2. Place your eyes, pupils and teeth onto the head of your monster.  I use temporary spray adhesive to hold my pieces in place.
  3. Machine embroider the white eyes.
  4. Machine embroider the teeth in place.

5.   Machine embroider the black pupils and then the smile.
6.  To make the hair, wrap yarn around four of your fingers four times.  Cut the yarn and hold the ends together.
7.  Machine stitch the four strands of yarn together.
8.  Baste the stitched end of the yarn hair onto the top center of the head.

9.    Using 1/4" seams, right sides facing, stitch the horns together.
10.  Clip the curves and turn right side out.
11.  Stuff the horns with fiber fill.
12.  Baste the horn's openings closed.

13.  Pin and then baste the horns onto the head as shown.
14.  For the tail, cut 8 pieces of yarn 8" long.  Sew or knot the top of the yarn together.
15.  Braid the yarn and knot the end.
16.  For the end of the tail, wrap yarn around four fingers 10 times.  Tie the braid around the center of the yarn.  

17.  Tie the end with a knot and trim the ends so your tail looks nice and fluffy.
18.  Cut a tiny hole on the center of the back at the tail marking.
19.  Thread the tale's braid through the opening.  On the wrong side of the fabric, sew the fabric back together and sew over the tail's end several times, because little children will pull the soft fluffy tail.
20.  Now, pin the front to the back, right sides facing.  Stitch around your monster making sure the horns, hair and tail are inside the monster. Leave an opening at the bottom of the monster between his legs.  Clip the monster's curves. Turn your monster right side out and stuff.  To finish your monster, hand sew the opening closed.

Monster-making is a lot of fun because not all monsters need to look exactly the same.  You can tweak my pattern to create your own unique monster. Not having to make the exact same creature over and over again is just so much fun....don't you think?  Check back on Friday for a few more variations on monster making. xoxo Grandma

Shared at:  Threading My Way

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sew Easy Boy's Bow Tie

Doesn't this little guy look so dapper in his bow tie?! It is the cutest little bow tie and it's so easy to make.  I promise, it'll take under an hour to complete. All you need is a little scrap of fabric. 

Materials needed:
  • Fabric: cut per below.
1) 13 1/2" x 1 3/4"  - Neckband

2) 4" x 6 1/2" - Bow tie

1) 1 3/4" x 2 1/2" - Center of the bow tie

  • Velcro
  • Thread
1.   Add a safety pin to the ends of all the cut pieces.  For the neckband, add a safety pin to both ends.  
2.   With right sides together, fold the pieces in half and sew using 1/4" seam allowance.  Leave the ends open to turn. For the neckband, sew the small ends and leave the opening in the center.
3.    Once sewn, all the pieces will look like this.  Turn all the pieces and iron them flat.

4.    Mark with a pin, the middle of the bow tie pieces.
5.    Fold the ends toward the center of the bow and with a zig zag stitch, sew down the middle of both bow ties.
6.    Find the center of the neckband and mark with a pin.

7.    Stack the bow ties one on top of another.  Wrap the center piece around the bows and neckband and pin.
8.    Tuck one raw edge on the center piece under an edge that has been folded under about 1/4"  Hand sew the two edges together making sure you stitch a few times through the neckband.
9.    Sew  1.25" of Velcro loops on one side of the neckband.  Sew 3/4" of hooks onto the opposite side of the neckband.

Only 9 steps and your bow tie is complete. I told you it was easy! Make that little boy in your life handsome in a classy, new bow tie.  xoxo Grandma

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Best Dressed Doll

For the past five months I've faced several challenges, resulting in very little blogging.  It all started out in January with two broken bones in my arm, which left me with major nerve damage that needed months of physical therapy. The same injury threw out my back and needed the help of a chiropractor to get it back into it's proper place.  Then a neighbor's dog bit my leg  (I now have a huge fear of dogs which means I plan my morning jogs by the trails without dogs.)! Next, cancer showed up on my arm and nose, resulting in a skin graft. The final trial (knock on wood) was when my computer died and I had to figure out what to purchase to take it's place (sure, that's not really a challenge, but I am technologically challenged, so it was a big one for me).

To get through my challenges, I've turned to my kind of therapy - sewing a slew of outfits for 18" dolls.  My husband jokes with me and says that my doll is the best dressed doll in town.  He's right of course!

So, sit back and relax while I share some of the outfits I've made, and patterns used, to create this doll's wardrobe.

Photo 1
-Five Layers of Ruffles dress:  added 2-3" onto my favorite shirt pattern and then evenly added layers of lace trim.
-Sandal Pattern:  Pixie FaireGladiator Sandals
Changed pattern as follows: created one wide strap each and made a simplified oval center strap.

Photo 2
-Tutu and Leotard: Tutu made up pattern using tulle, trimmed and topped with lace.
-Leotard pattern:  Lee and Pearl, Tweak the Pattern 1051a One Piece Swimsuits for 18" Dolls (free download).
-Ballet Bag Pattern: free pattern xoxo Grandma.

Photo 3
-Pink Ballet Dress:  Extend your favorite doll tee-shirt 2-3" longer.  Using 7 pieces of tulle 3" x 29" gather and sew to the bottom of the tee shirt.   
-Ballet Bag Pattern: free pattern xoxo Grandma.

Photo 4 
Red, white back to school playwear:  
-Shorts pattern & tutorial: xoxo Grandma.
-Backpack Pattern:  McCall's #3469
-Clipboard Pattern:  free pattern & tutorial xoxo Grandma.

Photo 5
-White Ruffle shirt:  take any tee-shirt pattern and add lace/tulle trim to the bottom of the shirt. 
-Blue pants:  Simplicity #3551, view D.

Photo 6
Pioneer Outfit Pattern:  McCall's #3627, view A/G
-Apron pattern: free pattern xoxo Grandma.

Photo 7
Red, white and blue dress pattern:  
-Pixie Faire, Yacht dress 
-Sandal Pattern: Pixie Faire, Gladiator Sandals, used sticky red felt for the material and changed pattern as follows: created one wide strap each, made a simplified, oval center strap and no sewing around all the small pieces.  

Photo 8
-Japanese Kimono Pattern:  xoxo Grandma

Photo 9
-Jacket Pattern: xoxo Grandma, Lace Hankie Into a Doll Top
-Skirt:  Left over scraps of fabric and trim sewn together, no pattern used.
-Top:  Camisole, self created pattern.

Photo 10
-Fishing Set Pattern:  xoxo Grandma

Photo 11
-Camo Cargo pants set: Pants added 2 side pockets to a basic pant pattern. Used a scarf for the fabric.
-Sandals:  same as in photo 7, the fabric was from an old purse.

Photos 12 & 14
-Party dresses: The fabric came from a fancy baby dress which none of my daughters liked. 
-The baby dress was cut up and turned into two party dresses.  
-The skirt pattern is McCall's #3627, view H.

Photo 13
-Lace sleeves and lace added to a basic tee-shirt pattern.
-Short skirt pattern, lace sewn underneath the hem.

Photo 15
-Peach tunic was made from a linen tea towel with crocheted edges. 
-Capri's: Simplicity #3551 view B, cut shorter to make capris.
-Sandals: simplified version of the gladiator sandals see photo 7.

Photo 16
Brown and Turquoise outfit:  
-Basic tee-shirt pattern, sewing leftover pieces of lace down the center of the top beads used as accent buttons.  
Brown Leggings:  Simplicity #3551, view D.

Photo 17
-Poodle skirt:  Free Pattern xoxo Grandma.

My goal, besides diverting my attention from my injuries, was to use up all the little pieces of fabric I've saved without purchasing any more.  But I often get ideas for accessories to accompany an article of clothing I've just finished.  All these creative ideas occasionally result in purchasing a little "new" fabric. I'm beginning to think there needs to be a help group for fabrics addicts. Fabrics Anonymous, right? Ah well, at least I have the best dressed doll in town!  xoxo Grandma 

Monday, August 1, 2016

1958 Poodle Skirt for an American Girl Doll - Free Pattern

When I saw this 1958 McCall's pattern #2252 for an original poodle skirt, I just knew it would be fun to scale down the pattern to fit an 18" American Girl Doll. 

After sketching and playing with fabric, beads and a little ribbon, this is how my version of this classic 1958 skirt turned out.

Add white socks and some saddle shoes and this doll will be set to party like it's 1958.

If you'd like to make one of these skirts, keep reading because the directions and poodle applique pattern are below.

Materials needed:
  • Good quality felt
  • faux fur (I trimmed my faux fur to about 1/4" long)
  • beads and or sequins
  • 1/8" wide ribbon
  • black felt or fleece for the poodle about 5" square

1.  Cut out a 17" circle from good quality red felt for the skirt.  In the center of the circle, cut out a circle 3 1/4".

2.  Machine applique the poodle in place onto the felt skirt.

3.  With black thread, hand stitch black beads or sequins onto the felt in a curved line to form the leash.

4.  Make the dog collar, by hand sewing a sequin around the dog's neck then add a clear bead which will hold the sequin in place.

5.  Tie a tiny bow using the 1/8" piece of ribbon.  Hand stitch the bow onto the top of the dog's furry head.

6.  Hand sew a white bead in place for the eye.

7.  Cut a 1 1/4" slit down the center back of the skirt.

8.  Cut 1" x 11 3/4" red felt for the waistband.

9.  Sew using 1/8" seam, sew the waistband onto the top of the circular skirt, leaving 1" of the waistband extending beyond the skirt's top.

10.  Sew Velcro hook onto the 1" extended waistband edge.

11.  Sew the Velcro loop onto the wrong side of the other end of the waistband.  Your 1958 poodle skirt is finished.

Download the poodle applique' pattern here and enjoy making your own 1958 original looking poodle skirt.  xoxo Grandma

Monday, July 25, 2016

Handmade Christmas - Christmas Tree Hot Pads


Whenever Christmas time rolls around, I am always stumped over what to give my neighbors. If you have a similar problem, then I have a simple solution for you. Ever heard of "A Handcrafted Christmas?" It's a group of creative bloggers who have joined together for a monthly Christmas Blog Hop where one of us will be making a fabulous handcrafted Christmas gift to inspire and re-create each month.  Our goal is to make a gift a month so that by the time Christmas rolls around we'll have at least 12 gifts ready for the holiday season.  

This is my month to host "A Handcrafted Christmas," and my gift is Christmas tree hot pads -- perfect for neighbor gifts.  You can use scraps of fabric and ribbon to make these because no two hot pads need to look exactly the same. One added bonus to this post is that The Warm Company has agreed to give one lucky winner a yard of their "Insul-bright" lining. Simply follow this blog and leave a comment below and you'll be entered.

  1. Gather your supplies:  background & backing fabric 2) 9" x 9" (round all but the top left corner), lace and/or ribbon, Double fold quilt binding bias tape (cut in half) or extra wide double fold bias tape, Insulated lining like Insul-Bright,  tree trunk fabric: 1" x 2",  thin cotton batting is optional, thread, scissors and the free tree pattern found here.  For the tree pattern, make an rectangle 6 3/8" x 6 3/4" x 6 3/4" and cut out your trees.
  2. Position the tree trunk and then layer the tree shape slightly on top of the trunk and onto the background fabric. 
  3. Cut ribbon or lace and pin onto the tree, tucking the raw edges under the tree shape.
  4. With a straight stitch, sew the ribbon and or lace onto the tree shape.
  5. Change your stitch to a blanket stitch.  This is what it looks like on my sewing machine.
  6. Starting at the top of the tree, stitch all the way around the tree's shape.  Make sure to pivot around all the turns.
  7. Now you'll layer your hot pad.  The first layer is the tree, then the Insul-bright (insulated fabric), then a thin layer of batting, then the backing.  The backing is "sandwiched" between all the layers and the right side of the fabric will be facing out.  To keep my layers from shifting, I found that temporary spray glue worked the best and was the quickest way to keep those layers together.
  8. Take your seam tape and measure 4.25".  This piece will be sewn together first to create the hang tab.  Starting with the top left corner, at 4.25" open up the bias tape and pin one edge of the tape all around the back side of the hot pad.
  9. Sew the bias tape through all the layers.
  10. Wrap the bias tape around the front side and pin in place.  
  11. Fold the tab over until it touches the hot pad's edge and sew a square to hold the tab in place.
  12. When finished sewing the tab, it will look like this.  Sew close to the edge of the bias tape and all around the hot pad.
Your Christmas tree hot pad should look something like this:

Now, I hate to ruin any Christmas surprises, but if you're lucky enough you'll be getting one of these along with some melt in your mouth homemade rolls. Now that those Christmas gifts are already out of the way, I can rest a little easier come December. 

To enter the contest for free insulated lining to make hot pads, join this blog as a "follower" and then leave a comment.  

The Prize: One yard of Insul-Bright shipped directly to your home. Thank you to The Warm Company for sponsoring this prize!  This product can be purchased at your favorite fabric/craft store.  Just ask for it by it's name. 

The winner Suzi who personally contacted me.  I love it when someone takes the time to let me know what they think.  xoxo Grandma 

Here's a list of the other posts in this series so far:

January: No Sew Fleece Blankets
February:  How to Make Christmas Decor Using Scrap Wood
March:  Ribbon Pinecone Ornament
April:  Christmas Garland
May:  Burlap Christmas Mug Rugs
June:  Wooden Gift Tags
June: Scrappy Tie Mug Coasters
July:  Christmas Tree Hot Pads 

Linked to:  Threading My Way, Kitchen, Totally TutorialsCraft Gossip

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Knock Off Sundress

When my daughter was visiting a few weeks ago, we went shopping at the outlet stores. We popped into one of her favorite stores, where she saw a child's J.Crew sundress that she loved. She wanted it for her two girls but even the sale price was a little ridiculous.  I looked at the dress and whispered to her that it looked like it would be easy to make. I was right.  I ended up making four of these sundresses for my granddaughters.

Here is my version of that sundress, modeled by two of those granddaughters.

This dress reminds me a little of a pillowcase dress.  The thing that sets this sundress apart is the fun knot on the back of the dress.  No more straps falling off little shoulders.

If you'd like to make this sundress too, I've included the pattern along with a tutorial below.

Here's what I used:
  • Fabric:  My Favorite Ship, by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • Pattern:  self-drafted, free download here (size 3 only).  I ended up making a size 12 month (pictured above), 3 years, 2 years and 4 years.  I used the downloadable pattern for all these sizes.  To change the sizes simply shorten or lengthen the dress, shorten the straps for the smallest size and adjust the elastic around the front and back per child's width.
Here's how to sew this cute knock-off sundress:
1.  All seams 1/4" unless otherwise stated.  Sew extra wide bias tape onto the back top of the sundress.  You'll be forming a casing for the elastic so finish sewing close to the edge of the tape leaving the sides open.
2.  Sew bias tape to the armholes starting from the wrong side.  Iron the tape toward the front of the sundress and sew close to the edge from the front of the sundress.
3.  Add elastic the width of the back (I added 8") to the back casing stitching along the openings of the casing to keep the elastic in place.
4.  Sew the side seams together wrong sides facing (this step is from making French side seams).

5.  Iron the side seams and sew the side seams together with the right sides facing.
6.  Sew the straps together with 1/4" seams leaving an opening at the center.
7.  Shows the strap fully sewn.  Clip the corners.
8.  Turn the straps and iron.
9.    Leave 1/2" extended on both sides and pin the front strip onto the top of wrong side of the front of the dress.
10.  Sew the two pieces together.  Iron the top of the front strip under 1/4".
11.  Iron the strip in half toward the front of the dress.
12.  Top stitch the strip in place, close to the edge, leaving the ends open to insert elastic.

13.  Sew the straps.  Cut the corners and turn this piece right side out.
14.  Sew the back knot piece leaving the middle open to turn.  Cut off the corners and turn right side out.
15.  Iron the straps and back knot piece.  Top stitch 1/4" from the edge.
16.  Find the middle of the back and measure 4" from the center, marking with pins.

17.  Mark the middle with one additional pin.
18.  Add elastic to the front of the casing and stitch the ends of the elastic to the a strap that has been folded over.
19.  This image shows the edges of the front casing folded over.
20.  Stitch the strap inside the end of the front casing.  

21.  Stitch a small piece of ribbon onto the middle of one of the straps and thread one of the straps under the ribbon.
22.  The back of the sundress has markings which you'll add the back of the straps to.  Securely sew the straps in place.
23.  This is how the strap should look once sewn in place.
24.  Now add the back knot into place by looping the knot under the ribbon.  I stitched the knot by hand.  

This sundress is light and airy and perfect for a hot summer day.  I also made diaper covers out of the same nautical fabric for my youngest granddaughters.  May your little ones enjoy summertime with a comfortable, stylish and affortable sundress.  xoxo Grandma