Friday, June 20, 2014

Fabric Friday and a WIP

Currently up on the cutting table. . . .

 Some more ideas and pairings for upcoming totes and bags

And I recently found this gorgeous hand-dyed cotton fabric yardage at the thrift store. . . .

dreaming up the perfect use for this.

And  the WIP. . . .

An in-progress shot of my current project (the boob scarves). . . .

during the fleece cutting stage

I'm constructing them sweat-shop style, so all quantities of each step are completed at once before moving on to the next step.  Not as much fun as making each one from start to finish, but it sure is efficient when you want to make multiples of something.  Since I'm almost finished with them, the tote / bag / surprise sewing will soon begin.  YAY!

What are you working on today?  Any crafty plans for this weekend?

Talk to you soon!  :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Car seat cover remake: a tutorial review

Three days before Henry's arrival, I decided he'd need a new car seat cover.  There was nothing wrong with Monkey 9's old one; I just wanted a cover with bright, happy colors!  I took to Pinterest, and came across a tutorial by Make It and Love It.


The tutorial, I mean.  Well, and the car seat cover, too, but the tutorial is pretty darn painless.  The author's pictures are clear, and her instructions are easy to follow.  I would recommend this tutorial for intermediate sewists, just because of the bulk and wrangling that I had to do to sew the all the fabric layers together.  (I also recommend not waiting until the last 72 hours of gestation to begin a project such as this.  The thought that I might not finish it in time was a little stress-inducing....)

click on any photo to enlarge to see more details

In the tutorial, you will use the original car seat cover as a pattern for the new one, and attach the new fabric directly onto the old one.  I loved this process for simplicity's sake, but also for the safety factor involved. Since you're merely attaching more fabric to the cover, you're not changing its design integrity in any way.

*** Please do your own research and use your best judgment on remaking car seat covers.  Some have said that this voids the manufacturer's warranty, and some are of the opinion that this renders the car seat unsafe. I am obviously of a different opinion on that last bit, which is why I made the new cover.  So use your best judgment, folks. ***

2 1/2 weeks old, right after Monkey 4's bone surgery

Following the tutorial's instructions. . . .

I deconstructed the existing car seat cover.

 I was SO lucky that there were so few pieces involved!

I took notes and made markings directly on the back of the cover.  No one would see it!

 LOTS of notes. . .

Then, I constructed my new cover fabric panels.  I wanted patchwork, so I used some cotton batik and a gorgeous Spoonflower elephant print fabric. . . .

pieced and pressed.

I used reclaimed denim for the middle panels.  I wanted something strong and tough, but soft to the touch. The denim was perfect!

I used the basic idea of QAYG (Quilt As You Go) to attach the new fabric to the old cover.  I added one panel / pattern piece at a time, stitching it firmly and securely in place, directly on top of the old cover.  I then adding topstitching for details and additional security.

you can see the QAYG process in-progress on the right-hand piece.  I attached the center denim panel first, then added the two side patchwork panels, finishing off each panel with lots of topstitching.

patchwork, topstitched and pressed

I don't have any in-progress photos of the assembly of the car seat cover.  Which is probably a good thing. No one wants to see a huge, sweaty pregnant woman wrestling with her sewing machine.  Those last layers (the old car seat + new fabric + darts and folds + bias tape) were quite a beast.  Go slooowwwww.  Take your time. No rush.  Unless you waited 'til the last minute, like I did.

Next, you'll need some bias tape, to finish the car seat's edges, and to help hold everything in its proper place.  I made my own bias tape, using my favorite crafty friend, Erin's awesome tutorial.  Here's a closeup of the back of the seat (and the bias tape.)  The cover looks a little loose, but I assure you, it is not. . . .

The new cover fit perfectly, and has never, not even once, slipped off, slid down or become shifty.

finished, with about 10 hours to spare

And here it is today, 7 1/2 months later!  Grubby, in need of a good washing, and the batik has faded a little, but no weakened seams, rips or tears.

If I had it to do over again, I would NOT choose a print with a white background, and I would certainly NOT place it on the high traffic (or scuff-prone) areas, such as the head rest or the "bumper" areas.  What was I thinking?!

White background aside, I LOVED this cover, and highly recommend Make It and Love It's tutorial if you decide to make your own!

Have you ever sewn / recovered a car seat cover?  What tutorial did you use, or did you just wing it?  Any tips?

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Getting ready

My 2 year-long new fabric fast is over.  I may have been a little binge-y. . . .

top to bottom....

But when fabricworm hosts such a ginormous sale, and my stash is (believe it or not) actually on the skinny side, how can I NOT replenish my stash... just a tad?  I'm getting ready to reopen my shop in the next couple of weeks, barring any catastrophic life events.  New designs, new products... very excited!  I'll post some sneak peeks along the way!

We're also getting ready now. . .

awesome (and camera-shy) big brother

for my son's major surgery, which will take place in a few months.  It's an incredibly difficult operation, with 4-5 procedures in one swoop, but it's necessary, if he's to be able to continue to walk at all, and hopefully be able to live without the chronic pain that he suffers now.  

right knee.
on his right leg, he'll have a bone graft, muscle graft and relocation,
 patella tethering, and possibly a trochleoplasty 
(basically dig a groove in the bone for his knee cap to rest in.)

left knee.
as anatomically bad as the right, but since it's not really 
bothering him much at this time, we're leaving it alone for now.

In addition to the daily pain, his knees have become so unstable that they frequently give out, causing him to fall.  Yet, he never, ever complains.  Never feels sorry for himself.  He's always the first to help (and entertain) his little siblings.  He's a strong young man, and he inspires me daily to be a stronger mother, a braver person.  Please say a prayer for him. . . .

In the coming weeks and months, we'll be meeting with professionals that will help my son, and all of us, prepare emotionally, mentally, and practically for the surgery and the 6-12 months of rehab that will follow. I'm grateful to have such a long time to prepare.  Organizing the schedules, school and daily care of a family this size takes some major planning!  If you have any tips on preparing for something like this, especially cooking, homeschooling, and transitioning the littles, I'm all ears!

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New addiction: handmade twine from fabric scraps

I've managed to get a little bit of sewing done lately, working on an old order for boob scarves.  They're for an amazing lady (and her Bunco group) for breast cancer awareness and support.  She placed the order months ago, right before Henry's birth(yeah.  I'm a horrible slacker-flake...) and I feel like I have to get them done before I can start sewing anything else, so boobs it is for now.

I took a brief break from sewing the other day to play around in my scrap fabric bin.  A tutorial on how to make handmade twine from fabric scraps had recently captured my attention, especially the parts about it being a scrap-buster, and also mentioning that the whole process was "sort of meditative."  (it WAS!)   So I gave it a spin. . .

a basket full of fabric bits soon became a foot of twine, 
which then turned into several feet of twine.  and then several yards of twine. . . .

The tutorial, especially the video, is excellent, and very clear and easy to follow!  Just be sure to take little breaks like she recommends.  My fingers cramped up big time, and I think I got a blister on one finger, too, but goodness gracious, I think it was worth it. . . .

 I was also pleased to use up some of these fabrics, plus many more from my fabric bin. . . .

ugly!  but not for long!

I get so many of these odd 90's prints in fabric bundles at the thrift store.  I'll buy a fabric bundle for one or two particularly awesome fabrics, but these types of prints are always used as fillers in those bundles, and I never knew what to do with them.  But I know now!

I'll be using some of this twine in packaging once I reopen my etsy shop, and I also plan to stock some of this gorgeous fabric rope in the shop.  Well, once the boob scarves are done.

I've seen this twine used as necklaces and bracelets, and of course in packaging.  What are some uses you can imagine for this pretty twine?

Talk to you soon!  :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

In seven months....

We had this bambino. . . .

 the first time Henry opened his eyes.

And Monkey 4 had leg surgery for bone deformities. . . .

coming home, and walking out on his own!

Then Baby Henry lost too much weight (down in the 7-pound range, y'all, down from 9 1/2....) and stopped nursing, so we put him on formula and I bawled a whole lot and now he's fine and I'm fine and he got to wear those fabulous pants. . . .

the last time I nursed Henry, using a SNS.  poor baby was still starving.

gulping down his first bottle like no one's business.

he quickly gained weight, and fit the fabulous pants!

And then we had a magical Christmas. . . .

I hope yours was lovely, too!

And then I had a birthday.

Valentine's Day came and went.

the boys made red velvet cookies.  they look thrilled, don't they?

look at this chunky monkey!  he's gaining nicely!

And then I joined a gym.

We celebrated Monkey 6's birthday. . . .

Viking theme birthday. here they're creating a team crest.

And enjoyed some gorgeous spring weather.

We celebrated Monkey 3 and Monkey 8's birthdays. . . .

And we celebrated Easter. . . .

We prepped a garden.

I used lots of reclaimed materials for this project.  
I'm sure I'll have more to blog about on this later....

Still going to the gym 4 - 6 days a week!

 I admit it:  I'm addicted to my gym.  I love it.  I've only lost a few pounds, 
but I'm down 2 sizes so far.  That's enough to keep me motivated.   

And we FINALLYYYYY bought another vehicle so I no longer have to play the Family Taxi Driver for several hours a day.  

Which means my sewing days are about to return.  Which means my occasional blogging days will also return.  So I hope you'll join me here again, as I ease back into my old routine, my old-new normal, and let's get busy making some stuff!

So what's new with you?  What have I missed these past several months?  New job?  New home?  New baby?  New sewing projects?  New ____ ???  I can't wait to hear from you!