Friday, May 31, 2013

Thank you aprons, concluded

I finished the last three aprons for all of Peter's teachers at White Rose, and even convinced an actual adult to photograph me modeling them since my previous photographer just couldn't be bothered yesterday afternoon.  Corey told me they were like a collection on Project Runway, so here they all are in one place.  Guess which one would be singled out by Nina as the one that doesn't quite fit with the rest?

This one was cute, but if I were making it for me I would modify the tutorial to make the apron a little wider.  I used twill tape instead of fabric ties for the apron strings and neck tie because I was getting anxious to get this all done in time.  Someone please remind me not to model in a tank top ever again, because I'm not so thrilled with the armpit shot.

I deviated from the tutorial on this one and unfortunately it resulted in the straps coming off the apron at a funny angle.  When I make this again (and I totally will, because there is nothing I like more than turning old jeans into something fun!), I will actually follow Kim's directions a little closer for cutting out the shape for the arm holes.  I also think the binding needs to be cut on the bias to work with the curves a little better.  I should have taken a photo of the reverse of the apron, because the inside of the jeans I used had a cool plaid print.

Corey volunteered to model this one for me.  This is for the only male teacher at White Rose.  I made it in a carpenter apron style, and just sort of winged it after looking for a good tutorial and failing miserably.  Fun fact -- the bias tape was made from an old twin sheet that I used in law school (until mom and dad got me my awesome queen size bed when I moved out of student housing).  The denim was just bought at the fabric store -- it wasn't from old jeans.

The next two I already blogged about previously.

And here is the reverse of the scalloped edge apron, with the see-through lining.  I didn't get the pockets angled correctly (which the author of the tutorial also said she struggled with -- so why not figure it out and add some markings to the pattern to aid in pocket placement, huh?), but it's not too crazy noticeable.

WHEW!  A couple of those aprons (the bottom two, actually) took a lot longer than I imagined they might.  I wish I had been there to see the teachers open their gifts, but Peter was throwing a HUGE tantrum at drop-off and I thought it was better if I just skedaddled out of there ASAP.  NanaB picked Petey up from school because I was at Charlotte's preschool picnic, and she said the teachers were all tickled with the aprons.  The aprons were individually wrapped, and they let Petey hand them out to each teacher.  He was so proud to do that.  So much fun!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scalloped apron for another preschool teacher

Here is the second apron I completed in my quest to make all of Peter's teachers an apron out of "white rose" fabric.  I used a tutorial for a reversible scalloped apron and didn't read through the whole thing very carefully before I started.  This apron is very labor-intensive, but that wasn't the problem.  There it was in the very last instruction -- the dreaded HAND STITCHING.  I avoid hand stitching like the plague.  I was able to work around it and use the machine instead, but I'm sure it would have looked way nicer with hand stitching.  Considering I have no idea if the apron's recipient likes to wear aprons and I really don't know how much this gift will be treasured, I'm sure as heck not going to hand stitch if I don't have to.  Here is the apron, in all of its glory:

Charlotte took the photo, once again!  Note to self -- use a more opaque fabric if you really want the apron to be reversible.  Unfortunately, you can see the backside of the design through the lining (made from some old off-white curtains that were in our Tennessee house when we moved in) on the other side, so I'm just going to pretend it's not supposed to be reversible (despite the fact that I did put a pocket on the backside).  I ran into the problem again of not really having any coordinating in an amount sufficient enough for this project.  It uses a surprisingly large amount of fabric, but it does turn out pretty cute.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

An Army of Amigurumis

This spring, I crocheted a ton of amigurumis (amigurumi is the Japanese word for the art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures) for a lot of the awesome little kids I know. It took me a while, but I created an army!

This isn't even all of them-- I crocheted a few more piggies and a bat after I took this group picture.

Sonia loved the "army-gurumi"!

I found almost all of these crochet patterns on the internet-- FOR FREE.  The internet rules.  Sometimes.

I've linked where I found each of these patterns.  Most of these were made with worsted-weight yarn and either an F or a G hook.  I love using the shiny black plastic safety eyes-- they make amigurumis look so much more alive!




Beaver (I think this was my favorite!!)



Wiener Dog


Walrus (This one was from an amigurumi book that my friend, Joann, lent me.)

Bee (whoops, not a very good picture of it)


Alligator (This was from Joann's amigurumi book, too.)






Baby Seal











A thank you apron

Peter's last week of school is finally upon us.  He will be going to a new preschool next year (one with a more formal curriculum and less of a day care) so I wanted to say an extra-special thank you to the teachers who put up with all of Peter's drop-off tantrums, potty training, etc.  There are five teachers there, so I decided to make them each an apron as a thank you.  One of the teachers is a guy though, so I'm going to need to dig up some more manly fabric and sew with a few less ruffles for his.  I get bored making the same pattern over and over again and there are 4 billion apron sewing tutorials on the internet, so I decided to make each teacher a different apron.

I mostly followed this tutorial to make the first one.  I know the fabric combination looks a little funky, but I wanted to find a fabric with white roses one it (the school is named "White Rose Academy").  This is harder than you think.  I figured I would have plenty of options in my fabric stash for coordinating prints, but I guess I really don't have a whole lot with gray in it.  I think the combination turned out okay, but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice.  I will see what else I can come up with for the next apron.

I'm home alone with the kids and am terrible of taking pictures of myself in the mirror, so I asked Charlotte to be my fashion photographer.  She was so proud to be using Mommy's grown-up camera.  She did a very nice job!

The apron isn't necessarily supposed to be reversible because there is no pocket on the back side, but it is nicely finished on the back so that it could really go either way.  If I made this pattern again, I would use a third coordinating fabric for the back and add a pocket so that it could truly be considered reversible.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adalberto's race car

Sonia's little buddy, Adalberto, is turning four years old, so I decided to crochet him a gift.  He is obsessed with modes of transportation (cars especially), and knowing that fact, my friend, Amanda, suggested that I crochet Adalberto a car.  I found this pattern at the Crochet Spot website, and I love it so much that I am going to have to make a lot more of these funny little cars!  It took me about 6 or 7 hours and I used Red Heart worsted-weight yarn.

The original pattern calls for the car to be #1, but I obviously had to sew a 4 on instead.  Happy birthday, Adalberto!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Snappy pencil pouch

I rarely sew for guys.  Let's be honest -- most hand-made stuff is not really all that manly.  I was tickled when one of Corey's best friends, Brad, asked me to sew him a pencil pouch after I had shown him and his wife the fun snappy coin pouch I had made.  He thought is was hilarious that I had sacrificed one of Corey's measuring tapes for the snappy part, and thought that would be a neat closure for a pencil pouch.

When I asked him about colors and patterns, he outlawed any patterned fabric and mentioned only gray, black, or brown.  But what about gray chevron?  NO.  What about stripes?  NO.  Hee hee.  So solid colors, it is.  I made it using the Snappy Coin Pouch tutorial, but I made the following changes:

- cut the fabric to be 5 1/2" by 10 1/2"
- use a 3" length of 1"-wide black twill tape instead of sewing a tab
- no boxed corners (not necessary for a pencil pouch)
- cut the measuring tape strips 9" long

I do like how it turned out, but I probably shouldn't have lined it with heavy canvas.  The outside was also a medium-weight canvas, so the seam allowances on the inside really fight and cause it to look a little lumpy around the edges.  Probably should have trimmed them a little, too.  Oh well.  No one should notice once the pouch is stuffed full of pencils and pens.  The canvas does look all nice and manly though.  Can't wait to give the pouch to Brad this weekend!

I have now used up exactly six feet of the measuring tape.  Only nineteen more feet to go until I have to sacrifice another one!  Just kidding, Corey.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Goofy aprons for Mother's Day

I found a tutorial for a hilarious and completely unnecessary gadgety-apron, but I fell in love with it and thought it would make fun Mother's Day presents for my mom and mother-in-law. The bottom of it is a dish towel, and it can be removed from the top via the separating zipper.

I kinda sorta followed the tutorial, but I didn't use the exposed zipper technique.  I also bought some wide twill tape (love that stuff!) to use for the neck and the ties, because I loathe making fabric ties.  They never look as nice as I think they should, they're a pain in the butt to cut/iron/stitch, and twill tape or cotton straps make aprons and bags look a little less Becky Home-Ecky in my opinion.  I found that most kitchen towels were really really wide (28" or 30"), and it felt funny to have an apron wrapping that far around my torso when I was imagining the finished project.  The shortest I could find was a 26" basic kitchen towel from Target, which worked perfect because I was able to find some 26" zippers at JoAnn's.  Not the highest-quality towel, but it saved me from having the hem the edges of a larger towel.

This was my first time installing a separating zipper, but it was no harder than the regular kind. It was also my first time sewing on terrycloth, but that again wasn't much different than sewing with normal heavy-weight fabric. I fact, I kind of liked it because the loops of the cloth hid any goofiness in my stitching or loopiness in the bobbin thread. I need to get my tension fixed by the Viking peeps, I think.

I didn't take a picture of the apron I made for Barb because I wanted to get one with her modeling it. Here's the one I made for Mom (I'm an idiot and forgot to take a picture of her in it when I gave it to her last weekend!), along with the second hand towel to zip in:

The store was out of 26" zippers in white, so I couldn't make a second one for Barb. I will check the other JoAnn's sometime and see if I can find one because I have another hand towel all ready to use!  This was really fun to make, and I would totally make it again.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pep band jammies

I made Sonia's nightgown out of my old PHS Pep Band shirt.  The ruffles came from my high school volleyball uniform shirt.  Go Hillmen!

Remake of the infamous nightgown

When Abbey was about Charlotte's age, she had a frilly little knit nightgown that she wore constantly.  I totally remember her wearing it, even though that had to have been about 15 years ago.  Aunt Kim sent me the nightgown when Charlotte was about 2 years old, and she finally grew into it last summer.  Unsurprisingly, it was an instant hit with Charlotte and she wore it tons.  Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find anything like it in the stores I normally hit for kids' clothes (Target, Meijer, Kohl's, etc.).  The only nighties they had were made of polyester and featured Disney princesses (which knocks the price up $5, of course).  Not cool, dudes.  So, I decided I needed to remake the infamous nightgown (out of an old t-shirt, of course).  Here is the original inspiration:

The tag is so faded that I have no idea what size it is supposed to be or what company made it.

I took my super cute Duke long-sleeved t-shirt (a gift from Corey's Granny and Grandpa) that had an unfortunate hole in it, and added some pink knit from a vintage DG shirt I have had since college.  Viola!

I ruffled the strips of the pink knit by turning up the tension on the machine and setting the stitch length to 6.  Worked like a charm.  I'm terrible at the whole basting stitch and pulling the bobbin thread ruffling technique.  I didn't hem the ruffles because I wasn't sure this whole experiment would work, but I will next time.  If I only had a serger!!!  The inside seams are all unfinished, but I bet I could zigzag up a storm and get them looking a little nicer.  Maybe next time I could sew the sides with French seams, too?  The hardest part was making the bias tape out of this extremely lightweight knit.  That was seriously tedious.

The place where the ruffles on the hem meet is kind of wonky, but I think I can fix that by paying closer attention to their placement.

I had to bribe Charlotte with sherbet to put the nightgown on and go outside for some photos.

At first, she told me we should save the nightgown for her children.  Huh?  After I wrestled it on her and she caught a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the sliding glass door, I think she fell in love with it.  Now she refuses to take it off so I can do some fixing on the raw seams on the inside.

I had better made something for Peter soon or else his little head will explode.  He always says "what 'bout me?" and smiles sweetly whenever I make something for someone else.  Poor little guy.  I also think I need to remake this design as a shirt (with just a straight hem at the bottom).  That would be a fabulous summer shirt for Charlotte and/or Sonia!