Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's that (Crafty) Time of Year!

So, of course, I have a ton to blog about and can't because that would ruin the surprise(s)!

But, I'm going to share the photos I have taken that don't give away what the items are...later (after they have been given to their intended owners), I will share what they are and how to make a few of them!  I made up a few of the patterns, but mostly I have been busy modifying other people's patterns that they were kind enough to give away!

I have an idea for a project for next year as well.  I thought of it while I was browsing an "organic" style baby/kid website.  They were selling child-sized sleeping bags (the kind you would send with your kid for a slumber party or for a nap at the baby-sitters, not the kind you go camping in cold weather with) for $70!  I know I can make one for cheaper than that!  So, I got to sketching (very rough)...first I was using their measurements (33" x 66") and trying to decide how much fabric I would need for one bag.

This way would require:
  • Exterior Fabric--any fabric really, but a fun print geared toward the pint-sized owner would be awesome
  • Interior Fabric (Lining)--Cotton, Flannel, Silk/Satin...something you'd want next to your skin while you slept
  • Batting--the thickest you can find!  Or you know, doubled up so it's extra padded...
For each half of the bag, I'd need at least 2 yards of the exterior and lining fabrics and double that (4 yards) of batting!  I purchased a yard of Flannel the other day for a Christmas present/ was $3.47 a yard (so, we'll round and call 2 yards $7)...I also found "discounted" fabric at Hancock's Fabric for $2 a yard...nothing special here, but it would work for the outside (that's $4 for 2 yards of that).  Batting...since I didn't look at this in the store...the best online price at Joann's Fabric is $5.99 a yard (rounded to $6 and multiplied by the 4 yards I'd need...) $24!  That would make the homemade version cost $70 as well!

A side note on Batting...for this estimate of price, I picked the "cheapest" batting sold by the yard I could find at, but since I can;t tell how thick it is, this is something I would purchase locally (the first time anyway) so that I know I'm getting the thickest I can get my hands on (and that fits in my sewing machine)!
But you said you could make one for less....why yes I did...see this is where my gears started turning.  First, that interior layer of the sleep-sack...why couldn't I just recycle an old sheet (or a new one I found on sale, or clearance for even cheaper)?  That would turn the cost for the entire interior layer from $14(ish) to a range of free to about $7 (the most I have ever paid for a single sheet).  For the exterior verse, same as the first!  Another sheet!  No making sure all the cut edges are the straight and all that!  That brings the cost for the exterior layer down from $8 to the same price range of "Free to $7".  Batting, well...that's going to be the spendy part of this venture, still going to need that 4 yards or so that's still $24 (the batting I'm pricing it on is this one's 90 inches wide, so I think I could do both sides with a 4 yard length of it, 2 single layers of it, no folding it).  It would cut the amount by half though...if my math holds water (the first calculation may be off by $24 though, lol).  So, new, recycled version?   Costing roughly $24 to $38!  It could cost even less if I can find thick batting for even cheaper.  We'll see what I can find, but this is what I'm considering giving all the boys for birthdays or Christmas next year.  I still need to tweak the idea a bit and see if I can get a good deal on Batting in bulk, ha!  This would work for any size sheet really...but as the size of your sheet gets bigger, so does the price of batting!  Honestly, who needs a King sized sleeping bag that won't work outside anyway though?  (Besides me...)
 Another note on must be quilted or tied periodically across the entire work, in this case, both sides of the sleep-sack.    Just something to's easily done on any sewing machine by stitching straight lines in both directions, creating a large grid effect (4-inch squares or diamonds).
 Back to the projects I have been actually working on though!  Scattered through all of that about next year's project, you may have noticed Barbie(TM)in various stages of "dress".  Having 5 nephews and a ton of clothing patterns for the 11.5" fashion doll, I went out and bought myself a "model"!  This pattern, that I did in a dark red, came from this Blogger, who writes crochet patterns for the new "belly button" dolls.  In the last 20+ years (since I was actively playing with these dolls), she has grown a belly button, a bigger butt, smaller boobs, and her feet have gotten huge!  On closer inspection at the store the other day (and the wisdom of cousins who have daughters), only the "cheap" dolls have huge feet...the more expensive ones have smaller feet by comparison, but I would wager a bet that the shoes I had for my dolls would be too small for the newer ones.  She also learned to separate her fingers (they are still molded, but the fingers are more "real") and she grew toes!  Also, her hips are jointed like her arms, allowing more motion than my dolls had (except for the figure-skating doll I had...she moved like this one).  Assuming I followed the pattern correctly, the difference between the "1996" version and "2006" version is a smaller bust and waist.  Interesting fact...the extremely small waist of the original Barbie was designed that way for handmade clothes!  Once skirts were gathered and waistbands were attached, she was meant to have a "realistic" sized waist.  The downside to all the commercially made clothes (put out by Mattel) is that they do not have the "handmade bulk" the doll was designed to accommodate.  So, she isn't meant to give unrealistic views on how girls should look...she's meant to be dressed in hand made items and look "healthy"!  I'm going to have to play with this pattern a bit so that the top isn't so large and there is a lot of bulk "bunching" at the waist...she need darts and a belt!  And a slip...but I'm still working on good sewing patterns for her too.

I am still working on the "One skein Throws" (even if they are in reality 3-5 skein throws...).  I purchased a set of "yarn bags" a few weeks ago because they claimed to make taking your crochet with you easier than ever!  Well...the bags literally fits the skein and the skein alone.  So, I broke out my sewing remember, my Singer Style Confidence that I got back in March right?

I went remnant shopping and came back with several options, but I settled on a pretty purple print that has strawberries, cherries, and watermelon wedges all over!  I had enough to make two, large, drawstring bags to go with the yarn bags for easier travel of my project.  In the first photo, the bag on the left is finished and the bag on the right is still inside out, while I worked on finishing touches.

I squared off the bottom corners of each bag, making it more bag shaped (no pointy corners) by running straight stitch across the ends.  You can cut the little triangles off, but I tend to leave them on so I don't have to serge the edges.

Also, before folding the top edge over to create the pouch for the drawstring, in this case a length of 5/8th inch Grosgrain ribbon, I added a large button hole.  Using the auto-button hole feature on my machine, I set the "button holder" on the back of the buttonhole foot to slightly wider than my ribbon, set the foot where I wanted the bottom of my buttonhole, and let it do its thing, super simple!  Before I ripped the hole open though, I folded over the edge (leaving a 1/2 inch space above the top of the buttonhole), pinned it down all the way around and then ran a straight stitch around the bottom of the drawstring pouch (I followed the stitch line from when I sewed up the raw edge), I used a 1/4" seam here, maybe 3/8"...basically I lined it up with the outer edge of my foot and kept it there.  Then, I attached a large safety pin to the open end of my ribbon spool and fed it through the buttonhole (after ripping it open) around and back out the same button hole.  I could have done two buttonholes 1/2 to 1 inch apart, then I wouldn't have had to leave a "tail" on my ribbon.  To close the ribbon, I folded over the raw edges (You could also melt them so they don't fray with a lighter, but be extremely careful, it doesn't take much heat to melt the ribbon!) and then stitched the ribbon ends together, leaving a "tab" of sorts, it makes it easy to grab to pull the drawstring shut.

Currently, both bag sets are in use for crochet projects (two throws) and another bag (a $10 purse I bought at WalMart this summer) has another crochet project going (a Christmas gift for my Mom), but the intention (once all my "last minute" Christmas madness is done) is to have one bag set for Crochet and one for knit, with the third bag (AKA the purse) for the smaller scale all those fashion doll patterns and doilies I do.
I have gone a wee bit nut-so with all the sewing lately...the photo with the boat was one project where I got to put to use some leftover jeans material I had (previously known as the leg to a piar of my own pants).  This is still one of my was a pattern that I wasn't all that thrilled with, but with a few tweaks of my own, I was able to turn it into something I can very nearly "mass-produce"!  Working casually, I can crank out about 10 of these in 8 hours, including one that I fused interfacing to!

 The red with the cute Frog on it is "Arctic Fleece"...the Grey just said "Fleece", I got these for about $5 a yard (making it my most expensive project so far).  I needed 1 1/3 yards, but bought 2 of each so I could have leftovers for another project...I got the main project done, but haven't started the other yet.  Not including piecing the pattern together (20 sheets of printer paper) or cutting out the pattern, this one took me 30 minutes to pin, an hour to cut, and about 45 minutes to "create" the bulk of it.  The finishing touches took me several hours to complete, but that's because I went "off script" for that portion!  I'll post finished photos of this one once it's been given though, promise!

 Here is the flannel I bought that I mentioned earlier!  Isn't it awesome?  I have used up all but a few tiny scraps of the yard of this that I bought...but I made a complete "set" as a Christmas gift from it!

I have a new favorite sewing notion...the snap!  While I really would like to have a grommet/snap tool ($20-25), I am surviving with the  "tool" you can buy with the snaps ($3.47 at WalMart for 10 snaps and the tool versus $2.47 for 7 snaps...) and the other "tool" required...a hammer.  I like the snaps so much that I have purchased a second set of the snaps that come with the tool as well as a set that have "pearl" faces!  The Pearl snaps look a bit more "professional" in my opinion, but they just are not meant for every use...  The blue plastic bit is the "tool" that comes with the snaps, that hole grips the pokey part of the snap and the ring of prongs goes in the other half the tool, then, once positioned properly on the fabric, you give it a few good whacks with a hammer and voila!  Half a snap!  You have to use 4 pieces for each half of the snap.  It's a semi-involved process, so I bought a floss organizer to carry all the small parts (I was accumulating a lot of baggies in my sewing stuff).  The embroidery floss organizer was only $3, in comparison to the sewing notions version next to it for $13, I think I got the better end of the deal and this box is twice the size!  I would like to get a thread organizer though...

I had intended to make my yarn project bags out of this material, but it's Palencia and felt a bit too "thin" for my bags.  So, I set it aside and within a day or two, I had a use for some of it!  After cutting the first fabric (we'll call it the "Outer fabric"), I cut 2 of these to use for the inner fabric.  The finished size was roughly 12 by 25.  My measurements were approximate here and I was rounding some awfully complex actual sizes (like 12 7/16) to make cutting another one a little easier.

While out looking for a 3mm twin needle for my sewing machine (I have a project that requires a twin needle and my machine recommends a 3mm one), I ran across a clearance sale at Hancock fabrics!  I got the 5-piece crochet hook set for $1, originally $10!  I paid 11 cents a yard for the two rolls of ribbon under the brown and white spools (10 yards of the bottom and maybe 5 yards of the blue striped on).  The other 6 spools were between 16 and 44 cents for the whole spool!  The original prices on the spools of ribbon was $1.69 to $4.49!  I also got primary colored iron-on patches, on sale, but not on clearance.  I spent just under $10 and saved just over $48!
 Since I didn't find a twin needle at Hancock's, I went a bit further down the road (1/2 a mile maybe) to Joann's Fabrics.  They had plenty of twin needles, but only in sizes 2, 2.5, 4, 5, and 6!  Remember up a paragraph when I said I need a 3 mm needle...sigh.  But, while I was there, I picked up some dressmaker's tracing paper (this does not work anything like the stuff my Mother had when I was a kid...don't waste your time on this stuff) and a pattern marking tool kit (transfer tool for said tracing paper and a water soluble pen).  This set was actually cheaper than the transfer tool by itself and I was very happy to have the pen sitting there after the transfer paper failed so miserably!  I do have tracing pencils in the old sewing machine downstairs, but who wants to walk that far?  On my way to the checkout counter they had Christmas themed socks on sale 40% off...I am in need of "taller" socks for the winter months (all I have are ankle socks), so I picked up a pair of red socks with sparkly green and white stripes (and Rudolph on the sides) and a two-pack of "Cuddly" socks...think Fun Fur for your feet!  Now, I know those cuddly ones won't be "great" for in my shoes...but I have a pair of black ones "somewhere" and I love wearing them...just can't locate them at the moment...

My crochet hook collection has grown by leaps and bounds recently!  This isn't even all of them!  Also, with the addition of knitting needles to the "family", I have seriously outgrown my Boyle brand hook case.  So, once I'm out of the "gift-giving season", I plan on getting a new crochet and knitting needle case sewn up for myself!

Last, but not least in my "can't show you what I'm really working on, but I'm dying to talk about all my recent crafting" post...a new pattern I was trying out last night!  I got all the little pieces cut out and the interfacing fused to each and every piece...I finished this one in about 4 hours last night, starting to cut the pieces to turning off the machine.  I really dislike working on things this really have to wrestle with it to keep unwanted layers away from the needle while sewing!  The finished size of this project is roughly the size of my palm and there isn't one stitch of hand sewing on it!

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