Monday, April 21, 2014

Pattern Release: Fox Lovey Blanket

Today I am releasing my latest pattern - a fox lovey blanket.  I have been thinking about making a fox lovey for some time.  There are so many cute fox things out there, but I haven't seen any fox loveys.  I just know there is a fox lover, or future fox lover, out there who will love snuggling up with their very own fox lovey. 

Tangible Pursuits: Fox Lovey Patten Release

My big kid has already adopted one of my earlier versions of this lovey and appointed it as the new king of all loveys (replacing lion lovey - his original lovey from when he was a baby).  If you make it with minky, as I did, it makes for a super soft and cuddly friend.  The fabric I used for my model is Minky Cuddle Rust and Minky Cuddle Ivory.  If you haven't worked with minky before, be warned - you will get little bits of it all over you from the raw edges.  Fleece is less messy to work with and will still give you a good result.

Tangible Pursuits: Fox Lovey Patten Release

If you have made one of my loveys before, I changed the method by which the arms and head are attached to the blanket for this lovey and I think, although it still involves sewing by hand, it is a lot easier.

The fox lovey pattern is now available for purchase on Craftsy

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peasant Tops

Tangible Pursuits: Peasant Tops

With two boys at home I don't have much opportunity to sew girly things.  Recently, however, it was my 12-year-old niece's birthday and I wanted to sew her something.  Not having any appropriate patterns and not really wanting to spend money on a pattern I wouldn't get much use out of, I decided to go with something simple but still fun and girly.  I decided to make a peasant top for her. 

There are lots of tutorials on the internet for peasant tops, although many are for toddler sizes and most of the rest are for women's sizes.  This one from Pretty Prudent, is one of the better ones I found.  Once I got the general idea of the construction of the peasant top, what I really needed was a size chart to tell me how big to cut the pieces for a 12yo.  I found what I was looking for here.  Jamie from Trendy Treehouse created a size chart for peasant tops from size 0-3 months to 12 years!  Perfect!

I purchased some eyelet fabric from a mint green solid and a white with  pink flower print.  The pink ended up being brighter than I expected from the photo on the website, but my niece likes bright colors so that was ok.  I basically followed the steps exactly as in the Pretty Prudent tutorial, except using the sizes from the Trendy Treehouse size chart and leaving off the elastic at the waist. I did not make an A-line shape for the top, just a straight rectangle, because the gathering at the top already creates plenty of fullness.

Tangible Pursuits: Peasant Tops

My 12yo niece has a baby sister and I had a good amount of the green eyelet fabric and some of the pink flower fabric leftover so I decided to make a peasant top for her as well.  For the baby's I reversed the fabrics, using the green as the main shirt color and the print for the sleeves.  I also decided to make her a pair of leggings using the free Go To Leggings pattern and some leftover Hacci Sweater knit I had from this sweater.  The bright pink in the eyelet fabric went perfectly with the hacci sweater knit.

It was kind of fun to work on something girly for a change, and these were really simple and quick items to make. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

KCW Wrap-Up: Spring Jackets

Tangible Pursuits: KCW Spring 2014 Wrap-Up

So, I completed two things for Kids Clothes Week: Spring jackets for both kids.  Getting at least these two items done was my goal for the week, so I am glad I was able to meet that goal.  Jackets are, of course, a little more time-consuming than many of the things I sew so I feel like that was a pretty good accomplishment.

I made the jackets using the Starboard Jacket pattern from Peek-a-Boo Pattern shop. I used rip-stop nylon from for the outer layer, jersey knit for the lining and flannel for an interlining to add a little extra warmth.

Tangible Pursuits: Spring Jackets for KCW

Originally when I asked the big kid what color fabric I should buy for the jacket, he chose yellow.  I, however, am not a big fan of yellow and could not imagine making the jacket all in yellow, so I decided to do some colorblocking on the outer part of the big kid's jacket with a yellow panel at the top of both back and front and yellow for the hood and cuffs, and then navy everywhere else. 

Tangible Pursuits: Spring Jackets for KCW

The lining is a cotton jersey knit I bought at Girl Charlee.  It appears to be no longer available there, though.  It adds a fun pop of yellow to the inside of the jacket as well.

Tangible Pursuits: Spring Jackets for KCW

The lining in the little guy's jacket is a fun vehicle print that I got on Listia a long time ago.

Tangible Pursuits: Spring Jackets for KCW

Working with the ripstop nylon was a little annoying because it is slippery and also frays a lot, but I like the way it looks in these jackets and hopefully it will hold up well.

Tangible Pursuits: Spring Jackets for KCW

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter to win a free Craftsy class! Find out how here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cargo Duffle Bag

Tangible Pursuits: Cargo Duffle

I have been getting some sewing done this week for Kids Clothes Week, but I don't have anything to show you yet.  So, instead, I am sharing a duffel bag that I made for my mother-in-law's birthday a few weeks ago.  I used the free Cargo Duffle pattern by Anna at noodlehead.  The main change I made was to widen the sides.  As it was, the bag looked a little narrow to me and I wanted it to be a good size for a carry on or overnight bag.  I made the sides 9" wide instead of the 6.5" called for in the pattern.

Tangible Pursuits: Cargo Duffle

The floral fabric I got on Listia, a kind of bartering site that actually has a good group of people listing sewing and crafting items.  The bottom panel is a yarn-dyed linen blend in denim blue that I got from  The yellow is Kona Cotton Lemon, also from I used a 7oz duck canvas in cream for the inside.

I did straight line quilting on the bottom pieces of the bag, just as Anna had done in her original bags, but for the top I did a meandering quilting design.  I thought that went better with the floral fabric, and it was also a lot faster.

For the pockets I used velcro instead of snaps and added a decorative button on the outside.

Tangible Pursuits: Cargo Duffle

For the inside, I just bound the seams as the pattern called for.  I know some people have added linings to their duffel bags, but I didn't think that was necessary, and I must say, this bag did take a while to sew as it was - I didn't have time or fabric to add a lining.

Tangible Pursuits: Cargo Duffle Bag

I am really happy with how this bag came out.  It was a bit of work but it was worth it.  I think it looks really polished and hopefully will be something my mother-in-law can get a lot of use out of!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

KCW Spring 2014: Preparation

Kids Clothes Week starts tomorrow!  I have cut out several things to sew for the week, but I don't really expect to be able to complete everything.  Usually I can't actually sew for even an hour during the week because by the time I get home and get the kids in bed I am pretty much ready for bed myself.  I do get a lot done on the weekend though.

The things I really need to get sewn are spring jackets for the boys.  I am using the Starboard Jacket from Peek-a-Boo pattern shop (affiliate link).  The outer shell will be ripstop nylon, the lining will be jersey knit and I will put a layer of flannerl in between for a little extra warmth.  Do you like the blue paint splotch on yellow print I chose for the big kid's lining?  He really likes yellow these days, so I hope he likes it.

I also cut out some t-shirts from a cool tie-dye print I got from Girl Charlee.  The little guy's has a cool applique on it that I will share with you when it is done.  I used wonder-under to apply the applique onto the shirt.  I will stitch around it to, but I didn't want to do that in advance because that would be cheating! :)

Finally, I have some pants cut out that I actually cut out prior to the last KCW.  I better actually sew them up pretty soon or the kids will grow out of them before they are even made!

Are you sewing for Kids Clothes Week?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Craftsy Class Review and Giveaway

(Disclosure: I am a Craftsy affiliate so, if you click on one of the links in this post and register with Craftsy or buy something, I will get paid a small commission.)

 I recently had the opportunity to try a Craftsy class for free (make sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post for your chance to win a free Craftsy class).  I chose Pattern-Free Quiltmaking with Joe Cunningham.  I have really been itching to make a quilt lately.  I don't know why exactly.  I think perhaps I was craving the regularity of the process of cutting the pieces and sewing them together, and doing the same steps over and over again. Also I enjoy watching the small pieces join together into larger and larger pieces until you have a whole quilt.  I was drawn to Pattern-Free Quiltmaking because I prefer a more modern look in my quilt and I really liked the idea of using a process to make a quilt rather than a pattern. When you use a process to make a quilt you can get started cutting and sewing right away without all the planning that would be required to make a quilt from a pattern.  That appeals to me because I am impatient and like to see the results of my efforts immediately.

In the class Joe Cunningham describes several processes that you can follow to make a quilt as well as a suggestion for creating your own process.  The class made me think about quilt making in a different way than I had been accustomed to, which was kind of exciting.  Some of the processes Joe describes in the class can result in a very busy-looking quilt, while I find that I prefer a more clean look, but he also discusses ways to "manage the crazy" and, obviously, choice of fabric will have a lot of impact on how the quilt looks in the end.

For my first pattern-free quilt I decided to make a "Fantasy Four-Patch" quilt - a twist on a classic four-patch quilt with different size squares.  This is my quilt-top before adding borders:

One of the fun things about pattern-free quiltmaking is that, rather than doing all the creative work up front when you design the pattern and then just robotic-ly assembling the quilt according to your pattern, you get to be creative throughout the process.  One of the best parts of the process of making this quilt was taking all my blocks and arranging them until they seemed right to me.  Joe suggests using some kind of organizing principle in arranging your blocks rather than just laying them down randomly.  My organizing principle for this quilt was that one of the "patches" in each block should line up exactly with a matching patch in a neighboring block.  This enhances the effect of this quilt which is to sort of blur the lines of the four patches so that you can't really tell where one ends and the next one starts.

The quilt can be made with just two fabrics, and my main fabrics were the dark paisley flower print and the aqua solid, but I threw in a couple other complementary colors for variety.  You can't tell in the large shot above, but the paisley print fabric has these sparkly gold threads in it that really add a rich look to the fabric.

I used a linen for the back with a strip of various widths of the solids I used in the quilt running down the middle.

If the idea of pattern-free quiltmaking appeals to you I would definitely recommend this class.  The instructor, Joe, has a very friendly and somewhat irreverent manner which I found very engaging.  He also doesn't subscribe to the idea that there is only one right way to do anything, which is kind of freeing.

If this isn't your kind of thing, Craftsy actually has 69 different quilting classes, as well as 61 sewing classes,  53 knitting classes, 15 photography classes, and many more!  Whatever you like to make Craftsy has a class for it.  They even have some free classes.  I recently watched the free Pictures to Pixel Quilts class and I was really impressed - it is a full class on how to turn a picture into a pixel quilt, something I definitely have to try now! Mastering Zipper Techniques is another free class with detailed instructions on various techniques for inserting zippers into garments.

I also wanted to note that Craftsy has an app that allows you to watch your Craftsy classes on your iPad or iPhone.  Recently they have added an offline mode to their app which allows you to download classes to watch when you are not connected to the internet.  This has made taking Craftsy classes so much more convenient for me.  I can now watch my classes during my train ride to work.

Now is your chance to win a free Craftsy class! One lucky reader of my site will win a free Craftsy class of their choice.  To enter just click here.  If you don't have an account with Craftsy you will need to register.  You can enter now through April 14.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter Basket: Free Pattern and Tutorial

Tangible Pursuits: Easter Basket: Free Pattern and Tutorial
Today I have a special gift for my Facebook fans - a free pattern and tutorial for an Easter basket!  Not a facebook fan yet?  Don't worry, it is easy to become one! Just click the "Like" button when you get to the page.  You can download the free pattern and tutorial here.

UPDATE: If you don't use Facebook, you can receive the pattern for free by subscribing to my email updates using the form in the right-hand column of this page.  You will receive a link to download the pattern after you  confirm your subscription.

To make the basket you will need three fat quarters (or regular quarter yards, it doesn't matter), two sheets of plastic canvas, some batting (about 1/2 yard) and two buttons. 

You can use brighter colors than I did for a kids Easter basket.  My first attempt at designing this basket was done in much more fun colors.

Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way I wanted and I didn't have enough of those fabrics to make another one.

But I like this version too. It's just a little more sophisticated.

I especially like the button.