Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bottoms Up(cycle) Quilt

I have been on a bit of an upcycling kick lately.  I'd really prefer not to throw anything away if it still can be used in some way.  That is especially true of clothes.   I will donate clothes that are in good condition, but some of the kids' clothes are too worn by the time they are done with them to give away, and, of course, some clothes have sentimental value.  I'd also rather keep the things that I made for the kids and make something else with them than donate them.   So, I stash them in a drawer or a bin in my sewing room until I can think of something to do with them.

Last year I made this quilt and used up a good portion of my stash of kids' t-shirts.  I still had a lot of pants that I didn't know what to do with though. Then when we were visiting my parents in California this past winter I took this picture of the kids:

I put it on the lock screen on my phone and, after looking at it daily for a couple months, I got the idea to make a quilt using the colors in the photo.  I started looking at my fabric stash to see what I had that would work, but then I realized that the kids' old pants actually had most of the colors in the photo: Sand, blue, green, grey, brown.  So I decided this quilt would be a perfect upcycling project for all those old kids' pants that I didn't know what to do with.

 Because some of the pants I wanted to upcycle were toddler sized, I knew I wouldn't be able to get very large cuts out of them.  I decided to cut pieces 3.5" x 6.5" and pair them together to make 6" finished blocks. I threw in some bottom-weight fabric scraps I had lying around as well to fill out some of the colors.

Once I cut up all the pants I sewed them together in pairs that I felt went together - for example, sand would be next to water or plants, so I would sew the sand colors to either blue or green and I sewed darker blues to lighter blues.  Once I had all my blocks sewn I played around with the arrangement a bit.  At first I thought I wanted a more literal representation of the coastline, but I wasn't happy with how it looked:

So I eventually settled on a more random arrangement:

I used Kaufman Shetland Flannel in Solid Denim for the back and quilted it in a stair step pattern following the lines of the blocks. 

I bound the edges with an army green twill that I think I got from the remnant bin at Jo-Ann's. 

The quilt is 10 squares on a side, so it finishes at 60" square.  I love all the different textures that the pants add and the soft flannel on the back. I'm sure I will enjoy snuggling under it when the weather gets cool again.  For now, though, I just like to run my hand over it and see the all fabrics memories.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Avengers Pajamas

My little guy is very much into Marvel super heroes lately. He has a gazillion Marvel action figures and Legos; he has started playing the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game with his brother; and at bedtime he almost always chooses a book featuring Iron Man, Spiderman or the Avengers. 

When he went to they fabric store with me a few weeks back he picked out this Avengers fabric, so I decided to make him some pajamas with it.  I used a vintage sewing pattern for the pajama pants.  The pattern has only one piece for each leg which worked well for this fabric since it is a pretty large scale pattern; it allows the images to be unbroken by a side seam.  I modified the pattern slightly by making the legs straight instead of tapered.

For the t-shirt I used the raw-edged raglan pattern from Sewing for Boys (affiliate link).  This is my go-to t-shirt pattern for the kids, although I rarely do the raw-edged thing.  It is super quick to sew up on my serger and, for pajamas, I can just leave the sleeves and bottom un-hemmed.  In this case, I was up-cycling an old shirt of mine for the sleeve fabric, so I re-used the hems.

I appliqued a few leftover panels from the Avengers fabric on to the front of the shirt with a zig-zag stitch and - as my little guy would say - "Wall-la!" a comfy matching set of PJs.

And now, I think someone wants to read a story.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Iron Man Raglan T-Shirt

The kids had a day off of school on Friday so I took the day off as well. What the big kid wanted to do most on his day off was to sew a new soft toy. He and I have been sewing up quite a few soft toys lately, which I will have to share in another post. But the little guy often gets left out of these projects. He rarely asks me to sew him anything until after he sees something I have sewn his brother, and then he just wants his own copy. Usually at that point I don't have the time or energy to make another. Last week, however, I took him to the fabric store with me and we talked about what he would like me to sew for him. He told me he wanted an Iron Man Mark 2 shirt. So on Friday I made that my first priority. I have a metallic silver spandex knit fabric left over from another project which I decided to use for the Iron Man figure. I then found an Iron Man coloring page that I could use for the shape. I printed out the coloring page and traced the outline onto Wonder Under (affiliate link). I ironed the Wonder Under onto the back of the silver fabric and cut out the shape, then ironed it onto my t-shirt fabric.

I used the raglan tee pattern from Sewing for Boys (affiliate link) and upcycled a 3X men's tee that I got at a bargain store for the main fabric, reusing the hem. The sleeve fabric is from an upcycled jersey sheet - also re-using the hem. Yay for not having to hem! I then printed my coloring page onto freezer paper and ironed it onto the top of my silver fabric applique. I machine stitched along some of the interior lines of the figure using black thread and a short stitch length to make ripping the paper out easier at the end. After I ripped the paper out I sewed around the whole figure to define it and added a white felt circle for the chest unibeam.

After all that detail work, sewing the shirt together was a breeze. My little guy immediately put the shirt on and started showing off his Iron Man moves.

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