Category Archives: Other Stuff I Made

Hemming with Maxi-Lock Stretch Thread and Another New Dress

I am incredibly excited about a very wonky sewing thing. Where to start?

Let’s see, for years I sewed on an older sewing machine that did everything from knits to quilting to embroidery until it broke. Sad face.

I decided to get a more sturdy, more metal, straight stitch only Brother 1500  which I love, but is no good for sewing knits, because you can’t do any special stretch stitches.

Then two years ago, I ran across a Brother Serger for $60 (which is an amazing deal) So now I have a serger, and can sew knits, but I CAN’T HEM THEM or do any top stitching unless I buy a fourth sewing machine.

UNTIL NOW! I recently discovered Maxi-Lock Stretch thread, which allows you to sew on knits using a straight stitch.  This blog by Made by Rae  has a lot of great tips on how to use it.

Hemming with maxi lock stretch thread in the bobbin

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Pouches! Baskets! Noodlehead, Oh My!

Before baby, I made a handful of cute pouches, and then waited for them to become useful.I’m sharing how we used them for our new baby, in case that is useful for any other new parents thinking about using up their fabric stash for baby storage purposes!

Anna at Noodlehead makes amazing patterns.

Noodlehead Wide Open Pouch

Her wide open pouch is actually a free pattern –  I think it’s my favorite pouch to make and use – so handy.  I use this one to keep my hand-sewing kit in – thread and notions for whatever project I am working on. That may not sound like a “baby” use, but our baby likes to sleep in my lap, which means I do a fair bit of hand sewing during nap time. It’s peaceful.

The design on the outside is made from taking the cut off triangle endings from making a quilt binding – including some precious Tula Snails and roughly sewing them down. I used gold metallic thread for the quilting.

Hot tip! If you put the metallic thread in the BOBBIN and sew with your fabric UPSIDE DOWN it’s wayyyy less finicky in the bobbin than when you run metallic through the needle up top.

Because bobbin thread has so much less work to do, fussy threads, like heavier weight threads and metallics work smoothly in the bobbin. When they are threaded up top, they have so many places to get messed up tension when you run them through the needle.

ANYWAY, I also made several of her Divided baskets, which is another great pattern!  I have had a lot of friends recommend these as baby shower gifts, and they are right! They are perfect for everything baby. Read on to see all my Divided baskets and how I use them!

Noodlehead Divided Baskets for Baby Storage

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Go Anywhere Bag – Diaper Bag and Pattern Review

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

I made the Aragon bag by Sew Sweetness for our major diaper bag – and it has been great for plane trips and day trips. But for just running around town for a few hours, I knew I wouldn’t need a bag that big. Especially now that we’re able to breastfeed on the go (thanks in part to our awesome baby carrier!) we really only need a few diapers, a changing kit and a change of clothes. And sometimes blankets, extra burp cloths, paperwork for doctors visits – and snacks, water and lip balm for me of course! Lucky this bag is actually big enough to hold all of that – granted at that point it is stuffed to the gills!

Here it just has a cloth diaper and a craft box that I use to sort pills in it. I added basic pockets to both sides of the inside, and I wish I had made them both bigger! They are great for sorting things!

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

Basically this is an oversized purse. Or a regular sized purse, if you’re like me and don’t like to leave the house without an arsenal of things you might want.

I used a Melody Miller cheater print – the lovely telephones! I love this fabric! Maybe it’s ironic to use an old school phone for a baby bag – since the baby will never probably use a rotary phone in her life! Check out this video about rotary phones if you want to feel old!

It was stressful for me to find basics to go with it that weren’t too matchy-matchy – but I didn’t want the whole thing to be the cheater  print either. I lined the large outside pockets with a basic linen. The inside is a dot I got at Joann fabric eons ago, and the burgundy I think is Kona Burgundy – but don’t quote me on that!

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

I made the handles longer by 3-4 inches, which is standard for me on any bag pattern, as I am almost 6 feet tall and find most bag handles to short for me to comfortably sling over my shoulder.

I love the long narrow outside pockets for dropping in my cellphone, my wallet and keys. They are deep enough to feel secure, and the perfect width for fishing around to pull them out. and it’s great to not have them lost in the depths of the main body of the bag!
Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

This pattern was easy to follow and went together quickly. I want to make more of them now, but other projects have to come first. My only regret is not being more careful to match up the side seams on the pockets when I was cutting – if I had been fussier about it, the fabric would have matched up perfectly.

I’m always amazed by bag pattern designers. I can’t imagine how one would go about constructing a bag like this and it always seems like magic when the pattern just comes right together!

 

 

 

DIY Fabric Circles Mobile

I have so many beautiful fabrics! And a baby needs a mobile, right? I wanted to find a mobile that would showcase them. I had a lot of ideas – like making little stuffed birds, or chubby little 3-D stars, or a rainbow with raindrops hanging from it – but as the time for the baby got closer, I decided to go really simple. Glad I did, because she was born several weeks early!  I found this very attractive and yet super simple tutorial – and it was hard to find, because a million people have re-posted the photo without attaching the original link.

This project is actually no-sew – I just used Pellon Wonder Under to hold the circles together. Though I do think stitching would make it much more awesome looking, baby can’t tell the difference.

DIY Fabric Mobile

I needed mine to be shorter, because we don’t have a nursery for our baby, instead she has an Arm’s Reach bassinet that occasionally moves from room to room. So we couldn’t hang a giant glorious mobile from the ceiling. My mobile holder (I have this one, but used for much cheaper) was fairly short.

It’s nice to have it on the mobile holder, actually, because occasionally I attach it to a shelf and it’s nice amusement for when she just wants to be carried around the house to stare at things. I’m sure someday soon I’ll miss the days when holding her in front of a mobile was all it took to make her stop crying!

DIY Fabric Mobile

My ribbons hang down 17″ and 15″ inches and my circles are 3.5″ across. I have four 15″ ribbons with two circles staggered with four 17″ ribbons with 3 circles. You’ll need to cut extra length for tying the ribbons on (ughhh I forgot and had to splice on extra ribbon).

I used high contrast black and white fabrics and favorite rainbow colored fabrics with fussy cut patterns for the other side. Great way to use up some tiny scraps of out of print Tula Pink I had around!

DIY Fabric Mobile
DIY Fabric Mobile

This project suffered a bit because it was one of the last ones I did in a rush before the baby was born. I don’t like the pink and teal ribbons. But I don’t hate it, and the baby likes to look at it, and I don’t want to make a new one. So for now, it stays!

DIY Fabric Mobile

DIY Quilted Baby Play Gym

DIY Play Gym

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of baby items are very unattractive and overpriced. Or if they are really cute, interesting colors, they are REALLY overpriced.

When I was thinking about what to make for baby, I checked a bunch of books out from the library to get ideas of what I could realistically make and would definitely use. I wanted to make practical, pretty things, and my favorite book along these lines was Sew Modern Baby  by Angela Yosten. I recommend this book for the creative and totally practical variety of projects – plus she uses beautiful fabric combinations I’m sure you’ll find inspiring!

I was pretty impressed by her baby play gym – it never would have occurred to me in a million years to make my own. Our playgym is in our main living area. and we are looking at it constantly, so I’m really happy I was able to make a cute one that I actually like to look at!

The great thing about this project is you can do it with any baby quilt – just add some ribbons to attach the overhead arches, and construct the arches, and you’re good to go. I decided to make her a double sided baby quilt/play mat (more pictures of that soon!) so I could have some variety in the play gym. When she outgrows the play gym arches, I can pick out the stitches of the ribbons that attach the arches to the quilt, and have the quilt for whatever we want.

This picture shows the other side of the mat – a rainbow ABC quilt – I’ll have a tutorial for this later too!

DIY Play Gym
All you need to buy (besides fabric – though I made mine from stash!) is some of these baby play links – which are great developmental toys anyway – and some sort of tubing for the overhead structure.  Anything somewhat flexible could work, but I ended up using blue PEX Water Pipe – because I found some cheap used at the Habitat Re-store. Note: If you don’t have the store cut it for you, you’ll need a pipe cutter, which are very cheap, to cut the pipe.

I deviated from the book’s suggestions for constructing the arches quite a bit, mainly because I hate turning tubes inside out (with a passion! ha!), and that was the method she recommended for making the overhead arches. She also called for using pipe insulation to pad the arches and give them extra structure, and I wanted to use quilt batting 1. because I had some scraps on hand that I wanted to use up and 2. Quilt batting seemed less toxic for the baby to chew on.

Another change I made was having the arches cross over each other, as pictured below.

Baby play gym high contrast DIY Quilt

Her arches look amazing, and you should totally check out her book for the instructions on how to make them the “right” way, but if you want to know how I made my version, read on!

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Divided Baskets

I’ve been enjoying the Divided Basket Pattern by Noodlehead. This is my third one! I am planning to mod the handles with snaps so I can hang the basket from the side of the changing table for extra storage space. We’ll see how that goes!  I got snap pliers and STAR SHAPED SNAPS for my Christmas present, so any excuse to use those.

Making a basket. #wipwednesday .... just had to check it's actually Wednesday, this week is weird.

I wanted to make it 2 inches longer, but then my brain hurt thinking about it. I figured I could just make the entire basket using the pattern faster than figuring out the math of making the basket longer.

Suffice to say, since I’ve made several of these, I really like this pattern and the handiness and sturdiness of the baskets. Though I do wish they came in a few different sizes!

It’s Wednesday, so I’m linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday, which I almost never remember.

Aragon Bag by Sew Sweetness Review

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag by WaterPenny
At the #OHCraft Sewing Retreat in October, I won a copy of a Sew Sweetness pattern and opted for the Aragon bag so I could make a diaper bag for my tiny little roommate.  I figured I would make it the following weekend, but I just laid around and slept instead. Silly pregnancy!

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag

However, I am finally made it! Lucky because it is on my list of items to finish this quarter for the Finish Along! Glad to have another accomplishment to cross off the list!

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Infinity Scarf! and Spoonflower Cotton Voile Review

I made a few infinity scarves today – I used the free pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics, which was the easiest to follow of the 2-3 I looked at. It’s pretty simple. It took me an hour and a half to make two, including selfie photoshoot in the bathroom (what has the world come to?) and blogging about it and picking out which tutorial to use.

Note: My fabric had slightly different dimensions than the tutorial and both scarves turned out fine. Got to work with what you have!

I made an #infinityscarf using the @pinkchalkfabrics tutorial and some #spoonflower voile fabric that used a picture from our trip to Yellowstone

I also wanted to review the Spoonflower.com custom printed cotton voile. Spoonflower had a little mistake (honestly can’t even remember what happened) on an order a few months back and gave me a free yard of fabric (great customer service!). I got a yard of cotton voile printed with a tree photo from our honeymoon.

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Square Tote Bag Free Tutorial


I love making reusable shopping bags and totes and decided to whip up a little pattern for one of my favorite bags that I have – here is the tutorial at this link. I did a pdf because I find it so much more convenient for me to make documents than blogposts -sorry for any inconvenience to you!

Essentially this bag is just a half yard of fabric folded in half.  You can also use two fat quarters sewn together. The fabric here is an upholstery weight cotton from ikea – but quilting weight is great too!

Instead of just sewing up one side and along the bottom like a basic tote, you sew on all four sides and square the bottom. It’s just a tad sturdier with very little extra bulk.  Let me know if I have unwittingly copied someone here – this is just how I’ve made a lot of my shopping bags for years.

Hopefully my instructions aren’t tooooo horribly confusing.

Tote BagTote Bag