Posts Tagged ‘ sewing ’

Love/hate with PDF patterns – how to simplify assembly for baby clothes

DSCF5121PDF patterns. So great to get them instantly. So many are free online or very inexpensive.

But I hate wasting limited crafty time cutting and taping together, especially now with teeny clothes that Mr. Baby outgrows every few months and that are made from teeny pieces.

Like these shorts, which come as a free download in 6 sizes, and are functional and simple. The first round I printed out and assembled. But then an idea came to me:

Print the whole thing out again, I told myself. Tape the damn paper pieces together. Then separate the components – the front, the back, the waistband.

PDF shorts pattern

Look! Each is still tiny enough each to fit on the copier. SO COPY EACH ONE using legal paper or 11 x 17 paper if necessary. Keep those master components with the tape on them so the next size up can just be copied again and cut out in a bigger size.


Should work for this little raglan shirt pattern, too, which goes up to size 6.

A necessary resolution for the new year

stash january 2015

I’m done shopping for crafty stuff right now with a single exception: something that’s needed to finish an existing project.

So new thread because I lack the correct color to hem pants is fine. New thread because it’s pretty and Joann is having a sale is not. Quarter yard of cotton to make bias tape for a dress is fine. Quarter yard of cotton because it’s $.25 and pretty is not. No more wandering through the store looking for ideas or good deals.

This is the year I make the things I’ve been meaning to and finish the things I’ve already begun, instead of shopping for new ideas all the time. It’s easier while working full time and raising Mr. Baby to stay involved in craftland by shopping for new things online, or searching out inspiration. I can do those things at work, or with 15 minutes on the way home. That’s been a way to feel creative and connected.

But it’s not helping me enjoy the things I make because so many don’t get finished or don’t get finished correctly.

Resolved: I am making the things I long have meant to.

An old sweater needs a fix

pearl cardigan

This dainty little sweater is an old family favorite. It belonged to one of my mother’s friends back when she collected elderly ladies. My sister had it last, then it started to fray a little in the neck. She gave it to me.

pearl cardigan

I don’t sew much anymore because I don’t have space at home to iron and cut out. So it’s super gratifying to find small projects to do.

I am going to pin this in place,

pearl cardigan

start sewing the inside, and then carefully hand stitch the outside.

pearl cardigan

The pearl adornments make it worth the effort, not to mention the sentiment of keeping this little guy going.

Practical house stuff, parts one and two

Number 1: Pillow covers for extra duvets all done.

I ended up folding the velour blanket in half and cut it to end up with two long skinny strips. I tri-folded each, right sides together, until I ended up with a fat envelope where the nice end was on the outside, to make the outside edge. Sewed each side seam and jammed a duvet into each one. I have a pair of fat purple pillows.

Number 2: Laundry bag for sweaters all done.

laundry bag done

Folded that green stuff wrong sides together, squared off the ends. French seamed the bottom end and the side with double seams (when the right sides were together) for strength. Made a 2-inch pocket at the top and sewed the top edge, too, to keep it strong. Then I fished grosgrain ribbon through the pocket and pulled it down outside the side seam and anchored it through the bottom corner so there’s a shoulder handle, and when you pick up the handle, the top pulls shut.

Number 3: Proving frustrating.

Don’t know that I have the right kind of heavy sewing needle to deal with the vinyl. The clear vinyl I have is really thin so I don’t think it’ll make the inner divider I thought it would. It could still make a pocket (inside or outside?) for smaller pieces. Guess if I figure out the logistics I could spring for a new chunk of heavy clear vinyl, too.

Number 4: Still on the drawing board while stuck on 3.

Sketching out some practical house stuff

Sigh. It’s not glamorous. But sewing practical stuff from the stash beats spending real money that could buy shoes. Or plants.

Plus it’s all easy straight lines.

Number 1: Somewhere to store the extra duvets.

What if I put them in big square pillow cases? Envelope-style pillow cases made from a purple velour blanket? Then they’ll sit in plain sight against the window wall, insulate the room a little bit and keep clean, too…
purple velour

Number 2: Separate laundry bag for my sweaters.

Mister keeps shrinking mine. And even though I pull his shirts out of the general wash, yanking out the sweaters for a delicate wash in cold is beyond his skills. A square bag with a drawstring should do it, French seamed all around. I don’t have any mesh in the stash, but there should be something heavy enough to stand up but light enough to see through…

Maybe this weird-o green stuff? It breathes. And I’ll never wear it.

Number 3: Something stiff and waterproof to keep prints and posters in.

The portfolio folder I kept prints and posters in got WET during a pickle-making experiment that, um, didn’t work. I essentially need an envelope that’s like 30 inches by 24 inches. And I have some sparkly red vinyl… If I cut it 30 by 30, and sew in a flat bottom, that could work. Could also make it with three layers — a clear layer in the middle — with smaller pockets on one side for smaller things still waiting for frames and wallspace…
red sparkly vinyl

Number 4: Pillowcase to stash pajamas in.

They normally sit on the bed’s corner under the duvet, making a big old lump. Hardly the end of the world. But if I had a spot to hide PJs in plain sight, I’d use it.

Hiding in plain sight: The secret to living in a small space.

Three days away from home

thanks to the Chicago blizzaster of 2011.

Back home now, parking spot shoveled out by hand, muscles aching.

No sewing for a minute. I can’t get down on the floor to trace or cut.

Will maybe look at shoes. Like these:

Sometimes you can cut corners

And sometimes you better follow the di-structions to the letter.

Sometimes when you sew old t-shirt pieces together, you just do it with whatever’s in the machine.

And sometimes when you try to sew really thin ponte polyester knit, you need to change the needle. You need to use the recommended ballpoint or else the stitches don’t catch, don’t stick and you panic that you’ll need a brand new machine come Christmas.

When in fact you just need the damn needle very publicly recommended for knits. El punte redondo.

Which then proceeds to just sew like a charm.