Friday, November 28, 2014

Skinny Jeans

Not Mom jeans. But technically. My Mom's jeans that landed in the donation bin because they never did fit her right. For some reason she didn't recognize them when they came walking in her front door one day...

So they started life like this. I traced around the legs of a pair that fit me well.

Pins and the marker line, this is the outside of the leg. Sew along that line, trim and zigzag the raw edges.

Try them on and pin the inside curves. Leave lots of ankle room, as I learned the hard way the very first time I tried this. Take the pants off with comical slowness as your husband laughs at you for hopping around the living room in your underwear, half out of pin-filled pants. 

Sew and finish the inside seam, flip them right side out and there you have it. 
Brand new skinny jeans.

Hopefully it goes without saying that you need to start with a pair of stretchy pants for this! Or avoid eating, and preferably breathing as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My girls are a Hoot

For Halloween this year, we tried to convince our kids to be dragon ball characters. They wanted nothing to do with that. Dj was determined to wear his wolf costume from last year, and Katie wanted to be an owl. I thought I could make Hunter a fox costume and then I would have three little forest animals. Fortunately, Katie thought better of my awful idea and decided that both her and Hunter needed to be owls.

Just like Sophie and Deacon's costumes, I wanted the girls costumes to be usable after Halloween night. To do that, I simply made them owl hoodies. I bought them plain grey hoodies from the boys section at WalMart. It's the only place that I've ever been able to find plain ones in neutral colours. Or any colour for that matter. We then looked for felt to make the feathers, but couldn't find any there, or at the dollar store. I ended up settling on a stack of 2$ tee shirts from the dollar store. The wings are hand sewn so that they can be easily removed if they don't hold up in the washing machine. The faces are made with felt that I already had, as are Katie's belly and feet. I think they turned out perfectly <3

Altogether, I ended up spending about 12$ on each of them, but the sweaters were new and 8$ a piece. Still less expensive than buying costumes, and the girls have adorable sweaters now. Katie's is a size 4 boy's, so it should fit for another year still. Hunter's is a boy's size 2, which was the smallest size that they offered so it should fit for ever. DJ's costume on the other hand, needs it's tail re sewn after having a meeting with the washing machine, but it was a little on the small side anyways.

Katie's front
Katie's feet
Katie's back

Hunter's back

Hunter's front

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fox Socks

So the very first Christmas presents I finished were for Katie and DJ. I was so excited when Jess liked my first suggestion because I was dying to make these socks! (Would it be fabulous or lame if I made myself a pair someday?)

The yarn is a worsted weight, the same stuff I dyed here. I would normally post the sock pattern but I had some issues with it. The tutorial for the fox details are found here on Ravelry, and are beyond worth checking out! You can make little tails too, to attach to the cuffs but I didn't think that would fit well under pants. (You can actually use the fox face for mittens too.)

The only thing I changed was to make the ears a single layer, so that they would be comfortable in shoes. I definitely want these to be wearable as well as cute. Below you can see the red and orange socks together. Just different enough to be able to tell whose is whose.

The real dilemma now is, which colour will go to which kid? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baby Hunter's Christmas Present

So baby Hunter's Christmas present was finished this week, when the hubby stole the kids for the afternoon. I had the sleeves and top of a fair isle sweater in my stash and there's just something about a  baby in knit pants...

Here's a better look at the print. They're made basically the same way as these sweatpants, just from an  knit sweater instead of a sweatshirt. Here's a close-up of the print:

I've made these leggings so many times that I can whip them up in my sleep and I really wanted to add a little something to it. I settled on a little lace trimmed pixie bonnet. Even easier than the pants since it's just a long rectangle sewed up the back but it makes suck a cute little pointy top when it's put on.

My only worry  is if it will fit. Guesstimating baby head sizes is not an exact science...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Story Disks

I may be a lazy parent most days, my kids thrive on neglect, but I always have things on hand for them to do. We keep our craft supplies available to them at all times, in a nine cube storage unit in the kitchen. I have a big bucket of play dough in the fridge with tons of cookie cutters, rollers and play dough mats available. Puzzles, board games and a really neat doll house that my aunt made for the kids take up our living room area upstairs. Down stairs is the play room, which houses all of their pretend play stuff as well as the rest of their toys. One special toy down there is the puppet theater, which I will post about in the near future. Some of my favourite memories from childhood, involve myself, my brother, my sister and two of our friends, putting on plays in the basement. They evolved over the years and somehow all five of us still love theater today. I really want my kids to grow up with their imaginations intact, so I try to provide them with opportunities to 'tell me a story'.

One way to do this is by using story stones, or disks. I decided to use wooden disks, as I was going to make 6 or 7 sets of these for Christmas gifts for other kids in our lives. I thought that shipping a bunch of rocks across the country would cost a pretty penny. I painted random things on one side of each disk with acrylic paint, and then applied a coat of mod lodge to help protect it. The backs are blank so that each family can add their own pictures. How you play is up to you and your children. I think that we will start by saying 'Tell me a story' and reaching in the bag for a disk to start our adventure with.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sweet Baby Starter Kits

I've been working on a secret project.

It's been on my mind for months after reading an article about the boxes the Finnish government gives out to new parents to get them started. The idea of every baby having the things they need really touched my heart and I knew that I had to make it happen in my community. I am just about ready to start distributing the first boxes and it would really mean a lot to me if you would take a minute to look at the page I have set up and read about the project.

The site is still brand new and there will be many links, tutorials and resources added in the coming months, but all of the information about the project is ready to go. Please also share this site with anyone who you think might be interested in receiving a box, or donating/making baby items.

Thanks so much <3

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leggings, and Questionable Improvements

Why on earth did it take me this long to make myself leggings? This has to be one of the easiest things I've ever done! I make kid leggings all of the time and they come together in a flash, I guess I just have the idea in my head that sewing for myself is intrinsically harder?

This isn't even a pattern. I just traced around the pair that fit best, and when I was done and noticed that they crumpled at the ankles just like the other pair, I cut off a few inches and re-hemmed them into the new best fitting pair I own. Magic :)

I did it all with a zigzag stitch on a regular machine. I just used a narrow stitch for the seams and a wider one to catch the fabric on the cuffs and waistband. As you can see above I was super impatient and made these with dark green thread because I was out of black.

The waistband is sewn the same way, but with elastic in it obviously. I just measured the elastic in the original leggings. Ta-da! That's it, it's really that easy. So easy that I went straight back to raid my stash for anything else remotely legging-like. I came up with two other possibilities, but both had a print to them as well and I know from experience how hard that can be to work into an outfit later. They both had solid colours on the reverse that looked just fine, but what a waste of a nice print fabric...

The solution? Reversible leggings! Best idea ever! In theory. I chose flat felled seams (like on your jeans) as my method for flat, enclosed seams. Worked beautifully to attach the top pieces together as you can see below. (The wobbles are mostly due to the fabric not lying flat.)

Then we got to the legs. First seam is outside, so no problem. Second needs to run flat down one layer of the leg, which means bunching  up the bottom of the tube (leg) against the machine as you go because the legs are so narrow.  Ugh. Giant disaster. Below is the beautiful seam I was left with.

So, what to do? I can't unpick the seam because that always destroys knits. I would normally just cut it out and but I just barely had enough fabric to start with and making them any narrower would probably doom them to be too small. I might just have to give up on this pair being reversible and flip them to the print side. Which is lovely, but loses me my solid red pair :(

I have one more piece of reversible knit to play with and am determined to figure this out! Maybe a really skinny french seam wouldn't be too noticeable? Hand sewing would give me nice flat-felled seams but probably not stretch very well.

Any thoughts on how I should save this pair or do the next?