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Simplicity Pattern #2572

Look how big my baby is getting! I actually made this back in September, and it’s been hanging in Cleo’s closet waiting for her to grow in to it. Fortunately, the time came during the month that mommy went back to work, and baby went to day care. And brought home a variety of germs. Which brought the entire house down for about a month. Four huge cases of tissues, several prescriptions, and a few paychecks later, here we are.
Now- let’s talk hoodie. I always have SOME sort of problem with a pattern, now don’t I? This one was actually pretty easy to work with- though I got a little carried away gathering up the ruffle edges, and had to loosen them up. I always do that. It’s a very gentle gather, not some crazy circus petticoat trim, though that’d be fun! My only complaint is that the cuff edges are unfinished- you can see that just on the inside of her sleeve. I plan to clean it up with some bias tape, with the same treatment that the edge on the bodice received:

Can you see how challenging it is to get a photo of this busy little person?
My only advice for you, should you decide to make this hoodie, is that you choose a fabric that is not quite as dense as the flannel I’ve chosen. Those layers of (although gentle) gathers, sewn onto the bodice or sleeve, covered with bias tape, make for some challenging stitchery. And it’s not always pretty. And you might also consider choosing a bias tape that matches (rather than pops against, as I’ve chosen) your hoodie fabric.
Won’t this be the perfect little hoodie for a day at the coast?

Happiest of Holidays to you, dear reader! Here are a few things that I’ve been working on this past month. The secret ingredient is LOVE! With a few shots of caffeine….

Here is a Cuddle Kitty Toy that I made for the lovely little girl that I watch regularly. I’ve missed her over Winter Break- her mom is a teacher. I’m sure they’re having fun together… Still, I can’t wait to see her next week.

You might know how fond I am of making multiples when crafting- and you might recall how much I enjoyed making this Collapsible Shopping Tote. Well, I had made a set of 4 since the original post, and given them away as gifts, and got such great feedback (and loved using the original that I made myself), that I just had to share the greatness of this tote with the rest of my loved ones. Here are nine of The Twelve Totes of Christmas. I hope that they are all well used!  This pattern alone has made One Yard Wonders one of my favorite sewing books so far!

And last, but definitely not least, a gift for my sister. From (drum roll please…) Prudent Baby.

I just knew I had to make these for her when I first saw this tutorial. Jacinda sold me on those fabric covered buttons like nobody else could. And let me tell you, they were even more fun than I was expecting. So satisfying! I can’t really describe. I got so into assembling them that after I finished 10 of them (yeah I only needed enough for 8 napkin rings, but they came in packs of 5 and I COULD NOT STOP), my thumb was really sore from shoving them together. It hurt so good! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Aren’t they fabulous? These are actually the completed napkin ring closures. A fabric button sewn to a regular button. I used embroidery thread and an upholstery needle- it got complicated with plain old sewing thread.

Here is the other side of the napkin ring, with the unexpected side of the button closure. How slick would it look with the fabric covered button here too? I wanted to show you variety though, so… Here.

Another reason that I was so interested in this one was the button holes. I haven’t done any on my new machine, which I got last March, and I figured it was time. One of my more recent goals is to challenge myself with sewing projects, so here we go, right? Due to the thickness of the project, the button holes did not come easily. But my mom came to the rescue! She suggested that I put a piece of paper under the project as reinforcement before I try to sew the button hole. Prior to doing so, the feed dog (those grippy teeth that hang out just below the presser foot that help to move your sewing project along while the machine stitches) wasn’t moving the project at all, and my blood was boiling! It was almost Christmas and I was supposed to be wrapping this gift, instead of being 16 impossible button holes away from finishing. NO! So, yeah. Plain old printer paper works. Just a little piece. Give it a try.

Now, to start scheming for next year’s gifts…

from a tutorial on Prudent Baby

Here are the instructions!

Have I mentioned how much I love Prudent Baby? Oh, yes, I have. Almost every day a new project from them appears in my email box, and I swear at least half of them I plan on making. I don’t know when I’ll have the time… but I can dream, right?
These pants though, were a necessity. My baby girl wears cloth diapers, and so often regular pants in her size range don’t fit because of that diaper bulk. There are a few store bought pairs that we have that fit nicely, but they keep getting shorter! These pants are the perfect solution, and they’re so easy. SOOOO EASY! If you’ve never made clothes before, this is a great place to start; you can really get an idea of how pants are constructed with this simple tutorial. Also, it’s easy to see how adjustments in length of the pant leg or in the rise will change the fit- and since just half a yard of fabric is enough to make these for your wee person (Cleo is 17 months old), it’s not like you’re out $20 if you mess up (unless you’re using ridiculously spendy fabric). I plan to make some in heavier fabrics- jeans are the biggest challenge with our diapering system (which we love, BTW… If you have questions about cloth diapering, I love discussing!), so I’ll try some denim once I feel I have the fit just right for it. I do love how wide these pants are, but they do have a very lazy day pajama feel to them. Also, I need to add length in the next pair I make! Yikes! Stop growing, baby. As it is, your inseam is almost as long as mommy’s.

I’m a guest blogger over at Almost All The Truth, for Make Things Monday!

Come and learn how to make an easy hooded baby towel from an old bath towel! I promise, it’s easy and fun.

My little girl and I are going on a trip next week, to see my best friend in California! We will be traveling by plane, which is FREAKING ME THE F*CK OUT. I picture my little terror sweet bebe, screaming and whining and squirming throughout the entire flight each way as I am the meanest mommy EVER to not let her roam freely throughout the cabin, greeting the other passengers. So, I’ve armed myself with a sack full of never-before-seen toys and books to pull out one by one as the minutes creep by while we are confined in the air- one for each flight, actually! Of course, I needed some fresh new containers for this trip- I have a reputation for being “well-contained” to hold up. Enter the Simple Drawstring Sack. I have been making such sacks for various occasions over the last few years (lunch sacks, snack sacks, camera accessory sacks, dirty clothes while traveling sacks, lingerie/sock sacks, gift sacks…), after my friend in Japan sent me 2 small ones that she’d made.
This is the most easily modified to suit your needs project that one could think up. Each one that I do is different, depending on whether or not I have finished selvage edges (like I did this time), whether or not my fabric is one piece or two (here I had one)… and so on. I was able to make these 2 bags in about 45 minutes while watching a show and taking photos between most of the steps. Let’s get started!

Here’s what you’ll need:

fabric- just a bit more (by a few inches) than double the size you want your sack to be
drawstring material- double the width of your sack (I usually use bias tape because I like the colors that are available, and it’s sturdy)
coordinating thread
pins (optional)
2 safety pins
sewing machine
ironing situation
For all seams I used a half-inch seam allowance. Really, you can do whatever you want to though. French seams would be really nice!
First off, if you are working with two panels (instead of just folding one large panel in half to make the sack like I did), stitch them together right sides together down one side. Press open the seam. If the edges are unfinished on the other sides, you’ll want to finish the top edge where the drawstring will come out. I usually will do this to the top 2 inches, folding over 1/4″ from the side edge, and then another 1/4″, pressing and then top stitching.
If you are working with just one panel with finished edges like I was, here we go! Start out by making the channel at the top of the sack for the drawstring: fold over and press 1/2″ or so (just make sure it’s wider than whatever you’re using for the drawstring! I like to be generous here. Why not?) along the top unfinished edge of your fabric. Fold over another 1/2-3/4″ and press. Pin it down if it makes you feel better… And don’t mind my cat.

Zip on over to your sewing machine and top stitch that puppy down! As you can see here, I’m using a generous 5/8″ seam allowance. Of course, if you have a thin cord that you’re using to cinch your sack, this might be considered excessive. MAYBE. Be sure to back stitch at each end to reinforce the seam. It sure would be sad if you lost your contents!

Now that you have your channel all finished and pretty, let’s spread it out and take stock. As you can see here, I took the easy road. This is a half-yard of fabric, folded in half lengthwise. If you’d not had those finished edges and needed to turn in the upper edge, now would be the time to make a little snip in the fabric just below the channel so that it’ll smooth out nicely when you stitch up the side. Clip in just to the point where the seam allowance will be… Once you do that, the fabric will lay flat when it’s sprawled out on your rug (or table if you’re fancy). If you’re extra fancy, you’ll probably use pins. Again, I winged it. Is that why my seam ripper and I are so tight?

Now you’re ready to turn this into the sack it’s destined to be! Start right where that channel stitch hits (or right where you’ve clipped they should be really close), and go down the side and along the bottom edge. Again, be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Clip the corners at the bottom of the sack to keep it from getting bulky, especially if you’re making a wee sack:

Now it’s time to install your drawstring. I cut mine to be just a bit longer than double the width of my sack- so that when it’s open all the way, the only part of the drawstring visible is the knot. Attach one end of the drawstring to the bag just below the channel using a safety pin. Attach a safety pin to the other end of the drawstring.

Thread the loose end with the safety pin through one of the channel ends of the bag. Since I used bias tape, and one edge of it has an open fold, I positioned my tape so that the opening would face the bottom of the channel, giving it a more finished look with the folded edge being at the top. Feel the safety pin on the inside of the channel and work it through, gathering up the fabric around the pin, and then pulling the fabric over the drawstring while keeping the safety pin moving forward in the channel, like this:

Eventually the safety pin and the drawstring will emerge out the other end of the channel, right next to where you began. Snazzy huh? I am really good at this thanks to all of the scrunchie making I did in middle school.

The hard work is done! And it wasn’t even that hard, was it? Tie a (simple overhand) knot using both ends of the drawstring lined up together. Turn the bag inside out and press. You’re done! All that’s left to do is fill it with toys and snacks and underwear and head out for your adventure! Wish us luck.

from One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

I made two of these delightful little smocks for two delightful little girls. For their second birthdays. My daughter chose the fabric (one of her few words is dot, and she is an expert pointer), and I liked it because it isn’t too girly and is fairly neutral- it won’t clash with whatever the artiste happens to be wearing when she decides it’s time to create her masterpiece.
Well, you know me, I can’t follow the directions from the get-go. Originally the pattern suggests several paintbrush-thick pockets, but being an artist myself, I figured that these girls might want to tote something a bit larger to their easels. Perhaps like the little pack of washable crayons I included with the gift?
Like I said, I made two smocks. The first one was frustrating, at best. This is another pattern that you might have trouble if you’re a beginner to sewing. There are two side panels, and the front piece with the pocket, and then the two back panels. The edges are all encased in bias tape, which isn’t all that tricky in general, unless you have two pieces coming together at a very sharply curved edge, like you do here. Are you catching my disgruntled mood here? Good. Because the finishing of the side panel edges was never addressed in these instructions. Or, if it was addressed, it was very unclear, and in the mish-mash of instructions for encasing the edges of the front and back panels. I tried to follow them, but decided to just follow my gut and go around encasing the edges in the way that made the most sense to me, which went pretty well, and in one piece. On the first smock, I didn’t encase the bottom of the side panel before attaching it to the front and back… but I did on the second, which made it a lot easier to encase the front and back edges. With both smocks I ended up having to do some hand stitching at the points where the seams curve and meet. Another thing that I did on the second smock was a French seam on the seam allowance on the shoulders connecting the front to the back. It’s just so much more tidy, and I do have this book to thank for teaching me to sew them, with the collapsible tote that I made a few months back.
Overall, I’m really happy with the outcome of the smocks, and I can’t wait to see them in action. However, I’m taking a break from bias tape for a while, and I’m going to give this book a well-deserved rest. Perhaps distance will make the heart grow fonder, and I’ll later pick up the book and push through another project because the promise of such a cute project is worth a little bit of strife.

from One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

Hello cutie! This little guy was a great one-day project. And best of all, he’s made out of remnants from other projects! That blue paisley you might recognize from Blythe’s dress, and the green fabric is the lining fabric that you can’t see here.
I made him for my friend’s baby, who is expected at the end of this month. I hope that they like him!
Overall, this was a relatively simple project; though some parts were challenging- more so physically! My fingers are raw after turning that stupid skinny little trunk around, and stuffing it wasn’t easy either. The instructions given say to stuff the elephant after you attach the head to the body, but trust me on this, stuff that trunk before you sew the head on. I was so glad that I did! I had to use the chopstick that I keep in my sewing kit to get those little balls of stuffing down in there, and I imagine it would be quite difficult to maneuver it in through the body as well. I realized after I had the body assembled that I put the arms on upside down. Let’s just say I wanted this elephant to look like he’s cheering… though I can’t imagine putting the arms on the other way. So droopy. What do we expect though, from this girl who refuses to follow all of the directions. You might also notice that I didn’t sew on a mouth. I didn’t like how it looked!
The instructions also give options for button eyes, but since this is for a person who is under 3 years of age, we’ll stick with embroidered eyes. There aren’t instructions for embroidering them, however, so I was glad that I remembered the satin stitch that I learned for these kitties… I did a few layers of the stitch to give the eyes some more dimension.
I love the simplicity of this project, and it’s one that you could easily translate to other animals. And you know how much I love a project that uses up old scraps and bold patterns. Baby L, I hope that you find a longtime friend in this little elephant. I love you already!

from Prudent Baby

How much am I in love with this site? I could spend days here. These two woman crank out a project a day (if not more, it seems), and probably never wear the same thing twice. They take really great photos of the projects as they’re making them, which makes the tutorial so easy to follow and understand. Plus, they pick out all of these great fabrics, making me feel super inspired. Jaime posted this one (Jacinda is her partner in prudent crime), and mentioned that this is a really great project to start out with if you have never installed a zipper. I completely agree.
She tells you the dimensions that she used for the makeup bag in the tutorial, but you can make the bag as large or small or wide or tall as you’d like. Fun, right? For this project I started out making two smaller bags- with supplies I already had. I was a little disappointed by their size, which I determined based on my zipper length. Perfect for a mini makeup kit (if you’re like me, that is), for in your purse. I gave one to my good friend just before she took her beautiful toddling daughter on a flight, and she kept her little toys in there! She loves it, so we’re all happy. But me, I require a BIG makeup bag. I don’t like cramming my prettymaking supplies into a small bag, so I went out in search of some fabric that I love. And some bigger zippers! I ended up making four of those (yes, I like to make multiples. I love to give gifts!). I’d say my total work time on them was four hours? And that’s a generous estimate.
My favorite part of this project is the opportunity to showcase two great fabrics- so often I am sold on a jacket or bag because of the lining fabric. See the lining in that wee bag? That was from a rather large scrap that said friend handed down to me. It seemed to please her greatly to see how I’d used it. Enjoy it, Sug! xoxo

from One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

I was SO EXCITED when I found this book at my local fabric shop, and promptly went through and put a bookmark on at least 30 of the 101 projects. The first one I made was kind of a bust, as I underestimated my chest size for the “Summer Nightie,” so I abandoned the book for a bit of breathing room. I came back a few weeks later refreshed and ready to take on this relatively simple and straightforward project on a recent crafternoon. The book includes pattern pieces, and also gives dimensions for pieces like the strap and other simple shapes. Still, the pocket with the pattern pieces in it is bursting! Bursting with excitement, that is.
This was my first experience with a French seam. I loved it! Basically, it gives you a seam with no edge-  you do sew it twice, so the edge of the fabric is tucked magically inside. The way the author explained it made it so easy, and without a picture even. I opted not to include the velcro or snap that the pattern called for on the tie- who wants to fiddle with that when I can just bundle it up like this:

I like the simplicity of the tie. I suppose if you wanted a bow, you could make a longer strap. I love it just how it is. And apparently it’s a good design- my model friend here has already commissioned one. I think she did such a great job helping me out that I might just make her one, free of charge. It only took a couple of hours, and I had fabric left over from my “one yard.” Awesome project- I can’t wait to show you the next one from the book, which I’ve already cut out.

from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

If you’ve never sewn before and want to start, here’s the project for you! This was even more simple than the crib sheet that I made… and it functions beautifully! There are two magazines AND a paperback in that middle pocket! Plus, having your lip balm and hand lotion so close throughout the night is priceless. I started this project a couple of years ago, as a wedding gift for my friend. Today she brought her wee son over, and I was finally able to give it to her! I had packed the entire project away after cutting it out so that we could remodel our house, and totally forgot about it. I found it a few weeks ago, and it’s haunted me ever since. I wasn’t looking forward to doing all of that edge stitching on the red bias tape (which isn’t a part of the pattern) on my old sewing machine. That was one reason I’d put it off… so when I bought my new machine a few weekends ago, I had no excuse! Here’s a photo of the new machine, while I was sewing the lining. You don’t see the lining on the bed pocket because it’s on the underside. Too bad!

The pattern itself is pretty easy to follow, and you can make a bed pocket for a twin, queen, or king sized bed. I’m sure you could make adjustments if you had a full sized bed to fit as well. The only issue I had was that you don’t see the lining! Of course, this makes sense… when you line a dress, you don’t see the lining there, right? Silly me. I would have chosen prettier fabric for the main panels, rather than for the lining. That’s why I added the red bias tape around the edges  (instead of sewing the lining and main panel together right sides together at the end, I just sealed it all up with the bias tape on either sides, and across the main panel bottom edges). It was SO easy. One important thing about bias tape though, if you’re new to it- it’s important that you DO NOT pull on it as you press it, or as you sew it. It gets wrinkly and distorted. I didn’t know this until my mom educated me. Thanks mom! Kristen, I hope that you enjoy your bed pocket. Congrats on your wedding, way back when…

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