Wednesday, July 28, 2010

seen in the flickr pools

1. Tooth Fairy Pillow, 2. Baby Binky Bunny, 3. Kat Kitty, 4. Aarrrrr!, 5. Mum's messenger bag, 6. Yellow Baby Binky Bunny whole, 7. Samuel's Guitar Bag, 8. 3D sleeping paper owl, 9. Stockbroker Monkeys

Posts will be infrequent for a while. I blame patchwork. I did too much of it and now my spine has gone on strike. While I negotiate terms with my bulging disk, please enjoy these clever creations from the flickr pools. You guys always amaze me with your talents!

Monday, July 26, 2010

passing notes

(shyly pressed in my hand by my youngest)

It's a big rush for a teacher when a student starts to write of their own accord and not because they have to practice. And especially when the teacher loves the sweet little stinker student to death. (heart clenching) Yep, passing notes is definitely allowed here at the Holland Academy for Young Ladies.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

tooth pillow for Isabelle

Our wonderful across-the-street neighbors' daughter Isabelle turned three Monday. Here's her little tooth fairy pillow with the mouth pocket for the teeth and the loot pocket on the back. I think I like this version with the felt wings and rick rack belt instead of pipe cleaner wings/felt tutu. It's easier to put together for sure. If you have the materials handy it only takes a couple of hours to finish.

If you'd like to try one, the recently updated basic tutorial/pattern can be found here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

fix that T-shirt already.

BEFORE: too roomy under the arms and in the body

AFTER: more tailored and just right.

This is a reprint of a guest post I did for Pickup Some Creativity's Sewing 101. Enjoy! 

We all have them. Shirts we fell in love with but leave hanging in our closet because there is something wrong with the fit. I have a long, sad history with T-shirts in particular.

I love a well-fitting T-shirt, but actually finding a nice tailored one that fits me right off the rack is nigh unto impossible because of my wide shoulders and average trunk. If it fits my shoulders, it is too loose in the arm holes and body. If it fits my body, it is too tight in the shoulders.

Here is an easy fix for that kind of 'too loose' (now you say Lautrec) fit problem, or for any T-shirt that you would like to make more tailored. It doesn't require a lot of sewing experience or a serger. Just a regular machine with a *zig zag stitch. I don't even switch my needle to a ball point for this.

*Why does it have to be a zig zag and not a straight stitch? Because knits stretch, and so will a zig zag stitch. Straight stitches, not so much.

The Problem:
T-shirt that is too roomy.

The Fix: A simple zig zag seam up both sides and arms. So easy you'll be tailoring all your T-shirts in record time.

The Tutorial: Try your T-shirt on. Pinch the excess under your arms with your fingers and determine how much you need to take it in to make it fit better. Knit is forgiving, don't sweat this too much. If it is still too loose or too tight after sewing, just add a new line of stitching and then remove the old one if needed. I usually end up sewing a 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam.

Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat. Smooth it down with your fingers, but don't stretch it. Pin the sleeve and side together at the seam so that the hems are aligned.

Using a small zig zag stitch (small stitch length as well as width), start at the arm and sew your way down. Be sure to back stitch at both ends to lock your stitches. Important: don't stretch the fabric or pull it as you are sewing. Let it go through at its own pace.

If the fit problem is just in the chest, you can taper off your seam, as shown above.
If the fit problem is in the entire body of the shirt, you can run your seam all the way down the side, as shown above.

Now repeat the same thing on the other side of the T-shirt. I find that most times I do not even need to cut off the old seam. Knit is very forgiving and the new seams lay flat and feel comfortable. If you do cut off the old seam, be sure to overlock the raw edges to strengthen the new seam.

See? That was easy. Done!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Finally. Finally. Began cutting pieces for the twin duvet cover for my kid. I've been staring into space, staring at fabric, staring at flickr groups, staring at quilt books for so long. It felt good to cut something already.

The fabrics you see above are Anna Griffin Isabelle and Jennifer Paganelli Casey Scroll, which I'm going to combine with hopefully a pleasing result. I tried to buy enough should I get super crazy and decide to do a second cover for the other kid. We shall see. It's going to have to be a rousing success on the first one before I'd consider that.

I've settled on this (hopefully) simple chevron pattern that I whipped up in Illustrator, so what I'm cutting out is a bunch of triangles. The white triangles will all be the lighter prints, and the darker triangles will be the bright, saturated prints.

Wish me luck. My first large scale patchwork anything.

LATE NOTE: In true manic Larissa form, I've got almost all the triangles cut and... I hate it. Now I'm seriously thinking I'll turn the design into pinwheels with a white background. See, this is how a project that I originally thought would take a few hours (oh, I'll sew some big squares together, no big deal) snowballs into a project that will suck the life out of me for weeks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

silk skirt to tunic

Five minutes in our yard and already scratching at bug bites.

I just revamped another piece from the Fabric-Store-That-Is-My-Closet. Before its second life as a tunic for my almost 8 yr old, it was a long, shapeless washable silk skirt of mine. I think I bought it years ago from Eddie Bauer. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it before I started whacking it apart. (These projects sometimes happen spontaneously {especially when I should be doing something else}). It was nothing special, but the fabric is fabulous.

She really loves the silky feel on her skin and the billowy effect as she runs. The child has never had any clothes made from other than knits and cottons, so this was new to her. She keeps asking to wear it everywhere.

Girls Style Book, View L, front

Girls Style Book, View L, back

After I cut off all the skirt's waistband elastic and seams and picked out the hem and darts, I was ready to lay the pieces out for cutting my pattern. I was hoping to get a dress out of it for her instead of a tunic, but there just wasn't enough fabric. I omitted the ruffles on the sleeves this time. (You can see previous ones here and here.)

I think this pattern looks similar to the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver + S. I may try it again from cotton or linen and lengthen it to a dress with some color blocking. I love love love this one and this one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

shrinky dinks and beanie babies

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are obsessed with Beanie Babies. We own more than I care to say. They come our way in a continuous stream from grandparents, thrift shops and garage sales. It's hard to say no when I see how often they are played with and loved. Slept with. Taken on trips. Clutched as security blankets during doctor's appointments. Toted around in purses and backpacks. Dressed in Barbie clothes and an array of hairclips.

Now the girls discovered a new fun thing to dress them with: Personalized collars made from shrinky dinks and embroidery floss.

I'm charmed by the ones made by my youngest, with the creative spelling and the rough cuts. I started out using a jump ring to attach the collars but when the numbers started to climb I gave that up and just knotted them on instead.

Do you have collarless Beanie Babies? (gasp!) Draw a collar tag on shrinky film with colored pencils, at twice the size you want the final product to be. Cut it out and punch a hole with a standard hole punch. Shrink in the oven according to the directions and tie it on your Beanie pal with embroidery floss or yarn. Now when it is left behind in the produce section, the cashier will be able to refer to it by name over the intercom. "Will the owner to cash register seven?"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Guest Post on Pure Joy

Image by The Toy Society

I'm guest posting today on the blog Pure Joy. Jamie is hosting a series on Random Acts of Kindness and I'm delighted to be a part of that! Thank you, Jamie! I chose to highlight The Toy Society, and you can check out my post about the bunny drop here.

Image by Katherine Marie Photography

As I was following along in Jamie's series I was arrested by this fantastic RAK guest post by Katherine Marie. She writes about a random smiley card drop she and her kids did. Cards with encouraging notes, cards with exact change for the gumball machine, cards on the library copier with dollars taped inside. How fantastic is that? I'm so inspired by this, I'd love to do this with my kids and help teach them the joy of random kindness.

Image by Jenn at Kind Over Matter

And while reading that post, I followed a link to this post, at Kind Over Matter. A set of ready made cards in PDF form for randomly encouraging others! Kindness is contagious. Go infect someone. :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

and the Frog In The Woods winners are...

Congratulations, you two! Mruna, your pattern is on the way via email. Let me know if you don't receive it. Stitchin Jessica, I need your email address and I'll be glad to send yours.

Thank you all for your very kind comments and for your help with the Google Reader issues. I think I need to put the Frog In The Woods pattern on sale for a week, don't you? So now it is 20% off through next Monday the 12th.

We had a lovely Independence Day celebration this weekend, with all my favorites: waving flags, patriotic tunes, good company, fabulous fireworks, tasty food, and breathless kids running at top speed and having a ball. Happy birthday, land that I love!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

3D Frog, the shop, and a little giveaway

Thanks so much! Comments are closed for the giveaway!

The Frog In The Woods pattern PDF is done and in the shop! Yay! Go to the shop entry to get the details.

It makes a nice companion piece to the freebie Owl art tutorial, I think. Note: Unlike the owl, this new frog paper cut tutorial is not written or designed for kids. It is for crafty adults!

To celebrate finishing the tutorial (finally) and my country's birthday all at the same time, I'd like to have a little quickie giveaway over the weekend. Just leave me one comment to enter. Come Monday I'll give away two Frog In The Woods patterns to two commenters!

*Also, as a wee favor, if you subscribe to this blog via Google reader, let me know that in your comment. My feedburner count is constantly missing the Google reader subscribers and I'd like to know if you are, in fact, getting the feed. Thanks ahead of time!

*No more info needed! Mission accomplished. Almost all the comments so far are from GR and apparently it works just fine, despite appearances in feedburner. Thanks!