The little boys just moved into a bunk bed, and L needs a place to stash his book and glasses at the end of the day. I let him pick some favorite fabrics out of the stash, and I like … Continue reading
Happy New Year!
I am feel super-stoked about work this year. I have my long-time work “family,” and we have added some strong new staff as well. We are moving to new offices, and I am part of building a new clinic, which is a bit daunting but mostly exciting. To help kick off the new year at work, I decided to make myself a cute laptop sleeve.
I was inspired by this pattern from Mandi at A Beautiful Mess. I made a few adaptations, like a velcro closure, a sewn-in name tag, and a rectangular flap.
To make your laptop sleeve, you’ll need
- half yard of outer fabric – I used this graphic modern print
- half yard of inner fabric – I used dark red faux suede for extra protection
- quilt batting
- scrap fabric for label and reinforcement
- bias binding – mine matches the red on the inside
Start by cutting rectangles out of all three materials. For the width, the fabric should be 1 3/4 inches wider than your laptop on either side. For the length, wrap the fabric around your laptop and add about 6 inches for the flap. I’m lucky the print on my fabric worked out perfectly to line up… I mean I carefully planned and lined up the pattern on my fabric!
I made a label out of scrap muslin and put my name and contact information on it, in case I should ever be so unfortunate as to lose my laptop by fortunate enough to have someone host find it… I sewed this onto the lining fabric, as show below.
Next, I laid all three layers together and pinned them to keep them in place. I sewed quilting lines through all three fabrics for most of the sleeve, but I did want to sew across my name tag, so for the top section, I used some scrap fabric for backing and just sewed the outside fabric and batting to the scrap fabric, also shown below (folded over).
Next, I added the velcro. For the velcro on the body of the bag, I sewed all the way through, since the velcro is on the outside fabric, and I didn’t mind having stitching on the inside. However, for the velcro on the inside of the flap, I didn’t want the stitching to show on the outside, so I used more scrap fabric for backing, and I sewed the velcro to the inside fabric, batting, and scrap fabric, as shown below.
You can see the sleeve taking shape now! I finished one short end of the rectangle with bias binding (shown bel0w) and folded the entire piece to make the sleeve and trimmed some excess from the sides for a snug fit. I pinned the fabric in place to form the shape of the sleeve.
I sewed the sides together with a zig zag stitch and then added bias binding to the sides of the sleeve and top of the flap.
This was a pretty quick and easy project, and I love how it turned out. I think Steve is eyeing the laptop sleeve, and I offered to make one for him, but he does work from home most days and so he has turned me down so far…
Here are some pictures of the finished product!
I made the first of these stockings more than a decade ago, and how our little collection of stockings has grown over the years! I made the first ones when our oldest was born, and back then, it was just Steve, me, baby K, and our old dog Cooper. Over the years, I added extended family for the Christmases we hosted, two more babies, and now, I am very excited to add the stockings for my twin nieces!
- fleece fabric (less than 1/2 a yard per stocking)
- cuff fabric (only about 7″ long x about 20″ wide – I find scraps for this)
- ribbon for hanging (5″ long; I also used scraps)
- iron-on applique letters for name
Make a template for your stocking. I’ve included a half inch seam allowance on my pattern
Use the template to cut out two pieces of fleece.
With the right sides together, sew around the sides and bottom of the stocking, leaving about 7″ open at the back top. Clip the seam allowance around the curves.
Cut a cuff that is about 6.5″ tall and 10″ wide. Hem the cuff.
Sew the cuff to the top of the stocking, with the right side of the cuff facing the wrong side of the stocking, as shown.
Flip the cuff over as shown. I found it helped to pin it in place for the next step.
Line up the edge of the cuff and the stocking and slip your ribbon in, too, with the ends tucked into where you’ll see. Now sew up the last 7″ of the back of the stocking, sewing through the stocking, cuff, and ribbon.
Flip your stocking right side out and iron on the letters!
Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!
I know it is only November, but I am already getting excited about the upcoming Christmas season. The last few years, I’ve changed up our decorations to have a different theme each season. This year, I decided to go with a retro mid-century Christmas theme. You may remember that I am a big fan of the TV series Mad Men, and I really wanted to have a party to mark the series finale this spring, but life is way too busy, so I decided to have some Mid-Century fun for Christmas. One of my inspirations was this Christmas tree skirt that I saw advertised on mod cloth last year.
It’s sold out now, and it was also smaller than I wanted, so of course I decided to make my own. If you are feeling inspired, here’s how I did it.
- White fabric for the background
- Mix of colored fabrics and/or felt for the ornaments
- Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
- Thin ribbon
- matching thread
- I sewed the skirt with the same 60″ diameter as our grey and white tree skirt
- I then cut out and appliqued the ornaments the way I made appliqued onesies. For the print fabrics, I just did a simple silhouette. For the more solid fabrics, I cut out some shapes, taking inspiration from the Mod Cloth original
- I sewed the ornaments and ribbons in place, and ta-da!
I’m waiting a few more weeks to set up our decorations, and I am so excited to see this pretty skirt under our tree!
Update: Here are some pictures of the skirt under our tree!
This travel roll for jewelry is a quick and easy project, proven by the fact I made it the night before we left for family vacation!
My jewelry roll is perfect for packing necklaces and bracelets, which is what I usually wear.
To make your own, you’ll need
- 10″x23″ quilted fabric
- 14″x27″ coordinating fabric for the outside
- 3/8″ wide grosgrain ribbon, about 42″ total
- 1″ wide grosgrain ribbon, about 1 yard
- Thread and sewing machine
I cut the narrow grosgrain into four-inch sections to make the loops.
Next, I lay the small quilted material on the wrong side of the outer material. I folded over a border on all sides, and tucked the loops under the hem, pinning them in place.
I stitched down the border, which also secured the loops.
To make the outside tie, I folded the wide grosgrain in half and sewed it to one end of the roll, on the outside.
And that’s it!
Easy and pretty!
My little guy, L, just turned eight, and he’s been planning his first sleepover party for most of the past year! I like to make a special gift for our birthday boy and guests, and L requested a reprise of the fleece blankets I made for his big brother’s party a year and a half ago. He calls his “super,” and sleeps with it every night. I wanted to grant his birthday wish, but I didn’t want to make the exact same project, so here’s this year’s superhero version of our fleece blankets.
Instead of fringed blankets, I trimmed the fleece in binding. L loves the superhero action words on his original blanket, and that’s no surprise, given he’s such a bundle of energy. I found the same print in a cotton fabric, so I used that for the binding. For each large blanket (60″x72″), you’ll need:
- 2 yards fleece fabric
- 2 yards trim fabric
- Scrap fabric and Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive for monogram
- Matching thread
After prewashing the trim fabric, I ironed it and cut 8″ wide strips. I joined the strips and ironed it to make 2″ wide double-fold binding. I then sewed this to the edges of the fleece blankets that were each 2 yards long. L requested this longer blanket, since he sleeps with his, but you could use 1.5 yards of fleece for a throw blanket.
To add the monograms, I sketched each boy’s first initial and a large circle (I traced a plate) onto Heat’n Bond, ironed on to some other and bright and superhero-themed fabrics, cut them and appliqued onto the blankets (instructions in the post from our onesie decorating party).
Here are some more pictures of how they turned out. The boys love them!
Hope you are staying warm as winter warms into spring!
For many years, I decorated for the holidays with the same traditional red and green Christmas color scheme. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – traditions become traditions for good reason! But after more than a decade of the same style, I decided it would be fun to change up our Christmas look. Last year, I edited and updated our decorations for a red, turquoise, and silver Christmas. And this year, I’m in love with a simple gray and white Christmas color scheme. It makes me feel like I’m getting back to the tranquil snowy outdoors – even if I am in California!
Like last year, when I reinvented many of our decorations with silver paint and ribbons, I wanted to work with a lot of things I had, while adding a few new items. I’ve also been trying to keep my fabric and craft stash in check, so I pulled out all the gray and white fabrics I could find around the house and started to sew!
First up was a new Christmas tree skirt. I sewed our original tree skirt 18 years ago, when I was more fond of a cute and country look, and I took this year’s skirt in a complete different direction, making something very sleek and calming. I started with a grey faux suede upholstery fabric sitting in a corner. I had bought it to upholster our dining room chairs, and then I decided to make them more whimsical with a printed fabric.
- Grey faux suede fabric, 60″x60″
- White cotton fabric to make a wide bias binding (I forgot to measure, but I estimate I used a little over a yard of 42″ wide cotton)
- Narrower white bias binding
- Cut a 60″ diameter circle from the main fabric
- Cut a 6″ diameter hole from the center
- Cut a straight line from the perimeter to the center
- Make 5″ wide bias binding from the trim fabric
- Iron the binding in half to a make 2.5″ wide strip
- Sew the binding to the two straight edges that makes the opening of the skirt, sewing on the back side of the main fabric with the raw edges lined up
- Wrap the binding around to the front. Pin and sew to the front of the skirt
- Add the binding to the outer edge of the skirt the same way, stretching the edges of the bias binding as you go.
- Use the narrower binding to finish the inside circle
That’s all! Here’s our new Christmas skirt!
Here’s a quick summary of the recent Superhero-related posts:
Our preschooler is really into Superman. I mean really. As in, he walks up to random kids at the playground and says, “Hey, boy! I’m Superman!” which should be clear from the fact that he’s almost always wearing a Superman shirt. Sometimes, one of our homemade capes also. It’s actually very sweet to see the reactions he gets from strangers big and small.
So, it was pretty obvious what he was going to be for Halloween, and his brother completed the theme as Batman. These costumes served double duty at J’s superhero birthday.
When I was little, my mom always made our costumes, and she usually made them out of things that we could wear again. Even in this age of readily – available store-bought costumes, I’m used to doing things this way.
- blue pajama set or shirt and pants
- red fabric for cape and logo
- yellow fabric for logo
- Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
- Velcro for the cape closure
- optional: black puffy paint
I actually made this Superman costume back when our oldest was three, so it has seen a lot of use, and it’s still going strong. It’s made from a set of plain blue pajamas, and I added the Superman logo and made a cape. This year, I added a yellow belt, too. The pajamas have gotten lots of wear, outside of Halloween, but they’re ready for saving the world a few more times.
To make the Superman logo, I used red fabric, yellow fabric, and some Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive.
I started by sketching a superman “S” onto the paper backing of the Heat ‘n Bond. Remember to do it backwards! If you don’t want to draw freehand, you can print out the logo and trace it onto the Heat ‘n Bond, using a lightbox or a window.
I then ironed the pattern onto the red fabric, and cut it out. (see below). I ironed the red “S” onto the yellow fabric, added Heat’n Bond, and ironed it onto the shirt. Finally, I finished the raw edges with stitching. on one version, I also outlined the design with some black puffy paint.
This is the finished Superman costume:
I also made extra shirts in a few colors to give us some variety, since J wants to dress like superman pretty much every day. I sewed this logo onto an older shirt, and I like the worn retro look it has.
The funniest is when he layers his hero shirts, like this day when he wore the Ninjago shirt I made for L’s Ninjago party under his red Superman shirt, so he could make a quick transformation whenever he needed.
- Gray shirt and pants. We already had a shirt with the Batman logo, but you could make one using the same instructions as the Superman costume above.
- Black satin fabric for the cape and hood
- Black bias binding to finish the bottom of the cape
- Velcro for the cape closure
- Yellow fabric and Velcro for the belt
- Black puffy paint to do the Batman logo on the belt
- Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive-17″X10 Yards
- black elastic for the mask
L already had a Batman shirt in gray,so I bought him a pair of matching plain gray sweatpants that he can wear again. I bought some black satin to sew a cape and the hood and mask and used yellow fabric I had to make the belt.
Satin is very slippery, so it was harder to sew than I planned, but with the help of a lot of pins, it turned out alright. I cut the cape using a similar pattern to the other superhero capes, but this one is wider and the bottom edge is scalloped like bat wings. I used bias binding to finish the curves on the bottom.
The first picture below shows the basic shape of the hood. It has a couple of darts (shown with arrows in the second picture) to shape it around the head. The ears are triangles filled with batting, and I hand – sewed them to the outside of the hood. I decided to make the mask separate, so that he could wear the hood more comfortably.
The belt is a simple strap with an oval in front for the bat symbol painted in black puffy paint. The closure at the back has elastic to make it snug and Velcro to fasten the ends. The mask is made with satin fused to felt with Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive and a black elastic strap.
And here is the finished Batman costume:
Here are our favorite heroes making appearances all about the neighborhood. We had a lot of fun!
You can definitely adapt these instructions to make any superhero, including ones you dream up yourself. Look at the variety of capes for J’s party”
I occasionally get obsessed with a project that I just can’t get out of my head. The window seat daybed in our master bedroom was definitely one of these! The daybed itself was easy to assemble from purchased benches and crib mattresses, but projects for this cozy alcove went on and on! One of the biggest was sewing the covers for the daybed mattresses. I love the Robert Allen Souk fabric in Dove, and I’ll show you how to make these covers yourself.
As a guideline, I used these instructions from Kate at the Centsational Girl blog to sew the covers. My dimensions are different, and I didn’t see how she did the back corners, so I’ll show all the steps here.
Supplies for covering two crib mattresses:
- 5 yards of 54″ wide fabric
- Velcro – total of 104″ sew-on strips for both mattresses
- thread, scissors, pins, general sewing supplies
Because the daybed is made from crib mattresses that are 52″ long, I was able to use the full width of a standard 54″ wide decorator fabric across the mattress. For each mattress, I cut a 70″ long x 54″ wide (full width) section of fabric and zig-zagged the raw edges of each piece.
I laid the fabric over the mattress and marked where the front seams would be. (Pictured below)
I then folded the fabric at the seam and sewed with a 3/8″ seam allowance to create a clean seam for the front edges of the cushion. (Pictured below)
Each mattress required two 6.5″x 32″ side panels, and I again zig-zagged the edges. These are longer than the width of the mattress, so they can wrap around the back to keep any of the mattress from showing.
To attach the side panels, line up the end of the side panels with the front of the main panel (between the seams) and sew that small section with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (top left picture below)
Next, turn and pin the long edge of the side panels in place and sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Since the side panels are longer than the mattress, I marked on the main panel where the back edge of the cushion should be and sewed up to that point. (top right picture below)
After attaching all the side panels, I finished the ends of the panels by folding under a 1/2 inch hem and stitching. (Top left picture below)
For the back closure, I had one short flap and one long one, so the closure was along the edge of the cushion. While this looks very neat when finished, in retrospect, I would have centered the closure on the back, so I could flip the cushion over if it gets worn without any of the closure showing at the edge.
I sewed one side of the Velcro to the outside of the short flap and the other side to the inside of the long flap. (Top right picture below) It looks very neat when done!
I’m so happy with how these new cushion covers fit and look! A neat tip: to keep the cushions from moving around, I used a rug pad underneath.
We’ve already started hanging out on our new window seat already, and there are just a few more projects left to finish up this cozy alcove!
I’ve got more cushions planned, including round bolsters to finish off the ends of the bench. I’m looking forward to showing you the finishing touches soon!
Do you do this? We had several friends who had babies recently. I’ve been wanting to make something special, but I haven’t had the time, so the result of my best intentions is that I have not given them anything at all yet. Boo!
Well, I finally got motivated, because Lucas’ teacher is expecting her first baby this fall. She has been absolutely amazing. We were lucky enough to have her in pre-kindergarten and then again in first grade. She has that perfect mix of wisdom, energy, and affection that wins over parents and children alike.
I’ve sewn bibs before, but I tried something new this time, by making them wipeable. This is also a great project for using up those scraps of fabric that are too small to make a project on their own, but look great mixed together.
- fabric, including scraps
- Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Iron-On Vinyl
I created a bib template that is 17″ high (the width of the vinyl) and 11″ wide.
For the backs of the bibs, I used a single piece of plain fabric.
For the fronts of the bibs, I joined together two or three strips of coordinating fabrics into 11″x17″ rectangles and ironed on the Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Iron-On Vinyl according to the instructions.
I cut the template out of the joined and coated piece (pictured below)
I then sewed the fronts and backs together, right sides facing, with a half inch seam allowance and leaving about four inches open on the side to turn the bib right side out (pictured below).
To help create smooth curves, clip the seam allowances at all the curves, as shown below.
To finish, turn the bib right side out and iron again, Stitch all the way around close to the edge, and add the 1.5″ velcro strips to the top.
Here are the finished bibs. I love the way the different fabrics work together!
To wrap it all up, I created another custom gift bag, like these bags I made for my nieces last year.
Congratulations to all the wonderful mamas and mamas-to-be in my life!