Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hot Pads

I finally got tired of my ratty hot pads that needed to be thrown away.  Instead of buying new ones, I decided it would be fun to make them.  I downloaded a free hot pad pattern from and got started. 
The only thing I needed to buy was the cotton batting and the Insul Brite (non conductive material), which were both available at Joann's.  I already had some floral cotton fabric languishing in my stash to use for the pads and some mostly white cotton leftover from a tie dyeing project from college to use for the bias binding. 
I didn't follow the instructions completely.  I cut the squares 7" around instead of the 9".  That enabled me to make more hot pads.  The 7" squares were more than adequate for a regular hot pad.  I also didn't add the corner loop to the pads, since I never use them. 
I made sure I used a walking foot to feed all the layers evenly while sewing.  It does make a difference.  I also sewed with a denim needle because of the thickness of the layers.
Making the binding was a little time consuming but worth it.  Don't bother making it without a rotary cutter, quilting ruler, and mat, though.  Those items make cutting the bias strips easy.  After that, there's a lot of sewing of the strips together and finally all the pressing of the folds to complete the binding.
I made a total of 15 hot pads, 7 of which I gave to my mother-in-law.  It made a nice gift for her, because she's hard to get gifts for, and I knew it was something she'd use.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Resized Oliver + S Bucket Hat

I enjoyed making my son's bucket hat so much that I decided to make one for myself.  I wanted to use the Oliver + S Bucket Hat pattern since I liked the pattern, but it wasn't scaled to fit an adult's head.  I decided to make the pattern larger to see if I could get it to work for me.  I needed to enlarge the circumference by at least an inch to make it fit me, so I just played around with the pattern pieces increasing the overall size of each pattern piece.  I tryed to follow the sizing lines as a guide, but for the most part I winged it.  I did make sure the brim was a bit wider/longer, because I wanted to really keep the sun out of my eyes.
I didn't care if my hat was reversible, but I still wanted the inside of the hat to be finished nicely.  Therefore, I used some white cotton for the inner cap and white twill for the outer hat cap and both the inner and outer brims.
Since I was able to successfully alter the pattern and make an adult sized hat, I now have to make one for my father and father-in-law.  I think I'll be getting to use some more of those scrap pant legs!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oliver + S Bucket Hat

My son needed another bucket hat for summer since he'd outgrown his previous one.  Instead of buying one I decided to make one, especially after finding the free Oliver + S reversible bucket hat pattern.  The hat is sized up to a 6-8 year old's head, which was exactly what I needed.

I was able to be somewhat thrifty with this hat. For one side of the hat I got a chance to use some twill material taken from leftover pant legs from my husband's old Dockers after I had turned them into shorts. I had kept the pant legs way before I had decided what to do with them. I knew eventually I'd find a purpose for them!

For the other side of the hat I used some Disney Cars fabric.  That worked out perfectly since my son was going to wear the hat to Disney World.  To tie both sides together I cut out some of the characters from the print and appliqued them onto the twill side. 
The hat went together well.  The only problem I had was attaching the top part of the Cars print hat to the brim.  I really had to stretch the twill sides to get the caps to fit together properly while stitching the print cap to the brim, which caused the vertical seams to shift and end up staggered.  Ugh!  Fortunately it's not as noticible as it would have been had I shifted the seams on the solid twill side.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kitchen Nook Skirt

We finally finished off our butler's pantry area between our kitchen and dining room.  My husband patched the walls so that I could add the same decorative paint finish I put on our kitchen walls about 7 years earlier.  Fortunately, I still had the proper paint colors and remembered how to do it!  Then he mounted a shelf under a set of cabinets to use for coffee cups and accessories above his coffee station.  We still had an unsightly mess of shelves underneath my baking nook that couldn't be covered with doors due to the dining room door frame trim being butted up against the counter.  I decided to make two curtains to hide the stuff on the shelves and add a little bit of color to the area.
My husband mounted the dowel for the curtains, and then I got to work on them.  I used a full width of home decor fabric for each curtain, which was roughly double the width of the area.  I hemmed the sides and bottom of the curtains.  Lastly, I made a pocket for the dowel to go through at the top by folding down the top portion of the fabric and stitching across.
What a difference the finished skirt makes!  As an added bonus, my daughter no longer has any interest in what's on the shelves--out of sight, out of mind!

Monday, February 27, 2012


I made this skirt for my princess' 3rd birthday last year.  I used the instructions from Make It-Love It as my guide.  The instructions say that the skirt is a size 3T/4T, but I would say it would fit a child up to 6 or even 7 easily.  The yoke was just way too wide at 40 inches, and when I make another one, I'll size the yoke down for a better fit.

The pettiskirt involved a lot of ruffling of fabric (2 30-yard ruffles!).  Fortunately the instructions tell you how to ruffle using your sewing machine by setting the stitch length to the longest length and upping the tension to the highest number.  It worked like a charm!
I bought my nylon chiffon (non-fraying) in rolls from AFC-Express, just like the instructions recommended.  Their prices are quite reasonable, and they offer the nylon chiffon on rolls so that you don't have to cut and piece together yards of rectangles.  That is definitely the way to go!
I differed from the pattern in that I didn't use interfacing to stabilize the satin yoke seams.  I serged them instead.  I also discovered that for me it was easier not to pin the chiffon tiers together before sewing because the pinning ended up taking way too long and was off anyway by the time I sewed it together.
I've got plans to make different styles of pettiskirts to see how they turn out.  If all goes well, I may just start selling some e-patterns of my designs.  I have some non-pettiskirt skirts I've made for my daughter that I think will make great patterns, too.  Stay tuned.