Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sort Of Tutorial: Father's Day Checkerboard Set

My husband recently taught Roo how to play checkers, which has been a lot of fun for both of them. 

Because it's Father's Day, and we only have a glass checkers set, I thought we could make a fun, personalized set that would be easy to take camping or to the beach. 

We made this in one afternoon/evening and you can too. It would be a great gift for grandpas, uncles, dads, pretty much anyone who likes to play games. It's a perfect, inexpensive gift for your child's friends! 

I didn't intend to post a tutorial, so there's not a lot of pictures but I think you'll get the idea anyway. Have fun!

You will need:
Three colors of paint 
2 Sponge brushes
Small paintbrush (the kind in your kid's watercolor set)
Mod Podge
Sewing machine/Thread
Scissors/Rotary Cutter & Mat
1/2 yard white felt
1/2 yard black felt

Salt Dough:
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1/2-3/4 cup warm water 

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, starting off with 1/2 cup water and adding more as necessary. The dough shouldn't be sticky, but should pull away from the sides like bread dough. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.

To make checker pieces, roll a small ball (about the size of a walnut or 1" in diameter). Press pinky fingers into ball to flatten, creating a heart shape.

Some of these started looking like pig noses, so we re-rolled them and tried again.

There are 24 checkers pieces total per game, but we made 28 just in case. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 175° for about three hours. 

While the pieces are baking, cut both colors of felt into eight 2"x18" strips. Chain piece across the short ends of  the white felt strips to connect them all together. 
^image from^

Try to connect the strips with no gaps between. Turn the piece around and connect the opposite ends, making sure all strips are flat and not twisted. 

Lay this piece out flat on your table, weave the black strips under-over etc through the white, pushing the strips close together for a nice, right weave. (You will need to alternate every other strip and start over-under, if that makes sense.)

Edge stitch down the length of each strip on both sides, in both directions. Stitch all four sides, then trim away the excess.

Now, using a sponge brush, paint half of the checker pieces one color, the other half in the second color. You will want to add about a teaspoon of Mod Podge per three tablespoons of paint before painting. This will seal the salt dough, making it last longer.  When they are dry, you can go back and fill in the heart with the watercolor brush. 

That's pretty much it! This is a pretty great rainy day activity, and is something the whole family can make together. 

Happy crafting!

PS I haven't done this yet, but I'm going to buy a can of sealer and spray the checker pieces (top and bottom). I've heard that if you dont, they can and will crumble up and be ruined over time. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

In Progress: Espadrilles

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get to these! Wait, no. That's not exactly true, I know exactly why it's taken me so long, I've been SO DARN BUSY making dolls, teaching, working, sewing bags and quilts, learning new computer programs and being a mom, wife and responsible pet owner. Dritz Sewing Company was kind enough to send a package of their (at the time) yet to be released espadrilles with all the necessary supplies to make them. 

For some reason, I just had it in my head that these were going to be way more complicated than I had time for. Was I ever wrong! 

I used leftover scraps from Roo's Clara Top (by Violette Field Threads, of course), remember it?

I had a little time to start the project at work one day. In about an hour and a half, I had my pieces cut, pressed, interfaced and stitched.

After work, I sat down for about 15 minutes and put them together.

All I have left is the hand stitching.

Aren't they the coolest so far?! Who knew you could make shoes? 

I'll post a new picture when they're totally finished. I'll be teaching this class at Sew Main Street in Woodstock, GA so stay tuned for that info!

Happy sewing!

PS the funny thing is these shoes are two sizes too big for Roo, but so is that top. By the time she can fit one, maybe she'll fit the other, too!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A New Dress For Roo!

Well, she wore it! The dress was a success!

Pattern: Maisie by Violette Field Threads 
Fabric: Crazy Love by Jennifer Paganelli 
Fit: Accurate. I cut a size 7, she wears a 6, it was a little big. 
Notes for Next Time: try it using knit fabric, no zipper, make a size 6. Add pockets, make sleeveless? 
Social Media: #maisiedress #violettefieldthreads @violettefieldthreads

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Real Quick: a little sewing tip

I just finished sewing my first "Maisie" dress by Violette Field Threads a few minutes ago. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out! I'm anxious to see if my daughter will actually wear it for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow or not. She says she will, that she has to wear green, so we will see, won't we?

I made it using one of my most favorite fabrics, Crazy Love my Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit Fabrics:

Isn't that pretty? I thought I would pass along a little trick of mine, in case you found it useful in your future sewing endeavors. 

You know when a pattern says "Trim seam allowance in half; clip curves"? Well, that whole curve clipping part is really a thorn in my side. I know it's necessary in order to make the garment curve and lay flat, but geez! It takes forever and it's tedious! 

Aha! What about pinking shears? Oh yes, my friends, pinking shears. You can trim that seam allowance AND clip your notches all at the same time! Check it out:

How about we look a little closer?

I'm about 1/8" away from the seam line. Can you see that?

And how does it look when it's turned right side out and pressed? Won't it be puckery? Allow me:

Perfect! I highly recommend owning a pair of pinking shears. They're an essential part of a sewing kit!

And now, the finished dress:

Do you have a favorite sewing trick? Let's hear it in the comments below! Happy sewing!

Monday, February 29, 2016

#SewPrompted2016: Zippers!

One of the things I love the most about being a member of this industry is seeing and being involved in the encouragement of each other. If you know me or have participated in any of the Schnitzel & Boo swaps, you won't be surprised about that. It's also one of the reasons I love to teach. 

{modified back of the Clara Top by Violette Field Threads}

Just yesterday, in fact, I taught a room full of women who had either never installed a zipper or who had only done it once or twice. Do you know what they were making? The Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented

{look at all those zippers!}

Every single one of those ladies left the classroom with a completed bag, that they sewed themselves, zippers and all. 

What is so intimidating about zippers? I'm not sure, but I can tell you that anything is doable, if you can sew a 1/4" seam OR a straight line, you can put one in. There are tricks to make it easier. For example, start with the zipper head zipper all the way up, begin stitching in the middle of the zip, sew all the way to the end of it; back stitch. Remove the project from your machine, take out the pins where you've just sewn, unzip it, then finishing sewing from the top, to just past where you started in the middle. Most of the time, it's getting around the head of it that makes it so frustrating. Use your zipper foot with the needle on the left position. 

{a zipper sewn with my 1923 Super Deluxe sewing machine}

There are several really nice tutorials for sewing various zipper pouches, the following are some of my favorites. 

*Boxy Pouch Tutorial by Pink Stitches

*Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead

*Triangle Pouch by A Spoonful of Sugar

I have a nice long list of tutorials to post on my own tutorial page, one of which is how to put in the zipper. Until I can get to it, though, here are a few links to some of my favorite zippers and their sources. 

*Lace Zippers via A Vision To Remember on Etsy

*Standard Polyester Coil Zippers via Zip It on Etsy

*Metal Teeth Zips via Zipper Island on Etsy

For more inspiration, have a look at Sew Mama Sew's Pinterest Board "Sew it! ~ Zipper Pouches & Clutches" found here.

Happy Sewing!

PS  I'll leave you with a photo of my seven year old and the zipper pouch she made yesterday.  See?  You CAN do it!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Few Finishes and Goals

I just finished my second pattern test for my friend Caroline if Nightingale Quilts. This new pattern is called Celestial Cascade and I LOVE it! For the background, I used Kona Cotton in Oyster, the rest is from my stash. I love the way Caroline writes her patterns. They seem like they would be difficult, but she breaks them down in a way that makes it very simple. Small, chewable, doable bites. This pattern is yet to be released, and I'll be sure to let you all know when it's coming out. 

This quilt is going to be a gift, I'm definitely going to make it again, maybe next time I'll try it in white and red or gold.
{Celestial Cascade by Nightingale Quilts}

I whipped up two fast and simple personalized pillowcases for my husband as a Valentine's Day. I took notes and lots of pictures so I can show you how I did it, maybe next week?
{shown without personalization}

When I have a few extra minutes, I'll be starting my next quilt project, a pixel Schnitzel. My friend Andi of YouPatch, created a pattern for me of my first "baby". I posted this picture on Facebook and before I knew it, I had a quilt pattern!

I also finished stuffing, whip-stitching and attaching the button-jointed arms on all 47 dolls I've been working on. That's exciting!

Eventually, they'll look more like this one:

To break up the monotony (mutiny??) of the dolls, I put together another rope bowl and a zippered pouch, both of which were gifts for my dear friend Elizabeth.

When the dolls are off my plate, I'll be working on a few new patterns, a Clara  Top and a Maisie Dress, both by Violette Fields Threads, for Roo and of course more quilts! 

Happy Sewing!