Thursday, January 10, 2013

Doggie Beds

Aren't both of my models above just gorgeous!  Small, Medium, Large - all Beautiful! As someone who leans on the large size I often think of animals, and how their sizes, shape, colorings, all differ, but we - humans, who constantly seem to be searching for the perfect/ideal everything have a much harder time putting man's best friend in to this same small little box of perfection and tend to be more accepting of all the variations and differences.  If we could only extend the same to each other.  But well that wasn't really the topic of this post....

Usually I make a new dog bed every 6-9 months when the previous one becomes too worn for yet another wash. Good for my dogs, but bad for me they have a dog door that leads onto our outdoor patio which has trees, a small patch of grass/dirt, many plants, rocks etc. which they love to carry in when I am not looking and the outdoors usually end up in the dog bed.  Just recently, I replaced the latest worn out dog bed with a new version of the same pattern.  I didn't post pictures since you have essentially seen it before.

However, the Mr. asked me why I didn't make several dog beds for different areas of the house and because we have more than one dog.  As you can tell from the picture above, they certainly do not mind sharing, but they do the love the dog bed(s) and they are easy and inexpensive to make.  So, Operation: More Dog Beds has commenced.

For the dog beds, I usually just purchase fleece from Joann's either when it is on sale or I search through the remnants for larger pieces.  I got lucky and both of the fabrics purchased above were large remnants and almost a full yard each.  This makes for a really inexpensive project if you are debating make vs. buy.

I also decided to try a new pattern: Simplicity  2297 Version A. which is No Sew like the other dog bed but I got to learn the skills of using an Awl to punch holes in the fabric and then weave and gather to form some structure.  It was easy, but the other dog bed takes less than an hour and this one probably took several between marking all the holes for punching and then using the awl for an initial once around punch, I found my holes were not large enough to weave the safety pin and fabric through so I had to punch each hole again before moving to the next.

One really good thing about this pattern is that all sizes are in the one envelope and they are on different tissue - so, if you plan to make multiple sizes you don't have to buy more than one pattern or spend your time tracing a dog bed!

For those of you, that are pet owners and looking to make something like this, you might worry about the stuffing.  What dog doesn't like to rip all the stuffing out of their toys? And I know from experience with the other dog bed, if the double knots are not tight enough they can find away to dig-in and have a free for all with the "guts" of the dog bed.  I can report that this weave and gather method has enough structure to be solid and after a week of wear the dog bed has remained intact.

Special thanks to my Sewing Helper - Pandora & the World's Largest Lap Dog - Hope for being such well behaved models! :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Color of the Year Inspiration - Emerald Green

Image Sources: 
Belted Maxi Dress, Dog Cowl, Necklace, Blouse, Kiera Knightly Dress, Shoes, Green Sweater, Bracelet

Pantone announced it's color of the year a few weeks back: Emerald Green.  This has been a long standing in my list of favorite colors so I am pretty excited to find lots of lovely emerald goodies. 

Back when I was sixteen I purchased a short sleeved, angora wool, emerald green sweater.  It was so soft and a simple cut just a plain knit stitch with a slight v-neck.  I loved this sweater, but sadly it was lent to a friend and never returned.  Oh how I have dreamed of that sweater ever since - maybe this is the year I recreate it for myself!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Craftsy Block of the Month - September

The September blocks for Craftsy Block of the Month were all about curved piecing.  I really enjoyed putting these blocks together, but it was not without its challenges. 

Sewing a curved seam is all about precision and easing your two fabric pieces into each other.  I cut a couple extra and luckily worked the kinks of the process which involved some finger pressing of the two fabrics to help with the easing and strategic pinning.  I also pulled out my dress makers pins though I mostly use extra fine pins anyways which helps if I get carried away and don't remove them as I am sewing.

The cooling thing about quilting blocks is since everything is in miniature they are a good place to practice skills you can use on garments.  I sort of struggled in the past with curved seams on dresses.  I am looking forward to some pretty awesome curved seams in the future!

Only one month of blocks left to go and then I can show off my quilt top!  It is exciting to have learned so many skills and come so far over the past year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Owl Sleep Better Tonight

It is been quite chilly here in Southern California lately, I would even say cold but then much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere would probably laugh. Silly California girl!

I found that my closet is seriously lacking warm pajamas and began stealing borrowing the Star Wars pants that I made for my husband.  I really wanted to make some pajama pants for myself, but couldn't find a suitable length of fabric in my stash that I wanted to turn into pajamas. 

My husband's parents did give me the cute sleepy owl fabric picture above last Christmas.  However, it was only one yard which isn't nearly enough for pants.  So, I got creative and combined it with the pink cotton above to make a night gown.

While this isn't as warm as pants would be it is super cute and manages to be warm enough for now. For the pattern I used Butterick B5653  which as it claims if fast and easy, but cut a few corners in areas that I didn't expect such as the straps being whip stitched on in the front to the lining instead of being sandwiched between the layers and sewn in.  I sort of wish I had just done it that way myself instead of following the instruction.  Next time. 

Also, the pattern is sizes Small, Medium, Large etc. and has enough ease to pull over the head.  While it is just pajamas - this doesn't make for the best figure flattering fit.  I believe I could go a size down and still have ample room.  I will have to try that.

I plan to make the top and pajama bottoms at some point.  Since I don't have fabric and I am trying to do stash projects first this will have to be on the back burner for now.

PS - Yay! I finally got a dress form!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

I am looking forward to the New Year!  2013 for me, will be a year of setting my priorities correctly.  The first being to take better care of myself which includes both putting things like eating healthier, exercise and spending time with my family first, but also includes spending some time doing what I love - sewing, knitting and other crafts. 

Here is a list of my sewing goals for the year:

0.  Finish my first quilt ( 0. since most of this work was done in 2012)
1.  Sew my first coat
2.  Participate in Sew Colette 2.0
3.  Finish these Craftsy Classes that I am enrolled in:  Knit this - Mastering Lace Shawls, Sassy          Librarian Blouse, Sewing Texture, Sew Retro: Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress  
4.  Complete at least 2 sewing projects each month and 1 knitting or other craft type project.
5.  Finish Sewing Room Makeover Items

While I am setting goals for myself it is mostly about cleaning up ideas, projects and money/time already spent last year scheming and planning.  Most of the items above I have either already purchased patterns, fabric, notions or all of the above and it is about time I got to work on some of it!

My stash isn't large but it is larger than I want it to be so I will be working on reducing some of that.  My solution was pretty simple to gather some of it up and pair it with the patterns and notions that I had already bought to complete "some day".

The wine crate pictures above contains 14 projects ranging from a purse, a pencil skirt, a patchwork quilt, to several dresses that I plan to work on when I am not directly working on one of the above goals.  Let's see how well I do!

Happy New Year!