Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fancy in Floral: The Car Seat Canopy fit for a Pretty Princess

I am a lucky man. I may not make new friends easily, but the friends I do have been my friends for centuries now. One of the numerous benefits of these long term friendships is that I get know their styles pretty well. This particular car seat canopy is for my super girly friend. She’s the type of girl who we all have to wait a minimum of hour before we can go out. She’s my sparkle princess of dance. So I ask you, how could I not make a SUPER girly car seat canopy for her first baby girl?!

She’s into the whole new owl trend (me too btw). I found these three prints in the discount/remnant section of Joann’s Fabric Store. That section is my finical downfall – I can’t even remember the last time I bought fabric off the bolt. I decided to use the flower print (because her car seat is pink and grey) and save the owls for a diaper bag. 

I knew for sure that this time I wanted the front flap to have an opening.  I googled around and found this awesome freaking tutorial: CARSEAT CANOPY by Genevieve.  She did a real nice job on hers.  Like her sewing skills are for real.  Anyways I just reviewed her work I didn't really follow it or anything.  One thing I did like is her binding-ish stuff around the opening. I rummaged through my scraps and found that pink and green print in the jelly-roll-left-over-container. Even though it isn't an exact match, it’s like the weird relative who stands out in the family photo but is the connecting thread amongst you’ll.

True to my unorthodox, dissenter self, I of course decided to do something new this time… maybe to my detriment however. I tried to upgrade the canopy pattern I have created over time. If you reader you might have seen my other iterations and evolution of this whole design. This time I created an opening in the front, something that was requested from both previous recipients. I went willing into the breech, what problems could this present for a noob like me…?

I guess the first error is a folding shortcut gone wrong. I am really not a super fan of measuring so I prefer to use the origami method of measuring and cutting fabric. So here was the logic I followed. Find the total length, divide in half, at the half way point measure ½ the total length of middle insert and cut. Somehow, mysteriously, miraculously something got a little cray cray on the cutting portion of this project. Here’s the stitch, I didn’t notice that I messed up the cutting until everything was done. 

Le Sigh… IF ONLY I reexamined this photo before continuing on maybe I would have gotten clued in. There’s another tally in the column for doing things in a more practical manner. Whatever

Anyways everything turned out okay in the end. I did a very pretty job on my straps. I even did a fancy top stitch on them. woot
And I had fun creating the straps from scraps. I used variegated thread (that’s multi-colored for those not in the know) and a simple zig-zag stitch.
 I love it! Its all SO CUTE!

Like I said, everything turned out okay, luckily. I realized by the time I was ready to put all the pieces together that things were wonky. I just hoped for the best at that point and soldiered on. I think if there was a lesson to learn this time is that I thought to make the middle insert wider. I think I was misguided in that misgiving. The middle should be thinner, not wider, if there should be one at all. There was another tragedy on this pretty princess sparkle tour - my recent fascination with batting. I used it in the straps and loved the feel and the look and the weight. I ATTEMPTED to use it for the binding around the opening. I ripped it out because of a last minute, late night decision that it added too much weight for the front flaps. I’m not going to get into what a life changing experience it was too rip the stitches out of batting and a fragile piece of fabric.

I stopped at this point to test it on the car seat. Like I said I knew by this time that I cut the front panel too short so I needed to know if panels had to be added in the front. Plus like, what if the straps were too short or something?

I ran it over there and JUST BARLEY did the front section cover the car seat (Only when the handle was all the way up). So now all that was left was add the closures, velcro the straps, and top stitch. Should be easy no? NO!

Putting the snaps on (the very very pretty snaps) took about 2 or 3 hours and about 20 to 30 years off my life. It was horrible, I think I even broke down and cried, internally at least, at one point in time. Probably when the tool broke… which might have happened while I strangling the life out of it. I think I need to get one of those pillars looking things that put the snaps on.

I don’t know why it was so hard this time, maybe because there was no batting inside of the binding. I put on snaps once before and even though the first couple of times were a little hard, it was nothing like this. I think I bought like a pack of twelve, the canopy used 4, I think I have like 2 left. Big thanks to Kelly over at the Indiana Inker who wrote an amazing illustrated blog post on how to use these Dritz Easy Attacher Snap Fastener.  And after reading her tutorial it got better and finally got a few on there.

These pretty embellishments were pretty much a given. They weren't easy to sew on with the machine, but somehow I got it work. I wish the maker had a like some instructions or something. The base was very tiny.

I top stitched the whole thing with this little tulip pattern. Isn't it very adorable?!? I love it and they have functionality as well.

Sorry my final pics are so blurry.  Might have been the 8 cups of coffee that I had that day....

The lesson I learned this time came easier than making this pink explosion:

  • Mostly I think if I have to make another one I am just going buy the pattern I found while researching how to make this variation I found at Craftsy by Elizabeth Wyatt. Now that I have gotten some zipper time logged at the sewing machine, I think they are cool. I've never used a pattern before, I wonder what that would be like.
  • Also I am considering downgrading from sewing to gluing rocks together in the park as a new crafting outlet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The on the GO-GO-GO Diaper Bag

My sewing schedule completely revolves around the needs of my friends and their sewing needs revolve around their babies. I wish I found this cool tutorial a year ago when I started because it rates off the chart when it comes to simplicity and function. If you and your younglings are going on a quick trip, why pack a diaper bag when you can grab this one stop wonder.

Before I get started let me give some praise to the maverick seamstress over at the Noodlehead. What an amazing website. I have found that they are an excellent resource for sewing noobs, so if you’re like me check them out.

Obvs, I found this free pattern on their page and my heart just pitter-pattered its way to functionally heaven. Sometimes I’ll rudely say to my mom friends, “gosh, why don’t you have an emergency diaper bag in the car…?” Of course, who has the time with a newborn glued your hip to think of packing and storing an emergency diaper bag in the car? Well, now they can have solution to not only those times but also times when they just need a couple of diapers (and supplemental supplies) for a quick trip around the corner. I mean for realsies, what better gift could you make for a new mama and dada? They are sooo easy to make and can accompany an additional gift perfectly like a baby quilt!

I made my first one for a co-worker. Now, typically I won’t spend my time and money making things for randoms – especially this dude. This little shady so and so never says hello or even gives me a passing smile. The only time I've talked to him he dresses me down for not wearing a helmet on my bike. Do like look like an 8 year old? NO! Don’t even tell me what to do homie. Anyways, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and find a way to bridge the divides. Plus, I thought a baby gift might cure his RBF. Besides I’m still on this make-a-tester-before-the-final-product kick so I had to give someone the preliminary product.

This tutorial is sooo freaking easy, I can’t even do a demo. I mean I spent more time picking out scrap fabric and cutting it then I did sewing it together. I mean OF COURSE I mavericked the seamster out and did some independent thinking. Here are is what I pulled from my scraps to start with. A couple of leftovers from a previously made tote bag, including the remnants of the straps – which became the quilted (appropriate term? Or is that considered piecing? I can never tell) strip.

Once I completed the first one, I did ramp it up for the final product. I added an internal pocket for the hand sanitizer (for those extra messy poops) and did a little quilting thing.

I mean what more can I say about this – IT’S THE PERFECT NEWBORN GIFT! I was able to load one of these up with three dishcloths, a bottle of diaper cream, a mini hand sanitizer, and thing of wipes. I would buy diapers, but…. I guess I can just say it being a dude an all – I don’t know jack about diapers. Don’t get me wrong, I've change a diaper plenty of times, however I have never purchased a pack of diapers in my life (thank the goddess). I even tried having my mommy friends explain to me what kinds of diapers I should buy…. but…. every time I went to the diaper aisle my brain short circuited. So I just figured they could throw their own diapers in there.

Now, of course this maverick seamester has thought of a new way to make this on-the-go diaper pouch, but I haven’t had time to implement my concept. 

Lastly, I wish I could post more. I am trying to get my non-maverick-seamster life in order, which has unfortunately taken a majority of my free time. But have no fear, I am still sewing, just not publishing as much as like. How much more maverick can you get than mystery sewing?

  • Keep searching the web for projects. I just love this project, I mean come on! You don’t even have to have a design or motif to make a new mommy one of these. For reals, you barely have to have entry level sewing skills to make one of these.
  • I’m not going to get into it on this post, but I have discovered the unlocked potential in piecing. Let’s just say I've been attempting to mentally picture how to make chevrons. You’ll find out more later.
  • This is more for you "followers of all the instructions" - just break them. I messed up cutting this project both times. However each time they turned out great. Now I am only venting this because my mama is such a perfectionist. The other day I went over to her house and JOKINGLY pointed out a couple of misaligned patches in her DONATION QUIT and holy HIJOLE! I've never seen someone break out a seam ripper that fast. Please mi amigos y amigas, just love what you do and forget the rest. When I sewed the first one, I accidentally put the vertical strip at the bottom instead of the top of the center strip. Did I yank everything out? NO! Sometimes you just need to learn to live with the unexpected.
  • I always like throw in a few of those rings with every baby gift.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Make Your Own Water Bottle Sling!

Hey my sewing buddies. I took a little break from sewing because I knew there was no way I could get my machine during the holiday madness. I was right and a little wrong because I was able to complete a sewing project but I had to do it on the fly! I made two Water Bottle Carriers/Slings/Holders for my niece and nephew.

I know I sound like the grinch but I’m not super fan of Christmas. One of the things I don’t like about it is gift giving! Don’t get me wrong I love giving gifts (and receiving them), I just prefer to do it organically rather than being forced to by cultural norms. But my rebellious logic melts away when it deals with kids….. and I will, of course, get them Christmas gifts.  But if you are over the age of 12, sorry for yea.

My niece and nephew were in town during the holidays and I know this sounds weird but originally I wasn't going to get them anything while they were here but ONLY because they were doing a lot of traveling so I didn't want to load them down. But I started trying to think of something small, lightweight, and compatible so that they could pack them. BUT I didn't want to just get them some crap gift. They are cool kids who are very active and on the go-go-go. I didn't think there was anything I could make in a day that fit that bill but then…. I remember seeing a water bottle carrier/holder pattern on my pinterest page. It works out great because it can be crammed into their suitcase, I could get access to their current ones for measurements, I could make them essentially the same gift (which I love), and it looked fairly simple to do.

Now please keep in mind that I sewed this literally the day before Christmas, so I don't remember everything about it. The only reason I'm sharing this project is because the tutorial I found was great, the project is pretty cool overall and I think it's a great gift for kids. Originally I thought of buying them cool new water bottles and then making the customized water bottle carriers to go with them (I also thought of making them super hero costumes, but talked myself out of that)…. But I saw their water bottles lying around the house so I just snuck in a couple of quick measurements when no one was looking.

My source for information about this sewing project came from Melly Sews and even though I didn't follow her pattern or instructions (lol - sorry I never do, do I?) I liked her blog post: it was easy to read and gave me confidence to do it on my own! I chose to do mine differently than hers for a couple of random reasons and you’ll see why later. Anyways I was inspired by some fat quarters I got at that sewing convention I went to last year and some jelly rolls that my mom gave me. With those two things I can make practically anything!!!!!!!

I am still learning for my lessons and this time I did a test run before making the final one. The main reason that I chose to do a test first is because I was doing it so differently than the instructions on the tutorial. I think one of the reasons I deviated from the tutorial was because I wanted them to make the closure at the top differently. Instead of being open I wanted to create an opening that can be closed with a drawstring. I think just playing with a fat quarter made me realize that I can make one complete water bottle holder from the fact quarter (folded in half) and the excess fabric could be cut in half (approximately) and used for the bottom and the closure at the opening.

I don't remember the water bottle measurements but I'm guessing they were about 5 inches in diameter. So my thought was to cut it slightly larger and I would just stitch it up and turn it around. I am NOT doing very good job of describing this am I?

You can kinda see what I mean here the rectangle on the left is the water bottle holder, and the two pieces on the right would become the closure at the top and the circle piece for the bottom of the holder. I love the way I did it. It was much easier and they were essentially lined in the end - which rules.

Well you can see here that they turned out pretty good. The cord stops were left over from my gym bag drawstring project. Ahh I miss that gym bag. And the clip releases I picked up at Handcock’s on my way to the house to give them their gifts. I literally had to slip into my mom's sewing room to sew it all together!

Anyways I think there was other stuff I wanted to talk about…..

  • Pining and sewing a circle piece into place was interesting.  I don't know if I have done that before, it was a little tricky. I want to see if there are other instruction on how to do that.
  • Oh I know what I want to talk about is some of the things I would do differently. I wouldn't change the holder at all (I think my top closure piece is so cool) but the strap situation I would definitely change. I love the clip but what I don't like is how the strap attaches to the holder. In the tutorial the step for attaching the strap to the holder is very similar to a tote bag sort of construction. I didn't do it that way.  I just stitched the strap straight onto the holder across from the clip. But what I think I would do next time is I would cut/stitch two large button hole type openings that fit the width of the strap and thread the straps through them!!! RIGHT? Can you picture it?!?  This would allow the holder to move around the strap. If I was to do it that way I'd also would put a couple of snaps on the holder and the strap so that way if the water bottle holder was against their back it would lay flat against the strap when snapped down! Can you picture it!!!??! Makes me so excited to try again! I guess I will have to make all these variations and take better pictures so I can show you guys what I'm talking about.
  • What is really surprising about this project was how much it allowed me to be creative. I have a gazillion new ideas for this project and I think it could be very interesting and cool to make them as gifts.  Gifts for people and kids who like to hike.  Like me!   

Thanks for reading you silly seamster readers.  :)