A scrappy pillow

I recently was asked by a friend to help turn several sets of satin sheets into covers for her new couches and ottoman. As I was cutting the sheets, I ended up having odd sized scraps left. I brainstormed and came up with a project to use these scraps:

I love it!  And so does my friend!  I think I'm going to make one with our family name on it!

Here is what the back looks like:

And this shows that I successfully installed my 3rd invisible zipper.  Yes, I'm counting- they still stress me out a bit!

I picked up the 20"x20" pillow form at IKEA for about $4, and used a piece of scrap white fabric that has a very faint swirly type design on it that you might be able to see on this close up:

And because I try to re-use everything possible when I do a project, I saw the bag this came in:

And wondered what I could re-use that bag for.  My kids are too old to store toys in there, and I'm not about to try to squeeze a sheet or two back in there.  Then I had an idea.  Why not rip it apart and salvage the zipper?  Those cost $1-$2 a piece at the store.  So that's what I did:

 Seam ripping on plastic is surprisingly easy because all you do is get it started and then just pull the zipper.  The plastic cleanly rips away. 

Used up scraps, got two new zippers, made a friend very surprised and happy, and conquered an invisible zipper.  It was a good day!

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Tie dyed shirt + onesie= one cute baby dress

This is a project I made several months ago, but I'm just now posting. Surprised?

Anyway- here is what I started with:

And here is what I finished with:



Want to see how I did it? Read on:

First, I cut the onesie in half like this:

Then I used my embroidery machine to put this cupcake on for the recipient's first birthday.

Then, I laid the bottom portion of the onesie on the shirt, and cut it about an inch above the top of this piece. The bottom of the shirt became the bottom of my dress. No hemming. Sweet!

Then, I cut a 1 inch piece of t-shirt, sewed it into a tube the same size as my onesie waist, and then sewed it to the bottom piece. This adds back all the fabric we are taking away by sewing seam allowances.

I didn't take any photos of the next steps, but all you do is gather the upper edge of the tie dye skirt piece and attach it to the upper onesie. Then, sew that part, right sides together to the bottom of the onesie and you are all done.

Check out this tutorial for even better instructions and photos.

I'd love to see this if you make one! Comment and let me know!

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Organized Patterns

Hi everyone! Today I'm going to share with you how I organize my sewing patterns. I think you'll love this method as much as I do. The best part is my daughters and I can easily look through all of them without damaging the envelopes or losing pieces as they look at the envelopes. It also makes it really easy to compare similar patterns to decide which design element we like the best.

For years, I kept my patterns in a big plastic bin, and would sift through them when planning a project. I tried sorting them by type, but they always seemed to get jumbled up. Plus, the envelopes were getting all worn from this storage method, and any used patterns were bulging from trying to get the used pieces back in. All in all, a hot mess.

So I came up with a new method of storing patterns that has worked out really well. Here is what you will do to get the same system.

First get your supplies:

Go to Staples or Office Max and buy some 9 x 12 side open booklet envelopes. I can only find the white in the 9x12 size at Staples, but the color really doesn't matter. I really prefer the side open envelopes because they are easier to store in the boxes without losing pattern pieces.

While there, buy some of these Banker Boxes. You can pick up these boxes at Target or Walmart too.

You'll also want plastic sheet protectors. These do not need to be fancy- the cheaper the better. (shown here with a piece of white paper in each one)

Now that you have all of your supplies, let's get started.

First, using a Sharpie, write the number of the pattern on the top right of each envelope.

If you find that you have two patterns with the same number, but different companies, just write the first letter in front of the pattern number. For example if you have pattern number 2456 in Simplicity it would read S 2456. And the McCalls pattern would read M 2456. You'll find that this rarely happens though.

Now, take the pattern pieces out of the pattern envelope and put them in the large white envelope.

This is what the inside of an envelope with used pattern pieces looks like:

Isn't that nice to have so much room in there instead of trying to stuff them back in those small envelopes?

As a side note, I wanted to share a few tips about caring for used patterns. First, I always fold my pattern pieces so the pattern number is facing out.

The other thing I try to always remember to do, is write on the front of the envelope the sizes I cut out, and the date. Occasionally, I'll write the person I made the outfit for.

Now, you'll take that pattern envelope and put it in a plastic page protector. I always put a piece of paper in each protector so I can put a pattern on each page back to back.

I also use that paper to write any notes about each pattern. For example, I sometimes buy multiples of a pattern when they are on a 99 cent sale. It is worth the extra dollar not to have to trace a pattern. When I have multiples of a pattern, I write on the paper in the top left corner "Also in size 3,4,5,6 uncut".

Then I put that entire extra pattern into the envelope with the other pieces like this:

The patterns are then sorted in banker boxes by number. They will go in like this:

The boxes are set up similar to the way patterns are sorted in the store.

The envelopes are stored in binders and sorted by type. Here are my binders with all of my patterns:

So- the next question is what to do with those odd sized patterns or patterns in books, or even self-drafted patterns? Here is what I do:

I love Jalie patterns, but the envelopes they come in are so darn big. Certainly too big to fit in the binders and even too big for the patters to fit in the banker boxes. So what I did was photo copy the front of the pattern envelopes and put those pictures in my binder.

Then I stacked (in numerical order) the Jalie patterns on a shelf in my sewing room.

Patterns in books. I do the same thing. Photocopy and then on the paper write which book and page the pattern can be found.

And those self drafted patterns?

I sometimes but several in one envelope, put the date in the corner and put them in the back of my last box. (6000-9999)

If you want to go one step further, you can enter your patterns into an online database at PatternReview.com. Once you have signed up for a free account, you can click on "Pattern Catalog" in the left burgundy column. What I love about this, is you can quickly check to see if you already have a pattern before you purchase one. The best part about this system however is that it automatically connects you to all pattern reviews of each of your patterns, so you can read what works or doesn't work with each one before beginning. Fair warning though: once you start using this site, you'll see pattern lines you didn't know existed (ie: Jalie) and find patterns you fall in love with.

Good luck with sorting your patterns and let me know if you have any other ideas to make it even more efficient!

Coming up, um... sometime... how I organize my fabric. Now that I've told you it's coming, I have to bite the bullet and just write it, right?


Christmas Eve Pajama Pants

Every year, as I'm sure many people do, I make matching pajama pants for all the kids. And every year it seems things are slightly different. This year was no different. In fact, this year, I didn't even buy the fabric for the pajamas until I was on the way home from mailing the gifts I mentioned in the previous post. Five days before Christmas. Oops, that was a mistake!

There was not much selection left in the cotton or flannel department. So I moseyed over to the fleece section and instantly fell in love with some penguin fabric that I knew would be suitable for a 14 year old boy and two younger girls.

Isn't that cute fabric? There was enough that I was able to make some for Casey and me too!

Here we are trying out the self timer on the camera:

When I got home from the fabric store, I knew the penguin looked familiar, and sure enough, I had a design from Planet Applique that matched almost exactly. So all 3 kids got a new white shirt with a penguin on it to go with their PJ pants.

I was a little worried my teen son would think it was too cutesy, but he actually really liked it! AND everyone LOVED having PJ's out of fleece!

This was my final BIG project. I had a few small odds and ends (like hemming a fleece blanket with my serger), but for now.... my machines (and I) are resting!


Some family gifts

I am one of 10 children. I'm number 5 to be exact. Many years ago, the youngest sibling set up a gift exchange where we would each buy a gift for one other sibling's family each year. This year, I was set to gift to Eric's family in West Virginia. We sent their main gift straight from an online store on Cyber Monday, but I wanted to send something a bit more personalized.

So I made these little ornaments out of felt:

We also made some for my Dad and my Grandma up in Idaho:

Then I made this towel for my Mom in Oklahoma:

Then I went to the Post Office and prayed they would get there before Christmas. (I mailed them on Tuesday morning). Amazingly, I got an email from Mom, that her package arrived on Thursday!

I haven't heard from anyone else, so hopefully theirs arrived on time!

Final project: Pajama pants for Christmas Eve.