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Celebrate the BOY!

There’s always lots of ideas, patterns and tutorials around the web for things to make for little girls. So this month, as a crafting mother of three boys, I’ve been really enjoying Celebrate the BOY! month by MADE and Made by Rae.

I don’t have nearly as much time to sew as I’d like, and it’s not like my to-sew list was short to begin with, but now I’ve got inspiration to keep me going for months!

So far, I’ve only followed the tutorial for the 90 Minute Shirt — a simple, lap shoulder, long sleeve shirt, made from a recycled adult t-shirt. But I’ve made THREE. All for Nathaniel, and all out of clothes of mine that I no longer wear, or scraps from my stash which originally came from the thrift store. I LOVE making new cute clothes for the littlest guy, especially when it doesn’t involve a big trip to the mainland or lots of money. (I’ll make stuff for the older ones too, I promise, but they’re fussier and have more to say about the finished results.)

The first one:

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And then it looked too plain so I added a giraffe using the freezer paper stencil technique. (I also made the pants and shoes in this photo from a felted wool sweater a while ago. An entire mama-made outfit!)

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And the next night:

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I think he likes it:

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And finally:

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During the sewing of the first two shirts, I was getting more and more mad at my sewing machine. It kept breaking threads every few stitches, or getting jammed, just making the entire thing take way longer than it needed to. I was about ready to throw it out the window and buy a serger and a new machine. But! Before I started the last one, I changed the needle again, and this time, it worked perfectly. I got through the whole shirt without one broken thread. I’m a little puzzled, but I’ll take it. The serger is on hold for now.

And I just hit the thrift store for more shirts to re-use for my guys. 🙂

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Wool Pants

I’ve made Nathaniel a few pairs of wool pants from the sleeves of thrift store sweaters, but I think these new ones are perhaps my favorites.

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I had found a nice soft J. Crew sweater, and it felted up really nicely, but it had holes in the elbows. The elbows make the bum of baby pants. So I covered the holes with pockets made of the same sweater fabric, sewn on with contrasting thread.

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There are matching shoes in the works, but he hasn’t given me another evening to work on them again yet. Soon, I hope.

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Wool Slippers

I made myself a pair of wool slippers last winter, using an old sweater I felted. They have been so warm and comfy and I’ve worn them every day this winter, that I decided it was time to make some for my kids.

These are for Timothy, age 2:

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All the materials came from the thrift store: the wool sweater I felted (there are always lots of those!), the soft leather I used on the soles, and the embroidery floss I used to sew it all together. They’re not perfect, but he seems to like them, he’s kept them on longer than he usually wears socks, at least. And they will definitely keep his feet toasty.

I’m still working on making up a pattern/instructions, which I hope to post soon. I’m planning to make a pair for Ben tonight (unless I fall asleep instead), and I’ll try to take photos of the process.

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Quilt

Last August, I entered a simple quilt, my second ever, in the County Fair in August. It was fun to see it displayed, although it was folded and hung over a rail along with a lot of others. Some quilts are hung up from the ceiling, because you really need to see the whole thing to appreciate the design. I got a red ribbon (second place, although the entries are judged against a standard and not each other, so there are lots of each “place”). After the fair, I decided I wanted to do better this year.

My goal: I wanted to create and enter a quilt that needed to be hung from the ceiling.

I had almost a year, it seemed possible.

My husband helped me come up with a design within a month or two, based on a mathematical curve, the Sierpinski Curve:

I bought all the fabrics at Christmas, and started cutting them out in March.

I sewed in spurts over the next few months, always after the kids were in bed, working on sections of 4 x 4 blocks. In the week or two before the fair’s entry date, I finished the piecing (more than a quarter of it in a week!), and got the top all put together, minus borders, only 3 days before the deadline.

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But there were still borders, layering and quilting, and binding to do….

It didn’t happen.

In fact, I haven’t touched it since, and that was three weeks ago. It’s not exactly out of character, leaving things to the last minute (right, mum and dad? ;-)) but usually I manage to pull it off. Not this time. Sigh. I’m disappointed, but I do still intend to finish it.

Maybe in time for next year’s fair.

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Duvet

New duvet cover, made from three old sheets found at the thrift store.

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Vintage yellow roses feel so happy and summery. Even if they’re covering up a feather duvet, still in use most nights in July.

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Quilt, first quarter

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Well, almost a quarter. This is 8 squares of 17 across. There’ll be one strip down and across the center that is almost black except for the center square, which may be the same purple as the outside corner, or may be something as yet undetermined.

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The Quilt

The quilt is (almost) 1/8th done. At least (almost) 1/8th of the pattern part of the top. That’s not counting borders and quilting and binding.

The whole pieced part is 17 squares by 17 squares, and I’m doing them in batches of 4 x 4 squares. Then I’ll have to do one row for the center each direction to join it all together. Two 4×4 bits are done.

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The first section took me three evenings, a couple hours each time. Last night I completed the second section. It’s looking good, I’m very happy with it so far.

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Signs of Spring

On the last day of March, we had sun, then snow, then sun, then snow….. It was cold and wet and what was that about March going out like a lamb?

We got outside for a little while before dinner in one of the sunny spells, and there are definite signs of life in the garden, finally!

One of our new apple trees is showing green. (So are the plums and cherries!)

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The raspberries are really getting leafy.

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The salad greens are coming up already, despite the snow! You can just see the tiny green leaves there.

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There are salmonberry flowers appearing all over the place! Thank goodness they have such bright flowers, because we’d never have known we have so many of them if they didn’t stand out so distinctly.

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Today, it was warm outside. Warm from the sun! No chill in the air, we spent the whole afternoon outside, playing, working, tidying up. It was delightful and I can’t wait for the weather to be more reliably like that.

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I’ve been working on the quilt, I will have photos to share soon. I’m sort of piecing blocks in chunks as I go to make sure it’s working before I have 289 blocks ready to put together all at once. The top is 1/16th done. 🙂

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Quilt

I finally started on the king-size quilt I’ve been planning since last August. After entering the quilt I made for my youngest son in the county fair, I decided my goal this year was to make a quilt that would deserve to be hung up and displayed in its entirety, instead of being folded up and hung over a railing in a nook, lost among the bulk of entries. So my husband came up with a design based on a mathematical curve, I started with one fabric I love that I’d picked up at the thrift store, and over the Christmas break I bought all the rest of the materials. (The quilt shop was having a pre-end-of-year-inventory sale, what could I do?) There was much discussion of colors and patterns while my in-laws were visiting for Christmas.

And finally, last night, I started cutting. I cut out 289 squares. (Rotary cutters rock!)

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Now I have hundreds of little triangles to do. Pondering whether to cut them all at once or cut some and start sewing, cutting the rest as I go. Just to make sure the design is going to work, of course.

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Kids’ Fat Quarter Tote Bags

I came up with this little kids’ tote bag idea recently, because Ben asked me to make him one out of two fat quarters our local quilting store owner gave him one day.

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It has dalmatians and fire hydrants all over it — what could be better for a three year old boy? He loves it, and so does one of our friends, so I made another one for her and documented the process in photos so I could write about it.

Materials needed:

  • Two fat quarters of coordinating fabrics — a bold print for the outside and a plainer/smaller pattern for the inside works well. (Doesn’t work well on obvious one-way patterns — one half would end up upside-down.)
  • Slightly less than a fat quarter of iron-on interfacing.
  • An old belt — I find mine at the thrift store — or some other ribbon or webbing for straps.
  1. Center the interfacing and iron onto the wrong side of the outer fabric.
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  2. With right sides together, sew around the edges of the fabric. Leave about the center third of one of the long sides unsewn to allow you to turn right side out. Trim the corners.
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  3. Turn right side out, pushing out corners. Iron seams flat. Topstitch at 1/8″ around the entire outside of the rectangle.
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  4. With right sides (outside fabric) together, fold in half widthwise. Sew the two ends together.
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  5. You now have basically a flat inside-out pouch. Fold in the outside edges that you just sewed, towards the center, so that the seam is laying along the center bottom of the pouch.
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  6. Sew across the corner of the bag, about 2″ in from the point, on both ends.
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  7. Turn the whole thing right side out. Lay one of the long sides flat against the bottom (like you would fold a paper grocery sack) and topstitch at 1/8″, from corner to corner, along the outside. Do the same thing on the other side, and, if you want, from each of the four bottom corners to the top edge, to give it more of a boxy shape.
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  8. Cut the old belt in half, and sew one half on each side as a handle. I do it just a couple of inches in from the ends and at a slight angle. I also leave the belt buckle on for decoration.
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That’s it! Give it to your favorite kid and they can carry around their books or art supplies or cuddly toys or whatever they like. 🙂

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