Archive for the 'sewing machine' Category

New Series on Crafting Crazy: Martha! I Made it!

I love Martha Stewart.  For a while I was in denial.  I was one of those people who was all like, “That Martha- she’s too perfect.  Who really lives like that?  I mean, it’s nice and all, but…..”  Then I couldn’t deny it any more. I just like the look of nearly everything in her magazines.  I don’t watch her show very often mainly due to a lack of time, but I do like the simplicity of the Martha Stewart Style.  So, I gave up, gave in, and now I’m a Martha Wannabe.  I have a long way to go.

Enter her new treasure, “Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts.”

Soon after I purchased my sewing machine I went out and bought this book.  (Thankfully I had some help with a generous gift from our PTA at school- it was Teacher Appreciation Week and we all got $50!  Nice, eh?)  I actually went to Barnes & Noble and pulled a bunch of sewing books and literally sat on the floor and drooled over patterns and pictures of things I’d love to know how to make (remember- no idea what I’m doing).  I ultimately chose this book because it has a little bit of everything- clothing, gifts, doggie coats, you name it.

I thought it might be nice to showcase what I make from this book.  It’s one thing to look at a project in any book and say, “Hey- that’s rad.  I could make that.”  It’s another thing entirely to follow the directions (I’m not always good at that) and see if you actually get what’s pictured.  And since I’m such a novice, I think at the very least I will give a good laugh, right?  So here we go:  Installment #1 of, “Martha!  I made it!”

On page 311 in the book are “Felt Baby Shoes.”  They looked adorable, and awfully simple to make. First I just went to Michael’s (or Joann Fabrics- can’t remember) and bought a cheap sheet of crafting felt in pink and white.  I wanted to see if they would turn out right using the pdf pattern included with the book.  In less than 15 minutes I had an adorable pair of shoes, but because the felt only cost 29 cents/sheet, I could tell they were not going to last very long.  So I headed to the back of the Encyclopedia and looked up where Martha got her felt. I love the back of the book- you can look up where they purchased certain fabrics and such- not everything is listed, but in this case I was lucky.  I surfed over to Magic Cabin and ordered some of their wool felt.  When it showed up I started drooling it was so nice.  And here’s my end result:

First and most importantly, meet Clare.  Isn’t she adorable?

Clare’s mommy, Elizabeth (E for short) agreed to let Miss Clare model my shoes.  Of course, Clare gets to keep them, too.  I wanted to see if they would actually fit a baby’s foot.  For reference, Clare is 3 months old.

Here are the shoes- I think they turned out adorable.  You’ll see that I added a little heart to the bottom of one for flair.  I know- I’m so forward-thinking, right?  No one does that, I’m sure.  Ha.

And now my critique of the directions and steps in the book.  I think these will be helpful to anyone else in case they decide to make something from this book.

This How-To was great– the pattern was easy to use, the felt is very easy to work with.  I do need to buy some smaller pins because I did stick myself a lot since I only had standard size pins.  I used a 1/16″ punch for the little holes just as they described and it was very easy to use.  I have to wonder if gluing rick-rack, as they suggest would hold up, but that will have to wait for another pair.

Other notes:  In the future I will not use buttons.  These shoes barely fit Miss Clare, so these are best used as a newborn gift so that mommies can decide when to use them. Because Clare is 3 months old, the buttons had to be readjusted a bit and they did work, but I would worry about the felt not holding up to her little kicks and such since the fit was a bit snug around her cute ankles.  Clare was also kicking up a storm, so they were hilariously challenging to get on.  I did use a crafting knife to cut the button holes- it was very easy, but I’m glad I used the sharp knife and not a pair of scissors.  This allowed me to be more exact.

A few other photos to share:

The shoes on Miss Clare’s adorable feet (this girl has long toes!)

Full shot- I feel horrible for cutting off her head, but still- is she not just the cutest?  Talk about baby fever… E said that she wore them for quite a while and didn’t seem bothered by them at all, which is also nice to know.

Thanks, E, for letting me use Miss Clare!  I can’t wait to see what other shoes I can come up with.  I have all sorts of color combinations in mind.

Next up on Martha, I Made It!:  a duvet cover.  Yikes.  It’s coming!

If you got this far, please leave a comment and show me some love- thanks!


Anna’s Doll Bedding: First Project

My first project with my new sewing machine needed to be something that wasn’t going to “matter” in terms of looking like something expected or patterned.  I didn’t want that pressure when I really haven’t had much sewing experience since middle school.  My mom sent out my old doll bed from when I was growing up- isn’t it cute?  It’s brass and very sturdy.  However, the bedding was looking a little… well… a bit like bedding from the early 80s should.  It had lots of cats on it- and since my childhood days I have become extremely, horrendously, completely allergic to cats.  (I think I’d probably sneeze while sitting next to a hairless cat, truth be told.  But I wouldn’t sit next to a hairless cat because they freak me out.) So, the cats and the color combo just weren’t doing it for me.  On a date day, Michael and I happened upon a little fabric store in North Park- wish I could remember the name.  They had this adorable ladybug flannel.  I found some trim, pulled out leftover muslin from Anna’s room, and I was ready to sew.

*note*  These are horrible pictures.  My apologies!

First I made the fitted sheet and the bed skirt (left).  Then I simply cut a piece of muslin to size and made a “sheet” (center).   Then I made a “quilt” and I guess what one might call a bolster pillow (?) that runs along the back of the bed, since it’s sort of a day bed (right).

Finally I whipped up some pillows.  These were fun!  I think the only one I don’t really care for is the round one because I was short on trim and ended up hacking it (reference my header- clearly don’t know what I’m doing yet) to pieces.  Oh well.  Anna loves it.  She didn’t love the whole thing at first- in fact she immediately asked for the cat bedding back.  Ah, to be 3 again. Thanks, sweetie.

My sewing machine

One of the things that generated the idea for me to start a crafting blog was the fact that I was able to start sewing.  I borrowed my friend Jane’s sewing machine to make some things for Anna’s room (pictures to come in a following post), and found myself craving my own machine.  I requested one for my birthday earlier this year, my family all chipped in and presto!  Here we are.

I am lucky that I have a sweet, sweet MIL who was willing to take me shopping for a machine.  Interestingly enough, it was the same weekend that this happened.   Not the best mindset for focusing on buying a major purchase, but it was what it was.  If you are new to my world, you will learn that I am extremely accident-prone.

We went to a few stores that sold a variety of machines.  I can’t tell you why I picked the one I did, other than when I sat down and sewed a few scraps, I really, really liked the way it “felt” (as much as one can “feel” while sewing).   I ended up buying a Juki, and you can see the full info on it here.

One of the things I like is pictured below- on the left side of the machine is a thread cutter.  It’s awesome!  No picking up scissors or thread trimmers to cut the thread- just pull it away and *snip* on the cutter and you’re good to go.

My absolute favorite thing is the automatic needle threader.  I’m still not exactly sure how this thing works, but I love it.  On left you see the machine in its normal state, ready to sew.  On the right you see my finger pressing down the white threading mechanism (that’s my official name for it).  I’m not savvy enough with my camera to photograph the whole process, but it’s so helpful.  At first I thought, “I can see perfectly fine, I don’t need the threader- it’s just a bonus.”  But then, as I got more comfortable with the machine, I decided to try it and now I’m hooked.  It takes seconds to change thread now- love it!

Some other things I like about the machine- I can see my bobbin so I know when I’m going to run out of thread down below.  With my friend Jane’s machine (and other machines I’ve used that were older) you can’t see the bobbin so you’re always guessing as to when you’re going to run out.  Another interesting feature is the push button sewing.  In the photo on the right you can see the arrow that points up.  If the foot is not hooked up to the machine then you can just push that button and away you go.  The top slider (between the turtle and the rabbit) is what controls your speed.  I’ve had lots of friends ponder about push-button sewing.  I’ve been trying both and I have to say I like the push-button in a few scenarios.  I used it to make some pillows and it worked great.  In other scenarios, though, I would stick to the foot pedal.  Interestingly enough, when you have the foot pedal hooked up to this one, you can limit the speed as well.  So if I don’t want to accidentally send my machine into a sewing frenzy I can push the slider down a bit and it won’t let me go past a certain speed.  Very smart, very smart indeed.  🙂

If you have any questions about my machine, please ask away!

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