Upcycled Baby Romper and Headband

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I bought this sweatshirt off a clearance rack without trying it on first and it was too big!  I loved the floral print on it so I thought, why not try making it into something new?

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Since it was stretchy fabric, I also got to practice using my serger!

I purchased the PDF pattern on Etsy from “Brindle & Twig patterns” .  You can purchase the pattern here.  The pattern was really nice to read.  It was really clear with detailed photos of every step.  It had nice big font and it even came with photos and terms to help beginners cut out the pieces correctly.

Instead of making fabric straps and snaps like the pattern suggests, I used soft, fold over elastic.

To complete the outfit, I created a matching headband which was really easy to make. Seriously easy.  Like, you can make it in 5 minutes easy.  Here’s how:

  1.  Choose a part of the fabric you’d like to use (in this case, a rose.)IMG_0865
  2. Cut out a piece of heat n’ bond lite approximately the size of the rose and iron on to the wrong side of the fabric with the paper side up.IMG_0868
  3. Cut out the rose with the paper still on the back.IMG_0869
  4. Peel off the paper on the back and place on your backing fabric (in this case, some felt) and iron on using a pressing cloth to prevent the synthetic felt fibres from melting!  I used felt because it gives the rose some added stiffness and texture.

    5. Cut it out and stitch around the rose to secure it to the felt.  If you use Heat n’ Bond Ultra hold however, it can stay in place without stitching.IMG_0876

    6. Tack it to the elastic with a few stitches and sew your elastic to size.  FullSizeRender-1

Voila!

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Let me know if you give it a try!

Happy Sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

 

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“Whatcha Got?” pouches

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Alas, a  moment to blog again!  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind having a baby and moving to a new country – but we’re settled in, the baby is napping and I feel like I’m back!

I made these little pouches during my last week of pregnancy.  I was 40 weeks pregnant and reallllllly antsy!  I needed something quick and easy to make to keep my mind off the upcoming labour but also something I could realistically finish in time.

I LOVE these pouches and use them every day.  The small size is great for travel diaper items.  The larger size is great for packing an extra onsie or hat, etc.

I purchased the pattern from my local quilt shop.  It’s by “This and That.” The pattern was really easy to follow and it was fun to learn how to sew with clear vinyl.  It actually wasn’t too hard!  My only advice is to use a larger stitch length when sewing through the vinyl.  I’ve heard that if it’s humid in the room, the vinyl can stick to the sewing machine and make things difficult but I didn’t run into any problems.

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For the smaller pouch, I altered the instructions slightly and didn’t sew together small squares for the front of the pouch.  By doing it this way I could make it even faster!

Let me know if you give it a try,

Happy Sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-

Easy, Adjustable Crib Skirt Tutorial

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So, as you can see, I’ve been having fun with this Studio E “Around Town” fabric!  So far I’ve made nursery art, a mobile, a window cornice box, and now a crib skirt!

There are tons of tutorials about how to make crib skirts however, I found most of them to be a one size only tutorial which didn’t make sense to me!  With a crib, as the baby grows, the mattress height changes which means the crib skirt length changes.  If you only have one length of crib skirt, then what do you do when you have to lower the mattress?  Let it drag on the floor?  With this tutorial, I’d like to show you how I made an adjustable crib skirt that can be used for all 3 mattress heights.

First, let’s take a look at a crib.  Below is a birds eye view of a crib without a mattress in it.  See the space in-between the crib bars and the base?  That’s where you’re crib skirt will hang.

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To show you the finished birds eye view, I made 3 crib skirt panels (I didn’t make one for the back of the crib because you can’t see it.)  I attached it to the base of the crib with thumb tacks.  I know…it’s not the most polished of finishes but once the mattress is on top, no one will see it!  It’s actually quite neat and tidy!

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So, to make the crib skirt, all you need to do is decide what fabric you’d like to use for your panels, measure your panels out so they fit on each side of the crib, hem them how you wish, slide them in-between the bars and the base of the crib and secure them at the desired length with pins.

If you get the idea, go ahead and make your crib skirt panels how you wish!  If you’d like to see how I did mine specifically, keep reading!

Adjustable Crib Skirt Tutorial:

This tutorial will demonstrate how the side panel was made.

If using “directional fabric,” make sure each panel has the same part of the pattern on it.  For the widest panel, you may need to join the patterned fabric together.   (To learn more about how to join patterned fabric, see a previous tutorial here.)

To make sure each panel has the same section of the pattern on it, cut each patterned strip at the same place.  With this fabric specifically, I chose to cut below the red houses as the top cut and below the red roofs as the bottom cut (as shown.) image

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The side panel needed to be 26″ wide so I cut the patterned strip to be 26″ wide.

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Then I cut a 26″ wide piece of white fabric and kept it how it comes off the bolt (folded in half.)  I wanted to have 2 layers of white fabric for weight and to make the skirt more opaque.

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Cut off the selvage edge.

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Pin the 26″ raw edge of the patterned fabric, right sides together, to one of the 26″ raw edges of the white fabric.  Sew with a 1/4″ seam.

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Press seam allowance towards the patterned fabric.

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With right sides together again, pin the other 26″ raw edge of the patterned fabric to the other 26″ raw edge of the white fabric and sew together with a 1/4″ seam.  Now you have a large tube of fabric.  Again, press the seam allowance towards the patterned fabric.

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Now sew up each side of the panel with a 1/4″ seam allowance leaving about a 4″ opening on one side.

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Turn right side out through the 4″ opening you left and press flat.

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Top stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance over the bottom edge of the panel.

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Top stitch over the top edge of the pattern piece…

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Finally, top stitch along each side of the panel (not shown).  Make sure you top stitch over the opening you left to turn the panel right side out.  This will neatly close the opening.

Hang your panel in-between the crib bars and the base of the crib and pin to desired height with thumb tacks.

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Repeat with the other 2 sides of the crib.

There you have it – a simple, adjustable, crib skirt.

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Let me know if you give it a try or if you have any suggestions or questions!

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-

How to Join Patterned Fabric

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I wanted to make a simple cornice box for the baby’s room using some cute fabric I found on sale!  The only issue…the window was wider than the width of the fabric I was using and there was a repeating pattern I had to match up.  Scary!  Actually, not scary at all.  Here’s how you can easily join patterned fabric for any project.  🙂

First, lay down your 2 fabric panels and find a place you’d like them to join together.  They should be overlapping slightly.

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With the panel that will be overlapping, fold back the raw edge about 1/4″ and press with an iron.

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Lay the panels together again to make sure they still line up.  They do!  Good.

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Secure the fabrics together with a little bit of Elmer’s School Glue along the folded seam!  Press with a hot iron to really make it stay!  (you don’t need too much glue.)

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Open up the newly attached fabric panels so they’re laying right sides together.  Where you glued and pressed, there should be a nice, crisp, line you can sew along on the sewing machine.  Sew down the line.  I used some pins to be extra sure that the fabric would stay in place.

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After, trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.

And, voila!  A continuous pattern.  Can you tell I have 2 seams along this long panel?

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A tutorial on how I made a simple cornice box coming soon!

Happy Sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

Handmade Plush Fox

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I really enjoyed making this little fox for my niece who just turned 2!  I based it on a lovely FREE doll pattern by “Make It & Love It” which you can find here.  (Thankyou, Make It & Love It!)

I experimented with my own designs by making a fox head with a white face instead of making a human face and hair.  I made the skirt with fold over elastic (not folded over), I made little shoes with a “V” shaped opening, I sewed a cute little bow to match and I hand embroidered the eyes to the face instead of using plastic “safety eyes” because as we know, small plastic pieces can be a danger to kids under 3!  Sounds like a lot but it was a fairly quick process.  Overall I’m pleased with how it turned out and just might have to make a tutorial of the new elements I added to the original pattern.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn how to simply embroider eyes check out this great video tutorial I found here.

Until next time, happy sewing!

-AFriendLikeBen-

Lined Tote Bag – A Sewing Pattern

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I recently took a “bag making workshop” that I really enjoyed.  I also recently had some complimentary photos taken of me and my hubby by my talented friend.  As a “thank you” for my friend, I thought, why not make her a bag?  You know…put my new bag making skills to the test.  Well, I’m thrilled that I was able to do it!  A little quality instruction and practice can go a long way.

The bag I made is based on this lovely FREE pattern by “The Inspired Wren” – thank you!  Her tutorial is available on her blog but I loved how I could get a PDF version as well off of Craftsy.  You can find the link to the Craftsy PDF here.

Her instructions were very clear and easy to follow, her pictures were great, and she had some handy tips.

To make the bag durable, the pattern suggested using indoor/outdoor fabric and/or duck cloth but when I saw this “camera” quilting fabric, I knew it would be perfect for my friend!  (I purchased the fabric at Hobby Lobby here.)    So, instead of using indoor/outdoor fabric or heavy canvas I ironed fusible batting onto the wrong side of the outer shell fabric and bottom panels – it worked wonderfully.  If you decide to do this however, you will need to trim off the excess outer shell fabric that ends up being underneath the bottom panel…feel free to message me if you do this method and have any questions!  I’ve included a picture below.

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I wanted the straps to be a bit longer so placed them 5″ from the bottom of the bag instead of in line with the bottom of the bag like the pattern suggests.

My proudest feature of the bag is how I added the “welt pocket” on the inner lining.  (See that little black pocket hole?  It fits an iPhone!)  I will be posting a tutorial on how to do that shortly – stay tuned!

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My friend loved it – yay!

Happy Sewing,

-AFriendLikeBen-

How To Make A Chevron Quilt – Full Tutorial

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Chevron is in!  It’s a simple zig-zag pattern that’s everywhere.  In quilting, there are a lot of different ways to make a chevron quilt but I chose to to use half square triangles (HST) because it was the most popular option I saw when researching how to do it.

To learn how to create HST’s and/or create HST’s with directional fabric, see my detailed tutorial about it here.

This post is about how I sewed the half square triangles together and made the entire quilt.  Literally, every little step from start to finish I tried to include!

Here’s how you get started: First, decide how you’re going to lay your pattern down.  I found this helpful template for FREE on Craftsy.  With it, I was able to create a concrete image of the quilt I was going for.  I brought this piece of paper with me to the fabric store and it helped me so much because I knew what colour palette I was looking for and roughly how much fabric I would need.  My finished quilt changed slightly as I went along but this template was a great starting point.

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After I made my HST’s, I completed the following steps.

This is how I sewed the squares together: Step 1:  Lay out your HST’s so that colours touch colours and white touches white in a chevron pattern (zig-zag pattern.)

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Step 2:  Sew the half square triangles into horizontal rows with a 1/4 seam allowance. Press the seams with a hot iron.  This row has all of the vertical seams pressed to the right.

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The row below has all of the vertical seams pressed to the left.

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Continue sewing the rows and pressing the vertical seams all to the right followed by a row with seams all to the left.

Step 3:  Attach 2 rows together with a 1/4 seam.  To do this, align the raw edges and pin together.  Since one vertical seam goes to the right and the other goes to the left, they create a little ridge that allows them to nest up together like so. photo 3

Once sewn together, press the seam you just made.  I chose to press these seams towards the top of the quilt.  I like to spray my seams with “best press.”  It really helps to make crisp, neat seams when you iron over it.

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Continue sewing 2 rows together at a time and before you know it, you have a fleet of chevron zig zags.

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Step 4:  Sew the rows you just made together like you did in step 3 until all of the rows are attached and you have a quilt top!

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But….At this point, I decided I wanted 8 squares across instead of only 7, so I added them on.  I also decided I wanted to add a white border.  Typical me.  I can never just stick to the plan.

This is how I added the border: Step 1:  Cut 4 (2.5″ x width of fabric) strips and sew them together like you would a binding strip.

Here’s the fastest tutorial on how to do make a binding strip:

A)  Lay ends of 2 strips, right sides together, like a plus sign.

B)  Attach strips together sewing across corner to corner.

C)  Trim with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

D)  Press open.

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Step 2:  Sew a strip on the top of the quilt and the bottom of the quilt with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Trim excess.

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Sew strips on the sides of the quilt in the same fashion (picture not available.) Now you’re ready to make your “quilt sandwich” which is the quilt top, batting in the middle and a quilt bottom sewn together…like a sandwich.

This is how I made the quilt sandwich:

Step 1: Lay down your backing fabric wrong side up.

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Step 2:  Lay your batting on top.  Smooooooth it out!  (This batting is way too big but the smaller package available was just was just a little too small.)

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Step 3: Lay your quilt top on top and smooooooth it out some more.

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As you can see, there is too much batting so I trimmed it.  They say to have at least 2″ extra of backing and batting outside of your quilt top before you sew it together.  I had about 4″ because I was afraid I’d screw it up!

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Step 4:  Baste your quilt sandwich (meaning, attach all the layers you just laid down together.)  There are a few different methods of doing this.  I used quilting safety pins.  I only pinned through the coloured fabrics because I didn’t want the pin holes to show after I took them out of the white fabric.

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Now you’re actually ready to quilt!

This is how I quilted my quilt: There are endless possibilities with how you quilt your blanket together. Firstly, I “stitched in the ditch.”  All this means is that you sew along an already existing seam so you can’t see the stitch on the front of the quilt (but you can see it on the back of the quilt.)

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After, I stitched lines about 1/4′ above the coloured chevron zig-zags and 1/4″ below the coloured zig-zags.  These lines are visible from the front and back of the quilt.

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Look!  It’s really coming together now:

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Before long…wait, who am I kidding, these quilts take some time…but after you’re done that, you’re ready to trim off the excess and attach the binding!

This is how I trimmed the excess:

Easy!  Use a ruler and a rotary cutter and trim.

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So fresh and so clean, clean!

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Last step, and it’s an important one, the binding!  The binding is a strip of fabric that enclosed the edges of your quilt sandwich.

This is how I made and assembled the binding:

*I am choosing to do my binding strips in white which might make some steps difficult to see…but I’ll explain so hopefully you get the idea!

Step 1:  Cut strips that are 2.5″ x the width of fabric.  (Strips of a different width can be made – it’s personal preference.)  How do you know when you have enough strips?  Measure the perimeter of your quilt and add approx 12-18″ of extra length to be sure you have enough.  I cut 5 strips.

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Step 2:  Sew your binding strips together and press the same way as you sewed them together for the border.  Here’s the picture again for good measure.

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Step 3: Press your long binding strip in half, wrong sides together.

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Step 4:  Prepare the end of your binding strip for closure.  Cut end of strip at a 45 degree angle.  Fold over 1/4″ and press

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Step 5:  Pin your binding along one of the edges of the front of your quilt.  (I used binding clips – they make it so easy!)  Start with pinning the binding end you just cut with the 45 degree angle.  The raw edges of the binding should meet the raw edge of the quilt top.

Step 6:  Begin sewing your binding to the quilt top with a 1/4″ seam.  I’m using a 1/4″ foot on my sewing machine. Start here….

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Stop here…

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Start here again (about 2 inches away from where you just stopped) and sew until you’re approx 1/4″ away from the corner with a 1/4″ seam.

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So stop about there…you’re almost at the corner.  About 1/4″ away.

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Step 7:  Turn your quilt 90 degrees and sew right off the edge!

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Step 8:  Now you’re ready for the corner.  Fold the binding strip back on itself.  Press seam down with your fingers (or an iron if you’re fancy.)

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Step 9: Fold the binding back again to create a 45 degree line (mitred corner) and continue pinning along the raw edge of the quilt. Continue this process (stitching to almost the corner, turning 90 degrees and sewing off, folding the corner) all the way around your quilt, stopping when you’re about 4″ away from where you initially started.

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See, I stopped about 4″ away form where I started…

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Step 7:  Trim your tail so it’s about 2″ longer than where the binding starts.  (There might be a better way to do this part!  I just went with what made sense to me.)

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Step 8:  Snuggle the end underneath the 45 degree opening you made.  Make sure everything looks flat.

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Step 9:  Sew across.  Everything is attached now but you’re not done yet!

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Step 10:  Press binding open/away from the front of the quilt and fold it around to the back.  With the front of the quilt still facing you, clip or pin he binding into place making sure the binding is covering the 1/4″ stitch line you just made.

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See how it wraps around to the back here?

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Make sure the corners are folded nicely too!

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Look, all clipped!

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Step 11: With the top of the quilt facing up, “stitch in the ditch” all the way around making sure you are piercing through the binding that’s folded around the back of your quilt.  Go all the way around the quilt.

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Step 12:  Repeat.  Just kidding..You’re done!!!

Can you believe it? And that my friends, is how you make a quilt, particularly, a chevron quilt! I really hope you find this useful and give it a try.  Please feel free to send feedback or comment.

I hope baby girl likes it!  xo

Happy Quilting,

-AFriendLikeBen-