Sunday, January 31, 2016

The New Slippers

Apparently these slippers are quite popular with men in Mongolia.  My son Kyle knows his father's taste in clothing runs about as simple as possible.  Shirt, pants, shoes, belt--all in dull colors and he's set for the day. I only got him to wear a pull-over sweater a couple of years ago.  So, of course, these slippers are what Kyle brought back from Mongolia for his dad this week. Kyle also knows that no matter what he gives his dad it will be accepted graciously.  These slippers, however, truly were a test of that.   

Brian's been wearing them a lot since getting them.  I suspect he's hoping to wear them out fast. If these slippers are as good as the Mongolian socks Kyle brought back last year, Brian's slippers will be keeping our kids giggling for years to come. I'm just waiting for the day Brian forgets he's wearing them when he goes out to the mailbox. 

Sewing with Joann's Shopping Bag Fabric

Finally getting around to using this fabric purchased long, long ago.  As I said a few posts back, this is the same as the fabric that is now being called Oly Fun.  Here's my first reusable grocery bag from Joann's shopping bag fabric.
Straps are too long.  Will have to fix that.

I'm pretty sure my grocery bags are gonna be prettier than yours---and yes, I am bragging.  I used a ready-made shopping bag for  measurements.  That worked well except that I picked up the wrong bag to measure for handles.  These are a bit too long.

You have to press the bag to get sharp, easy-to-fold corners.  (Not too hot!  Fortunately it peeled off my ironing board and pressing cloth easily when experimenting last week.) Without pressing, it balloons out when open and doesn't fold well.

My bag before pressing--the pretty one--next to the ready made used as a pattern.

Once pressed, it is easy to fold back up for storage and seems to hold the creases well.

Nicely pressed and folded.
 I serged the seams although the fabric doesn't unravel. I think I'm still trying to justify my serger's existence for something other than sewing up the edges for fabric for prewashing.

Yes, those are nicely serged seams!

I like this stuff.  I know it will wear faster than other fabrics, but other fabrics don't stand up for easy filling at the grocery store like this does.  It cuts easily, sews easily, and is only $2.99 full price for a yard of 60 inch wide fabric. Then there are always those Joann's coupons for 40 or 50% off.  Can't beat that unless you have a mismatched set of bags with all kinds of company logos on the front--which is what I am presently using.  Looking forward to finishing a few more of these.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Flapper Headband Success

I used's great FREE pattern to make this:

This one is the slim adult which I traced onto the fabric using that line as the cutting line--kind of between the regular flapper and the slim adult flapper headband sizes.  Slim looked like it might be too thin for me (cuz I get to keep all my prototypes, of course;-).  It probably would have been fine, but my version worked, too.  I chose top stitching rather than putting in piping, but may do piping on the next one.

Here is the back.
Since this was my first try and I was making it to fit me, I decided not to bother with a buttonhole.  I wrapped it around, tacked the spot where it fit, then sewed on a button.  Directions say you might want to put on a couple of buttonholes if it is for someone else to make sure it will fit.  I think I'd use velcro rather than having an extra buttonhole showing.  BUT you gotta have A button on there even without buttonholes cuz it looks so cool.

If you use a yo-yo flower as I did, you get to have matching buttons.  Fleece Fun has a link to directions for making a satin flower if you prefer something a little fancier.

The pattern was quick and easy.  Even with making the yo-yo and hand sewing the buttons, it was finished in less than an hour including getting the pattern ready. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Force Is With Me

in the laundry room.
Kind of a funny thing about this fabric (from Missouri Quilt Company, btw). I saw the fabric before the movie.  From the picture of Rey on the fabric, I thought she had one leg.  I asked Brian who had seen the movie about it, and he had no idea what I was talking about.  I mean, come on!  Look at her.  Am I the only one who thinks she looks like she has one leg there? I actually thought that was kind of cool and wondered about the back story.  Okay, maybe it's just me.  Moving right along.  Back to the post.
My OCD insists that I apologize for not seeing that thread on the S before photographing this.  Stupid OCD.

I loved these hampers until I found that hampers without tops are not a great idea when the laundry room opens to the family room.  As they say, don't be airing your dirty laundry.  Hence the need for hamper covers.  Putting this on Sew Can Do link party--the force demands to be shared.

ANOTHER PROJECT DONE!!!! YAY!!!   And I got a new toy. 

Is that not cool?  It creates a beautiful, ever-moving mist.  It was a gift from the universe because my sister couldn't keep it.  Her cats viewed it as a combination personal drinking fountain and toy.  You can change the lights to a few different colors or have it change continuously from one color to another..  Then there are the light flashing options, one of which  is way too close to the disco lights of old.  That option will not be happening. Disco lights have always made me feel as though I'm one step away from a seizure.

This is the first fountain I've had with a silent motor--no noise.    All you hear is the tinkling sound of water.  I like it, but Brian has become a bit obsessed with it.  He drags anyone who comes in the house to stare at it and treats them to a light show.  I fear he will start knocking on the neighbors' doors to invite they over to see it.  I'm hoping his infatuation dies down by the end of football season.  Right now he can hardly leave the house because of games of one kind or another, and, for once, I am thankful for that.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What the Hell is Oly-Fun Fabric?

Oly-Fun is the fabric many companies use to make reusable grocery bag.  It's extremely lightweight and soft but kind of rigid in a soft way. (I hope that makes sense, best can do.) 

It's a 100% polypropylene, can be washed on gentle, air dried, and will not unravel. 

Since Sandra wanted to see if it would work as a substitute for felt for eyes and such on toys, the experimenting began. 
A couple of circles, small and smaller--easy to draw on the fabric.

It is easy to cut, easier than felt.   I still found it hard to get a nice circle.  I could be that I just really suck at this.  Should have paid attention in grade school art classes. I always sew mine down which covers a multitude of sins anyway.

HOWEVER, the black seems to cut better than the white.  It has a much smoother edge which may not be too obvious here.  Take my word for it.  I just could not bring myself to get out the white chalk to make a full circle.  As my mother used to say of me, "lazier than a pet skunk."

An issue with the white is that it has a level of translucence that may make it unsuitable as a felt substitute.  You can see the lines of my cutting board pretty clearly here.  If you put the white on dark fabric, it makes it look dull and grayish (greyish for you Canadians/Australians).  If you are sewing them down, a double thickness would solve that problem.

See double thickness is opaque.
Now for the cost.  I got a beautiful bird print from Joann's a while back for $2.99 a yard (60 inches wide).  Joann's called it "shopping bag" fabric.  I've never seen it online, but have gotten it several times in the store around the shelved decorator fabrics despite the fact that it is clearly a utility fabric.  It may be there because it comes on a bolt rather than the large rolls used for utility fabrics. Now Joann's is selling this same type of fabric online and in some stores as Oly-Fun fabric in lots of bright colors along with black and white).  Cost comparisons from two places I found it because it's really important! Pay attention!
  • Joann's online or in store:  You can get a 10-yard bolt of 60-inch wide fabric for $29.99 and who doesn't have a 40 or 50 percent off coupon sitting around.   With a 50 percent off coupon, we are talking $15 for 10 yards of 60" fabric or $1.50 a yard.  I know some of the Joann brick and mortar stores are selling Oly-Fun, but I don't know for sure that it is being sold by the yard or just the bolt.  As I said, though, the "shopping bag" fabric was available by the yard, so I'm thinking Oly-Fun will be, too.

  • Walmart has prepackaged Oly-Fun with prices, depending on the color you choose, from $4.73 to $8.97 for 3 yards of 20-inch wide .  My black Oly-Fun was $7.59, and the white one was $8.97. 
         My math sucks, but let me try this.
    • Three yard of black 60" Oly-Fun at Joann's:  $8.97 at full price (don't forget, you get to use a coupon to bring that down 40 or 50% most times) .  To get the same amount from Walmart I would need to buy 3 packages of 20" wide, 3 yard long fabric at $8.97 making it  a whopping $26.91. No coupons for Walmart.
    • Three yards of white 60" Oly-Fun at Joann's at full price:  $8.97 (but remember that 40 or 50% off coupon).  Same amount at Walmart would be three packages at $7.59 making that $22.77.  
The comments under the Joann reviews give you a several ideas for using this fabric for projects  other than shopping bags, but I'll be making bags.  Someday I will be making bag.  Anyone who sews knows how that goes.  So many projects!

Feel free to share any needed math corrections in the comments. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pillow Stand For My Kindle

I made this for two reasons.  First, I've wanted one for years.  The Pinterest links have been on one of my boards for at least two years.  Second, I thought these might make good gifts.  I finally tried one!

The stripes were supposed to be going the the other direction!  That would have looked so much nicer.
The tutorial is from  Of the pillow-type stand tutorials I found, this one has the best directions and finishing.  I changed it--of course.  I think most people will want this for sitting pretty much upright and it does, no doubt, work quite well for that purpose.  I want it for reading in bed, and, apparently I slouch down a lot.
Not a great angle when lying down.

 I made changes to try to accommodate the fact that I want the Kindle to be more upright, but, as it turned out,  I still really need to play with the pillow section to make it hold the device further forward.  I had already cut the fabric before realizing it would not be large enough.  I am assuming a larger pillow will have more vertical lift, right??  Changes I made to try to fix my issue at that point:
  • I shortened up the lip in the front.  My Kindle is thin enough not to need the large lip anyway.
  • I also shortened up the flat area where the device sits.  Again, the kindle doesn't need that much space anyway, and it would seem to provide even further space for the kindle to angle down too far.  In fact, I might even eliminate this extra space altogether on the next one.  The Kindle is so thin it should fit nicely between the lip and pillow. 
Had I not shortened up those two area, the pillow section would have been much smaller which would seem to equate with it being less able to hold the Kindle as upright as I wanted.

One success was the use of poly pellets for stuffing on the pillow section.  I have put off using these because of the horror stories out there about how hard they are to work with.   They turned out to be  easier to use than the poly fill suggested for the lip section.  The tutorial suggests using rice for the pillow section with the addition of poly fiberfill for the very top because you would not be able to fill the pillow completely with rice due to spilling issues.  I am not sure why one could not just fill it with rice.  I had no problem at all.  I left a one inch opening in the pillow section which worked out perfectly for the funnel.  I filled the pillow almost completely with the pellets.  The needle was threaded and ready to go making closing the pillow quick and easy.  I might have had five or six pellets on the table that needed to be picked up at the end. 

I shall certainly try this pattern again!  I'm going to enlarge the pattern by 3 inches in each direction the next time.   I will also use a different fabric.  I thought the decorator weight fabric would be a good choice, but it turned into a wrinkled mess when turning it right-side out.  With the seams going in opposite directions on the top and bottom,  pressing was crazy hard.  I hate wrinkles.  Fortunately I love ironing.

Here is is without the Kindle.  A bit plain and, as I said, the stripes are going in the wrong direction.  It makes it look a tad roly-poly.  I think I might try embroidering something on it next time or using a busier print.
I used poly pellets to stuff it.
Now I just need to leave it out to see who expresses an interest for gifting. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sew4Home's Neck Pillow

I should say Relaxing Neck Pillow cuz that's what the Sew4Home people call it.  We shall see about the relaxing part later, but I am really pleased with how easily this thing went together. The free pattern and tutorial are available at their site.  Just click on the link above.  I wanted to see if this would be something I would want to make for gift-giving.  The answer is absolutely yes.

It's a quick project that looks like it took a lot more time and effort than it does.  The site says it can be done in a half hour.  I doubt I could do one that fast even if I used the twill for handles as they suggested rather than making them from fabric.  Some of you cracker jack sewers may well be able to turn it out in that half hour time frame though.   Off to try out my new pillow. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Preparing for the end of the year by starting at the beginning...

Raise your had if you think I can reach my Christmas sewing goal by starting now?  Well, for all you doubters, I have started.

Can't believe I'm saying this, but I need to buy  more ribbon.  Need some wide silky or grosgrain red here.

One wrapping sack down, countless more to go.  I even boxed the corners.

I wish this fabric showed up as well in  photos as it does in person.  The color are vibrant and it's covered in shiny silver glitter.  If someone knows a camera trick, please share.  Here is close-up that kinda shows it.

Yay for Joann's remnant piles! 

A thank you to sewing muse Sandra for the challenge!

With all the busy-ness, I never showed you my Christmas tree.

Still love the tulle with lights for skirting.
OOOOHHHHHH, isn't that pretty?!!! Yes, but I'm glad it's all put away now. There is just so much fa la la I can take. 

Take care, y'all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I Made Them Cookies

Sandra of Suddenly Sandra suggested that I join her Yahoo Christmas sewing group after I failed to remotely reach my Christmas sewing goals for the big day.  This is the response I got:  Your request to join was not approved.  Did I just get cut off like a tacky price tag on wrapping night by those sorority sisters?  Yup.  Sandra suggested I try again and offer cookies.  Well, I was desperate.  I haven't reached a Christmas sewing goal.....ever.  I made the cookies, but my passive-aggressiveness might be showing through.

 Fortunately they let me in before seeing the cookies.  I got some icing to make the white/black eyes and mouth like the emoji that did not work AT ALL!.  This is what I used.  The directions say to cut off the top.  That would have made for big old blobs.  The tops are flat, not pointy.  I tried poking a hole instead. 

The icing came out, just not quite the way I was hoping for.  It was impossible to smooth it out.  Okay, there may be some artistic issues at play here, too.
I ate my mistakes.  Yes, life is hard sometimes.  The icing may have been a pain to put on, but it tasted great.  Thanks for reconsidering, ladies!  Those rumors about me are only about three quarters true.