Sunday, October 31, 2010

Double Potholder Tutorial

I've finished my first handmade holiday gift! I finished it earlier in the week, but I spent my whole week painting and never got around to posting this. So, without further ado, here double potholder tutorial!

Have you ever seen a double potholder? The only time I've ever seen one was about a year ago at Target when they had the whole Orla Kiely thing happening. I promptly bought it and burned a hole through it as quickly as possible.

The principle behind the double potholder is that traditional potholders protect your hands, but leave your wrists and forearms open to getting burned on hot pans and cookie sheets coming out of the oven. I know I've burned my forearms more than once on a cookie sheet in my pre-double potholder days!

These are super easy to make and make super cute little stocking stuffers. This one is going to my mother-in-law - Merry Christmas Gayle!

2 pieces of fabric, 29 inches long by 6.5 inches wide
4 pieces of contrasting fabric, 7.5 inches long by 6.5 inches wide
3 yards of bias binding
Insul-bright or other insultation (batting), 29 inches long by 6.5 inches wide

First, we need to round out the edges of our fabric to make them like mits. So, grab something with a rounded edge (A bowl works great. I used an awesome bucket from the toy room) and round the 6.5inch edges of all your fabric pieces and Insul-Bright.

(I changed my mind on fabric mid-project. Sorry for the discontinuity!)

Next, grab your bias binding. I'm using some Christmas patchwork I had hanging around to make a scrappy-look binding. Take your mit pieces (the 7.5 x 6.5 pieces), pin them wrong sides together, and apply the bias binding to the straight edge.

Want to quilt your potholder? Awesome! Now is the time. My quilting technique of choice for this project was to outline some of the trees on the fabric with my stitches. 

Now, make one big fabric sandwich in the following order, starting at the bottom:
1 Mit piece, right side down
1 Body (long piece), right side down
1 Body piece, right side up
1 Mit piece, right side up

Pin all the layers together.

Grab the rest of your bias binding, and bind away! Snip a little piece (maybe 3 inches) to fold in half and put in the middle for a hanging loop, and make sure you catch that in your binding as well.


After your binding is attached, it should look like this:

These are super quick and useful gifts. Make a bunch as stocking stuffers!

Handmade Holiday Challenge - Week 1 Wrap Up

Well, week one of the Handmade Holiday Challenge has come to a close. Did you guys get your one gift made? I made this double potholder for my lovely mother-in-law. I love double potholders - they save your arms from getting burned by hot pans and cookie sheets! Look for a tutorial to be posted later today. I don't bake, people, so here I am showing you the sweet treats we are really eating around here this week!

Hayley from Spin The Pin made this precious skirt for her niece. Love the pocket!

And the kojodesigns ladies made this darling kimiko dress!

Have you been working on your handmade gifts? Don't forget to link them up so we can inspire each other to make some awesome handmade gifts! Up next week - I start 3 weeks of fun making gifts for my little men!

p.s. Only EIGHT weeks left until Christmas!

Crafting with the Stars Round 2 - VOTE!

Voting is now open for Round 2 projects! This week's theme was "paint".

It's funny - the first time I typed that, I typed "pain" instead of "paint". And that sort of sums up how I feel about this week! I sew. That is about the extent of my craftiness, so coming up with a plan for this week was hard! If I make it to the next round, I'm hoping for a fabric-friendly theme!

Head over to Sew Dang Cute to cast your vote! Voting ends Monday night!

eta: You can choose your favorite THREE projects when  you vote!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Goodness

I took a (short) break from painting today to capture some of the fall goodness happening in my yard.


Riley likes this one because "it has ALL the colors, mom!!". 


Come back tomorrow for my first handmade holiday gift, complete with tutorial! Unless you're my mother-in-law, in which case, stay FAR FAR away from here tomorrow. You wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, would you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So did you know it was mine?

So did you guys figure out which Crafting With The Stars project was mine? Was another bag too obvious?


Ok, I have to admit, I am totally in love with this bag. It is probably my favorite bag I've ever made. I picked up ALL the supplies at Joann's on sale, so it didn't totally break my bank. The outer bag is a gray and black tweed. It doesn't show up well in the photos, but the tweed has a chevron pattern going on. LOVE. The lining is red satin. The handles are faux leather (also known as pleather). :)


So, like Tam mentioned on her blog, I'm considering writing a pattern for this baby, including a couple of different variations. One MIGHT include ruffles. The bag still needs some tweaking (I may have broken 4 needles while sewing this bag, so I need a different interfacing solution) so it wouldn't be out right away, but I think this bag is pretty fabulous and is pattern-worthy. What do you guys think? 


So, with this bag, I advanced to Round 2! Guess I better go paint something!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Handmade Holiday Challenge

Um, people. How come no one told me that there are only NINE weeks until Christmas? NINE. As in, less than ten. Single digits. I had all these huge ambitions for making all these amazing handmade gifts for my loved ones this year, and if I don't get started like YESTERDAY, it's never going to happen. Thus, I present you with (insert big booming voice here):

The Handmade Holiday Challenge!


I am challenging myself to make ONE handmade gift per week, every week from now until Christmas. Wanna join me? 

Grab a button from my sidebar, throw it on your blog, and link up your projects when you're done so that we can inspire each other. The button will bring you right back to this post when you click, so you can easily come back and post your projects.

In order to keep myself moving, here is my crafting schedule:
Week 1: My mother-in-law
Week 2: My boys
Week 3: My boys
Week 4: My boys (Um, there are three of them, they each deserve their own week!)
Week 5: My adorable niece
Week 6: My sister-in-law
Week 7: The husband
Week 8: My brother and sister (ages 2 and 9 - yes my boys have an uncle that is younger than them!)
Week 9: My grandmas

I'll show you projects each week, offer tutorials when I can, and point you in the direction of any patterns I use. I'm even going to try and line up a giveaway or two! Most of my projects will be sewing related, but I have a few crochet projects in my head as well.

So let's get started! Post anything you've made as a holiday gift below!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Oh geez.

There is so much talent in this Crafting With The Stars competition, it is unreal. Have you been over to Sew Dang Cute to vote yet? I am totally blown away by all the projects. They are so, so good. Did I mention that three people get booted this week? THREE.


And if you're popping over from my partner Char's blog, HI!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crafting with the stars!

Just a reminder that voting for Crafting With The Stars starts at midnight MST! Head over to Sew Dang Cute to cast your vote. The polls closed Monday at 10:00 p.m. MST. I can't tell you what I'm making because voting is anonymous, but I can tell you it might be awesome. Or not. I'm still working on it, and as my partner Char's blog header says, "sometime's it's amazing and sometime's it's just crap". Let's hope it's the former!

And, just because he's cute, here's some Sawyer for your cuteness fix.

Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Craft With Your Kids Week

This week is craft with your kids week at A Lemon Squeezy Home. Christie has been posting adorable crafts she did with her kids all week, and has a linky party up for others to showcase thier kids crafts. And that party has been up ALL WEEK. The fact that it is so barren reflects how few of us actually do the crafts WITH THE KIDS. I will openly admit to being terrible at involving my kids in the crafts. I could make excuses, and say that I'm sort of busy doing other things, but that would just be an excuse.

A few years ago, Riley and I crocheted (read: made a crazy long chain) Christmas tree garland, and recently he started asking to crochet his own scarf. He is constantly asking me to teach him to sew "soft blocks" (his words for stuffed cube baby toys). He clearly wants to craft with me, and I am clearly a terrible mother for doing this instead.

So, inspired by Christie, we did some freezer paper stenciling this week. We chose a skateboard image from the internet and traced it onto freezer paper. I let go of all of my crazy perfectionist tendencies and fought my urge to rip the sponge from his hand and finish the stencil myself.

And you know what? He was SO STINKING EXCITED about it all. He loved it.

I was so proud of myself, patting myself on the back for being such a good, crafty mama. Apparently Q really wanted in on the action, so he helped himself to the paint. I left it on the table, and Q decided it was time to do some crafting of his own, in the style of handprint art. 

 Lesson: Crafting with the kids is possible, so long as the supplies stay out of the reach of busy toddlers.

So this happened today...

3:37 p.m.: "Mom, the Monster Mash (the Halloween dance party at his school) is tonight. 6:30. I need my costume." This is, of course, the first time I have heard about the Monster Mash.

3:40p.m.: Get in the car. Drive to Lowe's.

4:20 p.m.: Leave Lowe's with spray paint, heating vent tubing, and duct tape.

4:29p.m.: Locate random box.

4:30 p.m.: Spray paint random box silver.

4:41 p.m.: Nurse Sawyer.

4:52 p.m.: Discover paint is dry. Or at least dry enough.

4:53 p.m.: Cut head and arm holes in random (now shiny) box.

5:07 p.m.: Go pick up Quinn.

View from the driveway of Q's school

5:37 p.m.: Arrive home. Attempt to assemble costume while juggling three children.

6:05 p.m.: Nurse Quinn.

6:15 p.m.: Make Riley model costume while singing "Domo Arrigato Mr. Roboto".

6:21 p.m.: Discover Mr. Roboto does not fit in the car.

6:32 p.m.: After some creative rearranging, fit everyone in the car and drop Riley off at Monster Mash.

Riley was THE ONLY KID IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL with a homemade costume. He was VERY proud, and got several compliments FROM FIFTH GRADERS (apparently this is very important!!!! MOM THEY ARE FIFTH GRADERS!!!). His appreciation and participation made the insanity of this afternoon worth while. We are going to do some more tweaking, including adding "gadgets" to the robot, and attaching legs similar to the arms before trick or treat, but this worked perfectly for his dance tonight!

The Grandview Bag Tutorial Part 2 - el fin

I know on Wednesday I said I'd have this up "tomorrow", but it's still technically Thursday SOME places, right? That counts.

Ok, so when we left off, we had finished the first pleat and first ruffle. Lets keep going.

Grab your next strip. While lifting the ruffle away from the bag, pin your strip at the top left edge of the main body piece, and begin pleating. Continue this pleating until you reach the other side of the bag.You want to pin your pleats so the finished edge will be hidden by the ruffle just above it.


You can pin these pleats directly to the body of the bag, as we are going to sew them down from the top, rather than from underneath like the previous pleat. Once you've pleated all the way around, topstitch the pleats to your bag.

TIP: Stitch in the direction that your pleats are pointing so that your presser foot is flattening the pleats rather than lifting them. This may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget!


Now, stitch down the bottom of the pleat.


Now your bag should look something like this:


Ok, we're almost done with the embellishment! Grab that last strip of fabric and ruffle it the same way you did the other ruffle. Pin it to the bag so that it covers the bottom finished edge of the pleat above it.


Stitch in place, following the gathering stitch down the center.


YAY! The front of your bag is done! From here on out, it is pretty basic bag construction. If you want pictures, or if it doesn't make sense, let me know, but I'm just going to outline the rest of the process.

1. With right sides together, stitch the outer body pieces together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance along the bottom curve. TIP: When I construct bags that don't have a flat bottom (so, the weight of the bag contents will be on the seam), I sometimes put a strip of fusible interfacing OVER the seam inside the bag. This just gives that seam extra reinforcement. Totally optional step.

2. Grab your lining pieces. If you want a pocket, make it and attach it to the lining body. Now is also the time to install your magnetic snap if you want one. Craft Apple has a great tutorial for installing the snap.

3. Sew the lining pieces together with right sides facing, being sure to leave AT LEAST 3 or 4 inches for turning the bag right side out.

4. Grab your strap that you made earlier and make a "strap sandwich". Place the outer body of your bag inside the lining with right sides facing. Pin the strap to the side seams of the bag, and make sure it is INSIDE the bag. SOMEONE here may have accidentally sewed a strap so that it ended up inside the lining once or twice without noticing it. So, don't be me.

5. Sew all the way around the top of your bag witha 3/8 inch seam allowance. MAKE SURE THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BODY OF YOUR BAG FACES YOUR BOBBIN. Huh? Did that make sense to you? If not, leave a comment and I'll try to explain better. Basically, you want to have the flatest surface possible to sew your main bag and lining together, and if the poofy part is facing down, toward the bobbin, it is really bumpy sewing. So you want your ruffles facing UP when you sew. Make sense?

Also, I found it helpful to use my narrowest presser foot while sewing the outer bag to the lining. You want to be able to sew as close to that top pleat as you can WITHOUT SEWING OVER IT. I found a zipper foot worked best, but you can use whatever you've got on hand.

6. Turn your bag right side out and stitch your lining shut, either by hand or by machine.

7. Press the heck out of the top edge of your bag. I don't topstitch this bag around the top. I just didn't like the way it looked when I tried it. You should feel free to do so though if you like. If you were going to topstitch, I would go from underneath one ruffle all the way around the back and stop underneath the other side of the ruffle - no topstitching over the ruffles and pleats.

8. Post pictures of your bag in the flickr group. This step is mandatory.

You should have something that looks like this:

If any part of this is confusing or needs further explanation, just let me know! I'm happy to give more instruction. Also, it's 1:30 in the morning, so I'm not entirely sure that everything I've written is crystal clear. If it's not, leave a comment or send me an email.

Happy bag-making!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Grandview Bag (formerly known as the Anthro Bag) Tutorial Part 1

Part 1 of the tutorial is here! I'm doing it in two parts because the first part in particular requires LOTS of photos to show you the pleating. I am really excited to share this with you guys, becuase I am 100% positive that you guys can make it better than me. Seriously. You all are going to get to the end of this tutorial with your gorgeous, finished bag and say "That's it? Huh. That wasn't hard at all". PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE upload photos of your creations to the flickr group! Also, I feel like I should mention that I would love for you to make as many of these bags for yourself as you want, but if you want to sell them, contact me first.

So let's get started.

3/4 yard of outer fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
1/2 yard of canvas or 1.25 yards of fusible interfacing 
Thread that coordinates with your outer fabric
Magnetic snap (optional)
Pattern piece (Just match up the pages so the triangles on either side form a diamond. One page will overlap the other.)

First, we're going to cut our pattern piece, and then our fabric. You'll need:
From outer fabric:
two body pieces
5 2.5x45 inch strips of fabric (these are just 2.5 inches selvedge to selvedge) NOTE:If you are not using a serger to finish the strips for the front of the bag, cut 2 2.5 inch strips (handle), and 3 3.5 inch strips for the front embellishments.

From lining fabric:
two body pieces
If you want pockets inside, cut those too

2-4 body pieces of fusible or sew-in interfacing (If using fusible, I would use two layers of a medium weight fusible. I'm using canvas that I sew in, so I'm only using 1 layer)

Ok, now that we have all our materials together, let's get started. First, let's get the strap out of the way. Place two strips of your outer fabric right sides together, and stitch down both long sides. Turn the strap right-side out (use a safety pin as a bodkin to help) and press. Topstitch along both sides of your strap about 1/8 inch from the edge. Set aside.

Next, let's work on the body of the bag. Start by attaching your interfacing to your OUTER bag pieces, either by fusing according to manufacturer directions, or sewing it in.

Now for the fun part! Pleats and ruffles! First, you need to finish the edges of the remaining fabric strips. How you finish them is up to you entirely. On my original bag, I used my serger and a basic 3-thread overlock stitch. On this bag, I'm using my rolled hem function on my serger to finish the edges on the strips.

Don't have a serger? THAT IS TOTALLY OK. I remember reading tutorials before I had mine, and when I would get to the part where they would tell me to serge, I would be all bitter and "blah blah blah, look at you with your fancy machine". So, my point is, no need to be bitter like me. You can finish the edges by pressing the edges under 1/4 inch twice and topstitching, so the raw edge is encased. The edges of your pleats will be bulkier to sew through, but I think it is probably still manageable.

Once you've finished the edges of your strips, we'll attach them to the bag.

You want to take one of your strips and pin it about 5/8 of an inch from the top center of your bag.


See what I did here? It's wrong. Dont do it. Pin the strip down with the RIGHT side facing the right side of your bag, not the wrong side like I did here. This was easily remedied by just turning that edge under and pinning. 

Fold the strip back on itself and being your pleats. 


Because we want the pleats to curve, the TOP of your pleats will be deeper than the bottom of your pleats. As you go, pin the pleats to THEMSELVES, but not directly to the bag. Later, we are going to flip this pleat upside-down and stitch it from underneath.




Continue pleating and pinning until you've completed your curve and your strip is again perpendicular to the top of your bag.  

Now, we are going to flip our pleat UP and away from our bag, and pin the end of the pleated strip to the bag RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.


Ok, you're almost done with the top pleat! We just need to stitch it down. First, stitch across the top underside of the pleat.



When you flip it down, it should look something like this:


Ok, now cut your excess strip off a few inches from your stitching line. We're going to tuck the extra strip under the pleats as a little bit of padding and texture.


Now top stitch the pleat down along the edge where you finished the strip.


And you should have something that looks like this:


YAY! Phew, are you still with me?

Ok, now grab the rest of the strip that you just used for the top pleat. Crank the stitch length and tension on your machine all the way up to the maximum setting, and sew right down the middle of your strip, being sure to leave long thread tails on the ends. 


You'll end up with one long glorious ruffle. We're going to pin it to the bag, starting at the top left edge and working around to the right. You want the edge to get caught in the seam when you sew the lining in, so start pinning right at the top.

There are pins in there, I promise.

Once you're done pinning, sew right along your gathering stitch, and then trim off your extra ruffle. It should look like this:


YAY! The hardest part is done.

Looking for Part 2 of the tutorial? Click here!

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