Wednesday, December 25, 2013

merry chirstmas!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays, whatever or however you celebrate! I've enjoyed our traditional Christmas morning breakfast at my parent's (ALWAYS eggs, orange-pineapple juice, bacon, and the best blueberry muffins you've ever had), opened presents with my parents and siblings, and now I have a present for you: you get to see all the cool stuff I've been making since the first of September!

Lots of fun handmade things for my little (25 y.o.) sister! She works backstage in a professional theater, so black things are a must. Something she needs is a black tote bag to keep backstage, so I made her a very big fold-over tote (same tutorial I used for my pleather purse) with black hardware and everything! I used a poly-cotton, woven, bottom-weight fabric for the body and straps, which sewed up really nicely. 

Like with my purse, I added a fun lining, and used the leftover to make a matching infinity scarf.

 (Check out this great infinity scarf tutorial here, which I also used to make my brother's wife a scarf... but forgot to photograph before I wrapped it! Her's is made from the same fabric I had used to make her a Macy's-inspired top this past May.)

I then made her a black, backstage top using McCalls 6796 and a nice sweater-knit I picked up on sale from She loves the Modcloth Coach Tour Dress, so I knew she'd love this top! We have similar measurements, which makes it easy to sew things like this for her. (Except she's 5'7", perfect pattern height, and I'm... well, a lot shorter). I added cuffs to the full length sleeves so she can scrunch them up to 3/4 length when needed.

My mom is really into leopard print right now, and also loves her polar fleece vests in the winter time, so her gift was easy to envision. It may just be the stylish fleece vest out there... or at least in rural western Maine!

I used McCalls 5252, which includes a little a little ipod pocket for when she goes out for walks. I made one for my dad, too, omitting the iPod pocket... since he doesn't have an ipod and therefore it would useless for him.

It was a fun pattern to sew up, especially in a forgiving fabric like fleece! I'd never used a separating zipper before, and got it in after only two attempts! I was pleased with how well I matched the plaid on the center zip, too. In both vests, I added top-stitching along most seams, even where the pattern did not. I think top-stitching really helps to neaten everything up and make the garment look more polished. To reduce bulk but still proved stretch with the fleece, the pockets we lined with jersey. 

I had some good-sized scraps left over, so with the leopard print I made a matching set of mittens and a headband:

Mittens made using this tutorial:

Headband made using this tutorial:

Then I STILL had leftover fleece! When I sew I like to use up ever last bit, so I made a reversible dog vest for their little dog, Curry. Now she can match her human mom or dad! I based mine on the free pattern found here, and added what is essentially a very large, free-hand buttonhole for her leash to come through when she is wearing her harness.

I found a remnant of this nautical-themed quilting cotton, and knew my brother's wife would love it. (They got engaged on a boat!) I made a small lined tote, inspired by this tote tutorial here but constructed differently. Quilt cotton alone would not be strong enough, so I lined the bag in some ivory cotton in my stash. The top seam was stitched right-sides-together, with the handled sandwiched in-between, then flipped right-sides-out and top stitched for both a neat finish and extra strength where the handles join in. The interior seams were then constructed on the serger(overlocker), treating the two layers as one. And you like those red handles? I was given a half-dozen rolls of cotton webbing in all different colors! I love how this came together!

I almost forgot to tell you about the matching interior pocket! I stitched two rectangles of boat fabric right-sides-together, turned inside out than stitched it to the lining with a topstitch along the pocket edge before constructing the bag, closing the opening at the same time.

Another fun present for my parents:

Why hello, Mr. Fireman!

A set of sexy fireman pillowcases! (My dad's the local volunteer fire chief and my mom has a good since of humor!) They are made from some more great Alexander Henry cotton fabric and a variation of this tutorial from 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge

And while it's not really a sewing project, I also made my Gramma a rope basket using this tutorial from Ceci Bean. It's kind of a fun, different project!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my holiday makes, and can feel some of the joy felt both by those making them and receiving them. Until later!

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