241 Tote

A few months ago, my friend Kelly asked me to make her wife Aivanett something for her birthday. She wanted an accessory of some kind, and after looking at some patterns, we settled on the 241 Tote from one of my favorite designers, Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I was really excited to make it; I’d had the pattern for a few months but had been too busy to make one, so this was a perfect excuse – and this pattern did not disappoint! Here’s how my version turned out:Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

Kelly picked the main fabric with the cute kitchen stuff (Mix Things Up from Robert Kaufman), and then I matched coordinating colors for the pockets. I took a chance on the red with white polka dots, as I was ordering online (from Hawthorne Threads, my very, very, very favorite online retailer), and I got really lucky that it looked great with the aqua. I had the gray (RJR Cotton Supreme in Gray Stone) in my stash already – it’s my preferred neutral, and I thought the bag needed a calmer color/pattern to balance out the two brighter fabrics. I lined the inside with some Letterpress by Michael Miller – yes, I still have this in my stash and yes, I will continue to use it on everything!

Inside of 241 Tote with letterpress by Michael Miller fabric

I opted to do just one front pocket on each side, as I didn’t want the zippers to overwhelm the pattern, and I lined each of those pockets with more polka dots:

Showing red and white polka dot fabric lining the pocket of a 241 Tote

I love those pockets – they’re just the right size for a phone or some keys, or even a small wallet, and having them on the outside saves you from having to dig around for small stuff. The only significant change I made was to extend the strap to make it crosswise rather than a shoulder strap, which I did by cutting two strap pieces rather than one; one in the gray fabric, which I then cut in half, and one in the aqua fabric. I then sewed a gray piece onto each end of the aqua and continued with the instructions as written, just with a strap twice as long.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

The external pieces are lined with fusible fleece, which I really liked – the bag came out fairly sturdy without being too bulky, and it made the shoulder strap pretty padded and (hopefully) more comfortable.

The pattern itself is, like all of Anna’s patterns, very clear and easy to follow, and the size was great for an every day bag. Each piece fit together perfectly, which can sometimes be a problem with patterns that have a lining, and I think it would be fairly easy for a beginner to follow. It took about a day and a half altogether from start to finish, which isn’t bad in my experience. I liked it enough that I’m still planning on making one for me, but I think I might enlarge it just a little, as I’m most often carrying a project to work on and might need a little more space.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

And now, a little shop news! If you haven’t visited in a while, I’ve got some pretty cute yarn bowls in there, along with a few other baskets:

Pink yarn bowl, rope basket

And, both the Kaleidoscope wall hanging

Kaleidescope rainbow quilted wall hanging using apple core EPP

and the Kisses wall hanging

Wall hanging quilt with lips on it, andy warhol inspired

are up for sale! There’s a bunch of other new stuff too, so head over to Etsy to check it out, and have a great Thursday!

Sew Together Bag

It’s probably been made clear by now that I love a wide variety of crafts, which means I have a whole lot of accessories to go with them. For several years, I’d been making little kits of the things I thought I’d need for whatever hand projects I was working on (stitch markers, scissors, thimble, etc.) to throw in my bag when I was taking said project on the go. The only problem with this system is that it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for bringing more than one work in progress, and I was constantly losing little things like my needle case when I changed out the kit. I needed a place to put all this stuff…

Pile of sewing and knitting notions

…without it getting jumbled together. Enter the absolute perfect solution: the Sew Together Bag.

Sew Together Bag made with Far Far Away Fabric (zippered bag decorated with green frogs on yellow lily pads with pink binding)

This is probably one of my favorite makes of all time, both because it’s made from some of my precious stash of Far Far Away fabric, and because it’s so freaking useful. The inside features three zippered pockets and four open ones, and the whole thing closes up with a long zipper that becomes the handles. Genius, right?

Sew Together Bag made with Far Far Away Fabric (zippered bag with pink binding and three zippered pockets)

All my stuff fits inside with room to spare, and the separate pockets means I can keep each craft separate.

Inside of Sew Together Bag with notions inside

The middle open pockets are perfect for a spool of thread and even some circular needles, and the outside open pockets fit my scissors and little measuring tape (that’s what the penguin in the earmuffs is!) just right.

Inside of Sew Together Bag with circular knitting needles and other notions

The pattern calls for interfacing on just one side (the exterior pieces), but I used it on both the exterior and linings, and I’m so happy I did, because I can put my cable needle in a pocket without worrying that it will poke through:

Pocket inside Sew Together Bag holding knitting notions

It also made it a little more stiff, which means that if I throw it into my bag or backpack, it doesn’t lose it’s shape and become a crushed mess. In hindsight, a lighter fabric was probably not the best for something that’s getting so much use, but really, who could resist these little froggies?

Close up of Sew Together Bag with green frog on yellow lily pad

The handles turned out a little lopsided (totally my fault, not blaming the pattern at all for that one!), but I don’t really mind, and I’m not sure anyone else has even noticed. I haven’t tried using it to tote around a hexie project yet, but I suspect it will be perfect for that, and I’ve already had a couple of requests to make ones with vinyl on the inside (one for makeup and one for art supplies). I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who needs to tote around smallish stuff, for any reason; it’s not a super difficult pattern, it only takes a few hours, and it’s so helpful!

Anthropologie Shirt Hack

A while ago, the Pop Tee was on sale at Anthropologie, and as I had been stalking it for quite a while, I was very excited. Unfortunately by the time I made it over to buy one, they were totally sold out. I was sad for about 5 minutes until I realized that this was an easy item to hack – all I needed was a t-shirt and some fabric. I dug out a white shirt that I wore maybe once (not a huge fan of white, I don’t know if you could tell!) and some leftover fabric with lemons all over it (much more my speed).

White t-shirt and lemon fabric

It came out like this:

DIY anthropologie knockoff shirt with lemon fabric and white t-shirt

Now, I did not use a tutorial on this one, and I should have. After the fact, I googled around and found this one from Domestic Bliss Squared that seems pretty spot on and thorough, and I wish I’d used it! I kind of just guessed on the amount of fabric I needed, and how to put in a pleat…which I then realized I put inside out. Whoops! I basically eyeballed where I wanted the fabric to start (just under the sleeves), cut the shirt along this line, and then unpicked the side seams. I put in that inside out pleat to make the fabric match the length of the back of the shirt, then just sewed it along the three sides with a zig zag stitch, and hemmed the bottom edge to match. I made a little pocket and whip stitched it into place on the front (not a functional pocket, obviously, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually used a chest pocket, so it didn’t bother me).
DIY anthropologie pop tee with white t shirt and lemon fabric

The back creeps over into the front a bit, but overall I’m pleased with how it turned out. The only problem is that I never want to wear a sweater over it, so I haven’t worn it since summer…but it will get quite a workout when warmer weather gets here!

DIY anthropologie knockoff shirt with lemon fabric and white t-shirt

Lots of Little Things – And Meeting Debbie Bliss!

First, I must apologize for my longish absence; I was sick for a little while there. But, I’m on the mend and I have lots of little things to share! First up, I got a wild hair and decided to make a wallet for my mom:

Wallet made from Michael Miller Just My Type Letterpress

I was fairly happy with it, although there were a few things I’d change next time. It’s hard to tell, but I used iron-on vinyl on the outside, to make it more water and dirt proof. It made the fabric really thick and difficult to sew, which my poor little machine was not happy about. Because of that difficulty, the pockets on the inside did get slightly crooked.

Inside of wallet made with Michael Miller Just My Type Letterpress

It basically flat out refused to sew the velcro, so that part took me a lot longer than I’d been expecting. This frustration led to deciding it was finally time to get a more heavy duty machine, which I’ve needed for quite a while (I have a little Brother machine that I love, but she just isn’t up to the amount of quilting I do). A trip to Goodwill later, and this beauty went home with me!

1970s Kenmore Sewing Machine

She needs some cleaning and servicing, but runs great and is super heavy, so no more shuttering all over the table! Now she just needs a name…any suggestions?

I also finished this little guy, for a sweet brand new baby boy.

Hand knit brown teddy bear wearing a blue bow

He was an order from my Etsy store, and measured about 17 inches high. He was so cuddly and huggable, I kind of wanted to keep him, but I decided the baby probably needed him more :). The pattern is this one from Debbie Bliss, which I’ve made several times and continue to fall in love with.

And, speaking of Debbie Bliss, she was visiting Seattle recently, and guess who got to meet her!

Girl standing with Debbie Bliss wearing a dress made from Michael Miller Just My Type LetterpressYes, that is yours truly, standing next to Debbie Bliss, and wearing one of the sweaters she brought with her, from the new fall designs. This one is knit from the new Roma yarn, and that and the sweater design should be available at the end of summer, from what I understand. This is another from the same collection:

Girl wearing sample of a gray Debbie Bliss designed sweater

It was an awesome afternoon. There weren’t that many people there, so we were each able to talk to Debbie and try one a bunch of sweaters. She talked a lot about her design process, and how to knit for yourself. Interestingly, she recommends that you pick a sweater pattern based on your shoulder measurement rather than your bust measurement, especially if there’s a lot of ease in the pattern. In hindsight, this makes a lot of sense, since a lot of the time when I make a sweater in “my” measurements, I’m not happy with the fit. But I have a couple of sweaters that got made a size or two small, and they fit great. I went home incredibly inspired and ready to work…and she complimented my dress, which pretty much made my week!

Hope everyone is having a great summer (and beating the heat), and I should be back to regularly scheduled postings next week!

Letterpress Dress

I recently had a bit of a quilting disaster (more about that on a later post) that necessitated dismantling the quilt and ditching the top and batting. It was fairly traumatizing, but the backing was still good, and happened to be one of my favorite fabrics, Letterpress by Michael Miller. I decided to make lemonade by turning into an easy summer dress, and I’m pretty happy with the result:

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray

I basically sewed it in the style of a pillowcase dress; I made one big square of fabric that was sewn on all sides but one, then used an existing dress that I knew fit well to trace the lines for the head and arm holes. Once I’d cut those out, I just hemmed each raw edge and, since it gaped a bit, ran some elastic through all except the bottom.

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray

It turned into a really blousy, breezy summer dress, but still fits great where it needs to (elastic is a miracle). It was absolutely perfect for our recent 90 degree heat, and since it’s just plain cotton, is very easily washed and thrown in the dryer. It also looks a bit like a swing dress, which I’ve been noticing making a comeback, so I’m kind of accidentally on trend, too.

For dinner with friends, I dressed it up and made it a bit more form fitting with a cute green belt.

Girl in dress made from Michael Miller Just my Type Letterpress in gray, with green skinny belt

I don’t have a lot of neutrals in my wardrobe (unless you consider pink a neutral…), so it’s kind of nice to have a dress that can be paired with pretty much any other color. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it and I love wearing my favorite fabrics, so I see lots of handmade clothes in my future!

Buried Treasure

I’ve finally unpacked the last of my craft room boxes (it only took 8 months!) and I found some buried treasure that I thought I’d share. First up, a couple of really special quilt tops:

Quilt top with gold birds and indigo clouds appliquéd on it

My grandmother was a quilter, and this is one of a few quilt tops that she gave me several years ago. She had largely stopped quilting at that point, and I had just started. I had them out in my room for a while, but felt much too intimidated to even know were to start quilting them, and eventually they got put away for space reasons. This one is all hand turned and appliquéd, with beautiful golden birds and indigo clouds.

Close up of quilt top with gold birds and indigo clouds appliquéd on it

It’s quite long, and I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to keep it tapestry length, or cut it into two pieces to make a blanket. It would be the perfect size for a baby blanket, and as my grandmother is no longer with us, I like the idea of making our (eventual) baby something that she started.

The other quilt top from her is more of a lap size:

Quilt top made with solid blue squares and blue and white checked squares

Again, it’s all hand quilted patchwork. I think when I do quilt these, I’ll hand quilt them, maybe with a bit of machine stitching in the ditch to stabilize it. I’m just now, some 5 or 6 years later, feeling confident enough in both of these skills to feel like I’ll do them justice.  I’m really glad that I didn’t just use these as practice projects, and I think they’ll be beautiful with some careful planning.

Next up is an apron that I bought on sale right after my husband and I moved in together. It seemed like a good idea to have a cute apron for our brand new kitchen, and this one had a cupcake already drawn onto it (it was a kit, I think from Martha Stewart), so it seemed like an easy project. And it was…3 years later. I found it in the boxes and finally stitched it up, which took about an hour and made me feel really dumb for not just doing it sooner!

Apron with hand embroidered cupcake on it

I also found a baby bunting that I made from a Debbie Bliss pattern:

Baby sleep sack made from yellow wool

This was one of my first knitting projects, and you can tell that I wasn’t so good at seams yet. It’s also made out of wool, which is not exactly the most practical yarn for a baby garment, but at least it’s warm! I think I’ll redo the seams and add snaps in the enclosure rather than velcro, but then it can go to a new home.

Back of baby sleep sack made from yellow wool

And last but not least, not something I made, but treasure all the same:

Stuffed sewn letters spelling out "love"

This was made for me when I was a baby, and was in my room for my whole childhood. It came with me when I moved out on my own, and has lived in whatever space I used for sewing for the last few years.  It’s looking a little worse for the wear, admittedly, but I still love it, and it’s been restored to it’s proper place above my craft desk.

So there you have it, my version of buried treasure! Pretty sure I would have been an excellent pirate :P.

Couch Pillow from a button down shirt

Sorry for the lack of postings last week; my husband and I both came down with a slight plague and not much got done around here. I’m still recovering, but I did get a project done that’s been on my table for a while:

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This pillow started out life as a men’s button down shirt:

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The shirt is basically synthetic fabric, so I wasn’t wild about making it into something to wear, but I really loved the color. We also recently upgraded our bedroom pillows, so we have a bunch of extra pillows hanging out, and I decided to turn one of them and the shirt it into another couch pillow.

For some reason I always think it’s easier to not measure anything (this inevitably leads to having to redo stuff, but I always manage to forget that), so I just traced the pillow I was using with some tailor’s chalk, keeping the buttons in the middle (I had previously removed the pocket, since I thought it would look weird sideways).

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This pillow is slightly smaller and more dense than a regular head pillow; since it was being repurposed from the bedroom to the couch, I packed the feathers a little more tightly and re-sewed one end. Once I had it marked, I just sewed four straight seams and cut away the rest of the shirt.

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Now, you may notice that the corners bow out quite a bit; after trying it on the pillow, it made the corners too pointy, so I ended up going back and making the lines more straight. I could have avoided this by measuring or following a pattern, but it didn’t end up taking too long to fix, so I can’t really complain that much. The nice thing about keeping the buttons is that it’s a built in place to insert the pillow, so no envelope opening or zippers needed.

It was an easy, quick update, matches the decor in our living room, and looks great with the existing pillows (I am obsessed with the purple and teal color combo, as my husband will attest). If you’ve got old clothes you’ve been saving, this is a great way to use them up!

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Fabric bins

I’ve had this tutorial from Birch Fabrics on my “to do” list for a while now, and I decided that my mother-in-law’s birthday was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Leslie is an artist, and I figured those of us who make things always need ways to store our supplies. I think they came out pretty well, although they don’t look much like the original!

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They’re super easy to make; you cut out two of each template in both your outside and lining fabrics (there’s also an option to make it in a continuous piece). For my outside lining I used some teal cotton broadcloth, and for the lining I used some of my precious stash of Stella Dot.

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In between the lining and the outside, there’s some decor weight interfacing. I’ve only ever used apparel interfacing, so I was a little skeptical about how well they would actually stand up, but I was pleasantly surprised by how sturdy they turned out. Then you just sew some seams and turn down the tops, and you’re done!

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They even stack well, in case you need to store them to save some space.

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This was a great project; I highly recommend it and will be making some more for me!

Polka Dots and Turtles Travel Bag

A few months ago, I saw the Fall/Winter issue of Stitch Magazine, and immediately bought it to make the cover project:

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It reminded me a bit of the Weekender Bag that’s been making the blog rounds, and it just so happened that we had a plane trip coming up. I realized after I started making it that I also made a bag the last time we flew to the East Coast, and have now decided I’ll make a new one every time we fly :P. Anyway, here is my version:

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I did make a few changes (I’m sure you’re shocked). The pattern called for heavyweight interfacing, but I didn’t have any, so in my infinite bag making wisdom, I figured I’d just quilt it. Next time I’ll just follow the directions, because quilting all the pieces was a lot of work, but I really love the effect. I cut all the outside pieces first (using Michael Miller Kiss Dot), ironed some lightweight interfacing to each piece, and then quilted batting to that. I just used straight lines because it was easiest. The pockets and handles are made of Michael Miller Les Amis Turtle Parade, and I left out the piping. It didn’t seam to fit my bag, for whatever reason. The original pattern only had two pockets on each side, but on one of the sides I made it three.

For the lining, I used some teal chevron fabric that I had in my stash (I’m not sure where it came from). 

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I also added three pockets on one side of the lining and two pockets on the other; these were optional in the pattern.

 

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The thing that I’m most proud of, though, is the zipper! This was my first time putting in a zipper, and I was really nervous about it, but I think it actually went really well.

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All of the stitching came out great, and I was really thrilled with how professional the seams look.

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It was the perfect size for a carry on, even though I loaded it up for our plane trip, and it held up nicely on vacation! I will definitely make this again…although I probably won’t make so many modifications :P.

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More Stockings!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! I’m running around putting finishing touches on things and doing some last minute wrapping, but I wanted to share the stockings I made for us this year!

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We don’t actually have a chimney to hang them by, so I made do with our porch. The first one is for my youngest brother; he’s ten, and thought that the green fabric looked Sounders green (the Sounders are our local soccer team). I lined it with some blue scrap fabric to make the cuff and used a ribbon for the loop (I actually used the same kind of ribbon on all of these).

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The second one is for me. I used the last of a jelly roll of Aneela Hoey’s Sew Stitchy line – I’ve been saving the green and red strips since the summer for this purpose. It’s based on a picture I saw somewhere (which I can’t find right now, so if anyone knows where the ruffled stocking idea originated, please let me know!), but I kind of winged it and came up with how to actually sew it one my own.

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I love how it looks like different shades of red and green, and of course the sewing notion prints are very me :).

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My mom liked the one I made for me so much that she wanted that design for hers, so I made some strips out of some Michael Miller fat quarters that had polka dots. The ruffles sewed up a little bigger, which turned out to be a bit harder to work with, but I think it still turned out well.

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And last but not least, we have the one I made for my husband. It turns out that he has very definite ideas about Christmas stockings, and my attempts to talk him in to a more modern looking one met with serious resistance. He was stubborn about only two fabrics and originally wanted just plain stripes, but eventually settled on chevrons. I didn’t really follow a pattern for this one either, just made the zig zags out of triangles and then cut the stocking shape out of the resulting fabric. It’s very lightly quilted in straight lines down the seams, with only a backing fabric, no batting in the middle. He also asked for the more traditional furry cuff (repurposed off an old stocking that was bought in a store). I didn’t give in all that gracefully about making what I kept calling a boring design, but I actually think it turned out really nicely and my husband is very happy with it :P.

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So there you have it, four stockings made this year! They’re all packed and ready to take to my mom’s house tonight, and hopefully they’ll hold all the goodies Santa leaves :).

Zoey the (wannabe) Christmas reindeer and everyone else at Measured and Slow headquarters wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you all post festivities!

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