Archive for the ‘fun’ Category

Quick Drawstring Bag Tutorial or How to Reuse Your SubEarthan Cottage Soap Wrapping

I wrap my soaps in fabric because it looks nice, it allows the soap to breathe (read here for why), and because it feels better than plastic. I often wonder what happens to the wrapping. I’m sure there are some that toss it. I know of one person who collects the fabric for quilts. For those of you who, like me, don’t want to throw away something that could be useful but don’t know what to do with it, I have a tutorial for a drawstring pouch, just for you.

This is done with the wrapping from one of my soaps, but you could make it in any size you like.

Materials
Cloth wrapper from soap (roughly 8×11 inches)
Jute string from soap (about 29 inches)
Thread

Tools
Needle or Sewing machine
Safety pin or Bodkin
Scissors
Iron

First, iron your fabric flat. Then, fold down a long edge about 3/4 of an inch to one inch and press. This is for the casing. It doesn’t have to be super precise.

Sew a straight seam along the bottom of the flap to form the casing. All the sewing can be done by hand or machine. I have no time or patience, so I choose machine. Fold your material in half with right sides together like a book.

The fold is at the bottom of this photo.

Next, starting just below the casing seam, sew down the side and across the bottom. I use anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam allowance for this. Again, it doesn’t have to be precise.

 With scissors, clip the bottom corners, being careful not to cut your stitching. You could probably skip this step, but it helps the corners look square and crisp. Turn your bag right side out.

Now it’s time to thread the string. Tie one end of the string to a safety pin, large paper clip, or attach a small bodkin. This makes it easier to work it through the casing. Thread it through the casing, safety pin first. 

Once you get the string to the other side, remove your safety pin or other tool and adjust the string so that the ends are even.

 Knot the ends together once or twice to keep it from coming out.

Ta-da! It’s done! Perfect for organizing your purse, storing jewelry or other small items, or as a small gift bag.

Or holding your favorite bar of soap.

Tutorials are always a little complicated to write because it’s easy to overlook small steps in things you do frequently. If something is unclear, please ask. 🙂

If you have any other creative uses for a SubEarthan Cottage soap wrapper, I would love to hear it!

My New Toy

So, I got a new toy for my birthday:

Yay! Now impatient me with no time and a fear of leaving needles around accidentally in the baby’s reach can do embroidery too! It’s also a regular sewing machine. I’ve never sewn on a computerized machine before. I’ve never sewn on a sewing machine newer than from the early 1990s for that matter. Most sewing machines I’ve used have been older than me. Not that I don’t like old machines. You’ll have to pry my trusty metal mechanical Kenmore and back up Signature(s) from my cold hands.

It’s been fun learning how to use it. I also may or may not be a bit obsessive about switching off the power strip and then going back and unplugging it from the power strip and then making sure I’ve unplugged it again later, lest some random lightening storm attack my precious.

It’s a brother se400. I haven’t done much regular sewing with it yet, so I can’t do a full review. I can say that I worried a little about getting annoyed with all the threading and re-threading involved with a single needle embroidery machine. Brother took care of that by giving it the most amazing needle threader I’ve ever seen. I usually skip “automatic” threaders as I find them harder to use than just sticking the thread through the eye by hand. This one is some sort of magic. Seriously, if you were to stop over, I’d probably briefly introduce you to my family and then insist you come see me thread my sewing machine. 

Aside from just playing, I’ve rescued a few shirts from (probably coffee) stains by embroidering things on them to hide the stains. Considering my clumsiness and love of coffee, that alone will probably help me get my money’s worth out of it.

I am looking for decent digitizing software so I can do things like embroider the SubEarthan Cottage logo and make traditional monograms a little easier. Embird seems to be the go-to, but it’s a little pricey. Stitch Era is more my price range, but I’m not sure it’s as user-friendly. I’ve also seen Sew What Pro mentioned, but haven’t looked into it enough to know what it’s like. Any advice on software would be appreciated.

Beckett’s Twoddler gift guide

With the crazy, gift giving holidays right around the corner, here’s my list of sure to be a hit items for your twoddler. (Twoddler – the 5 second window between mobile baby and fully walking toddler.) All items have been tested and approved for fun by Beckett. Bonus! You probably already have most of these items at home. Even better, twoddlers don’t care that something isn’t new. They actually seem to prefer the oldest, grossest thing they can find.

  • Printer
  • Dangling wires
  • Big cardboard box
  • Kleenex
  • Little cardboard box
  • Cat
  • Toilet paper roll (full or empty)
  • Trash can (full preferred)
  • Paper (tissue, wrapping, printer, newspaper, important documents, etc.)
  • Hair
  • Floor Cheerios
  • Medium cardboard box
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone
  • Clothes hanger
  • Lotion bottle
  • Spoon
  • Fork
  • Knife
  • Video cassettes (Title/VCR not important. They aren’t going to watch them anyway.)
  • Coffee cup (full or empty)
  • Anything that dangles
  • Rocks
  • Plastic boxes

Disclaimer: Beckett only tested items for twoddler funness, and possibly the amount of crazy things they make me say as I try to remove them from his twoddler death-grip. He wasn’t really concerned with safety testing. If safety is a concern for you, you should probably consult a different gift guide.

Stay Puft Costume round up.

Here’s the final Baby Stay Puft (or Sweetpea or little sailor) costume. Not too bad. 🙂

To see how I did it:
Phase 1
Phase 2.1
Phase 2.2
Phase 2.3
Phase 3

Beckett’s Costume – Phase 3

Phase 3 is the accessories. Beckett was sick Friday night and Saturday morning, so I was in a rush to finish everything in between him needing mommy cuddles to feel better. I didn’t get as many step by step pictures, but really, they are just a bib and a baby hat. If you are trying to make a similar costume, there are a million different hat and bib tutorials out there by people better at writing tutorials than me.

I agonized the whole time  over how to make a hat like Mr. Stay Puft’s. I finally decided to make it easy on myself and do a simple baby hat inspired by the original. Honestly I think it looks a little wonky, so you may want to find a different way to do it. Here’s how I did Beckett’s, though.

I measured Beckett’s head (18 inches) and divided the measurement by three (6 inches). Then I traced one of Finn’s knit caps on a sheet of paper. I centered six inches on the bottom line and slimmed down Finn’s hat pattern to make my pattern piece. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me. The pattern piece is on the right side of the photo, so maybe seeing it will help.

 I cut three pieces from the leftover sleeve pieces using the pattern and surged them to make the hat.

I cut a strip of navy fleece to make a band/cuff for the hat. Before sewing it to the hat, I used iron on letters to write “Stay Puft”. Then I sewed it into a circle and attached it to the hat. I sewed red ribbon to the top and tacked it so it falls properly.

The bib is based on a pattern I made from one of Beckett’s bibs. I squared off the bottom similar to Mr. Stay Puft’s collar. I used some random navy fabric from my stash, white ribbon for the trim, Velcro for the closure and the same red ribbon I used on the hat for the tie.

 Rather than make the tie s separate piece, I knotted it and stitched it to the back of the bib.

Tomorrow I’ll take a picture of the whole outfit on my little marshmallow. For now, I’ll leave you with this:

Phase 1, Phase 2.1, Phase 2.2, Phase 2.3

Beckett’s Costume – Phase 2.3

FYI, snap tape is a pain to work with. It seemed like it would be simple to just sew it in, but I had a really hard time staying on the edge without hitting the snaps. I tried using a zipper foot as recommended, but ended up going back to my regular (zig-zag?) foot and raising it around the snaps.

Gratuitous Beckett pic.

 This picture shows my crooked stitching and that the snaps face the inside of the jumper.

Before sewing in the other strip of snap tape I serged the edge because this side won’t be folded under. Since fleece doesn’t fray that was really unnecessary, but I love my serger and make up excuses to use it.

Pinned.

Slightly less crooked stitching.

Front completed.

Giant baby-head clearance opening on the back. I had planned to use snap tape,but I ran out. I decided to make it a button closure, which was way less scary than I thought. I did the same perpendicular seam at the top of the back seam as I did at the crotch to separate the button placket.

More unnecessary serging along the cut edges and a straight stitch along the inside edge of the button placket. 

Mr. Marshmallow. I should have added a gusset to for diaper room. He is wearing a super thick nighttime cloth diaper in the picture, though, so it shouldn’t be as snug with a regular diaper. 

Marshmallow jumper complete. On to Phase 3 – the collar.

Phase 1, Phase 2.1, Phase 2.2

Beckett’s Costume Phase 2.2

I’m still in Phase 2, the jumper phase.
This picture is showing how I pinned the sleeves in.

This shows how I tapered the underarm seam to get rid of the weird hip points from Phase 2.1.

I wanted to shrink the width a little but leave it big enough to look like a puffy marshmallow. I used the jumper that fits Beckett as a guide and added about an inch on top of that to mark where I would sew the front and back seams.

I marked where to stop for the legs with three red pins.

Sewing…..

 Stop!

Front seam done!

Here I have the back seam pinned. I started it a few inches down to add a button closure for giant baby head clearance.

 I stitched a line perpendicular to each seam at the end of both the front and back seam.

I cut inside the seam to create a continuous strip for me to attach the snap tape.

Here I have the first part of snap tape pinned in. When I sew it, I will fold it in the width of the tape and stitch all around the edge. 

And here’s where Beckett got too fussy for me to continue for the night.

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