Monday, November 29, 2010

Patchwork Stocking Tutorial

Okay, I'm hardly an expert sewer, so this tutorial thing is a little strange for me. But here it goes. Last year I had this fat quarter pack of Xmas fabric and I got it in my little head that I would make patchwork stockings for the whole family. I couldn't find a tutorial online that suited my fancy, so I just kind of winged it. By virtue of a Christmas miracle, I finished them on Christmas Eve and they actually turned out pretty awesome. I know that anyone who knows anything about sewing probably could have figured out an easier way to do this, but this is how I figured it out...

1. Make a big piece of patchwork fabric. I realize that this is kind of time consuming and wasteful, but since I was making six stockings, it was the easiest option I could come up with. I figured out how much yardage I needed and I started cutting out squares. I did 2.5" by 2.5" and cut out roughly a million of them. A million.

2. To make my fabric I (kind of) randomly laid out my squares on a sheet of light fusible interfacing. I very carefully ironed them down (thus fusing them), leaving as small a gap between squares as humanly possible.

3. I stitched the squares together, by folding over the interfacing and seaming right over it. I've seen a lot of projects that use this method, usually called fusible quilting or something of the sort. Basically, you're just sewing the squares together in strips, but they're already attached to each other because they're stuck to the interfacing. Does this make even remote sense? It will make sense when you do it. After sewing the first row together, fold over the next row and do that one. Once all of the vertical rows are together, trim your seams and repeat the whole process with the horizontal rows. You know have a very solid piece of fabric that will look like this:

4. Now just use this piece of fabric like you would any piece of fabric. I used a stocking I already had and liked the shape of to make a paper pattern. I traced six stockings out on the patchwork fabric, held my breath and cut.

5. I then cut out stocking shaped pieces in red fabric and from a fleece baby blanket (for batting) and basically made a mini stocking-shaped quilt. I pinned them together and did some stitch-in-the-ditch quilting to make little quilt sandwiches.

6. I cut out some more stocking shapes in red felt and with the right sides together, sewed them together, leaving the top open. I fashioned a little fold over out of fuzzy white fabric and sewed it to the top of the front (quilted) piece. I finished them off by sewing a little loop to the corner to hang by the chimney with care. The end!

If you have any questions, please please please comment or email me. I realize that this explanation might not be totally clear, so your questions and input are much appreciated. xoxo.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

It is so like my girl to come home from school with puppets like these. Three separate ladies on three separate days to put on plays at home. The bejeweled one is obviously the favourite.

p.s. In other news, I just finished reading the late Rue McLanahan's memoir and it really is a fun read. Now I've moved onto John Waters' Role Models, which is so far, charming, funny, and sweet. Reading is fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thrum Ditty Thrum Ditty Thrum Thrum Thrum

I'm a little ashamed to say that I'm pretty sure that I bought the kit to make these socks last December. I planned to knit them as a gift for my sister-in-law's birthday, which was in April. That sort of didn't happen. But look, all finished with plenty of time to spare before Christmas!

These are thrum socks, made from a Fleece Artist kit. I have no idea how readily available these kits are, but they're totally awesome. The lady at the store gave me the very sage advice that I should cut the roving in half so that I'd be sure to have enough for both socks. Very, very smart, that one. So, they were made with no problems at all, just roadblocked by the busy-ness of my own life.

I think these socks are pretty hilarious. With the furnace running non-stop I'm feeling pretty puffy through the joints as it is, and when I tried them on my ankles resembled the last week of my second pregnancy. I also like that they stand up by themselves like macabre little sculptures. But mostly, they're incredible because they were made for the girl with the coldest feet in the world and I have made it my holiday-knitting mission to keep those feet warm. If this doesn't do it, nothing will.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bring on the Crafts

Craft fair season, she has begun. I'm trying to control myself, but this kind of replaces thrifting for me in these cold winter months. I'm also trying to stop myself from turning into a crazy Christmas lady. I'm not sure how well I will succeed.

p.s. That's a felt tea cozy you see. I bought it for myself, which I know is a pre-holiday no-no. But darn it, it does keep my teapot warm.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooky Monsters

In case you'd missed it, a few months ago I took on the insane task of "cooking my way through" Betty Crocker's 1963 classic The Cooky Book. I'm not doing it Julie Powell-style (trying to do the entire thing over the course of a year), but I'm just baking the cookies in order whenever I need new cookies in my jar. By my estimation it will take me about five to ten years to get through the 450 recipes. Just in time for my kids to be off to university.

I am pleased to announce that I've made it through the dreadfully boring first section: Cooky Primer -- Drop Cookies. Man, oh man, this has been painful. I have never been so excited to make a butterscotch brownie (the next recipe in the book). Seriously.

In other Cooky Book news that you probably don't care about, I've decided to deviate from my schedule to make Christmas cookies. I will jump ahead a few chapters and start working on those, for obvious reasons. I realize this is so completely dorky that it's comical. I am self-aware of my own insanity. And I never want to eat Molasses Jumbles again in my life.

For a full run-down on my Cooky Book adventure, swing on over to the Cooky Book tag at my other blog.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I don't often post pictures of my kids, but since this is kind of a craft blog, I needed to show off my Halloween costumes. My kids' Halloween costumes are the reason I learned how to sew in the first place and I will sew them Halloween costumes as long as they'll let me. I'm pleased to say that they really do seem to love them and R often says that she thinks store bought costumes aren't nearly as nice. Score!

R decided she wanted to be Princess Leia a long time ago. And she's been talking about it non-stop. Her teacher actually asked me if we were big sci-fi fans because R talks about Star Wars all the time and is constantly drawing pictures of herself in her (then) hypothetical Princess Leia costume. H wanted to be Darth Vader to compliment the Leia costume, but I wasn't about to let a two-year-old wander around in a full face mask. I managed to convince him to be a pirate, with the promise that he'd be "very very scary."

The Leia costume is the angel costume from McCall's 2350. I thought about adding a hood and a mock turtleneck for accuracy, but ended up just making the pattern as is. R didn't care. I made a simple belt that buttons in the back. Easy peasey.

H's was a little more involved, but very satisfying. I used the toddler pirate costume from Simplicity 3650 and skipped the sash because the shirt wasn't particularly long. It was really fun to make. I planned on using the same white broadcloth as I used in the Princess Leia dress, but there wasn't very much left. So I fished through my stash and found a huge swath of sheer drapery material. It was perfect. My new machine whizzed right through these costumes, and if I may say so, several people asked where I bought Henry's custom-made costume. Success!