Thursday, June 30, 2011

Circles Pillow

Have you ever fallen in love with a piece of fabric? If you sew, I suspect you have. I fell in love with a red fabric back in September of 2010. I am not sure what it is. It is soft, tough, doesn't ravel and feels like a suede though it doesn't have a nap like a suede. I bought it at Goodwill on half price day to make armbands for costumes. This is what they looked like.

Yes, that is a fake arm! We did a play where the girls chopped off fake arms.

I thought that the fabric deserved to be showcased so I came up with this project.

I was disappointed in the way it went together, but have since realized that I mounted the fabric to a very flimsy backing and what should I expect?

I still loved the fabric though and I had a little left. What to do? I saw a knock-off on-line of this pillow...

available here from Crate and Barrel. I would love to point you back to the original post that I saw, but I had issues with my browser and had to delete the history which is where I had the information.

It took every last bit of my material to make my version of this pillow. I had to make it 11 x 11 because I didn't have enough fabric to do any more than that. I used the Sizzix Circles #2 die to cut out the circles and since the fabric is hard to pin through, I used some "Quilt Basting Spray" to tack the circles in place while I sewed it. This spray specifically does not clog up the needle or sewing machine.

And here is the final project...

I dearly love this, my final project, made with this fabric.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blue Angry Bird

My two year old granddaughter felt left out when she didn't get an angry bird pillow so I agreed to make one for her. I used the same basic style as my red angry bird pillow so I didn't do a new tutorial.

Here is the pillow with the paper patterns I designed...

Here it is with the cut-out felt pieces...

And the finished project...

I did a few things differently with this angry bird. I decided to machine applique all the facial features with black since the game's characters themselves are done that way. I also made a big mistake when I used quilting thread. I knew better... quilting thread is a much thicker thread, but I didn't realize I had done it until I was putting the thread away. No wonder my machine kept getting stuck and stitching and stitching in the same place! It still didn't look too bad (though if you look closely, you will see some spots that are mountains of thread.) Also, I decided to use Fray Check on the thread ends of the machine applique. I have looked at some of the machine applique that I have done in the last little while and find that the threads have started to come loose. Hopefully Fray Check will help.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NICU Smocks

I have a friend who recently had twin daughters 2 months early. They each weighed a little over 2 pounds at birth. She had a shower and received many things for full-term girls, but I wanted to do something for her babies while they were in the NICU.

I found this tutorial. and decided that this might be just the thing. I made a set, but decided that if she liked them, I would make more. She let me know that they were great!

I cut out several sets.

Then I started to sew.

I looked at the smocks and decided I needed to do something to make them more girly. I knew that I couldn't sew on lace or the like, because it could damage the babies' delicate skin. I decided to use the velcro that was already a part of the smock's design and I made these...

This is how they look on the smocks.

I think they turned out well. What do you think?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Update on Jeanine

Jeanine recently had a PET scan. This is a common scan used to find new outbreaks of cancer in the body. It is not always used for kidney cancer because this type of cancer does not always show on the scan. In Jeanine's case, it seems to show her cancer.

We went to the doctor today and he told us what we had already read on the report. The cancer seems to be advancing in the liver on its outer edges. But we didn't know the rest of the story. The measurements that the radiologist reported are small enough that in most cases, it is not even considered to be a cancer-caused difference. The doctor questioned Jeanine and with no other symptoms to indicate changes in her condition, he is happy to continue with the Avastin and see what happens in another couple of months. In other words, Jeanine seems to still be doing well. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yellow Angry Bird Pillow

When one of my grandsons learned that I was going to make a red angry bird pillow for his brother, he had a request of his own. Would I make him a yellow angry bird pillow? Not surprisingly, the second went together much faster than the first. I have only a few pictures of this sewing project since it uses the same techniques as the red bird pillow. I think I like the yellow angry bird even more than the red.

To see the red angry bird pillow tutorial, go here.

I cut a 14" square out of a large piece of paper and then folded it in half.

I carefully cut a diagonal from one edge to the center on the opposite side (using the fold to know where the center was).

I then cut the other side the same way.

I ended up with a triangle. I rounded the corners to make sewing easier. I then cut 2 from 1/2 yard of yellow fleece and cut another 4" gusset piece in the same manner as before.

I designed the facial features and laid them out before sewing the pillow together as previously explained for the red angry bird. I only stuffed the top half of the beak on this bird.

As I said, this is my favorite of the two. Who knows? Maybe I'll find a need to make the rest. We'll see.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Red Angry Bird Pillow

After making the pink floral pillow for my granddaughter, I was approached by my oldest grandson with a request. Could I make him a red angry bird pillow? Whoa! I had a pattern for the flower pillow, but there is no pillow tutorial that I could find for an angry bird pillow. At first, I thought I could make a round (basketball-type) pillow, but if my grandson actually wanted to cuddle his pillow I thought a different pillow would be better. This is what I came up with...

A tutorial follows...
I would call this an intermediate sewing project.
You will need to know how to machine applique.


1/2 yd red fleece
black felt
white felt
yellow felt
pink felt
Matching thread
polyester fiberfill

I used a tray to trace a circle for the base pillow.

I then cut out 2 circles. My circle was a 14" diameter. I then cut a 4" strip that was cut the width of the fabric (approximately 58" long).

I then traced the tray onto a large piece of paper (in this case, a roll of paper tablecloth) and cut it out. I needed this for the white for the body of the red bird. I placed the tray on top of the cut out circle and then placed the tray on the pattern so that the tray came up about 1/3 of the way up the circle and traced and cut it out.

I'd like to say that I had a scientific method of making the rest of the pieces, but I didn't. I just took some paper and with scissors and a pencil I kept trying until I got the pieces right.

I laid out the face and tweaked it until it looked right.

I marked the placing of the bill on the eye shape. This way I didn't have to applique the entire eye. I was afraid that the black stitches would show through the yellow of the beak.

Starting with the white eye shape, I began machine appliqueing the features of the face. I am not going to explain machine applique because it would be impossible with still photos. I found several tutorials on Youtube, so you can search "Machine Applique tutorial" there. I did not use a fuseable web instead I took different pieces of scrap paper and placed them between the fleece and the sewing machine.

The eye piece was pinned in place and sewed on.

I then sewed the eyes in place with that same satin stitch and don't forget the paper between the fleece and the sewing machine.

Here is the finished product with the thread unclipped.

Next came the totally angry eyebrows.

Here I am pulling off the paper I've sewn on the back.

This is what the back looks like at this point.

I then appliqued the body of the bird that was not going to be in the seam and simply sewed the white that would be in the seam. I sewed on the bottom beak (pink). Lastly, I sewed the top beak, but left an opening so that I could stuff the beak lightly.

After stuffing the beak, I finished appliqueing the beak on. And this is the finished face.

The red feathers at the top of the head were made of 2 sort of mitten shape pieces of fleece. I sewed them together and turned it inside out.

I also sewed a small zigzag line from the crook of the mitten toward the opening, though not all the way. I stuffed both the "hand" and the "thumb" of the feather and sewed it onto the 4" end of the long strip of fleece.

This next step is tricky. Place the length of 4" fleece so that the "thumb" of the feather is at the top. Take the 4" fleece with the feather and fold back 1/2". You should see the fold and the complete feather. Place the fold at the top of the bird's face. You will now be making a gusset for the pillow. It is a piece of fabric sewn on one side to the front and the other side to the back of the pillow allowing the pillow to gain thickness.

Start pinning the length of the fleece around the entire outside of the bird's face. I started this on the left side.

I then sewed the length of the fleece around the face. PLEASE NOTE: Leave about 1/2" - 1" unsewn on each side of the place where the seam that closes up the gusset. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There will be around 10" of leftover 4" wide fleece when you are done sewing.

It is now time to sew the long 4" piece together. You now need to put the two 4" pieces of the gusset together. You will match them together so that the gusset piece fits nicely around the face and you must allow for a seam allowance. I used about 1/2" seam allowance. I pinned and sewed that seam and then cut off the excess of the gusset material.

This is the seam after it is completed.

It is time to sew the back onto the gusset.

Pin the back onto the gusset. The right sides of the fabric should be inside.

Sew together leaving a 4" opening.

Stuff your bird to your desired stiffness.

Pin and slip stitch or machine sew the opening.

The finished project...

The pillow was an absolute success. My grandson loved it!