Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stuffed Bunny

Easter has already rolled by and I am just now getting these cute little bunnies up. I just can't keep up! These bunnies are tiny (7 inches tall)...which adds to the cuteness factor and makes them perfect for little hands. I used this tutorial to make them. Mine are stuffed completely with batting. The beads make the little bodies more flexible, but I wondered about safety if a seam should break. It wouldn't be a problem with an older child but with babies and toddlers it might be.

Here are a few tips that you might find helpful in addition to the tutorial directions...

They take less than 1/4 yard of fabric. I used fleece remnants that I had.

Definitely add 1/4 inch seam allowance before cutting out the fabric pieces. If you don't you will have really itty bitty bunnies.

To turn the ears right side out start at the tip rather than the bottom. Pull the fabric apart and use a turning tool to push the fabric right side out. 

Fold the ears in half and stitch the bottom in place. This will make it much easier to keep the fold when sewing to the head.

Then stitch the ears in place on the face front making sure the fold of each ear is toward the face. I used perl cotton for embroidering the facial features. For the french knot eyes I used 4 wraps around the needle. Typically I only use 3 wraps, but that made the eyes too small. It is helpful to draw the face with a disappearing marker before stitching.

I stitched the head back down 1 1/2 inches. I found 3/4 inch to be too short when sewing the back seam of the head and body closed.

In sewing the head to the body pin the arms forward, but make sure they won't get caught in the seam.

The tails add another factor of cuteness to these little bunnies. 

Bunnies galore!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine Tee Shirts

Little appliqued fishy tee shirts for the grandkids for Valentine's Day! And the beauty is that they don't scream Valentine's Day so they can be worn time and again. Three of them have a little heart on the tail and two have little hearts on the bodies. Using my Silhouette Portrait cutter to cut the fish was so much easier than trying to cut a design by hand, but the basic fish body wouldn't be hard to cut out with scissors.

I started with plain white tee shirts that I picked up at the store. I washed the shirts before appliqueing the fish onto them.

I measured the front of the tee shirt to determine an appropriate height and width of the fish. Then I cut out the material for the body large enough to meet those dimensions. I also cut a piece of fusible the same size. I used Heat and Bond fusible.

Following the directions for the Heat and Bond I ironed it onto the wrong side of the fabric.

After ironing the paper is removed and the fusible is adhered to the fabric.

Then using the software for the fish I adjusted the size of the fish body using the measurements I had predetermined. Below the body are all of the individual pieces I cut out of coordinating fabric. 

Using the cursor I drew a box around all of the little pieces and moved them onto my resized fish body. There I could individually adjust the sizes of the pieces to fit the fish.

Next I moved the little fish pieces off of the body so I could cut the fish out.

The fused fabric for the fish is placed onto the sticky mat.

And loaded into the machine. I used the cotton fabric setting with the ratchet blade set to 3, the speed set to 3 and the thickness set to 30.

The fish body cut out.

After cutting out the body I went back to the software and placed the little parts on the screen. I then followed the same steps to cut the pieces out of the coordinating fabric.

Once all of the parts were cut out I fused everything to the front of the shirt. Then using coordinating thread I sewed around all of the parts to secure them and add a little embellishment. I used a narrow zigzag stitch around the body and a straight stitch around all of the little parts.

After finishing all of the shirts I washed them again using a color catcher sheet. (You can also make your own color catcher sheets.) Since I was using fabric scraps, I wasn't sure which of the fabrics had been pre-washed. I wanted to make sure that no colors would run from any of the fabrics. They turned out so cute. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crocheted Hat

One crocheted hat...two ways to style it. The first is the slouchy beanie. More hip according to my model.

The second is the cuffed beanie. 

I used this pattern and omitted the pompom on top and the colored stripe. The finished length is longer than the pattern. It measures 11.5 inches from the crown to the edge. The yarn is Lionbrand Homespun. I didn't love working with the yarn. I had never used it before and because of the twist I found it difficult to see where my stitches were. Thank goodness crochet is forgiving because there are probably lots of mistakes! It does make a really soft hat though.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


When my kids were babies there wasn't such a thing as a lovey....a soft piece of fabric with an animal head for little ones to love on. I am sure that if my children had loveys they would have worn them threadbare. After all who wouldn't want a lovey! Wanting to make my grandbabies loveys, I ordered a pattern from Abby Glassenberg. She actually has two patterns that make 4 loveys each. Here is the other one. The pattern I received makes a puppy, bunny, bear and kitty.

I made this puppy out of fleece. So soft and cuddly. The pattern is a downloadable PDF. While the directions are pretty straight forward, make sure and read through them as each animal has some different steps from the basic pattern. My order was filled quickly. From another order I know that Abby is easy to reach via email and she answers questions promptly.

I used minky-like material to make the bunny and bear. While incredibly soft, the minky is lighter in weight than the flannel so these loveys were a little "floppier"....I guess that is the best way to describe them. Not like that would matter to a baby. There is a fair bit of hand sewing involved in the construction and the eyes, nose and mouth are embroidered (always a good idea on stuffed toys for babes). I buried my knots when I embroidered the faces after the loveys were completed, but Abby has a good tutorial video on how she does the embroidery before she attaches the head. Her method is a lot easier.

These loveys would make great baby gifts paired with a book. The bunny could be gifted with "Pat the Bunny", "Knuffle Bunny", "The Runaway Bunny and many more I am sure. The dog lovey could go with "Where's Spot?", "Clifford" or "Big Dog, Little Dog". Possibilities for the bear lovey are "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?", "We're Going On A Bear Hunt", or "A Bear Called Paddington". What could be better than a handmade lovey and book for a little one?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Advent Calendar

A few years ago I picked up this Nancy Halvorsen advent calendar material. It sat around because I didn't have anyone to make it for. Now that grandkids have started appearing, it was the time to sew it up. The kit came with all of the material except for the batting and backing.

There are two borders that are sewn around the Santa piece. After the borders were sewn, the piece was layered and quilted. I just did straight line quilting to keep it simple. Then red buttons were  sewn onto the branches so the ornaments can be hung each day up to Christmas.

The ornaments were the most time consuming. They were printed onto material and had to be individually cut out and then fused onto black felt. The directions stated that the hangers were to be embroidery thread that was glued onto the back of the felt. Instead I placed the thread between the felt and the ornament when I fused the two together. It seemed neater than gluing the thread on. 

Using a kit like this was a lot faster than doing an Advent Calendar from scratch and this one is so cute.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Runner

Looking for a quick and simple table runner? Well look no further. This is a purchased burlap table runner. Any local craft store should have them. I would suggest that you hand wash the runner before doing the printing. Burlap is generally rough and has a bit of a smell. You sure don't want it overpowering all of the delicious aromas from your Thanksgiving dinner.

First decide on the words you want to print on your runner. I cut these letters out using a portrait silhouette machine. You can use any machine or even just print the words and hand cut the letters. Just be sure to use freezer paper. For the portrait cutter I set the cutting depth to 3 and used the Apple Chancery font. After cutting out the letters press the freezer paper onto the burlap. Make sure that it is sealed well especially around all of the letters.

Don't forget to add the centers to the letters like "a", "d" and "k". Otherwise those letters will be solid with the paint. Press those little pieces on well. You don't want them coming loose or slipping while you are painting.

For the printing you will need a tray for your paint, fabric paint and a stencil brush.

Dip the stencil brush into the paint and then dab it onto a paper towel. The brush should be dry and not saturated with paint. Using a straight up and down motion tap the brush onto each letter. A light application is best. You can always go back over letters to darken them, but if you apply too much paint at one time, then you might have bleeding and smearing.

After painting the words then peel off the freezer paper and remove the letter centers. Heat set the paint with a dry iron.

And you have a table runner to adorn your Thanksgiving table. Don't you just love quick projects that have great results?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sock Monster Dolls

I just loved making these sock monsters. With each monster I thought about how more outrageous I could make it.! The crazier the design on the socks the better! It is better to use socks that are woven tightly. They don't show the batting as much as a thinner pair would and they don't run as much when they are cut.

This picture and the next few don't show it, but it is better to turn the socks inside out and then position them like so. Don't be a dodo like me...turn your socks inside out!

 Cut the top 6 inches off of one of the socks. Then cut up the middle of the other one anywhere from 4 to 5 inches. It depends on how long you want the legs of your monster to be.

Next cut up the middle of the cut top piece about 3 to 4 inches. This section will make up the arms of the doll. You can remove the foot section and either discard it or save it for another project.

With a marker draw half circles at the ends of your two sock pieces. It is helpful to pin the socks at this point. Yes, I finally realized that I needed to turn the socks inside out, but you will be smarter than I was and start with your socks turned inside out...right?

Now start at the top of the cut section of the "arm" socks and sew down 1/4 inch along the edge. Follow your marked line to the side of the sock. Be sure to sew completely off the sock. Do the same along the other side. You will have an opening at the top of the cut. You will see why you need this in just a moment. If you are observant you will see that I did not leave an opening and had to pick the stitches out. Sometimes I wonder about myself!

With the "leg"socks start at the outside of the marked line, stitch on the line and then up the inside edge with a 1/4 inch seam and around the top of the cut. Continue stitching down the other leg and around the marked line and sew off the sock. Snip two to three times at the "crotch area" without cutting through the stitching.

Trim around the bottom line 1/4 inch from the edge.

Cut down the center of the top "leg and body" socks about 2 to 4 inches. It depends on if you want a big head, long ears, a top knot, short ears or just short strands coming off the head. Just play with it and see what happens.

Stuff the legs and body section. Don't stuff the body section to fully at this point. Then stuff the arms.

Slide the arm section down over the top of the body section so the sock cuff is on top...see that is why we needed the opening between the arms. Now you can finish stuffing the body and the head and if you need more stuffing in the arms go ahead and fill them too. You can turn the cuff down or leave it up.

Hand stitch around the arm section opening securing that part to the body.

Add details to the face with felt cut outs. Sew the felt pieces on.  For this monster I just added stuffing to the top part and then sewed it closed.

On this monster I put the arm section above the head and then simply closed the top by making a stitch and wrapping thread around several times before tying it off with a knot. A small, clear rubber band can also be used to close it. Then I cut off the excess sock so there was just a short tuff. Along the exposed cut edges I added some fray check just to keep the sock from unraveling too much.

For the face I cut one red felt circle and then stitched a smaller black circle onto it. I added a white stitch with embroidery thread to the black. Then I sewed the whole eye on with black embroidery thread. The mouth is a strip of red felt with two teeth. The teeth were stitched to the mouth and then the mouth was sewn on the face with red embroidery thread.

This little guy had knotted ears, felt eyes with an embroidered vertical stitch and an embroidered mouth. For embroidery stitches look here.

I kept the arms above the section that would be the face making it a belly instead. I cut a long slit in the top head section and then sewed the sections to form two antennas. The felt eye circles are embroidered on again.

This one has one large central eye and a triangle shape for a nose. The top section was closed by wrapping thread around again and the top section was cut into strips. Again I added fray check to each strip.

If your child is old enough he/she could design his/her own sock monster and do the hand sewing on it. How much fun would that be!

For more ideas on sock toys check out these sock monkeys.