Tag Archives: sewing

A Crafty Moment

I’m not a crafty or artistic person, but there are certain times that an idea comes into my head that I cannot banish until I’ve completely worked it out.

Such was the case this week …

Aidan has a little throw pillow he sleeps with, but it presents a constant problem for me.

1. It’s ugly (originally an old decorative pillow from my bed that ended up being neither decorative nor functional, it adorned the top of the wardrobe ’til Aidan found use for it)

2. It doesn’t have an easily removeable / child-proof slip cover for cleaning.

Up until now, I’ve always covered it with the smallest sham cover I had (which was still 6-8 inches too big all around … and made it even MORE ugly) just so that I had something to cover it, remove, and wash.  This week however, I had a the proverbial “light bulb”!

On my sewing desk, I have a couple badly ripped shirts of Bob’s just waiting to be repurposed.  They’re ripped in the arms (my husband; the Incredible Hulk) so the torso/body of the shirt is completely intact.  Not wanting to send my husband out to work like this … (not that Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t have his own unique style … I just don’t know if it would A) work on Bob, or B) work on Bob’s place of employment) …

…I decided that the shirt would make a great pillow cover.



I should warn you … I had no pattern, I measured no seams, and I don’t even think I cut in a straight line, so don’t look TOO closely. (actually, you can’t even if you wanted to because of the fuzzy/dark picture … oops … sorry)


Technical note: You may need to adjust the circumference of the torso, depending on the width of shirt and the size of your pillow.


2nd Technical note: I made an executive decision (my favorite part about creating projects) to use the buttons to seal the cover and to leave the shirt in a very “shirt-like” (read: “authentic”) way even as a pillow case so that you can see part of a seam and a pocket:

Result? Aidan loves his old new “Daddy Pillow” and I finally have a good, removable, and washable cover! Added bonus: Aid always has something of his Dad’s very close to him.  Repurposing? Check.  Sentimental Value? Double Check.

The finished product: shown here with Charlie and “Didi” [pronounced “dih-dih”] … the other two items that never leave Aid’s side.

Final notes on the project: After over 24 hours of use, it has become apparent that having a pillow that buttons is also a really great way to teach your 2 year old how to button and un-button things (if they didn’t know already).  Apparently, it’s also an excellent place to store trains.  [True story: I found 3 small wooden trains and 4 pieces of track stuffed into it before his bedtime last night … now that would have made for a comfy sleep.]

Are you a repurposer of fabric?  I have a whole stack of items I’m just itching to find a use for — let me know some of your best / most fun projects!

My Project Update: the good, the bad, etc

Just to be clear, and very honest, here is what I should have been doing this weekend …

Look at all those clothes just waiting to be folded!  Actually, I believe that wrinkles, whether on your skin or in your clothes are good for your soul and character building.  It’s true.  Also, could you please note the clothes presence in the pac ‘n’ play?  What else do you do when you have a one year old who dumps laundry baskets?

Yes, so I totally ignored the laundry, most likely hurting it’s little feelings for this

Ignore the freak hands and bandaged finger.  I tried to wrangle an ancient drying rack and, well, it won.  By a significant margin.  I will now go hang my head in shame.  Moving on …

Did I mention I love this fabric?  Because I do!

Detail on the strap and boning around the neckline …

And … [drum roll, please] … FINISHED PRODUCT!

It’s a nursing cover!  But, not just any nursing cover … this is the Mercedes of nursing covers.  This thing is posh.  This thing is a tent!  I love it!  And when I’m done using it for nursing, I just may swing it over my shoulder and go fight crime.

Why make it on my fourth child?  First, I’m slow … and second, I’ve fought blankets for the last five years.  I’m done fighting blankets … the size, the smother effect, the too small to be functional issue … all of it!  If I go any further in this train of revolutionary thought, I’ll break into a song from Les Mis, so I’m going to stop.

However, if you’re like me at all and are still searching for that perfect cover up, check out this awesome pattern from Passionate Homemaking!

Seriously … still thinking about using it as a crime fighting cape …

The End.

Swaddling Blanket (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

It is done!  My MDW (Memorial Day Weekend) project is completed!

In other good news, I got back behind the wheel of the sewing machine (wheel? hey, don’t kill the cliche, okay?) for the first time since I helped my mom make matching PJs for me and my American Girl doll when I was 9.  This was BIG.  I don’t sew.

Side note:  This is where my mom and I are complete opposites.  She says that all four of her children’s labors were more easy than setting up her first e-mail account but the woman can whip up vintage Vogue shift dresses over a 48 hr period with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back.  Think I’m kidding?  It’s an impressive sight to behold!  The pattern practically bows down to her.  Anyway, back to me … I’m more with the computer than the sewing machine myself, so, this was epic.

As much as I’d love to “blog announce” that the blanket is perfect and I’m a natural, my finished product is probably closer to a grade school sewing class feel than a start-your-own-etsy-site feel.  But, I feel that I, for one, am stronger for it (cleansing breath of deep and profound maturity).

Haha!  Now for the technical stuff…

First, always read the manual (which I did) … even the trouble-shooting section (which I didn’t), and here’s why …

Hmmm ... Embroidery thread ... now that would have been helpful to know!

Because I ignored [cough], I mean, overlooked this paragraph, I experienced a couple, shall we say “thread malfunctions” that may or may not have involved a seam ripper and a prayers for patience.  It also meant that the regular, non-embroidery thread I was using for my decorative finishing stitch went through cycles of doing this:


puckered, warped, and just plain weird

Overall, the finished impression isn’t totally hideous.  Nobody is running in terror.  But, the “decorative stitch” I picked just looks more like my favorite inside-out sweatshirt stitching from high school than I’d like it to.

Second, the original pattern blog didn’t mention this, but I struggled with the different strengths/characteristics/whatever of sewing flannel to cotton.  The flannel was more stretchy than the cotton and I felt like I was fighting it more than I would have liked.  But that’s okay, I’m over it.    And I’m already dreaming about trying another one of these guys in all flannel for my little Fall baby.  :)

Last, Big Plus! Look at the SIZE! Have you ever seen such an awesome swaddling blanket?  I’m thinking that this will be great for covering the carrier and tummy time as well!

Sorry about the shadow-y quality.  This is what happens when you take pictures on your phone’s camera at 10:30 at night.  Learn from me.  Take normal pictures at normal times with normal light, okay?  Thank you.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the animal print is green, teal, orange, brown and yellow on a cream background and the flannel stripe is in the same colors plus a dark navy (which I chose to accentuate with the aforementioned disaster of a decorative stitch).

That pretty much concludes my thoughts on this project.  It was fun, easy, cute (especially if you follow all your sewing machine instructions) and I would definitely keep the pattern/idea on my list to reuse for baby shower gifts, etc.

Did I mention that I was taking pictures of this at 10:30 PM?  I’m not old.  It’s the pregnancy, really.  Anyhow, I need to sign off before my kids wake back up at half past the crack of dawn.

More on our extended weekend later …

Have a great Memorial Day!

PS:  want the blanket pattern?  You’ll find it at Passionate Homemaking – click here.

A Weekend Project

Photo: Passionate Homemaking

Isn’t this beautiful?  I can almost see a little one snuggled into it.  Of course, that could be just me … I seem to have babies on my mind recently.  Not sure why …

I read about this beautiful blanket over at Passionate Homemaking and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.  It looks amazingly simple … the perfect project for somebody like me: the “I-think-I-learned-how-to-sew-a-long-time-ago” seamstress.  Of course, mine won’t be in these rich feminine colors, a moment of silence, please.  …okay, moving on… Mine will also take significantly longer to complete than the couple hours truly needed.  (see also: something about interruptions and small children) 

This will most likely be my Saturday.  What’s on your list today?