Guest Series 2010

September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to welcome Tina Givens to Whipup, Tina has a new book of children’s clothing patterns just released titled Sew Tina! 30 Cute Projects & Adorable Décor Items for Kids and later in the month I will be participating in her blog/author tour which should be a blast! Tina is a multi-talented woman – she not only designs patterns to wear and use and make but designs fabric and stationary too.

Character Blankee

I love illustrating for children, and wanted to create something in fabric—using stitches instead of paper, paint, and ink. I sketched out a few little characters and fell in love with free-motion stitching. The instructions below are for a little blanket, but the same method can easily be adapted for wall art, quilt tops, or a cushion front.

Materials

Templates for the bunny and piggy can be downloaded here.

  • Scrap fabrics for appliqué, enough for character pieces
  • Fusible interfacing, lightweight (enough to attach the character pieces)
  • Craft felt to fit your finished appliqué, about 16 x 20 inches
  • 2 pieces of fabric for blankee top and backing, 18 x 21 inches
  • Cotton batting, 18 x 21 inches
  • Fabric to make binding, enough for a strip that is 2 x 85 inches
  • Tina’s Tip: When making the binding strip, consider whether you want to miter the corners or not. If mitering, cut the binding on the bias. Otherwise, binding cut along the grainline will work just fine.

  • Tools: Basic Sewing Kit + Free-motion presser foot
  • Seam allowance is 1/2 inch unless otherwise noted
  • Before You Start Here are some material suggestions:

    Scraps—For the characters faces, use something that is a light-colored solid or with a minimal pattern design. Otherwise, the facial features will be lost. Consider mixing up your scraps so different fabrics will be next to each other.

    Background fabric—It’s best to use 100 percent cotton (light to medium weight), and to select this fabric after you have determined your scrap selections. Choose something that will make your appliqué stand out the most. Likewise, the felt border around the character will help create a distinct outline, so choose the color accordingly.

    Thread—Regular all-purpose thread is fine, or you could use a machine embroidery thread. I love using a chocolate brown color, because it makes the stitching look like it was done with an ink pen.

    Cutting and Preparation
    1. Download the templates found in the materials section and enlarge the template of your choice to your desired size.

    2. Fuse interfacing onto the wrong side of your selected scraps prior to cutting out any pattern pieces.

    3. Place the tracing paper on top of the character you wish to appliqué, and trace each individual part that will be cut from a different fabric, separating them out. For the Flying Pig, for instance, trace the beanie hat as a piece, his face as another piece, then the goggles, and so on. (I cut out his nose in the same fabric, for added dimension.)

    4. Cut out the individual pattern pieces, and pin them onto the interfaced scraps. Cut out each shape in fabric.

    5. Place each piece directly onto the felt, following the template. Pin each piece down securely. Don’t worry if you can see the interfacing peeking from under the cut appliqué edges—it will soon be hidden by the stitching.

    Tina’s Tip: When I do sketch (free-motion) stitching, I begin with larger or base pieces, like the pig’s face and head. I then stitch around the goggles, and save smaller details for last.

    Sewing Instructions
    6. Start stitching the pieces in place, one by one. When you are ready for smaller stitched details, like eyes and teeth (for the bunny), use a pencil or disappearing fabric marker to draw them as shown on the pattern, then stitch. Eyes are simple, just make a little circle and fill it in by stitching around and around. When you clip the ends, you can leave a 1/4-inch thread tail, which look like eyelashes. Once you have finished stitching all parts and pieces onto your felt base, press everything flat.

    7. Cut the felt around your character, about 1/4 inch from all stitching and fabric edges. This will create an outline of solid felt, which is a vital component of this busy appliqué. It serves as a separator of color and pattern, and creates a three-dimensional effect for your little character.

    8. Pin the character appliqué, felt side down, front and center on the right side of your blankee top. Again, use sketch stitching around the edges of your character, along the previously sewn lines. For any extra little details, such as the propeller motion lines, stitch directly onto the background fabric.

    9. To assemble the blankee layers: Lay the backing fabric right side down, lay the cotton batting on top, and finish with the appliquéd front, right side up. Pin around all edges and through all layers. Baste close to the raw edge on all sides.

    10. Make your own double-fold bias tape and bind the edges of the blankee.

    { 2 comments }

    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to introduce you to Sachiko from Tea Rose Home, a beautiful blog filled with home life and crafty tutorials – lots of clever refashioning going on there – I particularly love her ruffly t-shirt refashions – here, here and here.

    Hi my name is Sachiko and I have a cozy place called Tea Rose Home in blogland. In my blog I share some ideas, projects, tutorials, weekly link parties and sometimes really nice giveaways too! Please come visit and say hi!

    One day I was going through the boys’ closet (I bet I am not the only one that has done this before school started). I needed to know what still works and what doesn’t. I found a shirt that my second son wore only a couple of times, and it was still in very good condition, but the sleeves are too short for him. It was a very a basic long sleeve round neck t-shirt that you can find everywhere.

    I decided to convert it into a dress my daughter.

    First I turned it into a short sleeve top. Then, I pulled out gauze fabric from my stash to make a skirt, so I could attach it to the t-shirt. I also made ruffles around the neck. I finished up the dress with yo-yo’s and some beads to give it a custom made look. I refashioned another little girls tunic dress over here – with step by step instructions.

    The yo-yo’s I made with leftover bits from the t-shirt and the skirt gauze (see my tutorial for making yo-yos here), I wasn’t sure about the slightly different shades of blue, wasn’t sure if it would work, but in the end I think it added extra interest when I put it all together.

    My little girl loved her hand-me-down/new dress from her brother (that just sounds wrong…). Even though the dress is with short sleeves with a light weight skirt, I think she can enjoy it during the fall with a cardigan and tights. Don’t you think so?

    { 5 comments }

    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to welcome Sooz to Whipup. Sooz blogs about crafting and the rest of life. She’s been sewing and knitting for more years than she’s inclined to count and devotes whatever time is left after the demands of family life and the day job to teaching, designing and infecting as many people as possible with the making virus. She lives in Melbourne with her smalls, her bloke and the stash.

    I’ve never been big on taking pledges – I figure if something’s a good idea I’ll do it and if it isn’t I won’t and any promises I make to myself or others can’t compete with good sense. But I also like a challenge and sometimes a little framework helps me wring a bit more out of the experience. So when I was contemplating new year’s resolutions last year I decided to formalise the drift that had already started on its own and opt out of consuming from the commercial garment business.

    When I started thinking about how feasible it would be to stop buying clothes altogether for myself I realised I couldn’t remember the last thing I had bought. I started making my own clothes as a teenager and by the time I hit my mid twenties I was making most of them, but the advent of kids had put a spanner in the works and it had taken quite a few years to get back into the swing of it. It wasn’t until I was seriously contemplating a total ban that I realised how close I already was. And like the proverbial domino effect it was too obvious that if I was banning buying for me I should ban buying for the kids too, and a fair portion of what the man needed too.

    My reasons for going homemade are many and too complex to really detail here – they cover a determination to make my creativity practical and useful, concerns about waste, consumption and exploitation, a dislike of shopping and corporate markets, a rejection of a conformity culture, a dissatisfaction with how well the market caters to my needs and body, a financial reckoning, a love of making, a sense of satisfaction and pride in wearing things I have made myself – basically they boil down to doing the ‘right’ thing and doing what ‘feels’ good.

    Lots of the individual issues are open to debate and that’s partly why I decided I wanted to test myself with a total ban. I wanted to track my costs and time and pay attention to whether I was feeling like I was sacrificing or missing out or labouring under a burden. But I was surprised to find I felt a tremendous flood of relief. It was like the decision not to buy flicked a switch in my head and the whole fashion industry got tuned out. I stopped looking at clothing shops, I stopped looking at catalogues and web sites and stopped asking people where they bought stuff. I stopped fantasising about flash clothes I couldn’t afford, stopped wishing I could find the perfect top/skirt/jacket/etc, gave up buyer’s remorse, shopping anxiety and the hideous indecision of compromise.

    It’s true I did think more about sewing and fabric and patterns and knitting and yarn, and for a period of time I did more stash enhancing than normal, but the output well compensated. I also started thinking more economically too, buying remnants opportunistically rather than buying off the roll, making kids clothes from offcuts from adult clothes and thinking about ‘wardrobes’ rather than one off garments. The money I once spent on a seemingly endless stream of cheap, short lived and often unsatisfactory clothes and a few better quality mid priced items was now spent on good quality fabrics and turned into long lasting, well fitting and deliberately chosen clothes. The time I once spent schlepping around department stores and shopping malls looking for PJs, jeans and Tshirts, trying on endless not quite right garments was now spent planning out a winter’s worth of clothes, choosing a stack of fabrics and patterns from the stash and sewing and altering.

    In all honesty I can say I have never received more compliments on my clothes than I do now and I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable in how I dress. And before anyone jumps to conclusions about my superior sewing and knitting skills and fancy clothes I’d say it’s often the simplest of things rather than the few more complex garments I make that get all the praise. Clothing a family in the time left after regular life and work takes the lion’s share means that now more than ever I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule, keeping it simple and near enough is usually good enough.

    I’ve always encouraged other people to sew for themselves. Start small and simple. Sew for your kids, make a skirt. Sew Pjs, stick armholes in a piece of fabric and call it a wrap. But I have new conviction these days because the more I do this, the easier it gets. I’m never ashamed to say it’s homemade, I never worry that someone thinks it’s homemade because it’s overwhelmingly my experience that people are not just impressed but genuinely engaged by the notion of opting out. Whether it’s a fellow commuter who remarks on my knitting, a colleague in my CBD highrise office who asks where I bought something or another mum at school who asks if I made something one of my kids is wearing, the conversation that follows never gets old.

    If you are over here on Whipup the chances are good that you are crafty and you get the whole making stuff deal, but I know lots of you still draw the line at garment making. I’m not sure why. People who will happily quilt with astonishing skill and flair, who can create toys with personality or embroider for hours will still claim clothes are beyond them, and those just starting out being crafty will opt for a whole raft of things before they think of clothing themselves. But I hope I inspire a few of you to at least think about it. There’s no better showcase for your crafting mojo.

    { 12 comments }

    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to introduce one of the girls from the blog HowDoesShe?, there are three talented and creative women and mothers who collaborate on this blog to bring beautifully photographed and styled projects and ideas that focus on running a house and family. Shelley is a mother of three (including twin baby girls) and an interior designer, Missy is a mother of four, has an a degree in English and loves taking photos and Alison, also a mother of four, is a craft and business savvy lady, together they help the modern woman juggle the stresses of house, husband, kids, career while still staying true to yourself.

    Today Shelly, is showing us some of her party planning skills – with a party she threw for her twin daughters recently.

    My twin baby girls turned one {whimper, whimper}. Really. Why must they grow?! In celebration of this event, I have been party planning like crazy. I worked hard on the details and I just had to share these fun ruffled party streamers with you all {easy}.

    Simply grab two rolls of crepe paper streamers and lay one on top of the other. Sew them down the center, pushing gently so they bunch.

    This turns ordinary streamers into something special. So now that you’ve seen the sewing, can you see how I have used them? – look at that first photo – those Ruffled Party Streamers are behind The Sweets Table!

    We are so grateful to be posting on whip up today and want to let them know how much we enjoy their blogging friendship!
    Thank you!

    { 1 comment }

    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to introduce you to Holly Keller of Beeper Bébé, a fresh, family loving, unpretentious blog full of recipes and making stuff and full of the joy of living life. You can read a little more about her here.

    Outfitted with sketchy knowledge of toy design at best and a hand-me-down sewing machine, I began designing plushies back in 2005. Today, I design all manner of toys and other things, usually incorporating secondhand or recycled stuff, and love to share tutorials on my blog. I have one gorgeously energetic 6-year-old boy who is a continual inspiration (and disruption) to my design endeavors. I live in Minneapolis. Future goals of mine include moving to France with my family, becoming a cowgirl, finishing that novel I started writing 15 years ago, learning to do shashiko, redesigning Little People for Fisher Price so that can be as cool again as they once were, and drinking scotch on my back step—not necessarily in that order though. You can visit my blog and buy my plushies and other stuff at my etsy store.

    Library Book Tote Tutorial and pattern

    Why hello there. It’s me. Holly, from Chez Beeper Bebe. I am so happy to be here with all of you. Mostly because I heart Whip Up and being a special guest is pretty rad. When Kathreen invited me over to be a guest and asked what I thought I would like to blog about, well, I pretty much immediately knew I wanted to share some sort of tutorial with all of you—because that’s what I do. I like to make stuff—mostly toys and plushies, mostly from recycled materials—but other stuff too when the mood strikes. And second only to designing stuff, I like to share those designs with other people so they can join in on the fun and make their own too. Which brings me back to Whip Up—because this blog is all about making stuff and sharing designs so others can make them too. And I admit, when I am not designing my own, I am probably making something of somebody else’s design, probably discovered right here. I make yours and you make mine and we are all together…or something like that?

    Okay, but let’s get down to what it is I have for you here. It’s a tote bag—not that making a tote bag in and of itself if rocket science. While this tote was inspired by my boy (some of you may know him as Beeper), it is not only good for kids—it can be made for and used by big people like you too. Really.

    Here’s a little bit about the inspiration behind the bag. First off, personally, I love tote bags and sort of buy them obsessively. I think you can never have too many tote bags (or pajama pants for that matter). As I write this, I am yearning to buy one of Emily’s new dancing bear tote bags—or to make several of these brilliant tote-like bags for use around our house from JCasa*Handmade.

    Then there is the inspiration my son gave me—simply because he loveslovesloves the library and books and we visit almost weekly—so in designing this bag, I made it extra roomy so it can tote around a good sized lot of books. Also ever since he got his very own library card this summer, we are always having to hunt down where it is and who had it last—so you will see a little pocket prominently placed on the front of the bag, perfectly sized for a library card (no more search for the library card now because we always know where it is now). Also, the word on the front of the tote—BOOKS—well, it is rainbow hued because Beeper loves everything colorful and uses every crayon in his box when coloring a picture like his life depends on it.

    And here is a 6 page downloadable pdf tutorial with templates for you on how to make my Library Book Tote.

    It’s not so hard at all. Personally, I am already finding the tote handy to hang from a doorknob as a place to collect library books that need to be returned soon. I hope you enjoy the tutorial and make one for a kiddie you know, or just for yourself. Happy book toting and library visiting.

    { 18 comments }