craft room re-org

Happy Saturday people. How are your Saturdays? Mine are a little stressful honestly. I am a “it’s the weekend let’s get things done” person and the rest of my Langs are “it’s the weekend what’s the least productive thing I can do” people. Hm. Sigh. Eyeroll. I shall ignore them and persist with my list. First thing up, a little bit more craft room reorganization. I’ve decided to tackle one area at a time. It’s sorta working. I still hit a wall when I have to decide do I save those supplies for when/if I ever need them or do I clear it out.

I had success this week clearing out my fabric shelves. Now I’ve done this a gazillion times before but this time I had one question in mind… would I make something with this today? Normally I keep everything out in case I’ll need it for a pillow project or a quilt or gosh knows what honestly at this point. I’m not sewing clothes for me or the kids. All of my fabric is 1/2″ yd or smaller pieces so it isn’t going to work for quilting. It’s really all for doll clothes and pincushions and project bags – small projects. So I put everything I wouldn’t sew with right now into bins and put them in the basement. I love organizing things, clears up the clutter in my brain and helps so much when I’m trying to make creative decisions. Do I want to use this mod vintage repro print I bought in 2005? Nope, I’m not into that right now, bin. Then I don’t have to discount it when I’m pulling fabrics. Also I binned almost everything large scale. So much stuff left over from when I would sew for Oscar and Phoebe, novelty prints, big colorful vintage stuff. Not what I’m using now, so, bin.

I really really want to buy a ton of new fabric. My dream would be to overhaul everything. Switch out everything I have for something new. Which obviously I can’t do so instead most of my new fabric comes from the thrift store. Won’t these two make such cute doll clothes!

Project Bags for Cross Stitch

Filed under things I didn’t know I needed but are absolutely essential: project bags for cross stitch. I have, for years, had one small tote bag with all my cross stitch stuff in it – a few patterns, small hoops and some pieces of linen. Recently Phoebe and I both got started on projects and it became clear we outgrew sharing the one cross stitch bag, so project bags! Project bags seem like they can get pretty fancy with handles and quilted backs but I just took the key parts, zippers and a vinyl front. Mine are super basic but for me, keeping them simple makes them fun to make and I can whip them out for each new project. And they are doing the trick! I love how tidy and organized it is to have everything in one place.

Here’s how I made mine. Supplies: to keep them sturdy and not floppy I use stiff interfacing (Peltex 70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer, or whatever they have at the fabric store that seems like stiff craft felt), vinyl which is sold by the yard on a roll over with the home decorating fabrics, fabric for the binding (or you could use premade binding), fabric for the back and the front (I used canvas fabric to make it more heavy duty and a zipper (this one is a 12″ and I used 14″ on the other bags I made). Your bag needs to be wide enough to fit your printed pattern in, so making it at least letter size is a safe bet. This project bag is 12.5″ wide by 10.5″ tall.

Cut the interfacing and the two prints to the full size, 12.5″ wide by 10.5″ tall. Cut another piece of the front fabric to be above the zipper the same width 12.5″ and then however tall you want it, mine is about 3″. Cut the vinyl to same width and then whatever height is left so I cut mine 12.5″ wide by 8″ leaving extra height that will be trimmed off when I sandwich it all up.

Pink one edge of the top piece press under 1/4″ seam and then sew down on top edge of zipper.

And sew the vinyl to the bottom edge of the zipper. I just lay the zipper over the vinyl and sew it in place. So on my front the bottom edge of the zipper fabric is just laying there exposed. This doesn’t bother me but if you’d like to add another strip of fabric to the bottom of the zipper and then sew the vinyl to that fabric you’ll have a more finished look.

Here are the pieces all sandwiched: orange lamb fabric is on the bottom, right side facing down, then the interfacing, then the full sized bee fabric piece with right side facing up, then the top piece with the vinyl and the zipper. I pin it all together and trim the zipper edges and any overlapping vinyl.

Finally, sew your binding around the edges. Which can be tricky to do. The bit in this photo I actually tore out and redid after it was all done because it was bugging me that it shifted. I always hand sewn my binding on quilts because I hate the shifting. It’s real hard to hand sew binding through this interfacing and we want it to be quick and fun so I just do it with the machine and honestly I don’t notice the flubs when I’m using it, only in the photos.😝

Inside the project bag I like to put a little design board to catch the cut floss pieces I’m working with. This is another thing I discovered on flosstube. So design boards are used for holding quilt pieces while you work on designing and they’re being repurposed here. Here’s a tutorial with Lori Holt that I watched on how to make them. For mine I just wanted a tiny one to fit in my bag. I used 5″ x 5″ pieces of the heavy duty interfacing and cotton batting and then a larger 6″ x 6″ piece of fabric. Instead of separate binding to finish it, I folded under the edges all around and then over on top of the batting and sewed it down. The batting is on top and the pieces of floss stick to it.

And then that’s it. You put your linen, your pattern, floss, needle, floss minder in there and you’re all set to get stitching. I can see how this may lead to addictive overbuying of patterns for me. Right now we have 3 bags. Phoebe is working on a Gera design, I am working on this cute cute cute bee design 🐝and then I’m also starting on my redesign of the Storybook Girls pattern. And I have the materials coming for a design I’m going to make for my mom. It seems from watching floss tube that what the cross stitchers do is have a bunch of projects going at once so they can keep things fresh, not get too bogged down on one project, move on and keep the interest going. Not a bad idea! And of course if it leads to more planning and making, that’s a bonus. Craft prep can be as much fun as the making.

Some links: Here’s is the Fat Quarter Shop flosstube and the Real Housewives of Stitching flosstube and there are a bazillion more, just type flosstube into youtube and off you’ll go.

a new year

Back to work! The kids went back to work on Monday which was also my birthday and that was a great present, just getting back to a normal routine and starting to dig into some new projects. I spent the first half of the day writing out a bunch of ideas and plans in my bullet journal (I’m using that term very loosely – more just like a book of lists)

So the first thing on my list for 2020 is to do a stop motion video of a bunch of Make-along dolls and outfits. So I’ve been trying to finish up a few dolls and outfits and I’m almost ready to go. I made the top above from the “Spring it On” pattern. I need to make the jacket to go with it. I need an outfit for the fellow below and I made a “Holiday Sparkle” dress for blondie (below). Her hair is Cascade 128 Superwash yarn in lemon and I’m loving this yarn for doll hair, so soft! People on IG were asking me about the felted kitty that I’m using as a pincushion. She’s from a Japanese felt kit. I have another two Make-Along dolls ready for hair and face and outfits and I’ll be ready to go. Then I just need to figure out how to do a stop motion video! 😂 I know how to take photos but I’m not sure how to string it together.

I made this little guy below from my favorite brown linen that I get at Joanns and some fuzzy soft alpaca boucle yarn (Drops Alpaca). I need to make a few more boy dolls so that I can get pictures out there to show the Make-Along Sewing pattern can be used for boy and girl dolls.

The other project that I started over Christmas and am working on in the background is reviving some of my cross stitch patterns. I really like my patterns that I have in the shop, the little sets of girls, but they’re very basic so I’m redesigning them to go into larger scenes. I’m very excited about this project. I’m working on a cuckoo clock design for the Storybook girls and then I’m going to do a barn for the Farm Folk girls. I made a Christmas cross stitch for my mom for Christmas and that really sent me down the rabbit hole of cross stitch. And then my friends told me about floss tube and oh dear. I will have lots to say on that soon (with lots of links to share!). I’m happy to be spending time over there. It’s just a really calming creative space to be living in and I’m really enjoying it right now.

Here are some of the supplies I’ve got going for the cuckoo clock design.

One thing that I’ve been wanting to do and working towards since the kids went back in the school in September was to get my blog updated and running well so that I can use it again. I’m not gonna say that I don’t like Instagram but I kind of don’t love it. And I miss having a community and talking to people and having a space that is mine not owned by Mark Zuckerberg. So I’m going to try to do more blogging. And I’m hoping that by being in this space that I can drag people over here with me and we can hang out.

Pincushion Girl

New to the shop this week is the pattern for a girl you’ve probably seen around in a lot of my photos over the year. My trusty sidekick, Pincushion Girl. She’s hand sewn from wool felt and is super fun to make. You can embellish her so many different ways, with or without bun or embroidery on the skirt or even a little collar.

Stuck full of pins or just sitting around looking cute, Pincushion Girl is a fun, quick hand sewing project that makes a great gift. Share your creations with the tag #pincushiongirl to see what everyone comes up with. Here’s a fun addition, sew a tiny magnet into your bow for a needleminder.

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Phoebe and I got a little crazy for Christmas this weekend. We got out the hot glue gun, the “Christmas Craft” bin (which I’ve been steadily transferring over the years from school party supplies to craft store bops and vintage fripperies), some glitter, and went to town.

Here is vintage santa head on a ornament ball riding an ice spear and holding a candy cane.

vintage cotton spun and pipe cleaner elf with a flocked tree on a peppermint sphere.

This guy I really love. He was a little cotton spun head on a flat wood stick. I gave him a twill ribbon hat a beard made from wool yarn wrapped around pipe cleaners.

Years ago, the kids and I painted paper pulp ornaments from Paper Source and tucked their favorite tiny toys into them. This one had lost its friend so we gave it a ceramic deer from Phoebe’s room and added some teeny tiny trees that we decorated with sequins.

This is another of the vintage elves from above. This one is riding a pipecone we glittered and hung to the tree with a glittered pick from the craft store.

Another Phoebe masterpiece, vintage snowman elf guy sitting on a glitter snowfake snapped off a craft store pick, with a little deer (from Smile Mercantile) and a tree topped with a mushroom.

wrapped wool ornament

I’m not 100% sure what to call these little christmas fellows. I made them many years ago with unrolled cotton balls standing in for cotton batting. I was surprised they held their shape as long as they did but it’s been long past time to update them.

I redid the first one with wrapped wool roving. I needle felted it just enough to hold in place but I really wanted a smooth wrapped look. I love how it turned out. Time to do the others.

Free Doll Pajamas Pattern for the Make-Along Club

It’s that time of year when getting cozy in a pair of festive pajamas is a top priority. These pajamas are worth the extra effort to get them just right. They would make a perfect holiday present for your Make-Along doll. Made with or without piping they turn out super cute.

Download the pattern pieces here and follow along below for instructions. You will need 26″ x 20″ of cotton fabric, 9″ of 1/8″ elastic, three 3/8″ buttons and either snaps or velcro closures if you don’t want to make buttonholes and an optional 45″ of 1/4″ binding tape to use as piping. If you can find tiny piping that will work too but general piping for adult clothing is too big for these little pjs. Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless noted. Cutting instructions are on the pattern pieces.

First, make the collar. With right sides together sew the two Collar (D) pieces around outer curved edge. If you want piping, pin it to one piece with outer edges matched up. Then pin your other collar piece on top and sew at 1/8″ from edge which will leave half of your 1/4″ wide binding tape showing as piping. Be sure the folded, not open, side of your binding is facing inward when you pin it so that it will side showing when you turn right side out. Turn collar right side out and press flat.

With right sides together, sew the Facing Back (F) to the Facing Front (G) pieces at the shoulders. Press seams open and pink inside edges of the facing.

With right sides together Sew the Top Back (B) to the Top Front (A) pieces at the shoulders. Press seams open.

Pin the collar to the neck edge of the Pajama Top lining up the centers.

If you are doing the version with piping here is where you add it to the front edges. Pin two pieces in place along the Pajama Fronts lining up the edges. Clip the binding tape pieces just as they overlaps the Collar.

Pin Facing to Pajama Top with right sides together, lining up edges and shoulder seams. Sew Facing to Top, if you are not doing piping use a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you are doing piping you’ll want a 1/8″ seam allowance along sides where the binding is and then you can go to a 1/4″ seam allowance along the collar edge. Turn facing to inside and press flat.

Make the cuffs on the Pant (E) legs and Sleeves (C) as follows. First press under 1/4″ to the wrong side and top stitch at 1/8″.

Next, press under 6/8″ to wrong side to make the cuff and then flip your piece over and fold up 1/8″ tucking the binding tape. inside the fold with 1/8″ showing. Topstitch along the edge of the cuff catching the binding tape in the stitches. If you’re not doing piping just top stitch along the folded edge. Repeat for all cuffs.

Pin the Sleeves (C) into the Pajama Top with with right sides together. Sew in place and clip or pink seam allowances. Press seams toward sleeve.

With right sides together, sew Pajama Top front and back together along underarm and side seams. Clip or pink seam allowances and press open.

To finish Pajama Top press under 1/2″ along bottom and topstitch at 1/4″. Sew 3 buttons to the front and either make button holes or sew snaps or velcro closures inside.

To finish the Pajama Pants, with right sides together sew Pants (E) pieces together along front and back center seams as shown. Press seams open.

Next, with right sides together sew pants together along under leg seam as shown. Then make the elastic casing around waist by pressing under 1/2″ and sewing at 1/4″ leaving a 1″ gap for the elastic. Thread elastic through casing, pull as taught as you’d like and clip ends and sew them together. Then sew up the gap and turn right side out.