PJ’s to Party in!

My sewing studio time did not turn out as I had planned for today. Sometimes though, that is not a bad thing. I began my day with a list of business-y things I needed to finish. Nothing with urgent deadlines (that was last week, oi vey!) so I knew I had a little time to goof off a bit. I ended up with adorable matching pj’s for littlest K and myself!

I started my day by making a prezzie for a friend. I can’t share it with you, since I haven’t given it to her yet. Then I decided to make myself a pair of jammie bottoms. I found some cute fabric I at JoAnn’s yesterday while getting the stuff for the other thing I mentioned.

I was invited to a grown-up pajama party this coming Saturday. I had hosted my own pajama party this past weekend so all my friend’s have seen my other jammie bottoms. Adult pajama parties are all the rage these days. What’s not to love? Show up in pj’s, eat junk food, make fun of silly 80′s movies, and drink cute wine. No pressure to put on make up, or wear uncomfortable clothes. And the best part….you are already ready for bed when you get home (or when everyone leaves, if it’s your house).

I had a great time at my party last weekend:
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My bestie and I enjoying girly champagne!

I even allowed the hubby to stay for the party, and let him invite a friend!
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I made these pajamas for him a million years ago when we were just married.

So back to today’s sewing project. Mommy and daughter pj’s.
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Littlest K came into my studio as I was sewing my pants and saw this fabric. She instantly thought I was making something for her and got so excited. I hated to tell her that they were in fact for me. I lucked out in that I had just enough fabric to squeeze out a pair of shorts for her with the ends of what I had cut mine from. We won’t talk about the fact that the fabric I bought for the adult pajama party I’m going to looks like it should have been for a six year old’s pajamas.

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I prefer my pajama pants to be more of a cropped length. I wanted to add a little pizzazz to them so I made cuffs from a coordinating fabric. I would have loved to add something sparkly, but thought that I’d actually want to sleep in these pants too, so opted for just that cuff.

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You can barely see it in this picture, but I added little bows to the cuffs of Little K’s pants. That was all her idea, people. As she was trying them on for fit, she said, “Wouldn’t they be so cute with bows at the cuffs?” Who am I to argue? This girl is a fashionista! I wanted to add them to my pants as well, but the ribbon I had did not match the t-shirt I already had to match the fabric. C’est la vie.

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And finally, the piece de resistance, I appliqued the little foxes to a plain t-shirt that little K already had. She and I are both ready for Spirit week at school in a few weeks. Of course it the meantime, I’ll be reliving my glory days at a pajama party at my friend’s house next weekend.

And now back to my regularly scheduled sewing. I’m working on an exciting custom project for a friend of mine. I’m just a few hours away from completion. I put pictures up on my business facebook page, but I will blog about it here when I’m all done.

Drawstring Project Bag Tutorial

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I’ve decided to share my secrets with you guys. Actually, I’m sure there are other tutes on the web that are similar to this one, but I’m trying to branch out a bit.

I’ve decided to write up a tutorial for my Drawstring Project Bag. This is a great bag, fully lined with a little interior pocket. I’ve been making these bags for years to hold knitting or crochet projects, as gift bags, as toy bags for kids stuff, and I’ve even used them to hold electronics chargers and cords, etc. in my suitcase. The finished bag measures 12 inches wide by 10 inches tall. It has a flat square bottom measuring 5.5 inches.

And the best part: they are super easy to make. And quick (after you’ve made a few hundred).

First gather your supplies:
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Fabric and supplies:
Main fabric: 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall (cut two)
Coordinating: 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall (cut two)
Pocket (Main fabric): 5.5 tall by 12 inches wide (cut one)
Handle (coordinating fabric): 2.25 inches by 13 inches (cut two)
Drawstring Casing (coordinating fabric): 1.25 inches by 12
Silky cord: 28 inches (cut two)
Interfacing: 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches (Cut two)
All the other usual stuff: Sewing machine, iron, thread, scissors, ruler, pins. If you happen to have bias tape makers and a cord threader thingy….great, but you can use the safety pin method as well.

Construct the parts of the bag:
Once you have all your pieces cut, start at the ironing board with the casing (2) and handle (2) pieces. Fold the long edges (wrong sides together) about 1/4 inch. Or use a bias tape maker for 1 inch and 2 inch.
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Handle:
Next you are going to sew the two handle pieces together (wrong sides together) using a narrow top stitch along each long edge (that was previously folded over and ironed). Set aside for later.

Casing:
On the short end of each of the casing pieces, fold it under about 1/4 inch and top stitch.
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Inside pocket:
With the 5.5 X 12 piece, fold it in half right sides together, wrong side out, matching short ends. Sew along the three raw edges using a 3/8 seam allowance, leaving a 1.5-2 inch opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press seams, folding opening under even. You will close this opening when you sew it on to the bag lining.
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Now you have a finished handle, pocket and casings ready to be sewn on to the bag panels.
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Preparing the bag:
Pin one casing piece 1.5 inches from top of the 13 inch side of the main fabric. Centered.
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Topstitch very close to each long edge, leaving the short ends open, making a place to slide the drawstring. Repeat for second side.

On one of the main panels, you will attach the handle. Fold the handle in half, matching raw edges. Pin it to one side of the main fabric piece, one inch under the casing you just sewed. Baste in place.
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Next, pin the second main fabric piece to this piece, right sides together. Sew along both sides (14 inch sides) and bottom (13 inch side, opposite the casings you just made) with a 3/8 seam allowance, leaving the top open. Be careful not to sew the ends of the casing closed.
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Set aside.

Now you will work with the lining pieces. Pin the pocket to one lining panel (right side up), two inches from top (on the 13 inch side), centered. Make sure your open spot from turning the pocket is on a side or bottom so it will be sewn shut when you attach the pocket to the bag.
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Topstitch close to pocket edge along sides and bottom, leaving the top open to make the pocket.
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Pin second lining piece on top, right sides together, sew along sides and bottom with a 3/8 seam allowance.

Now you have an inner and an outer bag.
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Boxing the Corners:
You will want to box the corners in order for the bag bottom to be flat.
First take the lining piece still inside out and match the side seams together:
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Next, flatten the corners down, forming a sort of diamond shape with bottom of the bag. Matching the bottom seam with the side seam.
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Draw a line 6 inches from the point of each corner:
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and pin for sewing. You will sew on the line you drew.
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Repeat for the second corner, then again for both sides of the outer/main fabric
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Sew all four corners on the line you drew. Move to the ironing board. Fold the corners on the seam you just made, toward the center and press flat with the iron.
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For both sides:
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Then imagine a square with in that space, this is where you will center one piece of interfacing. Iron interfacing according to directions:
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Repeat all this for the main/outer fabric.
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ALMOST THERE!!!

Complete the bag:
Turn the lining piece right side out and place inside the main fabric piece matching side seams. Right sides together. Pin raw edges together.
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Sew around the top edge of the bag with a 3/8 inch seam allowance, leaving a 1.5/2 inch opening for turning. Turn right side out through the opening. Tuck lining inside to form the bag.
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Press the seam flat, tucking the opening inside. Pin the opening closed for sewing.
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Topstitch along the whole edge, closing the turning hole in the process.

Attach the drawstring:
Use whatever method you have available to thread the drawstring through the casing you made. I love my little “magic wand” tool (Dritz Drawstring threader). Thread one piece of silky cord through one side casing, then continue to the next. Tie the ends together.
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Thread the other silky cord through the casing, beginning on the opposite side this time. You will be able to grasp both knots and pull to close the bag.
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Ta Da!!!!

Please let me know if you have any questions with this tutorial. I’d love to know if you make your own bag. I want to see pictures!

Pattern Review – Noodlehead

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a great sewing pattern designer. I’ve been following her blog ever since, almost to the point of stalker status. #notreally. I’ve accumulated quite a few of her patterns by this point. With each one I purchased, I was not disappointed. I have been having a blast learning a few new techniques, and mastering some others. Each one of the patterns I have attempted have really just clicked for me. It’s like she wrote them just for me! Who is this amazing sewing pattern guru, you ask?

Her name is Anna and her blog is Noodlehead. I think she’s a sewing superhero!

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Purchasing her patterns is very convenient. Once you purchase, it is automatically sent to your email. Which for me is great in that, if I lose the pattern once I’ve printed it out, I can just download it again from my gmail account. Of course the patterns themselves are packed with clear photos and well written instructions.

Shall I begin my Noodlehead project show-n-tell now?

The first pattern I made was the Super Tote pattern. It is the pattern that brought me to the website. I found it on Pinterest, and the rest is history! I was looking to make a larger knitting bag. One that would carry a project, and then extras. Big enough for a second small project, or a few things from my purse that I’d need for social knitting. This bag is perfect for that application.
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It is so professional looking. The way it is put together, makes it really easy to look nice and neat.
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It has four interior pockets with a little bit of elastic to keep things tidy.

I made a second bag from this pattern for a friend who wanted to carry her MacBook Air. I altered one of the inside pockets and added some extra padding. Actually, with an IT Husband, I added a lot of padding.
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Unfortunately, I did not get a good picture of the over ONE POINT FIVE inch thick padding I added to the bottom or the nicely padded pocket I made inside. I basically omitted one side of the little elastic’d pockets and made one that was the width of the bag and added some nice thick batting and interfacing to surround the laptop. Maybe when she gets it in the mail, she’ll send a decent picture of the inside and I can edit this post! ;)

Next I made a couple Snappy Manicure Wallets
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And again, I had to alter it a bit to fit my own needs. Her patterns are so well written, it makes it very easy to personalize them. Although, they are just right as written. I’m into using Jamberry Nail Wraps right now. The wallet was a perfect way to store the wraps and accessories.
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I added some elastic for the file, and adjusted the widths of the polish bottle pockets. I only need the two bottles, one of cuticle oil and a clear top coat. With the other pockets, I made them narrower to fit a pair of scissors for cutting the wraps to size and a pair of clippers.

Then my Jamberry obsession grew. I had to make a Divided Basket for storing the nail wrap heater, nail polish remover, alcohol wipes, and more wraps. My catalogue is also handy in the basket, in case I have the urge to order more! This basket sits right next to my “tv spot” and everything is at hand.

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I used one of her free tutorials to make the kids some travel toothbrush holders for their trip to Gram’s house.
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I’ve previously blogged about them here. They did finally get to use them, a week later than planned. They had lots of fun at Grams house with their cousins.
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I had a customer with very specific ideas for a bag she wanted made, and asked me if I could do it for her. Would you believe that my new favorite designer, had *almost* what she wanted in her pattern shop?
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The Side Kick Tote had all the parts requested. An adjustable strap, inside pockets, cross body style. The only missing part was a flap. A flap was easy to add to this pattern.
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I just traced the bag pattern making it a tad smaller and was able to make a flap. I added yet another pocket, because pocketsez!

Then a friend saw it and wanted one of her own….so I made another. With another flap!
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It’s quite roomy inside.
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I used her free Cargo Duffle pattern to make a duffle bag for my big girl who is about to fly the nest and begin her life. The bag will be just the right size to pack some clothes for a weekend visit to her dear ole’ mom.
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I added a lining from a tutorial I found (again on Pinterest), and some interior pockets to keep the shoes separate from the clothes! I widened it and lengthened the handles.
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Add a little bit of whimsy, because Paris is always a good idea.
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AND Finally…… Envelope Clutch
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This is the cutest little bag ever! The perfect size for a night out. Holds my phone, a few cards, some lip gloss and my hand sanitizer (yes, I’m THAT person *cough*OCD*cough*). This pattern helped me understand using piping a bit better, and was also why I was able to add the flaps to the Sidekick Totes much easier.
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I made this one with a little wrist strap. This pattern also comes in a larger size and you can add a shoulder strap instead of the wrist one. I have it in my plans to make soon!
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I also made the Road Trip Case pattern for Littlest K. I have plans to make one for Middle K as well, and they will get their own blog post. (which is code for I don’t have any good pictures of it, yet). This pattern taught me a lot about binding. I think Middle K’s will come out a bit better, now that I have the hang of it.

Yes, all these patterns were designed by one person. I’m so impressed and grateful that she as taken the time to write up the patterns and tutorials. She has inspired my budding pattern/tutorial writing aspirations. Stay tuned for another Noodlehead pattern review. I have plans to make them all!

Weekend Sewing

I sewed a few things for the kids this weekend. Last time I was at the fabric store, the kids were with me and of course, being my kids, they wanted fabric. I let them pick out some. Littlest K picked out the fox fabric from this previously blogged about top. Middle K, still in his wolf/dog stage, picked out some cute paw print fabric and requested a pillow case. That’s the deal, if I let them choose the fabric, they have to have something in mind to have made. We can’t have them buying fabric all willy nilly and stuff, that’s how you end up with stash problems. Oh wait.

I mentioned when I made Little K’s Shandiin Tank, that I bought some Star Wars fabric as well. She needed a nerdy but oh so cool top, and I had fallen in love with the one Sew Chibi made.

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I think she had fun with our little photo shoot. PROPS! Props make all the difference.
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I changed the pattern a bit and used a solid bottom with a buttoned top bodice. I actually used the back piece, but didn’t do the cut out part. I did not want to do all those button holes again. I really, really like how the two-toned front came out!
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And of course, the back. Just as adorable this time as it was the first time I made this pattern. Don’t you just adore little K’s teeny little moley peeking out?
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Middle K’s Pillow case. A super easy pattern, I learned from his sewing teacher in first grade.
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There are no exposed seams! I’ve assisted in many kids sewing these, but I hadn’t sewn one myself. I really love how it looks so nice, even though a first grader could have sewn it. In class, they appliqued their name on the wide band. I am planning on making a few more of these when we redecorate the kids’ bedrooms in the fall. I might do something fun with the band.
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I think he approves.

Finally, I made these little toothbrush cases for our trip to Gram’s trip postponed due to illness.
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They will get use, just a week or so later than planned.

I found the pattern on one of my favorite pattern designer/blogger’s website. Noodlehead has the most amazing things. Her patterns are easy to follow. I love her use of fabrics.
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I still have so many things on my summer sewing list! Good thing it’s only week two.