Saturday, February 27, 2010

Green Army Men Freezer Paper Template

When I made my green army men freezer paper templates to go along with my Army Bunker Tent last week, I also made the boys some T-shirts. Classic! I love how they turned out!

(Oh yeah -- I found my T-shirts -- where else? -- the dollar store, of course! SCORE!)

If you'd like a copy of my templates, find them here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Storage Cube TUTORIAL part one -- Assembly!

I tried to squeeze all my photos and instructions into one post, but since I like to be extremely thorough with my photos and instructions, I think it will be easier to handle if it's split in two!

So, here we go!

Finished storage cube = approx. 6 1/2" inside measurement
Use 1/4" seam allowances throughout

NOTE: I tried to come up with a version that didn't involve binding, since I know that is scary to some people, BUT -- trust me when I say it's actually EASIER to do it with a binding! My non-binding attempt was very tricky to put together, and was a HUGE pain to finish. Don't give up on me, though -- read all the instructions. I really think you can do it!

Here's what you need to cut:

from main fabric:
2 - 7 1/4" squares
1 - 7 1/4" x 20 3/4" rectangle
(NOTE: If your fabric has a definite "right side up" pattern like mine, instead of the rectangle you will cut two more 7 1/4" squares plus another 7 1/4" square that will be the bottom. I used my lining fabric for the bottom of my cube, since it's not going to be seen much anyway! You will then piece these three squares together with 1/4" seam allowances to create a rectangle, with the "top" edges on the ends.)

from lining fabric:
2 - 7 1/4" squares
1 - 7 1/4" x 20 3/4" rectangle
2 - 3" x 7" squares for handles
2 - 2" x 44" strips for binding

stiff inserts:
(I used plastic canvas for my inserts, but you could certainly use cardboard, super stiff interfacing, or whatever else you think might work!)
2 - 6 5/8" squares
4 - 6 5/8" x 3 1/4"

STEP ONE: Create your handles! Lay a rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Turn the two short ends in 3/4" and press. Fold with long edges together, press. Open and press two long edges in to touch center fold, press. Fold center line again, press. You will then topstitch the two long sides.

STEP TWO: Prepare your binding. Fold your fabric strip wrong sides together as shown and press.

Here's what you should have!

STEP TWO: On your main fabric rectangle, mark where your handles will go. I placed the top edge of my handles 2" down from the raw edge, and the sides 1 5/8" from the sides of the rectangle.

STEP THREE: Attach your handles! Start with one end and sew a square with an X in the middle. Repeat on the other end.
(If you wanted to add a clear pocket for a label, you would do it at this point as well. I would recycle a small square of that clear plastic packaging from a sheet set or comforter!. Just sew a little pocket to slip a square of paper or cardstock into!)

STEP FOUR: You now need to create the "pockets" for your stiff inserts. Layer your rectangles wrong sides together. If yours looks like mine, you will be sewing a line directly between your squares. If not, you will mark 7" from either end with a disappearing ink marker and sew on your line. (I pinned mine to prevent shifting.) This line of sewing will prevent your stiff inserts from sliding down into the bottom of your cube.

STEP FIVE: Mark a line down the center of your two squares. Layer each square with a lining square, wrong sides together, and sew along your line. (I pinned again to help prevent shifting.)

STEP SIX: Look at your layered rectangles: There are four spots you need to clip just barely under 1/4", as shown -- at the ends of each line of stitching you sewed in Step Four.

All your prep work is now done -- You're ready to assemble your cube!

STEP SEVEN: Layer one of your squares lining sides together on top of one end of your rectangle. Pin.

Remember to backstitch! Sew, using 1/4" seam allowances, stopping 1/4" before the end of your square. Backstitch. (Yes, I sew right over my pins!)

STEP EIGHT: Rotate your square so that the bottom edge lines up with the edge of your rectangle.

Here is a view of the back, showing why you clipped that seam allowance in Step Six. It's a little bit hard to see, but you have a 1/4" square missing there on the corner.

Be sure to pull the excess fabric out of the way, as shown, so it doesn't end up sewn into your seam. Pin and sew, stopping 1/4" before the end of your square again. Repeat Step Eight for the third side of your square.

You will then repeat Steps Seven and Eight with your other square until you have a floppy little cube! Hooray, you're almost done!

(Find Part Two of this tutorial HERE!)

Storage Cube TUTORIAL, part two -- Binding!

(find Part One of this tutorial HERE!)

The method for binding the raw edges of your storage cube is basically the same as binding a quilt. I've actually tried a couple ways of binding these cubes, and this one seems to work the best.

STEP ONE: Start with a SQUARE side up. Lay your binding along the edge of the square with the raw edges lined up. (I moved mine over so you could see how I layered it.)

STEP TWO: Sew with 1/4" seam allowance, stopping 1/4" before the end of your cube. Backstitch. (Make sure all the excess fabric is out of the way so you don't end up sewing the bottom of your cube into the seam allowance!)

STEP THREE: Rotate your cube one turn counter-clockwise. Pull the excess fabric up and out of the way. Fold your binding upwards so the raw edges of the binding create a straight line with the raw edges of your cube, as shown.

STEP FOUR: You will now fold your binding down, once again lining up the raw edges with your square. (You can't see it yet, but this is creating a fancy-schmancy mitered corner!)

STEP FIVE: Backstitch until you are 1/4" from the edge, then sew forward again 1/4" shy of the next corner. Repeat Steps Three and Four for this corner, then sew all the way to the final edge.

Your cube should look like this!
Now, repeat Steps One through Five on the other side!

STEP SIX: Lay your cube so the binding is behind the raw edge of your cube, as shown. Fold the binding over the raw edge, encasing the raw edges inside. You will now finish attaching your binding!

STEP SEVEN: Sew along the folded edge of your binding. Try to match the seam allowance inside, if possible. When you get to the corner, stop (once AGAIN!) 1/4" from the end.

STEP EIGHT: Fold the bottom edge up, creating a pretty little mitered corner, as shown. I use a pin as a stiletto to guide that little fold into the machine. Once your needle pricks down into the edge of the corner, stop with the needle down and turn your cube. Then continue sewing to the next corner, mitering it the same way.

Repeat Steps Six through Eight for the other side!

STEP NINE: The exciting part! Grab your stack o' inserts and start stuffing them into the "pockets!" If you find that it's too tight a squeeze to get them in there, just trim them down a little.

Your cube is taking shape!! All that's left is binding that top edge!

STEP TEN: The top edge binding is a little bit tricky because your cube is now stiff, making it a little more fiddly to get through your machine. You are actually going to carefully pin the binding to the OUTSIDE edge of your cube, lining up all those raw edges, because you will be sewing it from the inside. On one of your foldy sides, leave your binding dangling in the middle, as shown. Leave a little excess hanging there! :o)

STEP ELEVEN: Starting close to the corner of your "dangly ends" side, SEW! using a 1/4" seam allowance. Look how I had to put my cube around my sewing machine! Ha ha!

STEP TWELVE: Gently pull your cube out flat in front of your machine. Stop near the corner once you get back to your "dangly side."

STEP THIRTEEN: Overlap your two edges and trim so there is 1/2" overlap.

STEP FOURTEEN: You will then pull the two ends away from the cube (it's handy that it folds here!) and face the ends right sides together. Sew them together with 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the seam allowance open with your fingernail, then re-fold your binding. You will then finish attaching the binding at your machine.

The final step is to pull the folded edge of your binding around the raw edges (like you did in Step Six), and finish attaching your binding.

DONE!! Just a bit tricky here and there, but definitely doable -- and trust me, it gets easier as you go along! :o)

I love how they fold up --

-- so nice and flat! I've made about half a dozen of these already, and it gets easier and easier every time. They are addicting to make, and so cute!

You could adapt these instructions to make cubes of other sizes as well. I made this size first because it worked out economically with my plastic canvas, and because it is a perfect fit for eight I-Spy Blocks -- which is what I made my original storage cube for in the first place! :o)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Obsessively Stitching Flickr Group

I've wanted to do a Flickr group for a long time, but -- I admit -- I have been too chicken! I wonder if anyone will ever post any of their photos, and worry I'll feel really dumb when it sits there completely empty... But enough worrying, I am going to do it anyway!! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Click on the icon above if you want to have a look at its vast emptiness! And if by some crazy chance you've actually made something from one of my tutorials? By all means, POST A PHOTO! :o)

(Oh, also -- my own Flickr account is very sadly neglected, so if you do have a look at it, be forewarned!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My New Bag!!

Quick little story on my FABULOUS new bag!!

Way last summer I bought a way-too-big-for-me jacket at KMart (of all places!) for $5. It was a cotton/linen blend, and I was IN LOVE with the print! My plan was to make it into a fabulous new bag for myself. Of course, being me, I have about a gazillion projects going all at once, and it sat in my sewing closet... and sat... and sat.

Fast forward! Through bloggyblogland I "met" THE nicest, most talented sewist! Jen has a blog where she shows off some of her "Before/After" projects. She starts with everything from skirts to place mats and turns them into THE most fabulous bags! Two of my recent favorites are her Brown and Blush bag and her Modern Geometric tote, both made from table runners. Many of her projects end up in her etsy shop, JensBags. Her bags are not exclusively repurposed, either -- she has tons of bags made from fabulous designer fabrics as well!

Anyway, a few weeks ago I pulled out my jacket again and looked at it for a while, feeling lost about how to even start, and then finally had an "AHA!" moment where I realized that JEN was the woman for the job!! Lucky me, she agreed to do it for me, and WOW! Check out the gorgeous results! Her workmanship is meticulous and professional, and she pays attention to every detail. I had a vision of what I wanted, and she was able to make my bag how I pictured -- with a few extra touches she came up with, too! Have a look at her Before/After post about my bag... and look at all the gorgeous bags in her shop! I want this one too!!

YAY! New bag for me, and I love it!!

Today's Dollar Store Crafts Post

It's Tuesday, and normally I have a Dollar Store Crafts post linked back here, to my blog. Not today, folks!

Today's project is by my mom Wendy at Old Days Old Ways. (Yes -- the same Wendy of Doll-Clothes-Out-Of-Underwear fame!!)

Check out today's project here!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Storage Cube!

I found a very small storage cube dealy at a thrift store a couple months ago. It's pretty much too small to be useful, and is not my favorite color, but I bought it anyway -- so I could make my own larger, cuter version, of course!

Here's the one I made:
It isn't perfect, mind you, but I do love it! The fabric is a remnant I got at JoAnns a couple weeks ago for less than a dollar.

I love that it's collapsible, too -- although I'm not sure that's a very useful feature...

...It's fun, though! It folds up nice and flat!

What am I using my new storage cube for? I-Spy Block storage, of course!! Eight blocks fit inside just perfectly!

I could write up some instructions, if anyone's interested. I want to modify my method just a little bit, so I'll be making another one anyway.

Let me know if you want a tutorial!

I-Spy Swap 2.0 Wrapup

Here are the final I-Spy fabrics from Swap 2.0!

from Nikki -- I am in LOVE with those gummy bears and fire hats!

from Christine -- pegasus unicorns! and crabs!

and from me! -- I love the popcorn and pretzels, but I have to admit the TRUCKS are my very favorite!

It's been a very successful swap! I need a little bit of "recovery" time, but I will definitely be hosting another I-Spy fabric swap. I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tent Week, Day Five -- PVC Frame and Mini Tents!

Today I want to give instructions and measurements for making a rooftop frame for a standard 34" square card table. Can't you picture the most ADORABLE little cottage with this roofline? When I make mine, I will include a round window that opens into the "attic" for toys to hide and "play" in!

You will need:

two 10 ft lengths of PVC pipe

4 x 90 elbow
2 x side outlet 90s (mine had one threaded outlet)
2 x adapter from threads to pvc pipe

(This is what my side outlet 90s and adapters look like.)

Cut the following pieces:

4 x 21"
2 x 31"
1 x 29" -- ?
I would cut the final pipe's length a little longer at first. Not all side outlet 90s are the same, so there is potential for this measurement being wrong for your particular fittings.

Now all that's left is fitting your pipes together! The two 31" lengths lay on the table, the four 21" lengths create the gables, and the final length is the roofline. Ta-Da! You're ready to strap the frame to your table and create your tent/house!

Now I have to share a few mini tents -- because at MY house, having ANYTHING in miniature is The Coolest Thing EVER!

Susan made these mini teepees from the top pieces leftover from her teepee tent tutorial.

They are the perfect size for her daughters' princesses -- and her girls are just THRILLED with them!

This is the G.I. Joe tent my brothers used to play with. We had three little dome tents, and this was the smallest. There was a slightly larger tan one for He-Man, and an even bigger red one for my sisters' and my Barbies. These are replacement poles -- swamp cooler tubing. It's not quite stiff enough to do the job. Ideas, anyone? I was thinking maybe glow stick necklaces, but the length is a problem... you can't cut glow sticks down! The original poles were some kind of sturdy plastic that came from a home goods store, but after research we can't figure out what on earth it is!

And finally, this little guy I found at a thrift store. It's about 8" tall, and so stinking cute! I am wondering if a very heavy weedwhacker wire would be stiff enough to duplicate poles for a really small tent like this?

I really hope you've enjoyed Tent Week! It has been tons of fun, and tons of work...

...and I am definitely ready to sew something else now! :o)