Christmas gifts 

I was pretty busy sewing Christmas gifts these past few months. Now I can finally share what I made!

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My older boy got a new flannel button up. The pattern is the Sketchbook shirt by Oliver + S in size 4 sewn out of Kaufman mammoth flannel in color plaid gold. It’s so thick and warm it’s practically a jacket! Perfect for the single digit temperatures we get this time of year.

For my husband’s and my parents I made a set of four mitered-corner watercolor linen dishtowels. Both the free tutorial and the fabric are available at Purl Soho. I’ll be making more of these soon, but for myself!

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For my younger boy, I finally finished his embroidered baby blanket! It took ages. Seriously. He’s not exactly a baby anymore but at least it’s done now!

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The front is linen which is embroidered with an adorable little fox and owl scene. Part of the embroidery is a pattern purchased from MyBearPaw but I did expand upon it a little. For the backing I used a sumptuous thick organic bamboo velour. So cozy!

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Last but not least, my daughter requested this fancy dress up dress as her Christmas gift. I was happy to comply!

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It’s a colonial era gown sewn from Simplicity 3725. I used shimmer fuchsia taffeta, gold satin, and gold floral lace plus a few beautiful handmade buttons off of Etsy. She’s thrilled with it! I’m pretty pleased with it myself 😉

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

I know, I know. It’s been quite a while hasn’t it? It’s amazing how a tiny embryo can sap your will to live plus any and all desire to sew. Well now that I’m in the second trimester (yup that was a pregnancy announcement if you didn’t catch it!) my urge to puke has finally gone and the sewing bug has come back in full force, and thankfully it was just in time for my Christmas sewing! So without further ado, here’s what I made my family for Christmas.

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For starters I made a zillion aprons. Ok, it was only four but if felt like a zillion 😉 For the pattern I followed this tutorial from Purlbee.

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All of them were made from medium weight 100% linen fabric from Joann’s and the pockets made from scrap fabric from my stash.

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I just knew all those little-but-too-big-to-throw-away pieces would come in handy! The aprons went to my parents and in-laws.

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For my sister’s boys I made them Star Wars pj bottoms since she told me they are very into all things Star Wars right now. The fabric was from Joann’s and the pattern was a free one from fabric.com. Overall quite simple and very cheap to make (and my sis tells me they were a hit!)

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For my sister’s teenage girl I made her a teenage mutant ninja turtle cross-body purse. The TMNT fabric and the ribbons were from Joann’s, and the denim from my stash. The pattern is a free tutorial here.

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I had a special request for this cloak from my sister’s younger daughter. She had seen this one I made for my daughter on her birthday and requested one in purple for Christmas. And so here it is!

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The pattern is the Red Riding Hood cloak from Oliver + S book of Little Things to Sew. I used a stretch purple crushed velvet and shimmery berry lining fabric both from Joann’s. To make it extra special I added some beautiful gold trim to the hood, also from Joann’s. I’d have to say I love this cloak for dress up! It always turns out so stunning.

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For my two young nieces on my husband’s side I made some hand-kites using wooden teething rings from etsy and different colored satin ribbons which I simply knotted on. I also personalized them by writing each girl’s name on it. I love this gift so much for young kids! Beautiful, fun, cheap, and easy!

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My daughter had requested a dress-up dress for Christmas. A PINK dress-up dress. She doesn’t know about Frozen yet but I thought this free tutorial from Peek-a-boo patterns was just perfect anyhow! And so I ransacked Joann’s and Hobby Lobby for all the shimmery pink fabrics I could find and put together this little number. What I ended up using was a shimmery white spandex for the yoke/sleeves, a glittery light pink stretch velvet for the bodice, pink poly satin for the underskirt, pink iridescent tissue lamé for the over skirt, and shimmery white organza for the cape.

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Not only is it bursting with glittery pink spectaular-ness but it’s also stretchy and very comfortable which is perfect for play clothes! This is hand’s down her most favorite thing I’ve sewn her to date!

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Lastly I made my son a backpack. I’ve made quite a few of these over the years (five others actually!) and they’ve always been a huge hit.

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The pattern is a Made by Rae pattern which you can find here. For the fabric I used a Japanese “hungry wolf” light-weight canvas from this shop on Etsy.

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I love this fabric so stinking much! The colors! The wolves licking their chops! Just perfection. For the contrast fabric I used some teal cotton twill from Joann’s.

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I lined the inside with a bright red cotton to match the wolves tongues. Not creepy at all right? Right.

Well there you have it! I wanted to get so much more done for Christmas, like outfits for the kids, but I’m just glad I was able to get all the gifts completed. Did you sew gifts for Christmas or do you prefer to take a break for the holidays?

A sweet dreams mattress tutorial

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I almost didn’t think it could be done, but here it is at last; a handmade organic rubber and wool twin mattress! Martha Stewart eat your heart out. In case you may be wondering why anyone would ever want to make a mattress, may I direct you to some information on conventional mattresses here, here, and here. Unfortunately conventional mattresses are a petroleum derived chemical bomb that are chocked full of toxic substances that we breath in and absorb through our skin as we sleep. Studies even reveal a link between mattress off-gassing and SIDS! This is some scary stuff that I absolutely want to avoid where I can. So when the time came to buy my daughter a big bed I was faced with a dilemma; buy the conventional mattress (at 40% off!), buy an organic mattress (for $1bazillion) or try to make my own. And so I embarked on the epic quest of making an organic chemical free mattress and hopefully this will help you get started on making one of your own too!

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For this mattress we’ll be using rubber as the base. There are a few places online that supply real rubber (like from a rubber tree) mattress topers in various thicknesses and firmness. I decided to get a 1″ medium firmness topper for the base of my mattress from here. I would recommend getting a minimum 3″ thickness for a mattress intended for an adult.

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Since this rubber is a natural material and subject to biodegrading I decided to sew a cotton slipcover for it to help protect it. The slipcover was sewn from an old duvet cover found hiding in storage. Done and free 🙂

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For the shell of my mattress I used cotton ticking from here. Ticking is traditionally used in mattress making plus for furniture and pillows. It’s a thicker densely woven fabric which helps keep your stuffing from escaping. You will need about 5 yards for a twin sized mattress.

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Cut two rectangles the dimensions of the mattress plus 1/2″ seam allowances. Then cut one very long strip 7″ tall and long enough to go around the entire edge of one of the rectangles. I had to piece this long section together to make it long enough to go all the way around. Sew it on with a 1/2″ seam and then placed the rubber mattress inside as the first layer of the mattress.

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Next comes the wool. This is what a 20 pound bag of organic wool looks like. And also this is what a cute boy looks like. 😉 I bought the wool from here. You’ll want around 18 -20 pounds for a twin.

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Layer the wool on top of the covered latex pad…

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…until all 20 pounds of it is neatly laid down.

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Look at all that wool! Looking pretty comfy already.

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If you’ve never smelled wool before, it’s seriously wonderful. It has a sweet honey straw smell that I adore! I decided to accentuate the earthy wonderfulness of the smell by spritzing some lavender chamomile essential oils throughout the wool. Essential oils aid in relaxation and sleep, as well as have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you decide to include essential oils go ahead and spritz them into your wool!

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Now it’s time to close this sucker up! Lay your second cotton ticking rectangle on top and pin the entire circumference to the side, taking in the height of the side if you’ve got too much slack. You don’t want the fabric to be droopy.

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Once pinned to satisfaction get some thicker thread such as cotton hand quilting thread and a sewing needle and ladder stitch the circumference.

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All sewn up! We’re almost done.

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Last comes the tufting. This is an optional step but it helps keep the stuffing inside from shifting or clumping, so I decided to do it. I followed this tutorial here, using buttons to help with the pressure exerted by the thread.

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Look at those button tufts!

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The finished mattress. Success! You will want to use a water resistant/proof mattress protector to keep moisture from getting into your mattress. I made one from an up-cycled wool army blanket which was water-proofed with lanolin.

This was definitely the oddest thing I’ve ever sewn. What’s your most adventurous sewing project that took you way out of your comfort zone?

 

A picnic roll-up blanket

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Have you ever had one of those projects that sits on your “to-sew” list for ages? Well this is one of mine, and I finally FINALLY made it. It only took two years of waiting on the list 😉 Meet the picnic roll-up blanket.

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For this project I followed this lovely tutorial over at Purlbee. The fabric I used for the blanket top was Kaufman essex linen blend in colors sunshine, medium aqua, light blue, and hot pink. The essex linen is definitely a heavier, scratchier fabric which suited this project perfectly, but I’d proceed with caution if using it for kid’s clothing. It could make some great bottoms or jacket but if you’ve got a little one who won’t do anything scratchy then you may want to find a different fabric for the job. For the bottom of the blanket I used a 10 oz heavy weight canvas in color natural. If you want your blanket to be waterproof you could substitute the canvas for something laminated, or maybe even add a waterproof layer between the layers.. otherwise you may end up with a wet bottom!

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The really cool part about this blanket is that it rolls up all nice and neat ready to be stowed in a beach bag or picnic basket. For my ties I used some 1.5″ natural colored cotton webbing and nickel D rings. I just love how it looks all bundled up and ready to go out for a picnic!

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If you’re tired of sitting on a sheet or towels try out the picnic-roll tutorial over at purlbee! It’s a very quick sew and looks so fabulous when you’re done.

What’s the longest a project has sat on your “to-sew” list before you finally completed it? Can you top my two years? 😉