So much has happened since my last blog post. My son is now 4 and I have a 4 month old daughter. My sewing room is now shared with my husband’s office to make room for both kids to have their own rooms. I’ve learned to sew clothes, mostly with knit fabric and continued to make gifts and quilts as well.
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic quickly escalated around the world and sewists began to make face masks. Each day, new information comes out about their effectiveness and usefulness. Now, in early April, it’s clear that more people staying home and if you have to go out, wearing a face mask and washing your hands often might help our communities to be more safe. These homemade masks will not prevent a person from contracting Covid-19, but signal to others that you’re being cautious, keep any coughs and sneezes from spraying everywhere, and remind you not to touch your face.
I’ve started to make a few samples to figure out what fits best for different people’s needs (are you a nurse who will wear this over your medical grade PPE or a citizen who plans to wear it to get groceries?)
Here’s a summary of some of the mask styles that I’m learning to make:
Being a mom of two young kids and since our shared space is where my sewing things are set up, I only have a small amount of time to dedicate to this or other sewing. But being creative and helping others has always been something that makes me feel good, turning anxiety into action and sharing my “talents” (and closet full of fabric) with my family and friends in the form of useful gifts. If you’d like help learning how to make a mask or would like me to make one for you, please be in touch!
I’m excited to have another new project going on these days. A friend took the taggie blanket I made for her son to entertain her new baby daughter at brother’s Kindermusik class and the teacher loved the crinkly toy! She special ordered some from me to give as gifts to new babies born in her community. It was fun to take her logo and color palette when shopping and to research what sort of label to make. Melody at Mad Mad Graphics created an iron on label that will highlight the company name. Joann’s had the perfect minky and flannel colors. Now it’s up to me to sew the gifts!
Melody also created a version of the So Sew Gifts logo for another label I can use on other projects. Fun!
I’ve been enjoying babywearing as a way to bond with our little guy and also get things done around the house or go out in the world with him safely nearby. There are lots of DIY babywearing ideas but I started with something simple.
I bought a used Beco Gemini carrier and I don’t love the print on the front. It also has black straps which really show the drool marks from baby’s new hobby of slobbering over everything. Time to make covers for the straps near his mouth, called Drool/Suck Pads.
This Christmas season, I had a fun time creating a few gifts and special orders.
Lana requested a few infinity scarves, and I made an extra one to give as a gift at the quilt guild meeting. At the guild meeting, I received a handmade gift of a zipper pouch filled with notions and a few fat quarters!
Ellen requested that I copy a pattern for a kids apron she made for her son years ago, using fabric especially for her grandson and granddaughter. They turned out cute and I practiced using bias tape.
I made a tree skirt (free pattern here) for Asami and Matt. This turned out to be an easy and fun project, and using the big space for ironing and laying out pattern pieces at Sewing Saturday was helpful.
I also made a table runner for my friend Jill at work. She just bought a new house and I wanted to give her something sunny and positive for her new space!
At school, we came up with the idea of a “Season of Caring” where each advisory class came up with a project. Ms. Lowe’s group decided to make no-sew fleece blankets for charity. Great job, kids!
I’ve been working on this baby blanket since after Ryan was born this fall. It’s finally done as his belated Christmas gift!
Mountain View Middle School in Beaverton is hosting a Holiday Bazaar again this fall. I’ll have a booth there for both my So Sew Gifts and Demarle at Home products. Hope to see you there!
I’m getting ready to make more taggies and potholders to sell at the bazaar:
Update: It turned out that I didn’t attend the bazaar this year. Instead, I spent the day with Aaron and his family. His lovely older sister Kira passed away Saturday night from the effects of cancer. On Friday night, I made this blanket to take to her…it was much more meaningful than anything I made to sell at the bazaar. Her sister Ambika had suggested making a blanket for her or others who were staying at the hospital, and I had fabric that was intended to make her headscarves plus matching blue fleece. So I thoughtfully created a simple blanket and took it to her that morning, covering her up with love in my own way.
I really enjoy it when people find out I sew and ask “I’ve seen ____ on pinterest/etsy/boutique/store, and I wonder if you could make me one like that.” It stretches me to learn new patterns, work with new fabrics, and personalize something for them.
This summer, my aunt Mary asked me if I could duplicate some owl ipad covers that she saw on Etsy. They were listed for $38 but looked pretty simple in design, and using felt which is an affordable and easy to sew fabric. She already uses a protective cover for her ipad, so this just a cover for her kindergarten students to enjoy. I used an online tutorial and help from my mom to adapt the design.
Cute, right! And the owl body and accent color could be different. I could add other detail or try other animals/designs for embellishment. The loop at the top connects with velcro around the back so that kids can secure the ipad in the case easily.
My aunt also had purchased (from a local bazaar) some potato bags for making baked potatoes in the microwave, but the fabric eventually burned. I followed the pattern on the “Tator Batting” and hopefully my version will be safer! 🙂
Let me know if you’d like me to make a special order for you. Maybe you see another product I made that you’d like in a particular color/fabric scheme, or you see something online that you’d like me to try to make for you….sometimes I procrastinate on finishing such challenges though, I want them to be right, but it takes me awhile to get started. I’ll work on that though since the end results have so far been successful (i.e. doorknob latch, duvet cover, yoga bag, and these two things).
Here’s a quilt that a parent at ISB made for a teacher. Good idea to use this block for signatures and messages woven into the quilt!
A friend asked me to make a baby shower gift and another friend at work is pregnant, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn to make Taggie blankets. Two colleagues at work said they’re invaluable for their newborns…soft, easy to tuck in the carseat or attach to a stroller, babies love playing with or sucking on the textured ribbons. So my friend and I went shopping at Joanns and found these cute ribbons along with matching minky and flannel fabrics to make the Taggie blankets.
On to find inspiration/information/patterns online. For this project, I used a few sources.
Taggie Blankets are popular so when you look on Etsy or Pinterest, you’ll find lots of inspiration. I used this tutorial which shows each step of the process.
First taggie is for a friend who is a speech language pathologist (hence the letters on the fabric). She’s having her first baby girl…congratulations! Second taggie is for a friend to take to a baby shower…and it’s a boy!
Friday was a snow day…got the day off work and the whole weekend at home, so I have time for sewing and cross country skiing in the neighborhood.
I’ve been wanting to make a lanyard for the name badge I wear at quilt guild meetings. Picked up the findings at Joanns and some sewing themed fabric from my stash. Here’s the online tutorial I used: http://www.genxquilters.com/2013/03/10-minute-sewing-project-how-to-sew.html
I think it turned out great! I guess I could have figured out a way to make it adjustable, but it works as something simple for now. Can I make one for you? Check out the Shop page for more details.
Here’s the view outside my window above the sewing table this afternoon. So peaceful!
A night of little projects. I made this wine accessory bag to hold the wine bottle stopper set I got for Christmas. Fun to use a scrap of a past wine related project and some ribbon to make a custom organizer.
Also, finished customizing a package of baby burp cloths. Again, using scraps, the trucks on a road and bilingual color/number fabric will be just right for a Spanish speaking mom expecting a little hijo.
A colleague at work purchased 12 yards of fabric from Ghana and wondered if I could make it into a duvet cover for her. “Sure! I’ll give it a try!”
Step 1: Fabric. She got the fabric from a family member who lives in Ghana and has this blog of handmade items. http://amaamina.wordpress.com/. It was up to me to figure out how to wash/iron the indigo fabric, so I found directions on some fabric distributor websites. I also realized we didn’t have enough to do the whole thing in the Ghana fabric, so got a matching dark blue solid at Joann’s for the back of the duvet cover.
Step 2: How to Make a Duvet Cover. The internet is amazing, truly. Tutorials are helpful in showing the steps to make something new, so with a short lesson on some new techniques (learned to make a french seam so it looks really nice and finished on every side), I was ready to begin. http://www.designsponge.com/2010/03/sewing-101-making-a-duvet-cover.html
Step 3: Make Space. If I do this again, I need to find a bigger space to lay out the fabric to cut evenly. My living room just wasn’t quite as big as a queen duvet cover. 🙂 This picture doesn’t show the blue color, but it really turned out looking nice, with snaps as closures.
Step 4: Dog Cover. After the duvet cover was finished, she asked for a matching sheet sized piece of the Ghana fabric to be made into a layer on top of the duvet so her two big dogs can lay on the bed but not get their hair all over the actual duvet cover. Great idea since it’ll be easier to clean and still look really nice on the bed…plus the dogs will be happy to be still allowed on the bed sometimes!
Thanks so much, Amy, for encouraging me to try a new experience, for your patience in it getting completed over the course of many months, and for the payment and “tip” of a gift certificate to another great fabric store, Cool Cottons in SE Portland, OR. http://www.coolcottons.biz/