Tuesday, January 6, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

And my sewing machine was humming. Actually, not my sewing machine, but my mother-in-law's. And not really on Christmas Eve, either. I think it was soon after Thanksgiving that I pulled out the sewing machine, material and 1 pattern and got started on my sewing projects. I didn't go at it full-force until time got closer and the crunch got crunchier!

I used a store-bought pattern to make these pillowcases for 3 of my nephews:

I'd gotten the idea back in the late summer and bought the material and pattern then. They were really easy and simple to make! I sewed all three up in one afternoon.

I was going to make a 4th one for my "chef" nephew, Paul (who loves to "help" mommy cook and bake), but then decided that an apron would be more the perfect thing for him! I got the idea after reading this post of Sally's :) I had two dilemmas, though... I didn't have material for making an apron, and didn't really want to shell out $$ for material or a pattern (patterns are expensive!!). I had quickly looked through WalMart's fabric section and nothing struck my fancy for making an apron for a 2 year old little guy. So I brain-stormed. And remembered that I had a bag of clothes waiting to go to Goodwill. Hmm... I dug through it and found a ladies sleeveless shirt that looked like enough fabric and the print would be "manly" enough. I chopped it up into pieces guessing at the sizes and assembly, and created this:

I didn't want to make a fixed neck strap since I had no way of knowing what length would work for him, and I wanted him to be able to wear it for as long as possible and have room to grow in it, so I made a tie strap. If you don't look too closely and don't have OCD, you won't notice or care that the pockets are crooked! I took great pains to line them up, but I guess they slipped while under the sewing machine. After I noticed it (a day or two later), it bugged and bugged the daylights out of me, but I never had time to fix it, and supposedly no one else "noticed" it. I hope Paul doesn't have OCD :P I know how he likes to have things in a "nice row". Ha ha. I think I finished this apron about 1:30am on morning... but it was finished!! Then my next and final project...

Making this tote bag for my niece, Emily (who is also 2). I wanted to make her something, but couldn't come up with anything. A monkey pillowcase just isn't very "girly". Then I thought that a smaller tote bag would be nice and she could carry books, doll things, toys, whatever in it. Again, I didn't have a pattern or material idea. And again, I got the idea of raiding my clothes stash.
I was keeping a dress that I made (my favorite one!!) when I was 17 or 18, but there was NO way I would ever wear it now - WAY out of style, not to mention that some "areas" grew and it didn't quite fit as well as it should, and it was yellowing in the armpits (yes, my armpits sweat and stink). But I couldn't bear to just throw it away or give it to goodwill. So, with all my reminiscent, emotional, sentimental and "I'm not a little girl anymore" feelings tumbling pell-mell, roly-poly around inside, I dug it out of the closet. I put it on one last time and twirled and whirled in it wishing I could be 18 again. IF it hadn't been about 10pm and my hair in much need of a washing, I might've gotten Daniel to take a picture of me wearing it, but instead this one will have to do:
It had puffy short sleeves, and I'd so carefully measured around the bottom and added little tiny blue ribbon bows. It had a not-quite-full-circle skirt and twirled perfectly! It was really hard to take the ripper and start ripping the skirt off the bodice and then rip apart the skirt sections. But I did, and now I don't have to figure out what to do with the dress anymore!

For the solid blue accent fabric, I used another dress that I'd almost finished making when I was 15, and it CERTAINLY wasn't wearable!! And it didn't cause me grief to chop it up, either. Probably because when I pulled it out I wondered what in the world I was thinking when I made it!

The bottom corners on the tote gave me much grief. I really wished that I'd bought a pattern to make it, but the larger tote that I was looking at and trying to copy didn't look like rocket science. Heh-heh. I stayed up till 2:30 one morning working on the first corner. Shortly after Daniel crawled in bed around mid-night, I begged and pleaded for him to come back out to the dining room and help me figure it out. I had a cereal box to put the bag on and work with the corners and was trying all sorts of ways. Daniel helped me figure it out then went back to bed. Then I just had to figure out how to SEW it and get it to turn out right. That took a lot of sewing and ripping and sewing again, but I finally made it. After I finished that corner, I drug into bed with a feeling of accomplishment, but also knowing that I had the other corner to do yet! I managed to finish it the next day, not staying up quite as late. It's not perfectly done by any means, but pretty darn good if I do say so myself, especially for not using a pattern! AND I lined it!

And for the bonus FOOTage *pun intended*, here is what Daniel created those evenings that I was sewing: Sock Slippers
I was sewing on the dining room table, and he would sit on the sofa and watch TV. I finally convinced (begged, pleaded, demanded) him to drag the TV around so I could see it, too. He sat on a chair in the dining room and watched TV while I sewed and watched TV. He has this "thing" about socks and his leg/foot hair. He's famous for taking his shoes off, then scrunching his socks down to where they are dangling off his feet and going around like that for the rest of the evening. Why he doesn't just take them all the way off? I don't know. But the evenings that we were doing this, he would slide his socks down, then take the toes and stuff them back INTO the sock and so that part of the sock was inside out under his foot. It would've driven me batty I think. The first time I saw it, I just laughed and laughed. Then I asked if I could please take a picture to post on my blog!

And there you have it, installment #1 of what I stayed busy with for the past weeks. Check back later (or tomorrow) for installment #2 :)


Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

You are so creative!! I wish I had half that talent... but I don't even know how to turn my sewing machine on :( LOL

Tammy K. said... [Reply to comment]

Everything looks great! It is so much more fun to sew things without a pattern and be more creative. I have been sewing for around 25 years and now sew custom drapes and other home decor items to help out with the bills. You would not believe how much you can make sewing for others!
I will be teaching my two girls to sew too as it seems to be a dying art.

Meghan said... [Reply to comment]

Did I mention I have a sewing machine too? Brand spanking new and it has not seen an inch of fabric yet. That's another resolution...Anyway, my husband lets his socks hang off of his feet too. That would drive me nuts.

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Oh my goodness! The sock thingy! I've never heard of such a thing! Andrew certainly doesn't do that, at least not that I know of!

Hey, the sewing stuff turned out great! I remember making a tote bag (or a few of them) once, and it took some brains to figure out the corners/bottom, but I did and I don't remember doing any ripping. Next time I see you, I'll have to see if I can show you how I did it and see if that's how you did it.

Paul used his apron yesterday while we were making bread (and his new rolling pin from Rachel). I have pictures, but they are still in the camera. I hope to post them soon! Thanks a million!