Birthday Flags Tutorial

“Baby Sean” turns one in a couple weeks.  And, when our sister Erika said she was going to buy birthday flags on Etsy for $35, I volunteered to whip her up a set at cost. I’m all for supporting Etsy and everything (check out our mom’s new shop!), but when it comes to something this simple, ya might as well make your own. Image

This tutorial is for the beginner seam-sters out there.  Just a few years ago, this was one of my first sewing projects.  It’s a great skill builder, and allows for you to make use of bit pieces of favorite fabric.  Also, if your kids are like mine, they will feel super special each year when their birthday (or week) is recognized with a sweet family tradition.

1. Select your fabrics.  Go crazy!

2. Fold your fabric pieces in half, right sides together, and press.Image

3. Draw and cut an isosceles triangle (2 sides equal length, middle school math anyone?) out of cardboard.  Or, if you have a random, giant, see-through, plastic triangle like mine, by all means use it.  Where did I get this thing?  It just turned up one day and I use it all the time.  Quilters probably have buckets of these. Image

4. Trace your triangle onto your folded fabric, however it fits nicely.  I decided to cut two triangles out of each piece, for an extra set of bunting (now I have a ready-made gift stashed away for future giving).

5. Tip from Mom: Do not cut your triangle out yet. SEW FIRST!  Luckily my mom stopped by while I was starting this project.  This tip was crucial.  I didn’t have to worry about my pointy flag tip getting sucked under like a toga party on an escalator!  Sew along the two equal sides, reinforcing stitches at the tip. Don’t bother sewing across the top of your triangle, as that is where you will turn your fabric. Image

6. Cut out your triangles, about 1/4 of an inch around the stitching. Cut closer to stitching as you near the point. Image

7. Turn your triangles right side out.  Use a knitting needle or chopstick to get at your point.  Children may enjoy helping with this task!

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8. I forgot to tell you, buy some coordinating double-fold bias tape.  Or make your own, you do not need to cut your fabric on the bias.

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9.  Press your flags, trim the tops so that they are nice and straight and matched up.

10. Order your triangles how you like. Lay them out to see how they will fit along the bias tape. I used 12 flags per 3 yard bias tape.

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11. Open up your bias tape and shove the open end of your triangle to the top of the main fold.  You are welcome to use pins, but I think it is best to just go one flag at a time, holding it in there a bit as you run it through the machine, about 1/8″ from the bottom edge of the tape.

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12. Tidy up your project as necessary.  I added some jute rope to my ends for tying up.  Ribbon would be lovely too.  Voila you are done.  Enjoy inside…

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or out!

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~ Caroline

Feature: The Beaded Ladies

Warning: photo heavy post!  For a while now I’ve wanted to show off my mother-in-law, Arlene’s beautiful beading work.  Last visit out there, I remembered to snap some photos, but regretted that I’d left my nice camera back in Virginia.  Anyhow, these are (a few of) “The Beaded Ladies”…

For years these women, and others, have been meeting in the park daily (seven mornings a week!) for slow-tai-chi exercises.  On Mondays a group of them gathers afterwards in the Santa Anita Mall food-court for beading and socializing.  We see them every time we visit, and they are the cutest ladies EVER. Often, one of them has returned from Taiwan with orders of Swarovski beads fulfilled for her friends.  It’s all cheaper in Taiwan!

When I first met my husband, 7+ years ago, his mother and her friends were mainly beading little figurines and simple jewelry.  Now they are focused on jewelry.  New patterns arrive from Taiwan every year.   The ladies have the inventory for a mean Etsy shop.   But no, they do not sell any of it!  As we crafters know, it is almost impossible to put a price tag on our hard work and time spent.  Arlene’s work is either on display in her dedicated beading room, or gifted (most often to me!).   Here are some of my faves:

First, the old stuff:

And the newer products:

Oscar night anyone? If I had fancier places to go, these would all get much more wear!  They really are statement pieces, aren’t they?  I love the new beaded cuff-style bracelets.  Avery loves to play with the less fragile pieces.  She says , “pees-cay-pay-yith-yo-jewry-box-m0m?” as if it were one really long word.  During our last visit, she spent hours with “Nai Nai” in her beading room.  All those colors! I can totally see her rockin’ this bling to elementary school in the future!

An oldie but a goodie.

Thank you Arlene, we love you, and cherish your gifts!

~Caroline

 

Shirt to skirt

I may have mentioned before that my adorable mother-in-law, Arlene, is a bit of a shop-aholic.  Like everyone, she loves a great bargain, and like most grandmothers, she loves to spoil her grandchildren.  Every few months a package arrives that is packed with kids clothing.  Awesome, I know!  We can typically expect lots of graphic tee-shirts for Jet, and for Avery its girly-girl to the max!  I think it is fair to say that Arlene’s taste is sparkalicious.  In fact, she crafts in sparkles every day (I plan on featuring her work with Swarovski crystals in an upcoming post, look out.).   We love that her hairstyle is different every time we visit, often shades of purple!  You get it, she rocks.  Here she is with my hubby.

Anyhoo, following her annual trip to Taiwan, we never know what we’ll find in the package that arrives.  We get a kick out of the ruffles and bows on everything, and the odd little phrases that appear on many of the garments like, “happy lifes come around…” or “can you see the little ones?”

Sometimes there are outta-the-ballpark hits like an Angry Birds jacket for Jet, or this little get-up:

And then there are the misses:

I actually really like these pants, they are lined with microfleece on the inside.  Avery is clearly not a fan.

There was a gender ambiguous tee-shirt in the box this time, I think meant for Jet, judging by the size.  But he wanted nothing to do with it.  It was just begging to be turned into a hip little mini skirt for a sweet baby girl I know of.  I think the fabric must be interlock jersey (I am learning from Rea’s Kniterview series) because it is very sturdy with a nice stretch to it.  Below is the already severed shirt, I forgot to take a “before” photo.

The simple pockets are made from the one missing sleeve, using the hem as the pocket top.  She can “keep her weed in there” (I’m sorry I had to.  It’s funny because this is for a baby.) .  I included a tag for a more signature look.

I was imagining this skirt would fit a 6 month old, but I suppose I was a little off, seeing how easily Avery slipped into it.  Maybe more like 12-18 month size.

I picked a white onesie out of my stash, and made a little embellishment out of the leftover jersey.

I think this outfit will be worth waiting a year for, don’t you?

And now, since he doesn’t get much bloggy-love, a photo of the Jet-man with his buddy Sam.  Next project is for you kiddo!

~Caroline

Super Soft Ear Warmer

When Erin recently linked me to a blog post by Delia Creates, I immediately bookmarked it with mulitple stars.  I knew I would get back to it when I had the chance.  When Mary Wade (my first-ever-Mom-friend) had a birthday, the lightbulb when off (on?), and I whipped up a little something for her.

Pei’s old, semi-girly, cashmere sweater was begging to be upcycled into something seriously girly! I followed Delia’s tutorial as I got started, and then I went off on my own a bit.  The underside is a fun fleece from Joann’s, purchased 2 years ago I think (wasn’t there last time I checked).

 Though I attempted other options, the flower wound up being my own whimsical success.  Working with a long length of the cashmere (20 inches by 4 inches or so), I folded the piece in half and began to hand gather and twist until it looked cool. Then, I just stitched it until it stayed put, and later attached it to the headband.

Another mini-victory was that I happened to have a button on hand that matched perfectly!  Choosing to go with a button closure gave me some good ol’ button-holeing practice on the machine too.  A valuable skill indeed! 

And without further ado…Mary!

Work it girl!  That little guy there is “Baby Bobby”, Mary’s third baby, who is also decked in Hungie Gungie gear (a bib from Erin, and a bjorn cozy from me).

Forget it boys, she’s married (and the mother of 3, so…). 

A look from behind:

 Ah, I love it!  I have a feeling I will be stuck on making these for a while.  You don’t mind do you?

~Caroline

Baby Bibs

I stopped by a friend’s house last week with some baby-warming goodies… some post-natal comfort food for her and her family, and some homemade bibs for her new boy, Cole.  These bibs are a cinch to make and are actually the very first things I learned to sew… (the pattern is from Amy Karol’s book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing).  The back of the bib is made with soft cotton flannel.

I wanted to use fabric suitable for a boy of course, but that didn’t look babyish.  The owl fabric is one of my favorites.  I got it from an upholstry fabric store (U-fab here in C’ville) and I’ve used it to make Grant a pair of overalls, a pillow for our living room, and a tote (you’ll see another version of the owl in the last picture).  You can’t really see it here, but once I appliquéd the owl, I used gold thread and stitched all around the square- it really made it look cool. 

These cute bugs have crazy bugged-out eyes!  Love them!  The fabric was a great clearance buy from Fabric.com.   It’s by Jay McCarroll for Free Spirit.  I love his designs, and have used his garden bunnies for Ellery and my niece Avery’s Easter Dresses.  His kooky alien-bird is on the appliqué below:

For the appliqué, I cut a rough shape with my desired image in the center.  I then ironed on some lightweight interfacing to the back of the image.  Then, I cut my shape out into a clean square (or oval) and placed it on the bib.  I ironed it again and then pinned it in the center.  Stitched around the border with a straight stitch, and then using my gold thread, zig-zagged all around it to add some bling. 

So, if you’re like me and have lots of friends makin’ babies these days, give these a shot.  They are quick and unique and stay nice through many washes- my kids have been wearing the same ones for a year and a half and they still look pretty darn cute (the bibs too!).  🙂 

-Erin