flat applique copy

I know this won’t be new to a lot of people, but if you have tried a few seemingly simple applique projects and failed, this might help you. I used to make appliqued shirts for my little boy and I got so frustrated when I had to pin my material to my shirt and sew it on without stretching it and making it all wavy and wrinkly. I had no idea that double sided fusible web existed. I was at Joann Fabirc lamenting my problem, when a kind lady let me in on the applique secret. It seriously changed my life! I now use it every time I sew a project. It makes sewing so much easier.

Let me show you how it works. I usually start with ironing the fusible web to my applique material. Then I draw the shape onto the back and cut out the piece. In the instance below, I just cut out a strip and ironed it onto my ribbon.

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Now you pull off the paper backing, place it on your garment and steam iron into place. You can see that a very fine film is left behind. I like this kind because it doesn’t add bulk. There is interfacing that will add more stability if you prefer. If you don’t like the placement, you can pull it off, re-position and re-iron. I love the fact that it’s fool proof. No permanent mistakes here.

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Now, I sew on the applique. I know that most webbing will say that you don’t have to sew it and that it will stay on through washing. I don’t believe ANY of them! I always sew it on just in case.

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The good thing about it is that your fabric won’t stretch or distort or shift while you are sewing. That makes for perfectly flat applique. ENJOY!

 

 

fix those jammies

Does your baby also wake up looking like a mermaid? Mine wiggles a lot in her sleep and she somehow manages to get both legs stuffed into one side of her pajamas all the time. Poor thing. I guess she doesn’t look too sad about it, but it frustrates me to no end. They also limit her mobility in general during the morning as she gets all tangled up trying to do anything.

It’s funny because I know I buy cheap pajamas that don’t have elastic around the ankles, but I always think it will be fine and her feet will somehow magically stay in. Wrong wrong wrong. I just can’t resist a super cute pajama when I see one on the rack. To be honest, it’s usually my husband who can’t resist. It’s so cute seeing him get excited about baby stuff so I don’t say anything and we end up with 100 pairs.

But not to worry. There is an easy fix!

Turn those babies inside out and draw a line about 1-2 inches up from the heel.

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Now take a 1/4″ elastic and cut it to half the length of your line.

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Now pin one end of your elastic to one end of your line and sew the elastic to the line with a regular straight stitch. Super super stretch it as you go. Don’t stretch your PJ material, just your elastic. You should end up with the elastic stretching all the way to the end of the line.

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If your elastic is still flat after sewing it and you super super stretched it, you might just need to steam iron it to get it to shrink down to look like the picture above.

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TA DA! Why haven’t I done this to every pair of pajamas? This particular pair is really wide around the ankles so I might have to sew one on the front of the leg too. It works like a charm though. No more mermaid baby… I might miss it though. She makes a cute mermaid.

6 copy copy

I have this huge blank wall in my rental home that has been left empty for 2 years. I never thought we’d be here this long and I didn’t want to spend any money fixing the place up if we were just going to have to pack it back up/throw it away. I’m not really the decorating type to begin with anyway. I have this girlfriend who is in the same boat. A couple of months ago, she decided that enough was enough and she was going to decorate. I’ll admit, it made me feel like I wasn’t trying at all. So… I whipped up this amazing large art piece and whalla! Cheap living room art IS possible. Honestly, I’m not a good photographer and the pictures don’t do it justice at all. It’s about 5 feet by 4 feet and matches really well with my DIY pillows. The picture below should give you some scale. I adjusted the bow and position of the stripes after I took this so it’s not perfect. Next, I’m going to put up some photos to the left and I think I’ll be all set for decorating for the rest of the year.

star pillow (1) copy copy

 

You will need:

 

First cut out your foam board. I would know what measurements you want beforehand and have the guys at Home Depot cut it for you so it will be square. Mine is obviously not square.

Cut out your fabric 1-2 inches bigger than your board so you can fold it around the back.

Pin your fabric to the back. For my stripes, I literally wrapped them around and tied a knot in the back. No pinning necessary. For the flower, I just tied a bow in the front and used my pins strategically to make it look like the picture. I used about 4 so not really a lot of fuss over it. You can see in the couch picture what it looked like before I pinned it.

The other great thing about this is it’s light. I just tapped a few finishing nails into the wall and stuck/pressed the board right onto them. If you don’t like the placement, it’s easy to pull it off and re-position. I love art that is easy to hang.

You can go crazy with the fabric. Mine is pretty boring. I was even thinking, if you are an artist, you could paint whatever you want on the fabric. (My sister wants hers to have peacocks) The awesome thing about this project is that you can make it your own style pretty easily. My $5 fabric happened to be a tad bit too bright to match my living room so I just threw it in the bathtub with hot water and 2 cups of bleach for 15 minutes and it came out perfectly.

It sounds so hassle free when I put it like that. Really what happened was, I bleached the first batch so much it turned purple and I barely had enough to bleach a second batch. My fabric pieces ended up being a tad bit too small so rather than buy more fabric, I got them wet and stretched them out. I then had to super stretch and pin them on to get them to wrap nicely around. It was a pain. Make sure you don’t cut yours too small.

Good luck. I’d love to see your rendition!

6

So my first Stitch Fix was a bit of a disappointment. I had prepared myself for it, but I was still crushed when I didn’t like anything in it. I’ve read from a lot of fixers that you have to give them 1 or 2 tries to get your style pinned down. I got a little down about it though and didn’t get as excited for my second fix. Well # 2 came and I like it a whole lot more than the first one! YAY! When I opened the box and saw the colors and lace, I was SOOOOOOOOO happy! I was very specific about what I did and didn’t like in my first fix and they certainly got the message. I asked for warmer softer colors, pinks specifically, more lace, and more attention paid to my Pinterest board. The only thing they didn’t quite get is that I like fitted clothes more than tents… I’ll definitely be fixing that with the next fix and then I think we’ll be pretty close to perfect. Who knows, maybe I’ll love EVERY piece! I can be optimistic right?

I’ve been wondering lately if I really need someone else to do my shopping for me and if it’s really worth it. Well let me tell you something. Yesterday, we were at our local IFA and I found a nice shirt. I know right? IFA shopping? Don’t judge. So I thought I could quickly try it on over my shirt and make sure the fit was ok. I thought, this isn’t shopping. It will be quick and easy. Let’s just say that one shirt later I had 2 screaming babies, the youngest of which had a goose egg on her forhead…  I remembered then why I don’t go shopping at all.

Thank you Stitch Fix for making my life so much easier and more fun! It’s wonderful to be able to have an awesome shopping experience right in your bedroom.

Pip Crew Neck Blouse $64

4

I loved this when I pulled it out of the box. It has nice lace detail on the bottom and it’s hard to see, but the detail on the bodice is tiny raised dots. I guess that’s what pips are? I loved the cream and the lightweight for summer. I didn’t like the fit. Can you tell if this is long sleeve or 3/4? Well I couldn’t and it looked awful if I tried to just push them up. I also would like it more fitted. From the side I look pregnant. I don’t have to have skin tight clothes, but I’ve worked hard after 2 kids to lose my baby weight and I would like people to see that I have a figure.

RETURNED

Gaelle Crochet Skirt $68

5

Have I told you how much I like lace? Seriously, it’s an addiction. I’ll add it to anything. This skirt was love at first sight. Then, I put it on… There was just something about the fit that bothered me that I couldn’t put my finger on. I also think the bottom is too jagged and not soft enough for my taste. I’m picky right? Remember though, that I am not supposed to buy anything unless I LOVE LOVE it and would wear it everyday.

RETURNED

Tricia Textured Dot Front-Pocket Blouse $48

2

This was the only thing in the box that I didn’t really like at all. I didn’t like the color, the baggy fit, the odd sleeves… Sorry. Not for me.

RETURNED

Haiden Distressed Straight Leg Jean $88

3 copy

I have to say that I really do like the denim Stitch Fix sends. I’ve only tried 2 of course, but they seem thicker, good quality and are so stretchy and comfy. These were a little big on me though. I also don’t like holey or cuffed jeans so lesson learned. I’m putting that on my list as well.

RETURNED

Eliana Embellished Detail Dolman Top $54

1 copy

Ahhh… I saved the best for last. This is just me. I love the beaded neckline and the sheer sparkle. It’s hard to tell, but it’s a nice pale peachy pink. It is lightweight, but still feels a little more like fall than summer. I kept it anyway. I LOVE this top! $54 is a little pricey for me. I’m telling them to tone down the prices for my next fix so we’ll see what they come up with.

All in all a HUGE improvement. I almost loved everything, and I was able to put my styling fee towards an item. I think to be worth it, all you really need is one thing you love. I feel like the next fix will be even better. I’ve pinned some new styles and I am excited to see what next month will bring.

If you are on the fence about Stitch Fix let me tell you how I think of it. You might be out $20 on your first fix. I think that’s about as bad as it gets. After that, you put your $20 styling fee towards what you buy. In an average month do you typically go shopping once and buy 1 thing? If you do, you aren’t going to spend any more than you would without Stitch Fix and this is so much easier. The anticipation is fun too. Just give it a try. You can pick your own price point and I don’t think you’ll regret it!

*I do get a commission if you sign up through my link, but I really do believe in this product after only 2 fixes. I know, it surprised me too.

Star Pillow

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of NICE fabric lying around from PJ pants, minky blankets and other projects. I tend to get way too much material “just in case” and then have a bunch of extra left over. It isn’t enough for another blanket, but it’s enough that I don’t want to throw it away. That stuff is expensive!

There are a lot of examples out there of what to do with your scrap fabric. I don’t love most of them. They usually require you to use a bunch of fabric that doesn’t match and mash it together into this form or that. I don’t like blankets, rugs or other projects that don’t have matching material. Sorry. I just don’t. The great thing about these pillows is that you only need 15 squares. That’s it! You can do them all one color, 2 colors, 3, 5, 15 for Pete’s sake! If all you can scrape together are 5 inch squares, the pillow is still pretty darn cute. Make a bunch of them for your littles. If you only have 1-2 inch squares, make it a pincushion! I love that they are sooooo versatile. This pillow I’m showing you is made of 8 inch squares, and it’s the perfect size for its intended 3-year-old. The other pillow in the picture above is made of 9 inch squares, and it’s probably my favorite size for kids. It’s big enough to be my son’s new favorite seat on the floor… or anywhere. (I obviously made it out of scraps from his PJs.)

A while back, I made my sister’s kids some baby blankets out of minky. I’ve held onto the extra material for the last 3 years and now I’m making both her kids matching pillows! Yay! On to the pillow! …that was a lot of exclamations… phew.

What you’ll need:

  • Sewing machine… of course
  • 15 perfectly cut squares (any size, as long as they are all the same)
  • Marking pen (I love these because they disappear with water and they have one for light AND dark fabrics!)
  • Clear ruler
  • Matching thread
  • Button cover kit (I used 1 1/2″ but I really wanted 2″ or BIGGER)
  • Pillow stuffing (I used this and I loved it because it stays nice and fluffy. It’s enough to stuff at least 5 pillows of this size.)

The first thing you want to do is cut out all of your squares. Be very precise when cutting. It helps to cut them out one at a time instead of layering fabric and cutting a few at a time. Your pillow will go together much more smoothly if your squares are all EXACTLY the same size. If you have a pattern on your fabric that goes vertical/horizontal, it would look best if you cut your squares on the bias. That way the pattern will look towards the center and go around in a circle instead of being perpendicular. But, we’re using scraps here so waste not right?

When you’re cutting, consider how many colors you want and what your pattern will be. That sounds like a no brainer but I thought that I could do both sides of my pillow in pink and zebra… Obviously that didn’t work out. You can’t really use only 2 colors on the front/back unless you’re OK with 2 of the same color touching. So I tried to add a third color… fail. I’ve decided that this only works if you have ALL the same color or ALL different colors. pic1The next step is crucial. It’s something I almost never do. It just takes up too much time for a regular project. I’ll tell you a little about me. If I can’t finish a sewing project in 1 or 2 sittings, I’m not going to do it. Period. That’s one reason I don’t unpick my mistakes… it takes too much time. I just throw them away and start over. With that attitude, I tend to cut a lot of corners. I don’t do things like iron, mark or meticulously measure. So when I tell you I did this you know it’s essential. Using your marker, mark EVERY corner of EVERY square with a dot 1/4″(my chosen seam allowance) from both sides. (We’re marking the wrong side of the fabric of course.) I made a mock-up mini-pillow as well as a pillow for my son without doing this, and my corners turned out awful. Just do it. You won’t regret it.

star pillow (9)

Now the sewing begins. It’s all pretty straight forward. You are pretty much just sewing one square to another the whole time. No curves, tucks or manipulations. The thing you need to remember is to USE YOUR DOTS. Always place your squares right sides together and start sewing right on the dot. Stitch back and forth a few times because you won’t necessarily sew over it to keep it from unraveling. Sew right to the next dot and STOP don’t go any farther. Stitch back and forth a few times here as well. Be exact. You will regret it if you aren’t.

Sew 4 squares together as if you are going to make a regular block. Leave one side open as shown below. Insert your fifth square in into the gap. The picture below is a little confusing because you will have to turn the square like a diamond to fit it in the gap. When sewn it won’t lay flat, but that means it will be 3-D.

star pillow (29)Easy peasy right? Now sew another one. You now have a front and a back. Yay!star pillow (30)Now comes the hardest part… not hard to sew, just hard to explain in pictures. Take one of your sewn stars and lay it right side facing up on the floor/table. Now lay one of your squares right side down on top of one of the squares of the star. Now sew the 2 outside edges together making sure to USE YOUR DOTS.

starr2Now do the same for the remaining 4 sections of the star. I’ve pulled back the black a little so you can hopefully see what it looks like when you are done with this step. Can you guess what famous character is making a cameo in the upper left corner? 🙂

P.S. I hate sewing with minky… it gets EVERYWHERE as you can see in the picture.

star pillow (43)OK. So I didn’t take a picture of this step but we’ll try to work with what we’ve got. In the picture above, I’ve folded out the black square on the bottom so it looks like a triangle. Do that with all 5 black squares. (Yours will be a different color I know.) Now lay your second star piece right side down on top of your folded triangles and pin all around. Be sure you are only pinning the top to the black square and not to the bottom.

star pillow (44)The points don’t matter as much but pay special attention to pinning the inside corners of the star. Match up your seams perfectly and pin them in place. This will make or break your pillow. It’s also where it will show if you didn’t USE YOUR DOTS.

star pillow (46)Now you will sew all around your star, leaving a hole big enough for your hand to fit through for stuffing purposes. When turned right side out, it will look like this. I’ve turned up one corner so you can tell how it was sewn.

star pillow (52)The last steps are pretty basic. Stuff your pillow through the hole. Be sure to use good stuffing that won’t go hard and flat. I used this stuffing because it’s sooooo fluffy. There are higher quality versions out there, but they are MUCH more expensive and this does the trick. I haven’t found a polyester stuffing that I love. I think they all go hard after a while and they are difficult to re-fluff… is that a word? Let me know what you use. I’d love to hear.

Now you can either hand-stitch the opening closed or, if you are lazy like me, you can just topstitch the opening closed on your machine. No one will even notice… especially if you are using minky.

The last thing you want to do is put on your buttons.  Cover them with your material as per the instructions on the box. No equipment is necessary. Before hand-sewing them on, I like to make it a bit easier on myself and pre-squeeze my pillow. To do that, take a LONG needle and thread it. Now press the middle of one side of your pillow tightly to the other sides middle… you know… so you make it indent.

star pillow (60)Now sew through the middle on one side straight through the middle on the other side and then back out the original side. Pull it tight to keep the indent and tie off. Now sew on your buttons and you’re done!

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It seems really complicated and I tried to show a lot of pictures, but it’s pretty simple. Don’t over think it. I’m so excited about this pillow and I will be making a bunch more before the week is out. I hope you love it too!