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The Worst Minky Blanket Ever

18 Jan

About two months ago, I bought my very first sewing machine. I always said I would get one of my own when I had kids. My mom sewed, so I always imagined myself making tons of adorable little things for my kids. As it turns out, I only know how to sew basic straight lines. Guess I should have taken a bit more interest during my mom’s sewing lessons.

Anyway, one thing that only requires straight lines and is super fun to buy fabric for is baby blankets. A friend of mine made me a self-binding flannel blanket for my baby shower and I love it. I always get compliments and people asking where I got it whenever I go out. I found a tutorial by the Missouri Star Quilt Company on Youtube and tried my hand at making one when I found this Star Trek flannel fabric at Hancock Fabrics.

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The blanket turned out pretty cute. Although I’m not gonna lie, I kinda butchered the corners and had to do some creative stitching to fix them. I think any seamstress would have cringed watching me do it. Hint: Double check your corners before you cut them.

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Anyway, Titus is outgrowing the newborn receiving blankets that we use as floor blankets. His fat little legs hang off the edges. That seemed like a good enough excuse to buy more flannel during the Christmas sales. I bought this fun zoo animal print, but alas, they were out of the corresponding print for the back, and since I ordered it online, I was kinda out of luck.

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I couldn’t find a print I liked, then I had this great terrible to do a Minky Self-Binding blanket. Then I got an even better worse idea to quilt the back instead of just using a single cut of fabric. So I went out and got a few different colors of the textured microfiber aka Minky material and started cutting squares.

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So here’s a few things you should know before attempting anything with this material.

1) There will be tiny little Minky fuzzballs all over your house. This material “sheds” when you cut it. It’s no problem once the edges are sewn, but it makes a pretty big mess when you’re cutting your pieces. I’ve been sweeping those suckers up for days.

2) Not all Minky fabrics are created equal. I bought three colors at Hobby Lobby on sale, but regularly $12.99 a yard. I bought one color on Amazon.com for $5.00 + $3.99 shipping. There is an obvious difference in quality. The Hobby Lobby fabrics are thicker, softer, and slightly less “shedding”.

Anyway, I cut out 81 squares, laid them out, left them for like two weeks, then stitched them together to make the back piece of fabric.

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Then I made the blanket according to the tutorial. I stitched around the top and set it out to take a look at. It was terrible! Lumpy, lopsided, and overall pretty crooked. So I took the stitching out and tried again. I laid it out and pinned the flannel in place first this time, then went around again. Guess what! Still terrible.

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As it turns out, babies don’t care too much about bunched up fabric and uneven stitches though. My sweet husband watched me work on it for weeks (and is probably secretly relieved that it’s no longer spread out all over the floor), and immediately incorporated it into playtime. It seems that they both like the soft fabric, and I like the fact that the tiny fuzzballs are starting to decrease in number every time I sweep.

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Needless to say, the awkward bulkiness of the blanket is not ideal. If I were going to do this again, I would just stitch one piece of Minky to one piece of flannel; no fancy smancy folding or cutting. So there you have it, the worst idea for a Minky blanket ever. I highly recommend that you do NOT do this, but if you do, I hope you manage to do it better than me.

Headband-o-rama

15 Jan

Right after I had Titus, I learned something about motherhood…you don’t really get much time to do your hair. It never failed that I would just barely manage to get a shower in before he woke up from his morning nap. Forget about hair and make-up; those ships had sailed. Now at 3 months old, Titus is only marginally more patient, so needless to say, my beauty routine has to be short and sweet.

My hair is long, thick, and naturally curly, so while in general, it’s pretty low maintenance, some days it needs a little help. This applies even more so now that the little guy has learned to grab things, so these days my hairstyle of choice is the messy bun. A couple months ago, I went to the fabric store and picked out some knit fabrics to make headbands to “mix things up/make it look like I made an effort”. Yesterday, I finally got around to making them. Since I had a couple different prints, I decided to try a couple different styles and see which one I liked the best. I also added one that I had made awhile back.

The nice thing about these was that you only need 1/4 yard of fabric. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe each of these cuts were $2-3.

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The first headband I tried was a turban-style involving two strips of fabric that are crossed and sewn. I found the tutorial on Kraftie Katie’s blog from February of last year. Very quick and very easy. It probably would have only taken me about 10 minutes, except Titus decided he needed a “mommy and me” day, therefore it took me about 6 hours. Here’s my finished product

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The next headband is also a turban-style, but it only involves one strip of fabric and a bit of simple hand-stitching. I found this tutorial on Delia Creates. I love her blog; she’s got a lot of fun stuff on there. Jeremy was home when I made this one, so it really did only take me 10 minutes or so. I actually prefer this one to the first one because I don’t have to line up the sides before I put it on. I also like the way it fits. Plus, with a 1/4 yard of fabric, you can actually make two…one for you and one for a friend. Here’s my finished product

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The last headband is actually one that I made awhile back when I made my maxi skirts. Basically, it’s just a strip of fabric that is sewn into a tube. I cut it off the bottom of the skirt while I was hemming it. I usually wear it as a head wrap, but I have used it as a belt before too. I’m always trying to save my scraps and make them useful. Here’s what it looks like on.

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So that wraps up my Headband-o-rama.

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If anyone out there has more ideas about what to do with long hair during the breastfeeding/grabbing hair stages of having a little one, I’d love to hear them.

An Interesting T-shirt Refashion

10 Jun

Every once in awhile, in my bargain hunting, I buy something that I love and hate at the same time. I love stripes and patterns, and sometimes they distract me from recognizing poorly cut clothing. So, needless to say, I bought a shirt that just didn’t fit right. I really liked the colors of the stripes, so I didn’t want to get rid of it. I was constantly covering it with a sweater or pushing up the sleeves. Finally, I decided to cut it up and make it into something that I didn’t sort of hate. Here’s the original shirt…

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I’m not a refashion expert, and I’m still new to cutting up clothing so I kinda made this up as I went. I starting by cutting the awkward length sleeves into short sleeves. Then I sewed the sleeves together across the front to give it a bow shape in the front.

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Then I cut the weird band that goes around the bottom off. It rolled nicely so I didn’t bother finishing the bottom. I took a piece of the band and sewed a circle around the “bow” I made on the front to cover the stitching.

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I wanted the bow to keep its shape on the front, so I made a small stitch across the top onto what used to be the collar.

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I took the extra fabric from the sleeves and stitched some straps on it. I don’t like worrying about whether or not a tube top is gonna stay on. I made the straps thick, so I can wear it as a tank top or with cap sleeves.

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I really like how it turned out. I wore it maybe twice after I bought it. Since I refashioned it alone, I’ve worn it two or three times. The neutral stripes go great with my colored shorts and jeans.

Must Have Maxi with Mom

23 May

While at home, I had a sudden craving for a new wardrobe item. I have a tendency to think of something that doesn’t necessarily exist and scour department stores looking for it. My mother can attest to this, since she once had to make me an Easter dress because white with polka dots was nowhere to be found that season. Anyway, this craving was for a colorful maxi skirt. Normally this would be an easy thing to find, especially considering those are trendy right now. But, I’m also notoriously cheap, and since I’m not working right now, I couldn’t justify anything outside of Ross pricing. So I decided to do it myself, and put my sewing skills to the test. (My sewing experience up to this point stopped at making pajama pants.) I found a “simple looking” tutorial on Pinterest and away I went. If you want to give it a try, here is a link to her blog.

My skirts turned out super cute as you can see…

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(You’ll have to excuse the wrinkles…I hate ironing.)

My only problem along the way was that I couldn’t stretch the thick elastic as far as it should have been stretched and I ended up making this random, weird fold-and-tuck technique on the first one. You can’t see it, but deep in my heart (and next to my waist), I know it’s there and I know it’s weird.

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Around this time my mom found some fabric and decided to make a skirt as well. She’s a much more experienced seamstress than I, so I felt pretty relieved when she couldn’t get the elastic to stretch that far either. However, instead of shoving the material in the sewing machine and hoping for the best like I did, she used a real technique. She did four gathering stitches (easy video tutorial here) around the top, and cinched the skirt evenly so she didn’t have to pull quite so hard on the elastic. Now, it’s important that you do pull some, or else the waistband will have no stretch to it when you try to get it on. It’s not perfect but it looks so much neater.

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Another comment I might add is the width of the elastic. The 3-inch elastic is recommended because it doesn’t roll on you. However, I start feeling a little claustrophobic with that much around my waist, so I traded my mom my 3-inch elastic for her 2-inch elastic, and I personally think its much more comfortable. Altogether, the two new skirts cost me less than $10 each including the elastic. If you’re like me, you’ll need accessories to go with your new treasures. (I swear, I’m like the ‘If You Give A Moose A Muffin’ books) So what i did was get a little extra fabric and made a headband.