DIY Mini Knitted Christmas Stockings

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Continuing to DIY some Christmas decor with this free Mini Christmas Stocking knitting pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits.  There are eight different fair isle patterns included that you can choose from, but you could just knit them as a solid color and they would be just as cute!

They finish up quickly and would make a great ornament, garland, or gift wrap embellishment.

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Backrest/Lounge Pillow using McCall’s Sewing Pattern 4123

Since finishing up all of the dresses for the wedding back in September, I’ve been on a little sewing hiatus.  Not that I haven’t wanted to work on anything, but I think I just needed a break, both physically and mentally.  In the meantime, I’ve just been working on a few different knitting projects to keep busy.  I love that knitting is something that you can take on the go, and work on whenever you have a little downtime.

I finally realized my much needed sewing break was coming to an end as I was starting to look up projects, to sketch down ideas, and to get inspired by different fabrics I was coming across.

I had this McCall’s 4123 pattern in my stash for awhile because I was waiting to gather all of the materials for it.  My boyfriend and I love having movie nights at home, or sometimes we have our lazy days of NBA 2K and knitting.  I wanted to make us both some backrest pillows so we could be more comfortable when lounging around.  I chose View H (lounge pillow), and although I didn’t follow the pattern instructions exactly, it still came out great.

 

**A quick tip I learned from my boss recently is to interface the pattern pieces.**

GAME CHANGER!  I can’t believe I never thought of doing something so obvious!  It stabilizes the delicate tissue paper so it makes it so much easier to work with and also makes it last longer before getting worn out.  In the past, I’ve always traced them to kraft paper if I needed, but transferring markings is such a pain!  She suggested using just the cheapest Pellon fusible interfacing that runs $0.99 per yard at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I’m not sure if you can see it clearly in the photo below, but it fuses easily to the tissue while still being able to see all of the necessary pattern markings:

pellon interfacing

The original version for View H, includes creating an inner pillow (of muslin or other inexpensive fabric) first that holds the stuffing.  The main fabric is supposed to be lined with fleece, and is meant to be removable (like a pillow case) with a Velcro closure.  I decided to skip all of this lol!  I also ditched the top handle and side arm pockets because I figured they would either not get used, or would get stuffed with trash.  I figured I’d save myself the trouble of extra unnecessary steps.

By skipping these options, it also helped keep the cost down.  The supplies needed to create 1 lounge pillow this altered way are as follows:

  • 2 yards fleece fabric (or other 60″ fabric)
  • Fiberfill for stuffing
  • 5 yds of cording (for piping)

I decided I wanted to do some fun prints because there are so many adorable fabrics out there that I rarely have use for.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to add a little color and personal touch.  Although the pattern suggests a home dec weight fabric, I went with some Blizzard fleece from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Fleece is always cheaper this time of year, so it was also a more affordable option.  I went with a generic basketball print fleece for the boyfriend, and paw prints for me.

blizzard fleece joann fabrics

Since I plan on making at least two of these backrest pillows, I used the 10 lb box of Fairfield Poly-Fil brand of fiberfill.  This size runs around $50 at Jo-Ann, but I waited until I had a 60% off coupon!  They also have many different size packages.  If you’ve never bought the Poly-fil before, just note that it will expand almost double the size once you open the box.  This’ll give you a rough estimate of how much product you get.

fairfield 10 lb poly-fil

Cording for piping can be purchased by the yard or prepackaged.  I found this in the Home Dec section at Jo-Ann (where all of the curtain and upholstery supplies are located).  Since each backrest needs 5 yards, this 10 yard package was perfect for making both:

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Instead of using a Velcro closure, simply skip these steps in the instructions and sew all of the seams closed.  Be sure to leave an opening so you can stuff it with the fiberfill.  Once done, I just slip stitched the opening closed for a nice clean finish.  Don’t be shy with the stuffing either!  You want to make sure it has a nice firm shape to last awhile.  It’s so comfortable, we’re fighting over who gets to use it first lol!  Can’t wait to make my backrest pillow, and I’m thinking I might just make some for my nieces for Christmas!

mccall's pattern 4123 (2)

Handmade Gray Knit Beanie with Faux Fur Pom Pom

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like fall around here!!! Well, it’s only been a day, but I have high hopes!  If you know anything about Cali, you know we’re basically sunny and hot year round.  We’re occasionally lucky to get a hint of a rainy/cold season here and there, but we also wake up to 90 degree weather on Christmas Day many years.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it and wouldn’t be able to make it many other places.  That being said, I DO love the fall and winter weather.  I love wearing sweatshirts, beanies and basically anything warm and cozy more than tanks and sandals.  Since I’ve been on a little sewing break, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy improving my knitting and crocheting skills.

One of the great things I love about yarn art is it’s portable and can be taken in the car, but more importantly it can be worked on from the comfort of my bed…in my pj’s…while lounging like a lazy bum!  I love the way this came out, simple and basic, but clean and polished.  I’m also loving the look of the faux fur pom pom over a yarn pom pom.  I think I’m going to give this one to one of my nieces because the size is just a tad bit small looking for an adult.

wool blend gray knit beanie with faux fur pom pom

Handmade Burgundy Wedding Gown Update with Photographer’s Photos

Finally got a couple of the wedding photographer’s pictures back…totally loving this full body shot of Eva’s burgundy wedding gown from September.

The veil was made from a lace knit fabric from Joann Fabrics.  The wedding gown was made from a damask jacquard upholstery fabric from Fabric.com.

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Photo cred:  Island Memories Photography

Handmade Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s Dresses

WOWZERS!!  I’ve been M.I.A. on here for 2 months!!  Not TOTALLY without good reason, however.  One of the reasons is simply that my stinkin’ WordPress app has not been working on my phone!  Has anyone else had this issue?  My phone is my main source for updating, simply because it’s so handy.  I’ve already tried deleting and re-downloading the app, updating my software, etc., but nothing works.

More importantly, I’m sure you can tell from the title image what the main reason for my absence has been…

No, I didn’t get married lol.

I did however, have the exciting privilege of creating the wedding gown, bridal veil, and bridesmaid’s dresses for my younger sister’s wedding!  Although I’ve sewn some apparel in the past, this project was so completely out of my comfort zone.  I really hadn’t sewn many fitted garments, and if so, they were primarily from a manufacturer’s pattern.  It was really exciting (and at times overwhelming) to drape and draft all of the patterns myself.  I was pleased that I could figure out the order of make for the dresses with surprising ease.  At the end of it all, when you see it come to life, it’s such an amazing sense of accomplishment to know you did it on your own!

The Bridesmaid’s Dresses

When I first began the project, I originally assumed the bridesmaid’s dresses would naturally be the easier of the two.  WRONG!  In a sense, they were.  Since the material used was stretchy and the style was very drapey, the fit didn’t have to be perfect.  However, figuring out how the material draped best on the dress form was at the least, time consuming.  Another big difficulty I encountered was trying to fit the bust area, while maintaining the loose soft drape of both the front and back.  Ultimately, we just had to pin and sticky tape ourselves in.  Aside from some fit issues, I loved the feel of the fabric.  It was also fully lined so it was more forgiving and didn’t feel too thin or see-through.

The bridesmaid’s dresses were inspired by the Kotahi Gown by Gemeli Power:

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit

The Bridal Gown & Veil

For the star of the show, the bride had some VERY specific requests, which is the main reason why I was making the gown in the first place.  We just knew it was going to be so difficult and/or expensive to find everything she wanted.

The silhouette she wanted was actually quite simple (thankfully!).  I can’t imagine trying to create something more elaborate with my limited experience!  She opted for a strapless trumpet style gown with a sweetheart bodice  The difficulty was going to be creating the right fit, and finding the perfect fabric.  We both searched everywhere, and ordered some swatches online.  Finding the perfect shade of a burgundy/marsala wine damask jacquard is no easy task…especially when the majority of the available options are either shiny and cheap, or carpet thick.  Fabric.com came through with the win!  I found this home dec/upholstery fabric which was 100% the idea she had in her head.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice:

home decor upholstery burgundy damask jacquard fabric

There were so many elements to her gown that I had never attempted before.  In addition to being fully lined, the bodice portion had a duck canvas underlining, rigilene boning, and a waist stay for added support.  I had also never inserted an invisible zipper in a lined dress, and it was nice to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my machine!  I’m secretly kind of addicted to it now!

We had to do about three different muslin mock ups because her measurements kept changing so drastically.  I was starting to get worried that I would never be able to get the fit right!  On our last one, I was soooo excited to see it FINALLY work out!  Her main request was to be super fitted throughout the bodice and hips, and then gradually flow into a trumpet style gown.  The front was darting out a little too sharply (in a more mermaid style), but it still worked out great.  The flow of the train is my favorite!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (5)

Finding the right veil fabric proved to be waaay more difficult than finding the gown fabric.  I found a stretchy knit lace from JoAnn Fabric.  The color was not a complete match, but the little bit of contrast gave a nice element to the look.  It was also quite heavy, so it’s a good thing she decided to go for a shorter veil.

I can’t wait to see the photographer’s photos because these cell pics just don’t capture how great the entire wedding and wedding party looked!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (4)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (6)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (1)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (7)

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (2)handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (3)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (8)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (2)

Although each dress had it’s own areas that needed refinement, I’m so proud of what I created, and so happy that I could bring her visions to life!

As much fun as it was creating FOUR dresses, I’m so happy to get back to sleeping and eating on a regular schedule LOL!

Autumn in August?

Ok, so I know it’s barely the start of August, but as most of you crafters and those of you in retail know, it’s basically already Thanksgiving.  Well, as far as the retailers would have us believe.  Even though it’s been this way for years and years already, I STILL get so shocked when I see stores roll out new seasonal merchandise at least 3 months prior.  And of course, there’s ALWAYS the grumblers complaining that it’s waaaaayyyy too early to be thinking about the upcoming season.

As much as I still get shocked, in a way, I understand the early jump start.  We’re constantly taught that the early bird gets the worm, right?  To stop being lazy, and that procrastination gets you nowhere.  That successful, organized people plan ahead, no?  If you think about it, if the stores waited until summer actually started before they set up summer themed merchandise, we wouldn’t have time to get the perfect swimsuit for our Hawaiian vacation.  We might not have the money all at once to get all of the awesome Christmas decor, and still have time to set it up and enjoy it long enough before it’s time to tear it all down.  As a crafter, you know it’s essential to start early in order to complete your projects in a timely manner.  The older I get, the more and more I try to remind myself that this early planning is much more beneficial, at least for me.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am such a bad procrastinator!  I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but it’s still something I work on and am trying to improve about myself.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been surprisingly proactive when it comes to seasonal decorating.  Since switching jobs, I’ve had much more free time to get things done.  Now that all of the fall decor has rolled into retailers, my bank account hopefully won’t suffer!  Im such a sucker for the fall and winter months (you wouldn’t think so living in So Cal!)!

I’ve had a grapevine wreath in my stash for like 2-3 years now…seriously.  I made it a point that I was going to finally sit down and use it up.  I headed to my local Dollar Tree and grabbed a few great floral picks and pumpkins before they’re all gone.  If you’ve never ventured into a Dollar Tree, you’re missing out!  Now, obviously floral items from craft stores are going to have a bigger and somewhat better selection, but honestly, the Dollar Tree floral is pretty amazing!  I guarantee you, nobody will ever believe you only spent a few dollars!

*I hate the little bald spot above “give” so I fixed it after the picture was taken

The only *major* purchase was the tiny owl from Jo-Ann Fabric.  I had a roll of 2″ burlap in my stash that I cut up to make the mini banner.  I wrote out the message in sharpie to act as a guide for the black acrylic paint.  I was planning on using some heat transfer vinyl with my cricut, but I got too lazy.  In retrospect, I kind of wished I had used vinyl, but I still love it!

I really love how it turned out, and I can’t wait to make some more!  I want to put it on the front door already, but I know that’s pushing it!

Till next time!

Nik

Incredibly thankful and excited because…

The awesome Keri Elaine nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award !

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Photo credit to: https://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/blog-button/

Even though I’ve had this blog open for a year now, I really haven’t been able to dedicate the time into it that I’d like to.  It’s nice to be able to engage with the other bloggers on here, and see all of the different topics each one covers.  Keri is an aspiring actress who has some great posts about fashion and art, so be sure to swing by and check out her page!  I’ve never been nominated for a blogger award, so thank you Keri for your consideration!!

As part of being nominated, you guys get to learn 7 fun facts about me so here goes!

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE baseball, and specifically, the Los Angeles Dodgers!  They’ve been my team growing up, and I’m praying this is the year I finally get to see them in the World Series!
  2. I’m somewhat obsessed with the Jurassic Park movies, as well as cute dinosaur stuff.  If I ever have a child, it’s going to be a dinosaur nursery for sure!
  3. People are always surprised by my choice in music.  It varies from rap/hip-hop to Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra.
  4. I could live at Disneyland if they let me.
  5. As much as I love wearing makeup and having cutesy clothes, I’m ultimately all about the comfort at heart.  I would go everywhere in sweats & pj’s if it was socially acceptable!  LOL!
  6. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but California.  However, the idea of adopting a ton of dogs and living on a giant acre of land sounds increasingly enticing.
  7. Lastly, I’m ridiculously, over-the-top, can’t-be-healthy-by-normal-standards OCD about symmetry and perfection.  I absolutely cannot stand to see lists or groupings that are unbalanced or oddly numbered.  For example, the fact that this list is 7 items is going to drive me bananas!  In a perfect world, it would be 5 or 10 or so on.  Or clocking out from your job at a time like 4:23?! Oh no!  LOL all of my friends and family tease me for it, and thankfully I’m able to poke fun at myself too!

The best part about being nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, is that I get to keep it going and pay it forward to other awesome bloggers!  I wish that I could nominate everyone, but unfortunately it’s not possible.  Below is a small list of some of the great blogs I would like to nominate.  Please check them out and give them a follow!

  1. Sissh does some AMAZING artwork, and is one of the first blogs I followed on wordpress.
  2. Brittani is all about the DIY and you should be too!
  3. PaperPuff has all kinds of card making posts which is great inspiration for anyone interested in papercrafting.
  4. Buster proves it’s awesome for men to get involved and embrace sewing too!  I hope to be on his level one day!

Till next time!

Nik

Handmade Faux Leather Shoulder Bag – Made From an Ardente Design Purse Pattern

Wow!  It’s basically been a month since I last worked on a purse!  So much has been going on that I just haven’t had any time to tackle one.  I’m super excited for this one because it’s the most detailed bag I’ve attempted in quite some time- maybe ever.

It’s also exciting because it’s for my own personal use! My current purse has served me well for a lot of years, but it’s just worn beyond it’s time.  The edges are peeling off, and the straps are falling apart.  I realized I better retire it before it falls apart while I’m out and about.

I normally try to create my items without patterns if I’m able, but sometimes it’s too much of a hassle trying to figure out all of the dimensions and steps.  I found a PDF pattern on Etsy from Ardente Design, so I was able to get started on it right away.

The pattern itself was a little…frustrating.  There are a lot of important details not mentioned and a few differences in lingo that could really confuse a beginner.  Some areas really took me a moment to sort of “decode” what the instructions were trying to say.  The upside is that there are a lot of pictures provided to help.

For the bag, I tried to use as much fabric that I had on hand already.  I used a soft, tan vinyl for the main body, a linen remnant for the main lining, and a plain beige broadcloth.  All fabrics were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I was so fortunate to have zippers on hand already as well!


My favorite part of this pattern was making the straps!  I LOVE the technique and I know I’ll definitely incorporate it into future bags.


I wanted to use the black and white linen for the entire lining, but since it was a remnant, there wasn’t enough.  I think the beige fabric ended up giving it an interesting contrast so I’m pleased!

Surprisingly, the part I struggled with the most, was the smaller zipper pocket in the main lining!  I don’t know if I was just too tired, or the linen moved too much, but I had to put it away for the night or else I was going to throw it out the window!!  The next day, I ended up ripping out the stitches and starting again.  It was worth it!


Overall, I love it.  It’s super sturdy with lots of room.  However, I do wish it was slightly smaller.  I wanted a large shoulder bag, but it’s just a little wider than I thought it would be.  Can’t wait to make another one!

One Step Closer…

I’ve been in such great spirits lately since summer break is here.  Even though as adults, we no longer get the break from school that the kids get, there’s just a different vibe in the air when this time of year comes around.  Maybe it’s the relaxed, carefree mood everyone is in because it’s vacation time.  Maybe it’s the amazing weather.  Whatever the reason, it’s got me feeling pretty excited to be productive!

I had the day off yesterday, so I figured I’d sit down and try to get some of the important components done that will help me get ready for selling.  One of the biggest things I’d been lagging on is getting spreadsheets organized.  Creating an organization system to monitor and track all of the important information is absolutely crucial!  I had previously done research on the types of information that should be tracked, as well as tried to find examples of formats that I liked.  Even with all of the researching, it still felt overwhelming to map it all out.  I always felt like I would forget something and mess up all my charts.  That’s a big reason why I kept putting it off.

I soon realized, I didn’t want to hassle with it.  However, I felt as though I couldn’t move forward to the next step without tackling it ASAP.  Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t stand to tackle any job without getting organized and having a plan of action.  I’ll never be one of those people who can just “wing it” for very long.  I found a great Etsy seller through Pinterest, who sells some great Excel spreadsheets to help get everything in the right places!  I was so excited that it had everything I could think of and more!  What’s even better, is the design of the charts are so easy to understand and are exactly how I want.  If you’re not familiar with spreadsheets, or you’re not quite sure what info goes where, there is an instruction guide that comes along with your purchase.

You can check out the Paper + Spark Etsy shop here.

After getting all of the spreadsheets for tracking sales and raw materials and such, I also wanted to tackle a product development worksheet for new designs.  It took awhile to get the layout how I wanted, but I think I was able to get all of the necessary info on there that I will need.

Although it’s a slow process,  I get so excited with each step I complete.  It makes me feel as though I’m getting on the right track to get things done, and get closer to where I want to be!

Stay tuned!

Nik

Handmade Mini Quilted Suedecloth & Faux Leather Tote Handbag

I hate when I get the urge late at night to start making something because I just know I’ll stay up waaaaay too late working on it.  Of course, that was the case last night.  The result, this mini quilted handbag:


You wouldn’t believe, but this started out as something COMPLETELY different.  I was just sort of “wingin’ it” so it’s no wonder it ended up totally opposite of what I originally had in mind!  I’ve been wanting to do a large shoulder/tote bag out of this material so this made a great miniature mock up.  

This was the first time making handles like these, and it was easier than I thought.  It wasn’t wise however, to attempt sewing them on while being so tired.  What a pain to put on!  It also didn’t help that I had to put them on once the main body of the bag was already constructed (due to my “wingin’ it”).


I can’t wait to make a full size quilted tote, but next time I’ll be more prepared.  It would be super cute to add some rivets, a snap closure, and a pocket inside.

Stay tuned!