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:

IMG_5048

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)

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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

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!

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!

Black Vinyl/Faux Leather Bucket Bag

This is one of those projects that seems like it’s on the right path until you get about half way done, and realize you want to throw it across the room.  Even though it came out basically how I envisioned, there are quite a few things that need to be fixed.

I even went back and forth on whether it would just be a shoulder bag…no, a bucket bag…wait, shoulder? No, definitely a bucket bag.  Lol most of this happened because I was too lazy to write and plan out my process before starting.  The whole point is to build prototypes and patterns anyways so it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Overall, I’m happy it worked out and I know I’ll be super pleased once I make the necessary tweaks that will really up the quality of the handbag!


Brown Faux Suede Fringe Clutch Handbag

Stayed up waaaaaay too late last night working on this clutch.  It took me so long just to get motivated to start, but once I did, I couldn’t stop.  The original vision I had in mind was for a crossbody bag, however I didn’t have any matching hardware to make it possible.

This was the first attempt using both faux suede and fringe in a sewing project.  It was surprisingly easy to work with.  I didn’t need any special needle and my regular machine foot worked fine.

The whole basis for the clutch was actually because I wanted to use the Aztec print fabric that I used as the lining.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it for some reason.  Even the woman at the cutting table was drawn to it and wasn’t sure why.

I love that it is colorful and fun, and stands out so well against the faux suede without being overly bright and loud.


I still have some faux suede left over so I want to play around with it and see what else I can come up with!

Handmade Baby or Infant Onesie Part 2

Just a quick post for the second handmade baby onesie I just finished.  This time I chose to use the sleeveless style from the same Mammacandoit pattern found HERE.

I decided to use the same main fabric instead of a woven for the snap area, and I like it much better.  It was a little more difficult to maneuver, but I prefer the way it looks.  It also caused a difficulty when putting the snaps on because it was thicker, but they came out more aligned and more neat than the first onesie.

I wish I had enough matching thread to use in the serger, but I wasn’t about to go buy more just for one project.  Considering it won’t show, the white was fine and more importantly, I didn’t have to change the threads!  

I thought I picked out the same knit material, but I soon realized this one was much thicker and stretchier.  It was a little bit more difficult to work with so I did get some pinching and bunching in some areas.

Loving making these and I hope more of my friends start having babies so I have an excuse to make more!  Next up, I’ll try out the long sleeve style when I pick up more fabric!

Handmade Baby or Infant Onesie

I know I always say it, but I really am so excited and pleased with my most recently finished craft project!  It’s something I’ve wanted to learn for awhile, but I’ve just always seemed to put off.

I absolutely love making baby items because they’re all so cute and tiny, and it’s an excuse to use all of the absolutely adorable fabric prints available!  I was a little disappointed this time though, that when I went shopping for fabric, the selection wasn’t as great as it has been in the past.

I found this cute little dump truck fabric that would work cute for a little baby boy’s onesie.  I believe it was an interlock, which is a nice stretchy knit that is a little thicker than jersey knit.


It’s been sooooo long since I’ve worked with a knit fabric.  I was actually a little intimidated getting started again because it really is different than working with wovens.  It was a perfect excuse to pull out the serger again so that I can get some practice in before the secret project I’m working on.


I don’t believe you always need special equipment to make things, but a serger seriously helps take your handmade items to the next level.  It’s amazing for creating beautifully finished seams like the manufacturers.  I’m such a perfectionist that it’s a MUST if I’m sewing apparel items.

If you’re planning on using a serger for your knits, don’t be intimidated by playing with your machine’s features.  More specifically, the differential feed.  The differential feed refers to how the fabric is fed through the machine.  Knits tend to curl or wave when passed through the machine at the standard machine setting.  For my machine, the standard is 1.0.  By increasing the differential feed to greater than 1.0, it tends to “gather” the fabric as it’s being serged, rather than stretching it.  You will have to check your machine’s manual, and I also recommend doing a test swatch to find the right setting.


Always do a test swatch on a scrap of the fabric you will use.  Below shows the importance of adjusting your serger’s differential feed:

Above: standard differential feed setting vs. increasing the differential feed

I found a pattern on Etsy for the baby onesie that included a wide range of sizes and different sleeve styles.

The link to the mommacandoit shop can be found HERE.

The instructions for the baby onesie were very easy to follow and it finishes up fairly quickly.  I used both my serger and my regular sewing machine, and I think it helps add a more professional finish.  The only thing I wasn’t fond of was using a woven in the crotch area where the snaps are adhered.  I would prefer just using the same knit fabric, or binding the edge like the the neck and legs.

Finish the seam edges with a serger, and use your machine to topstitch for a polished look


It was at this point that I realized I had placed the first set of snaps on wrong!! Luckily, it wasn’t too much of a pain to remove and correct them.

I was a little bummed that after correcting them, I put the second set on crooked.  It’s ok though, I’ll get it right on the next one!


Overall, I loved making this baby onesie!  It is so cute and tiny and can’t wait to give it to the sweet little baby boy.  I’m happy I took the time to learn how to make a onesie, because it will make another great gift to go along with my baby blankets!

Fabric Organization and Sewing New Curtains

I recently did a major spring cleaning through my craft closet and it feels great!  I let go of some things I wasn’t using and just didn’t really need anymore.  I needed to reorganize some areas so I could actually get to my supplies more easily and use them!

I normally keep all of my fabrics and yarns inside plastic storage bins so they don’t get dust buildup.  The problem with this is that I can’t ever get to the ones I need.  I also end up forgetting what I have on hand.

I decided to make mini bolts of fabric and put them on shelves so I can see everything.  I must say, I’m liking it much better already!


I didn’t want to spend any money because I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like the new way.  I had a package of 8 1/2 x 11 chipboard pieces from scrapbooking days, so I figured they would suffice for now.  All small remnant pieces are just folded for now.  

I don’t want them to get exposed to dust (and mostly Karla’s pet hair!) now that they’re out in the open, so I made some curtains to help keep them dustfree.

I picked up some Keepsake Calico fabric from JoAnn Fabrics.  I think it’s a nice print without being too bright or busy for my taste.


A simple rod pocket style curtain and cheap tension rod did the trick!

WIP Wednesday – Very Pink Sixes and Threes Inspired Knitted Cowl

A few months ago I saw an old post on YouTube that really caught my eye.  I was looking for some ideas to help me work on color changes and incorporating more design into knits.  The video was for an infinity cowl that blends the different colors together in a really nice way.  

The link to the website can be found HERE. Also check out the VeryPink YouTube channel for great tutorials!

I don’t have the knitting pattern so I’m just kind of winging it as I go.  I do like that it helps me work on a few techniques such as circular knitting, jogless stripes, and Kitchener stitch.  I have never tried the Kitchener join so wish me luck!! 

I originally chose USC colors in hopes of wearing it to the basketball game. I didn’t have a chance to work on it so that didn’t happen.  I still want to complete it though.  I’ve been trying to make more time lately to tackle it whenever I can.  The great thing about knitting and crocheting is the ability to take it on the go and work on it more often.  Unlike other crafts, you’re not limited by being at a desk.



I’m having to adjust my cowl as I go because my first color block is too long.  If I make all the blocks the same length, the cowl will be much too big.  Since I’m a fanatic on symmetry and perfection, I’m going to compensate by decreasing the lengths of the striped blocks only.  I think I should’ve cast on less stitches also because it’s about an inch or so wider than I’d prefer.  We’ll see how it turns out!