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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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

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!

Black Vinyl Foldover Clutch Purse Handbag

Super excited for this finished project.  It’s something that’s been on the to-do list for quite some time, but I didn’t really have the supplies to make it the way I wanted.  

Last month sometime, there were some really great fabric sales at JoAnn so I decided to stock up.  

I really wanted to try out working with vinyl because I hadn’t used it before.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t difficult to work with!

I bought a 1/4 yard of vinyl and I still have enough left to make a few more clutches. The striped fabric is a 54″ home decor fabric.  I also picked up some blue striped print.


For the lining, I had 2 fat quarters on hand that happened to match the striped fabric.  What a perfect coincidence!


I wish my local fabric store carried more colors of the metal zippers. I just picked up a few basic black and brown ones for now.  I almost forgot that I wanted to add a tassel/pull to the zipper.  I think it definitely gives it a finishing touch.

Without vinyl zipper pull:


After:


Overall, I’m super pleased with the results!  As with any project, there are little details throughout that need to be cleaner, but I’m happy with the topstitching, the lining, etc!  Can’t wait to create some more!

Till next time!

Nik

Cute Little Dinosaur Boxed Pouch – Sewing Finished Object

So happy when I get to cross things off my to-do list!  I bought this dinosaur print fabric months ago.  I had a few ideas of what I wanted to use it for, but didn’t really decide for certain.

I wanted to make a little boxed bag this month, either for makeup or craft tools.  I normally keep my knitting needles and crochet hooks together, but I don’t really like the way the crochet hooks fit.  I decided this little pouch would be the perfect solution!

My original pouch was so bad!  Well, not at first.  Once I tried to alter it after construction was the mistake.  It was nice and neat but I didn’t plan out the size correctly so it was too short and wide for what I had in mind.  I wish I had more photos.

I decided to try to make it taller and slimmer but that only caused it to be crooked and too tall (photo below)!  The only thing I like about the original version of the pouch was the zipper tabs I used.  I think it gives a nice clean finish:


I realized that when I trimmed the boxed corners, it completely lost its shape and sturdiness, even with interfacing:


Such a disappointment!  I should’ve left it alone!  BUT, I love failures because they’re a learning experience.  I remade the pouch, paying careful attention to what I wanted the finished measurements to be.  I ditched the zipper tab covers, and added actual tabs to ease opening and closing the zipper.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the resulting pouch!

I interfaced both the main and lining fabrics this time for extra durability.


Even though the placement of this tab was slightly off, I don’t care! Lol


I prefer taking the extra time to slip stitch lining seems closed.  It gives a cleaner look than just sewing it closed.


Make sure your directional prints are facing the correct way before you sew!  Also, once you box your corners, don’t trim the excess fabric!  It helps keep the stucture and aid the “boxy” look!



Next time I will definitely choose a coordinating lining thread.  (I was just too lazy to change the bobbin😜):


Can’t wait to make some more of these cute little pouches!

Till next time!

Nik

Blue Minky Baby Blanket with Satin Blanket Binding (FO) semi-tutorial

Okay, so I promise this is going to be the last baby blanket for a little while!  I love making them and they’re so quick to finish, but I don’t want to keep boring you with the same style.  This one was for another baby boy that graced the world with his presence this past weekend.  I love this super cute patchwork fabric, that consists of minky and flannel squares.  I hadn’t used minky until the Woodland Creatures Minky Baby Blanket with Satin Blanket Binding so I’ve been on a mini obsession with it.  I loved the dark blue minky for the backing fabric!  I again decided to use the satin blanket binding because I love the nice detail and more professional look it gives.

I like baby blankets somewhere in the 30-40″ range on average so I cut my pieces down to a 31″ x 31″.


Before cutting out the main fabric, I wanted to straighten/even out the edge to make sure my measurements were accurate.  I lined up my straight edge along the first seam line and used my rotary blade.

Pin your fabrics, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER.  This is because you won’t be hiding the seams inside.  Instead, baste or regular stitch all around the edges using your desired seam allowance.


I used a 1/4″ seam allowance so that the blanket binding will be wide enough to cover the sewing line.

For the binding, one package of pre-measured binding will be more than enough for my 31″x31″ blanket.  It comes with 4.75 yards in a package.  Be sure to figure out the perimeter of your blanket to ensure you purchase enough. 

Next, begin placing the binding around the edge.  Be sure not to start too close to the corner because you will need room to overlap the edges.
You’ll notice that one side of the binding is just a bit wider than the other.  Be sure that this wider side goes on the backside of your blanket.

Open the binding (iron if desired), and sandwich your fabrics between the binding and pin if desired:

Yes, those are bobby pins I’m using to avoid snagging the binding:

Set your machine to a zig zag stitch and guide the binding so the the stitches straddle the edge of the binding.  This will make sure that the edge on the backside is caught in the seam as well.

I wish I had pictures for the remaining, but I was so frustrated that I forgot to take them as I was finishing today.

For the corners:  continue sewing until you reach the end of the fabric.  Turn the fabric in the direction of the next side you will be sewing.  Be sure the edge of the blanket is flush inside the crease of the binding:

Fold the corners inward at a 45 degree angle to get the nice mitered corner.  The binding edges should meet at a 90 degree angle if done correctly.  Be sure to sew over the edge to keep it in place. It can be tricky to catch the backside, and for me I usually have to do a second row of stitches in order to catch the back seam.

Finishing: If you have extra binding remaining, trim leaving enough to overlap the starting point.  I like to leave enough so that I can fold the edges inward to create a point (similar to the angle created when joining bias strips).  Sew in place as you did for the corners and you’re all set!



For some reason, this specific blanket was the most stressful thing I’ve ever made!  There were so many moments I wanted to throw it across the room!  I think if I had to seam rip one more time, I would’ve broken down in tears (literally).  Everything was going great until it was time to add the binding.  No matter what I did, I just could not seem to get my corners turned and mitered nicely.  Once I got past a corner and continued down the side, the binding would shift and the threads wouldn’t catch the back of the binding!  I don’t know if I was just overly tired or what, but I realized it was time to walk away and come back to it later.
Although I love the look of the blanket binding, I don’t think I’ll continue to use it quite as often.  Overall, I’m happy I decided to try it out for these last couple of blankets.