Monday, October 27, 2014

Esmeralda the Gypsy Costume

Charlie fell in love with the 1996 Disney "Hunchback of Notre Dame" movie this summer, so of course she chose Esmeralda for this year's Halloween costume!  I used Simplicity's 2845 for the basic pattern and made a few changes.  

Everything needed to be as exact a copy as possible - but who wants to keep tucking a four-year-old's shirt into her skirt all night long?  The pattern I used was a dress, so I cut it in half at the waist and made the top portion in the shirt fabric and the bottom portion in the skirt fabric.  If you do this, be sure to add a 5/8 inch seam allowance on the shirt and skirt patterns where you sew them together.

Charlie wasn't thrilled with having a transparent scarf fabric - that's not what the pictures of Esmeralda looked like, so we went with a satin.  The pattern has you cut a square and double it - that's a lot of satin, so I just made a triangle and hemmed the edges.  Our original plan was to knot it around her waist, but that was difficult with satin, so I trimmed off enough from the edges that would've been tied so that I could sew on velcro.  As you can see from the photo, I didn't quite get it trimmed evenly!

Esmeralda's turquoise belt has yellow stripes.  I used yellow satin ribbon that I fused onto the belt with Steam-a-Seam II lite.  I also used velcro to attach the belt, but it felt too tight to Charlie, so I added an extension (which you can see in the photo) to attach the velcro onto.

For a trick-or-treat bag, I sewed up two rectangular sacks - one in purple and one in the shirt fabric for a lining.  I put the lining into the purple sack (just set in, wrong sides together), and turned down the top edge and sewed in place.  Purple straps (long rectangular pieces sewn together with the ends left open and turned right side out) finished it up.  

Oh - and I found the coin trim at JoAnn's!  Clip on gold hoop earrings and a tambourine completed the outfit.  Charlie's been practicing her gypsy dancing with her cat Moose as an audience!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Meet Henry!

I'd like to introduce you to my newest inspiration, my grandson Henry James!  Over the last several months, you've probably seen some of the pieces he's already inspired me to create.  There will be more!

I'll most likely be absent from the blog for a couple of weeks (except for an upcoming post inspired by my other muse, Charlie)  as I spend my time adoring him and helping his mom and dad.  But I'll leave you with instructions on making his little newborn hat!

Newborn Hat
This is a pattern by Bev found here that I adjusted to be a larger size.  Henry was almost 8 pounds and the tiny newborn hats just didn't work well, plus I wanted something that would take him through his first few months.

*worsted weight yarn - I used Lion Brand's Wool Ease in Wheat
*size 6 knitting needles
*tapestry needle

1.  Cast on 56 stitches very loosely.
2.  Work ribbing with a knit 1, purl 1 stitch for 10 rows.
3.  Work in stockinette stitch until whole piece measures 4.5 inches - end with a purl row.
4.  Knit two together across the next row - you'll have 28 stitches.
5.  Purl the next row.
6.  Knit two together across the next row - you'll have 14 stitches.
7.  Purl the next row.
8.  Knit two together across the next row - you'll have 7 stitches.
9.  Cut off leaving a long piece of yarn.  Pull the yarn through the 7 remaining stitches, remove from the knitting needle and pull tight.  Thread the yarn onto a tapestry needle and sew up the seam.  Weave the ends in.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Weaving Fabric

I think that probably anyone who likes patchwork quilting is interested in how fabrics can be cut apart and put back together, forming something new.  Since sewing the Autumn Leaf Table Runner, I've been looking at more ways fabric can be deconstructed/reconstructed to form backgrounds. 

A couple of tutorials demonstrate fabric weaving techniques that look intriguing!  Joan Hawley describes how to make a fabric using fusible bias tape - the same technique could be used with strips of cut fabric attached to a fusible interfacing or web.

And this tutorial on Sulky's website shows how to make a random, curved weaving and has photos of several suggested projects you can make with your new fabric.

Dogwood Leaves No. 6, Judy Lundberg

To see some stunning quilts made using fabric weaving techniques, be sure to take a look at the gallery on Judy Lundberg's website!  I love the way she also blends her colors and creates wonderful motion.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tumbling Pumpkin Table Runner

It doesn't seem like it should be October already, but it is!  Here's a Halloween themed table runner that went together pretty quickly.  There's only one catch - I'm am currently where I don't have access to a scanner .... so this means I can't upload the pumpkin and pumpkin stem shapes.  I did however Google "pumpkin shapes" and found a lot of images that had very nice shapes!  And if they don't turn out to be the right size, they can be enlarged or shrunk on a copier.

*1 3/4 yards Halloween themed fabric - I found this sparkly, bat one at JoAnn's
*1/2 yard fabric in an orange shade
*small amount of fabric for the stems
*4 yards single fold bias tape - I used black for this 
*fusible felt
*2 shades of rust sewing thread
*Lite Steam a Seam 2

1.  Cut two pieces of 54 x 14 inch Halloween themed fabric - this will be the front and the backing.  Cut four pumpkins and four stems.  I made the stems longer than needed so they could be attached behind the pumpkin.  Attach to the top with Lite Steam a Seam 2.

2.  Cut a 54 x 14 inch piece of fusible felt and fuse to the wrong side of the backing fabric.  Pin the top fabric piece on top of the felt.

3.  Use a tight zig zag stitch to finish the edges of the pumpkins and stems.  Thread sketch curved lines in the pumpkins to give it a rounded look - go over each line with each color of thread.  Trim, finish the edges with seam binding and you're done!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Halloween Projects

If you're fast with your needlework, you just might have time to whip up one of these fun Halloween projects!  Otherwise, you can be like me and put it in the "do for next year" pile ...

These skeleton motifs actually look like I could get some finished for this year - I'm thinking of a yarn size that will make them big enough to be coasters.  The free pattern is available on Kristin's Krazy Knits.

I'm working on knitting my first sweater - so far so good, but it's still early in the game!  If all goes well, this darling skeleton sweater will definitely be on my needles for next Halloween.  It's knit with Bernat yarns and the pattern is free on the Yarnspirations website (sizes 2 through 8).

And I love Monica Gausen's bathat!  I definitely need one.  She's made the pdf available free on Ravelry here.  

This crocheted white pumpkin has a spooky chic elegance to it - like something that would be in the Addams family's home!  And it's cleverly stuffed with black tulle.  This would be great as part of a Victorian Halloween decor.  The free instructions are at Kits Crafts here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Leaf Table Runner

I've wanted to make an autumn leaf table runner for a few weeks now - I knew I wanted to make the leaves from some ice dyed fabric in autumn colors that I made awhile ago, but I just couldn't come up with a background I liked.  Until I was inspired by Kirsten Chursinoff's gorgeous pieced fabric backgrounds!  For this one I used neutral and light blue fabric scraps and did a little bit of fading one color into another.  When I got the longer table runner finished, I like it so much I made a second square one!  So you have two choices in the instructions.

*cotton muslin
*scraps of white, light tan, tan, light gray, and light blue fabrics
*fabric with colors of autumn leaves - I used ice dyed fabric (see instructions here)
*Lite Steam a Seam II
*two shades of rust sewing thread
*backing fabric
*single fold bias tape (see here for making your own) - 4 yards for the long table runner and 2 1/2 yards for the square one)
*pattern for maple leaf (I just free hand drew the ovoid leaf)

1.  Cut a piece of cotton muslin the size you want the table runner to be - 54 x 14 inches for the long table runner and 18 inches square for the square one.

2.  Cut squares from the background scrap fabric - cut them 3 5/8 inches square (you need a bit more than the 3 1/2 inches to allow for overlap).  For the long runner, you'll need 12 white, 16 light tan, 12 tan, 12 light gray, and 8 light blue squares.  For the square runner, 10 white, 4 light tan, 6 tan, 2 light gray, and 3 light blue squares.

3.  To attach squares to the cotton muslin, pin the first row down with squares slightly overlapping the square next to it.  Sew along the edges with a decorative stitch.

To add the next rows, pin the second row in the same way as the first, plus overlap it slightly over the first row.  Sew along the edges with a decorative stitch, sewing across all squares first (width of the fabric) and then sewing along the short edges (lengthwise).  Repeat for all rows.

For the long runner:
Row 1 - 4 white
Row 2 - white, lt. tan, white, lt. tan
Row 3 - 4 lt. tan
Row 4 - lt. tan, tan, lt. tan, tan
Row 5 - 4 tan
Row 6 - 4 lt. gray
Row 7 - lt. blue, lt. gray, lt. blue, lt. gray
Row 8 - 4 lt. blue
Row 9 - reverse row 7
Row 10 - reverse row 6
Row 11 - reverse row 5
Row 12 - reverse row 4
Row 13 - reverse row 3
Row 14 - reverse row 2
Row 15 - reverse row 1

For the square runner:
Row 1 - 5 white
Row 2 - lt. tan, 3 tan, lt. tan
Row 3 - lt. gray, 3 lt. blue, lt. gray
Row 4 - reverse row 2
Row 5 - reverse row 1

4.  Cut maple and ovoid leaves - 4 maple and 8 ovoid for the long runner, 2 maple and 4 ovoid for the square one.  I attached these to the fabric with Lite Steam a Seam II - you can also baste them on.  When you have them arranged to your liking, sew around the edge of each leaf with a tight zigzag stitch.  I used the darker rust thread on the maple and darker ovoid leaves and the lighter rust thread on the remaining ovoid leaves.

5.  Layer your piece of fabric with a piece of batting and the backing fabric.  Pin in place.  Thread sketch around the outline of each leaf and then sew veins.  Repeat this with both colors of rust thread (I used regular weight sewing thread).

6.  Trim edges of the runner even and bind with bias tape.  For the square runner, I rounded the corners a bit and for the longer one I used square corners.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Inspiration - Masks!

October is a month for making masks!  Here are a few ideas to get you started ....

Allison on Momspark has a great tutorial on how to make animal masks with felt.  While the example is a raccoon, she tells you how to customize to your own animal.  See the instructions here.

If you're celebrating Dia de los Muertos at the end of this month, Kourtney Moon has a crocheted sugar skull mask here that you can add your own designs to.  This one has an added benefit if your Halloween weather is icy!

Tara Miller has a pattern for the simple type of eye masks that often work well for toddlers.  Her example here is a cat - change out the ears and you can easily come up with other animals.

Finally, if you're feeling really adventurous this year, Whitney Panetta's high school lesson plan on leather masks might just be for you!  I've always been fascinated with leather masks and these instructions look very doable.  Instructions are here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah