Stuffed octopus and minky blanket

My dear friends Johanna and Dave just had their adorable (and tiny!) baby boy Denver, and he is just too cute for words!  He was due November 23, but he just couldn’t wait to come join the world and he arrived on November 4th. Luckily we threw a baby shower a month before, and I had time to make him a minky baby blanket and a stuffed octopus to match. A while ago I went to the quilting and sewing convention here in Louisville, and I found two adorable panels of under the sea creatures, mermaids, and pirates. I really don’t make blankets or quilts so this was new territory for me. I found this tutorial for making a minky backed blanket. I made sure to wash both the quilting panels and the minky for to reduce any weird shrinking, hopefully it won’t get too warped after another washing. On the same note- its a baby blanket and meant to take a beating!

 

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I added batting in the center to give it more weight as it is about to get cold real quick! I laid my layers completely flat and pinned the crap out of it so it wouldn’t shift while I sewed my edges together. After trimming the edges, I turned it out and ironed the living hell out of this thing to get it to lay just right. Then I top stitched around the edges. I considered doing some quilting stitches around the panels but it looked cute enough at this point and I really didn’t want to mess it up. I’ll try my hand at quilting some other time, like say in another 20 years? Ynuk ynuk!

I really loved the orange octopus on the panels so I figured that this blanket needed an orange minky stuffed octopus to go with it! Duh! So once again I scoured the internet and I found this free stuffed octopus pattern by Melly and Me. I did alter it a bit, I wanted it to be much bigger so that Denver could grow into him. And what is cooler than a big stuffed octopus? Not much!  I cut a wider radius around the head pattern pieces, about 2-3 inches bigger and longer. I also made the legs much longer and curly at the ends. I stuffed him with polyfil as I went, and used white cotton patches with embroidery stitching around the edges and plastic safety eyes.

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And now without further ado… Mr. Denver James himself!!

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I don’t think that it can get any cuter than this little guy! He is so beautiful and we are so happy and excited for our friends. You all are wonderful parents!

Before we part I want to share one last thing, this is a video from the baby shower of the “Having a baby Relay”. It starts out a little slow but gets hilarious at the end. A great baby shower relay game if you are looking to throw a good one!

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Bugging out!

My very dear friend Johanna just turned the big 3-0 and I had to miss her big birthday party which was a big bummer, it sounded like quote the hoo-rah. To make up for missing out on the fun I wanted to make her a fun dress, and I remember her mentioning a while back that she wanted to make a bug dress, as in a dress with insect print all over it. I thought that actually sounded really cool! I found the perfect cotton bug print, its black on a cream background, from far away you can’t tell they are bugs so in my mind that tones it down a bit and makes it less hokey. After making my plaid Lisette dress I decided that would be a great dress for the print, its simple and fairly straight forward and its an easy dress to wear.

The bug were printed on an angle so I had to be precise about the way I cut the pieces so that they would line up straight. It wasn’t too big of a task but I can see that this would be taxing on a complicated garment. Luckily this one only had about 5 pieces.

I followed the same steps as I did with my plaid version, I made a zipper down the back as opposed to the side zipper, and I eliminated the facings and just used bias tape. She and I are more or less the same size so I based the measurements and fittings to myself, and in the end it fit her like a glove!


A peacock dress for the zoo! Simplicity “Cynthia Rowley” 2443

It is that time of the year for lots of beer, wine and local eateries and animals! Brew at the zoo is an annual event that my husband and all our friends attend every year at the end of August. This year it feel on myh husband’s birthday so it was even more fun! To keep the animl theme I decided to make a dress for the occasion with this awesome peacock printed knit fabric that I have been hanging onto for a while. I loved so much I was scared to cut it up make it into anything!

This Cynthia Rowley dress is all over pattern review and I liked ok it, but thought it was a little too plain Jane so I hadn’t gone out of my way to add it to my pattern collection. Hobby Lobby had a $.99 so I figured why not? Since the dress is so plain I decided the peacock fabric would be perfect since it would showcase the print well.

The bodice was a bit challenging, I tried the straps on about 50 times to make sure that it would fit perfectly since I have had trouble with this before. Simplicity tops always seem to run big. Getting the bodice top sewed to the straps with no puckering was also a little difficult, especially on the back, I had to redo this once so that it would fit into the square shape of the racer back. It ended up being a little off  and stretched but I don’t think it is too noticable.

I also decided to omit the zipper since I don’t like using zippers with knit fabric. They tend to curl and mishape the dress. Its a little hard to pull on and off without the zipper, but I have my husband to help me so its all good! The fabric is really light and flowed at the bottom so I just cut it and left it unhemmed.

This dress also has pockets which I love! This turned out to me a great little dress and I got a lot of compliments on it! Here is Chris and I at the zoo, he loved that camel:

We had a blast!!

 


Happy Birthday to Miss J! Rockin out Simplicity 2219

One of my very best friends Miss Jackson had her 29th birthday this month, and she’s a real hip and sassy gal so I decided she needed a fun dress to rock out. I had this bright funky knit fabric that I bought on a knit sale and it looked perfect for her. She wears a lot of maxi dresses, and the Simplicity pattern 2219 view D looked like a simple and comfy dress that she would be into.

Here is Miss J’s version!

I have made clothes for people before but I have never made a dress for anyone, and the reviews I read about this one all pretty much said that this runs huge. I had wanted it to be a surprise, however the straps on this dress had to be finished with interfacing and lining. To have to go back and undo all of that would really suck- not to mention it would end up looking sloppy, so I had her come over for a fitting. I cut the dress in the biggest size on the envelope so that I could just take it and and customize it to her exact size. The straps were very easy to make, mostly just interfacing and then piecing them together. Luckily the straps ened up fitting her really well so I did not have to make too many adjustments.

The sides of the bodice were gathered at the straps, and this type of material isn’t great at gathering with a long stitch. I think it is too flowy and doesn’t hold as well as a cotton or stiffer fabric would. To gather it I ended up kind of scrunching it a I sewed the pieces together, which is a little tedious but it worked. The side seams needed to be taking in about 2 inches fter fitting her. One thing that was odd about this dress was that it called for actual lining on the inside of the bust. I suppose this made it a little mosre stable and less bulky, however since this is just a casual knit dress if I made this again I’d just self line it since his seems like it’d be more comfortable.

The rest of the dress was a breeze, just two panels for the skirt that I serged together. Instead of hemming the botto I just cut it since this fabric is so thin and doesn’t unravel. I think I may have cut it a hair short, but it still looks ok.

Here she is getting sasssy!

Snap crackle pop!

Since thisturned out so well, I decided it was worthy of adding one of my customized labels complete with an owl of course 😉

On a side note, I finally picked a new sewing machine and ordered it! I get to go on a road trip to Cincinnatti and pick it up in the next few days. I took your all’s advice and decided against getting a Brother, after talking to a Brother dealer in town, even they advised that the model I ws looking at is only sold in the mass market and isn’t one that they would recommend. Since I enjoyed Jo’s machine so much I ended up choosing a Baby Lock Elizabeth model. It has all the features I am looking for, even some that the higher end Berninas didn’t have, plus much less pricey. Here is a picture off the Baby Lock site, once she gets here I’ll add some in person photos! Uber excited!!


A Birthday Dress

My Birthday was just a few weeks ago, but I had been eyeing this Cynthia Rowley pattern 2586 from Simplicity for a while and thought what a better occasion to make this dress for? I really loved the way it looked in the dark blue fabric they pictured so I tried to replicate this. I found a stretchy midnight blue nylon/polyester blend fabric and it worked perfectly! The dress consisted or rouching around the neckline and on top of the sleeves at the shoulders, and ruffles around the hemline which were so much fun to make and look super cute and flirty.

The part that I found the most difficult was the bonding around the neckline, I ending up having to remove the seams and redo this twice because I could not match the stitching up to the front. Now that I have run through this, I think the second time around would be much easier as I would cut the pattern piece wider and just sew the front to the back simultaneously.

I also think I may add some little buttons to the sleeves to add a bit of flare. It was a fun dress to wear and people were asking me where I bought it all night!