Howdy folks. Happy New Years…only 21 days late! Have you created lifelong healthy habits in these past three weeks? Are you a changed person, renewed with the optimism that only another year can bring?

Yeah me neither. But I have made dog beds. And for me…apparently that’s enough.

diy-dog-bed

I’ve been back from my travels down under for almost two months, which seems impossible. It feels like yesterday that I was walking around in nothing more than a sundress, meeting awesome people, not worrying about a single thing.

And life is dramatically different now. I’m experiencing a definite transition period. It’s anxiety inducing, but a total thrill at the same time. I have no idea what tomorrow or next week will look like, let alone months down the road. It’s exhilarating and terrifying. So to calm myself, of course I sew. For my dog.

I’m working on reconnecting myself with the sewing community that I so dearly value in Colorado. And I’m working busily on a new venture that will be launched in a few short weeks. Also, I’m teaching again! Well, I’m preparing to teach sewing classes starting in March at Fancy Tiger. And I literally cannot wait.

I spent a few hours last week creating a rather luxurious dog bed for a small tricolor canine to serve as prototype for one of those classes. When it was unveiled to the little guy, Buckley actually chose his new glorious overstuffed dog bed over a spot next to me. He circled three times, flopped down with a sigh, and immediately started the Beagle snore I fall asleep listening to every night. I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit hurt. But also proud. Insanely proud. He may have no idea how awesome this made in the USA fabric is, but the boy knows comfort when he sees it.

diy-dog-bed-2

So if you’ve ever wanted to know how to sew a box cushion with an envelope cover, come to Fancy Tiger and take the class! I’ll update you with the dates and times when that information is available, but I was just too antsy not to share these photos.

In the meantime, let’s keep up this sewing thing, mmkay? If you’re in the Denver/Boulder area and want to talk about sewing, let’s do that too. I’ll be back soon with more sewing, big news, and more empty promises. You have my word.

Today on Meadow Rue, an awesome guest post by a blogging buddy. I will be back at blogging in a few short days. For now, enjoy Elena’s killer transformation!

Hiya guys! I’m Elena and I spend most of my days blogging over at Randomly Happy. But today there was so much sewing goodness, that I had to break it down into two parts. You’ll find half here, on the ever-lovely Allie’s blog. And the other half waits for you on Randomly Happy.

The idea was to come up with a really simple way to transform a shirt. Taking it from zero to hero. And since I’ve been a bit obsessed with statement collars and cuffs for a few months now I thought I’d give it a go. It’s nice and simple. And super quick, so do give it a go.titlebefore and afterThe How To

You will need:

  • an unloved shirt
  • fabric for collar and cuffs (20 inches x 20 inches or 50 cm by 50 cm should be enough)
  • pins
  • sewing machine

1. Put your cuff down onto your fabric, right side to right side. Draw around your cuff. FYI you should probably use tailor’s chalk for this, but I was out!

step 1

2. Add about 1/4 inch (3/4 cm) of seam allowance around the boarder of the cuff you just sketched.

step 2step 3

3. Cut the fabric and pin loosely to the cuff of your shirt. Make sure the right side is facing out. Line up the outline you traced to the edge of the cuff.

step 4

4. Going around the edge of your cuff, fold the 3/4 seam allowance in place under the fabric and pin in place.

step 5

5. Take to your nearest sewing machine, and sew a straight stitch around the edge of the cuff. Try and get as close as you can to the edge for the neatest finish.

step 6step 7  ps How great would this look with gold leather? That’s going straight to the top of my to-make list!

P4214696 P4254859

 

She’s done it, folks. Whitney has written a full tutorial on the most adorable matryoshka finger puppets you have ever laid eyes on. Enjoy!Finger Puppet Tutorial

The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Full tutorial below
Fabric:   “Bright” from Little Kulka by Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Kona solid
Notions:  Fiberfill
Difficulty:  easy
Make it again?:  Oh heck yeah

Her words:

“I found an adorable fabric and have been making everything under the sun from it.  I really wanted a set of finger puppets and searched the internet for some sort of tutorial to make them.  I came up short.  There were plenty of great ideas for felt puppets, but nothing that called for fabric ones with a little dimension to them.  Let me share my process.  Hopefully you’ll find it helpful!

Start by picking an appropriate fabric.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This is from the Little Kulka line and I LOVE it.  I multiple-purchases-12-yards-total-plus-extra-coordinates LOVE it. 

Basically what you’re looking for in a fabric is an image with a definite border that stands somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three inches tall.  You could use animals, people, fictional characters… you name it.  While you’re at the fabric store, buy a coordinate for the back.

Start by cutting out the image with some extra space on the sides.  You’ll probably want at least a ¼ inch overhang, but if you have more room, by all means, use it.  Do not feel like you have to cut around the image exactly.  A rectangle or a square is perfectly fine.

Once you have that piece cut, use your coordinate fabric to cut out a second set of pieces that are exactly the same size.  For your third set, fold a large piece of your coordinate in half, iron, and cut a final set of pieces the same (folded) size as the first two.  The fold will ultimately go along the bottom of the puppet, so in my photos, the fold is along the short end of the rectangle. 

You should end up with a pile that looks like this:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

What you’re ultimately aiming for is a small stuffed puppet with the image on the front, some fiberfill in the middle, a single thickness of the coordinate to contain it, and the folded thickness to go around your finger.  Your finger will end up between the folded thickness and the single thickness.  Hanging in there?

Stack your fabrics like so:

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start with your image face up.  Then layer your folded coordinate on top of the image, but slightly above the bottom of the finished puppet.  The fold goes towards the bottom of the puppet.  Finally, layer your unfolded coordinate on the very top, lining it up with the original image on the bottom.  The final photo shows your finished sandwich of fabrics.

Now pin your little stacks of fabric together, image side up, and get to sewing.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Start at the bottom edge of your fabric and sew around the image, leaving the bottom of the doll open.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.  I sewed slightly outside the image, leaving a thin whitespace around the doll.  Experiment and see what works best in your situation.  Once you’ve sewn around three sides, cut the excess fabric away.  Snip small cuts in corner areas.  In this case, there is a small snip between the doll head and body on each side.  Be careful not to cut through your stitches.  You just want to facilitate turning the puppet right side out.

I did not draw any lines to follow on my puppets.  I was able to see the image well enough through the fabric to be able to follow it with my presser foot.  If your fabric isn’t as transparent, you may want to trim that layer with a uniform edge to help with the sewing.

Turn your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I like to use a knitting needle to run around all the edges.  I also like to iron the puppets at this point.

Edgestitch (sew closely to the edge) your puppets.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

This step is optional, but it reinforces the seam and means that when you close the bottom of your puppet, all the edges will match.  Make sure you’re still only stitching three sides.  You want to leave that bottom open for the next step.

Fill your puppets and sew them shut.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

I used a small handful of fiberfill in each puppet.  The knitting needle helps get the fiberfill into tight spaces.  Turn the bottom of your puppet in, pin and sew it up.  Make sure your seam allowance is scant enough to avoid sewing the back folded piece into the puppet.  You need a spot for your finger.

All done!  Sit back and admire your handiwork.

Finger Puppet Tutorial

Finger puppet tutorial

Finger Puppet Tutorial
Did I ever tell you about the time my mom bought the Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic Pattern? And how my sisters, my mom and I each made a version (or two) for ourselves? We love tunics. We’re a tunic family. Whitney? She’s no different. And this little Sadie Tunic…that bicycle fabric…those little spoke buttons? To. die. for.
The Sadie Tunic in Bicycle Fabric
The facts, straight up:
Size:  2-3
Fabric: Lucy’s Crab Shack by Moda in green and solid coordinate
Notions:  Fabric button cover maker (mine’s a Dritz one)
Difficulty:  Easy
Make it again?:  Um.. possibly with the little pockets, maybe…

The Sadie Tunic with Covered Buttons
Her words:

“I’m clearly a sucker for a tunic.  This one nearly did me in though.  I figured I would have a quick little project on my hands since I was omitting the buttons on one side and the pockets entirely.  Nope. 

First, I sewed on both facings not realizing the button placket should have been sandwiched between one.  Then I realized I should have serged the facing edges so they didn’t fray.  Then I attempted to fix that problem by pinking the edges and managed to cut through the front of the tunic…  By the time I got it all put together, attempted to mask the slice in the fabric, and started working on the buttonholes, I thought I was going to throw in the towel.
 
The buttons took forever because I wanted those little wheels centered just so.  Never mind actually making the buttonholes – that was an exercise in patience because my automatic buttonhole maker sometimes doesn’t like to make the second long leg of the buttonhole as long as the first.  Grrr.
 
Do you ever have one of those days?  It was no fault of the pattern, which was easy to follow if you read the directions.  I was just not on top of my game this time.  I do think that serves as the motivation to sew it one more time – just to prove I can get it right.”

Little kid fabric is the best. Munchkins get to wear prints of elephants and puppies and it’s totally cool.

Adults? We get to wear stripes. Maybe the occasional ikat, but that’s it. It’s my life’s mission to design a line of playful fabric for adults. It won’t be weird. I promise.

Polly Peasant Dress Neck Detail

This week my sister Whitney is sewing up the most adorable little dresses you’ve ever seen, by putting all those random fat quarters to use.

Polly Peasant Dress in puppy print

So much painful adorableness going on here. I swear, everything miniature is better than full size.

Polly Peasant Dresses
The facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Polly Peasant Dress & Blouse by Etsy seller Sew Much Ado
Size: 3T
Fabric: Two fat quarters per shirt plus white Kona cotton (three fat quarters would suffice if you want the entire shirt from the same fabric), all of mine is from Jo-Ann (surprise, surprise)
Notions:  3/8″ elastic, safety pin
Difficulty: beginner
Make it again?: This isn’t even my first attempt at this pattern, so I’d say it’s likely I’ll do it again.

Her words:
“Do you ever look at those little fat quarter packs of fabric in the quilting section and think that the print is fantastic, but there’s not nearly enough to make something decent?  I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased these turquoise elephants no less than three times when they were on sale for 99 cents apiece.

Well, here’s something to do with them!  You’ll need at least two matching fat quarters.  Grab a third for the sleeves unless you have a coordinate at home.  I used plain white cotton.  The pattern is a breeze.  Every step is accompanied by a photo and she talks you through project with or without the use of a serger. 

These are just as simple as the pants from last week.  I’d imagine this would be a great time to let your little one pick out her favorite fabric.  (Because, you know, your children spend hours upon hours in the fabric store with their mom… just like we did as kids.)  With four bucks and an hour to sew, you can complete this project easily.  Have fun!”

Saturday night was the best. I mean, really the best. I was able to spend two hours with twelve lovely Colorado bloggers. Beware: I’m going to show you a million pictures and make you insanely jealous. I’ll go back to being polite and inclusive…tomorrow.

Meadow Rue Readers, meet: (back row) KimAshley, Me, Lizzie, Meghan (middle row) Liz, Rebecca, AnneKeely (front row) Katie, Erin, Elaine, Anne

Kim organized the most awesome craft: fabric printing on jersey scarves. Despite getting yellow paint nearly everywhere, this was totally theraputic. More fabric printing needs to happen in life.

The swag bags. Oh dear, there was nothing lacking in those swag bags. Kim even threw a ringpop in for all of us (flashback to 1992!). If I could only take one thing to a desert island, it would be this swag bag.

This little print is going in a thrifted frame and up on my sewing room wall asap. It’s has been scary, Yellow Heart Art. How did you know?

The most awesome craft kit from Katie at Lemon Jitters was included. I can’t wait to dig into this. That tiny wooden plane will be put to good use, you can be certain of that.

Knitted (or crocheted?) things from Snowdrift Designs! I really should learn the difference. Regardless, this red cup cozy has been planted firmly on my coffee mug since Sunday morning. And I refuse to drink out of anything else. It serves as a coaster too! And the coaster serves as a coaster, also. Imagine that.

A bright and cheerful fat quarter from Fabricate! The event was hosted at their adorable fabric store and sewing studio. The perfect venue for an intimate gathering.

Cards and prints! A fun Thank You from Ashley at Bow & Arrow Art and a Colorado state print from CAPow!

Overall, the night was a small trip outside my comfort zone coupled healthy injection of whoa-I-need-to-get-my-shiz-together. These ladies are big time, and after a bit of blog stalking, I am so inspired. Being surrounded by other people who understand the self-induced stress that comes from getting a post up is a strange comfort. What was even more awesome? Their personalities totally shine through in their writing, something that I continually strive for, but am completely unaware if the effort is working.

Twas a good night, friends. A good night indeed.

‘Member how I told you on Tuesday that I couldn’t wait to show you what I did with that pretty mint zipper?

Well I can’t show you because the zipper is barely in the picture. Nice work, Allie. It’s there I promise.

But I can tell you about it!

My sister brought Made by Rae’s adorable wristlet pattern to our Sew Weekend. And I just happened to have some of that graphic vintage fabric with me.

And so a vintage wristlet lined with seersucker was born. With a mint zipper.

Check out my sister’s version!

Now go make one!

The first annual Sew Weekend was a huge success!

But, honestly, there was no other way it could’ve turned out.

When you’re surrounded by the most inspiring people on earth, in the most beautiful place in the world, on the rainiest weekend of the year, life doesn’t get much better.

Until you have to leave.

Then, you might shed a tear on the drive home.

It could happen.

A two day downpour at Swan Lake in July is odd. Completely out of the normal.

The sewing gods were shining down on us through those showers. Because creating on a rainy day is a million times better than creating on a perfect-weather-to-be-sitting-in-a-tube-on-the-lake day.

Five little sewing machine presser feet humming along at a constant pace and the hiss of the steam iron created a lovely soundtrack for the weekend. My mom’s amazing ginger cookies and fresh berries were our weekend snacks. And early mornings with several cups of hot coffee were a time for quiet and peace.

I have so much to show you. I can hardly wait.

But for now, I’m still living in last weekend. Give me another day.

My task list in my Google calendar is overflowing with little things I need to remember and huge projects I hope to one day complete. The tasks range from school related chores to blog redesign dreams, each task of varying time commitments and priority levels. While the tasks are ever changing, one thing has remained constant; “Design Fabric Print” has been accompanied by an empty check box for going on six months now. Something has got to change.

I received a gift card from a family member to create my own print at a now, very defunct website. But lately, I’ve been hearing so much about Spoonflower, that I decided to create my print anyway.

While I was in South America on Lake Titicaca, I snapped a few shots of the rippling water that reminded me so much of being at my cabin. The sight and sound of calm waters gets me every time and let me tell you, there is nothing like a lake to calm traveling nerves and maybe even parasite belly (a story for another time).

I played with those shots in Photoshop today, bumped up the contrast and tweaked the colors to come up with something that I can say I actually like. It almost looks painted to me (or…god forbid…an animal print, I can’t tell which). I can imagine this fabric on the inside of a little zippered pouch. I have to admit though, I have a hard time seeing a future beyond a lining for this guy. It doesn’t seem to fit for upholstery and isn’t something I’d wear.

My 8″ by 8″ swatch should arrive within a couple of weeks. A complete review of Spoonflower will accompany pictures of the printed fabric.

In the mean time…one more thing crossed off!