Pineapple Halloween Costume

Last night, Handsome and I attended a Day of the Dead themed wedding reception here in Baltimore – naturally, costumes were encouraged. At some point early in the month, I had come across this pineapple costume and bookmarked it as a possibility for this or one of the Halloween parties coming up. Handsome immediately latched on to this as a fun couples costume for the wedding party (he is a tiki enthusiast, so this is a great costume for him). We found some cheap green sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt and a yellow dress on Amazon and just had to make the tops.

Photo by our obliging pal Margaret Hart.
Photo by our obliging pal Margaret Hart.

Continue reading

Christmas Tree Garland

ImageI’ve been on the lookout for some Christmas decorations this year, and when I saw these tiny Christmas tree ornaments, I was sold.

I have a ton of pieces of scrap fabric that feel too big to throw away, but too little to make any large projects with. But it’s all perfect for this!  Continue reading

Easy Jersey Skirt

Kwik Sew 3513 - Jersey Skirt

This was an insanely fast project – even if you don’t think you’re a quick sewer, this is definitely something you can do in an afternoon. There are four pieces (five if you cut the view with the flounce), and it’s very easy to zigzag them all together with your regular old sewing machine. I made it even easier by deciding not to hem the skirt. After it was assembled I just cleaned up up the raw edge and then zigzagged it, but I could have stopped at the clean edge, as jersey doesn’t really fray the way woven fabrics do.

Now, the thing with jersey is that typically you need a serger, which is a special type of sewing machine that most hobby home sewers do not own. I don’t have one, and my friend who is a freelance costumer and seamstress doesn’t have one. They’re expensive. Anyway, you can sew jersey with a regular machine, you just need to use some particular techniques. The pattern I used, Kwik Sew 3513, is part of a special line of patterns for serging. It also includes tips and instructions for making this with a regular machine, which made me feel more confident in proceeding. I also really like Kwik Sew patterns as they tend to have well-written directions and straightforward construction techniques. Continue reading

Bibs and Burp Cloths

My friends Maya and Ian are expecting, and the baby shower was yesterday. That means I can now safely blog about this project, since they have been gifted away. As I am once again too impatient to deal with getting photos into this post (shakes fist at flickr manager plugin), go ahead and click here to see them.

Since my knitting mojo has been on hiatus for the last several months, I knew that deciding to knit something for their baby would not be a wise choice. Instead I thought I would sew up some bibs and burp cloths, as I have heard that you can never have enough of them.

The burp cloths were just from a tutorial I found online. There are tons and tons of them, and after looking around for quite a while I randomly settled on this one. I had originally been thinking I would just decorate some cloth diapers with fabric, since those would be quite absorbent, but then I got all caught up in reading reviews of them on Amazon and couldn’t figure out which ones were best. So, I went with this project. I picked out two fun prints and three colors of cotton flannel to back them, and I made a total of four burp cloths.

The bibs are from Bend-the-Rules Sewing, a fantastic book that I highly recommend. It is full of fun, cute projects for yourself, your house, and the little kids around you. The bibs were my first project out of the book, and they came out well. I do recommend following the pattern exactly and cutting the fronts and backs of the bibs together. I didn’t — I just cut all my tops and then all my bottoms — and it was a little difficult to match things up. The bibs were a bit challenging because of the curves, but I persevered and I think they will hold up. The only modification I made was to use fusible velcro instead of snaps. I made a total of six.

Perfect Box Pouch

Perfect Box Pouch
Perfect Box Pouch

Yesterday, while I was trapped inside my apartment before the local geek squad moved in to save the day (well, the evening), I made the cutest little box bag you have ever seen from this tutorial.

The fabric is from the Cherry Tart fat quarter pack at Spool Sewing. I forgot to jot down the fabric name & maker from the selvage (I think this one had it, some others from the pack did not), I will update that when I can. (ETA 8/2: Westminster Fabrics Strawberry Sunshine.) The lining is a plain beige shirting that I had leftover from the lining of the teal skirt.

The bag is small — the final dimensions are 5″ x 3″ x 2″; as my friend Julie pointed out, it is just the right size to throw in your purse or tote bag to corral whatever needs to be corralled. It’s also a great size to be a small cosmetics case or even something for dry snacks. Right now I am using it to take my makeup and travel deodorant to and from work.

This project was very easy, and is good practice for sewing in zippers if you need that. The only change I made to the pattern was in the interfacing I used. The medium weight that I had bought seemed way too stiff. So, I used the lightweight fusible interfacing I already had on hand, and just fused a piece of that to the backside of each piece of fabric (including the lining). It is keeping its shape nicely. Continue reading

Buttercup Bag

Buttercup BagA little over a month ago, I finally bought a sewing machine (a refurbished Janome). This is something I’d been thinking about off and on for several years, but given the space constraints in my Davis Square apartment, not to mention those related to the budgetary constraints of a grad student, I had kept it on the back burner. Finally this spring I jumped in, and I’ve really enjoyed having this new crafty outlet.

I’ve made a couple of things already (a cover for my laundry bag, some potholders, a set of placemats for my Mom), most of which without any incident. I recently finished up making a pair of Buttercup Bags, a very easy project and one that I will probably make again. On the two that I made, I used an embroidered linen on the outside, and used some lightweight cotton for the lining and pocket. (I like a bag with a really fun lining.) Continue reading

Mitered Hanging Towel

I still haven’t managed to get my hands on a copy of  Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines (my Jan. 8 ILL request through my local public library has yet to be fulfilled and is actually going to be automatically cancelled on April 8 — hopefully if I call them they can extend it). I was especially interested because I wanted to try knitting the Mitered Hanging Towel, which seemed just as easy, interesting, and addictive as the Ballband Dishcloth that their first book unleashed upon the world*. Lucky for me, Canadian Living featured the book and included the pattern on their website.

MItered Hanging Towel

As was the case with the Ballband Dishcloth, this pattern fits into that perfect middle ground between easy enough to knit while hanging out with friends (a related requirement is that it must also be a pattern that you can keep in your head and don’t need to count) and interesting enough that you don’t get bored. This also uses Peaches n Cream yarns, which I love for the huge selection of solids and ombres (I used yellow and Country Side Ombre here). This uses up more of the main color than a ballband dishcloth, though. (I have a tiny amount of the multi-colored yarn left over, but not enough that I could have done the hanging loop with it.) This is also a great pattern for beginning knitters, because you can practice your garter and stockinette stitches, and learn about decreasing. Continue reading

Wall o' Love From Afar


Here’s a look at a very cool little project I finally got around to earlier this week. This is just a length of twine tied to three finishing nails, with some clothespins to hang up the cards. Half of the wall is dedicated to “old(ish) but awesome” and half to “most recently received.” This is in my hallway, so I see it several times every day (although really, I could put it anywhere in my place and I’d see it every day, but let’s not get into the logistics of one-bedroom apartment living). That also means that it will be hard to get good pictures of it, since I can’t back up to take them, and the light situation will never be all that great. But, you get the gist. Click through to Flickr to see a version with notes bearing details on who the current cards & notes are from, and also to look at a much larger version.

Some friends who either have excellent taste in cards or write awesome messages are featured more than once. Please feel free to start a competition among yourselves to see who can get the most cards featured. Continue reading