6 year old b-day gifts!

One of the things I love about having younger cousins now is that I get to make them fun little kid gifts. It can be hard, however, to pick things out they would like—and that their parents would approve. One of my cousins, F., is turning 6 this summer and recently became infatuated with make-up and fashion, but I know her mom would be horrified if I got her lipstick!

Luckily F. also loves knitting, and in fact recently started learning to knit herself! So I thought it might be fun to make her some things that encourage that interest by inspiring her a bit, while still being very fashionable of course. 😉 Scarves seemed like the perfect solution—no need to know sizing, and they can look quite fancy. With some kids, of course, scarves can present a choking hazard, but F. is a very responsible girl, and already has some she wears safely.

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Because her birthday is in summer, I wanted to include something she could wear right away, so I made two scarves for different seasons. 🙂 For winter, she gets a bright teal scarf knit in an easy but fancy-looking lace pattern, made of an alpaca/acrylic blend. The alpaca adds drape and softness, but the acrylic makes it a bit easier to clean.

For summer, I sewed a simple cotton scarf out of Kaufman fabric’s floral lawn. I thought this pattern looked very cheerful, so perfect for a little girl. 🙂

To tie the two scarves together, I added an embroidered label on the cotton fabric to the back of the knit scarf, and a teal pom-pom trim to the ends of the cotton scarf.

I’m excited to give them to her, and hope she likes them! She has one more present coming, but that’s more of a back to school gift. 😉 I’ll share that one later.

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oilcloth lunch bag

I made a project with my sewing machine! It turns out the thought of sewing through two layers of oilcloth is enough to finally inspire me to tune up my vintage singer and learn (kinda) how to use it. Okay, well goad my dad into tuning it up for me.

I saw this tutorial and really liked the look of the bags, so I ordered some pretty oilcloth prints a few weeks ago. My sister and I have a longstanding campaign to encourage my mom to use more reusable containers, so this seemed like the perfect solution to her daily brown paper lunch bag.

 

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Who doesn’t love kittens with roses and yarn?

My top-stitching is…not the greatest. I actually didn’t even use the motor on my machine, just the handwheel, because I kept messing it up. But isn’t the kitten print cute? Maybe that makes up for it. 😉

I used a bit of velcro to keep the bag closed and make it easy to use. It’s just a bit roomier than a brown paper bag, although not so much bigger that it’d be difficult to put into a tote or backpack. If you’re looking for a way to cut down on throwing things away, I think this is a great alternative!

finished HP embroidery!

My friend’s birthday was yesterday, which meant she came over to get her present—and she remembered to bring her Harry Potter scarf too, so she got her present from last year as well! 😉

I have had this embroidery finished for a while, but since we only see each other sporadically it’s been hard to find a time to iron it onto the actual scarf (which my friend handknit years ago).

But now it is completely finished!!!

I’m so happy with how it turned out. I always get a little nervous using fusible things, in case it doesn’t adhere to the materials well. But luckily it worked beautifully! I also hadn’t seen the scarf in a while, and forgot how well the colors matched. I guess the hour we spent matching thread and yarn was worth it!

Anyway, my friend and I both loved the final project. It’s so nice when things go well.

crochet coasters

I went home for Easter, and while at my parent’s house, my mom asked me if I could make her some replacement doilies for her bedside table—maybe in black, or a very dark blue. Uh, what? While I’m sure there are some very nice doilies in those colors, I knew they’d look terrible on her dark wooden table. It turns out she was trying to avoid the constant coffee stains that show up on lighter color doilies, so we compromised.

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Isn’t that teal much nicer than navy? It’s a bit more green in person than in the pictures, and though light enough to still stain, I’m hoping the mercerized cotton yarn  I used will hold up well to any requisite cleaning.

 

traveling toy house

Last summer two of my younger cousins visited, and were totally enraptured by my spinning wheel and knitting. Every time I got either out, I was immediately surrounded! Of course, one of the things they were most curious about was what, exactly, you could really make with knitting. I figured a good demonstration they would enjoy would be a knit toy, so I showed them a rabbit I’d made for my younger sister a few years ago. Well, as soon as the rabbit appeared, I got the question I was fairly sure was coming—”Maia, can you make me one???”

So obviously they each got matching rabbits for their birthdays. 🙂

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For Christmas I made them each a few more outfits, but now that summer is coming up again I thought it might be fun to try something a bit ambitious—a portable toy house, which will certainly be a challenge for me to sew. I’ve seen a few of these on pinterest and flickr, but since I wanted mine to fit the rabbit toys I really just winged it. So far I have the front done, and it looks pretty cool!

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Now just 6 more sides to go. 😉

patchwork pencil case

When my sister went to college I made her a pencil case for her first care package. 🙂 It may seem a bit more appropriate for an elementary-schooler than for a college student, but I think cute pencil cases and stationary always makes classes and homework more fun, no matter what age.

Unfortunately, a pen got uncapped in the case and spilled ink everywhere. My sister was sad, but I was actually a bit happy that I got the chance to make another of these cute patchwork cases.

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I used A Spoonful of Sugar’s wonderful pattern. It was very easy to follow, and I feel like my result matched their pictures pretty well! I really liked the cute kitty fabric especially.

Anyway, my sister was quite happy to get a new pencil case and says it holds up well. And just in case, I may have to make a few more if, say, something also happens to this one. 🙂

pattern: embroidery project pouch

The last time my parents were visiting, I was working on some basic redwork embroidery. While sitting and chatting, my mom kept staring at the needle going back and forth through the hoop, and finally admitted that she couldn’t believe how relaxing embroidery looked! While I’m sure most embroiderers have experienced plenty of moments in which embroidery is the exact opposite of relaxing, I do think it’s a very enjoyable craft to pick up. Not only can embroidery be used to decorate almost anything made of fabric, but it’s also relatively inexpensive to get started with, and can achieve great results with only a bit of practice.

My mom is probably the least crafty person I know, but I thought she might enjoy trying some embroidery herself, so I threw together a kit for her. Of course, once I’d gathered all the supplies, I realized they really needed a cute way to keep them together—hence this embroidery project bag! It requires very basic sewing & quilting skills, although of course you could make it fancier by doing embroidered decorations, more patchwork, or adding appliqué. I made it sized for a 5″ hoop, but you could also easily increase the dimensions.

embroidery project pouch

materials:

  • lining fabric: cut 9″ x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, 6.5″ x 6.5″ square, and 34″ x 2.5″ strip (for binding)
  • back fabric: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece
  • front patchwork section: cut three 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares
  • front fabric: cut 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • top pocket flap: cut two 3.5″ x 6.5″ pieces (either of same or contrasting fabric)
  • bottom pocket flap: cut two 4.5″ x 6.5″pieces (either of same or contrasting fabrics)
  • scissor sheath: two pieces cut according to pattern (download )
  • batting: cut 9 x 6.5″ piece, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece, and 6.5″ x 6.5″ square
  • wool felt: cut two 3″ x 2.5″ pieces with pinking shears
  • ~2″ piece of elastic
  • one button
  • one 7″ zipper

instructions:

  1. Cut out all the pieces as specified in the materials.
  2. Sew together your three 2.5″ squares, using a 1/4″ seam, and press.
  3. Take your three 6.5″ square pieces: the front fabric, lining, and batting, and your zipper. Pin the front fabric to the batting, and lay them together on top the zipper, facing towards the zipper. The top edge of the front + batting should line up with the bottom edge of the zipper, and the lefthand edge should fall 1/4″ beyond the zipper pull. Lay your lining fabric, facing towards the zipper and front fabric, on the other side of the zipper and line it up to match your front fabric + batting. Pin all of this in place—you should have a fabric sandwich of batting, front fabric, zipper, lining fabric.  IMG_3246
  4. Sew together, 1/4″ from the edge. Unpin and press down. IMG_3250
  5. Repeat this process with your patchwork strip, 2.5″ x 6.5″ piece of batting, and your matching lining fabric on the other side of the zipper. Press up. IMG_3251
  6. Top-stitch around both sides of the zipper, and trim whatever of the zipper sticks out beyond the edge of the fabric.
  7. Take your three 9″ x 6.5″ pieces: the back fabric, lining, and batting. Pin them with the batting sandwiched between the back and lining fabrics, and quilt them together. Pin this quilt to your zippered piece, with the lining fabrics facing each other.
  8. Fold & press your binding strip in half. Line the unfolded edge up against the edge of the front of your pouch, and sew around your pouch with a 1/4″ seam.
  9. Fold binding around the pouch, pin, and whip-stitch in place.
  10. Now take your pocket flap pieces and piece of elastic. Pin the pieces with wrong sides facing, and sew around with 1/4″ seam, leaving a small opening to turn them inside out. For the top flap, add an elastic loop before sewing.
  11. Turn pieces inside out and press. Pin in place on your pouch and sew them along the top, continuing (without sewing them to the pouch) in order to top-stitch the rest of the sides.
  12. Take your scissor sheath pieces and cut out the pattern from them. Sew together with 1/4″ seams, wrong sides facing, leaving a small opening to turn inside out.
  13. Turn scissor sheath inside out, and press. Then pin to your pouch, and sew around (leaving top open).
  14. Sew your felt pieces to the pouch. IMG_3260
  15. Sew a button on the bottom flap, matching the elastic loop.
  16. You are done!

You can use whatever combination of fabrics you like. I went for a blue & yellow theme, with gray accents in the scissors sheath, lining, and binding fabric. To draw things together, I used the inside fabric of the flaps, the outside fabric of the flaps, and the back fabric for my trio of patchwork squares. I also added a bit of purple ribbon as accents because I thought it was cute. 🙂

If you make this project, please link your pictures/blog in the comments! I’d love to see other people’s take, and of course, go ahead and ask if you have any questions! I’m not that practiced at sewing tutorials yet, so I might have missed explaining some things. 🙂