Countdown to Christmas

Technically doesn’t start until a week from Friday, but that means you’ve still got just enough time to make an advent calendar. This one only took me parts of two days last week. And then waiting for the numbers to be delivered.

I started by figuring out the placement of the pockets, which are 4 inches by 4 inches, and then I created strips for each line. I folded the top edge down half an inch and stitched it with a zig-zag stitch. Next I centered the strips on the green felt and stitched along the bottom of each row before flipping the whole thing over and drawing the Christmas tree outline with a Sharpie. Then I cut the tree out to make it easier to fit through the sewing machine to sew the side of the pockets.

I sewed the lines in between and on the ends of the strips that ended inside the tree outline. I left the ones that go over the edge free until after attaching the tree to the background fabric.

Next I sewed the trunk of the tree to the background, so it would be behind the bottom of the tree.

After pinning the outside pockets out of the way, I sewed the entire outline of the tree down. Everything is sewed with a zig-zag stitch to flatten the edges.

I sewed the remaining pocket edges down and added a star for the top.

I finished the whole project off with a backing (of purple muslin because it was the only plain woven fabric I had that was large enough to cover the whole back) and a wooden dowel for hanging that was slightly too short.

I added a screw to each side, which worked out well anyway for attaching the string to hang it. I had ordered stick-on felt numbers, so all that was left was to stick them on when they arrived. Now we just have to figure out a way to hang it for December 1.


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Making a Peanut

This year I had a request to turn the smallest (and I really mean smallest, as he was only barely three months old for Halloween) into a peanut for Halloween. Ever up to the challenge, I said yes immediately and then began searching for a pattern.

Did you know there aren’t any peanut costume patterns out there? At least not any good infant ones that I could find. So I looked at the above picture of a previously available costume (which I found on a webpage about creating a Mr. Hankey costume for an infant. The Internet is a truly strange and wonderful place.) and the below pattern and set about making a costume.
Since the little dude is still quite little and this was a blanket pattern, I used the back of the three-month size as a base. I divided it into four columns and then two-inch rows, cutting armholes and drawing a circle for the face.

I cut everything double, and then went back and cut just the front pieces for the face hole. I sewed the columns, then sewed those together around, leaving the front for a zipper to make it easy to get into and out of.

I lined it in muslin and stuffed it a slight bit at the top and bottom, to give it more of a rounded peanut look.

I cut a two inch strip width-wise and the single strip managed to finish off all three holes, single fold.

Then it was on to the zipper. Fleece and zippers don’t mix easily, but I got it in there. Mostly.

The best part is, it fit!

A finished #peanut. Hopefully it fits. #halloweencostume #sewing

A post shared by Casey Kay B (@caseykayb) on

Quick DIY Spider Costume

Halloween is five days away. If you still need a costume for yourself or a little one, here is my formula for a quick, DIY spider costume. Unfortunately, I didn’t take process pictures, but this seriously went so quickly that I didn’t think about it beforehand.

Materials:

  • Correctly sized T-shirt
  • Long-sleeved shirt that is two-three sizes larger
  • Socks the length of your arms
  • Thread
  • Stuffing
  • Felt (optional)
  • Serger (optional)

Instructions

  1. Serge (or hand-stitch) hems of t-shirt and long-sleeved shirt, making sure the inner shirt is against the right side of the outer shirt. I did right sides together, so the inside of the costume is the outside of the t-shirt. It was unintentional, but it works well if you have shirts with tags to sandwich the tags.
  2. Flip the shirts so the long-sleeved one is on the inside, and whip-stitch the two together at shoulder and under-arm to hold in place.
  3. Stuff between the shirts to create a puffy middle. Hand-stitch the collars of the shirts together, stretching the smaller collar to match the size of the larger collar.
  4. Stuff the socks so they match the length of your arms, or the length you want them to reach. I used a Soffe big boys’ small long-sleeved shirt and Hanes womens’ size 5-9 crew socks and the lengths matched perfectly. If you are making an adult size, you may either need knee-length socks or cut one sock off at the toes and sew it to another sock to get the right length.
  5. Hand-stitch the socks to the sides of the outer shirt, spacing them evenly down the sides.
  6. Take a length of thread, doubled, to connect the arms and tie a knot at the bottom. String through or sew to a small square of felt, or you can sew it to the under side of the bottom sock-arm. Thread it through the first sock, and repeat the process (leaving some space between arms, however much you feel lets it hang appropriately) with the second sock-arm and the underarm seam of the long-sleeve shirt (placing the felt inside the arm if you are using that method). Do this at the middle and end of each side (more places if you are doing a bigger size).
  7. That’s all there is to it. Add some black pants, perhaps a black hat (I’m making one with red felt eyes) and you are a spider.

Patience

Basically, I have none. I have a ton of things I want to do, but I want to be able to get them done instantaneously and move on. 

It’s why I’ve started my current cross stitch project four times now. I get tired of doing small bits of color and decide that I totally can count ten spaces out from my last stitch and put one in the right place. No, no I cannot. You would think I would stop making that mistake by the five thousandth time, but I’m pretty sure I’m on time six thousand sixty-three.

So, considering I am now on the last strip of this roll of fabric, I am going to use every last ounce of patience I can muster to take it slow. One patch at a time, never more than three spaces in a line or two diagonal spaces between the last stitches and the next. Let’s see how long that lasts.

So Many Projects

So last week I ordered some fabric. It arrived the other day, and my little helper was very excited to help me open it. And then he asked, “Who is all those people?” Which lets me know I need to bust out the special episode tapes as we enter the holiday season.

I’ve drawn a quick flat, mostly to make sure it will look good to cut all the pieces on the bias, since it is quilting fabric and I want it to have some stretch. I like comfy clothes. I think it should turn out well:

Then, there is the issue of Halloween being a month away. One of the boys already has a Harry Potter costume, and now the other big brother has decided he also wants to be Harry Potter. The littles are a little more challenging. One wants to be a “vampire giant tarantula” and the other wants to be “mighty eagle from Angry Birds,” but I think I have those figured out. Just have to actually write a list of what I need to make them.

And, with Halloween only a month away, that means Inktober starts on Saturday. That is my 30 page notebook, which I have gouached the cover of to make 31 pages. Saturday will be creating a cover for it. I’m obviously going to be posting pictures to Instagram every day, but I’m also going to post a round-up here every Friday.

There is one more project that I am also working on. Actually, a few, but this is the first of a mini-series of Christmas presents. And, not meaning to cause panic to anyone making presents for Christmas, there are only 88 days left until Christmas. So I need to get moving on this. Or these. Not panicking. Yet.

I May Have Gone A Little Overboard

So I saw a tweet the other night from someone who found 90s Nickelodeon fabric at their local JoAnns. “Cool,” I thought, “I’ll look it up tomorrow.” Fast forward to yesterday and me trying to find that tweet again to be sure it really said JoAnns, because I couldn’t find anything other than Ninja Turtles and Paw Patrol.

I decided to just do a regular search and found that there were at least three different shops on Etsy offering it for about $7 a yard. I’m assuming this is probably better than I will be able to find it if it really does exist inside a JoAnns store anyway, so I bought five yards. There’s at least going to be a dress out of it. As well as some other things, I’m sure. I’ll get the whole outfit going.

You’re A Wizard, Harry

Friday was favorite character day at the elementary school. Predictably, most of the people who dressed up were from the Harry Potter universe. You know, since it’s an elementary school and they weren’t allowed to dress as movie characters.

It started with a scarf, which actually came together rather quickly. I used red worsted weight yarn and yellow bulky weight yarn and was able to create a five foot long scarf with about 4 hours of work off and on Monday and Tuesday.

Then it was time to make the robe. I dyed some muslin black (that one took a couple different tries) and drafted the pattern on Wednesday so I would be able to sew it up on Thursday.

I then went and picked up some sunglasses to remove the lenses from. I wish I had remembered to take a before picture, because they started out bright, sparkly pink. But after a bit of sanding and paint they were much better.

Once everything else was together, I thought it could use one last touch, so I took some extra material from the robe, sketched out the Gryiffindor house crest with a white pencil, and embroidered it.

On the other side, I put a pocket. Not really a stylistic choice, but because part of the robe got eaten slightly by the serger.