Dec 2, 2011

How to Sew a Simple Pillowcase

I dreaded the look of my living room so I am in a quest to make it really nice this time. It’s so packed with toys, books and little knick-knacks that it is no longer warm and cozy. I have the same wall art since 2005 so I am looking for a replacement. The simplest thing is just what we need to spice up a space.
During the week, I made simple pillowcases and change the fabric of an old chair I purchased in a thrift shop to unify the color in the room. If you can cut squares and rectangles, you can make this easily in less than 2 hours. I used 18” (45.72cm) square pillow form but any size can be sewn in the same manner. You just need to adjust the sizes of the fabric to cut. I sew this using a ½-inch seam allowance (otherwise indicated) which is already included in the cut fabrics.
½ yard fabric
matching thread
18” (45.72cm) pillow form
sewing pins

Sewing Steps:
1.       Cut the following fabric sizes:

One -  18” (45.72cm) square of fabric (Fabric A)
One – 18”x13” fabric (Fabric B)
One – 18”x10” fabric (Fabric C)

2.       On one side of Fabric B, fold ¼ inch in the outer edge of 18”-side twice then sew to secure a clean edge.
3.       Do step 2 for Fabric C, also in the 18”-side.
4.       To construct the piece together, follow steps in these order:
Lay Fabric A flat in a sturdy surface with right side of fabric facing up.
Pin Fabric B on top of Fabric A’s upper side edge with right side of fabric facing each other.
Next, pin Fabric C in the lower side of Fabric A with right side facing each other.
5.       Sew the four sides to finish the pillowcase.

Nov 18, 2011

Pillowcase Tote, An Easy Sewing Project

My sister-in-law came for a quick visit in Illinois and I thought I should give her something unique that she can use.  I came across a tote made out of a pillowcase in a book written by Jodi Kahn and I was delighted.  She can use it as an extra carrier for travelling back to Las Vegas and perfect for her grocery shopping.

The process was quick and easy.  Since it is made out of a pillowcase, it is already halfway done.  The pillowcase is folded lengthwise and measured 15” from top to bottom in the folded edge and 16” in the opposite side. The two sides are then cut to form the handles and sewed together.  A ¼”-wide bias tape was used for the handles’ raw edges. To reinforce the bottom, a 4” straight line was sewed perpendicular to the side seams. Here is the end result:

Nov 12, 2011

My Rick Perry Moment...

Rick Perry brain-froze in the GOP debate on November 9, 2011 and was captured on camera. You can watch it in this YouTube link I thought that was funny but I am sure it happens to the best of us though we are not in the spotlight to capture our moment.

Anyway, this week I am in the process of creating my first quilt but it’s not done yet. Ahh…. nothing to post in my blog for now but I promise to have something next week. “Oops!”

Nov 5, 2011

Every woman should have a decent apron...

I rarely use apron in the kitchen… however, everybody should have one. Whether you are cooking inside the house, doing barbeque, gardening or any chores – an apron is somehow necessary to protect your clothing.

And that is exactly what I made over the week. I found a colorful fabric in store with pink, yellow and brown colors.  I also purchased a solid pink fabric for the bottom half of the project. This apron will be used by my teenage daughter. She needs to help out a little bit in the kitchen while mom is in the sewing machine. Probably, looking good will eventually motivate her. J

Preferably, I like vintage-look pattern and I found one that I liked. For this project, I used Simplicity Pattern #2592 Apron B. Somehow, I am getting better at this and maybe more practice will make me comfortable using a more complicated pattern.
Simplicity Pattern #2592
The harshest criticism was from my daughter of course. She said that a half-apron only looked best in skinny people. A full-size apron she said is best for me. That made me laughed… it is perhaps one way for her to tell me to lose weight. Sure enough it didn’t look good on me but perfect for her.  Here are the pictures. See for yourself.

What do you think?

Oct 31, 2011

Halloween 2011. Calling all sickies!

I like to be different … in a good way. So every year, I usually create something for my son that probably only few people will attempt to do. Today, my 4-year was wearing a costume inspired by one of America’s famous doctors on TV.  Yes, I am talking about Dr Mehmet Oz.

The “Dr Oz” costume was created using Simplicity Pattern #3650. The biggest challenge was putting up the sleeves as mentioned in my older post. The toy stethoscope is more expensive than the cost of the fabric and pattern itself so for a while I was scratching my head. I ironed-on the alphabets to make it interesting because without it I don't think people will notice. Needless to say, I was happy that it was a success.

It turned out that everybody liked it in school…. Of course I am referring to the parents’ feedbacks.  Kids didn’t care as long as they have all the candies. Here are some the photos taken today in school.

After school, trick or treat with cousin France

Oct 27, 2011

Sewing My First Handbag

The hardest part about this is not learning how to sew but to actually write about it. At times this may sound ridiculous, but I am not giving up. 

Ah… the fun part is that I finally finished sewing my son’s costume which I will be posting on Halloween day. I’m excited for him to wear it and shoot photos of my son outside of my house. However, recently he has expressed that he’s not willing to wear the costume anymore. I am hopeful my son will change his mind, otherwise; my hard work is not appreciated… again.

I also completed my first handbag ever. This was what I wanted to do for a very long time. In fact, the fabric that I chose was already cut awhile back and not until recently was I so motivated to finally finish it. Here it is,

I used Simplicity Pattern #2381 (middle bag)
The pattern specifically noted to use Gingham but at the time I purchased the fabric, it was not on sale. So being the typical me, I opted for something else. I knew in my mind that there is no need for me to use embroidery thread and rick-racks for accents. I intended this to be a test project to see if I can sew it easily anyway. It turned out that I had some challenges. The hardest part for me was to attach the lining.
Logically, I knew I had to sew the pieces right side facing each other but what confused me was the turning of the fabric inside-out which had me to do a trial and error. Thank goodness for seam rippers, they can undo mistakes.
On the other hand, I was so excited to see my finish product. I felt as if I created something really special and I asked my 16-year old daughter to critique my work and  if she could use it at school but unfortunately she said the handbag is too big for her taste. She requested me to sew it one-third from its original size.  If I want this to work, somehow I need to listen to my daughter so I can see her wear the fun stuff I will be sewing in the future. Until my next adventure… Nighty night!

Oct 13, 2011

My First Sewing Project since 2009

This will definitely be a busy week for me, trying to multitask all my to-do list for my upcoming midterm exam for school, household chores, garage sale (second attempt, I did okay last week) and of course keeping track of my sewing progress.
Yes, I was finally done cutting the pieces needed for my son's Halloween costume and started to sew the top part today. It’s so much easier if I do it little by little so I won’t get overwhelm with the necessary steps and simultaneously reading my sewing book to double-check my work.

My son was a knight his first year (2008), a store bought costume.

When he was two (2009), I sew a boxing robe for him to be PacMan – in honor of our very own Manny Pacquiao (the boxer who defeated Oscar De La Hoya and all others). I had the hardest time ever sewing the robe because the fabric was so slippery but I’ve done it eventually.

Last year 2010, he was Clark Kent – I got the idea from the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars'” professional dancer wearing the costume in 2009. Everything was store bought and so the last time I used my sewing machine was in 2009.

This year, I am keeping my fingers cross that hopefully I can pull this thing together. My little guy wants to be a pumpkin and I told him “cannot be my boy, I already bought the fabric and pattern” and he said “okay, mom”. Poor boy, he has to be what mommy sews. Fourth costume coming up…

Oct 6, 2011

Patterns and Fabrics on Sale!

Temptation, temptation...Stop! I kept telling myself but I can’t help it. I am just human. My favorite store started their Columbus Day sale today. As usual, I bought plenty patterns again for my FUTURE sewing projects. So much for challenging myself!

I subscribed to their email campaign so every now and then I know what’s on sale. Patterns are sale for $1 each so for me it is rather urgent more than anything else. Regular Price for patterns range from $2 to $19 and I only buy when it’s on sale but I always get carried away. Have you heard the saying - “only fools pay full price”?
When I’m in the store, I go straight to the pattern area and had been my routine. I don’t stick around browsing the catalogues because the longer I stay - chances are the more stuff I buy. Here’s my strategy, I usually browse the manufacturers websites to look for the patterns I want then I buy it in store. That way I’m out of the store in 15 minutes or so.  I also bought a black vinyl to cover my piano’s chair and a fabric for my apron project. 

Sep 28, 2011

Home Hobby Table On-Hold

I've been trying to schedule a garage sale for three weeks now but it seems like I cannot get it done. My husband just informed me last night that we are going to his friend's housewarming this weekend. The bad thing about it is that I am using my home hobby table to display my stuff which I need so badly to start cutting the fabric for my son's Halloween costume.

It's getting cold in Chicago and I must, I must, I must unload my house with all the junk I accumulated over the years. I have a feeling that I will be hoarding fabrics... more fabrics to say the least so I need some space.

Sep 26, 2011

Books A Beginning Sewer Should Have

Today, I started gathering all my sewing books.

"Sewing 101" by Creative Publishing International has been my favorite.What I like about this book are the many illustrations and simple projects which I will be doing in the future.

I also owned "Simplicity's Simply The Best Sewing Book" which is a good reference for someone learning how to sew.

I've borrowed so many wonderful books in the nearby public library but I figured reading every single one of them is getting me nowhere and may I also mention that I have sooooooo many sewing patterns I collected over the years. **sigh**

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