Monday, April 14, 2014

DIY Sofia the First Amulet of Avalor

I know that I post about sewing most of the time on my blog, but today I thought I would share a different sort of project that I did with my little girls last week. It was a lot of fun... They absolutely loved it!

So if you are a mom/aunt/grandma to a little girl, chances are you may have heard of a darling Disney TV show called Sofia the First. We are big fans of this show at our house. My little girls love Princess Sofia! (If you aren't into letting your kiddos watch TV, there are lots of darling Sofia the First books- like this one. I think it has the cutest combination of illustrations and fonts I have ever seen in a book. I absolutely love it!)

In the books and the show, Sofia has a magical necklace called the "Amulet of Avalor". It helps her do all sorts of things.
 My youngest daughter got a Sofia the First dress and crown for her birthday last year, but every time she pretended to be Sofia, she says "I need an amulet... I can't be magic like Sofia unless I have an amulet." So we decided it would be a fun project to make our own Amulets.
 We headed to Joann and went to the jewelry section. I got a large bag of assorted chunky plastic purple beads that looked like "jewels" according to my girls, some purple tear shaped medallions for the center of the necklace (they came in a pack of 3), and some elastic cord to string the beads so the necklace is stretchy. 
I let them string a few practice necklaces to get a feel for working with the beads and then we talked about patterns and stringing our beads in order to create the design of what we want it to look like. It was a lot of fun and was good practice- they had fun making a game of guessing "what bead comes next in the pattern?". 
After we had the beads strung on the elastic, I tied the elastic with a square knot and put a dot of super glue on the knot so it doesn't come undone and slid a bead over the knot while it was still wet. 
I am so glad that we made our own amulets instead of just going and buying one. It was such a fun and easy project for us to do together. We made an "Amulet of Avalor"  for each of my girls to keep and a couple to give to their friends. After we were all done, they had the idea to use the leftover beads to make mini necklaces for their bitty babies to wear. So fun watching them create!

Have a great week!! 
xoxo, Ashley

Monday, March 31, 2014

Colored Pencil Roll Up Case

For the longest time I have wanted to make my kids a "Quiet Kit" to bring to church each Sunday- full of things to entertain them that are quiet
I have some really great ideas for things I would like to make to go into the bag, but somehow other projects always take precedence and the "quiet kit project" gets put on the back burner... 
 Last weekend, I decided that it was time to start making things little by little to go into the quiet kit. 
  So I made a colored pencil roll up case. It was just kinda one of those cut and sew as you go projects with not much of an overall plan. 
 I have seen lots of roll up cases for crayons, markers, and pencils over the years. The thing I notice with almost all of them is how BIG the pocket is for the pencil to slide into. I wanted to make mine a bit more snug so that once the pencils were in, they stayed put. But as I have learned a time or two while late night sewing- sometimes my brain is ready for bed before my eyes are, and calculations seem harder than usual.... thus when it was time to stitch my pockets, I realized that they were actually going to be too snug! ha ha (just my luck)
So I went with Plan B and made wider pockets for 2 pencils to fit into.  Problem solved!
I used a stack of lovely solids from the Hawthorne Hues collection by Hawthorne Threads for the background of the case (I had to use 4 other random solids from my stash to match the pencils in edition to almost every solid offered in the Hawthorne Hues collection). Then I used some fabric from my stash (Handle with Care collection by Suzy Ultman) for the main part of the case as well as the wrap around ties. 
In the end, even with the measurement mix up, the case turned out exactly how I wanted- FUNCTIONAL. 
It works great, my kids love it, and it is a good start to my "Quiet Kit".

Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quilt As You Go Suitcase

The #1 reason (if not the only reason) I started sewing, was to make things for my little girls. 
I fell in love with the idea of being able to make something they could wear, use, or play with- and it was the driving force that made me step out of my comfort zone and try something new and learn to sew. 
 It has been so rewarding to be able to create something that my little gals dream up and help design. When they get an idea and start sorting through my fabric cart (a turquoise Ikea Raskog cart - full of all of my smaller cuts of fabric) for the "perfect fabrics" to use in their project, it just makes my heart swell! :)
 They love to sit on my lap as I sew, sit by my side as I cut fabric, pick up all of the loose threads strewn about my sewing area... Anything to be in on the action and participate in creating their "project". 
If you follow me on Instagram, this project is old news to you, but a few months ago my daughters were playing with their dollies and they decided they were "going on a trip to Utah" (where both of their grandparents live). Much to their dismay, their babies didn't have suitcases! What in the world were they going to put all of the clothes, diapers, bottles, etc. for their trip in, they wondered? The wheels started turning and before I knew it, there was a pile of princess fabric in front of me with a request for "a princess baby suitcase". 
 I picked a few of the coordination prints from the very large and very colorful  selection they had presented me with and we got working. This is what we came up with. I don't currently have a pattern for this suitcase, but I used the same method to make them that I did for the quilted ukulele cases... So if you are interested in making this, just check out that tutorial and make the tweaks necessary.
The girls were pleased as punch! All set for the "trip to Utah". Now they have requested another matching suitcase- Each baby needs her own of course. ;)

Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quilted Weekender Bag #5

I had the opportunity to do something that I have never done before over the last couple months. 

I taught my very first real life sewing class at a darling local shop in my town! 

It was such a great experience for me. I decided to teach a class on how I make my quilted weekender bag. It was a super intense project for my first time teaching, but all in all I think it went really well. I had 4 wonderful ladies as my students. We had so much fun together! 
My Leopard Print Weekender Bag was the class sample and it was so fun to walk into Sew to Speak and see MY bag in there on display for a few months! 

I love doing tutorials on my blog teaching how to make some of the things I make, so I knew I would enjoy teaching a sewing class in real life. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone though. I don't like having the spotlight on me and tend to be a little on the quiet side until you get to know me, but it was great for me to push myself a little bit and put myself out there.

I figured it would be beneficial to show my students step by step instructions- just like I do on my tutorials. So I decided to make a bag along side my students. Each night I came to class with what we would be doing already complete on my bag so they could see and visualize what their bags needed to look like. It was a good teaching tool for me- plus I had already planned to make a bag for my other little sis, so it gave me the motivation to complete it.  

Here are all of our finished bags together!

So here is how my weekender bag #5 turned out.
I used a kitchen utensil print that I found at Sew To Speak called Scandinavia Style (which I think is manufactured by Westex Fabric) for the Main panels but I have had a hard time finding somewhere that sells it online to link to- so if you are interested in this print, you could call into the shop and I am sure Anita would be happy to send some your way via mail if they still have some in stock. 
I loved all of the colors in the main print and just grabbed various coordinating fabrics from my stash for the patchwork portion of the bag.
It is definitely a loud and funky bag- but that's the fun of it in my eyes! I love putting together something that I know is one of a kind- unlike any bag out there... This one fits the bill! :)
If you are a regular reader of my blog, or follow me on instagram, you will know that I kinda have a mild obsession with this pattern- well maybe "mild" is too mild of a word... This is the 5th version I have made! BUT- making #5 and teaching this bag in a class has helped me kick my habit- at least for a little bit.
I don't wanna make this bag again for a very LONG time! 
Don't get me wrong... I love it with all of my heart... but 5 times making this puppy- plus teaching it has me worn out- mentally and physically! ha ha 
I used the Amy Butler Weekender Bag Pattern to make my bag, but followed a Quilt as You Go method inspired by Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson
If you are interested in some of the other modifications that I make to my weekender bag, here are links to other posts that I talk more about that in:

Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quilted Ukulele Case Tutorial

(I originally shared this fun tutorial over on the Fabricworm blog)
Last summer by husband bought each of my girls a ukulele. He plays the guitar and has been wanting to get the girls started with music. The ukes seemed like the perfect size to start out with.

He got Makala Dolphin Bridge Soprano Ukuleles. One is the light blue burst color and the other is the pink burst color. We have been super happy with them. 
 They each came with a very soft/flimsy case which protected from minor scratches. Of course I needed to make something stronger and cuter to protect them- So I came up with this tutorial.

Now don't worry if you don't have a ukulele... this tutorial will help you draft a pattern that can cater to whatever you would like to make a case for- guitar, string instrument, etc.
 Like I said, I made the cases for a soprano Makala Dolphin ukulele, so if you have this same uke your measurements will be similar but be sure to measure as you go because as I found out the hard way- even though I have 2 of the same uke- they are slightly different shaped and sized. 
So your fabric measurements will just depend on what you are making the case for- but I will let you know what I used to give you an idea.

1/2 yard main fabric (exterior)
1/2 yard coordination fabric (interior)
1 fat quarter contrasting fabric (piping and handles)
3 1/4 yard  of 6/32" cotton cording to make my own piping (you could buy premade piping if you want)
1/2 yard duck cloth (I used this because I wanted extra stability for the case holding it's shape but it does add a bit of bulk when sewing- so if you wish to leave out the duck cloth and just go with the fusible fleece and fabric I am sure it would work fine too)
1/2 yard fusible fleece or leftover scraps of quilt batting
1- 36" robe zipper

(like I said before- you may need different yardage/supplies if you are making your case for something else.)

Step #1: To start you need to trace your instrument on some paper. You will want this first tracing to be pretty exact. Once you have your outline, you will need to add some room all around the first traced line to account for seam allowances and wiggle room. I added 3/4 inch around the entire uke. (this picture is deceiving as it was hard to get a shot of it straight on- sorry about that... look at the base of the uke to get a better idea of how much room I added.)
 Step #2: Once you have your pattern for the front and back of the case you will use it to cut out 2 pieces in your main fabric, 2 pieces in duck cloth, and 2 pieces of your batting/fleece. You will want to cut your batting down 1/2 inch on all sides to reduce the bulk in your seam allowance when sewing.
Step #3: Place your batting on top of your duck cloth and your main fabric on top of the batting and quilt however you would like. I used a wavy stitch on my machine and quilted in straight lines. Quilt both your front and back panels.

Step #4: Next it's time to baste your piping on. (if you need help making your piping- here is a great tutorial  -for my piping I cut my bias strips 1 1/2 inch thick). Pin your piping on and baste around the edges of the main panels with a basting stitch. Even though your piping is cut on the bias and stretches, you may need to put some snips/notches in the seam allowance of the piping to get it to go around all of the curves of your pattern. Once you have both quilted panels trimmed in your piping- set aside for a minute.

Step #5:Now you will need to measure the depth or thickness of your instrument. My ukulele is 2 inches thick. 
One thing to note is that I made two cases- the first I made so it basically fit my uke like a glove- which I absolutely love the look of- but since it fits like a glove, zipping it up is kinda like putting on your jeans fresh out of the dryer- you gotta wiggle and jiggle to get the zipper shut.  The second case I gave it an extra 1/2 inch more in the depth of the case so it doesn't have any problem closing, but it definitely isn't as snug tight in the case. So decide what will work best for your project and alter accordingly.

You will need to add at least 1 1/4 inch for seam allowance to your depth measurement and more if you want it roomier. (when you sew your bag together- you use around a 1/2" seam allowance)
Ok.. my uke is 2 inches thick so I knew with seam allowance and putting my zipper in I needed to make my panel 3 1/4 inch thick (for the snug case) and 3 3/4 inch thick on the loose fitting case. The zipper I used is 36 inches, so I cut two panels that were 36 x 1.75 inches (for the snug case) and 36 x 2 inches (for the looser case). Once I put my zipper in they were the thickness I was hoping for. 

So calculate your measurements for the length and thickness of panels you will need. Then cut out 2 in your main fabric, 2 in duck cloth, and two in batting (but still cut your batting down a half inch smaller on all sides to reduce bulk). Layer them as you did the previous panels and quilt as desired.
I found my zipper at Joanns and it was the only one like it that was a smaller/daintier zipper but really long (36")- it's called a Robe zipper. If you are making this case for a bigger instrument you will want a longer and possibly heftier zipper. 
  Step #6: Sew your zipper into your panels. 

Place your zipper face down on the right side of one of your panels and pin in place. Use your zipper foot and stitch. Open up and place your other side of your zipper face down on the ride side of the other panel and stitch. 
 Step #7: Press your zipper panel open and top stitch. 
 I like to use a little trick of using my blind hem stitch foot to get my stitch perfectly straight, but you can use a regular presser foot as well- stitch about 1/8" from the zipper to give it a finished look and hold your zipper open on the back side. (see below)

Step #8: Make your top panel for your case. 

Start by measuring around the edge of one of your main panels- use a soft measuring tape so you can get an exact measurement. My perimeter was 56 inches.  
 So to determine the size for your top panel-
take the measurement of the perimeter of your main panel minus the length of your zipper panel plus a 1/2" for your seam allowance. 
Mine equation was 56"-36"+.5"=20.5"

Next measure the width of your zipper panel- mine was 3 1/4". 
So I cut a panel that was 20.5" x 3.25" in duck cloth, main fabric, and batting (but make sure you trim your batting to be smaller as you have in the previous panels). Quilt this panel as desired. 

Step #9: Place one end of your top panel right sides together with one end of your zipper panel and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance. 
 Repeat with the opposite ends of the two panels. When you are done, you should have a circular panel.
 Step #10: Time to start assembling the case. You will need to pin your circular zipper+top panel piece right sides together to one of your main panels (your piping should be sandwiched in between these layers- already basted on). At this point you will want to determine where you would like the zipper placement. For mine, my zipper starts at the middle of the base of my uke and wraps around one whole side and up and over to the other side at the top of the ukulele's neck. Once I had it pinned, I got my other main panel and marked where the zipper placement was so I would have not trouble lining it up in the correct place when sewing on the other side of the case. 

Now put your zipper foot on your machine and move your needle so it is positioned so you can stitch as close to the piping as you can- your seam allowance will be roughly 1/2". Now it's time to stitch. Don't get discouraged on this part- it is kinda tricky sewing through the layers of the duck cloth and getting a close fit. Just stitch around once and then look to see if you need to go over any areas to get a closer stitch. If your machine is having a hard time stitching through it you could use a heavy needle.
Once the first side of the case is stitched to the zipper panel, it's time to pin your other side of your case on and stitch. Use those marks you made as a guide of where to line up your panel with the zipper openings so you get it even. One thing to remember is that you will need to open your zipper up so that when you stitch this side on you have a way to turn it right side out. When it is all pinned in place go ahead and stitch like you did with the first side. Again- don't get frustrated- just go slow and sew as close to that piping as you can get. 
Wheww... Take a deep breath- you are finished with the trickiest part! 

Step #11: Ok... now let's talk handles... Depending on the size of your instrument you may need a different size/heavier handle than what I made- but for mine I just used my cotton fabric and cut a piece that was 4" x 7". Then I pressed the ends in 1/4" on each side (making it 6.5" now). Then I folded and pressed in half (so it was 2x6.5") and then opened up and folded the raw edges in towards the center and pressed and then folded back over so the handle piece was 1"x6.5" with all of the raw edges tucked in. Then I stitch 1/8" from the edge around the whole thing to create my strap/handle.

I found that it was best to complete my case, put my instrument inside the case, and then pin the handle on the top panel (not the zipper side) to figure out where it needed to go. You will want your handle wherever it needs to go on the case so that the weight of your instrument is distributed evenly. Once it is pinned in place, you can stitch a 1" square on either side of the handle to secure it.
(in this picture below it shows me placing the handle on before trying my instrument in the case and I ended up having to pick out the stitches and redoing it because the position wasn't right to have the weight distributed equally.)
 Now it is time for the lining. Cut out panels in your lining fabric. You will need 2 main panels, 2 of the panels you used for your zipper panel, and 1 top panel. Use the same measurements that you used in the previous steps. 
Step #12: You need to recreate your circular top/zipper panel- but with out the zipper. So take the two strips you cut for your zipper panel and press in 1/4 inch on two edges that meet together where the zipper would go. Then place them right side together with the top panel and stitch in place with a 1/4" seam allowance. (picture below explains this if you are confused) Repeat for opposite ends... You should now have a circular panel like you did in step #9.
 Step #13: Use the exterior of the bag and mark on your lining pieces where the zipper start and stop is so you can position the lining exact. Then put together the lining like you did for the exterior of the case. Luckily this is 10 times easier since you are just using cotton fabric and not duck cloth! ;) 

Step #14: Hand stitch the lining into the case. I  hand basted the seam allowances of my lining to the seam allowances of the case so that the lining was held snug where it needs to be and isn't just hanging loose in there. (you could probably use fabric glue to glue your seam allowances together if you wanted too.) And then I just tucked the raw edge of my lining in as I went and whip stitched my lining in. 

That's it! You are all done!! 

Happy Sewing!
xoxo, Ashley

Friday, February 7, 2014

Send Someone a Box Full of LOVE with Free Printable Love Note

Can you believe Valentine's Day is almost here!?! I have been doing my Project Life version of the 14 Days of Valentines for my kiddos for the last week. It has been a lot of fun! My kids love it!!

I know there are some people out there that are not huge fans of Valentines day- but I am NOT one of those people. I love Valentines! It was always a favorite holiday of mine growing up because my mom gave us kids a thoughtful gift on Valentine's Day morning every year. My siblings and I loved it! 

Now that I live away from home, I try to do something small on Valentines for each of my siblings to let them know I love them too. This year I thought it would be fun to send each of them a "Box of Love" since we all live in different states/countries.
Here are some of the things I found to put in the box for my sister... I found most of the smaller items in the Target dollar bin.
The gift I was most excited to include in the box for my sister was this Nicholas Sparks Limited Edition Collection on DVD. It was released on January 28, 2014- just in time for Valentine's Day.

 I was so excited when Warner Bros. asked if they could send me a copy, because if you know me and my sisters- you know that our favorite movies to watch together include all of the Nicholas Sparks movies. Our very favorite movie EVER being- A Walk to Remember! I think my sisters and I have seen that one at least a hundred times- and we still cry every time we watch it! ha ha We love it!

I absolutely love this collection... I think it is so great that it is all condensed into one place- easy to find and easy to store. The collection features 
Safe Haven 
The Lucky One
Dear John
Nights in Rodanthe
The Notebook
A Walk to Remember
Message in a Bottle 
all in one perfect box set! It also includes a special postcard set with images from each film and a letter from Nicholas Sparks. The set usually sells for $69.97 but right now it is on sale for $46.99 in the Warner Bros. Shop . You can buy this collection to own on DVD in the WB shop, or at any other retail locations. It is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day! Whether you are giving it as a gift to your leading lady to win her heart- or giving it to your leading guy to take advantage of the one night a year that he can't complain about watching a chick flick- You just can't go wrong with Nicholas Sparks in my opinion! ;)

So- for my "Box of Love" I picked up a medium flat rate box from the post office. I filled it with all of my goodies. Placed crinkly paper gift filler on top (found at World Market). And then I created this fun printable sign to put on top of all of the goodies so that when my sis opens the package she will know right away that this is a box filled with lots of love for Valentines! Easy right? Simple, but I hope it will pack a big punch! :)

This is a great idea for those loved ones that live apart/ long distance, but it would also be a lot of fun to have hand delivered to your Valentine's place of work, school, or wherever your love is as well. Can you imagine how special you would feel if someone sent you a box full of your favorite things on Valentine's Day? I know I would love it! :)

I am sharing my printable sign for anyone that wants to send a "Box full of Love" to their Valentine too! All you have to do is print! It fills a full sheet of paper- which works great for the size of the medium flat rate box- but if the box you are filling is smaller you could probably shrink the image when you print it.
(I printed mine on white cardstock)

Here is a link to the Printable Tag...All I ask is that you become a follower of my blog in some way- via GFC, FacebookFeedburner, Email, or Instagram.  BEFORE you print. 

Hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day!! xoxo, Ashley

Disclosure: I received one copy of this box set to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.