Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sew What Are You Going to Do

"So what are you going to do with all your free time?" is the question I've been asked a lot lately. Our baby is going to 4K preschool beginning in September, so I will be home alone for approximately 14 hours a week!

Believe me, I've been thinking (partially dreading) this time for a year now. On the one hand, it will be nice to have some time (for the first time in almost 12 years) where I am not needed for childcare. But on the other hand, there is something very sad and lonely about that. Mark and I felt a bit of this on our vacation a few weeks ago when Wynne jumped in the 3-foot end of the pool all by herself, not needing anyone to catch her. >sniff sniff<

SEW anyway, I was thinking about getting back to some sewing. I was on a sewing kick back in the spring, and here's proof...
I made this pillowcase dress for Wynne's birthday. Her little baby doll got a matching skirt!

Wynne loves to wear dresses every day, so I love how you can just wear this over a top and leggings any time of the year. I also love the vintage pastel pattern of this pillowcase.

These are matching dresses and bandanas for our nieces Mady (20 months at that time) and Lauren (3 months). The bandanas turned out wonky, so I made them some headbands later. More vintage pillowcases I scooped up at the local Goodwill.

These are among my favorite creations. Our 2-year-old niece and 4-month-old nephew got matching outfits for his baptism. I bought a little hat for Tage at Dollar Tree and sewed a fish on it for interest. One of my more creative moments!

Because clothes are boring gifts (especially for little boys), I made Tage a little taggy/crinkly toy, too. When I get some time I want to crank out a bunch of these for baby gifts because I think they are the neatest darn thing ever. My kids all loved chewing on taggy stuff when they were babies, and the crinkly noise? Get this: cereal packaging. Can run through the washer, won't disintegrate. Genius. (Thank you to my Sewing Blogger Friends!!)

You can't really see what this is, but it's an oilcloth (tablecloth) diaper case/changing pad. Throw in a diaper and some wipes and you're good to go for short trips with your baby. (Why didn't I think of this and have time for this when I had babies??)

More pillowcase dresses. (Goodwill clerks and I are on a first-name basis now.) This time I made matching ones for all my girls AND me. Plus headbands. I love the headband pattern (thank you again, Internets!) Oh yeah, my pillowcase is not a dress because they don't make pillowcases that big. I don't look good in sleeveless anything, so I sewed a little ruffly flap on the top of my straps (at far left). Another one of my creative moments.

My girls and I modeling our matching outfits. Ally was less than thrilled to wear it as a dress, so she tucked it into her shorts. It turned out cute, I think! We all wore these to my dad's 80th birthday party (when the girls sang "Ain't She Sweet" for him). Ain't we sweet?!

I made a Panther Banner for my sister Marla's birthday. She is a coach and her kids all play sports for the I-G Panthers, so I scrounged up every scrap of red, black and white I had. I made it long enough to hang from her garage or mantel, for graduation parties, big games, birthdays, whatever. If I could get my hands on a bunch of weather-proof fabric, I would love to sell these to sports fans. (Another home business scheme! Stop me!!)

Like I said, I'm a beginner sewer, self-taught on the Internets. I turn out pretty rough stuff, and I owe all the credit (or blame) to my sister Deb. Debby loaned me her sewing machine a few years ago, so I could learn the ropes. I made little quilts for babies, a few larger t-shirt quilts, and then I put the sewing machine to rest for a few years. This past winter/spring, I got the itch to make stuff for the kids, but Deb needed her sewing machine back. So I bought a $5.00 Singer at Goodwill. It lasted half a day before the stitching mechanism-thingie broke. I took it to a local repairman (he's awesome; he knows sewing machines inside and out), and he told me it would cost more to fix than to buy another. So he sold me this 30-year-old beast that he had purchased at auction and tuned up. It's gotta be 25 pounds at least. This baby ain't goin' nowhere! (That's why it's a big commitment to use. You have to lug it out of the closet, carry it downstairs, and set it on the kitchen table. Then don't plan on using that kitchen table for eating for a few days.) I think it's made out of retired airplane fuselage from World War II or something. But definitely worth 20 bucks.

For over a year, I had been trying to find time to figure out the pattern for Don't-Get-Out-Of-Bed Pants. The blog world knows them as fun, fashionable, and ultra-comfortable because they're made out of bedsheets. I was determined to make a pair for my niece for high school graduation. I had plenty of fabric left over for a laundry bag and headband.

Kaycie also got a spa wrap that I made. I figured it would be good for her to use when she steps out of the shower in her college dorm. I so want one of these!! (I think Paige does, too!)

Kaycie's sister Sammie got a pair of lounge pants, too, for her 16th birthday. I just had to try them on. The sad thing is, I haven't had time to make a pair for myself yet. The even sadder thing is that I don't know if they even fit my nieces. They probably don't think they're as "cool" as their ancient aunt does.

Just in case you were worried that I didn't make any more pillowcase dresses...here's a pair I made for my great-nieces. They are 1- and 2-year-old cousins who celebrated birthdays in mid-May and early June. I thought it would be fun for them to dress alike when they get together! (My sister, their grandmother, watches them at her house once a week.)

Here's another brother-sister set. My brother's grandson and his sister turned 3 and 1 in June, and we were invited to their party. It's a challenge to find a fabric that suits both genders, but it's fun! I screwed up on Leila's dress because I started cutting off the wrong end...hers was supposed to have the dark brown trim on it, too. Darn it!

For my niece who just got her license, a Panther (red and black) lanyard. For me, a multi-colored funky lanyard to hold my 79 keys. That's how many it feels like when it's jangling around my neck. But hey! At least I don't lock my keys in the car (um, yeah right, huh Astrid?)!

Another project I'd like to further pursue--the fabric book cover. I bought one for my Bible from some Mexican ladies our church supports, and I just love it. I tried to make my own pattern for a few girls who were graduating from high school, including the front pencil pocket. The stitching is atrocious.

Yet another project awaiting me. Totes and crayon rolls. I thought it would be nice for our church to have about a dozen busy bags for children to use during our worship service. I've been collecting fabric from folks at church and hope to get these made by the start of Sunday School. Wish me luck!!

You may have noticed this cute little model in a lot of the above pictures. If you know of a sturdy, SAFE child-sized sewing machine, I'd love to hear about it! Here we are with our last project of the spring, water bottle carriers. We made some for ourselves (which were lifesavers at those 20,000 baseball and softball games) and also as a thank-you gift to our teachers at the end of the school year.

Sew I haven't done any sewing since early June. A little something called summer vacation with the kids home kind of takes up most my time now.

I should probably start making thank-you gifts for teachers at the BEGINNING of the school year, too, huh?
--A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;--Ecclesiastes 3:7 King James Version

3 Comments:

Blogger Maryellen said...

Amy, you are so talented. I really would love to sew. I have finished some quilts, but nothing as far as clothing goes. Can you tell me where you get the patterns.

I really like the pillowcase dresses, sleep pants, baby toys, and the crayon holders. It would be nice if I could make some crayon holders for our church - they could use them for their bags I think.

Thanks, Maryellen

August 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Astrid @ The Lopsided House said...

Amy...those are fantastic!!!

Maybe you can sell them at local art fairs? Or at a Christmas fair? Love those pants and those pillow dresses!

What a neat machine you have! My sewing machine is a hand-me-down of a hand-me-down. I keep meaning to learn how to sew. Maybe this will be the year to do that!

August 19, 2010 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Gee thanks all. I have very rudimentary skills. Don't anybody look closely at my work! But it gets the job done. You know me, cheap is good - I don't pay too much for fabric (the pillowcases are 69 cents at Goodwill). I think you have to be in your 20s or 30s to start appreciating the don't get out of bed pants;)

August 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

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