I made a little nap blanket for the 5-year old to bring to preschool with her.  I found some great lavender chenille that I planned to back with a printed flannel.

When I started sewing I always used to skip pre-washing.  I didn’t really think it made that much of a difference.  But it really does.  Especially when you are working with 2 fabrics that behave very differently.  I had the fabric store cut both of these fabrics to be the same size.  I washed and dried them before stitching them together because I knew that one would shrink more than the other.  I really didn’t realize how much more, but take a look for yourself.  (Sorry for the terrible photography.  My camera doesn’t like night time)

The picture above is the crazy amount of lint that the piece of chenille released in the dryer.  It was rather beastly.

So after all that, it was quite easy to stitch the 2 pieces together to make a very nice, cozy nap blanket for school.  Check it out…

Advertisements

Wowls

July 19, 2009

Recently we paid a visit to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine.  The park is set up to permanently house animals that can not survive in the wild due to injury or human intervention of some sort or another.  It’s a pretty interesting place.  Not exactly a zoo, but close.  It is greeat to see the wild animals that co-exist with us up there in the Maine woods when we are there for the summer.

The girls both had a great time, but the main attraction for the 1 year old were the big birds.  There were haws and eagles and owls, and she called them all “wowls”.  I taught her the baby sign for owls which she enthusiastically showed back.  And for the following week, she was constantly saying “wowl!” and putting her hands up next to her head in her version of the sign. We all just about died form the cuteness.

When we got home to RI I realized I didn’t have any owl toys.  NOT ONE.  I had a copy of owl babies, which frightens the 4 year old to this day.  Which is probably why we have no other owls around.  This situation had to be remedied quickly as the 1 year old was desperate to point at owls and tell me about them.

I recruited the 4 year old to make me a couple of drawings of owls.  She did a great job, and I was able to make a sewing pattern from the drawing to create a pair of “sister wowls” in under an hour.  Basically I just added an extra inch to the drawing that she made.  (1″ for seam allowance, 1″ for depth) and cut approximations of the shapes she drew for the eyes and feet.  For the main fabric I used an old wool shirt of my husbands that had been shrunk and felted from too many accidental trips through the washer.  The four year old picked out the fabric for the eyes, beak, and legs.  For the legs I used a double thickness of decorator canvas from my scrap box.  The legs need a fabric with a bit of body.  If I were to do it again I might use stitch witchery to attach the eyes to the body before top-stitching them down. But at the time I couldn’t be bothered to drive down the street to fetch it from my studio.  So the eyes are a little wiggly.  But the girls don’t care.  The sister Wowls are very popular and seeing a Original wowl artworkWowls eye and beak shapestracing the wowl footwowl legStitching wowl eyes

lot of play time.

zigzag the wowls legs edges.

pin the legs before stitching togetherWowl - unstuffed.Sister Wowls

The dress-up drawer.

June 13, 2009

princessesI have to say… I’m really not so into the princess thing. I chafe against all the commercial images of perfect little Disney princesses that are crammed into my daughter’s brain by the power of mass marketing. (We don’t even own a TV but it still gets through) However, I do remember how magical pretty froofy dresses were to me as a child.

Recently my older daughter has started showing interest in the pretty dress-up stuff that she has found at friends’ houses. So I decided she needed a dress-up drawer. We designated a drawer that had previously contained baby blankets and I set to work collecting froofy things. We went to our local Savers and stocked up on stuff, but I was surprised at how expensive things were, even second hand. A bridal veil for $15 seems a little too much to pay for a plaything.

Then I remembered that I still owned my old prom dress. I bought it at a vintage shop in Boston and wore it to the 1986 prom. It was still hanging in a closet at my mother’s house. It was strapless, so I removed all the vertical boning from the bodice and stitched in 3 bands of elastic around it horizontally. I re-purposed the hanging straps (intended to hang the dress on a hanger) as spaghetti straps and cut about 12 inches off the bottom. I used the excess to make “arm puffs” to go with the dress, plus a smaller little shift dress for the baby sister.

It has been a huuuuuge success. They want to wear them every day. What fun.  I’m on the lookout for more stuff hanging in my mother’s closets to add to the dress-up drawer.  All those bridesmaid dresses will finally get worn a second time!