Monday, December 27, 2010

Hand Puppets so far...

I really like Ugly Dolls and wanted to make some hand puppets for my niece and nephew. But finding patterns for these is impossible because of copyright infringements. So I ended up drawing my own patterns. I have finished two so far and I am pretty happy with the result.

Christmas Felt Ornaments

This year I decided to make handmade felt ornaments. I ended up combining a lot of the ideas I found until I was happy with the designs. Kristan got the dove, Emily got the owl, Adam decided to keep mitten ornaments, Xitlalic got the penguin, and my Mom, Beatriz, and Magaly got the star ornaments (not shown). I love giving away the things I make.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pillowcase Tote Bag

Started: March 7 at 1.30 pm
Finished: March 7 at 3.30 pm
Pattern Used: Free Pillowcase Tote

My most recent project falls under the "green" sewing category. Green for two reasons - I reused an old pillowcase and the final product can be used as a small grocery tote. Overall, this project was VERY easy. Two aspects required a little thought. First, I didn't really know what "squaring off" the corners meant. I really needed to use my common sense for that and envision the bottom of the bag. Second, THE STRAPS!! Ugh. Whenever I need to sew something that is narrow or has a narrow hem or BOTH as in this case, the quality of my work decreases. The bag actually required two straps but the first one I made did not look very good. So, my hubby quickly suggested I just use one strap! Quick thinking! I think one strap works just fine.
My suggestions for this bag: I might try to find a way to make it more structured...
Areas to work on: narrow hems and detailing

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Serious Attempt at Hemming My Trousers

I was too scared to cut off any fabric so I just folded it up for a wide hem. I don't mind that but a true seamstress might... :-) I hemmed my new trousers using the stitch I've seen my mom use on her trousers. I'm just glad that a) my stitching is practically invisible from both sides of the fabric, b) my stitching is evenly spaced, c) the new leg length is correct, and d) both leg lengths are even! The final step is pressing the seam.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My First Garment: T-Shirt

Started: January 31
Finished: February 14
Hooray! My first garment! I started this project with my mom on Sunday, January 31 and made a day of it. She helped me cut the pattern out, arrange the fabric on the table for easy pinning and cutting, pin the pattern to the fabric, and cut the pattern. She even helped me with some of the basting. Most importantly, she emphasized that I must not pull on the fabric as it moves under the presser foot. Pulling on the fabric would make it stretch and would distort the final product. She also told me that I needed to let the machine do the work of dragging the fabric. My only job was to guide the fabric to ensure an even seam. Both pieces of advice sound obvious but she was right to give them because the fabric used for T-Shirts is stretchy and thin. If I wasn't careful, it would bunch up under the presser foot and I would have to undo the mess. This happened once towards the beginning when I was trying to sew the darts on the sleeve's shoulder. The fabric bunched up so badly that it damaged a small section of the fabric. Thankfully, the section is hidden because of a seam.
Additionally difficult was reading a pattern. There were so many little symbols that I needed to refer constantly to my Sewing 101 book. Sewing a garment is construction - a builder needs plans in order to construct a building properly and builder must be able to read those plans. Such is sewing. I spent a good portion of my time just re-reading the directions and making sure that I understood them properly. And then there are the special terms: finishing, interfacing, etc. I needed to look them up to make sure I knew what I was doing. Maybe that was just the perfectionist in me? But I don't think so. I think that sewing requires patience and thoughtfulness - why bother making a garment so quickly that it looks crappy? The process of sewing is a very thoughtful one because the person sewing wants the final product to reflect the effort involved... My first and final product isn't perfect -- just take a look at the edge of the sleeve here. The fabric stretched and bunched in spite of my efforts! Ugh. So frustrating!
I am particularly proud of the neck, the shoulders, and the symmetry. The darts on the sleeves line up with the wearer's shoulders. The center of the neck lines up with the center of the T-shirt and the sleeves are both the same length.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Doll Number Two!

Started: Sunday, January 17, 2009
Finished: Tuesday, January 19, 2009
Ta-da! Doll number two took significantly less time. I managed to finish assembling the body in one day (about two or three hours?) without any major problems. The issue arose only when I decided to work on her hair. Instead of using yarn I wanted to give her the black apple doll hairstyle. I should have decided on this earlier because you're supposed to attach the piece of felt to the heads before you assemble the doll... Thus, the finished product isn't perfect. I LOVE her polka dot dress! Overall, I love felt! It's easy to use and gives a finished, neat look to the hair that you can't achieve with bulky yarn.
Note to self: the overall process of assembling the doll for the black apple doll is very similar, if not almost identical, to the first doll I made. The only difference was adding the hair. Also, I embroidered the face before finishing up the assembly and to me it looks better than the first one...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My First Project

Well, here she is: my very first sewing project! Very exciting for me. I can't say that she turned out great - her arms aren't even and I attached the legs incorrectly. Thank goodness her hair covers up her funky-shaped head.
I found the pattern at I loved that the pattern was free and easy to follow. you print out the pdf, cut out the pieces, pin them to the fabric (I used an old khaki skirt), and cut!
I started the project by hand-stitching two of the legs and one of the arms. By the second arm, I figured I could try out my brand new sewing machine! (Thanks, hubby, for the Christmas gift!) The beauty of a sewing machine is how quickly you can accomplish a project. Because hand-stitching the legs and the one arm took about 5 hours with pinning and sewing. Whereas sewing the last arm took about 3 minutes! The downside to a sewing machine is also its speed - you can make a mistake in just seconds. With this arm, I discovered that sewing itself is easy - but sewing precisely? Sewing with precision is not easy. Thus, my doll... The hardest aspect of making this doll was sewing the edges of the body and head because at this point the legs and arms have been stuffed and attached. The stuffing makes the limbs very difficult to maneuver while sewing, but I guess there's no way around it? We'll see.
Unlike the website suggests, I decided to make the doll's body with all the same fabric. I figured I can make a cute little dress for her. This was not easy for me! I chose stretchy knit fabric for the dress - what was I thinking there? I'm a beginner - sewing stretchy knit proved to be challenging.
For the finishing touches, I looked online for doll face patterns. I finally chose the face pattern on a black apple doll I found on flickr and embroidered it onto her face. I realized quickly that I should have embroidered her face BEFORE constructing the doll... Oh, well. It's all a learning process. Finally, I freehanded a heart onto the doll's dress. In spite of her many imperfection, I think she's cute. :-)