Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Tailor's Clapper

Not many folks know about this tool but it can come in handy even if you don't sew but love to iron (there is no one like that here).

I had been thinking about buying a Tailor's clapper for awhile.  My sweet father in-law agreed to make me one and so I showed him a picture and gave him the dimensions.  He loves to work in his workshop and I had hoped that this project wasn't too much of a bother for him.

Here is the finished product:

I know that by now you are wondering what this is used for.  This is a GREAT tool for ironing perfect and crisp creases.  I know that just looks like a shaped block of wood but it is really helpful when ironing creases in pants or when ironing hems. Also, you cannot see them but there are grooves on the sides of the clapper to make it easier to hold on to.  

I use it primarily for hems.  Before I sew a hem, I fold it once and then, using my iron on a cotton setting and steam, I iron it and then hold down the clapper on the hem for about 10 seconds.  

Look how neat that crease is!  Then I fold the hem again and repeat the same process.  This tool is great on jeans, dress pants and my daughter's uniform skirts.  This would be a great tool to use on ironing creases in dress pants and shirt sleeves.

If you don't have a woodworking father in-law to make you one, you can buy a Tailor's clapper at the Nancy's Notions website HERE.     If you get one, let me know how you like it!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Baby Catheter Bag Cover

As many of you know, I have an Etsy shop where I sell handmade catheter bag covers that I have sewn.  A couple of weeks ago, I received a message from a mom in New York who has a infant daughter that had a nephrostomy tube inserted in her kidneys the day before Thanksgiving.  The baby was scheduled to have a baptismal cermony this coming weekend but the mom wanted to have her catheter bag covered.

The mom and I messaged each other quite a bit with measurements, thoughts about fabric and embellishments, and functionality.  The bag needed to be pure white to match her baptism dress so I purchased taffeta which was an affordable option.  Here is the final product of all of our ideas:

The baby will wear the bag like sling across her body.

The mom really wanted to have lace added to the bag to make it even more special.

In order to be sure that the bag would fit the baby, I added an adjustable strap so that the mom could adjust it as needed.

The bag has an opening in the center top where the catheter tubing will come out.  I added magnetic snaps to each side so that the bag would still close.

This has definitely been one of the most unique and specialized items have I made so far.  It is so interesting to hear of the different needs of those who have catheters for various medical reasons.   My focus so far has been on those who are in a wheelchair and have a catheter but it has made me think more about those who are mobile and need to carry a bag with them.  If you have any thoughts on this subject knowing the needs that you have or a loved one has had, I would love to hear from you.  You can send me an email at sew-inspired@hotmail.com or send me a convo on Etsy.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Quilted Christmas Stockings

In our house, we have a little inside joke about our Christmas stockings.  My sister made beautiful embroidered stockings for our girls when they were born and I had made John a stocking when we were first married.  Well..my stocking is one that my Grandma made when I was a child.  I love it but it is a little dated with lots of sequins (that she probably all hand sewed on, bless her heart) and yes, she used yarn to help decorate it.  I love it and usually find a place for it but it doesn't really blend with the other stockings on the mantle.

SO...I decided to make my own!  I found THIS tutorial from Imagine Gnats and that is where I found my inspiration.  She cut her strips very wide but I had a box full of strips left over from a Christmas tree skirt that I made last year so I used those.

Here is how it turned out!

And yes, I added my name to the stocking since my girls have their names on theirs.

This stocking was machine quilted using my walking foot.  I decided to quilt with straight lines going in different directions since the fabric pieces are straight strips sewn at different angles.

I even quilted the back of the stocking as I just didn't feel it was right not to!

I used Warm and Natural batting on the inside of my stocking and it is lined with a ivory and gold fabric (I forgot to take a picture of the inside!).  

The tools that were most helpful in this project were my rotary cutter, ruler and mat and the walking foot for my sewing machine.   Making a quilted stocking does take some time to figure out the piecing of the strips and then quilting it so I would not say this it is a fast project, one hour.  

I really enjoyed making this stocking!  It was like making a tiny little quilt, haha!  I am planning on offering several in my Etsy shop next year but I was able to finish one today and it is for sale.  You can find the listing HERE.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sewing Projects for Operation Christmas Child Boxes - Drawstring Backpack

Last week, I began posting several projects that you can make for the Operation Christmas Child Boxes.  If you are not familiar with these boxes that are sent to children all over the world, please check out my post HERE.

Today I am highlighting the Easy Drawstring Backpacks!  These would be great for the children to store their goodies in once the cardboard boxes have been opened.  I found a very beginner friendly tutorial on the Sew Can She website.  Here is the TUTORIAL if you would like to make one or several!

Here is the one that I finished over the weekend:

I have one more cut out that I need to finish before our packing party on Wednesday.  I wanted to do some boy ones too but with all girls in my house, I have little fabric that I think a boy would appreciate. I will need to collect some boy fabric for next year's boxes.

I have made several of these from different tutorials and I thought that one was the best tutorial that I have used and will continue to use it.  I only made one change...on the drawstrings, the designers says to tie the ends together but I sewed them as it bothers me to have raw edges showing.  Other than that, I love it!

If you make one, please share your pictures in the comments here or on my Facebook page.  I would love to see them!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Puppy Dog Stuffed Animal

I posted a link to this next tutorial over on my Facebook page yesterday but failed to post it here as well.  I am so sorry!

Another great sewing project for the Operation Christmas Child boxes are these adorable Puppy Dog Stuffed Animals!

 Lindsay from The Cottage Mama shared this on her blog this week.  She actually used fabric napkins that she purchased from World Market for them and I love the colors that she found!

If you would like to try the tutorial, you can find it HERE.  I have yet to sew these up as I am still working on another project that I will be featuring soon for the OCC boxes.  But I would love to see pictures of yours!