Friday, December 22, 2017

Official Cookie Tester Gift Set

Just a quick post to share a gift set I made for a niece.  The child-sized apron and chef hat were from my stash but originally purchased at Hobby Lobby. 

For the apron, I used a file from Embroidery Boutique.
For the name on the chef hat, I used a font from Designs by JuJu called She Persisted.

The little gingerbread man was made in-the-hoop in my embroidery machine.  The file was from Embroidery Garden.  This was the fasted thing and so, so easy!  I will be making this for lots of kids next year.

I'm marching on with my Christmas crafting.  Hope your sewing room is buzzing along.  To see all my embroidery projects, check out my embroidery page on this blog

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Home Printed Fabric for Zipper Pouches

At the last minute I found a fantastic video intended for owners of the Cricut Maker that instructs crafters how to use a photo as a pattern fill to make a pouch.  Of all the Cricuts I have, a Maker is not one of them, but you don't actually need a Maker (or any die cutter) to make a pouch!  Anyone can cut rectangles with a ruler and a rotary cutter and maybe even faster than a Maker.  But using the free Cricut Design Space software to draw a pattern piece, fill it in with a photo, edit it for size or even to repeat it, that was a FABULOUS find!  Once all the design work is done, you simply click the button to send it to your printer and print on inkjet printable fabric.  Then, you have your pattern piece that you can cut anyway you want, including with your Cricut...or like me, with a rotary cutter.

This is the video for using Design Space to create a pattern piece and import a photo to create a pattern fill:

This is the printable inkjet fabric I used:

I have made tons of pouches, even some with my embroidery machine, but I love a tutorial I found that makes fabric ends on the zipper and that has to be done on a sewing machine.

This is tutorial for sewing a lined zipper pouch with fabric zipper ends:

These two tutorials were great inspiration for my gift card holder project that I did for my sister-in-law.  I used a photo I found on her Facebook page.  I sized mine to hold the packaging for the gift card too.  For that, my cut shape was 6" high and 8" wide.  The bottom cut out squares are 1.25" but I cut those manually instead of including them in the design work.  Once the bag is sewn, the finished dimensions are 6" for the zipper top; the base is 5" x 2.25"; the height is 4.25" and it stands up on its own.

For the front, I chose to edit a single photo image.  For the back, I edited to repeat the image.

Unlike the sewing tutorial, I do machine quilt my outer fabrics. I use cotton batting.

And to know what I would do differently next time:  You can see that the faces look off center both vertically and horizontally.  One problem is that the child on the left as her foot up and it throws the centering off as the fabric raps around due to the bottom gusset seams.  That same issue turns the lower part of the photo under the bag.  For a pouch without that gusset, the centering would work.  But I like a pouch that stands on its own so for the future, I would take note of where the image is placed as a result of the sewing and nudge the image in the editing in Design Space.  There are controls for altering the vertical and horizontal placement.  This is the front.

I wasn't sure how I would like the repeating pattern but I loved it on the finished bag.  This is the back.

The cool thing with this project, is that in Design Space, you can add text and other images!

I took better care to think of the pattern placement on my next experiment.

This was such a fun way to combine my sewing and my crafting!  I hope you are enjoying your holiday gift sewing!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rolled Reindeer Washcloths for Soap Gifting

While in one of my Facebook groups that is completely unrelated to soap, I found a link for how to make these adorable washcloth deer.  Here's the link:

I found my washcloths at Walmart for 47 cents and used the tiny hair elastics from Dollar Tree that I had on had from that gnome project.  Unlike the video, I didn't glue anything because I wanted it to be usable so I found adhesive googly eyes so they could just peel off and I tucked in the nose instead of gluing it. 

I put it with my soaps #36, #37, #44, and #45 from my soap page on my blog.  These were made over the summer or fall and are all fully cured.  I changed the names on a couple to relate to the gift recipient (for example, #36 is scented with ginger ale fragrance oil, but that also smells like Ale 8, one of my recipient's favorite soft drinks.  That was labeled as Ale 8 soap!) These are the general formulas and all of my soap information can be found on my Soaping page on my blog.  These are NOT intended to be complete instructions with safety measures; these are intended for persons already advised on basic soap making and already fully understanding lye safety.  I am not telling you how to make soap, I am simply giving you my formulas for what I used to make these soaps.

Soap #36:  Red Bottom Marble
30% olive oil, 20% lard, 30% coconut oil, 10% rice bran oil, 8% cocoa butter, 2% castor oil.  33% lye concentration, 5% super fat.  Temps:  75° lye, 95° oils.  Powdered sugar added to water before combining with lye.  Sodium lactate added to cooled lye water.  Fragrance:  2T kaolin clay mixed with Bramble Berry Ginger Ale fragance oil.  Colorants:  Red layer-oil from oil mix combined with 1/2 t of each color from the Mad Micas True Red Color Set. Black and white swirl- activated charcoal and titanium dioxide mixed with 1T oil mix.  Red layer was poured into slab mold bottom.  Black and white batter was added concentrically, using up all batter.  It was swirled using a skewer.  This fragrance is fantastic and is staying put during cure.

Soap #37
30% olive oil, 20% lard, 30% coconut oil, 10% rice bran oil, 8% cocoa butter, 2% castor oil.  33% lye concentration, 5% super fat.  Temps:  75° lye, 95° oils.  Powdered sugar added to water before combining with lye.  Sodium lactate added to cooled lye water.  Fragrance:  one sample each (.5oz or so each) Litsea Cubeba and Grapefruit essential oils from Bramble Berry.  Two previously made embeds were inserted.  Colorants:  From Bramble Berry, zinc oxide, ultramarine blue pigment, and cellini blue mica mixed oils from the pot.  Regular loaf mold used.  

Soap #44:  Mechanic's or Gardener's Soap
34% coconut oil (76 degree), 16% shea butter, 5% cocoa butter, 40% olive oil, 5% castor oil
Mixed with lye when oils were 114 degrees and lye water solution was 80 degrees.  Soaped warm and got to medium trace with stick blender to go fast.  
No color was added.  
Additives:  (for 32oz oil weight batch)  2 T cranberry seeds, 22g grapefruit EO, 5g peppermint EO, 6g spearmint EO, 12g 10x orange EO, sodium lactate, 2T clay (mixed with EOs).  
This is for hand washing only because the seeds are really rough but they work great for scrubbing.

Soap #45:  Snowflake Soap
25% coconut oil (76 degree), 30% lard, 15% shea butter, 5% cocoa butter, 20% olive oil, 5% castor oil
Mixed with lye when oils were 106 degrees and lye water solution was 80 degrees.
Additives:  (for 33 oz oil weight batch) 2 T coconut milk powder (used 1 oz from soap calc's water quantity that I reserved from that which was to be mixed with lye), 2 t powdered sugar added to water pre-lye, 2 t sodium lactate, 2 t titanium dioxide mixed with 1T oil from the oil mixture, 1 oz fragrance oil mixed with 2 T kaolin clay.  This ended up not being pure white due to clay, cocoa butter, and FO.  More like the color of a sand dollar-- will have to remember that when using my sand dollar mold!  

Happy holiday crafting!  Hoping your gift-giving crafty workspace is humming along as we near Christmas!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

My Daughter's Christmas Craft: Fuzzy Sock Gnomes

My kiddo likes to make special gifts each year.  Past years have been pine cone birds, glitter-filled personalized ornaments, and personalized ITH hand sanitizer cases.  This year, we found a fantastic video for making gnomes from rice and fuzzy socks and that is her crafty gift project this year.  You can find the video tutorial we used on Facebook here:

I found $1 fuzzy socks at Walgreens and at Dollar Tree.  We used care not to grab the ones with rubberized non-skid dots.  

We did make a change from her tutorial in that we did not use hollowed out Styrofoam cones; we rolled up card stock cones instead and trimmed them down to 5-1/2" because I have tons of card stock.  We also used fake fur for the beards because I have tons of that stuff too! 

We used white socks from Walmart, but next time we will look for pale pink or tan.  As it is, the white socks and the beard blend too much so we used a dobber and a pink stamp pad to color the nose.  One thing we learned after our first ones:  make the nose really, really big!  

What I love most about this project is that my 13-year-old daughter and I had such a fun time learning this and making some samples together.  We laughed so hard at one point that we were in tears.  That kind of time with a teenager is precious and rare.

Happy Christmas crafting with your family!  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Embroidery Samples on High Pile Fabrics

This is just a quick post to share my notes on embroidering on super plush blankets.  I do lots of throws and baby blankets at Christmas-time but I had one to do that had very deep pile and I wanted to figure out how best to deal with it.  My samples really helped me figure it out for this and future projects, and I thought others might find this helpful too. 

I did some tests on high pile blanket fabric.

On both of these, I hooped tear-away and floated the fabric.  I covered both with water soluble stabilizer (WSS) topping and I used a basting box.  The one on the bottom was also stitched with the knockdown stitch from Embrilliance Enthusiast.  I even trimmed the pile on the top one, hoping to make it work, but the stitch quality was so much better when using the knockdown stitch.

Knockdown stitching simply looks like underlay stitching to me.  Typically, the knockdown stitching is matched to the fabric (blanket, towel, robe, etc.) so it doesn't stand out visually.  It just pushes the pile down.  The WSS holds the pile down temporarily.

I posted this photo on a message board and a couple of people told me that the WSS was unnecessary so I did a third sample-- one with only the knockdown, without the WSS.  In the photo below, the top sample was stitched only with knockdown stitching.  The bottom sample was stitched with knockdown AND WSS:

The best results for me happened when I used both knockdown stitching and WSS. 

Items Noted in this Post:

  • Water soluble stabilizer topping - I get mine from World Weidner.  I keep mine in plastic to keep it from drying out. This is the plastic-looking, filmy kind, not the fibrous kind.  
  • Basting Box - this is a temporary stitching that is done with long stitches for easy removal that holds the floated item in place and keeps even tension on the fabric around the stitch area.  Most embroidery machines have a built in basting box, and you can get basting box files from digitizers like Embroidery Garden, but I use the one in my Embrilliance software. In Embrilliance, it is located under the Utility tab. For more info:
  • Knockdown Stitch - similar looking to underlay.  It holds down pile so that stitching can lay flat and so that the stitching won't get hidden by the pile after the WSS is removed. Itch2Stitch and Applique Corner both offer drop pile shapes (circles, rectangles, hearts, etc.) but the knockdown in my Embrilliance Enthusiast conforms to the stitch area and can be adjusted so that it is the least obtrusive visually.  For more information:
I hope these samples are helpful to you. Happy holiday stitching!  

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