Wednesday, March 21, 2012

T-Shirt Painting with Toddlers

Our 3 year old had a distinct lack of summer clothing in this unseasonably warm weather. We picked up some t-shirts from the thrift store--some cute, but some very plain. I immediately  made plans to spruce them up, then got the idea to include our daughter, hoping she was old enough to handle it. She was, in fact, absolutely wonderful.

She even had her own idea about how to decorate one of them.
 She had her heart set on the flowers and fairy from Harold's Fairy Tale.

 I cut freezer paper to the size of the front of the shirt and traced the pictures straight out of the book using a sharpie. The moon was the finishing touch--also suggested by my daughter.
 I cut the shapes out going along the outside of the lines. Then I went back and cut along the inside of the lines. I ironed the main shapes onto the shirt first, then carefully added in the inside shapes so that only the space that used to be lines would be painted.

 Then I managed to spill a bunch of water on it and I had to take some time to cry it out. The blowdrier worked pretty quickly. :)
 Finally! Time to paint! I set her up outside with some nice purple paint and let her go to town.
 She was so excited.
 She decided she was done once she got here, but she came back later and filled up the rest of the white space, just for good measure.
 She really layered on the paint, but it barely soaked through the other side. The newspaper in between the layers of the shirt was just in case it soaked through badly.
 It turned out wonderfully! Here's the fairy...
 And the flowers!
 Sooo cute! Our daughter did such a great job. :)


Friday, March 16, 2012

Simple Spit-Up Cloths

...And, well, I'll show off some pretty spit-up cloths, too. :)
I'm sorry for posting late, we've been taken out by seasonal allergies. I've hardly done any sewing this week.

I finally finished my friend's spit-up cloths for her baby girl. I had tons of fun picking out fabrics and playing with the gorgeous colors. This sweet baby girl is going to have not only great, practical spit-up cloths, but also soft terry-backed cloths with ruffles and ribbon tabs. She also got the chenille cloths I made a while ago.

These more practical spit-up cloths are made from a panel of flannel sewn onto a cloth diaper. How big you make the flannel is up personal preference, but I like to cut my flannel to 19 inches long by 7 inches wide. This is just big enough to cover the center, extra-layered part of the cloth diaper after all the raw edges have been turned under.
 Iron the long sides under and attach a ribbon along the edge. I like to use satin 3/8inch ribbon, but wider ribbon could be fun and grosgrain works well, too.
 Then attach the whole thing to the cloth diaper. Easy as pie! Make sure your bobbin thread matches the cloth diaper's color. If your tension is balanced, then neither should show up on the other side.
 Pink on top!
 White on the bottom!
 All done! So easy and cute!
 Here's my stack!
 The other set has ruffles and ribbon tabs--perfect for little hands to enjoy.
 So fun!

Which one is your favorite?


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homemade Chenille Spit-Up Cloths

Well, I made it into the next round of Every Creative Endevour's Creative Bloggers Got Talent contest! And the project that got me into the next round was these beautiful homemade chenille spit-up cloths.

A dear friend of mine is having a baby girl in May. She asked me to make some spit-up cloths and I took it upon myself to make her some of the most beautiful, soft spit-up cloths I could. :)

Before our baby boy was born, I learned about homemade chenille. I decided to experiment with it a bit on a small scale, so I sewed some small pieces up and attached it to some cloth diapers to make spit-up cloths. It turned out that these spit-up cloths are the best spit-up catchers in our house. Besides looking really interesting, they also have a great texture that our baby loves to feel. So, of course, I had to make some for my friend, but I didn't want them to just be boring straight lines. Nope, I decided to be crazy and do spirals and ripples. The ripples were pretty easy, but the spirals were definitely more ambitious. Ready see how I made them?

I like to use flannel for my chenille, but any looser-woven cloth will do well. Choose colors that blend well together and match the other side of what will become your spit-up cloth. I chose to use only 3 layers of flannel since I was going to make the chenille ridges pretty short. Cut the fabrics and a base layer to sew them onto to size. These cloths were cut to be 17x17 inches. Choose your color order and it's time to really begin! I have found that having the lightest color on top gives the design the most definition, as you will see in the following pictures.
I decided that I would be stitching with the base layer up so that I could see my stitches, so I laid all the fabrics on top of each other in opposite order. Then secure them. If you have some of that sticky fabric spray, then that would work best. If not, use lots and lots of pins. You can use quilt-basting safety pins, but I prefer to use straight pins so that I can remove them easily. I also marked the quadrants of the cloth on the back to help me arrange my designs.
 To make the spirals, I marked my center and then marked dots like so at 1/4 and 1/2 inches from the center. I recommend doing slightly wider channels than 1/4 inches--the channels were close to too small for cutting on curves. Straight channels would be a different story.
 Then I connected the dots to give me my first several spirals.
 Once you have your spiral going, you can just approximate your way around or use your presser foot at a guide.
 I sewed this spiral until I ran off the edge.
 I filled in the corner and expanded the spiral a bit before moving onto the second spiral.
 Two spirals!
 I filled in the rest of the spit-up cloth with little Vs following the curves of the two spirals.
 All done with the sewing!
 I love my Olfa chenille cutter, it makes cutting the channels so much easier! But you still have to be careful that you don't cut too close to the lines of stitching. I also had some channels that were too narrow for my cutter to get through, so I used my seam ripper.
 Unfortunately, I had a few accidents in the cutting. To fix the gaps, I whip stitched the raw edges together...
 Ironed a patch on using sewable fusible web...
 And then stitched on each edge and the middle, following the stitching above, to secure the patch. Good as new!
 Add the backing and binding before washing! Here's the front, ready to wash...
 And the back! I love these colors.
 Now the ripples....I decided to just do kind of organic, free form ripples. I had tried something more exact, but that didn't work out and I ended up having to tear out 6 lines of stitching, which was super annoying. I made this ripple cloth as a back-up in case the spiral one failed.
 I sewed one initial line and then just kind of followed it the rest of the time. Sometimes I had to stray from the original line to make more ripples because it started smoothing out over time. I enjoyed how it felt kind of spontaneous. :)
 This is the spiral one, freshly washed. If you click on the picture, it should get bigger. You will see that it's a bit shaggy. Those shaggy parts are where I failed to keep the spiral curved enough to stay on the bias. I ended up having to give it a hair cut. Then I washed it again and it got a little bit shaggy again, so it got a second hair cut. I'm pretty sure that it won't be too shaggy with subsequent washings...I hope. The ripple cloth had some very minor shagginess, but nothing that was a big deal.
 Our little guy LOVED looking at the spirals--I may have to make one of these for him.
 Sweet little hands.
 Ripples! I like how the colors on this one turned out better. I just inverted the colors. The spiral cloth's colors are: light pink, dark pink, then orange; the ripple's colors are: orange, dark pink, then light pink.
 And, finally, a fully shot because it drives me crazy when blog posts don't include a picture of the full project. :)

And there you go! Feel free to ask any questions!