Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Floor Pouf--Anmial Ball From Max and Meena

Welcome to the Spring Fling Blog Hop! 

  Sew Much Charm kicked off the Spring Fling with the  Spring Fling Giveaway!  A huge congratulations to the winners: Lorna P. of England & Patti V. of Texas!  Each prize package had a retail value of $191!

Let's keep the fun rolling this week with more sewing and more fun.  Sew Much Charm is now also hosting the Spring Fling Blog Hop and I'm going to introduce to you our Bloggers for the Blog Hop!

Be sure to check each day by 6AM (Central Standard Time)!  Each day there will be a blogger (or more) doing a giveaway!  So be sure to check each blog post & just comment on their blog post from this blog hop and you are entered to win! You will have until Friday at midnight (Central Standard Time) to comment away on each blog post for a chance to win! 

Monday - Sew Much Charm & Vlogger Sewing From Scratch
TPtheModestDoll22 & That's Sew Venice
Wednesday SewGr8ful & Sequoia Lynn Sews
Thursday Let's Go Hobby! & The Sarcastic Sewist
The Bear & the Pea Atelier & Wildflowers & Whimsey    

YaY it's Tuesday, that means it's my day, welcome everyone, I hope you enjoyed yesterdays posts.  My item is not super springy per say, but it was a fun project to work with my daughter on while we're all home.  Let me now present the Stuffed Animal Ball, by Max & Meena.   Make sure to comment below for a chance to win your own free copy!!!

My daughter has been wanting one of these for a while now.  Why is it called the animal ball?   That's because you use it to store your stuffed animals.  The side zipper makes it easy to get them in and out and keeps them nice and tidy while providing a comfortable place to sit.

I bought the pattern Animal Ball, floor pouf from Max & Meena, and have been waiting to have enough time.  Well, guess what???? I have the time.  I didn't get a chance to go buy any fabric specifically for this, and she does recommend a heavier weight then I had on hand.  So because of this, I made a few additions to my project to help reinforce it.

I hope it'll hold up to the 'love' I know this is going to be getting.  And Gizmo heard 'animal ball' and is trying to convince her it's his!  She was smart and put it in her room. 

This is a very simple pattern to put together.  Just make sure to prep your fabric first and get everything cut out.  We chose this super soft flannel and a pink zipper.

Like I said this pattern goes together easily.  If you are a bit hesitant about the curves you can easily put a few notches on the pattern yourself, and transfer to each piece to make it faster to line up, or just a mark at the fold, so you know where the center is.

When attaching the zipper I found the center of all three pieces, and then made sure it all lined up.

 Then just sew the sides up, and follow the instructions.  I chose to use a 1/2" seam allowance instead of the 1/4", because I know how badly this fabric frays and I wanted to give it a bit more stability in my seams.  I also serged the seams as well, to combat the fraying.

I pulled the fabric taut and topstitched down each side of the zipper so we shouldn't have to worry about any fabric getting caught in the zipper later.  Kids can be pretty rough on zippers.

Another tip I have is if you're using directional fabric put a clip a the top of each piece after you cut it, so that when you're attaching the sides you don't forget and sew one upside down (don't ask).

To further reinforce these seams that will have a lot of force on them I decided to top stitch each seam down, make sure to do this before you attach your final sections together to make it easier.  As I said it's totally optional, but I'd rather reinforce it now then have to go in and make repairs later.  I ended up doing two rows of top stitching on each seam, and around the top and bottom center sections. 

It was nice to share my sewing with my daughter and had her sew up a few of the seams as well, she's still terrified of the serger though. She enjoyed the ironing and thought it was satisfying to see it smooth out.  Home Ec at it's finest.

Now about the size.  This is pretty big!!! hahahaa  I am so glad used the small size.  I can't even imagine how big the other sizes are, definitely would work for an adult.  I didn't see any actual finished measurements online, but noticed in the group how big most of them were.  So I have stuffed it and we've sat in it, and I'll give you the basics on the size small.    If you want it even smaller you can increase the seam allowance, or print the pattern off at say 90% or something. 

It's a perfect size for your average pug or 10 year old though :D

Leave a note in the comments with more ideas of what you could store in your Stuffed Animal Ball, or what you'd use it for, and you'll be entered to win your own copy!!!!!


Other things you could fill it with to use for storage ideas:

Winter clothing, snow pants, jackets, mitts
Summer beach towels
Extra linens
Holiday linens 
Fabric scraps
Baby clothes you just can't part with.

                             And the winner is Julie BEE!!! 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

My first Paper Peiced Landscape Mini Quilt.

Wow March already and I haven't blogged in ages.  I have posted on my Instagram and FB accounts, but I prefer to spend my free time sewing, rather than typing I guess.

So I'm writing this post because this project has been a  LOOOOONG time in the making.  I can't even recall when I started this project.  I'll have to look back through my pictures and see what I have.  This has been a true labor of love because I had to learn many new techniques just to make it.  I had to learn EPP, regular paper piecing, applique, and throw in a bit of landscape quilting.

My inspiration was this picture.  I'm still really proud of this make.  This was my most advanced pattern to date.  I started sewing to make cute dresses for my daughter. I started with the basic pillowcase dress, and slowly they became more involved.  When I made this dress I was really blown away with how it all came together and that I'd actually made it.  I'd fallen in love with this fabric and had been waiting for just the right pattern to come along.  The Cecily Rose (currently in retirement) from Pollywoggles Patterns was a hit.  AND it's reversible!!!!  

It was also one of my first actual photoshoots, and I fell in love with this shot.  So I decided I wanted to immortalize it as a quilt.  But in order to have it come together as I was picturing it my head I had a lot of homework to do.  I took a class on English Paper Piecing, at The Sewing Cafe.  I had been hearing a lot about EPP as it's called in the sewing community, and it intrigued me.  I'm not usually much for hand sewing, I love my machine, but sometimes it's nice to have something I can do while riding in the car, or watching the kids play out front so I thought why not.  So from that class, I got my tree, that I appliqued on the quilt. 

Here is a shot of the backyard, the tree on the right is a Crab Apple and it's lovely in bloom, hence the colors I chose in my applique tree.

The section with my daughter was total trial and error I printed the picture out and drew on it and cut it and really just ended up free handing a lot of it. I'm happy with how it came out.  I got to this point, several years ago, and it's been hanging off my bulletin board ever since.  I wasn't sure how to finish it, I'd lost my vision so to speak. 

Fast forward several years and I was talking to my husband's Aunt on Family Day and she talked about this amazing quilt she's wanting to make.  And some of the squares she mentioned would be really cool for landscape quilt techniques, so I mentioned that to her.  And when I did it reminded me of my poor Lil quilt hanging on a pin.  Then a few weeks later Heidi of Pollywoggles was making a color-blocked hoodie, that reminded me of a landscape quilt as well.  So I pulled the dang thing off the pin and decided I'd just finish the thing once and for all so I can actually enjoy looking at it. 

 Now my skills have changed since I started this.  I feel the fabrics are a bit busy now (but I was using what I had on hand).  I would have done things a bit differently if I was starting now.  But I'm still in love with this picture, and this dress (which sadly doesn't fit anymore, but it still one of my absolute favorites)

I couldn't decide if I wanted to hand quilt the entire thing or not, but I decided no, it wouldn't get finished and end up sitting and waiting for a few more years ahahah.  So I machined quilted it but did hand-stitched the binding, and hand appliqued the tree on.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Sofinoa Designs Anniversary celebration featuring the Starry Nights pj's.


WOW!!!!! This is a big day for Sofiona Designs.  I remember when these two lovely ladies mentioned their new endeavor and asked for some pattern testers.  I jumped at the chance, they seemed like they'd be fun, and I'd gotten to know them a bit in other FB groups prior.  I HAD NO IDEA what was in store.  It's been an incredible year for them, and I've been lucky enough to have tested several of these amazing patterns.  Just check out how many they released in their first year alone!!!  There's even more coming soon!

I chose the Starry Night Pj's for my anniversary post.  I had ordered this amazing Smore's fabric from Libelle Sewing, and I really wanted to make my daughter some cute pjs.   I had made the nightgown version several months ago, and she loves it.

If your kid is like mine they run HOT!!! Like all year, even in winter, so she was thrilled it was a tank top.  I might end up making a matching Tundra with some coordinating fabric for a cooler day if she wants.

I love the finishings on all Sofiona patterns and this was no different. You may notice that I did not serge my seams, and I never do on nightwear for my daughter.  For some reason, she finds the serged seams annoying, even when I use wooly nylon, so I just don't bother anymore, which turns out fine with knits.

This pattern is pretty simple if you follow the steps and excellent tutorial.  The only 'tricky' aspects of this pattern are the gathering and binding on the armscye but I'll show you a couple of tips to make them a breeze.  So let's get started.

First, the fun part, choosing your fabric.  This pattern is for knits and there a ton of fabric choices out there.  Make sure you find something comfy and give it a good wash and dry then start cutting.   I basted my ruffle to the top of the skirt section, this makes the gathering easier for me.  I use my own
method of gathering with elastic thread.  (you sew over it, you don't use it in your bobbin).

You mark on the elastic the width of each piece.  Zig zag over it on the piece you're gathering.  Then pull it till your dots line up with the edges of your fabric.  Give it a quick stretch to even your gathers, and boom you're done.  Here's the video I did last year that explains it in greater detail,  I swear this method was lifechanging for me.

pinned in place

Once you have your gathers ready, you need to make sure you secure them.  Now get ready to do the binding.  For this, I prefer to sew it with the binding on the bottom, and my armscye on the top.  I find I have better control over curves if I can see them.  I know my binding is straight so that's not going to throw me off if it's underneath and I can better watch the curve on top.  I do this on all of my bindings.

Sewn with binding on the bottom

I learned this when I was sewing bras, you put the piece with the most movement on top to keep an eye on it.  Also, make sure your binding comes all the way to the ends, or else it'll show when you attach it to the bodice.   (don't ask ahahha)

 So then just flip it all over, and you'll fold the binding down halfway to line up with the top of the seam.  I like to put a few clips to hold it, then flip it all the way down to enclose the seam, and make sure it goes past the stitching line so you'll catch it when you topstitch!

Now give it a nice topstitching, I like to use a triple stitch because it looks like a straight stitch, but still have some stretch to it. Nothing is worse than popping seams after all of your hard work.

Now you're ready to attach it to the tops, and do your neckline binding, a quick hem and you're done!!!!

 Pop on over to my blog buddy Dagbjort's Blog, to see her amazing hack of the Starry Night PJs.

Now be sure to comment below if you get this pattern to try, I want to see what you come up with. Don't forget to join  Sofiona Designs Fan Group for other fabulous designs, discount, and Giveaways!!!!

Here's a quick review of my Sofiona Sews from the past year.
Enjoy!!!!  We love them.


Each day this week, two bloggers will pair up to showcase one Sofiona pattern. Follow along to see your favorite Sofiona patterns sewn "as is" by one blogger and a clever "hack" by the other.

Some of our favorite Instagrammers will also be sharing their Sofiona makes this week and they'll be doing the same pairing up to showcase one pattern. Follow them for more inspiration:

Join us in the Sofiona Designs Fan Group on Facebook for more fun and to share your favorite Sofiona makes!

Finally, a huge thank you to ALL the sponsors for joining in our Anniversary Celebration! Please participate in the Rafflecopter below for an opportunity to one of the two prize packages listed below valued at over $150 each and join us in the fan group for daily giveaways next week.

Prize Pack #1

Prize Pack #2

Friday, November 1, 2019

Balsam Bag -- Bag on a Budget

Bag on a Budget

I think a lot of us started sewing to try and save money, or to customize items.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, patterns are like recipes, it's ok to tweak them do to budget concerns, time, what items you have on hand, and personal preference.  That being the case I decided to make an inexpensive bag for my daughter.  I LOVED the angled shape of this bag, and knew my daughter would love it too.  I found some fabric I've had for several years, and now I think she might need a matching pencil skirt, we'll see how that goes.
Dress is the Tide, also by Sofiona Desgins and available on their website.

This bag is quick sew, it's a nice simple design with only a few peices, so it was easy to keep the costs down.  This bag cost me less then $5.   Instead of using D-rings for the straps.  I just used these split key rings from the dollar store.

I used the rings in the tabs and sewed them on as per the instructions in the pattern.  I decided not to do an adjustable strap so we needed to establish our strap length.   I did this by simply using a measuring tape in place of the strap. I used clips on each side to hold it in place, and made allowance for the seams. 

Then I just sewed them on to the rings like I did the tabs.  No need for extra hardware if you don't want to use it.

So now you have no excuse to not give this great pattern a try.  It's a great scrap buster in the smaller sizes.  Head on over to Sofiona Designs Fan Group, to see more examples and inspiration.  Click this link here to buy the pattern  Sofiona Designs. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Balsam Bag -- Upcycled leather bag

From Couch to Bag

Balsam Bag-- Sofiona Designs
Upcycled Leather Bag 

Several years ago we needed to get rid of our old leather couch.  So when we did, my husband cut off all the usable leather, the back was in great shape and the cushions were ok too, just the frame was shot.  I kept the leather hoping to do something with it.  I have NEVER sewn with leather before and know there is a learning curve.  When I saw this bag being tested I realized it was simple enough to give it a go.

I made a smaller angled bag in woven for my daughter to try the pattern and get a feel for it, and then I really wanted to make myself a lovely leather fall bag.  I knew I'd found the right pattern to finally try it out.

I pulled out the two couch cushions and laid them out.  One is a bit more wrinkled than the other but I think it adds character.  I was able to get the straps out of the fabric around the edge, it does have a couple of seams but it still worked out fine.

My rotary cutter worked great on the leather so that was a good start.  I got a heavy-duty needle, I used a topstitching one because I didn't have a leather one on hand, and it worked great. Although I will be getting some leather ones as well.   I also used my Teflon foot to help things slide better, and lowered my presser foot pressure.  I also discovered my machine does a better topstitch in the left-hand needle position.  It tended to skip in positions farther to the right, I usually pop my needle over when I topstitch on the right-hand side, but had to adjust that.

I added the rivets to the pocket because I thought they were cute.  The rivets to the straps were necessary because my rings were quite thick, and I love the look of rivets.  I bought them a while ago so it's fun to have an excuse to use them.  I bought my rivets from Tandy Leather, and now I'm eyeing those pyramid ones!!!!

My only issue came with the straps.  Keep in mind leather and vinyl come in different thicknesses, and the leather I was using was from my couch.  When I tried folding the straps like the pattern recommends it was just way to thick for the slider I had on hand.  I'm not sure if there are other sliders that would have worked better, but I was upcycling off an old strap, so it was what I had on hand.  Here's how bulky my strap ended up being.   Topstitching it would have helped some, but I didn't want to punch holes in it and have it not work.  So I decided to try a different method and I think it worked beautifully.

This is the blog post I followed for my NEW strap.  "How to make (less Bulky) Leather bag straps."  Yes, that is the title of the post, perfect right?? ahaha.  You can see here the difference it made.  Some people don't like the raw edge showing, but I found it lined up so well on the strap, and only on the tabs is it showing, and I kind of like the look, so it's really personal preference.  This was just a practice one, on my real strap I lined up the ends and it looks really nice.  I just wanted to see if this was going to work, and you can see how much thinner it is.

So What I did was cut my strap at 2" so I'd have a 1" finished strap to fit my hardware.  I drew a line right down the center, to fold the straps in half evenly.   Since the raw edge is going to show, make sure you don't have any snags in the leather, I used the rotary cutter, and it left it nice and clean.

 I made the happy discovery that a glue stick works great to hold the strap down.  It was much easier and faster than using a ton of clips.  I only put clips on the seams and in a few places just to make sure I didn't have any surprises when I started sewing.
The next step was to sew down those center pieces.  I sewed from the wrong side, being careful to make a nice straight line by lining up with the edge of the strap.  I sewed each side down, then flipped it over and topstitched along the edges.  This made a super flat and sturdy strap.

I love how well the straps slide through the rings and sliders.  I did the connector straps the same way in the bag.  I used rivets on them to hold them on.

I have to say I'm super pleased with my first ever leather bag. The pattern is great and has several options.  I'm excited to share this pattern with others because I know how intimidating making a bag or purse can be.  But it's really quite simple, and the pattern is well written and easy to follow.

This is the large fold-over bag option, on the Balsam Pattern.

I still can't belive I managed to make a leather bag, and strap for less than $10, by using my old couch, and reusing the hardware from a purse strap.

The Handmade bag bling I got from Emmaline Bags.   And she really has an amazing selection of hardware for bags.  They add so much, and make the finished product look more professional, and one of a kind.

 If the cost of hardware is making you hesitate, keep in mind you can always upcycle items from other bags, like straps and snaps.  And if you don't want to make an adjustable strap you can just make a regular length one, and use key rings for your loops on the ends :D.   Remember a pattern is like a recipe, it's ok to change a few things here and there to match what you have on hand, your budget or personal preferences.  For more cost-saving tips check out more info on my daughter's Bag.  Balsam Bag--Bag on a Budget

So now you have no excuse to not give this great pattern a try.  Head on over to Sofiona Designs Fan Group, to see more examples and inspiration.  Click this link here to buy the pattern  Sofiona Designs.