Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Best Laid Plans

Even the best laid plans go awry. And my plans have had to flex with the ever changing needs of being a mother of 5. So I'm taking a blogging break. No one is drastically ill, dying of cancer, or even needing tylenol (unless it's tylenol for me from the increase in decibels brought on by summer living). Just trying to enjoy the moment without the need to record and blog the moment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Candy Wrapper Zipper Pouch - less than successful (not quite a pin fail)

Cotton (the dog) and the Candy Wrapper Glasses Case
I'll refrain from calling this a Pin(terest) Fail, but it wasn't the roaring success I envisioned.  I saw these candy wrappers turned into zipper pouches and thought, "this would be so fun to do with a group of teens." Um, glad I tried it out first. And since then I've had no desire to try it out with a large group.

The basic idea is to use iron on vinyl (I found mine at a sewing machine store, but I've since seen it at Walmart) to laminate the candy wrapper. Then sew it into a pouch with a zipper across the long side.

Here's my first attempt:
Melted Vinyl and wrapper!
Good thing I was using a piece of fabric between the iron and the vinyl and then under the wrapper too! If a little heat is a good thing, more heat is better, right? Wrong!

The iron on vinyl makes the candy wrapper "fabric" sewable but like you are sewing vinyl (funny how that happens).

The hardest part of the project isn't ironing on the vinyl. It's actually turning the pouch right side out. Three of us completed (or attempted to) complete this project together. The Spree wrapper didn't make it past go. The Skittles wrapper attempt tore through the seam when turning right side out (too small), but the M&M wrapper made it to completion. The corners aren't nice and neat, but they are functional and the dog is still looking for the missing M&Ms!!

If you try this type of project here are my suggestions (learn from my mistakes):
 1. get the largest wrapper you can (it would make turning the project right side out easier)
 2. test out your ironing temp and duration on a scrap before using the real wrapper (more excuses to eat chocolate are always a good thing)
 3. don't consider this a beginner sewing project
 4. don't mentally consider this a fabric-like pouch, just pretend you are sewing a plastic pouch
 5. vinyl sticks to the sewing machine foot. I used tissue paper between my foot and my wrapper to solve this problem, but maybe putting tape on the bottom of the sewing machine foot would work as well? (anyone tried it?) Because I was using tissue paper I used small stitches so the paper would be nicely perforated and easy to tear off, but it also made the vinyl more perforated and easier to tear (bother).

Not so awesome results
So remember, not every awesome looking project will turn out awesome in real life, but have fun trying and remember that failure is an option and I'm not afraid to admit I failed on this project.
Awesome picture though! Thanks Katrina and Cotton for the pic.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - Sew Special Quilts

Karla of Petite Chalet (home of super cute baby bibs and burp cloths - take a look and I know you'll agree) visited our third stop.

For our third stop on the Virtural Fabric Shop Hop, I visited Sew Special Quilts, and let me tell you, I think I’ve found my new favorite fabric store in San Antonio! From the moment I walked into the store I felt very welcomed. The staff was friendly, warm, and incredibly helpful. They are located at 5139 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 110.

Sew Special Quilts is the perfect shop for quilters. They carry large amount of designer cotton fabric (perfect for quilting). Sew Special Quilts stock Michael Miller, Moda, and Riley Blake fabrics, just to name a few. Because they stock high quality fabrics, the prices are a bit higher than Joann’s, but they have a frequent buyers club program, that I think will help to make their prices more reasonable. The Frequent Buyers Club cost $20 a year, but you get 10% off your purchase every day, and on the 15th of each month you get 20% off of your purchase. I joined the frequent buyers club when I visited, and I ended up saving the $20 that I spent on joining, so it has completely paid for itself already.

Sample of fabric offered at Sew Special Quilts:
  • Cotton Fabrics
  • Quilters Cotton
  • Moda Solids
  • Small selection of Flannel
  • Batting
  • Interfacing
  • Cotton Apparel Fabric

Sample of Sewing and Quilting Accessories at Sew Special Quilts:
  • Quilting Books
  • Machine accessories for Bernina and Baby Lock Machines
  • Scissors
  • Quilting Gloves
  • Stabilizers
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rulers
  • Zippers
  • Thread
  • Quilt patterns and other various patterns
  • Precut fabric
    Fat quarters
    Jelly rolls
    Charm packs
    Mini charm packs
    Layer cakes
    Machines at Sew Special Quilts
  • Bernina
  • Baby Lock
  • Sergers
  • Embroidery machines
Classes at Sew Special Quilts
  • Buy a Machine and you can attend free classes as many times as you wish, to learn your new machine.
  • $5 quilt
    • Registration is $10 and with an additional $5.00 charge at your first class.
    • Meet once a month to collect your quilt kit and learn a new technique
    • Bring your completed quilt block to class the following month, and receive the next month’s kit free.
    • Class Starts in October and runs for 1 year.
    • At completion of the class you will have enough quilt blocks to construct a quilt top.
  • Various classes
    • Embroidery
    • Serger Basics
    • Silhouette Cameo Cutter
    • Hand Applique
    • Bag Lady
    • Stitch ‘Till Midnight
  • Visit their website for a schedule of classes available http://www.sewspecialsa.com/

 How to get a deal at Sew Special Quilts

  • Shop their sale and clearance items
  • Join the Frequent Buyers Club
    • Remember to shop on the 15th for 20% off your purchase

My Favorite Features of Sew Special Quilts
  • Very helpful and experienced employees
  • Current and modern fabric choices
  • Designer fabrics
    • I usually buy these fabrics online, but will be buying them from Sew Special Quilts using their Frequent Buyers Club.
  • Variety of classes

Least Favorite Features of Sew Special Quilts
  • Higher prices than Joann’s and Hobby Lobby
  • Doesn’t have a variety of fabrics other than cotton fabrics
  • They are only open until 6:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday, and 5:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday.
Thanks Karla for the amazing review. Be sure to check out Karla's fun and modern baby products. This one is my favorite at the moment (did I mention Karla's fun modern quilts too?). 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fleece on Fleece Applique Tutorial

Today I'm showing you how I made my fleeceYoshi pillow. I used the same technique to make a butterfly pillow too. Just think of the soft fluffy possibilities!

Step 1: Determine what image you are going to use. I used a Yoshi headshot found on wiki. Find it on my pinterest board. I thought about doing Mario - but I didn't have the colors I needed.

Step 2: Enlarge and print your picture (I used B&W to save ink) using whatever software you are familiar with. I used Silhouette studio because I'm very familiar with that software. I created a box the size of my finished pillow and then sized the image to look good inside that box.

Yoshi likes the garden!

Step 3: Use your handy "light table"/window to trace an outline of your image onto freezer paper. In an effort to think ahead I used a piece of freezer paper the size of my finished pillow (16"x16"). Then I made a second outline on freezer paper for later. 

Three color design - green, white and black
Step 4: Label the colors you will be working with on your freezer paper. You can see below that I thought of putting a white light reflection spot (new technical term from a crafter with a degree in nursing not art!) on Yoshi's black pupil but later decided that was too small of a detail to include.

Step 5: Now I have to be specific to Yoshi but apply the same guidelines to whatever design you are using.
  • Decide what color is your background color (green) and what color goes on top next (white). Iron the freezer paper onto the top layer (white). 
  • Keep in mind that fleece melts if the iron is too hot. And the iron will not glide over fleece like plain cotton. 
  • Use the iron in one place at a time just long enough to get the freezer paper to adhere to the white fleece. 
  • Then place the white fleece over the green fleece and pin in place.

Step 6: Sew on the lines of your white jowls and eyeballs using a very short stitch. The stitch will act as perforation for the freezer paper. And the shorter stitch will make it easier to go around curves too.

White "jowls" trimmed, white eyeball area untrimmed, black fleece ready to applique on.

Step 7:  Carefully peel up the freezer paper so that you can use it again on the black layer of applique. Then use scissors to cut the excess white fleece away.

Step 8: Repeat the process for the black fleece (iron on freezer paper, pin in place, use short stitch to sew on, trim excess fabric).
Ready to put on background fabric

Step 9: Iron your second freezer paper outline onto your green yoshi face.

Step 10: Pin your yoshi face onto your background fabric (blue). I used a 16"x16" pillow form so I cut a blue piece of fleece 17x17 (actually I made a boo boo and cut it 16"x17", but lucky for me fleece stretches and I was still able to use a 16"x16" pillow form).

Step 11: Sew around the outline of Yoshi. I used a short straight stitch. Remove the freezer paper. Trim the excess green fleece. (I then decided I wanted a little more of a black outline around my design so I used a short zigzag over top of my straight stitch.)

Step 12: Finish your pillow top by adding the back fabric. I used the envelope method so I put two pieces of fleece 17"x10" overlapping in the middle and sewed all around the square.
Peek a boo Yoshi!

Step 13: Turn your pillow case right side out and stuff with your pillow form.

Hug your fleecy friend!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - Walmart

Stop number two on our Virtual Fabric Shop Hop wasn't originally on my list, but then I hit a patch of good luck and decided it was worth mentioning Walmart. Yes, Walmart has fabric again (at least all the ones in my local area do). The selection is small, but occasionally the surprises are worth the time it takes to check it out.
Walmart fabric - 2 - $1 bandanas, 1 batik fat quarter, blue bird medallion fabric $1.50/yd, yellow yard $2.50/yd

Things you may or may not find in a Walmart fabric aisle (because it really is more like one or two short aisles than a store):

  • interfacing (iron on vinyl too - surprise, surprise)
  • polyfil (stuffing)
  • packaged batting
  • fleece at rock bottom prices
  • flannel
  • precuts (surprisingly sometimes better quality than prepackaged fat quarters at other stores)
  • twill
  • a few more formal fabrics, lace, etc
  • maybe some seasonal fabric (4th of July) or trending fabric (chevrons)
  • patterns (the $0.97 pattern I bought wasn't worth my money)
  • 2-4 different sewing machines
The good things about fabric at Walmart:
  • the prices are usually great 
  • no coupon gimmicks
  • the occasional happy surprise (love my yellow butterfly fabric)
  • you may frequent Walmart for other items so it's convenient :)
  • if you're an out of the box thinker, try the accessories section for $1 bandanas - it's like a $1 fat qurter only bigger and it has a border print too
The downers:
  • despite being a 24/7 store I was unable to find anyone to cut my fabric at 9:30pm
  • the staff who cuts your fabric probably doesn't know how to operate a sewing machine (at least in my local area - I'm sure there are exceptions)
  • prices are not well labeled (again exceptions exist, but fabric isn't a priority for most Walmarts)
  • no classes
  • no advertised sales

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yoshi Fleece Pillow - a DIY gift

 Need a birthday gift for a video game fan? That was me just last week. I sewed up this fancy (not) fleece Yoshi (from Mario) pillow in one morning. I love the results and so did my son. The hardest part of making this pillow was giving it away! Pics and tutorial coming 5/20 Fleece on Fleece Applique Tutorial featuring Yoshi
Yoshi pillow for a video game fan

Loved already!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sew San Antonio - Virtual Fabric Shop Hop - JoAnn Fabric

Welcome to the Sew San Antonio Virtual Fabric Shop Hop. I've teamed up with some local crafters to bring you a fabric store review every Friday (till we run out of stores).

If you're new to the area or new to sewing it's hard to know where to go for fabric sometimes.

We're starting with JoAnn Fabric. I have the most experience with this fabric store. (Disclaimer - a few years ago taught sewing classes at JoAnn. I am currently not affiliated with JoAnn in any way and I am not receiving any compensation for my time or opinions).
exterior shot - JoAnn fabric and crafts
 JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts is a national chain with two stores in the San Antonio area. According to my best guestimate (a quick survey of the large floor tile design) the store appears to be 50% fabric and 50% crafts. I won't even attempt to cover all the crafts!

JoAnn carries the widest variety of fabric in San Antonio - quilting fabrics of varying quality (see pic), home decor fabric, vinyl (great for protecting your table from youngsters), upholstery fabric and viny, silky fabrics, flannels, interfacing, burlap, fleece, etc.
different quality quilting fabric
Sample of the types of fabrics at JoAnn
  • kona solids (great for quilting)
  • fleece
  • vinyl by the yard
  • burlap
  • formal wear type fabrics
  • outdoor fabrics
  • knit fabrics
  • lace by the yard
  • prequilted fabrics
  • interfacing
  • denim
  • drapery fabric
  • marine vinyl
  • headliner (for cars - yep, really!)
  • flannel
  • licensed designs (Marvel, Disney, etc)
  • batting
  • special order interior design fabrics - samples in store
  • sample brand name quilting fabric - use coupon or sale!!
 Sample of Sewing and Quilting Accessories  at JoAnn
  • quilting books
  • quilting rulers
  • small label quilting patterns
  • block of the month kit (nationwide and rarely used)
  • precuts (a few)
  • fat quarters (precut and packaged - variable quality!)
  • buttons
  • zippers
  • ribbon
  • embroidery stabilizer
Machines at JoAnn
  • Singer models
  • no service available
  • buy in box, no machine orientation or classes
Cricut at JoAnn
  • Cricut brand machines (currently the Cricut Explorer) (if you're considering this machine you should really check out the Silhouette Cameo before making a decision - I own one and love it!) UPDATE - the silhouette cameo is now available at JoAnn!!
  • Accu-Quilt - fabric die cutter

 Classes At JoAnn
Classroom at Bandera location
  • taught by independent contractors or JoAnn employees
  • "trend classes" are determined by local store
  • classes in printed catalog are determined on a nationwide basis
  • hand sewing/crafting classes for ages 5 and up
  • classes with machines for ages 8 and up
  • other crafting classes also available
  • sewing machines available to use in sewing classes - just reserve one when you sign up for the class
  • sewing and quilting classes are beginner to intermediate level, but I wouldn't consider any of the classes advanced
How to Get a Deal at JoAnn
  • use coupons - JoAnn will accept competitor's coupons, and multiple coupons as long as they have different numbers on them (and aren't expired)
  • sign up for the mailing list to get coupons in the mail and/or email
  • bring in your Hobby Lobby coupon (usually a 40% off one item printable coupon every week)
  • Hancock coupons are also accepted 
  • visit the sales - I buy my flannel on Black Friday 
  • buy remnants 50% off current sale price (so if something is 50% off from the bolt a remnant of that fabric would be 75% off) 


My Favorite Features of JoAnn
  • I can get great deals by using sales and coupons.
  • Variety of fabric
  • And yes, I get stuck in the craft section frequently too!

My Least Favorite Features of JoAnn

  • cotton quilting fabric and especially the fat quarters are sometimes low quality (especially hard to tell with the fat quarters because of they way they are folded onto a cardboard)
  • fabric may not be cut straight on the bolt (employees use scissors not rotary cutter)
  • take a ticket system (but my kids love taking a ticket)
  • the lines - on sale days this is especially bad
So there you have it - my lengthy review of JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. What would you add? What would you respectfully disagree with?  Come back next Friday for another fabric store review!
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