Waaayyyy back in March, I finished sewing a pair of emerald-green pajamas for my mom in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  Even further back, in January, I had bought the necessary green cuddle satin along with enough purple to make another pair – and promptly dragged my heels until there were ruts in every room of the house

The pattern I used was McCall’s M4244, as always, and I don’t even want to look at the envelope right now.  I can more or less construct a pair of pajamas from that pattern without the instructions, at this point.

There’s no denying, however, that the purple set is delightfully regal-looking, and make the perfect nightwear as we transition from steamy summer nights into the crisp air of almost-autumn.

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They aren’t nearly as bulky and lumpy as they appear in the photo: when I presented the finished product to her, she couldn’t be bothered with actually getting changed and instead pulled them on over her tank top and cargo shorts.  I choose to interpret that eagerness as a compliment.

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A close-up of the buttons I used, along with a better idea of the fabric’s real colour.

I’d like to think my pajama-sewing days are behind me for a while, but I’d best not speak too soon.  One of my friends saw these and thought a pair of satiny pajama pants “would be all right”.  Maybe for Christmas…

Thanks for looking!

Urban Wildlife

April 5, 2015

I rarely stitch for myself, but when Cross Stitcher included cover kits of a fox and a raccoon a couple of years back, I held onto them, planning to do them “someday”.  These were bold, simple patterns that used only a handful of colours, meaning they’d be the perfect intermission stitch when large projects were making me crazy.  And – and this may be what promoted them from “maybe” to “yes!” – they came with a precut felt frame right in the kit, making the whole affair rather self-contained and all the more appealing.  All I’d have to do is add a hanger of some sort, and heaven knows I have enough different ribbons in my stash.

And so, eventually…in between large projects, Christmas gifts, quick cards…they somehow got finished.  The completed stitching was tucked away along with the frame inside the original packaging until I had a reason to assemble them.  Wonder of wonders, my cubicle wall (fun fact: the proper term for “cubicle wall” is “baffle”.  Who knew?) was painfully bare and in desperate need of a little brightening up!

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To add some interest to the frames, I added a bit of decorative running stitch with my sewing machine.  This wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had; felt does not pivot as nicely as normal fabric does to ensure a smooth curve, and I had to keep stopping to defuzz my needle and bobbin area.  But they’re done, and give my cube a much-needed splash of colour.

Happy Easter!

…and conveniently leprechaun-sized, too!

A few years back, I made the grievous error of (gasp) sewing my mother a pair of pajamas.  Several years before that, she had received as a gift a pair made of this material that was satiny on the outside so as not to cling to the sheets when turning in bed, but cottony-soft on the inside, and she continued to obsess over them long after they had worn beyond use.  Naturally, when I found cuddle satin  – satiny yet snuggly! – at my local Fabricland, I had to replicate them for her.

This was a mistake, as it led to the construction of several more pairs of both the full-length and short-everything variety.  I’m almost surprised I can’t sew McCall’s M4244 from memory.  And so a few months ago, when she started in with, “I could almost use another pair of those satin pajamas…”, I did what I do best, which is to say, I pretended I was immersed in a book and didn’t hear her.  But then Fabricland had a 50% off sale at New Year’s, and my conscience got the better of me, and I took her shopping for fabric.  Six metres for the price of three (in two fabulous colours) was too good a deal to pass up.

But ah, there was a caveat.  She didn’t want a shorts set, but also didn’t want the sleeves, legs, or top to be as long as in the full version.  So, a capri?  “Well, maybe a bit longer than that…”  This was not the kind of thing that the “lengthen or shorten along this line” could handle – I was going to have to eliminate vast-ish swaths of fabric.  Aargh!  After holding the pattern pieces up to her, we more or less agreed on proper lengths for everything.  It was a tight fit on the fabric, too; had they been too short, her only option would have been to shrink.  In the end, though, we seem to have found the perfect balance.

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She won’t be tripping over the hems or setting her sleeves alight if by some odd chance she finds herself cooking over an open flame.  Sounds like an excuse for indoor s’mores to me!

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Aren’t those buttons something else?  I think the opportunity to use green glittery buttons was my primary motivation to make yet another pair of these things.  And this is actually a far more accurate representation of the colour.

There are still three metres of royal purple satin patiently waiting their turn, but that’s a project for another day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Qu’est-ce que c’est bleu-blanc-rouge, et très chaud? – Un foulard Habs super!

Shortly before Christmas, I was browsing Craftster and I saw this cool project.  (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve started a conversation with, “Ohmygosh, someone on Craftster just…”, I could retire.)  These Harry Potter scarves were the perfect, inexpensive, last-minute Christmas gift, and my reaction was both swift and dual: “Those are so great!…But I don’t know any Harry Potter fans.”  I think my cousin had read the books, but I have no idea if she’s still into that stuff, and certainly wouldn’t know what her favourite Quiddich team was.  Is one house inherently better than the others?  (My senior accountant later told me no, that one would simply identify with a house whose values/characteristics/etc. reflected one’s own, but I was done my Christmas shopping by then anyway, so it became a moot point.)

I couldn’t get those scarves out of my head, though.  “I bet you could do that with CFL team colours,” I mused, “or any team, really.”  And so it was decided that my dad, who normally eschews those crazy pieces of winter gear designed to keep one warm, needed a scarf in Montreal Canadiens colours.  (Er, couleurs.)

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It’s long enough to be wrapped around and cover nose/mouth/neck/entire head (probably)….

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….but has groovy fringed ends for a jaunty look.

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(As you can see, he took his modelling job very seriously, with his Béliveau jersey and matching socks.)

A rotary cutter made cutting the oodles and oodles of fleece rectangles a fairly quick job.  Sewing them all together and tying off about a million thread ends (whyyyy does he like a team with more than two colours?) was…not as quick, but the end result is absolutely worth it.  This thing is warm, and darned eye-catching, if I say so myself.

His jersey might have a 4 on it, but when I first set about making this, I had nicknamed it the Subban scarf: the original instructions, before taking seam allowances into account, used 76 inches of fleece.  🙂

True Trekkies will take issue with my slight misquote; however, grammarians will rejoice at my perfectly unsplit infinitive (perhaps even to the point that they will ignore “unsplit” not being a real word).

My friend Bill is a fan of Star Trek: TOS, and particularly of William Shatner.  Over the years, I’ve bought him many books penned by Mr. S., as well as bobbleheads, action figures, and other paraphernalia.  Some months ago, whilst rifling through my bookmarks, I found this link.  I had originally saved it a few years ago, and finally decided it was high time I did something about it.

Panic very nearly set in when I clicked on the link to the McCall’s website found within the post, and discovered it no longer existed; luckily, my crafty packrat instincts had kicked in when I first read about the project, and I had downloaded the PDF pattern and instructions.  With some felt, gold fabric paint, and about $2 worth of fleece, Bill would have his very own Star Trek stocking.

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I chose Command Yellow (Gold?), natch – oh, so appropriate, given that his wage-slave hours are spent as a team leader – and found a silhouetted version of the insignia with a quick Google search.  My insignia is made up of three pieces of felt: a black bottom layer; a smaller, yellow layer painted with two coats of gold fabric paint that required 24 hours to dry each time; and a black star on the very top.

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And filled to the gills with all sorts of goodies!

I took a few liberties with the pattern, such as not lining it – though in hindsight this may have been helpful, since the paperback book I thoughtfully stuffed in it caused some rather unsightly bulges.

I made the delivery last week, which seemed a little early, but I wanted him to have the stocking for a Christmas decoration throughout December.  For his part, he asked where I bought it (!), and now has it hanging at his desk, where several coworkers have asked where he got it.  This might be tough to beat next year!

The fastest cat alive!

September 23, 2014

Gather ’round children…there’s a story behind today’s creation.  (Isn’t there always?)

My cat has lightning-fast reflexes, and moves like a greased pig – particularly when checkup-time rolls around and she knows a car ride is imminent.  She honestly seems to sense when this is about to happen, which means that occasionally I have to tackle her like I’m trying out for JV football in order to get her in her carrier and get her to the vet’s office on time.  A couple of years ago, she had to stay overnight for observation, which compounded the tackle-and-ride trauma with apparent abandonment.  I had stopped by to visit her after work, and she was so mad she wouldn’t even look at me.  I felt like the worst parent ever as I poked my fingers through the cage bars in vain and, as there were other people around, tried not to cry over my new title.

And then I saw the sign.

Written hastily in red Sharpie, and taped over her medical information on the front of her cage, it proclaimed, “I’m fast!”

My first thought was one of smug validation: it wasn’t that my reflexes were slow.  My own rather unscientific observation had now been corroborated by a veterinary professional.  See?  She is fast, and the traumatizing tackle was necessary.  And then it hit me:

The cat had tried to do a runner.

And suddenly I felt the way I imagine parents of two-legged children feel upon receiving notice that their child has just displayed some sort of ungracious or otherwise unpleasant behaviour – like, say, getting stuck in the mud while the class was planting trees for Earth Day, and then refusing to hand her shovel over to the teacher so that he might dig her out, because she was under strict orders not to let anyone else use it.  (True story.)

Fast-forward a couple of years: kitty is happy and healthy, but since her annual checkup is getting close, I thought she could use a little jacket to ward off the autumn chill as she’s being shuttled from Point A to Point B.

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I used McCall’s 5776, and modified View C to suit my needs.  The instructions called for fringing the edges which didn’t seem very aerodynamic and Flash-like to me, so I lopped off some of the extra fabric and finished with a narrow hem instead.  The Flash logo was cut from felt and sewn on by hand, and Velcro at the throat and under the belly keep things in place.

(She’s not quite as enamoured with it as she appears in the photo.  She doesn’t hate it, exactly, but whenever I try it on her, she does a little kitty moonwalk to try and get out of it.)

Summery Tiki Shirt

August 28, 2014

Typical: just in time for the days to be shorter, the temperatures cooler, and with all signs pointing squarely toward autumn, I’ve finished a rather summer-appropriate blouse for myself.

I had bought this fabric oh, ages and ages ago, and had in fact sewn myself a little wiggle dress from it, complete with co-ordinating piping and (mostly) hidden side zip, but when I came across the rest of it in my stash, I decided I needed to do something else with it.  Enter Simplicity 7086, View E.  Nothing demands a tie-front blouse quite like tiki pin-up girls.

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I deliberately left the darts out to make it a little more boxy – since the front tie means it comes up a little shorter than some blouses, I didn’t want it to be too close and prone to creeping up, and find that the more flowy silhouette complements the length nicely.  Also, although you can’t tell from the photo, I made that collar my b…, I mean, my slave.  For a pattern named Simplicity, the collar instructions were (bad word) convoluted.  I looked at them, asked my mother’s advice, and even checked with my dad in case he saw something in them that I was missing.  Nope.  So, I modified it just a wee bit, but you’d never know; it looks just fine on.  (Does anyone else have this problem with collars?  Or am I forever doomed to a life of sewing nothing but collarless pajama-style tops?)

I think  I have enough fabric to maybe fashion a circle skirt of sorts, if I don’t mind cutting panels instead of one big piece…sort of a modern take on the vintage playsuit.  Well, there’s always next summer…

Thanks for looking! 🙂

Last-Minute Make

December 24, 2013

I had seen these owls on Craftster, and had been putting off making one for some time.  But when I did get around to it, was it ever quick!

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I had made the green guy with the intention of attaching him to my cousin’s Christmas gift, but when I showed my mom she immediately decided where he’d look best on our tree, so there you have it…and then I decided to make a purple she-owl so that my parents would have a matched set.

Merry Christmas!

Wait…that’s not right…

Long time, no blog!  Work, class, two ridiculously convergent time-sensitive deadlines…aargh!  But: I completed my first non-cupcake project in ages and ages, and had to share.  For Mother’s Day, I made Mumsie a pair of hedgehog-printed boxer shorts.

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I hadn’t actually been near my sewing machine since the start of December, but this was a nice, easy project to get back into things.  I spied the fabric earlier this year at Fabricland and bought three metres on a whim with no real project in mind – this fit the bill perfectly!  I think this may be my new favourite pattern: cute and practical, with quick results.  Boxers for all!  (Say, wouldn’t that make Christmas gift-giving easy….)

I’m happy to report, she loved them and they have been in regular rotation since last weekend – hence, the creases in the photo.  And they go so perfectly with the awesome t-shirt I found for her on Mental Floss:

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I’ll try to be more faithful about updates.  But with Father’s Day/anniversaries/birthdays around the corner, there’s got to be something craftacular to do, right?

(Because I’m capable of domestic arts that aren’t just cupcake porn, doncha know…)

(But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of that!)

Every year, one of the no-kill cat shelters in town has an open house, sort of a fund-raising/awareness/adoption drive.  They hold a bake sale, too, and put out the call for people to bring in baking to help the cause.  I try to make something tasty each year, and one year I recall phoning in sick to work so I could stay home and bake a few dozen cupcakes (I’ve since improved my time-management skills).

I wanted to do something just a little different this year.  Baking is fine, but homemade treats grow stale quickly, and what if they don’t sell?  Isn’t there something a little more tangible I could do?  Then it hit me: what about a couple of cute half-aprons?  They make the perfect hostess gift, and can be tied on long after the cookies have turned dry and crumbly.  I used fun faux-retro prints to keep things merry and bright, and had at ‘er.

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To make them, I measured an apron of my mother’s and drafted up a pattern of sorts.  They were really simple – I think I spent more time steaming my fingers with the iron than sewing – and generously-sized.  I’m not a skinny girl, but the ties wrap all the way around my waist back to the front.  The whole project would have been a great exercise in de-stashing, too (besides helping the homeless kitties), if I hadn’t gone out and bought fabric specifically to make these.  Next year…

I even made little tags with care instructions:

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But, you know, they did ask for baking and not for cute housewares, so I did bring something edible, too. My world  city  inner-circle famous Cuban Lunch candies, packaged and ready for giving, or just for enjoying yourself:

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Hopefully I’ll help them raise a few dollars to help the kitties…what a nice start to the holiday season!