Cushions for my living room

I have a couple pretty cushions on my sofa. When everything is tidy, it looks really nice.

My livingroom - pillows

But, this is what it usually looks like:

My livingroom - pillows

I like to get cozy on my sofa, and those cushions aren’t quite enough to protect me from the hard edges of the sofa’s arm. I pull the back cushions around and pile up the pillows to get comfortable.

Last week, I bought some lovely Euro cushions that I had intended to use for my bedroom. Like everything else I bought for my bedroom, I ended up deciding to use them elsewhere.

My livingroom - pillows

They’re very cushy, so they’re perfect for when I want to snuggle up on my sofa. And, it’s not nearly as disruptive when I move things around because the back cushions stay in place.

My livingroom - pillows

Of course, then I decided to move some things around. I decided that the pink and green cushion cover looked fantastic on the blue chair, so I swapped things around. I then remembered that I have some beautiful canvas fabric from Eloise Renouf’s Bark & Branch fabric collection. It’s going to be gorgeous. In fact, I love it so much, I’m thinking about painting my dining table more or less the same colour.

I accidentally have the perfect fabric to cover my Euro cushions (and, must enough yardage). ❤

And, though it’s not a cushion, I thought I’d also share what I’m going to do to cover my ironing table with. Right now, it’s blah and dirty. I had considered putting it away in a closet, but I’m trying to be honest with how I use my space, and I use my ironing board enough to want it to have a permanent space in the in the living room. So, I wanted to find a fun, vibrant fabric that would look nice beside the chair and the table (which is a few feet behind the chair). The fabric I choose is Animalia Splendor from the Safari Moon collection by Frances Newcombe.

Testing fabrics for a new ironing board cover

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Bunny

I made a bunny for my niece (and one for my co-worker’s toddler). I bought the book 1,2,3 Sew ages ago (back when I first started sewing). I’ve read bits and pieces of it, started planning a few projects from it, but never actually sewn any of the patterns. Until this weekend, when I decided to take the weekend to do a bunch of projects. This bunny is super simple and can be done in an afternoon, if you don’t spend a lot of time doing extra embroidery around the heart (like I did). The book  also has matching puppets (which I plan to make at a later date) and a mouse (which can also be a pin cushion).

I decided to use vibrant spring colours: blue and purple for my niece and green and pink (as requested) for the other toddler. I started with some fabric I have from Lizzy House’s Hello Pilgrim collection, which I love because it’s fun, vibrant but not childish.

The bunnies were easy. So was the mouse, except that I was making it late on a work day, so I was too tired to notice when the fold in one ear came loose before I sewed it properly, so I will have to fix that later.

I also have a very cool pillow that I made with the same fabric collection last fall. I love the pillow, but it doesn’t really match anything else, so I’m going to dismantle it and turn it into a doll blanket to go with the bunny and mouse. Somehow, or another, I hope to get all of this done before next weekend.

Happy Chocolate Egg Eating Weekend!

The eyes are uneven, but I’m still pretty surprised with how well (smooth) they turned out:
Bunny face :)

Because these are for toddlers, I machine sewed the hearts and then embroidered just for decoration:
Appliqued and embroidered hearts.

The one in the back is for my niece, and the one in the front is for my co-worker’s daughter:
Two bunnies!  I just need to stitch them closed, and maybe add a bit of embroidery detsil to the blue one. Pattern from 1, 2, 3 Sew.

Bunny, and the pillow I plan to convert:
I might need to convert this pillow cover into a doll blanket for bunny.

Mouse, with one wonky ear:
Tried making a wee mouse, but one of the ears (left) got screwed up. This offers why you shouldn't stay up late to sew :/

Bailey Bear

… or, as I call it, Wonky Bear (because it’s a bit wonky).

Wendy, of Shiny Happy World, has a bunch of cute patterns and tutorials. I’ve already made her bunny softie pattern (see here), and I’ve been meaning to make her Bailey Bear for ages.

Well, my immediate team at work does a small gift exchange, mostly just because we’re all nice and like each other. The problem is that I suck at gift giving because I get very anxious about what to give other people. I’d randomly found something for one person, but I had no idea what to get the newer co-worker. We get along, but we are so completely different from each other (she’s an ambitious, girly, well-dressed mom … I’m none of the above!). I did have one idea, but I couldn’t find the item in question. So, I started to stress out and finally just gave myself license to cheat: I made something for her daughter. This is not something I’m in favour of doing. A person is not defined by their kids, so they should get gifts for themselves, not their kids. But, I was really at a loss about what to do. So, I caved.

Anyway, I decided to make her a wee Bailey Bear for her daughter. I had some lovely soft corderoy and some fun pink dots that I knew would be perfect for the project. I started by personalizing it with a bit of embroidery (“V” is the child’s first name’s initial):

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I didn’t notice that the heart was a bit uneven until I finished it, so I just added a few daisies, which I think make it extra pretty:

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I hand embroidered the face, but machine stitched the belly panel fabric on (fortunately, I happened to have matching threads):

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And, here it is:

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Not bad. I may make another sometime, and I definitely want to use corduroy for stuffies in the future. I love the texture.

Edit: The recipient tells me that her daughter loved it and that the small size was perfect for her because she could hold it easily. I believe that I will make a few more of these for other kids I know.

Remixed Hopscotch top

I won a yard of Urban Zoologie fabric (by Ann Kelle) from Mad About Patchwork a few weeks ago and used it to make Peek-a-boo Pattern’s Hopscotch top for my niece. It’s surprisingly easy, even for a beginner like myself. I was able to (mostly) finish it in one afternoon.

Cutting everything was quick (save for the detail in front, which I had to fussy cut as my first cut was nothing but horses arses, which seemed a little inappropriate, ha ha). The instructions (with accompanying pictures) were well done and I didn’t have any trouble, despite this being the most complicated item I’ve ever sewn. The best part is that I now feel much more confident with sewing clothing and I can’t wait to make more clothes (I already have another Peek-a-boo dress pattern and some lovely plaid fabric).I may even make something for myself soon :)

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The cap sleeves sounded a bit scary, at first, but they weren’t too difficult:

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I even found some ridiculously cute matching buttons:

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New sewing machine cover

Back in July I was lucky enough to nab some great fabric from @justabitfrayed. I’d been meaning to make myself a new sewing machine cover after seeing the great, made to measure and reversible pattern from Shiny Happy World, and I decided that this fabric would be loads of fun. Not long after that, I nabbed some lovely navy and pink linen fabric. The combo is fantastic.

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One of the things I love about my level of skill with sewing is that I feel like I can veer from the actual pattern. The pattern called for a framed box on the front, but I just did my own things, while using the instructions for the measurements and construction. My original plan was to keep it simple with a thick vertical band of pink on one side and a few thin navy horizontal bands on the other side. But, fate dealt me a conundrum. I didn’t have quite enough fabric for both sides if I wanted to keep the stripes going in my preferred direction. So, I ended up doing some improvisational work to make the pieces big enough for the front and back pieces.

For the back, I did a simple cross in pink.

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On the back, I did a giant “x” in navy with a hint of pink.

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The one thing I didn’t like about the pattern, is it seemed a bit slouchy, especially at the top, so I added some cardboard to the top. It looks pretty sharp. My one regret is that I didn’t think to add a handle to the top.

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The project was relatively quick … or, at least it would have been, except that the fabric (the striped fabric, not the pink and navy linen) was a bit of a pain in the butt to work with. It stretched and warped a bit and it frayed if you looked at it funny. So, I had to be really careful when I was cutting it and I had to do the poor gal’s version of serging (zigzag stitch) on ever single edge (which ended up being quite a few after

I still need to do a bit of stitching to secure the cardboard and close the opening. But, I am loving this new sewing machines cover.

Pile O Fabric

Esch House Quilts Linked Pillow-Along

Despite already having a backlog of projects to do, I decided to join the Esch House Quilts Linked Pillow-Along. And, because I felt the need for a little pizazz in my house, I decided to use zero solids. Hey, why use solids when you have a huge stash of Lizzy House’s Hello Pilgrim fabric?

The project was relatively quick, but I did have some trouble figuring out the zipper (the instructions weren’t quite good enough for a zipper virgin, like myself). I was able to figure it out in the end, but if you try the pattern, be aware that you might have trouble with that part.

The final product is splendid. Look at how fabulous the fabric is in full sun.
Linked pillow: hidden zipper

Here’s my lovely hidden zipper.
Linked pillow: hidden zipper

The front.
Linked pillow: Front

The back.
Linked pillow: Back

Esch House Quilts

Christmas cones

It’s never too early to start working on Christmas things … especially when you’re me. Christmas sneaks up on me every year because it takes a long time for me to get in the Christmas mood. I really need to start joining all the “Christmas in July” people to force some Christmas gift making out of myself.

This year, I joined Polka and Bloom’s Christmas Stitches online class. I haven’t made everything Carina’s posted so far, but, oh boy, I really love some of the projects. She has a fantastic snowflake table runner (which I think I will also do using some of her lovely floral embroidery patterns) and an embroidered pillow cover that I adore. It will be a while before I make them, as I already have a million things to do this month, but they are very close to the top of my “must do” list.

One thing I have made is Christmas cones. She gave us two embroidered patterns, but I’m an anti-heart Scrooge, so I just did the one cone with embroidery and picked some great Lizzy House fabric that I didn’t think needed any embroidery for other cone. I love them!

Christmas cones

I made a Christmas cone. A second one is being decorated with embroidery before being sewn. #christmasstitches

Needle cushion

I didn’t get much time to sew this past weekend, but I made a few smaller projects, including this brilliant little needle cushion using a tutorial from Shiny Happy World (an excellent site to visit, especially for people who are new to sewing).

I used a wee scrap of fabric from Cloud9 Fabrics (Beyond the Sea collection) for the top and some lovely orange Lizzy House fabric (1001 Peeps collection) for the bottom. Instead of using a credit card (I’m a firm believer in cutting up such things), I used an old student card I had randomly kept.

Needle cushion

I love this little project. It’s quick (super quick) and useful. The card inside keeps the needle from going right through. Brilliant

Bottom on needle cushion

For anyone new to sewing or interested in learning about sewing, I highly recommend visiting Shiny Happy World. Wendy has a tonne of videos (sewing, quilting, and embroidery) and great beginner projects (both in her shop and for free).

 

Outfoxed pincushion

You may remember that a last week I decided to accept Alyssa’s (of Pile o’ Fabric) challenge to sew something I’d pinned. Well, this weekend I made a pin cushion from a pattern I’d pinned eons ago.

As soon as I decided that I was going to do the pincushion, I knew that I had to find purple fabric scraps, partly to match Astrid, my new sewing machine (yes, I named her), and partly because the pattern reminds me of sea urchins (which I always envision as purple despite the fact that the common urchins where I grew up are green). I didn’t have a lot of purple, but I did have some left over fabric from when I made an Outfoxed (by Lizzy House) quilt for my niece earlier this year.

Fabric Selection

I had to sew the fox fabric together to make it wise enough, but otherwise I had plenty to work with.

The pattern was relatively easy, though it calls for trimming the seam allowance at one point, but it doesn’t tell you by how much (or, why). Keeping the embroidery floss tight when creating the tufts was difficult and I highly recommend that you do each seam in sequence to make tightening them a bit extra at the end easier (you can more easily move from one to the next without having to guess which is next). Also, my fabric frayed quite a bit when I was stuffing the pincushion, so the area I had to hand stitch closed at the end was a bit messy and I felt the need to do some simple “decorative” stitching all along the seam that joined the top to the bottom. Lastly, because I had a seam running through the middle of the bottom, I did a button on both the top and the bottom to hide the fact that I couldn’t have the thread come straight through the middle at the bottom (I was worried it would pull the seam apart, so I did it a little off centre).

Despite all these minor difficulties, I love the final product. It’s a huge step up form my old pincushion, which is in a clay pot, so I’m in constant fear of it falling and shattering to pieces.

Here’s the final product:

Pin cushion

Would I make another? Definitely! What will I pin and sew next? Well, I do need a new sewing machine cover …

Pile O Fabric

Challenge accepted. Challenge complete! W00t!

DIY ironing table

When sewing, there seems to be an awful lot of pressing (ironing) involved. Especially with quilting – you need to press the seams before sewing bits together to ensure that everything lies flat and even. For a while, I simply kept a small towel close to my sewing table so that I could iron things right at the table. But, then I bought a cutting mat that takes up most of my table and can’t handle the heat. So, I started clearing off some precious counter space in the kitchen and laying down a towel. It was a bit annoying to always have to keep that one section relatively clean and to have to walk around the corner just to quickly press a seam. So, I finally conceded to the fact that I needed an ironing board. The problem is that they’re big, so they take up room and would be a pain to bring home from the store (I don’t have a car, so I’d have to walk or bus carrying a big ironing board).

Then I remembered seeing a tutorial for turning a standard collapsible TV dinner table into an ironing board. I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it, but I remembered enough to make once myself. All you need is a table, staple gun, padding, and fabric. I bought a proper ironing board cover kit (thin foam and fabric), but decided that I didn’t like the cover fabric very much, so I decided to cover everything with some lovely fabric from Robert Kaufman’s Stargazer collection.

I was going to write some instructions, but realized that without pictures, it might be confusing. And, because I’ve been using the ironing table as an actually table when working on things while sitting on my couch, I decided that I should make a second one to use as a side table (this way, I won’t run the risk of spilling something on the ironing table, which needs to stay clean). So, when I make my second one, I will take lots of pictures and write a wee tutorial. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the final product.

DIY ironing board

I also added something to “lock” the table open so that it wouldn’t collapse while it had a hot iron on it.

DIY ironing board: Locked