Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

I think I can…

I know this could be awesome. I’ve got a pile of projects waiting to be…well serged. But dammit I can’t even thread the thing.

IMG_5776Honestly…I’m not really sure how it was even created in the first place. It almost seems mistakenly put together. I imagine a bunch of people in lab coats and protective goggles standing around: “Well folks, I don’t think we can get this thing…oh wait!…Ok yes, we got it working…does anyone know how we did that?”

Besides all the hemming and altering of clothes I currently own, here are two projects that I can’t wait to get going on:

This absolutely adorable jersey bubble skirt – I can already see my niece running around in this. Bubble1 These fabric napkins must be in my hands as soon as possible. The pop of color and lovely slub linen are just too perfect for me. I think they’d make great Christmas gifts. Napkins

Sigh. I’ve got a serger. One that I can tell is awesome. Lent to me by a lovely women. Now…to thread it.

Fabric Clips = Heaven.

I’ve discovered my new favorite sewing gadget. If you love sewing, or know someone who loves sewing, buy these.

Fabric clips…seriously the best thing ever. I really don’t know why they don’t get more hype! You can use the clips to hold several layers together, very firmly. Instead of jamming/bending a needle into it.

IMG_3901 IMG_3905When you sew with fabric like oil clothe or laminated cotton, pins leave holes. Enter, the fabric clip.IMG_3908If you’ve got a project that is a bit dainty, where the hem is delicate and it’s hard to pin it in place without the fabric moving all over the place…these are wondrous!
IMG_3944You can find these bad boys over in the quilting section of Joann’s Fabrics. But go prepared with a coupon to save $$. They’re spending without one.

Wallet fun.

Whoop whoop! I am so proud of this new creation. When I saw this wallet on another blog, I just knew I was going to have to try it.IMG_3785 IMG_3789 The pattern is: Straight Stitch Society – Have It All Wallet. I’ve never made anything this compact or with this many small little pockets. I thought it would be difficult. While the first wallet was slow going, taking me almost three hours, I slowly began to understand the pattern. By the third wallet, I was making it without looking at the instructions and in about half the time.

IMG_3794 IMG_3800 IMG_3796

The key to success here is to press really well and to turn the fabric nice and tight. If you are a confident beginner or intermediate sewer, give it a try! (Or head over to the shop to buy one) Happy sewing.

Purging and Purses

I FINALLY created a bag pattern that I can call my very own. Soon they’ll be available in my shop. I’ve got just a few things to change. I’m going to make the bag itself slightly deeper and possibly add a snap of some kind. I’ve been using this one to test it out and it gets a Homespun Haley stamp of approval!

IMG_3765 IMG_3769 IMG_3774I also deep cleaned my craft room this week. I had a whole dresser filled with old decor, frames, and old crafting items that I emptied. We’ve gone through every room in the house and have purged what we can. We’re having a yard sale on Saturday!

IMG_3764Any advice? This is the first yard sale that we’ve had…

Homespun Help.

Lately, I’ve been semi-obsessing over new ideas for the Homespun Haley shop. Admittedly, I’ve also been semi-proud of myself for thinking things through before diving into them. I’ve been drawing up ideas and sewing several prototypes until I reach the best design. photo (11) Even though I’ve got about a million ideas that flutter through my mind everyday, what actually gets created and sold depends on one thing…what you want. I may think I have a good idea of what those things are, but how could I possibly if I’ve never asked? Here are some ideas I’ve been kicking around.

imageSo please, please, please, take a moment and let me know…what would you LOVE to see in the Homespun shop? More jewelry?  More clutches? Something random that I’ve never thought of? Leave a comment here or head on over to the Homespun Facebook Page and comment there. You never know…there might just be a giveaway that comes out of all this. ;)

Book Bags for the Kiddos.

When you’re a kid, nothing beats not having to share having your very own something. Nothing makes it yours better than plastering your name right on it. So this Christmas, I made my nephew and niece their very own book bags. Thanks to my cousin Penny who sent me this inspiration pic:

Library Tote ExampleThis is what I came up with:

Book Bag Book bagI knew I wanted to make my own tote so I could add some pizzazz. I find that knowing how to make a solid, standard tote bag is a skill that always comes in handy. So I appreciate the practice. Adding a liner allowed me to lazily pay attention to only the outside prettiness of the bag. The liner covers the interior part that looks disastrous  With reinforced handles (made from strapping), this bag should be able to withstand haul after haul of library books and/or other kiddo necessities.

While I don’t have a step-by-step photo tutorial for you, as I was crazily finishing these in the middle of the night, the eve of Christmas eve, I can give you some details that might help if you’d like to make your own.

I started with measurements of 17 1/2″ (h) x 16 1/2″ (w). I folded the top down two inches so ending measurements were probably something like 15 1/4″ x 16″. I simply hand cut out flannel letters and sewed them in place. This took forever and I’m sure had I left myself more time, I could have found a less time consuming method.

book bag book bag Book bag Book BagThey were a success. Especially since hidden inside was a book to add to their sprawling collections. “Skippy John Jones” for Giana and “The Secret Identity of Awesome Man” for Samuel. It was great watching these two open presents. They were delighted in each one and willingly gave out lots of thank you hugs…

…of which I gladly accepted.

Owen, Samuel and Giana

Toddler Apron Cuteness.

When I heard my sister in law talk about how much her daughter loved her play kitchen, I knew what I had to do. Giana’s 2nd birthday was right around the corner and I saw my opportunity to make her something special.

Apron1Apron3Apron2I’m going to give you a semi-tutorial on how to make this little apron (2 to 4yrs). I call it a semi-tutorial because I just sort of did it, and now I’m trying to sort of explain how I did it. There is no pretty step by step photos, but maybe this info will help:

I started knowing that I wanted the apron to be 19″ long and 14″ wide. I created these measurements using a few different sources I found online. So I taped 4 sheets of card stock together to create my rectangle. Fold the sheet in half, lengthwise. Cut a nice little curve out of the top corner. 5 inches down and 3 1/2 inches across.

Apron8You can round off the bottom corner or leave it straight.
IMG_1892When you open the paper you’ve got your pattern!

IMG_3276Lay this on your fabric, trace and cut out. I attached a front pocket, about 8″ by 6″ before it was hemmed and sewn on. You can see I added some cupcake patches. You can make the pocket any shape you’d like.

IMG_9378 (1)The edging and the straps are all hand-made bias tape. Bias tape is simply a strip of fabric, with the raw edges folded in and iron closed. See how I explained it here. I wrapped the bottom and very top with bias tape, slightly squaring off the bottom corners. It was just quicker that way. The straps are about  24″ long.

This pattern is totally adjustable. Add some ruffle or pizzazz. Make it all your own.

Or her own.

IMG_1050 apron10Gianna loves her new apron. But she became quickly obsessed with the little dish towel I made. She carried it around with her the whole evening. She also discovered that she could keep all her little treasures in her apron pocket. Her keys, a lollipop, a birthday card from her cousin and her dish towel. Everything a girl needs.

IMG_0626 IMG_0380So go get sewing. I bet you know someone who would love this for Christmas.

/Cra’ft-i-tis’/

“{Craftitis; Definition: A temporary (hopefully) mental dysfunction marked by hysteria and emotional sensitivity – specifically caused by sewing and/or crafting more than 10 hours in a day, for several days. }  ;  Symptoms include but are not limited to: Unkept appearance, misplacement of items – such as Brita water filter being placed in the pantry, Murmurings about zippers, interfacing and seam-ripping, hastily thrown supplies on every available surface, hot-glue burns on fingers and wearing pajamas all day. ;  Exacerbating factors: 1. Sewing for more than 5 straight hours. 2. Over-consumption of coffee, 3. Not cleaning up after oneself. ; Prognosis and treatment: Patient will be fine once removed from the house. A nap and Thai food will speed recovery. With each occurrence, Craftitis develops more quickly and patients are especially susceptible during the holiday months.”

Sew Thankful.

My sewing machine is jamming up. Ugh. It might be because I’ve been sewing my face off lately. That’s a weird expression but it seems appropriate. I’ve been making new clutches and selling orders by the boat load. I’m so, so grateful for the business. Even though I spend almost every moment of free time sewing and shopping for things to sew, I’m never unhappy. It feels so great to be busy. All I can think about is sewing. It’s starting to take its toll on me. I’ve got callused fingers, pedal foot cramping, wonky eyesight after staring at the tiny stitches for too long and my appearance is in a state of disarray – highlighted by dozens of stray threads all over my clothes and belongings.

But now that my machine is freaking out at me, I’ve had to just sit here. Not sewing. It’s weird. I’ve done everything I can feasibly think of to do to fix it. I’ve got tons of jewelry to make so it’s not like I’m wanting for things to do. But you know, instead of sewing I’ll sit down and write about sewing.

It’s been a while since I posted about my sewing projects. Here’s some recent stuff:

I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with new fabrics, textures and shapes. Someone recently told me that sewing was my “art”. I said, “No..no! I just make bags and stuff.” But after some convincing, I think they’re right. I used to sculpt, paint and draw quite a bit when I was younger. I loved it. I put charcoal to paper and created something from almost nothing.  Something with expression and meaning. While bags don’t have the same “soul factor” as I’ll call it, it’s still a form of artistic expression. A yard of fabric, with a few cuts, folds and hems, becomes something functional and darn adorable.

I even find myself going through the same stress as I did with my drawing and painting. Painstakingly evaluating, erasing, adding, straightening, and perfecting what I’ve done. So while it may seem like just a little bag, it’s a bag that this lady spent a lot of time figuring out how to make. A bag that I personally developed, approved and created. So you know what, I’ll stop telling myself that I just make bags. From now on, I’m a designer, creator and pretty darn good sewer. That’s something I should be proud of. I’m so blessed to have the ability/resources to express myself in this way. Thanks to all you who have been so supportive!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow y’all! I hope, whatever your circumstances, that you’re able to spend a few moments recognizing the gifts in your life. Don’t let the hoopla of Black Friday detract from the beauty of being thankful for what you already have.

{Update}

After much troubleshooting, the problem with my machine was determined. It wasn’t threaded correctly. Ha! (Any sewer will laugh at this). I obviously needed a break for a while. What was worse was my husband watching me while I discovered what the problem was. I tried to pretend like I hadn’t discovered it (it’s so simple and obvious it’s embarrassing)…but he caught on. He was gracious and said nothing, only smiled.