Thursday, April 26, 2012

Applique makes great gifts!

I took my sewing machine in to be serviced last week, so I have not been able to do any sewing since last Friday.  So you would think, with all this extra time, I would have easily been able to blog the projects I was staying up late to complete before waving bye-bye to my beloved Pfaff for seven whole days, but instead, I took the week off--a crafty vacation of sorts.  But now I'm getting my machine back tomorrow, AND the place that serviced it (Modern Domestic on Alberta) will be giving me a little private lesson on things like using the buttonhole foot and zipper foot that I never knew I had--so watch out world, I may be attempting some new and improved designs. 

I don't usually plan ahead and have birthday presents ready more than a week before the party, but I was pretty sure I wouldn't have time to make a present between the Friday 5 PM return of the machine and the Saturday AM party The Boy will be heading to this weekend.  Well, although now that I think about it, I did get this done in one evening, but now I don't have to worry about it.  Just in case there had been a problem and the service took longer than expected, bla bla bla. 

I picked up this new t-shirt at Old Navy for $3 (regular price $8, sale price 2/$10, additional 40% off = $3, booya!  Got one for Little Sister too.)

 This applique is the same basic one I did for Little Sister's 2nd birthday shirt, made out of scrap fabrics from a couple of other projects.  Applique is such an awesome use for scraps!  Beware--you might end up saving even the tiniest scraps, because you really can use them in these projects (check out the beak on the t-shirt!). But The Boy really wanted the present to include a toy, so I used more of the fabric to make the simple matching owl stuffed animal.  It's bigger than the beanbag owls I made for party favors, and stuffed with batting out of an old pillow I tore up a while back for just this sort of thing.  We've been into owls around here ever since the two owl parties.

I do raw-edge applique on my t-shirts, meaning I don't turn the edges under and when you wash the item, the edges of the applique get a little frayed.  Personally, I like that look.  Here's what I do when I applique knits:

1.  Create my design on paper.  Sometimes I trace it so I have all the pieces, plus the whole thing.  This owl, for example, has three pieces:  head, body, wing.  I eyeball the eyeballs and beak.

2.  Cut out fabric and iron-on webbing at the same time.

3.   Lay out the shapes on the shirt, with the webbing underneath.

4. Iron it all together so it stays put.

5.  Sew around the edges of each piece of fabric (sometimes using all one color of thread, sometimes switching for each fabric, depending on the look I want.)  I usually sew as close to the edge of the fabric as I can without worrying about going off the edge.  

6.  Add button embellishments, if using.

Or, you could just check out my custom applique page over at Sewbaby Crafts and place an order :)

$3 birthday present.  I am such a cheapskate!

To make the owl, I just folded my main fabric in half, eyeballed a general shape for the exterior, and cut out two at once.  Then I folded the accent fabric and cut two wings.  I sewed the wings (they just have raw edges), along with the felt eyes (added fabric paint for the pupils later) and the felt beak) all to the front panel of the body fabric.  Then I pinned the front and back panels together, right sides together, and pinned the rick-rack legs inside so they'd stick out once it was turned right-side out.  I left a hole for turning and stuffing (I actually left the hole on top, just above the eyes--not intuitive, but I did that so I could easily stitch the legs in).  Once he was turned (I poked the "horns" out with a pencil) and stuffed, I hand-sewed the top closed and painted his eyeballs on.  Done!

This one was a last-minute baby gift for my neighbor to bring with her to meet her new nephew, whose name begins with a T.  The hat and onesie were The Boy's when he was a tiny baby.  Awwww!  And yay for upcycling!  I decided at the last second to tilt the robot's head.  I thought it was cute that way.  For the robot's face, I just cut out specific pieces of the same fabric I used for the body.  I love it when it works out that way!

I couldn't resist throwing this robot video in--perhaps it was my inspiration for this onesie.


I had a few more crammed-in projects that I'll show you soon.  And back to sewing (and blogging) away for me starting Friday!
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