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Does your gift list have you stumped? Can never figure out what to make for Great Aunt Felma?  Each day through December 24, we are featuring a fabulous gift tutorial!  Check out the 2017 Handmade Holiday Gift Guide for (free!) recipes, patterns and more.
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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Sock Monkey onesie and tutorial on: June 15, 2010 09:27:02 PM

When deciding what to make for two of my girlfriends who are due this summer, I knew I wanted to try to use up some of my leftover Sock Monkey fabric so I created a Sock Monkey applique design using Microsoft PowerPoint (a program I use daily at work, but have recently started experimenting with for sewing and design projects).  I have a hard time stopping at just one baby gift, so when I came across this tutorial for cloth baby shoes: <a http://stardustshoes.blogspot.com/2006/10/cloth-shoe-pattern.html, the Sock Monkey gift set was born.  Theyre both having boys, but I think the set works for either a boy or a girl.

The cloth shoes were a little tricky to work with due to their small size and all the layers of fabric and interfacing, but - like most baby stuff - they were pretty quick to make.  It probably took me longer to cut out all the pattern pieces than it did to actually sew them together.  One thing I'd recommend is to play around with the length/tension of the elastic because if it's too tight it makes the tops of the shoes bunch up.  If you're attaching a little ribbon or button to the tops then this won't matter so much, but it can look a little wonky if you're leaving them bare.

Okay, now on to the exciting part...

I'm so thrilled with how the Sock Monkey onesie design turned out that I decided to make it into my very first Made by Bird tutorial!  You can download the PDF pattern at my blog here: http://www.madebybird.com/sock-monkey-onesie/
(The materials list and instructions are in the PDF and located below, but you'll need to download the PDF to get the pattern pieces.)

Here are the materials you'll need to make the onesie (or tee if your tot is a little older):

    * Baby bodysuit or tee
    * Sock Monkey pattern (see PDF download)
    * 4″x4 piece of cream colored Sock Monkey fabric by Moda
    * 3″x4 piece of brown sock texture Sock Monkey fabric by Moda
    * x4 strip of red felt, ribbon, or fabric
    * Wonder Under
    * Thread
    * Sewing machine
    * Hand sewing or embroidery needle

And here are the instructions:

1. Prewash your garment and fabric scraps in hot water.  Prewash the red strip for the hat in the warmest water your material can tolerate.  The goal here is to prevent any future bleeding when you wash the finished onesie or tee.

2. Fuse Wonder Under to the wrong side of your fabric scraps (reference the Wonder Under packaging for fusing instructions.)

3. Print the sock monkey pattern pieces found on page 2 of the PDF pattern.

4. Trace the hat and mouth pieces onto the Wonder Under paper backing fused to your cream colored Sock Monkey fabric, and trace the face piece onto the backing fused to your brown sock texture Sock Monkey fabric.

5. Cut out all three pieces and line them up on your onesie or tee.  The top of the hat should be about 3-4 down from the neckline.

6. Fuse the pieces to your onesie or tee.

7. Zig-zag stitch around the perimeter of each piece.  Be sure to remove the flat bed attachment on your machine so you can easily slip the onesie or tee around the base.

8. Fold the red strip for the hat in half and knot the top.

9. Hand sew the knot to the onesie using embroidery floss or strong thread. Youll want to make sure its very securely attached to the onesie or tee.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.  I'd probably pass out from excitement if anyone sent me pictures of their finished onesies, but since this is my first tutorial, any type feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.  :-)
2  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / DIY sewing labels on: May 10, 2010 06:10:59 PM

Ack!  My very own made by bird labels!  I know I shouldnt be so excited about such a little thing but I am.  I really really am.  Ive been experimenting with labels for a while now, and these are by far my favorite.  I tried the printing on fabric approach (http://allysonhill.typepad.com/allyson_hill/2007/06/make_your_own_l.html) and while I was super impressed with printed fabric in general, I wasnt crazy about the finished labels.  They were too stiff for my liking and the Fray Chek was still visible once it dried.  On a whim, I tried using iron-on transfer paper and twill tape and it worked soooo much better than I thought it would.  Here are the steps I followed:

1. Design the labels in the program of your choice.  (I actually used PowerPoint for mine.)  Just remember to flip the image before you print.

2. Cut out the label from the transfer paper (I only cut as many as I needed for the gifts so I didnt have to worry about losing a bunch of tiny little pieces of paper.)

3. Cut as close to the design as possible.

4. Decide how youre going to attach the label to your item.  If you want a loop (as pictured above), fold the twill tape in half leaving a 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch extra so you can sew the label into your seam.  If you want them flat, leave a 1/2 inch extra on each side of your label design so you can fold the ends in a 1/4 inch and attach the label to your item using a zig-zag stitch.

5. Transfer the label design to the twill tape (following the instructions that came with your iron-on transfer paper)

6. Heres the important part: only let the label cool for a few seconds before peel off the backing paper.  I think this really helps reduce the visibility of the film the iron-on paper leaves on your labels.

7. Attach the label to your item as indicated in step 4, and youre done!
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / nursing cover and burp cloth gift set on: May 10, 2010 05:42:24 PM
My dear friend Angela is expecting her first baby any minute now, and I was lucky enough to be home in Virginia for her shower a couple weeks ago.  About a month before the shower I started searching the web for gift ideas and settled on a nursing cover (http://tadacreations.blogspot.com/2009/06/nursing-cover-up-tutorial.html) / burp cloth (http://anewchelseamorning.blogspot.com/2007/03/such-mystery-not.html) combo set.   (Im not one for going completely off-registry, so Jared and I also got her the breast pump and pump car charger shed been wanting yes I know, a bit of an accidentally awkward theme gift.)  Angela doesnt know if shes having a boy or girl (Im in awe of her will power), and I had a stash of Amy Butlers Morning Glory fabric so voila:

The nursing cover tutorial couldnt have been easier.  As you can see I opted to use one fabric (I also skipped the optional pocket.. shhhhh.)

I went a little off-tutorial for the burp cloths, though not intentionally.  The tutorial makes it very clear that you should cut your fabric to the size of each pre-washed cloth diaper, as each one is different and very rarely 18″ long.  So what did I do?  I cut each strip 18″ inches long!  Brilliant.  I didnt have enough fabric left over to cut new strips, so I added the ribbon trim to the top and bottom of the strips (instead of down the sides) to hide the shortages.  They still look pretty cute, though.  Right?  (Yes, in my humble-completely-biased-opinion.)

I added a very special little touch to this gift set

... that's right - my very own DIY sewing labels.  I made them using iron-on transfer paper and twill tape.  It really couldn't have been easier.  I blogged about the steps I followed here: http://www.madebybird.com/diy-sewing-labels/
4  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Screen Printing: Completed Projects / screenprinted mapron on: April 26, 2010 06:56:10 PM
Not long after my husband and I moved in together, I knew I had to convince him to start wearing an apron.  See, he does most of the cooking and I do the laundry which means I spend a lot of time standing in front of the washer fighting a never ending battle with the food stains on his clothes.  Dont get me wrong, I know how lucky I am to have a husband that cooks dinner for me every night.  I just wish it wouldnt end up on his shirts.  Hence, the need for an apron, or in his case a mapron.  His preference was for one that was the complete opposite of my girly Anthropologie apron, so I went with basic black using Kwik Sew 3613.  The pattern couldnt have been easier, but the apron on its own was a little boring so I busted out the Yudu and screen printed a grungy looking cutlery design on the front.

5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / 4 weekender bags in 4 weeks on: April 07, 2010 04:23:37 PM
Ive had a lot of overly-ambitious crafting ideas in my life, but this one was beyond insane with only a month to go until my wedding I would make EACH of my bridesmaids the (infamous) Weekender Bag by Amy Butler.  That worked out to 4 bags in 4 weeks.  Of course I got my heart set on the idea before I searched the blogosphere and discovered that this was a beast of a pattern.  But, I was determined.  The first bag took me about 2 weeks (with my bachelorette party in Vail squeezed in there) and by the time it was done I was dreading the fact that I had 3 more to go.  It was everything other bloggers said it would be, and then some.  No tears, but a heck of a lot of ripped seams.  The whole process was so exhausting that the only pictures I took were with my phone!

Anyway, heres bag #1:

The second bag was SOOO much easier than the first one.  In fact, if youre attempting to make this bag, I definitely recommend making two just so you can remember the whole thing fondly and enjoy the satisfaction of feeling like theres no pattern you cant handle.  Heres bag #2:

And bag #3:

Finally, (and trust me, it was a BIG, WONDERFUL, HAPPY finally) bag #4:

It was all worth it in the end:

Heres my advice should you decide to embark on your own Weekender Bag adventure

Scour the blogosphere for all the hints, tips, and pictures you can find.  The tips from other bloggers that I found most useful were:

1) Use seam tape when making the prepared cording instead of sewing the seam closed. I tried it both ways and the seam tape actually creates a much cleaner look and you dont have to worry about making sure the seam is hidden when you sew the cording to the exterior panels.

2) Add interior pockets. The pattern doesnt come with any, and its such a big bag having interior pockets is a really nice addition. I added a small zipper pocket (tutorial here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=11808.0), and used the large exterior pocket pattern piece to create two additional pockets inside (cut 2 extra pockets when you do your initial cutting, sew wrong sides together, then attach it to the lining by basting the sides and bottom, and sewing a seam up the middle to create two pockets.) Youll have more than enough fabric leftover to make the pockets, so dont worry about having to buy extra yardage.

3) A lot of blog posts indicated that there was no such thing as a 30″ non-separating zipper. There is. I got this one (http://www.coatsandclark.com/Products/Sewing/Zippers/Special+Purpose/Extra+Long+Metal+Zipper.htm) and it was neutral enough to use for all 4 of my bags (you really cant see the zipper much once its done anyway.) You might want to add a little zipper pull, though, because the zipper takes a bit of breaking in, especially on such a big bag.

4) Many of the blog posts below (and in general) were written before Amy Butler revised the pattern to improve upon her first version. If you buy the pattern now, it should have a lot of the tips and work-arounds already included (such as using Peltex instead of Timtex.)

5) The cutting for this bag takes a LONG time. Be prepared to devote most of your first day to getting everything cut. (You wont feel like doing anything but kicking back with a nice big glass of wine once youre done with this part.)

Here are the blog posts I found most helpful (i.e. couldnt have made it through the first bag without them):





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