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1  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / Tattoo my baby, Baby! on: January 03, 2008 03:39:39 PM
I made this for a friend's baby born a few weeks after my little guy. They're both nearing 5 months now. Obviously, I have way more time to craft than post about crafting.

Anyway, I'm delighted to say that my friend and her husband were thrilled with this shirt, and keep it on hand (since it doesn't fit the babe yet) to parade around to anyone who comes to visit. Yay!

The bird/banner design is courtesy of the stitch it kit, I think. The little wonky heart on the bum is me, and the text on the arms are an exact replica (as much as can be) of the tattoos the baby's daddy has on the underside of his forearms.

I made that baby's daddy pose for a close up shot of his arms crossed over his chest, and took two just in case. I then sized and printed the photo in black and white so that the text was just the right size for the sleeves, traced the text with a Sulky Iron On Transfer pen, and then ironed those bad boys onto the back sides of the correct sleeves. I'll be honest, I took some of the detail out of the text, because it would have been too much for such a small space.

Then, to embroider, I think I used 3 strands of black embroidery floss and rolled the sleeves so that I didn't have the full length of the sleeves between my hand and the bit of fabric I was stitching. I didn't use stabilizer because I think that would have made the rolling and manipulating a bit tougher, and no hoop, because I don't believe they make them that small, besides, without stabilizer, I think it would be a bad idea anyway.

I cannot emphasize enough how very difficult this was. I don't want to say it was impossibly hard, or I would never do it again, but it was darn challenging, and I was soooo happy when it was over and I could get back to stitching on fabric in a hoop, and not have to cramp my poor little hands trying to squeeze them into tiny little baby shirt sleeves, and yet avoid stretching the knit t-shirt fabric.

I chose a 6-9 month size top, thinking it would take me a great deal longer than it did (yay!), but I'm glad I did regardless, because any tinier and I don't know if I would have followed through with the sleeve tattoos.

Anyway, I'm such a big fan of Jenny's designs--who else would have such perfect complimenting designs to my daddy's-tattoo copy?

Thanks for looking!!
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / embroidering on very small t-shirt sleeves on: June 13, 2007 05:30:23 PM
Hey all,

I am in love with my husband's idea of embroidering arm "tattoos" on a long sleeved onesie for a tattoo fanatic soon-to-be dad we're friends with. I want to do some text and other images that will match the dad's tattoos.

However, I can't for the life of me figure out a way to actually work on the sleeves of a long sleeved onesie. I can't even think how I could get my hands in there, let alone how I could stabilize the fabric.

Has anyone tried this and had success? Will I simply cause myself frustration and waste time by trying?
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Big sister (or brother) "slogans" on: June 13, 2007 05:24:38 PM
I usually embroider a onesie for the new babies in my life, but now that I will soon be the mother of a big sister, I'm starting to think it would be nice to embroider a t-shirt for new big sisters and brothers.

However, I find "I'm the big sister" to be boring and...boring. So, does anyone have any ideas of a cuter way to either say or represent the new big sibling status?
4  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Trick or "Baaah!" little lamb on: November 05, 2006 08:38:42 PM
I spent about an hour working on my almost two-year old daughter's costume during most of October, and about 3 hours without her around to hinder (or help with modeling and measuring) on Halloween. I was so beat by the time we got around to trick or treating with her that I barely remember the night. She hauled in a lot of candy, I'll tell you that much!

Her "feed" bucket was a kid's meal bucket from some fast food place covered with part of a paper grocery bag, taped to stay in place and "detailed" in permanent marker with "Baaa!" "Sheep Kibble" and "Sheep Feed" I took care on this because with the large floppy ears I was concerned those unfamiliar with floppy eared sheep might mistake her for a white rabbit.

The ears are lined with pink pre-starched craft felt.

She's wearing a long sleeved shirt and pair of thick ribbed tight's that are not hand-made, however, everything else is made by me. I used a fleece-like material that was super soft and comfy warm. Perfect for our frigid Halloween night. It was a lot more comfortable to wear than the fake fur I remember I myself donned as a child.

The tail is detachable and bounces jauntily when she walks. It's also not off-center as the picture portrays, she was in the middle of shakin' her booty when we took this one.

No pattern was used. I winged the bubble skirt, using an existing skirt she has to get the waist the right size. I used a hood from last years' purchased kitty costume to help get the shape right for this hood, and a t-shirt to help with the shape of the top. The top is one solid piece with the neck-hole cut out. I hemmed all the edges, and then used two pieces of velcro to close the sides so it would be easy to get on and off.

The hoves on her hands and feet are chocolate craft felt cut to size and hooked closed with a small piece of elastic.

I'm pretty proud of myself as I've never made clothing without help before, and I have never done any clothes without a pattern either. So, yay me! She's pretty happy about it too.

5  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / 66% of Sublime Cherries and Chain stitching on: October 06, 2006 05:07:17 PM
I tend to be verbose in pictures and words. I apologize. Feel free to skip what doesn't interest you. Smiley

So I wanted to do the Sublime Stitching stitch-it-kit cherries on a shirt I bought for my daughter. This is possibly the first time ever I've not been way behind in creating a gift. This is for her second birthday and that's still over a month away! Anyway, I digress.

I couldn't fit the three cherries in the space I wanted to put them, so I slipped the pattern beneath the shirt and traced just two cherries. I kinda half-traced, half free-handed the stem and leaf. The  cherries are done in back stem stitch, as is the leaf. The stem in split stitch.

Jenny encouraged me to practice the chain stitch, which seems to defeat me at every turn. So I did a border in chain and scalloped chain (which was much less challenging). The second side looked better than the first, so practice does seem to help!

I finished it off with a few french knot/detached chain mini-cherries and freehanded text in back stem stitch (I'm not sure that's actually the right term)

The red is all rayon (which in person is very pretty and shiny), with varying numbers of thread, and the brown and green are 100% cotton, all DMC. The shirt itself is 100% cotton and very thin. I suppose it will have to be a spring outfit. Smiley

I'm thinking of rounding the gift out with a pair of jeans, the sublime cherries on a back pocket (and probably not in rayon, since the bum of the jeans is likely to get a lot of wear) and scalloped chain (which I really love now!) around the bottom and little french knot cherries at the bottom and around the front pockets. We'll see if that makes it into her birthday gift or if it has to wait for Christmas... or Easter. Wink

Some thoughts on working with Rayon for those interested:

I love the finished look of the threads, so I'm definitely happy there. I think the brightness really gives a cherry-skin-shiny appearance. However, seeing it next to the green cotton, I don't find it to be as significant a difference as I would have thought. Certainly it seems less striking than it does when I just lay the two skiens beside each other.

I won't be putting rayon on any more baby clothes, simply because it seems like the need to wash in cold and hang dry (and therefore the propensity to not put this on the baby too darn often, and certainly not for meals) kind of detracts from the value of a little extra sheen.

As for ease of the physical process of embroidering with Rayon, I was surprised that it wasn't that bad. I had to go a little slower than normal (I'm not super fast to begin with), in order to make sure I wasn't tangling on the back of the work, and I had to be careful to make sure each of the individual threads all pulled through with each stitch. But just keeping my eye out was enough to keep myself out of trouble.

I think threading the needle was probably the most challenging, as wetting the thread to make it manageable also increased it's size enough to make it hard to fit all the threads through the eye.

knots (not the decorative ones, but the anchoring and finishing knots, 100% requirement for baby clothes, in my humble (and possibly mistaken) opinion) were difficult, but wetting the thread just a bit (basically licking my forefinger and thumb and running it along a few inches of the thread) made it easier.

I guess the only quality-of-stitching issue this brought up was due to the "pile" of the rayon thread. It tends to be stiffer and lift up from the fabric. I had to hold the thread taught from the backside as I did each stitch, otherwise I ended up having my stitches really loose. I realized this on the background cherry, which became a bit scrunched in because as I was backstitching below the previous stitch, the stitches were so high that I was actually going back down into the fabric on the other side of the stitch, instead of directly underneath it.

Oh well, live and learn. (or is that stitch and learn? Smiley)

Thanks for looking!
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / What do you know about Rayon floss? on: September 13, 2006 11:14:26 AM
I know nothing about it aside from it's hard to work with (the knotting seems to be the most difficult part).

I started a project last night and decided to use the rayon I had on hand because it's so pretty and shiny. And now that I'm almost done with that color, I'm beginning to wonder if it was a mistake.

The project is a few details on a peasant-style shirt for a toddler. Now, obviously, I can keep her from eating in it, it can be a fairly protected item of clothing, but am I going to be able to wash it in the machine? Will I need to hand wash? Okay, that's fine... but is hand washing it even okay? It's DMC, is it colorfast?

I guess it's not too late to pull all the stitches out. Too bad I decided to try it on clothing. Now I feel dumb.
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Fiestaware Spanish dancer on: September 07, 2006 03:05:44 PM
Hi all!

I actually completed this last November. It takes me forever to get my pictures uploaded so I can share them!

I made this tea-towel for my best friend. She collects all sorts of antique Fiestaware. I searched and searched for a good-sized image of the Fiestaware logo with the dancer, but I couldn't find anything. So, I made my own. I started with a 6 inch trivet that has a raised image of the dancer, and then a friend with photoshop tweaked it to be just black outlines. I used Sublime Stitching transfer paper to get the image on the fabric. Then I went to town!

Her dress is split stitch, here hair is a ton of french knots, as are the points on her comb. The rest is backstitch. I'm pretty pleased with it, although not so pleased with the photograph.

Any tips on capturing your work? How do you get good shots of the details? If I get too close, I end up with a blurry shot, especially with flash...which is why there's no flash in this one. Any tips you all can give would be very appreciated!
8  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / Sublime Babies! on: September 07, 2006 02:46:51 PM
Here are my Sublime Stitching projects for the babies in my life. Some are from the wonderful stitch-it-kit, and some are from other patterns.  They're in order of completion. On with the pictures!

Okay, so the beach ball isn't a sublime stitching pattern. The story is this: I got all excited about embroidery, ordered the kit online. When the kit arrived, I went out to buy something to embroider, a bit on an emergency (which if you ask my husband is the way I do all my crafting Smiley) as a gift for a cousin's new baby. I knew I couldn't do a t-shirt or something else simple because I had no idea what stabilizer was or where to get it, so I had to find something that wasn't stretchy. Overalls seemed perfect. Of course, it's then I realized that you have to be able to see the pattern to use the iron-on, and the black ink wasn't showing up at all on the denim. I still used the stitch-it-kit alphabet for the front, but just eyeballed it and drew the letters on with pen. I figured a circle with pinwheel lines would be easy enough to hand-draw and embroider, and I was right--satin stitch isn't super easy to get perfect looking, but it sure  goes fast! Smiley Okay, enough talking... more pics!

Pure stitch-it-kit goodness. I realized with this project that split stitch is not great for t-shirts. I was super proud of the butt flower.

I'm pretty sure the cherries are my favorite design from the kit. Just so perfect! I've done several of these. I'll be sad when I can't iron the pattern on anymore. Oh yeah, I also did two red french knots and a few green backstitches to create a tiny little cherry pair on the butt of this one. Sorry, no pic.

This was a tough one. I love the look of it, but embroidering on white is so much easier! I used the sublime stitching transfer paper for the first time with this project, and since the fabric was a stretch knit (just a bit thicker than a normal t-shirt) it was rough going, resulting in somewhat lopsided kitty eyes. But it was still cute... so much so I went out to buy my own daughter the same style dress in pink...

Isn't she the cutest? This was her 1 year birthday gift from me, and she's wearing it at her birthday party. It's hard to see because it's the poodle from the kit in light grey and white. Again, this was an emergency, so I only got french knots in the dog's tail. French knots make perfect poodle fur!

This one took me forever to finish. It still may not be finished. I originally was making it for my daughter, but she grew out of this size too quickly! It was going to have some Kanji characters with the meaning of her name below the lantern, but now that it's not for her, that won't work. Smiley It's the lantern from China Town and a flower from Flower Power.

The Rocket from Atomique on a tiny little onesie. Smiley Very happy with the flames and smoke, but now wish I'd been in less of a hurry so I could make the rocket itself a bit less plain Jane. I used two different colors of thread in the needle for the flames and part of the smoke...it gives it a variegated look that I really like.

I know this one isn't a Sublime pattern either, but it's another baby item and the thread I used was the gorgeous soft brown color from the stitch-it-kit. I downloaded a funky Alphabet block font from the web and upped it to like 72 point for this one.

I've done others that I sadly forgot to photograph, I have to get better about that! Smiley

Thanks for looking!
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / New boat seat *with hand-embroidered, wakeboarding STICK MEN!* on: September 03, 2006 10:43:38 AM
My husband and I rebuilt the driver's seat of his boat this summer. We're pretty darn proud of ourselves.  I think the crowning glory is the embroidery I did with a glovers needle and heavy Nylon thread. I killed my fingers! Pics and tale below.

First, when dh pulled the old seat out to see what it would take to reupholster, it basically just disintegrated in his hands. RIP old seat.

He used the old seat pieces as a pattern to build a new seat using playwood. He recycled the old foam from the original seat and used spray adhesive to apply it to the new seat frame.

We used unbleached muslin and one of my daughter's sidewalk chalks to create a pattern for the upholstery. We basically draped yards of fabric over the seat, concentrating on one serface at a time, smoothed the fabric as best we could, and then traced the edges with chalk. Then we cut the pieces out and arranged them on our vinyl fabric.

Before cutting and sewing the vinyl, we sewed the fabric pattern together to make sure it would fit the seat frame. I didn't take a picture, but it's then we discovered we'd forgotten to trim the bottom edges of the outside and inside back pieces. *phew* After a bit of trimming, we used a rotary cutter to cut the vinyl to the appropriate shapes.

Then dh decided he wanted a stripe down the center so it didn't look boring, and so this project wouldn't be so darn easy! We cut strips of blue vinyl with seem allowances, and then cut out a 6 inch strip from the center of 4 of our cut grey vinyl.

We used a very basic White sewing machine, leather gauge needles, and invisible nylon thread to sew the upholstery together. We first sewed the stripes in, and then sewed the pattern pieces together. It was quite a challenge, but we managed to finish the upholstery job over a three day weekend.

Before we sewed the pieces together though, we decided the stripe wasn't quite exciting enough, so my husband designed a couple wakeboarding stickmen to embroider on the front and back of the seat.

Finding that the White machine couldn't handle heavy nylon thread for some reason, this became a hand-embroidery job. Yay!

Here's some shots of the finished product in the boat:

close up of embroidery on outside back of seat:

close up of embroidery on inside back of seat:

This winter we're going to work on the two bench seats and the engine cover. I'm sure our work will improve, so I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks for looking!
10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / a'la sweetpea74's Super Simple purse, in pink and green, or green and and pink on: May 31, 2006 10:41:58 PM
Wow, I'm so glad I tried following Sweetpea74's Awesome Super Simple purse tutorial! Of course, I got foolishly ambitious. I'm sure it would have turned out well had I just gone with it as super simple... especially because this is like my second sewing project... and very first purse.

So, it's not perfect. I'd never give it as a gift, but I am still pretty proud of it.

Green with pink...

and the reversible goodness... pink with green...

So... in making my first purse, I learned a lot of basic lessons. (I assume they're basic... lol)

1. being dogmatic about sewing the seam allowance just right is meaningless if you don't cut your fabric straight and square. I topstitched before putting things together so it would be reversible... it was a bit crooked... but that's not nearly as bad as it (the topstitching) being almost sucked in to the seams because my fabric pieces weren't the same size or shape, and weren't symmetrical either.

2. polysheen thread doesn't make good hand embroidery thread (nor is it too great for hand sewing buttons on).  This purse would have taken me no more than 2 hours... but I doubled that by trying to cover my start/stop points in the topstitching with bullions made from the sewing thread... I'm sure I had floss that would have done the trick.

3. better to start simple so you can learn with as little pain as possible. Smiley

I'm sure I learned more... but it's past this girl's bedtime... I'm so ready for bed. Thanks for checkin' out my humble offering!
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