Mar 172014

I feel like I’ve been reading for ages about other people loving their Renfrew tops (by Sewaholic), and I totally agree that they look fantastic on almost everyone. (Frankly, that’s not the case for every single pattern out there — I’ve been drawn in by gorgeous samples on pattern covers, but when I google to see real people’s versions and find that almost everyone ended up with a not-so-flattering piece, I know that the pattern’s not for me.) So since I was in a clothes-sewing mood (after feeling all pro for sewing two whole versions of Victory Patterns’ Ava top), I finally made my own!
renfrew top

I think I had 3/4 of a yard of this apple tree fabric, and it was more than enough for one shirt. It fit perfectly straight away — yay for knits and a fantabulous pattern! I didn’t finish any of the inside edges since knits don’t fray, yeah? We’ll see how it lasts though constant washings; since shirts like this are totally my style, I’m probably going to wear this one every week, heh.
renfrew inside out

I thought it was neat that the instructions said to sew twill tape to the shoulder seams so they don’t stretch out. Oh, and I think you can kind of see that I added a second line of topstitching on the back collar so the binding fabric thingy wouldn’t flip inside-out. (Or maybe I just missed that bit in the instructions…)
renfrew shoulder seam

I was so excited about this shirt that I bought fabric to make a funny Christmas version. Now I’m like everyone else who sewed a Renfrew top — I can’t stop at just one!

Feb 272014

Gah! Life’s been happening and I haven’t been able to sew while everyone’s asleep, so I’ve been knitting and crocheting (fits in during lunch break and car rides) to get my hobbying fix.

Posy cardi (came out too big for Glowbug, haha):
big posy cardi

Posy cardi (the right size!):
smaller posy cardi

Mini ballerina sweaterish thingy:
mini ballerina sweater

Christmas stocking hat:
Christmas stocking hat

Longcat scarf (I managed to make it a proper loooongcat!):
longcat scarf

Rainbow unicorn:
rainbow unicorn

Hopefully I’ll be able to find the time to sew soon… gahhhh.

Jan 242014

A couple months ago, Mr. Yazoo had to go on a work trip. Cosmo had been a little clingier than usual, so I made him a daddy dolly to hug while Mr. Yazoo was away.
daddy dolly

I actually had really wanted to buy a doll pattern (I love any excuse to buy a pattern), but for various reasons, I ended up making my own. I fixated on being able to make sticky-forward feet, and I was so happy when I kind of managed it!
daddy dolly feet

daddy dolly feet from the side

I even prototyped them first, which is the kind of practice and planning that’s practically unheard of in the Yazoo workshop. hehe.
daddy dolly prototype feet

Later on, I made another daddy dolly for my three-year-old niece whose dad is in the navy.
george dolly

And then recently I made a Luffy dolly for Mr. Yazoo’s friend’s baby’s first birthday party. (They were having a One Piece-themed party.)
luffy dolly

Sorry about the pictures! I finished up at 3:30 in the morning, which gave Mr. Yazoo just enough time to wrap it before dashing to work to give it to his co-worker. But I wanted to show you the hat, too! :D
luffy dolly back

Dec 092013

Small projects, go!

Mom asked for a water bottle cozy. Blammo!
bottle cozy

As part of my de-bag-lady-ifying effort, I replaced my Freestyle (pumping stuff) tote with a Pink Penguin bag.
gnomey bag

There are gnomies on top…
gnomey bag, top

… and I put pockets inside to hold storage bags and pens and things.
gnomey bag pockets

Finally, I knit some Christmas stockings for the kids. I initially thought I’d sew them, but then I read people saying they loved their knit stockings since they streeeeeetch. :D

Cosmo keeps wearing his like it’s an actual sock. hehe!

Nov 062013

I love how fantastic sewing is for someone like me who has hobby ADD — bored of making quilts? Sew clothes! Bored of making clothes? Sew bags! Tired of making bags? Sew toys! And so I made some monsters for my kiddies.
monster trio

I let them choose which one they wanted (Glowbug got the leftover one), and Cosmo picked the pink monster that’s based on Igor Mousenstein.
googly eye monster

Sunshine chose the one from Make a Monster. I was so surprised that he actually really likes it — it’s been a couple of weeks, and he’s still carrying it around! He calls it his dolly. :D
weirdo monster

Glowbug got the last one, which I made just so Sunshine would still be able to make a choice after Cosmo. It’s based on a monster I saw on Pinterest, but the link goes somewhere weird… anyway, I think it’s really funny! It’s the perfect shape to put a crinkly thing inside for babies, although that didn’t occur to me when I made this one.
moustachioed monster

They’ve got hearts on their butts because it’s a monster requirement, donchaknow. Picture overload!
moustachioed monster, back
monster pair, back
kiddies with monsters

Oct 302013

Last month, I won a copy of Quilting Arts Gifts 2013 from Esch House Quilts, and when I got it, Cosmo flipped through it with me. We both liked the trick-or-treat bag project, and I managed to make a couple in time for Halloween.

Mr. Yazoo helped by drawing the faces for the bags — he made a meanie face for Sunshine cause he’s been having a little bit of his terrible twos.
halloween bag - grouchy

I found some cute Halloween fabric that I’d hoarded from last year to use for the bag lining, and I substituted automotive headliner fabric for the batting, or whatever it was the project called for. Oh, and I have an opinion about automotive headliner fabric, if you care. :D

I’ve used both Soft and Stable and automotive headliner fabric, which I bought specifically because I read people on the interwebs saying that it could be used as a substitute for (the expensive and unavailable-locally-for-me) Soft and Stable. I think headliner fabric is fine for small, semi-disposable things, like kiddie treat bags, where you do want it to stand up by itself, but you don’t necessarily want to use your good supplies. However, it isn’t a good substitute for nice bags (like, say, a weekender) because it’s nowhere near as sturdy as Soft and Stable — it’s much, much thinner and kind of fragile. On the third hand, it is a good substitute for grown-up bags IF all you want to do is take a picture and show off your pretty-bag-that-you-couldn’t-get-Soft-and-Stable-for-but-still-want-the-look-of-it. ;) That’s my opinion!
halloween bag - inside

Anyway, back to the halloweenie bags, Mr. Yazoo draw a happy face for Cosmo since he’s been a sweetie lately. heh.
halloween bag - happy

Happy Halloween (in advance)!

Oct 282013

I’m totally one of those women you see walking into the office carrying two to four bags: one regular purse, a tote bag with stuff I need for the office but doesn’t fit in my purse (like lunch and emergency candy and assorted snacks), and yet another bag with current-crafting-project stuff. I really wanted to make a new weekender for when I went back to work a couple of months ago, but I didn’t get around to finishing it until this weekend (because I wanted to be able to use it at the speech tournament I helped judge at, since speech tournaments are another occasion when I carry around a lot of stuff just in case I have a bye round). I stayed up all night and just barely finished in time, even though almost everything was already cut out and basted. Six hours to sew basted-together bits together! Whyyyyy am I so slow?!
homelike weekender

I loooove my homelike weekender, though. It’s got crazy fabric, but I realized that the bags I love best are the ones where I just use fabric I adore, rather than trying too hard to make things coordinate, and then ending up with something kind of boring. So for this one, I used a funny [easygoing, homelike] cat panel (bought from Super Buzzy a long time ago), Heather Ross ugly ducklings, some hoarded Japanese canvas, and silly retro kiddies. They make me happy!
homelike weekender, diagonal view

Here are the retro kiddies in the pockets:
homelike weekender, inside of exterior pocket

I cut apart my old weekender in order to reclaim the zipper I love — that previous weekender was really heavy when it was empty and the straps were too narrow. This time, I used Soft & Stable instead of all the interfacing, and it’s so awesome for this bag. That included using Soft & Stable in place of the three layers of interfacing on the zipper panel, and that was perfectly fine (it wasn’t too puffy or anything). I followed the regular instructions for making the exterior zipper panel, but since I didn’t want saggy baggy lining this time, I basted all of the lining pieces with the exteriors. For the zipper part, I pressed the straight edges of the lining pieces, basted them to the underside of the zipper, inserted that muslin bit in the space between lining pieces, and sewed the zipper+lining normally to the exterior. Clear as mud? Picture is better!
homelike weekender, main zipper

What I meant to say (and missed in rambling off) was that using Soft & Stable makes my weekender super light and still shapely. Super light, yay!

My bias-bound raw edges look terrible, as usual, but I care more about having lining that stays put than funny-looking edges that I don’t notice when I’m actually using the bag.
homelike weekender, crazy inside big pockets

I even ran out of bias tape and used not-matching, leftover quilt binding to finish up. I was seriously falling sleep at the machine — I kept veering off the seam allowance and just sewing the bias tape to itself. But! The lining stays put!
homelike weekender, crazy inside birdy pockets

I didn’t even have to make (or, really, steal-from-my-old-weekender) the false bottom, because it’s totally stable enough.
homelike weekender, bottom

I made the straps with rectangle rings (the way Pink Chalk did), which is fantastic because it was easy to adjust the shoulder straps when I realized they were too long, and also because I can hook a cross-body strap into those rings when I need it. Have I mentioned how much I love my new weekender? Also, I’m totally getting my money’s worth out of this pattern! :D
homelike weekender on a swing

Sew Sweetness
Oct 282013

Whether he’s doing it purposely or not, my oldest son is great at making me want to sew things for him — he cuddles with stuffed animals I make him (for at least a day after I give them to him, heh) and loads his toys up in bags I sew. He’s in the four-year-old class in preschool this year, and a couple of weeks before the beginning of the year, I got it in my head that I wanted to make him a quilt for naptime. Commence no-sleep-for-me week!
books for baby quilt

I made him the Books for Baby quilt from Patchwork, Please!, and even though I didn’t do a great job of putting together fabric that would emphasize the bookiness of the design, I really had fun sewing it up. My OCD self loved how tidy using a pinking rotary blade made the back of the top look!
books for baby, back of the quilt

When I gave him his quilt and asked him to help me take pictures of it, he kept trying to flip it over to the flannel side, saying that the robots were supposed to be the front. Hah!
books for baby quilt close up

Oh well, I still send it to school with him every week. :D
books for baby quilt with kiddies!

Oct 212013

After a month I’ve finally finished making a diaper bag for my sister’s third-baby-present. That’s what I get for not buying a pattern.
ish diaper bag

I made the diaper bag she’s currently using a couple of years ago when I didn’t know much about making bags (the crossbody strap isn’t adjustable!), so I wanted her to have a nicer one. I couldn’t find a pattern to buy that I liked, so I looked for a real bag to copy and landed on Petunia Pickle Bottom’s Wistful Weekender. I know, I’m such a meanie! I use my sewing abilities for evil.
ish - snap tab

Anyway, I spent a couple of days making pattern pieces out of butcher paper. Then I was going to be good and make a test bag out of the small cuts of the Jessica Jones canvas I already had… but partway through sewing it together, I knew I’d never want to make a second one, so my sister was going to get this funny version. On to features!
ish - zipper top

There are three ribbon loopies for keys/binkies/other dangly things — one each for the exterior pockets and one in the bag.
ish - binky loop

The snap tabs on the ends allow the bag to kind of cinch up smallerhugish or open up to gargantuanhuge.
ish - snap tab open

There are ten interior pockets: four gathered pockets (two on each end), four regular patch pockets (two on each long side), and two zippered pockets. It’s pocketastic in there!
ish - inside pockets and binky fob

After a ton of overthinking, I put in the separating zipper flappies that the original has. I got the zipper from zipperstop, sewed each side into 3″ wide flaps, sewed the flaps to the interior fabric, and then covered the raw edges with cotton tape. It took less time than I had spent thinking about it.
ish - zipper flap

I wanted to give the bottom a little support without making it too heavy, so after assembling the exterior, I sewed a plastic cutting board (cut down to the curvy shape) between two pieces of heavy sew-in interfacing, and then sewed that whole sandwich to the bottom of the bag. It’s oooookay… it strikes the right balance between structure and weight for me, but it is still pretty bendy.
ish - bottom

I did a ton of top-stitching — I sewed two lines outside of every seam, including the seams in the lining. I was so pleased with myself… until I realized (after finishing the exterior and lining) that I’d left myself no way to turn the bag.
ish - inside stitching

As it happens, I wouldn’t have been able to do the turny-right-side-out way anyway because of the way I made the pattern pieces. Fortunately, the quilt binding-ey finish doesn’t look too crazy. But that’s not what I have pictures of — here’s more proof of top-stitching!
ish - stitching

Also, piping! The actual making of piping doesn’t bother me, but the amount of fabric I have to cut up to make it does. I can’t argue that piping doesn’t make bags look better, though, so I put on. I didn’t cut the piping fabric on the bias, but I think that actually would have worked out okay if I hadn’t also been double dumb and used twine that was not thick enough for the cording instead of the actual good piping cording that I have but still chose not to use. guh.
ish - piping

Last of all, I made a regular old adjustable cross-body strap that can hook onto the metal rings for the shoulder straps. I dithered a ton about whether to make dedicated stroller straps, but decided they weren’t necessary — Mr. Yazoo forgets that we even have them on our bag and just uses the cross-body strap to hang it over the stroller.
ish - crossbody strap

I initially made the strap waaaaaaay too long and had to cut it down twice so it would be short enough for my sister, who’s almost as tall as me. (hehehehehehe! Just kidding, we’re the same height.)
ish - crossbody with yazoo scale

The bag is supposed to be 17″ wide x 12″ high x 13″ deep, but it sure feels huge. You can put a baby in it!
ish - glowbug scale

Or you could be a normal person and not get arrested for carrying your baby in a bag.
ish - shoulder straps with yazoo scale

Oct 162013

Mr. Yazoo has a dadcat crazy shirt that he looooooves — he’s seriously worn it almost every weekend since Cosmo was born.
dadcat crazy shirt

It’s getting just a leetle stanky after four years, and since I haven’t been able to find a new one to buy him, my sister (the artist) helped me make him a dadcat pillowcase!
dadcat trio pillowcase

She drew a version with three kitties (for our three kids), and then I blew it up and thread sketched it onto Essex linen. I didn’t stabilize the linen with anything, though, so it came out pretty wrinkly. Good thing Mr. Yazoo’s not too picky about things like that!
dadcat stamp

After I gave Mr. Yazoo his pillowcase, I felt like doing some commerce, so we went down to SlumberWorld so he could pick out a new pillow. That was some fun shopping, but I quietly had a heart attack when I realized that his pillow cost a hundred eighty dollars. gahhhhhhhhh…

Then, to add insult to injury, the (standard length) pillowcase I had made was too short for Mr. Yazoo’s new queen-sized pillow, so I had to unpick it and sew on the extra dark blue bit at the end. That took me an hour, which I laughed and laughed about the next day when I watched that episode of Project Runway where the designers on the bottom remade their entire dresses in an hour. >_<
dadcat trio pillowcase close up