Botanical Embroidery

I received Yumiko Higuchi's newest book Zakka Embroidery as a Christmas gift, and from the moment I opened it I couldn't wait to start stitching. Yumiko is an incredible artist and creates the most beautiful designs. If you haven't seen her work yet, be sure to.

I pulled a couple different flowers I liked from the "Floral Pattern" in the book and came up with this little motif. I embroidered with wool and then made it into a project bag. I finished it off with a tiny pom-pom made out of the same wool I used to embroider.

Summer Sewing

I recently finished this sweet little foxy top for my granddaughter. I love the construction of this garment and the slanted, gathered bubble pockets. My granddaughter really loved the pockets, too. 

The pattern I used is the Elegance & Elephants Bubble Pocket Top pattern.  I love how it turned out. 

The fabric I used is cotton double gauze by Kokka and is really soft. 

My sweet granddaughter modeling her new top :)


Summer Sewing

It's been fun picking out cute fabrics to make some summer tops and rompers for my granddaughters. These are what I've made this past month, and I have several other items on my list of things to make. Now to find the time. :)

This cute little crochet yoke dress is a pattern from my friend Isabelle on Instagram. Her name on there is fluffyfibers. She lives in Southern France and makes the most adorable clothes for her daughter. She was kind enough to share her pattern with me to test out for her. I love how it turned out. I paired the yoke with with some sweet floral fabric by Bari J/Art Gallery Fabrics. It's Wind Melody in Soft from the Anna Elise Collection.

These little rompers are just perfect for summer and look oh so cute on my granddaughters. The one on the left was a pattern I found on Pinterest that was really just an extension of a diaper cover. I have to say that it wasn't written very well and I had some difficulties and wouldn't make it again, and don't  think I should share it here just to have you have the same issues. The one on the right though is a pattern by The Purl Bee and I adore it. It was so easy and fun to make. You can find the pattern here.

The fabrics I used are:

Left Romper: Joie de Clair from the Chic Flora Collection by Art Gallery Fabrics

Right Romper: Rosemilk from the Brambleberry Ridge Collection by Violet Craft 


DIY Hula Hoop Play Tent

I've been seeing lots of really cute hula hoop tents on Pinterest and decided to try and make one for my granddaughter. The best tutorial I found out of all of them was this one by A Beautiful Mess. It was the most thorough of the ones I found and made me feel comfortable enough to try and make one on my own.

I used her formula to figure out what size to cut my triangles for the top and to have it work with the hula hoop I was using. This was super helpful! The 2-yard length for the fabric for the sides of the tent was just right if hanging from an 8-foot ceiling when you add the topper for the hula hoop and the hanger. I didn't add a border to mine as I thought it may be too much with the pattern going on in my fabric. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and my granddaughter loved it. She especially loved the horses on the fabric. The gorgeous fabric is by Art Gallery Fabrics, designed by Bari J. It's from the Anna Elise Collection and the pattern is called Encoloureful in Pretty.

This was a really fun project, not difficult at all, and brought so much joy to my granddaughter. It will be fun to watch her play in this for years to come.

Lady by the Bay-Hula Hoop Play Tent

Lady by the Bay-Hula Hoop Play Tent

Lady by the Bay-Hula Hoop Play Tent

Custom Baby Bibs

This past weekend I made my second granddaughter some bibs. I posted a tutorial here when I originally made them for my first granddaughter. I was so excited to use these super cute fabrics I found recently on Hawthorne Threads website. This is my favorite site to order fabrics from. They have a wonderful selection, ship super fast, and are very friendly and helpful.

Lady by the Bay - Custom Baby Bibs

The fabrics I used are as follows, from left to right:

Wingspan by Bonnie Christine

Summer Ride by Sarah Jane

Unicorn Fable Voile by Sara Lawson

Furry Tales by Art Gallery Fabrics

Oh Hello by by Bonnie Christine

Girl Friends by Ann Kelle

I embroidered my granddaughter's name on each bib just like I did with the original ones I made.

Lady by the Bay - Custom Baby Bibs

I'm really happy with how these turned out and can't wait to see them on my granddaughter. :)

Preserve Your Favorite Patterns

I've recently been enjoying making zippered project bags for my knitting projects. I've made about 10 now, some for me and some for friends and family, and I plan on making many more. One thing I noticed though was that poking my pattern with pins over and over was really taking its toll on it. I didn't want to have to repurchase the pattern and I was just being really careful with it, hoping it would last.

Lady by the Bay - Preserve Your Favorite Patterns

On a recent trip to my local fabric store, Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, I met a lady who worked there and I explained my dilemma to her. She pointed me to Swedish tracing paper. What a life saver!! This stuff is amazing! Now that I know about it and understand how it works I wanted to share this information with you so that you can preserve your favorite patterns, too.

This stuff is so durable and will last for a very long time even with repeated use. I really love the feel of it and the ease of cutting it. It feels like interfacing. It's smooth and transparent, so you just lie it over your pattern and trace. I recommend taping it down so that it doesn't move around. I used a regular No. 2 pencil to trace with. Be sure to make all of the marks on your pattern and write any pertinent information from your pattern.

Another great use with this is you can create your pattern pieces in different sizes. These bags I make, for instance, I like to make the same style but different sizes, so I adjust my markings and have a few different sizes cut out to use.

Lady by the Bay - Preserve Your Favorite Patterns

Lady by the Bay - Preserve Your Favorite Patterns

And then once you've traced everything you just cut it out and you have your pattern in a much sturdier state to use over and over.

Lady by the Bay - Preserve Your Favorite Patterns

This tracing paper is great for creating your own patterns or tracing patterns from your books. The possibilities are endless!

Happy sewing!

My Weekend Projects (Jan 5/6)

Armed with Christmas money from loved ones, and the amazing holiday sales/coupons going on last week at Joann's... this happened...

I found so many cute fabrics to play with, and was able to get a great deal on them.

When I saw the pink swirl fur fabric I fell in love. It is so soft and I knew right away that I had to make a blanket out of it.  I wanted a cotton fabric on the other side of the blanket, and I found lots of candidates. :)  Ultimately I ended up pairing it with the pink chevron fabric.

This was the scene in my office/craft room this weekend.

And this is how the blanket turned out.  It's so soft and cozy.

I made it a baby blanket size (40" x 40"). It was so easy. I just put the fabrics right sides together, stitched all four corners at 1/4" stitch, leaving an opening big enough for my hand to fit in so that I could pull the blanket right side out, and then I top stitched all the way around with 1/4" stitch. It took no time at all.  I will definitely be making more of these.

Also this weekend I decided I was going to learn to knit once and for all.  I have tried a few times in the past and just haven't been able to pick it up for some reason.  I'm a crocheter and that's the only yarn craft I know.  I always see lots of knitted projects that I love and always wish I could make them.

My sister recently saw a scarf that she really liked and asked if I would be able to make it.  When I went out looking for the pattern/yarn for it I learned that it is a knitting pattern.  I couldn't find a crochet pattern anywhere for the type of scarf that she wanted.  So it was time to learn to knit.  I was determined.

I watched several videos on YouTube and finally found one that I actually understood.  I finally got it!  I was knitting!  It was slow going and the yarn I was working with was pretty unusual, but I was able to figure it out.  I was so happy.
I worked on the scarf here and there over the weekend and this is how far I've gotten. I love this scarf, it is really pretty and I definitely want to make more of them once I finish this one.

It's made with Red Heart Boutique "Sashay" yarn in the color "Shuffle".

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Pink Christmas Coat Ornament

I wanted to make a special ornament for my granddaughter's first Christmas this year. I made this little pink Christmas coat. I want to make a life-size one now because it's so cute! I saw lots and lots of different little coat/dress ornaments on Pinterest and such. I don't have a pattern, but I drew inspiration from all of those lovely pins on Pinterest.

I just freehand drew the outline of the coat and then cut out a collar and pockets. I'm sorry I don't have a pattern, but if it helps I've included the little cutout drawing I did. :) I have lots of buttons, so I just picked a few that looked cute on the coat. You could totally do french knots with ribbon or yarn, or anything like that.  All embroidery was done with two strands.  Blanket stitch was used for the outline of the coat, center of coat, pockets, and collar. Backstitch was used (in red) on the collar and pockets. I just made a little sort of star/snowflake on the pockets by making a plus sign and then an X over that.  Real technical, I know. ;) When I was all done, right before I finished all the outer stitching, I stuffed a little poly-fil in there.

I saw some that had little mittens hanging from the arms of the coat. That would be really cute, especially little knitted or crocheted ones to add another texture. I thought a little scarf would be cute too, but, of course, didn't make one. And finally I saw some ornaments that hung on little hangers. I actually purchased the wire to make a little hanger and by the time I remembered I had already stitched the neck closed.  Next time.

Materials used:
Pink felt
Embroidery needle
DMC floss (pink) 3713
DMC floss (red) 817
Miscellaneous buttons

I embroidered her name and the year on the back with one strand of each color.

Here are some closeups.

And finally, here is my little cutout drawing.

Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas and a very blessed New Year!

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

DIY Christmas Throw Pillows

I've been seeing lots of cute Christmasy pillows out there lately, but unfortunately they have big price tags. $30 for a little throw pillow???  I don't think so.  While I was out browsing around, some really pretty napkins caught my eye and I decided I could use those to make my own throw pillows.  When all was said and done I paid about $14 for each of my pillows.  You can do this for even less than that if you already have some throw pillows that you just want to re-cover.  I didn't have any so I had to buy the pillow forms, which cost me about $5.75 each (on sale and with a coupon).  Here's how I made them...

I purchased two 20" x 20" cloth napkins (they came in a set).  I found mine at Target.  You can mix and match and have contrasting colors/patterns--it's up to you.  I also found some cute appliques (at JoAnn's) on some hand towels, so I grabbed those as well.  I just wanted a little something extra on the plain fabric, but they can be left as is, of course.  I carefully cut the appliques off of the towels to sew onto my pillows. I also purchased 14" x 14" pillow forms (at JoAnn's).

Iron your napkins.  Working one napkin set/pillow at a time, lay out and trim one napkin to 15 1/2" x 15 1/2".  Lay out and trim the second napkin 18 1/2" x 15 1/2" and then cut the 18 1/2" in half but not exactly in half. Cut one piece about 7" leaving a 11 1/2" piece.  This doesn't have to be exact, but you want two pieces that overlap.  The reason for this is we will be making an envelope backing for the pillow--no buttons or zippers to deal with :)

Press the raw edges of the two back pieces 1/2". Sew using a 1/4" stitch. You are only sewing the two raw edges that are in the center, not the outside edges.

If you are adding an applique, sew it onto the front of the pillow before continuing.

With right sides together, lay the two pieces you just hemmed onto the front piece.  The back pieces should overlap, with the clean/hemmed edges toward the center of the pillow. Match up the corners and pin the edges together.

Using a 1/2" stitch, sew along all four sides.

When you're finished sewing, snip each corner, like so:

Turn right side out, push the corners out neatly (you may need to use a chopstick or something like that to push them out fully).  It should look like this in the back when you are done.  Now all you have to do is slide your pillow form in.

If you have any questions just let me know.

Happy Holidays!

Lady by the Bay

DIY Baby Holiday Leg Warmers

I have a really easy craft project for you to make for a cute little one in your life this holiday season.  All you have to do is buy your favorite knee high holiday socks and you're on your way to adorable leg warmers.

I've focused on girl leg warmers here, but you can make these for boys as well and just fold about a 1/4-inch of each end of the socks to the inside and straight stitch and you will get a clean, non-ruffly edge.

Lady by the Bay - DIY Baby Holiday Leg Warmers

The two on the left I found at Target for $5.00 regular price (I got them on sale). I loved the faux fur on one end, and I kept that end intact.  The three on the right were at, of all places, Safeway, for $2.59 each!

Now, all you have to do is cut just each sock above the heel.

Then cut the top band off of each sock.  When I first tried this I only cut the bottom, thinking that I would keep the top intact and it would help the leg warmers stay on the baby's legs, but I found that it was too tight around the thighs, so I cut them and do the same to the top and bottom when I sew.

Using a tight zigzag stitch, you want to stitch as close to the edge as possible, where the zigzag stitch kind of wraps around the end.  I tried to capture a photo to show you what I mean.  Also, stretch the fabric a little while you're sewing so that you get a cute, ruffly edge.

It should ruffle up and look something like this...

Do this to both ends.  That's it! You're done!

Now go put them on a cute baby!

Lady by the Bay - DIY Baby Holiday Leg Warmers

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay

Adorable Custom Baby Bibs - A Tutorial

Ever since I became a grandmother earlier this year I have been having so much fun making things for my granddaughter. I have made a blanket, pacifier clipsbunny bootiesa pom-pom hat, am currently working on another blanket, as well as a Bumbo seat cover and a shopping cart cover. Yes, I like to keep busy, and I love creating. One of my favorite things I've made so far though are these cute little bibs. I love being able to mix and match fabrics to customize bibs for my granddaughter.

Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial

I am not a professional and still have lots to learn when it comes to sewing, but what fun it is to practice! I didn't purchase a pattern for these bibs; I just used one of her existing bibs, traced it, and made my own pattern. I just used a page from a large magazine I had. I traced a 1/4-inch seam allowance around the bib pattern.

You will need the fabric you want to use for your bib as well as terry cloth. The first thing you want to do, of course, is wash, dry and iron your fabric. Then pick your fabrics that you want to coordinate for the first bib. The size you want the final piece of fabric that you will be lying the pattern on is 13" x 9". So if you have two pieces of fabric, you want to cut them to be a final size of that, as well as cut your terry cloth.

With right sides together, sew the two pieces of fabric together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Iron the seam flat like so:

Now you have "one" piece of fabric to put the pattern on.

Put terry cloth and fabric right sides together. Pin the pattern to the fabric. It's a fancy pattern piece, isn't it? :)

Cut the bib out.

Now you will remove the pattern and repin the pieces together for sewing.

Sew around the edges with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving approximately a 2-inch space somewhere at the bottom for turning.

Once you've finished sewing around the edges you want to cut out some notches around the edges so that everything lies flat when you turn it right side out.

Turn the bib right side out, using a point turner or something similar to push out the edges and make sure everything is flat. Iron the bib flat.

I then used Stitch Witchery to close the area that I left open for turning, even though I was going to top stitch.  I did this because I wanted to be sure it was closed all the way to the edge and no chance of opening.

Top stitch around the entire edge of the bib. I used the edge of the presser foot as my guide and amount in I top stitched.

Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial

For a closure for the bib I used velcro.  I used the iron-on velcro rather than the sew-on kind, as it was so much easier! Place the velcro at the top where the bib will close behind the neck, as close to the edge as you can, and iron it in place following the package directions. I forgot to take pictures of the velcro, but you can see here where I placed it on one of the bibs. I just matched the other side on the underside so that they can clasp together.

Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial

That's it for the basic part of making the bib. Now you can be as creative as you'd like and add rick rack, ribbon, etc. If you do decide to add rick rack or ribbon, be sure to use some

Fray Check

 on the edges.

I also used the embroidery function on my sewing machine to sew my granddaughter's name on her bibs, as well as her little cousin's name on the bibs I made her.  If you have that function and want to know what settings/stitch length I used, here it is:

These really were a lot of fun to make.  I hope this inspires you to make some.  Now you have some super cute drool catchers!

Please let me know if you have any questions.  

Here are some of the bibs I made for some ideas.

Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial
Lady by the Bay - Adorable Custom Baby Bibs Tutorial

Until next time...

Lady by the Bay