Monday, September 27, 2010

Soooo. . . this weekend started off as most do; rather uneventfully. Planned on doing some toddler damage control* and cramming a week's worth of sewing in over the weekend. My bubble was burst a few hours into Saturday. The kiddo started sneezing. Downhill from there, folks. We've both been sick since with what I call the daycare funk. This is the 4th weekend in in the past two months that she's been sick and oh, it's so not fun! She doesn't sleep when she feels yucky so that means I don't either. Anywho, I hope to be back in the swing of things by this coming weekend. Lots to catch up on for sure.

*these photos are not staged. found her like this and was able to grab the camera in time. normally, all that junk you see on the floor lives in the shopping cart. we call syd "the shopping cart lady" because she keeps all her worldy possessions in that cart and pushes it around the house. if i'm ever running low on pony tail holders, i can rest assured that i will find a few in the cart. needless to say, i was kinda shocked that she dumped all her stuff out to make room for her bum. she was quite pleased with herself and i got a good laugh.

Inspire to Create - Art Journal Tutorial

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hi and welcome! Thanks so much to Mayya of Sew Chic and Unique for having me be a part of Inspire to Create. Sewing is a HUGE part of my life. I sew to relieve stress, to keep my mind active, to be part of a large and wonderful online sewing community, and also as a way to earn a bit of money while staying home with the kiddo. I can't put my finger on any one thing as my source of inspiration - that can change from one moment to the next. Necessity is often a factor. I find myself looking at the insides of clothes when I'm out shopping to see how things are put together. I can spend hours in a fabric store waiting for ideas to pop into my head. Sometimes ideas start with something as simple as a pretty button. I'm always looking out for interesting color or pattern combinations. Etsy, Flickr, and craft/sewing blogs are all great places for ideas. I pretty much learned everything I know about sewing from all the awesome craft/sewing bloggers out there who are willing to share their know-how. I hope some of you out there will find my tutorial useful and that maybe you'll learn something new!

Although I love creating sewing tutorials, sometimes I need a little 
kick in the pants motivation to get started and this was just what I needed! I've had a stack of 10 packs of color pencils sitting in my sewing room for months now. I bought them on clearance (25 cents a pack!) without a clue as to what I was going to use them for. So, I set out to come up with something both fun and practical that would let me use up some of those pencils!

This art journal is perfect for just about anyone who likes to draw or write on the go. Get creative and personalize it. Make a few and give as gifts! It has several pockets for holding a paper pad, lots of pens and pencils, and also for stashing artwork, notes, stickers, etc. I used elastic as the closures for both the pencil pocket flap and the art journal itself.

Supplies needed:

  • fabric (1/2 yard or so of various prints)
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacing (Pellon Craft Fuse)
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • cotton batting
  • thread
  • size 16 or 18 needle
  • rotary cutter/mat/ruler
  • scissors
  • hand sewing needle
  • 5 x 8" scratch pad or junior legal pad
  • a walking foot is helpful if you have one!
  • fabric marking pen

Skill Level: Advanced (or Adventurous) Beginner and up

A note on fabric: I just knew I wanted to create this art journal/pencil holder using the yellow Ikea stripe fabric I had left over from this project. Well, that fabric is rather heavyweight. Kinda hard to work with when using several layers. I would probably stick to using quilting cotton for this project. Unless you're just crazy like me ;) If you do choose to use a heavier weight fabric, maybe leave out some of the interfacing. Just sayin'.

Make sure to read through the entire tutorial before starting!

Cut the following from your:


{2} 9.5" x 13.5" (exterior fabric and lining)
{2} 8.75" x 13.5" (large pocket piece and lining)
{1} 15" x 7.25" (pencil pocket piece, will be folded in half)
{2} Flap - pattern piece here {please email me if you have issues downloading}


{2} 8.5" x 12.5"
{1} 7.75" x 12.5"
{1} 6.25" x 7"
{1} Flap -pattern piece here


{1} 9.5" x 13.5"


{1} 9.75" long (*this gives a pretty snug fit. if you want the elastic a bit looser, go with 10")
{1} 7.25" long

Next, fuse interfacing:

Center the interfacing on both your 9.5" x 13.5" pieces and fuse.

Center the interfacing on the outer large pocket piece and fuse.

Fold your small pocket piece in half to create a 7.25" by 7.5" piece. Press, open the pocket and line up your interfacing with the crease and center. Fuse. If you are using a directional print, keep in mind that you will want the interfacing fused to the side that will be facing out.

For the flap, use the pattern piece to cut out one piece of interfacing. Trim the interfacing a bit to reduce bulk in the seam allowance. Fuse.

*If you've never worked with Craft Fuse before, here are a few tips:
  • use a hot, dry iron
  • iron directly on the interfacing
  • start in the center and work your way out to the edges
  • use a bit of pressure, but not too much as it can stretch your fabric out
  • if you get a wrinkle/crease in your fabric, spray a bit of water and smooth it out
  • finish off by flipping the piece over and pressing the other side

Let's get to sewing! Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance throughout the project.

Step 1 - Making the Flap

Place your flap pieces right sides together and sew, leaving the top open for turning. Trim the corners and turn the flap right side out. Press! Top stitch your flap to give it a finished look. Don't worry about the unfinished top-it will be sewn into the large pocket. Fold the flap in half width-wise to find the center and make a small mark at the top.

Step 2 - Large Pocket Piece

Grab one of your large pocket pieces (the one without interfacing) and lay it on your cutting mat. From the left, measure in 10 inches and make a small mark at the top of your piece. Now, match the mark on your flap to the mark you just made on the pocket piece. Line up the raw edges of the flap to the edge of the pocket piece and baste.

Next, layer the other pocket piece (with interfacing) face down on the piece with the flap attached. Sew the 2 pieces together along the top long edge. Press open the seam allowance and flip your pieces right sides out. Your flap should now be on the right side of the pocket piece. With the flap lifted up and out of the way, press again, and then top stitch along the length of the pocket piece.

Step 3 - Pencil Pocket

Get your shorter length of elastic and pencil pocket piece (PPP). Making sure the interfaced side of the PPP is on top, lay your elastic down 1/2" from the top. Sew into place on the right side 1/4" from the edge. Flip the PPP over so that the elastic is facing down. Draw your 1/2" seam allowance along the left side of your PPP.

{The elastic is obviously not 1/2" down from the top in the photo below. Oops!}
Just pretend it is ;)

On your large pocket, measure in 6.75" from the left and draw a vertical line the length of the piece. Place your PPP on the right side of the large pocket, matching up the 2 lines you just drew. You'll want the bottom raw edges to match up as well. Sew along the line to attach the PPP to the large pocket.

Flip the PPP over to the left and press. Smooth the elastic down without stretching and sew into place on the left side (1/2" from the pocket top). Baste the pocket into place along the left side and bottom. Lift the flap up and out of the way, then top stitch along the right edge of the PPP (sew over the elastic).

Step 4 - Attach Pockets to Lining

Lay your completed pockets on top of your lining. Align the raw edges along the bottom and left/right sides. Pin into place and baste. The raw edges of the pencil pocket may not match up perfectly with the left edge of the of the lining piece as you can see in the photo above. That's ok! As long as it falls within the 1/2 inch seam allowance, it will work out. That's why I like using a 1/2" seam allowance-leaves you a bit of wiggle room.

*I like to use small binder clips in place of pins on projects with lots of layers.

Step 5 - Attach Elastic Closure

To attach the longer piece of elastic to the exterior fabric, measure in 1.25" from the left edge and mark. Sew the elastic on at the top and bottom of the exterior fabric piece, about 1/4" from the top/bottom edges. You will have some slack in the elastic.

Step 6: Almost Finished!

With your lining/pocket piece face up, layer your exterior piece on top face down, and then place your batting on top. Pin or clip your "sandwich" together. Sew all around your sandwich, leaving a 5" opening for turning at the top right portion. As you sew, you may need to trim the batting a bit as it stretches so you can clearly see the edges of your exterior fabric to use as a guideline.

Once your art journal is sewn together, trim the batting almost to the stitch line, and trim the corners. Turn right side out. A word of warning. . . your art journal is going to look like a hot mess. You're going to really need to press it with a hot, steamy iron to flatten and smooth things out.

Once you've pressed the journal into submission, slip stitch shut the opening you used for turning. Next, top stitch right along the right edge of the pencil pocket to create 2 pockets - one for your paper pad to slip into and one for artwork, etc. Finally, top stitch around the edges of the art journal. It will be a little tricky working around the elastic but you can do it!

All done!

I would LOVE to see photos of your creations. Make sure to add them to LBG Studio Flickr group so we can all check them out.

This tutorial is for PERSONAL use only. Please do not sell items made using this tutorial. Thanks!

If you are interested in purchasing a license to sell items made from this tutorial, go here!

Happy sewing!

Another late night sewing project

Thursday, September 16, 2010

{yellow stripes canvas - Ikea / pink dots - Joann's}

I saw this floor cushion on Living with Punks and just knew I had to make one. A floor cushion was on the to do list anyways so this was just perfect. I can't remember if I saw the tutorial first and bought the fabric for it or the other way around, but I'm super pleased with how this project turned out. I smile every time I look at it! Those yellow stripes are just plain happy. The pink polka dot piping was a last minute decision and added a second night of sewing but totally worth it! So, what are you waiting for? Go make one of these. They don't even necessarily have to be for kids. Amy over at Ponder and Stitch made a fabulous grown up version!

I didn't have a compass handy to create the circle template needed so I got a little DIY. I grabbed a pencil/pen/whatever, a pushpin, a teeny bit of cardboard (to push the pin into), and some ribbon in lieu of string. Kinda like this. I had a reeeeeally hard time getting a nice, even circle so I simplified things a bit. I grabbed a full piece of newspaper, folded it along the fold lines and drew only a quarter of a circle. When cut and unfolded, I ended up with a perfect circle!

In other news:

*I have a new tutorial in the works! It will be up in the next week or so.

*for those of you who like to get blog updates via email, I've added a subscription option over to the left.

*I also whipped up a blog button (finally) for anyone who wants one. You know you do ;) It's on the left as well. Just copy the code and paste.

Chicken Legs

Friday, September 10, 2010

First, I need to say hello and welcome to all of you new readers who've made your way over from How About Orange , Gooseberry Patch Blog, and Craftiness is not Optional. Thank you so much to these blogs for the awesome mentions :)


I spent most of yesterday in a sewing frenzy. A bit of sewing for the shop but mostly just catching up on projects I've had my eye on for a while. I didn't quite finish everything I started but I think I bit off more than I could chew! Hopefully I will wrap up my last project (the one that took on epic proportions) this weekend.

First on the list was to make the kiddo some leggings! I've had several yards of knits sitting idly by, saw this pattern by Lil Blue Boo, and whipped up two pair of some reeeeeally easy pants. They turned out kinda low rise (error on my part) but totally wearable. The plaid pair are my favorite! I added rouching on the sides of the legs and think it looks really cute. These pants are perfect for. . .

digging in the dirt

torturing playing with the dog

and just being silly.

Quick tip: I wondered for the longest time what to do with the little thread chains left on seams that won't be finished otherwise when serging. I found this handy tip late one night on the internet and have absolutely no idea where! I'm not taking credit for this brilliance. Simply put, you take a scary long needle (I use a doll needle), thread it with the chain hanging off of your seam, and then pull the needle through seam you just sewed. I try to sandwich the needle between the seam allowances or at least under the serger stitches on one side, if that makes sense. Cut off what's leftover and you're finished. Nice and neat!

The project that didn't get finished up last night is this floor cushion by Living with Punks. I probably would've finished if I had stuck to my original plan of not using piping. I really wanted to but couldn't find any cute colors that went with the yellow striped canvas (Ikea!). I decided to just skip it but didn't want a boring looking cushion. I ended up making my own. By that I mean taking some ugly piping I bought on clearance and covering it with some cute pink polka dot fabric. Takes forever!!!!! Almost done with that. Then I can move forward. Fingers crossed. I'm thinking it will be pretty snazzy when finished.

Have a great weekend!!

diy stickers, etc

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Once I got my business cards in the mail, I wanted a fun way to "dress them up" when enclosing them in packages. I got some little kraft paper and glassine bags, a neat-o rubber stamp, some baker's twine (still waiting on that), a paper punch, and made some stickers!

*diy stickers*

xyron create-a-sticker + paper punch + paper = super cool stickers

I use paper from security envelopes to make my stickers. There are some pretty cool patterns/colors to be found in your mail. FYI, Target sends their bills out in some pretty nifty envelopes. Another reason to love them. Kind of makes getting your bills a teeny bit less painful ;) Find sticker worthy paper in magazines, old gift wrap, greeting cards, scrapbook paper. . .

Where I found my goodies:

Xyron Sticker Maker - got mine at Hobby Lobby for about $5 during a 50% sale. I've seen them at Walmart as well.

Thanks. stamp - LD Craft Supplies

Glassine Bags - Sugar B Supplies

Kraft Paper Bags - Hobby Lobby. Use a coupon. Cheap!

Paper Punch - Hobby Lobby


Want more packaging inspiration? Want to gawk at pretty papery things? Go here:

Creature Comforts

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