Sunday, January 26, 2014

O Canada Birthday T-Shirt: PASS

My kid and I have started a tradition of a custom t-shirt for his birthday. The deal is simple: he designs, I sew. This year he chose red and white stripes with a Canadian flag and the number eight. My husband the artist convinced him that just the maple leaf element of the flag would suffice.

With this year's simple design (vs. the six or seven colors of years past), I could get smart about the process:

  • Bought big t-shirts half-off at the thrift store instead of trying to scrounge the bits I needed from my old t-shirt stash.
  • Made the stripes twice as wide as last year which so there were fewer strips to sew and hems to match.
  • Began my stripe cutting and sewing at the Southeast Michigan Crafty Meetup, where I could cut on a table instead of the floor and chat during the mindless part of the project.
The pattern is Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee, which I HIGHLY recommend if you sew for children. It includes detailed instructions as well as collar and cuff variations for when you're not using thrifted t-shirts.

Do you sew for other people? And if so, how much do you let them steer the design process? (I think when folks heard I was rolling with my kid's insistence that the stripes be actual strips of fabric instead of applique, they thought I was nuts...)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sleeping Bag Storage Sacks: PASS

Two sleeping bag storage sacks with a stuff sack for size comparison.
I had many plans for this two-week vacation. My iron conking out just as I was warming up for a long stretch of sewing was not one of them. A friend lent me hers (which heats, but no longer creates steam) to tide me over until my new steam iron arrives. Most of my sewing plans are now on hold while I wait on Mailman Mike. (Yes, that's for real. Our neighborhood has two postal carriers: Mailman Mike and Mike the Mailman.)

One thing that did go as I hoped was the arrival of three new sleeping bags on Christmas morning (thanks, in-laws!). Did you know storing sleeping bags in their stuff sacks can compress the insulation, making for a colder night's sleep? Neither did I. Maybe that's why our second-hand sleeping bags are no longer toasty.

I looked up the size of sleeping bag storage sacks online and hit my scrap fabric pile. There I found an old futon cover and a sheet from DMart* that were perfect for the job: big, breathable, and useless for most other projects. Then I rifled through my notions and found twill tape and salvaged cord locks. After taking a moment to congratulate myself on having the foresight to save EVERYTHING, I heated up the dry iron and got to work. A short while later, we had appropriate sleeping bag storage.

It's great to make something simple you need instead of buying it. I'll bask in that glow for now while I wait at the mailbox for my iron.

*Shopping at DMart is my husband's term for Dumpster diving. You should use it. It's fun.