Tag Archives: fast

A Perfected Knit Racerback Tank: McCall’s 6848

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Here’s a project I’ve been waiting to share with you for over a month!!  I had debated blogging on the go last month, but decided against it.  So today’s make has had a lot of real-world testing since I finished it.

Long-time readers of this blog will remember my several versions of McCall’s 6848.  I’ve made the shorts, several racerback tanks in knits (#1 and #2), and the non-tank top.  Here is yet one more knit racerback tank, this time tweaked out in a way that I can easily reproduce.

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

In my last version of this top, which you can see below, I realized that in order for this pattern, which is drafted for woven fabric, to work for knits, I needed to do a little tweaking.

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

When I made the latest version of this top, I decided to take the tweaks from the above gray (or grey?) top and add them to my pattern in such a way that I could use them again.  Here are my pattern pieces:

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric If you look, you can sort of see some triangles folded under at the bottom of the arm and the top of the shoulder.  Look below to see them from the back side:

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabricNow I can use the pattern pieces for knits or wovens depending on if I fold those little triangles down or not.  The sizes of the triangles are the same as the wedges I took out of the shirt in the post on the gray exercise top I showed you above.  The fit is terrific and, since this is a supposed to be a pajama pattern, there is the added benefit of being able to have the comfort of PJ’s in your everyday wear.  You know I like that!  I think I wore this outfit more than any other when I was in Michigan last month.

I got the fabric at Joann’s.  I think it is a polyester.  (You can see a fabric with a similar design but in a different colorway here.  Looks like it’s a poly/rayon, so maybe that’s what mine is, too.)  I’d had my eye on it for awhile because of the subtle print, but I was a little nervous because the last time I bought a polyester knit there (the fabric in these leggings), it pilled pretty badly after awhile.  So, we’ll see if that happens.  Also, the fabric is fairly transparent, so I lined it with some old, old white knit sheets I had around (also used as part of the lining in this dress).

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

And, in a stroke of brilliancy, I put the seams on the inside so it could be reversible!  I haven’t actually worn it with the white side out, but I could if I wanted to.  🙂

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

Front: cream and silver side out

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

Back: cream and silver side out

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

Front:  white side out

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

Back: white side out

I almost never line things, so I was pretty proud of myself.  I may or may not have sewn the armholes together before turning it right side out and, again, may or may not have had to rip those suckers out so I could turn everything right side out, but regardless of what might have happened, it got sorted out in the end.  The lining hangs a bit below the cream side, but I decided I’m cool with that.  I even made myself a little braided bracelet out of the scraps of sheet that I had lying around.

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

McCall's 6848 racerback tank in knit fabric

I didn’t get any compliments (or even comments) on this, maybe because it looked stupid to people.  I thought it was pretty cool, though, and it made me feel like I was enviro-saintly (yes, I just made that up–take note OED!) for using some scraps even thought I threw much bigger scraps away, but don’t think about that.  Anyway, if you want to be cool like me (enviro-saintly, even), just take three strips of jersey from any old t-shirt or some knit sheets, stretch them out, braid them up, and tie some knots on either end.  Then, knot them together and wear your bracelet like you paid an obscene amount for it at a cool store.  In fact, if you make one, leave a link in the comments so I can see it!  I’d like to see people put this with a festival look or just some kind of more-is-more thing and layer it up!

 

 

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The Unblogged Cardigan

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Remember when I was doing all the sewing with Polartec?  I made the skirt, the dress, a pair of pants that didn’t make it on the blog because instead of fitting me, they fit my child, and a cardigan that has yet to make an appearance here.  So, while I’m currently still busy with bathing suits, I thought I would show you this cardigan that I sewed just a little while back.  Don’t worry though; once I test out my latest bathing suit top, we’ll talk bathing suits again.

This cardigan was made from McCall’s 6844.  I was completely inspired by Bianca’s green jersey version, and would still love to make one like hers someday, but since we seem to be living through a Canadian winter in Massachusetts this year, fleece was more seasonally appropriate.  I made it with the same Polartec Classic 200 Sweater Look fabric from Mill Yardage as the pieces I mentioned above.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

I made a medium of View C, which has a shawl collar and a high/low peplum.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Thanks to the many reviews on the Pattern Review site, I skipped the interfacing in the collar and sewed the sleeve in flat.  Also, despite what the pattern says, the front does meet, so I debated adding a closure, but skipped it in the end.

I liked the idea of modelling this in the snow while also wearing the red shirt I made so, on a “warm” day in the 20’s (Fahrenheit), we went out and took some pictures.

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Cardigan (McCall's 6844) by Pattern and Branch

Here’s a shot of the red shirt in action, too. 😉  The shirt was sewn from an Alabama Chanin pattern.  See the link for more details.

I have to say, this was a really quick and easy pattern.  The cardigan is comfortable, super warm, and looks really cool with the variable length of the peplum.  I like that the fleece fabric has enough body to make the back and sides stand out in a really interesting way.  I noticed on Pattern Review that a lot of reviewers loved this pattern, and were churning them out for themselves and as gifts for others.  I was not so generous and only made one for myself.  Selfish sewing is my favorite…

(Maybe someday I’ll have made all I want need and by then my skills will also be awesome, and I’ll start making things for other people instead of only myself.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  It might be awhile.)

Next up (probably):  more bathing suits!!!

 

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style

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In my now decade-long quest for THE ULTIMATE WINTER SKIRT, I have thought of many fabric combinations, patterns, and crazy ideas to create a long winter skirt that would be warm and yet still look good.  What I really want is a skirt that feels like I’m wearing a blanket, but looks socially acceptable.  To that end, I ordered a vintage pattern, and started poring over fabric sites looking at faux fur.  I went through my fabric cabinet and considered (finally) using some of my wool.  I even thought about cutting up our Vellux blanket as lining.  The Polartec website became very familiar to me as I researched interesting technical fabrics.  Finally, it dawned on me.  Why not make Version 1 of THE ULTIMATE WINTER SKIRT from a pattern I already knew I liked?  What about a Polartec sweater knit (which I was itching to try out anyway) with the Alabama Chanin Long Skirt pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design?

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

The more I sew, at least lately, the more I find that what I’m interested in doing is exploring.  As I contemplated what I wanted to sew in the coming year, or at least the current season, I realized that I want to try out new and interesting fabrics in (hopefully) new and interesting ways.  My wonderful husband obliged me by purchasing a large amount of sweater-knit fleece in a charcoal color from millyardage.com as a Christmas gift.  Goal number one with that fabric was to attempt the skirt.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

I cut out the same size in the Alabama Chanin Long Skirt that I usually use (I’ve also made this skirt in cotton/modal jersey.), and bound it with fold-over elastic that I already had.  I didn’t stretch the elastic when I was sewing, though, so the waistband came out looking…wavy.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

So, in the interest of time and not losing momentum on the project, I cut off the waistband and sewed on another, this time stretching the elastic as I sewed.  It was still a bit wavy, but the skirt is meant to be sort of low-rise, so when you put it on, it works.  (Only one note of caution–if there is any chance you may have young children tugging on your clothes, watch it.  There’s always the possibility you could get pantsed in this skirt.  Can you get “pantsed” in a skirt?  Whatever you call it, watch yourself–no one wants to lose the bottom half of their outfit in public…well, no one should want that, anyway.  It could definitely happen in this skirt.)  This particular pattern has a small train, which I love, and which I kept in the jersey version of the skirt.  It does drag on the floor a bit, but it looks lovely.  For this winter version, though, I trimmed the back even with the front, cutting off the train.  It would be too sad to have the back of the skirt covered in snow, slush, and salt.

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

As yet it is unhemmed, partially because I love the raw-edged look, and partially out of curiosity.  I want to see how the length works with my various shoes and if I can get away with raw edges in this fleece sweater-knit as well as I can with a cotton jersey.  I may hem it later.  The other reason is that I want some instant gratification on this pattern, and I can call it done if I don’t hem it.  Now you know the whole truth.

And now…I must tell you of my initial triumph.

On Sunday I wore the skirt to church with a stretchy sweater and my wool “poncho” (a.k.a. piece-of-fabric-that-I-wrap-around-myself-and-secure-with-a-kilt-pin).  I wore long johns underneath and booties with socks.  On that day, I knew I had finally achieved an ULTIMATE WINTER OUTFIT.  I was essentially wearing blankets and pajamas:  long underwear (“pajamas”), a skirt that felt like a blanket, a sweater as stretchy as a t-shirt, and a “poncho” that was really a blanket wrapped around me.  I was wearing pajamas and blankets, but it was socially acceptable enough that I felt like I had dressed up for church!

But wait!  Was I essentially practicing deception…at church, of all places?!!!  Was I really wearing my pajamas and blankets to church?!  Well, I’m going to say no to the deception, but YES to the awesome nature of that outfit.  All winter outfits should have the qualities of ultimate comfort and warmth while still being socially acceptable and looking good.  SUCCESS!!!!

I feel that my life is now fulfilled.  Blog, finished.

Just kidding.

 

Alabama Chanin Long Skirt, New England Style (Pattern and Branch)

Finished Projects: T-shirt and Scarf

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Monday was my most productive project day in recent memory.  Actually, I forget a lot of stuff, so I’m having trouble remembering any day more productive on the creative project front.  It was a good day.

First up were the two secret Christmas presents I’ve been working on.  In truth, I finished one over the weekend, but they sort of go together in my mind, so I’m counting it as two.  Also, I was having an internal debate on just what the finishing touches would be, but now that that is decided, and those finishing touches have been added, they are done.  I’m looking forward to showing you after they’ve been delivered.

I also finished up a t-shirt.  I took a risk on some cottony-looking polyester fabric I found on sale at Joann Fabric and, rather than doing the neckline the way the pattern shows, I sewed on some beading that I cut off a silk jacket someone gave me.

New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch New t-shirt by Pattern and Branch

 

You can see from some of the close-up shots of the beading that it looks a little…fragile.  Also, it’s not perfect where I joined the ends of the beadwork, but I decided to throw perfection out the window and look at it as an experiment.  We’ll see what happens the first time I wash it.  I may need to post an update.  The edges of the shirt, sleeves, and beading are unfinished because I like that look.

The final project of the day was an infinity scarf.

Infinity scarf by Pattern and Branch

I’m not sure what to think about this one.  OK, truthfully, my first thought was “clown collar”.  It’s not a problem with the pattern–the pattern was lovely.  It’s just really long.  It’s so long that I can wrap it around my neck three times instead of two to make a figure 8.  I’m not sure what symbol can now describe this.  Is this good?  Is it a craft fail?  Should I chop some length off to make it shorter?   I’m not really sure.  I’ll have to wear it for a while and get back to you.  Even if it looks silly, it’s only clothes.  It’s only one day.

At the end of my super creative day, I even made up a grocery list.  I felt so accomplished.  The next day, I took a nap and watched TV.  You can’t be productive all the time, right?

I hope you have a great weekend and find some creative time in the midst of it.

 

Works in Progress

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I thought it would be nice to take a little break from clamming and show you what I’m working on.  Once, I asked my husband to make me only work on one project at a time.  He is a wise man, and did not attempt to do this.  Seems like having multiple projects happening all at once is the way my creativity works best.  At least that way, if I’m procrastinating on one project, I can move ahead with another.

As I mentioned previously, I’m working on sewing something I said I would never sew:  a bathing suit.  This is one of the projects I am procrastinating on.  Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Cutting out the bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

The bathing suit so far

 

In case you are interested, here is the pattern that I’m using.

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

Works in Progress:  bathing suit

So far, it’s going ok, thanks to numerous blog posts around the web, but I keep avoiding it because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up.  That’s pretty silly, though.  I mean, really.  If I could master bathing suits, I would probably be tapping into one of the few areas of home sewing that’s actually still cost-effective.  It would be SO GREAT…so I’ve got to get moving.  You can all hold me accountable to actually finish it.  Plus, I need a bathing suit that fits.

One of the projects I am using to procrastinate on my bathing suit is this shirt, made with a pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin (one of my all-time favorite sewing books).  This is the sleeveless t-shirt top.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopSo, this was meant to be a quick project.  I need a few of those to motivate me through the long projects.  The book I got this from is all about hand-sewing, which is really fun, but when I need a quick project, I cheat and machine-sew one of the garments.  They come together really fast and all the patterns that I have tried have been flattering at various sizes.  This one is made from a bed-sheet and an old t-shirt.  (Incidentally, the bed sheet is partly made from recycled plastic bottles AND I got it at a thrift store, so it’s like it’s been recycled multiple times!)  But…

I decided it needed some details, so I added the contrast binding and then tried to add some crochet trim.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt TopAbove is the marking I made for the trim, but the trim was too white, so I dyed it in black tea.

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Above is the original white, and the tea-dyed piece, but now the white still seems too white and the tea-dyed piece looks…dirty.  See what you think:

Works in Progress:  Sleeveless T-Shirt Top

Not to fear, though!  I decided to procrastinate on the t-shirt with this!

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressThis garment is the Long Fitted Dress, also from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  This was the quick project that was to save me from the avoidance of the other two.  But then I faced a few decisions.  What color binding to add?  Contrast like the t-shirt or the same fabric?  How about keeping the binding the same as the dress and adding some crochet details to this garment?  (I’m starting to sense a trend in both crocheted details and decision-making leading to procrastination.)

Works in Progress:  Long Fitted DressMaybe something like this?  (The trim on the bottom would actually be on the back side.  There is a small train on the dress–similar to a high-low hem but, being a maxi dress length, it’s more like a small train.)

I was trying to actually make a decision, but it was tricky.  I tried the dress on to see how it looked and realized that the fabric is pretty thin and, rather than skimming curves, it reveals the curves and lines that you usually want fabric to skim over.  So now I’m procrastinating on this project, too.

But I did get something done today!  I have a very weedy garden, but I actually weeded a small part of it.  Want to see?  Yes, you do!  (Because if you stop reading now, I can’t tell, so I’m just going to assume you are still going strong.)

Works in Progress: Garden

Before…

Works in Progress: Garden

After!

I also made a little sign with paint pens on some bits of slate to mark our morning glories and moon flowers.  I’m hoping they take over the deck rails.

Works in Progress: Garden

Lastly, check out my leeks.  They flower every year and look so cool.  They also attract all kinds of very waspy looking insects, so I admire them from afar or in the evening, just to be safe.

Works in Progress: Garden

What are you procrastinating on?

Quick Project: Slouchy Hat

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Do you ever get in one of those ruts where you spend a lot of time thinking about making things, but you don’t actually make anything?  Maybe you haunt Pinterest or check out a huge stack of books from the library to look through, and then you make…nothing.  Well, when you get stuck like that, what do you do to get out of it (or do you just go deeper in?)?  My best cure is a quick project.

The other night, I was wasting time, and decided that I needed to stop, so I googled something along the lines of “how to sew a slouchy hat”.  You’ve probably seen those hats around (maybe on Pinterest when you are looking for inspiration instead of working?).  They seem to be a big trend from where I’m sitting, but they don’t look too hard to make.  I found this tutorial on eHow.  Then I took some polar fleece a friend had given me when she was cleaning out her studio, and tried it.  Here’s what I got:

Simple Slouchy Hat

I was pretty skeptical when I had sewn it.  It’s basically a rectangle that you sew into a tube, and then you gather one end and hem the other.  It looks a little funny, but I really liked it when I put it on.  It was comfortable, it was an easy way to try out a trend, and making it in black fleece sucked in the light and hid weirdness.  😉  When I was sewing the rectangle into a tube, I left some of the selvage showing, giving the hat a black on black stripe.  It was the one distinctive detail in the hat, and I really like how it turned out.

Do you have any slouchy hat patterns or instructions that you love?  If so, share in the comments!

DIY Baby Gifts: Flannel Blanket

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Awhile back we talked about baby gifts.  I want to share one of my go-to baby gifts with you today:  flannel blankets.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

These blankets are very easy to make (perfect if you are a beginner), and are also very well received.  When I had my children, we were given a mound of blankets, but these blankets, made by my Mom and grandmother, were the ones we used the most and were some of my favorites.  You can make them in various sizes, but the sizing I’ll give you is great as babies pass out the infant stage, but still need to be swaddled, nursed, or just tucked into a stroller or car seat.  The other thing that I love about them is that since flannel has a nap to it, it sort of grips itself, which is excellent if your baby likes to be swaddled or you need a non-slippery blanket for a mom to throw over her shoulder as she nurses.  If you live in a warmer climate, you can also make these out of old sheets or a sheeting material or half flannel, half sheeting.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

Made by Sue Schwabauer from high quality flannel.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

Made by Sue Schwabauer from quilting cotton and high quality flannel.  The bottom blanket is a smaller size perfect for a newborn.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

These are made from an old sheet (top) and a crib sized duvet cover (bottom).

Now that I’ve talked these up so much, let’s get to the directions!

Materials:

  • two lengths of cotton flannel fabric (one for each side), approximately 44″ wide, 1.25 yards long (The goal is to make the blankets approximately square.)

When I buy flannel, I’m often planning to make several blankets.  I usually wait until J0-Ann Fabric has a sale on flannel, and I buy several yards of a print that will work for boys or girls.  Then I buy the same amount of yardage in a solid or another coordinating gender-neutral print.  At other times, I’ll buy several yards of a “girl” print and several of a “boy” print.  My Mom usually gets her flannel at an independent quilt store, and there is a big difference in the feel of the fabric.  I have also recycled sheets and crib sized duvet covers, making nice summer-weight blankets.  Those are just a few different fabric strategies that you can try depending on your budget and requirements for the kind of blanket(s) you want to make.

  • thread color of your choice, contrasting or matching
  • self-healing mat, lipped ruler, rotary cutter (and Kevlar gloves if you want to be EXTRA safe) or fabric scissors and measuring tool of your choice
  • pinking shears or other fabric scissors
  • sewing machine or needle and thread for hand-sewing

Directions:

  1. Prewash and dry your fabric.  You want any shrinking to happen before you sew it up.  I don’t use a dryer sheet when I’m drying fabric in case I ever want to use it with something like Heat ‘N Bond or another fusible, as I’ve been told it won’t adhere well if you’ve used a dryer sheet.
  2. Measure the width of your fabric after it has been washed and dried.  For the last blanket I made, the width (including the selvage) was about 42″.  I typically buy flannel that is around 44″ wide.
  3.  The goal for this step is to even up the ends of your fabric, so if you have a method you like, use that.  If you don’t have a favorite method, you can try what I do.  Fold each piece of fabric in half, matching selvages.  I often have to scoot mine around a bit to get the selvages to match up without wrinkles.  Smooth your fabric out and lay it horizontally on your self-healing mat with the folded edge or the selvages lined up with one of the horizontal measurement marks.  (You can cut each piece of fabric separately or lay one on top of the other once they are smoothly folded and cut them at the same time.)  Then, take your clear, lipped ruler, and place the lip over the top edge.  Line up the right side of the ruler with the vertical measurement mark on the mat that is closest to the end of your blanket.  Holding the ruler in place with your left hand (gloved in Kevlar, possibly), use the rotary cutter to cut off the excess fabric and make a straight edge.  Do the same for the other end of your fabric.  You want the length of the fabric to be similar to the width, but this doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t worry if it’s an inch or two different.  Now you have two squarish piece of fabric that are (in theory) the same size.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    This picture is slightly different from the description in #3, but I wanted you to be able to see the tools I described and the way the fabric is lined up on the self-healing mat.

  4. Unfold your fabric and match both pieces with right sides together.  Somehow, mine are never truly the same size, so I pick a side or two and line them up as best I can.  Like I said, it doesn’t have to be exact.  Just try to smooth out any wrinkles as you go so that you don’t have one piece of fabric that is flat and one piece that is bubbly or lumpy when you finish.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  5. Using a straight stitch and about a 0.5″ seam allowance, stitch around the blanket, leaving about 8″ unsewn in the middle of one edge.  Unless your blanket edges all match up perfectly (which mine never do), you may have a side (or two or three) where you are just sort of guessing at the seam allowance.  Just do your best to keep your stitching parallel to one edge with something like a 0.5″ seam allowance.  As long as it is generally straight, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  6. Using your pinking shears or fabric scissors, trim around the edges where you have sewn in order to even the layers up and reduce bulk.  You can also clip diagonally at the corners when you are trimming (just don’t clip into your sewing).
    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Trim around the edges.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Clip the corners.

     

  7. Turn the fabrics right side out through the opening you left on one side.  I usually use a pin to pull the fabric at the corners out into points.
    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Turn your fabric right side out.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Use a pin to pull the corner fabric out to a point.

     

  8. Smooth everything out and fold the edges in at the opening.  You can pin them together if you like.  I usually don’t, but do what makes you comfortable.
  9. Using a wide zigzag or decorative stitch, stitch around the outside of the blanket, staying fairly close to the edge (especially as you sew over the opening you used to turn the fabric right side out).  You want to catch the fabric at the opening in your stitching.  I think I used about a 0.5 or three-eights inch seam allowance, but as I said, the main thing is to stay close to the edge.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    I used a wide zigzag stitch for this blanket.

  10. Next, fold your blanket into thirds and mark those thirds with a pin.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  11. Stitch down the blanket from one pin to another (I don’t draw a line, I just start at one pin and aim for the bottom one.) with a straight stitch.  You want to end up with two parallel lines running down the blanket to anchor the two pieces of fabric together so they don’t bunch up.  You can get creative with how you do this.  I think my Mom has sewn a heart or other shape to the middle of the blanket rather than stitching parallel lines, which accomplishes the same thing.  When I do the two lines of stitching, I often get a little bit of fabric that bunches up at the bottom, even though I try to make sure the fabric feeds evenly.    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

Congratulations!  You did it!  Now fold or package your blanket to give to that special baby in your life.

DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

Low-hanging fruit

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Low-hanging fruit

At one point in my life, I was in a desert (not dessert, sadly, but desert) of creation.  I wasn’t making much of anything, and I was feeling pretty down about it all.  That was when I made an important discovery, something I think of as “low-hanging fruit” or (nearly) instant gratification.

I made a necklace.  It took me all of 10 minutes using things I already had, but I got so many compliments on it, and it really gave me a boost.  It was a little weird (I like to keep things just a little weird), but lots of fun.  If you find yourself in that place, then here is your antidote…or at least something to get you thinking along those lines.

Here is what I made:

DIY necklace

This necklace was constructed from three things:  fishing line, felted wool balls, and olive wood beads.  The fishing line is fairly sturdy (25 lb. test).  I think I got it at Wal-mart when I was in high school.  The felted wool balls were a gift from my mother, and can easily be found in all different colors and sizes on etsy or in some craft or knitting stores.  The olive wood beads were recycled from a bracelet I got as a child from Assisi, Italy.  I loved the bracelet, but it was never comfortable, and I didn’t wear it much.  This turned out to be a good reuse of some of the beads.

I threaded the fishing line on a needle, put it through the beads and balls, and tied a knot.  Voila!  Finito!

I find that when I have complicated projects swirling in my mind, or in progress, (or I’m in the desert land of non-creation), a quick and easy project can get me going again or renew my interest and excitement in making things.  That’s why I’m going to share a few quick and easy necklace projects with you this week.  The nice thing about jewelry these days is that it can be made from anything.

Check out these necklaces from Anthropologie to see what I mean:

Conch Tassel Necklace

Tiered Bungee Necklace

Stacked Rounds Necklace

If they can make these things and sell them, you can make a necklace out of found objects, too.  In addition you’ll save a ton of money by making it yourself and end up with a unique bespoke piece.  Make a quick and easy project, whatever it may be, and give yourself a lift that will carry you into new creative territory…or just brighten your day.