Reversible Car Seat Strap Covers

So my niece Ava is now almost 4 months old and spends a lot of time in her car seat going here and there with her 3 older siblings. The car seat strap covers my sister was using were getting pretty nasty so it was requested that I make some new ones.

 

I first saw this tutorial on reversible strap covers from Alisa at the Sweet Life. But I decided to change the sizes a bit so the finished size is about 6″ long. They might be a tad long for newborns but they fit Ava’s car seat great!

 

I used pink polka-dots on one side and pink fuzzy fabric on the other. They were really quick to make and came out super cute. Ava loved them! Well, I think she did…she drooled all over them. And because they are reversible you can just flip them over and extend the life between washes.

 

Here is my tutorial…

 

Materials (for one pair)

  • Two 7″ x 7″ pieces of patterned cotton fabric
  • Two 7″ x 7″ pieces of soft and fuzzy fabric or another cotton pattern
  • Two 7″ x 7″ pieces of batting (I like low-loft polyester because it doesn’t stretch like cotton batting)
  • Two sets of 3″ velcro strips

 

Put the patterned cotton down first and match the right sides of the patterned cotton and the soft fabric together. Then put the batting on top. I like to sew with my batting on top because it stretches more and it gets caught in the presser feet if it is on the bottom.
Sew the edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance and leave a 2-3″ opening for turning.
Cut the corners and trim up the edges. Then turn right side in and iron flat.
I like to use sided steam a seam tape to iron in between the gap where I turned the fabric in. Then you can stitch it closed by hand.
Sew a 1/4″ seam around the edges. Watch your stitch length. You want to make sure it isn’t too small when you are sewing through all these layers.
Sew on the velcro on opposite sides of cover. One on the soft side and one on the patterned side. You can add a longer strip of velcro if you want…on second though, a 5″ would probably hold the edges a little more securely than my 3″ strip. I will try a longer strip next time.
Here you can see the velcro on each side. If you have a specific direction to your pattern, you need to pay attention to which way you sew on the velcro.
Fold it up and hook the velcro and you see how they work!
Now attach to the car seat! While Ava was sleeping she told me she wanted the polka-dot side showing!

 

Then later when she was up I thought I would take a pic of the other side of the straps. Isn’t she cute?!?

 

And of course I have to throw in a pic of her big sister Hannah…who was wearing the most adorable outfit! She loves pink…can you tell?
Man, I love those kids! Until later, happy sewing!

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Aromatherapy Heat Pack Tutorial

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I have been thinking about making aromatherapy heat packs for a while and when I needed a gift for my friend Kelly’s birthday last week I thought I would give it a try. Turns out these are super simple!
I made them in two sizes – large (23″ x 6″) and small (12″ x 6″). The large one is big enough to fit around your neck and the small one is nice and compact to hit a little spot.
Basically you make an inner pouch to hold the rice and then you make a pillowcase for it. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless specified.
First, the inner pouch…
For this part I used unbleached muslin but you can really use any cotton fabric….but don’t splurge on a print because you won’t see it!
  • For the LARGE – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 40″
    • or if you don’t have a piece that big, use 2 pieces that are 6.5″ x 20.5″ and sew them together at one of the narrow ends to get one big 40″ piece)
  • For the SMALL – 1 piece of muslin 6.5″ x 20″
Note: all the examples will be for the larger size but the smaller one is made the exact same way.
First, fold the narrow sides together.

Then sew up the LONG sides. DON’T stitch up the 4th side!

I use a serger first and then stitch up the seams with my sewing machine. I think this reinforces the edges a little better. If you don’t have a serger, you can add a zig zag around the edges if you like. A little extra stitching to prevent a rice catastrophe never hurt anyone. :)

Look…you still have an open side!
Measure out the rice in a large bowl.
  • For the LARGE pack you need 3.5 lbs of white rice (not instant!).
  • For the SMALL pack you only need 1.5 lbs.
  • Add the essential oil of your choice. I used Eucalyptus. For the large pack I used about 25 drops and for the small one I used 12. But use your own judgement depending on how strong of a scent you want and which oil you are using. I bought my oil at Hobby Lobby in the candle/soap making section, but anywhere that has candle/soap stuff would probably carry a few scents at least.
Drop the oil on the rice and mix with either a spoon or gloves. You are not supposed to get this on your skin! And it burns when you even get traces of it in your eyes…ask me how I know.
Then add the rice to the open end of the muslin bag. If you have a funnel, save yourself the headache of little rice grains everywhere and use it. Otherwise you can make one out of cardstock…I did.
Then sew up your pouch!
Now, for the outer case…
If you already know how to make a pillowcase using the “tube method” then you know the next few steps. If not, I will walk you through it.
  • For the LARGE – one 14″ x 21″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 8″ x 14″ piece for the edge
  • For the SMALL – one 14″ x 11″ piece of fabric for the main part and one 6″ x 14″ piece for the edge

FYI – I am using the paisley fabric for the main part and the orange fabric for the edge.

What the fabric looks like if you are making the LARGE size
What the fabric looks like if you are making the SMALL size

First, place the edge piece right side up and match up the 14″ sides of the fabric, right sides together.

Then from the bottom (C), roll up the main piece (B) about halfway up towards the top (A).
Now, take the bottom of the edge piece (C) and fold it up to meet the top (A). Make sure B is in the middle of the roll, otherwise you might sew through it.
Now sew up the A,C side. DO NOT SEW THROUGH THE B SIDE or it won’t work!!!

Once the A,C seam is sewn, turn it inside out.

And you will get this…

Notice now how you have no seams for the edge of the case and it is nice on both sides of the main fabric! If you have made pillowcases and haven’t done it like this you have been missing out!

Iron out the edge piece on both sides and put a 1/4″ seam thorough it (on the edge side, not the main side). This just helps hold it in place.

Now lay your case right side up with your edge to the left. Fold the bottom side to the top.
Pin and sew.
 Turn the case inside out and iron.
Insert the rice pouch.

And DONE!

Here are the two different sizes:

And that’s all there is to it. Like I said, these are really simple to whip up and would be great gifts! I read somewhere that you can also freeze them and use them as cold packs, but I haven’t tried it yet. Let me know if any of you have.

Until later, happy sewing!

 

I’m Linking up to these Parties:

A Diamond in the Stuff
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The Kurtz Corner
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Today’s Creative Blog
 
 

RACHEL’S BABY SHOWER GIFT

This year, I have decided to embark on an inititive to make as many of the gifts I give people as I can, since I have an obnoxious amount of fabric and I can usually find some time to spare. So far so good! This is what I came with for my friend Rachel for her baby shower.

 

As soon as they found out it was a boy, she chose the name Jesse. Rachel has a background in Marine Biology so she loves aquatic-themed stuff and that is how she decorated his room. So, I made this name banner to go along with the theme. This is the first time I have made one of these name banners with such a busy pattern. I did the two panels on the end so you could tell what the pattern was. I am very pleased at how well it turned out!

 

I have been thinking about making one of those hooded baby towels so I decided now was the time to try it out. I used the fish fabric on the border of the hood and for the monogramed J. I also added a little pocket on the side since I had a bit of terrycloth left. But I am super excited about how cute this came out…I even went out today and bought some more towels.

 

 

Until later, happy sewing!

MORE NAME BANNERS

A few months ago I made some name banners for my nieces and nephew, using appliques I cut out of fabric with my Cricut. They came out really nice…though I wish I would have gotten pics with a backdrop better than the carpet!

 

 

 

 

 

Well, the kids loved the banners for their room but I had to make more. This time I was smart and used my fence in the backyard. Amazing how much better they look outside!

 

 

 

 

It is amazing how different they look with different fonts and fabrics. One day I will start selling these on Etsy, when I get my act together! I have a few more to whip up as gifts though.

 

Until later, happy sewing!

Super Quick T-shirt Dress

School is back in session so I haven’t had many opportunities to sew in the past few weeks. But I have been working on a few things for my sister Christie here and there.

One of them was fix Hannah’s dress. She loves to jump on the trampoline and the side seam on the lower dress fabric just didn’t hold up. It is a super cute dress which was a hand-me-down originally purchased from one of those boutiques for $35! Crazy how high they can mark up something so simple!

Christie’s sewing machine wasn’t cooperating when I was in Seattle, I told her I would bring it home and surge it…which took me like 30 seconds. Piece of Cake!

Then I remembered I had a little pink shirt that was Hannah’s size so I found some matching fabric, copied the sizing from the original dress, and viola…

A cute new dress. And I think the shirt cost $2 and the fabric was probably about $2, so a $4 project, though I both supplies already sitting at home…not bad!

The cotton bottom should hold up on this one…even on the trampoline. I can’t wait until she sees it…she will be so excited!

Until later, happy sewing!

Curtain Shab to Curtain Fab

I love these silk bamboo curtains!

Errr…I used to.


A few years ago during one of their crazy clearance sales, Bed Bath & Beyond had these beautiful curtains on sale for $5 a panel, from the normal $40 a panel. So I bought 4 panels. Most recently I used them on the sliding glass door at my last apartment. My dog Marley chewed up the apartment’s vertical blinds so I had to take them down and put up curtains. The curtains looked great for a while until Marley destroyed those too…

These have seen better days…

Yes they look sad, but I haven’t had the heart to throw them out because A) They were expensive (well, before the clearance), and B) I genuinely like them. They go with my tropical decor style, they let some light in the room, and the texture is unique. But now, in addition to looking ratty, they also don’t fit my huge window which is around 9 feet tall. This is the last window in the house that doesn’t have a covering because it has taken me the last year to make a decision. But given that I am tired of having to worry about being appropriately dressed to walk to the fridge, it was finally time to make that decision.


Here the is the window. The wall is beige…before I painted it brown.

I didn’t want to just do blinds because the window is an awkward size (thank you rounded top) and they are expensive when you start getting that long. So I would need  108″ curtains to cover this window which are pricey and can be difficult to find. Not to mention that I haven’t seen any normal length curtains I liked at all recently anyway.

So I decided to do a curtain makeover on my beloved bamboo silk curtains!

I just painted the window wall a couple of weeks ago with a brown accent color which happened to have a tinge of green in it. So for fabric, I chose two 1.5 yard pieces I got on clearance at Garden Ridge for $4 each. The fabric was a heavy home-dec weight fabric with a thick weave and I knew it would look awesome with the bamboo curtains and the accent wall color.

I really like this brown and green…the colors felt kind of tropical
What the curtains looked like when I started.
Note the new wall color
This was my plan: (I drew it for a better explanation)
Cut the curtains off at the lowest point that wasn’t damaged, add a 6 inch green fabric band, then add the rest of the length needed in the brown fabric.

I started by laying out the curtains on my massive cutting table (excuse the mess and poor lighting please!). And then I cut them around 60″. The hardest part was smoothing the panel down and making sure it was even.

Then I cut 6 inches of green fabric and sew it to the bottom. I encountered 2 problems here:
1) the 6 inch band was small and looked weird
2) I didn’t have enough brown fabric to accomplish what I needed (I had only 1.5 yards instead of 2)

After brief contemplation, I came up with a new plan:

Using the current old curtains attached to the green band, I decided to cut the top strip of the old curtains where the rings were attached and then sew this side to the green band.
After that I attached a medium sized green section followed by a larger brown section.
Here I am attaching the top strip with the rings to the original green band.
Then I added the green section to the other side (the new bottom). Then I tried them on the window. Looks good so far!
Then I added about half of my brown fabric to make up the rest of the length. Looking good!
After finishing the hem on the bottom and completing the other panel (I used only 2 of the 4), this is what my final product looks like:
Still need to get those wrinkles out…

View from the ground that shows the whole length:





Detail at the top



What they look like during the day…letting in a little light




A wide shot of my “still in progress” kitchen

Look on the right, there is the bulletin board I made the other day!
Looks great with my new curtains!



I am extremely happy at how the these curtains came out…they are better than I ever expected! And they only cost me $8. So one project done, only a million more to do…Progress at least!
Until later, happy crafting!

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CRICUT FABRIC APPLIQUES

So I finally broke open the box of one of my new toys – an Aqua colored Cricut Expression.

 

Technically I got this last November on a Black Friday Sale but I have been busy with work and all my hundreds of other sewing projects since then so I just never opened it (sidenote – I was super excited because Walmart had cool colored Cricuts rather than just plain white). And yes, I should admit here that I was a little intimidated on getting started because I wasn’t sure how much of a learning curve it was going to take to get it up and running, so I just never took the time to do it. I am very happy to report that it was super easy!

 

Now you are thinking – “Jamie, isn’t that just a scrapbooking tool? Do you even scrapbook?” The answer to both of those questions is NO! I love sewing…I love everything about sewing….I love the creativity and the fabric…I would sew all day everyday if I could. But scrapbooking…I don’t have the patience for…AT ALL. I tried it once and that was enough. Plus I have not actually printed a picture since around 2004. If I did, I would just put it in a plain boring album or a picture frame.

 

Anyway, the reason I bought a Cricut is because I read somewhere that you can use it to cut fabric appliques. By the way, normally for appliques I use iron-on adhesives and then zig zag stich them on…I don’t turn under by hand (I avoid sewing by hand at all costs). Here is a tip with zig zag stitching – use the SAME thread on your bobbin that you are sewing with. If you don’t you are more likely to get lots of skipped zig zag stitches. It took me way too long to figure this out!

 

I started out just cutting some green cardstock. Then I played around with different sizes.

 

 

Then I tried fabric and the first couple of products were horrible, but with the help of the handy internet, I figured it out it no time.

 

 

What I learned: (the hard way of course)

 

1. Stabilizer – ONLY use Steam-a-Seam Heavy Duty. I buy mine by the yard but you can get it in rolls of 2 or 5 yards. This is the one that works! I normally use Steam-a-Seam Lite for applique but it did not come out well at all. The heavy duty allows the machine to cut beautifully. Other bloggers also confirmed this was the best thing to use, and not to even bother with other options like Pellon.

 

2. After ironing the fabric to the Steam-a-Seam Heavy Duty, by all means, take the paper off before you put it on the mat! This seems like a dumb thing to say but I am dumb and ended up having to peel off thousands of little shards of paper. Be sure to put the “steamy” side down to the sticky mat, and the right side of fabric up.

 

3. Cricut settings I was successful with:
**Speed – Medium…you don’t want it going too fast or the letters might not be as crisp.
**Pressure – High or Max
**Blade Depth – 2…on the 2 setting, the blade cut up the mat less than the 3 setting did.

 

I love that you can cut out solid pieces up to 12 x 24 in size. I will have to get creative this summer! I was working on some more name banners – this time for my two nieces and my nephew. The results were amazing! It was sooooo much easier than using templates to cut everything..like I had to for the one I did for Layla. Plus I had different fonts to choose from.

 

Here is what I made:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started using linen to make the name banners because I love how clean and crisp it looks! And now with my new Cricut the possiblities are endless!

 

I should admit here that I also bought a Cricut Personal cutter during the Black Friday sale. I was at JoAnne’s and the guy talked me into it because it was disgustingly cheap! I felt guilty at first because I already had the expression but I am so glad that I bought it! While I love how the Cricut Expression can cut large things, these banners take letters about 5 inches tall. By using the smaller Cricut I feel like I waste less fabric because the mat is 6 inches and you can only cut things out up to 5.5 inches tall. So now I have a convenient little system that makes my the applique portion of my banners go way faster!

 

 

This Cricut should keep me busy for a while. Good thing summer vacation is almost here!

 

Until later, happy sewing!