Cat bed

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The weather here has been very weird for January. It had gone from cold and wintery, to warm and springlike, back to arctic and snow. It all just makes me want to stay in bed until spring really and truly arrives.

Since I am unable to hibernate until March, I decided to at least let our kitties have a chance at staying comfortable as they can be while the pendulum of nature swings back and forth between winter and summer. I sewed up a cat bed for another project I hope to get back to at some point during the summer. It was so easy to sew up and put together that I didn’t realize that I forgot to take pictures until I was done. So I did the only thing a cat owner can do – I made another one. Two cats means a minimum of two cat beds.

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Celebrating Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!

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December 16, 2016 was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Did you participate? What was once a gift people dreaded receiving has now become a reason to celebrate during the holiday season. There are many places selling sweaters specifically designed to be ugly, as well as sweaters that someone thought was cute, but isn’t quite suited to everyone’s tastes.

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week 45 – Aprons

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The Facts

Fabric: mystery cotton

Pattern: McCall’s Easy Stitch & Save M5358

Year: recent, yet anachronistic

Notions: thread, snaps

Time to complete: a week

First worn: for Halloween party at work

Wear again? Hopefully

Total Cost: $25 for time and materials

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As I have stated before, my coworkers told me that I would be Alice for our work Halloween party, because I have the hair for it. I knew that I had this pattern, and I knew that it would be perfect for an Alice in Wonderland apron. I was planning on using this pattern to make a pinafore for a long time. Now, I no longer had any reason to put off making it any longer. This is the first thing that I made for my Alice costume.

I was expecting a super quick, really easy, beginner level sewing pattern. This is not a super quick, really easy, beginner level sewing pattern. The other aprons featured in this sewing pattern might be beginner level, but this apron is more along the moderate level of sewing capabilities. It uses things like button holes, narrow seams, gathering and basting stitches, and ruffles. I know, I know, ruffles can be used in beginner sewing patterns. This pattern just did not feel like a beginner level pattern. I’m glad that I started with it, because I started on the apron about a month before Halloween. I gave myself plenty of time and I took things slow. One day, I cut out the pattern pieces. Then I put everything aside and started construction the next day. Whenever I got to a point that was too frustrating or confusing, I just laid everything to the side and walked away. Sometimes I would come back to it in the same day. Other times, I would come back the next day. It all ended up working out in the end.
The only modification that I made was that I did not add the ruffle along the bottom of the apron. This ended up making me miss a step where I was supposed to hem the side and bottom of the bottom of the apron. As I have already said, it all ended up working out in the end. I was able to finish all of the edges, hide all of the seams, and make both the front and the back of the apron look good. I knew that the apron would be the main part of the costume that everyone would be able to see, so it was very important for it to turn out well, and it did. There were several people who did not believe that I had made my costume, because it did not look homemade to them.

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While I am very happy with how different pieces of the costume turned out, overall I think I could have done better. Maybe next year, my group will win first place instead of second! What do you recommend for four coworkers to dress up as for a work Halloween party?

Happy sewing!

week 34 – Collared. Making something with a collar. TAG: Collared

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The Facts

Fabric: mystery cotton blend

Pattern: made from approximating what other internet patterns were doing

Year: 2015, also – timeless

Notions: ribbon, thread

Time to complete: 1 hour, approximately

First worn: for work Halloween costume contest

Wear again? Possibly

Total Cost: $5.00, figuring time and materials

My workplace loves to celebrate the holidays. Every year for Halloween, we have a costume contest. There are prizes for the best individual costume, as well as for the best group costume. There are also prizes for the runner’s up. My coworkers told me that we are going as Alice in Wonderland, and that I would be Alice. I looked in the thrift stores for a dress that would be suitable, however I was unable to find one. I then looked for a pattern that would be simple, and capture all of the elements of Alice’s dress. I was unable to find one of those as well.

So, I made an Alice costume. Her dress in the movie includes a full skirt, puff sleeves, and a peter pan collar. I had trouble with the bodice of the dress, so I made the peter pan collar separate. There are a multitude of free patterns for all sorts of cute different peter pan collars. I somehow managed to miss the start of the trend of the peter pan collar necklace, but it seems to be still going pretty strong. I used the same fabric that I used for the dress, cut it, and sewed it with ribbon used for the closure. I’m not sure that I like how it looks on me. It seems to be too big to just wear as an accessory, but it works for the costume.
More pictures of the rest of the outfit to come soon.

Happy sewing!

Cat post 2

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See, I told you all that I would try to write more often. Slowly but surely I will get back into the habit of making time to write about the things that I am attempting to create.

This time, I am here to talk about cat toys. The kittens that we are fostering really like to try to hunt and “kill” whatever is around them. I decided it might be best to give them a lot of options that would be safe for them to destroy.

I had a pair of jeans in my fabric stash that Mr. Uncommongeek decided to get rid of due to a rip that could not be repaired. Denim is a super rugged fabric that can be very durable. As noted previously, I also have a seemingly endless supply of stuffing. As a side note, should I decide to make more in the future, I also happen to have a supply of catnip that I am not using here, simply because the kittens are too young to really be affected by it.

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I cut out a bunch of small pieces of the denim. Then I sewed them in various ways. The kittens are very small, so I wanted to be able to have something that is small enough for the kittens as they are now, but also some bigger pieces for when they are older.

Most of the shapes that I sewed were pretty square. First, I sewed up 3 sides.

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Then stuffed the pouch and sewed up the final side.

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I did the toys in two rounds to see which kind would be more popular of a toy. I like the look of the toys with the seams on the inside, but the kittens both seem toprefer having a flap of exposed seam to bite into. The exposed seam is also the side that they hold when they carry it around in their mouth. I also attached tails on the second round, just to make the toys more interesting. I decided not to add anything else because I definitely want to avoid any sort of choking hazard, or potential accidental ingestion.

Happy sewing!

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Sewing Challenge: Red

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The Facts

*Please note: This post was written last year. I have only just now gotten around to sharing it. Please enjoy!

Fabric: Scraps of t-shirts from stash and leftover from epic quilt of epicness.

Pattern: From picture shared on Facebook

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, polyester fiberfill

Time to complete: 30 hours? (it is still not completely done as I still need to finish the tentacles.)

First worn: n/a

Total Cost: Everything is from my stash, so I’m going to count this as free, but if I had to make one new, it would be somewhere around $10 – $15 just for the fiberfill, not to mention the headache of turning and stuffing all of the legs. The entire process took way longer than I thought it would and I battled with them for a long time.

Oh, Valentine’s Day. So much consumerism so close to Christmas. Is it so much to ask for a simple glass of wine with dinner every now and then? Flowers for no reason except to say “I love you and don’t need some calendar date to remind me to say so?” Do we really need to have a holiday set aside every year to remind single people that they are in fact, single?

I don’t wear much red in my wardrobe, so I wasn’t immediately inspired by this color to make something to add to my wardrobe. I am trying very hard to use the fabric that I have instead of buying new, so that limits the things that I can do based on the yardage that I have on hand. Around this time last year, when I was trying to complete the challenges, I made some red bow ties. For this year’s attempt, something so simple feels a little like cheating, especially since the last project was simple as well.  Besides, what says love better than the Elder Gods?

I saw a picture on Facebook and thought it looked cute enough to try. I already had a bunch of fabric scraps from previous projects. I cut them all into somewhat uniform pieces and laid them out to check color placement. I soon realized that I had too many scraps to make just one, so I divided the pieces up and started to make two of them.  I sewed the pieces together, then I sewed up the sides and turned the tubes inside out. Then I stuffed the tubes. Then I stuffed some more. Then I realized that I had finished off my 5 pound box of fiberfill and had to open up another box to be able to finish stuffing both creatures.

The figuring out the pattern for the head was a process that took some time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to look more like a squid or an octopus, so I just tried to make it not look horrible. I’m not sure that I succeeded. I decided to make it more like a squid in order to respect the kraken. In following this I also decided that they needed yellow and red eyes. I’m pretty happy with how the eyes turned out.

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The benefit of making this out of t-shirt scraps is that it is super soft and cuddly. It is a good companion when sitting on the couch as the head can sit behind you and you can move the tentacles around you until you have it just the way that you want it to be comfortable.

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Happy sewing!

Hat + scarf = harf…That can’t be right

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The Facts

Fabric: fleece from stash

Pattern: Simplicity 1795

Year: recent

Notions: thread

Time to complete: an afternoon

First worn: not yet

Wear again? Possibly next winter

Total Cost: I have no idea

Quite some time ago, I promised Mr. UncommonGeek that I would make him a hoody that resembled a recognizer from Tron. Since I have no experience sewing sweatshirts, and I am trying to use fabric that I already own (but do not currently own any suitable sweatshirt type material), this has proven rather difficult.

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(This is the tag from one of the fabrics used in this hat. Notice the date. I have had this fabric since 2010. Slowly but surely I will use all of the fabric in my stash.)

Then I came across the YouTube video that Sewing Nerd! that showed how to make a Mortal Kombat inspired hooded scarf. You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/Hkz4T8ikDrM

I showed the video to Mr. UncommonGeek and he immediately saw that I could make a hooded scarf that looks like a recognizer. I wasn’t 100% sure how to make the pattern that she uses. I have tried to make head wear in the past and it has not turned out well at all. Then I remembered that I had a copy of Simplicity 1795. I bought it awhile back because I am kind of a sucker for cute accessories. I figured that since spring is almost here, why not make some winter accessories.

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Since I have not made this pattern before, I decided to make a test one to see if it would work for what I need. The pattern went together pretty smoothly, but I found that the scarf part is super short. I feel like a t-rex when I put my hands in the pockets. I definitely need to lengthen the scarf ends for the final product. This means that I need to make another test hooded scarf to make sure I have the right pattern for when I make the final product for my husband.

Here is the finished product. I used my octopus that I made recently as a model.

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Happy Sewing!