About the Categories

As I'm sewing my way through blog-land, I'm rating every tutorial I use - according to skill level and three ratings. Here is the break down of those:

Jump Right In: This tutorial is well organized and easy to follow. Don't worry about it, just jump right in!

Make a Muslin: The theory is good. The design is worth making, but the instructions are out of order or difficult to understand. Don't make the first one out of your "good fabric".

Don't Cut That: I imagine there won't be many of these. However, if I do use this rating, it will be because the tutorial is fraught with mistakes and misleading directions. Honestly, it would have to be pretty bad.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Doll's Pillowcase Tutorial

Tutorial: Doll's Pillowcase
Skill Level:  Beginner
Rating:  Jump Right In!

I liked making that nine-patch block.  I really did.  The math lover in me enjoyed making all the seams line up.

That one block also made me painfully aware of how much time quilting was going to take me, especially because I still couldn't sew a straight line! I figured quilting was not in my near future.

But, in spite of myself, I fell in love with the Crazy Mom over at Crazy Mom Quilts. Honestly, most days I just sat in awe of how many amazing quilts that woman could crank out!! 

Then, in December 2008, she posted a tutorial for a doll's quilt and pillowcase. With Alana's birthday coming up and Mamie (her dolly) desperately needing bedding, I decided I would try this. I used scraps of quilting fabric I had to make her a quilt (and it's still my best quilt – lol!) and made a coordinating pillowcase. 

Of course, the tutorial was perfectly clear and easy to follow. Amanda has a way of explaining things that make the most complex tasks seam (hehe) simple!

So, you should try this one. Definitely. And make a thousand of them...because you'll feel SO ACCOMPLISHED when it's over. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Easy Pants Tutorial

Tutorial: Easy Pants Tutorial
Skill Level:  Beginner
Rating:  Jump Right In!

During the boy's clothing roundup, Sew Mama Sew (again) led me to this "Easy Pants Tutorial" from Handy Home Projects.  Let me first say, that I was incredibly intimidated by even the idea of this project.  **Surely I can't make pants.**  That's just crazy!

For this tutorial, however, I wish I could give it a better rating that "Jump Right In".  I can't even find the appropriate words to describe how truly easy she made this.  I use this process constantly in making pants for my kiddos.  I've used this tutorial for everything from gauchos for the girls, to flannel-lined canvas pants for little man, fleece pants out of cheap fleece when we just need some extra warmth and the first ones I made:  little dress pants for everyone out of Goodwill purchased pants from the LIMITED!!  The fabric is so nice, that my oldest girls still wear these (even though they're considered nearly flood pants now O )

For these, reusing the hem from the original pants made extremely short work of four pair of nice pants!

So, without further ado, here are the pants I made the first go-round:

Oh, but a warning, these are post-DSLR, but pre-flash...so the photo quality is horrible.  :(

 Ahhh, free hems!

And happy girls!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To Quilt, or Not to Quilt (Disappearing 9 Patch)

Tutorial: Quilts & ATC Disappearing 9 Patch
Skill Level:  Intermediate
Rating:  Jump Right In!

Eventually, Sew Mama Sew mentioned quilting in this post.  With my interest perked, I (of course) ended up at Quilts & ATCs for the disappearing 9 patch tutorial.  This tutorial (unfortunately) is not for a beginner.  To me, if you need instructions to make the 9 patch disappear, you're probably a beginner, right?  Well, I was.  My seams were too big.  I didn't know anything about quilting...but it turned out alright.  So, I am rating this as an intermediate tutorial and giving it a Jump Right In rating because IF you already know a little about quilting, the Disappearing Nine Patch is very easy.

If you are a beginner, however, I recommend the PS, i quilt tutorial found here:

It's definitely more of the beginner-friendly tutorial we've all come to know and love!

Oh, and this is my first one...

And, I don't have a photo of the block after the patches "disappeared"  :)  but I have one of the wonky first quilt I made with them:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Charm Pack Twirl Skirt

Tutorial: Charm Pack Twirl Skirt
Skill Level:  Beginner
Rating:  Jump Right In!

Because I had four little girls at the time, my life was centered around ruffles and skirts.  This is about the time I stumbled upon Sew Mama Sew!


Around the time I found it, was children's clothing round up time.  How perfect!  I thought I would have to sew for months just to be satisfied.  I was wrong, it has taken years and I'm still not there.  o

I started with the cutest little skirt that seemed like I could actually do it.  :)  It was the Charming Little Skirt Tutorial by The Merry Church Mouse.  I have to be honest, I was terrified!  I mean, this was actually sewing.  :)  I had no idea what I was doing, but had set my mind on making this for my second daughter's birthday.  The tutorial was PERFECT.  It was almost like she was in the room, holding my hand, saying no, no - like this.  lol!

This was definitely the tutorial that made me feel like I would like to sew for a LONG time and that maybe I could actually be good at it.  

So, I borrowed my mom's machine...

Spent an hour that night sewing...

I wish I could find a photo of someone wearing it - because it's still around...
handed down twice now!

Not quite a tutorial

Hmmm...what came next?  Well, it would have to be the ruffled-edge baby blanket for my little sister.  Now, I know this is going to tell a lot about my sewing experience, but I had NO CLUE how to make a blanket!

But while strolling through my local Joann one day, I noticed this adorable little instruction card (you can find it here)

The instructions seemed simple enough, and the local Joann had tons of LSU fabric on sale, so it seemed like a sure bet!  While this is definitely not a tutorial (there is no step-by-step illustration for us visual learners) and I had to google what it meant to gather with a basting stitch and how to slip stitch an opening closed, the directions are solid.

I make these blankets from time to time now, of course, using a ruffler foot, and this is the basic process I used for our Fall table runner this year.  Overall, I'll give this a "Make a Muslin" rating - just because the directions may require some clarification for a beginner, but this is definitely a beginner's project!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Circle Skirt, Here I come!

Tutorial: Made Circle Skirt
Skill Level:  Beginner
Rating:  Jump Right In!

The immediate next project was a circle skirt. I didn't use a tutorial for that one, just some geometry. But, I did try my hand at a tutorial for it - not very good. Either way, the method I use is just like this one from 
Dana Made It!

Dana's tutorial definitely gets a "Jump Right In".  As with all of her tutorials, the directions are clear, concise and easy to follow.  Easy peasy for anyone from beginners to experts!

Now, here are a few Circle skirts that I've made:

The purple one on the left is still worn regularly (by a little sister, of course).

The one on the right was a fabric choice FAIL and was soon turned into doll clothes & scraps.  :)

More recently, we've made many many half circle skirts, made using similar math and half as much fabric.

Here are a couple of those:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wrap Skirts that don't fly open - OH MY!

After being tipped off by a friend, I devoured the connimom wrap skirt tutorial.  From that, I made my first clothing item for me!

  The instructions were incredibly clear and concise.  This is the first one I made, and I had pretty much zero sewing experience.

  I made it out of clearance twill from Joann's...and still wear it in the fall.  :)

Then later, I went back for the tutorial to make the girls' each a little kid-sized one (before I learned to print and file tutorials) and it was gone!!

I was frantic - because of course I didn't start until the night before I needed the skirts!  But, after literally an hour of searching, I found it! 

So, without further ado, here it is - the bestest wrap skirt tutorial around:  the connimom (aka Mamahen) wrap skirt, 
Part 1 and Part 2  

Oh, and the girls' skirts:

Starting from the beginning

Tutorial:  Indie Tutes Peasant Shirt
Skill Level:  Beginner
Rating:  Jump Right In!

I don't like patterns.  I just don't.  My husband would say it has something to do with being told what to do.  My mom would say something about me being just like my dad.  They'd both be right...sort of.  

I don't know, it's something about all the fidgety parts of a pattern that frustrate me.  I'm sure one day I'l grow up and sew like a big girl.  Until then, I really like tutorials.  Maybe it's the pictures.  hmmm....

Well, I'd like to say I've kept track of every thing I've made, but I can't really do that.  I started sewing about four years ago intermittently for my daughters.  The first tutorial I used was to make a tiered skirt for my daughter.  I didn't use a single tutorial - but a compilation of several different sites.  So, I'll link all of them!  #
I started with the J Caroline instructions and adjusted slightly with the tutorial from Kuky Ideas and one from Crafster.

Then, just because it seemed like the right thing to do, I followed that up with Indie Tutes' Peasant Blouse.

And, this is what we ended up with:

Peasant Blouse and Tiered Skirt

Then, obviously, we needed a few for my nieces in Japan.  #  Unfortunately, by the time I got off my duff, made and mailed them, they barely fit.  $   Lesson learned:  little girls grow FAST!

Raggedy Ann