Fox Applique Tutorial and Pattern

This post is waaaaaay overdue, and I’ve been trying to work on it for months. I think I made my fox tee back in April. I don’t have any absolutely amazing photos of it, as creative documentation and I are sort of at odds with one another these days. I’m just excited to finally be sharing!

I’m gonna give a special shout out to my husband, who saved me from the pit of PDF-sharing ignorance and despair. And I’m dedicating this post to Mimi, who never gave up. 

Now that the credits are out of the way…

I give you the fox applique tutorial and pattern. You may remember this design from my *ahem* award-winning version of the Archie Doll.

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1. Print and cut.

If you’re making your own tee, the pattern I used is Dana’s Basic Tee. You can find my fox pattern here

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I did not include a pattern for eyes and a nose, but you guys should be able to figure that out. They’re just circles and a rounded triangle. 

Oh, and I should say that I did this applique with knit, so, when sewn, the edges will be left raw. And I sewed my applique onto my tee front *before* I assembled it, so that my t-shirt and sewing machine wouldn’t get into a fight. And use a ball-point needle!

2. Determine your placement and start sewing.

I don’t have pictures that get really specific about this, but pin on your first layer (the orange fox face), and sew the edges first. Then layer the whiskers and do the same thing. Now, I placed my whiskers a little high for my tastes, I meant to place them flush with the bottom of the fox face. So that’s the one change I’d make if I were doing this again. 

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3. Sew on the eyes and nose.

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4. Sew on the white ear pieces. And throw on some eyebrows for good measure.

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Then, if you’re making your own tee, assemble it. Boom, you’re done! 

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My shirt looks a little weird because I scaled up the pattern to a 5T, but I forgot to make the arms bigger. It doesn’t look as weird when Dex is wearing it. But if you resize a pattern, just remember to resize all the pieces!! 

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Dexter has worn this shirt like crazy for the past few months, mostly because I put it on him every single time it’s clean. 

I’d love to see if anyone recreates this! And, as usual, I’m cool with this being used for personal use, but not for monetary gain. 

Postage Stamp Quilt-Along Update

I’m a little behind on my post this week. I was stressed out about it because I thought I’d solved all my technology problems from the past few weeks. I was wrong. I think technology hates my blog. I was so mad the other day that I almost swore off blogging. But my husband helped put things into perspective: “No one is wailing and smashing their computer because you haven’t posted in time. They’ll see it when they see it.” Oh, Alex, you keep me grounded in reality. My response was, “Well, they *should* be.”
But, I’m still here, and (dare I say it??) think most of my tech problems are solved.

I’m excited to say I have already completed my February Postage Stamp Challenge! I solemnly vowed to sew all of quadrant 1 into sets of 4.

Sewing is done.

And ironing is done.

It was pretty awesome to iron these out. I started getting a feel for how things are going to look!

There were some sad ones. Several are like the one below, where the seams just don’t quite match. I didn’t have any tragically off-kilter ones, but I’m a little concerned about how it might throw things off. Of course, I’m worrying too much about it..

And I found a fabric I sewed on backwards. It’s the orange in the upper right. I *almost* took it apart to flip it, but I realized that it just doesnt matter and that I may like the backside better anyway.
And then there’s this bad boy… He’s more than a little snaggle-toothed. I am going to see if this block can be salvaged, but I suspect I will have to take it apart and maybe replace a couple of the squares. It might be for the best, all those lines going in different directions make me a little nauseated and anxious lol.

But overall, I was really pleased with how they look. I definitely have some favorites! The one below just makes me really happy for some reason.

A few produced some color combos I’d never really considered. In the future, I may look to these for inspiration:

I really liked this one with the frog.

I definitely have a weakness for aqua, red, and black together. All my favorite blocks turned out to contain green/aqua, red/orange, and black and white!

Now I’m going through and squaring up all my blocks. Does using a rotary cutter make everyone’s elbows burn, or am I doing something wrong??

Bring on March’s challenge, Mary!! I’m ready!

 

Felt Piglet Tutorial

We’re having a Winnie the Pooh craze around here. Craze may be putting it a little strongly, but Dexter is frequently Pooh, pretending to suck honey off his hand and telling me he’s spitting out bees. He asked the other day if I’d make him a piglet… so I paused for a half-second and said, “Sure!”

If you’d like to use the exact pattern* I traced out, here it is:

 
I’ll show below how to assemble him and how I drafted my pattern.
*1. Where the body meets the legs, use the top pink line. The lower one was a mistake I didn’t remove. *2. My pattern is not symmetrical. It just didn’t occur to me until it was too late. This will be most obvious on the ears, the inner parts need to match the correct ear, unless you care to correct that on your pattern.

You can do this with any character really. Piglet is pretty simple in that he’s almost entirely made up of 2 colors. I found a picture online, blew it up to the size I wanted, printed it… and realized it wasn’t quite as big as I’d expected. So I roughly traced around it to enlarge it.

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You can see that I did a lot of correcting throughout the whole process. I was flying by the seat of my pants and really didn’t spend anytime in the planning phase! But all of these corrections should be reflected in the PDF pattern.

I folded over my felt and traced the pattern onto the side of the fabric that would be on the inside. Then I cut out both layers together.

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Next, I went scrounging for fabric for clothing. I didn’t want to have to hem anything, so I used only felt and t-shirt scraps. I didn’t have any dark pink, and I felt like he just HAD to have stripes. I figured purple would work too. It’s a warmer purple than it looks in all these pictures.

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So, lay Piglet down where you’d like the stripes to fall. Again, fold your fabric, with the wrong sides facing out.

I used a Sharpie to mark the points at his neck and crotch, and then traced the sides of his tummy.

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You’ll get a an outline that looks like the picture on the left (if you do it without the pattern I linked). Then just connect all the lines, making a dip at the top for his chin.

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Then I turned all the pieces right-side-up and started building Piglet.

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Cut out all the facial features. He’s starting to look pretty cute! Also, he looks a little broader than normal, but when he’s stuffed, it turns out just right.

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Sew on all the dark pieces.

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Next, layer the snout.

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Then add the little nose triangle.

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Then sew the clothes to the front and the back. Remember, you have not put him together yet, your back piece should still be separate from the front.

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Flip the sides and trim off any excess t-shirt fabric. You’ll want to check the front side after you do this and make sure you trim the parts you can’t see from the back.

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Now you create your Piglet sandwich (hmm…) and sew around the outside, starting below one ear, and ending at the bottom of the next ear.

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Piglet’s head should be floppy and open like this:

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Stuff the arms and legs first, leaving it slightly soft where they connect to the body, so that he won’t be completely stiff. Then talk some little kid into stuffing the rest for you. Actually, he got tired of this pretty quickly and I had to finish. He just wanted to shred the stuffing.

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Then I stitched across the arm joint to give them a little range of motion. I didn’t bother doing this with the legs, but you’re welcome to try if it pleases you.

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Round the Polyfil at the top, keeping it clear of where seams will be. I didn’t put any stuffing in the ears.

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Sew around the curve of the head, still ignoring the ears.

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Pin the pink parts onto the ears. Keep in mind that if you used my pattern, the ear parts are not interchangeable.

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Sew around the edge of the dark pink, both attaching it to the ear and closing the ear openings.

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Then trim off the threads and he’s good to go!!

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The first thing Dex did was cram him down into a jar. Poor Pickled Piglet.

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And he felt like he needed to compare the pattern to see if they matched up.

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He now sleeps with Piglet every night, which is awesome. I should add that felt starts to look a little ratty when it’s handled by sticky hands everyday. Just a heads up.

There are lots of steps, but this was a pretty quick project. All told, it took me about 2 hours to complete, including drafting the pattern and taking pictures.

I’d love to see if anyone comes up with any other characters! I hope to make a Winnie the Pooh sometime! But then I’d probably lose it and end up making the whole Winnie the Pooh family. Felt is dangerous!

Postage Stamp Quilt Progress

We’ve been having a crazy couple of weeks! In order to de-stress, I finally started working on my postage stamp quilt. I finished cutting all my pieces… 3584 to be exact. Here they are all sorted and bagged into quadrants.
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I’m sewing duos right now, keeping them all strung together until I’m ready to iron them. IMG_8681

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Pairing my little squares has been a lot of fun! I know Mary at The Curious Quilter keeps hers pretty random. Unfortunately, had A LOT of duplicates, so I was a little picky about how to pair them. My goal is to keep duplicates from touching, and hopefully to keep fabrics that are very similar from touching. Plus, as I was pairing them up, I really liked the idea that each fabric would have a coordinating buddy in the all the chaos!

Because of all the duplicates and my vow to keep them apart, I’m having to go about the whole thing a little differently. I’m going to use Mary’s Classic Squares Tutorial as my piecing guide. but I’m doing all my duos in a quadrant first, then I’ll probably lay them all out and sort them into individual 64 square blocks, to try to spread out the duplicates. Tip: Take it from someone who now knows better- duplicates in a postage stamp quilt cause problems!! I now believe it’s better to have as many unique squares as possible, unless you are striving for a controlled pattern in your quilt.

Make Your Own Chalkboard

I have been wanting a chalkboard so badly, pretty much ever since Pinterest showed me how cool they are (peer pressure!). You can’t find them anywhere, unless you’re willing to order one online. And I really wasn’t. I’m never on the front end of a fad, and I’m not about to shell out much money for one now :).

So I started looking into making my own. Hence this tutorial. I’m gonna show you how to make your own chalkboard using chalkboard spray paint.IMG_8526

This works especially well if you’re creating a big chalkboard and are worried about keeping things smooth and even. There are other forms of brush-on chalkboard paint out there, and I considered them, but I was really worried that I’d make a mess of it. When I stumbled upon Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint, I knew this would be my best bet. Now, I felt a little guilty, because I’d been reading Superfreakonomics, and I was in section about global warming, and I don’t know if spray paint is amazing for the environment. But I’d already bought it when it occurred to me, and I really really REALLY wanted my super cool chalkboard. So if you’re already ok with spray paint, go for it, if not, there is a tutorial for making a chalkboard with brush-on paint here.

1. Find your surface. I stumbled upon an old whiteboard in our garage, and I was super pumped. The frame was ugly, and if it starts to bother me I will paint it or reframe somehow, but I could not have found a better surface for my project! And it’s a good size, around 23”x46”.
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Clean the surface as well as you can. You don’t want any dirt or lint under your paint.

2. Protect your frame. Pitiful as mine may be, I still covered the frame with tape.
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3. Prime your surface. Just how imperative this step is, I do not know. But the guy at Home Depot recommended I do it, and I really didn’t want to waste my time and chalkboard paint, only have have it chip off. If you use a whiteboard like I did, the surface is going to be slick. Better to be safe than sorry! I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Primer in gray.
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Tips:

  • Spray outside or in a well ventilated area!
  • Put down a drop cloth if you care about the area you’re spraying in.
  • TAKE THE WIND INTO CONSIDERATION! I did not think about that, as I was spraying in my open garage. The day was very windy. I walked away and came back to my drop cloth on top of my board, which was also covered in a nice layer of dirt. Thankfully, it didn’t mess up the finished product, but it did cause me some panic.
  • If you’ve never used spray paint, it’s going to look crazy and splotchy at first (see above), but don’t worry, keep going back and forth as evenly as you can and you will cover the whole surface (see below).
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3. Apply your chalkboard paint. There are special instructions on the can for the chalkboard paint. You apply one coat, then 2 more light coats a few minutes apart. You’re then supposed to do this a second time, either within 1 hour or after 24 hours. I didn’t see the instruction about the “2 more light coats a few minutes apart.” I just waited about 20 minutes after the first coat and did a second one. And my chalkboard is fine.
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4. Be patient while your board dries. I only waited a couple of hours because I was too excited. The can says it’s dry to the touch after 1 hour and fully dry after 24 hours.

5. Peel off the tape. This was probably my favorite part because I love how you pull off the messy tape to reveal the crisp, beautiful finished product!

6. Go crazy-town on your new chalkboard!

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Link: Training Pants Pattern

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Occasionally, I trip around my WordPress dashboard, noting sporadic spikes in readership. Usually those are from mentions here and there on fellow bloggers’ pages. But, taking a look at my data just now, I discovered that someone has does something WONDERFUL with one of my tutorials.

Amber at Mom Road has created a pattern based on my Training Pants Tutorial! I can’t thank her enough, because I keep promising that I will gain the ability to produce patterns, and I never do.

I plan to print out her pattern and size it for Dex, because *whisper* I never even got around to making a pattern for myself! I just kept my ruined prototype pieces. So there is my confession of the day: I never officially used my own training pants because the knit was too tight and I got discouraged and never modified them! Any wonder why I never put out patterns Winking smile ?? Thanks so much, Amber!!

WIP: Postage Stamp Quilt (Cutting and Calculating!)

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Isn’t this project supposed to be a scrap-buster? What am I doing bringing new fabrics into this house??

I cleaned out my tiny scraps and had only 450 of my proposed 4096 squares. And I get a little impatient sometimes, and do impulsive things. I went to Joann’s looking for Thomas fabric for a birthday gift. I didn’t find any Thomas the Train, but I did find LOTS of fabrics that would look great in my postage stamp quilt.

My rationality: I planned on getting a few fat quarters. But it occurred to be me that 4 fat quarters would come out to $8. so, why shouldn’t I just get lots of 1/8 and 1/16 cuts of lots of fabrics for the same price? Yes, this is very sound logic indeed.

But it turned out to be a great choice. For $5.50 I got 13 different fabrics (just over 1.25 yards) as opposed to 4 for $8 (1 yard).

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I loved all the fabrics I chose, but I was really excited about a few. This green fabric was around 60% off because it was a St. Patrick’s Day print. Awesome!!!

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Novelty fabrics were 30% off so I threw in some mushrooms and owls! (BTW, somewhere along the line, I decided this quilt is definitely for me. I’m apparently not interested in sharing a “Big Hug”.)

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I fussy-cut the owls, which is something I’ve always wanted to do! But, as they were almost 2 inches tall, they’ll still get a little cut off at the edges.

So I’ve been cutting up a storm, between other projects, “cleaning” (ha!), and going to birthday parties (2 this weekend). And I’ve now reached 1104 pieces. Proof:

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I’m doing my calculations right on the box, lest I lose them and become desperate and frustrated later. It’s a lot of gibberish, but I know what it means. For now… (Update: I took down the picture of my “calculations” because something was way off.)

My quilt will be roughly 74”x90”, modeled after a quilt that I already use all the time. I’m currently planning to do 1/4 seams, because that’s what I normally do when sewing, unless a clothing pattern calls for something different. So that means my finished squares will be 1.5” instead of 1”. After all my calculations, I will need 2296.875 squares… as you can see, my calculations still need to be tweaked 🙂 (Update: I have done some crazy-bad calculating it seems… As Mary says on her blog, you should have 64 squares per 12” block. For some reason I came to the conclusion that she was using 1/2” seams, but she is also using 1/4” seams. NEVER TRUST MY MATH 😛 ) But I’m excited to have a semi-functional plan!