Friday, August 27, 2010

Would you like to sew an easy apron?

Well then I have the project for you.  In fact I almost hesitate to share this with you because it is so simple that you will start to question all of my "hand made" gifts.  Sometimes, however it's nice to have a project that isn't the marrying kind of commitment but just a summer fling or evening flirtation.  What I mean to say is sometimes I'm in the mood to create but I want simple, fast and minimal clean up.  So if you are in need of a project like that or are new to sewing this will be perfect.

Find a dish towel.  Yes, a dish towel, one that is already made and one that you like a lot.  Twos Company sells really cute ones but they're just a little too expensive to buy to fill my washing and drying needs but not too expensive to turn into super cute aprons so that is why I came up with this idea.  I mean I could cut and applique and embroider the perfect dish towel but why should I if it's already been done?  Any way this particular apron is made from a Twos Company towel as a gift for one of my coffee girls graduation present (perfect right?).  Then go to the fabric store or your stash (if your lucky enough to have the space for one) and get a yard or so of a coordinating fabric preferably in a cotton.  This next step is my least favorite because by now I'm really antsy to get started but you MUST wash your dish towel and fabric before you sew or all your hard work will be for nothing (imagine the different pieces shrinking and tearing when you wash them after spilling chocolate milk on your apron for the first time because that will happen eventually; the spilling I mean).

Next get out your ruler or tape measure and shears (I have no idea how to spell scissors so I'm going with the Granny term shears) and measure across the width of your apron (the part that will be the apron waist) add two inches onto that measurement, this will be the measurement for the width of your fabric for your waist band.  Then decide how tall you want your waist band to be, I like mine pretty tall say six inches, then double that and add on two inches (so 14 inches in my case).  Your measurements will make a rectangle on your fabric cut out this rectangle and fold it in half down (so that the waist band is now longer then it is tall or in my case 12 inches by 7 inches, this fold will sandwich the top of the dish towel).  Open up your waist band and fold each raw end in one inch and iron (this way when you go to sandwich the towel all the raw ends will be folded under).

Next cut your apron ties from what's left of your fabric.  Decide how long you want them and then make them about six inches wide.  Cut two.  Iron them in half, folded down so that they are now three inches wide, with right sides (the pretty side) facing.  Sew along the long edge 1/4 inch away from edge and then turn and sew down one short side.  Turn right side out.

Finally sandwich your dish towel in your waist band and pin in place. Then put the ends of your apron ties (the unsewn end) in each end of the waist band and pin in place.  Sew 1/4 inch all the way around the three sides (short side, long side being sure your catching the towel, and short side).  And voila you now have a finished apron.  And I promise it's easy, if my directions are rambling and confusing just use your common sense.  If you try this and have a question for goodness sakes Face Book me or leave a comment here.
this was so fun and easy I felt guilty plus I wanted to use my new book "An Embroidery Companion" so I cross stitched the student's first initial into the waist band before I sewed it to the dish towel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes Giving a home made gift isn't what you dreamed it would be.

As in I dreamed that this giraffe would be the hit of the birthday party.  People ooing and aahing over how talented I am and how hard I must have worked to finish this little cutie.  I imagined that in time this giraffe would become my nieces favorite stuffed toy; you know the one she can't sleep with out the one that goes every where with her.  I imagined that this toy would be loved so well it would loose an eye and get really floppy. That some day it would end up in an antiques shop and someone like my mom would see it and fall in love with it and buy it for an unreasonable sum saying all the time "I have to have it, you can tell how loved the poor thing was." then they would take it home and display it on an old child's rocking chair next to a ratty stuffed dog and a bunny missing an ear!

That is what I imagined would happen... what actually happened was my sister-in-law pulled the toy out of the bag while my niece was trying to escape off her blanket back to her cake and said "Oh how cute a sock monkey." (let yourself pause here to get the full effect of my let down) then I giggled politely so she would know that wasn't right and she said "I mean sock giraffe." Friends this toy is neither a monkey (I hate monkeys) or was it ever a sock.  I CROCHETED this GIRAFFE during the afternoons while the children were asleep and in the evenings after they were in bed, I went to wal-mart (WAL-MART YUCK!) because the face didn't look right in the colored yarn I already had on hand and it was late.  Oh well my favorite crafter (I hate that term isn't there a more romantic term then crafter?) Alicia Paulson (who's new book, The Embroidery Companion, I LOVE) warned me this could happen.  In her first book, Stitched in Time, she talks about how there will be times when people won't appreciate what you've made them quite as much as you do...

And you know what that's all right with me because I still feel like a hand made gift is more special then any thing I could buy in the store (especially any fisher price light up crap) Tasha Tudor says that when you make someone a gift you gift them twice; once in the actual gift and a second in the time you took out of your schedule to make them something because you thought of them.  I like to use the time when I'm making something to stitch and sew little prayers and hopes for that person (especially when it's children) into the project.  And I like to think that some of that magic is left there.  A piece of me, so that when they hold the toy or wear the garments they will feel how much I love them and how much I hope for them.  The blessings that I want to give them but am not sure how to put into words I put into stitches instead.
This giraffe has rather large arms which I like to think of as muscles; and really doesn't a little girl need a stuffed animal with large muscles to keep her safe from the boogy man at night?  The bib I did mostly in the car on our Maine trip.  My niece had a rough start in life spending the first many months of her life in the hospital so I wanted this bib to be light and free, full of colors and flowers and the idea that she will be a free spirit blowing with the wind, following her dreams.  And a sun because of that Irish blessing, "The Lord let his face shine upon you."