Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Silhouette Ornament Tutorial

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I know, I know... I bet you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth. I assure you that despite my poor neglected blog, I am doing well. When life gets busy (when is it not, right?) the blog goes on the back burner. I've put together a little tutorial to try and make it up to you. Christmas is coming up and I'm always antsy to make ornaments. These are similar to my other silhouettes, except I use a digital silhouette printed on iron-on transfers instead of cutting... I know there are people that can cut a silhouette the size of a quarter, but I am not one of those people, so there you have it. Hope you enjoy!


wooden plaque (small 3" to 5" size, any shape, unfinished)

acrylic paint

Iron-on transfer sheet for LIGHT fabrics

small piece of cotton fabric, light color and pattern

Mod Podge


Step One: Prep your wooden plaque. Smooth with fine grain sand paper if desired. You can purchase these small wooden plaques at most craft store for 50 cents each. I purchased mine from my local Hobby Lobby, but they also sell them online here.

Step Two: Paint the plaque. I just used classic black acrylic paint, but feel free to go wild and use any color of your choice. I only painted the sides and the back, leaving the top unfinished, since the top will be covered by the silhouette.

Step Three: Create your digital silhouette. This is the most tedious part of this project, but it's worth it to make digital silhouettes of your children because then you can use them to make a countless different projects. The best way to draw your digital silhouette is by creating a vector image in a program such as Adobe Illustrator. Vector images are created using "paths" such as points and curves that connect. Like this:

This means that your image will retain its same high quality whether you enlarge it to the size of a house or shrink it to the size of a peanut. Very cool indeed. Drawing vector files takes practice, but it's definitely a handy thing to know. I taught myself by watching this excellent tutorial on YouTube. I will not attempt to teach vector drawing in this brief tutorial. If you are familiar with creating vectors, great, but if not then here is an alternative method to creating your silhouette:

  1. Take a profile picture of your child. Good luck trying to get them to NOT look at the camera. Take at least 10 pictures and use the best one out of the lot.
  2. Upload the photo onto your computer and print the head/shoulder profile picture as large as possible onto an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. Print as is, in color.
  3. Lay a plain white sheet of paper on top of your printed picture. Tape at sides to hold sheets together.
  4. Tape to a window with lots of natural light. Use a pencil to trace the silhouette. Free-form draw the shoulder bust as desired.
  5. Remove silhouette from window and using a fine-tip permanent black marker, carefully trace the silhouette over the pencil lines. Since you used a permanent marker, you can now go back and erase your pencil lines without the black marker smudging.
  6. Scan the silhouette image into your computer and use a paint or photo editing program to fill the silhouette in black. Also, clean up your image by tweaking the brightness, contrast levels. Crop and save as a jpeg.

A third alternative is to hire someone to draw your vector image for you (not me). There are a lot of sellers on Etsy that will do this :)

Step Four: Size your silhouette and add text. Determine the size your silhouette should be based on the size and shape wooden plaque you are using. Size silhouette accordingly, add text. Once you are happy with your layout, you will need to REFLECT/MIRROR/HORIZONTALLY FLIP the image so the text is mirrored. Now print a test page and lay it over your plaque to make sure it lines up nicely.

Step Five: Create your iron transfer. It is important that you buy the iron-on transfer sheets for LIGHT fabric (not dark). The iron-on transfers for light fabric are transparent, and will allow your cute fabric to show through, as well as laminate it nicely and prevent fraying. Follow the instructions for printing your silhouette.

Step Six: Apply your transfer. Cut your fabric piece to roughly the size your need to cover your plaque. Your transfer should be laying on the RIGHT side of your fabric. Tip: Before you iron your transfers, run a lint brush over your fabric to remove any unsightly fuzzies that will be come forever trapped beneath the transfer.

Now use your superwoman strength to firmly iron your transfer, using the highest heat setting, and NO STEAM. Iron in circular motion.

Cool completely and peel away paper.

Step Seven: Mount your silhouette. Cut your iron-on transfer to the shape of the wooden plaque. A good way of doing this is making a template first. Lay a sheet of paper over your plaque and use your finger to trace and crease. Cut out paper template, center it over your iron transfer, and cut out your image.

Tip: To center your template over your iron-on transfer, hold up to a window with a lot of natural light.

Apply a coat of Mod Podge and adhere your silhouette. Hot glue a ribbon loop to the back to finish.

Now go make a bunch... the grandparents are going to love these!

Happy crafting

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Projects

Pin It Now! I've been having a ton of fun sewing this summer. Here are just a few of the projects I've recently finished:

Throw pillows! I've fallen in love with English paper piecing. Trust me, these hexagons are way easier than they look to make. Ashley at Film in the Fridge has posted some great tutorial links for hexi-quilting. Oh, how I would love to make an entire quilt out of these fun little hexis, but that would be a 50-year feat for me.

More throw pillows. Great way to use up scraps :)

Gathered cap sleeve A-line dress out of stretch cotton sateen. My gorgeous friend Rachel and I got together and sewed this fabulous dress for her to wear to her sister-in-law's wedding. We made a shrug to go with it... I'm thinking of doing a shrug tutorial sometime. I'll put it on my mile-long to-do list for ya'll. If you don't see it by 2012, shoot me an email and I'll get on the ball.

Here it is without the shrug. Rachel, you're a babe.

Swimsuit for Ashlyn.
I love sewing swimsuits for me and my girls. Cute modest swimsuits are hard to come by. Really, the cost to sew them is pretty dang low. I considered offering them in my etsy shop...for like 2 seconds, until I woke up and realized that it would be impossible to sell swimsuits and maintain a high customer satisfaction reputation. Seriously, even most skinny-mini toothpick women hate the way they look in a bathing suit. Some ventures are better left alone.

Little birds framed. I finally got around to cutting the mat for these pretty little bird ACEOs I got from Natasha at LuxArt. (Vinyl decal in background is from my sis-in-law at JaneyMacPress).

Crazy balls, bibs and burb cloths. If you work with my husband and you have a baby, this is what you'll likely get as a gift from us. I wish people at Denzil work would stop reproducing so fast, because I feel like I have to make one of these sets every few weeks. My friend Janna makes the best crazy balls in the world, so if you decide your baby absolutely needs one (she does), check out her shop.

I'm way overdue for a tutorial. Any special requests?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pack n' Play Sheet Tutorial

Pin It Now! It's time for another tutorial! This one is for a pack n' play crib sheet... such a simple thing, yet immensely practical and valuable to anyone with a baby. They are surprisingly easy to make... once you get the hang of it and know what you're doing, you'll be whipping these puppies out in 15 minutes*! I think these things are all made in a standard size (38" x 26"), but you'll have to measure your pack n' play mat to make sure. Deep breath and here we go...

*Disclaimer: In order to accomplish this in 15 minutes, use the "snip and rip" method to cut your pieces and also use a serger. If you don't have a serger, then you can use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine.


1 1/2 yards cotton, pre-washed

Seam Allowance: 1/4 inch (serged or overlock stitch)


Step One: Quite the long materials list, eh? That's why I love this pattern... you don't have to mess with elastic! Ok, it is important to pre-wash your fabric. Otherwise, when your baby poos, pees and spits up on his/her nice new sheet and you go to wash it, it will SHRINK. It would be an utter waste of your 15 minutes. On the other hand, you don't want to sew your sheet too big, because nobody wants a saggy sheet... particularly the American Baby Association. So, do whatever tweaking you need to do in order to get your sheet fitting perfectly snug :)

Cut out your pieces. My preferred fast, and accurate way is the snip and rip method (see video for demonstration in my Ruffle Apron Tutorial). Rip out the large 49"x26.5" piece first. Then rip out two 29"x5.5" pieces for the side panels. I set my pack n' play mat in the back so you can see for comparison.

Step Two: Take your two side panels and serge along one of the long sides on each. The serged end of the side panel will face inward on the back side of your sheet.

Step Three: Line up the tail ends of the side panels and pin them to one short end of your sheet body right sides together. Make sure the serged sides of the side panels face inward. The ends of the side panels are just hanging down, unfinished.

Here is the serged end. It's hard to see the wrong and right sides of the this particular fabric, so I apologize. Make sure to sew everything "right sides" together.

Step Four: Pull the unfinished tail ends of the side panels until they meet with the opposite end of the sheet body that you just serged... this will cause the end to fold in order for those side panels to reach the opposite end. Now pin the side panel ends in place and serge down that side like you did the other side.

Now measure the length to make sure it is 38 inches. Take it in if you need to.

Step Five: Center the side panels. This should create about a 5-inch fold on each side. Pin along the long sides and serge.

Once again, measure to ensure that the width is 26 inches. If not, adjust accordingly.

Step Six: Sike! There is no step six... you're finished! Now turn the sheet right-side out and slip it over you mat. This is the reversed side:

And here is my happy, chubby baby with a ridiculously huge and frilly headband testing it out:

This one's for you, Jacqui
(cute baby not included)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lego Star Wars Quilt

Pin It Now! I have a love/hate relationship with quilting. I am in complete awe of the art of quilting and love to look at quilts. Truly, I could stare at quilts all day, especially ones by Ashley of Film in the Fridge. Check them out... they're like eye candy. Unfortunately, I hate sewing quilts. I lack the patience, and take shortcuts that would make a true quilter cringe (I'll spare you my long list of quilting sins). I prefer projects that I can finish in under 4 hours, and quilting definitely does not fall under that category.

When I made quilts for my girls (here), my son asked me when I was going to make his quilt. His favorite thing in the whole wide world is Lego Star Wars, so behold, "THE LEGO STAR WARS" Quilt. Please don't sue me, George... it would break my 6 year old's heart.

I told Denny that he could choose 3 characters for me to applique on his quilt. He chose an Imperial Guard, Darth Vader, and Jango Fett. Yep, all from the "dark side". This concerned me at first, but if you think about it, all the cool looking characters are bad guys. Take Luke for example... what a pansy. I like how Jango Fett turned out the best... what a stud :)

All I've gotta say is he better like Lego Star Wars until he goes to college, because I don't plan on sewing him another quilt anytime soon. But just in case he grows out of it, he can flip it over.

And matching pillowcases.

Nicest mom ever, I am.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Top Week

Pin It Now! Ok folks, you have less than one week left to submit your entries for Made by Rae's Spring Top Week contest! Here are the three tops I entered.

I call this one the Pintuck Peasant Top. Original design by me, inspired by my maternity moomoo, which I still love, love, love to wear. Cotton/Linen blend fabric (from Joann's).

I made a floor length linen skirt to go with it... and of course I'm a sucker for matching mother/daughter outfits, so Ashlyn got an outfit as well.

Let's simply call this one the Sky Top. It's blue, it's frilly and I'm really not in the mood to rack my brain for a better name. Original design by me. Cotton/Lycra blend fabric in aqua with grey contrast stitching. Thinking of offering this style in my shop... we'll see.

And finally, the Darling Top in black linen, featuring a peter pan collar, linen rose and gathered empire waist. Another original design by me, inspired by my friend's grandma's moomoo. You must think I'm obsessed with moomoos. Well I am. Have you ever worn one? Heaven.

Happy Sewing