4.20.2014

Minoru Spring Jacket

I've been looking for a new Spring jacket for a while now, and haven't been able to find something that has all the features I really want; zipper front, hood, and pockets.  I've seen so many Minoru jackets and thought maybe this pattern might fit the bill.
I will say, it was a bit of an investment.  The pattern with shipping was $23.  Add in fabric and notions and the total cost was probably $50 or more. 
Though I'm not sure this finished jacket is worth the cost to me, I do like, will probably wear it, will probably make another, and it was really, really fun to sew.
 If you are considering this pattern, be advised, the pattern comes with fairly minimal instructions.  I was a little nervous when I first opened it up.  But, Tasia has a separate  post for each step on her blog, Sewaholic.  There is also a ton of info on other blogs.  This is a really popular pattern and there is a lot of advice.  The pattern doesn't have outer pockets so I used this tutorial and pattern to add in-seam pockets.
 Even though there is a ton of info about this pattern already out there, I'll throw my 2 cents in. 

  • I cut a size 2 with no changes
  • main fabric is a mid-weight cotton/poly blend
  • everything but the pockets and arms are lined with a quilting weight cotton
  • slippery, lining fabric for the pockets and arms is a must
  • I LOVE the lining, the hood, and the general fit
  • the construction is fairly easy and the end result feels really high quality.  It feels like a jacket I could have bought at a store
 Though I do really like this jacket, I have a list of dislikes as well.
  • The hood pocket seems totally unnecessary, especially since when I tucked my hood inside, it was really bulky and looked silly.  I'll always have my hood out and will eliminate the zipper next time.
  • I don't care for the in-seam pockets and will do welt pockets next time.
  • I also don't care for the elastic cuffs.  I ended up having to shorten my sleeves and next time could just hem them and eliminate the cuff altogether.
  •   Though I like the fit and look, I think I would use a narrower elastic to gather the waist. 
I think I would also make the collar a little smaller.  Here is the jacket all zipped up with the hood up.  It would make a good spy jacket.
Despite all my dislikes, I will definitely be making another.  I'm really excited to see how my next version comes out.
How many Minorus is too many? 

4.06.2014

Felt Easter Bucket-TUTORIAL

 Easter is right around the corner.  Here's any easy way to add something handmade to your Easter tradition.

Download Pattern for the bottom HERE
(or you can draw a circle with a diameter of 9 inches)

Here's what you'll need:
1 piece of felt for exterior - 8  x 28 inches
1 piece of medium weight fabric for interior - 8 x 28 inches 
2 circles - one from felt, one from interior fabric
about 1 yard of double fold bias tape 

By the way, this is a great project to try out making your own bias tape.  You don't need much, so you can grab any fun fabric off your shelf and give it a try.   
 I added a cute bunny applique. If you are going to add your own, be sure to do it now.  The side with your applique will be the right side of your felt.  If you don't add applique, there is not right side.

Okay, so match up the shorter sides of your felt rectangle, right sides together, and sew with a 1/2 inch seam.
Pin the felt circle to the felt rectangle, with right sides together.
TIP: if you mark the quarter points on the circle and quarter points on the felt tube and match them up, it is much easier to make it fit together nicely. 
 Clip the seam allowance to help it sit flat.
 Do the same for the interior fabric.
Then place the interior inside the felt bucket.  Trim the interior so it matches nicely to the felt exterior.
Pin the bias tape all around the raw edge at the top of the basket.  Overlap the ends and fold one raw edge over.
 Sew around with a wide zigzag stitch.
 I was ready to stop here with this bucket, but then my son saw it and wanted a handle.  The handle is definitely nice for egg collecting.  But, I think I'll probably take them off later so the kids can use them as storage buckets.  Anyway, here's what I did for a handle.
 Cut 2 handle pieces, one from felt and one from your interior fabric, 2.5 x 20 inches
With right sides together sew around the exterior with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a few inches open along a side.
Turn right side out.  Pin the opening closed and top-stitch.
 Pin the handle to the sides of the bucket and sew in place.
 Too cute!
 What will you fill your Easter buckets with?

3.17.2014

Kid Sized Lunch Bag Tutorial

I recently made myself a new lunch bag from my own tutorial, and had a bit of an aha moment.  My kids both have store-bought lunch bags that get really dirty.  They get wiped clean, but are never as clean as I would like and they aren't machine washable.  So I took my current lunch bag tutorial and adjusted the size to be more kid and backpack friendly.
Now, the kids have lunch bags that are cute, the right size, and totally machine washable!  Woo-hoo!

Approximate finished dimensions:
10 inches tall, 7x5 inches at base, 9.5 inches at the top

Here's what you'll need:
2 pieces 13"x13" exterior fabric (I used a quilting weight cotton, so I added a medium weight interfacing.  This isn't necessary if you use a heavier weight fabric)
2 pieces 13"x13" sport nylon for lining
2 pieces 13"x13" Insul-Bright insulation  
10" zipper
2 pieces of cotton strapping, 15" each (or make your own straps - HERE)


Use this diagram to shape all pieces; exterior, lining and insulation.  First cutout a 2.5"x2.5" square from each bottom corner.  Then measure 1 inch in from each top edge and draw a line from the top of the square cutout to the 1 inch mark.  Cut along this line.  If you cut the line before cutting out the bottom square, you won't get the correct shaping.
Here's how it should look when you're done shaping.

Everything from this point on is the same as the original tutorial HERE.  The nylon simply replaces the PUL for the lining.

I've washed my lunch bag many times and it holds up great. 
The size is perfect for a 1st grade lunch.  We make our lunches in the evening, refrigerate overnight and then add a frozen ice pack in the morning.  My daughter reports that her lunch is nice and cold and the ice pack is actually still cold at the end of the day!
Let me know if you make one and if you have questions.  I think this lunch tote is great.
I'd love to hear what you think.