Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cell Phone Felt Pouch

While searching for a simpler project for the second grade Girl Scout Brownies, I came across a site devoted to Kids' Sewing Projects.

I wanted to have button sewing be a part of this project. I decided to add many felt and button embellishments to my felt pouch as an example for the Girl Scouts.

My hope is that the girls could choose two or three embellishments to add to their little pouches.

First I took an iPhone to see what size pouch to make. Then I marked the folds with masking tape. Another thing I made sure to know was which direction I should place each embellishment because I didn't sew the pouch up until the end.

I used embroidery floss and sewed the sides up with the floss as well. I will probably braid a strap of some sort to make it into wristlet or purse.

The girls LOVED this project. They chose lots of neat designs and spent a good deal of time cutting out felt shapes. The meeting was half over or more before they started sewing and they were not able to complete the project during our meeting time. They brought the pouches home unfinished, but seemed hopeful that they could complete the project at home. The girls were very careful with the sharp scissors and needles. The project could have gone more quickly had I cut out the pouch and also some shapes for them. I did have a few patterns drawn out to give them ideas. I wanted the girls to learn more about using patterns and designing a project and I think that was part of the fun for them. When our time was done, all the girls were still working away. They were all very focused on this project and given the opportunity, I bet they would have worked for another thirty minutes or more. Our meeting lasts for one and a half hours during which we take time for a short snack.

I would enjoy doing a longer project with the girls and I bet they would be up for it. Maybe that would be a nice weekend activity.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mini Mitt Project

I was looking for an easy sewing project for the 2nd grade Girl Scout Brownies. I already wanted to work on sewing on a button and possibly more hand sewing with felt for SWAPS.

I wondered if quilting could be incorporated into a meeting somehow. I considered a four square mini quilt as a pot holder or a doll quilt, but finally decided that quilting might be too much for the girls and the adult helpers in our hour and a half meeting time.

The potholder idea I liked as it is functional and a nice project. I remembered my sister-in-law showing me a mini pot holder recently that just covered the fingertips and thumb. I did a Google search and found some images of the mini mitt or pot holder. I thought I could figure out a similar pattern and it might be easy enough.

I finished a first and second attempt in a short amount of time. I wondered if a seven year old would be able to do it. I wrote up some basic instructions and asked my seven year old to try and follow them. She wasn't sure at different points and did become frustrated, but then again she is feeling a bit under the weather and might be getting frustrated more easily. The hardest parts were sewing around a curve and turning the thick mitt. I will have to think more if this would work for the Girl Scout troop.

As my daughter was working on her mitt, I did snap some pictures to make a tutorial which I will share.

Step 1-Cut out 2 ovals of one fabric which will have the finished size about 7x5. Make two half ovals cut on the fold. The pockets are just smaller than half the big oval. Cut 1-2 layers of insulating batting.

Step 2-Topstitch along the folded edge of each pocket.

Step 3-Pin each pocket to one of the ovals and line up the edges. Try to keep the pocket's folded edges parallel to each other. Sew around the edge of the big oval stitching over both pockets.

Step 4-Place oval with pockets right sides together with second oval.

Step 5-Then place 1-2 layers of batting on the wrong side of the second oval.

Step 6-Pin and sew through all 3-4 layers following the previous stitching leaving a generous space for turning the thick layers.

Step 7-Trim seam allowances and clip curves.

Step 8-Turn right sides out. It is thick and best to go slowly. The insulating batting will be on the inside, pockets on one side and plain on the other.

Step 9-Smooth out edges and press (optional). Tuck in raw edges and pin for sewing. Top stitch around the whole mitts stitching closed the opening. The opening could also be hand stitched closed first.

This little mitt would be perfect for taking a hot plate or mug out of the microwave, removing a pot lid or holding a hot tea kettle handle.  Coordinating fabrics would be fun too.

I searched around after writing this and found the mitts are often called microwave mitts. There are many tutorials for microwave mitts. I found one tutorial which leaves one end open for turning. That is a great idea!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More Hooping Jewelry

After making the hoop ornaments, I hoped to make a pendant for myself.  There were smaller 1 1/2" curtain rings, but they seemed too big.

I ordered some smaller black metal rings in 1" and 1/2" sizes.  They both looked very hoop like with tape covering them.  Using my new prism tape gave them an even neater look.

Hula hoop pendants were made and are proudly worn by the girls in my family.  Perhaps someone else will like the larger sizes at my Etsy store.
Hula Hoop Necklaces with 1/2", 1" and 1.5" rings

Monday, January 9, 2012

Adventures in Paracord

My eleven year old son came home from middle school talking all about paracord survival bracelets. I had never heard of them, but a quick search showed me all of what I had been missing!

Paracord was on his Christmas list this year and he received quite a bit to experiment with. First we learned about the bracelets and used a side release buckle. The best tutorial I found was from Stormdrane, well known in the world of paracord creations. My son picked it up right away and made a few already.

Next we wanted to make a necklace. I purchased some plastic safety clasps and looked around at images. I finally settled on a four strand braid or diamond braid. Unlike the bracelets, I was not finding many necklace tutorials, especially lacking in how to attach the safety clasp.

Before I could attach a clasp, I needed to learn the diamond braid. Somehow I had never learned it before. I think that every tutorial I saw was very intimidating. Finally I got it. In my mind I just figured it out as under two, over one, then repeat from the other side. I was able to teach my seven year old with this method and she got it too.

We also got some different threads and cording to make thinner styled bracelets and necklaces for the girls in the house.

I decided to make a tutorial for the four string diamond braid that might help others out who learn as I do.  The first one is more detailed, while the second image shows the pattern and how it goes.

To add the necklace safety clasp, I decided to stop the braid, cut three of the strands short and tape the braid. To make the longer strands on each side fit into the clasp, I removed the inner threads and threaded the remaining strand through the clasp and knotted it. The tape is not an ideal long term solution. I plan to sew a few stitches to secure the braid instead and possibly use a heat shrink tube on top. I think the heat shrink tubing is what others are using.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hooping meets Babywearing

The one thing I always found a bit challenging with hooping is having a baby or toddler around. For one they can walk into a hoop and get hurt and secondly, they might just need to be held at the very moment that I want to be hooping.

As my baby has gotten older, I wondered if I could hold her a bit as I hooped. I first tried her on my shoulders. It worked ok, but she didn't always like it or feel secure up there.

Just recently she really needed me to hold her and I really wanted to hoop for a couple more songs.

My girls had been playing "puppy" with one of my baby carriers and it was still out. It is called a wrap and is just a long piece of fabric, almost six yards long and close to twenty inches wide. I wondered if I could actually tie my toddler up high enough and hoop at the same time.

It did work and I got a great workout. She weighs twenty-six pounds and I certainly felt it!
Hooping Meets Babywearing

I thought I'd write down what I did in case any other hoopers find themselves really wanting to hula hoop with a toddler. Please always use your best judgment when considering Babywearing while hooping.

Find the center of the wrap (1) and place it high on your chest (2).

Bring the long ends to the back and cross them behind your back (3) and then over each shoulder (4).

Pick up your child (5) and place them in the center of the wrap (6) while still holding on to the child.

Grab each long end from over your shoulders and hold them tight while also keeping an arm on the child (7).

Cross the wrap over the child's back (8) and under their legs towards your back. Secure the wrap behind you for a moment.

Now reach around yourself to each side of yourself and tuck the child's legs into the wrap (9&10). My child is 21 months and her legs are quite long. I do not know at which ages this would work well. You will have to make your best judgement.
Toddler all wrapped up in a wrap
While keeping the straps tight again and keeping an arm around the child, untie the back and tighten if necessary. My wrap is long enough to cross over in the back and then bring the ties around front for a square knot (11&12). The child should feel very secure and the wrap should be reasonably tight.

These instructions are provided to give you ideas. I am not a professional and do not accept liability. Please use good common sense. Thank you.