Falling Leaves Bunting Tutorial

It’s been time to decorate for Fall for a few weeks now. I’ve enjoyed seeing so many Autumn-themed bunting projects in my jaunts around blogland. I decided to ride the wave of inspiration and create my own. Here is a tutorial showing how I made my Falling Leaves Bunting.
Draw leaves of various shapes on a piece of freezer paper. better yet go on a nature walk and collect leaves to trace on your freezer paper. Think about how large you are going to make each triangle in your bunting and how much you want your leaf to fill up that space.

Choose your colors of knit fabric and iron the freezer paper leaves to the cloth. I used the t-shirt sleeves to leave the rest of the fabric for other projects.
Iron Wonder Under or a similiar product to the opposite side of the fabric. Cut out your shapes.

Cut a template for your bunting triangles. I used a piece of stationary and traced from each corner at the top to the middle of the bottom edge. I then traced this shape onto a cereal box and cut it out.

Figure out how long you want your bunting to be and how many triangles you will need. I made mine 3 yards long, the length of one package of bias tape. If you prefer you can make your own bias tape following this tutorial  by Dana of MADE. For my bunting I needed to cut 8 triangles.

Trace your stencil on your fabric. I cut out a few layers at a time so after I traced on the top layer I pinned the layers of fabric together  and cut it out with scissors. A rotary cutter would work better for regular fabric, but I was using old pants and a shirt that I didn’t want to bother cutting carefully all apart beforehand. My third  fabric was an antique linen napkin.

Peel the paper off the Wonder Under, place your leaves as you wish and press with a hot iron. Sew leaf vein details onto the leaves. I sewed up from the stem through the center of the leaf to the tip, turned the leaf and as I traced my way back down the center vein I stopped to stitch out and back for the side veins wherever I wanted to put one. Once I arrived back down at the stem I began stitching around the outer edge of the leaf. I used a variegated thread that changed from beige to dark green and back again. I like how the effect is similar to the variations of color on real Autumn leaves.
Next sew a single line down each side of the triangle to add a bit more color and to stop any fraying from the raw edge of the fabric.
Tie off and snipped the ends of the thread on the back side of the triangles. Put the triangles through a wash and dry cycle to give the edges a soft frayed look. After the dryer, iron them well.
Lay out the bias tape and positioned the triangles evenly spaced along its length. Sandwiching the top edge of the triangle within the double fold bias tape, pin each triangle in place.

Almost done!  Finish the ends of the bias tape by opening the tape flat and folding it back in on itself leaving the raw edge inside when you refold it. Pin in place. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this step.) Lastly stitch down the length of the bias tape, reversing back and forth a couple of times over the ends.

Here is mine displayed on a mantle. Happy sewing!
If you should wish to purchase this one instead of making your own you can find
it in my Etsy shop, Folk Haven Creations. But really, they are so much fun to make you should probably make your own!
Link Partyits so very cheri
linkingpartybadge copy

A Little Bit Removed

There is a little-used corner of our neighborhood park behind the racket ball courts that is just a little unkempt.

I love it because it is quiet and seems a bit removed from the goings on of the park and street.

I’ve never seen anybody else back there. It’s not at all like the woods, fields and stream I explored as a child but it gives Eli just a taste of Nature.

He thinks it tastes quite nice.

Sharing some of his "treasures".

Upcycled Slippers

My recent foray back into the world of baby shoes reminded me that Eli is needing some slippers for this winter. We don’t wear shoes in the house and when he wears socks alone he slides and falls on the hardwood floors. The only thing is that my baby shoe pattern has been long outgrown, so I set about trying to figure out how to draft a new pattern for upcycled slippers his size. (When I was almost done with this project Gwen of Gwenny Penny left me a comment that just enlarging the existing baby shoe pattern has worked for her, even for her 3 year old. Who knew? (Well, Gwen for one. Thanks for letting me in on the secret!) So while life could have been easier for me in the sewing nook this week, I still think I learned a lot.)

First, I took a pair of his current shoes and traced around them, later adding 1/4 ” for seam allowance.

Next, I measured the length and the width over the top front of the shoe.

I then used these measurements to draw my next pattern piece, free hand drawing the curve of the toe.

I measured around the heel and sides to get the length of the heel piece and also measured for it’s height. These then were drawn on the freezer paper with added seam allowances.

Okay, now I ironed the sole pattern pieces to the leather and cut them out. (This came from a neighbor-discarded broken recliner a few years back.) Repeat for the lining fabric. (In this case my brother’s old sweatpants. Thanks, Kev!)

I continued to cut both outer and liner pieces out for the back and the top of the slippers using discarded jeans and a men’s plaid shirt.

The next few steps I did in a series of stolen moments while Eli was awake but distracted with other things. It seems he was not the only one distracted, I forgot to take photos as I worked. I’ll just have to briefly describe.

* Put toe liner and top piece right sides together and sew along the straight line.

* Do the same for the heel pieces.

* Fold on seam, right sides out and press.

* Top stitch along straight edge of all 4 pieces, 1/4″ from the top.

* Sew the lining fabric to the top of the sole. I used a little Heat ‘N’ Bond between them to keep them from slipping.

(Sorry for the lack of photos. If this isn’t clear feel free to contact me.)

Next I took the top piece and the sole. I lined up the middle of the toe of each and sewed from that point down each side.

I attached elastic to one end of the heel piece by sewing back and forth a few times. I folded the top over to create a casing and stitched along the edge, being careful not to catch the elastic on the inside. Then I pulled on the elastic until the heel gathered and felt like the right amount of tension to hold the slipper on the foot without being too tight. (Unfortunately using this method I have no idea how much elastic I actually used.) Then I tacked the elastic to the other side as I did the first and trimmed it.

I lined the heel up around the back of the sole with the lining facing out and sewed it onto the slipper.

I turned it right side out. It looked a bit funny to me so I folded the top part back.

I had to wait for Eli to wake up from his nap to try them on.

He was pleased! They fit with a little room for growth. In the couple of days since I made these he has asked me to put them on him several times. Once on, he doesn’t try to take them off, so they must be just fine as far as comfort is concerned.


Thanks for reading!

Just When We Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Better

We have been thrilled that Eli loves going to Barnes & Noble.

Now they have a free play Lego table!

Baby Shoes!

There is a wonderful tutorial for making cloth baby shoes from Stardustshoes here that I followed to make shoes for Eli in the months before his birth. Let me tell you… So fun!  Of course, the days when the baby fits into those little shoes pass quickly.

I was recently provided with a new excuse to make a pair again.  I have a friend who has what must be the world’s largest 4 month old. It is hard to find clothing for him as already many 18 month sized clothing is too tight, yet at 4 months he doesn’t need the less comfortable, more rugged clothing toddlers require.

I used the pattern provided in the Stardustshoes tutorial but made it slightly bigger and used an additional 2″ of elastic in each shoe to accommodate Eduardo’s chubby feet. Every piece of fabric and the buttons are all upcycled from discarded clothing.

I figured I’d see if they fit, and if not, I’d see where I needed to make adjustments before making another pair. They fit perfectly… but just! It won’t be long before they are outgrown, especially if he has on a pair of socks as well.

I’m glad to have another excuse to make a new, slightly larger pair!

I just love sewing for adorable babies!

A Beginning to the End of Babywearing

Today was the tipping point when I finally realized that using a stroller will be easier than carrying Eli in the Ergo. I’ve been getting comments for months now about how he looks as big as I do, and am I STILL carrying him in that thing?

But the truth was that babies grow gradually and I was okay with his weight. I love babywearing. I like the closeness, the extra snuggle time that gets added into my day. I like how I know what he’s looking at and can respond when he notices something and points. I like that I can talk to him without stopping to walk and having to bend down. I like that I don’t have to take  up all the extra space that one needs when navigating  a stroller.

Baby in buggy, 1935

Image via Wikipedia

But though they grow gradually, grow they do, and Eli’s 30 pounds make traversing our hilly neighborhood quite a workout these days. Especially with the diaper bag backpack added as a counter balance. I was so excited when I researched the Ergo as it says it can be used to 40 lbs and is tested to 90 lbs. I thought I’d be able to carry Eli this way until he was 3 or 4, or as long as he was content to be carried. But one must also add the mother’s stature into the equation, and I’m no Uma Thurman.

I will still use the Ergo from time to time. When Eli doesn’t want to leave a place it can be impossible to strap him into a stroller, but he calms down and stops squawking as soon as the Ergo straps are buckled. When he is tired or needs to nurse the Ergo is so convenient. But when we are  going to be leaving for an extended walk, I think I’ll have to start reluctantly using the stroller.

Unless a back carry position can buy me more time…

Baby carrier

Image via Wikipedia

On Keeping a Promise

I just saw a ABC  7 News segment that told the story of a father, a construction worker,

Cover of "Sewing for Dummies"

Cover of Sewing for Dummies

who made his daughter’s wedding dress even though he had never sewn before. Erin Lucien taught himself using the book Sewing For Dummies and by following You Tube videos. He practiced by sewing bed sheet fabric that he would then mail to his daughter, Danielle, to check the fit. He did this because when his girls were little he had always promised them that when they got married he would make their wedding dress.

What amazes me is not only did he fulfill what many would think of as a promise made in jest but that his daughter had such faith in her father that she didn’t even buy a back up dress. According to the news feature the dress was still unfinished 2 hours before the wedding! I can only imagine the tension at that point!

I am also teaching myself to sew. I would not want my first project to be a wedding dress but it would be great to eventually get up to that skill level. I admire Erin Lucien for being so very skilled with making things with his hands that he could make the jump from construction to tailor so quickly.

Even more I applaud the beautiful relationship he has with his daughter. I hope that as my relationship with Eli unfolds over the years that he will have the same level of confidence and trust in me. Such trust is earned over thousands of interactions, promises kept both big and small. I need to remember to daily parent intentionally to build the kind of trust where he also won’t feel the need to come up with a Plan B in case I don’t keep my word.

Here’s to a lifetime of promise keeping!

Fluffy-bottom Sweater Pants Tutorial

Before Eli was born I sewed a lot of fitted cloth diapers using the Mama Bird diaper pattern. While cloth diapering saves a lot of money over using disposables, sewing your own also saves that initial investment that comes with buying your cloth diaper stash. In the end I found I needed more than I was able to sew so I have also used some gDiapers, prefolds, and a few Kushies that were given to me.

The main drawback I have found to cloth diapering has been that Eli’s pants don’t fit over the bulk of the diapers he wears. We also had trouble getting him to fit well in his car seat while wearing the cloth diapers. If we have another child I will research other trimmer brands and look for a new cloth diaper pattern. With Eli I am compromising by using the cloth diapers when we are home and using ‘sposies when we go out.

During the summer it isn’t any problem letting Eli go just diaper clad down below when we are at home, but now that cooler weather will soon be here I’ve been wondering how to keep him in cloth diapers yet still keep his legs warm. These pants are just for knocking about the house, not for out on the town wear.

My solution? Fluffy-bottom Sweater Pants!

I took a pair of sweat pants (made from the sleeves of an old sweatshirt) that fit well and trace them on the sleeve of a retired sweater.

Cut this out adding 1/4 inch seam allowance along the crotch/butt edge. No  allowance is necessary at the bottom of the legs as the existing cuff makes hemming unnecessary. I also don’t need any allowance along the top as I will be adding fabric for the elastic casing later. Trace this leg onto the opposite sleeve and cut that out.

Using the upper part of one of the sleeves cut a wedge shape as tall as is possible. It can be trimmed down later. This will be added to the back of the pants to make them nice and roomy. Here is the tutorial where I first encountered this idea. Turn one leg inside out and pull it over the right side out leg so that the fabric is now right sides together.

Sew from the crotch up one side to create the front of the pants.

Cut into the pants on both sides of the unjoined back pieces so the resulting area into which you will sew the wedge shape is more of a U than a V.

Add the wedge shape. This is where you will cut it to fit. Match it along the waistband edge at the top of the pants. Trim the bottom corner so that it will fit into the space length wise. Leave an extra 1/4″ at the bottom before trimming for your seam allowance. Sew from the waist down.
Repeat with the other side of the wedge. Then sew over the seam at the bottom of the crotch back and forth a couple of times to close the bottom of the U and to reinforce it.
Zigzag (or serge) to finish your seams. Turn the pants right side out.
Now measure the width of the top of the pants and double the measurement and add 1/2″ for seam allowances. Pick a coordinating soft fabric for the waistband. (I’ve done this with both knit and woven fabric.) I used 1″ elastic so I cut my waistband fabric 2 1/2″ wide (1″ + 1/4″ seam allowance, doubled).
Sew both ends together to form a large loop.Fold the loop in half the narrow way, wrong sides together. Pin around the outside of the top of the pants, the open edge of the loop of fabric toward the top edge. Place the seam where you formed the loop in the center of the back of the pants.Sew all the way around. Zigzag or serge to finish the seam. Fold the waistband up into place. Top stitch so the finished seam lies flat on the inside. I found I had made my pants a little short to rise and cover the bottom area well so I repeated this step with an additional piece of fabric.

Use a seam ripper to open the inside of the waistband to insert the elastic. Measure around your child’s waist and add an inch to determine the length of your elastic.
Attach a large pin to one end of the elastic and feed through the waistband.
Sew back and forth where the elastic overlaps a few times. Sew up elastic opening in the waistband.

Catch toddler. Insert one foot into each leg of sweater pants. Pull up to fully cover cloth diapered bottom. Step back to fully appreciate the cuteness. You’re done!
Here are a couple other pairs of sweater pants that I’ve made.
Clothes Upcycling Projects

Up-cycled Boy Hat

Mid-October and the temperature outside is in the 90’s. Yesterday I took Eli to play in the fountains at the Irvine Spectrum.

Today when he gets up from his nap we will head for the swimming pool.

(picture from last week)

Such is life in Southern California!

But eventually it will cool down. A couple of weeks ago when it was (relatively) rainy and chilly I got motivated to make Eli a winter hat. I saw this tutorial many months ago at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. I got out the t-shirts destined for the chopping block and picked the colors for Eli’s Up-cycled Boy Hat. It was difficult to choose one particular color scheme over another so I just may have to go back and make some more of these.

So, without further ado, here is Eli’s new hat:

I wish I could get a picture of him actually wearing it but he still seems to be in his NO HATS! phase, which I am hoping will pass before it gets cold out (and before he outgrows the hat!)

Seriously, I’ve tried to get his picture for this post countless times over the past couple weeks, but I guess we are all just going to be stuck seeing it displayed on the tea bag jar.


Letter to Eli, 19 Months

Dear Eli,

This month you have become OBSESSED with the names for everything. You point and say “Mmmm!”, which translates, “Oooh! What’s this thing called?!” The thing is, it’s CONSTANT. Nursing you now generally sounds like this… “Mmmm!” “Glasses,” I reply. “Mmm!” “Eye.” “Mmm!” “Nose.” “Mmm!” “Eye.” “Mmm!” “Eli’s eye” “Mmm!” “Ear.” “Mmm!” Eli’s nose.” “Mmm!” “Eye.” It goes on but you get the picture. Each “Mmm!” is accompanied by your pointer finger spearing the body part in question, because when it comes to the parts of the face pointing just isn’t enough.

It isn’t only while nursing though. While walking, “Blue car.” “White truck.” “Black van.” With your books, Monkey… Monkey… Drum.” Puzzles, “Cow… Pig… Chicken… Cow… Goat…” Even when we are driving, from the back seat, at night, it’s “Mmmm!… Mmmm!… Mmmm!…” And while it does get a bit wearing, I actually love it.You are learning, and soon you will be talking. I LOVE that you are so motivated because I so want to hear all that you have to say.

Your other obsession is with the Baby Signing TIme DVDs. You have learned a lot from them; I think you currently are using 29 different signs and are able to make your wants and needs pretty clearly known. But you want to watch them ALL.THE.TIME. You wake up in the morning, stretch, look at me and begin to sign Baby!Baby!Baby! And so begins a day full of Baby!Baby!Baby! while I try to distract you with other activities because I don’t want my toddler to be the one who is constantly glued to a TV screen. (I actually feel a bit guilty that you watch any TV at all at your age.) The problem is that THAT toddler is exactly who you want to be right now. Even when we are out when you recognize our neighborhood through the car window on the way home you often start to frantically sign Baby!Baby!Baby! So this is one area where we are trying to strike a balance. I should have heeded the warning in Hobo Mama’s review of the Baby Signing Time series where she wrote that it is the crack cocaine of signing babies in its addictiveness. Turns out she wasn’t exaggerating.

One development this past month that couldn’t please your father and I more is that you LOVE Barnes & Noble! If we are at the Town Centre and try to walk by the store you will dart in the door if someone happens to open it at that moment. You might be distracted for a little while by the stack of hand baskets inside the door, but then it is off to the children’s section, or sometimes the cafe. It’s almost as if you feel at home there due to the many hours you spent there in utero, as until recently we haven’t been able to spend much time there since your birth.

It follows that this would also be the month when you began to show an interest in books. I always thought I would read to you daily right from the beginning, but you weren’t interested. You would vigorously slam shut most any book I tried reading to you. But now you come to me and sign “book?”, and of course I always agree that that is a wonderful idea. You have a set of Sesame Street board books and an ABC book that are your current favorites. (Your very first favorite book was Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb which for months was the only book you would listen to and look at.) You still don’t like to listen to books but like to point at the pictures and demand we name them.

We went to the Pumpkin Patch this past weekend. Here is a picture of you on the same ride this year and last. It’s fun to see how much you have grown!

This last photo I’m including not because it is a good one but rather because it so well illustrates life with you these days. You are a blur of near constant motion. In the time it takes to snap a picture, more often than not you have turned away or left the frame altogether. You are so full of energy and life! We are trying our best to keep up.

I love you so very, very, very much!


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