Archive

Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Dogbone Pillow

October 27th, 2020 No comments

So I’ve had to learn to sleep  on my back (ugh) . This has not been a nice process, and has involved a lot of more-or-less ineffectual trial-and-error experimentation. The latest iteration — and one that seems to be working! — involves this triangular pillow.

Read more…

Categories: 2020, Accessories, Covid, Gifts Tags:

Scooter Handlebar Bag

September 21st, 2020 No comments

Sometimes — that is, some non-Covid time — when I’m in a city — looking at you, Washington, New York, and various other smaller, sidewalk-enhanced locations — I like to have a small (non-electric) scooter with me. This is especially nice in summer in Washington, where it’s often possible to work around pedestrian routes, and where the humidity and heat are only enhanced by zipping through summer on wheels.

But my little scooter needed a bag. Topo Designs makes a great bike bag, and I really, really wanted to buy theirs, but it’s way too big for my scooter, so I took inspiration from their slightly kooky triangle shape and made my own.

That strap is actually a bright bold red. Sadly, I’m someone who sews,
not someone who actually knows how to use a camera phone.

Read more…

Categories: 2020, Bags, Covid, Gifts Tags:

Pillowcase-Sham, Fungi-Edition

January 26th, 2014 4 comments

A dear relative has made her life work the pursuit and study of the mushroom.  I wanted to make her a set of silky pillowcases so that she could spend her drowsing moments with images of her favorite obsession.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find serious mushroom prints on fabric?  Oh, sure, the cartoon mushroom is everywhere; so are psychedelic interpretations of the honorable fungi, colors and shapes distorted beyond recognition.  And fungi with elf-dwellers below: there is plenty of that.

fpc-prt

Fortunately, a chance stop at a vacuum cleaner/sewing machine shop fairly far from home turned up this lovely print complete with proper identifications in Latin.  I was stunned!  So was the clerk, who pointed out that I was buying the last of a whole bolt — and that the store had gotten two in.  She said she couldn’t imagine how they’d ever sell it . . . and yet, it was disappearing like mad.

fpc-fl

I whipped the pillowcases up in no time, but these aren’t ordinary pillow sleeves.  Although these can be used like standard pillowcases, I deliberately designed them to be used differently.

fpc-gpI dislike, intensely, this (shudder) ugly gap, in which the pillow, and its under-dressings, show through the opening.  Surely this is not how pillows are meant to be used!

fpc-cl

Is this not much nicer?  It’s still a light, comfy pillowcase, but how much better!  There will be no pillow slippage here — where one wakes up in the morning to discover that the pillow has wrestled itself half outside the case, seeking an unclothed domination over the bed.  There will be no uncertain moments during the night when the coarser cover of the pillow itself sullies the sleep experience.

Also, an encased pillow just looks nicer on the bed, even if under the covers.  Make sure you plan ahead, though, since you will need to cut the front side of the pillowcase longer, which will affect how much yardage to buy.  My finished flap was about five inches, plus about three-quarters turned under on its raw edge, so my front piece had to be at least that much longer than the back.*

All I did was stitch up three sides of the pillowcase (French seams, of course, for a neat finish), and hemmed the back open edge as usual.  The front edge then got a deeper hem.  Then I turned the pillowcase inside out, and folded the deeper hem against the inside front of the case.

fpc-pn

I then stitched along the existing seam line to hold the deep hem in place. It doesn’t show here, but I also bar-tacked at the end (within the seam allowance), rather than simply back-stitching, since the lower edge of the deep hem will be subject to unusual stress when folded over the pillow.

The pillow can be slipped inside just as usual (in the Philistine fashion!), or it can be popped into the case, with the deep hem folded over the opening, so that nothing shows but your preferred fabric.

fpc-pkg

It was a small gift, but it bundled up quite nicely.

I admit that when I replace our current set of pillowcases, I’ll probably serge the seams, which is far less elegant, and correspondingly more efficient.  (Mr. Noile sleeps with nine pillows; do you blame me for wanting to cut the labor short?)  For a gift, though, French seams and the neatest of finished edges are the right thing.

*Thanks, commenter LindaC, for having noticed that I left this crucial bit of information out!

Categories: Gifts, Home Tags:

Sailor Cycling

April 26th, 2012 20 comments

I cycle, and I like to be as visible as possible.  Bright red, screaming orange, and hideous yellow-green, yes,  ma’am, you’re my friends. But a boxy, horrible utility vest?  Not so much.  So I got a hold of two IKEA Patrull safety vests like this one:

and turned them into this:

It appears darker than the IKEA vest because it’s just one layer, and on a darker background (my dummy, that is).  And I took the photo indoors, apparently in bad light.  Photography is not my strong suit.

I’d been thrashing around the internet for a while, looking for inspiration when I stumbled on this:

The photo is on a site called {frolic!}, and it’s actually a reflective cycling vest.  Too cute, right?  Apparently it was sold by a UK firm called Bobbin Bicycles, but they’ve since gone out of business.  Or at least become impossible to find.  (The {frolic!} post is from 2009.)

Let me be the first to admit that mine isn’t nearly as cute as this one.  I love the nautical look, but the BB vest is too small, and too somberly colored for day use, as least in my view.  Also, my vest needed to do four  things, above and beyond being nautical :

  1. It needed to be bright.
  2. It needed to be large enough to wear over anything I’d put on while cycling.
  3. It needed to be cool on very hot days.
  4. On very hot days, it needed to allow me to wear only a sports bra under it, and yet appear in public somewhat modestly-clad.

Bingo!  My vest does it all.  Plus, it’s a bit kooky.  I like kooky.  The back is pretty tame (forgive my duct tape dummy, who is both lopsided and a lot larger than I am now):

I used a size L IKEA vest, and a size S.  First, I removed all the reflective strips from the IKEA vests.  Then  I took two pieces of the IKEA reflective strips, and sewed this trim on top of them (I used the middle-sized one):

adding velcro at the ends.  (The trim is “iron-on”, but I don’t do iron-on, especially on poly knits.)  Then I cut side panels out of the S vest, and cut replacements from breathable mesh (that’s the black fabric).  Here’s what the base vest looked like with the mesh pinned in place:

I  put the reflective strips into the back side seams between the yellow vest and the black mesh, and sewed it all together with my coverstitch machine.  The belt allows me to cinch up the vest when I want to, and let it fly when it’s too hot to wear it neatly.

I cut the nautical collar from the size L, using Burda 2424, an adorable pattern that never came to the USA, and altered the slope of the shoulder to conform to the size S vest.

The collar is a completely different style from the inspiration vest, but that didn’t matter.  They’re both adorable.

I cut the IKEA reflective strips in half to make the striping for the collar, and zig-zagged them in place.

You can see the holes from the IKEA stitching, but this is a utility vest, not haute couture, so it’s nothing I’m concerned about.

I lay the collar over the S vest, drew a line in chalk where the S vest needed to be trimmed, and attached the collar.   I probably should have used a facing, but this was a quick-and-dirty job, done very much on the fly, and I wanted to keep the weight and bulk down.

Uhh, maybe what I mean is “I wanted to keep the bulk in the collar only”.

Then I did the messiest job ever inserting an invisible zipper in the front, and finished by covering the collar seam with 1/4 inch twill tape.

Finally, I added the ties, because I’m a responsible cyclist, and there’s no wind in my hair, due to the helmet on my head.  Instead, I have flying ties.  Not a bad trade off, I’d say.  The loop that holds the tie together is sewn to the edge of one of the ties:  I couldn’t sew it to the front of the vest without making it impossible to open the top, yet I didn’t want to knot the ties.  Here’s the final result, once again:

Special thanks to Prachtstueckwerk!

Categories: Fun, Gifts, Tops Tags: