Posts Tagged‘Tutorial’

Cat Head Kangaroo Pocket

The Larva has a cute shirt from Taiwan that has a cat head kangaroo pocket on it. (That is a mouthful… I gotta think of another name for this.) Anyways, she loves that shirt, but she spilled paint on it and I couldn’t wash it out (and I really tried), so I decided to make her a new dress with the same style of cat pocket on it.

Cat Head Kangaroo Pocket DressCat Head Kangaroo Pocket Dress



I took photos as I was sewing and wrote up a small tutorial, so here we go.

Patchwork Cat Block

A while back, I was making a sewing machine cover for The Red Queen (my embroidery machine) and I decided I wanted patchwork cat blocks on it. I drafted a quick pattern to re-create a cat block I’d seen before, and here it is in all it’s stumpy cat glory. (The finished cat ended up looking a bit squashed.)

patchwork cat block

Since then I’ve been futzing with the pattern on and off. I decided to finish it for the Put A Cat on It Sew Along, and I think it’s finally reached a usable state.

patchwork cat block

Free Standing Bird Feeder

My kitties like to sit at the patio door and sun themselves, and watch the birds and squirrels that come by. The birds don’t come very often though so I thought I’d put a bird feeder.

I then ran into the problem of trying to find a bird feeder that would work in our backyard. I didn’t want to nail anything to our fence or to the outside of our house in case it was against the HOA rules. We don’t have much dirt either so I couldn’t use one of those bird feeders that sits on a stake. What I really needed was a standalone bird feeder that could go on cement. I decided it wouldn’t be that hard to make one, so after a quick Target and Home Depot run, and a couple hours of work, I’d made my own standalone bird feeder.

Materials:

  • a. 8″ diameter terra cotta pot – any size that looks stable enough to support 3 bowls will work
  • b. 36″ long 3/8″ diameter threaded zinc rod – make sure to get the zinc rode and not the stainless steel one as that one is 3x as expensive
  • c. 3 plastic bowls
  • d. 8  3/8″ wingnuts – these come 3 wingnuts in a bag at Home Depot so I got 3 bags
  • e. 6  3/8″ washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod
  • f. 2  3/8″ x 1-1/2″ Fender Washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod and be big enough to cover the hole in the terra cotta pot
  • g. clear caulking – if you want to turn one of the bowls into a bath

Not pictured: a drill and a 3/8″ drill bit

My total spent on supplies came out to about $26, including getting a 3/8″ drill bit because I didn’t have one of that size already.


Assembly Instructions:

The first step is to drill holes in the 3 bowls. For 2 of the bowls, you want the holes to be in one of the corners and on the 3rd bowl, the hole should be in the middle. You want to make sure there is room for the smaller washer to sit flat so I placed a washer and wingnut in the bowl to figure out positioning and then marked where to drill with a pencil.

Mark 2 of your bowls in the corner.

Mark 1 bowl in the center.

Drill a 3/8″ hole in each bowl where you marked. I find what works best for me is to start with my smallest drill bit and drill a small pilot hole. I then work my way up to the size hole I need, using progressively bigger drill bits. Any method works, as long as you get a 3/8″ hole into each bowl.

Now it’s assembly time!

Start with the base which is the terra cotta pot turned upside down. Wind a wingnut and one of the large washers onto the rod. You want the wingnut to be placed at about the same height as your pot.

Put the rod through the hole in the pot.

Place your pot with the open end down and make sure that it sits flat. Adjust the wingnut if your pot is not sitting flush with the ground.

Now place the other large washer on top of the pot and wind a wingnut down the rod to clamp the rod to the pot. This takes a while because the rod is pretty long, so watch some tv while doing this part. =)

Tighten the wingnuts and make sure the rod is secured to the pot.

Now you need to do the same process to add the bowls. Take a wingnut and wind it down the pole until it is about 10″ above the pot. Make sure your wingnut’s ‘wings’ are facing down. Place a washer on top.

Place one of the bowls with a hole in the corner on top, lay down another washer, and screw on a wingnut to secure the bowl.

And your first bird feeder bowl is now attached.

Repeat the process with the other bowl with a hole in the corner, placing it about 10″ above the first bowl.

At this point, your cat will probably decide he needs to investigate what is going on…

The last bowl, the one with the hole in the center, goes on the very end of the rod. I had to put the bird feeder on the ground at this point because I couldn’t reach the top of the rod.

And here comes the other cat to check out what’s going on…

If you want one of your bowls to be a bird bath, you’ll need to seal the bolts to prevent water from leaking out. Open your caulking tube and cover the bolt above and below with caulking. I used a toothpick to smooth it out a little.

I like to use clear drying caulking because I can tell when it’s completely dry. I would suggest spreading yours a little thinner than I did because mine took forever to dry.

Once the caulk dries, your bird feeder is ready to go!

Place it outside, and fill the bottom 2 bowls with birdseed and the top one with water. Now we just wait and see if any of the local wildlife come by to check it out!

And look: birds!

Magnetic Pin Cushion for a Dressform

I’ve discovered that one of my biggest pain points with historical costumes is trying to have my pins handy while I’m pinning on 12 yards of trim. I try to have my magnetic pin cushion near me while I’m working, usually resting on the edge of the couch, but then Bobo will come along and knock it off. (Yes, gravity still works Bobo… thanks for checking!)

I was joking to D that I needed to hang my magnetic pin cushion on my dressform somehow to make my life easier and her response was something along the lines of, “Well why don’t you?”

… Right!

So today’s post is possibly useful to no one but me, but now I’m excited to try out my new dressform magnetic pin cushion on my next outfit!

I purchased some super strong magnets from Home Depot. (I love Home Depot in case it’s not obvious…)

I measured my dressform neck circumference and added 3″ for how long to make my pin cushion strap. My dressform neck is 13″, so I cut a strip 16″ long and 3.5″ wide out of some leftover quilting fabric.

dummy_pincushion-10

I folded the strip in half lengthwise and made a tube by sewing along the length of the strip using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then I flipped the tube inside out and ironed it flat.

I folded the strip in half to find the center and marked a line 2 3/4″ from the center.

I stitched along the line, dropped the magnet into the tube, and then marked a vertical line on the other side of the magnet. I sewed along the new line, sealing the magnet in.

I closed the ends by folding the raw edges inside and stitching the tube closed on both sides.

I took my magnet necklace to my dressform and pinned it on and marked where the ends overlapped. I used a pin to mark where the overlap is, but you can also use chalk or a fabric pen.

Then I took the magnetic necklace off the dummy to sew a closure on. I prefer hooks and snaps over velcro because velcro can tear up fragile materials that I might be draping, but whatever you have on hand will work. I went with a huge snap because I have a ton of these.

And here is the finished magnet pin cushion necklace!

Using Manila Envelopes for Pattern Storage

Once upon a time, I tried to store my used patterns back in the tiny envelope they came in. Talk about an exercise in futility. It was never a pretty scene trying to cram all that tissue paper back in. Then Judy showed me how she stores her patterns in manila envelopes. It was a life-changing moment and I never had pattern storage issues again.

I pull out the pattern pieces and instructions from the pattern envelope, and then I cut up the envelope.

I have a stack of 9″ x 12″ manila envelopes just for patterns. I tape the cut up pattern envelope to the outside of the manila envelope, and then I stick all the pattern pieces and instructions inside. And now, even after I’ve opened up the nicely folded tissue paper pattern and made a big mess of folding it back up, I will still have a nice roomy envelope to put everything back into.

The best part is that the manila envelopes can be stored in filing boxes. I got these boxes from Target and use filing folders to categorize my patterns so it’s easy to find what I need.

My house is really small so I have to put my pattern boxes in the garage. I might have a few too many patterns…

I’ve also seen people store patterns in large ziplock bags, so that’s another option if you don’t want to use manila envelopes.

Anyone else have any good pattern storage suggestions? I’d love to see/hear about them!