Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AIR MAMA is getting a makeover

We named our van AIR MAMA because the seats feel like first class seating in an airplane and there's so much room we feel like we're flying down the freeway! But she's getting a bit older now and needs a facelift....

I've been meaning to cover my car seats since we bought the van nearly 2 years ago. And I wanted to make something to help organize the mess my kids and I are constantly toting along.

Here's what I plan to make:

4 universal fit carseat covers (eventually I hope to have instructions for these)
2 custom fit backseat covers
1 trunk organizer
2 or 3 behind the seat organizers (2 DONE, See below)

All items will be made very frugally using barkcloth scraps sewn together. Most are from a friend's business (http://www.barkclothhawaii.com/) whom I do some custom work for. I also have batting, stretch velvet, and various cotton fabrics sitting in my stash. They've been collecting dust for so long and I'm finally putting them to use.

First, I made some carseat covers, of which you can find the instructions for in a later post(not finished yet). But I also bought a pattern to make some carseat organizers. I did a quick review of the pattern on PatternReview.com and here's the pics. I made 3 different sets, one for my van, and the other two for my sister's and brother's car. They have kids and I figured it would be a practical Christmas gift. The pattern used was SIMPLICITY 3731. My children make good use of it and it's filled with Legos, Magazines, Pens, and there's always a cold drink in the drink pocket. They love it. And unlike the ones you buy at the store, it's sturdy and fairly stiff. I used a layer of thick interfacing over the batting so it would be firm, not saggy. But basically, I followed the pattern, with some minor modifications, and think it's great... there are NO toys or books on the floor in my van anymore.
  • Bias tape is made from self fabric or a matching fabric. I don't like the store bought stuff. I think it looks cheesy and cheap.
  • I would add a couple extra inches to the webbing strip. It just barely fits over my carseat cover.
  • Skip the elastic along the top edges for the pen pocket. It's not necessary and if you do the bias tape in a thick fabric, it's useless. Same goes for the pocket next to it.
  • If you have a good sewing machine, DEFINITELY use upholstery fabric. It's so much sturdier than apparel weight cottons. The white organizers I made are done up in apparel weight fabric and though it's easier to sew, it's not as strong and solid looking. I hope it doesn't start drooping.
  • I modified the sewing directions slightly so the job would go a bit easier and faster. Instead of sewing all the pieces with bias tape around the edges, I did only the top edges. Then I machine basted the bottom of the pockets onto the backing, and covered the raw edges with single fold bias tape. I also did this treatment between the pockets on the top row before sewing the bottom edge. It looks much neater... and is easier to sew. Here's a pic:

And someday, I'll have my car all organized and will post a picture of the beautiful new interior... Except the fabrics will be faded by then....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Halloween - Coast Guard Rescue suit

My son wanted to be a member of the USCG search and rescue unit this year. He got the idea from the LEGO site and actually was asking to be a LEGO Coast Guard rescue dude. Right... so we looked online and saw these orange suited rescue guys and thought it would work out fine.

I used a pattern from a very old Burda toddler magazine and bought a couple yards of orange cotton twill. Everything else was recycled (the zippers, the RESCUE patch was made on fabric from an old shirt). His helmet had a couple decals that had Carebears on it which I covered with some pictures of patches I found online. I added the headlamp and with his boots, it looked pretty good.
But down the street, there are a few houses all decked out for Halloween. It's the hit of the neighborhood, but it really frightens the little kids. Mine decided he wanted to go back home when he saw it. We walked for 10 minutes, he got a small bowl of candies and spent the rest of the evening passing out candy instead. Well, I guess I can donate this to the preschool when he tires of it. Someone will like playing RESCUE man...

Sewing Resolutions 2009

It's January 19, 2009 and I still haven't made any sewing resolutions. So today, I resolve to get my sewing resolutions down on paper (or into the blog). Here we go:
  1. I resolve NOT to buy more fabric unless I've used up more than what I'm buying from my stash first.
  2. I resolve to spend at least 1 day a week sewing for myself or my family. Work can take up the rest of the week.
  3. I resolve to clean up my sewing area every day after I finish so it is ready for the next sewing session the next day.
  4. I resolve to finally get my sloper done and start using it for my own designing rather than redesigning commercial patterns.
  5. I resolve to finish sewing the curtains/blinds for my home.
Okay. I think that'll do for now. So what are YOUR resolutions for 2009?