Doggie Bed

My puppy,

chomped a gaping hole through her cheap dog bed and after spending an hour carefully hand mending it and adding expensive Velcro (which I usually never spring for- opting for the cheap stuff from Joann) she ate through it again and within mere minutes there was fluff coming out all over the room.  So I needed to A: buy her a more durable one (expensive!),  B: not let her have a bed in the living room, or C: make one!

Being thrifty and crafty and sort of masochistic I decided to make one.  Because this is the first dog bed I’ve ever made I decided to use only recycled materials and fabric already on hand.  That way if it gets eaten I’m not out much money.

There she is enjoying the finished product:

(sorry the picture is terrible- there’s no light there)

And here are the steps if you’re interested:

First- To fill the inner bag, gather batting scraps, small bits of fabric and foam, pillow filler fluff–basically anything that you would normally throw out.  My mom had about 8 quilts worth of batting scraps that she had collected over the years, seemingly just for this purpose since she had no other use for them that I could predict .  I ended up with more than enough to fill my inner bag:

I made the inner bag out of a large practice quilt that my mom used in her long arm quilting class.  It was two pieces of nice muslin and batting with lots of cute practice stitches running through.  After stuffing it, I hand stitched the opening closed and tufted it with a long doll needle:

As you can see, it does NOT need to be perfectly lined up or anything (it’s for a dog and will get covered with your cute cover later)

Then pick some durable decorator weight fabric for the outer cover.  This should prewashed/ washable.  NO exceptions on this as your dog will inevitably drool and deposit fur on it daily.   I measured out a piece of twill (cheap with my Joann coupon) to fit the pillow with a few extra inches all around for wiggle room and seam allowance, plus about 10 inches for the flap.   I opted not to install a zipper this time since that was too tempting (the zipper was the first thing to get chewed off the old bed).   The 10 inch flap piece will overlap the opening, thus creating an envelope and mine was cut perpendicular to the selvedge so I could use the selvedge along the opening so I didn’t have to hem it.  To learn how envelope covers are made I referred to a few tutorials online, found quickly through a google search.

She couldn’t stay off of it during the process!

And here it is all done and already surrounded by toys:

And she loves it!

UPDATE:  about 3 months later she still loves it and there’s been no destruction as of yet!

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Ottobre “Sudoku Skirt”

I just finished the Sudoku skirt for my niece from Ottobre issue 1/09 and is size 110 with a little yoke section added.  I had a lot of fun making the skirt although I don’t think I will make it again, I must say.  The directions ask you to cut all the pieces and then trim each one to three different lengths in order to achieve the offset look.  Being cheap, I opted to cut them one by one and then struggle to try to come up with gores comprising of one “A” piece, one “B” etc.  and then arrange the gores so no two like sizes or fabrics are touching upwards or across.  Sound confusing? Well yes, it was.  If the skirt were just made of rectangles sewn into gores- not offset-the effect would be similar.

Here’s what it looked like in progress:

(Each pile is a gore)

And after the tiers are gathered and sewn into gores (most of them) and given a place in the circle:

It’s a little long for her– I think it will come to mid calf but with more length and therefore weight comes more twirl!

Maximum twirl makes for a happy 3 1/2 yr old girl!

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Tie Dye Party

Last weekend we had a few friends and family over for tie dye and lunch.  We all had a good time rolling and rubber banding our bags of white stuff (t-shirts, underwear, camisoles, fabric and more), then we  took turns soaking our goods and squirting the dye.  After getting thoroughly sweaty (it was hot) and dyed-out, we broke for lunch and the kids ran around like a pack of wolves.  Later we opened and rinsed one thing that each kid dyed, and then sat around drinking iced coffee and eating strawberry-peach-blueberry shortcake, while the kids cooled off in the sprinkler.

Tie Dye party- Mary's pic by you.

We all rinsed out our creations back at our own homes after the requisite 24 hours sitting time.

Some stuff turned out great

Some only mediocre.  Every time tie dye we learn new tricks.

We ordered the supplies from Dharma Trading Company and used the traditional “Soda Soak tie dye method” which entails soaking in soda ash fixer and then dying with a procion dye mixed with urea.  We did tie dye about 5 years ago using this method and the clothes are almost as bright as day one.

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Ottobre Boxer Briefs

I’ve been making underwear from Ottobre issue 4/04–which is an excellent one.  I’m going to review the boys’ boxer brief pattern number #37.  I’ve made my son 2 pairs and my husband 1 (he fits into the 170 size with his narrow hips!)  I made my daughter some panties with pattern #34 from this issue and maybe I’ll write a review of those after I iron out some problems.

Here are the boys’ shorts:

And the second pair for T size 104:

July 09 020What I like about the pattern:

1.You can use up small scraps of knit and if the colors don’t jive, no sweat, they won’t show!

2. They go together in about an hour.

3.  He loves them and they fit just as well as the Gymboree ones he has favored (which range from $5-12 and since I can buy knit on sale at about $3.50/yard and can eek many a pair out of a yard–the savings are substantial)

As for the directions; it took me a few readings to fully grasp the way they are supposed to go together, which is par for the course with Ottobre.  Their directions are sometimes confusing when you just read through them, but after you have the cut pieces in front of you and are starting to sew, they make sense and are refreshingly concise.

I only had a few minor issues with the pattern.   First, I don’t like the leg bindings so wide so I trimmed them a bit on the second pair (maybe for larger sizes, wider is better?).  Second, the pattern doesn’t give you a length to cut the contrast binding so on one pair, I cut it too short had to stretch it, and it still came up 1 inch short.  It’s much easier just to cut it longer and have a little extra…

Since I like to cut corners,  I always seek steps to eliminate while perusing a pattern and because Ottobre is so darned efficient, I usually don’t have to.  But this time I did find one…  It says to stitch the front panel to the back and then sew the contrast binding to the seam allowance in a separate step but I tried it in one step and it worked just fine.  After sewing this seam but before top-stitching the binding down,  don’t forget to trim all seam allowances to reduce some of the bulk –I didn’t do this the first time and the seam is thick.

I’ve done the seams with and without the contrast and it really makes for a cute fit and since it encloses the seam allowance, there’s no irritating seam on the inside.

inside view- smooth like a french seam

inside view- smooth like a french seam

Here are a few links to the pattern sewn up that I’ve admired in the Ottobre flickr group:  hers and hers.  There are many different ways to sew them up and they’re all cute and very wearable.

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Ottobre “bert” bermuda shorts

I love this pattern from Ottobre issue 3/09. This is my third pair. The first pair I made was a failure because I used a stretchy denim and the pockets and back yoke were wavy. I’m not going to try to salvage them because the color is terrible (peachy orange).

My sister wanted orange shorts for my nephew whose turning 2 in a few weeks. When she saw the peachy orange she didn’t say anything critical but I could tell it wasn’t what she had in mind! I think she’ll like this “true orange” better.

There is something very satisfying about the Ottobre patterns, I haven’t exactly figured out why yet but I think it’s the short, no nonsense directions that you don’t have to wrestle 3 yards of paper to read.

I’ve experimented with two methods of applying the waistband. With the orange ones above I added an inch or so to the width of the band and stitched it on from the inside out like the directions said, however I did not sew the elastic to the band. I prefer to float the elastic within the band especially when the pants are for kids other than my own. For T’s shorts I sewed the elastic to the band and then added the band by sewing it right sides together. I thought it would be less bulky that way but it turned out a little itchy on the inside. Thankfully T doesn’t care.

I’m making a girly pair next for D with a homespun fabric.

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Snowed in

When it snows 3 inches here in Oregon, school’s out and everything  slows down.  Which for a sewing enthusiast like me, means one thing: SEWING.


The view from my sewing room door:

View from my sewing room door

Here are a few things I’ve made this week:

Shirt, overalls and skirt for “Merry” (my “granddaughter” who happens to be an 18″ American Girl doll) I will try to pose her for a pic.

8 shopping bags to give as Christmas gifts.  Here they are in progress:


Leggings for my daughter and neice

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Dahlia Handmade- getting started


Welcome to my new blog.  Sewing, pattern reviews and parenting are my favorite topics. 

Please excuse my meager beginnings as I learn the simple things like how to post a picture…

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