Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tutorial: Crib Rail Protector

Today I am posting my first ever tutorial! It's a simple one, but very functional if you have little ones around.

We've had a growing problem over the last few weeks, and I finally decided to do something about it after seeing this in my daughter's crib this morning...

OUCH. Our beautiful crib has taken quite the beating from my little girl's razor sharp chompers.

I new what I needed to do. I've seen rail protectors before, but I've never taken the time to sit down and put one together. So today I decided this little problem could not go on any longer. 

And here is my solution:

I made this using scrap fabric I had laying around. I had no means of going to the fabric store an hour away from us, so I used what I had and it worked beautifully.

Want to make your own?

Here's what you need:

-coordinating scrap fabric
-sewing machine

Start by measuring the length of your crib rail. Add an inch for hem allowance. Mine is about 52 inches in length. Then measure around the rail to see how wide your cover will need to be. Again, add about an inch for seam allowance.

Next, piece together your scraps in the order you want them to appear, and cut them to the size you need for your crib rail. Add a couple inches to the ends for hem allowance, depending on how many scraps you are piecing together. Keep in mind that each time you sew two scraps together, you will lose 1/2 inch in total fabric length.

Pin the pieces right sides together, in the correct order.

Then sew each piece together with 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Open the seams and press flat.

You will need two strips of scrap fabric, both the same width and length, to make your rail protector. They do not have to be identical, and the back side could be one piece of the same fabric, but you do need two. 

I made mine identical...

Next, pin the strip intended to be the "back" or bottom side of your protector onto your batting, wrong side down. Cut the batting to the same size as your strip of fabric.

Take your "top" strip of fabric and decide where your ribbon ties should go. I chose to make three ties, one in the middle, and one on each end to hold it secure to the rail.

Now, this is where I goofed pay close attention.

Cut 6 pieces of ribbon, each 12 inches in length. Pin each ribbon to the right side of your fabric, going towards the inside, like this:

Make sure your ribbon is pointing inwards. I initially pinned mine to the edge of the fabric going out (which I knew I shouldn't have done) which would have actually put the ribbon on the INSIDE of the rail protector. Obviously, that would be completely useless.

So, once you've placed all your ribbon in the correct direction, take your other strip of fabric and lay the two pieces right sides together. Place your batting on the top of the bottom two layers. Pin in place.

*NOTE...ignore the ribbon in this picture. It shows the ribbon pinned in the incorrect direction*

Sew around all three layers with 1/2 inch seam allowance, but leave a 4 inch opening on one side.

Snip the corners. 

Then, using your opening, turn the protector right side out. Make sure to poke out the corners, then press the entire cover flat.

Fold the opening in 1/4 inch and pin closed.

Topstitch close to the edge around your entire rail protector.

And you're finished!

Now go try it out on your little one's crib! No more worries about the rail being chewed, and a nice and soft cushion to prevent more bumps and bruises on your ever growing baby.

Now go make something, and enjoy the day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Drawing: Part 2 - Finishing a drawing

Finishing a drawing is the best part of the process. You get to watch your work come to life right before your very eyes.

To see how to start a drawing, click here or scroll down.

We last left the drawing fully outlined. No shading had been done yet.

Now is when the fun begins. Take your ebony pencil, or soft graphite pencil and start filling in the drawing with lights and darks. If something is very dark in the photo, press hard with the pencil. If it is pure white, leave it completely blank. The trick is to get your drawing to have the blackest black and the whitest white in your drawing. That's what really gives it depth.

I always start at the top right of the drawing and work across the paper. That way I leave less smudges as I work, and I won't smear pencil after I finish a section.

In this next section, you'll find I use the word smudging a lot. I'm not exactly sure if this is a good professional term, but it's the best word to describe what you will be doing.

When you get to a good stopping point, find a tissue. Yep, a tissue. My cheapest and most important drawing tool.

Wrap the tissue around your finger and begin smudging the graphite. This will create a much softer appearance, and makes it more realistic. Round objects look much more round when they are smooth.

After smudging, be sure to go back with an eraser and define your highlights. You may even want to go back with your pencil and darken areas that may have lightened when smudging.

Continue to do this with the rest of your drawing, by first creating shadows with the pencil, then smudging them in.

Don't worry about going past your border or making a mess beyond the drawing. We will cut off or erase those marks later.

WHEW! After all that hard work, here is the final product...

But wait! You're not done yet. We must put credit where credit is due, so don't forget to sign your masterpiece!

Cut of your messy edges or erase unwanted pencil marks. Spray the drawing with a fixative to make sure your smudges stay put, and you're FINISHED! Ready to send it to a special friend, sell it to an eager buyer, or frame it and hang it on your own wall.

**This particular drawing is a tribute to a wonderful woman who holds a special place in my heart, as does her daughter who ordered the drawing**

Now go make something, and enjoy the day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Featured Post

Today is an exciting day for me. Something I made was featured on Sew a Straight Line by Sabra. If you have never visited her blog, it is a must see. She has such creative ideas and easy tutorials to follow. Especially for a beginner sewer like myself. 

A couple weeks ago I decided to attempt to sew my first article of clothing: a jacket for Ellie. I found this adorable jacket pattern and tutorial by Sabra and I knew Ellie had to have it!

I did modify the original pattern a little, changing the fabric of the waistband, adding cuffs, and leaving out the interfacing in the collar.

And just so you know, my husband picked out the fabric for this jacket. Yep, he went to the fabric store all by himself and brought home this adorable print so I could make something with it. Oh, how I love him.

Of course I had to add a little sparkle to the jacket. These buttons were perfect. 

And Ellie looks so adorable in it!

I have an obsession. of many. I am addicted to headbands. Ellie never leaves the house without one. So, of course, I had to make one to match her cute new jacket!

I found two tutorials to work from. This fabric headband tutorial and these fabric yo-yo instructions.

I just made a simple fabric headband and two yo-yos of different sizes. I hand-sewed the smaller yo-yo to the larger one and hot glued them to the headband. I then took a small piece of coordinating felt and glued it to the back of the yo-yos, sandwiching the headband in between the felt and the yo-yos. 

It turned out even better than I thought it would!

This project was so much fun! But what made it even better was having such great tutorials to work from. I cannot wait to make another jacket like this!

Now go make something, and enjoy the day!