Thursday, August 18, 2016

Goodbye Rips

Good morning, you guys. 

Woke up to this in my twitter feed.

Um, yes. I want those in the knee parts of my kids' leggings, please. And the belly-button area of my favorite Tshirts, that get those mysterious holes (the logical part of my brain tells me it's from rubbing against the stud button of my jeans but the dramatic part of my soul likes to believe in evil moth fairies that live in my washer).

What a weird and wonderful world we live in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tsum Tsum Party: Softies

Right. So now we return to first principles:

Tsum Tsums are softies.

Therefore, there had to be softies at a Tsum Tsum party.

There were so many possibilities: Tsum Tsum Head cushions, Tsum Tsum spheres, giant Tsum Tsum lumbar pillows etc. And, as the children reminded me, we could've also always gone shopping at Target for actual Tsum Tsums and handed them out as door gifts.

But then we decided, "No. We want squishy Tsum Tsums. Made, not bought."

We found this delightful tutorial for Donald, Mickey and Goofy. 
"Ah," we said, "that makes it look so easy."

So we bought socks in Tsum-Tsum-appropriate colors. And based on those colors, we picked characters to sew.

They were a lot of fun to make!

Here is the short version of the how-to:
  1. Take one sock. 
  2. Examine the toe end - if it is knit (curved) around the toes, great. If it is sewn (straight) across the toes, turn the sock WS out and sew the end curved before continuing to the next step.
  3. Cut off the ankle portion, including most of the heel, leaving the straight toe/foot portion.
  4. Stuff.
  5. Using a running stitch, sew around the cut opening, pull tight to gather the opening shut, and stitch it closed. 
  6. Use the toe end for the face and embellish.

Here are some of the body variations:

Variation 1: Plain solid body 

Hand-stitch any details that stick up or out away from the body (mane, tail, ears) and glue any features that lie flat against the body (e.g. stripes).

Variation 2: Band around the body
  1. Cut a short, straight section from a second sock (i.e. remove the ankle and heel) and also remove the toe portion, so that you get a band of sock fabric.
  2. Slide it over the main body.
  3. Tuck the edges of the open ends to the WS and ladder stitch the hems to the main body.
  4. Embellish with other details.

Variation 3: Capsule Body
  1. Cut a shorter ankle-less and heel-less section (but leave toe end intact) from a second sock and slide that onto the bottom end of the main body. 
  2. Tuck the edges of the open end to the WS and ladder-stitch to the main body.
  3. Embellish with other details. Rather cut strips of fabric for stripes, we used narrow ribbon.

Here's a Tsum Tsum with a little skirt. This skirt was cut like a semi-circular skirt (or a peplum) so that it flares out even while its waist lay flat without gathers.

Here are what the bottoms look like. 

We simply cut fleece or felt shapes for the base, and smaller feet pieces and glued them all on. The base is useful for covering up seams and other messy bits of your hand-stitching, and gives the Tsum Tsum a flattish bottom to sit squarely on. If you'd like a much flatter base, use fusible interfacing on the WS of the base to stiffen it, then glue that onto the body.

On the day itself, we hid the Tsum Tsums around the yard.

Then we handed out these cards that Kate designed

and assigned one to each guest.

The guests were then given their cards, and sent off to search for their toy.

And that's a wrap for Kate's Tsum Tsum party!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Tsum Tsum Party: Pencil Case

After a meandering detour into pattern matters and craft fairs, we are now back to finish up Kate's Tsum Tsum party. Today's party thing is the Personalizable Pencil Case.

At our parties, we often do a craft which involves personalizing. We've found that kids like that - particularly if it also involves adding color and not just the odd sticker or dash of glitter.

For Kate's Tsum Tsum party, we mass-sewed pencil cases. These were simple unlined flat zippered pouches of plain canvas on one side and quilting-cotton-weight Tsum Tsum print fabric on the other.

I bought a yard of the fabric here, and had a lot leftover after making 10 of these pouches. Because the quilting cotton was so thin, I backed it with a layer of white twill before sewing the two sides of the pouches together.

They were so easy to make that even Emily, who's eleven, could make one (she lost interest after that one).

On the blank canvas side, Emily and I drew Tsum Tsum faces with a black Sharpie.

Here are all the designs.

Then we slipped a piece of cardboard (we cut up cereal boxes) in each to prevent the ink from bleeding through when the guests colored their pencil cases.

On the day itself, we set out all the fabric markers we had in the house.

and the guests picked one pencil case each, colored the faces in, and added their names. 

Some drew their own names,

and I drew blank block letters for those who wanted them.

This is usually our last activity - the guests can take their time to decorate their projects until they're picked up by their families.