Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Natural History Shirts

Today we went to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. How fun to wear natural history shirts that we made ourselves! My new favorite clip art source is the fabulous series of books (with cds) from Pepin Press. These frogs hopped out of their book of skeletons.

Download images into Photoshop, resize if necessary, and then print onto iron transfer paper, and iron on. We are going to try adding fabric paint and fabric markers later. For now, we are enjoying the bookish quality of the black and white graphics.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brand Your Own Birthday

The party aisle at your local megastore is filled with prefab cups, napkins, and goody bags. Why not make your own party stuff with inexpensive picnic ware?

1. Draw a cool character.
2. Scan or photocopy your character and print it out in different sizes. Stick it on paper cups, goody bags, and flatware wrapped in a strip of paper.
3. For a quick and easy placemat, tape together two sheets of paper with your character printed on it.

More ideas: Put your character on your own custom party favors. Send your buddies home with a pack of stickers, a tin of mints, or a t-shirt, all imprinted with your awesome character.

Designed by Jay, age 11

Fleece Fashions

Fleece is made from recycled plastic. It comes in bright colors and simple prints. When you cut it, fleece does not fray, so it requires no hemming (like felt), and is great for new seamsters.

To make a fleece scarf: lay out a length of fleece (2 yards), and cut a long straight strip (1 foot). You can cut two narrower strips in contrasting colors (6 inches each), and sew them together. Or you can cut rectangles of color and sew them together.

To add polka dots or skinnier stripes, you can use fabric glue to attach pieces of fleece to your scarf. Use a lot of fabric glue, as the fleece is very absorbent. (You can also sew them on.)

Variations are endless. Make pockets by folding the bottoms and sewing them on both sides. You can easily fringe your scarf by cutting narrow strips at the bottom or the sides.

Scarves designed by Hannah, Orr, and Ronnie, ages 9 and 10. Project director: Lynn Mally. Photo: Bob Moeller.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Home Camping

Summer is waning, and we're shifting from formal day camp to light babysitting and activities at home. Hannah is Head Counselor for "Cheesy Camp" (so named, she tells me, because camps are always "cheesy" in style). The best way to brand a camp -- even a home camp -- is through t-shirts. Graphic was drawn first in black sharpie; then scanned and colored in Photoshop.

Design: Hannah and Ronnie, age 9.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dressy Apron

Grown out of your favorite flowered dress? or just grown out of dresses altogether? The flouncy dresses loved by little kids make cool aprons for bigger kids, and require very little sewing.

1. Lay dress flat on table or floor.
2. Cut out the face of the apron, following the side seams up the top of the dress, across the top, and down. The front of the dress will form one piece.
3. Add ties. You can use pieces cut from the back of the dress or grossgrain ribbon. Sew ties on each side at the waist, and at the top right and top left.
4. For a finished look, you can hem the sides. (But remember -- aprons are for messy work, in the kitchen, studio or garden.)

Variations: cut dress at the waist for a half-apron.
If you don't want top ties and there's a button (not a zipper!) at the back, keep the collar (round neck opening) intact and use the button to open and close your apron.