Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rally the Troops

Okay- you know how I've been obsessing over the doll house/purse?
I can sew a straight line- but that is about it. (Okay- I can sew a button too.) But I was hesitant to start a project that looked so complicated without some professional help.

So I rallied the troops: I talked with some other moms who might be interested in making one of these for their children or for gifts at Christmas. ( Mom's who I thought knew how to sew and have a sewing machine- since I have neither.) I thought we could each contribute our talents and time and if we worked together we could crank out a dozen or so of these bags in one night.

I found a small group of friends who were interested and up for the challenge.
My contribution: I drive to town on a regular basis so I went to the store and bought the supplies. (As best as I could figure out from UK Lass blog.)

UK Lass says you will need for each purse/doll house:
Fabric for the interior: 9 inches by 21 inches and (2) 6 inches by 9 inches (I'm being generous with the seam allowances here, as the actual size needed will depend on which batting you use)
Fabric for the exterior: (same as interior) 9" x 21" and two pieces 6" x 9"

(if you are going to have different colors for the roof and green on the inside of the house- you have to cut and piece those pieces together. We just lined up the plastic walls and tried to guess the right measurements- but the base piece is 9"x 21"- if you decide to use one color or piece three together.)

I bought 1/4 of a yard of four different colors for my house. (Yellow/blue floral + Blue+ yellow and green)

2) 10.5"x 13.5" sheets of plastic canvas (I used #10 mesh) one pkg makes almost 4 houses- just shy one small roof panel. So one bag makes 3 complete houses.)

4.) Duct tape / insulation tape (optional) We decided to sew the batting onto the plastic canvas by hand.

(5) Buttons and elastic cord (I used tiny hairbands) or Velcro or 2 zips (if you do not have my fear of sewing zippers) or some ribbon (we used 5 but think 3 would do the trick next time.)
2 Sewn fabric strips for handles (optional) (we used ribbon because we just wanted to get the first bag done quickly- kids were going to be home from school soon.)

I tried to be useful and pre-washed the fabric and cut the house structures out of the plastic mesh. ( I mean this was my idea - they are going to be doing alot of the actual sewing so I thought prepping the project would be helpful and save some of their time. )

Cut the plastic mesh into (3) 4X6 pieces, (2) 2 3/4 x 6 pieces- roof and then the house sides.

How I cut the house sides- I measured 4" for the base. Measured in 2 inches and drew a line up. The sides of the house are 4 inches so I drew a box. Then the roof top part is 2 3/4 I used a ruler and connected the tip of the middle line to the edge of the square.

Wrap all the plastic in batting and we sewed the batting like a pocket. ( we are thinking if we ever had to wash one- the batting might bunch and ball up if it's not sewn on. I don't know- we had 4 women working on this one little project and we all thought that sounded like a good precaution.)

Sandwich the fabric right sides together. We cut and then sewed up the sides like a pocket.

Then turned them right side out and ironed the pieces flat. Then we stuffed the batting with the plastic inside. It was a snug fit- but I think snug is better than too big.

Now this next part- some other ladies were pinning. UK Lass has a good diagram.

You piece the different fabric together for the inside and outside. Lay right sides together and place the side panels inside along with loops and handle. sew 3 sides of the long rectangle.

Then when you turn it right-side out... iron.

This is the exterior of our house.

This is our interior of the house.

We tried lining up the side house panels close to the line between yellow and green. If your fabric was all one color- this might be a tricky step...leaving enough space for a wall and roof.

We used the sewing machine to sew the last edge shut. Anjeny's machine has fancy stitches.. so it looks really cute. (Be sure to add your handle.)

This is a glimpse of Anjeny. She was going to work her magic on sewing up the sides of the house by hand.

And here's the house that love built.
This is Anjeny's little girl- she was dancing around with her bag- the picture is a bit blurry.
So WE DID IT! We made ONE! It was a good practice. Most my ladies wanted to stay anonymous- (No cute candid pictures of them.) They don't want to be stars on my blog... so I won't use their names. (I'll respect their privacy- especially since they are willing to participate in one of my schemes.)
B.T- took the batting home with the plastic houses to prep
C.H- (Our expert seamstress) has lots of little kids so she doesn't have to prep... she just has to come and sew. :0)
I'm going to piece together the insides and outsides.
And Anjeny makes our cover buttons and hand sews the sides of the houses.
So the NEXT time we get together... all we have to do is make some side house panels. Sandwich them together.. zip-zip around the sides.

I think these little houses will make such cute Christmas gifts. We thought of other themes: Little dog house, fabric that has bamboo for sides and palm tree tops and then boys could keep dinosaurs in it. I bought black and white checked fabric, red, and denim fabric for Heath. I thought he could keep his cars in it. THEY ARE SO CUTE!
But to be honest- I promise all future projects will be less complicated. Less "exact". I like projects that I can eye-ball and guesstimate and they still turn out fabulous. This one- to get sides to line up and pieces fit snugly- it takes some skills. BUT SO WORTH IT!


Lil D said...

Now I feel guilty, as I did eyeball and guesstimate it - seriously, I just pin all around it, then take the stuffing stuff out and sew it. Was I making any sense? Explaining things is NOT my strong point...

Laura said...

Don't feel guilty! YOU rock!
I love this little purse/house!
You are so creative!

I hope you seriously consider sharing some of your handmade items in my birthday give-away...
I would love it love it love IT!

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