Here then gone then back again. There has, at least, been a bit more crafting since my last hiatus. One of the most fun projects I have done is these:
I decided, after a trip to my mother's quilt store where they sold some lovely pre-put together pillow case kits that I was going to make a pillow case for Ms. Z, and all my nieces and nephews on whatever the next holiday occasion for gift giving was. These are the first out the door, for my two oldest nieces who just turned 10 and 8.
Whenever I make something for kids, I always prepare for them to be uninterested. After all, just because I made it, and the making made me happy, doesn't make it exciting for them. I go into it thinking that it's important to see that nice things can be made and that it's fun to be a maker of things, but knowing that the payoff could be decades away -- or that if they like it now, there could come a time when they didn't.
So it was a pleasant surprise for these two pillow cases to be well received. They knew what they were and I got a big hug from both after they held them up to show a room of other young women. Each one came with a tag telling them that it was specially made for them and that if they liked them, next year I would take them shopping to pick out fabrics of their choice for their next pillow case. I'm hoping they enjoy these cases, because I would love to take both of them (and their younger sister) fabric shopping.
From the crafting side of the project the "kits" came from the Viking Sewing Center in Ann Arbor, MI -- (313) 761-3094. I'd like to give them a shout out since they also gave me lots of tips. That said, pillow cases are super super easy and fast (I made these two in about 3 hours, including the time to work through the pattern with a virus addled brain) and I think even a novice sewer could get nice results. The pattern itself is called "Dream Catcher" by Sue Drew -- a quick googling didn't turn up any helpful links, but if you buy the "kit" from Viking they will happily give you a copy of the pattern alternatively this pattern is very similar.
The kits themselves were simple -- just the three fabrics cut to the size you need. After sewing the first pillow case (the pink one) with the horizontal stripes, I'd encourage you, if you go with horizontal stripes, to true up the fabric or buy a wider piece so that you can, so that the stripes run straight instead of at an angle. I would have done this with the piece I had, but it wasn't really wide enough for me to trim as much as I needed to, so I had to go with what it was.
I'd also recommend that you have a couple of quilters tools at hand: a rotary cutter and a quilters ruler that you can use to straighten up fabric edges. This helped me a lot.
I'll be making more of these soon. My small person has made it clear that she needs one and I have a pair for myself that will be both kitschy and fun. If you're looking for a simple project to introduce you to your sewing machine, pillow cases a lot of fun and leave you with a very functional bedroom accessory or re-usable wrapping paper for another gift.