Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TUTORIAL: Personalized Bath Towel

Continuing the tradition of making gifts for the sweet girl next door (she and her momma love all things homemade), I made my neighbor a personalized bath towel. Here's the how-to.

  • Bath towel
  • Scrap of fabric
  • Wonder Under, or similar paper-backed fusible web
  • Name (letters) printed onto computer paper
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • thread, scissors, sewing machine
  • iron, pressing cloth (muslin or other medium weight fabric)
1. Print name onto computer paper.
TIP: Use a font with thick/bold letters. Skinny letters make for skinny scraps of fabric, which are hard to work with and barely show up on the towel.

2. Fuse fabric to Wonder Under.
Cut out the name. This helps you see what size you need to cut your fabric and Wonder Under. TIP: Cut your Wonder Under slightly smaller than your fabric --approximately 1/8" on each side -- so that none of the adhesive sticks to your ironing board when you fuse the Wonder Under to your fabric.

Lay wrong side of fabric against the bumpy side of the Wonder Under. Press for 5-8 seconds with hot, dry iron. Let cool.

3. Trace name and cut letters.

Now that your fabric is fused to the Wonder Under, flip your fabric over so that the right side of your fabric is laying on your table and the paper backing of the Wonder Under is facing up.

Lay tracing paper on the paper backing with the right side of the tracing paper facing down against the paper backing.

Lay your computer paper face down on the tracing paper. You should still be able to see the shape of your letter through the wrong side of the computer paper. TIP: If you can't see through the paper and are familiar with your computer software, you can print the name in reverse and trace the letters exactly as they appear on your printout.

Use the dull tip of a mechanical pencil to trace the outline of the letters.

Your name should look like this. See how the letters are backwards? If you picked up the strip of fabric and held it in front of a mirror, you would be able to read the name correctly.

Cut letters following the traced lines. When you flip over the letters so that the fabric side faces up, the name should look normal.

4. Adhere letters to towel.
Peel the paper backing off each letter.

Arrange letters on the towel.

Cover letters with a damp press cloth. With iron at wool setting, press firmly for 10-15 seconds. Repeat until each letter is fused.

Peel back your pressing cloth and check to make sure that the letters are bonded to the towel, especially along edges and corners. If the letters are damp, iron them to remove the excess moisture.

5. Edgestitch around letters.

Edgestitch around each letter. I used a narrow zig zag stitch. Remember, since your letters are already adhered to the towel, you don't need to use pins. Hooray! TIP: When you reach a corner, leave your needle down in the towel, lift the presser foot, and pivot the towel 90 degrees. TIP: If I made this towel again, I would use darker thread. The thread I used was an exact match to the blue in the fabric, but barely showed up on the towel.


Wrap it with a bow and it's ready to go.

Hope this helps. If you make a towel, please leave a comment and let me know! I'd love to stop by your blog and see your good work. :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

HONK It's My Birthday

This past weekend Hottie Hubs and I ran the mother of all relays: Hood to Coast. In a nutshell, a team of 12 runners run 197 miles. We start at Timberline Lodge near the top of Mt. Hood and run to the west coast, ending on the beach in Seaside, Oregon. Each runner runs three legs, ranging in distance from 3.7 to 7.4 miles, with difficulty varying based on the terrain.

Our team started running at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, continued all day and all night, and ended early Saturday afternoon. If you thought running was exhausting, try running three times without sleep!

Friday was also Hottie Hubs's birthday. With 12,000 runners, this was the biggest birthday party Ben's ever had. Of course I had to make a deal of it. :) The photo above shows the shirt I made for Ben using the freezer paper stenciling technique. CLICK HERE for a YouTube tutorial of how to make a t-shirt stencil using freezer paper.

Why paint the back of the shirt instead of the front, you ask?

Most of the 197 miles we run are on roads or sidewalks. Each van drops off their runner at the start of a leg, then drives to the next exchange to drop off the second runner and pick up the first runner. Rinse, repeat. As vans drive by, they look for their runners - but have to identify them by their back sides. We spend a lot of time in vans...and a lot of time looking at people's back sides. Plus we wear our team numbers pinned to the front of our shirts, so anything on the front would get covered up.

Ben said there were a LOT of horns honking for him as he ran. Mission accomplished. Plus most of the runners on his legs wished him a happy birthday as well.

I made a coordinating shirt for me to wear. You'll see I also gave Ben a birthday crown. It had an elastic strap to keep it in place while he ran.

Here I am at the start of the race. If you're wondering why I'm so bundled up for a race in August, it's because I ran the very first leg starting on Mt. Hood. With an elevation above 6,000 feet, the temperature was a frosty 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). The sun wasn't fully up yet, so we had to wear reflective vests and blinking lights so vans could see us on the side of the road. BTW - my first leg was 5.6 miles with a 2,000 ft. elevation drop. Ouch! My poor sore legs!

Here's our team at the end of the race. Bundled up again because the Oregon coast is cool. (I promise I was sweating bullets during the run through downtown Portland.) I'm the girl in the front row wearing a red jacket. Hottie Hubs is standing behind me wearing a baseball cap. What a way to spend the weekend, eh? ;-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For Molly

My adorable friend Molly lost her mother to breast cancer. I made this card for her two years ago.

Though I tried embossing, flowers, etc., nothing felt right until I decided to make something simple and understated. Sometimes you don't need a bunch of words and frills, you just need a hug. *big hugs, Molly...yesterday and everyday*

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Name That Costume

Hi there, friends. Here's a peek at what I've been working on this weekend.

Halloween may be two months away. But this year my boys have begged, pleaded, and done all sorts of jumping up and down to convince our whole family to dress in coordinating themed costumes.

If any of you can guess what this critter is (or more accurately - what it's going to be), I'll be thoroughly impressed! Leave me a comment and let me know. Then you'll also know why I'm starting on the costumes NOW. (Think of a certain princess and the peachy-pink dress I have to make for that costume.)

Enjoy your day! Rachel