Using up my Scraps: Madras Patchwork Ball, Penguin Backpack and a Nap Pillow

I keep a bin in my basement labeled “old clothes/save for scraps” where unwanted clothes made of interesting or high quality fabric hang out, waiting in a sort of purgatory. I usually hang onto them for about a year before giving the whole box to goodwill, but I’ve been on a spring cleaning tear lately and want to either use it or get rid of it. 20140501-IMG_5644

This ball is a project from Anna Maria Horner’s book “Seams to Me”.  Making it was a fun exercise in spherical geometry and I like that I recognize our old shirts in the hexagons and pentagons. I spy an osh-kosh lumberjack shirt our 4-year-old grew out of, a few of my husband’s old work shirts and a busy print from a beach tunic / tent house dress I never wore much and realized it was just clutter in my closet. I stuffed it with a pillow from a sleep study my son had a few weeks ago.  The sleep tech said to take the pillow if I wanted, as they only use them once and then throw them away (he had great test results by the way, hooray for no sleep apnea!).  The boy prefers to sit on the ball, which I think is cute. 20140501-IMG_5668




The book  “Little Things to Sew” has an adorable backpack pattern featured on the cover.  I used my husband’s old twill pants to make mine, so there are a few creases that simply won’t come out. One of the penguin’s arms is flapping higher than the other and neither of them lay flat. There’s love in them imperfections. I’m sticking with this mantra, dammit.



The pull-tab is from a pair of old cargo shorts. I did have to buy a zipper and some hardware for the straps though.



The lining fabric was a gift from a friend who is an amazing talented sewist and all-around generous person. She showed me how to thread my machine when I first started sewing, taught me how to make my first quilt top, helped me find a machine to fit my needs and also gave me some extra scraps she no longer needed. She really helped me a lot and I’m forever indebted to her for getting me started learning such an open-ended hobby and skill set.  You can see some of her gorgeous handmade kid’s clothes and other creations right over here.

My son really likes his backpack, he has a thing for penguins lately and says he wants to use it for his picnic lunches. Four year-olds picnic A LOT… Picnic at the park, picnic on the lawn, picnic on the deck , the floor… so I think we’ll make good use of it.   20140504-IMG_6162



The napping pillow was me just wanting to mess around with my embroidery floss on canvas. I had an Ikea throw pillow I wasn’t in love with so I used it as an insert and made a zippered piped pillow casing to hide it.  I use Deborah Moebe’s  method. If  you know anyone who needs a good beginner sewing book, hers is the one to get.  She is very encouraging and has a great way with talking you through the tricky parts. He likes the pillow, but not napping these days.



Being his mom, I am his pillow too sometimes. I wonder if all the years will be this precious.



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