Category Archives: fusible transfer paper

Getting ready for a fox birthday



Like many other kids, mine have fallen prey to that funny What Does the Fox Say video. Inspired by this love, Worth decided to have a fox-themed fourth birthday party. I made him this 70s-style shirt from a pattern in the book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Make a Handmade Wardrobe. I wasn’t planning to sew snaps on the shirt since he intended to wear it open, and because brown snaps (plus shipping) were going to cost almost as much as I paid for the cute fox fabric, but the birthday boy complained, so (expensive) snaps were added subsequent to the picture-taking.

I decided to make small gifts for Worth’s party guests instead of the usual little baggie of throw-away goodies. I sewed sleeves for standard composition books then ironed on fusible printer transfer paper circles with the kids’ names on them and a little fox I designed on the computer. The sleeves were easy to make and slip easily over the books, can be reused, and are appropriate for party guests of either gender, which is something I was going for. I’m not sure they were as exciting to take home as bags of candy and plastic frogs, but hopefully they will prove to be a more lasting and useful gift.


This is the invitation I make for Worth’s party. I haven’t done much with computer graphic stuff in a while, and while I’m far from proficient or professional, I was pleased with how these turned out and was happy to test the waters in a crafty/homemade area outside my usual sphere. Worth certainly thought they looked fine because they contained a fox–his one requirement!

Spring fashion…for my dog



I thought my Belle needed to have some new accessories for spring. I made her a collar from scraps of Dorothy’s new dress. These collars are easy to make because I don’t make them adjustable, I just make them the right size to fit my particular dog. I stitch fabric onto 1 inch webbing, sew on a reinforced D-ring, and put parachute clasps at each end.personalized-collar

On the second collar I tried something new. Sometimes it is difficult to get Belle’s metal tags off the thick D-rings on these collars. I had a half-sheet of iron-on transfer paper for dark fabrics sitting around, so I printed Belle’s name and address (some of which I rubbed out in the photo) several times onto the sheet, clipped them out, and ironed one on to this second new collar. Now all her pertinent information is right there on the collar instead of dangling below. This will be the perfect collar for walks in the woods because she won’t get her tag snagged on sticks, and it will make changing collars easier because it can go right on without my having to change over her metal tag. I saved the other printed addresses for future collars.

Mothers’ Day and matching spring skirts


Well, the red camper is gone. It rolled on off behind a young couple who is going to take it to Bonnaroo. I think they’ll all have a great time. It did feel a little strange to see my favorite project headed away from me, but I’m very excited about finding the right next camper for my family. Selling it felt a a tad sudden, but on our last camping trip the sleeping arrangements just felt too crowded. I’d always pictured the kids tent camping next to us as they got too big to share our red camper, but I don’t think I realized how much time would pass between outgrowing our sleeping capacity and the threshold for being able to sleep alone in a tent. Since our last trip I’ve found myself strangely drawn to the Craig’s List classifieds, and it seemed like a smart idea to go ahead and list mine so I could actually move on the right thing for us when I found it. I truly didn’t think I’d sell it so fast–right before we have camping reservations with friends this weekend! We decided to go on and tent camp and have a nice laugh over my haste, but this morning found Dorothy with a stomach bug so we’re staying home anyway. I do have a day trip planned to look at a potential camper one day this coming week so wish me luck! The lady who sold me my Fleetwing told me it would be my “starter camper” and I didn’t believe her. I guess the joke was on me! Maybe vintage trailers are like potato chips…

We gave the gift of spring t-shirts to our mothers for Mother’s Day a couple weeks ago. Dorothy drew and colored a charming flower, I scanned it and used Photoshop to remove the background, then I uploaded the image to Cafe Press and ordered the shirts. It would have been so much faster and cheaper to use printer transfer paper, but the shirts from Cafe Press make much nicer gifts. Unlike the transfer paper shirts they have no special washing instructions, they hold up over time very well, and you never accidentally sandwich pet hair between the shirt and the transfer when you’re ironing it on (past experience speaks). Both grandmothers have been wearing their shirts proudly.

I’ve also been at my sewing machine a lot lately. I’ve made three more versions of my favorite skirt pattern, including the one pictured. Dorothy loved the print of this skirt so much that I let her talk me into making a matching one for her. I didn’t use a pattern for hers but I wish I’d kept a paper version of what I cut out for it because it turned out so well. We’ve enjoyed running around town together being matchy. I know her enthusiasm for this won’t last forever, so I really do savor the strangers’ smiles and her enjoyment of our matching outfits.

More t-shirt embellishment


You’ll only like this one if you, like me, are a fan of Mo Willems.  (It’s for personal use, so I’m not trying to do anything evil here with copyright.) I cut out, ironed-on and stitched down a pigeon figure inspired by the book, then printed the word “drive” three times on printable fabric and ironed those on around him.  Dorothy likes this one too.

I had a hard time photographing this shirt.  It is another long sleeve tee like the ones in the last post.  I used different colored thread and the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to create a border around the neckline and waist.  The effect turned out pretty well and I think it makes this shirt look sort of mail order catalog-y, in a good way.  This was a really rewarding project because it was so quick and simple and made such a difference in the shirt.  I wouldn’t try this with a dull needle–decorative stitches on knit need a sharp, fresh needle designed for knits.

I recently ordered this book on crochet motifs, mostly because I was a little short of the free shipping threshold when I was ordering something more urgent (how much money does make that way?  so brilliant!) and I really like it.  The little shapes can be the building blocks for any larger project one can imagine, but they are also fun little quick projects on their own.  I was feeling frustrated with our cheap, stupid (yes, I have a 4-year-old and I know “stupid” is a bad word) tea kettle because the stupid product designers made the handle out of some material that heats up so much when water is boiled in the kettle that unsuspecting, innocent tea drinkers get their hands burned every time they fail to remember that this stupid kettle isn’t like every other kettle they’ve ever owned, and that they can’t touch the stupid handle to pour the water out when the stupid thing whistles.  Tired of reaching for a potholder just to pour water (or failing to), I decided to crochet something decorative and insulating to stay on the stupid thing to avoid this problem in the future. I made one of the hexagons in the book and tied it right onto the handle at the points. The red and white wool matches my kitchen, so now the stupid kettle looks prettier too.  If anyone thinks that a person who repeatedly burns their hands making tea is a little bit stupid herself…well, no one asked you.

The kids and I are off on an adventure tomorrow.  The car is packed, the MP3 player loaded, and a basket is well-stocked with snacks.  We’re headed to Chicago to visit my college roommate.  I used to travel quite often with just Dorothy before Worth was born but our preschool schedule and being outnumbered by my kids has kept me home more this past year.  I’m hoping that all goes well so we can make travel a regular part of our homeschooling experience next year. On this trip we’re hoping to take in a St. Patrick’s Day festival at the Irish Heritage Center and the children’s museum.  I have used my mother’s trick of wrapping small gifts in old newspaper to hand out to the kids at regular intervals to keep them happy in the car.  Some art supplies, a tiny backhoe that makes noise, books…I think they will be well received.

A soccer bag


Dorothy starts soccer tomorrow! We keep her ballet gear in a special tote bag hung on a hook in her closet so she always knows where to look for little slippers, tutus and tights. I decided a similar approach would probably work well for soccer, but this time the tote needed to be big enough to hold a ball and shin guards. I let Dorothy choose fabric from our stash, and although I was encouraging her toward a sporty bold-colored stripe, she selected this really feminine vintagey floral. But hey, it’s her bag. I used Photoshop to change the colors of a clipart soccer ball to match the fabric, then printed it onto transfer paper intended for dark items (so it would cover the pattern).

If your peanut also needs a soccer tote, cut a 30 inch by 17 inch rectangle from an old sheet, with the 30 inch length going along the finished edge. Fold in half (to make a rectangle 15 by 17 inches, with the finished edge at the top) and stitch up the side and bottom. If desired, square off the bottom by making gussets in the bottom corners. Cut another rectangle 15 by 6 inches. Press the rectangle in half lengthwise, open, then press each edge in toward the middle fold, then re-fold the middle to make a strap 2 inches by 15 inches. Stitch closed and sew to the bag. Iron-on clipart optional.

I have no idea what is going on in this picture, but I just think it’s cute. I love kids in footie pajamas and it was finally chilly enough last night for mine to wear some. Dorothy often wears weather-inappropriate jammies, since she picks out her own, but that doesn’t count. I’d bought these sweet guitar jammies for Worth in size 12 month and he’s almost outgrown them already! I’m not sure how I was planning to wrap up this post, but will now share that Worth is in my lap as I type and just saw the photograph and is now holding his arms up again, in imitation of the kids on the screen. Cute! Must be some new baby trick. 🙂

A big deal


I had a birthday a couple days ago, and although I truly feel fine about being 34, for some reason the song stuck in my head all day Friday was Thunder Road–not the whole song, just the bit about “so you’re scared and you’re thinkin‘ that maybe we ain’t that young anymore.” But truly, I feel fine about where I am in life and that I’m 34. Show a little faith! (Thank you Bruce.) I had a great day with my family.

Today I’m at the sewing machine with Baby Boy in mind. He’s grown so fast almost nothing weather-appropriate fits him anymore, and I continue to be pretty unhappy with store-bought boy clothes (football, anyone?). I also can’t just head off to the thrift store and find good sewing fabric for him like I can for Dorothy. But luckily it doesn’t take much fabric to make baby clothes, even for babies the size of this one, so I journeyed to Joann last night and came home with a nice little selection to keep me busy for a few days. Today I made him a pair of shorts and a matching t-shirt. I don’t think the picture shows the detail on the shorts, but they turned out pretty cute. They are long, like surfer shorts, and I sewed faux pockets on the front and a useless but cute little front button for decoration. They fit nicely over his cloth diaper. The tee is an old onesie from Dorothy’s babyhood that I cropped to make a regular shirt (because I wouldn’t Worth to look dorky with a onesie tucked into his casual shorts) and then ironed on printer transfer paper. I created the transfer by scanning the shorts fabric and using it as a border for my text. It ain’t a beauty, but hey, it’s all right.

A frilly school bag


Dorothy starts preschool this fall and will join the ranks of bag-toting tots everywhere. At our school the teachers prefer open-topped bags (not backpacks) to facilitate easy access, so that’s what we made. Dorothy selected fabric from our stash downstairs (a thrifted sheet, in this case), then contributed the drawing of a flower, which I scanned and printed on fabric along with her name. I put frilly ruffles at the top, a little pocket inside for her sundries, and a little mother-of-pearl snap in case she needs it to stay closed while she’s upsidedown on the monkey bars.

This old t-shirt was being demoted to sleep shirt, so I used it as an experiment for some new t-shirt transfer paper. I’d never used the kind designed for dark shirts, which is an opaque white transfer instead of the typical transparent kind that is only intended for light-colored fabrics. I printed some Dorothy flowers onto it and ironed it on. This paper seems to scorch easier than the other, which is good to know, but the transfers seem firmly affixed and flexible. Hopefully the little artist will be proud when she sees Mom sleeping in it tonight.