Tag Archive | space

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

I BECAME A STAR WARS FAN.

It was in May of 1977 when my love of all things Star Wars began.

As I watched the action of the original Star Wars movie on the big screen of our small town theater, the Force moved over me and I was hooked for life…

I wanted to join the rebel forces immediately and be lead by Princess Leia to defeat Imperial Forces of Darth Vader, the Storm Troopers on the Death Star. I wanted to stand side by side with Luke Skywalker and feel the force flow through me as I applied Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lessons to become a Jedi Master. I wanted to interact with the coolest robot droids ever, R2-D2 and C3PO. And who didn’t have a crush on the handsome and rugged Han Solo or want to fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca?

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It was a few years later, but still very much a long time ago in a galaxy far far away when my love for Star Wars increased when I said “I Do” to the husband who, believe it or not, was an even bigger Star Wars fan than I was!

And, it was still a few years after that big event that Star Wars would have a HUGE impact on my sewing, embroidery and crocheting skills.

 

R2-D2 Embroidery Design

This is the very first hand digitized design that I ever made! R2-D2 for my Husbands Shirt.

My first sewing and crafting Star Wars adventure began with the purchase my first embroidery machine a long time ago. And even though I now had the tools to put any design that I wished on any of my sewing projects, there was sadly a lack of pre-made Star Wars embroidery designs for me to purchase. This lack of embroidery designs was the beginning of a whole new sewing and embroidering adventure for me, learning how to create my own embroidery designs.

The Force was not strong with me at all as I began the task of digitizing my very first Star Wars designs, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But as time has passed, I have grown skilled in the Force and my digitizing skills have improved to where I have a very nice selection of Star Wars designs to call upon whenever the need arises.

Occassionaly other sewing Star Wars fans have appeared with some of their own embroidery designs to help increase my selection. I won’t bore you here with the details of how to create your own embroidery designs, but if you want more information on how to do that you can click HERE for my “How to digitize your own custom embroidery designs” post.

Star Wars Miscellaneous Embroidery Designs

Some of my current Star Wars Embroidery Designs!

Over the years, I have created, sewn and stitched many items for the husband and family members with Stars Wars designs embroidered on them. Many of these were made way before the days of blogging, so sadly I have no links for you to read about them, and for that I am sorry.

My favorite Star Wars sewing project so far though is the gray Darth Vader shirt that I made for the husband to wear while we were at a Star Wars Weekends event at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studio’s Park in Florida. img_0901

DSC06157And my sewing ego about burst as the husband received compliments on his custom made Darth Vader Star Wars shirt from several of the actors of the Star Wars movies while we were there including Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). Click HERE to read about the making of that shirt and click HERE to see my hand crocheted Domo Kun Plush having a great time while at a Star Wars Weekends event. And for an added bonus, click HERE for some sewing advice from Han Solo.

han-solo-300x240It wasn’t until 22 years after watching the first movie in 1977 with the release of Star Wars Episode 1 in 1999 that I was finally able to purchase my first piece of Star Wars fabric. It was a cotton print of a flaming Darth Vader helmet on a black background. I had wonderful plans for this fabric when I purchased it, but it was quickly brought home and placed in the precious fabric stash unused and that is where it still lives today.img_3405

But, the second piece of Stars Wars fabric that I purchased, a fleece remnant with Darth Vader on it, was used to make the nephew a blanket with when he was a youngling. And the Force was strong with this blanket. It was the first blanket that I ever crocheted and edge around and it was the beginning of my crocheting and amigurumi making adventures. To read more about this blanket, click HERE. Since then, I have always purchased Star Wars fabric whenever and wherever I could find it.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster copyToday, “As The Force Awakens”, you can find item from the Star Wars Universe like R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8, Rey, Finn, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, everywhere including in the sewing and crocheting world.

Over the last year, I have seen Star Wars sewing blog posts pop up everywhere as the Force is again re-embraced by the younglings. There are many new Star Wars related designs made with gorgeous new Star Wars fabrics to be seen and read about everywhere I turn.

Star Wars Fabrics

A few of the MANY Star Wars Fabrics I now own!

And I now see bolts of wonderful Star Wars fabrics lining Walmart and Joann’s shelves every time I enter their stores (And, YES, before you ask, I have purchased a fair amount of this fabric to live in the stash.).

And the latest thing I have seen is the new Star Wars Amigurumi crochet book and kit (And, YES, before you ask, I have already purchased that kit too) to let you crochet all your favorite Star Wars Characters for yourself.

SWCrochetBookNeedless to say in the 38 years since my “first awakening to the force” Star Wars sewing and crafting has come a long, long way. Far beyond the days of me struggling greatly while trying to digitize my first Star Wars designs because nothing else was available.

I am very excited for the new Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens movie to open on December 18th. I certainly won’t be the first person in line to see the new movie, but I might be the second :-).

I would like to be one of the first to start sewing and crocheting with the new fabrics and patterns that the buzz for this new movie has created, so hopefully you will see some fun new Star Wars projects from me on here in the very near future!

Until then, sew with the Force and crochet on! And may the Force be with you always!

 

Drop Down the Cuteness – Part 2

DSCN0901The panda bear’s pattern was easy to follow so the crocheting of the pieces was fun and it stitched up quickly. Then something changed. As I began to stitch the panda bear together, cuteness did not burst from every stitch. What went wrong? Upon completing the panda bear, I sat the latest cute bear and the panda bear side by side and studied the differences.

DSCN0903Of course there were the obvious difference in the bears, but as I studied their faces, my attention was drawn to their muzzles. Now, the size of the muzzles of these two bears are quite different from each other, but that is not what caught my attention. It was the placement of the muzzle on the head. The first bear has a big muzzle so it had to be sewn lower on the head, closer to the neck and the eyes needed to be inserted right above the muzzle. The panda bear had a tiny muzzle in comparison, so it could be stitched up higher on the head with plenty of room for a space between the eyes and the muzzle. Was the placement of the muzzle on the face in a different position the answer to the cuteness issue? Was the panda’s face just too high and separated on his head?

I turned to the pattern and, yes, the pictures showed the eyes and muzzle of the panda stitched lower on the head and closer together. I also pulled out the only other teddy bear pattern that has turned out cute for me as I crochet it, the pattern I used to make Madison and Tux, and, yes, because the head is crocheted sideways in this pattern, the muzzle is even with the neck and the eyes are inserted right above the muzzle. If my theory was correct, lowering the muzzle and placing the eyes closer to the muzzle of my amigurumi bears would bring out the cuteness.

DSCN0939I was excited to test my theory and make another amigurumi teddy bear with a lower muzzle and closer eyes, but first I had to try and fix this panda bear. I was not willing to unstitch his head and muzzle plus his eyes were already permanently snapped into place, so I crocheted him a bow tie. I found a free bow tie pattern for a dog on Ravelry and modified the size to fit the panda bear. The bow tie filled in the distance between the panda’s neck and muzzle making the neck and muzzle seem closer together. Whether it’s the illusion of bringing the neck and muzzle closer together or just that the bow tie is cute, adding the bow tie help bring out some of the panda bear’s cuteness that wasn’t previously there.

DSCN0942I did not have a quick fix for lowering the eyes to see if my theory on their placement versus the bear’s cuteness is correct. I will just have to place the eye closer to the muzzle on the next amigurumi bear I make and see if the cuteness appears spontaneously. I am betting it will.

I don’t know if my next amigurumi will be a bear or not, but I see I a bear with a lower muzzle and eyes closer to that muzzle soon in my future. Perhaps then I will know if that was truly the answer to bear cuteness or not. I hope it is and I will have another crocheting mystery solved.

Until next time, crochet on and cute on.

George And The Alien

sewing cartoonRemember back when my hobby was mostly about sewing and I used to post wonderful blog posts about all the fun stuff that I had recently sewn up?

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Yes, I do too.

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But it seemed as though my sewing mojo had left me over the holidays. I am not sure where my sewing mojo had went to. Perhaps it went to see some creative relatives, or visit some friends for the holidays or something like that. But I do know that it was definitely gone and that I had no desire to sew anything, no desire start any new projects and especially no desire to finish any previously started projects. I did not even want to sew that last minute Christmas gift that I see every year and think that I can quickly get made up in time. The fabric stash all sat nestled quietly in its boxes, hidden away in a winter slumber. My cutting table sat empty of all fabric and patterns and my sewing machines just rested in silence, waiting patiently to be turned back on again. Luckily now that the holidays are over, my sewing mojo seems to have returned and I am excited that it has found its way home. Its time to start sewing again!

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P1030564Months ago, I altered the husbands shirt pattern and made one new shirt from the altered pattern, the purple and black striped soccer shirt with a Snoopy embroidered on it. The fit of the shirt was good and the husband has wore the shirt several times now and has had no complaints about the alterations that I made. Because wearability depends on so many factors, the fabric, how it was cut, how it was sewn together, etc., I did not want to say that my alterations to his pattern were correct until I made a couple of more shirts from this current pattern and they were wear tested to be sure of the fit.

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P1030567So, this project started with a trip to the stash where I retrieved two pieces of fabric. I picked a green knit and a brownish pique. The fabrics were different enough from each other in stretch and feel, that I thought they would give some variation as I tried out the altered pattern. I asked the husband which one he liked the least and he picked the green knit, so I started with it first. The green knit was easy to work with. It was quickly cut out and sewed up nicely. The most difficult part of working with this green knit was in picking what design to embroider on the shirt. After wasting way too much time looking at designs, the UFO and Alien cow abduction design was picked and stitched to the shirt. And it turned out great!

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After finishing the shirt, the husband wore it once and asked that I take a little of the blousey feel out of the back and shorten the shirt a bit. This green P1030560knit has quite a bit of stretch so I hesitated on taking anything out of the back on the pattern. If I took it out of the back of the pattern, then the next shirt could it be too tight with a less stretchy fabric. This back problem was not there with the Snoopy shirt so maybe I stretched this green knit fabric too much when I cut it out. Shortening the length was no problem. That was an easy fix, and yes it was a needed fix, so I did alter the pattern by shortening it a small amount. I cut off the hems I had made on this shirt to shorten the length and re-hemmed it, but doing this took out most of the side slits that I had put in. I thought that this might make sitting a problem while wearing this shirt, but the shirt is large enough that it did not seem to make much difference.

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P1030562One day at work, my coworker was telling stories of how much her 3 year old grandson loves Curious George. I thought of the husband’s shirt scraps of the green knit sitting on the cutting table and decided this little guy needed a shirt with Curious George embroidered on it. I used my pattern for a cut out tab front shirt and made a size 4 so there was a little grow room in it. Just like the husbands shirt, the green knit was fun to work with. The stretch of the green knit caused me a little bit of an issue when embroidering the large Curious George design on the small shirt but it all worked out. I used some of the web interfacing on the back of the design to help keep it flat after laundering and to make the design smoother on the back so it wouldn’t be itchy or scratchy. I gave the shirt to my coworker and P1030556the little guy’s mom took a picture of him in his shirt. He was very cute in his shirt and the fit looked good. The word is that he likes to wear the shirt everywhere. I just love to sew for kids.

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With the return of my sewing mojo, I have had a great time sewing! And I am ready to start my next project, but what will that be? I had better pick soon to keep my sewing mojo here and happy.

Nose Above the Eyes

IMG_7141After completing Orion with all his challenges and complexities, I was ready to crochet a simpler amigurumi. And still being in the alien making mood, I decided crochet another simpler alien life form. His pattern name is Zork. I liked the name so I decided to keep it.

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IMG_7147Zork’s pattern is from a book I purchased a long time ago but never crocheted anything from. The book is Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock. Remember Mark and Clark, the experimental monsters, who’s pattern I downloaded from Raverly? They were designed by Stacy Trock as well, and if you remember, her patterns are all stitched in the back loop technique leaving front ridges. Zork was designed the same with the front ridges and I decided to crochet him as the pattern directed.

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IMG_7139In this pattern, you start at the eyes and crochet your way down to the head and then on to the body. This means that you have to insert the eyes early on in the crocheting process, after crocheting the white eye balls and just before starting the green stalks that hold the eyeballs. This was a little difficult for me. It would have been easier if more of the head and body would have been crocheted first so I could tell how the eyes were going to look with the head and body when choosing which size or shape of eyes I wanted to use. I inserted several different shapes and sizes of eyes but just was not happy with any of them. With what started out as a joke, I inserted a couple of noses instead of eyes and voila, they made the perfect eyes for this alien.

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IMG_7144This pattern worked up easily and simply. It was a little tricky to keep the eyes facing forward while crocheting the stalks of the eyes together to form the head. As you can see, mine are not quite straight, but they are as straight as I could get them and their off position gives a little personality to Zork. I really enjoyed adding the ruffle at the bottom of Zork’s body. It was fun to crochet and added more personality to Zork. When it came to making his mouth, I read the pattern and thought, “This will never work.” but I followed the pattern and it worked out great.

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Zork was fun and simple to make from the crocheting to the stitching together. It was nice to have something just relaxing to make for a change. I would make another Zork anytime.

Orion

P1030428I don’t know where I got the crazy idea but I decided it was time to expand my amigurumi making skills and move outside my comfort zone of just following a pattern. With that in mind, I chose to make another pot belly alien but with the changes I wanted to make to the pattern. I would be venturing out into unknown territories as I tried to make this alien not so pot bellied, and yet still have his other parts and pieces match. The end results of these changes is Orion, my latest amigurumi alien.

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The adventure started with me purchasing two skeins of the needed yarn. I decided to play it safe and have two skeins on hand even though I figured with making this one’s belly smaller, I may not need the second skein. But rather than panicking when I ran out of the first skien, I purchased two skeins so that I was sure I would have enough yarn for this project. I started P1030361out crocheting the arms and legs first. Since this alien’s body was going to be skinner than the last one’s body, I debated about making the arms and legs shorter. I knew that this second alien was not really going to be a toy and would need to be able to sit on a shelf, so I decided I would crochet the arms and legs into the body rather than sewing the arms and legs and then attaching them to the body after the crocheting was done. With this in mind the legs in particular could be shorter because they would not need to extend out from under neath the body. The legs would just be attached to the front of the body. I did not want to shorten the legs and not shorten the arms and then have an alien with short stubby legs compared to his arms though. Aliens are supposed to have long thin arms and legs. So, after a lot of thought, I decided to make the arms and legs as the pattern was written. It would be easier to shorten the arms and legs later if I needed to, and I knew I had enough yarn that if I wasted a little undoing the tops of the arms and legs, it would be ok.

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P1030376After completing the arms and legs, I made the head next. I remembered all the tricks that I had learned on the first alien’s head, so this head was not quite as scary to make. Like all crocheting, the type and brand of yarn used makes a big difference to each project and this alien was no exception. As I crocheted the alien’s head, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. When it was time to attach the eyes I could not believe how much bigger this head was than the last alien’s head. I believe the size difference is due to the fact that this yarn had more stretch to it than the yarn I had used for the first alien. Since there is no size gauge to an P1030363amigurumi project, this head just came out bigger. It still has a great shape for an alien head with the flat face and the bulge in the back of the head. But it is bigger than the first one I made. Because I had already made one of these alien heads, I was able to better place the eyes where I wanted them, pointing more to the sides of the head than up to the top of the head. The larger head also helped with the eye placement. (In the end, because of the bigger head and the body changes, I did need the second skein of yarn for complete this alien, so I was glad I had it, and I did not decrease the length of the arms and legs, so that they matched better with the head and body.)

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P1030387So, with the long arms and long legs and a big head done, I got started on the body. I knew I wanted the body much skinner than the first pot belly body I made, but I needed the body big enough to support this big head, but still be skinny like an alien’s body should be. At first, I said 1/2 of the size of the pot belly body should work, but as I crocheted the starting rounds of the body, I decided to go one more round and have the largest part of the body be 54 stitches around instead of 48 as I originally planed. After reaching the round that ended in 54 stitches, I crocheted in the legs on the next round. Then I crocheted 10 rounds of 54 and then started my decent to the neck. I decreased evenly on the next round to 48 stitches, then single crocheted the next round with no deceases. I followed this pattern up to where I thought the arms should be inserted. Unfortunately the place where I wanted insert one of the arms was P1030374right at the finish and start of a round and on a round with decreases. This made the placing and inserting the arm quite tricky. This is where my lack of skill as a pattern designer really showed. If I made patterns all the time and had any skill at pattern designing, the insertion of the arm at the end of one round and the start of the next round and on a decreasing round would not have happened. The body would have been redesigned so this would not be a problem for the crocheter following the pattern. I finally made it past the arm insertion and continued on until I reached 18 stitches in the round and I said this would be the top of the body.

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P1030410I noticed when I attached the first alien’s head that it was a bit challenging to sew the curved alien’s head to the flat round of the neck, so I decided to try and remedy this problem on this alien. To do that, after crocheting the last round of the neck, I did a couple of deceasing rows at the back of the body to give the alien a higher neck in back than in the front. This did make sewing the head to the body easier on this alien.

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Unfortunately, as I sewed the head to the body, I noticed that I had not done a good job of aligning his legs and arms. I guess it was the struggle with inserting the arms that messed up the alignment slightly. Once again something an experienced pattern maker would have noticed and corrected. I needed to unpicked the partially attached head, undo the rows and rounds down to the arms, reposition the arms and then redo all I have just undone. But I just did not have the heart to do this. After much posing and positioning of the alien, I decided that my alignment was not that far off and that the little it was off could be positioned out and it gave him a little character.

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P1030400As I posed the alien, I noticed that because of this big head and small body, that he did not like to sit as well as the first alien even with his legs inserted into the body and not sewn on. The problem was the weight of the bigger head. When the husband saw the problem, he said he could fix it for me. With two wooden dowels, the husband made an X through the alien from the top of the aliens head to his butt. With the X shaped dowels supporting the head on the body, the alien sat nice and straight and tall. Once again, because this alien was not designed as a toy but as a decoration to sit on the husbands computer desk, the wooden X through his body was not a problem. It was in fact a great solution to the problem.

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After having this alien sitting on my sewing room table before reaching his final home on the husbands computer desk, I decided to name him Orion. This not a very original name, but I like it. And I enjoyed my journey in making Orion for the most part, and I learned a lot. I especially learned respect for the talented individuals that make the crocheted amigurumi patterns that I use.

Creton of the Planet Gliese 581c

IMG_7102I know you have probably heard of a pot bellied pig, well, this is a pot bellied alien. While surfing the web, I came across this pot bellied alien pattern several times but I was just not impressed with it. Something about it just did not appeal to me at the time. Because of that I did not download the pattern or pay it much attention until I saw one of these pot bellied aliens completed that someone had made from this pattern on Ravelry. The original pattern showed this alien with a bib on. But the alien on Ravelry did not have a bib on it, and I think that is the only reason why I liked the alien on Ravelry and not the original one. Whatever the reason, once I had seen the alien on Ravelry, I knew right away that I wanted to stitch it up. So, I hunted down the original pattern, downloaded it, and got started.

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I picked an alien green color of yarn that I had picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby to make it with. I was glad that I had picked this color of yarn because it was a brand new skein and this pattern took most to the skein to complete. In fact, I panicked about half way through the crocheting of the pieces because of how much yarn it was taking and made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get another skein before it was gone. Even though I had bought the original skein of yarn on clearance, Hobby Lobby had more on the shelf but I did have to pay the regular price for it. Thank heavens for coupons.

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IMG_7105The alien’s head was complex to crochet. I had to watch my rows and stitches and do a lot of counting as I crocheted. After I lost count many times, I finally wised up and started putting a stitch marker half way through the row to help me keep count without loosing my place. In the end though, it was worth the trouble. I love the shape of the head. It looks just like you would expect and alien’s head to look, from the flat face in front, to the large bulge in the back of the head. The same is true for this alien’s arms and hands. I had to stay focused and count carefully to get the fingers correct and even. I also decided that I didn’t care for the original patterns fingers, so I just made up my own stitches for them and I love the look. Originally, his legs seemed rather long but I followed the pattern and just made them the size that the pattern called for and I think they turned out fine.

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IMG_7106When the pattern said pot belly, it meant pot bellied. The alien’s body is huge! The middle rounds of the body where belly is at it’s largest are over 80 stitches in length! That is a lot compared to other amigurumi’s I have made in the past. This also explained the need for the long legs. The legs had to be long so that there was still something left of them when the alien was sitting upright. There is quite a space from where the legs are sewn to the bottom of the body to the edge of the body.

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IMG_7112stiSewing the alien’s pieces together took a bit of thought too. Since there was no real bottom of the head to sew the neck to and the pattern did not say where to connect the head and neck together, I was originally worried about the placement. but it all worked out in the end. The weight of the alien’s head causes the neck to fold down a little and this gives it the right look. Also since the eyes are double thick, they had to be sewn to the face before the head was finished being crocheted. This made the placement of the eyes difficult, so his eyes are pointed up a little more than I would have liked.

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I think this pot bellied alien, which I have named Creton, turned out just wonderful and I can’t wait to make another one. But as usual, I have already noted several changes to the original pattern for the next time I make one.

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Stay tuned for Klaatu, my next pot bellied alien with my new design modifications!

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Bibs and Blanks

First lets start with the bibs.

On May 17, a new nephew was born just in time for his older brother to turn 2.

I had already sent a couple of sleepers for the new baby but decided that some new bibs might be needed too. And I figured that the 2 year old could use them first.

The bibs are so quick to make but are also so much fun to decided what to stitch on them. I knew that the 2 year old would be going to see Toy Story 3 with his older brothers, so I decided to put Buzz and Woody on his bibs.

I really liked the Woody design but I was not as happy with the Buzz design. There is nothing wrong with the design. I just have others I like better. The third bib has a Donald Duck stitched on it because their mom is a big Donald Duck fan. So, naturally they all know who Donald Duck is.


Now on to the blanks. We stopped by the Disney outlet store the last time we were in Las Vegas.

They had these Disney sweater shirts for $3. They had the Disney tag in the the back but nothing else on them that indicated that they were from Disney. So for just $3, I could add my own Disney design to these shirts so I bought 3 of them.

They only had size 3, so I only purchased enough for the nephews that are or will be a size 3 really soon. Upon getting them home, I realized why Disney did not put anything these shirts and they went to the outlet store.

The shirts were made with the fabric inside out. But, I still like the looks of the shirts and I already owned them so I figured I would go ahead with the embroidery and the kids could just use them to play outside this fall. I debated between Mickey Mouse or Pooh and Tigger on the shirts, but Mickey Mouse won out.

I think that they turned out really cute. 

Another nephew of mine has taken a liking to outer space, planets and the space shuttle.

So, while the hoop was still sticky from the sticky paper and the thread was all out, I decided to embroider him a space shuttle.

I picked up this shirt awhile back at Wal-mart on clearance for $1.

It was the perfect shirt with great colors for the the space shuttle to be stitched on! . . . . . . . . . .

The last blank is the finished sleeper in the larger size. I debated quite a while about what design to put on the sleeper, puppies or pandas, but since it was going to the niece, it had to be a princess.

The embroidery process was not as easy on the completed sleepers as it is when I embroider during the construction of the sleeper but it wasn’t much more difficult due to the size.

I embroidered one last design, but you won’t get to see it until I finish the sewing for that one.

Stay tuned!

If you want to see my original baby bib post you can find it HERE.