Archive for the ‘New Ideas’ Category

New and Exciting Horizons!

April 4, 2012

Hello again! Here I am keeping promises. I am back into the swing of things and enjoying a spot of freelance work in my life that is allowing me to persue other creative endeavors.

For one, I will be overhauling this blog! Since the new Megnificent Made store will no longer be focusing on sewn goods (I’m not saying never!) I think there is a bit of re-branding in order. Keep an eye out for a fun new look for the Megnificent Made blog AND the Megnificent Made store!

Second I’d like to cryptically tell you about some of the design work I’ve been doing. I am an experienced Graphic Designer and Illustrator and you can check out some of my work at MeganGuhl.com I’m available for design projects if you’re interested in talents like mine, I’d love to hear from you.

This year I had a stint working with Interbrand here in Sydney. A group of extremely talented and award winning designers that had a wonderful string of inspiring work I was proud to be apart of.

Since January I’ve been working freelance and have gotten a chance to focus on my first love, illustration. One such project is a series of wooden peg board puzzles with a peek-a-boo theme. They’ll be sold through a wonderful company called Bella Toys that specializes in wooden children’s toys. I will let you all know when they are available!

Most exciting and most cryptic of all is my latest project that has consumed me this week. It’s an opportunity I managed to stumble into (still figuring out how it happened!) and a chance that illustrators dream of. For the past few days I have been working with a group of very lovely, creative and driven people to develop characters for a children’s TV show. At this point I am not at liberty to divulge too much information on the program or the names attached. Hopefully, if all goes as we like, you will all be watching these adorable characters on your TV- and someday -stage!

It really has been such an exciting week. I am so thrilled to be a part of such a fun project and can’t wait to share it with the world. You’ll be the first to know!

So keep posted friends. There are lots of exciting things on the horizon!

A New Direction!

February 15, 2010

Something I have wanted to try for ages is needle felting! I’ve been very distracted by learning to construct clothing, design work, and work at a local PR firm. Recently I was inspired by a purse my mom brought home from the Anthropologie sale rack. It was a beautiful sack style purse with leather handles and was decorated with burnt red needle felted wool on black.

I loved the bag but I definitely wanted to try making it for myself! Below is my first attempt (and success!) and needle felting, purse design, and sewing with leather. It was a really fun project!

Felted Leather Purse

The bag is a heavy wool felt in dark slate grey with all different colored wool yarns. Pinks, yellows, browns, blacks, purples, blues and greens. I also used bundles of wool to add some variation in thickness. It took me two days to felt the fabric and from there I cut the shape. I really wanted something asymmetrical and something that would show off the leather strap. On one side is a kind of slumped rounded satchel and the other is a corner where the leather follows the edge into the corner.

This is my first time carelessly cutting into fabric with just a general idea of what I wanted the finished project to look like. I allowed space for seams, darts and zippers and was pretty happy with what my mental guestimations resulted in.

The inside is lined with a beautiful brown silk and has every pocket I could ever want. Gum sized, pen sized, phone sized, iPod sized and one zippered pocket.

The top has a really nice heavy-duty gold metal zipper. I wanted all of my materials to contrast a bit so with my soft fluffy crafty purse I wanted a hard industrial looking zipper and a super textured geometric leather.

This was my first experience making a leather strap. I read a lot online about buying a teflon plate and foot for the machine to keep the leather moving through the machine smoothly but I am not about to invest in new machine parts. Instead I put tissue paper on either side of the leather I was stitching, and used clamps instead of needles to avoid extra holes. The tissue paper worked great but afterwards is a bit of a challenge to remove. A damp (not wet!) tooth-brush was able to soften the paper and scrub it lightly out of the stitches.

All in all I’m quite happy with this. I’d like to know how people feel about it. I have gotten a positive response on my purse but I am thinking of making some smaller clutch style bags with my felted fabric and leather to sell in the Megnificent Made store. I’ll have to wrap my head around designing this week!

And the winner is….

January 21, 2010

About two weeks ago I set up a contest for the Megnificent Made readers. Readers submitted ideas on how to turn my grandfather’s shirts into a keepsake.

There were a lot of great ideas! You can check them out at the original post here.

Now to announce the winner!

drum roll please….

Lexy Lou!

Lexy Lou suggested an idea from the Amanda Blake Soule’s book “Handmade home”. The fabric was used to make hot water bottle covers as well as rice sacks. I love this idea, especially in the midst of a cold January!

Lexy Lou has won an item of her choice from the Megnificent Made Etsy store!

Pink Floral Camera Wristlet by Megnificent Made

Pink Floral Camera Wristlet by Megnificent Made

Thanks to everyone for their submissions and keep an eye to the blog as I already have and idea for the next Megnificent Made contest.

The Learning Process

January 12, 2010

2nd try on the 1st try

My brother Aaron gave me a gift certificate to the craft store for Christmas and I spent it on fabric and patterns. I really want to take the time to learn all about following a pattern and making clothes.

This skirt is one of my first goes and while I do like it…there are a few lessons from it!

My zippers need some help.

My hem is too obvious. There has to be a better way!

The leather bit was not a part of the pattern and it was a bit ambitious for me to make things up before I had the hang of things. This is actually the second try on that. The first leather band was a bit tight so I managed to make a second with the scraps. Leather…as I should have guessed…is also not all that easy to sew with. This one fits better, and I am happy with the buttons but tearing the band off and replacing it with a slightly larger one somewhat messed up my pleats in the front. They’re not unbearable but they’re not as sharp and neat as I would like.

All and all, I have to say for a first try it’s not bad. Its wearable and I do like the look of it. There is another skirt I’ll post soon and hopefully I can really get into making clothes! I think my next project will be an off white or cream button down to go with this 🙂

Don’t forget! Win a Prize Here!

Recipe Book

January 6, 2010

My mom and I both love love love to cook and spend an awful lot of time watching food network when we’re together. Since I’ve been away in Australia cooking makes me feel close to her and I’ve been very much into digging out new recipes and concocting some of my own to pass along to her.

Mom’s handmade Christmas gift this year was a recipe book! This fabric I absolutely loved and had intended to use as curtains in my kitchen but that idea was VETOED. Instead I used it to make this gift for mom.
Recipe Book

I used batting and binding board for the covers and stitched button holes to accommodate the green binder clips I found in the craft booking section of the craft store. The pages are recipe book fill pages from craft stores and will take regular recipe cards.

I made my own recipe cards with photographs I took of the fabric and manipulated in Adobe Illustrator. The pocket in the front of the book will hold the blanks for her.

Recipe Book

I stitched a felt tea pot to the front of the book and monogrammed it. I also hand stitched all the way around the edge of the book which not only looked nicer but also made it easier to work around the thick binding board I used.

Recipe Book

Before Christmas day I wrote down all of my favorite new food adventures from the past year and filled about the first 10 cards for her. It’ll be a work in progress!

Keepsake Contest!

January 5, 2010

I am taking a break from my post-christmas-present-posts to solicit your help on a project that has stumped me.

It has been nearly a year since my Grandpa died. He was a really wonderful person and greatly missed by all of us. My aunt salvaged some of his clothing to make a beautiful quilt for my grandmother. It’s a beautiful piece that has a lot of meaning and comfort for her.

When my aunt came to visit at Thanksgiving she brought some of my grandpa’s old shirts and thought I could make something out of them. I’ve been thinking on it long and hard and can’t decide what keepsake to sew out of these shirts!

Help me Help youThey are both cotton, button down, short sleeve shirts size XL.

So here’s the deal! Post your keepsake sewing ideas involving one or both of my grandpa’s shirts in the comments of this post. I’ll give it about two weeks before making a selection!

The winning idea-supplier will get to select any item from the Megnificent Made Etsy store as their prize!

That includes camera wristlets…

Camera wristlet by Megnificent Made

Pink Floral Camera Wristlet by Megnificent Made

Custom Coloring Books…

Vespa In Paris Custom Coloring Book by Megnificent Made

Vespa In Paris Custom Coloring Book by Megnificent Made

Or writing and drawing fabric notebooks!

Sketches in Blue Fabric Book by Megnificent Made

Sketches in Blue Fabric Book by Megnificent Made

So start exercising your creative brains and send some keepsake ideas this way! Any questions feel free to ask. I’ll give about two weeks (more if necessary) to see some posting!

Note: Subscribe to my RSS feed on the right to help you follow my blog and find out the winner!

Sail Boat Pillow

January 3, 2010

This gift was for my dad who is an avid sailor. He just purchased a new boat that is in storage until spring and the real gift will be curtains for his new boat but until I can get at it to take measurements I wanted to give him something to open on Christmas day.
Sail Boat Pillow

Before I wrapped it I loosely stitched a ribbon at the top of the sails that said I O U SAILBOAT CURTAINS that can easily pull right off.

Sail Boat Pillow

I used a bunch of fat quarter scraps to pull it all together and didn’t really bother with a pattern (I probably should have drawn something up). Sometimes I wing things I shouldnt! But all in all its a nice little pillow he can put on his boat this summer! The real challenge will be the boat curtains 🙂

Fishing Pole Bags!

December 29, 2009

As promised…post Christmas gift posts! I wish I could have posted this before christmas because it’s so hard to find crafty gift ideas for guys. Both of my brothers are into fishing so I decided to make these fishing pole bags for them.

Fishing Pole BageThe whole idea was to make some thing that will carry their fishing poles as well as all of their tackle. I made it from ripstop and kind of fashioned it after the bags that carry folding chairs.

Fishing Pole BageThere are two pockets at the top that fit either their tools or the plastic organizers I included.

The pocket for the fishing poles stops about a half-foot from the bottom of the bag and synchs shut. This pocket can accomodate either full length poles or poles that come apart.

The bottom portion of the bag zips shut and has round stacking/interlocking Tupperware to hold their worms and bait.

Fishing Pole Bage

Here is a sketch I made before I got to cutting and sewing.

The pole extends from inside the bag but holds steady because the weight of it, the handle and reel, sit at the bottom of the bag. The boys really loved this gift and have promised to give some feedback after they stuff their goods into it so I can get to making them for my etsy store before the fishing season gets going!

There are more christmas gift posts to come. The whole family is flat on the couches with a stomach bug thats being passed around so you can bet I’ll be quite attentive to the blog for the next few days!

Please feel free to share with me any great christmas crafts you gave or received with megnificent made!

Lego Sleeping Bag

December 9, 2009

I’m hand making all of my Christmas gifts this year and my nephew asked for nothing but logos… that posed a problem! When I told him I was making gifts for everyone he replied “You can sew something that reminds you of my personality!”

That didn’t help much.

I have to be honest, I gift idea stole from my mom. She had bought my nieces sleeping bags to use on my dad’s new boat this summer and was searching for one to give to Brendan as well. She couldn’t find one she liked so i stole her gift idea and decided to make him a lego one!

It came out well and I am really proud of it, but the big sewing lesson I learned from this project was to NEVER SEW A SLEEPING BAG.

Here is the finished product.

Lego Sleeping BagI made the pillow first which was, in retrospect, great practice in fabric lego design. It’s big, overstuffed, fleecy and fluffy  but if I were to make it again (which I may) I’d make those lego pegs a bit smaller! It’s not uncomfortable to lay on but I think it’d both look better and sleep better with shorter pegs…a lesson I used on the sleeping bag. The pegs on the bag raise only about an inch from the bag.

The pillow is red fleece as is the lining of the sleeping bag. The outside of the bag is made with blue rip-stop and it is stuffed with 5 layers total of 1 inch thick batting. Two layers on top, three on bottom. There is a blue zipper that runs half way down one side of the bag. I couldnt find a zipper for the traditional full length and around the bottom edge but he’s just a kid and even I can get in and out without opening the zipper anyway.

The pegs were made by sewing cylinders and then hand sewing the cylinders to the top layer of rip-stop before assembling the bag. The pegs on the bag are stuffed with two layers of the batting used in the bag.

The toughest part had to be sewing the lines along the body of the bag to keep the batting from bunching or shifting. Our machine is clearly not equiped to deal with that many layers or anything of that size! I sat on the floor with the sewing machine wrestling this bag all day through the arm of the machine and broke 5 machine needles. I tried sewing it by hand but it looked terrible from the inside. There was a minor bit of bunching on the back of the bag but I was able to flatten it out by snipping the lump out of the batting and you wouldnt really notice.

If you’d like to undertake this project, I have no pattern and I’ve already recommended you don’t do it…but it’s easy to figure without a pattern if you think you can handle the back ache.

Just figure in a comfortable length and width for your child. Double the width to accomodate the top and bottom of the bag. As I mentioned. The pegs were made by sewing cylinders. I cut my circles by tracing a plate. Sew the cylinders to the top layer of rip stop and then sew the lining fleece to the rip stop with the outsides in. Leave enough space to fit in the cut layers of batting. I figured this space by installing the zipper on either end, and then leaving the space below the zippers open. Turn the bag right side out and stuff in the batting. It was easier to install the front layers of the batting from one end, and the bottom layers from the other end rather than pushing them all in from one side.

This is the tough part! You need to sew lines across the width of the bag to keep your batting from shifting or bunching. You can sew by hand if you’re neater than me, or if you have access to a more industrial machine then you should be fine. For me, I rolled the bag tightly from one end to fit under the arm of the machine. I put the machine on the floor and sat behind it to pull the fabric through the machine. It wasn’t easy and I broke my back but good luck. If you have any ideas on how to make that easier let me know and I’ll share it!

The last bit is to fold the bag with the rip stop together. Sew from the end of the zipper and around the bottom of the bag to seal it shut. Turn it in side out and if you’re lucky…a big lego bag!

If he doesn’t want it I know plenty of adults who would, but I do hope he likes it.