Thursday, April 30, 2009
I know that there has been a bit of talk on blogs here and there about how much harder it is to sew for boys than girls. I completely agree! And of course there is sibling rivalry when sister gets her third new outfit in a row and brother hasn't gotten anything new sewn for him in ages. This was my solution last summer; after sister got 3 new sundresses! I appliqued a shark, turtle and dinosaur onto three solid colored t-shirts that I bought at Target. The t-shirts were under $5.00 each and then the material cost wasn't much at all since I bought only a 1/4 of a yard of each piece and had leftovers for other projects. I used my standby, Stitch Witchery, to bond the material to the t-shirt and then I used a tight machine zig zag to applique. I just had to be careful to not pull the t-shirt material at all while I sewed. I feared that it would be harder working on the knit than it was. Now fortunately, or unfortunately, the t-shirts still fit this year so I will need to think of another boy project if I make anything more for his sister! I was particularly excited when my son wore the shark t-shirt to school the other day and one of the teachers (who has a son his age) asked where I bought that shirt because she wanted to buy one. My son proudly said, "My Mommy made it!" I know there will be a day very soon when he will refuse to wear anything I make so I will enjoy this while it lasts!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Often, textile end up folded in plastic or cardboard boxes or hung on metal hangers in dry cleaning bags. Both are just awful in the long run. The plastic and cardboard cause the textiles to discolor over time. Folding and thin metal hangers cause the textiles to crease somewhat permanently and don't provide adequate support.
I want to make sure that the special dresses that I make for my daughter and the costumes that I make for the kids last so that they can be worn by my grandchildren (should they want them). The other day, when reorganizing the newly renovated hall closets, I opened the dry cleaners bag that had my First Communion dress (with removable pinafore to become an Easter dress) that my Mom had made in 1982. Can you see how yellowed the white dotted swiss had become?
I got to work right away. I covered the top and corners of my hangers with polyester batting, attached with loose, quick stitches. Then I cut covers to fit the hangers out of prewashed, unbleached muslin.
Then I hung the garments on the hangers and made quick bags out of the same muslin, to protect the garments from light and dust.
It really didn't take all that long. To save time and effort, I stored two garments per bag. I also made use of the selvages whenever possible. I am guessing that some of you are shaking your heads at me right now, but now I can rest easy :)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
My second entry for the Sew, Mama, Sew! Flower Power Contest is a sunflower accessory. I used it here to decorate a gardener's straw hat but it would look nice on a large straw bag as well. It measures 7 1/2" across; the center has a 2" diameter. There are 32 petals, made of 6 different materials, attached in two layers. The center is made up of too many french knots to count. A quick approximation suggests over 200. I didn't know how to tie a proper french knot when I started this project but by the end I was a pro! My fingers were also very sore!
I made this sunflower from fabric scraps that I already had at home. I couldn't really justify buying fabric in order to enter the contest. However, if I were going to order some Sew, Mama, Sew! fabrics to use on such a flower, I would try some combination of Ribbon Flower Sunflower-Katie Jump Rope, Gingham Yellow-Darla, Diamonds Yellow-Living Elements, Ticking Yellow-Darla, and Swirly Buds Gold-Bijoux.
I put together a little tutorial in case anyone wants to make something similar.
2. I then arranged approximately half of the petals around a 2" diameter piece of brown felt. I hand stitched them to the felt center, making little pleats at the base of the petals as I went.
This is the view from the back.
3. Then I made a second layer behind the first.
Again, here's a view from the back. After both layers were complete, I machine stitched around the edge of the center for added strength. (I'm not sure that was necessary.)
4. Then I tied all the french knots. This part took quite awhile and was hard on the fingers but really gives the look of sunflower seeds. I used two colors of embroidery floss to give the center more depth.
5. Finally, I covered the backside of the center with another 2" diameter piece of brown felt to neaten up the back.
6. The finished sunflower:
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sew, Mama, Sew! is hosting a Flower Power Contest . This is right up my alley because I adore sewing and flowers both. It's a perfect match and a fun contest to join.
My first entry is this pansy ensemble that I made for my daughter. I used an old pattern, copyright 1989, by Simplicity. It's number 9231.
I love this pattern. I picked it up on a clearance sale back around 1990 when I was still in highschool. I made a number of these sundresses for gifts and now I have the pleasure of making them for my daughter. The pattern fit perfectly last year but this year the bodice didn't fit quite right so I substituted the bodice pieces with those from a nearly identical, current Butterick 3477. This combination fits her perfectly.
The purse is my own design, reminiscent of the beaded pansy purses that were popular at the turn of the century.
The dress and purse are both made mainly from quilting solids as well as a few patterned scraps of fabric. After making the basic sundress, I drafted a pansy applique and appliqued pansies in a range of purple shades and yellow along the hemline, both front and back. There are 16 pansy appliques total.
The purse is also appliqued, lined and has an attached leaf on the side of the purse strap.
I have included the patterns that I drafted for both the sundress appliques and the pansy purse.
The directions for the purse are as follows:
1. Cut out fabric using pattern. Additionally, cut the upper petals, two center pieces and lower edge piece out of Stitch Witchery or other material used for applique. Note: all seams are 1/4".
2. Fuse upper petals, two center pieces and the lower edge piece to the main pansy body to form the front of the purse. Applique raw edges. I used a tight zig zag on my machine for the applique. Using the same zig zag stitch, outline the center most petals of the pansy.
3. With right sides together, sew the purse front and back together leaving the top open (stop at lines on edges of pattern piece). Clip curves.
4. Repeat step 3 with the lining except make sure to leave an opening along the bottom edge for turning as well.
5. Cut a strip of fabric to use for the handle of the purse measuring 3 1/2" wide x 17" long. Fold fabric, right sides together, in half length wise and press. Open out strap. Bring raw edges to center fold and press again. Fold in half and edge stitch down both sides.
6. Insert lining into main purse, right sides together, aligning the upper openings. Pin strap on one side, between the lining and main bag, reach into the purse from the other side and grab the other end of the strap and bring it to the side seam and pin. Then stitch around upper opening.
7. Turn purse through opening in bottom of lining. Slip stitch opening.
8. Press purse nicely.
9. With right sides together, sew around the perimeter of the leaf leaving a small opening for turning. Turn, press, edge stitch. When edge stitching, I stretched the fabric a little in order to give the leaf edge a slightly ruffled look. Then using the same tight zig zag as you did for the applique, stitch a vein down the center of the leaf.
10. Attach the leaf to the purse where the strap meets the body of the purse.
11. Hand sew a piece of Velcro at the top of the purse to keep it closed.
It was fun to have an excuse to make another spring/summer outfit for my daughter. Thank you Sew, Mama, Sew! And thank you to my beautiful little model, who was mostly cooperative. She wasn't entirely happy with her photographer for the whole photo shoot though. Fortunately, Daddy was the photographer, not Mommy!
Check back Thursday or Friday for my second entry!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This quilt is an odd selection in many ways because I made it in 1995/96 as a senior in college. It was my first quilt and I didn't really know any of the proper quilt making techniques. I used polyester batting which I never used again but I am not sure that my fabric store even carried the cotton type at that point. I didn't know how to machine quilt so I simply tied the quilt at regular intervals with embroidery floss. And I didn't know how to bind a quilt so I just stitched right sides together, turned it, then stitched the opening. I also didn't really think about how it would wear under regular use. I hand sewed nearly every block and used lots of ribbons, lace and other trims as well as beads. Then I got scared about ruining so we have never used it! It has been new and unused for 13 years. Well, this festival gave me the courage to try to wash it in order to photograph it. I put it in our new front loading washing machine (something I didn't have at the time I made it and when the decision that it should never be washed!) and then dried it on low. It seems to have made it through ok.
This quilt is difficult to photograph because I used only ivory fabrics and trims. The majority of the fabrics in each block are ivory on ivory prints. There is a lot of variation when you look up close. Most of the variation in fabrics is lost in these photos. Each design is an original and inspired by various things. I have a couple of Biblical references in there: a cute spin on Noah's Arc, the Apple Tree in the Garden of Eden, and a Celtic Cross. Then there is a bunch of grapes made using tiny little yo-yos that was inspired by an etched drinking glass that belonged to my mother. A dress form represents my love of sewing. A photograph of me as a young child weeding my mother's rock garden inspired another block. Other reference to my love for gardening include a rose, a sunflower, a daylily and a pansy. Some are simple, modern designs/shapes. Then there are the random designs that I made just because: a mushroom, an owl, a strawberry, a fan, a peacock, etc.
This quilt was made for a fall or queen sized bed with 49 unique blocks. I thought it would be my wedding quilt some day. My now husband helped me come up with some of the block ideas, along with my mom. My mom really encouraged me with this quilt, as she does with all my creative endeavours. That year for Christmas she gave me a selection of ivory on ivory fabrics and a bag full of beautiful ivory trims. I remember really enjoying designing and sewing each block. Looking at the quilt brings me back to 1995/96 in a flash. The quilt combined things that were important to me, my hobbies and loves, my hopes for the future (baby pram, rocking horse, baby blocks, curtained window, house), etc. It is fun to look back at it now, as I have been married for nearly 11 years and am a mother of two, soon to be three. Really, not much has changed except that my hopes for my future became my reality. I guess you could call this quilt a sentimental favorite.
I had fun digging this quilt out and looking it over again. Thanks for letting me share!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I was successful at the quilting shop yesterday. I found some material to make into tiebacks that combined the taupe of the walls in the upstairs hall, as well as the linen white color of the trim and the sheers that I planned to hang there. I had originally bought four sets of these sheers for the living room but when we redid the living room, we painted the trim a whiter shade that didn't look good with the curtains. I thought that this way, at least I would get use out of one set since they are virtually brand new. I bought a quarter of a yard of the fabric and had a bit left over so the whole project cost a whopping $2.25. I cut 4 pieces of fabric measuring 14 1/2" long by 3" wide. I then cut two pieces of heavy fusible interfacing a quarter inch shorter on all sides (14" x 2 1/2") and fused it to the wrong side of two of the pieces of fabric. I then pressed under the 1/4" raw edge. I also pressed under 1/4" all around the two pieces that did not have interfacing. Then I paired one piece of fabric with interfacing to a piece without and top stitched around the edge, sewing in embroidery floss loops on the short ends for hanging. I could have used curtain rings but I didn't have them in the house and thought this worked just as well. This was a satisfying, quick project!