Quickie Project

I see cute coaster projects on a regular basis, but I would always think, “that’s nice, but I don’t use coasters.” But recently I noticed the little wooden stool I use as a side table was looking sort of worn. Maybe I should make coasters… I took a pile a scraps and some small squares of quilt batting with me to SewDay.

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Since I had a few 2 1/2″ squares already cut I started by making four-patches. Then I put them on batting and did a bit of free form straight line spiral (echo?) quilting. And then sewed right sides together with a plain backing, trimmed any batting out of the seam allowance and flipped it out. Then I used the for the next month without slip stitching the opening shut.

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But I did that the other night – yay finished object.

July 10, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting, Sewing. 6 comments.

Great $1 sewing tool

I was tempted to title this “Best $1 sewing tool” but that started an internal debate regarding best and an attempt to remember how much I’ve spent on various doodads (how much is my favorite ruler again?)…

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I’m not talking about the iron, or the ironing board, I’m talking about buying a gallon of distilled water for your iron and keeping it stored as closely as possible. For a long time, a very long time I just used some of our filtered tap water, running downstairs the to the kitchen when I needed it, or pouring it out of my water spray bottle (which I think cost $1.60). Finally I bought a gallon and sometimes it is the little things – but it felt like a great improvement to my sewing space. My iron only holds about 4 oz of water (yup, I measured) and I’m a big fan of steam so it drastically cut down on water-gathering trips.

Additionally, I don’t think I ever wrote about my ironing station. In my last sewing space I didn’t have room for my ironing board to stay set up and not be in the way of something (the closet where my supplies were stored, the shelf the printer was and my futon were the usual things blocked). And I noticed that for quilting I wasn’t using most of the board anyway, so I re-purposed this cart (it fit in the space perfectly). I love that I can store things under the ironing space. When I need a larger surface I pull out my ironing board, when I need the narrow end I try using my sleeve roll first.

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ironing station in a former sewing space

The ironing surface is an unfinished wooden shelf I picked up at Ikea (the size and price were right), but they don’t carry the exact piece anymore (part of a discontinued secondary storage line). Then I covered it with insul-brite, two layers of cotton batting and light-canvas cotton fabric – in that order, using a staple gun to tack everything down. The covered board is just over 12″ wide and about 30″ long. I meant to fully attach the board to the cart but never got around to it and I find it stays put decently. Of course I don’t have little ones, or cats to cause it to go tumbling to the floor.

June 27, 2013. Tags: . Organization, Sewing, Solutions. 2 comments.

MMM’13 Days 1-5

Yikes, this is getting tough. I really hope I don’t repeat the same 5-7 outfits. This morning (day 5) while getting dressed I realized, due to the warm weather (seasonal anomaly) I had to pick between 2 skirts and 1 pair of pants. Knitted woolen items are not going to work when it is 80+ degrees. Also, I re-found these timely Already Pretty posts: How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 1How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 2How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 3. But since I found these tips on day 5 and am dealing with the self-timer function 90% of the time (ok more like 85.7%). Day one was a bit disastrous as I couldn’t find my camera or the piece that holds my camera to my tripod (nope not together, that would be too easy) so I used my phone camera (thank goodness it has that dual front/rear camera thing going) – except I’m pretty bad at it, we are lucky you didn’t catch my finger pulling way from the button. Day two I decided to take on Patty the Snug Bug’s (who has dropped off the face of sewing blogging) and vaguely Wonder Woman-ish pose. It feels pretty good. And I started distracting myself with Dog who was curious about what I was doing.

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I have one skirt and one pair of pants that I haven’t worn yet (plus another wool cardigan but that won’t work with our current forecast). And I still need to finish two skirts (hems, argh) and have two tops that are in process (cut out, partially together). That should help. I’m hoping something I make will soon become a TNT pattern but so far nada.

May 5, 2013. Tags: , , , . Me Made May. 4 comments.

Challenge Accepted

I, Michelle of Anotheryarn Crafts, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear one hand-made item each day for the duration of May 2013.

Eek! Since the first Me-Made month I watched along, envious of people diving into sewing clothes and loving their results. Clothes sewing was my first crafting love. I’ve wanted to sew my own stuff since I was 8 or 9. I used to do so (back when I naively skipped the muslim but garments turned out ok anyway), but in the last 10 years or so I’ve not been thrilled with my sewn results. However this year I realized that I do have some me-made garments and especially during “wool season” (in the PNW for lizard-me that is September through June at least) I often do wear handmade things (mostly hats and scarves but still).

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June 2009, I realized that I was wearing a lot of handmade: sweater, skirt and bag.

Anyway, I decided to give this a shot, I started tallying my handmade garments and have:

  1. purple corduroy skirt (seen above)
  2. grey twill skirt
  3. February Lady Sweater (seen above)
  4. Blackberry Cozy Sweater
  5. Blue peasanty blouse
  6. Amy Butler tunic
  7. Juniper pants (and I really want to make more)
  8. scarves/cowls/hats/jewelry/socks

Plus the two skirts that just need hemming. And plans, oh I have plans. I’ve been stashing garment fabric and it is time to stop treating them as too-precious to use (well, except the teal wool houndstooth fabric, that is still too precious). That seems sort of limited, but I don’t think my sartorial choices can get any more boring than they already are with the endless days of jeans + t-shirts + sweaters that I currently wear.

April 28, 2013. Tags: , , . Sewing, Thoughts. 4 comments.

WIPW: sewing this and that

On my cutting table: a stack of fabrics waiting to be turned into a quilt-back, a yellow skirt waiting to be hemmed and a grey skirt waiting to be put back together. Both skirts hit my crafty to-do list back in January, but with Me-Made-May 2013 just around the corner (which I haven’t actually signed up for yet) I’m feeling a crunch.

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April 24, 2013. Tags: , . Sewing. 2 comments.

No Risk No Reward

I am not a risk taker.  Not one bit.  People who watch me quilt laugh at my obsessiveness with plotting it out before I start.  Sometimes this is helpful, but it also means that I have quilts that I’ve envisioned, have the fabric, have the sketch and haven’t started on for over a year.

And just now I was reading Daisy Jane and stumbled upon this phrase, “No risk, no reward,” in this post.

I’m a great big scaredycat.  I’m scared of wasting fabric.  I want it to be good.  I want it to be perfect.  I know I shouldn’t but I do.  The problem, I can’t get better without doing it.  Without putting in those 10,000 hours (or was it 20,000?).  Without “wasting” a little fabric.

The same goes for my clothes sewing.  I haven’t stitched a piece since my Sorbetto muslin fail.  A muslin stopped me.  Why didn’t I make a second one?  I don’t know.  Wait, that wasn’t the last clothing thing I sewed.  The last clothing I made was this cute skirt, I love this skirt.  It was put together out of leftovers from another long plotted skirt, and unfinished skirt.  Why are my failures more prominent in my memories than my successes?

February 7, 2012. Tags: . Problems, Sewing, Thoughts. 3 comments.

FOF: knitting plus sewing

FOF=Finished Object Friday.  It is kind of sad when you can’t remember the last project you posted on your own blog; luckily the blog still exists even though I didn’t include it as part of my Summer of UFOs (unfinished objects).  But I did finish several things, which I will be slowly revealing on Fridays.  That is the plan anyway.

In May of 2010 I decided to make this cute pattern (Rav link), the Two Summer Sundress by Natalie Larson, involving a quick knit top and sewn skirt, to be exact I decided to make three of them.  I managed to finish two of the three tops last summer, but only finish one completely, which worked just fine since that little girl lives in the tropics, but once September hit I put the other two away since sundresses are no good in Nebraska falls, winters or springs.  But I tackled them and sent them off before this summer was over, thank goodness they are sized to fit for more than one year (though it is yet to be seen if they will fit the girls for a second summer due to my procrastination).

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The first completed Two Summer Dress.  The 18 moth size was made with one skein of Cascade Pima Tencel (a lovely soft yarn), dot fabric (Robert Kaufman IIRC) and some heart lace trim I’ve had around forever.  I finished the inside with ribbon per the original pattern, but I followed my own sewing-sense for the skirt construction.

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The second Two Summer Dress. Another 18 month size was made with one skein of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, a yard of quilting cotton (I’ve forgotten the line, I bought it summer of 2010 though), and I finished the hem with a fabric ruffle.  I made the ruffle 2x’s the skirt width.  I also used straight grain strips instead of ribbon to finish the inside.  I hand stitched the strips in place, but machine stitched the skirt to the bodice since I could hide that line of stitching between garter ridges.

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And the final Two Summer Dress.  This is the 8 year old size and it took 2 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, the skirt is made from a Robert Kaufman print I found at Jo-Ann’s at least 4 years ago, the inside is again finished with straight grain strips and the rick rack was picked up recently to finish the skirt.  The rick rack is larger than average, but not jumbo rick rack.  As you can see the straps look significantly longer than the 18 month size.  This is the bodice that required re-knitting since my first version ended up not following within pattern schematic measurements and the top originally would have fit me and I don’t fit in girls size 8 tops.  I found the back fastening on this bodice to be problematic.  I think the physical weight of the bodice was too much for the simple buttonholes and buttons so I added a hidden snap to hopefully mitigate gaping in back.

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I wish I could further explain my skirt modifications, but all I remember is this: 1) I attached the skirt to the bodice while it was flat and sewed the final back center seam just before hemming and 2) I followed the pattern’s finished measurements but not the sewing instructions.  A few more pictures are in my flickr account and perhaps a wee bit more information in my Ravelry Project Notes.  And while I enjoyed these projects overall I think I will probably try another knit bodice+sewn skirt=dress pattern that a knitting buddy told me about next time since that pattern uses raglan shaping for a pullover with little cap sleeves instead of long skinny garter stitch straps.  Though that will probably only make a one summer dress.

September 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 2 comments.

WIPW (ish) Making the Pattern

Step 1: Figure out what the finished size should be:

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Step 2.5: Cut out Fabric (see cut list)

Step 3: Interface, Interface

Step 4: Bind the edges

Step 5: Almost there… putting it together

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March 3, 2011. Tags: , , , . Organization, Sewing. Leave a comment.

pretend it’s Friday okay

And continuing the bias binding theme… my finished objects with that brown bias binding I made last week.

First up: My first mug rug for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Swap. It measures about 6″ x 9″ because I folded up a piece of paper next to my laptop and set my mug on it to determine the size. I was constrained by my small round table, I’d probably make it 1″ bigger in each dimension if I had a rectangular table. The back is just solid fabric. And I failed to pay attention to my binding seams and accidentally put one in a corner – don’t do that – it makes mitered corners extra hard.

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And the second bias bound project: my spiffy new door draft dodger. This started as a scraps project, but then I made a cutting error and had to figure out a new plan of action. That is where the bias binding entered the picture (and I bought a FQ, luckily on sale, to make said binding since nothing I had seemed appropriate and bountiful enough). It is unconventional since I decided to make a roll instead of a filled tube. My goal was something that could easily be thrown in the wash once it is covered in dog fur. See how nicely it fits – yeah – that is a cutting error. I forgot the seam allowances. Doh.

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And a detailed shot with the lovely bias binding. Is there a philosophical debate on calling something finished if it contains safety pins? *la la la, I can’t hear you*

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And a “how it works” shot. Canvas + fleece gets rolled up into a draft dodger (the fleece is actually doubled to make rolling a bit easier). The canvas is there to keep the fleece from being covered with dog fur. The fleece is there because I needed something to fill the canvas and I really wanted to get it out of my scrappy stash pile without throwing it in the trash.

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Actually it all worked out very nicely. I only had about 12″ leftover of binding. Which of course I can’t throw away, so I’ve started a little baggie for all my scraps of binding.  And think it does its job, but really the whole door needs a draft dodger and since it is a primary source of light for my dining space that isn’t going to happen.

February 23, 2011. Tags: , , , . quilting, Sewing. 1 comment.

WIPW: Bias Tape

I have a couple projects in the works that need binding.  One of them shall be my Finished Friday post.  Last month the (soon to be renamed) Collette Patterns blog posted a tutorial on making bias tape using the continuous loop method.  Now I had seen this method before in a book but never really got it until this tutorial.  It totally makes sense and I love how I don’t need to make large quantities of binding.  However, making bias tap after 11 pm might not be recommended.
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At least I knew when to stop. It should be fixed this afternoon.

February 16, 2011. Tags: , . Sewing. 4 comments.

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