Archive | December 2014

December: Classy is Always in Style

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Classy is Always in Style

The final Christmas gift.

I love a simple pattern that packs a lot of punch. My daughter loves classic designs and hounds tooth is one of her favorites. I took her shopping last spring to buy some fabric. You probably can’t tell in the photo, but the white is a white on white hounds tooth. Even though she had seen the fabric, I kept the project hidden until she opened it.

Most of the patterns I found wasted a lot of fabric, and I mean A LOT OF FABRIC! I knew there had to be a better way.

Missouri Star Quilts to the rescue. I love how Jenny Doan breaks down a pattern and makes it simple. Her Hounds Tooth Quilt was exactly what I was looking for. Simple, quick, and very little waste. Even if I tried, I couldn’t improve on this method.

The quilting is boring; in the ditch with light grey thread. I used aurifil thread and I should have used something thinner. Do as I teach, not as I do!  OOPS. I know a lot of quilters who cover up mistakes with fabric markers; I know….brilliant! I grabbed a black fabric pen and went to work covering up those few lines of stitching that didn’t exactly go where I wanted them to.  A pressing to set the ink, a label and off it went to be wrapped.

My daughter loves it! I do too.

November 2nd Project: Microwave Bowl Pot Holders

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In my excitement to get these wrapped, I forgot to take pictures. So this is one I made for myself. It’s a little smaller than I like, but you get the idea.  I plan on making another one for me.  These little handy pot holders for your microwave make great gifts. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to make them.  They are machine washer and dryer friendly. Basically you set your bowl in the holder, pop it in the microwave, and use the corners to lift your now hot bowl out of the oven. **Contents will be hot, so use caution.** If you stop reading at this point, please note; YOU MUST USE 100% COTTON PRODUCTS WHEN MAKING THESE BOWLS. I have heard of fires starting because someone used what they thought was cotton batting or polyester thread.

I purchased a Layer Cake (a package of 42 pre-cut 10″ squares) knowing I wanted to make a bunch of these and it was faster than cutting the squares myself. I used a product called Warm and Plush for the batting and cut them into 10″ squares. That’s when my mind went off again. There had to be a better way to stitch each square corner to corner, but with 10″, simply marking a center line on my sewing surface wouldn’t work. Then I came up with template. Basically, I took a 10″ square piece of construction paper (cause I had some) and cut it in half on the diagonal. Then I trimmed a quarter inch off of that. I clipped the paper to my fabric/batting layer and stitched along the edge with a quarter inch foot.

Template for corner to corner

 

 

Next were the darts, and my mind went thinking again. This time I used cardboard and marked the top and the side with my dart markings. Cut that off, and then trimmed off a quarter of an inch.  I just held the template in place and stitched my darts.

Dart template

 

I could have just as easily marked my lines, but each bowl has 4 lines of stitching and 8 darts. Multiply that by 10+, well you get the idea. I normally use my #10 foot on my Bernina for top stitching, but I found the #20 foot seemed to work better on the bulk. I was able to butt the fabric against the inside of the right toe and moved my needle to the left.

Everyone on my list got one.

 

November 1st Project: Grocery Bags

Stand 'N Stow Bags

Stand ‘N Stow Bags

So Christmas is over and now that the gifts have been opened, I can finally update everyone on what I was up to the last 2 months.

Grocery Bags: I love the Stand ‘n Stow pattern by Atkinson Designs.  I first made this bag about a year ago and promptly left it somewhere. The secret to this bag, in my opinion, is the use of Pellon’s Peltex 71F stabilizer.  This gives the bag shape and allows it to stand upright, like the paper grocery bags of my youth. Plus they fold flat so they are easy to store. I keep mine in the back seat of my car. The large one holds gallon milk bottles and tons (ok maybe not actual tons, but a lot) of groceries.

My Sassy adjustments:

I either want straps that are long enough to be shoulder straps or short enough to carry without the bag dragging on the ground. I made the straps 27″. This measurement is perfect for me. The added plus at this length, is that you can wrap the straps around the bottom of the bag to hold it closed for storing. There is still enough length to carry the bag when it is full.

I found inserting the peltex to be easier if I put a ruler in the fabric opening to slide the stabilizer on. This really sped up that step.

 

Slide ruler inside fabric

Slide ruler inside fabric

Slide Peltex along ruler

Slide Peltex along ruler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern calls for covering the inside side seams with a binding. In an effort to save time and fabric, I serged those seams. It’s a grocery bag, not an evening one.

Lastly, I did not put binding on the top. I cut the fabric a little longer and folded it over and topstitched it down. I did press the fold and opened it before sewing the side seams.

So far, the reviews have been great. My daughter took hers to the grocery store this afternoon and received a number of comments/compliments. I love hearing about those.

Final Countdown

Christmas is approaching quickly. I still have some sewing to finish up for gifts. I don’t really like being in this position, but it’s better than fighting the crowds at the mall. I would tell you all what I’m up to, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises. I will tell you this; it involves cotton and both projects I’m working on are related to food in one way or another. Intrigued?

November’s project is done, but again I can’t share for reasons stated above.

I’m already looking forward to 2015. Contemplating all kinds of adventures. I’d like to teach more and am considering options in that area as well as doing some more designing. Maybe I’ll write a book filled with easy patterns and lots of sewing tips. Perhaps I’ll venture off into video and become a youtube sensation.

For now, I need to get back into the studio and finish up these gifts. The New Year will be here soon enough.