Saturday, July 28, 2007

The quilt that came in from the net

I cruise eBay a lot. That's not a big surprise. I'm always looking for a bargain. One evening, I happened upon some 9-patch quilt squares all done in different fabrics, sort of feedsack looking, some calico, but all retro or retro-type fabrics. I snagged them up. They got here last week and for whatever reason, I made a quilt top that very day. It happened to be my birthday. Go figure. I used leftover fabric to sash each block and made a 5 x 5 lap throw. Now what to do about the backing? Again, I looked around and found a huge piece of fleece that is done with different shades of blue and yellow in patchwork. It came that way. I'm still not sure why I have it, but it called my name and it became the backing and fluff for this lap throw. With fleece, no need for batting. Right now, right this moment, the quilt that wasn't just a week ago is almost complete. It's on my kitchen counter with three squares left to be tied. I chose tying because my hands are pooped and I didn't want to take all the time to quilt it. I must say, it's right gorgeous!
My next challenge is to choose a binding fabric out of my stash, make the binding, and put it on. That I will do by hand. I never did master doing it by machine.
Hopefully, within a few days, I'll have photos to post.
And to think, it all came from cruising the net one night. For less than $25, I have a gorgeous lap throw that I can be proud to put in my living room this winter on the back of one of my naked chairs.
Now that's frugal.
Edit - You can see front and back photos on the site, but here's the net quilt front:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remodeling - Frugal Pattern and Sewing from Store Bought Blouse

I have a blouse I like. I like it a lot. It's nothing special, just a short sleeved blouse with no collar. I wore it recently and decided I liked it enough to copy it. So, here's what I did:
I got out a roll of Christmas wrapping paper. It's the only paper I had around and I'm too cheap to go out and buy any.
I analyzed the blouse to see its components - back (cut on fold), sleeves, and front. To make the facing, I'd just duplicate the neckline to the shouder and the front and make a facing just like I'd make for a storebought pattern. Easy.
I laid the blouse on the paper, starting with the back which I would eventually cut on the fold. I didn't take the blouse apart, but I was very generous with my use of pins while putting it on the paper. I spread out the blouse to avoid sizing problems with hidden folds, the neck, the shoulder, and the armhole. Then, I drew a line around the pattern piece, carefully duplicating the curve of the neckline and the curve of the armhole. After I unpinned the blouse from the paper, I marked the pattern as Back and noted the Cut on Fold section. I planned on adding seam allowances when I actually cut the fabric.
Next came the front. This was a little tricker. I repeated the steps above, taking care to respect the lines of the collar, armhole, and shoulder. Those needed more attention than the body of the blouse as they were sewn to other parts and needed to be gently hand pressed as I went along. Again, I used plenty of pins and drew the lines, cutting and then marking the pattern piece.
The sleeve was pretty easy. Lots of pins along the curve of the armhole. This sleeve happens to be symmetric, so I made the pattern piece such that I could cut it on the fold (the top seamline - there's no seam there - made a great fold). Pins, pencil, cut.
I waited to cut facings until I cut the fabric itself.
I pinned the pattern pieces on the fabric. For the back, I put an extra folded piece of fabric under the folded fabric that would be later used as a facing. I pinned the pattern on and cut the back and facing at the same time. I decided to trim that facing down later.
For the front, I placed a couple of fabric pieces under the body of the blouse where the front closures would go and cut that as facing along with the cutting of the blouse. Again, I decided to trim the facing later.
I stitched the shoudlers of front facing and back facing, right sides together, and serged the seams. At this point, I have an exact duplicate of the blouse cutting with the exception that the edge that doesn't match the front edge and neck edge of the blouse are sort of not cut perfectly. I used my serger on what would be the finished edge of the facing to finish and give me a seam allowance to turn under and stitch. This is when I trimmed the facing .
I stitched the shoudlers of the blouse front and back and then stay stitched from center front around the blouse and back to the center front on the other side.
I pinned the facing to the blouse, right sides together and then stitched the bottom to the bottom, all the way around. Then I turned this right sides out and pressed the facing down, stitching the shoulder facing to the shoudler seam inside to hold it in place.
From here, I added the sleeves as I would any other sleeve, hemmed the blouse and sleeves, added buttonholes and buttons, and voila. A blouse that fits well, looks good, and cost just about nothing to make!

Friday, May 4, 2007

What not to do with Wonder Under

I've been working on baby bibs lately. I'm using recycled denim and bandannas, and going nuts. They're so much fun and stitch up in a few hours from start to finish. Last night, I was trying something new. I made prairie points to go on the edge of the bib. Made these out of a green bandanna. My master plan included cactus appliqué cut out of the same bandanna, as well as a cowboy hat and a star. Cute, huh? Well, yeah. Until my blunders!
First I pressed the Wonder Under on the RIGHT SIDE of the appliqué fabric. Uh, no. It goes on the wrong side dernit!
Second, I pressed the WRONG SIDE of the Wonder Under. Lawdamercy, was that a mess! My iron was not covered, but certain spots were because I didn't catch my mistake until the deed was done. If you ever do this, you'll see that you can't use your iron until every smidgen of that glue is off the iron, or it won't move on the fabric.
Now what? Toss the small piece that I pressed on the right side of the fabric. That's simple enough.
But that iron. Oh that iron. I put it on the highest heat and pressed some muslin scraps to try to get the WU glue off of the iron. Nope. I turned it off and let it cool and tried a plastic type dish scrubbie thing. Nope. I looked for steel wool, but nowhere in my house was there any. Last resort, I found an SOS pad. It was dry, so that wouldn't be quite as messy if it was wet, right? Well, after 10 good minutes of scrubbing with a dry SOS pad, the glue came off, but I had blue soapy stuff all over the ironing board, the iron, and myself. Took a while to get it all cleaned, but I did it.
Lesson to be learned - Check the placement of your Wonder Under on the fabric and to make sure you use it glue side down. It's an amazing product that I use frequently for appliqué, especially on something that will be used and washed more than once or twice.
The good news is that I finally did get the three appliqués on the denim and basted the prairie points to the outside edge of the bib. When I'm done with my Jamestown 400th sewing over the next few days, I'll finish the bib and put pictures on, but golly, this thing is taking forever!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jamestown 400th Anniversary

I was asked to help with the costuming for a show that is being presented at Jamestown in May. I'm the assistant, definitely not the designer. All the designs have to be approved by this committee and that committee and authenticity is a huge part of it all. I am starting by making a dozen Tudor sailor shirts. Basically, this is what the sailors and some of the people in hulls of the ships wore on the way over to the US. They're not difficult - basically 40" square with rectangular sleeves, simple cuffs and a standup type collar, and two GUSSETS! - one under the sleeve and one at the collar end of each shoulder. Oh my, did that scare me. I've never made those before, but now I'm a semi-pro after doing four of them. I'll post a picture or two as I get them made. They'll be living in my house until the show.

This is a big, big project. I think I'll be working on it every day for sure. How much fun is this!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Things I ' m working on.

Using Cathedral Window instructions which I wrote while doing content work for, and which I used to make the wall hanging below, I've been making a recycled denim and black/white fabric Cathedral Window quilt for myself. On the left are squares with the denim pinned on, the middle is one that has some windows completed and the four in the middle to go, and the one on the right is completed. I'll make several groups of nine squares like this and stitch them together, making rows of five groups of nine. I'll continue until it's large enough to fit our queen sized bed.
Here's one I made a while back as a wall hanging:

The other thing I'm working on, in fact have almost finished, is a denim jacket with a sweatshirt lining. The jacket itself is totally recycled. It's a formerly gaudy Christmas sweatshirt (the tacky design is between the layers, never to be seen again), denim strips from junk jeans, and ribbon that was given to me. The only thing I bought was the thread to match the ribbon. I made lots and lots of Log Cabin blocks with the denim which I had added the ribbon to. Unfortunately, I ran out of ribbon, so I improvised and used plain strips along the sides and did a bit of a yoke without ribbon or Log Cabin on the back. My plan for the front is to make tabs with ribbon embellished denim and put them on the front after making buttonholes in them. Then, I'll put buttons on the other side in an area that will allow one side to overlap the other when closed. The self-facing is to be sewn in and I have two Log Cabin blocks left to make a diagonally placed pocket on either side. I put the cuffs on already, but not the collar or ribbing at the bottom, all of which were removed from and are being reused from the ugly Christmas sweatshirt.
I usually do have two or three projects going at once, but hey, that's sewing! Till next time.