Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fruit Pie Potholder - Want to make one? Tutorial with pictures.

Here's another project you can make using scraps you have on hand or purchased fabric just for the project itself. Scrap sewing at its best. Use this as a jumping off point. There are no rules written in stone. I've learned from others, so I now pass this along to you. A fruit pie potholder.

I photographed my first attempt at one of these, so it's way far from perfect. I'm making more for Etsy and as gifts. Here's the basic how to:
The usual tools - well, the plate's not too usual. It's the best 9" circle I could find and it was tons easier than using a paper pattern. You'll need a pie crust looking fabric too. I made bias tape out of the same fabric for binding the potholder when it was done. 
I have some fruit fat quarters and chose blueberry for my first foray into pie making. You'll also need insulated batting made for potholders and hot pads. I use InsulBrite, but there are others. 
Next, cut the pie crust fabric and the insulated batting and the fruit fabric using the 9" plate as a guide. I tried using the fabric pen tracing and then cutting with scissors method. The second time, I used the rotary cutter and a rotary cutting board. Much easier. 
Cut a variety of lengths of 1-1/4" strips. These will be the lattice work on the pie.
Fold one edge of the strip toward the center and press. 
Fold the other edge of the strip toward the center, but not all the way to the edge. The goal is to keep the raw edges toward the back of the lattice strips. 
Turn your strip over and press again, then set them aside. I made too many strips for one potholder, but will be using them for other potholders. 
Looks kinda cute already, doesn't it?  Layer the circles in this order:
Back crust right side down
Insulated batting
Fruit fabric right side up
I chose to baste the layers together with a long stitch that I will remove later. 
This is the basting from crust side. The basting will hold things in place while we put the lattice on the top of the pie. (Looks kind of like a pita unfolded to me.)
Pin strips of lattice that were set aside at equal intervals and pin in place. Then stitch across the top to hold the strips while you weave. Be sure your strips are raw edge side down. 
Take another piece of lattice and weave it over and under through the tacked down pieces. I pinned them down, but it wasn't really necessary. 
Sew down one edge and back up the other. Weave another strip, alternating the over and under pattern, stitch up one side and down the other. Continue this process until you have all the woven pieces sewn down. 
This is how the back looks with one direction of the lattice sewn in place. I also took out the basting stitches at this point as the were no longer needed. 
Stitch the strips going the other direction, up one side and down the other. 

Trim the circle of uneven edges and excess fabric. Apply bias strips to the edges. I created a hook with the bias binding. 
As mentioned, this is my first try making one of these. I have 3 more cut out and ready to go. 

I suggest making your bias tape with the pie crust/back fabric. If you like, you can add rick rack to the edge for decoration. You can leave the loop off or do it another way. 

I use primarily machine stitching so that the potholder is fully machine washable. I've never had a problem with any I've made for myself, and I hope you won't either. 

One thing I will do differently is to add a hanger that will allow the pie lattice to show, when hung up, as straight up and down rather than on an angle. 

Now, go make some potholders!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The dress of the damned (updated 07/11/14)

I have called this the damned dress more than I would care to admit. I shared with you the beginnings. My goal is to make a couple dresses and to refashion a dress I made into a skirt. That should pretty much take care of summer clothes with the items I already have. As I'm losing weight, I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothing right now, so making things out of fabrics and patterns on hand is the deal.

It looks a little plain and frumpy on the dress form, but it looks great on! I need to hem the sleeves and the dress itself, but other than that, the damned dress is done. 

For the next one, I need to lengthen the bodice about an inch. The neckline fits almost perfectly. I have a summer dress! The fabric is super thin. That's what made it so difficult to work with. I had to put in one sleeve since I caught the sleeve itself in the seam the first time. Argh. No matter how long you sew, you make mistake that just make you want to shake your head. The skirt attached to the bodice has a few seam errors, but they really don't show. I need to avoid this type of fabric in the future. 

Lesson learned is that even if you are calling your project in progress lots of nasty name, go ahead and finish it. You just may be amazed. 

Update 07/11/14 - this dumb dress ended up in my crocheted rug; it became the finishing lavender edge that told me it was done. It sucked as a dress anyway :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Summer sewing has begun

I used to have a couple empire waist dresses that I wore in the summer. They were flowy, comfortable, had pockets, and could be worn with sandals. I loved those dresses. They're a) too big and b) long since given away. I set out to find a similar pattern and found a fun one by McCall's:

McCall's 8249 from 1996, which is when I had the two dresses mentioned above. 

I bought three runs of fabric, so I want to make the dresses each a little different. My first dress is made of extremely lightweight fabric. It probably wouldn't hold up to buttonholes, so I decided to cut both the front and the back on the fold and made some bias tape for the neckline rather than a facing. I rarely use a facing; I'll line and item or make bias to either surround the raw edge or apply it and turn it to the wrong side and hand sew it on the inside.
I added a wide trim to the center front and used some of the bias tape I had made to weave through the holes rather than using ribbon. 

This shows the neckline a little better. 

Next, I will do the sleeves, apply the pockets to the skirt, and then attach the skirt to the bodice. I think I'm going to like this dress a lot! More to come.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Scrap sewing placemats

Several years ago, I went to a yard sale (probably fabric hunting!) and the person having the sale handed me a small piece of Mickey Mouse fabric. She wouldn't let me pay for it. Freebies rule! I washed it, folded it, and it's been on the shelf ever since. I also have way too many bandannas, red ones to be specific. It was time to do something with these. The Mickey fabric was too small to make even a child's garment, so I chose  to make kids' placemats

I cut the red bandannas and Mickey fabric into 2" strips. You can use any width strip you like, even varying widths for a fun look.

I used strip piecing, choosing to sew the strips on the diagonal. The diagonal for placemats is more forgiving if you happen to make a mistake in width of the strips themselves. I like forgiving projects!

I think the bandanna goes pretty well with the blue gingham look of the Mickey fabric! 

I used three styles of back - one of bandanna, one of the Mickey fabric, and two of half and half. This is what one back looks like before I trimmed most of the strips I had just sewn. Again, I was light on Mickey fabric, so I had to stretch it while still keeping everything coordinated. 

This is the back of one of the half and half placemats. 

And here's a completed placemat with red binding. I applied the binding with a zig-zag stitch, keeping with the scrappy and simple scheme of the placemats. All four are different and yet they match. 

I'll be putting these on Etsy when I finish the binding on all four. 

Next stop - summer dresses. I found a vintage pattern that I used many years ago to make a nice high waisted, longish summer dress. I have some lightweight fabrics in a variety of colors, and that should take care of my summer wardrobe. 

What kind of sewing do you have going on?