Recently in Sewing Category

On the Case

Here then gone then back again.  There has, at least, been a bit more crafting since my last hiatus.  One of the most fun projects I have done is these:

I decided, after a trip to my mother's quilt store where they sold some lovely pre-put together pillow case kits that I was going to make a pillow case for Ms. Z, and all my nieces and nephews on whatever the next holiday occasion for gift giving was.  These are the first out the door, for my two oldest nieces who just turned 10 and 8.

Whenever I make something for kids, I always prepare for them to be uninterested. After all, just because I made it, and the making made me happy, doesn't make it exciting for them.  I go into it thinking that it's important to see that nice things can be made and that it's fun to be a maker of things, but knowing that the payoff could be decades away -- or that if they like it now, there could come a time when they didn't.  

So it was a pleasant surprise for these two pillow cases to be well received.  They knew what they were and I got a big hug from both after they held them up to show a room of other young women.  Each one came with a tag telling them that it was specially made for them and that if they liked them, next year I would take them shopping to pick out fabrics of their choice for their next pillow case.  I'm hoping they enjoy these cases, because I would love to take both of them (and their younger sister) fabric shopping.  

From the crafting side of the project the "kits" came from the Viking Sewing Center in Ann Arbor, MI -- (313) 761-3094.  I'd like to give them a shout out since they also gave me lots of tips.  That said, pillow cases are super super easy and fast (I made these two in about 3 hours, including the time to work through the pattern with a virus addled brain) and I think even a novice sewer could get nice results.  The pattern itself is called "Dream Catcher" by Sue Drew -- a quick googling didn't turn up any helpful links, but if you buy the "kit" from Viking they will happily give you a copy of the pattern alternatively this pattern is very similar.

The kits themselves were simple -- just the three fabrics cut to the size you need.  After sewing the first pillow case (the pink one) with the horizontal stripes, I'd encourage you, if you go with horizontal stripes, to true up the fabric or buy a wider piece so that you can, so that the stripes run straight instead of at an angle.  I would have done this with the piece I had, but it wasn't really wide enough for me to trim as much as I needed to, so I had to go with what it was.

I'd also recommend that you have a couple of quilters tools at hand: a rotary cutter and a quilters ruler that you can use to straighten up fabric edges.  This helped me a lot.

I'll be making more of these soon.  My small person has made it clear that she needs one and I have a pair for myself that will be both kitschy and fun.  If you're looking for a simple project to introduce you to your sewing machine, pillow cases a lot of fun and leave you with a very functional bedroom accessory or re-usable wrapping paper for another gift.

Hawaiian Turtle Pincushion

Turtle Pincushion in Hawaiian Prints*

My dad is not the only creative person in my parents house. While my dad works on his wood working projects, my mother does a lot of things with her sewing machine. This time, however, she did something with my sewing machine! Since she's never worked with a Bernina before, she wanted to do a small project to try out my machine. That little project was something I got to take home with me to celebrate my entry into sewing: a turtle pincushion in Hawaiian print fabrics that my mother has collected -- some of which were even purchased on her recent trips to the Big Island.

I picked three fabrics, all with a hibiscus motif. The pattern itself is a nice simple pattern where the turtle is supposed to have a quilt-pieced shell. However, since time was of the essence (we really only had Sunday afternoon) and there are many fun stitches to play with on my sewing machine, Mom decided to try a different approach -- the blue fabric and the purple fabrics are actually connected via some fusable interfacing and then stitched onto the body using a decorative stitch to help mimic a patchwork seam. Pretty clever, I thought! And to think all I did while I was in Ann Arbor was work on my second Sprung sock and played with my new walking foot for my sewing machine!

He still needs a little embellishing -- but I'm fresh out of fun googly eyes, so that will have to wait until my next trip to JoAnn's. In the meantime, I still have a great new little buddy to help hold my pins while I sew.

* The turtle is sitting on a little gift brought back from Hawaii for Ms. Z -- her first bib and burp cloth set and first official gift from her grandparents. Yes, we do like the turtles in my family. And, yes, I think my parents are a little excited about the upcoming grandbaby...

A New Toy

Bernina Activa 230 Patchwork Edition

While there's never a substitute for good technique, having good tools isn't such a bad thing, either. One of the things that became readily apparent as I was working on my quilting projects in class was that a nice sewing machine really does make a project go more smoothly. I worked on my first quilt project with my mom's travelling machine, a Husqvarna Romeo. Romeo is a fine machine, but he was lacking a few things that make quilting easier -- which is my way of saying that I got spoiled by the nice machines that Colette has available in the Quiltology sewing workshop and started jonesing for one of my own.

For my birthday, my dear sweet husband told me that I could go pick out a new video iPod of my choice. But I started my quilting classes before I got to the Apple store and I asked him if I could invest in a different sort of hardware. I think I traded on options for anniversary and Christmas presents as well in order to be able to ask Colette to order a Bernina Activa 230 Patchwork Edition for me, but I think it's well worth it. This machine has some lovely things on it that make it perfect for quilting, but it's also an excellent general purpose machine that will be great for other home dec and garment projects. I love that it has a nice pre-programmed stitch library, which means that it can do applique work and some fancy embroidery stitches, and I can purchase the walking foot if I decide I want to quilt my own quilt projects with it.

This machine has lots of room for me to grow into. Truth be told, it's probably more machine than a newbie quilter ought to be investing in. But almost everyone I talked to who had a sewing machine of their own suggested that I wouldn't regret getting a machine a step or so above what I thought I needed. And from what I understand of Berninas, they are the sort of machine that can last a sewer, if not a lifetime, then at least a good long time.

So now I don't have any excuse for not getting all my 9 patches pieced together before my next class!

P.S. I just installed a new plug in to help with the annoying comment spam problems that I've been having. So far it seems to be doing a good job of blocking some of the crap that was hitting my site. It should be invisible to anyone who leaves me a comment, but if you suddenly start to have problems, please drop me an email (email address in my sidebar). I'm hoping that between this plugin and another one that helps me shut off the comments on old posts, none of us will have to see any more stupid "G'night" comments or advertisements for financial services, pharmeceuticals or pornographic materials.

Fabric Box

Fabric Box with Knit Print Fabric

Sometimes I have the distinct pleasure of getting to show off something that someone else has made. I would love to be able to take credit for this lovely fabric box, but instead I must give my Mom a big round of applause. While my Dad and I were making beer (more on this later in the week) or working on Sudoku puzzles together over Father's Day weekend, Mom was working on getting very neat box finished up for me to take home. It's very fun to have crafty parents!

This box was constructed with two fabrics that I bought during the last trip to Ann Arbor. I found it in the "kids" section of the quilting store and I love the bright and happy yarn ball print contrasted with the yellow fabric with the running black stitch. Mom made the box edging red to give it a little extra zing. And it gets it's structure from some very thick interfacing.

Want to take a look inside?

Looking into the Box

This 6-sided box is lined with more of that great yarn ball print. I haven't quite decided what I am going to put in it yet. I think it might be nice for holding a sock project or keeping some of my knitting notions that are getting scattered across my work room. It's got enough structure to actually be useful.

Where did this little project come from? How can you get one of your very own? Well, if you're handy with your sewing machine, you can pick up a copy of this book:

It gets mixed reviews on Amazon, and Mom also suggested that there were many ways to make the projects go together more smoothly now that she's completed one. There are lots of nifty boxes to choose from -- squares, pentgons, hexagons and a Chinese take out box. Yet another way to use up some of that fabric stash if you have one!


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