Eyeglass case for Valentine’s Day
Feb 18th, 2009 by Dawn

When I saw Steve’s old eyeglasses case in the trash because the velcro closure had worn out, I got the idea of making him a new one for Valentine’s Day. I snagged the old one out of the garbage and brought it home to be my model. It was the envelope style and my idea was to put some personalized embroidery on the inside of the case so it would be a secret message to Steve every time he opened it.

To get my message transferred to a piece of cloth so I could embroider it, I typed the words into a word processor, picked a fancy font, and printed the result. Then I trace the words with a piece of tracing paper between the print-out and the fabric and got a hazy but legible pattern to work from.

Once the embroidery was done, the hard part began. I had to incorporate my work into a pattern of my own design. I sure didn’t want to destroy what I’d just worked so hard to embroider, so I created a mock-up first to make sure I was getting the velcro and the embroiodery in the right places and to see how the stiffening layer I was using worked. After tweaking my design based on the result, I took a deep breath and sewed the case. It came out very nicely.

And here’s the (not so) secret message on the inside.

Baby Sleeper
Mar 4th, 2007 by Dawn

I had trouble with the zipper (the zipper foot doesn’t guide so well over multiple layers of fleece) and I didn’t finish off the seams, but this is a cute sleeper from a pattern. It seems kind of big for a newborn to me but I don’t have a newborn to try it on. The way you put the elastic in for the booties is kind of ingenuous but I had a lot of trouble reading this pattern and did a ridiculous amount of ripping things out. I don’t know if the pattern was worded badly or if it was just that I’m rusty. I’m also still not liking the new sewing machine but if I tape certain parts into place it does its job.

Drapes for Todd
Dec 20th, 2005 by Dawn

These were actually finished back in January but it took him a while to get them hung and then even longer for me to get over there to take a photo. He went out and bought some nice bronze tie-backs for them and they look great. The fabric he chose was really too heavy to be drapes but he wanted something that would help keep the heat in during the winter and I think they’ll do that.

Furry blanket
Nov 3rd, 2005 by Dawn

You see how productive I’ve been lately. It’s not that I haven’t been posting. I really haven’t finished any projects in all that time. I’ve got a few longer term projects going that will take a while longer still to finish but mainly I just haven’t been crafting much. It was a fun summer, spent largely outdoors.

And after all that silence, I have a finished piece that took me about 15 minutes to make. But I love it and it was just what I wanted. Made from the new fun fur fleece, blue on one side and white on the other. It’s nothing more than two pieces of fabric sewn together but the resulting shapeless floppiness fits the fabric exactly. This is the best snuggling blanket ever made and I’ve got the best snuggler to share it with me (which has got a lot to do with how little I’ve been getting done).

Last batch of bowls
May 24th, 2005 by Dawn

My machine has died. I guess it wasn’t meant to do so much satin stitching through so many layers of fabric. Here are the last three bowls it managed to turn out before biting the dust.

Holiday bowls
May 2nd, 2005 by Dawn

Can you say obsessed? I started working with my stash of holiday fabric. This is the basic square pattern but I made it smaller. The size called for in the book makes a pretty big bowl. I ran out of the gold thread I was using so this one has a different color thread along the top.

Another example of running out of thread partway through but it really works with this design. It takes a fair amount of thread to do one of these bowls. This is the alternate hexagon shape, also made smaller.

Another variation of the hexagon shape where you use a circle on the outside but a hexagon on the inside and cut the darts as for a hexagon. As you can see, these really do reverse although most of them look better one way than the other.

This one was a nightmare. First of all, it was made with canvas instead of the craft interfacing. That’s how to get the floppy corners. The book calls for two layers of canvas which I tried to fuse together but the fusing didn’t hold very well on the canvas so, as I was working, my textile sandwich (as she calls it) was coming apart in the middle. Also, the canvas shreds along the edges, so when I was doing the satin stitching around the top, I had to contend with strings of canvas everywhere and so the edge didn’t end up very smooth. On top of that, I was using this fancy gold thread as you can see. It didn’t like being wound on a bobbin very much and until I learned to lighten up the tension it kept breaking as I was sewing. Came out OK in the end though and I learned some things. The material doesn’t photograph very well because it’s shiny but it’s a beautifully elegant bowl.

My masterpiece. Isn’t it cute? This is the other circular pattern which is made with canvas. Having learned from the last one, I basted the two layers of canvas together instead of trying to fuse them. Then, once I’d trimmed my textile sandwich down to the final size, I did a line of zig zag around the top to keep the shedding to a minimum. Although you do cut through the stitches as you make the darts, the book recommends to cut and then sew each dart, one at a time, so there’s not much time for the stitches to unravel before they’re oversewn.

The other thing I learned about working with canvas is that it’s harder to pull the edges together when joining up the darts. The book has you start by joining the darts with zig zags and then going back over with satin stitch but it recommends that you start right off with the satin stitch once you’ve got the hang of it. That’s OK with the stiff interfacing but with canvas I recommend doing the zig zag pass first. It allows you to concentrate on the practicality of joining the edges on the first pass and worry about making it look pretty on the second.

I’m trying to restrain myself from making more bowls but they’re calling to me. It’s so much fun picking out two fabrics and a thread color and a shape and size and then seeing how it all comes out because they all seem to come out so nicely.

Fabric Bowls
May 1st, 2005 by Dawn

When I first read through Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Bowls I was a little intimidated by the unusual materials and the need to do satin stitching which I’d never done on my machine. So I put the book away for a while. What a mistake! It turns out that the fabric bowls really are fast and easy to make, and as for fun, well I think I’m addicted to them. Here are the first three I made:

This is the first one I made. It’s the square pattern. I love the colors. It really goes with my dining room.

This is the hexagon pattern in a classic delft look.

This is one of the circle patterns, the one with darts. I didn’t read the instructions all the way through first. For the other shapes, the darts are made by measuring but with this circle shape, the book includes a pattern for the darts. That means that you either need to make the initial circle the size the book told you to or plan ahead and have the pattern reduced appropriately. So I had to fudge the darts a little to make them fit the smaller sized circle I’d started with. It still came out OK.

For the most part, you can make the bowls any size you like, but careful with that circular one. Each bowl is reversible and you don’t have to use a contrasting color for the base if you prefer a solid look. As I worked on each bowl, there would be a point where I’d attached the contrasting base and I’d look at the flat bowl with the blotch of contrasting color and the satin stitches running around it and I’d think how ugly it looked and a little warped too.

But in the end every bowl I made has come out fantastically. It’s almost as though you can’t go wrong. More to come.

Other fairlytale puppets
Mar 17th, 2005 by Dawn

Here are the rest of the fairytale puppets – a king, a queen, a jester, and a knight. These were fun to make: choosing little scraps of interesting materials and trim.

I especially had a good time with the jester who’s made out of a few fat quarters.

Here’s the whole gang. That’s the dragon lying limp at their feet. I guess the knight slew him.

Fairy tale puppets, part 1
Mar 1st, 2005 by Dawn

Here are the first two puppets I’ve made from a pattern envelope: a dragon and a wizard.

Sewing room and futon cover
Feb 11th, 2005 by Dawn

I’ve been slowly making my spare bedroom over into a sewing room, replacing furniture pieces with more functional (and more attractive) ones. I needed to keep the futon chair and ottoman which turn into a single bed for when my grandmother comes to visit, so I made new covers for them to match the new room better.

The fabric is a microsuede I got super, duper cheap at Jo-Anns because it was on the clearance rack plus I had a 40% off coupon. The covers are a little sloppy because futon mattresses are a little sloppy, so perhaps trying for a tailored look with piping wasn’t the way to go, but I love it anyway. The first time I made my own piping I was intimidated but I’ve come to think of piping as one of the easiest and most rewarding things you can do in sewing. It’s really almost foolproof and I love the professional looking results.

Here’s the finished sewing room:

I have a comfortable chair and footrest, filing cabinet, huge desk/work surface with room for my printer, sewing table, cutting table, bookshelf full of crafty books, TV and CD player. What more could a sewing room need? I might get some new lamps, but other than it’s done!

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