Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fabric gift bags and wabi sabi

I like the idea of using fabric to create gift bags, I only managed to do a couple this year. My son's girlfriend is a beginning sewer so I got a copy of Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol for her. This gift seemed to really call out for a cloth wrapper. So, I made a crazy quilted bag for her gift. I wasn't sure how to close off the top, I didn't want to cinch it as you would lose the view of the quilt and a flap over would also cover the quilt. So I placed 3 sets of ribbons on either side of the top edge. Tie off the ribbons and you have a nicely decorated top edge.

I also made a gift bag for a gift exchange with my circle sisters. The gift was to be a wabi sabi one. Wabi sabi is from the Japanese aesthetic that emphasizes the value and beauty of simple things. A wabi sabi gift is one that would have a humble grace, not necessarily new, but loved. I found my wabi sabi gift at a local thrift store, it is a brass item which probably had candles in it (it had a lot of wax on it). I made a little circle of cloth for the bottom and put in this gift bag.

I was casting about for a good link to help explain wabi sabi and found this site. It is a non profit organization in Moab, Utah that helps people in the community by running a thrift shop, recycling building materials, and other activities that truly exemplify application of wabi sabi. Their definition of wabi sabi: "beauty lies in the imperfection that surrounds us, that new is not necessarily nicer, and that our discards could very well be our salvation."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Elvis Christmas stocking

Last year when my local Hancocks Fabric was going out of business I purchased some Elvis Christmas fabric. The print was set up to make a very large Christmas stocking. One side has Elvis with his guitar and a red background, the other side has Elvis just looking cool with a green background. Who better to make this for than my DJ musician son? What fun this was. I layered it with white cotton quilt batting and lined it with a solid white. I did some free motion sewing around the poinsettias and Elvis' profile and the topped it off with red and white polka dot bias. There was a small print of a stocking shape on the fabric, about 6 inches long, so I made that up to match the uber stocking.
Nathan loved it, we all shared quite a laugh. As you can see it even can be "worn" on both feet for a warmer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, In what ever way you celebrate this time of year, may it be joyful.

We had a visit with my son and daughter in law last weekend. Here is a photo of the table napkins, bread basket cloth and dog Christmas tree ornament that I made for them. 2007 is the year they adopted Sirius, so the commemorative ornament honors her this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pieced Peace

I made another peace grocery bag a couple of weeks a ago. Here's the first one I made awhile ago. I donate these to my congregation and they are sold at the grocery store coupons table. I was told that someone requested a bag for a man with a peace symbol. I forgot to take the finished shot of this bag. So this is the most complete I can share.

Here are some along the way shots of how I put the peace symbol together. First I draw a circle and put in the center bones, I used seam binding tape for this one. Then I cut several little squares of a variety of fabric colors and patterns. I iron the pieces in place with a little bit of stitch witchery tape. I sew the pieces down by going around the inner and outer circle and then putting a serpentine stitch down the middle. The pieces of peace are left with unfinished edges on purpose, after all peace is not easy to attain.
Once again, my wish for you... May you find peace.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Odd things for men

I have made some odd things lately, all connected to the needs of some of the the men in my life.

# 1
Flannel case for prescription safety glasses.

# 2 Fabric hat for Blacksmith work, keeps hot projectiles from burning your scalp or setting your hair on fire. It also keeps the dirt off of you head. I drafted the pattern by copying a paper disposable surgery cap, used in a hospital setting.

# 3
Pencil and paper holder for the co-driver of my son's race car. This has Velcro on the straps so that it could be strapped to his lower leg, making it easy for him to reach down for the pencil or paper. It turned out that he didn't like it on his leg, but did find it useful strapped to the roll cage bar.

#4 Another item for race car support. This is a large bag made to cover the head light set that goes on the car for night driving. I used a moving blanket, serged it into a big pocket and added a tie strap. Easy sewing, but will be very good for keeping the lights from getting scratched up in transit.

Gumdrop Footstool

I haven't posted in awhile, I have been pretty busy, but I have found some time for sewing in between and around other aspects of my life. I will try to catch up on some posting in the next few days.

At serger club we made the Gumdrop Pillow from a Amy Butler pattern. I didn't think that I really needed such a pillow or that I would get much use out of it, but it has turned out to be very useful and was fun to make. This is the 18 inch size, which required the entire contents of a 5 lb. box of poly-fill. Here you see Sarah enjoying it during a recent visit and our cat Trooper perched on top. I purchased enough of this fabric to make a 24 inch gumdrop also, that will probably be a 2008 project.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is make pie! In this photo: apple, pecan and pumpkin. I hope you have some good eatin' tomorrow and remember to count your blessings.

This is a blog mostly about sewing, so I will share my new kitchen curtains here too. The fabric was selected to be able to coordinate with my Autumn Leaf dishes and pale blue kitchen walls. The walls need to be painted, but this won't be happening soon. So this batik seemed to fit the bill.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bathroom Curtains

Now that our bathroom remodel is done I get to put the finishing touches on by making a shower curtain and window curtain. I just love this Waverly fabric, it is called "Grand Central". I love the circles and the fun pattern and think it goes nicely with the black and white tile. Here's what the Waverly web site says about the fabric:
"The large colorful circles and squares of Grand Central are overlaid with still more circles and diverging linear paths in an abstract salute to this world famous railroad terminal."
Who knew the fabric was a salute to a railroad terminal?, I just thought it was really fun and fresh and a little retro looking.

At the top of the curtain I did not want the button holes to show, so I made another fold of fabric in front of the button holes and sewed it down an inch on either side. It gives the curtain a very nice finished look.

For the window I have made about a 9 inch valence and will cover the lower half of the window with a sheer.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sewing a clothing item

It feels like it has been ages, so I am happy to say that I made a clothing item. I made a top from a nice piece of rayon that I purchased at the Sewing expo. The colors in this fabric are to celebrate and embrace my natural hair color, : ).

I searched longer than I thought I would have to for a basic pattern and settled on Butterick 5053. The top is a pull over with a very nice round neckline.
It is very comfortable, having a lot of ease in the pattern. I have worn it twice already, a great work top for under a jacket.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I' m ready to celebrate. I will wear my spider scarf and earrings today. The spider fabric was in Joann's 75% off bin, the piece cost $1. It had a rip that I sewed closed and then I just made a tube of the fabric. I left the ends unfinished, it is a spider web scarf after all.

I hope your Halloween is fun and sweet!

Monday, October 29, 2007

3 for David

My husband David mentioned that he needs grocery bags to keep in his truck, to use when he shops. So, I have continued my bags for men work and made him 3 cloth shopping bags. He looks ready to shop to me!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ol MacDonald had a farm, e i e i o...

My friend Emily asked me to donate a grocery bag to her church fund raiser. I had some vintage craft panel fabric that came with the fabric that my friend Margaret gave to me. It looks like this:
I thought that lovely farm scene would be perfect for a grocery bag pocket. I put a thin layer of cotton batting between the cow and the lining and then did a little free motion sewing around the cow's face, to help her stand out a bit. As you can see there is a little pig on this print too, so I thought that making a little piggy purse would be cute to include with the shopping bag. I used the tutorial here to remind me how to make a zip top lined bag.

I put a 16 inch strap on the piggy purse, which allows it to be looped around the handle of the grocery bag. Now the piggy purse is easily reached to pinch those pennies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seven bags for seven sisters

I couldn't resist making a bag for each of my circle sisters. We gathered last weekend near Lake Michigan. Yes, there are only 6 sisters in the photo. The little butterfly bag is for Molly, who has been hard to capture due to her frequent travels. The butterfly bag is filled with notes to her and a butterfly shaped rock.
We love to collect rocks...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

More bags for men, from small to large

My son purchased a new sub-compact camera. He thought that the pouches they sold at the store were just not quite what he wanted. He asked me to make him a case, just to protect it from getting scratched while in his pocket. I used some really soft hand me down denim (thanks Cathy) and lined it with a lining material. The button loop is a pony tail band (a tip I picked up at the Sewing Expo). I purchased a package at the drug store, they come in several colors. ; )

Nathan was very pleased with it. He is off now on a two week vacation, so should have plenty of opportunities to slip that camera in and out of the new case.

On the grocery bags for men front, I found some good base fabric at a thrift shop this weekend. For $5 I purchased 4 pieces of denim or denim weight material. I was able to make up two bags on Saturday, which I delivered to our congregation this morning.

I finished one more today, the body of the bag is a light green denim from the thrift shop, very nice weight for a shopping bag. I just couldn't resist the little line of rick rack on the pocket. Does adding rick rack make it less "manly". It is brown rick rack. Does a little bit of green check gingham make is less manly? I don't think so. Anyway, I am sure someone will find it of use. All $ collected for the bags is a contribution to our congregation fund. This is a great way for me to make a contribution while re-using fabric, promoting cloth grocery bags and getting more creative time sewing. Many wins. What a joy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bags for men

I was asked to make some more masculine grocery bags to sell at my congregation fund raising table. So I composed one with green corduroy and a GM old truck scrap of fabric for the pocket. The bottom I reinforced with black and white race fabric. So, it is definitely masculine, but it doesn't really go with the "save the environment by using cloth bag grocery bags" theme. Ah, we must live with irony I guess. This one just may have to go to my brother, the GM truck scrap is from a pillow that I made for him. I know he will find a use for it and won't mind the irony. So, I guess I still need to make those masculine grocery bags, it may be awhile till I make any more. I am going to the American Sewing expo for the next two days. I am looking forward to getting inspired about sewing!

My son Nathan's birthday is Oct 7, between his schedule and ours last Sunday was the day to celebrate. He is a record collector, so I made him a record bag. It's just the right size for an LP, I made it narrow in width, thinking he could use this for special records or light shopping. Although I am not sure if Nathan does "light" record shopping.

I had covered a canvas conference bag with black and white polka dot and domino fabric, Nathan's girlfriend admired it, and so it went home with her. It's nice to be able to give a useful gift!

I realized that my grocery bag tutorial does not include how I put the handles on my bags. So I took some pictures of the process and added them to the tutorial.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Art U Wear vest and jacket

I made a wool vest at a class led by Debra Youngs last week. Her web site is here. Debra is a great teacher for inspiring creativity. This vest is based on her right sided jacket pattern 101. I love the asymmetry of this garment. The pocket on the front will be very handy. I put one polished rock bead at the end of the button hole cord, you can see it if you click on the photo. I want to add more beads there. The polished rock is one that my father made, one of his many hobbies was rock polishing and jewelry making. I have several of these polished rocks and am always looking for a place to use them.

At the class Debra mentioned that she has a book coming out soon that will include this patter adaption. I don't see it mentioned on her web site yet.

I took her quilted jacket class last year. The uncut, unwashed fabric and muslin are quilted and then washed in hot water and dried, this makes it pucker up nicely. Her instructions for the quilting are to sew so that there was no more than 2 fingers width between any stitching. This makes a quilted jacket that is not too heavy or hot to wear. It is lined with regular garment lining.
Here is a photo of it, I made it to wear on my anniversary trip to Stratford, Ontario. Here I am with Will Shakesphere.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jeans to grocery bag

My friend Cathy gave me several jean scraps and worn out jeans to play around with. Here is what I had left of this pair.

And here is the bag that they became. I transferred one of the hip pockets to the outside of the bag and used some other blue denim to finish the top. All of the inside seams were done on the serger.

So, off I go. (Sorry for the over exposed photo.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Diaper bag gift

Here are a couple of pictures of Jessica receiving the diaper bag. She was very happy with it. The second picture is of Jessica and Merrill. Granddaughter Alexis Mary is due to arrive on October 1st.
You can see more of the making of the bag here and here. This is a really nice design, lots of pockets: open, zippered and with elastic tops. In all, this bag has 10 pockets! The pattern is from Bar-Bee Designs.