Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday Night Sewing Club

Ok, maybe not so much as a club as me alone, in my sewing room, a big pint of Bass, cold and crisp, beside me and a quiet house, with the husband out babysitting for friends, and our two girls sleeping. (and, might I add, the baby fell asleep on her own! with minimal crying! and slept for 3.5 hours without waking up!)
My sewing room has been set up for a few weeks, and I've not really had time to get comfortable in here. It's amazing to have a separate space for crafts of all kinds, and I'm super grateful to my husband for a) buying me a machine for my birthday, b) installing cupboards for storage, and an eight foot long counter for a workspace, and c) supporting me in this, in general. Yay for good men.

On to what I made. As per my usual, you will get a few lessons I learned, as a VERY novice sewer.

I've been wanting to try my hand at a little patchwork for a while, and last night the time was ripe. I had, waiting in my fabric stash, some great charm squares I had purchased a while back on ebay. (Moda's 1974 Urban Chicks - kinda retro, really cute.) I had seen a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew a while back so I surfed my way over there and tada! Here is my finished product:
- sorry about really sad lighting conditions. Pics at 11:30 pm after a pint of beer just aren't going to be good!
- This doesn't show the thing in its entirety - I used 8 charm squares, cut in half, and I used a flour sack tea towel I had in my stash just waiting to be made pretty.
Mission accomplished, I think.
**Most important lesson learned - make sure there is nothing under your fabric on your cutting mat when you're slicing away with a rotary cutter that has been fitted with a shiny new blade. This may seem obvious but I was getting excited and things were getting messy and I sliced some fusible web that had somehow slid on to the mat. No major harm done, but I might have been sad if it was fabric!

The second thing I made was inspired by two things: a garland I saw on Sparkle Power's Blog and a conversation with my friend MR as we exited a sewing shop this past Friday. I had purchased some invisible nylon thread, as Candace used in her garland, and was telling MR what it was for, and we got chatting about reusable decorations - bunting! garlands! the possibilities! and then she suggested a heart shaped decoration for Valentine's Day. The decision was made to try it that night.

I give you my garland (ok, well maybe only a photo of it - I'll be shipping one of these out East to MR in time for Valentine's day, and one will festoon our living room for February).

Make one! It's easy peasy and a great way to use of scraps.

Here's how:

1) Cut out a strip of fabric.

2) Iron on some fusible web, if you like. While this is probably not necessary, it made the shapes a bit sturdy, and made the sewing part a snap. Double-sided fusible interfacing would likely do this better, but I didn't have any.

3) Pick a fabric for backing, cut out a piece the same size, and iron it on to the fusible welb.

4)Cut out as many hearts as you can fit on your piece of fabric.

5) Repeat process until you have as many hearts as you need for the garlands. I wanted to make two garlands, and I cut out ~45 double sided hearts, in many different sizes.

6) Lay out the hearts in a line, arranging them how you want them to show up, or throw them in a pile and piece the garland catch as catch can. It's all good.

7) Sew the hearts together using invisible thread or regular thread. I did one of each. This was my first time sewing with polyster invisible thread and I found it more tricky than regular thread. Once it started giving me grief, I re-threaded and called it a learning experience.

8) If you like, tuck in a bit of rick rack between two pieces of two hearts so that you have some built in hooks. I just pried the webbing apart, folding the rick rack, inserted, and stitched a bit to secure. It was late by this point, I was tired, and my stitching is a bit wonky. I'm sure yours will look much nicer!
Et voilà: instant February cheer.
Let me know if you try this - I'd love to see other versions.
- Donna

2 comments: said...

That is so pretty! I love the combo of girlie fabrics with ric-rak! This is totally going on my "must make for Valentine's Day" list!

Sara said...

Donna!! I am so proud of you. What a fabulous idea and what a great job you did at your tutorial.
I need one of these!