Monday, October 14, 2013

My First Sew Along: Make a Garment a Month

Inspired by seeing the cute green button over at the right, which I've seen on several sewing friends' blogs, I've decided to join in my first sew along. It's a personal challenge to make one garment each month. From Sarah Liz, who is hosting this sew along, "I think being in a group is motivating, and is a great way to "show and tell" to other people who also share a love of sewing." Here are the rules:
  1. The garment must be for you and not for someone else - this challenge is also about personal sewing space and your sewing needs. This is special sewing-for-you time.
  2. Choose a garment at the beginning of the month that you want to make up as your garment of the month. It can be from a pattern, an idea, a picture from a magazine, snoop shopping - whatever you like. Post this choice for the month on your blog and tell everyone what pattern you are using or what choice you are making.
  3. Blog about the garment when you have finished it (and in between if you want to). Please take a photo of yourself wearing the garment - and if you feel that you would like to, style the garment as well.  Clearly label the post "Make a Garment a Month" - my garment for "month".
  4. If you want to link back to my blog, you are welcome to do so.
Wish me luck! Off to ponder... what shall I make?
Blessings and peace...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Atticus Is a Very Special Kitty

UPDATE Wednesday, October 16: Today is the last day that I am offering matching funds. So far, $375 has been raised, and with my matching funds, it's at $445 toward the goal of $526. Keep reading to learn all about Atticus and this fundraiser to pay for his recent surgery. Thanks!

My daughter, Emily, was living in an apartment complex in Charlotte, NC, when these photos were taken. Several feral (and lost and abandoned) kitties found their way to her second floor apartment at dinnertime every day. Emily provided food, water, and kindness. She was able to capture a few and have them examined by a vet and spayed/neutered. Oh, and that's when she started getting allergy shots because she is allergic to cats!
Limpy Kitty (whose name is now Atticus) was my favorite of them all. He didn't let his disabilities (a significant limp and very poor eyesight) keep him from being open to Emily's kindness; in fact, he was a friend to all the other kitties (and quite the handsome suitor to some, according to the appearance of some kittens, if you know what I mean). We learned that some time before Emily lived there, Atticus fell (or was dropped) from a third floor balcony; he somehow survived despite his injuries and getting no care.

It wasn't just Atticus. There were Vivid Kitty, Li'l Black Sleekster, Marmalade, Mittens, Baby Kitty, and Tenor Kitty. Oh and Darla and Gateway. Emily cared for them all.
Atticus and Baby Kitty

Li'l Black Sleekster

Vivid Kitty and Tenor Kitty

They mostly lived in the wooded area next to the complex, and one or more would arrive at Emily's just in time for dinner.

When the apartment complex changed their policy about outdoor kitties (Do Not Feed The Outdoor Cats!), Emily was able to relocate a few through, including Atticus who went to live with Kelley, where he has been for several years. Emily and Kelley (and Betsy, who brought Emily and Kelley together) have become good friends through it all. BTW, these were only a few of the kitties that Emily helped. Some were camera shy. >^-^<

Kelley is one of those people who has such a heart for special-needs cats and dogs. She has several of each living with her, and she gives them all a safe, loving place to live out their days. Atticus is blind, but as far as I know, other than his limp, for which there is no longer any treatment, has been doing well.
Kelley and Atticus
Atticus recently needed surgery to remove one of his eyes because of inflammation and pain. Kelley lives on a fixed income, and she needs help with the cost of the surgery, which was $576. More than half of it has already been raised.

In appreciation for Emily, who cared for him for more than a year, and Kelley, who has cared for him for several years, (and in honor of our Maxwell, who has made a few appearances here and has eye problems of his own), I just made a donation. And I will also match every donation that you, my blog readers, make (by this Wednesday, October 16, and mention me or my blog in the comments of the donation page (rather than here). This link will take you right to the page to help pay for Atticus' surgery: You Caring. I checked out the organization and it is 100% legitimate.

When someone thanks me for something or other, I usually say, "We help each other!" This is one of those times that—togetherwe can help Kelley and Atticus.

Sewing content on my next post, I promise!
Blessings and peace...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Not Just Another Apron, to Me Anyway

When last we talked, I showed you the remaining fabric from the 3.5 yards of "autumn leaves" quilting cotton fabric, which I've been using to make table top items (placemats, table runners), shown here and here.  

My plan was to make an apron. Good news: I did it!

Better news: I also used some darker blue/teal linen, part of it was repurposing some linen pants I made (ahem) some time ago and a little bit of it was from my "resource center" (AKA stash).

I decided on a chef's apron style because that is such an easy style of apron to make. Except that I would be piecing fabrics. And I've been learning that when using quilting cotton, I prefer my aprons to be two layers (yes, I am messy in the kitchen), so I decided to make it reversible. And I prefer the neckband to be one piece (not ties) that is large enough to go over my head—while I have my glasses on—but high enough in front when I'm wearing it, so I decided to insert some elastic in the one-piece neckband. Oh, and I like a pocket and a towel on each apron (so, reversible = 2 pockets and 2 towels). It wasn't so much mathy, like some sewing projects are, but it was definitely a thinking-several-steps-ahead kind of sewing project. I thought, "I'm making it, so I might as well make it just the way I want it." Isn't that one of the reasons we sew?

I was going to create a tutorial but decided against it because, really, who wants to make a chef's reversible apron with a stretchy neckband and a pocket and towel on each side? So I'll just show you a few highlights and lowlights.

I used almost all of the fabric. Here's what's left (and the brown fabric was not part of the original group):

I have an apron that a) fits me, b) I will use a lot, and 3) is reversible so I won't have to launder it every time I wear it (I already shared that I am messy), and d) is pretty.

I figured almost everything out enough ahead of time, so my brain cells were on high activity, part of my brain-maintenance program. Examples: I gathered the towel at the top. I pinned the towel toward the inside so it wouldn't be stitched into the side seams. I stitched both waistbands (one for each side of the apron) on at the same time to minimize the likelihood of some very crooked stitching. I positioned the pockets, which I made to fit the iPhone I will buy one of these days, and the towels for my lefthanded self.

My corners are inconsistent. I know that this is just an apron, so it's okay for this project. However, I really want to improve my corners. Here's what I do: I stitch, turn the fabric 90 degrees, continue stitching. (Sometimes I stop 1 stitch short of the corner, turn the fabric 45 degrees, take 1 or 2 stitches, turn the fabric 45 degrees, and continue. I see no difference in the resulting corner.) Press the stitched fabric flat. Trim the corner (maybe not close enough?). Press the seams open, if possible. Turn, using a large knitting needle (so, blunt tip) to push out the corner. Sometimes the result is excellent and other times, it's mediocre. I want consistently excellent corners! I welcome your thoughts, links to tutorials/instructions.
See? The 2 top corners are good, the 2 bottom corners are not.

I thought I was finished, so I put it on and asked my personal photographer to take some photos. The camera does not lie. It confirmed a thought that was floating in my mind: the top front sides seem weird (click on the photo to see what I'm referring to):
reverse side of apron
I know how this happened. Because my fabric wasn't wide enough, I thought that this would work:
Um, no, actually, it created sort of flaps. No chef's apron has flaps. If I wanted flaps, I'd have kept them. But I could see how they would get in my way. So I did a bit of trimming and restitching and topstitching.

For the next one, I would reshape the pattern piece for the bodice and also make the bodice a bit shorter. I think I'll go draw a new bodice piece right now, before I forget. Because I will happily make more aprons like this one!

And now, what to do with that last piece of autumn leaves print?
It's only the print fabric I am determined to use up; the others can be incorporated into other projects. Here are my ideas:
  • Make 3 dark blue/teal linen towels trimmed with the print border, similar to others I've made, shown (with a tutorial) here
  • Make 9 coasters, the idea of which makes me wonder whether they'd keep dampness from the table surface, plus I don't have a use for them
  • Make another table mat by cutting the strip into three sections and piecing them so that it might look (remotely) like a 9-patch quilt block
Any other ideas?

Blessings and peace...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Giveaway Results and Update on Autumn Leaves Fabric

Good morning! Here's the result (of using, which generates random numbers from the range you submit) for my orange print fat quarter fabric giveaway contest. I disregarded all the even numbers (my comments) and Joy, who requested to not be entered. Here are the winners:
Betsy B, I hope you will make this little project. If you do, will you please let me know? And maybe send me a photo or two of the process and/or result? Actually, I'd like it if you would videotape it and put the video up on YouTube; it would be an instant hit, I am sure!

Quilting Tangent, who liked two of the fabrics in particular. I'll do my best to select one of those for you, QT.

Angie, I am positive that your crafty 11 year old could do this -- and with some help from younger ones, too.

Emily, you have some (not quite so little) little helpers that you can include in this project.

Congratulations! I hope you will use the free tutorial to make this easy project. If you do, will you please let me know? And maybe send me a photo or two of the process and/or result?

Thanks; this was fun! And even if you didn't win a fat quarter, you can still use the free tutorial to make one (or more) of these pumpkins.

Update about my autumn leaves fabrics
I completed another table mat. It's for a friend who has a birthday next month, and her table is quite a bit larger than mine. I had that in mind when I made this one.

And I'm now making a reversible apron with these remaining pieces (and adding in some leftover linen fabric from another sewing project):

What are you sewing this weekend?

Blessings and peace...