Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fabric Pumpkins: Easy No-Sew Craft Project and a Giveaway

A couple of years ago, I hosted a little Craft Day for a friend, her two daughters, and their four little children. I'm not really used to doing this; most of my sewing are solo projects. However, when I saw this tutorial over at the Sew Thankful blog, I just had to invite them over so we could make these together! I knew it would be fun. (I was right.) The one I made is shown in this photo from my most recent sewing project: It's the pumpkin on the table runner. 

The small pumpkin (the size I made) uses a fat quarter of fabric, and the large pumpkin uses 1 yard of fabric. 

Here I am demonstrating  the fabric-tucking technique.

Two cute little girls selecting "leaves" from my collection of fabric swatches.

That was easy!

And, exhausting!

Photos used with permission, of course.

Giveaway: Would you like to make one of the small pumpkins but don't have any suitable orange (or green or purple) fabric? Let me know in the comments by Thursday, October 3; I'll select a couple of names and send a fat quarter to each person selected. You see that I have more than enough! Or just leave a comment, even if you have fabric and/or if you aren't going to make one of these. My feelings won't be hurt, I promise! :) 'cuz you know how we bloggers love comments!

Blessings and peace...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Progress Report About Those Quilting Fabrics

I am happy to report that I have used the majority of the quilting fabrics that I blogged about here. And I used at least a yard of another quilting fabric as well as a yard of flannel, which I used instead of batting. For tabletop things such as placemats and table runners, I prefer a thinner, flatter finish rather than a puffy, quilt-like finish, so I use flannel fabric instead of batting. Oh, plus I came across a few (?) yards of flannel before I looked for batting.

So far I've made one short table runner and four placemats. Here are a couple of photos:
Four placemats

Two placemats and a table runner
And here is how we usually use placemats: on top of a tablecloth. (It's easier to launder placemats than tablecloths, plus as the weather cools, the tablecloth adds a bit of warmth.)
All ready for today
I'm including a few construction details for you and also to help me remember for next time.
Press and then pin the completed placemat top to flannel. Notice that the corner pins are parallel to the edge rather than at a 45 degree angle, which makes the stitching easier. Machine baste about 1/8 in. in from the edge of the placemat top.
Optional: Trim to remove flannel.
Press the pieced top, which has been basted to the flannel, to the backing fabric (brown), which is placed wrong side up. Trim. Then move the backing fabric to on top of the the pieced top and pin, marking (with two pins or a clip) the place to stop stitching, which will create the opening for turning.
From the back, you can see the 1/4 in. stitching all around, except for about 4 in. at the center of the bottom, which is the opening for turning. Clip the corners. Turn. Press. Machine quilt.
One placemat, completed. 
One table runner, completed.

I am planning to make another table runner, narrower so that it can be used with four placemats. And it looks like I will make some coasters. And maybe some trim and pockets for an apron.

I welcome any other ideas. I'm really glad I decided to use this fabric now rather than know that it will be next fall before I am motivated to use it again. It's so autumnal! 

Blessings and peace...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Must Use These Quilting Fabrics

In organizing my fabricssomething I've been wanting to do for a few months years—I came across these coordinated cotton fabrics that I bought at a very nice little quilt shop. 
1/2 yard panel
1 yard striped print (a little more than half is shown)
Top left: panel. Bottom left: striped print. Right: 1 yard each gold and green "mottled" solid.

I am not a quilter, but once in a while I go to a quilt shop with a friend who is a quilter. Of course I want these independent shops to stay in business, and I did like the look of these fabrics, but here we are at least a year later, and I still haven't done anything with them. If I don't sew them up now, it will be at least another year before I look at them againbecause of the seasonal nature of the prints.

I found a free project sheet at Fabric Depot; here's the cover:
Project sheet
As you can see from the project sheet, I don't have all the fabrics in the collection (whew!).  The project sheet is 9 pages and includes instructions for making everything you see here.

I plan to make a reversible table runner and a small (approximately 12-in. square) table topper. But I don't need any more placemats. 

Do you have any ideas or suggestions or links to easyremember easy, please—for using up this fabric? I'd like to make some gifts that people would really like and use. Maybe a set of coasters from the smaller print? Maybe an easy apron? Any other ideas?

Bonus points / extra credit for any ideas that use these fabrics in something I could wear without looking like I'm wearing a quilt.

I'm making myself use this fabric to burn it into my brain to stop buying fabrics for quilting projects! Maybe it's not my responsibility to keep quilt shops in business.

Thanks for any and all suggestions. I will post updates. Achi dachi!

Blessings and peace...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sewing Contest You Can Vote On

Oh me oh my. There's another sewing contest, and everybody can vote. It's sponsored by Fabric Mart, a great online fabric shop. You can read all about the contest here. The contest started with ten contestants, and now there are nine. Too bad I didn't post this a few days ago, or you would have been able to vote for one of the entries in the first challenge: 

"The theme for this week's challenge was using recycled materials to create a look. We let the door wide open on this challenge to see what our designers could really do! We told them they could use materials that would otherwise be thrown away, such as scraps from their sewing room. Or reinvent old pieces of clothing to create a new fashion forward look."

Kathy, who won the first challenge, made a cute peachy-salmon color party dress from her wedding gown! One contestant was eliminated, so now there are nine. Stay tuned for the next challenge. I know I will. 

I really want to tell you who I voted for. But instead, go take a look at all ten entries for the first challenge, read their stories, and let me know what you think. 

Blessings and peace...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fellow Blogger Gentleman Jim Tailor Extraordinaire

This is just a quick note to introduce you to a fairly new blogger. New to blogging, but not new to fine sewing and tailoring and patternmaking. Go right on over to Fine Tailoring by Jim and read all about this wonderful now-southern gentleman. He is posting great tutorials, and it's obvious that he is a master at his craft. He is having a giveaway of his DVD set, Alterations. I think it ends pretty soon, so hop on over. I'm going to add him to my blog roll so that I don't miss a thing. 

Blessings and peace...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Giveaway Result and More Zippered Cases

Good morning! Here's the result of using, which generates random numbers from the range you submit, for my little zippered case giveaway contest. 
My plan was that if I selected a number that represented Theresa, who requested to not be entered, or me, who replies to lots of comments, that I would repeat the process. However, that wasn't necessary. Congratulations to Martha, who said, " of our younger granddaughters hair ornaments - pony tail holders, baretts and such!" Please contact me, Martha, and let me know which of the three little zippered cases you'd like.

I made three more from the road and cars fabric. I plan to make two or three more, from different fabric, then I'm going to move on to other projects.

Because the zipper pulls are small, I thread a strand of the cut-off part of the zipper through the tiny hole in the zipper pull, then tie it. Here's a close up of one:
Blessings and peace...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Will You Help Me Decide -- and a Reminder About My Giveaway

Update: Please read the update at the bottom of this post. Thanks!

Okay, so I really need to hear from you. I'm thinking of "unretiring" from my career as a technical editor so that I can edit sewing pattern instructions, and you can help me make my decision. Here's what I'd like to know:
  1. Do you buy downloadable sewing patterns (and instructions and tutorials, so I'll just use "patterns" in this post to mean all three) from individuals or small companies (rather than the "Big Four", and I'll add in Burda, too)?
  2. For what kind of projects do you buy patterns (garments, purses, upcycling, baby and children's clothing and accessories, home dec, other [please mention])?
  3. Do you print the patterns or read and use them from your computer? Ereader? Other mobile device? Or both print and use from computer/mobile device?
  4. Do you notice errors and omissions?
  5. Do you notice inconsistencies?
  6. Are you aware of confusing instructions and/or instructions that are out of order?
  7. Do you care?
  8. Why? In other words, how does this affect your 1) ability to use the pattern and 2) your pleasure and enjoyment of the pattern?
  9. If you notice these problems, how does it affect your decision about a subsequent pattern from that person or small company? (Are you more likely to buy it or less likely to buy it?)
  10. What bugs you about patterns?
  11. How would you like them to be different?
  12. Do you have different satisfaction standards for patterns that are free compared to those you purchase?
  13. What else would you like to say about this topic? 
I welcome your answers to any/all of these questions. Short and sweet or long and detailed: all are welcome. However, please do not mention specific individuals or companies by name or innuendo; I feel so strongly about this that I promise to delete your comment if you do. This post is not about bashing; it's honestly and only about helping me to make this decision.

A great big THANK YOU to everyone who reads this and replies. This time, it's you who's helping me! "We help each other!"

And a reminder: The giveaway for a little zippered case with a see-through front ends tonight (Tuesday, Sept 4) at 11:59 pm EDT. That post is here.

Update: I think I am asking way too many questions here. How about if you choose one or two questions and answer those. Would that be better?

Blessings and peace...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Invitation to Be Generous: Pillowcases

My Internet sewing friend, Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life, has undertaken an enormous project: making 900 pillowcases for... I don't think she'll mind if I copy and paste from her most recent post:

The pillowcases are for the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Each child that is admitted to the hospital is given a special pillowcase. They find that a simple pillowcase helps to lift spirits and brings color into an all to white and scary environment. If you think that you might like to contribute to the project, here is a link to the simplified instructions I did to make the pillowcases. I believe in the motto of "there is strength in numbers," so if you feel that you can do just one pillowcase, it will be greatly appreciated.

Oh how I wish I knew how to indent a paragraph here. Anyway, I have made six so far and plan to make at least a few more. They are one of the easiest-peasiest sewing projects ever, thanks to Rhonda's great tutorial. Here are the first four I made:
My first four pillowcases, details follow, from left to right
Bumble bees and ladybugs
Seashells and triple zigzag stitching at edge of main fabric
Row of pink flowers stitched at edge of main fabric
Serpentine stitch (I think) at edge of main fabric
Inside view of the lower edge/side seam
What do you think? Can you make one (or maybe a few)? Each pillowcase takes only 3/4 yard of the main fabric plus smaller amounts for the accent and trim. Rhonda posted today that she now has 640 pillowcases! Only 240 to go (well, 230 after I send her the six I've completed and a few more).

In addition to the pillowcases she's making, Rhonda hangs the pillowcases she receives in the mail on a clothesline and takes photos for us. Thanks, Rhonda, for inviting us all to be generous. I'm just extending it a bit to any of my readers who haven't been following this lovely journey with you.

Blessings and peace...