Training for a Sewing Marathon

Our small but mighty church will host a sewing/crafting marathon  to support the “She’s Worth It Campaign” on Saturday , March  2. More to come.

On the far right of this page is a heading called “Badges.” By pressing the box underneath you’ll go to the  home page for this campaign to  address the needs of victims of human trafficking.  This is one kind of motivation to be involved.

Then go visit Pinterest, where there is a board set up as “She’s Worth It Campaign.” Go there for another kind of motivation…tons of  DIY bracelets and zipper pouches to make and give.

Contact me via comment box below for more information.

Bracelet Tutorial

Because She’s Loved

Ahem…Class, we will now make a bracelet.  No…Here’s my ver-r-r-y first tutorial and I know it’s just terrible. No…Friends and family, we are gathered here together. No..Oh, bother, here goes.

To make a simple fabric cuff pictured above, just sandwich two scraps of fabric wrong sides together, run a topstitch around the border and trim with pinking shears. Sew a big button on one side and a big buttonhole on the other.  Wear. Glow in the knowledge that you are loved, even if just by yourself.

Starting out with 10" widths, each of these is comfortable on my slightly large wrist.

However, if you would like to make a slightly more durable version to show another woman that she is loved, here are some guidelines. (As opposed to directions, which are to be followed to the letter.)

Why are we doing this? See Andrea’s post at http://www.thetraintocrazy.com/2013/02/more-bracelet-tutorials.html.

Cut out a 10″ X 2.5″ rectangle on paper. The slimmer “Loved”  bracelet was cut out of a 9″ by 1.75″ rectangle but when I tried to turn the fabric inside out I had to make use of a bodkin and some unladylike language.

Betty the Bodkin

Betty the Bodkin

I got that sucker turned but then I had to come up with another closure option because closing a bracelet with a small button and buttonhole seemed like poor design.  More on that later. Suffice to say I’ll be making my bracelets in the larger size, but you are free to follow your own inner bodkin.

Since I mostly sew garments, I would have cut out little rectangles all day and then used some bodkinesque language as I tried to center the embroidery on the bracelet. But instead of cutting the fabric around my rectangular pattern,  I followed my sewing teacher’s advice and ended up cutting the fabric around the embroidery. First, I  marked  the fabric where the embroidery would go.  Then I moved the paper down and did the same thing again.

But I did cut the backs of the bracelets and heavyweight embroidery stabilizer from the paper patterns.  (Okay, only the “Hope” bracelet has heavyweight stabilizer. )

Then I embroidered, conveyor belt style, since I was in this terribly efficient mode anyway. Embroider; lift presser foot, move to next spot. Embroider, lift presser foot, move to next spot. Then and only then did I cut out each rectangle around the pattern, centering the lettering appropriately. Thank you, Rose. I’ll be on time for class this week, really. Really.

BTW,  I created more “Hope” bracelets than I have pictured here. And I made the “Loved” bracelets yesterday. I hope you’re not too confused by the fact that I have two days of production pictures with directions for only one day. Imagine how I feel.

Each embroidered front was then sewn right sides together with a back cut from the 10″ X 2.5″ paper pattern. I sewed down the long sides and then turned inside out and pressed. I tucked the short sides to the inside and used Steam-A-Seam to hold them in place while I finished the closures. You could also topstitch. Or both.

I hope the recipients like color as much as I do! I used contrast backings for each  bracelet.  I embroidered the back of one  in lime green just because it was too boring in black and white.  Or because I have no taste whatsoever. I’ve never been entirely sure.

Bracelets 025

My “Hope” cuff with the navy blue backing sports a blue/lime green button hole and a lime green button to fasten at the wrist.  Because the “Loved” bracelet is skinnier, I used a ponytail elastic as a loop.  I tucked it inside the unfinished short end and machine tacked over it and finished with a yellow button on the other side.

So:

1. Make a paper pattern.

2. Cut out the backing and embroidery stabilizer from your pattern.

3. Mark your front fabric for embroidery, embroider it, then cut it out, centering the embroidery.

4. Sew the front and back at long side seams. Tuck short seams in on the end, press, use fabric glue, Steam-A-Seam or Stitch Witchery to hold the short side. And/or topstitch.

5. Put loop or buttonhole on one end of bracelet. Sew button on other end.

So if I can make up a bracelet you can, too. Sure would love to have a picture of it if you do!  Make one for yourself  and one for the “She’s Worth It Campaign.”

Power Bracelets

Hollyburn Sew Along

I’m so proud to post this badge: I participated in my first sew-along. As the (charmingly yellow!)  badge reveals, the sew-along was hosted at http://www.mymessings.blogspot.com.  (Which is in Melbourne, Australia, so I’ve been virtually travelling!) You can visit over there to see the indie pattern company Sewaholic‘s skirt as sewn by other participants.

Craft as Therapy Hollyburn skirt model 005 Craft as Therapy Hollyburn skirt model 001 I Googled “sew along” and found many sites where one can join in this activity, which is kind of a cross between a tutorial and a quilting bee. The Sew Along-er or sets the pace, stepping the Sew Along-ees through a pattern for which they have previously bought fabric and notions.  See? More interactive than a tutorial and more instructive than a quilting bee. And if you want to show off your handiwork, you have to finish it, so it’s very motivational, too. The instructions stay up at the website, though, and you can go back and do the sew along at any point later, too. I don’t think my first sew along will be my last!

It was a happy coincidence that my daughter had to swing home from college anyway and could model the skirt I made for her. It’s done up in a quilt weight cotton because her first employment after graduating with her journalism degree is a reporting job. In Texas. In the summer.  Hot, hot, hot! She loves the skirt in the shortest, fullest view (C) and I’m following it up with cool fabrics in views A and B, too.

Gotta Getta Plan

I’ve done pretty well staying on track with my sewing this year (all six weeks of this year) but I can see danger ahead if I don’t get a grip.

The issue is this: Every time I set foot in a sewing store or shop, I’m going to find either a fabric or a pattern that I want to “run up.” As in “I’ll just run up that skirt in poplin.” It’s a given.

I’ll be working on a plan that incorporates budgets for money, time, actual wardrobe needs and experimental learning projects. If any of these elements were infinite, I wouldn’t need a plan. So, simple, I’ll make a plan.

Later.

Right now, I’m going to run up my second Hollyburn skirt for my daughter, go to Bible study and get the floor vacuumed. Right after I get out of my robe. Hmmm. I really need a new robe…

Sewing Class

I did something yesterday I’ve never done. I attended an actual sewing class presented by human teacher in a classroom setting. I bought a Bernina in large part because I have a local dealer six miles from my house; since I’m a rural person, the nearest city, which has Husquevarna and Brother dealers, is more than 30 minutes away. Yesterday, as I drove the ten minutes to Pohlar Fabrics, I was glad I’d made the local choice.

The class came with my purchase of a Bernina B580. This is my last machine, my retirement machine, my dream machine. To be precise, it’s a sewing computer with a touch screen (that can be set to different pretty colors!) and a USB port. And more.

Never one to shun a learning opportunity, I’m really excited to learn all this instrument can do. I’ve been treating it as a workhorse since I got it in November and it’s been purring along, doing whatever I ask of it: sewing suede, gliding over five layers of denim, embroidering silk and blind hemming. Yesterday we got from a basic zig-zag to automatic buttonholes. I had done all of that but picked up more than a few tips and tricks to make things more efficient.

I did check with my teacher and found that it doesn’t do any other kind of housework. I asked when I bought it, but I’m going to keep checking to see if it gets a housework update through that little USB port. Because it never hurts to ask.

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

Vacuum dressed in a bag

Vacuum dressed in a bag

Much to my surprise, my vacuum didn’t come with on board accessory storage. That kind of sucks (sorry about that).  So I spent a pleasant morning constructing a simple sack with an extra long handle. It carries the upholstery brush, crevice cleaner and whatever that other little thing is. When the vacuum isn’t in use I just tie the bag to its handle. While I’m using it, I have the bag over my shoulder, messenger style.

Next up, a bucket bag from the Craftsy platform.  (If you sew, knit, crochet or do any other kind of craft, including baking cakes and working with media such as glass, you need to go to http://www.craftsy.com and drool look over all the cool classes. I’ve really enjoyed each one I’ve taken. Some of them are free.)

The free Bag Making Basics class,  led by Kristin Link, resulted in the little bucket bag.  I used fat quarters, which made it very cheap to construct.

Bucket Bag

Bucket Bag for knitting supplies

Then I decided I needed a purse. My good leather one is just a tad small in the zipper to accommodate my iPad. Since my iPad doesn’t actually grow out of my right wrist, as my husband claims, I need a way to carry it.

Enter the Bow Tucks Tote designed by Peggy Sturges of Quilts Illustrated at http://www.quiltsillustrated.com/.

Wool Herringbone and Suede Tote

Wool Herringbone and Suede Tote

St Pats Day Bag

My summer bag: St. Patrick’s Day green dots, multi-colored stripes and a blue suede pocket. Untying the bows on the side releases another block of space, making this a purse-size bag that expands to a tote-size.

After what I considered a triumph on my wool herringbone and suede tote, can you blame me for making the second one? Since I’m working with spring and summer fabrics I made this vibrant little number to help me blast into a spring in which Emerald Green is the Pantone color of the year. Wouldn’t want to miss that!

After using a soft fusible fleece in making the black and white bag, I experimented with Stiff Stuff from Lazy Girl Designs at http://www.lazygirldesigns.com. It’s an amazing sew-in interfacing and it made the second bag a very different creature from the first. When you untie the bows on the sides the fabric springs open to reveal that extra space. Boing!  We’ll see if I survive the spring with a bag with attitude. Of course, I have more than a little of that myself…here’s me, working on the art of self-portraiture via  self-timer. Me

Doll Derriere

I used a Liberty Jane pattern to make these jeans. I added the monogram on the back pocket for my granddaughter Rose’s doll. (Now I wonder if there might be a market for monogrammed jeans!)  They have regular front and back working pockets, are made with new denim (this isn’t a recycling project) and they’re have the deep gold colored double needle topstitching in all the expected places. You can see that line of single topstitching in the rear view that suggests a little of the yoke that distinguishes jeans from plain denim pants. The jeans are actually held up by elastic so little hands can pull them on and off.  And oh my gosh, they’re just so cute!

*A Person Who Will Remain Nameless was checking out my new camera and wanted to know why I had taken so many pictures of an American Girl doll’s butt. Didn’t notice the darling jeans I had sewn, just thought I had turned into some kind of doll pervert. Good grief.

Full fashion seams and construction

Full fashion seams and construction

Erin

Erin

Working pocket

Working pocket