Archive for the ‘Sewing’ category

Organizing Quilting Fabric

June 11, 2017

When I moved to a new house I just took all my fabric out of boxes and piled it up neatly, with no regard to colour. I knew I’d have to sort it out once I got my new sewing machine, so that I could more easily find fabrics. After reading some of my new books on scrap quilts, and the recommendations for sorting by colour, I finally tackled this big job and am satisfied that I took the time to do it.

So I bought some wire baskets from the dollar store and laid out 12 of them on tables and commenced sorting my fabric. I folded the smaller pieces into the baskets, and then folded larger pieces and yardage in piles by each basket. The colour designations I used were:

Blue
Teal
Purple
Red
Green
White
Pink
Brown
Neutral Grey, Taupe, Beige
Multi Brights

This is a view of the Purple and Green piles.

OrganizedFabric2

Then I put them back in the flat pack cupboard I use for fabric. I sorted my batting scraps and placed them in a storage bin on top of the cupboard, and inside two bankers boxes I put big yardage for backings, and yardage of corduroy and velveteen that I use for sewing bags.

OrganizedFabric_sm

I also have my current projects laid out so that they aren’t buried and I can access them, which is much more practical.

The cupboard is not quite wide enough to have the baskets spaced evenly so it looks a bit jumbled, but it is so easy to find colours, especially the smaller pieces that are now collected in the baskets, and I discovered many fabrics that I’d forgotten I had so I am very pleased I took the time to sort in this way. It will be much easier to pick and choose fabrics for scrap quilts in the future.

 

A Fresh Round of Embroidery and Quilting Books

May 5, 2017

I saw a couple of embroidery and sewing books that seemed to have a fresh approach so bought three of them for my collection.

EmbBooks

1) Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs by Nancy Nicholson

I have often admired Nancy’s patterns on Etsy, but thought I’d get more patterns in her book so was pleased to finally buy it when it was published. It’s so nice to see books on hand embroidery coming out for new generations who want to pick up the craft.

2) Tilda Homemade & Happy by Tone Finnanger

She is quite prolific and I’ve seen lots of her designs around, but I liked some of her reindeer and pigs and sheep in this.

3) Zakka Embroidery: Simple One- and Two-Color Embroidery Motifs and Small Crafts by Yumiko Higuchi

These are tiny motifs and I was interested in her ideas for small purses using purse frames and embroidery. I have several purse frames on hand so want to use them up. There are lots of small cross-stitch motifs around but not many for hand embroidery, so this looked good for my library.

I was able to buy a new sewing machine, the Janome 9400, and I’m hoping it will enable me to quilt about 12 to 14 quilt tops that are languishing here. I took all the quilts and quilt tops out of the Rubbermaid trunk they’d been stored in for two years while we were selling our old house and moving and they reeked of plastic.

I spent some weeks washing and airing them and bought a nice wooden blanket box to store them. As I was confronted with the old tops, some dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, I felt the imperative to finish them. I cleaned up and reorganized my sewing area and now I have the fabric cupboard to deal with.

JJ_SewingStudio2a

There is another Rubbermaid container in there, so I’ll have another round of airing fabric, but I particularly wanted to get my fabrics and scraps organized by colour and sew up some simpler quilt patterns. I have been quilting since 1984 so I have many magazines and books on the subject, and I’ve given away many more but I liked the fresh look of these publications and many of the designs.

QuiltBooks

1) Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects – Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison

2) No Scrap Left Behind: 16 Quilt Projects That Celebrate Scraps of All Sizes by Amanda Jean Nyberg

3) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

4) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

I am not in good health but things are improving, so I want ideas and projects and happier creative endeavours to look forward to. That should sort me out (pun)!

Perle Cotton for Embroidered Nightgowns

October 6, 2016

I’m having difficulty embroidering and sewing due to a shoulder impingement and attendant tendinitis and nerve pain, but I started embroidering the bodice of a nightie, and I’m chipping away at it as I can.

The fabric is a softly mottled aqua flannelette that I bought from Connecting Threads two years ago. I am using a variegated green Perle cotton #12 from Presencia to outline the motifs in chain stitch and then I’ll fill the shapes in. The motifs are a combination of the Kate & Rose embroidery patterns Faraway Garden and Bewitching Botanicals. I’m really getting some mileage out of those patterns. I hope to do a small motif on each sleeve as well as embroidering the bodice.

embroiderednightie1

I bought some more Presencia perle cotton #12 threads from Connecting Threads during a recent sale and I bought two colourways of variegated DMC and Anchor floss which you can see surrounding the bodice that is currently being worked. BUT, I’ve always wanted to try the hand-dyed perle cotton threads from Lorraine at Colour Complements, so I ordered two skeins of her beautiful hand-dyed DMC perle cotton #12, just to try it.

perle12_clrcomplements

One of the nighties I’m making is plain white flannelette, and I wanted a variegated thread that really popped. Lorraine’s gorgeous blue, yellow, red, and orange colourway will absolutely pop on white fabric. I think I’m going to hand draw my own pattern up for this one using some motifs from adult colouring books as inspiration. I tend to get bored following patterns so I want to do my own exuberant drawings for this second embroidered nightgown.

I also plan to sew myself a mid-length dressing gown from a navy flannelette, and I thought the second variegated colourway from Colour Complements would be a nice jumping-off point for embroidering motifs on the shawl collar of the dressing gown.

I hope my hand and arm settle down soon so I can get something done.

 

 

 

I Resurrect a Pen Roll

December 27, 2015

I originally sewed two of these rolls to use for taking art supplies in the field. One was for wet and one for dry media. I found them a bit awkward to keep clean, so I switched to plastic cases, and these rolls have been sitting in my fabric cupboard unused for over two years.

fieldkits_JJ

I will be travelling next month and living in motels for a while when we move across the country, and the movers won’t take liquids, so I am taking my fountain pens and fountain pen ink with me in the car. I will be able to protect my supplies and use them for corresponding!

I packed five boxes yesterday and was feeling tired and didn’t sleep well, so today I spent an hour gently organizing my inks and pens. I have some packages of puppy training pads that I bought for using with the kitty litter box and generally protecting motel rooms. So I used two to line a plastic box and then nestled all my ink bottles in there. The pads turn to gel if they get wet and seal in liquid, just in case my ink spills or something.

Then I resurrected the moss green corduroy roll and converted it to a fountain pen roll. It folds in half and then rolls up and ties securely, and provides some padding and protection.

JJFountainPenRoll2

Sitting pretty with six fountain pens, two for drawing with waterproof Noodler’s inks, plus a ballpoint pen that I use for addressing envelopes.

JJFountainPenRoll

It brings new meaning to the phrase “Ready to roll.”

 

 

 

 

Handmade Quilted Case for Laptop

December 22, 2015

Once again I used Jenya’s tutorial for this.

I added some ease but probably didn’t need to as this turned out a bit roomier than I had planned. I was using a slightly thicker 80/20 cotton/polyester batting and larger seams of 1 cm, so wanted to be sure it didn’t turn out too small. However, Jenya’s formula for plugging in your own dimensions is excellent so I didn’t really need to add ease.

JJ_Laptop1

This was quilted in straight lines using the walking foot on my Pfaff sewing machine; about 20 cm apart. I quilted the front and back pieces and the flap, and used an 11-inch strip of Velcro to close it. I also added some heavy sew-in interfacing to those three pieces as well since this 15-inch laptop is heavier than a smaller device.

JJ_Laptop2

I have a backpack with a section for carrying a laptop, and it has a bit of foam in it but I wanted a quilted case for extra padding and security.

This has got to be the most useful tutorial and customizable pattern I have ever used.

 

 

Handmade Quilted Case for Garmin GPS

December 20, 2015

This was again done with the tutorial for an electronics case from Jenya on the While she was sleeping blog. It was quite easy to modify the measurements for a device like this which is thicker than a phone, about one-inch thick.

This time I decided to quilt the lining with cotton quilt batting and leave the outer main fabric plain. I quilted the front and back and the flap with lines every half inch or a bit more, and then put the case together as normal with Velcro for the fastener.

Quilting_GPS-Case

GPS-Case1

Inner_GPSCase

Here he is all snuggled into his new case.

GPS_Case2

I used a celestial fabric because the device is a navigator, and I am calling my device “William Clark” after the famous member of the Lewis & Clark expedition in early 19th century America. He has been one of my heroes for years.

The moon is smiling favourably on our upcoming journey to our new home across the country to the wilds of the west coast.

 

 

Baby Quilt and Padded Phone Case

December 19, 2015

I finished the baby quilt I have been making for the last couple of years. I had some leftover blocks from cutting the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern I used for this quilt, so took four of them and made an unquilted 18-inch pillow, and then used the last block for an accent in a matching tote bag.

JJ_BabyQuilt_Accessories

The tote bag came from a great free pattern, Quilted Tote Bag, at Craftsy by Lindsay Conner. I modified the size to make it bigger and quilted it using a vertical wave. Then I added two interior pockets, a magnetic snap, and a piece of illustration board in a fabric sleeve to provide stability at the bottom, and I made the straps a bit longer so it would go over-the-shoulder.

QuiltedToteFront_JJ

For the pillow I used a basic tutorial from the Sew Mama Sew blog for the cover, but interlined it with plain cream-coloured cotton to hide the patchwork seams. After sewing it together I zigzagged the edges together before turning so it could be washed safely without fraying.

I got everything finished and delivered one week before the baby arrived. I was so pleased that I persevered and got it done in a timely manner. I am way out of practice with machine quilting, so did the quilt fairly simply, using medium stippling over the busy patchwork and doing the border with a leaf design in the corners and then side-to-side squiggles on the lengths. I forgot to take a picture of the back to show the quilting.

I recently had to buy an unlocked cell phone for travelling, and I couldn’t find a case for it, so I made my own padded case. This was done using an excellent tutorial from Jenya on the While she was sleeping blog. Her custom measurements worked perfectly, and I modified it by making the flap a bit longer to provide extra padding. I also substituted Velcro for the button and elastic closure.

JJ_PhoneCase

I liked sewing this so much that I’m going to use the tutorial again for making a case for my portable Garmin GPS device. This time I’m going to machine quilt over the fabric and batting to provide more stability over the larger area.

Once again I find myself thanking someone for generously providing free instructions with lots of pictures. It was great of Jenya to post such a wonderful tutorial and I appreciate it.