Encrusted CQ class project

Encrusted CQ class project

Friday, 28 February 2014

Non-stick Cookware - It's in the Bag!

Today's project is a quick 'n easy one.  We have about 6 non-stick frypans of various sizes.  To keep them from getting scratched, we have been layering clean rags between them when they are stacked in the cupboard.  This sort of works, but the rags can slip and slide, causing metal to touch the non-stick surface.  So, I decided to try making fabric bags for the pans.



I started with one small "egg pan".  I put it on a piece of paper and traced around it, leaving a generous 2" margin on all sides.

Using a scrap of polar fleece, I cut out two squares, sewed three sides together with a scant 1/4" seam allowance (I rounded the corners, but it's not necessary) and made a simple bag.
Because polar fleece doesn't ravel, I didn't need to finish the seam allowances.  And here's the egg pan in its "sleeping bag".
I had enough of this polar fleece to make a bag for a second pan.  Because this is for storage in a dark cupboard, I'm not going to worry about making a matching set for all 6. I'll wait until I have more scraps of polar fleece, sweatshirt fleece or terry towelling, and make bags for the remaining pans. But I'm thinking that a storage bag along with a non-stick fry pan would make a nice wedding shower gift!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Setting Myself Up For Success

I plan to sew a tshirt tomorrow, so I got everything ready to go today.  That way, I can come in to the sewing room tomorrow and sit down and get right to work.

Today, I did the most important step - sewing a toile.  A toile (pronounced twahl), also known as a muslin, is a fitting sample.  You construct the major parts of the garment, in a similar fabric to what you plan to use, to check the fit of the garment.  Because I have never sewed this particular pattern, and I was between 3 different sizes listed on the pattern envelope, it was extra important to sew a toile. I used a jersey knit bed sheet that I found at a thrift store to make the toile, because it was cheap, and a very similar stretch and weight to the tshirt fabric.  I guessed fairly accurately what size to make, and when I tried on the toile, it sort of fit....but not really well.  I decided to make the real tshirt one size bigger, so it would be slightly looser in the bust and therefore hang better. Once I get the garment partly assembled, I will pin the side seams closed and check the fit again.  It will be very simple to take in the waist and hip area at that point.  Good fit starts at the shoulder - if the shoulder/arm/bust area doesn't fit, the rest of the garment is not going to hang properly. 

Since I know what size to make now, I cut out the correct size of the pattern pieces, and pressed them with a dry iron.  I also pressed the fabric, according to the cutting layout on the pattern instructions.

I circled the layout so I don't get mixed up when doing layout, and I circled all the directions that apply to view B. 

I chose my thread, and wound a bobbin.  For a larger project, I would have loaded two or more bobbins.  It's a pain to stop and reload in the middle of a project.  I cleaned the lint out of my machine (my last project was polar fleece!), and threaded the machine. I didn't need to change the needle because I've done minimal sewing with it.  But generally, I will change needles every project or two.  The extra 30 cents or so for a new needle will save many dollars in frustration.  A dull needle can even ruin your expensive fabric.  Save in other areas, but trust me, buy good quality needles and change them often.

The last preparation step was to lay out my safety glasses.  I was required to wear safety glasses over my prescription glasses while in school.  It seemed like a silly requirement, until the day a needle broke while I was sewing, and a piece flew up and hit me right under one eye.  And this was on a domestic machine, can you imagine if I was using one of the industrial machines?! Just a cm or two higher, without those glasses, could have meant serious eye damage.  So invest in a pair of safety glasses.  And put them on every time you sew. 

And because every sewing blog post should contain photographs, I'll share with you the photo my husband posted on my Facebook wall this morning.

Yup, my morning coffee is pretty important!  The saying in fashion school was that you should have enough caffeine in your system to thread the machine WHILE it's running!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Teal Shirt Makeover

This is the story of a blouse that needed a makeover.  It was looking a bit tired but was still a comfy fit and I love the 3/4 length sleeves.  This picture doesn't show the color accurately, see the swatch below for a better idea of the darker teal color.

I decided to add a simple vertical stripe of ribbon on either side of the button placket.  Vertical stripes help us appear taller and slimmer, and hey, I'll take all the help I can get with that.  After trying several ribbons and bits of lace I had on hand, I settled on this iron-on bias tape.  It's variegated shades of blues, greens and purple - yummy!  It's only 6 mm wide, so I'm thinking a double row might be needed for a bigger impact. 
I went with a triple row, just on the upper (buttonhole) side of the placket.

Because there is such a tiny line of fusible web on each stripe, I'm thinking I need to stitch these down to secure them really well.  Hmmmm......how about the specialty stitches on my sewing machine?  Off to experiment....

And here's what I did:

And here's the finished shirt, given a new lease on life with items I had on hand and a little time.  What do you think?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Craving Color in Winter

Winter in Alberta continues, and I am getting tired of the cold.  We got a skiff of fresh snow on the weekend, which makes everything look clean and pretty again.  But with another 6 weeks (at least) of winter weather, I am craving warmth and color.  In case you are also craving some color today, here are some pictures of some baby onesies and kids tshirts that I dyed recently.  

The onesies turned out sooooo cute.  We called them diaper shirts when our kids were babies, apparently they are onesies now.  Here is a full length picture of one:

Tie dye on baby garments - it just seems so right....

 These kids' t-shirts were dyed using several techniques - tie dying, scrunching, and snow dyeing.  All these little garments will be for sale this summer at the Vegreville street fairs. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

First Auction of the Season

It's auction season in our neck of the woods, and I went to an auction in Innisfree on Saturday.  I only stayed for a couple of hours, as I wasn't feeling well.  But I enjoyed the atmosphere of the auction and got a couple of deals.  I only spent $6 all told, so I figure that it is inexpensive entertainment (and I only bought a couple of items I will use and have a place for in my home).  My best deal was a box of 18 neckties for $1!

These ties will find their way into several sewing and quilt projects in the coming months.  I made a tie skirt this summer, using an old tablecloth and some scraps of satin fabric.  It's a prototype, and I'm not totally happy with it, but I do wear it and it's a lot of fun. Click on the photo to see a larger size.


Next Saturday, I'm going to try to hit another auction in the area.  This one promises to have a tin of old buttons.......<insert sound of me screaming like a little girl>.  There are lots of button collectors out there, so I may not be able to bid high enough, but it will be fun to at least see the tin of old buttons and perhaps take some photos.  Granny's Button Jar was the name of my first piece of crazy quilting, and that jar of buttons and bits started me on the road to my sewing/art career.  If those old button boxes of our ancestors could talk, can you imagine the stories they would tell?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Valance Makeover

The makeover of the sewing studio continues.  While the vertical blinds in the studio were removed for wall painting, I decided that the patterned vinyl valance was a little boring and needed....something.

I loosely wrapped some sheer fabric and coffee-dyed cheesecloth over the valance, hot gluing it in place.  Then I added some extra prettiness; flowers and beads.  I bought a couple of sprays of tiny fabric flowers from the dollar store, and used small seed beads (11/0, I think) and buttons and glitter to add some color and sparkle.  All the embellishments were attached with a combination of tacky craft glue and hot glue.  I don't always get good results using just hot glue, and I don't want bits to fall off as the temperature fluctuates in the room. 
 The ivory color and hits blue help to soften the pink of the walls.  I love pink, but if I add too much, it's going to look like a baby girl's room.  So I'm trying to keep to an ivory/white color scheme for anything else I add from this point. 
Yesterday, Sweet Baboo and I went to Edmonton, and bought light fixtures, business supplies and a couple more furniture pieces for the studio. I found a kitchen island at Ikea, which will be perfect for my front counter, and we figured out curtain systems for the changing room and to separate the studio from our kitchen.  We also bought a freestanding mirror.
I am now also a fan of Habitat for Humanity's ReStore!  We visited two of the three locations in Edmonton, and found brand new light fixtures for $30 each.  I got a used steno chair there as well, for $20.  What a great place to buy windows, doors, furniture, tile....and if you ever need a picture frame of any size.....the ReStore have hundreds of them!  Like any thrift store, the stock is always changing. But the selection is always huge and the prices are great.  If there's a ReStore in your area, I encourage you to check it out.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Computer Issues Solved/China Cabinet Makeover

I've been having a few issues with my laptop, which I hope are now resolved.  Our son, the computer genius, was able to remove viruses and lots of malware - remotely!  The computer savvy among you will not be surprised by this technology, but it was quite a revelation to me.  I merely downloaded a program, gave him an access key and password, and then I sat and watched as he (in another city) ran scans and did maintenance on my computer.  There were a few residual problems in the following days, which he helped me deal with.  Such a relief to have a working laptop again.

Now I can get back to a more regular blogging schedule, and I have lots of pictures to post in the coming days of the progress on my sewing studio.

For now, here are a couple of pictures of my china cabinet makeover.  My dad made me this cabinet when I moved into my first apartment, back in 1984. I'm now using it to store patterns and notions in my studio.  The back panel of the cabinet is made of pine-colored wall panelling, and it didn't really go with the Shabby Chic style of the room.  So my Sweet Baboo painted the panelling (on the upper hutch portion of the cabinet) the same pink as the walls.  Then I used thinned-down Mod Podge to apply pieces of lace and doilies to the back panel. Pushpins held the lace pieces in place as they dried.  I absolutely love how this turned out.

The hutch now holds tackle boxes of beads (sorted by color), buttons, elastic, hand sewing needles, snaps and hooks/bars, embroidery thread, bobbins, sequins and glitter.  All the containers are from the dollar store, various thrift stores, and from an online garage sale.  I prefer the vintage storage pieces, like the little brown camera suitcase on the bottom shelf, but for now the mix of modern plastic and older glass jars works for me.  Everything is labelled with my trusty P Touch label maker.  If I don't label things and make it easy to put things away, I know I will put off cleaning up after projects.
The lower part of the cabinet holds sewing patterns, batting, and interfacings.
The drawers hold Ziplock bags, and misc art supplies.  The middle section will hold my sewing books and magazines.

So the setting up of the studio continues.  I'll post more of my organizing strategies as I get things accomplished.