Thursday, November 24, 2011

Merry and Bright

Well, maybe not too Merry in this photo, but

she certainly is Bright!
This is Katelyn's version of the exchange dress by Trisha Smith from the Children's Corner.

The Merry and Bright applique is from Embroidique, and the Let it Snow embroidery is just the Sugar and Spice font with a few snowflakes from the Artista software. Merry and Bright was an embroidery design, but with Kathy's help I changed the ornament to an applique. First I selected the ornament, and then I copied it. I went to color film and deleted all of the stitches except the outline stitches. I made enough copies to have a straight stitch for the placement, a straight stitch to hold the fabric, a zigzag for underlay, and a satin stitch for the applique. For the last run through I did a straight stitch on top of the satin stitch. Then I deleted the original ornament and scooted in my new applique outline.
For Let it Snow, I used the font and added snowflakes from the software. I removed the dot from the bottom of the exclamation point and added in a little metallic snowflake. (I was SURE to reduce the speed of the embroidery when I used metallic thread)

Now of course I think my granddaughter is beautiful, but doesn't she look like Jennifer Anniston in this last photo?

We Gather Together

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway,
Thanksgiving comes again!

Our dinner was on Thanksgiving Eve, and we could not have been more grateful. The little girls made place cards out of leaves that they had collected in the backyard. Rachel used her china that was a birthday gift; each plate is unique and was painted by a different friend. Our dinner of combined efforts was wonderful. Oh my goodness you could feel the love in Rachel and Brent's home!

I am thankful for, first and foremost, my family. The world may be full of problems, but today we are grateful for our table comforts and all the simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bibi quilts? (sort of)

Little bits of fabric
Sewn into a quilt
Form a loving blanket
From which memories are built.
And when you seek comfort
In the middle of the night
It will keep you snug and warm
Until the morning light.
~ Sue Mullane

Issa and Mae's Aunt Juju is having a baby, and the shower is tomorrow. While at work on Wednesday, I decided I would make a little rag baby quilt, with Kathy's help. She gave me the basics, I jotted them down on a piece of muslin, and came home to begin cutting out 6 inch squares.
I cut out the pink and green flannels that I had in my stash. Knowing it wasn't enough, I got up Thursday morning and embroidered the pink squares with baby endearments. After I finished, I went to Joann's to find some more flannels.
Kathy recommended the walking foot, and that was the only way to go. I made little 6 inch sandwiches with warm and white batting (cut to 5 inches) in between 2 squares of flannel. I just stitched a big X from corner to corner on each of my squares. I made the little crib quilt 7 squares across and 9 squares down.
I cut 126 six inch squares from my 5 different flannels. I cut 63 five inch squares from the warm and white batting. There is no way I would attempt this without a rotary cutter, so I had to get over my fear. I still remember the young woman in the store with the big slice in her hand that was the result of a slipped hand while she was cutting.
After I had my 63 little sandwiches, I began to sew them into strips with half inch seams. You sew them together with WRONG sides together so that you will have a seam on the front to snip and fray. I tried using my 37 foot, but the walking foot was necessary, my fabric slipped without it. I did have to increase my presser foot pressure. I sewed my 7 strips, laid them out on the bed and admired my work.

After I sewed the seven strips, I put them together into the solid quilt. With Kathy advising me throughout the day with text messages, Iused 1/2 inch seams. When the strips were all together, I did one last 1/2 inch seam around the perimeter of the little quilt.

Here I am almost done. I had to send Joe to Hancock's to pick up a pair of rag quilt snips, which resemble gardening shears. The last step in the quilt is to snip all of the raw edges, which are on the front of the quilt, through almost to the seam line in 1/4 inch increments. This takes a while! My poor arthritic thumb is aching.
But this is the easiest little project that looks much more difficult than it is. I hope Aunt Juju likes it.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Mae's artistic interpretation

Haw haw. I had to laugh. Mae was on her way to ballet, and I had her do one last fitting of the little exchange jumper. I said "Look! your reindeer is wearin bows!"

Mae's reply..."Dat's not a reindeer. Those are leaveses, those are dots, and that's an Easter Egg." (ears, eyes, nose, hee hee)

So, it wasn't just me. The reindeer applique does NOT resemble a reindeer. I guess she will be wearing the flip side snow lady!
I'll be doing a jumper for Katelyn next

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Precise and Professional

After I had solved the problem of the mangled embroidery, it was time to do my piping to trim the panel. I cut lots of bias strips, folded them lengthwise and pressed, did an approximate measurement of the needed piping, and was ready to start stitching. Hmmm. What foot?

First I tried the piping foot, # 38. The uneven sides just didn't give the support I needed next to the gimp. I went to foot #12, the Cordonnet foot. That didn't work at all. All right, I would go back to the way I did it when I had my old Singer...I used my zipper foot. It stitched just fine, but as I looked at it, I thought about my wonderful Bernina, and how "just fine" really wasn't what I wanted.

Then I decided to go to the book that was
recommended by Carol Harris, Precise and Professional, by Lyn Weeks. It is wonderful. She recommended a buttonhole foot, which is #3C for my bernina. It has a groove that holds the gimp in place, and then you can bump your needle over to the left and it stitches right next to your cord. Precise and Professional, for sure! I loved it. Then after I had made enough piping, I trimmed it to a perfect 1/4 inch with the Groovin Piping Trimming Tool.

After your piping is trimmed neatly to a quarter inch, it is easy to pin it to the panel and stitch around. I went back to the book one more time to see how she recommended turning corners. Easy. I just stitched up to the corner, clipped twice right up to the seam line with my sharpest little snips, and slowly turned the corner.

NO to the old zipper foot.

I love the way the corners turned so smoothly, all 4 of them with no puckers.

Buttonholes and buttons were the last little task, and again with the right feet, #3A and # 18, this was quickly done.

And I guess it all goes back to what my father in law used to say. When I was expressing some remorse at what I had spent on my machine, and he knew what joy it brought me, he looked me straight in the eye and said..." Deb, ya gotta have the right tools."
Grandaddy was soooo right!

The Exchange Dress fiasco

This dress was SUCH a good idea. A sweet little jumper with a panel that you can switch out as the holiday or season changes. And it was designed by Trisha Smith, from the Children's Corner, so I KNOW it is going to fit well. So what could the problem be, pray tell?

ME! Once again, I did not pay attention as I was embroidering! The top of my panel got caught on the underside of the embroidery, and it was a dense satin stitch, so I knew there was no pulling the stitches out. This poor little snowlady, standing on her head, was stitched to my embroidery hoop.

After much discussion and lots of ideas from sewing friends, I decided I could cut off the top portion of the panel and just add a ruffle to the bottom of the panel and the dress. That was my plan. Sadly, I did not have more of the red corduroy, and the corduroy at Hancocks was a different color.

So I cut out enough of the lining to do a ruffle, and did bias strips for my piping. As I pressed and pulled, it dawned on me that I could maybe squeak enough of the seam allowance up to keep the same pattern shape without a ruffle. I pulled and tugged, and the bottom and top seams of the panel have perhaps a 1/16th of an inch seam allowance.

My next disappointment was my reindeer applique. I purchased the design from an online site that has precious designs, but I do not know what happend. The cute little reindeer with a smile stitched in with Mae Mae's name....looks like a pig instead of a reindeer. Maybe a pigdeer?

So I won't say where the pigdeer applique came from because they always have great designs. The snowlady is from SewBaby.
And I just pretended that FABULOUS Tim Gunn was standing beside me...saying "Make it work" and I did! I'll show you the little dress next time!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Corduroy jumpers and boots


Pebble drops
foot hops
summer play
sunny day
jump squares
no cares
playin' hopscotch.
                                        ~Robert E. Blackwell
                   We painted the concrete squares so that Bibi could have hopscotch in her backyard.  I had lots of help, and oddly enough, there were no real paint tragedies other than a few spots that easily washed off little boots.
         I finished another dress that was started in Nashville at the Children's Corner, a FAVORITE fabric store and sewing school.  It is an adaptation of Lillian,  and the fun  fabric is accented by bias bands.  The dress and bands are both a very soft corduroy, so they were easy to work with and are soft next to Issa's skin.  A glue pen helped to keep the strips straight as I sewed them down, and the #10 foot kept the topstitching nice and even.  It is lined with a pretty lime green gingham.
         The dress buttons down the back, and the bottonholes were easy to put in with the automatic buttonhole foot.  I even sewed on the buttons with the #18 button foot.
         Issa had grown a little more than I expected when I cut the dress out, so I used one of the extra bias strips for the hem and it hits her in just the right spot.

         And Miss Mae is perfectly happy in last year's jumper;  if I remember correctly her feeling was..." I don't wike it!"

I hate when that happens...

I wanted to do this cute little applique on t-shirts for my girls.  Sometimes things just don't work out as planned, do they?
Problem one was my top stabilizer.  I was out of Solvy, the topping that I use  when I am embroidering knits, but I found a tube of  Aqua Film Wash Away topping in my stabilizer basket.  It was all that I had so I decided to give it a try.  It feels just like Glad Wrap; it was difficult to work with and doesn't have the texture of Solvy.  I wrestled with it for awhile and fiinally got a piece on my first little t-shirt.
I wasn't watching my embroidery and yikes!  I stitched the bottom of the shirt to my applique.  I quickly stopped the machine and surveyed the damage. (On the board above my sewing machine I have a post it note with a drawing of the quick reverse button on my Bernina, with the words Panic Button.  It stops the machine, and when I was new to this process, I would watch in horror as my project was mangled, forgetting just how to stop the thing)

I found on my wall of tools a super sharp surgical scalpel stitch slicer, and just sliced through the layer of satin stitches.   I took the hoop off the machine and picked out the stitch remnants, pulled back the shirt a little better, and was able to complete the stitch out without mishap.
The girls tried on the shirts for me.  Other than doing  a shirt for Mae that is obviously a little long in the sleeves, I think they will enjoy their little Thanksviving surprise.  I wish my Birmingham sweeties were dancing around in the leaves in the backyard with them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fun Dish Towels

Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell. 
 While others may go hungry, we're eating very well.
~ Author Unknown
My dishtowels were fun and easy to put together; I felt like getting a head start on Christmas gifts and I don't think the friends who match the initials are sewists who will look at my blog!
     I used a little different method for the fabric trim.  The cotton was about an inch wider than the towel, and I made the swatch about 5 inches wide.  I first attached it to the back of the towel,  using the right side of the fabric to the back of the towel.  A zipper foot made it easier to run the seam along the hem of the waffle weave towel, which I sewed from the front to follow the seam. I then folded it to the front, pressed the towel, folded  in the sides and turning under the front so that I was about an inch from my monogram. (I missed the mark on the first green one, for me).  Then it was just a matter of sewing up one side, across the top, and down the other side using the #10 foot.

The fonts are Classic, Curlz, Empire and Curls.  I used a frame around the L, two little peppermint candies to frame the G, and bubbles around the A from the Band to Bows CD.