Thursday, August 21, 2014

Late Summer Sewing

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
      ~William Wordsworth

  These little hands are so precious cutting out her first little zipper bag.  I  had some late summer  time with the Florida girls before school started so we decided to make pencil cases.  So far they have turned into lip gloss cases, change cases, treasure cases, and whatever is little and will fit cases.  We are all very proud.

We decided to google zipper cases so that we could make one any time, even if Bibi wasn't here to guide as we sewed.  We watched many videos on U-Tube, and combined several to make our cases  special.  Both girls chose their fabrics from Bibi's scraps, chose a lining that they like, and decorated the front of the case with ribbon and decorative stitches.  It was fun to practice the decorative stitches on the Bernina 350, and they used the guide foot to make their lines as straight as possible.
 We have had many discussions about straight pins on the floor, and right now we are using quilting pins that are easy to spot if they fall.  Uncle Brent has stories to tell about straight pins and bare feet as he was growing up, but we will not go into those stories right now.

It was absolutely AMAZING to put the zipper in between the rectangles of fabric.  Both girls have learned to sew nice straight seams!
 And we have learned that everything that you sew looks better when you take the time to press every seam as you go, but that you have to be careful with special ribbons or a hot iron will melt them!
 Of course, the joyful part for BIBI is to take a snapshot on the completion of the project.  We had a great afternoon sewing, and Issa wore a cross body bag that she designed on her own after Sew Camp.  She loves her little hair bow, too.
All of this fun is almost more than a Bibi can take in one afternoon!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sew Fun

Learn as much as you can
while you are young,
since life becomes too busy later. 
                      ~Dana Stewart Scott

    I have had this post on my mind most of the summer.  I taught 3 little sewing camps; two at the store and one at home.  It took some time to plan, but I absolutely loved sharing my love of sewing with these little girls. They were so excited to have the opportunity to use a sewing machine and to create something that they could wear or use.  
   We did our camp in four days, four hours a day.   Our first day we made aprons that I had personalized with their name in embroidery.  The apron was made from a dish towel; we made a casing at the top and ran a ribbon through it for the ties; folded it to form pockets and sewed them down.  I think they were precious, and the girls enjoyed having something the very first day that they could wear.

Our next project was a travel pillow.  For the pillow I made sure that we had cute fabrics and a very basic pattern.  We added a pocket to the front of the pillow and the girls used an edge foot to sew the pocket down with a straight topstitch.  an added ribbon handle gave the project a little more color, and I know they used them for late summer vacations.  Turning the pillow and stuffing it was next, and a very difficult task was closing the opening on the bottom with a hand sewn whipstitch.  But they persevered and we we proud of our pillows.
     Our third day was buttons and bows.  We made hair bows that   we sewed to a ready made headband, and learned how to sew a button onto a felt flower.  Sweet Gracie went a step further with her button and made herself a ring!

Our final day was spent making a skirt.  Each girl chose two coordinating fabrics and we made a gathered skirt with a two inch band at the bottom.  Having precious models helped, but the fashion show with 5 little girls was a sight to behold!
  The sight of these little ones at their machines just warms my heart.  Everyone at the store said that it was evident who was enjoying the class the most....and I will give you a clue, it was not my little girls!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sundress for my Sunshine

What more pleasant sensation
than sunshine on skin,
Spirit and flesh drinking in the light
Of God and energy itself.
   ~Terri Guilllemets

I first made this little dress in orange and navy prints so that the girls would have fun sundresses to wear on Game Day when Auburn University played football.   I have had a pack of 1 yard cuts that had been sitting in my sewing room for a good while, and decided that one of the girls needed a sundress.  Mae always seems to enjoy them, and loves to twirl in the full skirts, so she was the recipient of this Isabelle dress by Gingersnap Designs.

I cut the number of fabric strips down from what the pattern originally called for because the first dress was really very full.  I had ten strips using each fabric twice, and then has the large print for the bodice and straps.  I had another dot that I used to line the bodice.  I could have added a two inch band along the hemline in the bodice print, but decided there was enough going on just as it was!

These photos were taken early in the morning shortly after Mae had just rolled out of bed; she still had her sweet sleepy eyes and voice but was willing to try on yet one more dress for her Bibi, who loves her very, very much.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last project!

The ordinary arts
we practice every day at home
are of more importance to the soul
than their simplicity
might suggest.  
      ~Thomas Moore

I saved the most difficult project for the last...the quilted pillow sham.  I am not a real quilter, all those points and angles seem foreign to me, and the math, oh me, I decided to tried my best.  Cutting the half square triangles was tiresome and getting them to go together perfectly was a pain.
Making the "Contrary Wife" quilt block was a challenge also.  I thought I had the half square triangles laid out just right, but it was evening, I was tired, and this is what the block turned out like.  Sigh.  I had to UNSEW one of the rows to get everything in the correct place, and I turned the Bernina off for the evening.

After the blocks were made it was just a matter of cutting out the borders and sashing to complete the sham cover.  I had decided I was not going to purchase any more fabric when I have a room full, so I used my stash.   I have always liked the French script linen and I had plenty of it.  I used some left over toile from a long ago project, some white toweling for the prairie points and a comfy know
T for the back.  I had to piece some of the toile to get the recommended strips, but it is a quilt, so hey, I decided that wouldn't be a problem.  I wanted a neutral look to the sham, but I wasn't too happy with the way the fabrics blended.

After finishing the front, I folded 48 prairie points and placed them on the outside stitching line,facing inward,and placed the prepared zippered back on top. I partially opened the  zipper so I could turn it easily, and stitched the perimeter right sides together.
So  my last project is done, It has been graded and I passed, so as far as I can tell I am a Martha Pullen Licensed Teacher!  Yay for me!  I do believe it was worth the effort, and it was certainly fun!

Friday, July 4, 2014


And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

                   ~Lee Greenwood

This next to the last project for Martha Pullen Licensing is a rag quilt.  This one was fun to do, and it was a little quicker and easier than the other rag quilts I have done.  No batting sandwiches to prepare, no stitching an X from corner to corner of the sandwich, just cutting and sewing squares.

I used four different flannels for the front squares, and a chevron print in the pastels.  I cut them in 8 inch squares, and matched them wrong sides together.  On the yellow squares I did a little pink heatr applique.  I sewed the hearts with just a quarter inch seam, and so did not have much to clip and fluff;  I have in mind that I may re sew them, but we will see how that works out for me.

Here is a photo of my efforts to lay the quilt blocks out.  Since the instructions said to offset the blocks, it was hard for me to get a pattern going, so I tried to place the squares as randomly as possible.

Clipping the seam allowance is no small task. Special spring scissors helped, but my arthritic right hand feels the pain..

I alternated the chevron on the back, and lets just say I had to take out more than one to get them all going the correct way.  After you complete the clipping, a good wash and spin in the dryer fluff up theedges, and it will only look better with each washing.  The fiinished quilt is 50 by 55 inches.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Martha's Madeira and Bias Trim Table Runner

  The summer night is like
 perfection of thought.
                                ~ Wallace Stevens

I love this project, and it is already sitting on my kitchen table; it will eventually go into the dining room.
This project was difficult for one reason....the danged pattern.  If I had just looked back at the drawing I could have drawn out a better template, but that thought didn't occur to me so I had a set of little curves where I should have little angles...sigh.

   Once again I used  fabrics from my stash.  The project was intended to be stitched in linen, so I used a heavier weave oatmeal linen with black linen accents.  The outside border, Madeira Applique, is stitched wrong side to right side, trimmed, and then turned to the front.  When it came time to stitch it down, I used Isacord Embroidery thread and a 100/16 wing needle.  I sampled various sizes before settling on the 16; I liked the size of the hole where the needle penetrated.
   I had a little trouble turning the corners with the pinstitch. I would leave the needle down to pivot and usually it seemed to work best when the needle was in the left needle position as I started in a nw direction.
   The black linen motif in the middle is stitched from bias strips cut at 1.25 inches, then run through the Clover Bias Maker.  I used a lace shaping board as directed, and then stitched it down with a 100/16 wing needle and embroidery thread to match the background linen.  I  experimented with different colors and weights, and was happy with the ones that I chose
                                                            I was not quite as happy with the shape of the inner motif, but that is because the pattern was sent over the internet.  Enlarging and flipping it was not as easy as I had thought it would be, and as I finished I figured out that I could have
                                        just drawn the side points freehand.

So the table runner is on my kitchen table and soon to be mover into the a position of honor on the dining room table.  Black linen napkins will make a nice addition.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I've missed you, little blog

 Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime

Well we'll go swimmin' every day
No time to work just time to play
If your folks complain just say,
"It's summertime"

      ~Earl Jameson, Lead Singer
               The Jamies

Summer solstice,  and I have let the entire spring season go by without reminiscing about my adventures in sewing.  Travel, work, and stitching... my reasons are endless, but I will try again to be faithful to you, little blog.

I have been working on my Martha Pullen online certification, and this Crazy Patch Pillow is one of the projects.  I veered from the traditional crazy patch to a version that one of my little girls might enjoy, and goodness knows I have plenty of scraps.

I went with the usual vibrant pastels that the girls seem to like best.  The little bird print was the basis for  the rest of my choices; I have no lack of pinks, greens and turquoise to choose from..  The method that we were to use for this pillow was a paper piecing method, and I did not know that this was a choice when doing crazy patch.  My only complaint with the MP patterns is that they email them to you, and then you have to put the puzzle pieces together.

After I had completed the crazy patch,  the next step was to use decorative stitches over the seam lines.  This was fun because I seldom use those stitches.  I learned one thing in this process, the stitches in the quilting section seem to be bolder and they worked well for this task.

The pillow completed was 15 x 15, so I had to make my own little pillow for a form.  I chose ball fringe as a trim, and  completed the pillow with an envelope style back.  Mandy says it will look great on her trundle bed, so I know she has her eye on it!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether at twenty or eighty.
                              ~Henry Ford

    I have just completed my third project for Martha Pullen's online class for Teaching Beginning Sewing.
I completed the tote in about 3 hours, taking my time and enjoying the process.

   The directions were easy to follow, and with lots of roomy pockets, this will be a fun and comfortable tote to carry.

I wanted to use fabrics from my stash, and knowing the school loyalties of the rest of my family, I decided to use this ugly navy and orange fabric.

                                                                                                       I used Sally's Soft and Stable to give the tote some soft
 body, and for the pockets I used Warm and Natural, which is not quite so firm.  I liked the little polka dot for the lining and the footballs became the body of the tote. There are 3 deep pockets on either side of the lining.
   After making the lining with pockets, the body of the tote, and the straps, it was just a matter of slipping the lining into the body and stitching the handles in place.  This pattern is taken in slightly at the opening to give it a nice shape.  I stitched around the top and added a large orange rickrack trim.

   So now I have to find a nice crisp black and white hounds tooth check, and a pretty crimson to use for the lining.  And after cleaning my Bernina I will stitch up another tote that I will be happy to carry!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Each day learn something new,
and just as important,
relearn something old.
                 ~ Robert Brault

Project #2 for Marth Pullen's online class is a simple
blouse.  It has a little button at the back neckline, short sleeves and a
simple round neckline with facing.  I used machine stitching for the hem
and sleeve hem, making it quick and easy to make.

That should be the story, but we have Bibi sewing what could I do to make
 this simplest of all blouses difficult?  Right!
 It stitiched out so nicely using 2 layers of polymesh and a little 505...

I started to just walk out of my sewing room, but this was such a quick little project I wanted to get it

finished.  So there I was, back at the kitchen
counter, (aka my cuttiing table) and I cut out another back piece.  I used Master Circle in a soft cream that blended nicely on the linen.  Maybe I can use the first monogram for a little zipper bag.

The final version is complete, photo taken and posted on Martha's site. Woohoo!

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Old Dog....

You don't understand anything 
until you learn it more than one way. 
             ~Marvin Minsky

I am always ready to take a class, and since I am doing a little teaching, I thought it would be good to have this Martha Pullen certification under my belt as I teach Beginning Sewing Techniques.  There are so many ways to do most anything that I make; I wanted to explore the simplest way so I could be a better teacher for my potential little students.  I am enjoying being a part of a group of sewists from all over the country.

We have 8 projects to complete before June 30, that is going to put a
cramp in the time that I devote to sewing for 4 sweet little girlies, but most of the projects look really fun.

I finished my first project, a simple A-line skirt. It was simple to make, and it did have a different technique for the inside facing.  Since I made the skirt in a size to fit Mandy, and she will not have to worry about a "muffin top" folding over the skirt, I used the method to face to inside with grosgrain ribbon instead of a self facing.  It gives it a pretty look when the skirt is opened, and was quick and easy to do.

And WooHoo!  This is an online class!

So project number one is completed and posted on the Blackboard site for the class, and I have 7 more to go.  YIKES.  I have to get stitching!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You Are My Sunshine...

Forget not the the earth
To feel your bare feet
 And the winds long to
 play with your hair.

                   ~ Khalil Gibran

I just finished Children's Corner Stella for my sweet Issa, and now it is Miss Mae's turn for a new dress.  Hers is not nearly as conservative as Issa's, and I think this will suit granddaughter #3  just fine!

I used Olive Ann Designs  Butterscotch pattern.  We have had some cute prints in the store and I wanted to try it for Mae.  Since my girls have moved to the beach and are already wearing sundresses, I couldn't  wait to finish this one.

The bows were put on a little differently than I expected, they are 2 completely separate parts.  After I had attached the first piece, I thought maybe this wasn't such a good choice for Mae, the bodice looked like a swimsuit top and I didn't really like the look.  As I read ahead though,  I saw that the bow actually went on top of this piece, and it changed the look completely.

The good (not so good) news is, this pattern comes with a pattern for the same dress for an 18" doll.  Dad Gummit!  I am tired of sewing for dolls and I don't know why, it is just not my favorite way to spend my time in the sewing room.  Oh Well, I am sure when I tell Mae,  I know what my next project will be...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just Call Out My Name...

Louie, I think this is the beginning
of a beautiful friendship.
  ~Rick Blaine, Casablanca, 1942

As we all grow older we have great sadness and great joy in our lives.  I think we appreciate friendship even more as the years go by.  I made this project with a special friend in mind.

I imagined a quilted wall hanging, but since my knowledge of quilting is rather limited, I just forged ahead not knowing really where I was going.  Kind of flying by the seat of my pants, which is how I approach many things in my life.

I started with a piece of natural linen, used Warm and Natural batting, and used a pretty bright blue flannel for my bias and backing.  I discussed color with my resident color expert, my sister Bethanne, and got some good advice.  I drew out a tree with bare branches, a silhouette, and it occurred to me later that this is how Beth paints many of her trees.  Anyway, I like the look of the contrast, so it was a black linen tree.  I used Wonder Under to attach it to the background, a poor choice, but it is what  I found in the sewing room.


Before attaching the tree to the linen, I placed it and marked where I wanted the quote to go.  I used the new Bernina software that has a new choice of fonts, and used the Run Freehand font.  It is delicate but will hold up as it is stitched out.
                                            A friend knows
                                            the song in my heart
                                            and sings it to me
                                            when my memory fails.  ~  D. Roberts

So I attached my tree with a tiny blanket stitch, then began to cut out and sew down my wool leaves.  Next came the bright blue flannel birds with tiny felt beaks and french knots for eyes.  I tookall 3 layers to my mat and trimmed it up and cut plenty of binding from the flannel 2.25 inches wide, mitered the corners and whipped it to the back.  I finished it off with a little By Bibi label.

I wish I had done some tiny free motion squiggles to finish my design.   I thought it didn't need it but as I see it in my minds would have been a nice touch.  I hope it will hang in her sewing room next to her hand made treasures.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Small Treats

One of the secrets of a happylife is continuous small treats.

                   ~ Iris Murdoch

I almost let Valentines Day get away without sending treats to my girls.  I found 2 shirts in my stash,  went to Planet Applique to find designs that I thought they would like, downloaded them and was stitching within minutes!  It boggles an old Bibi's mind if I think about it for very long!

I am still out of a good cutaway stabilizer, but I used 2 layers of polymesh, a layer of tearaway under that, and solvy on top of the shirt as I stitched.  I used the Harrington font for the little initials on the shirts, and just let my 780 stitch away.  The envelope was in the mail by early afternoon and I hope my little girls get them in time to wear them for the big V Day!