Monday, December 21, 2009

Hat Parade

I did warn you that now that I drafted a hat pattern I liked, that I would be making more. Three hats in one week and a fourth one waiting to be stitched together.

My red hat is made from a wool blend using the first design I drafted.

Once again I kept the details simple, using only topstitching with a single button on the hat band to add interest.

My second new design has more whimsy to it, partly because I couldn't resist using Kaffe Fassett fabric for the hat band, brim and self cover button (on the top of the hat).

I have been having so much fun stitching up hats to coordinate with my work wardrobe! My co-workers have started asking me to make them hats as well and I have been good naturedly teased about what hat I will make to wear for my next working day. Any guesses what colour is next up for me to sew?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bad hair days are no longer scary

because of my new hat....
I love hats and I have been wanting to make a certain style of hat for some time. I've sewn hats before but my interest has been rekindled as hats are more of an mainstream fashion accessory and acceptable where I work. I could see the practicality of using this fashion accessory for my work wardrobe. My mind started racing with infinite fabric and notion combinations to make unique hats. Initially, I thought I would just buy a hat pattern, but when I couldn't find exactly what I wanted I decided to draft my own.
This is my prototype, which I happily wore to work yesterday after stitching it together the evening before. I decided to use a plush upholstery fabric for my prototype because I knew the fabric wouldn't be too soft or too stiff for my design. The hat is lined with a drapery weight cotton to give a little extra shaping without stiffness. For the brim of the hat I used two different weights of interfacing. The medium weight fusible interfacing was bonded to the fabric that forms the underside of the brim. The heavy weight interfacing was sandwiched between the top and bottom fabrics of the brim and then top stitched in place.

Wooden buttons and top stitching add a simple finishing detail that doesn't compete with the napped fabric of the hat. My husband loved the hat and pointed out all the money I saved - from making my own pattern and then I told him that I also used fabric and notions that I bought at thrift sales. I ended up with a hat that's unique, fits properly and was economical. Some of the very reasons I love sewing!
Already I have been dreaming up more hats that will complement my work wardrobe. That way, I never need to fear another bad hair day as I head off to work. I only need to remember to keep the hat on - hat hair can be pretty scary! ;o)

Monday, November 30, 2009

The right light

can make all the difference - as any crafter/sewing enthusiast knows. My current crafting space is very short on natural lighting and so I have been facing some challenges, especially when I'm sewing after dark (which these days is pretty much any time of the day... ;o) My search for better lighting led me to purchase a lamp that simulates "natural lighting". Want to see what I'm so happy about? Here's some Kaffe Fassett fabric shown under 150 watt incandescent lighting...
and here's the same fabric shown under a 20watt bulb that is considered high definition lighting...
Pretty amazing isn't it? I'm so excited to have this new light for my workspace. I bought my new Ott lite at Michaels on sale for 50% off. Now I'm more confident that no matter what time of the day I'm stitching in, I'll be colour matching with greater accuracy and I should also be able to take better photos of the finished projects. Now that's something to cheer about!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In my neck of the woods...

we've had computer troubles lately (to explain my most recent disappearance here) and a few project finishes. It's not like I can brag about my finishes as it seems that my gift making list continues to grow, so I need to pick up the pace to get it all done!
This stuffie is part of a baby gift I can almost cross off my list. Through my years sewing I've made up many different critters as stuffies, but this is the first giraffe I've tackled.

It was the fabric that first had me thinking about making a giraffe. Then I happened upon a vintage pattern to make this lovely fellow, but I have to admit, I'm not so keen to make another like him. At least not without making some pattern adjustments to make the process easier. I've sewn lots of stuffies through the years including some in the miniature scale , but none were as tricky to sew as this guy.
The most fun in making this? The mane and the tail! I didn't appreciate the "y" seams (due to the small scale), the itty-bitty circles for the hooves or the "too many" pieces that comprise the underbelly. I figured it all out - but it wasn't quick and it wasn't easy. This perfectionist did her fair share of slow stitching, a bit of picking out stitches and even resorted to hand basting pieces. Fun.

This guy is just proof that I'm willing to try sewing just about anything. Once. He's done. Enough said.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Notice a theme?

Or two? LOL
This is my latest stack of inspiration from the library. Some titles are new to me and some are like old friends. It doesn't matter how busy life gets around here, I always have wonderful books on hand, like these. That way, when I don't have time to do any creating of my own, I can enjoy seeing what others have made.

I can't tell you how thankful I am for good books. Where do you go for inspiration or for a "creattive fix" ?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Patchwork Pieces of Pumpkin Pie...

is my (tongue twister) name for the scrappy patchwork table runner I just completed. Autumn colours and pumpkin pie go hand in hand, right? ;o) This table runner was inspired by the first project I've made piecing nothing but triangles together. The trick to piecing triangles smoothly is in the pressing of the seams.
I'm happy with my decision to change the border fabric as it seems to compliment the triangles without blending in. For a bit of whimsy, I free motion quilted a leaf pattern onto the triangles and then stipple quilted the border fabric.
Finding that the fabric I wanted for the backing wasn't large enough, I decided to use leftover patchwork from the front to make up the difference. I now love the backing as much as the front! The backing also shows off my quilting more noticeably. It is so liberating to free motion quilt.
Here's a close-up of one corner of the backing to show you the quilting and the binding fabric. The fabric for the binding had to be pieced for width because I didn't have enough to cut my usual 2 3/4" binding strips. I had to add a 1" strip in order to have the width I needed, but as you can see the other fabric is folded to the inside so you don't even notice my piecing trick. ;o)

My new table runner from the front...
and from the back...
finished and ready to be enjoyed!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Changing my mind

I seem to be falling behind when it comes to finishing projects, sometimes because I change my mind midway into a project. You know how it is, you think that certain fabrics are going to look great together and then... well, you think, maybe not. Here's my latest case in point. The leafy print border on this patchwork project just falls flat somehow.

It didn't add the right amount of "zip", so I'm thinking I will change it out for this fabric border instead.
Do you see what I'm seeing? Doesn't the brighter strip on the right look more lively with the patchwork as compared to my first choice ( the leafy print strip on the bottom)? I'm breaking out the seam ripper to redo things.

Here's to faster finishes - despite me changing my mind!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Garden Green Sampler Tote

I purchased a drapery sample book at a charity sale for a measly 10cents, knowing I would find a project for all those coordinating cottons. I cut the samples into strips,
stitched and quilted them together to make the tote bag .Yes, this is the tote I posted about previously. I removed the super stiff fusible interfacing and decided to use quilt batting for the pieced upper part of the tote. I only used the super stiff interfacing as an insert in the very bottom of the tote, to give it some shape.
A D-ring is attached to the tote inside for me to clip my keys to.

A heart shaped zipper stop was a fun detail for the top of the tote.

Corduroy acquired from a thrift store visit, makes up the bottom, the handles and the zipper boxing along the top.

Three zippers, also thrifted finds, were used. The blurry shot below shows the zippered pocket in the lining (also made from thrifted fabric).

It is so gratifying (and economical) to re purpose materials like these. I still have some fabric remaining from that sample book, so I think a small matching pouch is needed to go with my new tote. ;o)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coin Purse

My first felted crochet project is also the first project I've made from yarn that I dyed myself...

using Kool-Aid!

This is my yarn after being dyed with different packages of Kool-Aid. The newly dyed yarn is basically a warm rose colour, with some pale bits and some patches of grey/green in it.
For a first time dye project, the Kool-Aid was easy to work with (bonus was the yummy scent from the different flavours). Next time I won't combine so many colours so close together on the yarn as I believe that's why my colours aren't more vivid.
It surprised me that the felting process didn't alter the colours of my project. I was a little concerned that it would - which is why I started with such a small item. I can see how dyeing yarn could become addictive and I would love to experiment some more.
Have you tried dyeing yarn?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soup Mug Snug

I'm back to work and in cold weather, I like bringing homemade soup for my lunch. My problem is that by lunchtime the soup in my thermos isn't hot. I crafted a solution.

I used a ribbed cuff from a felted wool sweater to make a "snug" for my soup thermos.
It works great! My soup stays hot and this is the easiest crafting project ever. I may "make" more snugs for my soup mug... just to keep it looking stylish. ;o)

Friday, October 16, 2009

I promised

to share some finished projects with you, once I regained my health. First, I wanted to say "thank-you!" for all your lovely get-well messages. I appreciated every kind word. I can honestly say, I have not been so sick in many, many years. Last night, I finally got a full night's sleep - I wasn't up having endless coughing fits as has been the way of it for me for over a week. What bliss to get a restful night! It's something I think I've taken for granted up until now. ;o)

Here's a project finish that has been lingering for far, far too long. I knit these slippers for myself months ago but didn't felt them until now.
I had fun adding some heart shaped sequins after felting (I needle felted the hearts on before stitching on the sequins).

My 'Love Me' slippers are toasty warm, comfy and my new favourites.
They could possibly have been the best part of my not-feeling-so-well outfit. ;o)

* The designer of these great slippers is Bev Galeskas. The pattern isn't in her book, but you should find it at your local yarn shop.*

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Under the weather...

and spending most of my days in bed trying to get better.

I've been knocked flat with a nasty bug, but as soon as I'm back on my feet again I have some projects to finish off and share.
Miss you all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Boxes of Friendship Quilt

is finally finished and I love it!

I love the wavy quilted lines,
the pieced strip on the back,

that it contains fabrics from two friends I've made through blogging ( a big thank you to Amanda Jean and Suzie for the beautiful fabric you sent!),

that it has lots and lots of polka dots,

right down to the binding.

Best of all? I'm finished in time to use it through the upcoming cold season. ;o)

* The pattern for this quilt can be found in the book, The Modern Quilt Workshop

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not impressed

I thought I had found the perfect fusible interfacing for bag making. This stuff is too stiff for what I envisioned and my attempts to subdue it has left me totally unimpressed with the results.
The bag had been relegated to my "thinking about what to do to fix it" pile. I think I've figured it out. The ugly truth : the interfacing has to be removed. I will save that cardboard emulating interfacing for some other project. Perhaps in a design that isn't meant to be a shoulder bag (with the risk of personal injury this would entail... not to mention looking stupid trying to flatten it out when wearing it over my shoulder. ;o)

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