Saturday, August 2, 2014

Stash to Treasure: Pillowcases

I'm not sure when Saturday became a sewing day for me.  You'd think we'd have other things to do on Saturdays.  And we did, today.  But, in between events, I had an itch to create.  So I whipped up some pillowcases. 

One of our church service projects this year is to give pillowcases to a children's hospital.  A couple of Grandma O's fabrics seemed perfect for the job. Here we have some dinosaurs, along with a bright yellow, and a piece of binding left over from the Creamsicle Baby Quilts.  It was just the right color and length.
I used the popular Burrito Method to sew these up quickly.  I'd observed the method before, but not tried it.  In case I'm not the last seamstress on the planet to learn, here are links to the printout and tutorial I used.  The rest of the dinosaur material was just right for the cuff of another pillowcase. 
This fabric should be fun for a child to explore.  It's a jungle full of African savannah animals, with some nice eastern North American birds thrown in.  Maybe it was modeled on the National Zoo.  I like it.

So, despite the heat of the sewing room, I had a good time this Saturday.  How about you?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Sewing

The Caterpillar wanted to sew some shorts.  But not just easy, elastic-waist beginner shorts.  He picked out Simplicity 5581, which features a fly and interesting pockets.  The envelope includes sizes for boys and men.  The Caterpillar seemed to be between those, so I carefully interpolated, and drew custom pattern pieces just for him.  He cut the pieces from bright red fabric, his favorite color.  Under my careful, anxious guidance, he sewed the fly, a buttonhole, and the front pockets.  Then he ran out of time and interest, and set the project aside.

That was four years ago.

At the same time, Dandelionslayer had decided to sew some easy, elastic-waist beginner shorts.  He picked out some material, but never got started.  A couple of weeks ago, he decided he needed some new shorts for soccer-coaching, so I found the bag with his black rip-stop nylon and the easy pattern, and the red half-shorts were there, too.  While Dandelionslayer cut his pieces, I decided to finish up the red shorts.  I was sure they would fit someone.

Before hemming, I had Rollo try on the shorts.  They were too big.  So I had Scoot try.  They were too long, but the circumference was all right.  Since Scoot and the Caterpillar have about the same circumference, I half-jokingly suggested the Caterpillar try them, too. 

And they were just right.

So the Caterpillar sewed the hems, and finally finished his summer sewing project.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Book Trek 2014

I'm hopping on the handcart a little late this year, but it's time again for the Summer Book Trek.  It's a fun time to read fiction by LDS authors, and win more fiction from LDS authors.  I picked out two such books at the library the other day:
I read the first one yesterday, and it was fun.  You can play, too.  Check out the challenge, pick out some books, and win!

Update:  Enna Burning was pretty good, too.  Now I'm on to Wednesdays in the Tower, by Jessica Day George.  It will probably go too quickly.  After that, I guess I could start on The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, but I definitely wouldn't finish by the end of July.  Maybe it will be time for Josi Kilpack's Banana Split.  Mmmmm...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes in June?  Hooray!  They're called Gold Nuggets, and they are tasty.  Some of my Golden Sweet peas are ready to eat, too.  And the squirrels haven't eaten all the cherries yet.  What are you picking?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Handkerchief Sampler, or Owen and the Paisley Skirt

One of our favorite storybooks is Owen, by Kevin Henkes.  Owen is a little mouse who is ready to go to school, but not quite ready to leave his favorite blanket behind.  His parents, egged on by a nosy neighbor, try increasingly desperate strategies to induce him to give it up, to no avail.  Finally, his mother has a brilliant idea--turn the blanket into handkerchiefs that Owen can carry with impunity.  I love stories with sewing solutions.
Of course, Owen didn't have a paisley skirt.  That was me.
It was already faded when someone gave it to me, years ago.  A button was missing.  A couple of pleats were coming unstitched.  Thinking back, I wonder, what was she thinking?  But I stitched it up a bit and wore it on many a Sunday afternoon.  It is softer and more faded now, but also more ripped, and I can't wear it anymore.  What to do?

I thought of Owen, and his mother, and the dwindling stack of handkerchiefs I share with Dandelionslayer.  We use them often, and gratefully.  And they disappear.  Usually they turn up again, in a pocket that hasn't been used for a while.  But the total has been diminishing. 

I also thought of the serger, and the cool presser feet that go with Grandma O's Duetta.  I decided that the edges of paisley handkerchiefs would be a perfect place to practice using them.  So I ripped up the skirt, and made four handkerchiefs.
First I tried the narrow hem foot.  The little curly part folds the edge so it can be neatly stitched down.  I learned some things.  For instance, the instructions in the foot package (which were the only way I identified the thing in the first place) are woefully inadequate.  I found some better advice online, but not until I'd blundered my way all around the perimeter.  Corners are tough.  And sometimes I let it fold too much over, so the hem is not as neat and narrow as it could be.  I'll do better next time.
I also used the 3-thread stitch on the serger, which turned out perfectly.  I tried a picot foot, which looks a lot like the narrow hem foot, but turns out a rolled hem.  And I turned a (not as) narrow hem under myself, and secured it with a decorative stitch.  The corners are not pretty on any of them, but I think they'll work.  My nose is certainly happy with my soft, new paisley handkerchiefs!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Musical Monday

When Scoot was assigned to recite a poem in his English class, he chose "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late," by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It's the sort of piece that would most effectively be sung, while dancing on top of a table, so the Caterpillar searched for some music for it.  He found this:

The Fellowship recorded an album of music inspired by Tolkien's work, and it is all rather nice. 

Scoot usually doesn't seem like the dancing-on-the-tables type, but he did earn 175% on his presentation.  I may have to inquire about the details!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Ducky

 The baby boom at church is banging along.  Dandelionslayer and the Caterpillar talked to a couple who was expecting a girl for their firstborn. They showed the guys a pile of pink things that others had given them, and a smaller pile of other colors that they had acquired themselves.  We decided to help augment their non-pink collection.
I started with this towel, on which Grandma O had appliqu├ęd a duck.  Cute pattern, isn't it?  I wish I could find it in her files.
 I used some decorative stitches to add coordinating waves to a washcloth.
And then, since Dandelionslayer had boasted to this couple about my amigurumi habits, I had to crochet a duckie to match.  I've searched for a pattern like this before, and didn't find anything quite right for me.  So I made it up.  And it worked out pretty well!

D2 likes the duckie, too, so when I make one for him, I'll try to write down a pattern for it.  Have a ducky day!