Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quilting on the cheap

That's probably an oxymoron. Quilting is not cheap. Not really. However, there are some things you can do to save you some bucks. I know a lot of quilters who have either spent a lot of money, or a lot of money and time creating a "design wall." The local quilt shop has a couple of design walls in the workroom so you can lay up your pieces and arrange them the way you want them. I have no such thing at home, but what I do have is batting. That's right, I pinned a large piece of batting to the wall and all of my quilt pieces stick to it without even using any pins. This works even better than the design wall at the quilt store because it does not need pins. Well, you want to start using pins when you are sewing larger sections of the quilt together because then they are just too heavy and fall off. Another advantage of my "design wall" is that I can unpin it from the wall and roll it up with all the pieces on it if I am going to take it anywhere to work on it.

So, I have most of the blocks sewn into strips, and even some of the strips sewn together. I have to decide how big I am going to make this quilt. The size shown in the book does not match any of the quantities listed for the patterns. I find this a lot in quilt books. The book will tell you how many blocks or strips you need for either crib, twin or queen size, but often times if you count the blocks on the picture, they will not line up exactly with the finished sizes given in the book!

I think what I am going to do is work from the two opposite corners and work my way to the middle. That way I can still make it bigger if I want to by just adding some additional strips at the longest diagonal.

At this point, I want to hurry up and finish the top of this quilt. I'm really feeling the need to make some clothes for work. School starts for teachers on August 2 in my district (students come on the 5th). I will be there for the 3 days before students come because I can sit most of the day. I am not ready to stand up all day long, which is exactly what I will be doing as soon as I go back to my classroom. Right now I have until the 23 of August per the doctor. I hope I can build up enough strength in my knee and stamina to stand all day by that time. Not that I'm all that anxious to go back to work, but I really don't want to miss any more work than I have to either.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Little Stripping

I've been wanting to sew for the last few days. And I can. I can sit in a chair and sew. I can stand at the ironing board if I'm careful. But, I keep walking into the sewing room, pulling out fabric and patterns, and then walking out. I've been feeling uninspired. I keep having ideas of what I want to do, but then, I can't seem to find exactly what I want to do it. I do think I have fabric and pattern picked out for a Vogue knit dress, but I don't want to cut it out. What to do?

Well, I decided I would work on the quilt I cut out over a year ago for my daughter and haven't worked on in about that long. Yesterday I started finishing the strips and today I finished the strips and am working on cutting them into squares. My 1/4 inch seam is never perfect, even though I've tried a couple of 1/4" feet. I think I let the fabric get to close to the guide, so my seams are a little wide. I tried moving the needle over farther, but I don't want it so close to the presser foot that it hits it! I just need to keep practicing.

I hope to finish cutting the squares today. I need to get more fabric for the side triangles, but I can probably start sewing the rows together and add the side triangles at the end. Who knows, maybe I will actually finish this before Christmas :-)

From Grace's Quilt

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the mend

Well, I had knee surgery almost a week ago. I haven't been doing any sewing. In fact, I haven't been doing much of anything! My leg is in a machine that keeps it moving most of the day, and when I'm not doing that, I'm in the living room with my foot up watching TV. In fact, I have watched over 30 episodes of Grey's Anatomy!! The good news is, I feel like everything is healing quickly and I'm not really in any pain. The doctor said the surgery went really well. We thought I had a torn ACL, but actually, the ACL was totally gone and they had to build a new one. I had this done about 8 years ago on my other leg, but this time it is going much better.

Last night, I did go into the sewing room, clear off the cutting table, and pull out some fabric. I keep changing my mind about what to make. I want to make PANTS! Of course, my leg is in a huge brace, so I probably won't even get to wear pants for a couple of months. I'm pretty sure I'm going to make a dress next. I will be wearing a lot of dresses for a while - which is a good thing. It is very hot here, so dresses are the coolest thing to wear. Also, I really, really need to make a dent in my stash

From Summer 2010

That top row is all fabric for jackets and coats. The next shelf down is knits, except for the far left stack, which is misc novelty fabric.
The third row is cotton, rayon, and linen;
the fourth row is woolens and suit weight blends.
The bottom shelf is denim, a box of linings, and muslin fabric.

I have a couple of other boxes and baskets with fabrics as well. I need to get everything to fit in this cabinet! So, I'm hoping to get busy sewing SOON.
Unfortunately, my surgery was on my right knee. I have to keep it elevated and the brace keeps me from bending my knee. I'm either going to have to learn to sew left footed, or use the push button feature on my machine!

Friday, July 02, 2010

BWOF 06-2009 strapless top

Well, first of all, just let me say that it will always be BWOF to me. I don't care that they changed their name, I will probably always think "BWOF" Besides, who wants to go back to each issue and think "Oh, is this Burdastyle or BWOF?" Anyway, back to the top.

I had seen another review for this on PR and decided to check it out. I had fabric that I knew would work and the only thing I had to buy was the elastic.

I'm really glad I made this top. I had a few little struggles and put it aside for a couple of days. But, finally, I figured out what to do and got it finished. I'll probably wear it tomorrow to a Fourth of July BBQ since it will be hot outside for sure.OK, here was the problem, due to my "wrong-thinking" I decided that since this was a strapless top and there were no shoulders or upper bust area to worry about that I would just go by bust size. Well, that wasn't a good idea. While the top circumference is fine, I needed more room in the front and less in the back. Consequently, the side seams are slightly forward, but not noticeably. The big thing is that there was not enough fabric to go over the bust. Had I tissue fit this, I would have seen that. but, since the front of bodice was already sewn together (6 layers of fabric) I did not want to take it apart and cut a new underbodice piece. I did make the bodice lining bigger and I figured that would work if I did not attach the lining to the bodice at the bottom and used the lining more like a shelf bra. But, the more I thought about it, I didn't think that was what I wanted to do. Instead, I added a 2" wide strip at the bottom of the bodice, sewed it with a 1/2" seam, and then cut it away to nothing at the side seams. This worked, but only because it was a knit and the darts are covered with the crossover pieces. The darts are too high. But in this top, it's no big deal. It still fits great and is very comfortable.

One thing different about this pattern is the way the elastic is done. The lining is sewn to the bodice and then the lining is turned up and sewn at the edge of the seam allowance for a casing. Since I only used 1/2" seam allowances instead of 5/8", it made it a little tricky. The pattern called for 3/16" elastice, but I used 1/4". If I make this again, I may use 3/8" elastic for a little more strength.

This is a great pattern and sews together pretty quickly if you don't screw around with it like I did. There are LOTS of layers in the bodice, so be sure and use a very thin knit. The knit I used reminds me of "onionskin" - it was a mystery knit that I picked up at a cheap price in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. It never even made it into the fabric cabinet! (I wish I would do that more often.

I'm really in a sewing mood and would love to make up about a dozen knit tops of different styles, but I've been spending most of my time getting my classroom in order and now it will be my house. I am having knee surgery on Wednesday and I am the only one in my house who drives right now. I guess I'm going to have to learn to sew with my left foot since the surgery will be on my right knee :-)

OH! I got this in the mail the other day. Now I have something to look forward to reading while I'm stuck with my leg in a machine :-)