Friday, November 12, 2010

Sewing Projects Update

It may seem like I blog more about gardening than quilting which is probably true (after all I am the Fairy Gardener) but I have been working on some sewing and quilting projects too. I just haven't had the time to post pictures afterwards because of everything else that's been going on here.

For instance, I made a Glow Worm costume for Calvin's first Halloween. This was the first time I've worked with polar fleece and I can understand why it's so popular and why you see huge bolts of it when you walk into Jo-Ann's.

It's really and truly a dream to work with. The only trouble I had was pinning it. My straight pins were hard to get through the fabric. I even tried ball-point pins but they weren't any better so I'd suggest using pattern weights and you need really sharp scissors. I used my best Ginghers for cutting. That being said however, I did use a regular machine needle, size 80 and the normal sewing thread I use for patchwork and both worked perfectly. My machine had no trouble sewing through multiple layers of the fleece.

I adapted the Glow Worm costume from a Kwik Sew Pattern I got off of Ebay. I've used Kwik Sew patterns before and like them because they include a master pattern with multiple sizes and views. Instead of cutting the master pattern, you trace the pattern pieces you're using onto non-woven tracing material and use them to cut your fabric. This may sound like extra work but trust me, once you use this method, you'll never want to wrestle with those commercial tissue paper patterns again.

Aren't the Glow Worm's antennae cute? They're made from two strips of fleece that I sewed into tubes and turned right side out. This is another area where fleece is great, it has a little bit of stretch, that helps in turning small pieces but doesn't lose its shape. I tied one end of the tube and stuffed the open end with a wired chenille craft stem called "Noodleroni" the wire allows them to bend.You can't see it in this photo but I found an image online of the same Playskool label that's on the real toy, enlarged it and printed it onto a June Taylor design fabric sheet then sewed it into the side seam of the costume just like the real toy's.

You can see in the picture that the costume was a little big for Calvin. That was my fault, not the pattern's, for adding an extra six inches to the length. When I compared Calvin's measurements to the pattern, I forgot to add the hood length and miscalculated. Because I didn't want the hood to be too tight on the baby's head, I also cut the elastic longer than the measurement given, so it was a little loose too. It certainly would have fit better if I'd been able to fit it to the little wearer in person instead of by phone, but no matter, the costume still got great reviews from everyone who saw it and Calvin was warm and comfortable while wearing it.

This summer I finished Calvin's baby quilt and also made matching crib bumpers and a pillow sham for his crib layette. Just in time for his baby-naming too. The quilt is a variation of the "Patience Corner" block. I found a beautiful Winnie-the-P00h toile that I used for the backing and bumpers and added checks and plaids in the same colors for the blocks.

Working with plaids and checks for this quilt turned out to be more of a pain than I anticipated. I wasted a lot of fabric because I had to make a new straightening cut after cutting each strip for the blocks to make sure the fabric was not going off kilter. If I hadn't done this the checks & plaids wouldn't have run in a straight line when the blocks were sewn. I suppose it wouldn't have made much difference if I were using triangles or smaller shapes.

I'm still working on my Martinique BOM quilt. This is month 7 and I'm ashamed to say I only have 4 blocks done out of the fourteen I should have finished. I have other projects in the works too but I'm going to have to start wreath making soon and prepping for Thanksgiving and the Garden Club's Xmas party. Here it is only November and I'm already looking forward to January, to a fire in the fireplace and holding up in my den with a steaming hot cup of tea and a project to work on. How about you? :)

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