Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September bag for BQL

And another bag finished.

This one was our September challenge, and as you can see, today being the 30th, I have finished it just in time. If I was to be late, I would miss the pattern for October.

We used log cabins, set on point, with more log cabins cut in 2 triangles each to transform the result into a rectangle. I hand quilted it following the little logs.
I have put bamboo handles, a pocket inside and a key holder, plus of course my little label.
The flower is made in crochet with some leftover cotton thread, one that I used to knit something for DD4, but it is becoming too small for her. And so it will remind me of that cardigan.

The pattern was created by Kandy Newton from the group BQL, as in the previous months.

It is a girly handbag, and I intend to keep it for myself.

View of the inside with the green pocket, and key holder.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Do you like my cheese box ?

I found a tutorial on a french blog to transform a cheese box into a pretty, fabric covered box. First I thought it was a bit over the top, very children's club...but then I thought again. The structure is already made, even if you have to cover it with clean cardboard.

The blog is "Les Chroniques de Frimousse" and she lists all her explanations to make objects in cardboard. For this one look under "Boite a camembert decoree", there are many more. It is in French but the photos are great, and if you need any help with translation or anything, leave me a message under this post.

And so last Saturday I started with my camembert box, my cereal box, my glue and a few pegs. I used the same fabric as for my previous box, so that they match.

The result is not perfect, but I like it. I even had DD2 saying she needed a similar box.

It made me think about how we buy things so cheaply when they involve quite some work, it is called unqualified work because you don't need to go to university, but it still takes time to put things together.
I know that through my handwork I now pay more attention to the things we find in shops. Some are so expensive for what they are, and some are so cheap for the work involved. We all try to do our best to support the right products, but the path is difficult to follow.
This box in a shop would be considered a cheap product, nothing to do with the time needed to make it. Not that I would want to sell it.
Meanwhile I will go back to do some sewing before the girls come back from school, and I might even go for a little walk later to enjoy the automnal sunshine that just appeared this afternoon. Let's enjoy what we have.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What I'm up to

This past week I have done a lot of sewing...but have nothing finished to show for it. I am working on one of my UFO's, that is to be DD2's bedcover.

I have worked on my dreamcatcher quilt, making small units. I have calculated that I need 240 of them : 180 with clear triangles, and 60 with dark triangles.

So far I have made 42 dark and 51 light, so I am not yet at the middle in numbers. I have these nice piles sorted in bags.

I won't sew the blocks together yet in case I need to introduce new colors and need to spread them everywhere. So wish me luck to keep me going, still a long way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to cover your measuring tape

You might remember that I have done some covered measuring tapes in the past. I wrote the explanations for our group meeting of the "Golden Lion Quilters", and am very happy to share them with you.

They are not new but it is always nice to customise the objects in your sewing bag or box.

If you have one of these self retractable measuring tapes, and find it a bit boring, this is a fast project to transform it into a very special part of your sewing kit. And after that you might even do some matching items, like a pin cushion, a needle holder, or a little tag on your scissors…

You will need:
- a retractable sewing tape,
- some fabric to cover the front, back and the side, left overs are perfect,
- some wadding or batting, very small quantities indeed,
- embroidery or quilting thread in a matching color,
- sewing kit.

1- First make a pattern for the shape of your tape. Note if it is symmetrical or not (square, round or odd shape in which case you will need to reverse you pattern later). Just draw the shape on a piece of paper, and cut it on the line.

2- Cut this shape twice in wadding, and twice in fabric after adding a sewing allowance of a generous ¼”.
Measure the length and width of the side of the tape ( and yes you can use the tape to do exactly that). Cut the wadding to that size, and the fabric once with seam allowance all around.

3- Next you will need to quilt the fabric with the corresponding pieces of batting. Don’t forget to reverse the shapes if you need to.
You end up with 3 parts to make the cover.

4- And finally you will sew the pieces together. Check from time to time that your work fits your tape measure. Start with one face and the side, you might have to sew a round shape, or a square, etc… just take your time.

Then sew the second face, and don’t forget to put the measuring tape in. Hide your knot at the end.

Bravo you have just finished your first covered measuring tape.

Friday, September 12, 2008

22 squares bag

I have just finished, 5 minutes ago, the sewing on this bag. Probably thanks to the idea of one hour of sewing a day. And it is raining again...

I decided to call it the 22 squares bag as it helps to remember how it is made.

You take 22 squares, mine were precut 5x5" pastel squares bought a long time ago. Put them together on a table or the floor in a pleasing order, or no order at all if you prefer.

You sew them in rows: 1st row 2 squares, 2nd row 4 squares, 3rd and 4th rows 5 squares, 5th row 4 squares, and 6th row 2 squares.

I forgot to take a photo at that stage, and this one was taken later but it does show you the disposition of the squares.

Next stage you sew the rows together, to have them on point. So the first one is sewed in the middle of the second row, if you see what I mean. You repeat this with all the rows.

Then I decided to hand quilt the blocks with some batting, 1/4" inside each block.

There is no lining yet.

The handles are 2 strips of fabric 32 x3 1/2", with some batting in the middle. There are 3 lines of sewing to maintain them flat all the way. I sewed them on the top triangles of the bag, about 1" from the top. Because of the angle of the triangles you cannot really insert them in the seam.

The lining is your next stage. Measure the width and length of your project and find a suitable piece of fabric. Pin it right sides together with the bag front and sew 1/4" from the edge along the top and bottom, but not the zig-zag sides yet.

You now need to put the pockets if you want any, and the magnetic closure button or any other form of closure you prefer. Don't forget to put them on the right side of the lining. If we had sewn the lining all the way around you would have found this stage difficult, and having the lining in position helps to find where you want to sew the pockets,

Again I took this photo at a later stage when the sides were sewn, but it shows the pocket and magnetic closure.

Then turn your bag wrong side out, pin the sides lining and outside together, and sew them 1/4" away from the edge. Leave a gap to turn the bag out to the right side. Don't forget to clip the fabrics and batting in the bottom of the V formed by the squares, and cut the corners at the top of the squares to reduce the bulk.

Turn your bag right side out and slipstitch the opening closed.

The last stage of the bag is to sew the sides, and you have to do it by hand, no way around. I used a ladder stitch, on the wrong side and just catching the front fabric. Basically you sew together the 2 sides of each V. You have 3 such seams on each side, and then you sew together the first 2 squares going up to the handles (that is 1 square from each side).

This photo shows you the lining once you have finished to sew the side.

And here is the bag opened on the floor. Although the bottom is not a flat base, you can see that it is quite roomy.
Enjoy your bag.

(Pour mes lectrices francaises, j'ai vu ce modele sur des blogs mais je ne retrouve plus les explications, desolee, vous pouvez essayer sur Google "sac de Claudine" pour en avoir un exemple dans d'autres couleurs).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green felt purse

Today I am going to show you this purse that I made all by hand, I even put the zip in by hand. I really enjoyed doing this, using little bits of felt to create the circles, and some embroidery thread around all the applique.
I must tell you, I had a little exchange of emails with Lova and was complimenting her on the number of objects she has for sale in her Etsy shop.
She gave me a very good advice, which is to sew for just one hour a day.
And I know I am not managing to do that. I did work at the week-end, when DH took the girls ice-skating, but a lot of the time I am interrupted, and very busy and don't sew enough to my liking.
So this is goins to be my challenge, to sew one hour a day.
I'll keep you posted on the results.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A little cheque book holder

With some fabric left over from my green bags, I made this little cheque book holder. The lining is plain fabric and I added a lovely mother of pearl button.
This blue one I bought in La Droguerie, a very nice chain of haberdasheries in France, but always very busy, and so very often I do not have the will to wait an hour to be served ! This time I was lucky as I happened to find one in Lille during our holidays, and there wasn't many people inside, probably because it was August.
I am still busy with the girls, they will all be at school next week, and I hope to find a bit of peace and quiet to sew.
I started yesterday a new bag, using some precut squares....but you will have to wait to see the finished product. I am hand quilting it, which never happens as I'm always rushing usually. I love it.