Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

On June 1, 2008 I wrote a post about the first Bow Tucks bag I made and included a tutorial for it.  I had no idea how popular it would be.  This past week someone linked the post and on Thursday it had  1,067 views.  791 people viewed it yesterday.  Amazing.  This is not the first time this post has been linked by someone with lots of views, but it’s a record.

I think more tutorials will be in the works for this year.  But I really think it’s that cute ladybug fabric that really does it.  To say nothing of the great pattern.  I want to try out the mini.

That is, as soon as the D.Min. dissertation is completed.  This is what it looks like in my living room right now. Note the highly neglected spinning wheel in the corner!  I have never been able to work at a desk, so I’m writing from a chair in the living room with books, papers, and notecards spread all around. (Parsonage furniture, not mine, for those of you who know me.)  Mishka is not happy because she has to compete with the books, etc. at my feet.

The dining room table (also not my furniture) has my “storyboard” with sheets of paper with chapter titles piled with notecards for each chapter.  Probably not the best of organizing systems, but hey. Note my new tagine on the table, as neglected as the spinning wheel, alas!

As of last night I have completed 47 of the required minimum 75 pages for the draft.  I think I’ll make it, but have a few more days of writing to squeeze in before my self-imposed deadline of January 25.  Did I mention I hate trying to get footnotes and bibliography in the right format?  The compete draft is due in Washington on February 1.  It’s looking more and more like I might make it, but it’s still going to be a push.

I’ve been loving working on this degree, but I am looking forward to getting back to some sewing, painting, and other fun stuff like blogging.

Not that working on a Doctor of Ministry hasn’t been fun, but I’m just saying . . .


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Chemo Turbans

The quilt guild I belong to keeps the local hospital supplied with turbans for women going through chemotherapy and the supply was getting low, so we’ve been making up a bunch over the past couple of weeks.  I stitched up these four today:


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Casual Blouse Finished

I finished the casual blouse I decided to make as my first foray back into garment sewing in a long time.  I wasn’t able to get a good picture of myself wearing it because no one is around today to take a picture for me, but here it is on a hanger.  It looks better on!


It turned out fairly well.  The fit is a little big, but I put a white tank top under it and that makes it fit a little more comfortably.  I’ve never been fond of deep v-necks and this one is a little lower than I like, but the tank top peeks through a bit to soften the “v”.  

The whole thing went together quite easily and has made me feel ready to tackle something a little more difficult.  It’s amazing how the skills for sewing come back, just like riding a bicycle.

I do still need to learn more about the new stabilizers and such, but I think I’ll try some pants or a skirt next.  The issue will be finding good quality fabric.

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I have finally gotten just a little bit tired of knitting socks.  That doesn’t mean I will stop knitting them.  I just won’t work on them as totally as I have been. I’m still working away on the Cable Ribbed Socks that I started earlier this month, but I’ve made a mistake somewhere and it will take a bit of work to go back and figure out what happened.  That’s what I get for knitting on tiny needles with dark yarn in low light.

It’s time to start on some lace and that jacket I’ve been wanting to do. 

I’ve also been wanting to do some garment sewing ever since I got my new sewing machine almost two years ago.  So when I was in DC I went to GStreet Fabrics in Rockville, MD and chose a simple top pattern and some great printed cotton fabric.  I used to make all of my clothes when I was in my twenties, I even made my wedding dress!  But once I started quiltmaking, I kind of stopped doing garment sewing.  ‘Just Halloween costumes for Larissa and a few miscellaneous things here and there.

I have become so fed up with what’s available in ready-to-wear, that I’ve decided to make some small steps toward making my own clothes again.  Of course I have much less free time, techniques and materials have changed, and I am way out of practice.

So, although I found myself looking at the lovely patterns for tailored suits and dresses in the pattern books, I held back and chose something that would be easy to sew and require little, if any, fitting — a top to wear with jeans.  It’s not a style I would normally choose for myself, but I thought that change might be fun also.


The pattern is New Look 6677 and the top is very retro looking — like something I remember from the 60’s.  ‘Don’t know how it will look on me, but I think the techniques for making it will get me back into garment sewing quite easily. I’ve picked up another pattern for a simple dress and jacket I want to make in linen, but I’m waiting on fabric until I see how this project goes.

My other new project is to begin a band sampler while participating in the Stitch Explorer 2009 challenge on pintangle.  I bought some beautiful pale green linen at The Lazy Daisy in Raleigh (my first visit there) and also found a lovely variegated perle cotton that was on sale.  I’ll add other threads and fibers from my stash.


The first stitch exploration is chicken scratch which is usually done on gingham.  But this is about exploration, so I’m doing it on 32-count linen.  

The fabrics are prepared, now the task will be to work in a few minutes here and there on each, along with everything else.

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Today’s quilt is a doll quilt I made for my daughter when she was young.  The pattern came from a book by Chris Wolf Edmonds that I don’t remember the name of.  I also don’t remember the name of this pattern, but it is hand pieced, appliqued, and quilted.  There’s also quite a lot of reverse applique on this quilt.


I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at G-Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD.  I haven’t been there in ages and I had a wonderful time looking at fabric and patterns.  I picked up a couple of clothes patterns and some fabric to work on. I’ve been wanting to get back to some clothes sewing so I picked out something that should be fairly easy.

G Street is almost always having some kind of quilt show and currently they are displaying quilts by Nancy Feve.  Some of them are really fantastic and I wish I had a link so my readers could see some of them.  I’m pretty sure the ones I liked the best are done with the whack n stack technique although the bio on G Street’s web site calls them “kaleidoscope.”  She uses some wonderful color combinations.

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So it’s not couture sewing but I actually sat down at my sewing machine yesterday and in about two hours put together two costumes for our first (annual — I hope) Living Nativity Walk.  We’re setting scenes for people to walk through that tell the Christmas story.  They’ll be bordered by luminaria, or as we say in New Mexico, farolitos, and surrounded by music that was recorded at our Christmas Cantata.

Each scene will have live “characters” as our Living Nativity creator and director, George, calls them and we’re expecting some live animals as well.  Our only hope is that the rescue squad siren (the rescue squad is across the street from the church) doesn’t go off in the middle of everything and frighten the animals who are used to being out in the country.  I’ve checked my Bible and I don’t see animal stampede anywhere in the Christmas story.

We’re also hoping that it doesn’t rain–at least not too hard.

George brought me some fabulous material he got at a mill end shop and I quickly stitched up this Wise Man’s/King’s costume, tunic and robe.  I made a bit of a mistake on the cutting of the tunic, which is ridiculous because it’s ridiculously simple, but I fixed it with a little fancy zig-zagging.  Pretty opulent, I’d say.


I’m going to be an angel–no comments!  So I pulled out my old white robe (alb) that I no longer use for preaching and worship and embellished the arms with stylized “wings.”  Considering the fact that my sermon tomorrow is titled, “The Truth About Angels,” and I’ve learned in my preparation for it that nowhere in the Bible do angels have wings, it seemed odd to me to equip myself with the typical stiff, stuck out from the back wings.  

Here’s how I made my “wings.”


I tore two yards of shimmery, filmy fabric across the grain into approximately two-inch wide strips so they would be frayed and would not just lie flat as they would if simply cut.


Then I pinned them onto a 30-inch length of 1/2-inch wide ribbon.  I started with one piece at the half way point and then made each one longer with a shorter “fold-over” as I headed from wrist to shoulder.  The fold-over acts as a second layer for the wing.  Then I stitched down the middle to attach to the ribbon.


Finally, I tacked the “wings” on by hand to sleeves using a long running back stitch down the middle of the ribbon.  It will be easy to go in from the back side and snip them off when I’m finished with them.


The strips of fabric fold over to make a layered “wing”.  One problem is all the strays threads that keep coming off the fabric strips, but it’s not a big problem.  I’m hoping there will be a slight breeze that will make the wings “fly about” a little while I’m standing there being a “character.”

Now I just have to finish folding down the tops of 50 more brown paper lunch sacks for the luminaria.  We’re making over 200!  (I love this picture from newmexicophotos.com.  Check out the site for more farolito pics and other great New Mexico pictures.  I’m dreaming of a New Mexico Christmas!)

five-luminarias THEN I have to get on with some of the other things I have to do today:  finish preparing for worship and teaching tomorrow, make cookies for Larissa and Josh’s arrival on Wednesday, fix a pot of vegetable soup, and of course, get ready to be an angel.

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I FINALLY got my sewing table fixed and set up this past week.  Not without having to call the company directly and go through some more run-arounds with the quilt shop.  And not without some residual issues still to be resolved.  But, it’s finally ready to go.  Yeah!!!  It took over a month to accomplish and I’m so glad to no longer have a huge box sitting in my sewing room that I’ve had to stumble around to get anything done.

I can’t afford a proper chair yet, so a dining room chair will fill in for the meantime.

Now I can get to work in earnest on:

1.  Getting the room completely organized.

2.  Project work without having to use the dining room table and schlep back and forth to the sewing room for cutting and pressing.

I’m planning on putting together some kind of design wall to the left of the ironing board.  Not sure yet if it will be felt or flannel, or an idea I got from a quilt guild member to use the flannel back of a plastic table cloth hung on a rod.  That would be pretty portable, but I’m not sure how straight and stable it would be.  Anyway, I want something large and “sticky” that will let me put pieces of fabric (without pinning) up and move around to work on designs.  

I also want to repaint the room and put something cheery on the windows.  But that will have to wait until the dining room, master bedroom, and guest room are painted, not to mention the touch-up I still have to do on the living room.  Oh, yes, and then there’s the kitchen.

Well, I have enough projects to keep me busy.  Not to mention work.  

The jumble of fabrics on the end of my new sewing table are some of my hand-dyes that I’ve pulled out for a possible design for the cover of the journal I’m making for the new class I’m taking online from Sue Bleiweiss.

It’s called Creative Mixed Journaling Techniques and I’m so excited to be taking it.  I wanted to take her first offering of it, but that was in June right in the middle of our move.  I’m going to try to do something different for the cover of the journal for this class since I’m going to have this journal focus on “small quilts” using lots of different techniques.  More about that later.

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