This morning I found out that September is National Sewing Month (thank you Jo-Ann Fabrics email blast). Seems like a good reason to finally share my various sewing projects. As I mentioned in my last post, I got a sweet sewing machine for my birthday last June.
It took me awhile to get the hang of everything. Thankfully, I found a lot of helpful videos on Youtube to learn everything from how to wind and load a bobbin, to how to cut a straight edge.
My first big project: a reversible runner for our new living room coffee table. At first I had only practiced stitching on scrap fabric – I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to cut the fabric straightly. First lesson learned: a rotary cutter, a cutting mat and a quilting ruler are 3 sewing MUST-HAVES!
On to the results:
My first runner was relatively successful! A little scrutiny reveals that one of the corners isn’t quite a perfect 90 degree corner – but otherwise, it looks pretty good. After that, I made another runner – specifically for Fall on one side, Thanksgiving on the other. On the Fall side, I stitched along the veins of some fabric leaves so that it looks like they’ve fallen on the runner :) This runner is much neater than the first one.
I did buy fabric for a Christmas/winter runner – but never got around to it…because once I had 2 successful runners – I was ready to move onto something bigger….QUILTS!
The timing was just right – 2 of my closest friends were having their first baby, and I wanted to give them a special gift. I ordered a quilting kit which contained all of the fabric and instructions. Next lesson learned: this fabric does NOT come pre-cut (wishful thinking). Needless to say – quilting requires a LOT of cutting – which (for me) requires a LOT of cursing :P Thankfully, this project really helped me become a more efficient cutter, and a believer in the phrase “measure twice, cut once”. For my first quilt – I think it was a big success (mainly because it survived it’s first wash AND it was a hit at the baby shower :))
I recently made my second quilt for my future nephew – William Thomas (I can’t wait to be an Aunt!). To try something new (and to make it extra special) I used a plush fabric for the whole backside of the quilt (see below). I thought it would be really difficult to get three thick layers of fabric through the machine – but all went well. It’s all about guiding. You’re not supposed to push or pull the fabric through – the machine does that – you just have to guide the fabric correctly to keep those seems straight!
with a plush backing.
In between my first and second quilts, I wanted to push myself a little farther. I decided I wanted to try to make a tote bag. A little Googling led me to a free tote bag pattern from this blog.
I’m VERY happy with the finished product!
and owl-fabric on the inside :)
It has an outer pocket on each side as well as a row of pockets on the inside. I’m especially happy my little touch of using contrasting colors for all of the visible stitches – it adds a lot of personality to the bag, and ties all of the different fabrics together. A friend gave me the idea to add ribbon to the underside of the straps to make them a little more firm and hide the unfinished edges of fabric.
With each project I’m getting more comfortable with my machine, and learning different tricks and techniques that I keep reusing. My biggest hurdle at this point is MAKING the time to sew. I have lots of ideas (including some old black curtains that will be reincarnated into tote bags, more seasonal runners, slipcovers for my Dad’s chair, some Christmas gifts…) – but I tend to go months without sewing and then spend 2 weeks submerged in a project. I need to start my next project ASAP, before I can start blaming the holidays for making me too busy.
Speaking of holidays – I’m looking forward to making my own [uber-crafts-y] gift tags this year. I plan on working on them over the next couple of months, rather than frantically making them the weekend before Christmas :P I look forward to sharing them here :)