Posts Tagged 'Sewing'

In Mon Petit Atelier

About a week ago, I cleaned my studio. I didn’t actually sew anything then, but I sorted and straightened. I took stock. Since then I’ve been fighting Resistance. Steven Pressfield talks about this foe in his book War of Art. Basically it’s that thing that keeps you from doing what you need to be doing as an artist. You resist making art due to things like fear or doubt. It’s when you actually opt to clean the bathroom to avoid sewing (or writing or painting or whatever.) This past week, I was getting a lot of other things crossed off my to-do list, but not any sewing.

Then, over the weekend, after I took the above photo, I set my laptop up down here in my studio, sandwiched right there in between my serger and sewing machine. I hoped just being in here more would inspire me. (I’m not sure if it’ll stay here though. It wasn’t my original intention to have a computer in here. We didn’t have wi-fi when I remodeled this room and I dreamed of having a place just to create, forced away from all other distractions. That’s my main worry—that it’ll be a distraction, that I’ll chose pinning over pinning, so to speak. Yet, I have a notion to turn this into more than a studio, morph it into a multipurpose haven. I’d love a comfy chair in the corner. And place to sketch and paint again. And yes, perhaps a little place for my laptop. It’s such a small space though, so I’ll just have to wait and see.)

Anyway, finally on Wednesday, I did it. You could hear the hum of the sewing machine, smell the heat of the iron. I sewed something! (Once I hem it, I’ll share photos.) I don’t mean to be cliché here, but it really is like riding a bike—a little awkward at first but soon you find your balance and are cruising along.

Part of why Resistance is so strong right now is the sheer volume of projects and ideas I have on my work table and in my head. It’s overwhelming. I don’t know where to begin. I’ve narrowed it down to a few projects that are almost near completion. I’m hoping finishing projects will be reward enough to fuel this spark and keep me burning.

Do you deal with a lot of “Resistance” in your life? How do you fight it?

And where do you create? Does the space serve more than one purpose? Out of choice or necessity?

Most nights when I go to sit down in front of the computer to type up a post, my brain goes to mush. The busy day catches up with me and my body just wants the comfy chair in the family room and my mind wants silly TV. With that said, I’m sorry for letting your comments linger in my inbox. I also have a ton of unread posts in my reader. Just like with my projects, it’s overwhelming so I avoid it altogether. I’m hoping for a little downtime to get caught up. Do know that I appreciate you visiting and commenting.

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The Eleventh

The Eleventh
The Eleventh

(The above photos show one of my very first sewn projects. A little flag trivet. It’s completely hand stitched. And those apples are called Jonamacs. Quite tasty.)

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Mini Patchwork Chevron Block Tutorial

Hello all,
I can’t believe it took me all day to get this post up. I just couldn’t seem to get my bum in gear. I was on the computer (finally starting to visit some of your blogs!) a little today but somehow never put together this tutorial! Well, here it is. Hope you enjoy it. (Click the image above to be taken to the tutorial.)
For more of the Mini Patchwork Quilt Tutorial Series, check out here.

(I’ll be back tomorrow night to pick the winner for the giveaway and to share my weekly finds.)

Mini Patchwork Spider Web Block Tutorial.

The next block in the Mini Patchwork Sampler Quilt Series is the Spider Web Block. It’s a fun block and uses some itty bitty scraps. Instead of making a long post here on my blog I’ve decided to whip up a Google document. And you can easily print it if you need to. Just click the photo above to access it!

Clothes Pin Bag.

I’m really tempted to call this a Peg-Bag but, alas, I’m not British.
Clothes Pin Bag.
A while back I noticed our clothes pin bag was looking pretty ratty. It was one I made years ago in a simple drawstring fashion. So I did a little Google search for tutorials and didn’t come up with any I liked. I even did a little window shopping for a design I liked that I could try to replicate. But nothing caught my eye. Almost all of them featured a clothes hanger somehow, something I’m not a big fan of. (Which I now realize that is more convenient because not everyone has a hook to hang their clothes pin bag on… How do you hang yours?)
So I figured I’ll just have to come up with a design on my own. For some reason I couldn’t get a teardrop shape out of my head. So one night I sat down and did some sketching and some math. I really liked it and knew it would work out perfectly… once I completed some of my already started projects. (I have a big habit of starting new projects before finishing old ones.) The other day I couldn’t take it anymore and drafted the pattern, cut the fabric and got to work.
Clothes Pin Bag.
The first one I made, the pocket wasn’t deep enough so I altered the pattern. But I’m wondering if maybe I need to make it even deeper? There are other little tweaks I need to do as well. Once I get it figured out, I’ll decide whether or not to add it to the shop or make a tutorial.
I’ve also been tossing around the idea of making it waterproof somehow, by using an oilcloth or vinyl cover (with vinyl I’ve had for ages but never knew what to do with.) What do you think?

Pattern Challenge : Japanese Beginner Dress and Tunic Book #18

Pattern Challenge : Japanese Beginner Dress and Tunic Book #18
I’ve officially finished my first Pattern Challenge goal! Remember how I said I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t fit? Well, it fits! It might even be a little too big!
I had a few things going against me so this first bit here will be me rambling on about my own personal experience…
Seam Allowance Instructions.
First of all, I was a little confused about the seam allowances. Most patterns include the seam allowance so I just assumed. After I traced the patterns onto freezer paper and then cut out my fabric, I realized this probably wasn’t the case. The photo above shows how you are supposed to add the seam allowances when cutting the fabric.
Next I used a vintage cotton/poly fabric that I have an entire bolt of. I love the pattern and color but there is a fade line down the center where it’s folded. So I had to work around that by cutting the front and back piece weft-wise, thereby making it shorter (not smart for a gal who is 6’ with a long torso.) So I added a band of the same fabric at the hem.
I was worried it wouldn’t fit *around* me. When I cut the pieces (sans the seam allowances, as I mentioned earlier) they looked awfully small. So when I was sewing, I adjusted my seam allowances to be as small as I could make them. Of course, all of this could have been solved if I took the time to read the measurements and convert them to inches. (Oh, Lazy Liesl!)
Pattern Challenge : Japanese Beginner Dress and Tunic Book #18
Next I decided, last minute to make it sleeveless. I figured this should help somewhat with the shoulder fit (along with length, this is the biggest fit problem I have.)
After I sewed it all up and slipped it on, it turns out the large will fit me fine, I actually took it in a little on the sides. I’m planning on making another and following the instructions! (Something I have a very hard time doing!)

The Pattern Review Itself…
Nicely Visual.
Even though the whole book is in Japanese, the directions are super concise, more so than most US patterns. That’s because there are photos for every step. And for visual learners like me that’s pretty awesome! I can’t recommend it enough for beginners and pros alike. Just remember to add the seam allowance when tracing the pattern or cutting your fabric. And take the time to figure out the cm measurements.
The ISBN for this book is 978-4-8347-2836-1 in case the translation is different or you want to track it down yourself. I got mine from Pomadour24.

Liesl Made Pot Holder Tutorial.

I know there are probably a million and one pot holder tutorials on the web but I wanted to share my version with you all. If you have any questions, or concerns, feel free to contact me.

To make a pair of linen and cotton pot holders you’ll need:
4 – 10″ x 10″ pieces of linen
6 – 10″ x 10″ pieces cotton batting
(or 4 pieces of the cotton and 2 pieces of thermal batting)
2 – 4 1/2″ x 8″ cotton print
2 – 5″ pieces 3/8″ cotton twill tape (or extra binding)
80+” of 2″ bias binding

Start by making a template for the pot holders. Cut an 8″ square from some paper. Round all four corners.

To start piecing together the pot holder, layer linen, cotton batting, thermal batting or another layer of cotton batting, cotton batting and linen.

Pin the template to the center of your stack.

Trace the pattern onto the linen.

Now you want to mark the center. Measure 4″ in and mark *outside* the pattern on both the top and bottom. This will help guide you with the first quilting line. I also put a pin or two down the center to help guide me but you could mark it with a water or air soluble pen or pencil.

It should look like this. Next pin the layers all together so none shift while you’re working.

Take the stack over to your sewing machine. You’ll want to lower your tension and increase your stitch length. I set my machine at a tension of 2 and stitch length of 3. You can test on the edges, outside the traced template markings to see what works best. Stitch down the center.

It helps to have a seam guide attachment for the next step but if you don’t, you can just measure 1″ and mark with a water or air soluble pen or pencil or just use pins.

Using your preferred guide method, stitch 1″ to the left of the center quilting stitch. Repeat two more times. Repeat for the opposite side of the center seam.

It should look something like this when you’re all done.

Next comes the hardest part of all–cutting out the actual pot holder. It’s rough on your hand and you’ll need sturdy scissors. You can cut each layer individually if that helps.

Now take the 4 1/2″ by 8″ cotton prints you’ve chosen and fold under and iron a 1/2″ on the long sides. Pin onto the pot holder about an 1 1/2″ from the bottom edge. Stitch along edges of the cotton.

Next stitch the twill tape about 1/8″ to the top center of the back of the pot holder as seen. You can use some of the binding by cutting two 5″ strips and folding them in half lengthwise, stitching a 1/4″ and turning inside out.

Now we are to the binding stage. Make sure your binding is *bias binding* because you have to maneuver the rounded corners. A simple google search for bias binding directions will provide plenty of info if you’re a newbie to binding. Or you can check out how I made mine for the Folded Start Trivet Tutorial.

Place the binding, right side down, to the bottom edge of the pot holder. Fold back about a 1/2″ and pin.

I don’t bother pinning my binding to the pot holder but you can, especially around the rounded corners. Stitch about 3/8″ from the edge.

Bend the binding to the curve of the rounded corners. It good to use two hands here, but I needed one for the camera. ;)

When you get to the top edge, be sure the twill tape is laying flat against the back side.

Finish up the binding by lapping the binding over the folded bit in the beginning.

Now onward to hand stitching the binding. You can machine stitch the binding if you prefer but I think this looks a lot nicer. Fold back the binding and pin. Whip/hidden stitch starting at the bottom.

When you get to the top, be sure to have your needle go through the twill tape and the linen so it’s nice and secure.

And you’re done with your potholders!

(For personal use only, please.)


A lifestyle blog for the sewing and knitting projects, photography, homemaking adventures, gardening, inspirations and other ramblings of a 20-something artist. (more...)


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