Sewing machine school

So I have had my Brother Innovis 1200 (sewing/embroidery combo) for over 3 years now. I sew on it daily, but I never successfully figured out how to use the embroidery part, which is a complete shame because I know several people who would kill to have embroidery. I mean I have tried several times but I must have been doing a bunch of stuff wrong because every project looked like crap. And I am not talking about the crazy perfectionist version of “crap” that looks great to everyone else on the planet but you; these were truly sad. So I FINALLY enrolled in the sewing machine class you get to go to when you first buy your machine…luckily they don’t have time limits on those!

The first class of two was last night and I was super excited but also exhausted from work because the class was 5-9pm. At one point I was zoned out watching my image being stitched and the instructor commented, “Jamie, either you are concentrating really hard or you are really tired.” At about 8:30 I was about to crash. But, I made it through and I have to say the class was great and I learned some new random things in addition to working the embroidery part of my Brother. Though it was nice to already know how to work my machine and not be stressed at how to thread it or change needles or feet.

So here is my project…it was supposed to say Jamie Loves Sewing but I didn’t have time to finish it all, so it just says Loves…which is a little weird. I wish I could say I will just finish it later but I probably won’t…knowing me.

It sounds kind of lame to non-sewers but I am super excited to go to my class next week. Hopefully I will pick up some more tips.
Until then, happy sewing!

Kiki learns to sew

My (almost) 9 year old little sister, Kiki, is in town for her spring break this week. Yesterday as I was sewing her a Simple Skirt from Dana at MADE, Kiki said she wanted to try to sew something herself. We were looking through a sewing magazine and she kept suggesting these semi-complex projects, but I thought it was best to start off with a simple pillowcase.

So I helped her cut the fabric (she chose pink and purple skulls that I had randomly gotten on clearance), but I let her do all the sewing.

Halfway in the middle she said she didn’t want to sew anymore because she didn’t want to mess it up more than she had already. I assured her that she did a great job and could’t mess it up because we can always stiches! So she finally finished the pillowcase and felt so proud.

Then my little brother William wanted one too, so I let him pick out some fabric (he chose the space pattern) and I whipped him up a quick pillowcase. It is amazing how easy those are, considering how expensive pillowcases  are (especially King pillowcases) when you go to buy one.

William and his new pillow!

By the way, here is the skirt I made Kiki…

A super windy day!

This was our “trial version” so we will be making another one…next time we will be using a batik. She is kind of skinny (22.5″ waist) so I used a spandex band 23″ long and the whole width of fabric for the fluff factor. We also did a 18.5″ length because she wanted it to her knees. She also wants a dress so I guess I will be working on that one too.

Until later, happy sewing! And Happy Easter!

Squeezing in some Saturday Sewing

I spent yesterday running around shopping (no, not for fabric, because I am Stash Bustin’ until the end of April) but I was able to squeeze in a little sewing.

I wanted to work a little more on the triangle pouch I did the other day. I made a few improvements and I am very happy how it turned out. I used craft fuse this time, rather than batting….that made a huge difference. And I made it larger, but I can’t decide if it is too large! I also used two different fabrics this time, and put the green fabric on the inside lining. It still has a middle seam running down the bottom but it doesn’t bug me as much this time with pretty fabric. I also decided that I absolutely want a serger to complete the inside seams! I will have to work on getting one.

The pouch I made the other day (below) and the one I made last night (above).
Note the size difference!

And I did a better job with the zipper. I like adding a little bit of fabric at the ends of the zipper, so the zipper doesn’t start or top right a the edges of the piece. It looks much better!

Front view. I have to confess I chose these fabrics mainly because
I wanted to use up my green zipper, but they look great together. The
one problem I ran into was not having green thread…so I used white.

I also had time to make a bunch of the Sani-Pack Pocket Tissue Holders I was working on a few weeks ago…ok, 16 to be exact. Some will go in my dad’s store, and I might pop up a few on Etsy. I sent a few to family and they loved them!

I had previously cut up all the fabric but this project got stalled when my machine broke. Feels kind of good to actually finish something!

I used 2 different Orange/Pink fabrics and mixed them up between the packs.

Front and back view of the Sani-pack, along with the
Hand sanitizing cloths, Band-aids, and Kleenex that go inside.

Finally Sewing Again

So my sewing machine broke and I had to get it repaired, then I went out of town the day I picked it up. So I haven’t sewn anything in nearly 3 weeks! I have to say I was definitely missing it! Of course my Mom thought I was ridiculous because I told her I was dying to make something and be crafty…but she is craft-impaired, so clearly she doesn’t understand the urge!

Anyway, I spent far too long figuring out what I wanted to sew first because I am still on the search for quick things to sew and sell. Then I remembered that last week one of my co-workers was showing me a “trianglie-ish” pouch her mother made her and I had seen something like it before that I had been thinking about making, so I whipped one up as my first project on my freshly oiled machine.

And as per the STASH BUSTIN’ challenge I embarked on yesterday from the T-Shirt Diaries, I used scraps I had laying around.

Dimensions are about 6″ long, 4.5 wide, and 4.5 tall.

It came out pretty nice and of course I am already thinking about fixes for the next version. I used batting but I didn’t use stabilizer, so it wasn’t quite as firm as I would have liked.

And the middle seam at the bottom is driving me crazy so I am thinking about how to fix that.

I may try to redo the size of the pieces and some how shift the seams to sides of the bottom. We’ll see what I come up with!

Stash Bustin’

Ok, my friend Janna decided to participate in the Spring Stashbusting Challenge that is happening over at the T-Shirt Diaries. That got me thinking how I am a fabric hoarder and spend more time planning and shopping than I do sewing sometimes, so I decided to throw my hat in for the challenge also. So I am committing to abstaining from any craft supply purchase unless absolutely necessary for a period of 30 days. ***March 22nd through April 22nd to be exact***

This is my cotton stash:

And this is my heavier fabric stash:

I know…it is ridiculous how much fabric I have. I could probably sew off of it for a year or two. I try not to add it up in my head how much I have spent on fabric, but AT LEAST I got almost every bit of it on sale. That has to count for something! And I have accumulated more this year because I am working on starting an Etsy store and making some things to sell in my dad’s T-shirt store. I do have to confess that I will need to order some more zippers to finish some things, but I believe that falls in the parameters of rules. Plus, my addiction is really only to cotton fabric, and not really the notions. But still…I am committed to the challenge! I am also challenging myself not to go to JoAnn’s or Hancock Fabric for the same term. It would just be asking for trouble if I did.

One good thing that came out of the challenge so far though is that I had to organize my sewing room and put a ton of stuff away so I could take the picture. So Saturday when I get to spend the day sewing I will have a nice clean space to work on!

Ok, so there…you know my dirty laundry. Wish me luck!

Biased against Binding

I have mentioned before that I don’t do many quilts because they seem to take forever…and they certainly do. But, I decided to make my sister, Christie, a simple quilt because she has been confined to bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy (she is due in June!) and I wanted her to have something nice while incubating the baby. I can’t be with her because she lives in Seattle and I live in Houston, so this is my contribution.

So I threw this together in a few days though the project took 2 weeks to completion because I kept dragging my feet finishing it. The cause of the apprehension…binding.

I don’t like binding quilts. I actually don’t really like the quilting part much either. The piecing is probably my favorite. In fact, I have several quilt tops that are already pieced but yet may never see the light of day as a quilt. Anyway, I have always cheated and used pre-made (and not as nice) bias binding. This time I decided to make my own binding that matched the quilt. I should probably mention here that I semi cheated on the backing by using a fleece as a back, not batting and another piece of cotton. But it is because I wanted it to be soft and warm on the back side. I probably should have just sewn the fleece and top on wrong sides and then just turned it in, then quilted it, but I though I would try to do it properly. Next time, I don’t think I will.

So, making the binding was interesting and I kind of butchered it…but once you do the double fold you really couldn’t tell. I referenced tutorials from Buzzville and Modern Quilt Love.

I still didn’t attach the binding right…I just stuck it on and did a zig-zag stitch. But I wasn’t about to do it right by using the the hidden stitch to secure it by hand. I don’t sew with my hands. Period. If I have to hand sew it, I won’t do it. That is why people invented sewing machines…to sew. We all have our lines…that is mine.

Anyway, I am pretty ok with how the whole project turned out, but I don’t think I will be doing anything soon that I have to bind. I am pretty comfortable with my skill level when it comes to sewing random things, but I admit that I suck at binding. However, I know my sister will be in love with the quilt and not knit-pick it like I would. It is amazing that if you make something you can find 1000 things wrong with it that no one else does. I also made matching pillowcases that rocked. I was pretty proud of those.

For a major part of the project, I used the Oceanica fabric from In the Beginning. I love the ocean and mermaids and sea stars, and as soon as I saw the fabric I had to buy it, for Christie. It also feels very NW Pacific, which I knew my sister would love. I also mixed in some random things, including several batik patterns. I always have a hard time sewing with batiks…I can never find things I feel they go with. But they were perfect for this quilt. I still have a hard time with colors, only because I am such a perfectionist that I am scared I will pick something that doesn’t “go”. But I have worked hard to try to accept that sometimes not matching perfectly looks even better. I am also a big fan of brick shaped blocks. I think they feel more modern than using square blocks. But I usually do them in nice rows, rather than a brick road pattern. And it is a quick project to sew. If you don’t bind it, that is…

I appliqued several sea stars in a matching batik and I made two matching pillowcases.
I love this fabric! I liked being able to use the Oceanica fabric for the entire pillowcase.
I also sewed the same batik I used for the sea stars into the pillowcase as an embellishment.
PS- Sorry about the bad lighting! The colors are much rich in person. Hopefully I can get her to send me a pic once she gets it.
**UPDATE** – My sister sent me this pic of my nieces and nephew huddled in the quilt I made her. Aren’t they adorable?? :)

Sani-Pack Pocket Tissue Holders

I am an improver…I can’t help it. It also contributes to my sewing ADD. When I sew something I am always rethinking in my head how I could make it better…even sometimes before I am finished the first one I am working on. Well, the project from yesterday, the Pocket Tissue Holders, had a couple of things that bugged me. So, I fixed them!

The previous version is on the left, and my new and improved version is on the right.

First, I didn’t like that the opening for the tissues didn’t cover up the tissues completely. I imagine the tissue holder at the bottom of my purse gathering junk inside because of that opening, thus negating the cleanliness of the tissues. So I fixed that by making my initial fabric a little wider and consequently a teeny bit shorter.

Secondly, I hate doing more sewing than I have to…so I figured out an easier way to do the exposed seams. This made the project much faster! Lastly, I added a little pocket in the back for some of those hand sanitizer packets and a couple of bandaids.
Look, your tissues are covered!
Everybody needs anti-bacterial wipes and band-aids!
Actually this project turned out pretty awesome with my improvements. I think I will whip up a pattern for my new Tissue Sani-Pack and put it up for sale.

Pocket Tissue Holders

I don’t generally carry tissues but I have seen this Pocket Tissue Holder project around and it just seemed so cute and easy I had to try it because I just wanted to get in a little quick sew in today.

Skip to My Lou has a great tutorial and it only took 2 squares of 6.5″ x 7″ fabric. I had just enough of this sunflower fabric so I made three (I used unbleached muslin inside). I also used a little extra 2″ x 5″ or so piece to make a little handle (not on the tutorial). Just add it in before you sew up the side seams.

Hopefully this weekend I will finish that big project and get it all sent off. I find it difficult to get motivated to tackle challenging things in the evening after a long day at work. But it is really my timeline so I guess it will get done when it gets done. Oh well…

Until then, happy sewing! :)

Appliqued Onesies

I spent all weekend working on a secret project that I will reveal later so I don’t accidentally spoil the surprise. I still have a few hours to go on it before it is complete though…hopefully I can finish it tomorrow night.

But I did have time tonight to whip up 2 little onesies appliqued for my friend Jen’s baby, Tres, who is 2 months old now. I used regular wonder under to apply the letters and I should have used tear away stabilizer to back it up but I am out….it seemed to come out pretty well. That stretchy cotton can be tricky though and I did have to seam rip and go over a  couple of parts again. I will have to pick up some more stabilizer on my next craft store run, which seems to be 2-3 times per week…I know, I know, it’s an addiction…

I haven’t seen little Tres since he came over and napped out during Super Bowl, so I though I would go visit and bring him a little gift. I hope he likes them! I will try to see if he will model one (without throwing up on it first) so I can take some pics.

Until then, happy sewing!

Update: I took these to little Tres but he was sleeping so I didn’t make him try them on. But his mom was super excited about them!
Then a few days later, she sent me this pic…so cute! :)


Ok, so I told my friend Janna that I would finally take some pictures of my new sewing studio. I bought a house last year and turned the upstairs gameroom into my sewing space. After several trips to IKEA, I finally got all the furniture in place around Thanksgiving, though I still have yet to finish decorating. And for a sewer, my curtains are pretty sad…just some cheap ones from target that need a serious hemming. Hopefully I will get to that one day.


Read the rest of this entry »