This is a picture of a new tote that I recently sewed for a Martha Pullen class. I learned to sew a million years ago. I started out with clothes for my Barbie doll. If that doesn’t date me then you are either really old and or a lot younger than me.
I moved away from sewing while establishing my career and having my 4 children. As the kids got more independent I dabbled in other crafts but have come back to my first love-fabric and all one can do with it. When I sit down at my sewing machine, I smile to myself and probably make a little happy sigh.
I have recently decided that I may some day want to share my love of sewing by doing some teaching. I have taken at least a dozen Craftsy classes and taken classes at various sewing expos but no other formal, structured classes since those I had to take in junior high school. By the way, I highly recommend Craftsy. The classes are always available online so once you purchase a class, you can view it over and over again. You can set bookmarks for that pesky technique that you always forget how to do and go right to it whenever you need a reminder.
I sewed this on a domestic machine and since it is vinyl, it took some finessing. The handle instructions would produce a nice looking strap but it would be 4 thicknesses of vinyl which my domestic would not have rocked and rolled over in an uniform fashion. I decided to use quilting cotton (matching the lining) and vinyl to make the straps thinner.
I first pressed a seam down the middle of the length of the cotton to mark for later. I then drew a line down the middle of the length of the wrong side of the vinyl (red line in picture)and then sewed the 2 strips right sides together (vinyl and cotton).
ThenI folded and pressed the unsewn edge of the cotton to the cotton fold line.
I used wonder clips to fold the vinyl to the red marked line on the vinyl and then brought that (newly folded) vinyl to meet the cotton. I would suggest doing the topstitching with the vinyl side up so you can keep an eye on your stitch line and use the appropriate foot for your machine for vinyl and the correct tension settings. My Viking Designer Deluxe has an automatic setting for vinyl and a teflon foot.
At this point the strap still seemed a bit thick to do even topstitching once the strap was sandwiched in between the outer vinyl and the drop in cotton lining. I decided to not chance doing wonky stitches in the vinyl and used rivets instead to neatly attach the handles. I think it looks better and is also more stable.
Of course my mystery quilt is languishing now-about 3/4s quilted. Quilt guilt! I need to get back and get that done but it was nice to take a break and work on these quick projects.
I have a couple of sewing friends (friends that share my love of sewing). We decided to try our hand at making a mystery quilt. For those of you, not in the know with quilt jargon, a mystery quilt is one where the pattern maker walks you through constructing a quilt, block by block, and what the finished product looks like remains hidden until the final reveal at the end. Since I did not know if I would like said mystery quilt, I used only fabrics from my stash. Which I feel worked out well. However the pattern I chose was for a double/queen size. I just ran with that not looking at the actual dimensions. Sigh. 64 X 64″ on our queen bed looks like a tiny yarmulke on a big man’s head-like you know it has some significance but adding warmth to the head is certainly not happening. I then started to cook up ideas to add both width and length.
I decided to do a turquoise strip and a lime green. Then I made some flying geese and alternated them to form this effect which reminds me of a big ribbon. Then another lime green and a turquoise strip.
Today’s task is to get it pin basted to the batting and backing. I got it about 3/4 done and ran out of safety pins. Even though I have about 3000 of them. Another sigh. We live in a small town, we have no quilt shop and our only department store recently went out of business. Maybe the grocery store?
Addendum-The picture above was taken after basting and doing some decorative stitches with size 12 thread.
Last March I went to the MQX (quilting) expo in Manchester NH. This is an event where thousands of middle aged women and 3 men attend classes on every facet of quilting. Ok, there were maybe 5 men and a few lost husbands wandering around. I took 2 classes from Mark Sherman-one of the 5 men. One of the classes was on making “stained glass” quilts. Mark is a big fan of Louis Tiffany and he has made some incredibly beautiful quilts. The above is the end product from that class (many hours later). Below is the picture that inspired the quilt. This was my first experience doing an appliquéd quilt. I had done reverse appliqué on a coat (ala Alabama Chanin).
Mark is a great teacher. He is warm, funny, and very generous in sharing his knowledge. If you get a chance don’t hesitate to sign up for one of his classes.
I started a sewing blog a couple of months ago on my old hosting site-JustHost and they have been having technical difficulties for the last 2 months. Yes, it has been 2 months. Consequently I am starting all over again and also learning WordPress along the way. Progress may be slow…