Saturday, 20 June 2015

A Bit of a Panel

As the reorg of my craft cabin continues, I've still managed to do a bit of sewing. In January at the Make-It Show in Farnborough, I bought a panel for my sewing area.

I wasn't sure if I would cut it up and make cushions or use the cut pieces as appliques for tote bags, etc. but in the end I decided to leave it whole and quilt it. Well, quilting is probably a rather loose term here, but that's what *I* would call it.

This is just propped against the bookcase but it will be hung on the wall. Here's how I did it:

First, I tacked on some wadding (UK)/batting (USA), then I machine stitched around each panel. So far, so good. Then I attached a solid colour piece as the back, but realized it would look much better if I stitched around some of the elements within the panels. Doh! Unless I took the back off, there was no way to do that. Instead I hand-stitched some of the bigger bits without catching the back. That was a little tricky and  I soon decided I'd had enough of that, so not all of the panels have hand-stitching.

I'm lazy, I suppose, but it was my first attempt and now I know what to do for the next panel project. I have a Christmas panel I bought a couple of years ago that I'm going to do this year. But here's what I've learned:

1) To make the sandwich first: panel, wadding, and a plain muslin or cotton backing.

2) Once the panel sandwich is done, THEN start stitching. Machine stitch as much as possible, then hand stitch.

3) Once ALL the stitching is done, then attach the back fabric.

That way, the inside cotton/muslin holds it together better. It doesn't matter that stitching shows on this back as it will all be covered by the back fabric.

So, I've managed to get rid of a lot of magazines but still have a few boxes of scrapbooking and card making stash to go, including lots of stamps. The problem is that my local craft friends have also gone away from scrapbooking and cardmaking to sewing, so no takers there! I need to have a garage sale, I think. I'm sure that as soon as do, however, I'll decide to scrapbook again.

Meanwhile, I think I'd like to find a local quilting, applique, or patchwork class. I'm looking at the residence-type courses at Denman College (the Women's Institute college), but they're expensive. None of the local fabric shops (there are only a couple of them anyway) offer courses and I don't have the time to do the 10-week courses offered by the Kent County Council. Ah well....!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Odds and Ends

I didn't realize that it's almost been a month since the last post! Honestly, I have NOT been just twiddling my thumbs. Just after my last post we went on a short visit to the Black Forest in Germany. It was gorgeous and the people were just so warm and friendly. I didn't want to leave.

View from the house where we stayed in Stockmatt.
Since, I've been back, however, I've actually been doing a little sewing and a lot of organizing and clearing out. I got rid of most all my scrapbooking and cardmaking magazines, some of which were really dear to me (and expensive, like the Somerset Studio, Stampington, and vintage scrapbooking ones that no longer publish). There were stacks of them, but I advertised them on and someone has given them a very good home. I need to clear out a lot of my supplies, too, but can't bring myself to do much of that just yet. I keep thinking that maybe, just perhaps, just someday, I might want to use a stamp, a Tim Holtz die, a scrapbook paper, etc. You never know...and I'd sure hate to have to replace something I'd given away!
Just one of several piles of magazines!
So my sewing pile is growing. I haven't bought any new fabric, but just found some Butterick patterns for half price and couldn't resist that!
My just-received goodies from Weaver Dee
One of my latest sewing projects has been a tote bag. I love the fabric and the bag is certainly usable, but I wouldn't want anyone to look too closely at the construction. I still haven't mastered a STRAIGHT seam. Mine wobble all over the place. And for this bag, I followed a free online tutorial but I think I misread the instructions as the shape and size is nothing like the bag in the tutorial! Oh well, as my friend Hazel always says: "It's a prototype!" Next time I'll do it differently.

Actually a bag is the last thing I need since I have about a dozen purchased and freebies, but I just wanted to make one myself. I found this gorgeous fabric -- it's heavy and bag-perfect, though it frays like crazy.

Good news: My overlocker (USA "serger") is now out of its box. I bought it at a craft show in February 2012 and just this week opened the box! After reading about the threading problems, I was scared stiff to use it.
Silly me....choke! The truth is, I still haven't used it! I have, however, signed up for an online overlocker/serger course on Craftsy, but haven't had time to start that yet, either.