Category Archives: Gifts

Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes – dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:

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Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.

Front

Front

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!

 

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Filed under Family, Garment sewing, Pillows

Clutch Purse Made From a Book

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Clutch purse

My oldest daughter has always loved to read. Her sister came up with a great idea to turn a book into a clutch purse as a Christmas gift this year and I was able to help her make it.

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Have you seen anything like this? Here is one that my other daughter purchased. It is very hard to tell it is a purse!

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We followed a tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim which she calls DIY: Nerdy Chic Book Clutch.

Tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim

Photo and Tutorial by Erica of Caught On A Whim

Erica has two other tutorials that go along with this one. One is for covering a book with fabric and the other is for cutting out the inside of the book to create a space to make a book safe – you know, to hide your cash or jewelry in!

The book that we used was an old book found at an antique shop. It has a pretty cover and so we chose not to cover it with fabric. It looks as though it could be leather bound, but it isn’t.

Inside covered with fabric and pages cut.

Inside covered with fabric and pages cut.

Holes are made with a needle along the top and bottom of the first and last few pages and the fabric insert is sewn to these. We found that we could have sewn through the pages without making those holes first as we had a very sturdy and sharp needle.

Figuring dimension for fabric insert.

Figuring dimension for fabric insert.

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The pages are all mod-podged together (in 2 sections) and we painted the edges of our book to make them look gilded. Putting the clasp on involved first glueing a small piece of scrap wood to the pages in order to align the clasp with the outside of the book.

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Clasp glued in place and pages painted.

It ended up looking pretty great!

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Hexagon Zippered Pouch

I made up a little pouch yesterday.

Hexagon pouch made with Riley Blake Fabric

Hexagon pouch made with Riley Blake Fabric

The Modern Quilt Guild provided 6 fat eighths of this Riley Blake Fabric and challenged its members all around the world to make something from them and post a picture by Feb. 17th.

DCMQG's group of fabric for the Riley Blake fabric challenge

DCMQG’s group of fabric for the Riley Blake fabric challenge

The rules are simple – you can make anything that is quilted using these fabrics or any Riley Blake fabric and you can also add in any solids that you wish to.

Back of pouch

Back of pouch

I just wanted to make something up with the bundle we were given. I used the whole piece of the solid grey for the outside and a white and grey stripe for the inside. I simply cut the grey piece in half and quilted both halves.

Quilted wavy lines and added some leaves to one line just for fun.

Quilted wavy lines and added some leaves to one line just for fun.

I then made English Paper Pieced hexagons out of the other 4 fabrics into 2 flowers and appliquéd them onto the outside. 

EPP hexagon flower

EPP hexagon flower in progress

I wanted this flower to be flowing off the edge.

I wanted this flower to be flowing off the edge.

I inserted the zipper using my favorite technique of using little fabric tabs on both sides of the cut zipper to make the final product all neat and tidy. How this works is that there doesn’t end up being any zipper parts caught in the sewn side seam. In fact, I try to make it such that the fabric tabs aren’t caught there either.

Zipper inserted. You can't see it here, but the lining is also attached at this point.

Zipper inserted. You can’t see it here, but the lining is also attached at this point.

I had intended to make a flat bag, but right at the very end of sewing it up, I decided to box the bottom corners so that the bag would stand up.

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Boxed corners on the bottom

This kind of messed with my hexagon flower placement, but I do think it makes the bag more useful.

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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Gifts, Purses and Bags

Winter Tweed Boston Bag

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I made this wool bag for one of my daughters for Christmas this year. It is from the book “Carry Me – 20 Boutique Bags to Sew” by Yuka Koshizen. I bought the book after seeing the bag from the cover made up at a quilt shop in Hawaii. However, after buying the book I fell in love with this Boston Bag and knew my daughter who works in Boston would love it.

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This bag was quite an accomplishment. Just gathering the materials needed to make it was somewhat of a challenge.  I bought the tweed wool and then the lining fabric. That was the easy (and fun!) part.

Inside of bag.

Yellow for the inside!

Then I bought the 12″ Tubular Frame (Item 912) from Ghee’s online.  I thought I was ready to go. As I got started I saw that the pattern called for purse feet on the bottom. That seemed like a good idea but I couldn’t find any locally so back online I went.

Antique brass purse feet

Antique brass purse feet

I ended up ordering from BuckleGuy.com. I had to decide what color metal hardware to order. The internal frame doesn’t show except for the hinges which are brass. I didn’t want shiny brass feet or handle hardware and so I chose antique brass. These small antique brass feet (B1615) require a back post to attach them.

Close up. Aren't they pretty?

Close up. Aren’t they pretty?

The back post (B1414) comes in different lengths and so I had to guess what thickness the bottom of the bag would be. They only cost about 8 cents each so I ordered a couple different sizes. I ended up using the 3/8″ size which worked well. My bag bottom had 2 layers of interfaced fabric (wool and lining), a layer of foam stabilizer which gives this bag it’s structure, and 2 layers of stiff Peltex that was cut just the size of the bag bottom.

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After all of that, I couldn’t find leather handles locally. I could find some synthetic leather handles that looked pretty nice, but after spending all of this money on all of the other materials, was I really going to settle for less than leather? And believe me, this daughter would notice – immediately! I needed dark brown leather, 20″ long with antique brass hardware and the ability to attach to the bag. I bought these from Pursesuppliers on Etsy. I did like that they sewed on rather than having to use a single rivet. I just feel as though they can handle the weight of whatever gets put into the bag better this way. And believe me, a LOT can fit in this bag!

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Pockets on both sides.

Once I had the fabric cut and all of the supplies gathered, it was summer! I kept everything together and put it all away for months.

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The directions for this bag are very minimal. You have to read and look at small diagrams and I don’t think they are very clear. I would not want a beginner sewist or someone who hasn’t put several handbags together before to make an attempt at anything in this book. I had to make my best guess at much that I did. Having said that, though, the whole bag is one piece of fabric, and so it is very cleverly put together. It’s all about that internal frame.

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I am so glad to finally have completed this bag! I think my daughter is going to love it – I really hope so.

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review, Purses and Bags, Uncategorized

Pojagi Curtain

Pojagi kitchen curtain

Pojagi kitchen curtain.

My oldest daughter and her husband bought a house a few months ago. So far, they only have temporary curtains or shades in their windows. Their kitchen window faces the street. It is nice to work at the sink and look out but it seems as though there should be some kind of curtain there for privacy. This is not a huge issue because of the size and position of the window, but it got me thinking about a decorative sheer panel curtain and a technique I’ve recently seen called pojagi. Have you heard of it?

My friend and quilt guild cohort, Dianne Miller Wolman, made this fun piece that hangs in her home. She made her piece with a hand sewing technique.

Pojagi by Dianne Miller Woman

Pojagi by Dianne Miller Woman

Below are some examples that I found on Flickr. Click on the title in the caption to go to the original photo and to learn more about these pieces. Victoria Gertenbach who blogs at The Silly BooDilly and who made the red “curtain” below (#1) has a great tutorial for pojagi using the sewing machine.

Pojagi or Bojagi is a Korean patchwork technique where the seams are finished on both sides. Historically these pieces were used as wrapping cloths. Essentially the seams are flat-felled. You sew each seam with the fabrics laid out in a staggered manner such that the top fabric’s seam allowance is 1/4″ and the bottom is 1/2″.

Each seam sewn first with a staggered seam allowance.

Each seam sewn first with a staggered seam allowance.

Next, the wider seam allowance is pressed over the smaller one and that whole seam is pressed flat with the raw edges all encased.

Encased seam is then edgestiched down.

Encased seam is then edgestiched down.

I read that traditional pojagi is done by hand and with a contrasting thread color. Most of the contemporary examples I’ve seen have used matching thread but I decided to go ahead and sew my piece with a bold black thread.

The curtain is completely reversible but on the regular seams one side shows one black thread line and the opposite side shows two.

Reversible!

Reversible!

Once I had read up on this technique, I wanted to plan my design. Most pictures that I found online were very log cabin-ish. My daughter is an engineer for a construction firm and her husband is both an engineer and an architect. My younger daughter made a comment that if I did a log cabin design for them I had better do it with straight lines – that they would not care for a “wonky” log cabin! For some reason, this got me thinking about their floor plan. I knew that my son-in-law had a digital version he had made up to play with the placement of their furniture. We had used it to calculate the square footage of their walls to help with knowing how much paint to buy to cover the walls. Could I use this?

Floor plan

Floor plan

I copied it on to graph paper and filled in some walls that were missing – like the whole garage!

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And so . . . take a look at my curtain again . . .

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Would you ever guess this was a floor plan?

I love how it looks from the outside at night too!

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Filed under Family, Gifts, Uncategorized

Leather iPad Case

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My daughter, Megan, asked me if I could make a protective case for her new iPad. She carries it in a large book bag and wanted something padded to put it in. This seemed like it could be a quick and easy project and I wanted to make it from materials on hand. After looking through some fabric of hers, my thoughts wandered to the leather that we recently used for a skirt yoke. Was there enough left? Yes!

iPad is 6.75" x 9.5" Leather cut 16" x 11" and 2 inch "flap" added to top of one side.

iPad is 6.75″ x 9.5″
Leather cut 16″ x 11″ and 2 inch “flap” added to top of one side.

I wanted to personalize this case in some way and decided to put an “M” on it in reverse appliqué. I picked out a fabric that would show from underneath and ironed a heavy interfacing on the back. I taped it on to the back of the leather piece since pins would leave permanent pin holes.

Interfaced fabric put right side to wrong side of leather.

Interfaced fabric put right side to wrong side of leather.

On the front, I taped the letter “M” and stitched around it. I just kept moving the tape as I sewed!

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Once the stitching was done. . .

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I made a slit with a small pair of embroidery scissors. . .

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and cut as close to the stitching as I could, revealing the fabric underneath.

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Next I cut a piece of Annie’s Soft and Stable (foam stabilizer) and a lining fabric to the same size as the leather piece.

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These were spray basted together and then stitched at the “fold” lines of the finished case.

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Leather sticks to the throat plate of the sewing machine, so I did this stitching with a piece of thin paper underneath which was easily torn away after the stitching was done.

Now what? I decided the best way to finish the edges was to bind them in the same lining fabric. I started with the top of the front of the case. This is double folded binding cut 2-1/4″ on the straight of grain.

Binding on top of front of case.

Binding on top of front of case.

Next I bound the flap. I rounded the corners and made bias binding (also 2-1/4″ wide) to do this part.

Binding across the flap.

Binding across the flap.

The final binding was cut 2-3/4″ wide on the straight of grain and was applied to the final 2 sides after folding the piece.

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Final binding complete.

I used a hair elastic and a button from my button jar for the closure.

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Now her new iPad should be nice and protected from scratches in her book bag.

Megan was very happy with it!

Megan was very happy with it!

 

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Filed under Gifts, Tutorials, Uncategorized

Maple Leaf Table Runner

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Aren’t these beautiful? My friend, Jane, made the top one and mine is on the bottom.

This is a pattern by my friend Anjeanette. You can find the tutorial on her blog here. I have been in love with this since Anjeanette showed it to me last fall. This fall she offered a class on it at our local quilt store Capital Quilts and I could not resist.

Detail

Detail of quilting and leaves

Jane was going to be visiting me from out of town at the time of the class. I sent her a picture of Anjeanette’s table runner and asked her if she wanted to come.

Anjeanette's table runner (used with permission)

Anjeanette’s table runner (used with permission)

Jane couldn’t resist it either! The leaves can be easily cut from a charm pack. Jane used a charm pack of batiks and I bought some fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett fabrics in fall colors.

My first attempt at piecing a leaf at home before the class turned out like this:

First attempt at home

First attempt at home

Yeah, not exactly square. However, I was trying to decide whether I liked the mix of fabrics sewn together in one leaf. I did decide to do each leaf in a separate fabric instead of mixing them all. Here is the leaf I did during class:

Second attempt during class

Second attempt during class (with sashing)

And here’s Janes:

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Anjeanette went over a lot of little details during class about piecing that helped us to get an accurate result.  These blocks, without sashing are about 5-1/2″ square. The pieces are small.

Another version by Anjeanette

Another version by Anjeanette

Luckily I wrote the tips down on the class handout, and so I still have it to refer to. And now I’m going to write it here so that it is even further embedded in my mind (and I can refer back when I’ve lost the class handout). If you are a quilter you will think I’m stating the obvious, but here goes:

1. Use a 1/4″ foot if you have one.

2. Line up a piece of colored tape to extend the 1/4″ mark forward on your sewing table so you have a much longer guide to sew against.

3. Hold the piece you are sewing all the way through the presser foot. Don’t let go right at the end. If you have to use a tool to guide it under the foot, do so.

4. Use a scrap piece of fabric as a leader before sewing your little pieces. This will keep the threads from being sucked down into the machine.

5. Each fabric piece usually has a little stretch in one direction. If you determine this ahead of time, you can often position it in such a way that the non-stretchy edge ends up on the edge instead of along the sewn line.

6. Lead with the least “pointy” part of the pieces you are sewing together. This may mean that you flip the pieces over and sew with the smaller one on the bottom. (See photos below)

7. Ironing – Set the pieces by pressing them flat first. Then open up the seam and press.  Don’t use steam.

8. Anytime you can make your pieces a little larger, sew them together, and then cut them into the exact size you need, the easier it will be to get them perfectly square.  This was the case for the kite shape that is in this block.

There are many ways to cut and sew this shape:  (and there are 6 of this shape in each leaf)

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It begins with a rectangle,  a square and the need to sew a diagonal line. You could mark each of these and sew on the line and then trim.

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But here is the easier way -

Don't mark, trim first, then sew.

Don’t mark, trim first, then sew.

Line the 1/4″ mark of your ruler on that diagonal and then trim the excess away.  This way you are ready to sew using the edge of the piece as a guide.

Here are pictures to illustrate tip #6 above regarding how to stitch this piece.

Point first! Don't do this.

Point first! Don’t do this.

That point is sure to get caught up if you try to sew it like this.

Flip it over and sew this way so that the point goes through last.

Flip it over and sew this way so that the point goes through last.

I promise that the orange piece is lined up nicely under there and sewing it this way will give you a much better result.

Once the leaves are pieced, they are bordered with sashing in different widths. I think this is what makes this table runner so special. It has movement to it because the leaves are not all lined up in a row and facing the same direction. When sewing on the sashing, always have the pieced block facing towards you so that you can see that you are sewing to the right of the leaf tips and not cutting them off.

Jane’s table runner has an extra layer of batting under the leaves in order to make them stand out a bit more.

Batting sewn and then trimmed away from back of leaf.

Batting sewn and then trimmed away from back of leaf.

Once this was done, a layer of batting was applied to the whole runner top and veins were free motion quilted on the leaves and then a stem was embroidered on.

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Leaf veins and stems

This was done before the backing was put on so that this stitching would not show on the back.

Now the backing was added and the piece was quilted and then the binding put on.

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I love the way that Jane’s (the light colored one) is framed by the dark binding and mine was bound in the background fabric so that the leaves are the whole show. This is such a good example of how the same pattern can look totally different.

Please look closely at those points.  We are so proud of them!

Here is what I ended up making from that first wonky block I made with the mix of fabrics:

Fabric "basket"

Fabric “basket”

Again, you can find Anjeanette’s tutorial for this table runner here and the homepage to her blog here. You may just want to go there to look and see what she’s up to now. This isn’t the only beautiful project that she has designed!

Addendum: Moda Bake Shop has just posted a throw size quilt by Anjeanette using the same leaf block but double the size! Find it here.

Super Sized Maple Leaf Throw byAnjeanette final picture

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