Archive for the “sewing” Category

I thought I'd put away all the sewing stuff, but then friend Karen asked if I could make a couple of zipper bags for her, so I did - and while I had the machine threaded, I made one for myself as well. Once again, I followed this YouTube tutorial - this time, unsurprisingly, it went more smoothly. Especially the part with the zippers.

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, zipped shut.

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, their zippers opened to show the different fabrics on the inside.

Sewing is primarily a cycle of rearranging small pieces of fabric, pinning, and waiting for the iron to heat up... and only a very small amount of time is actually spent stitching those pieces of fabric together. See also, from when I was sewing masks at the start of the pandemic:

A six-panel comic about sewing. In the corner of each panel, a clock is advancing to show the passage of time. It is going a lot faster than it ought to be, because sewing is a time vortex. Panel 1: A person with a purple streak in their hair is ironing. Panel 2: They are laying out the pattern pieces. Panel 3: They are cutting out the pieces of fabric. Panel 4: They are pinning the pieces together. Panel 5: a door opens and a second person sticks their head through to say "I thought you were sewing today? I haven't heard the machine-" Panel 6: The first person is sitting cross-legged on the floor, deliberately turning their back to the sewing machine, thread, pins, pile of fabric pieces, and the waste bin. They are saying, "HMPH."

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I know the basics of sewing (okay, maybe I know a few of the intermediates - I'm a terrible judge of my own skills) but I've always wanted to get better. So when YouTube "helpfully" started providing me with videos of people sewing zipper pouches like it was the easiest thing in the world, I got it in my head that I wanted to try it for myself.

I'm a sucker for pretty fabrics, and I needed to give Chanukah gifts to the niblings... So they got zipper pouches :)

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, zipped shut.

I followed this YouTube "tutorial" - with "tutorial" in quotes, because it's more of a sped-up sewing demonstration rather than an instructional video. I was confident that I'd be able to figure it out, and with a minimum of cursing, a few mishaps of getting things backwards or inside-out, and a few grumbly sessions with the seam ripper, I managed to get it right.

(It seems obvious, but the sewing machine won't sew properly if it isn't threaded properly.)

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, their zippers opened to show the insides.

And hooray, the kids were all thrilled with their bags! Eldest Niece is going to use it to hold her crystal collection, and the twins are both planning to use theirs as pencil cases, though N. added, "I'm going to put my special art supplies in this."

I have quite a bit of fabric and interfacing left over, and a giant bag of zippers in many colours (because it was less expensive to buy 80 zippers than to buy 5 zippers). Perhaps I'll make some more project bags eventually - but for now, I've put away all the sewing stuff.

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Northern Virginia is starting to open up again, and I guess that means I might have to leave the house... so out came the sewing machine, and I made a couple of masks for Michael and me. The fabric is leftovers from the curtains we made when we first bought the house! I used this tutorial and found it pretty easy to follow. First I made Michael's mask, then adjusted the pattern to better fit my face, and made one for myself.

Pirate models a mask sewn from a cute flowery fabric.

The mask would fit even better with a nose wire, so I went in search of pipe cleaners in my big box of art supplies. I didn't find any, but I did find this vintage knitting nancy in a bag of mixed threads, along with a small booklet on how to knit. It suggests holding the right needle as one would hold a pencil, which seems very awkward to me - I wonder how many people failed to learn from these instructions!

A vintage white cord-knitting device with six small nails on top and a bit of cord emerging from the bottom sits next to vintage "how to knit" instructions.

And... grandma has received her long-distance surprise hug! It fits her perfectly (I mean, it's a blanket/wrap, of course it does, but still--)

Pirate's grandma models her new teal and brown wrap.

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At Thanksgiving, the annual family reunion, one of my cousins mentioned the rainbow pillow I knit last summer. "Can you make me two of those?" he asked. I tried to explain that just the one had taken me nearly two months of crafting time. "I'll PAY you," he said. I asked if I could maybe sew pillows for him instead. "What's the difference?" he asked - and with that, I knew that sewing would be just fine.

I bought pre-cut strips of fabric from Amazon:

First I pressed them flat...

...then sewed the strips together in rainbow order, and pressed the seams down. (True, pressing them all in one direction rather than open/flat might not have been the best decision. But it worked.)

From each long rainbow, I cut two squares and sewed them together all the way around, and I even managed to set in mostly-invisible zippers on the purple sides, which seem like they'd be the bottom and therefore the most hidden.

(I'm pretty pleased about the zipper.)

My cousin will be buying the inserts, because it's way easier for me to bring him pillow cases than actual pillows. But even unstuffed, I think they look pretty good!

I usually curse and grumble a lot when I'm sewing, but this project went surprisingly well. Both pillows were done in an afternoon (I'm sure if I were better at this, it would take even less time) and I only had to rip out one super-crooked seam and try again. I even have some leftovers to play around with - not enough for a third pillow, but enough for a piece of wall-art or something. Hmmm, if I cut them on angles... and then turn one upside-down... and sew it all back together... that sounds fun, doesn't it?

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This, my friends, is what is known as a Very Silly Picture. This is me, dancing like a fool, at Winterlude this past February. Friend Patrick, who is a very good photographer indeed, took the shot while I was being ridiculous in the park for the amusement of those around me. Fortunately, more people were looking at the ice sculptures than at me, or I might have been photographed whilst blushing bright red.

The great part about this picture, at least for the purposes of this blog, is that I am covered in handknits. The Winterlude Hat(tm), the Stripey Striped Scarf, the Fleeps... and, though you can't see them, I believe I was wearing handknit socks at the time. And the picture wasn't taken to show off any of those things. No, it's just a candid shot of me, wearing lots of things I knit myself. And one thing I spun and then knit, which shows up surprisingly well in pictures even if the contrast is a little dim in person.

I'd like to have enough handknit (or crocheted) stuff that all my friends' photo albums have pictures of me wearing stuff I made myself. It would also count if I learned to sew and was photographed wearing clothing I'd sewn. That's next on the list - once the craft room is set up, I'll have a place for the sewing machine and can re-familiarize myself with its ways. I have a simple skirt in my wardrobe that I'd love to be able to duplicate. After that, who knows where my skills might branch out?

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