Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fabric Haul - my crazy obsession

I was downtown (Vancouver) last night meeting a friend for dinner.  I'm stuck out here in the suburbs (blah, am a city girl) so whenever I've got something on downtown I get there early and walk around looking for interesting shops to check out first.

Oh yeah, before I get into my "haul", I want to mention this great little clothing store on Main & 8th called "adhesif".  From what I can tell everything in there is from local designers, sewists, jewellry makers, etc. and most is from recycled materials.  Some really interesting stuff in there.

So, on my way back downtown I walked past this little upholstery store and asked if they had any old fabric sample books they'd be willing to sell to me.  The nicest older couple and they gave me these 2 huge books of samples for free.  Price on each sample is $90 so quality stuff.

Once home later that night it took me awhile to take the books apart, tons of huge staples. But now have all the samples ready to use.  They have this paper border which just tears away, no glue residue leftover.  I don't want to run them thru the wash as they're quite intricate threading which would all unravel so will sew first, then wash the made items.

Here are the pics of my "haul":

The last picture is where I cut one sample in half and joined it onto a coordinating sample and will make a bag out of this.

Here's the embarrassing part.  When I met up with my friend my arms were dragging on the ground as I'd carried these huge books for about 20 minutes in the pouring rain switching hands with books and umbrella.  So, the embarrassing part is how excited I was to get all this beautiful fabric for free.  What is it about us sewists and our fabric?!  We're nuts!!!  We see everything thru our fabric haul eyes and say, "I know what I could make out of that!!!"  The sad part is that we don't sew nearly as much as we haul.

I'm sad though as have no friends who sew, have no one to talk to about this crazy obsession which is why I started this blog.  I know there are loads of you out there who are the same way as I read your crazy blogs and chuckle.  When I was showing my friend all my wonderful new fabrics I was met with a glazed over "you're nuts" type of look so tried to cool it a bit and not look so excited, LOL.

Tell me about your hauls.  I'd especially love to hear from others in Vancouver and where you shop.

... just remembered I got a huge bolt of fabric for $15 ($500-700 value) last week, will have to blog that one too.

There, got that out of my system ... back to work now :).


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Baby Gift (blanket, ribbon chewy, bag)

Here's a gift set I made for my ex-husband's niece who just had a baby boy, I have it on Etsy also:

I hate to say this but I'm just not happy with it.  I was just getting back into sewing a few months ago when I made this and think the fabric, although soft, is kinda old fashioned.  I was just out of touch with what's going on out there in the baby world and thought this was cute.  I still think it's cute, but would make it out of very different fabric next time round.  I put it on Etsy but don't expect it to raise a lot of excitement :).

Anyway, funny what just a few weeks of obsessing over Etsy, Pinterest and other on-line sewing sites will do to your taste.  I'm now lurking around all the thrift stores with all the other Etsy sewists looking for that special find, you know, the vintage fabric.  Spotted a huge hunk of vintage fabric years ago and turned it into a bed spread which my daughter asked for when I was re-decorating her room over the Summer, so she's now got that beloved find.  Ohhhhh, all the things I could've made with that now that I'm back into sewing.  I keep asking if she still likes it and she goes on about how great it is ... blah blah blah ... whatever ...

It's not that I have a hard time finding fabric at thrift stores, tons of sewists are dropping fabric off there ... yippee!!!  It's just that I haven't found anything quite as special as that huge hunk of beautiful fabric just laying on her bed under a pile of clothes, college books, etc.  I'm not bitter ... really ... did that sound convincing?!

I'm going to do another blog about my latest thrift haul.  There was a 50% off sale at Value Village last week and I came home with 75+ yards of fabric for $75 ... unreal!!!  Some is special, other is just filler fabric, for linings, etc.  Anyway, will blog that one later.

Here's another picture of the baby set I made:
I guess it's kinda cute but I find it frustrating looking back on stuff I made knowing I'd have done it very differently only a few short months down the road.

Do you have any projects you'd like to change?  Something you've made and gifted and would like to get back and re-do?  If so, I'd love to hear about it as I can't be the only one :).


Saturday, 26 January 2013

Owl Apron

This simple apron turned into a lot of work because of the owl:
It was a Xmas gift to my son who loves to cook and also loves owls.  He didn't seem that thrilled with it, but then, he's 23 and probably would've been happier with a video game, cash or beer.  This wasn't, of course, all he got, but he didn't jump up and down as I'd hoped (ha ha).

The owl is done with freestyle/free motion embroidery but I can't remember whether or not I used my old machine, or new sewing machine.  Doesn't matter, was just going to make the point that you don't need a special machine to do this with as my old machine is a cheap one I got at London Drugs about 7 years ago.  Only reason I upgraded was that I bent the shaft of the old one sewing dog beds for shelters.  Should've known those 20 layers were too much for any non-industrial machine.  Oh well, stupid and paid the price.

So, back to the owl.  This was my 1st attempt at free motion embroidery but I really liked the scribble type of artsy style which I figured was the most forgiving anyway, so worked out well.  Here's a close-up:
And another not-so-close-up:
I couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out considering I expected it to be in the trash.  By the way, I have a pile of sewing disasters I instantly rip apart and turn into scraps.  So this was a pleasant surprise.  I obviously didn't do it right on the apron for fear of wrecking the whole thing.  I like the applique look anyway.

What took the longest was finding the right picture to print out then transfer (used freezer paper) onto fabric. Most pictures are solid, not just outlines.  I learned that you should look up owl "cartoon" as cartoons are often just outlines so you don't need a whole printer ink cartridge to print it out with!

Your comments, advice and own project links are always welcome.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Made 3 more wallets.  Like them so much I'm keeping 1 of them.  Here's they are in Etsy plus pictures below:

This one I did a bit differently from the first in that I added stiff lining to both sides of the external part.  Was probably overkill as nasty to do the final top stitch around the entire wallet.  Have a great machine and was smart (this time, stupid last time) and bought some denim needles for this project.  What a difference those heavier needles make!!!

So Lisa, needles DO make a difference ... duh.  Funny how we just ignore certain things isn't it?!  With me it's needles.  I always thought it was overkill with all these needle variations.  Well, I now have a huge selection of various sizes as finally get it after about 40 years of sewing ... NEEDLES MATTER!!!

Here is the fabric haul I did in preparation to make a bunch of wallets or similar items, the bottom right in top pic is my favourite, hence the first I used for sewing, and for my own wallet:

This pattern is a mixture of several I found on the internet plus a few adjustments.  If you have patterns you'd like to share I'd love to see them as always looking for new ideas.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wallets (Son's & Daughter's)

I've just gotten back into sewing in a big way thanks to Etsy.  I've only sold 1 item (so far) but it's sort of made it okay to sew like a maniac because "it's in the name of a 2nd income, not just time and money wasting".  How was that for justifying, pretty good eh?!

After a decade or more of not being able to sew for my son, other than bedding, curtains, etc., he knew I was getting back into sewing so sent me a photo of a fabric wallet he liked the look of.  Well, I couldn't race up to my sewing room fast enough.  Found a pattern for the wallet he liked and had it whipped up that night.  Was tedious which isn't my strong point, but I'm learning.

Here's the wallet:

  It was killing me to not be able to embellish it with stitching, etc. but he made it clear it had to be plain.  Okay, so I didn't embellish the outside, but I used light thread so that at least there's be some definition inside to show the different pockets:
I looks a little crooked in this picture, but in person it lays flat and straight.  Anyway, he loves it which inspired me to make a wallet for my daughter.  Son gave her some Lush products which came wrapped up in this beautiful scarf.  We all loved the fabric so daughter asked if I could make her a wallet using that fabric.  I was stingy with it as worried I'd waste the fabric if the wallet bombed, so the inside's lined with another fabric.  She loves it like this and it turned out great.  Was obviously a lot more work than my son's but I felt like I could tackle hers after doing the simpler men's one.

Anyway, here's her wallet:

She liked this so much she asked if I could make a matching zipped pouch (no picture of that).  I still have enough fabric left over for 2 more wallets so posted this on my Etsy Store.  Didn't add my son's wallet on there as don't think it's attractive enough.  Looks better in person, didn't get very good pictures of it.

Patterns?  Hmmm, I don't really use them.  I search around on the internet for ideas and sometimes use tutorials but always change things around anyway.  I like my daughter's wallet so much that I'd like to make one for myself also but it's hard finding the time and I always prefer sewing for others anyway.

Would love to see your creations.  I'm looking for a good pattern for a women's wallet that folds in half but still has a zippered section and loads of card storage.  Found one I loved but when I searched for the like it said "Not Found" so obviously died a natural on-line death ... ugh.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Hanging Kitchen Towels

Sunday night and nothing to do.  I know ... I'll sew 12 hanging kitchen towels.

The above was my attempt at being artistic, not my strong point.  Anyway, they were a ton of fun to make and only took me about 3 hours which I think is pretty good for 12 towels!!!  I get pretty fussy with the little details like cutting every single speck of thread that's protruding, etc. but if you just want to whip up a couple for yourself you could probably do that in 30 minutes.

I found the brand new tea towels, in original store package, at thrift store for around $3.  But, us "sewists" know it's not about the price of the materials, but rather about the time.

I'll put these on Etsy and see if they sell.  Can also embroider name on top if requested.  If not, they'll be great to have around the house as last minute gifts, hostess gifts, etc.  Or, just to hang on my own cupboards.  Actually, they'd be a great little throw-in gift for men living on their own as they never seem to have tea towels "hanging" around ... sorry about the pun.

Oh yeah, I've made the tea towels with the fold over button style but decided to do something different and these ones hand over a knob or on a hook instead.

I've never done a sewing tutorial before, but if you'd like the pattern for the fabric strip across the top, I could try to add that to this blog.

Happy Sewing!!!


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Burlap Backpack

I made this burlap backpack for my daughter.  She used it for several months but then moved onto something larger since.

I thought the hardest part would be finding a coffee sack, which wasn't easy.  But the hardest part was dealing with real burlap.  I shook out the bag and coffee bean crumbs fell out.  Then I washed the bag twice.  The fibres messed up my lint trap big time as I didn't know I should've emptied it out several times during the process.

Anyway, it was all cleaned up and ready to go.  I didn't have a pattern so was quite the process figuring it all out.  Thankfully I had her old bag as a guide.  I don't know if you could sew burlap without a serger, but it's sure easier with one.  The burlap seemed to start coming apart as soon as it was cut so I finished off all the edges before I even cut out the bag pieces.  Then I re-serged them before sewing them together.  I padded and lined the bag  and ... well ... it took 6 hours as I was learning as I went along.

As much as I enjoyed the process, I won't be sewing with real burlap again.  The fibres got into everything, including my nostrils.  Was sneezing up a storm afterward.

I'd love to hear from you if you've made something from a real coffee bean sack.  How did you manage all the flying fibres?