Thursday, 15 March 2012

Check out my apron

It's gorgeous. There are slight imperfections, but they aren't overly noticeable and the apron still looks amazing.

The project is the from the book Amy Butler's In Stitches: 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects. I had to make my own pattern so I made it from newspaper. There were a lot more pieces to keep track of for the apron so I made sure to label each piece, otherwise I would have trouble figuring out what was what.

I did have a few bumps in the road to completing the apron, but I was able to fix them and end up with a finished product. I did have to use the seam ripper a couple of times. I also YouTubed a video on how to machine baste.

This video helped explain to me what machine basting is and how to do it. The instructions in the book are numbered based on the part of the apron you're working on and the instructions kept referring to machine basting. I ignored the instruction the first few times but since it kept coming up, I decided I should just figure out what it is and why it's important. Pretty much it's similar to hand basting, but instead you're using a machine. 

Overall, I am very happy with my apron and especially the beautiful pink and blue giraffe print. There is a pattern for oven mitts in the book so I am thinking I will make some matching oven mitts to go with the gorgeous apron.

I also can't find my camera, so I will post the picture as soon as I find my camera. I promise, the apron does exist and it does look great.

UPDATE: I found my camera and here is the beautiful apron that I spoke of. Isn't she lovely?

Pink and navy giraffe print apron

Monday, 5 March 2012

Fabric Shopping

I spent the last week in Atlanta, Georgia so I decided that I should look for fabric while I was there. I went to a crafts store called Jo-Ann. It was amazing! It was so big and they had a giant selection of fabrics. I even liked the prints, My friend's mom had a 40% off coupon so I bought a few different fabrics and some navy thread. Thanks to the coupon I only paid $18. I was super happy and now I am very excited to get started on my second project.

I was just on their website and I found out that there is a store located just over the border in Niagara Falls, NY. That's not very far from me, so I'm even more excited because I now know of one store with good fabrics and I know how to get there. If any of you have been to the outlet mall in Niagara Falls, NY, Jo-Ann is located on the same road.

So, for this week I have to make the pattern and hopefully I can move through sewing it in less time and with fewer bumps. It's still a surprise what I'm making, so if you want to know what it is you'll have to stay tuned for my next post.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

If I was a sewing machine...

If I was a sewing machine, I would want a cozy that looks as pretty and as cozy as the one I made.

I am not going to even hold back, my cozy looks so good. I am so impressed with what I accomplished with a needle, fabric and thread. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But the imperfections are so minuscule that they are not noticeable.

I almost made the same mistake that I made last week when I tried to finish the cozy. If I didn't take the time to learn from that mistake, I would have made it again. I'm glad I caught it just before I started sewing because now my mother's sewing machine has a lovely cozy.

The one part I had some trouble with was figuring out how to sew the liner and the outer together so that the seams would be the right way. It took me some time to figure it out because it required some abstract thinking of what I needed it to look like when I was done with it. The one part that I had the most trouble with was sewing the last bit of the seam so it wouldn't show the stitches.

For those of you who don't sew, in order to have the seams be perfect and to show the right side I had to sew the bottoms of the layers together with the right sides touching. Think of two bags. One bag is the inside layer and the other is the outside. Sew the bags together where they touch to make one a double layered bag. But you have the ugly sides of the bag facing out, and what you want is the pretty sides on the outside. So, when you're just about done sewing the bags together, leave a hole big enough to reach inside the hole to pull the bags inside out through the hole. The hole also has to be small enough to finish the seam without the thread showing. In order to finish the seam, it has to be hand sewn. This is tricky. I had some trouble and it's not perfect, but it's also not noticeable unless you go looking for imperfections.

360° view:

I feel really good about my cozy, but now it's time I moved on and tried something different. I also really want to find fabric that actually has a nice print. The fabric store here is not the greatest and the print fabrics are kind of ugly.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Something bad happened...

I was really excited to sew the outer part of my cozy and then something bad happened. I know what you're thinking, something bad happened? Yes. Something bad happened. I sewed the wrong sides of the fabric together on both seams of one of the sides of the cozy.


Those characters don't quite express my frustration to its full extent, but I'm sure you get the picture.

Anyway, I tried to use the seam ripper to take apart the seams but the fabric is very prone to fraying and the tension on the sewing machine is at a pretty tight setting making it difficult to not slice the fabric while trying to rip the seams. Pretty much the fabric was no good, so I decided to move on to my newly formed Plan B. 

I'll break it down for you. Plan B required me to check to see if I had just enough fabric left so that I could cut out pattern pieces to replace the ones that were just ruined. Oh, I forgot to mention that at this point I had only one side of the cozy left to sew together. So, here I was with one original piece left and feeling rather desperate placing the pattern over the remaining fabric and hoping that I wouldn't have to go out to buy more. 

Luckily, I literally had just enough left. I cut out the pieces and so far I have basted one side. Considering this incredible learning experience, I will finish sewing another day when I have time to get it right. Well, my fingers are crossed that I don't mess it up cause that would just be sad.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Folks, I have a liner!

I am beyond excited right now. I am only half way done my cozy but I have completed the liner and I am so proud of it! Every time I finished stitching a side I would get really excited. I jumped the gun a little and I didn't pin one of the sides before I sewed and I messed it up a tiny bit. It's not noticeable though. I am slightly concerned that it may pose a problem when I sew the outer layer and the inner layer together, but for now I will just bask in my excitement and worry about that when I get to that part. 

This was my first error.
I did start the sewing process today a tiny bit discouraged because I made a few errors. I only have a photo of my first boo-boo because the second one is not noticeable in the photos. Anyway, I had to pull out the seam ripper to fix the errors but once I saw the project coming together, I no longer thought about those errors and I successfully completed the liner. I really wish I could finish the entire cozy right now, but I have plans to go see The Vow with some friends and since I have been waiting to see this movie since May of last year, I have zero intention of bailing.

I don’t have a different project planned for me just yet, but I am already excited to sew it and I haven’t even finished this one yet. Actually…I may have a little something planned, but you’ll just have to wait to find out!

Completed liner :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Sick days are meant for sewing...

I took a sick day today and sick days are rather boring, so I decided to pass the time I would do a little sewing. I made the pattern for my sewing machine cozy with newspaper and used that to cut the fabric. I'm somewhat of a perfectionist so this took a lot more time than I thought it would. I think it turned out rather successfully though. I had to cut the pattern for the lining and the outside of the cozy, but I found that it got a lot easier once I got used to cutting and not being so scared of messing up. I used the pieces I cut out from the liner fabric as my pattern for cutting the outer fabric of the cozy instead of using the newspaper print pattern. I don't know if you're suppose to do that, but it worked out just the same.

Newspaper pattern on the liner fabric before I cut.

Cutting the outer fabric for the cozy. My hair got in the way, but it's a cool shot.
I learned in my research that basting would allow me to keep my fabric together and it would also help to guide my stitching. It is time consuming, but it's worth it. First I used my pins to keep the fabric together and then I hand basted the fabric. When I had actually sewn the fabric with the machine, it was really very easy to simply pull the hand basted thread out of the fabric.

The fabric pinned and basted.
I did not do a whole lot of actual sewing today, but I did sew two pieces together. My friend Gillian (read her wedding blog!) commented on my last post and suggested I sew slowly with the machine and sewing in a straight line would be easier. I took her advice and it was much much easier to get my line straight. I did veer off course a little bit, but I tried to straighten it back out and I have many more pieces to sew that I cannot focus on a tiny little error. 

This is probably when I compromised the straightness of my stitches.
Finished product...for now.
It feels as though I did not do much today, but it took up a lot of time. The next time I sit down at the machine, I want to take the time to finish the entire cozy, but since I will be basting the pieces together before I machine sew the pieces, it may not happen since it does require me to have the time and patience. I am excited to have the actual finished product now that I can see it coming together. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Les instructions sont en français...

I spent 6 years of my life in French Immersion, but it has been at least 5 years since I have studied the language let alone spoken or read the language. I bring this up because the only instruction manual I can find for the sewing machine is half French and I am guessing that the other half is in German. I do understand part of what I am reading but it requires a whole other level of learning just to force myself to have the mental capacity to understand what I am reading. If the manual didn't have pictures, I would literally be a lost cause right now.

Since the machine is my mother's, I asked her some stuff and she was helpful in telling me what I needed to do to wind the thread on the lower bobbin, but she quickly walked away without actually showing me what to do. I am more of a hands-on learner, so to have her walk away after an explanation didn't help me a whole lot. I did attempt to read the instructions and follow the pictures but I was unsuccessful:

Clearly, not what was suppose to happen. I ended up calling for my mom to come back to help me, which she did do after I summoned the 5-year-old in me and whined, "¡Mamiiii, necesito ayuda!" For the non-spanish speakers that means "Mom, I need your help." I may be 23, but I still am and will always be my mother's little girl. Anyway, she helped me and the result was a significant improvement:

My plan for today was to make a stitch sampler, but instead it turned into me trying to figure out how to stitch the fancy embroidery in a straight line. I was unsuccessful, but I when I wasn't trying to be fancy I managed to stitch in a straight line and for now that is most important. In the process of taking this photo I didn't realize I cut off the the last stitch line, but it's not any better than the others so I didn't feel it was worth trying to capture.

On a very good note, my mother came home today with some really great scissors for cutting through fabric. I had to cut some of the fabric so that I could have some pieces for several attempts at a stitch sampler and I found that the scissors I had were not the sharpest. I never told my mom this, but it's as if she read my mind and when she came across a great pair at a great price she knew that I needed them. She's leaving for Honduras for almost three weeks in a couple of days and I am already beginning to question how will I fare without her assistance. She raised me to be an independent person so I know I don't need to be overly concerned, but I'll miss her nonetheless. My dad only tends to come into the room to ask me if I'm good enough to stitch him a pair of pants or to fix a hole or two, whereas my mom asks how my progress is going and even though she laughs at my inability to keep a straight line, she always manages to offer words of advice and encouragement.

Over these next couple of weeks I will really need some luck to as I attempt to make a sewing machine cozy with an inner-liner. My friend Jenna says that I should scrap the liner but if I do that the cozy will be incredibly flimsy and it won't have any real structure to it. So, I am going to be overly ambitious and give it a try. I figure the internet will be a useful resource in helping me figure out what to do and if I really need to I'll just go to the fabric store and ask for some guidance.

Wish me luck!