Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Will Never End!

National Sewing Month 2015 comes to an end today. Their focus this year ~ Sew for the Charity of it! ~ doesn’t end, sewing for charity will never end! We have too much to do for others!

Remember what I shared during the first week…

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do.
Edward Everett Hale

It is my hope I’ve inspired and encouraged you to create something for a charity (or two or three)!

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dog Bone Pillow

It's been a long time since I've made a dog bone shaped pillow! I use one just about everyday while taking an afternoon (and evening) nap in my recliner! I have no idea where I put the pattern I used. I made several... one each for my elderly parents, and the one for myself.

I'm thinking other seniors, and the homeless, would also love a small little pillow like this.

I went online to find a pattern and happened across Apron Strings and Other Ties that Bind's tutorial straightaway.

I printed out two copies of her pattern design, trimmed the paper (with "paper" scissors) and joined them together at the center with tape as she directed. I then cut out the 4 pieces, snipping a bit at the end marks where she indicated on her pattern.

This is here where I went off her directions a bit. But, I did use the 1/2" seam allowance she recommends. Oh, also, I totally agree ~ I did NOT clip the inside seam allowance anywhere!

I pinned the right sides together of the two sets and stitched from the mark, to the mark, on each "unit". I also ~ according to her directions ~ back stitched when I started and stopped, being careful not to go beyond the mark.  

After pressing the stitches to "meld", I got my iron inside and pressed the seam flat on each unit.

This dog bone pillow will be given to the same homeless person I'll give the messenger bag I created the other day. Remember the latch hook I attached on the outside of the bag?!!! That's why I've pinned a grosgrain ribbon loop on the pillow! When not in use, the pillow can stay with the bag and not get lost!

I'm sorry I failed to take a picture of pinning the two set units together! Oops! My bad!

This is what I did: I opened up the two sets and placed right sides together, matching the marks, pinning all the way around the two set units. Because I have a tendency to start daydreaming while sewing, I wanted to go ahead and get the opening done. I started sewing at the top mark, then around to the narrow bone part and stopped, back stitched, then left about a 4" space, then started sewing again (back stitching when I started up again) and on around to the mark.

The final edge to stitch was then a snap! There wasn't anything I had to remember except using a 1/2" seam allowance rather than the "normal for me" 1/4" seam allowance!

Oh, when I stitched over the ribbon loop, I back stitched and straight stitched over it within the seam allowance several times!!!

I'm ready to stuff!

I'm ready to hand stitch the seam allowance at the opening closed and it's done!

My pitiful dog bone pillow... maybe I ought to make me a new one!
NOTE to SELF: When making this again, extend her pattern about 3" longer. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Balaclava

A couple of years ago, during that year’s National Sewing Month the theme was: “Sew for the Skill of it!” It was then I wrote an article about sewing hats.

I shared some hats I made for my 18” dolls, and mostly lady hats – including a bonnet like my Grandmother would wear out in her garden, and I’ve been known to wear while mowing the acre yard! The one I’m going to make today, the Balaclava, is the most amazingly warm style head/neck covering I’ve ever worn! Although mine is a “store bought” one, it’s the first hat I grab when the weather turns bitterly cold.

The Balaclava is something I’d like to include in the messenger bag I created Saturday. I just know any homeless person would also thoroughly appreciate its warmth. Ever since I discovered fleece, I’m in love. It’s lightweight, yet WARM!

I went to Pinterest to find Balaclava patterns others have shared since 2013. Oh, my! Lots!

I appreciate the details provided by The Olive Leaf Journal, and her 3 possibilities of how to wear hers! Just love it!

Her photos and instructions look great!

But, with the “store-bought” Balaclava for a go-by, do I need a pattern? I’m going to try it…

 I got mine out of the coat closet, measured it (but why? I haven't a clue!) 

I took 2 layers of fleece and spread it out nicely (right sides together) then placed mine on top, spreading it out gently and carefully (the fabric will stretch)!

Then I cut around the "store bought" one, giving about an inch all the way around.

Before moving it from the cutting mat, I pinned the pieces together up the back and over the top of the hood part -

- and gave about an inch seam allowance. Then I "pinked" the crown part to reduce a little bulk - 

Next I pinned, then stitched the seam at the throat and under chin area...

I clipped the angle to almost the stitching line -

Matching the under chin seam, and the top of the head seam, I turned under about an inch hem allowance. Under chin area is a bit tricky and I just sort of eased it in... being careful not to stretch the fabric -

I found removing the part of my machine base - for putting in sleeves, etc., - worked wonderfully in stitching the hem area around the face section..

It didn't turn out too badly...

(NOTE: I decided not to put drawstrings in this one like my "store bought" one has.)

Working the bottom hem, I also turned under about an inch, starting first with matching the seams when turning under...

Actually, mine is a tad longer than the "store bought" one! And besides the drawstring, looks pretty much the same!

I tried it on and it fits the face and comes down on the neck wonderfully! I'm sorry, but it's much too early to put on makeup so you won't be seeing me modeling this!!!

Sometimes, it's a good thing to buy something, and then use it as a go-by to create another one!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Messenger Bag for the Homeless

As I mentioned yesterday, there are a lot of free messenger bag patterns available online. This is what I did, not going into much detail, but let the pictures do the talking!

I wanted to make one quick, and as sturdy as possible.

I found some dark fabric my sister gave me, given to her out of a friend's grandmother's estate. I'm not sure what type of material may be mixed in with the cotton, but it's a nice weight.

I decided to cut it 14.5" tall. And, folded in half, I cut it at about 16" (which will be a long piece 32").
NOTE:  If you'd rather, feel free to cut 2 pieces at 16.5" wide - then take two seams up the sides, rather than the one for the middle front that I will make in a little bit.

I used a lightweight iron-on interfacing for the 14.5" x 32" piece and attached according to manufacturer's directions, and put it off to the side.

I then cut out fabric for the bag's lining... same size as the bag.

Then I made the flap..

I cut 2 pieces about 2.5" narrower than the one half of the bag (the 16"), and as long (14.5") as the bag.

I folded both pieces together in half lengthwise, then went to the kitchen and got a plate!

NOTE: I also used the lightweight iron-on interfacing on the flap, just for a bit of extra body.

I placed right sides together, and stitched all the way round leaving a nice opening at the straight edge.  

I used pinking sheers to cut close to the curved stitching lines, then trimmed the two corners with regular scissors.

NOTE: Used a scrap of batting to clean up all the fuzzy threads and trims off my cutting mat! It works just like a kitchen sponge cleaning off the countertop! It's great!

It was time to press stitches to meld, then turn right side out. To finish the opening, I folded inside the raw edges evenly with the seam line and secured with straight pins.

Setting aside the flap for the time being, I prepared the bag's lining:

First: stitch the ends together.
     Press to meld, press seam open.
     Center the seam line, press sides (to mark where they are!)

Mark (what will be the bottom) 1.5" ....


Stitch across the bottom jog... (you can stitch the entire piece across the bottom, then cut out the jog... whichever works best for you!)

Line up the stitch line, with the press line, then pin and branch out, lining up the cut line...
on both sides... this makes the "gusset" like depth of the bag.

So, this bag's bottom will be 12"!

For the strap, I cut a piece 5" wide and way much too long (58")! You'll see a bit later how I had to "take it up" which will probably work out better anyway because it makes it stronger!

I folded over one side .5" and the other side about 1" then matched the folds. I top stitched along both sides, then again. Another photo later will show you what I'm talking about.

Then I made the "fashion" bag doing exactly the same thing as I did with the lining.

OOPS! I attached the flap down going the wrong way... see the picture below....

The only thing "correct" showing in the photo above is the fact that the flap is attached 1.5" below the raw top edge on the bag fabric and the flap's center is matched to the bag's center.

BUT, the flap should be going the same direction as my ruler! (You'll see how I "fixed" that later on!). Top stitch the flap to the bag twice. Yes. TWICE! We want it to stay attached!

Oh, I wanted to add a clip to the outside of the bag, so I used grosgrain ribbon and attached when I attached the straps.

 Now it's time to stuff the "fashion" bag (including strap & flap) inside the lining bag - objective: to get right sides together, matching seams, and side "pressing" marks.

I use a lot of pins!

 I take a bit larger seam allowance - about .5" give or take...

 Also, when I'm stitching over the straps, and the clip ribbon, I back stitch several times!

Yea! It's time to pull out the "fashion bag"... gently, a bit at a time!

It's coming!!!

I skipped several photo opts between the above and now below...

You can see, however, I top stitched around the bag twice to finish off the bag (so the lining's edge won't creep up). And, here, you'll see where I took a nice deep (about 6" worth) folded over of the strap inside and stitched it down. All those thicknesses is really rough on my machine, but she's a champ!

It wasn't until I took the final photo (coming up!) did I realize I initially
stitched the flap going in the wrong direction!
No big deal... I simply folded it over and top stitched it down.
One only knows if they look inside and see dark stitching across that area!
I don't think the homeless person would ever notice, or care,
or be concerned one bit that I messed up!

Ready to fill it up!!!

This took me about 3 hours... and that was with taking pictures along the way!  (This was the total - of course - over a long day of attending a Memorial Service, helping a friend, and doing things around the house. I would love 3 hours of nothing but uninterrupted sewing!) 

Also, it's been a while since I made one, at times I had to stop and think about things... the next one shouldn't take as long!

I would love to hear if you make one, a messenger bag for the homeless! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Helping the Homeless

Following along the National Sewing Month’s theme, Sew for the Charity of it! I thought about making something to help the homeless. A bag of some sort, I considered the…

š  Drawstring bag – but then the individual would have to carry it by the drawstrings and the weight may get burdensome on their arm, or their hands may need to carry something else.

š  One strap backpack – but mine have had a tendency to fall off the shoulder when bending down, or while simply walking around (I’m so graceful!).

š  Messenger style bag – several options to carry this type of bag!

I’ll make the messenger style! I won’t make it quite as fancy as I have before, just simply functional and as tear resistant as possible.

A bag I made a few years ago:

Rather than reinventing the wheel, there are numerous free patterns available across the Internet to follow when making a messenger bag!

In her roundup of “30 of the best free messenger bag patterns” – I do like what Deby of So Sew Easy said: “…mix and match your favorite features” and make it your own with the features you need! Sew true!

MMMMCrafts shared the “basic messenger bag” pattern that does not have gussets. This is the style I’ve made before – it’s quick and relatively easy!

I’ll share tomorrow how I made a quick messenger bag… something you may also like to do!

But then, I did an online search – once I create the bag, what should I put inside? What items do homeless people need?

Overwhelmingly I found: SOCKS (and more socks!)

What else? Some ideas I found:

zip lock baggies
bottle water (even if it’s not cold, wet is good!)
            soft food/protein bars
            gold fish crackers
            hand wipes – individual packets
            Nail clippers
            hand lotion
            mylar blanket
            gloves (winter time)
            Neck scarf (winter time)
            Folding hat (all year round)
            Wash cloth (sew Velcro loop to hang outside bag to dry)
                        Plastic shopping sacks to hold trash, extra storage, etc

A few sites I visited during my search for bag content:

(Here you will find interesting comments,
some firsthand from those who have been homeless)

What would you put inside a messenger bag
to help the homeless?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Finishing the Wheelchair Quilt

Yesterday I showed how I took the idea Jake Finch shared in her book, Comfort Quilts from the Heart, and made it a bit different.

Now that I’ve finished quilting the quilt top, I’ll share how/what I did for the footwarmer (aka foot pocket)!

The single piece of flannel I had that would go nicely with the print (after straightening up the edges) was only 15 3/4” x WOF. I decided I would make it work! I was under a time crunch, remember!

I trimmed off the selvage from one end of the flannel.

I don’t work with flannel very often as it’s much too hot to touch, unless it is in the dead of winter! When I came across this piece in my stash, the thinness and stretchiness of it, and thinking how folks will be putting their feet in there, then the feet will be pressing against the wheelchair foot rest, I just thought it needed a bit more wear protection.

Remember the long “extra” pieces I cut off each row set, the WOF (Width of Fabric)? I stitched them together in rows, like I did the quilt front. After pressing the stitches to meld, then pressing the seams all going in the same direction, I trimmed, leaving as much as I could, which turned out to be only 11.5” by the WOF.

I placed the 15 3/4” x WOF flannel (minus one end’s selvage) down on my cutting mat, smoothing it out nice and neat. I then carefully placed the pieced section (right side down – if there is a right/wrong side to flannel, I didn’t see it!) at the cut selvage end. Careful not to stretch the flannel, or the pieced section, I began generously pinning across the top.

 Once I got to the end, and had all the excess flannel left, I trimmed it off.

It was then I stitched the two pieces together. I pressed the stitches to meld (using low heat as the flannel didn’t seem to like a hot iron!), then pressed the seam toward the flannel.

I flipped the pieced section over with the right side out, then matched the bottom raw edge, and sides, pinning together. You’ll notice I now have about a 2” red flannel “top” to the foot warmer. After pinning the ends, and bottom together, I then stitched within the seam allowance, just for it to hold together nicely. I also stitched across the bottom of the red.

Although I mentioned in a prior article, I don’t trim until I’ve stitched the binding on the quilt for the first time. In this case, I had to trim just around where I was going to attach the footwarmer. Again, I used lots of pins to keep it in place. I did go ahead and stitch it to the quilt, rather than to try and sew it along with the binding.

The quilt top measured 36.5 across, but after quilting, it shrunk up two inches! So I had to trim 1” off both ends of the pieced section for the footwarmer.

After stitching the footwarmer to the bottom of the back of the quilt, I attached the prepared binding like any other quilt.

When I held up the Wheelchair Quilt, I personally didn’t like the big gaping footwarmer. I decided to hand-stitch about 2” on the red part, dead center, with the same thread I used in the quilting.

Momma loves the way it turned out. I asked if there was anything she would / could see done differently in the future. She thought it was perfect!

Thank you, Jake Finch, for the inspiration!

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