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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Beginning Sewing July 2017

     I had four more girls take beginning sewing with me this week.   The first day they learned the basics of the sewing machine and earned their  'Sewing Machine Driver's License'.


     Natalie had taken a pillowcase class that her mom won at an auction , but we did not really cover the basics of the machine.  She took this beginning class so in another week she could take the pillow camp with her friend Kara.

Andromeda and her skirt and 2nd bag

     Andromeda was the first to finish her skirt and she was able to make another bag with some shortcuts I showed her.  She found scraps of a jersey knit fabric to make the ties.

Caitlin and her skirt

     Caitlin finished up next.  She opted to sew her four hole buttons with an X pattern on the back of her skirt.  She then spent the rest of the class sewing a pillowcase that had already been pinned by another student.

Kayla and her skirt

     Next up was Kayla.  Look at the cool pattern that happened on the back of her skirt.  She worked on choosing some fabrics for another pillowcase and started with some pinning.

Natalie and her skirt

     Last but not least was Natalie.  She had a fun mini heart print denim for her skirt which she jazzed up with some bright flower buttons.

     The girls all sewed their buttons on the machine and were pretty amazed to be able to do so.  Three days and they each finished 2 projects with big smiles.  Next up is vacation and then one last camp, four days to sew four different pillows.  Just one spot left if anyone is interested

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shirt Pillows

Black striped shirt pillow

     I had a client bring me 6 shirts and many ties from her dad that had passed away.  She was looking to have something made from them.  I suggested pillows from the shirts.  I had done this with a plaid flannel shirt of my dad's and I love it.  She liked the idea when I showed her my pillow.

Black striped shirt pillow detail

     For each pillow I chose one shirt for the main part and a coordinating one for the cording on the edge.  I was going to make all three pillows the same size but this black one was smaller and I had to go down to a 16" square pillow.  The other ones are 18" square.

Red plaid shirt pillow

     For the red plaid shirt I had to interface the fabric as it was a quite thin material.  All of the pillows have lining and a zipper.  Because of the limited amount of fabric available when using articles of clothing, I was not able to match the plaids front to back as I would normally do.

Red plaid shirt detail

      I first cut the shirts apart at the seams and removed the sleeves.  I sewed the placket closed on the fronts and then cut my pieces.  I used the backs of the coordinating shirts to get my bias strips for the cording.  Again because of the limited size of the piece of fabric, the bias strip was several pieces sewn together.

Blue striped shirt pillow

     I then cut lining pieces and serged them to the front and back pieces.  I put a zipper in the back piece and the cording onto the front piece.  I sewed them together around all four sides and turned right side out through the zipper opening.

Blue striped shirt pillow detail

     I have seen these done using the button front as the closure.  I did that on one project but I didn't like how it gapped when buttoned over the pillow form.  I think this looks much neater and will hold up better in the long run.

     The client and I still need to discuss what I am going to do with her dad's ties.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Purse-onality Fun 6 Afternoon Camp

Folded Fat Quarter purses

     My purse camp was in great demand this summer.  To accommodate everyone I had an afternoon camp also.

Showing off their Square Affair purses

     In the camp were four friends, Mallory, Sienna, Ava and Grace.  The first day they completed their folded fat quarter bags.  Some sewing and origami type folding made a cute drawstring purse.

Enjoying snack and fresh cherries in the backyard

     The second day they were close to finishing their Square Affair purses.  Mallory had some difficulties with the cord she had chosen but on the third day we fixed it and called it a 'design opportunity'.


Sienna's projects

    The third day they started on their appliquéd accessory bag.  They all quickly got the hang of satin stitching.  We got the zipper application started before the end of camp.


Ava's projects

     The fourth day of camp, poor Mallory was not able to attend as she had hurt her foot.  As I was instructing the other girls how to finish their accessory bags, I was writing up directions so that Mallory's grandmother could help her finish her project.


Grace's projects

     The girls all finished those three purses and had time to make two-fabric drawstring bags. Ava and Sienna chose to make a larger size while Grace opted for a small one.  I had them do the math with me and they all turned out the size they wanted except for Ava's.  I cut the bottom fabric 1 inch too small so her bag turned out to be a 1/2 inch shorter than she wanted.  They still all turned out really cute.

     I love to see what fabrics the girls choose and how even though they make the same thing they all look so different.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Purse-onality Fun 6 Morning Camp

Folded Fat Quarter bags

     This summer the theme for my purse camp was squares and rectangles.  I found a couple of patterns from Sew News magazine and one from a demonstration at a neighborhood ASG (American Sewing Guild) meeting that fit with my theme.

Square Affair bags

     I had planned on making three purses in four days.  Well the girls sewed much more quickly than I had anticipated so I had to get creative on the last day to make use of their leftover fabrics.

Monogrammed accessory bags

     The first day they made the Folded Fat Quarter bag.  We started with two coordinating fat quarters and cut 18" squares.  Then they sewed them together and with some creative folding they had a cute drawstring bag with pockets on the inside.

Norah's projects

     The following day they made the Square Affair.  I cut the pieces for them but they did all the sewing.  By the end of Tuesday's camp they had their second bag.

Drawstring bags

     On Wednesday they did machine appliqué and sewed up an accessory bag with a zipper.  On Thursday, our final day, they made some drawstring bags.  They determined the size they wanted and then we worked the math together to figured out how big to cut the pieces.  They even did bags with two fabrics so more math was needed.  Hailey and Norah even did some more machine appliqué.  We had a great time!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Baking Bread and Keeping Cool Camp

Hard at work

     Today was my Baking Bread and Keeping Cool camp.  It was a one day camp where the girls sewed a potholder and a hot mitt while also baking bread.

     We started in the morning with the potholder.  The girls layered batting with InsulaBrite and a backing fabric.  They then sewed on strips of fabric, quilting as they went.   After a bit of sewing we went into the kitchen to start on the bread.


      They measured the ingredients into gallon bags, closed them up and smushed the contents until they were all mixed.  Then a bit of kneading and into the loaf pans to rise.


     Then back to the sewing where they finished their potholders and started on their hot mitts.  With a quick break to put the loaves in the oven it was back to sewing.  Another break to take out their loaves, my they smelled yummy and more sewing time.


     Then it was finally time to taste their bread!  They enjoyed fresh baked bread with butter followed by cherries picked right off our tree.  Then a mad scramble to finish their hot mitts.  With a bit of help from me, all done.  Upset with myself that I didn't get pictures of their loaves of bread, they looked wonderful.  The girls said next year they want to learn to make pie.  Hmm, maybe with the cherries from the other tree??

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Beginning Sewing June 2017

All finished

     Summer sewing camps are back in session.  The past three days I had the pleasure of sharing my love of sewing with Madelyn, Ella, Samantha and Maggie.  Three of them are the younger sisters of girls I have had previously in my classes.


     On Monday they learned the basics of the sewing machine by stitching on paper and then on fabric.  By the end of the day they had all earned their sewing machine driver's license which I presented to them on Tuesday morning.  On Tuesday they finished their sewing bags and got started on their shorts.

     By the end of camp on Wednesday, with a little help, they were all able to wear their shorts home. Some of them didn't have the hems but no big deal.


     I did spend a bit more time ripping out stitches than usual but all was good.


     The girls all went home with two completed projects, a 'Driver's License' and a big smile so it was another successful camp.

     Next up is Bread Camp, a couple of Purse Camps and then another Beginning Sewing camp the week of July 17.  There are still a couple of openings in that camp.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Outdoor Dining

     Finally nice weather has come to the Chicago area.  Over ten years ago we had a paver patio done in our backyard.  We bought a wrought iron set of tables and chairs at that time.  They have been fine, but not super comfortable.

Seating for the fire pit

      I decided we needed cushions for the chairs plus some pillows.  For the two non-swivel chairs I made the cushions with the orange fabric as the main fabric and the stripes on the sides and backs of the cushions.  A couple of yellow pillows make these more comfortable to sit and enjoy a fire on a cool evening.

Comfy seating to enjoy the nice weather

     For the swivel chairs at the table I reversed the fabrics and did the stripe on the main part with the solid on the sides and backs.  I like making the cushions slightly different to add some interest to the area.  Eventually there will be pillows on some of these chairs also.

Monogrammed appliqué placemats

     For the table top I made placemats out of the same fabric as the pillows.  I monogrammed them with an appliqué using the cushion fabric to tie it all together.  I did a total of eight with four solid and four striped.  For the binding I chose a cotton fabric, not the Sunbrella, because it has a better stretch on the bias to go around the curves.  Next up will be some matching napkins.  

     When we had the family over for a meal, everyone really enjoyed the new comfier seating.