Quilt top pieces

October 18, 2007 at 4:55 pm | Posted in sewing | Leave a comment
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Ok, the quality of the picture is kinda shitty, but I am so proud of these little guys. These are the six I have pressed, out of the 13 completed squares. 7 more to go! As usual, I am handsewing them.

I am super into this quilting business. Quilting allows so much color freedom — all those colors you couldn’t put together if you were making clothing can be used in quilts. I am a color junkie. I hate white. Hate it. Makes me feel cold and sterile. I love nothing more than to be surrounded by riots of color. My house, if I ever have one, will be a schizophrenic’s nightmare. Schizophrenic? Hmm. Maybe I mean modern hipster. I don’t know. Someone who can’t stand chaos in their surroundings, even in the decor.

I have already purchased a couple more charm packs, and when I was in San Francisco I bought the Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide and some fat quarters from this amazing, adorable shop. Because I need more fabric. Sigh. My hobbies are taking over my room and my life. Double sigh.

Apron apron apron

October 12, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Posted in sewing | 4 Comments
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Fabric: from the Aviary Collection by Joel Dewberry, Sparrows in almond and Woodgrain in chocolate
Pattern: from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol

I think that the pockets are probably the cutest part:
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Here’s a close-up of the binding on the pocket (I made the bias tape myself!):
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I put little orange flower buttons on the pockets as decorative detail, but unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the completely finished item before I gave it to Heather.

Here she is:
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I’m pretty damn proud of this thing. I made it in a week, which is unheard of for me, and I put a lot of effort into it. Bend-the-Rules Sewing is a great book, by the way. This is the first item that I’ve made without the use of paper pattern pieces, and I feel like, though it maybe wasn’t the most complex item I’ve made, I learned the most from it. I think that the open-endedness of this pattern, at least, speaks to the author’s creative make-it-your-own approach to sewing. Here are all of the things I learned while making the apron:

  • How to cut the appropriate amount of fabric for a project by using measurements instead of paper pattern pieces
  • How to make my own binding using a bias tape maker
  • How to properly attach a binding by slip stitching it down so that the stitches don’t show on the front of the fabric

But I feel like these are sort of the “actions” that I learned how to do. What I really learned was a better understanding of how fabric works, of grain and the importance of proper measuring, of what “bias” really means and why you have to cut bias tape on the, duh, bias, in order for it to curve nicely around corners and curves.

I really have outdone myself this time.

October 1, 2007 at 12:13 am | Posted in sewing | 2 Comments
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I finished my friend Heather’s apron* in exactly 7 days.
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I started cutting the fabric last Sunday and I snipped the last loose threads tonight. I honestly don’t even know how that’s possible.

Let’s consider the things I did in the past seven days: four days of work, ceramics class, information architecture class, went out all day yesterday and last night (it was a busy weekend in Toronto: The Clothing Show, Nuit Blanche, and Word On The Street were all going on). And the apron was kind of time consuming, too. There was a lot of measuring (twice) and cutting (once), lots of ironing and pinning. I made pockets. I added a nice trim at the bottom. I made my own bias tape for the binding of the apron pockets and then hand-sewed the binding. I pinned and repinned and stitched and ripped out stitches and…how in the hell did I finish this thing?

I guess this can either be chalked up to the power of procrastination to light a fire under one’s ass (I will be seeing Heather on Friday in San Francisco, and I have approximately zero free hours until then), or it can serve to remind me that having 24 hours in one day is actually quite a bit of time if it’s used wisely.

(* — More pictures to come, including close-ups of the pockets and trim and stuff, but even though Heather knows all about the apron, I don’t want to give away too much before she sees it in person, hence the one ambiguous pic.)

Quilting: step 1 done!

September 12, 2007 at 11:56 pm | Posted in sewing | 1 Comment
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quiltsquaresfinished1.jpg quiltsquaresfinished2.jpg

Can it be? Have I actually made some progress on a project?

Last night, I finished sewing and pressing the last squares of the first step of my quilt. I sewed all of them by hand, something that I’ve never really done before, save for a few buttons and some pot leaf patches in high school (I was so fucking cool). Carolanne met me at work/school today and we started laying out the squares to form the larger squares that’ll make up the quilt top. I finished the rest at home tonight and started sewing them together. I did a couple by hand and then used the machine. I enjoyed doing the little squares by hand but I might do the rest by machine, since it’s not like I’m learning any new stitches at this point anyway.

The color scheme is brown and blue, and within that scheme, there’s light brown and light blue, medium brown and medium blue, and dark brown and dark blue. There’re also “tight” (busy) patterns and “loose” (um…un-busy? sorry. it’s past 11 pm, the time at which I hit a wall and my brain turns off, so I can’t think of a word to describe the opposite of busy in the context of fabric) patterns. I’m arranging the squares, which look like this,
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in a sort of diamond formation. I’m trying to balance brown and blue, busy and un-busy. It’s really fun. It’s the intellectual side of crafting, where you have to figure out how things fit together. These fabric squares were a set, so most of the work was done for me, but I still had to arrange each diamond to the fabrics’ best advantage. I didn’t want two busy fabrics together, or two calm fabrics together, or two darks or two lights…it’s all about balance (I think. Did I mention I have no idea what I’m talking about?) and I did what I could.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is way past my bedtime.

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