One of my favorite sewing blogs is See Kate Sew. She just oozes creativity and always has a new pattern for you to try. Last week she announced a clutch sew-a-long. I’ve never participated in a sew-a-long, but I’ve always wanted to try it. Basically, Kate has offered a free pattern for an adorable envelope clutch and nearly 200 people signed up to sew it! She has encouraged everyone to customize it and has featured some ideas on how to make it your own.
I decided to try free motion machine embroidery on my bag. I’ve been wanting to try it, but thought I would have to buy a special foot for my machine. Well, low and behold, it came with one! I just didn’t know what it was. Ha! So I found some scrap material and tried it out. I thought a messy flower/loopy design would be relatively easy and hide any flaws.
My first attempt was okay-ish from the front, horrid from the back. Just look at that! It ate up half of my bobbin thread! After some research, I found out that you had to pull up the bobbin thread to the front of your work so this doesn’t happen.
I practiced for about fifteen minutes and then just decided to go for it. I grabbed some plain gray cotton, filled up a bobbin with black quilting thread, pieced together some wool felt as a backing, and made a lot of coffee to help give me courage.
I cut my material into a square several inches larger than the clutch pattern to give me some leeway when I was ready to cut out the pattern. Then I pinned the material to the felt, trying my best to smooth out the wrinkles. I embroidered the flowers and swirls in strips, never stopping the line of sewing. It was pretty easy to minimize fabric bunching that way. Again, this is my first time attempting this, so if you’re a pro and I’m doing it completely wrong, just smile and nod. Ha!
After many hours of stitching later, I had a bag! Oh boy, I had so much fun making this! I tried several new things in this project besides the machine embroidery.
Like a welt pocket with an exposed zipper! Except I’m not zooming in on this guy. It’s pretty rough around the edges. But, how cute is that zipper and zipper pull? My Bibi gave me a pile of vintage zippers and I love when I can use them in a project.
Other firsts in this bag were the magnetic snaps and sewing with interfacing. I ended up having to use heavy interfacing instead of the midweight that Kate recommended. It wasn’t the easiest to sew with, but it gave the bag a lot of structure.
All in all, I’m so happy with this bag. I love the way the pattern is designed. If you’d like to make one for yourself, you can find Kate’s free pattern here.
Did any of you participate in the sew-a-long? Or have you participated in one before? It’s a fun way to do a project because you have a definite goal date to finish by. I also like seeing how other people customize the pattern.
What about free motion machine embroidery? Have you tried it? Any tips or tricks for it? Because I’m pretty sure I want to add loopy machine flowers to everything now. Someone tell Timothy to hide his dress shirts.
Last week I was happily reading some blogs when I found out that my favorite challenge of all is back! It’s time for another round of the Pinterest Challenge! This round the four hosts of the challenge are Young House Love, Bower Power, The Remodeled Life, and Decor and the Dog. The basic premise is that you stop pinning and start making. My projects from past challenges include a bow dress, a skinny tie diy, and a lace cowl made from curtains. Well, this particular challenge was just the kick in the booty that this girl needed.
See, I’ve been hoarding this elephant tea towel for a YEAR planning on making it into a pillow. (You might have seen it hanging crookedly on the oven in my last kitchen post.) It was time. I was inspired by this pin to add some pom poms.
The lovely lady who originally came up with this project is Susan from Living With Punks. Be sure and check out her tutorial here. I made a couple of changes to my pillow, so I’ll share my process with you.
First of all, I used a pom pom maker for my poms. My mom bought me one for Christmas, and I’ve been so excited to use it! I used to make pom poms by hand like Susan does in the original tutorial, and I’ve tried making them by cutting out my own cardboard template. Let me just say, go for the pom pom maker. It will change your life. I used nearly an entire skein of Red Heart yarn and made 10 gigantic pom poms.
I then cut my fabric and laid out the poms. My pillow form was 17.5 inches, so I cut an 18.5 inch square out of my fabric to give me lots of wiggle room. I like wiggle room. Then I laid my poms out to see how many I wanted. I originally made enough for three on each side, so I had to take a break and watch an episode of Property Brothers to make more poms. It’s a hard life.
I placed some pins where the poms needed to be placed, making sure they were evenly spaced.
Sewing time! It feels awkward, but make sure you sew the pom onto the fabric in this direction, with the pom resting on the right side of the fabric. I sewed back and forth over the pom approximately 25.8 times to make sure it was secure. I take care of some little boys who love to wrestle with my pillows, so I didn’t want to worry about the poms coming out.
I made an envelope closure for the back of the pillow. For this pillow I cut one piece of fabric 18.5 inches by 8 inches, and the other 18.5 by 14. Then you hem both pieces on one of the 18.5 inch sides by folding it over 1/2 an inch twice and then sewing along the bottom of the fold. Looking back, I would cut each piece a couple of inches taller, and I would have chosen a different fabric that didn’t have any stretch in it
Now it is time to pin the backing to the pillow! Make sure the right sides of each are together, and then pin like crazy. I pinned the shorter piece of the backing envelope on first and then pinned the longer piece on top of it. The easiest method I could find for pinning was to match up a corner of each fabric and pin it, then pin every couple of inches. I pinned deep enough that I wouldn’t worry about accidentally sewing the pom to the fabric.
I sewed the pillow together with the backing on top first, and then took all 4500 pins out and flipped the pillow over. See in the top right picture how the original seam is to the right of the point where the pom is attached? You want it to be on the left, or on the side closest to the pillow itself. So just make a new seam. It’s a lot easier to fix this problem after you’ve already sewed the pillow together.
Turn the pillow right side out and insert the pillow form. Mine turned out a bit droopy on the back side. I think it’s because the fabric was stretchy, so it scooted around a lot during the pinning process. Maybe if I had cut the fabric taller it would have fixed this issue? Regardless, it’s an easy fix. I just pulled the fabric together and slip stitched the opening closed. It will be really easy to clip the stitches when I want to switch out the pillow cover.
You ready to see the finished product?
The back of the pillow turned out pretty cute! If you look closely you can see that I stitched it together, but hopefully the pom poms will distract anyone from looking too closely. Hmm, if only I could put them on all my sewing.
As you can tell, I’m still trying to decide which throw I like best. I’ll probably keep switching them out, much to Timothy’s enjoyment.
Today I’m linking up with the hosts of the Pinterest Challenge: Young House Love, Bower Power, The Remodeled Life, and Decor and the Dog. Be sure and stop by those great blogs today to see all the fun projects that people are working on!
This elephant pom pom pillow was my first pillow. Have any of you out there made your own pillows? Do you usually like to go for subdued pillows or patterned ones? My dream is to one day make so many pillow covers that I can rotate them as often as I like. I dream high, you know. Ha!
I’ve traced the start of my crazy obsession with florals back to the making of this little iPad case. My parents surprised my tech-loving husband with the newest iPad when it came out a few months ago. Yes, sometimes I wonder who’s their favorite. Ha! So, I inherited his old iPad. And I’ve got to admit, I was more excited to make the case than I was to actually have an iPad.
It’s not perfect, but I sure do love it! I just grabbed all of my favorite pieces of material in my stash and started ruffling. It’s a ruffly, floral explosion of girliness. When I was sewing all the little ruffles I asked Timothy what he thought so far. ”Ummm … nice?” The poor guy’s eyes glazed over just looking at it.
I made it just like I made my mom’s iPad case, but I kind of free-styled the ruffly flap because there was no way on God’s green earth I am ever going to attempt that zipper installation again. Unless I change my mind. I’m a fickle sewer. I used this tutorial from See Kate Sew for making the bottom ruffle stick out the bottom of the flap.
This is my best Vanna White impression showing you how the flap opens. I had planned on using those fancy purse magnetic snap things for the enclosure, but velcro was wayyy easier and faster. And I couldn’t leave my iPad in that hideous black case for one more second.
All in all, I’m really happy with how it turned out! Of course there are a few things I would change if I were to make it again. I don’t let anyone look at where I sewed the flap to the case – it’s pretty scary. But the ruffly floral mess on the front kind of covers a multitude of sins.
It was the first time Timothy had ever tried fried okra. I was popping them in like M&Ms while Timothy hesitantly tried a couple. ”I’m pretty sure these are missing the cheese inside.” Ha!
I spent most of the time being half excited and half scared to death that they would throw a roll at me. The server must have seen my fear because he just handed me mine. I guess I look too delicate to catch. Yeah, that’s it.
We had a lovely time considering eating is our favorite hobby. I also got to wear a new skirt I made recently! I had a couple yards of a soft red knit that I planned to make a dress out of but decided to go for a casual skirt instead.
I followed Elle Apparel’s tutorial for her Socialite Skirt. I love everything that she sews, but I had a difficult time with this tutorial. This was my first attempt at sewing with a tutorial instead of a pattern, and I wasn’t a fan of doing all the math. Or the elastic thread.
Oy vey, the elastic thread. It was the death of me. I couldn’t get it to bunch up like it was supposed to. I tried numerous times with no luck. Yet the skirt somehow worked out.
What about you all? Have you been sewing anything recently? Have you been to Lambert’s? Do you have the same irrational fear of the thrown rolls?
My husband is a tie connoisseur. He likes to remind me of this fact. Often. He’s pretty picky about his ties, and I still haven’t grasped what constitutes a good tie and what is a bad tie. Except diagonal stripes. He pretty much always likes those. But his favorite ties? They’re all skinny.
I basically did Timothy’s tie the same way, just tweaked a few of the steps. If you’d like to convert some fatty ties, here’s what you need:
A skinny tie to use as the template, a needle and thread, pins, scissors, and a seam ripper. The rotary cutter is optional but really speeds things up.
First, take the tag and the little tie flap catcher off the back of the tie. (Yes, tie flap catcher is the technical name. Ha!) Then start seam ripping away. I was amazed by how fast this went. These ties are barely tacked together! Rip the seam until you get to the skinniest part of the tie.
Oh, and see how the material on the right side of the tie is being overlapped by the material on the left? If your tie is the opposite, just take note of that.
Now you can trim the material on the right side of the tie (or whichever side was being overlapped when you ripped the seam). I trimmed mine about an inch and a half from the form and then tapered it to about an inch and a quarter as I got to the skinny part.
That was the easy part. Ha!
The next few steps are all about ironing and folding. Take your time on these steps, because they make or break the tie!
Next, line up your new skinny tie with your template tie to get the proper placement of the tie flap catcher. I threw away the tag, but next time I’m going to have to sew it on, too. My dear husband told me he needed that tag for extra tie flap catching. Or something like that.
Then slip stitch the mess out of your new skinny tie. I’m not sure if this is the correct way to slip stitch, but it worked for me. If your husband is anything like mine, he won’t notice your neat stitches. So this is a no pressure stitching situation.
And like I said, be sure to check out Design Mom’s original post. All kudos to this awesome idea go to her! I was inspired to do this project by the Pinterest Challenge. It was time to stop pinning and start doing!
And if any of you have any experience with converting fat ties to skinny ties, I’d love to hear about it! My mom actually told me that she did that for my dad when they were dating. It’s crazy how trends come and go!
I'm honored that you took time to stop by my blog! My name is Whitney, and I'm a diy loving, piano playing, sewing obsessed, thrifty, non-house cleaning, crafty newlywed. I love God, my husband, and life as a wife. If you'd like to know more, just check out my About Me page. Much love!
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