Monday, May 14, 2018

Saga of the well loved baby blanket or.....

What's a grandma to do?

Here's Layla four years ago as a newborn.  She's cozy in her very pink, chunky cotton Baby Chalice blanket by Karen Lauger.  It's my favorite newborn lace blanket and I've made it often.  It's easy enough for a beginner lace knitter and with chunky yarn it goes fast.  To say Layla became attached is an understatement....This is her go to blanket and is with her always!

Although somewhere along the line she deemed it too small for covering her and asked for Grandma to make her a bigger one....and Grandma did.  However as wonderfully purple and as big as it was, it just wasn't as good.  This one is Pine Forest baby blanket  by Ingrid Aartun Bøe and I love it as well for a semi-mindless knit.  

Layla's blanket was so well loved that it was getting rather thread bare.  Since I live 8 hours south of Layla we had to come up with a strategy to have her be separated from the with just enough left over yarn I made a scarf, same pattern, same yarn and sent it.  She was convinced while wearing her scarf to go with Mom to the post office and to send off the blanket to Gamma for fixing.  I did my best and returned it priority mail the next day......

But at this point the fibers are just worn out and for each repair a new hole emerges.  Four months from the date of this repair it became clear that we would be nearing disintegration if I didn't find a solution.

So I came up with a plan to stitch the knitting down to some flannel.  I pulled the broken fibers together as best I could and stitched around each of the leaf motifs.  I'll mail it tomorrow, I'm hoping the soft flannel and the fact she can still squish it up will make up for the fact her favorite blank-ie in the world has been altered!

 I am touched that I was able to make something so well loved!

..and she loves it...whew!

So happy that she has embraced the new design!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Curtains for an airstream 25 foot front bed twin

Warning, this is an airstream specific make which I'm posting here so folks who might benefit from the information will have access to it.  It may be of some interest if you have an rv, otherwise I'll return to my usual 'maker' content next week when I hope to show you the finished 'Enrobed' sweater by Amy Herzog.

I decided that we need to embrace the decor in our airstream a bit and make some custom curtains.  The ones that come standard were rather dull and boring.

It doesn't seem like it should be so hard, right? I mean simple panels front and back, what could be complicated about that?  Turns out plenty.

First off, an airstream is not straight, so the top of the curtains are smaller than the bottoms.  They are lined for privacy and looks.  The front fabric is rolled around the edges, again mostly for aesthetics I guess.  The curtains are installed with curtain clips that are fed onto a top and bottom track which means precise measurements and re-enforcement.  

So tackling this task for this new sewer provided a few challenges.  Below is what I learned...a few photos a few notes.

We have a 2015 25 foot front bed twin airstream.  This model has top and bottom rails 25 1/2 inches apart in both the dinette (rear) ad bedroom (front).

My engineer husband informs me that all airstreams of the same width should have the same curtain dimension. I don't know how true this is....but for modern trailers above 25 ft I think it's probably the case.

I started by measuring the previous curtains which were not entirely accurate but below are the numbers I decided were right.  Numbers in black are finished measurements and numbers in red are what need to be cut.  It would be easy to plug in your own numbers.

I used a home dec fabric and it was only 54 inches across.  This meant I could only do one panel across the width so I needed the length 27 1/4 x 8, plus 1/2 yard for good measure.

Lining fabric was 64 inches across so two center panels could be cut side by side.  This would reduce the yardage by the height of 27 1/4.

The 3 inch add on the front for center and end panels is a combination of a 5/8 seam allowance x 2 and a 1 3/4 inch rollover of the front fabric around the sides (a little less than an inch each side).

The lining is cut one inch less than the finished measurement (because of front rollover) but has a 5/8 seam allowance x 2, therefore the 3/4 inch add.

Length of all is 27 1/4 (26 inches plus 5/8 inch seam allowance x 2) 

It's not necessary to have a serger, but I did use mine to overlock the edges top and bottom on the front fabric.  This fabric had shreddy ends or else I would forgo that step.

Here are the tools I used.  Tailors chalk for marking the home dec fabric and pencil for the polyester lining material.  I also used an outdoor home dec thread for longevity.

To angle the cut on the sides of the fabric,  subtract the top number from the bottom number and divide by 2, then mark the top of the fabric with that measurement from the outside edge.  Place long  ruler from bottom edge to mark at the top and draw a line.

Use a heavy non  fusible interfacing 3 inches wide and as long as the fabric minus the 5/8 inch seam allowance.  Mark the top and bottom edges of the lining fabric on the wrong side 5/8 inch from the edges and pin the interfacing along the marked line.  

Stitch 1/4 inch from each side of the interfacing.

Next mark top of curtain for placement of carriers using original curtain.  The top of carrier should come right to the top of the curtain which means placing the top even with the edge of the interfacing.  This will be your seam line when you sew them together.  On the bottom the top of the carrier should come to 25 1/4 or 15 inches below the top.  This puts a little tautness on the elastic. Note: if you don't have originals, it seems that carrier clips are put 2 close together on the ends where there is overlap with the next curtain and then about 5 inches apart.  There are 100 clips in a full set of curtains.  I got mine at

top of curtain
Bottom of curtain

Position carrier clips with the top at the 5/8 inch mark on the top of the curtain and stitch using a zig zag. I sewed each clip individually but you could zig over to the next clip placement.

Optional step - if your fabric is easily frayed on the edge use a serger or overlock stitch on the top and bottom edges.

Pin front and back right sides together.  Remember your front fabric is wider to allow for rollover on edges.  Make sure top and bottom orientation is correct.

Stitch side seams.  I chose to serge mine because of the fabric fraying so much.

Pin tops and bottoms together remembering to roll the front fabric around the edge an equal amount on both sides. 

On the top mark a 6 or 7 inch opening for turning the fabric right side out. (Note: factory curtains were not done this way, they have their raw edges turned in and top stitched 1/4 inch from top and bottom edge.  I think a true seam looks better.) 

Stitch the seam on the 5/8th mark which is the edge of your interfacing.  (I chose not to serge these seams in case I needed to adjust the height which is hard to do after cutting off all our seam allowance with a serger.)  While pinning tuck the carrier clips down out of the way so they won't interfere with our seam.

Trim corners and grade seam allowance.  On the top opening do not grade near the opening, this fabric will be turned in and whip stitched closed.

Turn right side out and use your tool to poke corners out.

Press opening edges in and pin closed.  Change thread to match front fabric and top stitch 3 inches top edge.  This provides strength by connecting the front fabric to the interfacing.  (Note: factory originals also stitched carrier clips through both layers but I didn't like the look so I didn't and it seems fine.)

Whipstitch closed the opening where you turned the curtain.

Press seams

Add velcro where curtains overlap if desired.  I stitched 1 inch by 2 inch pieces to overlapping edges.

Hang and enjoy your finished curtains!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

All for Love

I do love a pretty graphic.....Papaya arts.  This carries my sewing supplies.

So....I've been sewing.  Last week a new coat and this week a ruffled skirt for a special about to be four year old.   I'm in love with my new serger but I also have a healthy respect for the learning  curve to I'm not sure I will be trying to serge these round seams with gathers. But I did use it to make a nice clean side seam.  It's a thing of beauty and so easy and neat.

Here's the pattern  chose and three pretty pink fabrics.  I have to say ruffles are a bit fussy....

But in the end I think I did a pretty good job!  Now off to find a peasant blouse to compliment this cute little skirt.  I had to ask where the rick rack was kept at the fabric store and the first young gal had no idea what I rick rack that dated?

I also managed an earring session and finished up a pendant I started when I was in New Orleans. update, the little birthday girl in her skirt!

I've always loved this button and it was time to put it to good use.  The pendant is of course reversible, but I didn't capture the other side so you'll have to take my word for it.

Three pairs of earrings, two with bezeled rivolis, one with a chaton top and a pave teardrop and the other with beautiful chalcedony, a beautiful type of quartz. I've been hoarding them forever, so time to put them to use.

The third pair are bead embroidery thanks to friend Sherry Serafini whose pattern this is.  I used my own buttons and added some chain and used a bigger cup chain, but the design work all belongs to the brilliance of Sherry.

So that is all the fun I've indulged in and now it's time for a little more mundane....sewing curtains for the airstream.  Tomorrow I will cut out and stitch a prototype before embarking on the eight panels required.  I hope I'll be showing you the hung curtains next week.  The fabric is subdued but elegant and was a marital compromise as are most things airstream related.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Maker of things.......

I've been a maker as long as I can remember, rolling play dough into elaborate little vignettes, learning to knit when I was ten, then crochet, a dabble in sewing, candle making, macrame, ceramics...

I think when you're a maker you are generally born that way, though I'm not sure of that, but I know I was.  I seldom have idle hands.

As my career of Bead designer/teacher winds down with only minimal engagements planned I have more time for making.

I thought it would be fun to use this space to begin to document those makes.  In a bit I shall change up the look and then start to photo my things as I make them.

Currently there is one sweater on the needles and a vest planned for Mark, followed by a second sweater for me.

This is the sleeve fair isle that I am adding to the Amy Herzog enrobed sweater which is a wrap around.  One sleeve to go and then assembly.  I worked hard on gauge and measurements to end up with a sweater that fits, at least that's the plan!

I've begun a journey in sewing art to wear clothing starting with embellishing an existing jacket and sewing my first Tina Givens gypsy jacket.  That led to the knowledge that a serger would be a good tool and I am in love with what I can do with the serger.

Here is my embellished jacket.  The panels are cut from a fabric that I got at south park dry goods from Judi Patuti.  It's called Frieda.  I took a class with Marty Ornish which resulted in this up cycled jacket.  The original jacket was from Lee Andersen and I wore it often but it seems like a good place to start.  I added batting beneath the fabric panels and did some machine outlining and some beading on each of the panels.  Then I arranged them on the jacket and stitched them on.

Then I cut my very first Tina Givens pattern called Gypsy.  I added some Ray Harris silk to the bottom and a tulle skirt, then added some lace to the bottom of each sleeve.  It's artistic enough but my lack of sewing knowledge shows a lot!

Determined to do a better job with my next project I took my time, watched some videos and used my new serger!  The result is much nicer but I didn't measure the sleeves and they turned out too tight.  I added a gusset and it's wearable and I love it, but next time I would adjust the pattern first.  There is a lot to learn to sew clothes that fit and look nice. This is Tina Givens Peplone coat.  I used the inverse of the fabric to make the pocket and cuffs. I'm sure there will be more failures along the way, but I am determined to learn.  This is a home dec fabric that I purchased from our local UFO upholstery supplier.  It was on sale and so I worried less about wasting a good fabric.  In the end I'm happy enough with it.  You can also see my new button pendant.

Now I'm busy with a ruffled cotton skirt for a grand daughter, photos in the next 'Makers' post.  Straight seams, a few ruffles and an all around easier sew!

I also went on an earring binge last week so as soon as I photo those, I'll share.