Tag Archive | sewing

A new craft!

When I was about 12, my mom thought I needed to learn to sew. With her help, I made a pair of white cotton shorts. They fit fine, but I didn’t love the process and didn’t sew anything else after that. For the next 20 years or so, the only sewing I did was sewing on buttons. Even when the girl wanted to learn to sew, and got a machine and all the tools, I was happy to sit back and let her learn from her aunt and grandmas.

But then I started crocheting and knitting, and I made some bags that needed liners. The knitting SIL, an accomplished sewist herself, walked me through the basics and I used the girl’s sewing machine to make a couple of simple linings, which I then hand-stitched into the bags. Then I got tired of that, and a few months ago, got rid of my fabric scraps because I didn’t have the inclination to sew more.

Oh, but then the evil pandemic began. First I knitted masks and hand-stitched linings in them, but that was a long process. I saw the simple pleated masks and figured I could manage those. It took me a while to remember how to use the machine, but I made a few with fabric ties. Then I made a few with elastic from hair ties. It was fast, and kind of fun. I ordered brightly-colored cotton and made a few more with elastic. But I hadn’t realized how much fabric two yards was, and I wondered what else I could make with all this fabric.

I remembered the little knot bag that Sarah Jane gave me a few months ago — it seemed pretty simple. She sent me the link for the pattern on Etsy, which is awesome and has three sizes. Since Sarah Jane made me a small one, I decided I’d try the medium size. A few hours later, I had a new bag, and it’s even reversible!

This is a perfect pattern for beginners, nice and simple, and I can’t wait to make another one. I might make another small one before I tackle the large size, which also has a pocket. And pretty soon I might need to start getting some fabric, because I only have three solids and I’m gonna need more than that!

Sew Fun: Making a Bag Lining

Haha, I conquered the sewing machine yesterday! Remember, I am not a seamstress. But we have a sewing machine from my daughter’s short-lived obsession with sewing, and I really wanted my purse lining. So like I did several months ago with the hot pink crochet purse, I pulled out the machine determined to do it myself.

I pressed the fabric and laid it out on the table. I decided I wanted the silky part of the fabric on both sides. Since the bag didn’t felt completely, there are little holey spots where the fabric will show through. I decided I would just do a rectangle, rather than try to mimic the curve of the bag, since I’m a novice at this sewing thing. I’m certain I didn’t do it the “proper” way (my SIL would probably cringe. Or laugh.) but I ended up with an open bag-type rectangle that should work just fine. Yes, it’s bigger than the bag. Oops. My eyeballing it measuring was not exact. But I’m certainly not going to scrap it and try again. It’ll be fine. It’s pinned in and ready for the hand-sewing portion. Whee. *she said sarcastically*IMG_1815The funny thing is, I’ve kind of had a lot of fun each time I pull out the sewing machine. And it’s really cool that I can just…make stuff. But no, I don’t need another hobby. And I certainly don’t need to start a fabric stash! Right? Right. … But I could start making my own little project bags. That would be fun…

Sew Satisfying: Hot Pink Crochet Purse with zebra lining

When I was younger, maybe 11 or so, my mom tried to teach me how to sew. We picked out a pattern for some shorts, bought fabric together, and she led me through every step of making those shorts. And I did it; the shorts came out fine and they fit. They were white, and I think I wore them once. And I never sewed anything else with a machine ever again.

Until yesterday.

If you’ve been following along with me, you know that I’ve been making some cute little crochet purses lately. And purses made from yarn tend to stretch out unless you reinforce them with a fabric lining. And that fabric tends to fray along the edge unless you hem the edges. And it’s much faster to hem those edges with a sewing machine than by hand.

With my last two bags, I waited until I could get my SIL (who’s talented at so many different crafts) to “help” me hem the linings. Truth be told, I did have a sewing machine in my house. My daughter has one, given to her when she had a brief romance with sewing. But she’d forgotten how to use it, so I couldn’t get her to help me. And come on, isn’t it always easier to have someone else do the chore you don’t like?

Sure, it is, until you don’t want to have to work on their schedule. After I finished my purple crochet bag, I was desperate to finish the hot pink one. I’d found some amazing zebra fabric and black handles, and I wanted that bag done TODAY. So, fine! I would do it myself! I am nothing if not stubborn, and I refused to believe that I *couldn’t* do it. I might not like it, but I could do it.

I got out the machine, set up the spool of thread, threaded it, and then remembered the bobbin. Where was it? This machine is different than my SIL’s, and the bobbin was hiding. My daughter was sleeping and I had no idea where the manual was, so I turned to my best friend: Google. Sure enough, the manual was available online. I found the bobbin, re-threaded the spool of thread (correctly this time), and prepared to sew for the first time. Yes, I used a spare bit of fabric to test. I pressed the pedal and Whee! Off it went! Unfortunately, it looked awful and the thread was doing weird things and I had no idea what I was doing wrong.

In a weak moment, I texted SIL, hoping she’d come rescue me. When no response came, I took a deep breath and started over from the beginning. This time I realized that the little metal foot by the needle needs to come down when you’re ready to sew. Oops. That made all the difference. I practiced several times and then I was ready for the real thing!

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Darn it all, I *did* actually enjoy it. Maybe it was just the thrill of overcoming my resistance, of gaining a skill I thought I didn’t want or need. Either way, when I was done with this, I really wished I had something else to sew. My corners aren’t mitered, and my edges aren’t perfectly straight, but the stitching is straight and even. Most importantly, it will work just fine for a purse lining. Like this:

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IMG_2613I love this little bag. And it is little. It’s made with just one skein of Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima cotton, which is a DK weight. I didn’t have enough to double the strands, so the purse measures a delicate 9″ by 6″, which is still big enough to hold the essentials. The black bamboo handles and zebra lining came from Joann. Although I’m tempted to keep this one for myself, I currently have it listed for sale on my Facebook site, and you can check it out here

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