Thursday, March 24, 2011

my new friend - FOE

Have you ever used FOE (fold over elastic)? I'd been mildly interested, but I don't really sew enough clothing to justify ordering any. Then I saw some at the sewing expo a few weeks ago, and was sorely tempted... and when I saw the "remnants - all you can stuff in a bag for $10" bin, I fell for it. I think I scored a great deal - I got at least 45 yards, of several different widths and colors. Plenty to play around with now!

My first attempt to use it was for this simple circle skirt for the kid. Happy St. Patrick's day! I followed the basics of the MADE tutorial (could not be any easier!). When it came time to do the waistband, I cut a length of FOE about the same length I would for normal elastic if I was using a casing. I pinned it at 4 places, and stretched the FOE as I sewed it down with a zigzag stitch. Super easy, super quick!

The only problem is that it somehow turned out WAY too big! I wasn't about to redo it (me? rip out zigzag stitching? not on your life!), so I just made two really ugly tucks on the sides. On the upside, it will be really easy to let those tucks out, so this skirt should last for *years*! So I guess the stitching makes it so that the elastic doesn't un-stretch all the way back once you've sewn it down. Is there some magic formula for how much shorter you should make it? I guess I can answer my own question - for about a 19" waist, I had to take up about 4 or 5". So, about 25% less. There you go.

I did look around youtube to see if there were any videos about how to use FOE. I found a few, but nothing about how to measure it to fit a waistband. I loved the Angry Chicken video, but even hers didn't say anything about it. Oh well, I'm okay with trial and error!

And speaking of other new things to try - what do you know about laminated cottons? I picked up a couple of these remnant pieces at the expo ($1.50 each, for two extra chubby fat quarters), but they curl up like crazy! I can't imagine trying to sew when the fabric is like this. Especially for a laminate - aren't you supposed to avoid using pins? Any hints for how to get them to lay flat? I tried to press them, but it just seemed to make it worse. Should I wash them, or throw them in the dryer? Any other advice? I'm not even sure what I'm going to make with them, maybe snack bags?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

for Japan

If you've been thinking about donating to relief efforts in Japan, let me twist your arm a little...

I had already planned to donate, and when I saw some wonderful bloggers offering up their lovely quilts to encourage donations, I decided to take what I'd normally donate, and spread the love around. It's not so much that I want to win a quilt, mind you. I just want these generous folks to know I appreciate their efforts, and that their quilt "earned" as much cash as possible! So, if you're able to donate, why not support these awesome quilters? And if I missed any others, please let me know!

Just click on the picture to go to their giveaway post.

From Elizabeth at Oh Fransson (ends today, so be quick!)

From Stephanie at Loft Creations (ends March 26)

Monday, March 21, 2011

just a few more blocks

Here are my two blocks for this month in the do. Good Stitches bee. I didn't love the construction, because we had to use paper templates (which seems like it could be error-prone). But I think the quilt will look awfully cute!

I'm pretty proud of my work - the centers are almost perfect! I used starch at every step, and I think that really helped.

And surely you've heard of Moda's Just One Star project by now. Of course I had to join in! But asking me to make just one of anything? Ha!! If I pull a fabric out of the stash, it's not going back in! I pulled out a couple blues, and made as many stars as I could - 20 to be exact!

As I was following the instructions they provided, I got really tired of all the trimming and waste that went along with making the star points. A light bulb finally went off when I realized that these are just flying geese. I hadn't made them before, but I had seen tutorials for no-waste methods. I found this one, figured out the new dimensions I'd need, and tried it with a red fabric (yes, just one star that time!). It worked great! So much faster, and no waste. So, if you are thinking of making these blocks and want to use an easier method for the star points, use both of the tutorials together, with these substitutions:
  • Four 2 3/8" (2.375") squares of red/blue fabric (instead of the eight 2" squares the Moda tutorial calls for)
  • One 4 1/4" (4.25") square of background fabric (instead of the four 2" x 3.5" rectangles the Moda tutorial calls for)
Hope that helps - go make some stars!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

sweatshop mode

No interesting sewing has been going on around here these last couple of weeks. I've been sweatshopping up a storm, though. My MIL asked for a few more reusable grocery bags (see my tutorial here), so I whipped up a couple using a vintage sheet. I love this print, but that dark gray doesn't really go with most other sheet prints, so it was perfect to use for a bigger project.

Unfortunately, after I was done, I loved them so much that I didn't want to give them away! I had a duvet cover that I'd bought specifically to make bags (my favorite way to go, because the front and back fabrics coordinate), so I cut that one up and made 6 more. I'll probably give 3 to my MIL, and keep the other 3 for a future gift.

And why not go crazy? I had this other sheet that I loved, but it wasn't really vintage enough for other projects, so I backed it with a solid peach sheet and made 6 more bags!

While I was making these, I walked my friend Quynh through the process, and she made a few bags of her own. Then she put her own creative twist on it, and turned a bunch of vintage sheet charm squares (that I'd given her for xmas!) into patchwork bags. They are so awesome!! She let me pick my favorite one to keep, and I chose this beautiful blue one. How sweet is that? I think it might be my favorite bag ever!

And my latest sweatshop project - going through the sheet stash, and cutting out yardage to send to my best addict/customer, Amanda. We have such a great thing going - I get to keep collecting prints, but my bins no longer overflow quite so much, and Amanda gets a steady supply of raw materials for her shop. Perfect!