Archive for June, 2007

* Charming Handbag

Posted on June 25th, 2007 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I got my hands on Amy’s new book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, as soon as I could. So very good. It’s pretty rare that I buy a craft book and make something from it immediately, but this pattern really appealed to me, so much so that I enlarged it by hand instead of waiting until tomorrow when I could enlarge it on the copy machine. I’m a sucker for clever ways of doing things, and it has a very clever way of attaching the handles, using a casing so it cinches up a bit. Add in the ribbon trim and it wasn’t a hard sell. I found the pattern easy to follow with the minor exception that the dimensions were missing for the handle and casing. I used felt for the inside (you can see a peek of it in the photo), so left out the extra layer of lining. I was a little worried the felt would make the seam allowances bulky, but they actually have a rather nice heft, with some topstitching to help them stay flat. The fabric is a tablecloth I got at a church sale. I’m withholding judgment on the potentially flimsy grosgrain ribbon handles (Amy’s uses more substantial handles). They will at least be easy to replace if they don’t work out, though.



* Stroller blanket madness!

Posted on June 24th, 2007 by becket. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

Hi! Becket here again. I’ve been madly sewing all sorts of things for the baby (stay tuned for future posts!). My most recent projects have been stroller blankets.
This one I made from a vintage Marimekko-like fabric that I found on eBay. This one will be a “winter” blanket because I put red flannel on the back and a light batting inbetween. I quilted a diamond pattern in white thread across the pattern – then bound the blanket in red bias tape.


The second blanket is a “summer” weight blanket of quilted squares. Many of these solid fabrics are vintage that I picked up recently at a church thrift sale. I couldn’t believe how soft these vintage cottons felt! I decided to put a couple of green squares in just to cut down on the pink cutesy-factor.
To finish it off, I tied a pink ties in embroidery thread in the middle of each square.



And yet I feel to make one last stroller blanket – but this one is still a work in progress…
I love this fabric of pears and apples As you may be able to see, I’m applying bias tape in lime green around the edges…



* loopy bow

Posted on June 20th, 2007 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

I made Becket a quilt for her baby shower. It’s in yellows and grays, and I’m working on a tutorial for the crazy way I pieced it. It’s revolutionary, I tell you. Anyway, that’ll have to wait because I didn’t get a good photo of it before the shower. But, I can show you what I did with the leftover trimmings. When I was cutting the strips to size, I ended up with a pile of long narrow pieces. So I looped each one up kind of loosely into a flower shape, sewed them together through the center, added a tassel, and insta-gift-bow which was also a hint about the present.



* Couch reupholstery finally done!

Posted on June 13th, 2007 by becket. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

Hi – Becket here again. Just finished (and just in the nick of time – because I’m starting to get big pregnancy-wise) a couch reupholstery project that has been plaguing me for months. It all started when I inheritied a danish modern daybed that was being thrown out at work. So, I managed to get it in my car (with some needed help from the guys at the loading dock) and took it home. It didn’t have the foam cushions (or the upholstery) – it was just the teak frame/legs/back. And the wood needed some TLC. So, my husband and I (we did this LAST summer) sanded the couch down and restained it. After that, we were a bit exhausted with the project, so we put it aside for a couple of months. Then, in the fall, we visited Katz’ Foam in Philly – it’s basically a HUGE wherehouse that sells all types of foam at decent prices (foam can be incredibly expensive). They even had the foam in the form of wedges for the back cushions. Then, I had to think about a nice neutral fabric that wasn’t boring. So, I visited Philly’s “Fabric Row”. If you’re not familiar with Philly, “Fabric Row” is basically a huge street with dozens of fabric stores. So, you would think that I had a lot to choose from – but I just kept seeing the same patterns over and over again – and none of them looked particularly Danish modern (I kept coming across toile, pineapples and fleur-de-lys patterns). I even looked into Knoll re-issued fabrics – OUCH! Those are expensive. So, I ended up going to JoAnn’s (again) and finding a very nice upholstery fabric in a neutral army-moss green with a small square relief pattern. It’s soft but durable and was easy to work with because the squares allowed me to sew along a straight line. And I got to use the 50% coupon! Hooray!
Maitreya and I’s mutual friend Amy has done reupholstery in the past and is a very talented seamstress. Through Amy’s generosity with her time and guidance I learned how to make cording from the fabric (mobius loop, anyone?), how to first cover the foam in muslin, and how to put in hidden zippers (which are also located on the bottom of each wedge cushion). I found sewing the corners to be particularly difficult – Amy’s machine had a smaller zipper foot and could handle the corners nicely. Amy really guided me through the project at every step and even did some of the sewing jobs – THANK YOU AMY!!


To go with the couch, I made coordinating pillows with a vintage linen on the front (kind of reminiscient of Jonathan Adler) and the green fabric on the back, plus extra cording from the couch around the pillow edges. Put in the hidden zippers and I was finally done!! The last step is to actually move the couch into our final destination in the living room. In the meanwhile, it’s in my sewing room/loft/storage area and is serving as a daybed for our cat, who loves the loft because it’s warm and sunny.



* pretty little potholder

Posted on June 11th, 2007 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

My submission for a book coming out from Lark! It was a nice excuse to go buy some of that crazy mylar-batting-Insul-Bright stuff. Becket consulted on the patchwork layout and reminded me to add the loop. You might notice the design is similar to my patchwork coasters. The editor actually suggested to make it round, and I’m so glad she did because I really like it this way!


In related news: why hasn’t it ever dawned on me before to use the zigzag stitch when applying binding? I will never sew binding any other way again.


* Pleated Purse

Posted on June 9th, 2007 by becket. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.

Hi – Becket here with my first attempt with making a purse. I was inspired by a picture of a beautiful purse by little birds handmade. I really liked how the pleats in her purse revealed a really lovely tweed fabric – and I tried to capture that here. I used an Alexander Henry fabric that I got at JoAnn’s for the main fabric and a vintage tweed for the inside of the pleats. I actually have a lot of this particular tweed fabric and my fantasy is that I will be able to use it to reupholster a well-worn mid-century dish chair one day. Anyhow, this purse was definitely a challenge to create and I got a lot of guidance from Maitreya on this one. The first time I tried to sew this bag, it looked like it had wide hips!! It was not the most attractive shape for a purse…so I ripped it apart and tried again. and again. and again. until I got it in the right shape.


And then I lined it in red cotton and put in a pocket. The handles I bought from – they are a very decent fake leather and were not very expensive. My husband helped me put in the rivets with a hammer.


Hope you enjoy it!!


* mechapanda

Posted on June 6th, 2007 by maitreya. Filed under Crafty Review, Toys (cat and kid).

Behold mechapanda. He and my miniBlythe are going to be arch-enemies and have fierce battles.


He’s from the Mechani-Panda pattern in The Cute Book, which the nice folks at Aranzi Aronzo sent me. I love this book. One of the first Japanese craft books I ever bought was an Aranzi Aronzo book, but this one has the significant advantage of being in English. For the patterns, this isn’t actually that much of an improvement, since the picture-patterns are so well done in both books. I would say the main bonuses are that I can now read the crazy captions, and that copies are available without going to/ordering from Japan. The mechani-panda looked like one of the harder patterns, and it was quite fiddly to do. I added the laser eyes, made the blinky panel lights colorful instead of gray, and made the arms poseable so he could be more threatening, but he is otherwise to spec. Took a few nights of handsewing in front of the TV. I think I’ll try a simpler one next, like the cute frog, or the cute bunny, or the kidnapper.



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