Soda Pop!

Let’s see…When we left off, I had just posted about our visit to  the quilt exhibit at the MFA.  Coincidentally, not long after, I received an e-mail announcing a new collection of embroidery designs, Modern Blossoms, coordinating with  Amanda Murphy‘s Soda Pop Quilt pattern.

Amanda Murphy Soda Pop Quilt

The scene was set.  I ordered the designs, and soon set out to locate the pattern in a nearby shop. It turned-out to be a  very successful shopping trip and included picking up some of the fabrics for the project!  I was excited to get started but was in the midst of a Christmas quilt gifted to me last year that I wanted to complete for the holiday season.

So, after Christmas I finally got started.

Modern Blossoms Designs

When the first design (seen on the left) was loaded into the machine, it told me the stitching time for that design would be 2 hours.  The leaf on the right is an applique with embroidery used to tack it down and embellish on top.  In total, I think there are 25-30 different designs that I chose to use, but the stitch-out time for each design varied.

Once the the embroidery was done, and the quilt top completed, I had to figure-out a way to layer this quilt, keeping the layers flat.  To be honest, this is the largest and most complex quilt I’ve ever made so there’s lot of material to contend with!

Problem solved through a YouTube video where Sharon Schambler demonstrates just how to do this!

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Next was deciding how to do the actual quilting.  I really liked and wanted to duplicate (if possible) the concentric circles that are seen in the original quilt and I knew that probably the only way for me to do that would be  by embroidery machine.  So I digitized a few concentric circles in my software for the quilting.

Digitized quiltingI used a 200x200mm hoop for all of the circles with the exception of the largest design which needed to be split for two hoopings in the 360×200 hoop.

Due to the size of the quilt (48×66″), I moved my machine to my cutting table so the weight of the quilt would be supported.

Working on this project was challenging at times, but it was a great learning experience.  I know that more experienced quilters talk about signing your quilt with your name & date .  So in that vein…

I even made a label.

Quilt Label

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Presidio Purse Revisited

 

Hi Everyone! The weather here is finally warm enough to consider taking pictures outside and showing off what I have been working on- my adaptation of the Presidio Purse!

In case you missed it, Seamstress Erin has just finished a sew along of her latest pattern, the Presidio Purse.The bag is very generous in size and not difficult to construct, but after making my first one, I really wanted something that was more on a smaller scale for everyday use. So… I set to work…

The first thing I did was to measure and compare the sizes of bags I already have. That “research” revealed that most bags I have were an average of 1 3/4 inches shorter than the Presidio Purse. Not really that much of a difference, but I still felt that the size was not right for me.

With that information, I started to modify the pattern by overlapping the bottom portion of the pattern by that 1 3/4 inches. Then I made some adjustments to the combined side/bottom piece and created a muslin. I knew right away that this was not the “look” I was going for, either. There was still something that was “too big” but progress was being made!

Then I decided maybe I could eliminate the side/bottom piece altogether and create depth to the purse by adding darts! Ding ding ding…We have a winner!

Here you can see the pattern changes in order:

Overlap the bottom portion of the front/back pierce 1 3/4″ and shorten the bottom portion of the zipper pocket piece by the same amount. (I just folded it under). The darts are 1″ long with a total take-up for each dart at 1 1/2″.

 

On the front & backI used a woven fusible interfacing and also on the following lining pieces:

  • 1 lower zipper pocket piece
  • 2 handles
  • 2 handle anchors
  • small pocket piece*

* I cut the small pocket on the fold, interfaced half of it and sewed it right sides together, leaving an opening to turn right sides out. (No raw edges ).

 

A close-up of sewing the darts: To eliminate the dimple at the point of a dart, stitch off the point and continue stitching a thread chain. Lift your presser foot an re-position the needle within the dart fold and tie-off.

Sandwich the zipper between the 2 lower large pocket pieces, having the one with the interfacing on the bottom. Repeat with the remaining top pocket pieces and neither of these pieces is interfaced. (This is the same technique used for inserting the main zipper in the Presidio Purse.)

 

Cut pocket lining the same size as completed zipper pocket.

 

Place WRONG side of this piece on top the right side of the zipper pocket. Stitch together with 1/4″ seam on 3 sides, leaving top open. Trim corners & turn to right side & press. When this pocket assembly is stitched to the lining with 1/4″ seam, there will be no raw edges inside, and the right side of the lining is visible when you unzip the pocket!

Small pocket stitched to lining (reinforced with bar tacks).

 

Once the pockets were stitched to the front & back lining pieces, it was time to stitch the front & back together. After doing this, I pressed the seams open and used a 2-step zig-zag stitch along the seam to keep it open.

Now, onto the bag, itself! I was able to find some 10 oz. wt denim at Joann's and that was perfect, because I wanted to make this bag very casual and do some machine embroidery on the front! (I'll get to that, shortly!)

Embroidery done and bag assembled, here are a few details:

  • Top stitched the seam using a 6.0/100 needle with regular thread. I have not had a great deal of luck using top-stitching thread in the past. If you like more definition, you can thread the needles with two of the same weight thread to get a slightly thicker appearance or use 2 different colors in the same needle for an even different look!
  • For top stitching handle & anchors and construction, a jeans/denim size 100 needle was used.
  • Bar tacks were added on the handle after I attached it to the ring for extra security, and it goes along with a jeans style!
  • The 2″ rings were ordered from Pacific Trimming.

 

Here is the finished bag!

The design is from “Worth Every Penny”, a collection found here.

And here is the bag in action!

 

Christmas Ornament Exchange

You may have noticed that some of the sewing bloggers you read have been exchanging handmade Christmas ornaments and posting tutorials demonstrating how to make them too!

Well, thanks to Kelli of True Bias, more bloggers (like myself) were given the opportunity to sign-up to participate in this activity as well.

I submitted my name as a participant, and decided that my handmade ornament would be to make lace snowflakes!  The bonus here is that you can either hang them on your Christmas tree, or enjoy them in a window throughout the winter season!

if you are not familiar with machine embroidery, these snowflakes are known as FSL, or Freestanding Lace.  I purchased these particular designs from Snowlady Designs but there are many other vendors of lace designs.

After downloading the design to my computer software, I duplicated the design as many times as I could fit into my hoop and then transferred that to my machine.

Here is a print-out of the snowflakes as they will be stitched.

Next, I hooped a thick water-soluble stabilizer, pressed the “start” button and watched them stitch!

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Once they are done, unhoop and trim around each snowflake before soaking the snowflakes in water to dissolve the stabilizer.

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When they are dry, I like to give them just a touch of white glitter paint! (Sometimes a little more than a touch!)

Here are the finished snowflakes I made for the exchange:

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And here are three different ones that I just made from the same designer.

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My mailbox has brought me some delightful handcrafted Christmas ornaments over the past few days and introduced me to some talented and creative bloggers whom I might otherwise not found.

I hope you have a moment to stop by and enjoy these lovely blogs too!

http://nutta.typepad.com/

http://seemore-dreammore.blogspot.com

http://bonnechanceblogspot.blogspot.com

http://www.dandeliondrift.com

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Are You Ready for Soccer?

I have a special birthday party to attend next week. The Birthday Boy, born on 9/9/09, will proudly tell you that “I’m growing-up. I’m going to be four”

Well, I don’t know where those four years have gone, but I’ve had a collection of embroidery designs for longer than that begging to be used…

Twist.my.arm.

I hunted for these on Ebay after seeing a sweater using several of the designs in Sew News. I was lucky to have found the collection, as it is no longer available from a dealer.

Getting to work!

  • I purchased a Lands’ End scherpa-lined hoodie
  • changed the hair color in the design from black to “blonde”
  • reduced the design density from 11,000 stitches to 9000.

Changing the hair color required “zooming-in” on the design and viewing a simulation of the stitch-out on the computer. As I watched the player, I was able to insert a new color, and then resume the black thread color. Getting the stops in the right place is important, so that a yellow outline on the soccer player and a yellow soccer ball can be avoided!

Hooping the hoodie:

As I mentioned, this sweatshirt has a hood, and a scherpa lining. Ideally sweatshirts should be “hooped”, but because of the sleeve, hood and bulkiness of this project I did the following:

  • affixed a cutaway mesh stabilizer to the inside of the sweatshirt (scherpa) using a spray adhesive
  • hooped a washaway sticky stabilizer, scored it and peeled the topping away to expose the “sticky”
  • taped my printed design template to the hoodie and centered it in the hoop

Cutaway stabilizers are recommended for embroidering on knits so that the stitches don’t wobble and distort during the stitching and the design is well-supported on the garment.

At the Machine:

Attach the hoop and “fine-tune” so the needle penetrates at the center of the design. Baste around the design, if your machine does this, so that the garment & stabilizer are attached.  I recorded the coordinates of the center after adjusting, just in case. I’m living dangerously and did not do a test stitch-out…

Some people leave their machines to embroider by themselves, unsupervised.

Some people use baby monitors to listen for problems in “Embroideryland.”

I am not in either of those camps. I watch like a hawk. I hold my breath (sometimes, like today) so that I can hear the clunking of a bird’s nest in-the-making, or watch the innocent needle falling out from the vibration, or having to re-thread after a thread break. All of these things happened today.

After tending to these hiccups, I came close to needing the initially recorded coordinates having found it necessary to remove the hoop from the machine while performing minor surgery (during the final color block, of course!)

Ninety minutes after sitting at the machine, we have success.

  • trim jump stitches
  • trim stabilizer
  • press & admire

Ayden will be ready for soccer.

Laptop Satchel

One of my favorite machine embroidery designers is Kara Sutton of Kreations by Kara.

Occasionally, I find myself wandering over to her site …(ok, maybe more often than occasionally).

Anyway, while I was there one time, the most beautiful collection of Dandelions just jumped into my shopping cart! Amazing. It all happened so quickly!

Deciding on a suitable project to showcase these designs took much longer…

Laptop Satchel#1

I found the perfect canvas for my embroidery with this Laptop Satchel pattern from Vanilla House designs.

The satchel interior features a divided pocket and an additional zippered pocket for holding keys, phone, pens etc., alongside your computer and other documents. It makes a great gift too.

I had so much fun making one, that I had to make another!

Laptop Satchel #2

The first one I donated to a silent auction family benefit. It's always a good feeling being able to turn your hobby into something to help others.

The second satchel was my daughter's choice.

Lets see, now…I have a “few” more designs from Kreations by Kara, but I do not yet have one of these satchels. Hmm, I wonder what I can do about that??