A HOT time making masks

A Hot Time making masks – Having a heatwave in Delaware this past week, where outside temps are in the nineties every day. The humidity has been over 80% most days as well. I have a freestanding Haier air conditioner in my sewing room and it isn’t keeping up with the heat. Temps have been over 80 in my studio space all week. We live in a 117 year old house without central air and this morning, my kitchen a/c said it was 80 when I got up. Trying to sleep last night in the bedroom at 80 degrees was miserable. Our pool was 95 last night and I am ever so grateful for the brief downpour we had this morning, to add cool water to the pool, bring up the water level and cool off the surfaces, decking, roof and more. The morning temp dropped from 81 to 77 so that was quite nice. So, time spent in my sewing room studio above the garage is “weather dependent” right now.

I was creating a few masks for my granddaughters last weekend and posted some photos on Facebook. The 3 below are size small, and took me about 3 hours from start to finish. This is my absolute favorite style of mask to make, and although very time intensive is the best style for fit I have made.

small masks for little people

The ones in the photo below I made on “speculation” a few would be purchased. I spent Sunday and Monday making 10 masks in my sewing room where the temperature was nearing 85 degrees.

Medium masks
amazing cats
Laurel Burch fabric
mint with teal green purple

Medium turquoise

My grand kids don’t know yet if they are going back to school “physically” in the fall, but if they do, they will need to be wearing masks all the time for the foreseeable future. One of the granddaughters liked some of the “speculation” masks I made and I made the elastic adjustment to fit her face properly.

Since I was having the kids for a pool time one day this week, they all came up to the sewing room (85 degrees in the late afternoon) and picked out 5 fabrics each from the “quilters resource center” (aka – stash). The are elementary and middle school age and the fabric choices were so interesting.

Masks for a middle school boy
Middle school boy…(middle fabric is more maroon than pink)

The fabric on the far right is official Boy Scout fabric with words.

Masks choices
Artsy middle school girl picked fabric with a vine theme
Second grader masks
Elementary school child choices

The nearly 8 year old elementary child came over yesterday morning and she learned to iron. She loves the OLISO iron with the pop up feet. Close supervision kept her from burning any fingers. She mastered spritzing the fabric with the spray bottle and loved watching the steam roll up off the fabric when she press it. She also learned about proper rotary cutting. Once the pieces were cut for 4 masks, she pressed the pleats using the pleating guide and enjoyed working with all my little binding clips to keep them in place. She also did the stitching on the ear channel (where the elastic goes) on my Janome 8900. She could sit on my stool, and I could sit behind her. It was easier for her to sew with the stop/start button. I made sure the plastic guide was set up, and she learned to chain piece. She really likes my little snips.

I was able to rotate this design on the screen in my machine. The pattern was purchased from Creative Appliques

The pleating template is part of the pattern, and there are multiple sizes in the pattern, so chose carefully based on your own machine hoop limitations. There is a 4×4 hoop option at Creative Appliques, along with other mask styles.

Using my Janome 11000 and the MA hoop(8×12 adjustable), I could get 4 of the small masks in one hooping. I like to conserve stabilizer by maximizing the number in the hoop. Mediums can be stitched 3 in a hoop with careful adjustments to mask placement on the screen and in the machine. I’ve mentioned “windowing stabilizer” on other blog posts. Link to that post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/windowing-stabilizer-the-twist-and-more/

I also have a video on removing items from the hoop for windowing – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/49789624736/in/album-72157712813350817/

Mediums in the hoop
3 mediums in my MA hoop

When I make this particular style mask, my husband creates nose wires for me from copper electric wire he has. He strips the plastic coating off the wire, pulls out the copper wire and strips it bare, cuts it to my desired length and curls the ends.

Cutting and prepping the fabric for these masks is much more time consuming than the donation masks I made back in March, April and May. They take longer because each mask has 5 pieces of fabric, and every piece is a different size. Each piece is prepared a differently before they are stitched, pleating folding, pressing etc.

Beyond the directions provided by Creative Applique, I add machine stitching on the ear channels so nothing “ravels” in the wash, and I add extra stitches to hold the nose wire “in place”. I also have been cutting into my $14/yard fabric for these masks. So, they are time consuming and rather expensive to make when you consider all the stabilizer, thread, and extra stitching I do. These masks have such a nicer fit than a typical 6×9 rectangular mask. There are 5 different pieces that go into the one mask, all cut to various sizes.

prepped and ready
Taped and stitching

When I am working on these masks, you can’t take your eyes off the machine for a minute, and there is a lot of taping things in place so the foot of the machine doesn’t get caught.

My daughter and I think it is important for the children to be “invested” in the process of making masks. Their labor and efforts will be remembered, and help them to have a better understanding of what actually goes into what “grandma” made. The “big” kids will get their turn, individually, to come over and spend some time making their masks.

I stopped making masks in May because I was burnt out and depressed. I am ONLY making masks for my family now. When asked by friends, I will sell them masks, because it is a lot of work. The idea of “selling to friends or strangers” can be a contentious subject. Believe me, I am not profiteering on COVID-19. If you are new here, understand that I have made and donated nearly 200, and many went to friends when you couldn’t BUY a mask anywhere back in early April. I stopped making donation masks in May because I was burnt out! I have invested a lot of money since the outbreak of COVID-19 in supplies, and charging people now is a way to recover the costs and enable me to continue to move forward and to supply masks to charitable groups. There are still groups asking for mask donations.

I set my price for these masks based on the time it takes me to make a high quality product and to offset the costs of fabric, elastic, stabilizer. You can buy a cheaper mask online and if money is your issue, then buy a box of disposable masks. You will get something made in a factory and it will go in the landfill.

masculine fabric for masks
Medium size masked prepped for stitching

More fun with Machine Embroidery

I’ve been giving the Janome 11000 a real workout.  I LOVE that I now have twice the hoop size as my Brother PE500.  Going from a 4×4 to the 8×8 is HUGE!  So many things to do.  Last week I saw a pattern on a Facebook group for an “in the hoop” design that I wanted to try.   (In the hoop means the entire project is done without removing it from the hoop) .

The designer was asking what other sizes people would like and so I responded to her with my desire for something just a bit bigger than 5×7; that would fit my 8×8 hoop.  Now, silly me, I should have given her millimeters, not inches. Turns out my 8×8 hoop is NOT 8×8….it is 200 mm which converts to 7.87402 inches.  She added several more sizes of the design and I purchased and downloaded the one for the 8×8 hoop. It would NOT work in my machine!  I was getting this horrible message –

error message

I could not figure out what was wrong.    I tried changing the machine settings to the SQ hoop (8×8) but that didn’t work either. I deleted and reloaded multiple times and finally notified the designer that I was unable to use the product I had purchased.  After a few text messages, and my realization that 8×8 didn’t really mean 8×8 (open user manual and read!!) …she resized the product to fit!

wave pattern

You can see now on the screen that she resized the design to 6.7 x 7.5″ and I was up and running!  I had so much fun making the design and wanted the bigger size to accommodate my big cell phone.

Wave bag

Room to spare.  The phone is 6 1/2 ” long and this has “room to spare” on the finished bag.   I really liked the “wave” on the bag too!

Wave bag

If I made another one of these, I would probably put a tab on both edges so I could make a carry strap.  The pattern source – SunshineStitchesCA Custom Digitizing/Embroidery .  Dawn was a big help to me in resizing adjustments.  I appreciated her customer service!

I’ve made several other items on the embroidery machine this week, and a few of them have to “wait” for gifting before I can share them.

I can share with you some fun ornaments I made.  The design is from Kreative Kiwi, in the FREE section of their website.

In the hoop snow globe

There are about 10 steps to the snow globe, and the very last step includes laying down vinyl to keep the little sparkles inside –

adding the glitter

Did you see those pins on the outside of the hoop?  I learned that trick on one of the videos that Kay on Kreative Kiwi does.  It helps to keep the stabilizer from pulling into the hoop.  This project took 2 layers of Vilene wash away stabilizer.

Finished snow globe

My hubby said, after I did the first ornament, that it would be “nice” to put names and year on them.  So, I figured out a way to do that, using BOTH of my embroider machines. What I did was hoop “tear away” stabilizer in my Brother machine; and run the first two steps, then exit the program and use the Brother fonts and stitch out the name & year.  Meanwhile, the Janome was going on the other table with the first several steps of the front of the snow globe.  When it came time to add the backing, I trimmed up the part with the name, used a glue stick to apply it to the back side of the hoop and continue with the stitching.  I think it worked well.  (Note I chose this photo with the date showing but not the name for privacy).

When I get the hubby’s or mine done I will show you a better back!

Names and dates on the back

The project calls for vinyl over the top as part of the last step.  I have a big roll of heavy vinyl and I made a couple ornaments, but it felt really “stiff”.  I was reading online, people were talking about “upcycling” the vinyl bags that sheets and linens come in from the department store.  Well, I have a few of those in the sewing room and cut 5″ squares out of that vinyl.  I had also read that wiping a little Static Guard on the vinyl would help the sparkly stuff to move around better.   I had fun too digging in the crafty drawers for little sparkly things to put in the snow globes.

Here are some close up shots.

Fun with snow globes

Santa and crystals and glitter

Snowman and hearts

More snow globes

My daughter thought they would make fun “place cards” at the Thanksgiving table. I got 8 out of 10 finished before I ran out out the stabilizer I need.  Hopefully my order will arrive early this week.  The last 2 are for myself and my husband, and I may have to “stitch together” pieces of stabilizer to get the project finished!

fun with snow globes

These were SO much fun to make!! Kind of “addictive” digging through the fabrics and the craft drawers.  They really don’t take much material and it was fun to personalize them just a bit.

What are you working on???

Practicing with a new machine

I have been using my Brother PE500 Embroidery machine since I won it in 2013. I’ve learned a lot about machine embroidery and decided if I had the opportunity I would “move on up” to a hoop size bigger than 4″ x 4″.

20170302_170820

All of my friends who embroider know I have been suffering from “hoop envy”.  You see…that sweet FREE Brother could only do 4×4″ projects, and I was seeing all my friends upgrade to 5×7 hoop machines. I just haven’t used my machine enough to warrant an expensive investment.  Attending the Embroidery Club once a month has gotten me motivated to do more machine embroidery projects.

This past January a friend of mine was selling a Janome 11000 quilting sewing embroidery machine. I thought it was a great value and the increase in “hoop size” was exciting. This meant a new maximum embroidery size: 8″ x 11″  with the Macro Hoop, and other hoop sizes -5″x 4″ and 8″x 8″.

Well, when I looked at the machine being sold, and saw the capability and did research with one of my Embroidery Club friends…I knew I had to buy the used machine. Even though it was considered by some to be an “older” machine, it had all the bells (really) and whistles. It had a USB port; and a card slot. That means new technology and old technology. There were so many hoops included which made the purchase price a real value.  The original price on the machine new was over $6000, and I valued it on E-bay before buying. Today on E-Bay there is a new machine selling for $5495, and used prices run the range of $1100 to $3400.  I didn’t nearly  that  much,  just  a  bit  more  than  a  new  Brother  770. 

Fast forward to this fall, and I have finally had time to sit down and learn how to operate this machine.  From the “sewing” side of things, it has as almost as large a throat and capability as my Janome 8900 which I purchased in 2013. Certainly as many stitches.  The screen that is on the machine is fantastic- color-and huge, with lots of “help” videos.

First time I tried to use the automatic needle threader, I just watched the helpful video on the screen and was able to follow along with success.  Then, I discovered, even with a huge bag full of hoops and gadgets, that there were some “missing parts”.

I wasn’t worried about not having some of the sewing feet, but I was missing the embroidery foot; and my friend at Embroidery club gave me an extra she happened to have.  What was worrisome is there was a part missing that was critical to the operation of the embroidery hoops.  It was just a little “filler piece” but without it in place the hoops were not supported and all kinds of jamming up was happening.  I was distressed and finally gave up and took the machine in locally for service. The technician was able to locate the part and clean and test run the machine. I was happy to learn that the replacement part was under $5.

When I got the machine back home, I decided I needed to keep my eyes open for a table that would work well for the machine, and not be in the way of all the other stuff I have in my sewing room.  I picked up this cute little table on Facebook Marketplace for just $35. It has a thick top (with a little worm wood showing) and is set on this fabulous treadle base…and guess what….The treadle moves!   I used a layer of “rubberized shelf lining” under the machine to help reduce vibration.  There is plenty of room behind the machine for the hoops to move on the mounting arm.  I got out the command trips and starting hanging more hooks on the wall to get those various hoops out of the boxes and hanging up in a convenient spot.  Boxes are now safely stored, and all the parts like foot pedal and fabric guide are stored away nearby in a basket.

New table for Janome 11000

I got it all set up, and put it to work!  I set up and stitched out in the big hoop a label for my Spiral Out Quilt I just finished.

First project on Janome 1100

What I liked about this stitch out is I could stitch a temporary “frame” and know my alignment was here I wanted it.  If you zoom in on the above photo you can see that “frame”.  It was easy to remove after the final stitching was completed.

Spiral Out label

I had one “flub” on the date “2019”, but otherwise, I learned to set out and space the lines and to even bring in patterns as part of the process.  I worked my way through the the screens and options and was pleased with the results. My flub was a lack of “awareness” and a good learning time. A lesson learnt, and mostly a satisfying stitch out.

handstitching a label

A little hand stitching and the label was secured.  Note about labels — When I make a label, I take a piece of a fusible product, lightweight pellon etc, and stitch it to the label.  I stitch completely around, with the fusible side facing the pretty side of the label.  Then, I cut a slit in the fusible product and “turn” the label so it has a nice smooth edge.  I use my fingers and roll that seam flat, then IRON my label onto my project.  This does two things….ensures my label is “hard” to remove, and gives the edge of the label a nice finish.  I do hand stitch around the edges as well, and don’t need to battle with pins or shifting while I stitch.

I’ve had fun making a little “teddy” yesterday with my granddaughter.   It is available as a free pattern from Kreative Kiwi

Fun Bear

Of course, when you hop over to look at the free pattern you will see him in a cute little sleeping bag.  I couldn’t resist so I purchased the pattern for the bag and stitched it out last night!

sleeping bag

The bear went home with the granddaughter after we made it, but the sleeping bag is going to be a surprise. Poor bear spent a cold night, but he will snuggle into this bag as soon as I can deliver!

I’ve got other projects in mind for Christmas and am heading out to play in the sewing room !

By the way – we got a dusting of snow yesterday in Delaware…the first for the season!

First snow Nov 12, 2019

Just a little frosting on the roof and cold temperatures!

Hope you are staying warm where ever you are and having fun in your sewing room!

 

Quilting Joy

In my last blog post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/500th-blog-post/  I alluded to the ” best eye candy of the day was a photo I got this morning of my “soon to be 3″ granddaughter”.  Her mother gave permission to share the photo.  But first, the story of that quilt she is sitting on.  My first post about her quilt was in May of 2016 – buried at the tail end of another post .  The first photos showed up the next day on this post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/cards-and-quilting/

Throughout the process of making her quilt I shared pictures and talked about it on my blog.  A look back at my blog archives in May through July of 2016 shares lots of conversation about her quilt.   Feel free to search an look back!

I finished her quilt and delivered it, only to borrow it back in 2017 for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show. I was delighted to learn it had been awarded a 3rd place ribbon. My daughter brought Addison to see her quilt hanging at the show and that was an exciting time.  The quilt went back home and into the closet on the shelf, to await the day when she was “big enough” for a bed to put it on.  Last week the new mattress etc came home and her room was rearranged and the bed “dressed”.  Mommy snapped a photo and said she just LOVED sitting on her bed with her quilt and new pillowcases.

Finally on her bed

If you click on the photo it will take you to the album on Flickr where there are more photo’s of the quilt, including the back (which I think is the reason I got a ribbon).  The quilt is really “two sided” with a pieced back using some of the excess blocks and fabric.  My daughter wanted coral and grey, and I threw in the turquoise because so many of the coral pieces I found had the turquoise too.  Turned out to be a good decision and added another dimension to her quilt.

Unicorn pillowcases

The fabric for the pillowcases came from Serendipity Quilt Shop last year, and was fun because it had the colors I wanted and the stripes to match up with the unicorns!  The purple and red in the stripe fabric added another layer of color in her gray and white and coral room.  I think they go well enough with the quilt, and the unicorns are a favorite.

You can see why I have QUILTING JOY everytime I look at the picture of her on the bed! I think this is my favorite part of being the StitchingGrandma ~!!~

What about you?  Do you have a project you have made and given away that brings you JOY a year or more later??  Do tell….

 

 

Embroidery Machine Projects

I figured out last week after attending the embroidery club gathering that I could hoop stabilizer, and so this week I have been working on long sleeve tee shirts for my youngest granddaughter.  I order 2 packages of shirts from WalMart.com and washed them to “pre-shrink” when they arrived.  She is just growing into a 4T and these might last her through the winter. I’ve enjoyed going through my various notebooks of designs and picking things that would suit her.

The first one I decided to make was called Trick or Treat Kitty —

Trick or Treat Kity

I used variegated thread for the cat and the bat on the hat. (Say that fast!)  Pleased with how we got a great striped cat, but not so much for the bat on top of the hat.  I didn’t want to make a black bat on a black shirt, so I thought it would stand out with the variegated thread….a little disappointing. (Hindsight I should have used silver!)

The second shirt was called Garden Sketch Kitty –

Garden Sketch kitty

This “sketch” design seemed a little light on the pumpkins and squash, and I ran the stitching a second time.  I should have run it again on the yellow flower or chosen a bolder brighter yellow.

Next up were pink pumpkins on a blue shirt….

Pumpkin sketch design

This “sketch” design put down a LOT of thread…and that’s good…because this thread by Superior Threads, GLOWS in the dark!  (Not that a 2 year old will be “in the dark” very often…but it is fun.  )

The next package of t-shirts were pastels, and I searched for “non-seasonal” designs in my notebooks.

Stitching out the cat face

This was the most challenging design of all with 3 pieces of applique and MANY thread changes.  Can you tell what it is?

(This was the FAVORITE of this group of 4 shirts)  She was very excited when her mother was showing her the shirts.  I think it turned out well, in spite of me letting get a sleeve under the hoop and having to spend an HOUR unstitching 1  flower to release the sleeve…sigh…

Cat Face

Hooping those little t-shirts is a challenge, trying to keep all the stuff “out of the way” while it stitches.

The next two shirts I finished up this afternoon.

Carousal Unicorn

Who doesn’t want to ride on a pegasus unicorn on the carousel??

And the final one…I couldn’t resist!

I love Cats Tshirt

All of these designs were for a 4×4 hoop, stitched out on my Brother PE500 machine. The designs were from Oh My Crafty Supplies.

I used Floriani Sticky back stabilizer in the hoop, and Floriani no show fusible mesh on the back of the shirt, and Floriani water soluble stabilizer  on top. I also backed the shirt after removing from the hoop and clearing jump stitches with a soft product called Cloud Cover (brand unknown) that would keep the thread and stabilizers from scratching a small child.  I used primarily Embroidex thread. (That variegated thread I was sent for free one year at Christmas from Embroidex).

These fun projects kept me busy this week!

What are YOU working on?

 

 

Project updates

I continue to work on my “Autumn Jubilee” placemats.   The only time I work on them is when I go to a quilt bee once a month.   Last week I had a “Material Girls” bee on Wednesday.  My “Autumn Jubilee” tote of fabric is what I have been hauling to bees for months.  I get a little more done each time.  I’ve made a total of 4 since January of this year.  I managed to get the binding on 2 out of 4 in the last week.

2 Autumn jubilee placemats

And the back of them –

Backs for the 2018 placemats.

It is going to be a rainy afternoon, and I think I will make some more binding for the last 2.  That will give me 8, and I think that is where I will stop.

Set of 6 Autumn Jubilee placemats

Since we are not going to be at “home” for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I can move along to other projects, and bore my friends to death with the final 4 placemats next year.  Hey, 4 a year isn’t a bad track record!  This pattern was part of https://frommycarolinahome.com/2016/10/07/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along/  From My Carolina Home’s blog in 2016.  I did 3 table runners in the fall of 2016 and then got going with these placemats.  You might look back at the post I did when I got the first 4 placemats finished in 2017 — https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/autumn-jubilee-circa-2016/

I am linking up to OH SCRAP – OH SCRAP! to share my scrappy Autumn Jubilee placemats.

Quick update on projects completed last week.  Sewing for the grands – 2 dresses completed.

The first one below required a zipper, which I managed (thanks to YOU TUBE!). Pattern is BURDA 6309.

Size 5 with zipper

I might have mentioned before that zippers scared me in 7th grade Home Ec. This one went in successfully, and I attribute the success to my friends who offered advice and You Tube. This pattern was made in a size 5.

Since we were going to visit on Saturday, I decided once I had the zipper in the dress above to make another dress from the same fabrics.  I made this one in a size 4.  I used the same fabrics, but a very simple pattern.

Size 4 sundress

Back of the size 4

It was fairly easy, except for those darn string ties, which took me a lot of time to turn.  I started it after dinner, and worked on it until midnight.  No zippers , no buttons.

That’s it for sewing for kids for a while. Back to quilting.

What are you working on?  Anything scrappy??  Be sure and go check out the link above for OH SCRAP!  It is inspiring to see what others are making using scraps.

Summer Fun and Sewing for the Grands continues

I took a mini-vacation from sewing for a week while 3 of my grandkids were visiting. They are so active and busy during their visits that sewing is not an option. (My sewing space is not “kid safe” currently with all the excess stuff I have from 2nd Time Around and my friend June’s sewing room stuff).

 I am usually up around 6 am, and shortly after getting up, the youngest is  awake and we get 15 or 20 minutes of time together before the household is up and moving.  She wanted to pick out fabric for 2 dresses and we did get a few minutes of time to do that.  She likes to touch the fabric and make combinations that please her 6 year old eye! I also got out my bin of kids patterns and she selected a pattern for her second dress.  We were “too busy” to sew while they were here.

Our week was full of adventures.  We rode bikes at a nearby state park one morning and had a picnic. Another day we got together with their cousin & aunt for a some beach fun. Their aunt brought pizza for dinner one night.  We went to her house to play and swim one day. Lots of great time with play time with cousins.  I hope they were building memories!!   Of course, playtime with remote control cars and Grandpa, and bike riding at home. We went to an evening concert at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and enjoyed another picnic.  Every afternoon there was time spent in the pool to cool off and relax. My daughter and Grandpa and I enjoyed floating around watching the kids splash and play.   All that time at the YMCA over the winter has made them into great swimmers.  Swim lessons for kids really built their confidence. The 2 oldest kids figured out how to use snorkels and had fun staying “underwater”.  

Hopefully they had a good week of fun, and my daughter enjoyed a little break from her normal household responsibilities etc. She, of course, still had to “mother”, but not worry about meals and chores and the boxes that still need unpacked for a few days.  We enjoyed lots of time to visit too.

Once they headed home, I went to my sewing room to work on the 2 dresses.  The patterns were chosen for each dress already, and I very easily constructed the sundress .  This was the 4th time I have made this pattern, by BURDA,# 9994, this summer and it went together in a few hours.  I spent as much time tracing the pattern to a size 5 on butcher paper as I did cutting out the dress! I know have the pattern traced in a size 3 & 5, and the original goes from 18 months to size 8.  Too bad summer is nearly done, as I have this pattern down!!!!  

Sundress front

I was ready to put the buttonholes and buttons on at the end of the first round of sewing late Friday afternoon.  On Saturday afternoon I did buttons and buttonholes and the dress was finished.

Back of sundress

I had to give it a good wash (to get my chalk marks off the back where the button holes are), and it is ready to pop in the mail.  I will do that this morning!  This granddaughter turned 6 while she was here, and I know she will enjoy getting her dress “in the mail”.

The second dress has taken me quite a bit more time.  It has a collar and sleeves, and calls for a zipper.

Dress with collar

Granddaughter chose dress B in the lower left corner.  I traced that pattern into a size 5 on butcher paper on Saturday, and got everything cut out.  On Sunday I started to work through the directions, making the collar, the sleeves and the bodice.  I learned about “easing” stitches for the sleeves.  I love how full the skirt is with all the gathering.

I still have to shop for the right zipper to go into the dress, and dig in the trim bin for the trim around the waist. I have lots of zippers, but nothing appropriate.  I have it nearly finished with the exception of the hem and zipper and the trim.  I am TERRIBLE about reading patterns, and had to “redo” the sleeves.  Thankfully I had plenty of fabric.  I think she made a fun combination of fabrics. She wanted contrast, and she got it!  Hey, when you are 6, you can mix plaids and stripes, right?   🙂  I think the 2 prints are cute.  I would not have chosen them to coordinate, but she liked it!

Size 5 dress

I didn’t get a chance to work on the dress on Monday.  I spent my morning with my youngest daughter and granddaughter, taking a 6 mile bike ride at the beach, followed up by a ride north to pick up some fabric for 2nd Time Around and a long nap!

Before dinner I did a little “tidying up” in my sewing room so I could get near my embroidery machine. My sewing desk was buried under dress patterns, and batik strips and sundress fabrics.  I can now “see the top” of the desk.  An hour well spent putting patterns away, labeling folders and pattern boxes, and putting batik strips in a basket.  (Yes, the placemats are still a work in progress…of course…another UFO).

I needed to stitch out a couple of “die-line” files for Embroidery Club today, and get my “gear” packed for going today. I have “minimized” how much I am taking, but did throw in a couple of extra pieces of fabric, and 5 extra spools embroidery thread.  We are doing an Embroidery Library  “in the hoop” key chain project and I will write about it once I get it done.

The rest of the week is pretty busy with Material Girls Bee on Wednesday, and an afternoon of sewing at the Assisted Living Center on Thursday, and 2nd Time Around on Friday morning, along with lunch and swimming with the ladies on Friday afternoon.  I am hoping to finish this dress before Saturday morning when we head over to the DC metro area for that 6 year old’s big birthday bash!  (Debating a bike ride on Wednesday evening or sewing……hmmmm) Deadline is looming on this one!

Hope you are staying cool during the hot days of August and finding time to sew or enjoy other summer time activities with family and friends.   Do tell what you are working on, and if you have any good tips for installing zippers in garments!!  (I think I failed zippers in home-ec in 1969…)

Small projects and small bits

Gosh, since the last post I have been washing & ironing that fabric I talked about.  The vinegar was a great success in ridding the fabric of the smell of smoke.  The big pieces washed up nicely.  I can’t say that about the small pieces.  Even putting the pieces in lingerie bags the strings created a balled up mess of fabric.  I have spent countless rainy days untangling the mess and ironing those bits of fabric.  Has it paid off?  I hope so.  There were LOTS of 2.5″ strips that I will trim to 2″; and many blocks that were sewn in preparation for joining into a quilt that need now to be squared up.  I have over 100 pieces that were parts of a quilt that I pressed and will end up subcutting to rid the ragged edges and turn the fabric  into something that is usable.  There were yards and yards and yards of fabric that just needs a slight trim, and measured & folded to be sold at the guild.   So, I will let you know when we sell it at the guild and see what kind of money it brings.  The small stuff may not be worth selling and end up in the scrap boxes. And, if you read my blog, you know I love scraps.  Our guild had a class in March that got people excited about scraps, and I had someone stop over this week to go into the scrap boxes, looking for bits for her “wonky houses” she wanted to build.  At our quilt show next spring, we will fill a playpen with scraps and let shoppers fill their bags for a nominal fee.  While sorting to wash, I found small quilt tops that hadn’t been finished, and now they will end up as charity quilts later on.

In between the rain storms that have kept the entire East Coast of the USA wet and soggy for nearly 2 weeks, I have ducked out to my sewing room and made another sundress. This one is also a size 3, for my youngest granddaughter.  The one I made previously I had to shorten.  I shortened the pattern before I made this sundress.

Front Size 3 cotton dress

FRONT – size 3

Size 3 cotton dress back

BACK – size 3

This is a BURDA pattern, and goes together quickly. The dress is 100% cotton, and her mother is not going to like that it might need to be ironed.  Grandma will have to stick to “Tutti Fruitti” fabric for future sundresses. (Or bring it home to be ironed….)  I dropped it off on Sunday after church, and hoping she will “fit” into it for a time!!  Kids grow so fast!

I had an opportunity early in the week to go fabric shopping with my Queen Bee friends and I picked up more Tutti Fruitti at JoAnn’s for my stash.  Since I have been in the “fabric washing mood”, I washed it, along with all the other that I had on hand.  I’ve mastered this pattern for sundresses, and have dug in my drawer of patterns and began thinking about other sundresses I might want to make.   I made a lot of sundresses for the older girls when they were “this size” and may now repeat some of those patterns for the youngest.  The big girls are coming to visit next week, so there will be at least one size 5 started while they are here.

Sunday afternoon.  I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  I picked up a stack of 4 3/4, and 5″ batik squares my friend from church gave me. I played around with them, making half square triangles.

Batik HST

I ended up trimming them to 4.5″ when they were finished. And then I decided to build some blocks.

Playing with batik HST

This was kind of “no pattern/mindless” sewing.  And FUN sewing.  My hubby wondered what I was up to .  He & I played with some of those fuzzy stringy strips that I washed….and wove sashing in between and up and down.  Nothing really hit me, so I left the strips and the blocks hanging on the design wall for a few days.

Today, I came up with a plan!  Table runners…….so I have got one started!

batik fun

The blocks are 7.5 and the strips are 2″.  As is, I think, finished, it will be about 18.5″ wide by 35.5.  I like my table runners a bit longer, as I have the leaves in my table all the time, so I might go one more ‘row’, if I have enough fabric for those cornerstones.  Otherwise, I will leave it “as is” and start putting the other blocks together with different sashing and cornerstones, and make another runner or maybe placemats.  Fun to just play around with fabric that my friend from church didn’t have a use for anymore.

Thinking of ironing….I was counting irons…..in my sewing room I have 4.  Two Oliso’s, which are always in use.  One ironing station, and 1 ironing board.  I have an iron “in reserve” in case I have a need.  I also have a travel iron in my little ironing bag for trips to class and other locations.  In the house, I have an ironing board and an iron.  So, if the granddaughter’s dress needs pressed, I do have the technology to handle it.  (I actually ironed the hubby’s shirts 2 weeks ago……and showed him where the iron is stored in case he wants them done in the future!) (Just kidding !)  Quilters don’t iron, we PRESS!  🙂

Hope you are not roasting in the heat and humidity of July…but able to find a cool spot to keep stitching.

Little girls Sun Dress

In a previous post this month I mentioned making a sundress (https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/summer-sewing/ ) with fabric my 8 year old granddaughter chose.  That dress went off in the mail yesterday after I put a size tag in it.

When I finished her dress,  I pulled fabrics that I considered “suitable for sundresses” for young girls.  Look at these fun fabrics!  I’d forgotten I had an entire tote full of “tutti fruiti” fabrics.

Tutti Fruitti fabrics

This batch is that puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric. I have a couple of yards of each print. I think I used the green plaid (c) in a sundress a few years back.

Tutti fruiti choices

This group is my favorite of all the prints. Again, it is the puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric and I have at least a yard or more of each.

coordinating prints

These two are also Tutti Fruiti, and are coordinating prints. They would make a nice outfit together.

I also dug into my stash of “pink cottons” and came up with this –

fun cotton fabrics

They of course don’t play well together but each is fun on it’s own.  I must look for some lime green to go with that fabric I marked with a J.  These are quilters cotton.

Digging deep into the box of red & orange & pink fabric in my stash I pulled out these more “grown up” fabrics –

from the pink stash

They are soft, lovely cotton pieces that don’t scream “kid fabric”.  That box was overflowing, so I pulled out ALL the pinks and refolded them (ruler fold), and created a container of “just pink”.  Now both lids will close.

All of these fabrics were the choices I sent off to the  5 year old granddaughter to ponder!  You might remember she decided she wants to “feel the fabric” before she decides!  (Makes my heart sing with joy, because I am like that when I am in a quilt shop!!)

Meanwhile…..I decided to  start on a size 3 for the littlest granddaughter. She didn’t get a choice in fabric selection, I chose for her.  I chose a yard of fabric E, and after the pattern tracing got started with the sewing. I finished up today, attaching the bodice to the skirt, making the button holes and sewing the buttons on by machine.  The dress is in the wash and ready to deliver tomorrow.

front of size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – front

Size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – back – 11 buttons!

I can’t wait to try it on my youngest granddaughter and see if I guess right on the size.

I always find commercial garment patterns to run rather large, or maybe I just have small grands.  I’ve never recorded her measurements, but this grandma is taking the tape measure along tomorrow when I deliver !!

Middle granddaughter will make her fabric choices when she is visiting in August.  Her mommy said she is SO excited about all the fabrics and getting to chose!

That’s all for this StitchingGrandma this week!  What have you been up to lately?

 

Summer sewing

I have been doing a little summer sun-dress sewing.  My grandchildren were here for a bit in June, and the 8 year old wanted to pick out fabric for a sundress. Her favorite color is blue.  I was not surprised with her fabric combinations. The fabric on the top is tutti fruiti and the bottom is a batik like print.  Both are 100% cotton and we chose a piece of white cotton to line the bodice.  Challenges – CRUMMY directions on the pattern by Burda.  (I always say this about patterns for garments….hey, I’m a quilter and I need pattern makers to assume I have never sewn before!)  I overcame the challenges because I have sewn before, but gosh if I hadn’t…… There were very few alignment marks on the pattern, and no marks for aligning buttons or number of buttons etc.  I just got out the ruler and chalk and figured it out for myself!

Pattern details

Buttons….the dress sat for 2 weeks waiting for buttons and buttonholes.  I decided to tackle them one day this week, and got out the book for my machine and did some “test buttonholes”.   Then I tested sewing the buttons on by machine.  Lessons learned during practice were my machine did not like the small spool lying on it’s side, and jammed up the thread. I put that small spool on my thread stand it ran perfectly.  But while I was fixing the jam, I cleaned the entire bobbin area of my machine, since I had the plate off.   (Been a bit since that has happened….)  Also, the button sewing on foot and setting were EASY to use!  I chalked where the buttons were to be placed and went for it after only practicing on 1 button on a scrap. The other lessons….I think the button hole foot/ making function is fine, once I got my eye on the chalk line where I wanted the button to be etc.  I don’t think that “one pass” with the stitching is enough.  It seems flimsy to me.  My friend suggested to make a 2nd pass before moving on to the next button hole.  Great advice from Nancy.  The button sewing function only did about 6 stitches, so I ran it 3 times before moving on to the next button.  Hoping those buttons stay put!

9 buttons

Dress size 8

This dress will go off in the mail this week, and I have started one for the 2 year old granddaughter.. Her’s will be all one fabric, in a tutti fruiti material, and I will post a photo when finished.  Middle granddaughter is going to “select” her fabric next time she visits. I sent her lots of photo options of fabrics, but she likes to “feel” the fabric!  Completely understand sensitive skin and like a quilter, who doesn’t like to go around the fabric store and touch it all!

Is anyone else as “pattern direction challenged” as me???  I do enjoy sewing for the girls, and figure once I master the directions I better make one for each! I don’t think it will bother them to have the same style dress in with 3 different fabrics. Hope not!  Ohhh….must remember to put a size tag in the side seam of the skirt, out of the way where it won’t scratch.

Happy sewing!