December is the month where I sew for gifts that can’t be shown on the blog until they have been gifted.
I’ve been sewing this month….a lot! I’ll share a few pictures now that the gifts have been opened.
A pair of table toppers, made using Moda Christmas fabric on the front and a heavier cotton twill fabric on the back. It gives the topper a little more weight, plus it makes it reversible for “after Christmas” if the recipient chooses. The pattern came from Carole Carter on her blog “From My Carolina Home“. She has several free patterns and this is the Hexagon Table topper.
I varied a bit from the pattern with the strip widths and chose not to do the really narrow strip. They were quilted in the ditch except that last round was done with two rows of wavy line stitching.
Aprons – One for the son-in-law, one for my daughter, and one for the granddaughter –
After the aprons came the pajama pants making. This year each grandchild got TWO pairs of pajama pants. I ordered coordinating long sleeve tshirts to go with the pajama pants. The paw print pair is fleece, the rest are cotton flannel. Some of the flannel prints GLOW in the dark.
My grandson seemed to really like the pajama pants from last year, and he was one of the first to put on those “gaming fabric” pajamas on Christmas. I prewashed and preshrank all the fabrics for the pajamas and the aprons. I washed with color catchers and one of those dark colors had a lot of “excessive” dye, so I gave both mom’s a few color catchers, and ordered them each a box on Amazon for “future washing”. It’s so hard to say which color ran because I prewashed together, but this is what the color catchers looked like after fabric was washed.
I was apprehensive about sewing with the fleece, but it was actually easier! No seams to worry about overcasting and raveling in the wash. I use a stitch on my Janome 8900 that is like an overcasting stitch –
It seems to give a nice finish to the inside of the pajamas.
I had a lot of fun shopping “pre-black Friday” with my friend Nancy. We hit a 60% off on flannel & fleece at JoAnn Fabrics and were able to find things to suit each kid, ages 5 – 9 – 11- 13. The apron fabric for the son-in law (Star wars) and one daughter (Harry Potter) were perfect. They really seemed to like it. The vintage style apron for my daughter was a royal pain in the neck, calling for 1/4″ wide double fold bias binding tape. I used the 1/4″ on the pockets and around the bottom of the skirt, but had to get 1/2″ for the front of the apron and straps. Oh, by the way….the brand at Hobby Lobby is only 3 yards in the pack, and the Wright’s brand at JoAnn’s is 4 yards…..just an FYI. My friend Nancy listened to me moan as I was making that vintage style apron…and suggested I shred the pattern!!!! I zipped right through the rest of the projects, but I have to say, I am very glad I did that vintage apron first, or it might still be on the cutting table. I pressed myself to finish, so I could get on with the rest of the Christmas sewing.
Now that the gifts are given, I need to get back in my sewing room and clean up the cutting table. I have the oddest amounts of left over fleece and flannel and will be looking for clever ways to use the bits up. Any helpful suggestions appreciated!
Hopefully your Christmas projects were received with smiles too.
I had the opportunity this last week to work on making a few gifts for other people. I also spent some time with my quilt guild neighbor, working on a few masks. She was making those masks to gift to a great grandson.
We sewed wearing masks, which is not a lot of fun. I know people are wearing masks all day at work and it amazes me how they stand it.
Thank goodness for being retired. I’m sure if I had to go to work every day and wear one, I would suck it up and carry on, but honestly, if I have to wear one to go out & have a little fun, I’d rather stay home for now. (And if you have been following me for any bit of 2020, you KNOW how many darn masks in varying styles I have made).
I did recently purchase some mask inserts that were suggested to me that help keep you a bit cooler in the mask, pushing the fabric out away from your nostrils. (Look on Amazon for a “face mask bracket” or “3D mask bracket” and you will find silicone open frames.)
I inserted them into the pocket of the masks on the style I made with pockets. On the most recent style (see my post https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/trying-out-a-new-mask-design/ ) I slipped the 3D mask bracket inside the layers before I stitched across the end closing it up. Those masked I marked an UP arrow with a sharpie on the inside of the mask, as the bracket definitely has an up and down.
They do really push the mask out from your nostrils and mouth, but you need to still have a snug fit over the bridge of your nose and under your chin, and that will happen with a good fitting mask like the one in the link I previously wrote about. You can also slip this frame BEHIND a ready made mask without a pocket, but the silicone touches your face, and you should be aware of that if you have an allergy. I did that with an older style mask and it was not uncomfortable. I think that is where you get the most benefit of holding the fabric away from your nostrils. The pack I bought had ten, and so I have played with various options. They even make them in kids sizes.
I can say that the mask frames that are inserted loosely inside my masks go through the washer and dryer without a problem. I just straighten them out when I take the mask out of the mesh bag from the clothes dryer. (REMEMBER your mask should be washed EVERY TIME you wear it, in HOT soapy water, and machine dried to kill any germs. DON’T wear the same mask over and over without washing!!!)
I added a 3″ border and corner stones, then trimmed them to 2.5″ after the quilting. I used Pellon fusible fleece for the batting. The border fabric is right out of my friend June’s boxes of fabric I have stored. It is very “1980’s” but the colors were perfect, and I hope she recognizes it as “something from home”. I cleared out her sewing room (it took me 3 days with my hubby packing along side me) when she moved to assisted living 3 years ago. I often take her pieces of fabric from her boxes I have stored, to use, but she isn’t sewing too much anymore. When I was able to volunteer there to sew with the ladies as a group, we primarily used June’s fabrics and that made her very happy!
I decided to “turn” these placemats instead of bind them to get them finished a little faster. It is NOT my favorite method, but they are DONE. ( I can never get a good closure even trimming away the batting at the opening. Anybody got a secret method? )
Another fun project — One of my daughter’s is having a birthday, and we all got together yesterday for a fun party, where she cooked for US, including the best carrot cake in the world for her own birthday cake. (She loves to cook and to entertain.)
I wish I had made a note in that blog post of “which” pattern I had made for her. I dug through my file drawer and pulled out my patterns and thought I would try this one. I’ve made it before, but honestly can’t remember which modifications I made. After she wore that apron (2017 edition) she made some comments about fit…which I intended to save and have lost. SIGH………
I did like the pockets, but of course, I had to slightly modify them. In the B view of the pattern the pockets bloused out too much, so I made it into 2 pockets by running a stitch down the middle. The inverted pleat gives you extra “room” if you need it.
There is also a top pocket, and I left it as a single pocket. I tested, and my phone fit right in.
No need to divide that top pocket for a pen.
I used the Medium size, but am annoyed at how “long waisted” it seems. It doesn’t look it laying on the table, but the minute it was finished and I tried it on, I was annoyed. It’s just FINE for my 5’11” tall husband (I made him one a long time ago from this pattern). My daughter is about 5’5″, so it will fit her better than me! First thing I did after trying it on was to pull it up at the apron ties and insert a little fold. I guess it will have to do. It’s done, and gifted! I pre-washed the fabric, so I can’t hope for much shrinkage. It does have a good “wrap” so your lower half is protected.
I was happy that I left a note in the pattern to not try to “turn” those apron ties. I modified how I made them an did them like “double fold bias binding”, folding down the center and then folding in the edges and pressing and top stitching. Maybe a little narrower than the original design of the pattern, but functional. I did leave a note in the pattern this time about how long waisted it is !
My hubby laughs at my angst, because he said “IT’s an APRON, not a designer dress”.… and I know my daughter will splash and wipe her hands in a hurry like she does with all the other aprons I’ve made over the years. She puts an apron on every time she works in the kitchen at her house and mine, so I know it will get used ! Functional!
My last little project was for one of the grand kids. She is going to dress up like ROSIE THE RIVETER for Halloween.
During dinner last week we chatted about her costume, and I had shared a red bandana I had. Her mommy said I could help with the costume by making a mask that she could wear while she was out in her costume. This is the idea we came up with –
I used Superior cotton GLOW IN THE DARK white thread when stitching it out on my embroidery machine. It kind of glows green in the dark which she just loved.
Don’t panic about all the holes that machine embroidery does…..the back of the mask is TWO layers, with a filter pocket. Her mom can add a piece of cut away stabilizer in the pocket for a filter. That will keep her safe….
I did the whole mask “in the hoop” on my embroidery machine. I had a pattern for the mask from Smart Needle.com that I used. I did the placement and tack down stitch, then switched over to the wording in another file that I had done up on Embrilliance using the built in block lettering.
I adjusted the wording to fit in the mask and loaded that glow in the dark thread. (LOTS of thread breaks with that cotton thread).
Once the front was finished, I added the elastic, making sure there were knots at the ends and taped them down. Then I added the two backing pieces on the TOP of the mask, returned to the original “smart needle” pattern in the machine, and ran the placement stitch and the tack down stitch again (twice). I didn’t want a lot of top stitching on the mask, so I removed it from the hoop, tore away the stabilizer and trimmed the mask and turned it . I’m so happy with my machine and all the little tricks I have learned over the course of the year where I can interrupt the machine and easily modify to suit my needs. It took me about an hour to make, including the test mask. The test I did as a child size and it was VERY small. 🙂
I have “one more” small project to work on for the same granddaughter . Can you guess what I am doing with this?
I went in search of this fabric on Friday and ended up on a 63 mile round trip ride! Any advice for a rolled hem would be appreciated! I’ll practice on muslin first!
What is happening in YOUR sewing room? Any Halloween costumes? Christmas stitching? Do tell.
I feel like I have accomplished something today. I started off the day with a meeting and was home before noon!! I decided to spend the afternoon in my sewing room, and I managed to get one of the Senior Quilts put together.
We have a total of 5 graduates this year at church, and I am only obligated to make one top. I currently have 3 completed tops in my car to take back to church. The ladies have been busy getting these ready. When I left off on Saturday, I had 5 rows sewn together I think. The rest of the 8.5″ blocks got put together and the whole thing has been pressed and is “ready to delivery”. I had to print out some more pictures of the church on fabric and get them stitched onto blocks for the quilt I was working on and one other.
We will start signing them at church this weekend! The other 2 tops should be done very soon. Once the congregation has had a chance to sign and write messages of hope and faith and love, then we will get together and tie them and send them home with a quilter for binding. Perhaps I should think about what binding I will be doing and get that ready tomorrow!! Then I will know it is “DONE”. At some point I will try to get a photo of the one I did, along with all the rest!
I also finished an apron that I started last week. It is made from twill, which is a sturdier fabric than quilters cotton. One of my daughters home schools, and she “wears an apron” all day, and asked for a replacement. She also asked for something that was a busy print, so splashes and spots were not terribly noticeable. I added an extra pocket to the apron, and made the pockets a little more substantial than called for in the pattern. I did that by just cutting an extra “piece and stitching and turning the pocket”. I’ve made this pattern twice before, for a little girl and her dolly…..but it has been a few years. I plan to put this one in the mail tomorrow, and await feedback on the length, and the overall sizing. I was asked to size it “generously” so that less splatters landed on the clothing of the wearer. I tried it on and found it to be satisfactory, but I will wait to hear that feedback before cutting out the fabric I have for the 2nd one.
Meanwhile, I have a garden apron to make for a “raffle basket” donation. I need to have it done in the next couple of days.
It is nice to get a few things checked off my to do list.
Oh, by the way, my quilters math yesterday was correct and I have 10 EXTRA half square scrappy triangles. Thanks Carole!
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