I like summer sewing projects to be quick, functional, colorful, and fun. These bags are for our family beach weekend this summer. For the past few years we’ve scheduled a beach (or, near-beach, or similar-to-a-beach) weekend for the kids and grandkids to all get together and have a party and relax before school starts up again.
We get motel rooms close to each other, so that the kids can go back and forth to be with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and us. We let them pick all their own activities except for one big family dinner during the weekend.
So far, it’s been fun and relaxing: no big expectations, they can go to nearby attractions if they want or just lounge, go from pool to beach and back, get grocery-store food and eat in their rooms or go to the restaurants they choose.
This year, we wanted to give them some little mementos and practical things for the stay, so we made up some simple beach bags for each child, couple, or family unit, so they can tote stuff around: pool toys, towels, wet bathing suits, groceries, or whatever.
I used up lots of stray bottom-weight fabrics from my fabric stash, as well as some wet-resistant fabrics that I’d bought to make diaper covers for some of the little grandkids (too little too late though, I think they’re all potty-trained now). Anyway, they are cute fabrics and came in handy for this project, to make lining for the bags. I was going to keep it simple and not line them, but I tried it on one and liked it a lot.
I had lots of remnants that could be used for straps: I bought a big roll of red, white and blue flag-motif (it looks like elastic but is not as stretchy as real elastic) at a close-out sale for about a buck. And got some other kinds, as each bag uses quite a length of strapping, like about 3 yards each.
They’re not the coolest but they are, at least, a functional souvenir of the 2016 family beach weekend.
After my successful jacket project with Craftsy I decided to do another jacket, this time on my own, with another pattern and no online instructions or lifeline to help me out, in case I got in over my head.
This was a remnant project in that I used mostly fabric remnants from JoAnn’s clearance bin. Since remnants at JoAnn’s are typically 1 yard or less, I counted myself lucky to find 3 matching remnant rolls, which added up to enough fabric to make a jacket. Incidentally, I was looking at the wrong side of the fabric and picturing that as the final finished article. When I opened the fabric rolls, I saw the right side of the fabric: it was shiny like satin and about twice as vivid in color as the underside! I used a synthetic suede remnant for the skirt, and a 4-way stretch remnant for the top.
In the end, I wasn’t 100% happy with the results, but I learned a lot.
I chose a Butterick suit pattern with the name Connie Crawford as the designer [B5336], thinking that the Sewing Personality Connie Crawford’s touch would make this a hot pro project. I was very impressed with the procedures and details, but also found some deep disappointments.
Good thing #1: The pattern comes in a plethora of sizes! You can even get it in a size 6X (that’s 42 – 44 W). It says on the front “Modern Fit with Ready-to-wear Sizing”–I guess that’s true, the size range I bought came in Xsm to Xlg.
Good thing #2: Two jacket views, one with lapels and one without. Both views look like a classic suit jacket. You can have patch pockets in front or not. Both jacket and skirt were lined, so they looked rather tailored.
Good thing #3: There’s a big section in the pattern for fit adjustments if your figure is in need of some; like fuller arms, larger or smaller bust cup, pear or apple shapes, or slanted shoulders.
Disappointment #1: There was a missing piece. I guess they decided at some point to combine the waistband piece instead of having it in 2 pieces, 21 and 21A as shown in the pattern. Or maybe the 21A is only included in the larger sizes? I tried to go online and look up the pattern to see if there was any explanation but couldn’t find a jot anywhere.
Disappointment #2: In step 15 it talks about the jacket front lining (piece 15) but labels it piece 3, which is the same size and shape, but nevertheless had me utterly confused.
Disappointment #3: In step 20, it says to under stitch to the break point of the jacket (what is the break point? I couldn’t find the term anywhere else in the directions.) And I had trouble with the previous under stitching from step 13. It was extremely awkward to under stitch the way the instructions described.
Disappointment #4: The whole lining was sewn to the jacket with right sides together, so that a seam had to be opened up in order to turn the jacket right-side out. So in step 22, when the sleeves were sewn to the sleeve linings, it said to match the back seams to avoid twisting. But it didn’t elucidate on just how to do that, so I ended up doing it the way it seemed to me to be logical to do, but it was wrong more than once, and I had to rip it out both times and sew it again. A hassle!
Disappointment #5: This was the skirt waistband. Other skirts I’ve made call for an elastic strip to be inserted into the waistband through an opening that is later slip-stitched closed after the elastic end is sewn to the beginning. Then you can stitch in the ditch on the side seams to anchor the elastic to the fabric. In this pattern, the waistband is sewn to the top of the skirt with the raw edges of one side of the waistband even with the top of the skirt, then the elastic is sewn onto the seam allowance of the waistband, then the waistband is folded over and stitched to the skirt. It was a bad move because the waistband and elastic were very bunchy and the fabric got rippled and puckered. It was just a bad look. Then I had to hand-tack the hem up, and the synthetic suede fabric (called sueded knit) was pretty hard to pierce with a hand needle. Now that the skirt was lined with a woven lining fabric, it had no “give” to it like a knit, and was actually a little tight-fitting. Looks like I’m going to have to lose about 5 or 10 lbs before I feel very good about wearing it.
Disappointment #6: There were mondo pattern pieces; 21 to be exact. However, quite a few of the 21 had to be cut not only from fabric, but also lining and interfacing as well. That was a lot of cutting to do! I had to rest for a week. Would you believe that for this project I used 6 different types of fabric? Two linings, 3 fashion fabrics (the top wasn’t included in the pattern; I used another pattern that only had 3 pieces), and one large amount of interfacing.
Disappointment #7 but Good thing #4 to save for later: The finished outfit has much more of a Fall vibe to it than a Spring one! My fault because I looked at the underside of the jacket fabric to begin with. And the outside temp was already up to 90 degrees this week. So I guess this outfit will be ready to wear in about 6-8 months…
I’ve heard that March is National Quilt Month and that yesterday, March 19, was National Quilt Day.
Not sure what that even means, since quilters probably think every month and every day might be a major quilting holiday. Or the day you get some fancy new quilting paraphernalia, it’s time to celebrate quilting.
So I missed the great day that quilting is celebrated nation-wide. I didn’t actually miss it, but I didn’t call attention to it on that day.
But this is what my quilting agenda has really included yesterday and the past week or so:
I was digging in the stash and found this, which had been buried for I don’t know how long…ever since a local quilt shop went out of business…with some other fabrics that might look good with it.
I love the Irish Chain pattern, especially in green and white. You might be right if you wondered if I planned this to coincide with St Patrick’s Day—just didn’t accomplish it by that day either.
Craftsy has been conducting a sale of kits and supplies. I found some cheap bargains on charm packs, including a Dr Suess pack, that will go great with this yardage that has been taking up room in the stash for a while.
So although I missed the mark of conspicuously partying down on Quilt Day, it was on my radar. How about the rest of you quilters?
Pillows have been around for centuries. Here’s a web site that displays some gorgeous antique pillows, and includes prices, many of which are in the thousands of dollars!
I’ve been making some pillow covers, with much leaner price tags. The secret to saving money is in playing the retail shopping game with sales, coupons, and shopping the remnant rack.
The 2 back pillows have tops that were pieced from little squares of flannel left over from the Cowboy Rag Quilt. So, in effect, they’re remnants of remnants. All the rest of the fabrics are just remnants.
Using remnants helps me to be more adventurous in the projects I decide to do. If I mess it all up, it’s no great loss, but sometimes I end up making some exciting little gems, that really look like they cost a lot more!
I made these two sets of pillows for some favorite folks I know. A Creativebug campaign going around, called #make2share challenge, is asking people to give handmade things to 2 people, then challenge them to do the same. Sort of like “pay-it-forward’ but leaving the choice of currency up to the creative mind!
Click here to read about the #Make2Share Challenge
Why not try the challenge, too? It sounds fun…
Using current technology to create 19th Century crafts