Category Archives: Remnant sewing

Autumn Table Runners

This is the second autumn table runner post, the first one presented a few posts ago, here. That first one was pretty much general quilting, with a pieced top and a whole underneath side, with batting in between, quilted on the Qnique longarm, or “mid arm,” as some people designate it. The raw edges are bound with Wright’s Quilt Binding.

table runner jenny skip
pieced Autumn table runner

If you had to categorize this next one, the main descriptive word that comes up is “appliqué.” It is quilted, in that small pieces of fabric were put together on the top. But the underside is not pieced, unless you count that I ripped it in half length-wise and serged the two long halves together.  And there is no batting in the center.

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appliqué Autumn table runner, with Sheenah

Naturally, the fabrics used in these projects are mostly remnants from the 50%-off bin at JoAnn Fabric Store. I had a couple of larger pieces of fabric, say, almost a yard each, for the top and bottom. The top is a plaid fabric with metallic orange-gold threads woven into the check pattern. The backing is a striped very low-pile flannel in yellow, tan, and tobacco-ey colors that wash together.  You can see the center seam of the runner above, and I decided to make one side a maple motif, and the other side an oak motif. All the leaf, pumpkin, and blackbird appliqués were cut with the Accuquilt Go! Big machine and templates. I backed each appliqué piece with Steam-a-Seam 2 double-sided fusible web, also cut on the Accuquilt cutter, and then ironed them on to the runner top side.

applique jennyskip
deciding where the appliqué shapes were going to go, and securing them down

After the appliqués were applied, I wanted to pull them all together with branches and tree motifs. I looked at lots of methods for yarn and textile couching, which is technically just laying down strands of yarn or string and then sewing over them. Looking through my box of sewing machine feet, AKA my Foot Stash, I found that I had a heretofore unused Yarn Couching Feet Set.

Husqvarna Viking Yarn Couching feet jenny skip
couching kit

The two plastic feet each had a small hole (one was larger) through which the end of the yarn was to be threaded. You hold the end of the yarn in one hand and move it around, if in “free motion” mode, and then sew over it. (You can also use it with an embroidery hoop and software pattern.) The kit also contained two different types of hooks to mount on the back of your machine, to use as thread guides for the yarn, a device for threading thick yarn into small holes, and some sample yarn and a DVD and basic instruction sheet.

I found this process to be pretty interesting, but this yarn was very slubby and every so often I had to cut and re-thread, because the big slubs wouldn’t go through the hole.

yarn couching jenny skip
yarn couching on the oak side

Next, after couching, I needed to sew down the appliqués. Originally I wanted to do a big thread-art project, using different colors of thread to add shading to the pumpkins and also do the tree trunks and branches in embroidery thread. But since I used the thicker yarn, I decided to just basically outline the shapes in one color and not do a whole bunch of shading, and leave it as sort of “primitive” colors and shapes.

accuquilt table runner jenny skip
finished runner, with free-mo embroidered appliqués

After going over all the appliqués with free-motion embroidery, I spray-starched the backing and ironed both top and back, making sure the back piece lined up with the top. Then I sewed all around the edges of the top  with Wright’s Bias Tape Maxi Piping in black, with the piping facing inward, toward the center of the cloth. I then sewed the backing on, right side facing the appliquéd side of the top, and sewed the edges, leaving the piping sandwiched between, and leaving about a fist’s length of seam unsewn, for turning. After turning inside out, and hand-sewing the opening closed, I pressed the edges, making sure the piping was peeking out and at the very edge of the seams. Then I top-stitched around the edges, about 1/4 inch from the piping edge, using thread that matched the top (and back for the bobbin thread).

Sometimes people will comment on the nice stitching, so I wanted to come clean and say that it isn’t me who’s responsible for that, it’s my Foot Stash. I use a special see-through foot with a little groove in the bottom, for sewing piping, and another special see-through foot with a metal attachment, called an edge-stitching foot, for top-stitching.  And the machine has a triple-stitch function that I use for pretty top-stitching, setting the length on a 5 or so (normally it’s more like a 2.5 for ordinary seams).

jenny skip natural edge table and runner
Skip’s natural-edge table decked out for a Fall party

It was fun to make, and the cats definitely like it.  Sigh.  Cat people will understand.

 

The Covers

While waiting to be caught up in the next project, I’ve been turning out a few interim FO’s (finished objects) that loosely fit into the category of “covers.”

The main thing they have in common is that they’ve used up larger pieces of fabric that have been lounging in the fabric stash.

These are mostly cotton lightweight lap quilts we sent to the non-profit organization that is closest to our hearts, plenitudpr.org .

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The tops of the quilts are cotton flannel remnants pieced together, and the backs are cotton remnants in sizes of about 2 yards. The solid yellow one above possibly has some polyester in it. But the idea was to have a smooth, bedsheet-like side and a warm, flannel side. The edges of the backs extend over the tops, and are folded over and sewn down with a machine featherstitchto make borders.

img_2460This one is a lap quilt made from the selvedges of fleece fabrics. A few  years back, I was making fleece blankets a lot, and trimming them with packaged Wright’s fleece binding. First, Wright’s discontinued the royal blue fleece binding that went perfectly with Florida Gator trademark pattern fabric. Now, you’ll be lucky if you can find fleece binding on eBay in any color other than black or white. Normal people, I guess, would trash the selvedges, but I threw them in a box, and this is the end result. This little quilt of sewn-together selvedges can also be turned around and used for light non-fiction reading if we get tired of watching TV in the La-Z-boy. Fun for the whole family.

Next, if you’ve seen my Pinterest page, you might find that I’ve gone nuts pinning tablerunners. These little projects are wonderful for expressing creativity, but not getting bogged down in a big, long, quagmire of obligation like you would get making a full-sized tablecloth or a queen-sized quilt. It’s just a little slice of a quilt, the slice with all the good stuff in it!

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As soon as we put a covering of any size on a flat surface, a cat’s bohunkus is right on top of it.

This tablerunner was an experiment, using remnants. The top is 5-inch squares pieced together, and the back is one whole piece, about a yard of 44 or 45-inch wide cloth, cut in half lengthwise and pieced together on the short sides. I longarm quilted it, loading the short sides on the frame and rolling out the length. I used the meander stitch, and although I thought I had the tension right from the previous project, it came out with some of those spidery-looking ugly  stitches on the back. When Lorraine came over and did a little project, we decided that one problem with the tension was the cheap-o thread I had loaded up. Without even thinking, I got a cone of thread that I normally use in the serger and threaded it up, bobbin too. Next time, we will try thread designated for machine quilting.

 

 

 

Family History in a Quilt, c. 1980’s

When we had lots of family members descend for the Beach Weekend, we were dragging out bed linens from the closet to accommodate folks sleeping on the beds, couches and floors. I found this quilt my grandmother had made. Part of the crazy-quilt patches had come unsewn, so after everyone left, I took it to the sewing machine to mend and repair it as best I could.

I’d forgotten that my grandmother wrote on the back of it. She had a whole set of these little tubes of “embroidery paint”  similar to this modern-day product (click the link to see).  For a time period, she was very prolific with the embroidery paint, making pillow cases, sheets, all sorts of things. She had been in the habit of stamping a design or motif onto a piece of fabric, then embroidering (or drawing with the tube paint) over the stamped designs.

This is what she put on the back of this quilt:

Gran jenny skip.com
For John, made by Gran in 1985

Here, on the backing (which looks like it probably was an old sheet, so thin here it is almost transparent) you can see the underside of some heirloom quilt stitching, all hand-sewn. In the next photo, you can see the top side of the feather-stitching, probably done in a few strands of contrasting-color embroidery floss.

The quilt top itself is remarkable too.

Gran quilt jenny skip
double-knit patch quilt

It’s made of patches of double-knit fabric, which was an innovative fabric type for those of my grandmother’s era (she was born in 1906). See this article at Seamwork about the differences between the double knit fabrics available then vs. now.  John said, “I remember it [the quilt] was really scratchy, the sort of polyester material that leisure suits were made from.”  Hence, the soft cotton sheeting on the back of the quilt, which side would go next to the tender skin of a little 4 or 5 year-old great-grandchild.

I’d like to say that I matched the embroidery thread and repaired the blanket in the style and manner of the original–but for me to do that would involve quite a learning curve. I picked a decorative stitch on the sewing machine and put the pedal to the metal. For any curious posterity, it will show obvious mending by machine.

Meanwhile, how enlightening to have this information!

Super E-Z Family Beach Bags

by jenny

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.

beach bags jennyskip
beach bags

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.

beach bags jenny skip
cutting liner to match fabric

 

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.

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remnant strapping

They’re not the coolest but they are, at least, a functional souvenir of the 2016 family beach weekend.

Here’s how we made them:

Riding the Coat-tails of my Jacket Success…

By Jenny

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.

suit craftsbyjennyskip.com
jacket, top and skirt

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…

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The cats were in no way disappointed

Oops, missed it! National Quilt Day

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:

quilt panel craftsbyjennyskip
Frolic by Sandy Gervais for Moda panel I found in the stash

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.

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various strips for a quilting project; mostly a collection of remnants
Irish Chain quilt top jenny skip
the green and white strips formed into an Irish Chain lap quilt top

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.

Dr Suess fabric jenny skip
more discoveries from the stash: Dr Suess themed cloth

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?

We Got These Pillows Covered

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!

pillows craftsbyjennyskip.com
pillow stack

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…