December 26, 2014

In a Mid-Century Mode + How To

 Mid-Mod is back and I am embracing it with pillows to throw around on your Herman Millers, Eames and Knolls.

With the help of this book, I came up with authentic
 looking shapes evocative of the era.  Mid-Century
Modern Patterns is a coloring book for grownups by
artist and designer Jenn Ski. Look for her HERE and HERE

I do not try to duplicate the pages but choose elements that I like and a general arrangement which I draw out pretty roughly on Kraft paper the size I want the pillow to be.

 I then cut more accurate paper patterns for each element and number them with an identifying number and how many total of that number to cut.

 The most time consuming part of this whole thing is deciding the colors and prints of the fabrics to use. I have great heaps of fabrics in all manner of bits and pieces and I always seem to need another to complete my projects.  I had to go out and buy brown background fabric for these and brought home a completely wrong shade BUT JoAnn's let me return it for another shade. I have NEVER returned fabric before.

The next step was to trace all my pattern pieces onto a sheet of HeatnBond. I love this stuff. You can draw on one side then cut out the pieces and iron them onto the wrong side of the fabric. Cut the shape neatly from the fabric and the HeatnBond gives it a nice body. You then peel away the paper backing and it leaves a plasticky surface that can iron your pieces nicely onto the background and holds them in place to do very nice machine appliqué.

Before applying the appliqués I made decorative line stitching to go behind some of the shapes. I chalked out the lines to follow.

  The post-it hangs near my machine with the quick remainder for this old brain as to how to set up the various stitches I use.  You can see that I have a pice of fusible batting behind the fabric which I LATER line with a thin fabric so the batting is hidden. I line the reverse side but do not use batting.

                     Here are my appliqués all iron down and ready for the machine.

I have added echo stitching around
some shapes, too.
 That tear drop shape is cut from a little sample of faux suede. I also used it for some other shapes.

                                                            Here is the end result
And here is the reverse. I hide a zipper under that print fabric in the center and a bit of stitching so that back is usable, too.

                                                       The smaller 12 x 16 rectangle

 I experimented with a diagonal zipper in this one. It made getting the insert in it REALLY easy.

So are you into this old but new decorating or are you "been there, done that".

December 7, 2014

Mixing it up with the Public + My Etsy Reader

Staying at home as a retiree and sewing up stuff all day and trying to support the habit with an Etsy shop makes for a lot of alone time.  Hubby is constantly being asked for his opinion on all sorts of things that he is no expert on but he is also retired and nearby.

So yesterday was one of my few outings into the real, non-cyber world at a crafts fair.  Christmas-by-the-Lake was held at my old alma mater, Avon Lake High School.  It was a scholarship fund-raiser sponsored by the PTA so I felt good about supporting them and the most fun was meeting up with old friends and neighbors.

The front of ALHS as I knew it - pic from the web
For me, it was a good, even fantastic,  show since the one I did in October was a money LOSER!  I was pretty busy most of the day and if hubby hadn't come to assist I would not have survived the set-up and take-down on my own.  We even stayed overnight at a nearby hotel to avoid the long drive in the AM when the weather might have been iffy.  Disclaimer: The expense did not cut into my profits since I used my Hilton Honors points for a free night. I also got out of having to cook dinner for two nights straight :)  Cooking is definitely not my thing.

New Main entrance which is really at the back - low res pic from ALHS page
I was so busy talking, walking and selling I completely forgot to take pictures to put on this post. My selling space did look pretty spiffy and was quite generous. There was extra space around the allotted 10' x 10' so my hanging racks for bags and aprons could angle outward and made lots of room for shoppers to see and finger the wares.

Since I have nothing else to  dress up the post with, here are some items I sold.
               This wool purse was snapped up right away. 

I had just completed it days before.  My favorite part of this is the ruffle made from the selvage.  
The fabric is a herringbone that has been hand dyed by RubyMountainDyeworks. I was trying to match another purple solid to make this style:

                                       However, it was too red. I wanted it for the side pockets.

This gray bag also went to the show with me and was admired often and sold for my full asking price even when the buyer tried to get me to come down.  This little baby got more "favorites" in the shortest time on my Etsy shop than anything I have ever made. Now I am really determined to get just the right coordinating fabrics to go with that nice thick coat weight royal purple.  I have enough for at least two bags, so in the mean time, perhaps solid purple with a stitching detail?

                                                                Aprons went pretty well, too.

 This one had matching potholders that have a sort of bra-like look in this photo.

At right is the apron I wear at shows.  The two giant pockets hold my cash and other necessities.  This was my first show where my phone was one of those necessities.

Etsy has made available a credit card reader, the Etsy Reader , that works like Square and some other similar things but this one connects directly to your Etsy shop so that items are removed from your online shop as you sell them directly.  You can even use it for sales that are not Etsy items and it worked smoothly and efficiently and helped me make more sales. It emails you a record of each sale, adds up your totals, helps you make change and will email a receipt to your customer. Thanks, Etsy!

Oh, and those little cuties I put in my previous teaser post are still with me. I sold ONE but they were all handled fondly by lots of hands.  They will see another show day. Too small and fiddly to list and ship on Etsy.

December 5, 2014

Teaser Post - Mini Key Ring Bags

In a hurry. Packing for a craft show tomorrow that HAS to work out better than the last one.  These are my "stocking stuffer" offerings. They use up lots of scrap fabric but also eat into the hardware and zipper supply.  Watch for a new post soon.

November 24, 2014


This week is all about zippers. Some of it is work and some of it is just play.

First the work of shortening a metal zipper.  These things look cool but are a potential disaster for your sewing machine needles.  I buy my zippers before I even know what I am going to use them for so I have quite a messy lot of them.  One time I bought a bag of 50 random zippers for $7.00.

I tend to buy longer ones so they can be used in more applications so many of them get amputated.  The nylon coils are no big whoop. Just don't use your best fabric scissors.

BUT, the metal are a  b@$%& !

I searched online for the best way to do this and came away even more frustrated. I found THIS.

It seemed reasonable, but when I tried to "twist" the tiny little teeth loose with my needle nose pliers absolutely NOTHING resulted.  Now I'm not saying this isn't possible. Its just not possible for ME.

So here is my lame solution which I do not consider a tutorial, Im just saying'.

Using non-fabric scissors,  carefully cut between the teeth to shorten up the zipper and then trim off the teeth
Then I stitched across the fabric tabs to keep them in line

Next I made a tab over the end as I usually do.

And repeated at the other end
 AND THEN, I discovered the problem with this method.  Because the tab didn't completely cover the end of the teeth, the tab could come off the teeth!!!  So, I hand stitched my own version of a stop by sewing this :  Yes, it looks messy. But is basically hidden later.  JUST SEW VERY SLOWLY when you get to the teeth and you can maneuver through them.

However, I did manage to get both tabs on the end and got the zipper to work in the little bag I was making.

         Now for play time
My 3 1/2 year old grand daughter in the sewing/computer/play room
 I told you I have lots of zippers and more are on the way from my favorite supplier ZIPIT on Etsy.
 That open drawer contains a tangle of zippers and Mom's old button box. I gave up on keeping them in some sort of order.

Just throw them out on the floor and hunt for the color.

 She measured them.
 She tested them.
And then we played THIMBLEFINGERS!

I have a bag of not-collection-worthy thimbles in a zip-lock bag which she was allowed to unzip and sort, stack and wear. (I have over 400 in my collection - see previous post HERE. )

Seven-year-old grandson is occupying that black
desk chair in the background damaging his eyesight playing computer games.

I'm thinking she should be my LOGO. 

Do the kids you know find your sewing supplies fun?  What are their favorites?  Hopefully not your rotary cutter!

Love to hear from you but I do moderate my comments before they appear.

November 16, 2014

Winter Woolies

Winter is really settling in and the temperatures sinking faster than a pattern weight in a tub of bath water (I was trying for a sewing reference hers, but there isn't much liquid associated with sewing).
Although, we have been spared the lake effect snowfall that piled up just a half hour drive north of us.

SO, I decided it was time to stop sewing on brightly colored ruffly skirts and summer weight bags and totes and get into something more seasonal.  Back in August I had made a custom order from my little stash of wool.

The order came about because I had challenged Peter of Male Pattern Boldness that I would give him something else to perk up his apartment if he went ahead and made those drapes he was hesitant about. Well, he made them and they were great and then I had to come through with the pillows I promised him.  You can see them HERE. No, the pillows were not wool. BUT, when his partner, Michael,  saw them he went to my Etsy shop and liked the zippered bags and asked for one made in more masculine fabrics and colors. I came up with this.

The photos stink because I just wanted a quick record of what i had made rather than a spending time setting up a better shot for Etsy. I had only sent Michael this and a promise.
                                                      Thankfully he really likes it.

That little project only ate up a small portion of the expensive half-yard of gray wool so I returned to it and came up with this nice wintery bag.

The little side pockets are from some felted wool I got from RubyMountainDyeWorks on Etsy.
Most of their wool is very small pieces but yummy. Above the pockets is some of the same faux leather I used on Michael's bag.
I split the piece to have a simple gray cotton on the lower concealed part because I didn't have enough and it also made it way easier to sew through the layers. You can see where my pattern came from. This is the second one I have made.

              Cutting this felted wool is so great. It fives a great smooth edge and doesn't fray.

              But, it molds beautifully.  The tailor's ham came out for one of its rare appearances

Here is a bad photo of the lining.  I love the look of this shiny dot cotton which I have used in other projects.  There is an inside pocket, a dangly clip on a ribbon for keys or you can attach this:

The solid overlaps the houndstooth and it is simply simply stitched down with two rows of topstitching.  The lining is the same shiny dot fabric.

When I ordered the houndstooth wool, I also bought a  pack of blue in six shades and that got put together this week, too.

Here are the two sides of the
little bag made of small leftovers.

You can see these in my Etsy shop at CherylThimbleFingers

                                           This may be the basis for the next little project.

          Are you sewing for winter or are you like the fashion industry and working seasons ahead?