Up, Up and Away with Summer Remnants!

This week’s project features a remnant of all-cotton Hi-Fashion Fabrics, Inc. print in a multi-colored hot air balloon motif.

balloon fabric remnant

I found this at Hobby Lobby, and thought it might provide a good companion to some cool Jacobean machine embroidery designs I purchased from emblibrary.com this past spring.
I made a pair of shorts from the remnant, using Butterick 3860, a very basic Fast & Easy pattern. It’s Labor Day in central Florida, so we can still get away with wearing shorts and summery things for another month or so. I spent probably about an hour, total, making the shorts, plus about 40 hours of avoiding getting started on the project. Why do I do this? If it were not for the bow on the front of the shorts (one of those skinny tubes you sew and then have to turn right-side out and then slip-stitch the edges), it would have probably taken 15 minutes.

bright cotton shorts

The machine embroidery was applied to a t-shirt I scrounged from the clearance rack at JoAnn’s for a mere 97 cents. It is a Heavy Duty Jerzees shirts that holds up well and the color does not bleed in the washer, so is pretty sturdy kidwear. I fell in love with some of the gorgeously ornate Jacobean balloon designs. My DH thinks they are not strictly appropriate for kids’ clothes; they are more for heirloom projects. He may be right. The time and effort factors that went into the producing of this shirt tell the story. It took about 3 hours, minimum, to stitch out the balloon design, and I just about went nuts trying to keep it under control. The hoop got bumped and the design jumped out of the hoop only to resume at a completely different point from where it left off. As I looked on in horror, I realized the design was stitching about 2 inches farther away from where the needle should have resumed, and I stopped and had to re-hoop everything and regress back to the beginning of one thread color. Luckily I had established a north, east, and west point in the hoop on the shirt by folding it in half and then in quarters, and marking the points on the t-shirt in air-evaporating marker as they lined up on the hoop. So I was able to re-fit the shirt into the hoop at almost the exact same position it was in before it went berserk. But during the shift, the tear-away stabilizer underneath became very unstable, because the stitched pattern thus far was extremely dense in thread count. I added some sticky-backed stabilizer in the hoop, then tore off the backing and sat the work-in-progress on top of it, lining up the positioning marks. I had a water-soluble stabilizer spray-glued on top of the shirt with 505, as I usually use with knit fabrics. So, all together, I used quite a few more layers of stabilizer than I started out with. I had a little mishap with bird-nesting under the hoop, too, so I had to stop the design and wrench the hoop off and cut away about a mile of bunched-up thread that was making the throat plate immovable, so that required another tense re-positioning step. Too much drama for one kid’s t-shirt!

remnant shorts and embroidered tee


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ethel Grogan
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 13:12:50

    Cute Hon! Will you ever run out of remnants and ideas? Me neither. ;o}


  2. Kay
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 22:55:09

    Cute outfit ! Too bad no one will appreciate all the effort the bow and shirt took ! You get an A+ in my book for “hanging in there.”


  3. jenyjenny
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 16:03:27

    Lol, thanks Kay! You got me started in all this! Now it’s like an addiction!


  4. Shinybees
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 16:55:00

    Oh I love this fabric. And what a cute outfit you have made from it! You’ve inspired me to do some stash diving….


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