Woolly gator redo

This week’s project starts with the remnant of a felted wool sweater.

Sweater, with sleeves cut off

Years ago, my friend Fay and I used to spend Saturdays trolling the yard sale market in Marion County. This gorgeous woolly bully was one of a bonanza of sweaters that were displayed in the sweltering heat of August, going for $1 each. If I’d had $50 left I would have bought them all, because I love woolly sweaters, but I only had $3 or $4 left from my YS fund that day, sadly. Some had tags saying “Made in—” Iceland, Russia, Ireland, even some South American countries where our summer is their winter. I cut off the sleeves and made mittens from this in a previous blog post “Warm, woolly woollens for Fall,” I think.

Embroidering the felted wool

When I looked at what was left, I thought “purse.”

More specifically, “gator purse.”

I know I’ve got some collegiate gator fabric remnants in the barrel.

The first step was to make the creamy white and brown look a little bit gator, by adding some orange and blue.

Here is what will be the purse body, cut on one side because there’s no way I could have effectively made this sit flat on top of the hoop unless I opened up a seam. No worries, once the knit has been felted in the washer and dryer, you can cut it up and the knit won’t ravel. To felt wool sweaters, throw them in the washer with a very miniscule amount of detergent, wash on warm, then dry in the dryer on normal. You can throw a towel in there with the sweater to give it something to agitate against. If the resulting felted sweater is not shrunk to your liking, you can repeat the washing and drying and it will felt further.

I chose to machine embroider “GO GATORS!” on the purse in an Orange and Blue Athletic font that was included in my machine software.

I used 2 layers of cut-away stabilizer with a spray adhesive so that the sweater would stick on the top layer. I didn’t try to hoop the heavy layer of felted wool; I had visions of the hoop popping off during the stitch-out–horrors! Then I added a Solvy topper and basted the design area with the machine so it wouldn’t have a chance to shift around during the process.

Would you believe there are over 27,000 stitches in GO GATORS! and it took almost an hour to stitch out.

I was running around monitoring the stitch-out like a crazed mother hen, because things kept going wrong: the bobbin thread was bird-nesting underneath, the thread was shredding as it came out and causing “check thread” messages every 5 minutes. Finally I switched from Robison-Anton rayon to Robison-Anton polyester, got another bobbin and needle, and the machine seemed more at peace. Funny, at the Viking store here, the proprietors recommend RA rayon thread but the guy at the Janome store in Ocala only sells RA polyester and thinks everything else is no good. Later, Glenn at A-1 found that there was a little rough thing inside the thread path, and I haven’t had any problems since (knock on wood!)

With the ever-present gator fabric lining

I cut out some gator fabric for the lining and for the tabs to attach the purse handles.

The handles came from JoAnn Fabric, using a coupon of course.

I sewed the lining to the sweater fabric with a machine-overlock stitch. I started with a straight stitch, but the fabrics kept slipping. The overlock reached out and grabbed everything in a very satisfactory manner.

Felted wool takes machine stitching amazingly well.

I did hand-sew the seam at the side and bottom of the sweater, with hand-quilting thread.

Maybe I’ll put a magnet closure on at the top; depends on how paranoid I feel about getting pick-pocketed while out at a game.

Orange! Blue! Remnant Redo!

The blue ribbon and gator head fabric motif cut-out finished it off. It was hand-stitched on for a bit of whimsy.

You can also go to my studio on Burda Style and download a pdf that shows how I made this.

http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/felted-wool-gator-purse

Practice for the security check, see? No contraband in here!

Chapter Elevendy-leven on Do Not Let Gator Fabric Go to Waste

We interrupt this broadcast to interject a brief picto-homily on the virtues of not letting fabric go to waste. Especially licensed collegiate gator fabric, which rarely goes on sale (but you can certainly use your % off coupons to buy it most times).

rag ribbon for gift wrapping

This gift wrap was salvaged from my yo-yo baby quilt that went wrong (previous post). I didn’t finish the edges, although I could have (if I wanted to broadcast to the world that I was one  of those fussy and uptight gifters that has to do everything the “proper” way). I may be fabric-retentive, but I ain’t anal-retentive!

Also, on the subject of cha-yeap, sometimes when I use a lot of piping or seam binding, it bugs me to see those nice cards that the bindings are wound around for packaging, in the trash can. They’d be the perfect size for…something. How ’bout…..

I know! a gift tag!

Well, there we go!

Remnant Re-do Gift Wrap!

I cut out a little fabric motif and

glued it onto the card, added the

name, used the hole puncher for

threading the ribbon around the tag.

 

 

 

So what do you think, is my

cheapness my weakness?

 

OK, you can go back to Farmville,

Fishville, Youtube browsing, or whatever you were doing…thanks for the

peek!  This is my postaweek2011 remnant project of the week.

Baby Gator Booties redux

Do-over!

Since I wasn’t all that thrilled with the results of the recent project, I tried again, this time using the “overlock” stitch on my regular sewing machine, Ruby, rather than the serger, Sheila, who mysteriously stopped working yesterday in the middle of serging around the sole of one of the little booties.

Ruby did the left, Sheila did the right

As you can see here, the regular sewing machine booties on the left are a lot bigger. The serger booties had their seam allowances sheared off each time a seam was serged. Although, the directions say to use a “scant 1/8 inch” seam allowance–who can do that? I repeat, who can sew a seam with a 1/8″ seam allowance, while trying to pivot a little pile of 3 to 5 stacked pieces of thick fabric around a bunch of needles sewing 1500 stitches a minute? The serged boots are smaller, cuter, and the serged seams lie flatter and feel to be more finished. The stitched booties have a more oval-shaped sole like it’s supposed to be (my serged soles were abbreviated by so many re-do’s because the threads from the four cones kept coming unthreaded). I think the original looks better than the do-over!

Bam-bam boots!

This week’s remnant project is a very small set of baby booties made from a small piece of fabric: I found a .5-yard piece of orange fleece and of course, some leftover cotton gator fabric (I guess I’m a one-trick pony when it comes to remnants lately, nearly always gator!)

before assembling

This was another serger project (by Pamela Hastings) from the book Simple Serger Sewing. The blurb said “Line trendy cotton print [in other words, gator fabric] with fleece and finish with an overlock stitch…” Well, it could have been quick and easy. But, Sheila the serger didn’t stay for the finish. About halfway through, she started in with a horribly portentious clicking noise and some or all the threads came undone at every attempt. But I pressed on (idiot, but I tried everything to fix it). Next thing I knew there was only a stub of one needle and all the other threads wildly going everywhere. Sigh. With every pass, the cutter was working great. So the soles of the booties were getting smaller and less oval, but remained un-overlocked. I grabbed the 2nd one and went to the Ruby, and sewed using the designated overlock stitch I learned in class yesterday, and it went well. Great serge, no cutting. Which I should have attempted to do from the first, and now I know to do it next time.

Rustic-looking little boots, huh?

So, I don’t know if I feel confident enough to give these to an actual baby, because they’re rather primitive.  If I care to make another pair, the time spent isn’t much at all. But, it was a creative idea someone came up with!

 

Take Yo-yo Baby Quilt and Go!

Continuing with the projects in Simple Serger Sewing edited by Julie Johnson, I went to the next in sequence, the Yo-yo Baby Quilt, for this week’s remnant re-do.  The blurb said “Fast and easy are the buzz words used in creating this delightful baby quilt…” You know me, fast and easy, and I’m there…except I did not find this project fast or easy.

I had some gator fabric remnants left over from a project, so I cut all the pieces required, according to the directions.

5 yards, MOL, fabric pieces

Then I proceeded to SERGE (since this is a serger project) the blocks to the border strips, as directed, referring to the assembly diagram. Well, the diagram showed 25 7″ x 7″ blocks, 5 7″ x 4″ blocks, and 10 3″ x 45″ border strips. So why did the directions say to cut 11 3″ x 45″ border strips? I never could figure out where the 11th border strip was supposed to go.  And when I serged the blocks to the border strips, of course, the border strips were cut off each time. The directions never warned me that was going to happen. It was a bit unnerving. Also, I didn’t realize it, but somehow I had cut a few blocks 6 1/2″ by 7″, so that on the way, my quilt top started looking like this:

Aaargh! Measure twice, cut once forgotten!

I didn’t see a way that I could remedy this, so perhaps in a future remnant redo, you may see this familiar fabric…

Back to the drawing and cutting board. The next ordeal was the box-pleated ruffles on the sides. Although they look kind of cool, what a pain it was to put them on. And the directions gave a bogus amount of material which meant I ended up piecing together some ruffles on the edges. At this point, I didn’t have enough fabric left that was 45″ long, so I had to make do.

”]I had to go back and cut way more than it called for, to get ruffles down both sides. Oh, the pinning and ironing, offering both stabbing and burning to the occupational hazards of this project. Like I don’t already have enough cuts and burns from cooking! And Sheila the serger was not unscathed either; due to my neglect she ran over a big pin and her needles were badly misaligned, so I was forced to change needles and went through all the bad times of re-threading like I used to do.

Next came the STOO-PID yo-yo’s. I never have liked yo-yo’s. I almost inadvertently roll my eyes at the making of yo-yo’s in any context.  But, this called for yo-yo’s so I got out my heretofore unused Clover yo-yo making gizmo and made the 16 that the directions called for. It said to sew a yo-yo at the intersection of the border strips (however, when I looked at the assembly diagram there were 24 intersections, not 16.  I thought it might look even stupider with only 16–like, where would I decide to put the 16?)  And, since this is a tie-quilt, the yo-yo junctions serving as the ties that keep the batting, top, and bottom together, I thought it needed those extra 8 to keep the layers from separating. I used high-loft crib-size batting (the only thing I broke down and bought for the project, with a 40% off coupon, of course) so it would have a comforter-like feel and weight to it.

serging edges of yo-yo

copius amount of lint piled up

And, did I mention how messy this project was? Piles of lint, scraps, thread, seam allowances, wisps of batting everywhere.

The whole room needs a good cleaning now.

And the STOOPID yo-yo’s had to be hand-stitched through

all layers, or course. I used heavy hand-quilting thread. With

such a large surface to negotiate, I poked the needle through

my fingertips A LOT! That’s why I keep YELLING in this post,

because it hurts to type!

finished (whew!) quilt

backing and box-pleat ruffle

This is the finished (whew!) quilt.

The design was by Lorine Mason. Pretty design, really, but fast and easy? Not really!

If only it had the original blue border strips; however, it now looks much more girlie than I had envisioned. Especially with the flowery-looking yo-yo’s.

But this is my postaweek2011 remnant project of the week!

More Baby Remnant Redo’s

It looks like a crazy week is on its way here!

I have a couple of baby remnant redo’s to show you. They don’t feature the greatest sewing anyone’s ever seen, but I had a little bit of fun and I learned some new things.

Simple Serger Sewing Project

This was entitled “Summer Breeze” as the 2nd project in the book that I blogged about last week, Simple Serger Sewing, edited by Julie Johnson. What an excellent project book; I’ve been learning how to use my serger by going over it chapter by chapter.  Laura Dollar came up with the pattern and instructions, and it’s pretty easy to follow. Except for serging around a curved surface; that was a bit hard to do. I appliqued a bow motif on the back, as you can see in the picture, and embroidered the new baby’s name on the front, which I do not show. It’s supposed to be a cover-up or a bib-like garment. I think that’s a cute idea to be able to throw this on over a plain onesie, for a little girl of course. Maybe a fishing vest in camo flannel for a boy baby?

The cats weren’t so enthusiastic. I tried it on Bob, and after he made a few attempts to jerk it off and couldn’t, boxed Pauly’s ears for no apparent reason and then hid out in the kitchen where no one could see his shame. Then I tried it on Grayzie, and he was all ok with it. He didn’t even try to get it off.

Serging ties is definitely the way to go. Zip, and you’re done, rather than taking hours to sew right-sides together and then try to turn the doggone things inside out. Just make sure to use fray-check on the ends. This remnant was in the stash from years back, a Patty Reed fabric.

[Warning, this aside has nothing to do with the project but I have to get it off my chest: I found Patty Reed’s web site on the Internet, mainly because I was interested in a couple of old Simplicity patterns I want to sew, patterns that feature her design and fabric. The featured fabric is a slinky knit with a double border print on it. I cannot find slinky knit with a border print on it anywhere on the internet now, not even on ebay. So if anyone finds it, I’m interested!]

The second project was a onesie with a machine-embroidered applique on the front that is supposed to approximate a tie and vest; this one, of course, in gator colors.  Every time I embellish a onesie, I say I am never going to do it again, because it is a king-size lot of trouble for a pint-size finished article.

The smaller the onesie, the more my teeth end up being gnashed.

It is nearly impossible to fit a tiny shirt into a 5″ x 7″ (or another size) embroidery hoop, with the part you don’t want sewn bunched up, and have it finish successfully.

Finally, I saw some packing tape on the desk and cut off about a 6″ strip, using it to truss up that back part of the outfit that I didn’t want getting

Tie and vest appliqued onesie

stuck under the hoop and sewed accidentally, which helped some. The little clips you get with the hoop don’t help

a whole lot, because they pop off under the bulk of the garment.

But this is postaweek2011 project #2; looks like kids’ clothes are the trend so far.

 

 

Quick gift

“Nana, will you make me a gator blanket?”

Returning to the subject of serging with Sheila the serger, I just did not know how easy and amazing it is to do things with this machine. Another project in the book Quick and Easy Sewing with your Serger by Becky Hanson, I saw the Cozy Blanket with Overlock Binding and decided to just serge the edges of a collegiate-pattern fleece remnant I had, that would be just the size for a little munchkin to cover up with on these cold nights. Voila, it was just minutes from thought to reality.

Gator blanket ready for snuggling

The project in the book had rounded corners, but I serged straight ones. I didn’t even have to cut the selvages, the machine cut off the seam allowances as I sewed.

Of course, to everyone who has a serger and knows how to use it, this is so elementary I feel like Forrest Gump blogging about it. I guess, like him, I’m not smart. I should change the inflection of my name to Jen-nay.

Had the opportunity to go with a group and help serve lunch at a homeless shelter that is run by the Catholic church.  We went on a tour and saw the main lobby area, which was full of bedding piled up. It’s so cold, they put up cots in the lobby and hand out pillows and blankets, which are piled up the next morning and washed, every day. There’s a tremendous amount of work to be done in that place. They serve one meal a day to about 160 people, and breakfast to those who have stayed overnight in the shelter. Lots of restaurants and stores donate food but it all has to be prepared and then cleaned up. If volunteers don’t show up, sometimes all the meal prep, serving, and clean up is done by four people. I think of our sweet grandkids snuggling up with a fleecy, warm gator blankie, perhaps smiling angelically about clever Nana and her quick gift :).  Then I think about those folks out on the street bundled up in hand-me-downs, hoping that someone’s cast-off charity items will help them stay warm til the cold snap eases off for a little while. You can look in their eyes, they all have a story somewhere in there.

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