Category Archives: sewing

D’oh!

Or: Some mistakes are just too daft to be photographed.

 

I recently finished a bed spread for my Mum. The one I wrote about before, yes. The pattern part should cover the top of the bed, and a border along one side and one end should make a nice finish.

The pattern part turned out just as I wanted it. There’s a centre part with so-called fat quarters measuring 20 x 20 cm. which are old denims. Around those are squares of 5 x 5 cm. pieces of calico in blues, and they are arranged in diagonal lines.

The quilting is done with buttons in random pattern on the denim part and in few, diagonal lines on the ends of the small squares part.

The bedspread is for my Mum’s guest bed in her sewing room. Being an old seamstress, she of course has a sewing room. She had one in her old flat, and she has one in her new, smaller flat.

In the old flat – my childhood home – the guest bed was in the far right corner looking in from the door. In the new flat it’s at the far left corner looking in from the door.

And now I don’t know wether I thought of the old flat or just didn’t really think at all. Fact of the matter is that I sewed on the edges to fit the bed as it was in the old flat. Not in the new one.

Mum was kind to me, praised it in high tones and left it with the top border folded in.

Yes, you’re right: I love my Mum to bits.

Kisses from Peter Pan

I like patchworking. For some time it’s been small(ish) things I made, and only few required quilting.

I like once in a while to make something big, though. So when my Mum talked of buying a new bedspread I jumped at the chance to sew her one. Heaven knows she made plenty of clothes for me as I grew up harbouring a strange notion that I could not wear jeans, only corduroy trousers. I have no idea how many pairs came out of her sewing machine. I just know I loved every pair and wore them all out.

I generally don’t mind quilting big things either. Granted the first fem lines or knots are a bit of a hassle to get done. The rest of it is plain sailing because I dutifully baste together the three layers including the stuffing before I start quilting.

And that part is the biggest obstacle. Bacause as I have no table big enough nor any frame I have to lay it on the floor, sit down with straight legs under it and baste with one hand over and one under. Even though I stitched together more than 400 patches by hand that process feels as if it takes far longer time. My lower back screeches in pain, I stab myself constantly with the needle, and I have to wear my thimble which I otherwise never do for want of feel of the needle.

At least I’m done and can start quilting. This time it’ll be in points, strewing buttons on the pattern at random.

Hence the kisses from Peter Pan: Buttons and a thimble. Oh, how I wish they felt as good as my husbands’ …

 

Stan Dup or Ben Dover?

Yesterday was St. George’s Day. It may not be of much significance to most people. One exception are English patriots and churchgoers as St. George is England’s patron saint.

Another exception is scouts. As steady readers of this blog know I’m a scout, and though I belong to a non-denominational scout corps we still celebrate St. George’s day. We hear or re-enact the story of George before he was a saint and just was a soldier. He slayed a dragon and so saved not just a village but also a fair princess about to be sacrificed to the dragon. And then he turned down her father’s offer of half the relam and her hand in marriage because a good man does not help for personal gain. He helps because it is his duty to help his fellow man (and princess!)

So we tell the scouts that story and remind them that helping others should always be second nature to a true scout.

Then there’s the part they all look forward to: The handing out of stars.

When I was a girl scout in the YWCA they were real, metal stars. Nowadays they’re just embroidered material that you stitch on to your left uniform pocket. On the star the number shows how many years you’ve been a scout.

My new star says 8. And in my group there’s a custom that once you get that you get no more stars. Instead you just tilt it to show the sign of eternity.

So: Should my star stand up or bend over?

Think I’ll leave it standing. And next year break group consensus and swap it for my old “6”. Upside down, of course.

Big frustrations

While it’s all well and good that someone wants to sell my patterns it also means that I have to make cut-out-sheets with all the different parts. Which is far from easy. And all the while my neighbours’ moronic son plays extremely loud, extremely rotten “music” going right throuh two walls, a hedge and several yars of garden.

I tried the Brian Wilson-cure. No good. Instead of Good Vibrations it was more like

“(I’m picking up): I’m seeing these big frustrations / it’s being exasperating” – repeat ad nauseam.

Only when I pain-stakingly made grid after grid in the different sizes of some of the parts did it help. In part. Because I obviously can’t get two grid next to each other in spite of ample room. And I can’t draw up all the parts because a grid does not allow for a diagonal line.

It seems it’s back to hand-drawing, scanning and clip-art. A hassle, in other words.

Oh yes and of course I just got a rejection from one of the two still possible publishers. I see more grids looming.

Perhaps I should just call up the other publisher, ask him straight out and then start selling those patterns individually.

Some of them are actually easy to draw up. And an opening in one shop could be openings in other shops too.

And once those pattern pieces are made I just need to store them safely. Yup, I could be cathing a few Good Vibrations too.

Think pink!

pink skuldertaske for

pink skuldertaske bag

My darling mum was always a collector and saver. I inherited and willingly pick up anything she began to discard because of a move to a smaller flat. I fully intend to turn the odds and ends into something, and this shoulder bag is one such thing.

I have no clue what she intended the two different kinds of material for. Probably something else. Only thing I’m sure about is the strap surprised her.

It’s an old bicycle tube.

The top is something shiny, the beads are mostly Czech glass, the floral-print is satin.

There’s something about contrasts …

 

The things we do for love

I’m not sure how much it reveals about me that I – often as not – think of titles of songs or movies when writing a title for a new post. This time it’s 10 CC.

The thing I currently do for love is basting. Usually when I sew my box of pins is all I need. To me basting is just a way to waste time sewing seams twice. Yet now I do precious little but baste.

The reason is the bedspread that popped up in two posts already. But hey – since I hand-sew my patchwork I have to baste them into correct size first. Which takes time because there are 468 of them.

Bringing me back to things we do for love: It’s for my darling Mum. She deserves all the love I pour into the work.

 

Snip, snip

Do you know the feeling? You found all your patchwork material, spread it over half the living room and cut piece after piece for a specific project.

Then the minute you sigh and begin to re-fold everything to put it away you think of other patterns. Leave the mess, take up pencil and paper – in my case a standard checkered pad – and begin to draw. Come up with brilliant ideas. Or remember old and equally brilliant ideas not yet put into colours and cloth.

Lean back with sketches on the pad, smile to yourself and fetch the thick paper used for clich´s and begin to cut those. And then finally go on to cut the material for those patterns.

That’s what I did this past week. Well, not all of it, some of it. And now that I finally put all the material away to stop myself getting further ideas I have not only the 468 pieces for my Mum’s bedspread but also 2X5 for two canters, 15 pieces for one experimental pattern, 11 pieces for another experiment and finally 177 pieces for a square pattern. Because I stopped myself before I began to cut a hexagon cliche’e which would have meant countless other pieces.

Oh and did I mention I always hand-sew? Seems I have my work cut out for me very literally.