That Project You Hate

Seriously, I hate this project, yet I feel compelled to at least finish it.

Mccalls 3979Count this as a sewing misadventure.

Several years ago I bought this McCalls apron pattern not realizing every apron had bias binding on every seam.   E . v . e . r . y . seam.  Of all the sewing projects I’ve done, I have learned I intensely dislike applying bias binding.  I’ll never actually make quilts because I don’t want to have to bind the edges.  I HATE applying bias tape and I suck at it.

I had high hopes cutting this out.  Then I started to assemble. The first step was to apply double-fold bias tape around curved pockets.  Sigh, okay, fine, so I missed that when I bought it.  I’ll do it.  Next step.  Wait, bias tape where?  What?  Why?  Crap — every freakin’ seam.  All of them.

But I had started, the pieces were cut out, so I figured, I’ll finish.  I don’t think I can.  Not tonight anyway.  I hate this in every way.  I used bias tape that was too large; it’s just sloppy looking to me.  I don’t even know what I’ll do with this when I’m done.  I can’t even give it away and feel good about it.

I will put the neck straps on in the morning, and the last freakin’ piece of bias tape across the top of the top front panel — because I’ve gotten this far, I’ll finish.  I can’t feel good about it though — I hate this project.  I should have stopped at the pockets.  Maybe someday I’ll learn to trust my first instincts, and give myself permission to give up before I’ve invested a day and a bunch of materials.

And maybe I’ll learn to spot patterns that have bias tape all over them before I buy them.  I just noticed this pattern is listed as “vintage” and if I’d have not cut the pattern pieces out, I could have sold the pattern on eBay for 12 bucks.

9/6/17:  Done.  Still hate it.


I Found My Happy Place

I wish I’d taken a picture of the sight. It was a thing of beauty. A quilter’s supply garage sale, in a church gymnasium. A variety of ladies, most into their seventh decade, who have made quilting and crafting their lifelong hobby and career, selling the stuff they don’t need, want or use anymore, the stuff that’s been in bins in their closets and under their sewing tables — scraps, fat quarters, remnants, even some on-the-bolt fabric, buttons, zippers, webbing laid out before me — $1 here to fill a gallon ziptop bag, $3 there for a bag of precut charms. Oh, I get chills just remembering it. It was like Joann’s remnant basket, only hundreds of times better. It was an amateur crafter’s nirvana.

Okay, so I got five yards of awesome denim for $1. I got a bag of really nice precut charms for $3. I found a gallon bag of different colors of webbing for $5. And so much more. I spent $25ish and came out with a pile of dreams that covered my cutting table.


I may have a problem here, I seem to be collecting fabric like I collect Pinterest pins — so far just great plans and ideas.

Time to get busy.


Meet the insulated casserole carrier


I saw these handy casserole carriers at the War Eagle Mill fall craft show in Arkansas last year.  This project is so useful and simple — it takes more time picking out cute coordinating fabric than it does to sew it up.  They take maybe an hour to make, if that.

Until you decide to make it not simple.

Here is my first casserole carrier — it’s also the most popular when I show off my work.  I’m not quite sure why pictures of pears is so appealing, but it is.  The inside is yellow gingham.  Simple.  Ones like this one sell at craft shows for $20 or so.

I decided to make a few more of these, and somewhere along the line I decided since I was using a large denim piece, I should quilt my next project to make it extra cute.

This is where the K.I.S.S. rule comes in. What should have been an hour or work at the most , drug on for hours. Hours. And once you start, you’re committed to finish.  It’s a beauty, but with both Insulbright on the inside piece and quilt batting on the outside piece, there’s more cost in materials. The plus side is it’s super heavy duty.  I suppose if you really have a casserole you want to keep warm for a while, this ought to do it.  Oh, and did I say it took hours and hours to quilt?  And three bobbins of thread.  Either I need to get faster at quilting, quilt less, or maybe that’s just not a good idea for this simple project.

This is not how you make money at a craft show, I’m sure. In the end, the carrier still does what the others do, for more cost and way more labor, and probably wouldn’t command the a price equivalent to it’s worth. So, in the future, I will K.I.S.S.

Unless the end result is really cute.  Like quilted denim, which is really, really cute.  


Maybe a star pattern — six lines that intersect at the center — next time …

Update 9/1/17 – the star pattern:

Jewel Tote Bag

Not really quilting, but some fun with patchwork

Today I pieced a Jewel Bag using instructions from  The Sweet Sixteen Bag uses 16-5″ charm squares for the outside and 16 more for the lining.  I chose a solid piece of fabric for the lining using the completed outside piece as a pattern, and added a Cam Snap closure.  I used fusible fleece inside rather than quilting it, but this could easily be quilted for a little extra visual effect.

I’ve seen this shape tote called a Jewel Bag, but I’ve seen similar shapes called Hobo Bags or Slouch Bags.  I chose to put a mesh stabilizer in the bottom of my bag to give it shape, and hubby suggested with this shape it looked like a great lunchbox.  He also suggested that with the unusual top of the bag, I could add a little lace, make it look like a bra and call it a Lingerie Bag.  We don’t always listen to him.

I love these denim pieces.  I’ve been repurposing old jeans with blown out backsides or otherwise just too ratty to keep.  I’ve got some great jean fronts saved up to make a couple more aprons on a cold winter day.

Miscellaneous Sewing Stuff

This will be a running post with some miscellaneous projects.

7/2017 – Cross body bag with front pocket for small items, like a phone, pens, notepad, etc.  This one is custom made to the size of whatever tablet you want to put into it.  Mine is for my Asus Transformer with keyboard.  I adapted the Crazy Little Projects Laptop bag.

8/2017 – Silly little sewing project – pumpkin-style pincushion using instructions from CraftyGeminiCreates.  My flat-head quilting pins needed a home and it used up some fabric scraps.

Quilted Patchwork Totes

My newest obsession, the quilted patchwork tote.

My first charm pack tote was kind of a fluke. I like to buy decent-sized fabric remnants at thrift stores, and I found one particularly generous pack of several remnants that when I got it home and unfolded, discovered was actually one large remnant with a stack of pink and purple poorly cut squares. Someone was going to make a little girl’s quilt and stopped after rough-cutting charms. New challenge — make something out of these otherwise useless squares.

My first project was based on a YouTube video tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  The tote is lined and I added a CamSnap at the center top after these pics were taken.

My second tote was based on Charm Pack Tote Bag Tutorial-Sewn Up from Sewn Up.  This bag was not quilted, but is traditionally lined, so I went ahead and quilted the front, back and bottom panels separately and then sewed them together as I added the inset ruffle.  This one was my new favorite.

While I was creating the mauve tote, I knew I wanted to make a denim patchwork tote. This bag is based on Sewn Up’s Charm Pack Tote Bag with Pocket (I didn’t add the pocket), and I used the Classic Bow Tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens to make the perfect decorative bow.  Again, I quilted my bag, but because the accent ribbon and bow are sewn on after the bag is assembled, I was able to quilt the bag in one large piece.

I’ll definitely be making more of these totes, experimenting with sizes and shapes of the charms.

Update:  Gorgeous greens with diamond quilting.

Update:  Thanks Teresa Mairal, TeresaDownUnder, at Sewn Up Patterns for the nice note back!

Update 8/13:  Here’s a project that was meant to be something else, but I completely screwed it up, so it became this instead.

Don’t Iron Plastic, Kids

How to Clean a Hopeless Iron.

20170630_193930Seems like an obvious statement, I know.  “Don’t iron stuff that will melt.”

But stuff happens sometimes.

So this happened tonight.  My iron tipped for a second at the most, as I was pressing a strap.  Unfortunately, it rested right smack on a thin plastic bag that melted instantaneously.  The plastic fused to the sole plate and was so thin and smooth it was NOT coming off.  I tried ironing waxed paper.  I tried gently scraping, I tried freezing and gently scraping, I tried Magic Erasers, and I tried dryer sheets by themselves.  Nothing budged this stuff.  It was one with the iron.

So here’s the trick – it’s a combo trick.

Waxed paper
Clean dryer sheets

Turn your iron on the hottest setting.  Put some table salt on a sheet of waxed paper, and on a surface that you won’t damage with a hot iron, iron the salt on the waxed paper.  The salt will cling to the iron, the iron will smoke.  Immediately iron a couple of clean dryer sheets.  You’ll see the melted stuff come off on the dryer sheets.  Repeat until clean.