Monday, August 25, 2008

Brother, I Heart You!

Since I was in my teenage years, I have been fascinated with all the "old Victorian arts". Probably earlier than that, truth be told. I painted a lot when I was in middle school. Learned an instrument in high school (guitar though). I learned to knit from my mom, taught myself to cross stitch. In my mid twenties, I started needlepoint and embroidery. Last year I finally got the hang of crocheting. All of these craft skills are and were satisfying, in their own way, but I dreamed of the day I would be skilled enough to make sewn clothes and quilts. You see, as someone who struggles to sew on buttons and hem pants (thanks mom!), sewing always seemed like the ultimate in self-sufficiency. Need a pair of pants that actually fits, make it yourself. Need a 40s era skirt? Sew it yourself. Cold in the winter but don't like the quilts available? Make your own! Well, this weekend, I took a giant step towards this elusive skill of sewing.

First the clothes...
I love the 40s and early 50s. The style back then really suits my sensibility, and I lament the fact that I can't afford or fit into vintage pieces. Butterick had a sale a while back and I snagged two reprinted vintage patterns with modern sizing. I fell in love with these two patterns because I think they are classic and actually flatter my body shape.

Saturday I bought this wonderful soft textured homespun cotton for the first pattern. Yes, it's in black. Don't you know me at all? I plan to iron and cut out the fabric this week! It will be a challenge, because I will have to alter the lower part to fit my...ahem...assets, but I need to at least give it a shot before I run for help. The fabric was super cheap too. Only $2/yd, so if I totally botch it, I'll live.

Now the quilting...
I am making my first bed-sized quilt for myself. It will replace the handmade quilt my mom bought for me when I was a mite. I love my old quilt, but it needs some serious repair. Repair I was incapable of doing myself until very recently. So I am putting it away until I can finish fixing it. I can't freeze to death this winter, so I am making myself a queen-sized Bento Box quilt. Triangles and I have some things to work out before I can make my red hourglass quilt. This is the solution. Squares and rectangles. No muss, no fuss. That's not to say that I don't have a little puckering here and there and a few seam allowances that have gone awry, but all in all, I am loving the way this quilt is coming together.

I am working it in three main colors: green, blue, and purple. I thought it would be soothing to use all cool colors for this one. Each color has a light and a dark solid along with a coordinating print.

Since I purchased fabric with a vague idea of the quilt I planned to make, I didn't buy enough. Saturday I spent the whole day (minus three hours) going to Wal-Mart on the bus:( I will never do that again. I was able to find all the same fabrics except for the purple, so I will need to fix that soon. When I got home, I cut out all the green fabric I had already washed and ironed. It was so easy! Yesterday, I sewed together all my green strips (a total of 8 dark green small squares and 8 light green small squares), and cut out some purple strips from the stash my friend Sarah gave me. I also washed all my newly purchased fabric so I can start ironing and cutting them today. Sarah is also making one of these, and is thinking about mixing the large squares so the blocks are more varied and the fabrics blend together more. I was thinking of having single-color blocks, but now I am not so sure. I'm going to make all the small squares and then re-evaluate.
I also read up on machine quilting with my cheapo machine, and the info I found said that it was possible as long as I covered my feed dogs. Hmm...I'd need to find one of these covers. Have you ever googled feed dogs? Some pretty weird stuff comes up. Realizing I would have to make something to work with my machine, I decided to deal with that down the road. But get this... while I was looking for a little brush to clean my sewing machine of lint and what have you, and I found this weird looking little plastic was a feed dog cover!!! It came with my machine! I love my machine. I almost kissed it when I found that, but I didn't, cuz that would be weird. Now I too can quilt my sandwiches. I just need to buy a quater-inch foot, remove the stack of moleskin I've been using as a guide, and viola! I think I will try it out on a swatch I've been working on for 3 years:) Hurray!

Until next time...


Jennifer said...

I love the new crafting adventures!

~Knitting Up A Storm~ said...

I haven't really blogged much this whole summer, so I was hoping I didn't loose everyone!

Thanks for the tip-there is a big break between now and when all the new series starts again. I just can't believe I watched all of Buffy in 3 months. GAH-LEE.

It looks like you've been doing the ravelymics. Sweet. I was going to, but I had a lot of things come up. Everyone knows that I wouldn't have finished the shawl anyways though. I'm such a slow knitter. hee hee.