Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday at the Table

Grandgirl was over the other day, and after a while she asked what we were having for dinner. I told her, and her quick reply was, "I don't like that idea." (She's very nearly 4.) She went straight to the fridge, yanked open the door, while retorting, "Let's see what's in here." Having no inkling she'd find much interesting in our refrigerator's post-vacation emptiness, she soon announced, "Hmm. Let's have eggs and toast." Why not? So we got to work.

I was a tad surprised when grandgirl announced she'd crack the eggs, but always one to encourage kids in the kitchen, I got her stool so she wash her hands and then work at the counter. Just 1 little reminder about where to place her thumbs after cracking the first egg was all it took, and I tell you, in no time we were ready to scramble.

All that to say, when I needed some random sewing the next night and came across a plain pre-made apron in my stash, I knew it was time. I'd purchased the kid-sized apron last year when I made my own Polka-Dot-Cafe-Apron during the Zakka 2.0 :: Patchwork, Please sew along, intending to downsize the Zakka design for grandgirl, but I never did. Debating on blocks for the pockets, I finally decided to keep it simple and went with an old favorite, the Polaroid block from CapitolaQuilter. The bright pink of the apron made me immediately think of Cotton+Steel tiger stripes along with a couple of other C+S coordinates. Fussy cutting definitely seemed the way to go.
Working from a fuzzy memory, I framed the Polaroids in white and sewed them into a row. Backed with a layer of batt, I matchstick quilted around the blocks with some straightish lines using Aurifil 12wt #4660 (Pink Taffy). Then I added the lining using a technique that left a tall enough flange to show off those sweet daisies. Easy peasy and just the amusement I needed. Stitch the rectangle onto the apron, dividing into 3 child-sized pockets, and it was done.
When I showed the apron to grandgirl over the weekend, she did admit the "kitties" were really cute, and pink was her favorite color, but she refused to try it on. So time will tell if it gets any use, but it was a fun diversion at any rate, and apron or no, I'm curious what she'll have us cook up next.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Selfish Sewing :: Guilty

So have you been participating in Selfish Sewing Week? When Rachael/imagine gnats asked me to be one of the featured stitchers, I knew right off what I wanted to make - the Brookfield Bag! The pattern, by prolific bag designer Sara/Sew Sweetness, was offered free on Sew Mama Sew a while back, and I was smitten at first sight.
Now in general, I'm not known as a bag-maker, though I did once survive making a Weekender, and count that as one of my major sewing accomplishments. But anyway, the Brookfield Bag looked doable to a quilter like me, and I began gathering supplies.

I'll tell you right off, the prep was half the work. You know, cutting all the fabrics, fusing them with interfacing, etc. etc. And of course it took me a while to even decide on my fabrics. In the end, I selected 2 Indelible prints by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics (Doiland Gloss Plum for the exterior and Threaded Shreds Dim for the interior), accented with Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black. And I can't say I regret those choices one bit!
Purse hardware isn't my forte, but I was thrilled with what I found at Emmaline and for the Soft and Stable I went straight to byAnnie. I was stocked up on Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex and the other bits I needed, so that part was easy.

The pattern itself was clear as day, and I just followed it step by step with no problem. Sara gives plenty of "Helpful Hints" along the way (marked in red even!), so I found it all quite straightforward. Two "ah-ha" moments were:
  1. The Soft and Stable - wow. I had never used this product before but I'm a believer. It sews like a dream, and gives just the right sturdiness to the bag. 
  2. The metal twist lock was my one piece of frustration. (As I said on Instagram, "That hardware took 30 minutes, 4 hands, several random notions & tools, but thankfully only 1 episode on hands & knees looking for a teensy little screw.") The trouble was getting that tiny screw on the back-plate secured in the right place, and I'm thinking next time I need to hunt down my grommet tool and use the small punch to make a clean hole. So I'll be researching that further, so there's less frustration next time, but the result of said frustration is one I'm pretty pleased with.
Another detail I'm quite proud of is the piping. Following Sara's instructions, it came out as neat as can be.
I made a couple of little tweaks to my bag, just due to personal preference. One was sewing in 1 pair of pockets, where the pattern calls for 2. 
The other is that rather than a shoulder bag, I usually prefer a cross-body bag. To give me the flexibility for both, I just made an extension piece about 8" long finished, using the same directions and hardware as the main strap. Perfect.
Essentially, making the Brookfield Bag was a delight and I'm more than pleased with it and have already put it into daily use. Quite the successful selfish sewing interlude, for sure.

Stop by imagine gnats for the complete lists of featured stitchers and indie pattern designers, and you can see all the linked up projects over at co-sponsor Kollabora!