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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Boxers for my SO! on: November 01, 2011 05:33:39 PM
This is the first piece of clothing I've ever finished! I taught myself to sew this summer and have mostly been working on quilts and simple bags. (I tried clothing in the beginning with but, umm, it was not good, so I decided to stay away from making clothes until I was more comfortable with sewing.) I know it's not much compared to everything people make on this forum but I'm still very happy that this wasn't a complete disaster. Especially since I almost scrapped this project. See, I had cut out the beige print from a pattern that assumed my SO had a 35" waist (because that's what he told me...). When he got home, I pinned and fitted the pieces and realized that he was 38". (He was NOT pleased to hear that.) Because I loved the beige print and didn't want it to go to waste, I improvised and added the orange side-panels. Smiley

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2  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Anyone else have serious crafting ADHD? (Pics of maiden attempts at quilts...) on: August 26, 2011 07:21:02 PM
It's my first post with pics on Craftster! I've been teaching myself how to sew and to make quilts and, as is typical for me, I have the attention span of a six year old boy. So somehow, I now have three yet-to-be-quilted quilts in various stages of development.

This first one is the one that's under major time-crunch. My SO's advisor just had a baby and I wanted to do something for her. I enlisted the help of my SO and I think that might have been a mistake on my part... whenever we go to fabric stores now, he paws at fabrics and asks if we could have any use for "the cutest turtle print ever", etc. (Unfortunately, he's got an irrational fear of pressing because, as a child, his mother told him he couldn't iron his own clothes because he'd surely burn the house down. But he's willing to rip seams and cut fabric, so I can't complain too much.) I REALLY should've insisted that we do a simple nine-patch quilt but he didn't like the ways those looked (sigh) so we ended up copying an appliqued elephant design from... a book whose title I cannot currently recall. We were in our local fabric store for two hours because we couldn't come to an agreement on fabrics! (Would've been easier if I hadn't been dead-set against anything too girly. He kept on going to the pinks, I kept on shooting his choices down...) This is where we're at at the moment:



(Really, I'm capable of better photos than this but I took these quickly to show to some of my friends, who are all highly amused that I would do something as domestic as sewing. I'll have better photos when they're done!)

I think the backing is a little on the fug side but the animal print was what we agreed on (this took another hour at another store)... and then I got home and realized that I hadn't gotten enough of it. So there was some very haphazard improvisation involved.




This second quilt... is really the first quilt. After my SO picked out the elephant design, I decided it would be a good idea to do a dry run on a quilt we would keep, made out of fabric I already had on hand... although it took us at least three hours to agree on this design too. I think the pig is so much cuter than the elephant and I'm sort of upset that I hadn't yet discovered fusible interfacing at this point! Actually, doing this lil piggy taught me why people use interfacing... I'm all about the trial and error. A lot of trials, a lot of errors.

A pic of the pig part of the quilt... it takes up about the same proportion of space as the elephant in the other quilt:




Finally, I decided to do something a little more straightforward: a quilt for Quilts for Kids. I had been wanting to do some sort of non-fundraising volunteer work in the last few years but I rarely have the time or energy to do anything but stumble home at the end of the day. I was thrilled to read about Quilts for Kids! An opportunity to be craftsy AND help others? It's two birds with one stone! I had been doing other patchwork items for the past two months so I figured I could at least piece together a straightforward nine-patch. The nine-patch part was 94% fine. There's a bit of wonkiness here and there but generally, it looks good. Learning how to quilt in a small, un-airconditioned apartment on the other hand... that's been tougher going.



(...I don't think I'll be using Craftster photo hosting from now on. It really compressed the heck out of my already-not-fab photos.)

I've been holding off from even planning another nine-patch that I want to send in along with the above quilt... that'll be my reward for finishing these quilts. Once I finish these three, I get to start another quilt. Maybe even two... 
3  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Washing charm squares on: August 08, 2011 10:28:29 AM
I recently bought a mixed lot of fabric from eBay and it included a bunch of squares that were cut by the owner. Regardless of whether they are washed or not, I really want to wash them again: they're kind of musty and dusty and my throat was getting scratchy just going through the pile. But I'm afraid they'll fray. Also, there's not enough of them to make a whole quilt so they'll have to be mixed in with my (prewashed) squares... and I don't like the idea of the possibility that they'll shrink! So my question is: is there any way I can wash them that will do the least about of fray and damage? Otherwise, maybe I should just make whole blocks out of them, wash the blocks and then combine them with blocks that were made of squares that were prewashed by me? (Obviously, I'll be waiting to see what size they come out before putting together the prewashed blocks...)
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Baby items with jersey knit fabric on: July 28, 2011 05:04:17 PM
I'm a beginner sewer and without thinking enough about it, I bought two 2-yard pieces of a jersey knit fabric. I had intended it to make baby items (like blankies or something, rather than clothes), only to realize that 1. jersey isn't particularly known for being easy to sew and 2. no one seems to like to recommend making non-clothing items out of jersey. As long as I shrink the heck out of all the fabric, would it be disastrous to make a blanket? Should it be entirely jersey or can I combine it with some other type of fabric (like flannel)? What other baby items could I make that would be relatively easy for a beginner with all this fabric? (I focus on stuff for babies because the colors I bought were bought with the mother-to-be's color palette for the nursery in mind.)
5  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / Where To Find Things To Recycle / Freecycle is incredible. on: June 05, 2011 04:32:27 PM
I just picked up four paper grocery bags FULL of very decently sized fabric remnants, old clothes, some dress patterns, a couple of zippers, a bunch of buttons and pins, extra sewing machine needles and about two dozen (mostly unused) spools of yarn (including wooden ones from a company that hasn't existed since the 1950s).

I recently bought my first sewing machine so I wanted some scraps to practice on. I figured people would give me an old stained table cloth or two -- which was fine by me -- so I was SHOCKED that I came away with far more fabric and materials than I made room for in my office/closet/craft room/general playpen. People are so nice! One woman was especially generous: she's a seamstress so she she had a lot of extra fabric (like, yards of fabric, not just scraps) lying around. Because she knew I was a total beginner, she also threw in a paper tape measure and a pin cushion and warned me that stretchy fabrics needed to be sewn with a zigzag stitch. Smiley

Man, I'm so glad I made a strict rule for myself that I wouldn't buy new fabric unless I had a project that absolutely needed it! 

A lot of stuff I would have never gotten for myself but I think of it as a crafting challenge: I have this fabric, now I have to make something out of it. If nothing else, I'll end up with a lot of small polyester drawstring bags in many colors... all the better to store buttons and other sewing related things. Smiley

I will be sure to be listing a lot of the stuff I don't have use for on Freecycle this summer. One needs to pass on the generosity, no? (Also, I need to make room for all this fabric.)

 
6  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Disney VHS clamshell cases on: May 28, 2011 04:55:02 PM
There are a ton of old Disney VHS tapes a local thrift shop (where there's a "50% off sale today only!!" every day). I was thinking... some sort of keepsake box? But they're sort of hard to open -- as in, I wouldn't really want to keep keepsakes in there -- and they are made of surprisingly flimsy plastic. Any ideas?
7  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Discussion and Questions / Two questions: the shelf life of Sculpey and the gin transfer method on: May 27, 2011 09:29:52 PM
I treat enthusiastic de-clutterers with suspicion when they say, "If you haven't used something in two years, you probably will never use that thing again." Harumph, say I. How do they know?

See... I have a bag of Sculpey that I never got around to throwing out... and I hadn't seen that bag of Sculpey since 1992 (give or take a year). When I was visiting my mother earlier this year, I found it in a shoebox at the back of some cabinet (along with some old toys and a notebook that I used to practice cursive) and decided to bring it home with me. It is a little hardened but almost all of it is still malleable to some extent. So my question is: does 20 year old polymer clay act differently than younger, more spritely clay? Are there any concerns I should be aware of? Should I expect anything I make with it to fall apart at its aching, arthritic joints, or something?

And my second question: I gather from a bit of searching that rubbing alcohol should work for transferring images to polymer clay. But more people seem to call for the use of gin. Is there something special about gin? And can I use vodka instead? (The only gin I have lying around the house is the more expensive stuff that my SO likes. I don't think he'd appreciate it if I poured it on paper and clay. However, we do have cheap vodka on hand...)

Thanks! Smiley

 
8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Sewing rosettes on a nylon jersey spandex skirt (total n00b here... uh, hi!) on: May 24, 2011 08:53:27 PM
I'm maid of honor in my best friend's wedding and she has recently fallen in love with Two Birds bridesmaids gowns, specifically, the rosette-trimmed tea-length dress (http://www.twobirdsbridesmaid.com/dress/rosette). I love it but it's $370! So I'm trying to convince her that she CAN trust some good etsy-based seamstress to make a bunch of similar dresses but I'm afraid she's going to fret about the quality of buying from someone who has never been featured in a wedding magazine (and end up having her bridesmaids shell out $370 per dress out of anxiety).

Here's my idea (and it's a bit harebrained): if I can prove to her that even I could make a passable copy of the Two Birds dress using similar fabric (and let's keep in mind that I've never sewed a single piece of clothing in my life), then maybe she would feel better about an etsy seller who has FAR more experience.

(this may also be my excuse to make an infinity dress for myself)

So my question is this: I think I can figure out how to make the dress and rosettes by myself just by reading tutorials on them (and, uh, on how to use a sewing machine). But what SHOULD I know about sewing a chiffon rosette trim onto a nylon jersey spandex skirt? Part of why the Two Birds dress is so pretty (imo) is because of the way the rosettes seem to influence the way the skirt falls. Do I have to worry about how heavy the rosettes are? Is there a special way of stitching them onto the fabric so that it doesn't pull at it in weird way? Should I sew the rosettes together first and then sew the whole bunch to the dress or is it preferable to just sew them on one by one? What dumb newbie mistake could I make that could ruin the dress?

Basically, is the process just "make a rosette, sew it on, relax, you're waaaay overthinking this, kid"?

Again, it just needs to be a half-decent copy of the dress so that she could relax in knowing that someone with skill would make one infinitely (haha) better!

Thanks in advance! (And I really tried to stay away from Craftster because OMG, so dangerous for a person who 1. likes pretty things and 2. is convinced that if she only set her mind to it, she can learn how to make anything.)
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