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31  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Woven Block Baby Girl Quilt on: March 22, 2013 09:33:04 AM
Beautiful colors! So pretty!
32  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / silk and polyester on a mostly cotton quilt? (updated w/ pics!) on: February 19, 2013 06:25:19 PM
---UPDATED---

I finished sewing the quilt top!!!! Behold!!!



I actually love how the silk turned out! I like that little shine it adds. It was a pain to work with though... I ended up backing all the silk pieces with an extra triangle of cotton for stability (and sanity). Maybe I should have done the same with the polyester... too late now, CAUSE I'M NOT TURNING BACK!!

But now I understand why most quilters stick to 100% cotton. I used to think it was just a pretentious hobbyist sort of thing... but no. Out of all the fibers in this mess of a first quilt (top), the cotton was the kindest to me. Two of the poly blends were okay, but most of them were finicky, and one of them will never relinquish its wrinkles, even though I steam-ironed it! (Though I guess that's why I decided it deserved to be a blanket rather than clothing...)

So now my plan is to quilt "in the ditch" by machine. I think it's small enough and thin enough for that. Though I really have no idea. And binding? I'll figure it out.

But first I must acquire more ivory thread. Quilts use SO MUCH thread.


---OLD POST---

I'm a long time sew-er, first time quilter. I'm making a quilt out of scrap fabric and a few old clothes (something that will hopefully look similar to this-- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohsohappytogether/7441739272/, but probably smaller.)

Most of the stuff I'm planning to use is cotton/poly blend. A few are 100% cotton. The problem is, there are two colors that I REALLY want to have in there, and one is 100% polyester and the other is 100% silk. It's all machine washable, so I'm not worried about that. And they both have a matte finish. But they have a different thickness, drape, and feel than the other fabrics, so I'm worried it might look silly. But I CAN'T sacrifice my beautiful color scheme!

It's just a "scrap quilt" so it doesn't have to be heirloom quality, right? And I'm probably going to love it no matter what, right?

Has anyone ever mixed fibers like that before? Any regrets? Should I just go for it?
33  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Re: New Years Peplums on: January 08, 2013 06:51:26 AM
I would find every excuse to wear that sequin one! So stylish and fun!
34  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 79 ENTRIES / Re: Crock Pot Mosaic on: October 15, 2012 06:45:52 AM
This is charming! It reminds me of my old neighborhood, where this guy makes mosaics on lamp posts and planters. People give him their broken glass and ceramic, and he turns it into art around the neighborhood. If you're ever in nyc, go to the East Village and check out some of these beautiful mosaics.
35  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: thrifted leather jacket to hobo bag! on: October 07, 2012 11:20:16 AM
I sewed it on a regular machine with heavy duty thread. I used a regular needle for this one, but I recommend a needle specifically made for leather because the stitching looks nicer and it's healthier for your sewing machine.

The way a regular needle works on fabric is it pushes fibers aside to pull the thread into the weave, and then the weave holds the thread in place. Leather isn't made up of fibers, it's all one mass, so the needle needs extra pressure to bore through and make a hole in the leather. Needles made for leather have a little blade at the tip, which cuts a tiny slit in the leather so that the needle doesn't have to bore through. It makes the stitches look more even and nice too.

Whatever needle you're using, remember to use a longer stitch length. When you sew on fabric, you can take out stitches if you make a mistake and the weave smoothes out over the "holes," right? But with leather, once the needle goes through, that hole is permanent. Now, if your stitches are close together, the seam is going to be weak because as soon as you have something heavy in your bag, that seam is going to rip from hole to hole like toilet paper. If the holes are farther apart, the seam is stronger.

If you want to try making one, but you don't want to buy a leather needle, just make your design so that it doesn't have any top-stitching (so all of the seams would be right sides together and hidden inside). Top stitching looks awful if you don't have a leather needle and heavy duty thread. Also, if you're using a regular needle, don't try to go through too many layers at once (you'll break the needle, or worse, your machine). On this bag, I hand sewed the part where the strap connects to the bag because there were so many layers of leather, lining, interfacing, and zipper, I wouldn't have been able to do it on the machine.

Another tip: Iron your seams! It looks so much more professional. Of course, this applies to all sewing! Just be careful with your iron settings so you don't damage the finish on the leather. Test on scraps first, and maybe iron through a cotton cloth to be safe.
36  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Wool blanket as batting? on: September 12, 2012 03:29:38 PM
Have you considered just buying a duvet cover and putting the wool blanket inside of that?

This got me thinking! I don't want to buy a duvet cover, but maybe I could turn the comforter into a kind of duvet cover. That would make washing so much easier! Cause I could unbutton it, take out the wool interior, and just machine wash and dry the poly/cotton cover without having to worry about shrinking or hang-drying. Haha, though turning the comforter into a duvet cover would actually be more work... still, it's a pretty comforter and I like repurposing and extending the life of things, so it would be worth it to me.

Does anyone have advice on making duvet covers? Haha.
37  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Wool blanket as batting? on: September 12, 2012 05:08:58 AM
This is not exactly about quilting, but I was wondering if it would be a good idea to open up an old comforter and stick an old wool blanket inside. Then sew it back up and get cozy. Does this sound feasible for a novice?

It was unseasonably cold last night and my landlord hasn't turned on the heat yet, so I found myself freezing even under two (polyfill) comforters. I tossed and turned for hours, trying to warm up and fall asleep, until I had the brilliant idea to throw my vintage 100% wool coat over the comforters and curl up under it. Bam! Instantly warm and cozy! I fell asleep within minutes.

Then this morning I looked online for a wool blanket, but they're expensive! There are some cheaper blends, but 100% wool did the trick, so 100% wool is what I want. I found some on ebay for quite cheap, but I feel weird using someone else's old blanket on my bed. Blankets can be kind of personal, and wool absorbs stuff in a way I don't want to think about when I'm trying to sleep...

SO, my plan is to buy a cheap ugly warm cozy 100% wool blanket, open up the elder of my two comforters, and sew it in (along with the polyester batting) The only "quilting" on the comforter is 7 or eight vertical lines of machine stitching, which would probably be easy to take out to get the blanket in, and then redo to keep it in place, right? I've never made a quilt or blanket before, and I don't have much experience working with wool, but I'm good at sewing. Does this sound do-able? Are there any giant flaws in my brilliant plan? I would really appreciate some input from experienced quilters and blanket-makers! Thanks!
38  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Discussion and Questions / Re: Boucharouette Pattern/Tutorial/Instructions (Moroccan Rag Rug) on: September 08, 2012 07:36:40 PM
Thanks for sharing! I've been curious about these beautiful rugs too. I love the mix of textiles and colors, and they're quite trendy. I thought I'd try imitating it with a latch-hook method, but rug canvas is so rigid, I don't think it would have that lovely softness and drape. Is there a mesh material that's softer, but still durable?
39  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / thrifted leather jacket to hobo bag! on: July 18, 2012 02:22:54 PM


I made this bag out of a thrifted leather jacket 2 years ago (and didn't think to post it till now!) I won't show you the lining because after two years of carrying it every day, it has taken quite a beating... Seriously, every day. It fits my laptop so I used it as a bookbag in grad school.

I didn't get a great picture of the strap, but it's braided and very cute. The pockets are from the original jacket, and they're quite useful for holding all the doodads I carry around. The leather is so buttery soft and rich. All for under $10! Yay for up-cycling!







Thanks for looking!

------------------------------TIPS------------------------------
So a lot of people were asking for tips to make their own, so I thought I'd add them here. Also, I've replaced the lining since I posted this, so basically I'll be using this bag forever...

I sewed it on a regular machine with heavy duty thread. I used a regular needle for this one, but I recommend a needle specifically made for leather because the stitching looks nicer and it's healthier for your sewing machine.

The way a regular needle works on fabric is it pushes fibers aside to pull the thread into the weave, and then the weave holds the thread in place. Leather isn't made up of fibers, it's all one mass, so the needle needs extra pressure to bore through and make a hole in the leather. Needles made for leather have a little blade at the tip, which cuts a tiny slit in the leather so that the needle doesn't have to bore through. It makes the stitches look more even and nice too.

Whatever needle you're using, remember to use a longer stitch length. When you sew on fabric, you can take out stitches if you make a mistake and the weave smoothes out over the "holes," right? But with leather, once the needle goes through, that hole is permanent. Now, if your stitches are close together, the seam is going to be weak because as soon as you have something heavy in your bag, that seam is going to rip from hole to hole like toilet paper. If the holes are farther apart, the seam is stronger.

If you want to try making one, but you don't want to buy a leather needle, just make your design so that it doesn't have any top-stitching (so all of the seams would be right sides together and hidden inside). Top stitching looks awful if you don't have a leather needle and heavy duty thread. Also, if you're using a regular needle, don't try to go through too many layers at once (you'll break the needle, or worse, your machine). On this bag, I hand sewed the part where the strap connects to the bag because there were so many layers of leather, lining, interfacing, and zipper, I wouldn't have been able to do it on the machine.

Another tip: Iron your seams! It looks so much more professional. Of course, this applies to all sewing! Just be careful with your iron settings so you don't damage the finish on the leather. Test on scraps first, and maybe iron through a cotton cloth to be safe.
40  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Ol' 90's Jumper ---> Fringe Vest on: July 18, 2012 01:32:37 PM
That looks really cool!
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