Funny, I always have the feeling that I could be doing more sewing, or some other creative pursuit, but because I write blog posts on a month-in-review basis, the process gets me to realize that I’ve done a lot more than I thought when I look back over the past 30 days.
This month was my company’s annual gala and, of course, one wants to look nice for it. I rarely have the need to wear a suit, so I only have the one. But I find an easy way to make it different, and to inject some creativity into the outfit, is sew-up a new bow tie.
I found this zingy black and white cotton fabric in my stash and had just enough for the tie. I reinforced the fabric with SF101 stabilizer and cut out the hourglass shapes. While constructing the tie, I sew the front into one long piece and leave the back as two pieces. I sew the front and back together, right sides together, and use the opening in the back to turn it right sides out. This is the most difficult part as I’m squeezing all the fabric out through the narrow opening on the back. After that’s done, and the tie is pressed, I top stitch the opening on the back closed. Now I just have to give myself enough time to tie the bow tie on!
I finally got to do something this month that’s been on my list for a while. I took a mini-class in loom weaving!
The Chicago Weaving School has a great two-hour weaving class in which you select a loom that has been pre-warped so you can jump right in with the weaving. They have about 10 looms ready to go, warped with different threads. The one I chose had an oatmeal colored wool with random gaps in the warp.
After I selected a few colors of weft threads, I was on my way.
The loom was freestanding and the heddles were operated with foot pedals. Things got a little wavy with the yellow thread, but when all was said and done, I had a nice sized piece of cloth. And now I’m hooked! There will probably be a loom in my workroom by the end of this year.
I got an interesting call this month. A friend of a friend commissioned me to sew a drawstring bag to hold a jewelry box as a baptism present. What I didn’t realize until after I agreed to do it is that she wanted it sewn out of her wedding dress! Eeek…you want me to cut up your wedding dress?
After she assured me for the 20th time that yes, I was to cut up her dress, I went ahead with the plans.
While sewing a drawstring bag out of quilting cotton is a breeze, sewing one from lace is a bit trickier. It took me a while to figure out how to hide the seems, when the lace is so open and can reveal all.
I was talking about the dilemma with my husband, who does not sew, and together we came up with the solution. Quite simple, in fact. I sewed the lace and lining together to make the exterior “fabric” and used an additional layer of lining for the actual bag lining. Doubling up the lace and lining essentially made the lace solid. I used satin spaghetti strap for the drawstring as that was the best match both in texture and color. The bag was a success and the customer was thrilled with the result.
In the midst of all this project sewing, I found some time to just sew for fun.
I saw a short documentary about Anni Albers and was inspired to make this quilted pillow. Now, I’m not saying it looks like Alber’s work, but just the application of color and form in her pieces inspired me to approach this pillow in this way.
While most projects start out with a set plan, for this pillow I decided to just cut squares. And then just piece them together. And just pull colors in whatever order felt right. And then stop when the strips were long enough.
And while I knew the size of the pillow it needed to cover, I didn’t want to put to much planning into it. It took days, sometimes only working on it for 15 minutes at a time. But I find that it’s nice to have a project waiting for me in the workroom. Helps draw me back in and gives me something to look forward to.
And then to flip-side of spontaneous sewing, I formalized the process of sewing a pillow for the purposes of the Introduction to Sewing class that I’ll be teaching in October.
While this is a smaller version of the pillow we’ll be working on in class, I wanted to get the steps down so I’d have an outline to work from while teaching.
Even simple projects like this are so satisfying to work on and complete. If you, or someone you know, is in the Evanston, Illinois area and are interested in taking a sewing class, please join me! You can learn more and register here. Thanks, and see you next time!