Tuesday, September 28, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 8 - Getting organized with Annie Smith

Author, teacher, podcaster and lecturer Annie Smith shared some wonderful thoughts on organizing our stashes in this episode. The advice fits whether we're stashing quilting fabric or clothes and linens for refashioning. Annie's bottom line is this -- if you can't find your materials and supplies, you'll spend more time hunting and being frustrated than you will sewing!uilt

Here are a few links to go along with Annie's interview.

Annie's Web site (where you'll also find her great podcast, Quilting Stash)

In other news ...here's the Green Halloween site.

And now, two giveaways!
Leave a comment and let me know if you'd like my copy of this terrific, idea-packed organization book by Lois Hallock....

OR, if you'd like Annie's generously donated "Exploring Fabric Choices" pattern to help you make confident decisions as you shop your stash for your next project.

Just leave a comment and add whether you'd like the organization book, the fabric pattern, or either one. I'll take entries through Oct. 15.

As always, thanks for listening - and be sure and tune in next time when my sister Karen will join me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 7 - Pets, Polos, Presents, and Patchwork

It was quite the mish-mash of topics for this episode! Here are a few more illustrations and measurements in case you're interested in making any of these projects for yourself.

Above is little Betty's new cat bed. It will be much cuter with Betty curled up in it! Here are the measurements I used - Betty is on the small side (although the vet says she's three or four years old) so you may want to make yours a little bigger. Leo napped in this one tonight and he could barely squeeze into it -- didn't stop him, though.

For the cushioned tube, I cut a strip of fleece 11 inches by 40 inches and stitched the two long ends together to form a tube. I stuffed it (but didn't jam-pack it) with fiberfill I had on hand. Shredded batting, old pantyhose, or even worn-out socks would do the trick as well. I hand-stitched the ends together to form a circle (OK, not exactly a circle, but a circle-like product). I then serged several other squares of fleece together to form a cushy base (these ended up around 15 inches square) and hand-stitched the tube onto the base. Easy as can be.

It may be a little more fiddly if you use an old fleece jacket or sweatshirt, but I think it'd be a great way to use one - if the garment is stained, I'd just turn it inside out!

Here's the refashioned polo shirt. It's still, well, a polo shirt -- with all the unflattering fit issues that go along with that -- but I was much more comfortable wearing it with a softer look. I just changed out the buttons, then removed the collar with my seam ripper. I cut the collar into strips that I used for the ruffles, leaving the edges raw.

And here's a look at my first attempt at sewing paper gift bags. I used the Martha Stewart lunchbag pattern as the basis for the bag.

To make your own, first determine the dimensions you want for your finished bag. Let's use some algebra:

  • Height of bag = H
  • Width of bag = W
  • Depth of bag (sides) = D

It's up to you how many thicknesses you want to make your bag. My ad circulars were fairly thin, so I used three thicknesses for the long strip (front, back, and bottom of bag) and two thicknesses for the side panels. Regardless, use these dimensions for your components:

  • Front/back/bottom piece: 2(H) + D by W
  • Side panels (cut two): D by H

Follow the assembly process on the Martha Stewart tutorial. Just zig-zag your seams and leave them exposed, rather than doing traditional inside-out seaming.

Tuck raw ends of some sort of handle material (cording, yarn, pieces of an old shoelace, etc.) between the thicknesses of the top edge, and stitch in place.

I'm definitely going to hunt around for an outdated roadmap to make some more.

For the little gift card wallet (I know they tend to come with their own paper folders, but this kind is more fun) I cut a 4 1/4-inch-wide strip of advertising circular, then trimmed that strip to be 5 3/4 inches long. I pulled a scrap of fabric out of my wastebasket and cut some one-inch strips out of it, then pressed them in half (the long way) so I had half-inch-wide strips. I encased each 4 1/4-inch-wide end of the paper with the fabric strip and stitched it into place (just leave the edges raw,) I folded one end up to make the pocket as deep as I wanted it to accommodate the card, then zig-zagged the sides shut. Another fold for the top flap, a tiny bit of stick-on Velcro, and the wallet was done!

Finally, here are a few links that might help you locate some fellow sewing enthusiasts. If your area's not included here, just ask some experts at a local fabric or hobby shop.

As always, thank you so much for listening!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

GreenStitch Episode 6 - Green up your lunch

Just a few simple sewing projects can make a huge difference in cutting down on the amount of trash we generate -- as I realized with a jolt earlier this summer. Below is my handy-dandy new sandwich wrap in action. Couldn't be simpler: Just a cereal bag liner, serged to a piece of lightweight cotton cut from an old shirt.

The Betz White sandwich wrap also gets a lot of attention online. Here's the link.

This Martha Stewart lunch bag has a great tutorial. I just added a lining, a button and loop (I use wrapped elastic ponytail holders for button loops) and a handle. Of course, I can never resist adding a cloth napkin. Sergers are great for these.

Here's my little roll-up quilted placemat, with pocket for napkin and cutlery. It's in and out of my desk drawer at least once a day. So handy! No plastic spoons or paper napkins to throw away!

Here's a glimpse at what these projects helped to eliminate. This shows my office trashcan a couple of months ago after just two days' worth of routine trash -- disgusting!!!
Oh, and if you want to check out the "Lunch Bags" book I mentioned, here's the link.

Here's my brother Joe, sporting his ever-so-practical refashioning project. One additional note: He reported that around Mile 6, he spotted another runner wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt with black arm warmers. He commented to her (I'm impressed that anyone can talk at that point!) that arm warmers were nice to have on a chilly, windy day. She laughed and said her arm runners were actually old cut-off running tights - and they shared a laugh over their clever frugality. Joe said there are actually "proper" arm warmers for runners that sell for $20 or so! Here's his running blog.