Sunday, November 20, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 49 - Care for some tea?

Surprise! An actual tutorial! Hope you enjoy this fun little tea wallet - so easy to make out of fabric scraps. (Oh, and for the full podcast, just click here.)

For your cover pieces, cut two strips, 6" by 10" -- also cut a strip of interfacing 6" by 10".

For your pocket pieces, cut three contrasting strips, 4 1/2" by 7".

On your pocket strips, press under about 1/4" on the short end. Then press lengthwise each one forms a double-thick piece, 2 1/4" by 6 3/4".

Put your first pocket strip in place on top of the interfacing and one cover strip (save the other cover strip for later.) Make sure the folded edge is pointing up and it'll be about 1 1/2" from the top raw edges. Align the raw edges on the left, and have the folded-under edge on the right side. Stitch close to the raw edges along the bottom of the strip.

Lay your second pocket strip on top of the first, just moving the folded edge down; stitch the raw edge into place. Do the same with the third strip.

You can see here how the pockets are forming. Stitch along the left-hand edge (the folded-under pocket edges, through all thicknesses). I also used a straightedge to mark my middle row of stitching.

I actually ended up doing two rows of stitching down the middle, because I thought it might make it fold easier when full, but I don't think it makes that much difference.

Layer your pocket assembly with the other cover strip, wrong sides together. Cut a curved edge through all three layers (two fabrics, one interfacing) - you can see the fancy guide I used!

Apply bias binding. I cut my strip 1 1/2" wide, and pressed under 1/4" on the edge that would later be hand-stitched onto the other side. This is just an ordinary quilt binding technique, and made a much tidier edge than trying to turn it inside-out. It does need to be bias, so it'll go smoothly over that curved edge.

Binding done!

Now, just choose a button and make a buttonhole. Be careful when stitching the button on - you'll want to reach inside the pocket so you don't stitch it closed.

Six teabags, ready to roll.

Here's the quickie version out of a shirt cuff. I just moved the buttons in and did a very narrow zigzag stitch to join the edges together.
I forgot to take photos of the door draft stopper before I mailed it off, but Maureen will send me one later. In the meantime, here's a video I found that explains the buttonhole stitch technique I mentioned (also known as blanket stitch) - so handy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 48 - All zipped up

Finally back on a Sunday recording schedule, which I hope to keep up for awhile. If you haven't checked out this episode yet, you can do it right here.

Zipped-up earphone cords! Here are the original instructions. It's easy to adapt to use a fabric casing instead, if you prefer.

Here are the little preemie quilts. Can you see the cherry print? It looked great as backing on both quilts, too. You can probably easily figure out how to make the center square, but if you'd like instructions, try this link. I use the option on Page 5 of the instructions with the flying geese forming a star.

OK, as for other links in this episode....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Episode 47 - Rippers and such

Just realized I've gotten a little off in numbering the episodes - today's is #47 and not 46 as I said in the recording. At any rate, here's the link to our little foray into the world of seam rippers.

Bad shadow from my poorly-lit sewing room at night, but here are the seam rippers I have on hand right now -- from left to right, the Clover, the Dritz, and the Schick Quattro trimmer. Still haven't gotten the hang of the trimmer yet, but I'll keep practicing. You can see the ergonomic design of the Dritz (in the middle). It really makes a difference with big rip-out projects!

Remember, replace a ripper as soon as you notice it getting dull. It's just not worth it to try to struggle through with a blade that's not tip-top.

Here's the start of my just-couldn't-resist-it pumpkin project. I was going to use the circular doily on the top but that looked pretty dumb. You can see how easy it was to just snip the medallions out of the little table topper instead.

One layer of the Mod Podge just looked awful. Gummy and patchy. It's amazing how it dries clear and shiny.More poor lighting but the finished result really did look pretty cute.

Feels good to be easing back into a schedule - talk to you soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Episode 46 - Home again, home again

It's good to be home again, home again, after a super trip to Prague. Here's the link to the full episode.

Here are our travel bags against the colorful backdrop of the quirky little Prague lock bridge.

Listener Nancy asked for a tutorial on the messenger bag -- tutorials aren't my strong suit but I'd like to practice on them so yeah, I'll do that soon. Thanks for asking!

The kitchen rug is done and looks great -- but as far as photos go, it looks even cuter with Betty hiding under it.
OK, here are the slippers made out of heavy cotton placemats and cotton flannel scraps. The soles and uppers have three layers -- placemat, fleece interfacing, and flannel. The section around the heel is just a strip folded lengthwise with wide elastic inserted through it. I stitched the fused uppers to the soles first, then added the strip with the elastic -- quarter-inch exterior seams all the way around. A little binding around the edges would definitely improve the looks, but so far I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Odd looking, but so comfy and they really stay on! If I do get around to making a more attractive pair, I can refer to these as the prototype. Until then, I'm using and enjoying them.

Look how easy it is to make your own pattern. One piece of paper, one pencil, one foot. Just cut out your pattern a quarter-inch outside your tracing line. Make your upper pattern to fit right around the toes, then flare out to extend about an inch either side of the sole piece. Go slowly in stitching them together, easing the larger piece into place. Easier than it looks!

Other stuff from this episode:

Finally, here's the 9 x 12 quilt from the guild's summer challenge: "My Life with Fabric." Lots of textures, recycled materials, sentimental scraps from family and friends. What would your quilt look like?

Good to be back on a schedule - talk to you all soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 45 - The 4 a.m. episode

Back to you with two more bags, although I'm really going to take a bag break after this! But sometimes, you just need bags! (Listen to the podcast here.)

Here's what the Kenlons will be bopping around Prague with this next week. As you can see, Dan has already test-driven his, with much success. I love the corduroy print in mine! I haven't sewn the vintage buttons in place yet, but will do that before we leave .... which is now in about four hours!

See you soon, everyone, and thanks so much for listening.

Monday, August 29, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 44 - Cutting a rug

Thanks for tuning in to Episode 44. Here's the link to the audio recording.

My first little locker hooking project. I didn't love the process, but I did like it enough that I don't mind using up the rest of the canvas I bought to make a larger rug.

I found this YouTube demo published a few years ago - check it out here.

I was fascinated by these adjustable pattern-drafting tools at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, NY. This volunteer was kind enough to show us the hand-loom process for a good long while.

Sewing machines!

Oh, yeah, and then there was that baseball museum. Look! Brooks Robinson!

Lou Gehrig! Jackie Robinson! Roberto Clemente!

The tail of my friend Beth's new shirt. Bad dog! Bad Tucker! (not really)

It was easy to transfer the shape of the gaping hole onto paper and make a template for the patch.

Here's the newly patched shirttail hem of Beth's shirt.

Doesn't Beth look great in her sleeveless shirt? (and nice setting for a photo, right?!)

Finally, I can't resist sharing this shot from our campsite in Cooperstown. We were very careful to keep the cats inside the RV, of course, but Betty parked herself regularly on the steps looking out into the woods.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 43 - Dog days of summer

Just a couple of notes for this week's ramble-fest. Here's the episode link, too.

Try these instructions for the Martha Stewart oilcloth lunch bag - just adapt the measurements to suit your needs. As you can see, I didn't make all mine the same size as I was working with a limited amount of the vinyl fabric. It did take a fair amount of piecing.

The outside edge-stitching gives an amazing amount of body to these bags and they stand on their own just fine. It's really easy to grab them and toss them into the truck when they're full.

Oh, and in editing this episode, I realize there was a little thumping in the audio from time to time. I must have been tapping on the desk without realizing it - I got a new microphone that's much more sensitive than my old one, so it picks up everything! Sorry for the distraction!

I really appreciate all the comments and notes - and I will catch up eventually!

Monday, August 1, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 42 - Tick, tock...

Thanks for listening in to my ramblings about making a quilted clock. Here's the link.

What do you think? The really antique, jewel-y buttons don't show up well in the photo, but they look pretty good in real life. I had to snap this up off the windowseat right after taking the photo as Betty was eyeing it suspiciously. I could just see her rubbing the buttons with her paws - nope, not gonna donate this with traces of cat hair.

Here's the compost tea just beginning to brew. Really, it's wonderful stuff for the plants and gives them such a good pick-me-up this time of year. I brewed two big buckets with one burlap bag of compost. Each bucket brewed in the sun for about four hours. I've let them brew for a couple of days before, too, and it doesn't smell if you use well-aged compost. There's no real science to it.

The compost goes right back into the bin after brewing. And yes, this burlap bag will remain dedicated to this purpose in the future. I'm not about to wash it out and use it for something around the house!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GreenStitch Episode 41 - Five bags of summer

This episode gives us a chance to talk about some fun, very easy bag projects that just have summer written all over them. Listen in here.

Here's the almost-finished library bag/car organizer based on this tutorial from Katie at Punk Projects. Thanks, Katie! Gotta find that button foot so I can finish it up - buttons go where you see pins here.

This view shows you a little more how the strap goes around the passenger's seat. Depending on your tolerance level for floppiness, you might be able to skip this strap.

Here's what I was trying to explain about making an outside-pocket bag out of a single strip of fabric. I'm not good with adding text, but maybe this will help.

E-mail me if this isn't clear. Honestly, this is one of the fastest bag-making methods ever.

Here are the produce bags we use. The check-out folks at our local Wegmans have never had a problem with them, and if they get sticky, they wash like a dream. (the bags, I mean. I assume the same's true for the Wegmans staff.)

Odd and quirky little farmer's market bag out of a T-shirt. Looks funny, but really handy.

ETA on 7/27: Thanks to listener Elisa, we now have the link to this bag tutorial. Here 'tis. Thank you so much, Elise!

Ah, yes, the yippee-aye-oh-kai-ay camera bag. I've gotten so used to it that I don't even think twice about it anymore - it's just the right size and the fleece interior makes for a very nice padding.

Finally, here's the link to Martha's Beach Towel Tote. I think the basic idea is really good, but I'd definitely stitch sides into it to make it more reliable as an actual bag. Let me know if you make one - I'd love to feature your photos and thoughts.