During a recent visit to a friend she showed me a project made from a free pattern on the Craftsy website. This Peek-a-Boo Pouch is very different to other projects and at the same time offers another opportunity to use some clear vinyl. I had to try out this project as I felt it could be a contender for Christmas gifts to friends and relatives. I decided to use a fat quarter of a pretty pink cotton printed with poodles and various other motifs.
Now, I am a pretty confident stitcher but I did not find this pouch particularly easy to sew. Firstly, I had difficulty stitching the zip to the clear vinyl and in the end had to bind the edges of the vinyl to provide a good base for the feed dogs on the machine. Secondly, I could not work out which part and why, the KAM popper should be inserted at this stage, to the straight end of the pouch. This all became clear when the pouch was all but finished and to apply the KAM popper was made very difficult as virtually all the seams had been stitched. As demonstrated by my friend, the ends of the zip are enclosed in the outer seam of the pouch which does not make for the neatest of finishes. Next time I will apply binding at the ends of the zip. I think that my measuring of the vinyl pockets must have been off – the line of dividing stitches for the slip pocket shows through onto the outside front of the pouch and it does not fold into 3 quite the way that it should. Finally, the instructions advise to leave a gap in the curved end of the pouch to facilitate turning through but then it is more difficult to get a neat curve on the finish. Next time I will leave a gap in the straight end of the pouch.
Pouch opened out
That being said I believe that the concept of the pouch is very good.I fully intend to make another and incorporate various features that will improve the final project.
I am in the home straight of preparation for classes. I have completed the final sample being the above 12 Blade Dresden Plate block. I have chosen these ‘chunky’ blades and only 12 of them so that students can achieve a patchwork block quickly. If like me, they find themselves ‘hooked’ on this block there will be time to try more intricate blocks with many more blades.
For this cushion I again visited my Green-themed scraps. I am particularly pleased that once again I ‘fussy cut’ the butterfly motif on the centre. The patchwork was appliqued onto Natural-coloured calico and backed with some 2 oz polyester wadding. I echo quilted around the block before adding some coordinating narrow piping. I used a 16 inch polyester-filled pad for the cushion cover which has an envelope closure and measures 15 inches square.
As I gradually worked my way through the list of samples required for classes I took a little time out to make a couple of basic items that will go into my stash for gifts.
I have made a 16-blade Dresden Plate cushion cover and yet another padded coat hanger cover with concealed pocket. Both items are enjoyable to stitch and make use of remnants of fabric (of which have masses!!).
The cushion cover with patchwork takes a little longer but I am delighted with the end result. I especially like the fact that I ‘fussy cut’ the butterfly for the central circle.
For sewing the the coat hanger cover, I now have this down to a fine art and if I exclude the additional zipped patch pocket on the reverse, this project now takes less than one hour to complete.
Materials requirement is minimal – one wooden coat hanger, one Fat Quarter, same of wadding and a long zip (taken from my stash). I have ordered more plain wooden coat hangers and intend to review my FQ collection so that I can get a head start on Christmas gift-making!
Some time ago I made a ‘trial’ version of a zip topped bag that had a ‘window’ at the front so that it was easy to see the contents of the bag. I have found the bag to be very useful and wanted to refine the project.
Original window project bag
The original bag size had been defined by the size of the vinyl (shower curtain remnant) used for the window but as I now have metres of clear vinyl I could make the bag to whatever dimensions I wanted.
I wanted the finished bag to be approximately the same size as a piece of A4 paper so that if the project had written instructions, they could be included in the bag without being folded. After a false start when I made the window much too big with bindings that were too narrow, I did eventually come up with the correct dimensions to have the finished bag the size that I wanted.
A4 sized window project bag
Due to the ‘trial and error’ nature of construction I have not timed myself for this bag but now that I have the correct cutting dimensions I intend to make another to check the time required to make this project.
Apart from last week, it is a long time since I made peg bags. Here is the latest version which is the result of some research and the desire to make things simple enough for the project to take no more than 1 hour to complete. I still wanted to incorporate some form of decoration in the form of a patchwork block or applique but the construction needed to be easy and by using the ‘envelope’ method I have achieved this.
For this ‘trial’ version I used yet more ‘re-cycled’ calico (previous toile of dressmaking) and a selection of cotton print scraps for a half-dresden plate block. The child-sized hanger was Green and I co-ordinated the patchwork in this colour. The binding was a strip of poly-cotton sheeting left over from making a duvet cover.
The peg bag did take just an hour to complete. More versions may well find themselves wrapped as gifts, meantime I will be using this design when teaching a class at New Threads Quilt Shop.
Way back in the mists of time there was a feature in Threads magazine of how to make a crazy patchwork scissors case. Over the years I have adapted and refined my own personal version. Now I am able to offer a class and demonstrate how to make this really useful addition to sewing room accessories.
To promote the class I have made (yet another) a sample from 2 fat quarters of quilting cotton fabric that was in my stash. The closure is a hair bungee and the button also came from my button box. There are several variations to this project to include the original crazy patchwork, a bias binding edge and the use of an embroidered motif.
So that’s another sample crossed off the list of projects to be completed this month – now onto the next!
This set of samples are for the class where we will be making padded coat hanger covers with secret pockets. With its “pocket(s)” these hangers are great to take anywhere – even if visiting friends. It is an easy way to keep scarves, belts and small items tidy and out of the way. In hotels, you can hang your coat over the pocket with the outer pocket to the back to conceal private papers, etc., when a safe isn’t available.
I chose some Fat Quarters of fabrics from my stash along with contrast-coloured remnants for the patch pockets. Zips came from that vast selection acquired when my father worked as an Engineer for Opti-lon ®.
First version with long zip at the bottom Reverse with large patch pocket
The first cover took a while to construct as I had to calculate the sizes and work out the order of work. Having finished the first cover I thought that rather than have the long zip at the bottom of the hanger, I would prefer to have it completely concealed on the reverse.
Second version Reverse with concealed long zip
I also changed the construction of the patch pocket slightly and used the zip insertion method that I have used in the past when bag-making. For the second construction I timed myself and was pleased to discover that it took just 52 minutes from start to finish.
These hangers not only look good but are ideal for use with some of my ‘slippery’ garments.
Despite going ‘off plan’ with several projects in September I did manage to complete some of the items on my list.
The Pink floral print jersey ‘Elmira’ ballet wrap cardigan was completed and with the remnant of fabric I made a co-ordinating tee shirt. The Dark print viscose jersey for Kwiksew 3915 for a friend was also completed and again another tee shirt for me from the remnant of fabric. I did not get to the Cobra corsage lawn dress but I have today washed the plain Black lawn that I will use for a lining so maybe that project will finally make it to completion. The other dress using a Lewis & Irene cotton print, ‘Our friends in the garden’, was started in September but was not completed until earlier this week. But still with tights and a cardigan it should get some airings until the really cold weather sets in.
Whilst I have made several samples for the classes to be taught in the Autumn and Winter terms, there are still a few outstanding plus the workbooks to be prepared. The final outstanding item from September is the Sewing print linen-look seat covering. That should not take too long as is basically a shape with elasticated hem so hopefully that will also make it to completion in October.
Now, let’s think about sewing plans for the coming month, the list looks like this:-
- Cover for sewing room chair in sewing theme linen-look
- Samples for classes – Coat hanger peg bag, Scissors Case, Dresden Plate Blocks (2) and Zip top Window Project Bags.
- Cobra and Corsage print cotton lawn dress. Style as yet undecided.
- Cobra and Corsage print luxury scuba top with asymmetrical hem & cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from Sewisfaction. Absolutely yummy!
5. Paisley print jersey trapeze tunic with cowl collar. Fabric just arrived from eBay. Fine weight with a good drape.
- Coat with waterfall collar. This is probably too much considering that we are already 7 days into the month but still it is good to have targets!
As a break from making samples for the classes, I wanted to finish a dress that was originally included in my plans for August and September.
I have had the great fabric, ‘My friends in the Garden’ by Lewis & Irene, in my stash for a long, long time. I did get to cut out a ‘Kitty’ dress with gathered skirt but with one thing and another, have not got around to construction, until now. Even though the print is possibly a bit ‘summery’, due to the dark background colour and the fact that the cotton is a little heavier than the usual quilting cotton, this dress will be ideal as a trans-season option, worn with tights and a cardigan.
The ‘Kitty’ dress is a hack from my basic bodice plus the collar and facings from the Bolero jackets that I made back in June. The previous ‘Kitty’ was a button through shirt-dress as I wanted to use some great coordinating buttons, but this time I have made the bodice only as button-up. The buttons are re-cycled from a pair of my husband’s pyjamas.
As the pattern is very busy I needed to accentuate the outline of the collar which I have done by adding some Bright Pink piping. To make the setting of the piping easier, I have rounded off the corners of the collar. The facings have been machined on place to avoid any chance of them popping out.
The sleeves are the usual short length but due to the thickness of the fabric I did not self-line them. Instead I made some self bias binding which has been machine stitched in place.
The skirt is made from two full-width panels and has pockets set into the side seams. I used my TNT pocket bag pattern which means the bags are stitched into the waistline seam and are thus prevented from ‘flapping about’. The 2 inch hem has been hand sewn.
I notice from my wardrobe that I am a little short of trans-seasonal dresses, especially in Autumnal shades so will include plans for another cotton print ‘Kitty’ to be made this month.
Later this year I will be teaching a class making up this charming Rabbit who I have named ‘Barbara Bunny’. The project comes in the form of a kit which includes everything that you need to make Barbara – with the exception of time!
I started with enthusiasm that this was going to be a fairly simple make but unfortunately there was a hold up as I tried to stitch the centre panel to the Bunny’s head on the machine. It took quite a bit of ‘finessing’ and also involved some hand (!) sewing to get the Y-seam of the nose just right. Setting in the soles of the feet was also done by hand as it was just too fiddly to try on the machine. After that it was plain sailing, probably because over the past 50 plus years of sewing I have made many, many soft toys. However, this was the first time that I have made a button-jointed animal and despite not having a really long needle, I managed to stitch the joints firmly whilst still retaining movement.
For this first ‘trial run’ I have not used the fabric that came with the kit, I shall save that for the class. The project can be sewn (mostly) on the machine when it took approximately 2 hours to complete. Alternatively, as this is a small project (completed Bunny is about 8 ins tall) it would also make an ideal hand-sewing project.