Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baby Blue Corduroy Embroidery Kit Clutch


I loved making the embroidery tool pouch yesterday, and I think it will serve my purposes just fine, but I kept thinking all night last night about how I could make it better and cuter.  I just couldn't let it go, so today I went back to the craft room and tried again. I wanted to make it smaller, and more secure, a one handed grab and go clutch.

This is my first idea sketch.
I drew it out putting in measurements that I estimated and then calculated with seam allowances and hem allowances.  I even wrote out the order of the steps in the sewing process. Yes, that is my horrible handwriting.  Don't worry if you can't read it. No one can read it but me.
I made pattern pieces because I wanted to make the curves and corners precise. I used my new drafting ruler, which I love.

This is how the first one turned out.  I have it posted on Etsy for sale, but I have a pattern so I can whip up as many more as I would like.  It turned out pretty well.

The next one will have shorter pockets so that they don't reach right up to the edge of the clutch and the marker and ruler don't disappear inside their slots, but otherwise it worked just great.

Here it is with all of the supplies taken out of the pockets.

My favorite part was making this expandable pocket for the round things like a thread spool and thimble. The button flap is longer so I can cram this pocket full if I want.
If you like this, check it out on Etsy at this link:
Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Baby Blue Corduroy Embroidery Kit

Man, I was bored today, or at least I would have been if I didn't have an unlimited supply of odd fabrics and ample crafting space in my attic crafting room.  I decided to make a folding wrap to put my hand sewing/embroidery tools and supplies into when I take my hand sewing with me on the go.

Here it is.  I finally found a use for a couple of my odd colored bright green large buttons. I think they fit perfectly.  I had to borrow my aunt's sewing machine to make the button holes. They turned out rather nice.

Here is the inside.  I probably could make it a bit shorter and use less fabric, but I was just making it up as I went.  For embroidery you need floss, scissors, needles, a thimble, and a transfer pencil or water erasable marker.  I also think I will keep a folded piece of tracing paper, just in case.  With the large size it would also be possible to fold an embroidery project in progress and enclose it within the wrap to protect it and keep it with the supplies.

A closer look with neat bows.

Here is everything laid out of its pocket.  If I were taking hand sewing with me I could put a spool of thread in the thimble pocket, even a large spool fits, or tie one or two spools in with the ribbons.  I would also need sewing needles instead of embroidery needles, and could want a chalk pencil rather than a transfer pencil. This is not the  thimble that I actually use, but was god enough for a photo prop.

This is what the back looks like.  I could have avoided the seams showing on the back if I would have sewed the pockets on before I sewed the layers together, but I am not too picky.  If I were to make these for selling on Etsy, then I would be more careful with things like that.  I also would try to make the seams a little straighter.
I have a color theme going on in my craft room.  It was totally unintentional, but almost everything, from plastic bins and baskets to the projects in progress are light blue, bright light green and white or cream.  I had a whole bolt of this light blue corduroy just sitting there, so I thought it would look nice and be very functional. I got the bolt of fabric at the community yard sale at the Toyota Center in town last year.  I think I paid 5 dollars for the entire thing.  There is at least 15 yards on it.  Carrying it around the sale afterward was a bit heavy.  I was with my aunt and she got a bolt of very heavy dark blue denim.  That was even heavier.  They were too good a deal to pass up, even with the heavy load we had to carry with us the rest of the trip and all the way back to our car afterward.

Log Cabin Baby Quilt

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had made log cabin squares from the scraps left over after making the Girl's Day baby quilt for my baby cousin, Lyra.

You may remember this picture I took of some of the squares.
I started with dark colors for half of the squares and light for the other half to use up more of the different colors, but I didn't really have an overall design in mind for the quilt when I made them.  I made mock up designs in Corel Draw to see what arrangement might look the best.

This is how it might look if I put them in rows of similar colors.

This is how it might look with alternating colors and also changing the orientation of the squares.

I liked the look of alternating the squares, so I laid them out on the futon upstairs.  This is with them all oriented the same way.  I think it looks pretty nice.  I will go ahead and sew them together like this.  I am having a bit of a dilemma, though. With just the squares, the quilt is 32 inches by 48 inches.  I want it to be a crib sized quilt which is usually about 36 by 52.  This means I need about four inches in both directions.  I could solve this problem by adding a two inch border all the way around, but that would change the look of the quilt considerably.

This is a close up shot of one strip of the Winnie the Poo fabric I added.  I had this fabric in my collection and used it to make the scraps stretch farther.  It has eyelet holes, so I basted it onto a second layer of white muslin before piecing it together.  So far, I have left in the basting stitches. You may be able to see them in the above shot, if you look closely.
This is all the scraps I have left.  If I cut them into two and a quarter inch strips, I don't think I will have enough to make it all the way around the quilt.  I checked at Joann's last time we went, and they only had a few fat quarters of two of these fabrics left.  They were on sale, so I bought one of each, I am contemplating the best way to put this together.  Also, I still have not bought the batting for it.  It will be on sale next weekend, for 50% off, so I will try to get it then.
I don't know what to do about quilting or tying it.  My sewing machine will not handle quilting.  It just isn't built for that.  I don't have a walking foot and my feed dogs do not go down.  I could hand quilt it, but I really don't think I will have time.  I have decided to try and finish this quilt before St. Patty's day and give it to my cousin, Courtney, at her baby shower. She is having a little boy. All of this put together means I will probably tie this quilt just like I did the other one.  Babies like those ties, anyway.  They like to feel them and look at them.  It gives interest and texture to the inside of their crib.
I laid out the quilt with 2 inch borders and put in virtual ties in Corel Draw.  This is the most uniform arrangement I could come up with without putting ties on seams.  I don't like putting ties across seams because it is hard to do.  The seam allowances make it harder to push the needle through and it puckers more when you tie it.  You can see that they are not all exactly the same distance apart.  The center square tie is two and a half inches from the next one over and then the next two are three inches apart. This is more evident along the border. I think it will look okay as long as I am careful about making them straight and accurately spaced.
I will be posting about this quilt next week, probably, after I get some batting for it.  After all, I have loads of curtains to sew and a corset to floss in the meantime.

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Corset Finished, Almost...

I got the two 11 inch bonings from on Saturday.  I didn't get to get working on my corset until yesterday, Sunday, because my craft room had been taken over by fourteen and fifteen-year-old girls.  I mentioned in an earlier post that my very creative fourteen-year-old daughter has been making duct tape corsets and using up all of my grommets.  She and her friends decided to get together and make a bunch of duct tape waist cinchers as a fund raiser for band camp.  They had all sorts of decorative duct tapes and lacings and were up there in the craft room for about eight hours straight.  They asked me to order them pizza for a dinner break at 5:00pm and then went right back up until people's parents started calling and coming by to pick them up.  I couldn't believe that they got so many done.  Most of them are waiting for grommets, but are otherwise finished.  The order with the grommets should be arriving on Wednesday.  I will be posting some of their cinchers in my etsy shop for them to see if they sell there.  When the post is ready I will also put a link to it here and on my Facebook page.

So, I finally got to work on my corset on Sunday morning.  I knew we would be going to my aunt and uncle's house for the Superbowl and I wanted to get the machine sewing parts done so I could bring the hand sewing with me.  I was not too excited about watching the super bowl, because the Seahawks weren't in it, but the Superbowl at their house is a tradition and the food and company is always good.

The last two bonings had to be inserted into their channels, and then I sewed across the top edge to keep them all in.  I then began the painstaking ordeal of finishing the top and bottom edges. I trimmed them up neatly and cut off all the scraggly threads.  I have read how to avoid having all of these.  I will give it a try next time.

I pinned and sewed on the satin bias tape.  I had to rip and resew the first one because I misjudged the width I would need to wrap over the edge.  Still, the first one I sewed (twice) was still not perfect, but ripping it again would not be good for the tape or the corset, and I didn't have extra tape, so I just said, "heck with it," and left it.  This is my first corset and I don't expect it to be perfect.  I am trying my best though.  The rest of the edge binding looked better.

Next I folded the binding over and pinned it so I could hand sew it during the Superbowl.

I put them in a pillow case for transport to try and avoid dirt and cat hair.  I also ate my hot wings first, washed my hands and stayed far away from the food while I worked. I only got half done, during the Superbowl. I must admit I didn't work the whole time.  I also had to hold my baby cousin, eat a bit of Superbowl food, and drink a beer.  I finished the hand sewing after I got home.  I put "Hot Fuzz" in the DVD player and sewed while sitting on the couch until I was done.  I do like that movie. It is pretty funny.
Here it is as it was when I went to be last night:
It is finished enough to wear at this point, but I still want to add some details.  I want to floss the boning ends to reinforce them, make them stay in one place and prevent wearing through the fabric. 

This is the first one I did this morning.  It isn't perfect.  The stitches are too close together and not very even.  I also noticed that after I started stitching the first end the bone shifted towards the other end.  This is hard to prevent.

This is the second one I did.  It is the other end of the same boning channel.  It looks a lot better.

 Here is the whole bone so you can see both ends. It being white on white, or whitework, it isn't very noticeable.  It will give the corset a little bit of fanciness without making it really busy.  I think I will like it when it is done.
I only had time to do the four bones around the grommets so far today.  It is painstaking work. I will probably get faster at it as I go, and better, but it will take me a while.  I will try the corset on for pictures as soon as I have time and someone here to assist me.  I can't wait.
Here is the top of the back.

And this is the bottom.

From a few feet away it is not very visible, but I think it is still worth it.
I have been reading about how to make corsets, stronger and how to adjust the patterns so that they fit better.  I have loads of ideas for next time.  I also read about how to make and add an underbusk and lacing panel. I think I might do that for this corset.  That will, of coarse, mean another order, so I will wait on that.  They are added after the corset is done anyways.  Next time I will put my twill tape waist reinforcement in before I put in the busk and I will add my grommets after I sew all the layers of the corset together and put the bonings in.  This is supposed to make them turn out straighter and smoother.  Also, instead of pressing the seams open I will try pressing them to the side and topstitching them.  This puts the stress of tight lacing on the fabric grain instead of the seams.  My next corset will have a facing fabric of silk brocade.  I will also try making my own bias binding.  I think it will look better. 


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Ahead of Myself: I Ordered Supplies for My Next Corset

No, I haven't finished my first one, no, I don't actually have any outfits I can wear them with, and no I can't afford it, but I can't help it.  I am so excited.  This first one is turning out so great and it is so fun.  I love it. 
It is still waiting fo thte last two bones.
I might have mentioned that the next corset will be black.
I chose not to have a fancy facing fabric on my first one because I didn't want to make it more complicated.  I didn't really know if I would be able to finish one.   There are a lot of steps, and some of the techniques are new.  Also, I have been emailing back and forth with Andrea at and have discovered that I could have included boning casing in the corset, even though it is not mentioned in the patter instructions.  It makes the corset last longer by protecting the coutil and lining fabric from the inside.  Usually the first thing to wear out on corsets is the boning tips wear through the fabric and make a hole and eventually poke out.  Adding boning casing will also make it a bit harder, because when you sew the layers together you have to be very careful to catch the edges along the entire channel.  I am determined to incorporate the casing into my next corset. I was going to attempt the Silverado for my second corset, but I think that because I am already adding all of the extra steps and complications, I should stick with the pattern I am familiar with.  The Dore has fewer pieces, and I never did fit the muslin so that it fully satisfied me.  I think I will work on that some more before I try to sew it. 
I ordered a yard each of: black coutil, black lining fabric, and black on black silk brocade.  The silk brocade is only 27 inches wide so I had to do a quick check and make sure that I would have room to cut all my pieces.

I folded black tissue paper to 13 inches by a yard and fit my pieces on.  It looks like it will fit.  I think that if I were making a larger size, though, I would have to order more than a yard.
The coutil and the lining fabric I used for the white corset is much wider.  I figured I can cut three corsets from one yard for both of those.
I also ordered two continuous rolls of spiral boning with tips so that I can cut and tip my own to the lengths I need, rather than ordering and hoping the channels turn out the same length.  I ordered an assortment of the strait bones as well for the strait channels.
The real reason I went ahead and ordered all of this now and not after I finished the first corset, is because my daughter is making duct tape corsets and waist cinchers with her friends and I am almost out of grommets.  I had to go ahead and order the grommets. The cost of shipping is getting so outrageous that I had to try to order everything I thought I would need for a while.  I already have enough black boning casing, black twill tape and a black lacing which I accidentally ordered with my white fabric when I made my first order of the kit and pattern.  That just leaves a 13 inch busk and black satin bias tape, which I also ordered.  With my two 11 inch boning on the way and my black corset materials ordered, all I can do is wait.  I will need to buy a tool for cutting the spiral steel boning.  I found something that will work at the hardware store, but I haven't purchased it yet.  It is called a cable cutter.  It looks just like the tool that sells, but it is bigger and beefier.  The tool that sells is out of stock a lot.  It must be hard to get ahold of.  I think the cable cutters will do nicely.  They cost about 30 dollars. Once I buy them I will post a picture.
I also went on a hunt for tool dip. That is what people are saying they dip the tips of their bones in, even the ones with nickle plated tips to keep them from popping off. I could only find it in black.  That would be fine for my next corset, but not for a white one.  The company that makes it also makes yellow, red, and blue. None of these colors would be perfect for a white corset.  I think if I had incorporated the boning casing it wouldn't matter. 
At the hardware store I was at I found that the same company makes a compound for patching the white vinyl coated metal racks in dishwashers and metal shelving.  It is more expensive and is in a smaller container with a brush, but it will probably work. I will try using it to patch up the poorly dipped bones that I got in my last order.
I did a google search and found that they make a kit that allows you to mix your own colors.  I can only guess that because they have a white tint to add that the compound in the container is clear.  That might be nice.  I will think about ordering this if I decide to make several more corsets after this one.
It turns out that the Plasti Dip company has a very large range of products that are not available at any of our local hardware stores.  I might have to order some.
I have to mention, also, that I have been very pleasantly surprised by the level of service I have received from Andrea at  She has emailed back and forth with me several times.  First, figuring out what I needed her to replace due to the poorly dipped tips. Then she explained to me how I could cut and tip my own spiral bones. She also explained how to use the boning casing in the pattern I am sewing.  All together she read all of my emails, and responded about ten times in two days.  She was very nice and professional.  I think, if this level of service is what I can expect, I will be a loyal customer.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cross Stitched Creeper

I know, its not really sewing, but I told you I had lots of hobbies.  I would have twenty different blogs if I stayed strictly to my topics.  I just finished this creeper cross stitch and posted it for sale in my Etsy shop.

He's kinda cute.  I have to admit, I have never played Minecraft, but I have watched my daughter, cousins and brothers play for lots of hours.  It is really cool.  I have also watched youtube videos of people playing.  I am a gamer, but this game just hasn't gotten its hooks into me yet.

I used this print out to come up with my pattern.  I chose six colors: black, ecru, greenish grey, and three shades of green, and just kind of free hand filled it in.  It turned out pretty good.

Here it is in its card stock frame I made for it.  The back is more exciting:

This creeper is my second try, I have to admit.  The first try didn't go so well, and I haven't finished it.
I just took out some scrap hankie weight linen and started trying to match the printout.  I used too many colors, the stitches were too small and too tight. When its done it will be a little over an inch tall.  I think I will make it into a pendant for a necklace.
Each color is pretty much just one stitch so the back looks kinda like a rug.

This is my first cross stitch I ever finished.  I made it about a month ago.


My Corset Supply Order Arrived on Friday

I couldn't believe it.  My order arrived after only three days.  I was so exited to get to work on it, but I had a few other things to do first.  My Grandpa's 80th birthday party was on Saturday and I had to help with that, so I didn't get to work on my corset until Sunday. My auntie came over and sewed her muslin while I worked on mine.  First, I had to try it on again to mark the waist for the twill tape reinforcement:

I took this picture in the mirror.  You can see that without the bones the waist puckers, but it is already a pretty shape.  I think I am going to love it.
Sewing the twill tape on is one of the harder steps of this process.  You have to be careful to make it exactly the same on both sides of the corset.  It is also hard to sew the ends of the twill tape down close to the busk and back boning channels while making a strait seam.  This seam shows though because you are sewing it onto the coutil layer before you attach the lining.
Next I sewed the lining pieces together and to the coutil pieces.  You have to turn it right side out with the busk in place after ironing the whole think.  My aunt and I decided to look into getting a tailor's ham.  Ironing all those seams open on the hip and bust curves without putting in creases is challenging. The next step was to pick stitch all of the seams to keep them from moving around while I sewed the boning channels.

Here I am stitching though the seams of both layers along every seam line.  It took me over an hour.
Here I am sewing along the bottom edge of the corset. 

My aunt took this picture of me sewing the boning channels from bottom to top.
 Here I am using a seam ripper to pick the pick stitches at the seams back out after sewing the boning channels.
Here are the channels.
Here is the work station with all the supplies getting ready to start putting in the bones.

The straight steel bones went into the channels on both sides of the grommets in the back.


  My aunt helped me by measuring them and handing me the ones I needed.  I hit a major hiccup here.  I ended up two 11" bones short.  I was unable to finish the corset because of this.  To order just these two bones (sixty cents each) I will have to pay $8.95 for shipping.  It would make sense to order other things I will need for my next corset to make the shipping feel more reasonable, but I don't have the money to get all of that stuff right now. 
So here is where I am at, just waiting for two 11 inch bones.

It is looking very nice.

This is the lining side.  The tracing paper and tracing wheel I used to mark the boning channels worked pretty well.  There were three channels that were pretty hard to see, but I was able to make it work.
This is all the bones I have left over.  I am thinking about trying to cut two of these longer ones.
The corset supply company,, has changed the way they do the bone tips.  They dip them in a kind of epoxy resin instead of using the metal tips that you can see on the longer ones.  In theory it seems like a good idea, but the execution might be a bit lacking.  Some of them look like this:
The ends that look like this do not slide well into the boning channels and I really wonder how long it will take for them to wear through the coutil.  I tried not to use these ones.  I will be stabilizing the ends of the bones with embroidery to help prevent wear, but for the amount of work and money I have invested in this corset I want it to last a long time.  I have written an email to the company.  So far, I haven't heard back.

This is a picture of my calculations and measurements for the bones I needed to order.  Next time I will at least use real paper with lines instead of a scrap piece of tissue paper.

Here I was tallying the lengths I had from the silverado kit I ordered a long time ago, and figuring out what I needed to order to make the Dore.  I ordered the white straight bones for the straight channels, I ordered extra, just in case they worked in some of the other channels.  They are very inexpensive as long as you are already ordering something else, so you don't have to pay shipping.
When I get the bones I need, all I have to do is sew along the top edge and sew on the bindings.  I will also embroider the boning tips to add strength and durability.  I am going to do white on white, so it won't show very much, but it will add some texture. I will let you all know what I decide to do.  I am going to the hardware store to check on tool dip, that is what people suggest using to tip the spring steel bones.