Tuesday, October 28, 2014

pattern weights gift set

Here's a great DIY gift idea for the sewing enthusiast in your life - a set of colorful pattern weights!

Thing 1 is doing a LOT of sewing as part of her apparel design courses in college. During my last visit to warm and sunny Savannah, I noticed a jagged broken glass jar candle on an end table in her apartment. She had been using it as a pattern weight, and it slipped off the table. So of course the mom (and avid Pinterest user) in me decided right then that I needed to make her a set of pattern weights :) I got the idea for these no-sew functional and fun weights from this pin.

Supplies needed for this project are:
  • (30) flat 3/4" metal washers from the hardware or home improvement store
  • (5) 15 ft spools of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon
  • high-temp glue gun and glue sticks
Hot-glue the washers into sets of 2 and 3 washers to make 12 pattern weights (you'll end up with 6 of each). One 5 foot length of ribbon will cover a stack of two washers, but a stack of three washers requires about 6 feet. Cut two of the ribbon spools into thirds (5 ft lengths) and cut the other three spools in half (7.5 ft lengths). Use a candle lighter to "melt" the cut ends of the ribbons so they won't fray.

Secure one end of a single ribbon to a washer set with the hot glue and begin wrapping by pulling the ribbon up through the center and around the outer edge overlapping the ribbon as you go. When the washers are completely covered trim the ribbon, melt the cut end, and simply secure it with another small bit of hot glue. Be careful because high-temp glue is very hot. Sorry for the lack of photos of these steps, but all my fingers on both hands were very busy holding the ribbon tight and trying not to get burnt with the hot glue! Depending on the strength and dexterity of your hands and fingers you may want to cover half of the weights one day and save the other half for the next day. My hands were really starting to get sore after covering the first 3 or 4 weights.

Naturally, cute pattern weights require an equally cute traveling and storage container, so I used these fun fabrics from my stash to make a zipper bag. Both fabrics are from a recent line called "Mama Said Sew" by Sweetwater for Moda - perfect for this project, huh? The darker fabric is printed like a dictionary page with all sorts of fabric and sewing terms defined, while the lighter fabric says, "Sew Sew Sew..." in a script font.

The pattern I used is Amy Butler's "Origami Bag" from her book Amy Butler's Style Stitches. The "mini" size measures 10.5" inches wide across the bag top (7.5" across the bag bottom), 3" deep, and 3.25" high - just right to comfortably hold these weights.

A decorative charm (from the jewelry making department at JoAnns) on the zipper personalizes and finishes it off perfectly!

The weights are getting a lot of use in her sewing studio classes. She loves them and most of her classmates do too. This useful gift was pretty inexpensive to make (about $20 total for the washers and ribbon) and is so very useful for the sewist in your life. Hobby Lobby carries a huge selection of ribbons (other craft retailers do too) so you can make a set to suit every friend's color and style preferences.

And now I think I need to make myself a set!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

sailboats finish

Yes I'm still here! I've been sewing away on many different projects, but some are top secret gifts and cannot be shared until after Christmas.

But this baby quilt for my newest great-nephew Caleb is now finished and delivered to his new home, so I can share the photos with you. His mother is planning the painting and decorating of his new nursery since moving this summer, and I can't wait to see the photos! For more details on the design and construction of this quilt top read this post.

I had intended to quilt this one myself, but finally caved and sent it out to a long arm quilter. The waves pattern we selected fits the sailboat theme and is a tad beyond what I could have accomplished with my own with my domestic machine. And he isn't going to be a baby for much longer, so I got some help :)

The quilter did a great job centering the pieced back. I like this side almost as much as the front!

In order to have the quilt finished quickly I enlisted the help of a different long arm quilter. Her business is run differently than my usual quilter Carol. I've been spoiled by Carol - she allows clients to come to her house and search through her wide range of thread choices so you can actually see the thread against your quilt top and make the best color choice. Her computerized quilting software also allows her to input the dimensions of your quilt top to create a line diagram of the component blocks and borders. She can then superimpose potential quilting patterns over the diagram so that you get a sense of the pattern's scale. She can then increase or decrease the pattern size to better suit the design of your particular quilt.

The quality of this quilting is very good and I'm pleased with it overall, but I do wish I had been able to see the pattern against the blocks and decrease the scale to better suit the size of the sailboats. Like I said - spoiled.

Lesson learned. I'm not sure if the lesson is to better communicate my needs and wants with a new long arm quilter before contracting with her, or to simply make the decision to have it quilted earlier in the process so I can utilize my usual favorite long arm quilter even though she has a longer waiting list? Probably a bit of both ;)

But thankfully Caleb is unconcerned with the size of the wave quilting!


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