Saturday, 10 October 2009

Zips and other things

Back in May 2009, when I was writing this article for Sew, Mama, Sew! I initially started by trying to think of one item that I could make that would utilise every sewing foot...I quickly scrapped trying to tackle it that way and instead ended up using old photos that happened to capture different techniques being demonstrated (or attempted in the case of my rather sorry free-motion embroidery). However, one photo of the discarded pencil case (for that was the item that I decided could cope with such over-footedness) I did use in the article (see below) as it demonstrated well how utterly indispensable and fiercely fine a walking foot can in keeping things aligned and in their intended place.

Anyway, the pencil case (which used the zipper foot, walking foot, quarter inch foot, open toe applique foot, and a standard foot...horay...I find that so thrilling, but have no idea why) looks like this and sat in a box for some time quite forgotten about, until someone spotted its peeky slices of fabric and asked if I could make her several to give as teacher's gifts for Christmas (as it's currently October, I am rather awestruck by the fabulousness of this lovely girl's organisation on such matters!).

Oh walking foot, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

So here are the pencil cases all lined up and ready to go...the zip colours make me think of rolls of refreshers, so soft, pastelly and happy.

These ones are without the embroidery, as strangely the customer in question didn't have at the forefront of her mind the need for me to use all possible sewing feet in the construction of her pencil cases, and so was happy for them to be left plain.

And finally today is an extra specially good day for us, having narrowly avoided awfulness. On the way home from meeting family for lunch, we were driving along a fast country lane when a deer appeared from nowhere in front of us...as I started to do an emergency stop, three further deer also ran quickly across our path one after the other - it was utterly horrifying for every time I thought we might just miss one another appeared...it felt an absolute miracle that we managed not to hit any and the last only escaped by an inch or so. But as everything seemed to happen in such slow motion my over-riding memory is of how utterly beautiful they were seen so close up - a perfect pale grey down with dappled white spots covering their sides - they looked so serene even in their fright and we carried on our journey feeling that all of us had been rather lucky (apart from Dinosaur-boy who stayed asleep throughout having eaten enough chocolate ice-cream at lunch to allow him to happily hibernate for the rest of the year without the need to surface).

Oh and I must also show you these lovelies which were delivered by the postman a couple of weeks ago - the most beautifully scented lavender bags, filled from this blogger's own garden's supply and I am in love with the fabric - thank you Pomona!

They are now nestled between my winter jumpers, minus one, which Zebra-girl quickly snaffled up for herself.
Wishing you a lovely weekend. x

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rainy day stitching

The above was something of a peg bag emergency for me, if there can be such a thing. One of my loveliest local customers asked if she might call round to pick up a doorstop that she'd seen on my website...and would it be possible to make her a peg back to collect at the same time. I was in the middle of making a kimono at the time, so the room was rather a thready mess of material that the overlocker was spitting at me (because who actually remembers to attach the thread catcher before starting work), so it was a challenge to clear enough thread-free space to start working on something else entirely.

I'm sure if I'd not had a deadline to work to I could have spent several hours drafting and redrafting a peg bag pattern, but as I only had 1.5 hours to draft and make it, it put an end to any such procrastination and dilly-dallying and made me uncommonly decisive. It was one of those wonderful days when the bias-binding behaved so well that it was almost as if it had bound itself and I'm now dreaming up projects just for the excuse of using more of it.

The kimono is now nearly finished (the making of it having been punctuated by several smaller projects as well as the peg bag) and I have several bags to share just as soon as I'm sure that they have been received. Below is a custom order for an owly pencil roll.

I was particularly delighted to find a Jennifer Paganelli fabric that seemed to me to have obvious owly eyes within its floral pattern.

The little pink and gold tray that it's on, I am quite in love with - purchased at an antiques fair a couple of weekends ago, the lady told me it had belonged to her grandmother. As a sentimental hoarder it always amazes me that people are able to part with these things, so I amused myself by imaging that the grandmother in question might have been a fearsome old dragon who was best forgotten...but her china tray feels so happy I'm not sure that can be true.

Anyway, it's now hideously rainy, so I am planning an afternoon of cosy, central-heated stitching finishing up a few orders and then tomorrow will perhaps venture outside to buy some wool suiting for a dress that I'm about to start work on - I'm most excited about this - it will be my sister's Christmas present and, having become more attached to my overlocker over the last few months, and also having bought this book, which teaches some of the basics of dressmaking that I had previously been guessing at, there's nothing I'd rather be doing. Thus far my sister seems to have been the sole recipient of my dressmaking attempts (yes, the latter found a home with my sister and she has worn it so frequently that the material is now beginning to bobble. How pleasing...sort of), then I am also now drawing up designs for myself, that may or may not see the light of day depending on how this third attempt goes.

Thank you so much for the cushion love of the last post by the way...just in case anyone wanted to make something similar, if I had access to it (I don't - in the colours I wanted this was the only width of velvet I could get purchase, but who knows what vintage lovelies you might have in your own sewing drawers) then I would use much, much wider strips of ribbon and think that this would go a long way to making it a less stressful, impish project.