An apron for Christmas?

Remember back earlier this fall when I was babbling about aprons a lot? (Probably not.) I muddled my way through trying to explain how to make an apron out of one or two rectangles gathered to a waistband. Turns out BurdaStyle has published, in its December issue, a full-apron pattern much like the ones I was describing, and the pattern is available for free download. Really, it’s just the instructions, no pattern pieces to trace, because everything is a rectangle or square. They suggest using a fabric with a border print, which would look very cute, but a regular fabric would work well too and use a little less fabric. It’d be a good gift for that cook in your life, or a great way to use up a yard of “what the heck did I buy this for” fabric.

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FYI

Just so you know, you can get most of the Rit dye off your hands with a bar of Lava soap. Of course, wearing rubber gloves without undetected holes in them might have been a better approach.

I was over-dyeing a pair of jeans, so the dark blue gives my cuticles a pleasantly goth aspect. If I want to be a zombie this year for Halloween, I now know how to do my hands.

The bricoleur makes a laptop sleeve

When I was in college I took a literature course which discussed the effect of technology on art. I’d been a science and history person, not a literature person, so when it came time to write my term paper I flailed around a little. I ran into this term, which apparently was being used in English lit at the time, of bricolage and the bricoleur. From the French, it literally means, making something out of what you have around, using things for other than their original intended purpose. Lit theorists were using these terms in the metaphorical sense, to describe a piece of literature which doesn’t necessarily use a traditional form, but pulls together bits and pieces and uses them untraditionally to achieve an unexpected effect. I was captured by this idea and used it in my paper – which got a decent but not stellar grade, from what I recall, because my professor didn’t think I’d explored the implications of the idea deeply enough.

Anyway, this long exegesis is all to say that the idea of bricolage has stuck with me, and as much as I wish I were a disciplined sewist, I’m not – I tend to flit around and explore ideas, and get impatient at too much prep work. So maybe I’m a bricoleur sewer, and I’m starting to be OK with that.

The last time I’d been at FabMo I brought home a pre-quilted remnant, finished on both sides. When I was pre-bricoleuring (ha) in my sewing area recently, staring at pieces and patterns and trying to decide what to work on next, it occurred to me that this piece might work well as a laptop cover for my newish laptop. In the end, I had plenty of width but barely enough depth, so it ended up being a simple sleeve. I bound the edge with a strip of quilting cotton pressed and folded like bias tape. I considered several ways to make a velcro closure, or ties, or a loop and button, but for now I’m just going to leave it as this – I’m imagining it’ll rarely get carried on its own this way, but put into a larger bag, so I’ll wait and see if I actually need a closure at all.

laptopsleeve

Pins, John

My parents visited last week, and my mom came to town with a half-finished clothespin bag for me. I’d been wanting to make a new one, because my two old ones are half-shredded and barely hanging on. Of course, as my mom and I often do with sewing projects, we ended up making the whole thing much more complicated. I’d picked up some kids’-sized hangers at the thrift store with the idea to use them as a base for a clothespin bag, so we ended up using that hanger for mine, and the smaller hanger from her old bag for hers. Also, I decided to line mine with another fabric, and she had enough of the farmyard conversation print to partially line hers. The shape is pretty simple, with a hole finished with bias tape.

pinbag

This would be a great project for a beginning sewer, or for using up some of your scraps. You could make it any size you wanted as long as it fit the hanger you were using. And if you don’t have a hanger and can’t find a kids’ hanger, you can use a regular wire hanger and just cut off the ends with a pair of snips.

Sew Grateful week and my new mixer cover

Sew Grateful week is in full swing over at My Happy Sewing Place. There have been a lot of giveaways and great posts linked, so check it out if you haven’t already. I wanted to participate in my own small way, in order to say thank you to everyone in the sewing corners of the intertubes. Your blogs, photos, tutorials, threads and posts have been the single most important factor in improving my sewing. there are many kind and helpful people who have been my mentors in many ways. And there are a lot of handy tutorials out there for free, including this one to make a Kitchen Aid mixer cover from Heart of Mary.

mixer cover

I had a prequilted remnant in the stash from a FabMo distribution a few months ago, so instead of quilting as she tells you in the tutorial, I just used her pattern pieces to cut up and sew the cover pieces. That meant that everything went together quickly, especially since I chose to omit the bias binding on the seams because my version wasn’t going to be reversible anyway. The cover turned out pretty good, although I wonder if my mixer is smaller than the original one for the pattern, because the cover is plenty big. Or maybe it’s just droopy because of the difference in fabric. In any case, I’ve got a new mixer cover. Cost: gas for a trip to FabMo, a little thread, and the ink to print out a few pages. Score!

Make & Mend is off to a grand start

This weekend I: fixed the zipper seam on two skirts, fixed the hem on two more, and restitched a crotch seam on a pair of PJ pants. I am embarrassed to say how long some of these garments had been waiting around for me to mend them.

I also hemmed the one unfinished edge of an embroidered linen remnant from my recent sewing gals get-together. Voila, instant tablecloth. (Table also featuring the roses my husband got me for our anniversary two weeks ago, which are showing their age.)

I also finished a small quilt top, but I’ll post about that separately once I get photos taken.
Tonight there’s hockey, so I hope to get some buttons sewn on while I watch, and keep the streak going.
Yes, I do tend to work in manic bursts of speed balanced out by long stretches of sloth, why do you ask?

Happy spring!

This blog has been woefully ignored for too long. Although I haven’t been sewing a lot, I have been creative. My sartorial interests have been sated by shopping – thrifts and sales – and making outfits. And then there’s my writing, which is taking up an increased amount of my time and energy. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but sometimes I wish I had fewer interests.

So many people seem to have one main hobby, and let’s be honest ,with our lives these days, if we have a job and/or a family that’s all we really have time for. For me right now it’s less about time than about focus, and the quality of creative energy.

Is that what I should be blogging about? I love reading Myrna’s posts on similar topics but I’m not sure I have it in me to be so fearlessly honest. (Can’t find the link to her blog right now, and I’m hoping I remember her name correctly!)

One finished object, since there hasn’t been one in a while – a farmyard blanket/playmat for my niece, who just had her first birthday.

This was super-simple – the farm side was a John Deere preprinted fleece panel; the back is two lengths of John Deere-themed flannel seamed together, and the whole thing was sewn right sides together and then turned out through a gap, which was then topstitched. Super-simple, washable and (hopefully) durable.