Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sewing For Myself Week 1

Berry Barn Designs

Over the years that I've had my blog, I've sewn and not sewn.  I'd be all hot and heavy with something for a while and then leave my machine for weeks, months with nary a stitch.

I'm not sure what got it all going in the last 6 months, but I suppose it was my newfound enjoyment of sewing with knits, thanks to my sister and the amazing patterns of kitschycoo.  Suddenly, I was a sewing maven and I've really ramped it up in the past month because I took on the role of seamstress for the our local high school Winter Guard.  It's like a percussion//flag corps group that performs and wins prizes, in case you haven't heard of it.  It's often kids who are in marching band and since it takes place in winter, it keeps them active in band after the fall marching season.  Everything they perform is inside, usually in a gym.

They came to me with this and asked if I could whip up a little something like it.  There was a time in the 90s when I made 20 sets of mariachi sleeves for some marimba thing they did but alas, there are no pictures of that extravaganza.  This time, at the first inkling that I might be interested, they provided me with black t-shirts and off I went.  Once I got into the groove, it was like a factory in my sewing room and there's  been nothing but gold and silver all over my sewing room.

And when I say all over, I truly mean ALL.OVER.  I'm like a pig in slop when it comes to sewing and no inch of space is spared from the whirlwind that is fabric and thread. I'm not sure I even breathe when I get into a groove like that.  I turn on a book on tape and hours later, I'm drowning in spent threads and piles of work.

When berrybarndesigns offered a 4x7 sewing challenge for the month of February, I was intrigued.  Her simple guidelines state to spend 30 minutes every day sewing for yourself.  Each week, post what you've done and there will be prizes to win.

Not making crafts for someone else.  Not making costumes for any of your charity groups.  Not tailoring curtains for your neighbor's living room.

Just sew for yourself.

What a concept.  I've never thought of anything like it!  Just sew for ME?  WHAT????

Ok, honestly, most of the sewing I've done since July has been for me, with all of the fabulous knits I've made.  But as I was in the middle of costumes AND it was a snow week (literally 5 snow days in a row!) I jumped on board.

30 minutes a day?  How hard can that be?

And on the first day I got to work and whipped out an adjusted shirt for myself that I've been meaning to take in for like a year.  Bang, 30 minutes, no problem.

The second day, I tackled my sewing machine cover.  I had mentioned to berrybarndesigns that my big goal might be a sewing machine cover because I've never made one for myself and I saw one of hers and really liked the idea.

I went into my sewing room with actual intentions of simply spending 30 minutes trying to do some organizing in my sewing room, rather than actually sewing.  But, the next thing I knew, I had this ugly thing in my hands and I started thinking.

It's a plasticy thing that has kind of lost its niceness over the time I've had it.  It's kind of marked and dirty- weird since I rarely take it out of the house- and it had sort of lost its shape.  As I was wondering what I'd do for fabric, my eyes fell upon this amazing stash of home dec that someone at school had put up for grabs.

Amazing because it's all pretty substantial cuts of nice home dec.  And no one has claimed that they put it out there, so I truly don't know where it came from.  It's so fabulous that my sister actually said "are you sure it was out there for free" when I posted it on instagram.

I actually went back to the lounge to make sure that the sign really said free.  And I didn't take it all, just what I thought I would use.  I'm nice like that, not being greedy.....

I thought I was going to make a patchwork cover.  Probably because I'd seen one online that was patchwork and I liked it.

I started thinking about how complicated I was going to make it, because I sure love to complicate things.  Cut all the squares, put them together neatly, iron, trim.  Sigh.  And then I remembered!

I must have known this was going to be the first star in the stash  because I already had this featured picture in my photos as I started writing this post.

Already made patchwork!  The colors are just so amazing.  I'd like to make an entire wardrobe of this I love it so much.  In my previous life, I would have been Lilly Pulitzer though I think when people actually wear clothes of these colors they look ridiculous.  But for home dec items, especially in a feminine sewing room, it's perfection!

So, I got to work cutting up the plastic cover that came with my machine and then I cut the fabric approximately the same sizes as the pieces.

I knew that I wanted to do a light batting between two fabrics so I could quilt it and I was pretty sure that a soft flannel inside would let it glide right over the machine when I put it on.

I had already decided that everything I do in this 4x7 challenge had to involve my stash and that nothing was to be bought.  Not even thread.  I don't have quite the extensive stash of some people I see on instagram, but I've amassed some peculiar fabrics over time, so this challenge is all about rediscovering those and using them.

I have a very large assortment of pieces of batting left over from quilts.  I always hang onto them thinking I will do something (potholders, it seems) and then nothing ever happens with them.  I was thrilled to have a purpose for some of those pieces.

For the inside, I picked a flannel that I used for a baby quilt ages ago that I wasn't impressed with.  Something about it made me think it would pill and though I never heard from the owner (I can't even remember who I gave it to- how sad!) I suspect it died a slow death over time.  So, I had some scraps left that would be fine for the inside.

No one ever looks at the inside, right?  And that's a good thing because while my serger is in the hospital (going on THREE WEEKS now) I can't do those fabulous finished seams that I am so used to, so I'm really unhappy with the unfinished look of the inside.  I've been so spoiled for all these years having a serger to clean up all those jagged seams!

But no one will care, except for me.

So, I give you my masterpiece.

My favorite part is the detail I made at the opening for the handle but my second favorite is the band at the  bottom.  It was also in the home dec pile and I just think it pulls it all together so well.
I did my signature quilting stitch which is just the widest wave I can do on a pretty big stitch width.  I did it in both directions so it's well quilted.  It works really well for me on small pieces and it really gives a great quilted look.  I did a hot pink thread on both sides and I love how it stands out on some pieces and blends with others.

And, unlike that plastic cover, this can be throw in the wash if I ever deem that it's dirty enough from all the dust it collects.

I like to walk into my sewing room and just look at it.  I really makes me smile every time, especially as the explosion of gold and silver (or the remains of any project I've made) hasn't been cleaned up yet.  Those colors do a lot for me in the doldrums of winter with my oddly gray wardrobe.

I have enough to make a cover for my serger if it ever returns, and I can't wait.  That will be a little tricky because of the shape and because that cover is flimsy plastic so I can't really copy it as easily as I did the first one.

I'll confess that this was more than 30 minutes on one day, but since it was a snow day, I had the time.  It totally made up for the lack of time I had once school was back in session.  It was impossible on a couple of days to take 30 minutes to sew, so I was glad I had done this already!

So, are you ready to join in and give yourself the freedom to sew just for you?  Did I mention that she has PRIZES???  Link up here!

Also linking here: 


  1. Hahaha wow - I would never suspect you a Lily palette lover at all after seeing all those grey dresses ; ) But I love how you made the cover - the opening for the handle is genius - now I wish I'd thought of that when I made mine!

    1. I love the Lily colors but when I see an adult wearing the dresses I just want to barf.

  2. The cover looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love the cover, I keep saying I will make one for my machine, and it just doesn't happen.

    1. I think this happened because until about 2 days before I did it, I had never thought of making my own! It was a very spur of the moment thing when I saw the one on berry barn designs and then when I saw my plastic cover it triggered my plan! If I had been planning, it would be another 10 years before it was actually made!

  4. It turned out great and I really like the band on the bottom too. I can't believe people actually use the sewing machine covers though. I use my machine way too often to deal with covering it up all the time! Then the cover would just be in my way while I'm sewing. I always figured people just tossed those plasticky things away and that was it. I do like this one though.

    1. In the very, very beginning, I used the cover at home but then that stopped and the only time I ever put it on is if I took my machine somewhere. I don't do it often, but I feel like it has to be covered if it goes outside. Weird. I thought I better make the new one before I throw out the old one or I'd never be able to get it the way I wanted it. I put it on for the picture and it stayed until I sewed again and it has remained on a chair in my sewing room since. And it will probably stay there.... But it looks good!

  5. Thanks! I had no trouble finding projects! Doing them and completing them is my issue!

  6. Wonderful project with nice bright colors. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


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