Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sewing For Myself Week #3

Berry Barn DesignsWell, what a week this has been.

When I decided to do 4x7 sewing challenge,  I thought 30 minutes a day of sewing time would be easy to work into my routine.  Hardy ha ha ha ha hah.

It was a breeze the first week, when I had snow days up the wazoo.

The second week proved impossible but I made up for my time on the weekend.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to find 30 extra minutes for fun sewing time.

The third week was vacation, so I thought it would be just like my snow week.

Fat chance.

You might recall my serger disaster a month ago.  That's right, a whole month ago.  I was in the middle of making these band uniforms when my serger came to a screaming halt.  Actually it was a big clunk and then a halt.  And I sat completely speechless for about a whole minute and then went to the local place that can repair them.

A whole entire month later, I finally got it back.  All I had left to do at the point was sew up the side seams and make the dreaded hoods.  I could have done both without the serger but I knew it would look so much more finished with serged seams.  Plus, that hood needs to be super stretchy, and only a serger can get the right effect.

 I was so thrilled to have it back.  No only did she fix the looper that was broken, she replaced the bulb and the little holder at the back for 2 of the spools.  It broke off as I put it in the car and I figured  I could live without it, but for a reasonable price, I was able to get a new one.

So, I sat down Saturday to get serging and spent the next hour or more threading, rethreading, swearing, almost screaming, rethreading, bribing, swearing, almost crying.  And then completely giving up.

I was ready to drive right back to the store and demand that someone fix it right then, not some time over the next month.  But, I hoped it would just magically cure itself overnight.

And it did.  So off I went sewing all of the side seams and the hoods, lickety split.  Except it wasn't so lickety split because I needed to get more of the hood fabric but there was a snow day, so I had to wait.

And we had a concert to attend one of the nights.

Eventually, all 23 hoods and shirts were done!

 They opted to take away the red belt and swinging piece.  That was the only part of the costume I really like and it was my favorite to make.  I had made a little channel for the red part to hang down and be able to move freely.

But, it was a lot less work without it and definitely saved them a lot of money.
23 hoods tops off the box and off they went.  Now to get a picture of them in action!

So, I could finally focus on myself for the rest of the week.

Except that I forgot to mention the little class I was teaching at the cultural center every morning.  This summer, my friend and I are putting on a fashion show of silk clothing that she had painted and designed.    She wants to have some kids in the show.  So we got this harebrained idea to teach them how to paint and then sew.

And it was a fantastic class and the kids were great.  But it ate up 3 hours of every morning all week.

And then we had a visit from Beanster at the end of the week, which was fun but took up more hours of daylight time.

I prefer to sew in daylight because it's warmer and brighter in my sewing room.  No matter the light situation, at night, I just don't have good light in there.

In any case, I managed to make up for the lack of 30 minutes a day by spending many more minutes when I had the time.  I think I had all of the HST squares cut and ironed last week, so this week, I had to decide what to do about the background.  Remember, I wasn't supposed to buy anything for this 4x7 challenge because I wanted to use up things I already had in my stash.

It so happens that I had a sheet left over from a project I did.  I like to use sheets sometimes in a quilts, which I know is somehow cheating.  I just like the firmness of the fabric.  With a million HSTs that are all slippery and off sized, nice solid sheet material was a welcome relief for stability.

So, one night, while I wasn't sewing, I pressed the sheet, which was a major accomplishment for that day.
Then I had to determine the size of my HST squares.  It turns out that because I didn't use a pattern and made up the sizes, my squares are 3 7/8 inches.  That's not too random.....  So I cut all of my squares from the sheet another night, having to count and do weird math to make it right.

I hope I have enough white because I'm sure I have no idea what the brand of sheet was so I can't get another exact one.

Finally, I got all of my clipped rows and got to work.  To try to maintain some organization, after I laid out the squares last week, I numbered clothespins and clipped each row with the first square on top being the left side of the row.  It's my answer to the little alphabittles I've seen.

This worked really well until I forgot to check off a row on my self made pattern and thought I had miscounted and almost had a disaster.  Must check off row by row!

Pressing as I go is unheard of when I sew.  I can't use an iron in my sewing area, and running up and down stairs with projects in tow is no fun, so I usually do a lot of moving, poking and prodding, but not ironing.

I'm determined to do this one the right way, so up and down I've been going, pressing, pinning, sewing, pressing some more.

And so far, I love how it's coming together.  It's just so huge!!  I think this might be the first time I've ever made a quilt and haven't seen it get smaller as I make it.  I swear it's growing wider and wider!

I will confess that I haven't trimmed a single square.  I can't figure out how to trim things without making everything much worse, so I just wiggle and coax the fabric and hope it all lines up.  I worry that I will think I have just the right template and then cut everything wrong.

As I write this, I realize I have no idea what I'm going to do for batting or the backing.  I'm not supposed to buy anything new, I declared.  And I have tons and tons of leftover batting pieces but I always hear that piecing batting is a recipe for screaming and swearing.  And I don't know if I have anything big enough to back this mother.  Even in many pieces.

Time for the extra creativity to pop out right about now!

Linking here:


  1. What a big project those uniforms sound like!! I replaced two zippers in jackets for young boys -- they were donated to our local ministry outreach center and except for the broken zippers were in good condition, but oh, my goodness!! I'm glad I quilt for a living, not do alterations!!

    I put batting scraps together frequently -- have 3 different strategies for doing it -- e-mail me at and I'll share them with you rather than take up lots of space here!

  2. Thanks, I will contact you because I'd love to figure out how to blend the batting pieces I have!

  3. Phew! What a week! You are a saint for making those costumes. And I agree with Mary that there are some easy ways to Frankenstein your batting (I actually did for my heart mini!). As long as they're the same type of batting, I just butt the ends together and wide zigzag stitch them to join.

    1. Yep, I'm hearing more and more about just butting the batting together and making it work. I'm only concerned that it might be a problem because it's possibly going to be a usable quilt and not just a wall hanging. I'll have to figure it out as I finish!

    2. Once you quilt it, it will be fine. The woman I learned it from does it all the time, especially with baby quilts (to use up small scraps) and they get washed and used and hold up. Just as long as you don't plan to tie it eight inches apart or something, you'll be fine!

  4. I love it when the triangles work properly and don't lose their fine tip at the top! I'm picky like that but not picky enough to rip it out and fix it. Just picky enough to notice and wish they were all just so.

  5. The HST's are coming together quite well. I generally don't trim mine either -- too much work.

  6. Wow, that's a lot of work. I love the quilt blocks. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above's Link Party. Look for the new party up tonight.
    Have a great week.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above


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