Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Sewing Finish

In spite of the directions, I managed to finish my teddy bear today.

Yesterday's post addressed the issues I had with the directions for the front of the bear (ears, hands, 2 front body pieces, and embroidering the face).

Last night I worked on the back—the two back pieces, and the leg paws. Then I redid the leg paws today. I'm still not happy, but am not enough of a sewer to know a better way to do this.

So, those legs. The directions simply state "Sew the feet paw accent pieces onto each leg following step 2c instructions." Step 2c refers to the ears, "Fold the bottom of the ear accent pieces under 1/4" and press. Position the ear accent pieces right-side-up over the ears on the right side of the bear front. Topstitch in place to close the fold."

This was how I did the ears. The bottom if topstitched down, the rounded top was topstitched, which was then sewn into the hem when the front and back were attached.

But this made no sense for the feet. Topstitch down when the leg seams are already sewn? How is that physically possible, unless sewing by hand? ON top of it, the foot paw accent pieces are huge.

First, I tried sewing them on, trimming the excess fabric that did not fit into the smallish foot opening. This resulted in two very different sized paw accents. Oops!

I ripped, and re-cut the foot accent. This time I basted around the paw accent, tightening up the piece. I then pinned it in, intentionally creating puckers. Which worked, but resulted in these puffy feet.

Interestingly, the photo in the book shows no topstitching on the ears or the foot accents. It must have been sewn an earlier version of the pattern. Apparently the text was not updated.

This was intended to be a Christmas present for my aunt. I am a little frustrated by the ugly puffy feet, but have a few months to sit on this idea.

Bear back

Linked to:
Sew Darn Crafty
Fabric Tuesday 100

Monday, August 13, 2012

Plodding through a difficult pattern...

Well, in spite of a day and a half of frustration, he is looking cute. The pattern is Teddy Bear from Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces.

I cannot find any errata online for this book. None of the patterns even show up in a search on Pattern Review!

So far:
• The pattern calls for 3/4 yard of the main fabric. I had a yard (the minimum purchase at Sew Modern for a 40% off fabric), and I still could not get my pieces on at the same angle for the pattern—but it is pretty close. The book example shows a directional print, so obviously someone took the time to line it up right—but they had more than 3/4 yard!
• There are no grain lines shown on the pattern
• Front and back pieces are both labelled back
• The pocket pattern piece shows a dart. Which is not mentioned in the directions. Now that I have the pocket on, I see the point of the dart. I have already ripped this off once though, because the directions' idea of "bottom" and my idea were different. I am not sure the pieces would survive another taking apart. See bullets 1 and 2 above.
• There are no hints as to where the face should be embroidered. I am really bad at this sort of thing. I think my eyes might not be in the same place

I am finished with the front. And am proceeding very slowly.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Owl Eyes Mini Quilt

Last weekend (August 5) I took an all-day workshop with Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! at Sew Modern. I have been so excited for this class--I actually called and signed up as soon as I got the email announcement. And then made various piles of my scraps. And moved them around. And started over. And changed my mind again. And so forth.

Owl Eyes mini quilt
In the class we started two mini versions of quilts from Elizabeth's book Modern Patchwork: Owl Eyes and Looptastic. These two quilts use very different methods of applique. I prefer the method used in Owl Eyes (at least for constructing the quilt top—the quilting was difficult!). So I also managed to get that mini finished up today.

Backing/binding fabric

I ended up using Insul-Bright as the batting in this quilt, because I am going to use it as a hot pad on my kitchen counter. I have been thinking of making something like this for months, as when the 12-year-old makes cookies and I am making dinner, I always end up with too many hot things for my stovetop, and my poor formica counter can't take anything. Which means I end up making a mishmash of cork trivets and potholders to handle the bar cookie pan or whatever i think might be the coolest of the hot things.

For the quilting I did a simple random free motion loop. Which got to be a bit messy, because every time I stitched up onto the appliques, the machine would slow down. I don't know if this is because of the applique layers, or the zigzag applique stitch itself, or the Insul-Bright. But I chose to not stress about the resulting large stitches. If I had, I would still be working on this.

My quilting needs more practice—an ongoing theme
There is not much cooking going on these days, however. It has been 85° in the kitchen every afternoon lately. Not that that stopped me from having the iron on....

Around the shoot

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Elizabeth Hartman Workshop

Last weekend I took a workshop with Elizabeth Hartman , from Oh, Fransson! In one day we started two mini quilts of two designs (Owl Eyes and Looptastic) from her Modern Patchwork book.

It was a great day--nice people, fabric-y goodness, awesome irons at Sew Modern (for those of us using an iron with no steam while waiting for a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon to show up...yup that's me), and no kids begging for food.

Me with my Owl Eyes mini and Elizabeth!
These two quilts use very different methods for the applique. I prefer Owl Eyes myself, thus it will definitely be finished. I have actually promised at Amy's One Week One Thing Challenge.

I even know what this mini is going to be! I have been meaning to make an insulated mat to sit on my (formica) counter. I don't have enough space on my cooktop to cook and have cookies and a roast sitting there too, cooling. So, this is it. Perfect size, and I thought of it in time to put Insul-Bright in as the batting. Yay!