Saturday, September 20, 2014

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy Fishy

I hit the sewing machine this week to make gifts for a certain set of twins who turned one years old recently. I follow a blogger called Lauri, she has a free tutorial how to make fish soft toy. I was definitely inspired by her example. The tutorial has great and easy instructions. The only deviation I planned on having from her instructions is replicating the fish scales on each side – verses just one side like her instructions.

At first I thought I’d use lots and lots of different fabrics, but then I dialed it back. Most of the fabrics came from remnants of their baby quilts. I did decide to flip the fabrics for either side of the fish toy. You can see it better than I am explaining

Things were going great - I wasn’t rushing the project, I wasn’t being overtly sloppy. Hell I even cleaned my sewing machine first – LOOK! Ewww, that’s a dirty-dirty little sewing machine!

BUT I did forget to closely inspect my work and I ended made some mistakes. Oi vey…. Well luckily I only made them on one of the fish, I learned my lesson and double checked my work on the second fishy.

I finished the fishes with minimal heart ache and blood loss. It’s such an easy project I can’t recommend it enough for newbies. So I like it but then again I don’t…. Do you think they look weird?

I think the main problem I have with it was that I put too much batting into the scales. Yea, maybe that was it. Now I just need to ask myself, are they good enough or should I redo them?

Things I learned:

  • Always try new things, it’s how you learned.
  • Make a tester when starting a new project, it will help mitigate errors.
  • Watch those rounded edges. I may need to learn a thing or two about that.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Tote Bag That Took Me Down

It’s been a rough week.  I've been grouchy and snappy. There’s been a lack of sleep and when I do sleep it’s been laced by horrific, scary nightmares which has resulted in me having a super negative attitude. On Wednesday evening I thought “Maybe I should do some sewing, it might just make me feel better.” Oh boy, was I ever wrong and if I knew how wrong I was I would have just gone and did the dishes instead. I went to my Pinterest page and looked around for inspiration. I saw this tote bag that I've wanted to do for a while now. I thought it was the perfect project; it had new techniques that I thought were only slightly challenging. Oi….

This may be the only tip I have to give back: I don’t bother printing patterns, I trace them off the screen. I set my adobe reader to full screen view at 100%. Then just trace it on some notebook paper. I just think it easier, but I guess the biggest motivator for this methodology is became I don’t have a home printer. ;) So that was the first step, tracing, cutting and taping it together.  I'm sure someone already figured this out already, but did you?

After that I picked this strange fabric I got from somewhere… (from its horrible condition, maybe the dumpster?). I have never been sure what do with it cause it is full of stains, splatters, and tears. Seriously why has this yard of fabric been so torn up? Was it used in a garage somewhere?
Anyways, I cut it out and was thinking I’d try a couple of things. You know how they always say clip rounded corners my quick solution is to use my pinking shears to do that. Is that wrong? I was hoping to find out

Alright, things are going good. Got the pattern made, cut it out, now step #2…. darts …. Whatever those are…. I guess I am quasi familiar with what they are. I mean hello, I watch project runway – I've heard that term before, but uhm… how do it you do them. The instructions were just, put in darts. So I had to go the internet and find someone who could teach me. Well here’s the thing I hate, you’d think that places like would be the place to find easy instructions but there has never been a time that Crafty has been able to communicate to me. I love bloggers because I can relate. I found this page called Coletterie. Whoever wrote the blog post about darts was great, they made it easy to understand for me. NOW here is once again I flex my maverick muscle and just can’t follow instructions. They talked about leaving some of the thread and tying a knot with it. Why? Just back stitch right? I don’t get it and I will not put that much work (unless I get good at hand sewing soon) into something simple unless it’s absolutely necessary. So darts were one of the first things that took me down – I kept sewing them reversed and my seam ripper got a workout that night.

Well, I won’t get too into it, but as the project progressed, things got worst. I think there was a combination of being tired and headstrong that resulted in error followed by error. I wasn't paying attention to the instructions and instead choose to just bully my way through it. Sewing is about patience something I have lost and maybe I’m looking to get it back. But this wasn't the time for a lesson in patience … or was it? Anyways, I guess I got upset because all my meticulous prep work was lost when I sewed the pieces together wrong, I couldn't pull them apart because of the flimsy nature of this fabric. Instead of pulling apart it just ripped. Dumb Dumb – should have paid attention. Le sigh….

I guess I was so disappointed because I lined up my strips so nicely I really wanted this to work out. And now… this will probably become rag (Which is probably what it was to begin with).

Day 2. I decided to not let the previous failures get me down and try again. I was going to pay more attention to the instructions. Work smarter and not harder this time. I went to cut the same fabric but… this pattern uses more fabric than I thought. I only had enough for “one more piece.” So back to the crap bag of fabric and I remember I only got a little bit of this drapery-crap fabric left so that’s perfect. Things definitely went better this time… except… I forgot or missed turning the interior fabric RST before sewing together. So other than the fact that my interior fabric is reversed it turned out okay. I looked at the fabric and thought that the fabric could handle a stronger top stitch. I think it’s cute-ish in a way. Sometimes I look at it and see prom dress top.

So one last try today - Get it right, behave and conform. This time was for real-real, I decided to use fabrics that I love. Alright I love it, finally. This time I used the scraps from the interior curve to make four pockets, two of each prints. Like the green bag, I used different top stitch, I’m not sure I love it but its okay. There are things I like about this. I lined up my pockets with the prints expertly. The final decision on the top stitch pattern I’m on the fence about. I wanted something architectural and have some structure to match the print.

Things I learned after getting knocked down:
  • Darts are an interesting creature. They require precision. Sloppy Darts = Extra and unexpected darts.
  • Don’t be sad Davey, sometimes life is hard but you managed to get through this self-imposed obstacle.
  • I swear, this pattern is needless complex. I’m pretty sure that that you could sew up the straps and just pull everything out an opening in the bottom of the bag. Right? Right? Does anyone know? Seriously, should I try it?
  • Patterns, textures, and color – you never know what will work so just try it.