Friday, November 22, 2013

It's a Jolly Holiday at SSG

As you can see, the holidays are in full swing here at SSG and it's hard to get a second to sit down and have a chance to put our projects onto paper.  We spent this past weekend getting ready for the
holidays by putting our two Christmas trees up.  I know some of you are thinking that it is too early for a Christmas tree, but if they didn't go up then, it would never happen.  We host the holidays for our families so this next weekend will be spent shopping for Thanksgiving and getting the house ready.  We have to move furniture to bring in tables for the horde coming Thanksgiving day.  I think this year's head count is around 28 people but we wouldn't have it any other way.  Both sides of the family attend and it is a night full of food and laughter.  It takes a lot of time but we love to do it.  It is one of my favorite times of the year because we are all together and just have a wonderful time.  I will be sure to post some pictures of the "Event."

I also spent some time this weekend designing our Christmas card using our V6 software.  I got the design done and stitched out a demo.  After looking at it, I decided it should be in color.  I stopped by Strawberry Patches yesterday after work to get some thread and fabric to do the final stitch out.  I am very excited to see the final project and think it is going to look GREAT!  

I've also spent some time thinking about the Christmas coffee sleeves and how I can get them to stitch out perfectly.  I have some ideas, now it is just about getting them into the V6 software and running some practice stitch outs.  I have some grand ideas for these and hope they will come out as good as they look in my head.

Ben has been busy working on his king size quilt.  He has finished the top, now it's just making the quilt sandwich, quilting it and binding it.  I hope he has a bit of time this weekend to get some more of it done.  I am so proud of him because this quilt is going to be beautiful.

I have been busy trying to get some runners completed.  I realized we have a lot of Christmas decor and would like to kick it up a notch or two.  Santa has officially taken over our home and I'm sure he would love to have something beautiful to rest upon.  I hope I have these done in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.

I also received a pattern book (Sewing Modkid Style by Patty Young) I ordered from Modkids designs this week.  I was so excited because it has some wonderful patterns that all use knits.  I can't wait to try my skills at knits and make some cute clothes for my nieces.  Knits can be tough to use, but I think with some practice, my girls will be the best looking girls in school.

Till next time...

Friday, November 15, 2013

I might be bias.

When we decided to purchase the new machine I also bought some fabric for my first quilt.  I am not one to start out with something easy (boring), so I decided to use a twist tool to make something a little different.  These are some of the steps and pictures of my first go at quilt making.

The first step was to decide on a pattern.  Instead of finding a pattern online, I decided to design my own.  I used excel to design the pattern and also used it to calculate the final size.  I purchased four different fabrics, so I made the design and gave each fabric a number.  I wanted to have some of the colors pop so I ultimately decided on this design.

I started cutting my squares out.  I needed 5x5 squares for the twist tool that I was using.  I probably cut 300 total because I wasn't paying attention at first and now the extras are in with all of our scrap pieces.  We use these to test different stitches and to run practice embroidery designs.

The next step in my plan was to sew all my pieces together.  I went a little crazy trying to keep all of the squares in order and pressing the seams all the same way.  It's something you really have to think about because sometimes you're looking at your rows upside down and backwards.  The beginning part of the quilt was quite large.  I would lay it across my table and, from there, I could see the pattern taking shape and make sure all my squares were in the right position to complete the pattern correctly.  There were a few rows I had to seam rip and redo but I thankfully caught them and made the corrections.  You can see in this picture that it wasn't fully sewn together yet.

This pictures shows the pattern from a different angle and you can see the different fabrics.  This was the mid-point to finishing my quilt topper.  I could have used this for my quilt but since I decided to use the twist tool, it was time to cut my project up again.

The next step in my quilt making process was to cut out the twisted blocks.  At every intersection of four squares, the twist tool is laid down and the square is cut out.  This started to become very confusing and I had to take a step back a few times and make sure everything was coming out correctly.  I cut the squares out two rows at a time, stacked them all in the order they were cut.  It was very important to keep them all in order as to keep the final pattern flowing correctly.

This is the first two rows sewn together.  If you look at the first intersection of four squares on the right, you can see the first pinwheel that was formed using the twist tool.  The final project has 13 pinwheels across.  I cut all of my twisted squares out and gave them all a row number.  I decided to buckle down and get them all sewn.  This is a picture of two rows left to sew.  You can see that it is kind of dark in our sewing room.  I am an early bird and this is what I would do in the morning to get my project finished.  I would log a good hour or two in the morning trying to complete my quilt top.

I finally got everything sewn together and added my border fabric.  I picked out this dark grey color to make the lighter colors of the pattern stand out.  I wanted to try and have my embroidery machine do all of the quilting for me since it was my first quilt but I decided to use the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) and a freehand stipple stitch.  It was tricky at first but once I had the hang of it, I zoomed right along.  A stipple stitch is a zig-zag stitch that doesn't have a real pattern to it.  It is just a continuous curving line that never connects with itself.  I first drew my lines on the front of the quilt.  After all the stippling lines were drawn on, I made my quilt sandwich (quilt top, layer of batting, backing).  These get all pinned together so they don't slide during the quilting process.  I used the BSR to trace my stippling lines and this was the finished product at that point.  You can see the stippling lines from the top view (left) and bottom view (right).

The final step to completing the quilt was to make the bias binding.  To cut on the bias means to cut the fabric on a 45 degree angle.  When fabric is cut on the bias, it has a little bit of stretch to it.  I chose a coral color that compliments the coral on the quilt top.  This was all my bias strips sewn together.  You can see Duchess wanted in on some bias tape action.  I didn't know at the time but putting the bias binding on a quilt is not that easy.  By the end of my binding experience I was frustrated and just wanted it to be over.  Needless to say, I am going to need some practice in this department.  Now I just have to go into my scrap bag and put some binding time in.  

I think the quilt turned out well for my first go at it.  I got to use a lot of the features on the sewing machine, practiced lining up my seams and got to use the BSR on a real project.  I am already looking for my next project to start.  I have a few little things I have been thinking of and want to try to make my nieces some type of outfit.  I found a few cute patterns and might give that a go this weekend, if I can find some time.  
You can see here Roger loving it, but we might be bias! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Did someone say pajamas?

We have been quiet here at Seams for the past week but, rest assured, we have been busy sewing, among other things.  One would think that writing a blog doesn't take much time, but it feels like every time I sit down to write, something comes up.  Now I have some time, I might get a few posts written.  Ben and I both both enjoy our quilt projects but we would really like to get into making our work clothes.  This post is about our first "clothes" making experience.

Ben found a pattern for pajama pants and we found some fun fabric by Robert Kaufman.  I don't know if you all are like us, but once we are home from work, it's work clothes off and pajama pants on.  I think the fabrics are funny and indicative of our personalities.  Ben picked out the birds and I picked the cups.

Ben completed his before I did but we had such a busy week the week of Halloween, I decided I was going to spend my Sunday sewing.  I had already pre-washed my fabric so I ran a quick iron on it and started my cutting.  The pattern is really simple.  There is a total of 4 pieces and just a few seams.  I also had a chance to use the button hole program on our sewing machine and it couldn't be any easier.  I was laughing because I put in my inner leg and crotch seams and confused myself really bad.  I kept looking at the pajamas wondering how I was going to get two legs out of it.  After 10 minutes of confusing myself and not understanding Ben's explanation, I finally figured it out.  It was a good laugh for me.  I did the hem in the waist and added some elastic and a strip of bias tape to make a tie.  

Like I said, Ben finished his pajamas a little while ago and he mentioned that he wished he had pockets in them.  Well that gave me the idea and chance to put pockets in mine.  I improvised a pocket pattern and did my best to put them in.  Well...they function as pockets, but they are a little low and don't really look that good.  I can say for our first go at pajamas and clothing for that matter everything came out well.  They are very comfortable and that is what matters most.  My family was over for on Sunday so I had my mom take a picture of us in our pajama pants.  Fifteen pictures and three photographers later this is the best one we got.

This is not the best picture but it makes me smile and I hope it leaves you smiling too.