Tuesday, December 15, 2015

First sewing success

I think it important to occasionally focus on the positive outcomes, instead of only griping about bad taxi rides or subway trips.  Indeed, I certainly ought to be more positive in general, though that would require a personality transplant.

Anyway, by 1 pm on Sunday, I had managed to get the groceries done and put one more strand of outdoor lighting up and we had the indoor Christmas tree up.  (Actually, I really ought to have taken a photo of the Christmas tree lot near the store, since it was quite impressive, but I never went by except after dark.  Now people have decided it is time to decorate and there weren't that many trees left.)  Our tree is an artificial one that we have had for roughly 15 years.  I mostly let the kids decorate it, though (for now) I am the only one tall enough to put the angel on the top.  I think it turned out pretty well.

After a bit of a break, my daughter and I set out for Withrow Park to see how it would take us under normal circumstance to get there.  Basically 20 minutes, which gives her just a bit of time to change into her skates at the rink.  I may have to make it 25 minutes the first couple of times just in case.  So unfortunately, I won't be getting a lot of rest on Saturday until mid March.  Anyway, she practiced a bit with the sledge, and we might be able to get one more practice run in closer to the holidays.

I decided it was finally time to break out the sewing machine.  I did a few more tests and then pinned up the curtains I wanted to sew together.  I actually didn't have that much trouble on the first side, but the second side was just torture.  The thread kept snapping and other times it would just get snarled up.

I was really dreading what I had gotten myself into with all this fabric (that I ostensible will use at some point for a quilt top).  I decided that since I still had the black thread in the machine, I would sew the leaves onto this stuffed apple I wanted to make.

Somewhat surprisingly, this went quite well.  I actually had a very nice leaf pattern that my daughter drew, so I cut 2 leaves out of felt.

As nice as the pattern is, there are far too many veins, given the fact that the leaves will be on the outside and bulged out a bit due to the stuffing inside.  Anyway, sewing them on took almost no time at all, and the thread didn't snap once.  (I added 2 more veins to each leaf.)

I decided that was enough sewing for one day.  Then Monday after work I swapped out the thread for red thread and sewed the outside edges.  Since the entire thing has to be turned inside out, I decided to leave the hole up near the leaves since they would be the biggest challenge to pull through the whole.  In general, I didn't have too many problems sewing, though it is clear I still have a long ways to go to get the bobbin and the thread all in their correct position.  But honestly, it wasn't too bad for only two days back in the saddle.  (I haven't done serious machine sewing since high school!)

The magic happens when you turn it inside out.

Then all that remains is to stuff the apple, and stitch up the top.

And voila!

I'd say that went pretty well for about 3 hours or so of effort.  Of course, I have a ton of material left over, and it really isn't as sturdy as I would like, even just to make a border for a quilt, though I might change my mind.  I also have a huge package of filler left over.  I perhaps can be convinced to make one apple for each of the kids' teachers, though not until the New Year.

My next project will be to return to the curtains and finish up the job.  Basically I need to cut them in half, pin and press the edges and sew up the edges.  I probably should sew the top and bottom ends, though that isn't quite as critical.

I think I will then make the skirt.  At this point I will feel comfortable enough to make the curtains for my daughter's room (they have to be a bit nicer than the ones in the study after all).  Then I'd probably make a couple of pajama bottoms and if I am really feeling ambitious, attempt a pajama top, though that might involve buttons -- and button holes! -- and I am not sure I am up to that.

If this all goes reasonably well, and I am not totally sick of sewing by that point, I will try out this cool pattern for a child's quilt.  It uses 8 different fabric patterns, which not so coincidentally I have on hand.  I do think, however, that I may break down and use one of these longarm services to actually quilt all the layers together.  It's something I may do myself some day, but I think it is pretty likely that I will ruin my quilt on the first few times I attempt to quilt on a home machine.  There's just so much that can go wrong, not least of which is having to change a bunch of settings and change the sewing machine foot and probably even using a different type of needle.  Anyway, that is a problem for another day...

Edit: Of course my daughter asked why there wasn't a stem.  The short answer is that it is a bit of a pain to put one on.  However, I did think of a way to try to attach one made of black yarn, but I will only do that if I actually decide to make some more.  At the moment, I am sticking with just the one.

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