Monday, February 25, 2013

Sewing is a Hoot!

My sewing aversion started with a beautifully handmade shirt. My mom had selected the fabric, painstakingly cut from the pattern, masterfully stitched it together, and added gorgeous buttons. She showed it to me, obviously pleased with the beautiful job she'd done and all I could think was "Oh God Mom, please no!"

All of the other kids would be wearing mass produced garments that all looked the same. They'd have logos that showed they were purchased at a store, a good store. The one in the mall where all the "cool kids" shopped. I would be sporting this homemade "monstrosity" which was almost worse than the clothes from "that store" or worse yet...the thrift store. 

Mom would pull out her machine and offer to teach me. I always answered no. I remember a time in high school home economics when my teacher explained that we'd be selecting a pattern to sew. I had aced the class with cooking and here it was....I just knew I'd fail. I went home, selected a pattern with mom's help. A hideous vest made out of some kind of southwestern blanket. It'd be trimmed with conchos or some hideous thing like that. After cutting and pinning and sewing (and no small amount of complaining), I started to sew. Just a few stitches in and I made my mom's machine in a mess. Sorting it out with great patience, my mom set me down to sew again. Just minutes in and the machine was broken. It was a sign.....this girl would never sew!

Fast forward about 20 years and this girl is looking for a new hobby. I now admire people who can sew. On more than one occassion, I've wished my mom would make me a dress...a new shirt. I've wished I knew how to hem my own pants or take in a shirt or even make a simple curtain. 

At Christmas, I decided to dive in and attempt Christmas stockings. Much to my surprise, I didn't break the machine and they actually turned out so nice I bragged about it here for the world to see. 

Confident I could tackle anything, I've been looking for a project that looked easy. On my recent fishing trip, we stumbled into a quilt store and I found a darling pattern for the Hot Who Potholder, a cute little owl pot holder. I purchased it thinking it looked easy. For any of you readers interested, here's a link to purchase the same pattern.

This is the picture shown on the front.....

Easy right?? ha!

So I started with a trip to Joann's for fabric. This pattern said it was "fat quarter friendly" so I bought fat quarters. I brought them home, took off the stickers, and piled them up in a colorful wad of fabric for this picture. 

The instructions said to wash them first but I'm a "let's get going" kind of girl and I figured since no one was wearing it, I could skip that part (I can see all the "sew-ers" of the world rolling their eyes right now).

I pressed the fabric per the instructions.

Then I traced my pattern on to another piece of paper (why you ask? because I didn't want to mess up my original - I wanted to be able to make these again after my first "trial" ones which I was sure would be all messed up). I put the pattern on the fabric and cut.

I cut the main body, the wings, and the base of the eyes. It was right about then I started to remember that sewing always seems so time-consuming. By the time you press, cut, press, cut, press, cut....then if you're lucky it's time to get sewing.

The wings and eye base begin to take shape. I can't cut straight. Or round
Now normally, I'd be getting all frustrated with these steps but I was starting to enjoy the task at hand, especially when it started to sort of look like an owl.

The instructions called for fusible webbing and I nearly skipped this part because I didn't know WHY I needed it. But not knowing what I'm doing, I stuck with the instructions. It helped everything stick together and gave it some 'substance' so it made it easier.

I "fused" the pieces together.

When the actual sewing began, I was so excited to be at that stage, I forgot to take pictures. But here's my inside out pot holder . . . 

Then here I am trying to turn it the "right way." It was hard to get all the layers through the little opening but I did it.

 And here's my first one, finished. Don't judge. Here's my first lesson....the eyes are all screwed up and look like my 9 year old did it. I didn't know which stitch to pick and I wouldn't have picked this one. But I really didn't want to spend my time ripping it out - after all, this was my "practice one."

I also had a problem. In the instructions, you sewed the eye base on and then after you did had everything else together you were supposed to stitch the beak, white part of the eye and the black part of the eye on. I could NOT for the life of me figure out how to do that without making the stitches go through to the back. (is any of this making sense??) So I resorted to a wonderful product I picked up "just in case" at Joann's - liquid stitch. Yes! It's glue for your fabric. I think I'll send this one to my mom and tell her Nate made it for her. muuuuhahahahahah!
But I had another one to make. This time, before I sewed all the layers together, I decided to stitch the eyes and beak on. That way the stitches wouldn't show through, I wouldn't need glue, and I thought it'd look a little better. I also changed the stitch to one I thought would look a little better.

Here I am sewing

And here's my finished second one. Much better I think. Of course, I can see already that sewing a straight line is the least of my worries, apparently circles are much much harder. 

But I'm a little bit impressed with my ability. It was my first project all on my own and it's not too bad. I'll be trying to make a few more and I'm sure they'll get better and better.

The one thing I'll definitely need help with is closing the hole at the top. You know the opening you leave to turn it right side out? I can't figure out how to close that and make it look nice. Help??

So, it took me three hours to make two pot holders (but I made dinner during too so let's call it 2.25 hours). It cost me $21 in fabric, fusible webbing, and liquid stitch. I used some of the Warm and Natural batting I had left from my stockings (ha, I could make 300 potholders and STILL have some of that left). I used ribbon I had in my scrapbooking stuff. And I still have fabric left over. FYI - A fat quarter is enough to make two of the body part of the pot holders.

Yay me! What did you create this weekend?

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