Friday, January 12, 2018

Something different and beautiful

This is a different sort of post from the usual sewing stuff. I mention in my last post that we have something beautiful. Here it is!

Isn't he gorgeous? He's a stallion. We're temporarily boarding him for someone, just until he gets sold. In the meantime, we enjoy seeing him every day.

He is a shire, thus he is a very big horse! His owner said he's close to 18 hands, which equals about 6 feet from the ground to the top of his withers above his front legs. They're measured there because that's the only place his height doesn't shift when he stands. I learned that recently.

He prances a little when he walks, really lifting those front feet. Look how fluffy those huge feet are!

Here are a few more photos for your viewing pleasure.

And maybe for a chuckle.

See that white patch down below his flank? That's the main reason he's being sold. The owner doesn't want that white to show up down his breeding line.

Last Tuesday my favorite photography assistant came after school. Here she is giving a little size reference.

Yes, Ethan is very friendly. Shires are noted for their calm temperaments. Someone recently referred to them as "gentle giants".

Giant, indeed. My assistant got a shot of me to show you how big Ethan is, too!

He loves his grain, which he gets a scoop of once a day. When he's particularly impatient, he will rear up and/or kick up his heels. I've tried getting a photo or video of him doing that, but of course he won't do it when I have the camera along. Stinker.

This is the scene I often see when I go out to feed the cats. He's waiting for me.

He doesn't mind the cold or snow, although he doesn't care much for the arctic winds we've had lately (nor do I!), and he'll go into the cattle shed when it's too nasty. Otherwise he's outside, even if it's well below zero, which it has been a lot lately. Brrr!

All in all, he's very pleasant to have around, not to mention very photogenic, and I don't mind if he doesn't get sold for a long time!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Christmas Sewing 2017

In case anybody reads here anymore... Happy New Year!! ;)

Okay... so it's been an entire month since I last posted. Exactly. It's not that I've been idle! Christmas happened in there, y'know. That takes time. Plus, I did some sewing but I couldn't post about it because there were gifts involved and I didn't want to spoil any surprises!

I'll just do a quick summary instead of writing individual posts for each item. First off, I made a pair of oven mitts for Jess and Alex. They're made from an older line of Jess's canvas fabrics.

They were requested over a year ago but I didn't have time to make them for Christmas then. They were much-needed, though, to replace these...

... which were well-used, as you can see. I'd made them over 7 years ago. You can read about them here.

Here they are, each happy with their new mitt.

Next, I made a little backpack.

A VERY LITTLE backpack! See?

That also was from some of Jess's older canvas fabric which had been laminated. I made it from a tutorial you can find here. It calls for laminated fabric, likely because the inside isn't lined, so the laminate would prevent fraying of the unfinished seams. I wouldn't recommend using canvas like I did, though, because it was too stiff and thick, which made it very challenging to sew. I almost tossed it out, but then ripped off the outer part and redid it, and I'm glad I did. It turned out pretty cute, even if a bit wonky in places (which you can't see in that pic).

I also made a couple of coasters, just for fun, and as a test for what I'll show you in a bit. They were easy and very fun to make. I followed a video found here. These fabrics are from Jess's Typography line of quilting cotton from a while back.

Last but not least (because they're very handy)... but definitely the quickest and easiest, I made a couple of cord wraps.

They're made following a tutorial found here. There are two different sizes in the tutorial, and these are the small ones. The larger size would be good for appliance cords or computer cables. I used snaps instead of velcro on mine, because they're cute and just fun to install, even though the wraps are not adjustable as they would be with velcro. I also made these as a test.

The reason I was testing the coasters and cord wraps was that Courtney wanted to make some as Christmas gifts, so I wanted to make sure they were doable for her. She made all of these below. She did a great job, didn't she?

That's my wrap-up of sewing projects. I have a long list of other things I want to sew now, and I received some Christmas gifts to enable my sewing. Yay! I'll show you them soon. Plus there's something else new around here that I want to show you, too. Something beautiful! So do check back. But not too soon... you know how slow I am! LOL

Monday, December 4, 2017

Baby track suit

Our extended family is expanding, and that's good news for me because then I have a reason to sew baby clothes, which I love to do. We have a new grandnephew that was born in September, so this time I got to make a little boy outfit. USPS tracking informed me that the gift had been delivered on Friday, so I guess I'm safe in showing it to you now.

I recently came across a new tutorial by SeeKateSew, so I decided to give it a try. I also happened to have in my stash some knit fabric for a sports-minded little guy (which I'm sure he will be someday). I got it and the solid knit several years ago in a grab bag of lovely fabrics from an online shop that was closing out. They were a steal! 

Here is part of the outfit in the making. Can you tell what it is?

If you guessed a hoodie, you were correct! Here it is completed.

He can even keep his little hands warm in that front pocket. Plus there are pants to go with it. With cuffed pockets, even. Okay, those pockets are fake. But cute!

It was an easy project, and very fun to sew. You can find the tutorial here. You have to sign up for the newsletter to get the free pattern, but nothing wrong with that. I think I only did one thing differently, and that is that I didn't topstitch the cuffs as instructed, because it would have required a zigzag or some other stretch stitch, and I didn't think that would look very professional. I just serged the seam and pressed it up. I had taken a class on making T-shirts many years ago, and that's how we did it then. I was glad to have taken that class, as it was helpful in making this outfit.

The size in the tutorial suggested it was for a 9-12 month old baby... or a 6 month old chubby baby. Ha. So I really don't know when it'll fit this little guy. :) I hope it isn't difficult to get on and off of him, but the fabrics are pretty stretchy, so that'll help. I hope to get a followup report (you know who you are) on it eventually so I'll know whether I should use the pattern again someday or not.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Quick Zip Lunch Bag, updated

Hmm... I guess I haven't posted for a month! Well, it's not that I haven't been doing anything. I did complete another sewing project, but I've been purposely waiting to post about it. However, I guess I'll just go ahead and do it so you'll know I'm still alive (in case anybody even reads the ol' blog anymore. Ha.)

I completed another pattern test recently for Erin (Erickson) Gilbey of Dog Under My Desk. Amongst her move back to the USA from Australia (hurray!) last month, she managed to finish a rewrite of one of her older patterns, the Quick Zip Lunch Bag. This was her first pattern, and she wanted the format to be more like her later patterns, plus she added the option of a larger size. I'd used the older pattern to make a bag to hold Courtney's Shopkins (which you can see here), so I was happy to test the new version (although I'm always happy to test any of her patterns because they're so good!). Here's my new (non)lunch bag.

Although the pattern tells how to insulate it with Insul-Bright and batting to keep your lunch chilled, I didn't need a lunch bag, so I didn't insulate mine. I instead needed a bag to hold my new Dyson hand vacuum tools, so I made the large size bag, added an extra pocket inside, and here it is holding my tools.

Erin wrote the pattern to be beginner-friendly, keeping it simple and with lots of how-to's... like putting in the "dreaded" zipper (which really is nothing to dread, and Erin's techniques make it easy to have it end up right). Here's my recessed zipper from the lining side, right after installation.....

..... and here it is on the completed bag.

Ever want to be able to put in a zipper like that? Trying this pattern would be a good way to learn how to do it!

Since I didn't need to insulate my bag, I decided to use Pellon one-sided fusible foam as my stabilizer. I trimmed off all the seam allowances from the foam before fusing it so that the seams wouldn't be so thick. I wasn't too pleased with how it adhered, however. It started coming loose on the edges, and I ended up adding a little glue to hold it down next to the seams. The problem might not have been due to the foam, though. The fabric was somewhat rough on the back, and that may have had something to do with it. Also, it was quite thick, so that may have contributed, too. So I'm not knocking the foam, really. It might do well on other fabrics. I'd used it once before on barkcloth, and that seemed to work fine. Anyway, this is what it looked like after the outside of the bag was sewn together. The foam gives it a lot of body and makes it stand up nicely.

Here's a closer look at the fabric. I guess it's a brocade. It's not designed by Jess, but it was gifted by her... er... I mean Santa! It's really a lovely fabric, nice and heavy yet easy to sew. See the texture?

I should probably feel guilty for using such a nice fabric to hold vacuum tools, but I don't. The tag was still on it, and it said $1/1 yard. Quite a bargain Jess Santa found on a remnant table! The reason I chose it is that it goes so well with my crazy kitchen floor, and that's where it now resides, under the desk that holds the Dyson vac... very handy!

The pattern has been all tested and is now available here. The price is only $6.00, and it's worth every penny with all the how-to's you'll be getting. It was a quick, fun make, and I highly recommend it! Erin hasn't blogged about it yet (that's why I've procrastinated on posting it), but when she does, I'll add a link to her post here. It seems that when one moves from one country to another, there are a lot of things to do (other than writing blog posts)! Ha - what an understatement! But someday she'll get caught up and have an office and start cranking out more fabulous patterns. I know her head has already been spinning with ideas, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Meanwhile, I already have another project in the works. It will have to remain secret until it reaches its intended recipient... but at least you won't have to wait till after Christmas to see it. ;)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mini Necessary Clutch Wallet

My latest sewing project was a wallet... a Mini Necessary Clutch Wallet, to be exact. I made it to go with my  Sunrise Saddle Bag. Here it is!

The pattern is by Emmaline Bags and can be found here. I think there have been thousands of full-size Necessary Clutch Wallets (NCWs) made by now. In fact, there's a Facebook group called "NCW Addicts", as once people make one, they tend to want to make more, and they seem to be great sellers at craft fairs, etc. When I saw the pattern for the Mini, I thought that was more the size I wanted, as I'm not really a clutch or big wallet sort of person. Note that if you do decide to make the Mini, you also need to buy the regular NCW pattern to get the full instructions. I was fortunate to be able to buy them both on a 50% off sale, so it was like only buying one pattern. :)

I used the same pleather and fabrics (Jess's Holding Pattern barkcloth on the flap) that I used for my Saddle Bag, so they really are a matched set. I used a magnet snap closure for both. I even remembered to add my little label before it was too late to sew it where I wanted it. Ha!

Here's a side view. It's still a pretty good-sized wallet, and it can hold a lot.

Incidentally, I didn't even notice this myself, but my son did when he was examining it... look at the cool design at the top! That was not planned, but I love it!

It opens up to several sections. It has card slots on each end with a slip pocket behind them for holding paper money, receipts, etc. There's also a little zipper pocket for coins or whatever.

I confess that I used several of Erin (Erickson) Gilbey's Dog Under My Desk techniques instead of some of the NCW instructions when I put this together. I used her flap instructions from the Sunrise Saddle Bag pattern; the Essential Wristlet instructions for the zipper pocket; and best of all, the card slot pattern and instructions from the Encore Clutch because they turned out to be the perfect length (I just added a bit to the width) and they were so much easier than trying to do it the NCW way! So there are your tips if you decide to make one yourself. ;)

Here is my matched set!

I love them both, even though the wallet is bigger than I anticipated and takes up most of the space in the bag (which is only 85% of the original SSB size). But that's okay... this is my bag for traveling light, and I don't plan to carry much in it, anyway.