Monthly Archives: September 2011

One-Yard Wonder Purse Needs Some TLC

One-Yard Wonder purseIt took me years to finally admit that I owned a purse. When I was a tomboy in high school and middle school, I kept everything either in my backpack or in my pockets. I didn’t need a purse!

However, I needed something to carry my wallet, chapstick, phone and other assorted necessities in when I wasn’t lugging around a 50-pound backpack (and young lady jeans don’t have much in the way of pockets). Someone bought me a little tote bag with Hello Kitty (my one weakness!) and I carried it everywhere. It isn’t a purse, I would insist. It’s a bag!

But as with more than a few of my teenage ideas, I finally realized the reality behind my delusion. I owned and used a purse. And there was nothing wrong with that. I recently discovered I get much more satisfaction in making them myself than buying one from the store.

That’s why I was so excited when I picked up One-Yard Wonder — I could make my own purse with my own handmade style! With plenty of patterns to choose from and only needing one yard of fabric, I was good to go.  Check out a One-Yard Wonder photo group on Flickr for a view of these awesome projects.

This is the purse I chose to make with some canvas fabric that my mother gave me — she was going through the stacks of fabric she had stockpiled without any specific purpose.

I loved it and wore it everywhere for a few months. Then I discovered a few problems …

This particular purse includes a magnetic snap closure. Never having installed a snap closure before, I had to research the process. After a few months of use, the closure ripped off from one side. My mother has infinite wisdom when it comes to sewing and so I asked her what might have gone wrong — she told me more fabric backing for each closure side and some reinforcing stitches may have prevented the problem.

I had also misread a few of the instructions, so the interior pocket came a little loose and not all of the stitches along the top edge were perfect. Gaining experience comes at the price of mistakes, I suppose. Maybe I will fix it one of these Mend it Mondays, but until then, I’m using a store-bought purse from a few years ago.

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Topsy Turvy Doll Finds a New Home

I was really proud of how this topsy turvy doll turned out. It was the first doll I had ever sewn together and she is now safely in the care of my sister-in-law, who is soon to be the mother of a sweet baby girl (aside from already being an awesome “bonus mom”).

For those who don’t know, topsy turvy dolls are reversible dolls that when flipped upside down reveal a whole other doll that has a different outfit.

Topsy Turvy doll from Margot pattern in Wee Wonderfuls

Reversible for cuteness on either side.

I went a little outside the pattern, using a fat quarter of soft flannel to make the dresses (which is why there are stripes down the centers of each dress — the pieces weren’t quite big enough). The other major alteration was having different hair color on the two faces, as the book pattern had the same hair color on both sides.

The face is embroidered, which definitely put my needlework skills to the test to make each look exactly the same.

Why a topsy turvy doll? Honestly, I really loved them as a kid but never had any large ones, just a couple plastic, reversible toys. Surprisingly, very few people at the baby shower had ever seen such a doll, but I suppose that style of doll hasn’t really be in vogue for quite some time.

Any one who knows me well knows that I can hardly stand to wait until a gift-giving event to give my presents to the intended recipients, and this one was especially challenging. I finished this doll, called Margot in the Wee Wonderfuls book, a couple months ago and had been itching to send it early. The wait was worth it though, as my sister-in-law was very appreciative.

If I make another topsy turvy doll, I intend to make it a “sleeper” doll with one side awake in a bright dress and the alternate side asleep with a nightgown.

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What I’ve been working on.

Ally has been gently nudging me for oh, only a month or so now, to finally get a blog post up.

It seems that I manage to let the world get at me far too much (witness the eye twitch that will.not.quit. for the last four day), in between regular summer plans, and emergency “lets get the little sister married and moved to Texas in three weeks–with only three days for the wedding” plans.)

I made this chair cover much earlier in the summer, but I’m so inordinately proud of it. The pattern comes from one of my favorite sewing books, One-Yard Wonders. (Please see the other projects I’ve made from this book, such as the dog jacket I made for my sister’s dog and…. oh, I guess I should post about all the other stuff I’ve made).

The fabric came from Ikea, and cost almost as much as the chair it’s covering, also from Ikea, the Jeff folding chair. It’s the same chair pictured in the book, so when I saw the pattern, I absolutely knew I was going to make it. The whole thing, chair and fabric cost me $14.

So far, I’ve covered two chairs, and these chair covers were super quick, once I figured out how to fold the fabric for the top pleated portion. It took me two nights (one each night), and probably about 1-2 hours each, longer for the first one, shorter for the second when I knew what I was doing. I managed to make them in time to have my sister and her now husband (then boyfriend) over for dinner in July when he was home on leave.

The only complaint I have is that the ties are not exactly perfect for this chair. I put the forward ones–the ones for the front legs–exactly where the pattern said to, and they’re a little too far back. It was good that I had left the ribbon really long, and was able to still tie it around the front leg to stay.

I have two more chairs to cover, and will probably use a stripe pattern I saw at Ikea, or a faux bois that I saw. I’m still undecided, which is why I still have two more to cover.

As a final note, the photos in this post were taken by my mister as he has decided to make photography his hobby, and he loves encouraging me so he’s going to (hopefully) be taking my finished object pictures for me. We’re still working on the concept of photo styling, but without his help I’d have no photos to post tonight.

And now, I leave you with the sickeningly sweet photo of my sister and her new husband. Worth all the stress that I’ve had for the last month. Love you!

Mend it Monday — Darn socks!

Three Darned Socks

Holey socks have become usable darned socks.

One of the burdens of being one who wields needle and thread is I am also the designated clothing repair expert of the house. After I left home and went to college, my mother would still patch something up if I couldn’t, but now I live about four hours away. Much too far for a ripped stitch.

So began my most recent quest to repair a pair of pants and three pairs of socks for my sometimes-celebrated Mend it Monday. The pants were easy, as they were just a ripped stitch.

For those who are uninitiated, when you repair a sock, it is called darning. I previously bought a wooden darning egg from Arcata’s Fabric Temptations and I always have tapestry/yarn needles around; all that was left was for me to do was to learn how to darn socks. I had never done so before but I was feeling impatient, so I just glanced at a few diagrams and had at it.

Here’s the breakdown of my slapdash way to mend a holey sock (based loosely on the tutorial at the  ZigZag Stitch blog):

  1. Insert wooden darning egg into sock. Stretch the hole over the top of the egg.
  2. Thread yarn or thread onto tapestry needle (or any kind of blunt tipped needle). I used yarn that was split in half because I felt it would last longer, even those these socks aren’t yarn-based. Also, I had matching yarn colors for all three socks.
  3. Insert needle about a quarter-inch or half-inch away from the edge of the hole. Pull through then insert the needle on the other edge of the hole, putting the same distance between where you insert the needle and the hole’s edge.

    In the midst of darning

    Completing the first set of stitches across.

  4. Repeat across. When you’ve finished, run another line of stitches across that are perpendicular to the first set. Weave through the previously laid stitches as you go across.
  5. Weave in or cut loose ends.
Although this may not be the official way to darn a pair of store-bought socks, they fit well and give my three pairs of socks a little longer to live.
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