Archive | March 2017

Easy Sunglasses Case – Free Pattern for Pre-cut Leftovers

I love finding projects to use those leftover pieces from pre-cuts and I always have a couple of leftover pieces of 10″ squares that are perfect for this project.  This can be done in less than 30 minutes (15 once you’re good at it) and it’s a great last-minute personalized gift.  I love this project because I get to keep a little bit of a quilt I made and it reminds me of happiness every time I reach for my sunglasses.  I recall the shop hop where I found the fabric or feel a kindred spirit to the person who received the quilt.  This project is a win-win all the way around.

I wear big sunglasses (wrinkle prevention you know) and not all of them come with cases.  We are on the water a lot and I prefer to wear Costa sunglasses but the case they come with is hard-sided which is like digging around a brick in my purse.   The hard-sided case took up entirely too much room so I needed a soft sided case.  My sunglasses needed a quilt!

This is from Nature Walk by Michael Miller.  I used two 10″ squares and a 10″ piece of batting.  Lay them together with the outer fabric face down, batting in the middle and the inner fabric or case lining face up.

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The pattern piece is the LargeSunglassesCase.  However, if you need a custom fit, you need to measure the widest part of the sunglasses, while closed, from one side to the other to get a measurement.  Mine were 3.5″ (x 2 front and back circumference) for a total of 7″ width and I wanted a little extra on the end so I added 1/2″ for a length of 7.5″.   I made the corner of the pattern using a roll of duct tape as a template.  Very high-tech around here folks.  If you are making your own pattern, do not add any ease in the circumference.  You do not want the case to be so loose that the glasses will fall out.  The case should fit snugly around the glasses.

Once the pattern is cut, I folded it in half to see where the rounded end met the side.  That’s 2 1/4″ down from the top so I marked the spot on the pattern on both sides with a little line using a Frixion pen.  Mark this little dash on both sides of the lining and the outer fabric where the curve ends.  It’s where you will begin and end stitching.  Note:  If you don’t have time for the whole curve thing, just sew up the bottom and side of the case and be done with it.  Easy-peasy.  But I like the fancy look of the curve on the outer fabric.

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I cut all three pieces at once.  Of course, once cut, they shift around and don’t line up perfectly but I turned mine to the right side and maneuvered the fabrics so everything lined up just right.  Then I pinned to hold it all in place.  This is not an exact science and I don’t get all bent out of shape about the edges meeting because they will be trimmed after sewing anyway.

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This is a great time to try out those pretty decorative stitching patterns on your machine that you never use.  If you don’t have any, a zig zag works nicely.  I want caution you however, if you choose a decorative stitch, go a little slower than normal.  I went too fast on my first attempt, jammed my machine, and threw out the timing.  This bad sewing mama learned a $75-trip-to-the-repairman mistake.  Before sewing the real deal, I tested my stitch choice on the left over scraps.  Another boost to this project is that when you’re finished, you still have a nice sized piece to add to your scrap bin.

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This next part, sewing the curve, is a little counter-intuitive and a bit tricky.  Starting with the lining side up, flip the sandwich completely around (top at the bottom) and beginning at the dashed mark on your left, sew what is actually the top of the case.  I kept the fabric lined up with the left edge of the presser foot.  Sew down to the “top” edge, turn the fabric and continue to stitch around the curve and then stop as close as you can on the other dashed mark.  If you are sewing a decorative stitch, try to stop at the end of the stitching sequence before it begins another.  When you reach the end, do not backstitch but do cut the threads.

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When you reach the dash on the other side, remove the case from the machine, fold it as it would look when finished, and begin sewing on the front at the stopping point where you left off.  You may need to rearrange the pins to get them out of the stitching line.  Now keep the fabric in line with the right edge of the presser foot.  The idea is not to see a visible stop/start point in the stitching.

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Sew down the front side and make a definite 90 degree turn to sew across the bottom of the case to end at the fold.  Do a tie off stitch and remove it from the machine.

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It looks a little rough now, but clip the loose threads and take a pair of pinking shears to the edges.  I begin on the long side and then continue around the curve, opening up the top edge as I go until I get down to where the back/front meet so I get one smooth cut.  Then I cut off the bottom edge.

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It fits perfect!  My sunglasses are peeking out but when I tuck them fully in, they are completely covered and protected.

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It was about time to replace the other one.  You can see where my fancy stitch jammed up my machine and I had to stop stitching along the bottom.  But that didn’t stop me!  I’ve been using it anyway.  After I posted this, I went ahead and finished off the end and gave it a press.  Good as new!  I got that mint colored fabric at a shop hop through Rockport, Texas.  See?  Great quilting memories!

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Whole Cloth Practice Quilts

Talk about DAUNTING!  This whole longarm-quilting-on-a-frame-thing is something else!  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve loaded the leaders, thought they were backwards, taken them off, turned them around, and then reloaded…only to realize I had them right the first time.  There is not a video out there at all telling you how to put the darn things on.   I get which one to put where, but do they roll this way or that?

So after weeks of fooling around with backwards rolling, I attempted a computerized pattern with my new Quilt Butler from QuiltEZ.  The success of longarming (or not, as I have discovered) is directly related to how the quilt is rolled on the frame.  My first attempts suffered skipped stitches, having the needle snag and drag in the fabric, and I’m now 100% efficient at fixing thread breaks.  Sometimes it works great.  Other times, it’s a disaster.  I’ve discovered that my issues always happen on the left side of the frame.  Odd.  Here’s a video of one of my successes.

I decided there’s no way on earth I’m going to put one of my beautiful quilt tops on that I spent weeks putting together and Lord knows how much I spent on the fabric.  I’m not there yet.  So I decided to attempt some whole cloth quilts to practice on.  I went to Hobby Lobby the other day and picked up some 1.5 yard fabric cuts and some batting.

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I didn’t get a photo of the backing once I had it attached to the frame and before I added the batting and cloth top, but it was the best installation of a backing yet.  I’ve learned to be on the lookout for droopy sides.  Once the quilt is quilted, the back of the quilt can tell me a lot.  It tells me I have work to do on spacing and nesting between pattern repeats but that I’m getting the hang of it.

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I was happy enough with the final product that I went ahead and decided to bind it.  I have no idea what this will be used for.  Maybe I’ll add some slots in it for a car seat cover.  The top is so busy you can’t see the quilting but that wasn’t the point on this one.

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This is definitely a challenge but I’m having a great time learning this new facet of the quilting craft!

 

Blouse Pattern Hack

I recently ordered a knit border-print top from a catalog.  Total cost including shipping was about $50.  It fits great and I’d like some more tops just like it for work.  When it arrived, I noticed it’s only two pieces of fabric joined at the shoulders and sides.  TWO…that’s it…for $40 plus shipping.  My cheapness crept in.

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I bounced over to MoodFabrics.com and did some searching and came up with a pretty navy and lime green knit patterned fabric on sale for $5.95 a yard.  Now we’re talking.

I turned the original blouse inside out, folded it in half, and then rough-traced around the top making sure to add notes of where extra fabric allowance would be needed for a hem.  The paper is a roll of special velum I got from Sure Fit Designs but any old paper will do.  I’ve been known to raid the printer now and again armed with a roll of scotch tape.

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Then I cleaned up the rough sketch using a French curve ruler for the curvy parts and labeled the pieces so I can use them again.

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The top went together in an afternoon.  I did an overlock stitch on the shoulders and sides. I unnecessarily did the neck and sleeves too on this piece.  What was I thinking?

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And then my darling Janome Coverstitch Pro did her thing on the neckline, sleeves and lower hems.  That machine does the nice double row of stitching on the top and covers the raw edge on the back all at the same time just like ready-to-wear.  The success here is pressing up the hems first and using Steam-a-Seam to glue them in place.  That trick prevents ripples and stretches where they are not wanted and encourages the hem to lay perfectly flat as it goes through the machine.

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I got lazy and just coverstitched over my label as I added it in.  Bad girl.

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In all, I love this top!  It fits just like the other one and was so simple to make.  You should give a try to a pattern hack sometime.  If you’re new to it, I do not advise anything with set in sleeves, woven fabric, darts, or heaven forbid Princess seams.  Keep it simple.

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