I let her know that it hurt and it was not ok to hit me or anyone else. She did it again.
I told her the same thing again and let her know that there would be absolutely no movie tonight. You see, we have a bit of screen time before bed time. It’s our way of slowing down a bit before getting into bed and reading books. Not long, but long enough to sit still.
But not tonight.
You know if I could spend the rest of every minute in my life sewing or making something I would. So what did we do instead? We got out the fabric box and sewing machine. In a few days it would be cousin Siena’s 2nd birthday, and what were we going to make her? (our goal is to make as many, if not all, of our gifts). Izzy wanted to make her a doll. GREAT! Let’s draw a picture of what we should make, no mom, I don’t need to. (So me before I decided I had to absolutely plan everything out.) Ok, I could do this without a plan…so first we looked at the fabric and she suggested we start with a triangle. I cut a triangle (on the fold). Then I cut out rectangles for arms or legs. I got out the bag of feathers and Iz sat at the sewing machine.
Once the body was all stitched up, I cut circles out and she worked on the eyes.
Voila! Siena’s Owl.
I was pretty proud. She was too. We had so much fun together (we always do…). She loves to make as much as her mom and dad do.
My sewing machine is finally out of it’s box, and in it’s “permanent’ corner. While Iz is excited about it, I think I’m even a bit more excited. I bought a lovely pattern months ago, and my stash is piling up, so we’re making a dress. Iz is helping. She cut the pattern pieces, helped fold the farbric, smooth it out, and pin the pattern to the fabric. She dusted off my machine (she loves to clean, must be related to grammie), made sure the presser foot was in the right spot, and tested the tension for me. Seriously. She’s a pro, and she’s barely 4!
I can’t wait to see what she’ll be sewing in the next few months. I need to have my other machine serviced, then we’ll sew side by side. I’m not sure what she’ll want to do first. I’m pretty sure it might involve a bit of free form sewing.
She helped to make the bias tape for her little dress. Ok, I did all the ironing, and it was too hot to handle, so she handed me the pins, so we could keep it folded while they cooled down a bit.
It’s an adorable little dress. I’m hoping to find the perfect buttons this week. I’ll post pictures once the buttons are on and Iz is busy twirling in it…
It was a wonderful weekend. We spent it with cousins and we stitched it up (among other creative things). While visiting downtown Poulsbo, we stopped in at Heirloom Quilts. The girls each picked fabric for their skirts. It was so much fun. If Iz could have, she would have taken a cut from every single bolt. She’s a girl after my own heart.
I had promised my cousin that I would teach her to sew, and making one of these is so perfect. She learned how to measure herself, how to rip fabric (so we didn’t worry about cutting straight lines), how to iron, wind a bobbin, thread the machine and sew in straight lines. It’s the perfect skirt, because it’s ok if you can’t sew a straight line, you won’t see it! You can totally design them with the right fabrics and band placement.
photo by Iz
Iz loves the sewing machine. If the table were lower, she could certainly step on the pedal herself.
Sarah did such a great job. Her skirt was AWESOME! The prints she picked were adorable and a total reflection of her personality. It was great for me, I’ve been missing teaching sewing. I keep thinking that I’ll just start teaching again. soon. really soon!
PS – Want to make your own Twirly? Here’s a really, really wonderful tute from House on Hill Road.
You might have noticed that part of my evil plan is to get the rest of the world sewing. And that’s everyone. Two of our little friends had birthdays and I thought it was time for them to start sewing too!
There are my first go at little kits. One for Miss A (turning 3) and one for Mr. H (turning 4). Each kit is quilted, so it’s nice and soft. Lots of little narrow pockets, a piece of felt for pins and needles, a happy tie and monogrammed so they won’t be lost. I put in little safety scissors, for fabric only of course, a tape measure, marking pencils, tapestry needles a few glass head pins and a rainbow of embroidery floss. I was so excited.
The kits were really, really easy to make. Each one took me less than an hour. I think the next round will be a little different, The bias tape edge wasn’t as fabulous as I had envisioned, and a little flap over the pockets will make sure the scissors don’t fly out of the kit.
The biggest thank you anyone could hope for? Little Mr. H (is he not just the cutest Little LuckyStitcher you’ve ever seen?), stopped by to show me his stitchery. A kitty and a carrot. Mom helped with the outlines, and Mr. H filled in. Suitable for framing in my book. Happy Sewing.
The LuckyStitchers have been working like MAD on their Eco-Quilts. They are still being worked on and you can flip through all the photos on Flickr. Our Quilt Show will be up in June, if you are a local yokel – please come for a visit!
Hiding behind a stack of strips cut from clothes from our clothing swap to find materials for our Eco-Quilts. Our quilts will be made from clothing, bed linens and other scraps of fabric. Unless of course…
we had to try the clothes on….
It was a little wild…ly fun!
If anyone wants to sew along, please do! A note – you don’t have to have a wild clothing swap to participate. While it’s recommended, it certainly isn’t required. But you do have to have some fun.
I realized it’s been a while since I’ve shared any of my sewing projects, so I thought I’d give you a little update.
I have been sewing quite a bit. A few birthday presents for kids that left before I could snap a shot. A little twirly skirt and a zippered pouch meant to hold tiny horses.
I finally finished the Doll Quilt for Iz. I started it a while ago, and finally finished sewing on the binding. I love her reaction when I make her things. So thrilled and she just loves everything I make, and you know that makes it so much easier to keep making her things.
Remember this hat I made for Iz last year. Well I’ve been noodling with the pattern and have already made this one, then I made this one:
I am really in love this with hat. The brim is nice and big to keep the sun away. I am even thinking of making a few out of felted sweaters for our nice cold spring, or next winter. (the lovely pics are from my HomeSchool LuckyStitchers – thanks guys! you ROCK!
I made a spring coat (Built By Wendy, Simplicity 3966), and I am so not in love with it. It’s HUGE! I made it two sizes smaller than what the pattern suggests, and it is still too big. The fabric is wonderful, I love the bright green lining and I am thinking big black bakelight buttons. I haven’t hemmed it yet, I think that I just need to make it the right length and it will be flattering. I’m bummed. I still need a spring coat.
I am almost finished with a lovely wrap dress. I’ll post pictures of it when I’m done (soon, soon, soon)
I am super excited about my next big project. The girls have been wanting to make quilts, and that’s what we are doing this month at LuckyStitches. I’ve also been trying to get everyone to think about their resources and using what they have, so I’ve asked them all to bring a bag of old clothes, bed linens and fabric scraps to share. These items up for swap go in the center of the table and the girls can grab and trade as they cut 3″ strips.
Or tear 3″ strips. Everyone got a bit of practice doing one of my favorite things, tearing fabric. With a little snip at 3″, then a good strong pull on either side and sheets and big pieces can rip beautifully. I love their faces when they make a little magic too.
Here’s the start of mine. From left to right – tweed pants, angora sweater, wool flannel pants. I’m not an earthtone kind of girl, but I am falling in love with these textures and colors. I have a bit more cutting to do as next week we’ll start sewing our scrap strips together.
I’m asking everyone to save all of their scraps from their cutting of the strips and we are going to try to use everything. I’m looking for scrap projects, so if you know of any, please share!
**Since I’ve emailed so many people with details on which machine to buy and what to look for, I thought I’d share my advice. Have anything to add – please let me know. I’d love to hear too how you decided on the machine you have. I hope this helps. LuckyStitches!!xxoo**
Let me also start by saying that if you are purchasing a machine for a young sewer, do not go to the store and buy the cheapest machine you can find, or the cutest one (I know, it was hard for me to not buy Hello Kitty sewing machine too – jeez).
Buy the kids (or yourself) a regular sewing machine. Chances are the cheapest or cutest machines don’t work, or don’t work well. The last thing you want to do is discourage anyone from sewing. Ever. A machine that constantly becomes unthreaded, or won’t sew through 2 layers of fabric just is not worth it. You will have wasted your small spending and either discouraged the heck out of a new stitcher or just wasted your money on nothing and have to buy a more expensive machine to get the job done.
Ok, off the soap box (for a minute at least – what can I say, I feel strongly about this).
First, who will be sewing? Is this a family machine? What projects do you hope to work on? What do you dream of making? Make sure your machine can live up to that dream. There are lots of things to think about, do you just want to make quilts? Want to make bags? Clothes? Curtains? Look for a machine that can sew through all sorts of thicknesses. Make sure the machine will sew through denim, canvas and leather (with the right needle and thread of course).
The basics you should look for in a machine:
Stitches – Straight and ZigZag
Adjustable Stitch Length and Stitch Width
Automatic Button Hole Option
Drop-In Bobbin Assembly
What does it all mean?
Stitches: You really, really, really don’t need the 5000 fancy stitches. really. In all reality, you just won’t use them. I know they are so tasty. And – well – think of the possibilities! but truth be told, if you are just starting out, you have miles to go before you need to embroider the entire dictionary with pictures on a pair of jeans. I know, crushing your dreams…I’m such a meanie.You really need a machine that does a STRAIGHT stitch and a ZIG ZAG stitch. Seriously. (and – you could really get away with just a straight stitch – imagine – years ago, that’s all they sewed with and stitchers were able to sew everything under the sun!) But if you got a machine with around 10-50 stitches, you’d still be golden.
What makes it all versatile is the ability to adjust STITCH LENGTH
and STITCH WIDTH.
Check before you buy. If you can’t adjust both of these important stitch charactertics, move on the the next machine. Being able to adjust the length and width of a stitch gives you a gaggle of options. If you can’t adjust one or both, your sewing will be greatly limited.
Automatic Button Hole Option:
While you can make button holes without it, they are less discouraging with the automatic stitch selector and the special foot (if it’s an option), plus they are a piece of cake – and who doesn’t like cake? On older machines, they are a whole separate accessory, if you buy an older machine, make sure this comes with it or you can find a used one to buy.
Drop In Bobbin Assembly:
There are two ways that a bobbin assembly is made. The drop in, where the bobbin is perpendicular to the needle or the vertical assembly, where it is parallel with the needle. I’ve sewn on both, and I have to tell you that the better machines are made with the Drop-In Assembly. The Vertical Assembly moves around too much and causes jams, screwy tension, unthreading and horrible headaches and might cause your kids to learn swear words (jsut kidding, but I’ve been known to use a few when sewing with these ugh). I’ve talked to machine manufacturers about the issue, and they swear up and down that there is nothing wrong with this, but of the kids who have machines like this, they pick it up right away (I love the young minds). And check out this cool post about how a bobbin works!
There are machines out there with plastic parts. Don’t ever buy one. Ever. In fact if you can find a machine that’s all metal, including the shell, buy it. Currently, machines are made with a plastic shell. Not so great. But most importantly, the gears and shafts and parts inside need to be metal. They will last. Plastic won’t.
Depending on what you want to make, you need certain accessories to make it happen. Some are standard, others are not. Your machine should come with a selection of feet, the bare minimum being a standard foot and a zipper foot. There are so many accessories out there. If you are going to quilt, perhaps a walking foot and a free motion foot. If you are sewing canvas and denim a walking foot. Planning on sewing a ton of buttons, then you’ll need a button foot too! Google your machine or check the manual to see what accessories come with it as well as what you can order for it. Make sure it meets your sewing dream requirements.
Do Your Research
Google machines, read other sewers reviews, ask around. Check this site – has GREAT information on sewing machines : PatternReview.com. It’s important to make an educated purchase. Not sure about a machine that you are researching? Ask questions, call dealers find out more. The more you know about what you are going to buy, the better.
Have you found a machine? Then you need to…
Try Before You Buy
Sit down and try it out. Have a friend that has a sewing machine? Have a dealer near by? Your Auntie Jane might love her machine, but is it the right one for you? You won’t know until you sit down and try it. Borrow a friends or visit a local dealer and try the machines, try them all. It will give you a feel for what your options are.
Try the different stitches, ask for a demonstration, spend about 30 minutes and use up all the scraps, get a feel for what the machine can do and what you want it to do. (You don’t need to know how to sew, the dealer or person who owns the machine can help you, just ask them, it’s ok!) Just ask yourself, “Self, is this comfortable? Do I like how this sews? Is the machine smooth”. Is the machine heavy? or Light? Does it vibrate across the table when you press all the way on the foot pedal? Will you be taking the machine to classes and sewing circles or sewing at home? It’s really important to ask yourself all these questions Don’t be afraid, just try the machines ask people questions, you will know which one is right for you.
Where do you buy a machine?
Well, lots of places sell them. I prefer many of the older models (from the 60s and 70s), they are metal and can pretty much sew through anything (with the right needle and thread), plus if you find one that has all the accessories and has been well taken care of, you’ll probably have it for the rest of your life! Check your local sewing machine dealer. Or your local Craig’s List. The paper might have them too. You can even check your local Freecycle. Tag sales and thrift stores are great places too! You could find fantastic machines for $20,$30 $50!!! Big Box stores like Wal*Mart and Target are not the places to get sewing machines. These stores noodle their vendors into submission to create sub standard machines, making us – the consumers think that we are getting a quality deal, when in fact, we would be buying junk. Buy from a local sewing machine dealer or fabric shop, You’ll get a much higher quality machine. It’s really worth your time to shop around. Do your research, ask questions of everybody and make an educated purchase. If you buy a used machine, sit down and make sure it sews before you hand over the cash. You will be sewing in no time.
I’ve always been fascinated with quilts. Not only do I love the patterns, textures, pieces, colors but I love that they are meant to be cozy and keep you warm and even tell a story. I’m fascinated by the master quilters who can slice and dice fabric and stitch it into amazing shapes with color placement that makes me swoon, literally.
I think you know that at LuckyStitches I offer classes to HomeSchoolers. Well, I’ve declared April to be Quilt month, and we are going to be making quilts! Let me tell you that I am no master quilter, by any means. I can’t stand cutting (but my rotary blade has certainly helped with that). I have made a quilt before, and I loved it! I still love it. Iz loves it too. They make for wonderful keepsakes. They also tell stories. I’ll be sharing resources with the kids so they can understand the history, passion and art in quilts too.
For this class, however, we won’t be going to the fabric store to make our quilt tops, we are going to be looking in the closet. Using clothes, linens, towels, blankets, anything made of fabric or fabric scraps. We’ll be making the ultimate in scrap quilts, turning something that doesn’t’ seem to have a use anymore (pants that don’t fit) into something eternally useful (a quilt!). For years I’ve used old sheets, blankets, towels and clothes and made them into something new, preventing the “old” item from going to waste or ending up in a landfill (did you know that the dyes used in coloring fabric are mostly toxic? You can read more here or here). Hopefully, by making these quilts, we can also raise awareness of our use of textiles, how they are made, thrown away or even better – re-used.
Here’s our tentative schedule if you want to participate or follow along:
Week 1 – Cutting. We’ll be cutting our found items into 3″ strips. We’re going to be holding on to all our scraps and perhaps use them along the way or figure out something new to do with them.
Week 2 and 3 – Sewing. We’ll be sewing our strips together. End to end then strip to strip. We’re just going to keep sewing until we have enough for a quilt that’s about 50×50 ish.
Week 4 – Quilting. We’ll be safety pin basting our quilts together, using batting if necessary and attaching a back. Then we’ll quilt it all together either machine quilting or tying.
Week 5 – Binding. Maybe using scraps or linings or something left over, we’ll stitch together strips for a binding and sew it on.
I’ll be posting inspiration, photos and stories along the way.
**Remember, I can sew, but I’m not a super duper quilter. I’ll be showing the kids some super basic techniques. Hopefully, this will give them the foundation they need to go and either take another quilt class or start on another quilt or even make their own pattern. Whatever the outcome, they will have made something that is eco conscious as well as get more practice sewing, and have it for the rest of their lives (as long as mom doesn’t clean up their rooms and throw everything out that’s on the floor…not that these will end up in a pile somewhere…).
I hope you’ll follow along. Even better if there are kids in your life who can follow along too! And if you do decide to participate, please let me know.
I wonder all the time what Iz will remember. What will she tell her kids, grandkids about her life and experiences? What will she cherish? Being a parent has really opened my eyes to things I wouldn’t have seen before. The wonderful little things that she might comment on, or want to hold or wear or read or listen too. I love these fresh experiences.
I gave Iz a canvas with a hoop attached, a tapestry needle with some floss (she picks the colors) and look what we’ve been doing:
I can’t tell you how excited I am. All three of us sitting together and working on stitches. We all have embroidery projects going and it’s been really, really fun. We share stitches, I taught Rob the French knot, Rob helps Iz tie a knot and she picks all the colors. She’s only 3 and already we can sit and sew together.