Friday, June 8, 2018

Denim Projects - a Challenge

Denim Projects

Our local sewing guild president issued a denim challenge.  "Make and share an item made with 50% or more denim."

So here are my challenge contributions.

The first thing I did was solicit denim to recycle - son and spouse had many to-be-discarded levis/denim jeans so I started cutting them apart.

My first project would be placemats.  I decided to make 12 place mats - 6 blue themed and 6 red themed.

The denim pieces were sewn into placemat sized pieces for the top of the placemat.

Once the denim had been cut apart I ordered interfacing and bandanas for the back side of the placemats.



 Once that was done, I needed to get some bias tape to finish off the edges but first I wanted to make the napkins; they would be double-sided.  By doing these first I would know of any left over pieces that I could use in the embellishments on the placemats themselves.  And then I would construct the bands of fabric for the embellishments on each placemat.  I needed some coordinating fabric for each of the blue napkins and the red napkins.





So with a dozen place mats and napkins completed, I decided to tackle some other projects using the denim  that I had collected.  The next items were all constructed from recycled denim.
The next project started because I saw a project on Pinterest that was created from pieces of denim woven into a piece of fabric that would be suitable for the bag or purse.  The original had folded denim used as the woven fabric.  I decided to just use a single layer to avoid the bag from being too heavy.

 

The first task was to cut the strips and then to weave the strips into a solid unit that could be cut appropriately to make the bag that I had planned.  After weaving the strips, I used a scrolling stitch to stabilize the weaving.  Once the fabric was stabilized I cut the bag from the large piece of fabric.  
To locate additional details regarding how to make a simple bag using an affordable pattern go to the post on this website: "Sewing Hack - Thanks to Margaret Knight" at http://bit.ly/DIYbag101.  Exact size does not matter -- adapt to fit your purposes.

Since this particular project was to be a book bag for when I visited schools to read, I inserted a few "squares" of book fabric in the woven spots - this was done before the scroll stitching was done.  Inserting the focus squares allowed the fabric to be tucked under the other strips, and for them to be top stitched down when the fabric was stabilized.
Beatrix Potter's characters were represented along with The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three little Pigs, and the Three Bears.
Since when I visit schools and when I plan to use this book bag, I generally do not carry a separate purse so the inside of this bag has pockets, including a key pocket with a clip for keys to be attached.  Other pockets are designed for a iPad, ID, money, and any necessary cards.



 
The next project was a 5 x7 case intended to hold together note cards.  I often attend meetings where I want to take notes but the meeting notes does not fill and entire notebook and I am left with a couple of pages filled and then have to search through pages to find the information I want.  So instead I take notes on note cards but then ... want to keep the filled cards separate from the blank ones, until I am able to file them with the appropriate organization.  This pouch was the perfect thing to keep those cards organized. 


Inside is just one cloth divider which is utilized to keep the cards which have been used separated from those that are blank for future use.  A pen can be clipped to the cloth divider.
A third project was a simple small purse with a shoulder strap.

A small purse was created with more denim.  I experimented with making the flap, that is folded over the top, a little narrower so as not to interfere with the shoulder straps.  The inside has a multitude of little pockets to hold keys, wallet, etc.  The lining was made from small pieces of blue fabric left over from a previous project.  

The next project was one intended to figure out the often pictured bags made from the legs of denim jeans.  I had many that I had cut from the denim jeans previously donated.  
The pieces were eight inches high which should be high enough for a suitable bag.  What I did not factor in was the flare that most legs have -- narrower at the bottom or narrowing to the top.  I made one and the flare, even a gentle flare, created a problem as the lining was created and folded.  So I recut the fabric making the width standard on the way up and cutting out the heavy seam so as to make the boxing at the bottom more manageable. But in doing so, the width of the pant leg seemed all to small for a bag the size I wanted.  These two were created with those recut pant legs and lined and cuffed with fabric and lace.  They would be suitable for a small gift, or nursery items (cotton balls, q-tips, etc.).  


The final project was to make Christmas stockings.  Simply cut around a favorite stocking you own or search, on the Internet, for a pattern the size you want.  (I like the pattern linked from this tutorial.) I did not line the denim portion of the sock as it seemed heavy enough without added padding or a lining.  The toe accent and the pocket were sewn on before stitching the front and the back together.   The cuff was sewn as a separate section much as one would sew a cuff on a pillow case.  The cuff can be any width one wishes.  The seam is hidden when the cuff is folded down over the stocking body.


I made three of the stockings -- all pretty much the same.  However with the pocket it is pretty easy to make some additions to change the focus of the stocking and to individualize the stocking to coordinate with a particular theme, book, or other gift.
For example the stocking on the left has the addition of a fabric rose, and a cardinal locket that is an added gift for a collector of cardinals of all types.  The center stocking is intended for a young reader who LOVES penguins.  I will add the stocking to a gift that will include:
Those items are the only ones I made for this challenge but there are many more items that can be made from recycled denim: aprons, book covers, iPad covers, all sizes of purses, and hot pads.  Check http://www.pinterest.com/barbara0101/make-it-with-denim/ for some other useful ideas.  As with the projects we shared here - take the idea and adapt it for yourself.  If you have a great project, please share a picture and any description/instructions you would like to share.  Thanks.


http://www.pinterest.com/barbara0101/make-it-with-denim/ 
Enjoy sewing creatively.


Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices.
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rhubarb Time

Today I was at my sister's acreage and we harvested the rhubarb. That means that I can make my three favorite rhubarb things.
The first is rhubarb sauce.  I simply cook 4 cups of rhubarb in 1/3 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.  Sometimes I add a tablespoon of lemon juice but not always.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender.  Serve warm over pound cake or the very best is to serve it over chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

The other two rhubarb things includes a favorite cake that my friend Cheryl Kolar often made. It was a signature dish that she enjoyed making.  The crusty sugary topping made the cake unbelievably good.  Whenever I make it or eat this dessert, I think of Cheryl.  I have renamed the recipe in her honor - CK's Rhubarb Cake.

The cake is quick and easy to make.  It is delicious made using either fresh rhubarb or frozen. Moist and great made into muffins and served as a breakfast pastry.

And check out the recipe for rhubarb crisp that is a family favorite and another quick easy recipe.  






Jellies and jams are quick and easy to make and make great gifts for the holidays.  And nothing beats the taste of fresh jams or jellies.  So much more flavor than commercial products.












And then while we are at it read a book or two about strawberries (can't find any about rhubarb).
Cook-A-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.  And you may wish to make the magnificent Strawberry Shortcake.  http://mcbookwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/little-red-hens-magnificent-strawberry.html

Other books include: 
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

 and
Little Sister and Month Brothers by Beatrice Schenk deRegniers, with illustrations by Margot Tomes. -- in this book Little Sister is sent out to gather strawberries during the month of February.  This is a Ukrainian folktale that includes motifs similar to those in the Cinderella tale.












Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Time Is Just Ducky: Sewing and Books

... ...

One of my favorite classic titles is Ducky by Eve Bunting with illustrations by David Wisnewski (Clarion/HMH, 1998).  I actually have the original art work for the cover of this book, in my "art gallery."  The title is still available in paperback.  Two of my other favorites are by my friend Toni Buzzeo, Dawdle Ducking, with illustrations by Margaret Spendler (Dial, 2003).  There is a sequel, Ready or Not, Dawdle Duckling (Dial, 2005).  If you are interested in ducks you may want to go to Toni's site and download her "Teaching About Ducks" list of sites about ducks https://www.tonibuzzeo.com/EDUCATORS_files/teachingaboutducks.pdf 

But meanwhile these books gave me inspiration for transforming a set of plain white towels into a housewarming gift for a family with a small child.  This set is child worthy.

This is a standard set of towels: two bath towels, two hand towels, and two wash cloths.  I got these at Target.  They are soft and the bath towels are generous in size (30 inches x 54 inches) and 100% cotton.









We have a pattern that you can access here.
There is a list of items needed, on the graphic to the left.  The large (JUMBO @ 1.5 inches wide) rickrack is difficult to find but you can order it from the Ribbon Retreat in a variety of colors.  You might find it locally for less.


Using the HEATnBOND LITE® we stabilized a piece of yellow plush large enough to cut out two ducks and two wings.  Remove the HEATnBOND from the back of one wing, iron it on one duck.  Do the same for the orange beak. Then position the duck on the towel, and press the duck onto the towel.  Use a satin stitch (orange thread on the top and match the towel color in the bobbin) to go around the beak.  Replace the orange thread with yellow and satin stitch around the wing.  Then while the yellow thread is in the machine use that thread to blanket stitch around the duck (skip sewing around the beak as that is already adhered to the towel.
Once the duck is on the towel we are ready to add the bubbles and the water (rickrack).  I used the ends of three different sized thread spools as the guide for cutting out three different sizes of circles.  Before beginning I stabilized a strip of blue plush (the width of the piece of fabric), approx. 44 inches long and 2 inches high.  On the white backing of the stabilized fabric I drew the circles and cut 2 large ones, 2 medium, and 2 small ones for each towel.  I cut four circles for the hand towels, and three for each of the washcloths.  Place the circles randomly, in an upward stream - largest at the bottom.  Once the placement pleases you, remove the adhesive backing, iron the circles/bubbles onto the towel, and then stitch them down, using matching blue thread as the top thread, and the towel matching color in the bobbin.  Use a blanket stitch to sew these circles/bubbles down onto the towel. Then sew on the circles/bubbles onto the wash cloths and the hand towels.
The final sewing step is to sew on the rickrack.  You will need approximately 1/2 yard for each bath towel.  Sew the light blue rickrack first - seam it on one side, turn and pin horizontally across the towel.  The rickrack should be positioned in such a manner that the duck appears to be swimming in the water.  When you reach the other side, Fold a piece of the rickrack under and top stitch so frayed edges do not show.
Then replace the light blue thread with dark blue to match the dark rickrack and sew on the dark rickrack in the same manner that you did with the light blue rickrack.  Position the dark blue rickrack in such a manner that it almost interlocks with the lighter piece.
The final sewing item is to create the eye on the duck.  Put black thread in the top and use a stitch that you would normally use to sew on a two-hole button.  Repeat the stitching so the black thread makes a significant eye on the duck.  Repeat with the second duck.  Finally...

The very last thing you should do is to find some great ducky books to tuck into the package.  In addition to the classics I cited above here are a few more that you might consider.






 

Additional titles suggested by readers

Of course the very popular and classic title, winner of the 1942 Caldecott Award.


If you have a great ducky book to add to this list, please cite it in the comments section.
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Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices.
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.