Category Archives: Needlework

Fat Quarter Kitten Toy Bags

If you have any contact with your local shelters or rescues, you must know that kitten season is upon us.  One of the big challenges of having so many litters coming through is stopping the sharing of illness before symptoms show up.    One of the ways to do this is to have dedicated bedding, bowls, boxes and toys for each litter.  With enclosures, the first three are relatively simple.  Keeping the same toys with the same litter is a bit more challenging.  Another rescue suggested toy bags so that each litter’s toys can be kept with them.  The one my son and I volunteer with on the weekends reached out to their volunteer community for help in possibly making these bags.

Last weekend I worked up two dozen bags in addition to the six I made the week before.  The pattern and instructions below were written up as a quick method of creating these for shelters, rescues and their fosters.  The information is free to share and reproduce for non-profit purposes only.   For ease of printing, a link to a PDF file is included at the bottom of this post.  Happy Stitching.

Supplies & Notions:

  • Fat Quarter in fabric of choice
  • Twine for drawstrings
  • Large eyed blunt needle (Eye should be large enough to accommodate the drawstring material.)
  • Thread (coordinating or contrasting)
  • Sharps if sewing by hand

Directions:

  • One fat quarter will make two Kitten Toy bags approximately 8” x 10.5”.
  • Do not prewash the fat quarter.  Iron as needed.
  • Cut in half on the 18” side (see Figure A).  This will result in a 9” x 22” piece (see Figure B).
  • Using as small a hem as you are comfortable sewing,  one long side and at least one inch down each short side from the hemmed long side noted by blue lines on Figure C.  I used a rolled hem foot on my machine and simply hemmed the three sides.
    • Note: While hemming is not strictly necessary, considering that these are expected to be laundered in a sanitizing manner, I recommend it.  This is to increase durability and will also reduce the strings that result from washing.
  • Fold over the long side a half inch and sew in place the length of it.  This will create the casing for the drawstring.
  • Fold in half with right sides together. Sew along raw edge of long side and up the short side stopping at the very beginning of the casing. See Figure D.
  • Turn right side out.  Cut a length of twine 28” long.  Knot one end.  Thread the large eyed needle with the other end and thread it through the entire casing.  Remove the needle from the twine and knot that end.

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Additional information:

  • The pattern can be altered if the fat quarter is not the typical 18×22.
  • A half yard will net 4 toy bags.
  • Smaller cuts can be utilized for smaller bags.
  • Yarn, ribbon or shoes laces can be substituted for twine.

© 2019 AblyAnnie (Pam Willars) All Rights Reserved
This pattern may only be reproduced for non-profit purposes.  You may use it to create toy bags for your own use or for donation purposes only.  Neither the pattern itself nor the resulting products may be sold.

Link to Free Pattern Fat Quarter Kitten Toy Bags

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Leonardo Da Vinci and The Sewing Stash

Part of this last school year’s projects was the Famous Person Project.  It started with a conversation with his Language Arts teacher followed by a list of people he, with help from his teacher, had picked.  Then we (he and I) narrowed it down to three.  And at school it became one.

Over the course of the project they researched their person, made a presentation and a few other things.  The very last part was the Famous Person Wax Museum, an at school event where the students dressed as the subject of their project and did a short speech.

As the title clearly hints at, my boy picked Leonardo Da Vinci.  Costume-wise he really doesn’t realize what he is asking for.  My mind begins spinning.  First, first I need a pattern.  There was a time when I was a regular at Ren Faires, so maybe I have something in the box of costume patterns.  I go digging through that and find something that is perfect, an old Butterick Ren pattern.  Wonderful, now I just need fabrics and trim.  I read through to see how much is needed and considered my totes of fabric, and secondarily my bolts of fabric, then boxes of trim..

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Fabric totes – there’s another stack or two behind this one…

I recall some not plain fabric I’ve picked up in the last year or so from thrift shops and pull that out, looking at how much yardage there is.  I have munchkin come in and we talk about it since I know if he isn’t on board whatever gets made won’t be worn.  As particular about clothing, even costumes, as I am, I totally get it.  We go through the same process with the trim, this one found at the annual Quilt Shows back room garage sale where they sell fabric at $0.50 per pound.  I pull together coordinating threads and the bolt of lining fabric for just that and put all this stuff in a project box so I have it all together.

Now that it is organized I can address the pattern itself.  As I’ve gotten to the point over the years that I really don’t like cutting the originals, I pulled out my roll of transfer paper and set to do that.  I call him in and take his measurements to see which of the sizes is closest for him.

As I’m unfolding the pattern sheets and looking for the pieces required, I come to the realization that this packet only contains the adult size patterns.  Oh boy.  I do a little bit of research to see if the child size is out there somewhere for purchase.  I do find one copy for about $30 plus shipping.  Then I think to look at the copyright date.  1998.  Oh, that’s why.  I also consider the calendar.  It is a Thursday afternoon and he needs the costume the following Thursday.  Yeah, even if I were willing to spend the money on the pattern – I’m not – it wouldn’t arrive in time for any progress to be made.

So I transfer the smallest size adult pieces to my transfer paper, taping pieces together where necessary.  It is the top part of the doublet that needs the most adjustment.  The bottom part, which is from the waist down, can be left at the original length.  He stands there while I fold and tape into the right size, both front and back.  The transfer and adjustment took most of the rest of Thursday evening.  Then I started cutting the fabric out.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sewing days, using a little workhorse of a vintage Singer, the 185J made in Canada.

Singer 185J

Singer 185J

Friday, after work, I begin sewing, and I go until I’m too tired to see straight and have to frog some seams.

As I’m getting the pieces assembled and considering them, I’m realizing the lining will absolutely be necessary.  Since the fabric is essentially home decor fabric, I can, at least, skip dealing with interfacing.  Stitching continues on Saturday.  The lining is more challenging to cut and sew being what it is, but I get through quite a bit of that even with the afternoon work stoppage for our shift of kitty care at the local animal adoption center as well as fittings as pieces were put together.  I am able to move on to the hand stitching of the trim.  When my fingers tire I get the hat prepped.  A quick basting stitch lets me pull the edges into gathers.  I pin the trim into place and pick the feathers I want to use.  Those get bundled and glue applied to the shafts to set them.

Sunday I continue on the trim and finish off the hat.  I get him to try it on but he won’t leave it on long enough for a photo.  Stinker.

Thursday arrives and off to school we go.  He is so excited about his costume he puts it on early to show his teachers.  I am able to stay through the Wax Museum event but then must head to work and conference calls and what not.

I’m super pleased with how it all turned out, and apparently he really likes the hat as he was still wearing it when I picked him up from school that afternoon.

And for the second part of the post title – The Sewing Stash – I did not need to buy a single thing for this project.  Everything was pulled from my stash.  I sometimes see posts around social media from people who say they only buy fabric when they have a project to work on.  I work on things the other way around.  I get the fabric and accessories first and see what ideas bloom, or in this case, what need arises.  As noted earlier, the outer fabric and trim were bought at thrift shops/ garage sales.  The bolt of lining fabric I got for free several years ago with a few other bolts via a Freecycle post.  The feathers were from an old craft project.  And I have many needles and lots of thread.

I’m not sure when or if he will ever wear this again, but once he grows out of it, I plan on donating to a local children’s theatre.

The images below show the project process.

 

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Growing *The Choir

A little over a month ago, there was a post on one of my buy/sell FB groups for a Singer treadle from he early 1900s.  Although I did inquire about it at the time, the funds and the logistics just were not aligning, so I resigned myself to admiring from afar.  Last week I received a notification that the price had been reduced considerably.  Funding was aligned, and with some planning, so was logistics.

Wednesday afternoon, after school pick up, I collected my husband then an open Uhaul trailer and out to Salinas we went.  WE had to wait a bit as the seller had to make a quick run out, but, oh it was so worth the wait.

Now, sitting, in my living room is a well loved, well maintained Singer Model 66 treadle with Red Eye decals in a #21 Drawing Room Cabinet.  She’s just gorgeous!  All the parts turn smoothly, there were extra bobbins and needles in the drawer, and the manual was quickly downloaded from the ISMACS site.

I’m hoping to do some test stitching in the next few days.

Along with this beauty, there was an antique ice box. I need to do some more research on it, but it appears to also be early 1900s.  I plan to use it to store machine accessories and notions once I get it cleaned up and situated properly.  Of course, that probably won’t be until after the turtles get transported to their new home.

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Filed under Machines, Needlework, Sewing

Newest Member of *The Choir

Saturday had a small adventure that included a drive I normally do for the day job.  I journeyed up to Daly City to see a vintage industrial Singer sewing machine, a 150w3.  Because of our weekly shift at the per adoption center, we needed to be up and on the road early.  There was the normal filling of the gas tank and acquiring caffeine.  Then we stopped at U-Haul to pick up the small open trailer I had reserved.  There was no way the machine was going to fit in my SUV, an while it would have fit in Kel’s van, the trailer has a much lower deck.  The assumption was that this piece would be heavy.

The drive up took longer than it normally would as pulling the trailer, especially with it unencumbered, required slower speeds than normal for me.  I didn’t twitch too much.  We found the address via GPS easily enough.  Then came the truly challenging part.  Daly City is essentially a suburb of San Francisco.  If you’re old enough to have watched the TV show The Streets of San Francisco you may remember how steep many of those streets are.  Not only is this street one of what I think of as the extra steep ones (so grateful to not be driving a stick), it’s a dead end.  Not a cul de sac with a little turning bubble, but a dead end.  So very carefully, I managed to get both the vehicle and trailer turned around, though by the time I was done it was way beyond a 3-point turn.  See the image below from Google Maps.  The yellow arrow is where I had to pull in, the orange is the direction I had to back the trailer then my SUV, and the green is the final parking spot.

delmar

The drive and turning challenge were absolutely worth it though.  The machine belonged to the seller’s grandmother who was a seamstress who did draperies, leather work and a multitude of other things.  It was obviously well used and well taken care of.  As expected of an industrial machine, the motor is sizable and mounted under the table.  There is a knee bar but it does operate by using the treadle peddle.  A test sewing on the scrap leather on it showed she sews like a dream.  The table itself is a thick butcher block piece on a cast iron treadle base.  It has a separate bobbin winder and dowels embedded into the table top to hold extra bobbins and thread cones.  A small work lamp is also a part of the table.  There is a drawer on the left that has extra needles, bobbins, throat plates, presser feet and more.  Another bonus is the machine cover that was obviously made by her previous owner.  The first two photos are from the seller’s listing, and the remaining ones are from the spot of my garage she has claimed.

I spent time today cleaning and organizing the garage.  Considering the power draw this machine has, and the fact that the garage is the only room with all ground capable outlets, I think it is a good place for her.  A bit more work out there, and I may have a proper workshop.  My electrified workbench with riser and shelf is already out there so it will certainly be a good set up.

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Filed under *The Choir, History, Needlework, Sewing

Candy Pop Quilt Complete

Here is the Candy Pop Quilt all done! It is machine quilted using my Singer 401A and a wide zig zag style stitch.  Took a bit of a short cut and folded the backing over as the binding as I just loved the fabric.  20180318_112312

And here it is hanging on the new to me quilt rack.
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Filed under Needlework, Quilting

Needlepoint Pillows 2

Two more pillows were completed and delivered to my client.  One was a small print of random color splashes (sure, there is a word for it, but it eludes me at the moment).  The other was a hound dog / beagle that was challenging to to the nature of the needlepoint stitching not having a solid background.  For this one I ended up lining a cut of white cotton sheeting with fusible interfacing then doing a reverse applique to give both body and a regular rectangular shape.  From there I stitched random quilting lines to set off the border from the main picture.  It turned out fairly well I think.  My client certainly seemed happy with it.

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Needlepoint Pillows 1

I have recently taken on some commission work of turning completed needlepoint canvases into pillows for a neighbor.  It started with 4 canvases and a couple more have been added.  Three are done and given back to her.  Two are on the blocking board.  The last came in when I gave her the first 3 and still needs to be blocked.  It’s been fun digging through the stash to find the right backing and, in one case so far, trim.

Here are the three that are done.

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Filed under Commissioned, Needlework