Thursday, 7 July 2011

What to do next?

        A gentle rain is now falling.  By the time I post this, the showers will probably have stopped.  It’s overcast today, with showers expected off and on all day.  As for me, well, I’m trying to make some decisions about what to do next.
        I’ve finally gotten back to writing on my Book in A Month project, writing on Chapter Two.  I want to get that finished because I know that I shall be receiving a packet from the Association of Christian Writers Postal Workshop, to which I belong.  There are four of us now.  Each of us sends a piece we want critiqued/given feedback on.  When the packet comes to me, I will read the three other pieces for my workshop friends and write out comments and suggestions for each one.  I put those readings back into the envelope, add a new piece I want critiqued and then post it to the next person. 
        I’ve not met any of the people in the group face-to-face.  But we send e-mails and little personal notes in the post with the creative writing.  I would really enjoy meeting the others in the group, but that will require a car, or a bit of finance to take the trains.  Maybe I should invite them here for an afternoon!
        Now that I’ve completed the aprons, I have lots of options for sewing.  When one is spoilt for choice, it can be confusing.  I have at least four handbag projects to make—Christmas presents. .  I also have ideas for sewing for the grandchildren—so maybe I need to make a list.   I purchased five new clothing patterns, so need to pick one and get started on that.  Here are my choices. 
        The other thing I could work on today is the Parish new sheet for the week of the 17th.  The news sheet for this coming Sunday is nearing I like to get started on the next one early.  But I have a feeling I won’t be working on it during the day today...maybe tomorrow.
        This afternoon I am meeting with my prayer partner.  We always have lots to pray about.  Thursday is our usual day for meeting.  But we do keep flexible. 
        So, have I made any decisions?  I’ll probably work on the book for a while.  I’m supposed to be writing four pages a day.  And this page doesn’t count!  So, I’d better get on with my day.
        I hope you aren’t overwhelmed by too many choices!
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
Lady Helene

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Another apron

This apron is the second one I made from My Midnight Man's worn out jeans.  This is the back pocket and waistband section. I opened the crotch seam so that the garment would lay flat.  Then I found the place to mark off a straight line, where I could add a ruffle at the bottom. 

The bib is made from half a leg section.  I ripped open the inside and outside seam and used the front part of the leg.  You can see the center fold where the jeans had been pressed a few times. 

To make it the right size, I held it up to me and determined where the bib would be attached to the waistband.  I marked it with a pin, then measured and cut it to the correct length.

I decided that since I had some nice green material that would work really well, I had enough to make decoration.  I'd been wanting to practice doing applique onto garments, with the idea of eventually doing a quilt top.  I took a pattern from a child's colouring page to cut out three leaves.  I had some iron-on adhedsive to tack them into place with a hot iron.

I could have used some yellow or white thread to make the veins on the leaves, but I wanted to keep the apron simple.

Doing applique takes a lot of thread, but the result is a nice finish.  It's also time consuming because the stitching is very tight and close.  Of course sewing a seam is going to be faster. 

You can't see the dark blue stitching in this photo.  But this is how it looked once they were sewn on. 

Next I attached ties.  This time when  I used the pattern from the McCall's Easy stitch 'n Save M5358, I used the full length of the tie pattern instead of a shortened one. 

The ties were straight forward to put on.  But to make it even easier, I ironed creases into the material on the folding lines.  This made pinning much faster.  I attached the ties to the side of the bib, then folded the ties over and sewed them closed.

The jeans waistband is very thick.  Trying to sew the bib directly onto the waistband would have been very difficult as my machine is a simple domestic machine and not made for handling very thick material.  So once again I used the  McCall's Easy Stitch 'N Save M5358 pattern--the waistband piece to make a lighter weight way to attach the bib to the skirt.  Once the waistband was on, I sewed the bib to the back of the waistband.    The final touch was adding a ruffle to lengthen the apron and add to the cuteness factor. 

I really enjoyed making this apron.  My Midnight Man thinks I'll be following him around just waiting to abscond with his other jeans.  But he mustn't worry.  I have other sewing projects I want to work on.  A few people have even offered to donate their jeans to me.  So all is well. 

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,  "Lady Helene"

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Make over with a Twist

        “Born to Party” stated the flyer.  To raise money and support for Save the Children, a family from church threw a party.  Saturday, 2nd July was sunny, warm, the perfect day for an afternoon in a beautiful English back garden.  The front garden hosted a bouncy castle.  The back garden was organised with various stalls; one for a grill for burgers and sausages, another covered stall for a curry buffet, another side held a canopy for a raffle stand; under the trees were stands for cakes and coffee; and on the patio next to a tree was the face-painting station.  A few steps away from the face painting table was a book and soft toy stall.  There was also a stand selling jams, and plants. 
        Children from toddlers to teenagers made good use of a trampoline in one corner and a jungle gym in another corner.  The jungle gym was like a wooden fortress with a climbing wall, swings, ropes and even perches with windows to look out from. 
        My Midnight Man and I were given a lift to the party by the vicar and his wife.  When we decided to go to the party, I had in mind one of the things I wanted to do.  However, I didn’t carry out my plan immediately.  I was instantly captivated by the book stall.  Within five minutes I’d purchased two books.  Had it not been rude, I think I would have gone and found a quiet corner to read! 
        Whilst My Midnight Man was purchasing walnut and coffee cake for me, I was sitting at a table contemplating a make-over.  There was a book of different styles and colours to pick from.  The make-over was very economical—only £1.00.  My turn came and I sat very still while the artist worked.  Yes, I had my face painted—a make-over with a twist.
        At the church barbeque in May our dear friend, Frank, who was well into his 80’s, had demonstrated how young-at –heart he was and had his face painted.  Well, if Frank could, I could! 
        I picked a butterfly because of the lovely colours.  Also, my Mom loves butterflies.  I’m sending an e-mail to her with the photo attached. 
        The party was well attended, raising a good deal of money for Save the Children.  Besides the two books, my purchases included a geranium, two marigold plants, a burger for lunch, a cupcake and cookie for dessert and some raffle tickets.  I even won a raffle prize.   
        My Midnight Man and I were glad we went.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith, "Lady Helene"

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Recycling jeans and "jammies"

As I recently mentioned, I have been busy with some sewing.  I took a pair of John's old jeans that he could no longer wear and used them to make an apron.  The other material I used was a pair of thread-bare pyjamas that had torn next to the center seam.

First, I cut around the waistband of the jeans and down the side seams.  then I cut the front across the about three inches below the zipper.  The waistband I left attached to the back side to make a second apron.
Next I opened up the side seam of one of the legs.  They opened up nicely to make a nice long piece of material. 
I held the leg up to me to decide how long the top part needed to be; using a pin, I marked where the leg needed cutting off so that I could measure it.  I laid it flat, measured from the top, marking it with pins. 

I simply followed the pins to cut off the leg.  I needed a guide to go by to make the waistband and ties.  So I dug out a simplicity apron pattern and used three pattern pieces; waistband, top ties and bottom ruffle. 
Using a seam ripper, I opened all the seams on the pyjama bottoms.  I unpicked the waistband and then cut it off, as it had been frayed.  The legs were nice long pieces to use.  I made sure that I had pressed everything flat.  I also found the grain by pulling one thread, which created a cutting line.  then I used the pattern pieces to do the actual measuring/cutting business.
After I cut the waistband, ties and bottom ruffel, I started sewing.  First I put the waistband on the jeans front.  It took some strong "guidance/persuasion" to get the needle to sew over the zipper area because it was so thick.  But in the end, I succeeded.  The waistband went on first, and then I sewed the ties onto the waistband.  I made the waistband wide, so I could simply sew the top onto the waistband.  
You can see where I cut away part of the zipper closure so make it thinner to sew through.  Also, I used a moderately stiff inner facing to add support to the waistband.  This is where I'd attached the waistband, and was preparing the edge before folding it over to sew it down as well.  It was also at this stage that I put on the ties.
This is the front view.  The ties had to be added before I folded over the waistband and sewed it into place because the attachment ends needed to be hidden.  You can see from the photo that once the apron is finished, the pockets will indeed be usable.
 The next step was attaching the neck ties to the top.  I didn't make the ties as long as the pattern indicated as they would have been too long.  So that was a little modification I made before cutting them out.  Also, once I got the ties on, I tried the top on.  I was glad I did.  Once the ties were tied, I noticed that the top bunched in an awkward manner.  This would be corrected by putting in some darts.  I pinned the darts whilst I had it on, for the size of the darts.  Once I had the size determined, I measured everything out evenly before sewing the darts in.  Once sewn in, I trimmed them out and pressed them open.  I chose to do the darts before sewing the apron together, as it was easier to handle. Once that was done, I sewed the top and bottom together.  Finally I added the bottom ruffle.  Here is my new apron--which is very cute!  I've even worn it to cook in!
Now I have to use the back part of the jeans to make a second apron.  I got the idea of using old jeans from a couple of blogs I read.  They used the back pockets.  I thought it was a good idea to use the front and the back.

Recycling is great fun, if you don't mind investing a little time.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith, "Lady Helene"