Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday - Quilts, Bags and a Skirt

You would think that from the looks of my blog that all I can think about now is wildflowers, but that isn't true. It is winter here and not gardening weather, so I do have time to work inside. I have been doing some sewing over the last few weeks.

I bought a second hand jean skirt last summer. It fit really nicely in the store, but when I washed it, the waist band shrank several inches. I was amazed. Nothing else shrank on it. I tried to give it to a couple friends, but it didn't work. Then I got the idea of using it to make bags. It was a nice rich color, didn't look worn out and had lots of cute details. I cut the skirt in two and started to sew. It was great fun! I had never made something like this before. I had just the fabric for linings. The first bag has been come my regular "purse."

I sewed the bottom closed, adding a couple pleats to make it more full inside, and I squared off the corners. I laid the bag on my lining fabric, and cut around the outside using the jean bag as a pattern. Then I sewed together with pleats in the bottom and squared off corners. I put it inside the jean bag, and then hand sewed in the lining, so it started just below the waist band, with a blind stitch. It turned out lovely. Then I made a handle, and belt, and sewed in giant snaps to hold it closed. Those giant snaps are really fun to sew in an use. I think this purse would best be made out of a small size of jean skirt, or the purse might be too wide.

The second bag was made out the bottom section of the skirt. I sewed the slit closed and trimmed it to a size I thought would work good for a large tote bag. I made reversible handles out of the denim and lining fabric. I cut the lining fabric to be exactly the same size as the bag. I gave them both deeply squared off corners. I sewed two big pockets one side and a one bigger pocket with a divider in the other side. It turned out great. I have used the bag several times now, and love it's solid sturdiness, and yet feminine fabric details. I'm going to make some more of these when I find another skirt needing a new life.

I sewed two big pockets one side and a one bigger pocket with a divider in the other side. It turned out great. I have used the bag several times now, and love it's solid sturdiness, and yet feminine fabric details. I'm going to make some more of these when I find another skirt needing a new life.

Several years ago I made my son a quilt for his bed. I gave my daughter the pretty bedspread I used in college. But then decided I should start a quilt for her too. I had been eying a quilt pattern in a book that looked interesting, so I let her choose the colors. It uses strips of fabric sewn together, then sliced up to make strips of little squares. It sounded easy enough, but I had never worked with such tiny squares before. I soon got confused as to which strips went where. I made a couple mistakes, got discouraged, and put the project away. Sadly this project has languished way too long. It has been begging to be finished, but I wasn't sure I could do it. I had put a lot of money into the fabric, so I really couldn't abandon the project forever. And Emily Rose still doesn't have her own quilt yet.

I have now worked on this several evenings. I have figured out my mistake, and corrected it. I have all the smaller pieces into the larger sized blocks. And next I can start working on putting the strips of squares in between the blocks. Somehow I have come up short three of the large blocks. I have no idea where they are. But I am going to press on with the 9 blocks I have and figure out how to make it still work for a twin bed with extra borders. I think I have enough fabric to do that. If I ever get it finished, I'll be sure to share it with you.

I have pulled out another quilt that needs to be finished. It is made of quilter's flannel and is the perfect to color to put in our family room. (The room I gave a brown wall last summer.) This is a bear paw type quilt. Thankfully I got the squares pretty far along before I gave up. I stopped working on this because the machine I had didn't make consistent 1/4 inch seams. The blocks didn't come together as good as they should, but I am going to figure out some way to make it happen. I have a better machine now. I worked on this a little while last night while my husband read stories to us all. Yes, everyone gathered in my sewing area for story time, instead of up on the couches. One kid was drawing and one kid was coloring.

The final thing I'll write about is a skirt I made. I found the partially made skirt at an estate sale, complete with lots of extra fabric. The fabric is a wool of high quality. I am wondering if it might even be Pendleton wool.) The six panels of the skirt were cut and sewn together, except for near the top of the skirt. It appeared that the original seamstress fell into problems. It appeared that it might have been too small for her and she was trying to take out the seams to make it fit better, but it wasn't going to work. It was never completed. I took it home for almost nothing. (Everything we bought there, including a cat carrier, a set of sheets and some books and things for the kids came to a total of $2!) It didn't take me long at all to sew up the seams. The waist band was missing, so I had to create one myself, but that wasn't hard. I hemmed up the skirt so it is like a long walking skirt from the turn of the century. I have worn it to church twice with black button up boots. It isn't a modern style, but I like it very much. It feels classic and feminine to wear. And there is enough fabric left that I think I could make a skirt for my daughter, and maybe a vest for my son. If I can find time with all the other projects I'm working on.

You can see what other people are making by going to Shereen's blog. You could even make a post on your blog and share your creativity too.

13 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Ann said...

Your bags are so fun! It's great to be able to give something a new life. I think your skirt is beautiful. It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables. I love the classic look of the plaid.

lahbluebonnet said...

How wonderful! I don't know if I can remember everything! Love the blue jean bag...I like the fabric that coordinates with it! I love the quilts you are working on too! Great job!

Rebecca said...

Wowza! You were a B*U*S*Y gal! What an incredible amount of goodies you created this week! Great job! Those vibrant teeny squared quilts are stunning!

Gina said...

You sure have a lot going! I particularly like the quilt for your's going to be gorgeous! Yay for you for getting it back out to finish!

Lynne said...

Oh my goodness! You've been keeping yourself very busy! I love the bags you made out of skirts, very creative.

You are very brave and have done a great job on the quilt projects so far. I can't wait to see what you do to finish it.

Mom2fur said...

You're talented in many ways! Isn't it fun to take something that could be a 'lost cause,' like the jeans that shrunk (that is weird how they only shrunk in one place) that you made into that adorable bag. The quilting is lovely. And that skirt--so classic!
It looks like something from a pricey place like Talbot's!

Karen said...

You are an inspiration! I need to get some of my projects out and get going. I love the jean bag.

La Tea Dah said...

What wonderful sewing projects! I love them all, but especially the tiny blocks in Emily Rose's quilt. Pure delight!

PS: I have a jeans purse like yours. A friend made it for me and gave it to me for my birthday; filled with primroses.

Ginny said...

My, My you have been so busy. I love the denim bags, especially the tote with the large pockets. I've always loved the lining pattern. Your quilts are so full of color and life. They will be beautiful when finished. And the skirt is cute. Wonderful job on all your projects.

Debbie J. said...

Wow! I love all your projects, especially the first jean purse! I want to make one!

Theresa said...

WOW! All of this post is so neat, I don't know where to start first. Now I want to find a jean skirt to try that. I love the blue fabrics you used to compliment both bags. That skirt is just gorgeous. I love tartans anyway, but it is just so pretty and Ann who posted first is right...just right out of the Anne of Avonlea movie. Thanks for visiting my blog and all your comments. I look forward to getting to know you more.

Mrs.T said...

What an amazing job you have done with these projects. The quilts are lovely. And the bags... what a reat idea. I especially like the toile pockets. The skirt is just beautiful. It does indeed look like something out of Anne of Green Gables. You are an inspiration to me!

Hildegard said...

The skirt is my favorite! I'm also hoping to make an old-fashioned dress and a skirt as soon as I buy my sewing machine. I know where to find an excellent teacher!