Musings of a celiac seamstress

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Getting some “craft” done!

I’ve had some inspiration strike over the past two weeks and have started crafting things for my Etsy shop. Handmade fabric buttons and button flowers for adults, and snuggle squares, crinkle squares and fabric balls for baby. Also in design phase: pincushions and kitty toys.

Yes, I realize I’m a fashion design student and none of this is exactly fashion. The purpose of these small projects is to use up scraps, repurpose secondhand items, and have a set of more portable crafts to work on. I really enjoy sewing buttons while I sip on the occasional iced coffee or basting fabrics into hexagons for fabric balls while I watch Netflix.

This is all slowly coming together, but lately I’m getting much better about it. It really helps that I’m getting comments from people when I’m out in public. I wish I’d printed a new batch of calling cards!

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Snuggle square in progress. Ribbon tags pinned in place and back square is ready to layer on top

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First flower button, displayed on my favorite hat

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Cheshire cat pincushion with satin piping

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Stuffed felt kitty face. I might make more of these in different colorways and tuck in some catnip for feline enjoyment :)

I thought I was organized…

…until I realized I couldn’t find anything. Specifically, I didn’t have an easy way of seeing what patterns I already have, or finding that *one* I want to look at. I had them inventoried in a spreadsheet and sorted into two storage containers, but that still didn’t help much. Without pictures to go with the pattern numbers, all the “skirt and pants with pocket and waistband variations” on the list look the same. Shopping at pattern sales without a current printout of what I had on hand made for duplicates. It was time to find a different system. I poked around online and found a tip on patternreview.com that looked like an ideal solution.

Supplies needed:

  • 3-ring binder
  • clear letter-size sheet protectors, top load
  • quart-size zipper-style storage or freezer bags, 7″ x 8″ (slider bags are too square to work for most pattern tissue)
  • tabbed dividers
  • somewhere to record inventory (preferably computerized)

(It also helps to have a couple hours’ worth of viewing material queued up on Netflix)

I started with bags from Aldi, which had a place to write on them like Ziploc bags do, but that obstructed the view of the contents so I had to turn that to the back. The bags pictured above were at a dollar store for $1 per box of 25 and had no markings on them at all. Win!

Following the tip I found, I pulled the tissue and instructions from the outer envelope and slid the envelope into a sheet protector. Tissue and instructions went into a storage bag with the pattern company and number facing outward. I had to write in the details on a few of them, like Burda, if they didn’t show up in a visible spot.

Once I got the separation process done, I sorted the patterns into a couple of groups to make it easier to browse. I have tons of junior- and misses-sized patterns, so I split those into casual and formal categories. Crafts got their own divider, and most of the other patterns fell into an “other apparel” category (unisex, costume, men, children). I labeled my dividers with masking tape for now, mostly because I am an indecisive person and I know these groups are apt to change as I allot more and more. (What, it’s so hard not to buy them when they’re on sale at Jo-Ann for $1!)

Process complete! My patterns are still in their original order, numerically by company, so I didn’t have to rearrange very much. I also labeled the containers with masking tape since those contents will change every time I buy Simplicity patterns, which is just about every time I make the mistake of going to the store during a sale.

This is a bit of my inventory sheet. The years are the copyright dates from the envelope, not necessarily the year in which they were purchased, and uncut ones are indicated so I know which ones can be sold. Eventually maybe I’ll get around to selling the ones that I’ve changed my mind about to make room for new ones… haha.

(Pardon the phone photography and poor lighting. I decided to document my progress at 1am Monday when I finished this task)

The Start of Something Quilty

In April 2009, I started a quilt. I had a stash of fabrics in blacks and blues for a different quilt I had planned, but I no longer liked that idea and the project had stagnated. Suddenly, I thought of something to do with this poor abandoned fabric. 12″ blocks made up of 6 rows of 2″ squares…everything sorted kinda from dark to light across the block diagonally. I ended up with a 96″ square quilt top that I absolutely love. I have named it the Pixel Quilt.

Since that May, I haven’t done a whole lot with that quilt. I purchased the fabric for the backing, washed and pressed it, and folded it nicely. I also bought the cotton batting for it, presoaked it, and folded it nicely on top of the backing. The quilt top lies on that stack, and it’s all shoved to the side of my living room. I think about it a lot, but I work and attend school a lot too.

Meanwhile, I’ve dreamed up two more quilts to construct using leftovers from the Pixel Quilt. I’ll make a wall hanging version out of 2″ squares and practice machine quilting on that before I attempt it on the large version. Then, with the bits of fabric that are left, I’ve started making hexagons. Ah, yes. A peek at why I’m the h3x kitten emerges. That’s a story for another time.

I don’t even remember how I came upon the Hexagon Charm Quilt Piece-Along, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I saw it. I watched a slideshow of nearly all of the 1000+ photos in the flickr group that day, and inspired me more than it overwhelmed me…and yes, the thought of making *that many* little hexagons certainly does overwhelm me.

A few snaps of the Pixel Quilt:

Deciding on the block layout:

Full top before it was sewn:

Another angle:

Notice a theme here? :p

Coming soon…

Real content!

Right now I’m training myself how to work this thing.

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