Saturday, December 18, 2010

NOT a wonky eyeglass case

Well, I don't post at all for a gazillion years and now, I can't get off the damn thing!

One of the first posts I did was a wonky eyeglass case that I made for my mother. That must have been about a year ago. One of the biggest problems I had with it was putting it together. I thought that the normal procedure would be to make the inside of the case, sewing two rectangles of fabric together, then making the outside of the case, sew two rectangles of fabric together and then spend 42 hours trying to join the inside to the outside through that very narrow opening! How frustrating that was and what a mess I ended up with. So, before I attempted another eyeglass case for my mother, I had to figure out how to make it neater.

Well, along came the world of biscornus!!! WOW!! I made my first one and was immediately addicted! I have 5 completed and have 2 more to put together.

In making the biscornu, I got a brilliant idea on how I might make my next eyeglass case! I will join the outside together like I put a biscornu together! I will backstitch over 2 threads along my outside border and then join the front and back together by slipping my needle into the backstitches. There is a picture somewhere down below on how I did this, but there are absolutely tons of great videos and posts already on the net on how to make biscornus, so I dont' need to spend too much time on doing it again.

So, instead of making the inside of the case and then making the outside and trying to put the two together, what I will do is, stitch the one side of the inside to the front of the case, and the same with other other side, sew one side of the inside to the back of the eyeglass case. I will then complete the inside, and then complete the outside.

So first I took my eyeglass case front and back. I have cross stitched traditional Ukrainian cross stitch designs on both. The lettering on the back is in Cyrillic and spells my mothers name, Anna.

I took two rectangles of fusible Pellon interfacing and ironed it onto the BACK of my stitching, just inside the black backstitching line. I did this instead of trying to attach quilt batting to the case.
I then chose a bright yellow cotton for the inside of the case, cut two rectangles larger than my eyeglass case and put the right side of the yellow fabric to the right side of the white front of the case. I sewed the cotton to the eyeglass case front along the line that will become the top or opening of the eyeglass case. I have a photo here of the right sides being placed together.

In the next photo, you can see where I have stitched one side of the yellow inside fabric to one side of the white outside of the case. I did the same with the other side (does that sound as confusing as I think it does?). In the photo below, at the bottom, the yellowish fabric is shown where I have sewed it to the top of the back of the eyeglass case. The white outside case back is under the yellow fabric and can't be seen. Above it, in the photo, you can see the white front of the eyeglass case and the yellow inside has been sewn aong the top, and then the yellow fabric is turned to the left. Where the two are sewn together, that will form the opening of the eyeglass case.
I then put the front and back of the eyeglass case together, right sides together, which means that the two sides of the inside yellow cotton are now right sides together. I sew the yellow section together in a rectangle shape so that it is slightly smaller than the eyeglass case. (of course I measure the eyeglass case and draw out a sewing line on my yellow fabric which forms my sewing line. I trimmed the edges after sewing and zigzagged stitched to make sure it didn't fray.

I turned my eyeglass case to the outside and you can see that there is a clean seam at the opening of my eyeglass case. The inside of my case is now complete and I no longer have to worry about it.
I trim the excess fabric away from the white outside of my case, zigzag to prevent fraying, and then begin sewing my front of the eyeglass case to the back, using the same method to put biscornu together. The needle is put under one backstitch from the back of the case and then under one backstitch from the front of the case and then gently pull and go on to the next backstitch.

As you can see below, the seam above was completed making a ver neat join all the way around the eyeglass case.

The back is very neat.

And the front is neat and the glasses fit into the case quite easily.

So, just to summarize, as you look at the photo above, I took two squares of yellow cotton (the inside of my case), and sewed it to the white outside of my case along the top of both the front and the back of the outside of my eyeglass case (the white fabric). When I did this, I ended up with 2 pieces of fabric. One piece was the white front with the yellow inside of the case sewn to it at what will form the opening of the case, and the second is the white back of the eyeglass case which had the yellow sewn to it, again at the top of the case. I then sewed the 3 remaining sides of the yellow cotton, trimmed, zigzagged and then turned the case so that white side was on the outside. I now had to finish the outside of the case.
I then trimmed the outside of the case to within 1/4 to 1/5 of an inch from the outside backstitching line, zigzagged and then stitched the outside front to the outside back, using the biscornu joining method, picking up one backstitch stitch from the front and one from the back.
I am quite pleased with this case that is ready for my Mom for Christmas!
If you think these instructions are clear as mud, well, I applaude all consistent bloggers out there who create on a regular basis with wonderful photos and clear and concise explanations as this sure isn't as easy at it looks!
To all of you, Merry Christmas and I wish you many wonderful hours of stitching and sewing in the New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Printing on Fabric Sheets

Like me, there are probably tons of people out there who have digital cameras and take hundreds of pictures and then wonder how to use them all. We can print the photo, or have it printed and buy a nice picture frame but then everyone can do that. Maybe we want to make something a little bit different?

A year or two ago, I watched a friend do something very interesting with her photo and I just had to try it myself. She printed the photo onto a fabric sheet and then sewed cotton fabric around it to create the frame.

This is the finished result of my efforts!

If you have ever made a quilt before, you will no problems at all making one of these. Like a quilt, where you normally have your quilt block, you have your photo. There is a frame or border around the photo or quilt block, a small band of colour and then the outside binding. The binding is folded in half, sewn onto the front and then turned to the back so that you have a finished edge, just the same as a quilt.
For this project you will need:
digital photo
June Tailor or similar type photo sheets
inkjet printer
1 1/2 inch strip of fabric for inside border (width of fabric, usually 45 inches)
2 1/2 inch strip of fabric for outside border or binding (width of fabric, 45 inches, more or less)
3/4 inch strip of fabric in a contrasting colour (width of fabric, 45 inches more or less)
First of all, make sure you have a fairly good inkjet printer and your ink cartridges have lots of ink in them. I am using a HP Photosmart C6280 All-in-One printer to print my pictures. I have only ever used one kind of fabric sheets and it is the June Tailor sheets. The instructions for using these sheets are fairly simple and on the package. Print your photo onto the sheets. Let them dry, peel off that paper backing and then heat set the colour by ironing the sheet with a hot dry iron (no steam).
To make them colourfast for washing later, put the sheet in water, DO NOT WRING OR SQUEEZE OR RUB, and then iron till dry, again with a hot dry iron. I carefully iron the front and then turn the sheet over onto a sheet of paper towelling to iron the back. In the photo below, you can see that I printed 4 copies of the same photo on one 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch fabric sheet. The reason why I put the photo side down on the paper towelling is because some of the colour might come off of the photo when ironing and you may not want to discolour your ironing board cover.

You might be able to see in this photo that some of the red has come out of the sheet and discoloured the paper towel. I found that the amount of colour that comes off does not affect the colour in the photo at all in any of the photos I have printed.You can print your photograph any size that you want, up to the 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches which is the size of the fabric sheet. You can print one large photo or do what I did and print four photos on one sheet. I printed the photos and cut the photos apart to create 4 separate photos.

I then take the black 100 % cotton fabric and cut a 1 1/2 inch strip across the width of the fabric and also a 2 1/2 inch strip, again, across the width. ( giving me a 45 inch by 1 1/2 inch strip and a 45 inch by 2 1/2 inch strip). I have used black fabric because I like the look of the finished photo using black. In the past, I have tried to match various coloured fabrics to my photo but what I found was, if I used a coloured fabric for my borders, my photo got lost in the colour and was not the hi-lite of the project. By using black, the photo stands out which is what I want. You can "audition" or try different fabrics for your own project/photo and decide what you like best. Also, I generally use only cottons for my sewing but you can try mixed blend fabrics, silks, etc.

I then take my 1 1/2 inch strip of black fabric and sew it right sides together onto the top and bottom of the fabric photo, trim off any excess off the sides and iron the black borders away from the photo. I then add the 1 1/2 inch strip of fabric to the sides to completely frame my photo, again trimming to cut off any excess.

I like a little bit of colour in my frame so I then I took a 3/4 of an inch strip of a yellowy/orange cotton fabric and ironed it in half lengthwise. Take the yellow strip, cut it into 4 pieces to match the 4 sides of the framed photo and sew the 4 strips onto your photo frame putting the raw edge of the yellow strip against the raw edge of the black border. I stitched as close to the edge as I could using a basting stitch on my sewing machine.

This is a picture of my photo with the 4 yellow strips sewn on top of the black inner border.

One thing to watch out for is that you take some time to make sure that your yellow strips are sewn on evenly. What I mean is that be careful of what strip overlaps. In the photo below, if you look at the two corners of the project you can see that my outside yellow strips overlap the top and bottom yellow strip.
I then took my 2 1/2 inch strip of black fabric and ironed it in half lengthwise so you end up with a folded strip that is 45 inches long by 1 1/4 inches wide. If you have ever put an outside binding on a quilt, you know that when you join the two ends together where they meet, you don't want alot of bulk or fabric so you cut the two ends on an angle so that there is less fabric and thus, less thickness. I start my binding with the angle cut, folded and ironed, to make the finishing easier. I also sew the binding doing mitred corners on my project. I will let you do a google search for demonstrations on how to do a mitred corners on quilts. They might seem difficult to do but if you just go along slowly, they aren't difficult at all and you do get better each time you do one.

This is a photo of the outside border (or binding) has been put overtop the yellow strip and sewn using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
I then take my backing, which in this case is a fall print which I have ALOT of, right side facing OUT or to the back, and then put the quilt batting on top of that, and then put my framed photo that I have just sewn. Again, I sew around the framed photo using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, basically sewing ontop of the line of stitching I just did to sew on my binding.

When I have sewn through all 3 layers, on all 4 sides, I trim the edges so they come out perhaps 1/8th of an inch outside the edge of my framed photo.

Flip the binding out to the outside and around to the back.

Pin the binding at the back so that it goes slightly beyond the line of stitching and then hand sew the binding in place. And you have your almost finished piece!!!

I say "almost" finished because the only thing left to do is put a hanger on the back. What I have done in the past is make a sleeve in which to put a hanger and hand sew it into place. What is much simpler is, before putting your backing, quilt padding/batting and front together, you can machine sew a sleeve onto the your back, making sure it is centered and won't be interfered with when you sew on the binding. This is a sample of a sleeve I put on an older project with the hanger shown as well.

And who says you can only use one photo?? This is a project I am in the process of completing now for my parents that has 4 photos in it.

I have never done one of these demonstration blogs before, so have a feeling that I left alot of stuff out but as I said at the beginning, I am assuming that you have some quilting/sewing knowledge and so won't find the instructions too bad. In either case, it is a fun project to do and is a lovely gift or just something different that can be done with photographs.

Well, with Christmas being only a week away, wow!! Lots to do so, Merry Christmas to all and much happiness and laughter in the New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I discovered needle felting!

Just what i didn't need!!! Another hobby!!!
I went to an all day workshop a few weeks ago on how to do needle felting, a course given by Joyce Gill of Charlottetown, and it was wonderful! Joyce was inspirational and as always, a great instructor. And now, i have bags of wool roving of every colour and pretty soon, we will have to move into the back shed as the house will be full of our hobby things!

All you need is a bit of wool roving, a thick sponge or a piece of styrofoam and some needles for felting, (assuming you will be needle felting and not hot water felting).

You take your wool roving, decide what you want to make, and start poking! WOW!!! Its great!!!

Here are all the small things i have made since the class. There is a bird brooch ( or pin) to the left with beads for legs, a blue brooch with small beads in the flower centre, my Santa face, a small fish and a rock and small container to the left of the fish.

This Santa face is my favorite. I learned alot doing this piece and considering it was the first face i made, i'm pretty happy with it. I want to make more!!!

This next project is actually done with hot water and not a needle.

I took the little rock, about 3 inches long, in the bottom of the photo, wrapped it with 3 different colours of roving, then wrapped it with some varigated thread and then put the whole thing in a cloth to keep it from falling apart. I then dipped it in very very hot water and squeezed it with my hands for about 15 or 20 minutes and then took it out of the cloth and rubbed the piece on a rough surface for a short while, always dipping it in hot water until it seemed to be one piece. I then squeezed out as much water as i could and let it dry. It took a few days to dry. Then, i took a razor blade and carefully cut around the wool, which is wrapped around the rock. You now have a lovely homemade little container for gift giving, or your own things. I love this!

Well, i won't make any promises, but, hope to see you again soon! And Didi, ummm sorry? LOL