Handmade Valentine’s Day | A Lesson in How NOT to Sew

14 Feb

In my sewing frenzy, I decided that I’d have a handmade Valentine’s day and celebrate my love for my family by handmaking all our Valentine’s gifts and celebratory stuff.

Quilt

My first piece of inspiration came from my big Reneissance Redwork Fat Quarter Bundle win from the Fat Quarter Shop

image from FatQuarterShop.com

 

17 Fat Quarters and a panel, more than enough to use to take my first stab at quilting.  Then I found a chevron quilt pattern that seemed easy enough on Pinterest, from Crazy Mom Quilts. Even though the directions clearly state the use of regular quarter yards of fabric as opposed to fat quarters, I figured that it would be fine to try anyway.

I started slicing and sewing and slicing and found that the white pieces of fabric were a hair longer than the red, which meant that the last square sliced was always wonky.

I sewed through 6 fat quarters and took an extended break.  When I resumed the quilt project, I thought that I had remembered the measurements correctly and began slicing and sewing away, only to realize that not only had I cut the squares to the wrong dimensions, but that I had also used the wrong seam allowance.

Awesome.

But I plowed on through the project and without rereading the directions, laid out the pieces of my quilt and began sewing my rows. I knew that there was some component that was to be done on the diagonal to make sure that the chevron pattern ran crosswise, but when I liad out my pieces, it seemed like my quilt would be awfully small if I cut on the diagonal, so I skipped that part and just let my chevron run diagonal. (as it turns out it was the sewing not the cutting that was done on the diagonal)

First I worked with the correctly sized squares and those made up pretty even zig zags.  But then I moved on to my incorrectly sized squares and it all went to pot.  Not only did my zigs stop zagging but I also had to sew such big seam allowances to fix the sizing issue, that I had far too much fabric waste for my own liking and my once huge quilt was suddenly VERY small.

At one point I had dreams of making a quilt for each girl and a doll quilt for each girl.  When I saw how small it was becoming, the quilt turned into a family quilt to be used to snuggle under on the couch.

I used the panel and some additional red fabric to make the back of the quilt, then sewed my batting between my layers and quilted all the zig zags.  Good lord did that take FOREVER.  Seriously forever and it doesn’t even look very nice.  Maneuvering the quilt at each turn and stuffing it through the arm was a total PITA.

But my quilt disaster was not to end there.  Because the final piece of a quilt is the binding.  Having run out of red or white fabric I opted to purchase ready made bias tape.  The selection at Wal-Mart wasn’t great so I settled for a navy blue (I wanted robins egg) and sewed the binding on yesterday.

But here’s where I screwed that part up….I completed the first pass of the 2 step binding attachement process only to realize that I hadn’t full unfolded it AND I had sewn down the corners improperly.  Thoroughly deflated with the whole process, I just pulled the tape up and over the edge and force sewed it on.

The whole quilt is horrible to me, but my husband and kids didn’t notice today when they were presented it.

I do not however, foresee me making any more quilts.

Skirts

I saved a few fat quarters from the bundle to use to make a Valentine’s skirt for each girl.  I thought I could figure it out on my own, without a pattern, and perhaps document to add a tutorial to the blog since they’re in short supply here.

I got to work cutting and sewing and very soon realized that the skirts were gonna be uber short, and that sewing appliques is tedious and that perhaps there’s something to be said for all those applique tutorials and their recommended use of iron on stabilizers.  But I couldn’t be slowed down by such details and went on my merry way.

Luckily, I had leftover strips of white fat quarters to add some detail and length to the skirts via a waist band.  And then I made them too big in the waist so that they would sit lower and thus not appear as short.

Cute enough.

And free since that fat quarters were won.

The girls are happy with them too.

Dolls

The piece de resistance to my handmade Valentine’s were to be their dolls.  Once again, I thought, who needs patterns, I can make one for these dolls, and photograph the whole adventure to post as a nice tutorial.

Once again…. WRONG!!

Details, details, details!! They’re to be the death of me. I swear.

I carefully drew my pattern pieces and cut them out.  I stitched up Isabelle’s doll first and wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t pull the foot through the neck for the life of me.  A project that I thought I could finish in an hour was dragging into it’s third hour before I cried uncle and walked away.

When I returned, I pulled and tugged a little more and finally righted the doll.  Only to discover that I had sewn her pigtails up inside of her and that she’d popped a few seams in the struggle. Thankfully, my husband suggested that instead of clipping of her pig tails and reattaching them on the outside, that I simply, rip a few seams and pull them through.

It worked, I fixed her popped seams and stuffed the rest of her all up. She’s a little funky but she’ll do.  I altered the pattern a bit for Lelia’s,and was able to pull her legs through her neck for righting her without incident, but I decided that my pattern making and tutorial should be left for another project down the road.

The girls like their dolls, and they like the little touches each has, that were made just for them.

Lelia’s doll got a blue dress that matches one of hers, some red undies, and brown shoes because Lelia says she doesn’t like pink.  Her dolly got blonde hair and blue eyes to match Lelia.  While Isabelle’s doll is all pinked up, Pink hair and shoes, pink floral undies, and purple eyes with a dress to match her candy dress.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Handmade Valentine’s Day | A Lesson in How NOT to Sew”

  1. CeCe February 15, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    How do you have time to do all this? You’re amazing.

    • MsMollyWhite February 15, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      I watch les tv these days

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