nobis opus splendeat: we need more glitter

Posts tagged ‘sewing’

Infertility Awareness Week – Once Upon a Time Bolsters

Fertility yoga is a popular tool among those who suffer from infertility. It’s a way to calm your mind and try to unite your thoughts with your actions while thing you feel least like doing is being calm. By creating a safe space for your body full of support, you can let your mind relax a little bit.

I’ve taken several fertility yoga and restorative yoga classes over the past few years, and a common thread seems to be the “Goddess pose”. I’ve done it with one or two bolsters which you lay back on, letting the bolster support and cradle your body while you let the front of your body release. As someone who is constantly either at a computer or at a sewing machine, this pose feels like pure bliss at the end of the day. ANYWAYS, I was trying to figure out where to get my own bolsters for home practice and I found some 9″x22″ at fabric.com . Then my mind started racing with ideas on how to cover them!

I had some details that I wanted in the cover. I wanted a stiffer fabric, but something soft against the skin, so I instantly thought of a light linen canvas like Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Rising or Heather Ross’s Far Far Away II. I also wanted handles on the ends, a zipper up the side, and a flap with which to cover/hide the zipper… there are few things in this world that are LESS relaxing than a zipper poking into your back… or neck… or face.

So I had a general idea of what I wanted this cover to look like. I chose some Far Far Away II and tried to match up some colors. I ended up with this yellow rose fabric and this green sleeping beauty with an orange zipper.

The zipper is hidden behind a flap that just looks like a seam running the entire bolster... much softer than the metal head of a pointy zipper!

The zipper is hidden behind a flap that just looks like a seam running the entire bolster… much softer than the metal head of a pointy zipper!

The longest zipper I had was about 15″ or 16″ (which I’ve now rectified by ordering an assortment of 20″ & 22″ zippers but they haven’t been delivered yet), so I decided to put it at one end of the cover (not in the center) and have it open towards the center. I used the green as a base with a wide rose strip through the center, perpendicular to the opening.

Once I had a tube shape that sort of fit the pillow (with no pattern there’re a lot of “fittings” and “alterations” involved) I made two “handles” and two “end caps”… two strips and two circles. The first time I put it all together the zipper flap ended up being sewn down while pushed the wrong way rendering it completely useless… I didn’t make that mistake twice!

With a handle at each end, it's really easy to grab and reposition... even if your eyes are closed!

With a handle at each end, it’s really easy to grab and reposition… even if your eyes are closed!

Another problem I had was that the cover was too long and the circles (at 11″) were too big… but as my mom always says about haircuts, it’s easier to try to take more off than to try to put more on after the fact. But once I honed in on the right size I ended up with a beautiful and very comfortable bolster!

I just want to mention now that it’s Infertility Awareness Week this week. You can find out more about the disease of infertility, infertility etiquette, and what you can do to help at RESOLVE, or the Canadian support site IAAC (even though Canadian Infertility Awareness Week isn’t until May!)

Sewing Buddy 2012 Challenge #1

Whipstitch has this wonderful thing every year called the “Sewing Buddy Project” where you’re (seemingly randomly) matched with another participant and they’re your “buddy” for the year. Somehow I’ve gotten matched with a buddy from Georgia for 2 years in a row!

This year there are going to be challenges for buddies to complete jointly – the first one ended today.***ETA: it looks like it’s been extended until Monday!*** The challenge #1 was to create 2 projects, one a “boy” version and one a “girl” version. Since children’s clothing is pretty much out the window for me, we had to come up with something else that could be portrayed in a “girl” and “boy” fashion, but that was still obviously connected.

We decided on a self-contained picnic blanket in the greenhouse apple chevron print. I did mine in flannel and laminate – she chose to go with cotton instead of flannel for the heat factor! I love that these designers are producing on so many different types of fabric, it really allows you to be some much more flexible with what you can create!

So anyways (I finished it at close to midnight last night so I couldn’t take it outside for pics, but it’s been raining here anyways.) I chose 4 solid flannels to co-ordinate with my apples. She provided the pattern (which I managed to screw up anyways) and I came up with a block scheme for the pocket.. well, 2 schemes. I couldn’t decide on just one.

I decided that since both sides of the pocket show, that I’d do one on the inside and one on the outside.

What do you think? Does it look like the sketches at all? You might notice that the middle row is on top and the top row is in the middle. And please don’t look at the puckers where the designer flannel didn’t stretch and the cheaper solids did stretch. Just gaze in awe that in the first try at assembling it, it all ended up fitting inside the pocket!

But what they say about quilting is true… you really have to love the fabric that you’re working with. And at the end of it I still love all of the fabrics!

can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

I can.

me… on Sesame Street!

When I first heard that I was going to be an “Auntie” again, I found this perfect Sesame Street flannel to make some baby stuff. When I heard about 6 months later that I WAS an Auntie again, I thought I should probably get started on said baby stuff.

This picture was actually taken after I gave them the blanket… I’d been up late finishing it and hadn’t had time to photograph it, so the picture is really quite horrid.  But I think you get the picture – it’s a flannel rag quilt with a giant center panel.

This might just be the coolest part of the quilt. Centered at the bottom of the panel in the selvage it reads “C 2011 Sesame Workshop”.  My nephew was due to be born in early 2012 but due to some complications he ended up being born right at the end of 2011.  When I saw the selvage I thought it was just too perfect and I left it in.  Most of the time it gets covered by the rag seam, but I know it’s there.

Don’t you just love that nail polish too?  To me it looks like a 50’s kitchen appliance.

Anyways, here’s the back of the quilt. Nothing fancy, but there was a LOT of square cutting involved…

Then bibs, cloths, and a stuffed taggy block… and yes, it jingles. 😀

christmas ninja part 5: things to keep stuff warm

The next and possibly the last category of  xmas-making-of-things.  I suppose the tablet cozy could have fallen into this catagory, had it not already been in the last one.  First, let’s start with something for me!

I saw this yarn around new years and had to have it.  Then I started working with it and figured out that I was gonna need more.   Then I had to find a third store to finish filling my need.

I just love the colors and I used a ‘Q’ sized hook (which was comically large) and 18 balls of yarn.  The blanket is enormous, I think it would fit on a queen sized bed.

Second entry: a tea cozy for Nana

I had the measurements of the teapot, but that’s all I had.  I used this Emily Taylor’s Domestic Diva for Riley Blake in red for the outside and in brown for the inside.

All the quilting was freehanded along the damask  pattern on the outside. Binding around the edges and a little loop on top for pulling!

 

Finally, more warm for me: flannel for pyjamas.  I’m going to do a separate post on all of my pyjama pants, by here is the fabric:

oh yeah, gotta love the monkeys 😀

encouraging girls in science and technology

This project is being linked up over at honeybearlane.

As you might have noticed, I’m a Software Engineer. And you might have also noticed, there are not a whole lot of women in software – there aren’t a whole lot of women in any kind of engineering – there aren’t even a whole lot of women in science and technology.

It’s always been a big initiative of mine to encourage women – especially girls who have an interest in science – to consider a career in engineering. I think that many times women can offer a change in perspective to a problem and a change of dynamics to a team. I always encourage my employers to try to find talented women to hire, partly because it can be very lonely (I’m the only full-time female software developer in my entire company!) but also because I find that if a women is in a technical field, chances are that they are very good at what they do otherwise they would have been discouraged a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met my fair share of people of the male-persuasion that told me that a) girls don’t program and b) they don’t want to be beat out by a girl (Seriously? Are you sure we’re really in the 21st century?) but I believed in myself enough and had enough positive female role-models to keep me going over the years.

In trying to give back to the WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) I’ve mentored students, supervised LEGO building events and workshops, I even wrote a proposal to get Imperial Oil to fund a grad student going into grade schools once a week for the entire school year to help with building an entry for the LEGO category of the annual Robot Games in my city – and I’m on the committee that organizes the games every year. I read an article a while back (I wish I could find it!) that said that you shouldn’t be just putting girls into science and technology (just hiring them for the sake of hiring a girl) because that is actually counter-productive, but you should make special efforts to encourage girls that are good in science and technology to stay.

So with that in mind, take a look at my latest project!

We had two female interns at our company this year and I really enjoyed having a little more estrogen in the office for 16 months. Just so they don’t forget about us when they’re back at school for their final year, I made these super-soft, super-squishy pillows for them! “CDL” is the name of our company and our software is used in some military applications, so I’ve appliqued on a very feminine pink minky camo with a flowery brown minky fabric. Do you recognize that blanket? Yes, it’s the beast that broke Pfelicia! BTW, I performed surgery on Pfelicia, more on that later…

There is a pink zipper set into the bottom of each pillow – they’re actually just pillow covers! As usual I got my zippers from Zip-it! for really really cheap in an assorted pack, so when I need one, I just pull them all out and find one that matches!

The pillow inside is completely removable so you can wash the cover. The inner pillow is made from muslin (super fast and easy!!!) and stuffed with fiberfill.

This was my first try using a zig-zag stitch to cover the edges of an applique, and I think it worked especially well here because of the texture of the two fabrics. What do you think?

Are you a female in the fields of science or engineering?
Have you ever been discriminated against because of your gender?
How do you support young people interested in your field of work or study?

i’m an animal!

Further to my prior post “viewer discretion is advised” I have another one! This one is a muppet-based creation.

Flannel and flannelette are great fabrics to use for this because they’re stable (ie: they don’t stretch) but also because they’re soft and fuzzy and usually 100% cotton. Just make sure you always wash and dry your fabric before you use it! I dry my clothes on delicate and dry my cotton fabrics on HIGH – sometimes twice! – just to get as much shrinkage as I can out of them.

my sewing buddy part 3

Since the Canadian postal service finally decided to go back to work (read: were legislated to get delivering!) I figured it was finally time to get this project out the door!

Here is a shot of each of the potholders while I was layering them. I’ve had a lot of trouble with layers slipping in the past, so I over-pin. I pinned two lines: around the edge of the embroidery and around the edge of the batting. I used Insul-Bright which I’ve had kicking around for a while for the center layers. Then I measured 2 inches around the embroidery (awesome that it was so square, it made the measuring of the entire piece very easy to square) and machine basted along that line all the way around. I pulled out the pins and cut my final edge about an 1/8th of an inch away from the stitching.

Finally, I bound the edge with bais taping in contrasting colors and stuck in a loop for hanging. YAY! All done!


I sure hopes she likes them! I’ll be throwing in a few “Calgary” mementos and then it will be on its way to Atlanta!

my sewing buddy part 2

I’ve been working away at the potholder swap for my sewing buddy. I’m really good at envisioning beautifully embroidered finished pieces, but the amount of work and sheer time that goes into stitching them out just never gets captured in my daydream. I basically finished one of these per night for two nights (today is May 26th), a night being from about 19:00 to about 21:30. You have to keep a close eye on the machine the entire time, watching for little tangles and loops in the thread, watching from pulling or fraying at the needle, watching for huge tangles at the fabric. But here they are, all that’s left on them are to actually cut out the other pieces of fabric and stitch them all together!

I just love the way they turned out! The pink on black and the black on pink are so beautiful! I really hope my buddy likes it as much as I do!

my sewing buddy

I’ve decided again to use the WordPress “schedule” functionality again to my advantage. I’ve started working on a swap that I agreed to with my sewing buddy, and I really want to talk about it, but I don’t want her to see it, so I’ve written it (Wednesday May 18) and scheduled it for sometime next year, and then when she receives it, BAM, I’ll reschedule them to be released right away!!! Ingenious, I know. 😀

So we decided on a pot holder swap. I really don’t know anything about her, so I decided to just do something that I would like… that’s what my daddy taught me about giving gifts.

She’s asked me about my embroidery machine and said she wished that she had one, so I decided that whatever I did had to have embroidery. I settled on some mola designs from emblibrary.com, which I also managed to get a smoking deal on!

Here are the fabrics I’ve picked: black, fuchsia, and black/pink/fuchsia flames. I also dug out some pink, fuchsia, and black bias taping, I’m not sure which I’m going to use where. I’m thinking of making two, each with flames on one side, the other side pink on one and black on the other. The designs would be pink on the black one, and black on the pink one, but I’m still trying to decide if I want them monochromatic, or to use several shades. If I’d known which fabric I was going to use (I just started digging through my pile last night), I probably would have picked the flamingo mola, I think that would have been sooo cute in pink and black! As it was, I picked the turtle and the lizard.

viewer discretion is advised

This is a topic that could make men uneasy… scratch that, this is a topic that generally makes men run screaming. It has many names: “my best friend”, “my aunt Flo”, “that time of the month”, “a moon-week”… I was watching a comedian on TV last week and he said that “women are like oceans: beautiful, deep, mysterious… and once a month is shark week!”. My husband just calls me “broken”, as if I’m damaged goods. Anyways, whatever you call it, as freaky as it is to men, it’s quiet important to women.

When my sewing buddy G told me that she wanted to try using reusable menstrual pads, I thought she was insane. I listed off the reasons that I thought that was a bad idea, at least for me:

  • I work all day, where the heck would I “store” these?
  • How many times a day would I have to change them?
  • My high tech name-brand-ers leak CONSTANTLY, how could a measly little homemade one do better than that?
  • How the heck much would it cost?
  • Do I have to do laundry every day?

But as many problems as I had with the idea, she had benefits:

  • Just think of all the garbage you’d be keeping out of the landfill!
  • They’re pretty, and cute, and soft!
  • She reacts to the bleach or something they use in commercial products

That last one was the biggy for her, and the driving force for her to try them out.  She found a website that sold the finished products AND patterns to make your own: ***insert link here when I find it***.  But I still wasn’t totally convinced that this was a good idea… I decided to give it a whirl on my own.

I found this website: http://clothpads.wikidot.com/patterns with many MANY free patterns in almost every style you could possibly imagine and started reading.  What they seem to indicate is that a few layers of an absorbent fabric, optionally with batting quilted into the middle, with a waterproof layer underneath will do the trick.  So away I went… this is what I did:

  • First, I grabbed a “real” pad to get an idea of the shape.  Then I fixed everything that is wrong with that shape (ie, everywhere that LEAKS!)
  • I used some cute, soft tinkerbell flannel.  I cut about 6 inches with the entire width (like 42 ish inches?) and folded that into thirds (conveniently giving one piece facing one way and two facing the other, just like this layering diagram I’m about to give you

  • I stacked the flannels (the purples above) and sliced a slit down the middle of ONLY the top one (there’s a picture a little further down).
  • I cut another few inches of the flannel with the entire width and folded it into quarters – this makes 4 pieces for the wings, two facing in either direction.  Actually, I folded it into eighths to make them symmetrical, but that starts to get pretty thick!
  • Sew right sides of each wing together on the curve, leaving the flat side open, then flip and top stitch that seam.
  • Slide the wings into your flannel sandwich facing in so when you turn everything, they end up facing out.  Here’s a picture… you can see the wings coming up through the slit in the middle so that I could align them properly and not sew over top of them.  The entire thing is sitting on the waterproof fabric but NOT PINNED YET!

  • I pinned just a teensy little bit very very close to the edge of the flannel, just to keep the waterproof fabric from sliding around. You don’t want to pin too far into the flannel because you’ll poke holes in the waterproof fabric and it won’t be waterproof anymore!
  • Now that we have all the fabric stacked up like the layering diagram, sew once all the way around the outside of the flannel.  This will attach all the layers in one go, but it’s still inside out.
  • Turn the piece right side out through the slit you made in the top piece of fabric.  This will put the slit on the bottom, underneath the waterproofing, with two right-side up pieces on top and wings right side out on the sides, like this:

  • Sew on the snaps and then you’re done!

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