Progress Report #1

Okay, now that I have been sewing for 6 whole days, it’s time to check in on where I am. You can also keep track of my finished projects on my “Project Gallery” page (link above, too). I meant to post this yesterday, but sewing took time away from blogging, so you get a couple of additional projects in the mix.

My very first project, of course, was the pillow I made in Sewing 101, which I am now calling the Bubble Pillow because of the fun print.

Bubble Pillow

First Pillow, zipper and all!

There’s a little puckering, and I messed up the zipper a bit (forgot to put down the presser foot- d’oh!), but I was very pleased with it as a first project! I never had a chance to be scared of zippers because I did one right away, and it even works. The pillow looks pretty good, even close up, and the kitties love it (see my Flickr set for some cute photos).

So my first project on my own (with the new machine) was also a pillow. I wasn’t ready to step outside my comfort zone yet, and I wanted to be sure I could even still sew without an instructor there to help. The pillow went well, and I used the Striped Fabric I bought on Sew, Mama, Sew, that I LOVE.

Striped Pillow

Striped Pillow. I heart the fabric!

I think the fabric must have been stretchier than the fabric I used for the Bubble Pillow because I definitely had more problems cutting squares and lining up the pattern pieces. The zipper was better than on the first pillow but still not perfect. The sides lined up surprisingly well (totally by dumb luck), but the top and bottom are a bit off (you can see the detail on Flickr). The fabric is so bold and beautiful, though, that the flaws disappear. I’m really proud of this one.

The next logical project was a simple sewing machine cover.

Sewing Machine Cover

Very boring but functional sewing machine cover.

I didn’t have a pattern or anything to go by. I just measured the machine, added a seam allowance, and started cutting. I ended up with some pretty ugly pieces of fabric, but I managed to sew them together. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out which piece needed to be sewn to which, but I was able to figure it out fairly easily, and it was nice to use my brain. I used this as a practice run at interfacing and hemming. Applying iron-on interfacing was easier than I thought it would be. Unfortunately, I must have been pretty tired, and I applied two pieces of interfacing to  one side and none to the other. Oh well. The cover keeps the cat hair off anyway.

I decided to push myself and make the Buttercup Bag.

Buttercup Bag

Buttercup Bag, Take One. The best project I've attempted.

It took me a good long time, and I had to learn all sorts of new things: pleats, magnetic snaps, lining, pocket (thank goodness for Google and YouTube!). I made some mistakes, including sewing wrong sides together instead of right sides together (whoops!), but I persevered, and I loved the final product, flaws and all. I will make another one of these now that I know what I’m doing.

No sewing Tuesday, but I did cut out some pattern pieces for projects to try later. I was hoping that cutting and sewing on different days would keep me from mental fatigue. I was wrong.

The first project I attempted yesterday was this wallet. I really need a new wallet, and I was hoping this would fit the bill (pun intended).

Green Wallet

A poorly-made wallet that I won't use. But hey, I didn't cry. 🙂

I can’t remember where I found the tutorial online (I’ll add a link when I can find it). I do know that the instructions made ZERO sense once I got going. I ended up with an extra piece of fabric that I never used. I ended up just throwing out the instructions and trying to use common sense. Unfortunately, the fabric I had cut out was just too small, and now I can’t fit anything in the wallet. I also attempted to use the automatic buttonhole feature, but either the dimensions of the wallet or the thickness of the fabric made it impossible. I will need to re-try the buttonholer on scrap fabric to see how it works. The zipper looks awful because I was trying to add it after the sides were sewn up, which is *really* difficult. I think the zipper is pretty study, though. I may attempt another wallet, but I certainly won’t attempt this tutorial again.

I also tried the Patchwork Coin Purse from Sewing Mamas, partly because I knew Devon had done it and partly because I wanted to use scraps.

Coin Purse

Surprisingly cute coin purse with the leftover bubble fabric.

In this case, the instructions and pattern pieces were pretty clear. You can’t tell in that picture that it’s patchwork because I used all the same fabric, but it was. The problem I ran into is that I had some kind of mis-threading mishap, and the thread kept bunching up. And I kept stubbornly trying again. It ruined the patches for the other side. Such small pieces of fabric are just not forgiving. Luckily I had enough fabric left to cut a big piece for the back. My instructor said that if we were having problems, the first step should always be to re-thread the needle. She was right; I should have listened sooner. I also misunderstood where I was supposed to sew the lining (again!), and had to turn to Mr. Seam Ripper (again!). That  was totally my mistake, and once I looked at the tutorial online again (instead of the black and white printout I had), it made a lot more sense. I didn’t trim the zipper perfectly, but I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out. I will make again, maybe larger.

What I’ve learned so far is that sewing should really be called measuring/cutting/pressing/pinning/sewing because the sewing itself is the least time-consuming part (and in some ways, the easiest part, at least for what I’ve done so far). I’ve easily spent more time ironing in the past few days than I had in my entire life combined (and that’s no exaggeration). I’m getting a little more confident in my cutting, which is great, because it’s really tedious to outline and then cut. It’s so much nicer just to pin down the pattern piece and cut around it. I’ve also learned that I am really bad at reading patterns/tutorials. I should just draft my own and use common sense instead. Or, if I’m going to use a tutorial, I should not let go of common sense.

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6 responses to “Progress Report #1

  1. Nice! I love all your different patterns. Very DVF.

  2. Everything looks great!

  3. Well, I got to see the Buttercup bag and the Butterfly bag up close and personal and I must say they are really nice! My favorite is the Butterfly bag. It’s so dainty and you did a really great job Kelly! Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to see the next finished product. I see the kitties loved the pillows. They do look quite comfy!

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