Sunday, September 8, 2013

Because One Crafty Obession is Never Enough

I blame the website Craftsy.

I was first introduced to the website with an e-mail about the online knitting classes.  It looked interesting so I signed up.  I "brought" a couple of free classes to see what it was like and loved the format. I've watched as the site offered more and more classes.  Then this past July they had a really good sale and some very interesting free classes available.

Its like the drug dealer that says the first one's free. . . I was hooked.  I grabbed a free class on sewing tote bags, and a drastically discounted class on how to design and make A-line skirts.

You see, my mom and aunt are quilters and have been sewers most of my life.  In fact, in my childhood my mother made most of the clothes. Both have tried a number of times to introduce this skill to me.  I've had an interest, but never enough to actually take the time to sit at a sewing machine and learn.

It took Craftsy and Doctor Who to push me over the edge.

I have wanted to make something Doctor Who related and decided that a tote bag would be ideal.  I found great fabrics available at Spoonflower, but they are high quality and therefore fairly expensive.  Not ideal for a first project.

Enter Joann's Labor Day sale: 50% off most of the items I would need (my husband already had a sewing machine) and additional coupon for 15% off the entire order including the sale items.  I packed the husband and the daughter into the car and off we went.  I found very quickly that if not monitored I could spend hours looking through fabrics just the way I can with yarn. All the colors, patterns and textures were delicious even with the cheapest of fabrics.  After about an hour in the store I had everything I needed (and some extra) to make my first attempt at sewing.

The project was a reversible tote with boxed corners and a pocket.  Mostly just a lot of straight line sewing, which sounds easier than it it when you are just starting out. The results were far from perfect and that is fine with me, because I had fun.


With my tablet and Craftsy class queued up, I took over the kitchen table (the only space in my house large enough to tackle even the smallest of sewing projects).  I cut the fabric and with a bit of trepidation, began sewing the pieces together.  The outside went together quickly and easily.  It was the reversible lining where I ran into issues.

Before sewing the two panels together, you have to sew the pocket together and then attach it to one of the panels.   The pocket gave me no issues other than not getting an even seam around all sides.  However, my first attempt at attaching it was a failure.  How could it be a failure?  Did it fall off?  Did I sew it closed? Nope . . .I sewed it to the wrong side of the fabric.

Out came the seam ripper.  This is where I discovered that I did an excellent job of back stitching and securing the pocket.  It took my husband's help to get the pocket off.  My next learning curve problem hit when I went to sew the two panels of the lining together.  I didn't have enough pins securing them together and the fabric slipped while I sewing the bottom causing about an inch different in how they lined up.  This was the second seam ripping, and much easier than the pocket.

The final moment of understanding came when I realized that the seam allowance on the outside was more than the seam allowance on the inside, which meant that the reversible tote was bigger on the inside.  As a Doctor Who fan this made me smile, as a someone trying to sew the lining in it made me frustrated.

I managed to make it work and completed the project in only 8 hours (which includes shopping and stopping to have dinner).  Not bad for a first attempt and good enough to get me hooked on the creative process of sewing.

Just to make sure my two crafting obsession get along . . .this tote is now housing the yarn and needles for an upcoming knitting project.