My sewing machine and creative juices were very busy this last week+. This country mama cat got an invitation to a SURPRISE baby shower for my youngest daughter; got word five days before the event. Whew ! !
Fortunately, I had the flannel and fleece fabric on hand (that’s a whole different story). Got busy and stitched the two, 2 yard pieces of flannel together to create 2 separate double thickness receiving blankets. These were turned, stitched closed, ready to finish. My favorite finish for this kind of little blanket is a single crochet stitch all the way around the edge in a contrasting yarn. At one time, I used “baby” weight yarn, but the colors are limited to pastels. This yarn color is “water melon”; a lovely 4 ply, worsted weight acrylic by CARON®.
The other blanket is fleece, finished with green “satin” blanket binding; an easy, but impressive make. My daughter actually purchased the fleece and one of the lengths of flannel, but she had no idea that her mama would make it up so quickly; for that matter, neither did her mama!
(You can see pictures of all three (the fleece one is folded) on the “Cat Fur to Kitten Britches” page).
Just a few thoughts for old or new, experienced or aspiring seamstresses:
Do NOT use liquid fabric softener EVER when laundering fleece. It WILL pill the fleece.
Always purchase and use good scissors. They are worth their weight in gold. My favorite pair is more than thirty years old .. Gingher® both dressmaker and appliqué scissors. I also like Wiss® sewing scissors; that was my mom’s favorite brand and I’m very sad to say that I have lost the pair she gave me for Christmas as a child.
When in doubt, change that needle in your sewing machine; Do NOT get stingy here. A blunt needle will cause all kinds of mayhem from broken and/or dropped stitches to torn and nicked fabric. Use the appropriate size and type. I prefer Schmetz® sewing needles over all the others and in particular their Universal TM needle as this little pointed sticker will stitch all kinds of fabric. If you don’t have the Universal, use a ball point for all knits and “standard” for woven fabrics. I was told that a ball point can be used for all fabric; this by an employee in a fabric store. I have not tried this, however.
Do NOT attempt to mend a pair of jeans with a size 9/10 needle and don’t even think of using that size 16 for sewing fine silks or satins. You can purchase “denim specific” needles.
Match your thread color carefully. Pull a tiny length out of a spool before purchase and lay it on your fabric. If you cannot get an “exact” match, go a shade lighter, NOT darker.
Prepare your fabric as you would care for the final garment. Pre-wash all washable fabrics and dry according to the bolt directions before proceeding with your project. New fabrics are spun, woven, wound and generally made with finishes that can be unkind to your skin, some will shrink and some just need washing!
Sewing is not a lost art! Atlantis was lost! Football games are lost (just ask the Steelers)! Perhaps sewing is no longer viewed as a necessary skill; but it is an art form that deserves attention and respect. Whether you want to create fully lined floor to ceiling draperies or a simple T-shirt, don’t be put off and don’t put it off; just “get her done”.
Get out, dig out or uncover that sewing machine you have buried somewhere and get into a project this weekend. Maybe your patio furniture needs new cushion covers or the patio table wants some bright color. You are only limited by your imagination.
How about some simple, yet pretty fabric napkins? Functional, fully washable and pretty too; the best part is you’re not adding paper to the land fill. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.
If you would like my easy, no fail directions, just send me a stamped self addressed … JUST KIDDING! Just email me and I’ll get them right out. (FYI, I snitched the idea from my oldest sister). Thanks, June.
Here’s to you stitching yourself some Country happiness.
© 2010 Cat Brennan