Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sew Happy, Volume 1

This is a bit of a personal indulgence, but I wanted a venue to document my adventures in the sewing studio (OK I don't have a studio...the sewing machine is in the same room as the office and the rest of the studio is everywhere from the dining room table to the living room floor). I've heard of some people creating separate blogs to showcase their hobbies, but I'm afraid if I did that, it would just be another nagging "to do" that I would feel guilty about neglecting. My sewing whims come and go in spurts, so as the inspiration strikes, I'll post what I've done and I'll feel good to see for myself what I've accomplished (some days I need to see more than checked boxes on my to-do list to feel productive, know what I mean?). Here goes...

I've always loved wearing and making aprons, and it seems there is a resurgence of the love affair with this domestic icon. I participated in my first Sassy Apron Swap last spring and enjoyed making something for someone else. I have photos of me wearing it, but it's much cuter on Julie, the recipient. What a happy relief to know that she loved the apron.
This is the apron I received from Jess all the way from Australia. It's made from the leg of a pair of jeans, cut open and trimmed with a cute ruffle. It's funky and totally different than anything I would make myself...that's what I love about it!


July is family reunion time in our family. Ever since before I was around, there has been a reunion for the families of my Granny Taylor and her siblings. They are all gone now, but so far, thankfully, no one has had the heart to discontinue the tradition. Part of the festivities is an auction of donated items to raise money for the next reunion. Since we couldn't be there, I made an apron from the same pattern as the swap but in a cute fabric pattern called "Social Butterfly". It just looks like something Granny would wear, so I thought it appropriate for the occasion. And I had enough leftover fabric that I made a coordinating child's apron. So fun to make, and it was a hit at the reunion! Someone bought them for when her granddaughter comes over to help her make homemade noodles. What a happy, memory-making image!



At the risk of this being a too-lengthy post, I'll digress for just a moment but still stay on the subject. I read in this book some insight about the art of housekeeping. Although I relish the feeling of a clean and orderly home, sometimes I wonder what the point of housekeeping is when I'll have to do it all over again next week. Then I read: "You can say what you want about housework, but besides having dinner together every night, there's nothing more valuable to a household than order. A tidy home provides structure for family life and an oasis from the chaos of daily living. And these sorts of household chores keep us in touch with our possessions, ideally in a constant state of measuring their value in our lives." *sigh* Don't you just love the word "tidy"?

Anyway, I ventured for a short time into purse making with this Frenchy Bag from Amy Butler. It was fun to make, and something I've never attempted before. There are two sizes so I tried the smaller one, but I'm ready to take on the shoulder bag. I didn't notice it until I started cutting out the pattern that there is an owl amongst the flowers, swirls and leaves. I centered it on the side...can you see it?
(I wasn't trying to make an artistic statement by hanging the bag on the outdoor water spigot...there was nowhere else to hang it outside, and I didn't like the indoor lighting.)
The inside has two divider pockets and a magnetic clasp.


Today I just finished piecing this quilt top. I call it Sudoku Harvest.
It's just like a Sudoku game, but instead of numbers 1 through 9, there are nine different fruits and vegetables, as seen in the close-up.
Not too challenging to sew, but I had to double and triple check to make sure I wasn't duplicating the same image in a row. I dare you to find one! Looking at it now, I wish I had made the sashing wider so the 9 boxes were more clearly defined. But overall I'm happy with it, and the border fabric makes me think of summertime picnics and county fairs.
Not sure what I'll do with it...I may just put a backing on it (no batting) and machine quilt it and use it as a tablecloth.

Finally, the project more rewarding than any of those mentioned above is one I don't have a photo for, and understandably so. A friend's daughter gave birth to twin girls a month ago and after battling for 10 days, one didn't survive. This amazing, capable woman who has raised a family, retired from a long career and has always been unashamedly independent asked me to help her alter the would-be blessing dress to fit a little 2-pound, 11-ounce body for her burial. She is now legally blind, and I watched in amazement how she held the dress up close to her eyes and ran her fingers over the seams and knew exactly where to cut, gather and stitch. I was just the facilitator for her expertise. We worked together to create a dress, bonnet and pillow all out of the original dress. When we were finished, she cradled the tiny bonnet in her hands, cried and said "This is exactly the way I hoped it would turn out." This is why I sew.

9 comments:

Cortney said...

Jen, I love all your creations! And I would love to commission you to make me an apron. :) Not only was your post inspiring and fun, but totally touching at the end. I can only imagine what a memory you will hold from that experience. Oh, and VERY cool to have that "hidden" owl on your purse--I love the whole thing!

Tara said...

When I grow up I want to be as amazing at homemaking skills as you are!!! I LOVE that purse!!!

Silly Little White Girls said...

I'm so impressed! I love your projects and your stories ... I feel a little inspired to try something of my own! I used to sew a lot (in middle and high school--which was really a long time ago) but I just don't make time for it anymore. You're amazing!

Agnes Minerva said...

Oh wow, that quilt is amazing! And kudos on the Amy Butler bag - I tried to make one of her bag patterns ... "tried" being the operative word here :)

Kristie and Ryan said...

Wow Jen, that last story really got to me. I'm so glad you could help her realize her design.

And, I need the pattern for those aprons!! Holy Moley, I have been wanting one just like that for ages! Do you know, whenever I watch Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice, or any other of the millions of similar movies that I love, I always think "why don't I have a frock to wear with an apron over it for while I'm working? when someone comes to visit, I can hang up the apron and put a ribbon around my dress for beauty." sounds wonderful to me.

Jessica said...

I'm so glad you shared all your projects. They are great. Where did you get all the food fabric? I love it! I just bought an Amy Butler pattern for a hat, I'm excited to try it!

rowdystroudy said...

Oh, I cannot even begin to tell you how jealous I am of your creativity! Good job!

Julie said...

I still love my apron and the ones you made for the reunion auction turned out darling as well. I have made a few "Frenchy" bags too and they are so great-love 'em. Keep up the good work-my sewing goes in spurts too depending on what's going on in the family. Take care of yourself, Julie Ross

Justinabalina said...

You are very talented. I just want to say thank you so much for the beautiful apron. And what a sweet suprise to find dried apples to go along with your pie recipe. I love all of it!