Scrappy Book Bag #2

I got inspired by the last one.

I have several blocks left over from making the Twilight quilt, and two of them seemed to go together nicely, together with a nice navy polka dot I have left over from another project. I’ve lined it with the blue and white print which I used for the backing on my Anemone quilt.

It’s just a simple book bag style with a squared-off base and rather longer handles than the previous one. I’ve put a single smallish pocket on the inside. It’s also a bit bigger, and I shall use it for shopping, since it can hold a lot of stuff.

And yes, I’m keeping this one for myself! 😊

Smartingale…

I couldn’t resist, I’m sorry… Not.

Mouse is, obviously, a greyhound, which is a sighthound breed. One of the results of this is that his head is very long and narrow and his neck is wider and muscular. A regular dog collar doesn’t work so well, because he can reverse right out of it and prance off at speed, sneering at us for being so slow. Yes, that’s experience talking… Consequently, he wears a martingale collar. This is a collar with a second loop as part of its circumference, which extends and tightens when it’s pulled, thereby closing the collar up. There is a limit on how tight it can go, you don’t want to garrotte your beloved doggo, but at the same time, you don’t want him getting loose and into danger. Most of the time, it’s comfortably loose, so that you can get at least two or three fingers inside it.

Mouse wears a Greenhound Collar, which in addition to being a martingale collar, indicates that he’s been through some fairly extensive training to be socialised and safe around adults, children, other dogs and other animals. It has a registration number so that he can be identified, and wearing it permits him to be off-leash without a muzzle in designated off-leash dog areas such as dog parks. However, he’s been wearing it more or less non-stop since we got him, and it’s now seriously grubby.

Time for a wash. Also, I wanted to make him some posh party-wear*.

So I did.

I ordered some rather gorgeous woven smooth webbing online, and some titanium-rainbow effect hardware to match. Locally, I bought wide black webbing intended for bag-straps, and a pair of black square ‘rings’. The original hardware set was intended for bag making and did not contain the necessary additional rings, hence the extra purchase.

I measured his adjustable Greenhound Collar. Because this new one’s custom, I didn’t need to make it adjustable, and used the fitted, finished sizes. I subtracted length for the buckle, and added back in the fold-over at each side of the buckle and both sides at the front. I cut both lots of webbing to size and sealed the ends by rapidly passing them through a lighter flame (Be careful not to touch the sealed ends too quickly. Ask me how I know this…).

The assembly order is important. Assemble the bits either side of the buckle first. Then add the square rings at the outer ends. Then feed the two ends of the front loop through the square rings. Stitch the smaller webbing to the wider webbing, and stitch down the fold-overs for the hardware. Close up the loop at the front, ensuring you create a free section in the overlap to contain the D ring at the centre front. Stitch all fold-overs with a square/X seam, and the overlap at the front with close zigzag to seal down the free ends. I used a thread that co-ordinated with and enhanced the colourful  pattern on the narrower webbing.

To match, I made him a lead, also with the ‘titanium’ hardware and using the same colourful webbing. It isn’t quite as sturdy as the the thick woven cotton Greenhound set, but since it’s not designed for daily walkies but for swanking about in, I’m not concerned.

To finish the whole thing off, we’ve got him an engraved tag. The front has his name and my phone number (retouched out for privacy), and his local government registration and Greenhound numbers on the back. Black with silver engraving. Looks good with the rest of it, don’t you think?

He’s currently getting used to it. The Greenhound collar is going to take a while to dry, it’s very thick, and meanwhile, the swanky collar is a bit heavier due to the buckle, and makes a different noise. He’s shown no signs of wanting to get rid of it, which is a start!

I think he looks rather handsome. And yes, of course he’s spoiled rotten. That goes without saying.

But he deserves it.

*Just wait till you see what I have in mind for Halloween….

Scrappy Book Bag

I needed a bit of light relief.

There are 4 more blocks to stitch before I complete the top for my scrappy Hopscotch quilt for Days for Girls. I needed to stop and have a breather, and also to find a use for two blocks which didn’t quite fit into the lineup. They’re too strong, and without enough contrast between dark and light to fit with the other blocks.

It was obvious. These are 15 inch blocks, and large. I’d make a bag; one on the front and one on the back. I hauled out some leftover fabric: mattress ticking for the handles and gussets, and some old kitchen curtain fabric I had left over after recycling most of it to make a quilt duffel, which would be the lining. It’s a simple structure: front, back, side and bottom gussets, handles and lining. Make up the outer, baste on the handles. Make the lining and stitch them together at the top edge, right side to right side, leaving a 3 inch gap in the seam to turn the bag  through. Topstitch the top edge to neaten it and close the opening. Done.

It looks nice, doesn’t it?  I wouldn’t mind keeping it, except that I’m committed to making prizes for Days for Girls for their next annual raffle and cent sale.

Well, I’ll buy some tickets when the time comes. Maybe I’ll win it back!

Mend it Monday: Wear, then tear

And today, we are dealing with the other half of the work uniform.

Yes, that swirling mass of orange photos below is three of the Husband’s hi-vis work shirts. Orange at the top, navy at the bottom, separated by reflective strips. Tasteful, eh? You really don’t want to be looking at them after a hard night, or not without sunglasses. They’re made of densely woven pure cotton, designed to resist UVA and B, retard fire and resist sun-rot. Shame they can’t also resist the perpetual wear of the long-distance driver’s seat belt.

This example is by no means the worst. What the sun cannot penetrate, friction can and will.

And now for an entertaining assortment of patches and darns. Due to the vagaries of digital photography, my fluoro orange thread looks yellow. It’s a much better match in real life. It has me puzzled, because the camera can reproduce the shirt colour just fine. Anyway, just so you know, the patches are made from retired shirts, which is why they’re paler. Shirts that colour have to be retired because they are considered no longer hi-vis (and I’m not even going to mention the holes, diesel and grease stains, tears, splits….), which means that the good bits become available as patching material.

Clearly the sun does fade the fabric even if it doesn’t rot. The 3 shirts being mended are none of them older than a couple of years, which is why the shoulder wear is so annoying; they’re in otherwise great condition.

Those mends in the pocket corners are because the pockets are required to contain far more stuff than the design specified. Pen, phone, notebook, paperwork, mask, sunglasses, etc. Men don’t carry handbags/ purses, remember?

Hopefully this is the last of the mending for a bit. You can all breathe a big sigh of relief.

 

Mend it Monday: no-match patches

Mend it Monday is an initiative begun by The Snail of Happiness.

Mending things, being frugal and saving stuff from landfill is the point. Clothing is cheap these days, mostly for all the wrong reasons. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s disposable in the same way as packaging, Just because it has a hole in it doesn’t mean it can’t be saved. Take the Husband’s work pants, for example.

Until quite recently, he’s been reluctant to pay ‘proper’ money for decent quality, because “They just get holes in them”. Gradually, he’s come to appreciate that the better the quality, the fewer the holes that seem to appear as if by magic… So far, none of the good quality ones have required mending. Funny, that.

I’m now mending the last of the medium-quality pants that were the interim measure. But I have a rule. More than three patches on the seat, and they’re not worth saving as garments, because I will have run out of fabric that’s sturdy enough to sew yet another patch onto. As a truck driver, he spends the great majority of his day sitting on that part of his pants, and the pressure and friction is significant!

This pair is on Strike Two.

This pair has one more go, and then it’s the rag bag.

You could say I make a point with these patches by not carefully matching colour and fabric. You’d be right. I see nothing wrong with patching, it’s not something to hide. I use what I have to hand. And if he insists on ripping the seat out of his pants with monotonous regularity, he’s going to take the mending I feel moved to give him!

I save the legs of the pants for patching material, I save the waistband buttons, which also have a tendency to disappear, and occasionally, I’ll be able to save a zipper. I’m looking forward to retiring the last of the cheaper work pants.

It’ll certainly save on the mending!

Floribunda 13: Block #17

Well, hello again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been furiously making masks; Queensland had a few cases appear suddenly, initially without any idea how. They’re on top of that now, but we’re still required to wear masks in public places, inside and ideally outside too. Everyone who’d put their masks away, got rid of them or had no more stock of disposable ones because of relaxed restrictions was suddenly in a bit of a pickle. I’ve made 10 in the past 3 days, so that’s the family sorted, but I’m keeping the supplies handy.

Now that the rush is over, I’ve had a chance to get on with Floribunda. I’m worried I’ll get lazy about it, let it migrate to the back burner, and then discover that I don’t have enough time to finish it before the Mackay Show admissions date. So I got another green block done. I have a pink block laid out ready to go, maybe tomorrow, or if I’m feeling energetic, perhaps tonight.

I still have to ration my sewing time; although the ankle is much improved and I’ve graduated from crutches to a cane, if I have to stand for more than a few minutes, walk too far, or let my leg dangle (as in sitting on a regular chair) the ankle balloons and throbs. So far, it’s good for an hour of sewing (or a seated tai chi class, as I discovered this morning), and then I have to elevate it. Do-able, but dull…

I got my anniversary present fabrics. The gold one is potentially for the back of Floribunda and the grey one is potentially for my most recent F2F blocks, either as backing or as filler blocks. They’re both Jocelyn Proust designs for Spotlight, and by luck they were both 40% off 🙂 The gold background fabric shows zebra finches, and the grey leaf fabric shows rose-crowned fruit doves. I really love her designs, combining simplicity and innocence with sophisticated colour choices and design. As bolt-ends in both cases, I could only get 3m of the gold and 2m of the grey, but I’ll work around that.

I hope you all had a great Easter and are ready for the seasonal change: winter for us and spring for the northern hemisphere. I’m really looking forward to cooler days and nights and fresh, crisp mornings for dog walking.

Once I’m walking again, that is.

A bit of a waste…

Sometimes, a good idea just doesn’t work out.

I was interested in the idea of no-waste clothing, which uses up every last scrap of the stipulated fabric quantity to construct. In October last year, I bought online the how-to pdf of the steps to make a no-waste dress. I had some very pretty light linen fabric, I wanted something comfortable and loose, and I bought the larger of the two size options because the measurements in the description seemed to indicate this was the better choice for my size.

The layout was easy to follow, the measurements were clear, there were only a couple of instructions which were not totally clear, and it didn’t require any major sewing skills. There are several hacks to change the construction and appearance of the dress, all within the no-waste scope.

But.

It’s perfectly awful. I could see it was heading for disaster, but I finished it and put it on. I wandered out to show the Husband. His instantaneous, unconsidered response was %$#@}&, that’s horrible”. Although this was not a response I’m used to from him (normally he manages to find something nice or supportive to say), I could not disagree. It’s monstrously enormous and shapeless. It’s a catastrophic Waste of perfectly nice fabric.

Before we go any further, I’m not going to publish the designer’s name; I don’t want to damage a small business person’s business and reviews of this pattern have been OK (perhaps for the smaller size). If you really want to know, you can contact me, but please don’t do it out of simple curiosity, only if you were thinking of doing something along the same lines yourself and wanted to avoid this particular pitfall. On a taller and even more generously built person, this might look dramatic and swoopy. I’m short, and it makes me look like a stumpy floral outhouse. With wings….

The problem with the pattern is, I think, because it was designed by and for a much smaller person, and the no-waste principle became forced when it was scaled up for larger body types, leading to inappropriate sizing.

I haven’t seen the layout for the smaller size, but I suspect it doesn’t use two full widths of the fabric for the skirt. Following the pattern piece dimensions exactly, I have ended up with a bodice which is 62 – yes, sixty-two, you read that right – inches around. The hem is 110 inches around. The arm scye hits me just above the elbow.

The shoulder seams are 12 inches long, and that’s after I put in three generous tucks on each side because I couldn’t see how it was going to fit a human body otherwise. The skirt joins onto the bodice at a really unflattering place in the bust area; 3 inches longer would have been more becoming and less lumpy.

There are three small scraps left once you have cut the pieces out: two long triangles and one small curved shape, all three left from cutting out the neck opening. In the interests of the no-waste principle, these are to be ‘stuck on’ to the garment without apparent practical function, simply as a decoration. I abandoned the triangles and made a sort of false facing from the curved piece to sew my maker’s label onto. A wasted effort, as it turns out.

I look as if I’m wearing a small tent, or perhaps a collapsed hot air balloon. I agree with the Husband that it looks horrible, so I’m not even happy wearing it for lounging around the house – why make us both miserable? I’m going to give it a bloody good hard look and see if I can take the scissors to it and rescue something wearable from this great big heap of, well, waste. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in the no-waste principle, but I want something that isn’t just a load of random rectangles sewn together.

I do feel civilisation has moved on past the point of wanting simply to cover the body. These days we like a bit of style too.

ScrapHappy January

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here’s to a much happier and more hopeful and creative year for all of us. With that in mind, I gave my creative urge a swift boot up the backside, and took out the scrappy table runner I’ve been making forever for a while for Days for Girls to raffle at their fund raiser, together with the quilt (now at the long arm quilter!) and the cushion cover previously shown. I’m just over a third of the way through. Here’s where I’ve got to:

And here’s the next batch, waiting for the black separator hexies and then assembly.

(Sorry about the rather garish background, but I had to find a place where I could get enough light on the subject, and the kitchen floor mat had the best lighting.)

After that there will be a smaller section at the end. To finish the whole thing I think I’ll appliqué it to a rectangular background before sandwiching, quilting and binding. I have a bit of time; this is going in the raffle in mid March, but is needed for photography end of February.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

Please note that I will be going through this list shortly, removing the names of anyone who hasn’t posted for a year or more. If you know that’s you but you’d still like to be left on the list because you have something coming up, just email me and I’ll leave you in.

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Another mixed bag

So, a couple different things to show you…

Yesterday, I went out for lunch. It doesn’t happen often these days, but up here in north Queensland we don’t seem to have any Covid-19 cases, so the sewing ladies of Days for Girls met to catch up on Christmas, the holidays and forthcoming events. Precautions were taken and distance maintained, barcodes were scanned, forms filled in and lunch orders were taken and arrived……… eventually.

It did take a long time for the food to arrive. But when it did, it was worth it.

Sourdough toast with a mountain of free range scrambled egg, mud crab and thinly sliced chilli on a bed of baby spinach, topped with sriracha hollandaise. A reverent silence was maintained.

This, plus the Dowager and Aunty Marion inviting themselves over for lunch today (and arriving at 10.30am!) chewed into my planned sewing time rather, but I did get this project finished in time to post about it today. It’s another Jocelyn Proust furnishing fabric, sold as a pair of 20 inch panels to make into a cushion cover. It was in the Spotlight remnant bin because someone had slipped with the cutting out and demolished part of the border. I love the colour scheme, and the birds are such fun!

And finally, the early stages of a future ScrapHappy project (but not tomorrow’s, I fear). I wanted a large bench mat for the kitchen. I currently use a tea towel for setting out the Husband’s work food supplies: Thermos flask of boiling water and two travel mugs of hot coffee, one of hot home-made soup; milk for future tea or coffee; a banana and two apples, sliced soft fruit or grapes; a bit of cheese and some trail mix. But I’d like something a bit more padded to protect the bench from hard edges and boiling water spills, so I’m going to make a large mat, 30 x 16 inches.

I’ll probably also make another, smaller one for assembling the packed supplies so he can put them in his bag quickly and efficiently. Anything to make things run more smoothly at 2.30am… I picked lots of pale and mid-grey scraps to stand out against the dark acacia butcher-block bench top, whilst at the same time being soothing and not to bright for scarcely-open sleepy eyes. Now all I have to do is press and trim them and start sewing.

Something completely different for ScrapHappy Day tomorrow, though!

And so to bed…

I’m always short of sleep.

It’s an occupational hazard when you’re married to someone who works shifts. So I really value my time in bed, and insist on being comfortable. This includes not only the mattress and linens, the quilt, the patchwork pillowcases, etc, but also what I wear in bed. North Queensland is too hot for robes or dressing gowns, so some form of presentable nightwear is needed, whether it’s worn to sleep in or not.

On a recent fabric hunting and gathering foray I’ve previously mentioned ($75-worth of fabric for $15), I scored two pieces. which I thought would do for nightwear. Individually, at 1m and 1.5m respectively, they were too small, but combined, they worked. One was cotton poplin, a 1m piece and a separate .5m piece. The other was a printed satin, a 1m piece. The great thing was that although they were very different in style and design, the colours blended. I dug out some existing patterns and did some tweaking and cheating.

I stitched the two pieces of poplin together to make one larger piece, and used it to make a pyjama top. I shortened the original pattern and made it sleeveless. There’s a seam across the lower front, but it doesn’t bother me (pyjamas, OK…?). The pintucks give it a bit of interest and distract from the seam. I used bias binding on neck and armholes instead of self-binding to save fabric. It’s a pattern I know and love, having made it three times before, so I know it’s comfortable, and being cotton poplin, it will be cool and breathable.

For the bottom half, I’ve made shorts from the satin. I was able to squeeze them out of the fabric despite the fact that the pattern specified it needed another 30cm or so. I even managed pockets and ties. The only thing I had to ‘fudge’ was turning the small front waistband piece through 90 degrees, which I feel is hard to see once the front tie is done up. Satin for bed-shorts works quite well, as it doesn’t catch and bind on the sheets and ruck up uncomfortably.

Finally, another nice thing about this combination is that it doesn’t scream ‘nightwear’ if I have to answer the door in my pjs! Pity it’s taken me nearly a week of scattered, scatty work to complete. I hope to have my brain back in gear shortly. And in case you’re wondering why I’m not modelling them for you, I’m doing you a big favour there, OK?

Can’t wait to give them a test run…