sewing


Based on the bag in Doni’s Delis: A little tutorial, but this bag is sewn out of fabric reclaimed from men’s dress shirts.

I used two shirts, one a vivid green corduroy and one a coordinating stripe; I cut strips 7 1/2″ wide from both shirts. I got two strips from the back, and one from each side of the front. I centered the strip over the breast pocket of each shirt.

I sewed all the strips into one long strip of each color, laid them right sides together, and sewed round both long sides and one end. I turned it inside out and sewed up the other end, and then sewed the seams to make it into a bag as in Doni’s Delis tutorial. The trick with the pockets is that if you want them in these locations, you need the opening of the pockets to be facing the nearest ends of the strip. I cut the strips to be about 3″ above the pockets and that placing seems about right.

Bag with pockets

And here’s the inside pocket:
Inside pocket

A two-color, three-piece stuffed cat with only straight lines:

Materials:
A fat quarter of cotton fabric for a one-color version, or
Two fat eighths in coordinating colors for the two-color version.
(Not sure what a “fat quarter” is? There are three pieces. Each can be cut from a sheet of standard paper. That’s also how much fabric you need!)
Coordinating thread or embroidery floss.
Needle, straight pins, scissors.
Two pieces of paper for the pattern and a pencil or pen, and a ruler (I use a fancy quilting ruler, but you don’t have to.)
Stuffing.

Body pattern shown over a 1 inch grid.


Draw out the body pattern on one piece of paper as shown above.
Here are exact directions on how to draw it:

In the middle of your paper draw a rectangle 7″ by 2.5″ for the cat’s body. On top of one end, draw a 3″ by 3″ square for the head. On top of the other end, draw a 1.5″ by 3″ rectangle for the tail. On the underside, draw two 1.5″ by 3″ legs, one at each end of the body.

You’ll cut two of these from your fabric. Allow as much seam allowance as you like on the outside of the pattern, I use 1/2″ but you may prefer 1/4″ or some other amount. Remember to flip your pattern before cutting the second one, so both sides of your cat will be right side out!

Underside pattern shown on a 1 inch grid

This is the pattern for the underside of the cat– the belly and the underside of the legs. Draw this out on your paper.
Exact directions for drawing out the underside:

Draw a 2″ by 7″ rectangle on your paper. Attach 4 legs coming off either end of the long sides of the rectangle to form a letter H, each leg 1.5″ by 3″.

Remember to leave a seam allowance outside the pattern! Cut one of these from your contrasting fabric (or the same fabric if you prefer a one-color cat).

My cat is assembled as follows: fold the seam allowances in, pin them, then put the pieces together (removing the pins on each piece and pinning all the layers together at that point) and sew the seams from the outside. I prefer this for two reasons– it prevents stuffing from leaking out, and it is sturdier. I also prefer the hand-stitched look.

The leg seams before I put the stuffing in.

The bottom half of the cat is made by seaming the underside to the legs of each body piece; the top of the cat is made by seaming the two body pieces together. THE EARS are a little different– sew up the front and back seam of the head, then instead of sewing across the top, pinch those two seams together and sew crossways from ear to ear. (Like an old-fashioned creamer packet, if anyone remembers those.)

Something I learned to do on this project: my beginning knots are terribly lumpy, but my end knots are always neat. So I cut thread twice as long as I could use, tied a slip knot in the middle, then started sewing one direction. I knotted it when I got to the end and then returned to the other half and sewed that thread until I got to the end. So all my sewing threads here have a neat small knot at either end, hidden in the seam.

I left the back end and about 1″ of the tail unsewn for inserting the stuffing, and then put it in a pecan-sized piece at a time. The legs are sized so that I can just get my fingers in to poke the stuffing down, but if your hands are bigger you might want to use a pencil or capped pen for that.

Finally, I sewed the end shut and tied a yarn bow around the neck to give the head some definition. You could attach or embroider eyes if you like that sort of thing, too.

Remember the cloth napkins I cut the bias binding for? Well, I decided to machine-stitch the remaining 7 of the set. (One is already done.)

Machine-sewn binding on napkin.

Machine-sewn binding on napkin.

Closeup of the napkin corner.

Closeup of the napkin corner.

So right now I have 5 done, 3 to go– and today through Sunday to do them. Whee!

Apologies that the picture isn’t great; it’s too nasty outside to take pictures out there.

Angel

Angel

So, yesterday the Christmas tree went up. The star we have is too heavy for the wee spindly thing, so for right now there’s a giant red bow. However, I am in the middle of knitting a little white robe for a handmade doll (about 10″ tall but very light) and will craft her some wings and a halo once that’s done, and get her up on the tree. Hopefully by Monday… right?

Preview!

And here are her feet and the robe hem.

Today’s task: homemade bias binding for napkins. Well, not really bias; I cut it straight off a yard of fabric and used my nifty tape maker to fold and iron it.

handmade binding tape

handmade binding tape