Monday, January 17, 2011

Comfort Caps and Baby Blankets

Our Master Clothing Workday was a great success today!  There were 11 or 12 volunteers who made 58 comfort caps (chemo caps) and 10 baby blankets for our community service sewing project.  We had an assembly line going.  Some cut out caps, some sewed caps, some serged caps.  I serged a 3-thread balanced stitch around the outer edge and some tied off the ends of the thread chains and hid them in the seam.  We spent about 4 hours completing our projects, while visiting with each other, catching up on our activities since our November training.

We had a very nice lunch, then grouped together for our "show and tell" session, presenting and discussing projects we made in our individual classes at training and some other projects we've worked on since we were together last.

Our group is made up of wonderfully talented, experienced and qualified volunteers.  Together, we log an enormous number of volunteer hours teaching others in our communities to sew.  Some of our volunteers work with children through the 4-H program and others work with adults.  We all have a love of sewing and teaching others the skills we've acquired, and thoroughly enjoy our work with the Master Clothing Volunteer program.

I plan to give these two caps to a high school classmate who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and has been undergoing chemo treatments.  I hope she likes them and they give her some comfort.

Master Clothing Volunteer Work Day

Tomorrow is our semi-annual Master Clothing Volunteer work day at the Shelby County Cooperative Extension Service Office.  We'll be working on two community service projects: comfort caps and baby blankets.  This is always a fun time for us volunteers.  We get together to make projects for community service, we learn from each other by showing the projects that we made at our annual fall training in Jabez, KY, sharing tips and techniques, we talk and laugh and give each other ideas for more projects to teach in our individual communities, we make a plan of work for the coming year, and we eat!   It's always a fun day.

We'll meet again in June to recap our year since the previous June, and to complete our reports of the number of volunteer hours we've accumulated in that span of time.  We get inspiration from each other for projects to teach to eager students in our own communities and for sewing workshops we may want to provide.  We've become a close-knit group of like-minded sewists, who love sharing our craft with others!

I will begin 2011 with my community sewing group (Sew What?), at the Jeffersontown Public Library on the 4th Thursday of January, with a lesson on how to clean and maintain our sewing machines and sergers.  In a class at our volunteer training last fall, I learned some valuable tips on machine cleaning and maintenance that I didn't know before.  This is how we share our knowledge with our communities: learning new things at our annual training, then teaching it in our local areas in free classes.  That's what Cooperative Extension is all about!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Heirloom Communion Dresses

Today, my husband and I went to two of our local malls to check out prices of items I'm thinking about making and selling on Etsy and/or Ebay.  When we walked into an upscale department store, we saw a display of beautiful, white, frilly, gorgeous communion dresses, complete with veils, gloves and other accessories. 

I had so much fun examining the inner workings of the dresses, how the linings were put in, how the crinolines were attached, how the embellishments were applied, touching and feeling the scrumptious fabrics, and seeing what kind of prices were on them.  The saleslady asked me two different times if she could help me!

It must be the time of year when first communion ceremonies are being scheduled.  If there is anyone out there who is making custom childrens garments, this might be an opportunity you'd want to consider pursuing!  Hmmm...maybe I should consider it, myself!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to Basics, from Ch. 7 in Chicago

I have always sewn to save money.  Now, it seems, a lot of people (young?) are looking at sewing as a way to save money, as well as to get good-fitting garments.  Check out this short video for some inspiration. Copy and paste the following link into your browser to watch the video.

Steps to Finishing the Serger Cover Stitch Shadow Work Heirloom Pillow

This is what the pillow looks like after the cover stitch is stitched on the wrong side of the pillow top.  A dark thread is used so it shows through (shadows) to the right side.

The pillow top section is turned to the right side.  See how the dark thread in the cover stitch shows through?  That is shadowing at its best!

Next, the ruffle strip edge is serged with a rolled edge using rayon thread.  Then, the opposite edge of the ruffle is gathered in preparation for applying it to the pillow.

Can a zipper be inserted with a serger?  Absolutely!  This is what the zipper looks like when stitched by the serger.  It really is an easy way to insert a zipper!

 The right side of the serger zipper application.  It is an exposed zipper application, but it's still pretty.

Here, the piping strip is applied to the edge of the pillow top.  Can you see how the groove in the piping foot glides over the hump of the piping?  This foot makes applying piping by serger so very easy!

After the piping is serged onto the pillow top, the ruffle and the pillow back are layered onto the pillow top, then all layers are serged together.  At this point, I have to admit, pinning the layers together is necessary.  Just remember to place the pins parallel to the edge of the fabric.  The ruffle layer has to be contained along the straight edge of the pillow layers so it lays properly.

All layers are serged together.  Using the piping foot, place the groove of the foot over the hump of the piping just like it was done to apply the piping to the first layer of the pillow.

This close up photo shows how all the components have come together in the finished pillow: the rolled edge on the ruffle, the pink checked piping strip, and the cover stitch shadowing through.  This project would make a fabulous gift for someone, don't you think?