Monday, July 29, 2013

stitch & complain

yes, i know what this is typically called, but i run a family-friendly show here, people, and my daughter reads what i write, so . . .

we had our second meeting of the homeschool sewing circle/handwork club one afternoon last week while ander was at camp.  it was suggested that we have a demonstration planned (last time was a pair of shorts made from bandanas); we went with a simple drawstring bag.

i had my reasons for this idea.  firstly, i wanted something that was potentially appealing to all ages and both genders - everyone needs a bag to hold their stuff in, right?  secondly, i knew i was going to need the pressure of this to get me out of my reluctance to figure out how to use the sewing machine mema gave to diana when we moved.  diana's been asking to use it, and up until now, i've put her off by saying i haven't had the time to get it set up.  this was my impetus to make the time - i wanted her to have the tools she needed for the project.

so i took a deep breath, pulled the machine off the shelf, and read the instruction booklet. i watched some youtube videos.  i took things apart, got my hands dirty, made mistakes, swore under my breath, took off my glasses so i could have a hope of seeing what i was doing, put things back together, fumbled it, walked away, came back and did it all over until i got it right.

then i cheered and ran to find diana to show her what i accomplished.  it didn't take her long to jump in and get a feel for it, too.

she made some excellent loops on her practice fabric
i didn't really organize who would be giving the demonstration.  i assumed that my friends who knew how to sew would be doing so.  i'll make sure to directly ask next time - sorry, gals, you were good sports!  the good thing about it was that everyone had a different version/idea of a bag, and everyone had a chance to decide what they wanted to attempt in that space on that day.

the simplest bag was made of a denim jeans pants leg.  only one edge to sew, add a ribbon strap, and voila - adorable!


something like this would be simple to embellish with buttons or beads, an iron-on patch.  a snap or velcro at the top could keep contents secure.
another mom had her version of a bag.  it was, simply put, quite lovely.  and way more complicated than what i had envisioned for a first project.  this is what i'd like to work up to.  she was kind enough to share the link that she used to make it.

you can't tell here, but it was lined and had a flat bottom!
we brought lots of fabric to share.  others were generous, too.


diana had envisioned making a bag from an old t-shirt she dearly loved.  she soon discovered that working with the stretchy fabric that showed every hole was not all that she had hoped for.  fortunately, we came up with an acceptable alternative - from a old bedsheet set.  the fabric was easier to work with, the decorative edging was a good guide for the drawstring fold, and there was plenty to work with.

having learned from our prior experience, we worked out what edges needed to be cut, what would be sewn.

the pinning table
given the color of the fabric, we changed the thread, so diana got her first lesson in working with the bobbins and threading the machine.  she got to use that knowledge a number of times as things got stuck.  there were several utterances of "aaaargh" accompanying the mishaps.  fortunately, her comfort level in fixing problems seemed to increase along with her excitement for how her project was coming along.  she even felt good enough to show enthusiasm for me and others on their work, too.


we were both pleased that she could walk away with something completed.


yup, i guess there's enough enthusiasm amongst our local homeschooling friends to keep this club going.  i already have a volunteer to lead a demonstration next time on making friendship bracelets with embroidery floss.  maybe i can convince diana to show what learned in camp about using gimp plastic cording, too.

and there's enough enthusiasm to keep me going with the sewing, too.  next project: a rice/flaxseed pad to microwave or freeze for muscle soreness.

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