Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Why is it I always finish projects at midnight?

I was pondering this last night....oh, around midnight. My sister leaves for China tomorrow morning, so I wanted to get her gift ready so Dan could drop it by after work today. I started this a week ago, then set it down as I did other things. I've got *lots* of time, I kept telling myself. Finally realized on Sunday that I did not have much time left, especially since there were other things I needed to do this week besides sewing like a mad fiend.

Enter in Kathy's patented midnight sewing spree. Usually saved for the night before Christmas or perhaps an important birthday, but useful any time there just aren't enough hours in the day to finish something. Who needs sleep, anyway? I close the door of the closet so Dan
doesn't hear the sewing machine and go to town*. I think my best creative thinking is done late at night when everything is quiet and I can get really into a project with no distractions. Either that, or I tend to procrastinate a wee bit.

First, here's the finished messenger bag, complete with goodies**:

The denim
fabric was left over from trivets my sister made for her classroom volunteers at the end of the school year. There are tiny hot pink flowers here and there, and I topstitched with matching pink thread that you can't see in the crappy middle of the night picture. The lining I found for $2 a yard back in the bargain section of Joanns. I love me a good cheap fabric hunt - there always seems to be something that will work back there, and the price soothes my frugal soul. There are pockets for magazines, pens, scissors, decks of cards, and a special pocket for her plane ticket (a real, honest to goodness printed ticket - in 2005!) hidden behind the magazines. I tried to get a shot of the inside with all the pockety goodness, but it came out really, really bad. Trust me here.

Next come the goodies:
That's a portable game board with backgammon on one side, checkers on the other. Beside it is a pouch full of pink and yellow buttons to use as markers. I used a narrow pink grosgrain ribbon to tie both.

Checker board
This started out well and ended up being a huge pain. I ironed fusable web to the two colors of fabric then cut out 64 squares, all 1 1/4 inches per side. So far, so good. Then I placed them on the muslin backing and ironed them down, alternating stripe sequences. Things were looking good at this point. Then I started to stitch down the edges with a narrow zigzag of pink thread. Ploink! Broken thread. Grumble, rethread, keep on going. Ploink! Another broken thread. This time I noticed that there was goo of some sort building up on the needle, which was pulling on the thread and breaking it. Allrighty, I'll just keep the needle clear of adhesive gunk. No problem. Ploink! Evil, evil web with plasticy stuff that makes sewing impossible. Grumbling quietly so as not to wake Dan, I carried on. Took forever, or quite close to it. I won't say how many times the thread broke, other than it was too damn many times. But the end result looked really good, so I'm not complaining. Much.

Backgammon board:

I love how this came out. Had a hard time figuring out what to do for the center bar since I didn't have a third fabric. Then I realized that turning the stripes would make a nice contrast. By this time I knew all about the adhesive issue and went to find another stitch that wouldn't pick up as much of the nasty stuff in the first place. Blanket stitch to the rescue! The needle would only dip into that evil pool of goo every 3 stitches. As long as I kept clearing off the needle, it went just fine. Some topstitching and a ribbon tie, and the game board was done.

There are a ton of things I'd change about the bag and the game board, but they came out really well, especially considering I made it all up as I went along. It was done in time to send along with Dan this morning, and I think my sister will like the colors and get a lot of use out of all of it. I got a pattern out of it, so sewing up the next one should be much easier. Oh, and today I find out about Sewer's Aid, which keeps residue off the sewing needle so nothing jams up. Why didn't anyone tell me about this YESTERDAY? Agggh.

* Yes, I sew in my closet. It's HUGE - you could easily put a twin sized bed in there and make it a room, although the sloped ceiling would make getting around tricky. Perfect for my sewing machine, serger, fabric, yarn, the occasional small furry animal....
** Please forgive the truly crappy pictures. Note that they were taken in my closet at midnight.