Friday, June 29, 2012

Beach Trip and Happy Mail Day

Our week at the beach is already over :o( And the picture below captures the weather quite well. We had lots of clouds, much rain and some occasional sunbeams. However, we really enjoyed ourselves. We spent our week with close friends (we just found out that my friend Birgit and I know each other for 29 years now. I guess we are going to throw a party next year :o))) We already went to Kindergarten together, then to primary and secondary school. We had our kids nearly at the same time and our husbands are cousins - so they know each other even longer... made us realize again how old we are...). 

Together we have 5 kids (all boys) younger than 5 and they didn't care about the bad weather at all.

They collected sea shells....

... and digged little river systems...

... and "spoke" to the sheep on the dike.

When the rain was pouring down the whole day long, we went to an indoor playground, 

that featured a complete ship to climb. That day was another great success :o)

Another rainy day was spent in a small museum for kids. It was full of exhibits to touch in order to discover and understand natural laws and physics. Even our youngest was hooked, e.g. by this giant soap-bubble-exhibit.

Another favourite: making "permanent" shadows on a fluorescent wall:

I brought along some handstitching (can you believe that?!) that I worked on while watching our national soccer team playing in the European Football Championship. Who would have thought that I'd enjoy handstitching one day... never say never... :o)

The kids enjoyed being with their friends, playing, many shared meals and some "only during the vacations exceptions" that we (aka the parents) made - like unhealthful meals, staying up late and so on.

We (the parents) enjoyed the time with our friends that we don't see as often as we would like to, chatting about the kids, remembering long gone days, drinking a glass of wine/ beer (or maybe two).

And we (as a family) enjoyed spending 7 days together, with no set time schedule, lots of outdoor activities (though often in the drizzling rain), more daddy-time for the kids than usual and we really soaked up the rare sunbeams as spring and summer have been really rainy around here until now. 

I was quite sad that our family holiday was over but was instantly consoled by a parcel that I found in the mail when returning home: Liz of DandelionDaydreams and I had agreed to privately swap the goodies we made for each other for the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in London. As she was ill, she could not attend eventually and sadly we did not meet "in real life". 

I received a gorgeous pincussion that I had already eyed longingly when she posted the picture on her blog (my only two pincussions are samples that I made in my first sewing lesson - I never took enough time to make a beautiful pincussion - so I'm very happy to own such a gorgeous one now!!!). And she added some dandelion fabric, union jack ribbon and a lovely card. 
Thank you so much, Liz! Your parcel really made my day :o)

Tomorrow I'm going to pick up my sewing machine (that was at the retailer's office for a check-up while we were at the beach). I'm really looking forward to some serious sewing. Not the handstitching kind :o)

And what about you? Any "only during the holidays" exceptions for your kids? Or for yourself?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Page: Tutorials

See that new button at the top right?
I added a new page for my tutorials :o)

Ha! After some online research, I was able to put the tutorials up as Google Docs and create a photo link.
Not a big deal for all you "sewing and blogging and html professionals" out there, but I'm quite proud that I figured it out. And thanks to all techies who share their knowledge so generously!

We're going on a short trip (one week) to the sea, so it might be a bit silent around here for a while. I'm glad I finished off the jeans last week so the boys can wear them at the beach. And I even managed to turn my previous posts on that topic into a coherent tutorial:

Keep your fingers crossed for lots of sunshine, please!
The German Sea is not known for steady and excellent weather :o/

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Turn too holey jeans into shorts

My progress on #2 of my to do list

I finished off two jeans that were too holey and turned them into shorts:

In fact, it was the first time ever I used a twin needle and I'm really impressed with how easy it was to use and how nice the seams look.

That were the top priorities of my list. Tonight I can dwell on finishing my Jelly Roll (Race) Quilt Top. But I might be tempted to watch our National Team play in the European Football Championship instead :o)

This was the last utilitarian sewing for the next weeks. Promise. I'm glad to return to quilting now :o)

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sewing on patches and jeans re-assembly

Sorry, no progress on my to do list yesterday. We had to pay an emergency visit to the dental surgery. My eldest fell and lost two teeth :o( With examinations, x-rays and lots of consolation, I was completely exhausted last night. 

Luckily, he is one brave boy. Once he discovered that he  now looks like a first grader, he was quite proud (he is only 4 years old) and didn't shed another tear.

Today, I managed to squeeze in some sewing time and finished off my boys' jeans.

And here's how I attached the patches and re-assembled the jeans.

Pin the patch to the jeans. Don't forget to take out the paper templates!!!

Stitch close to the edge all around the patch. Use a denim needle. You may want to use matching thread if you don't want the stitches to show up. I used matching thread in those cases where I embellished the patches (I wanted the ants to take center stage). In the case below, I made a plain denim patch and used contrasting thread to sew it on. If you want a more prominent stitch, consider using a triple straight stitch, it allows the fabric to stretch and is wider that a usual straight stitch.

Pay close attention that this mistake does not happen to you: when sewing trough the patch, I caught a bit of the edge and had to unpick many triple stitches. Huh. 

Turn inside out, line up edges and pin.

Sew along the former inner seam, using a triple straight stitch. It will allow the fabric to stretch and is stronger than a single straight stitch.

Serge the fraying edges (my sewing machine came with a serger foot) or zig zag along the edges.

Turn and admire your work.
This is my work from this week:

As this one already was decorated with prints and applique, I just made a plain denim patch. 

 Here are some ants for my eldest.

Little crowns for my eldest (I should have used an embroidery thread but didn't have a matching one at hand . Oh well.)

And finally some more ants for my younger son. 

Happy Patching!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Darning holey jeans

Today I continued working on #1 of my to do list: Mending my boys' jeans. 

Prior to attaching patches to the jeans, I fixed the holes to prevent further fraying. And here's how I do that (this is the way I do it, it might not be the way a professional sewist would do it but it workes for me).

First of all you have to open up the seams. As you can see in the photo below, there is a double-seam and one single seam.

Here's how it looks like when the inside is turned out.

Open up the single seam generously, it will be easier to fit the jeans under your sewing machine's arm when the opening is rather wide.

If neccessary (when both layers are serged together) open the serged seams. That is pretty easy, you'll see :o)

Below you can see a large opening but the seams are still closed at the far right and the far left sides.

Cut some lightweight fusible web to a size that is larger than the hole. 

Turn inside out. Put some (old) cotton fabric between the denim layers to protect your jeans.

Lay out your fusible web on the left side of your holey denim so that the hole is completely covered.

Iron according to manufacturer's specification. 
Take out your (old) cotton fabric.

Turn right side out and trace the patch with a watersoluble pen.

Take your jeans to your sewing machine and insert a jeans/ denim needle.

Stitch forwards and backwards several times to close and secure the hole. Make sure you stay within the marks that indicate the future position of the patch.

This is how it looks like after darning. 
For a rather ragged look you can simply leave it that way and skip the patches entirely :o)

This is a look at the left side. Yeah, I know, the fusible web was a bit large :o)

That's it for today. To be continued tomorrow with how to attach the patches and how to re-assemble the jeans :o)

Karen made some great progress on her list as well, so hop over to her blog and say hello :o) 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Embellishing denim patches

This post is part of a To Do Challenge by Karen of Listen to the Birds Sing.

I made some progess on my denim patches. If the holey jeans are rather dull (regular, without prints, etc.) I like to add some interest to the patches. For my boys' jeans I like to add some ants (because I like them and because they are a decorative stitch on my sewing machine... easy peasy...)

To jazz up the jeans a bit more, I added an ant to the other leg as well. Makes it look like it has always been this way :o)

There are surely tons of other ways to brighten up your patches... Glue on some paste or strass, hand stitch some cool stuff, add a small iron-on application, etc. Surely there are other charming stitches on your sewing machine for girls that you may have never used :o)

Give it a try and leave a link to your photo below.
I would love to see what you come up with !

Happy Sewing Patching!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Making patches for holey jeans

A Challenge

Karen challenged us to finish our to dos sews for this week and she is going to track me down until I'm done with my list :o) So each day I'm going to show you the progress I made...

This is my to sew list for this week:
1. Mend my boys' jeans
2. Turn jeans with toooooo many or tooooo big holes into shorts
3. Finish my Jelly Roll (Race) Quilt that I started in London.

This is my progress on #1

How to make homemade denim patches:

Lay out a pair of holey jeans and cut a sheet of paper to the desired size of the patch.

Glue the paper patch...

on to the left side of a piece of denim that is a bit larger than the paper patch.

Cut the edges but leave a seam allowance of approx. 1/2''

I used the English Paper Piecing Technique Tacha taught us in London and here's how I secured the edges in place: Thread a handstitching needle with some bright contrasting thread (you can use some of your leftovers). Make a knot. Fold over one side of the denim patch to the back. Insert the needle at the corner from the front to the back and pull until you reached the knot.  

Fold over the second side of the denim. Insert needle in the same corner from the back side and pull through.

Take the next corner, repeat. This is how it should look like after you did 3 corners.

And this is how it should look like after you secured all the corners. Now give it a good hot press with your iron.

Next time we are going to embellish the patch (optional)

Happy Sewing!
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