Custom Made

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Sometimes we make things to satisfy a creative urge, save money or simply because we cannot buy the desired item.  My most recent sewing definitely falls into the latter category.

Today I made a table runner for the top of the chest of drawers which which GMan uses.  I wrote this post a couple of years ago when we had it restored.  The top of it had been bare and I had not really thought about adding any linen to it.  Lacy doilies would definitely not have been welcome.

I recently found a piece of blue fabric when I was digging around at the op shop for fabric suitable for the Boomerang bags that I make.  I realised that it would be perfect to make a table runner.

Some test stitching to find something suitable to embellish the edges.

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The finished article.

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Pressed and in place.

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The new runner provides a finished look to the chest of drawers, blends nicely with the colour in the bedroom and is not in any way frilly or lacy.  I think it works perfectly.

I think I would have gone crazy if I had set out to find this ready-made.  It needed to be a specific length and colour which I think would have made that quest close to impossible.  However, with a relatively basic sewing machine I was able to create exactly what I needed.

Life Skills

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The topic of tonight’s post is relatively minor and almost insignificant.  On many occasions I would not have even considered it as a potential blog post.

However, it has recently occurred to me that a lot of what I do and take entirely for granted are activities or skills that would be completely unknown to many people.  Therefore, this year I am going to make a concerted effort to post about some of the little things that fall under the broad category of life skills.

I made a sampler of different sewing stitches when I was 8 years old.  It was a laborious task undertaken in school sewing lessons in Year 3.  The sampler is framed and hangs in my sewing room these days.  There are 6 different stitches, one of which is blanket stitch.

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I don’t think I have ever used blanket stitch in over 50 years since that sampler was completed.

Nevertheless, when I noticed the stitching at the end of a blanket coming unravelled  today, I immediately knew that I would mend it using blanket stitch.  It was a bit like riding a bike – you never forget.

The blanket is one of a pair that we have owned for 40 years so I guess it is not too bad that it needed some running repairs.  I simply threaded a large needle with the unravelled thread and restitched the edge with blanket stitch exactly as I had done on the sampler.

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The left hand side of the photo is the existing machined ‘blanket stitch’ and the right hand end is my repairs.

Warts and All

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I am sure we have all been guilty of only showing the good/perfect/happy stuff online.  In fact, I do not believe we should feel guilty because none of us share everything about ourselves  – either online or in real life.

However, I do try to keep things as real as possible in what I discuss here on the blog and today is no exception.

I have microwave oven which sits in a purpose-built cavity below the bench in my kitchen.

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For a number of years I have had a piece of non-slip mat under the microwave which which works reasonably well.  I remove and clean this mat but over time it has become stained with mould and even soaking it in bleach and scrubbing does not restore it.  This is not a long-term solution as I try not to use bleach.

After some particularly wet weather a couple of weeks ago it was looking awful and I decided that I had to change my strategy.  I decided to make a towelling mat from an old bathmat.

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I cut the bathmat in half.  The next step was to find some fabric suitable to bind the edges.

Bias strips cut and ready to join.

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A roll of home-made bias binding – just like a bought one!  All you need is a ruler and iron.

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The finished product.  No cost and not a lot of time.

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Back to the microwave and the cavity.  Once I removed the microwave it really does look disgusting.  Time to get rid of the mat.

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I cleaned the space and once it was properly dry I added the new towelling mat.

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After cleaning the microwave inside and out, I replaced it in the alcove.

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I have enough bias binding to bind the other half of the bathmat so I will be able to alternate them and wash each week.

More Purple

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The lavender flowers are not the only purple in my life.  Today I was ironing one of GMan’s shirts which happens to be purple.

This shirt is one of his favourites and the cuffs had worn out some time ago so I cut the sleeves off to turn it into a short sleeve shirt which continues to be worn, albeit, not as frequently as when it was a long-sleeved business shirt.

I was ironing it today and I caught the tip of the iron against the edge of the back yoke seam whereupon the stitching gave way across about 2/3 of the back.  After my initial shock, I examined it closely and realised that the cotton thread had simply worn out.

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The fabric is faded and I know it will not last forever but I have restitched it and there is quite a bit more wear in it yet.

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It makes good environmental and economic sense to repair items and retain them for as long as possible so I am very pleased to have been able to extend the life of this shirt.

Almost Brand New

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I recently mended a cotton blanket which was wearing out.  It must be close to 20 years old and it would have been very easy to simply buy another one but I decided that was unnecessary.

This is what the top edge looked like.

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However, the bottom edge was pristine.

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So, I removed the satin binding from the top edge and unpicked the hem at the other end.  Then I bound the bottom edge using the salvaged satin binding.

Here is the result.  It looks as good as new.

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Sadly, the previous top edge was in a rather sad state.

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I contemplated cutting the damaged part off and then re-doing the hem.  This would mean the loss of some length so I was not keen on that solution.  Instead, I used some fabric from an old sheet to make a wide binding that covered the damaged part while still maintaining the original length of the blanket.

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The colour blends in nicely and it will mostly be tucked in at the foot of the bed.

I was very happy with the repair and hope that the blanket will last for many years to come.

Another Quilt

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No, this is not turning into a quilting and patchwork blog, however, I am making another quilt using the same techniques as the one I have just finished.  This is for another work colleague – a retirement gift this time.

It is very different colours – generally autumn tones.

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Here are some of the squares cut out.  I had some of the fabric in my stash but nowhere near enough as it is not the colours I tend to use.  The remainder is made up of some new fabric specifically for the project as well as some that I found on an op shop crawl this morning.  We are fortunate to have no fewer than 4 op shops in the small town near where we live.

I spent the afternoon and evening cutting out and piecing fabric. It is coming together nicely and these are the first 5 completed blocks.  There are another 11to do before I arrange them to get the best balance of colours.

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While I was hunting out suitable fabric at an op shop, this piece caught my eye.

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A 1 metre length of brand new cotton fabric which is 112cm wide.  It cost me 50c and will be used to make a sleeveless shirt for me.

The other thing I bought was not fabric so I will save the story of that for another blog post.

 

Pretty Patches

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About 3 weeks ago I wrote about starting to prepare the fabric squares to make a baby quilt for a work colleague.

This project was set aside for a couple of weeks while I concentrated on the Boomerang bags but in the last few days I made some real progress.

I needed 180 squares and here they are all cut out and sorted in preparation for sewing.

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Each block consists of 9 squares sewn together and then cut into 4 squares which are turned, re-arranged and sewn back together.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the step-by-step process.

The next step is to arrange the finished blocks and finally, sew them all together.

Today I finished the patchwork.

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All of the fabric has been gifted or thrifted.  I need to buy some batting and then assemble the quilt.  I have a dark pink sheet which I bought from an op shop some time ago that I intend to use for the backing.  I will make the binding from a doona cover that belonged to one of my granddaughters.  It will match some of the fabric used in the patchwork.

While it is far from perfect, I know that it will be loved and appreciated.