Rebinding a quilt

After my daughter Greta was born, I was really dreading going back to work. Subsequently, I didn’t start looking at daycares until I was already on maternity leave. I only ended up touring two centers and totally lucked out that the one closest to our home had an opening. They are all-around fabulous and I can’t imagine having anybody else care for my kids over the last 4+ years. One of the silly things I was attracted to when reviewing their website was that all children enrolled receive a quilt made by the ladies of the adjacent church. It just seemed like such a sweet, personal gesture. I’m not sure how my daughter’s blanket was chosen; it’s very bright and probably not what I would have picked, but she adores it.

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“School blankie” has gotten a lot of love since then, and it shows. A couple of times, I’ve fixed a spot in the middle where the thread broke, exposing the batting underneath. Wonder Under kept it together for a short time, but I finally had to take it to the sewing machine and pass a zigzag stitch over the area a few times. Eventually the binding also began to give out. It frayed along the edge, and came free in a few sections where the thread broke.

Solution? Mommy/daughter date to the fabric store! With some gentle direction, Greta chose a colorful floral print that picked up several colors from her quilt. With my recently acquired bias tape maker, I turned it into far too many feet of 1/2″ double fold bias tape. Did it really need to be cut on the bias to bind a straight-edge quilt? Well no, but I was practicing. Maybe the leftovers will be used for a project more in need of the stretch.

I’m not a quilter, so I didn’t fix it the “right” way. I used Wonder Clips to hold the binding in place and then just top stitched around the whole thing. Unfortunately, this meant I missed the edge on the underside several times and had to go over a few places again.

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For next time:

  • Create less bias tape – I didn’t want to run short, so I asked for too much at the cutting counter and then agreed to buy the remnant at the end of the bolt.
  • Try a zigzag stitch so there’s less of a chance of missing the bottom edge – if I’m doing it “wrong” might as well go all the way!
  • If more holes form in the middle, I’m going to try patching with the leftover floral fabric.

Noah, my not quite 2 year old, loves his quilt too. When we picked it out, the teacher offered to write his name on it with Sharpie. I declined, took it home, and appliqued his name on the back with navy rib knit fabric. Alas, I have no photos at the moment, so that’s another post for another day. 🙂

A wallet completed

Ta-da!

It’s done! For a few weeks now…let’s blame February and cold weather for making me fall asleep on the couch nightly instead of recording my relative successes here. This definitely lived up to my expectation of it being a learning experience; since I was having a hard time getting myself going, I decided to just start cutting fabric instead of precisely measuring. That part actually worked out ok, but if I were to make another I would take the time to do it the “right” way.

The wallet features a magnetic snap for securing the flap:

I think it's off-centeredness adds character.
I think its off-centeredness adds character.

And of course, the many card slots, which share a wall with the zippered pouch:

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As much as I love the slots, the tag has to be my favorite part (thanks, husband!).

Sewing the zipper went alright, though it doesn’t move as smoothly as I’d like. I’m appreciating the roominess of the pouch; it’s a lot easier to find my change mixed in with bills than it was in the dollar-sized section of my old wallet.

Last, I’ve got an open pocket for my checkbook, coupons, and, if I’m using it as a clutch, my keys and phone:

A nice, wide section for miscellany.
A nice, wide section for miscellany.

There is a pocket in the flap, but it lost a lot of functionality when I rounded the corners. This was also my first attempt at bias tape binding. It was a bit tricky where the zippered pocket meets the main piece of the wallet; I ended up binding the edges of the pocket first and trapping the loose end under the binding as I went along the sides.

I shoved (technical term) additional interfacing into the wallet a couple times before it was closed up because I kept feeling that it needed more structure. Overall, in the future I’ll beef up the interfacing on the exterior and between the card slots. I found this post comparing different weights and examples of how to use them – I’ll definitely be referring to it on my next project!

Project tally:

  • 2 fat quarters from my stash
  • Most of 1 crib sheet, added to my pile after it ripped all the way up one corner
  • 1 7″ nylon zipper
  • 1 sewing machine needle that broke when I sewed over the metal stop of the zipper
  • Various pieces of interfacing

Thoughts for next time:

  • Rework the card slots so the openings face up – I tend to leave my wallet in my purse and just slide my cards in and out, so I’d like to make that easier. Maybe accordion sides so if I do just throw the cards back, they’ll be more secure.
  • Along those lines, make the flap smaller. Since I’ve already learned I’m not using the pocket in the flap, I can decrease it to only come an inch or two over to the front so there isn’t so much extra flopping around in my purse when I fail to snap it shut.
  • Maybe add a clip for keys and/or a wrist strap.
  • And, as mentioned above:
    • Measure more precisely
    • Be liberal with interfacing

That’s it! I’ve been getting back in the swing of sewing (and crocheting…and my mom and sister talked me into learning to knit…) so hopefully more to come soon!

My latest ambition

I might have too many credit cards, because I can’t find a wallet that has enough card slots for my liking. Between those, my driver’s license, reward cards, and insurance cards, six or eight slots just won’t do. So I’m making my own, with my own pattern as nothing I’ve found online is quite right. My wishlist includes:

  • Lots of card slots
  • Zippered pocket for cash (first time doing a zipper!)
  • Accordion pocket for coupons, receipts, checks, etc., wide enough so I can stick my phone/keys in there and use it as a clutch
  • Magnetic snap on a flap closure (also my first time installing one of these)
  • Possibly a wrist strap on the outside and/or a small clip for my keys

I’m diving right in, using fat quarters I’ve had hanging around as draft pieces. If everything goes alright, I may rework some portions with some quilting cotton I purchased a few years ago and never had any plans for. It looks like I’ll have 16 card slots. Wish me luck as I attempt a zipper next!

Pockets!
Pockets!

Getting Started

Starting a project is always the hardest part. I can be super excited about an idea and spend lots of time imagining the finished product and planning my steps, but by the time I have the supplies in hand and the opportunity to sit down with my tools, something stops me. What if I screw it up and waste the materials? What if it doesn’t turn out as cute as I anticipated? Then the next day I’m daydreaming on my way to work again and kicking myself for not just sucking it up and getting to it.

Of course, continuing or finishing projects sometimes trips me up too, as my four-year-old’s unhemmed curtains or my pile of crocheted bunny body parts would tell you! I have quite a stash of yarn and fabric that’s being just as wasted sitting in my basement as it would be if I made something unusable with it, so I have a new goal: do stuff. When the kids go to bed, or when they’re up and asking to watch yet another Curious George, pull out the crafts! Get them involved or tell my husband I need some “me time” in my craft cave.
I won’t make any promises, but this is what you’ll likely see here:

  • Bulleted lists (not really the point, but I do enjoy bullets).
  • Sewing projects – home stuff (curtains, pillows), kid stuff (stuffed animals, clothes), me stuff (clothes, accessories). I bought my first sewing machine in 2009 and have taught myself along the way with the help of the internet; I am no means an expert.
  • Yarn projects – crocheting (mostly rectangular items – maybe I can get out of this rut!), loom knitting (I am very brand new to this and I’m excited about the possibilities).
  • Food – I love to bake and tried to keep up a cooking blog for a short while, so chances are good that occasional recipes will show up here.
The stash
A sampling of my fabric hoard. I may or may not have small piles in several other rooms around the house…and that’s not even counting my yarn supply.

What you won’t see: stellar photography, unless my talented niece shows up with her DSLR. Sorry, not one of my skills! Other tangentially relevant facts about me: I have a four-year-old daughter and a 19-month-old son, I love to sing, I work full-time (God bless toddler and preschool teachers, that’s a job I could never do!), and I was a journalism major in college, but my skills in that area may be rusty.

I hope this is fun for you to read and for me to write!