Birdsong Bows: April 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

4-H sewing: Choosing the pattern and fabrics

It's 4-H time again, and my daughter Anna wants to continue learning how to sew. Her Level III project has several requirements, including either adding buttons or a zipper to a garment. Since she's always wanted to make a structured shirt, we chose this pattern together:

Anna likes her fabrics WILD. I'm going to make a shirt for her first, to see what the pitfalls and difficult parts of the pattern are (there always seems to be a minor stumbling block here or there). She chose the black print on the left, so I wanted to sew a shirt with a totally different-looking small print. However, she chose the batik on the upper right for me to sew with. I thought the two fabrics looked too similar, but it's what she wanted (and she's the one who will wear these shirts, ha). Anna is planning to sew Pattern A, with short sleeves and the ruffle:

I'll post some photos as she goes along!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Free bow instructions: Decorating a picture frame with ribbon

I had my youngest daughter's photo in this plain brown frame, and decided it was time to dress it up! This project is great for an existing, plain frame in your home, or as a wonderful project to give to an expectant mother of a baby girl.

Supplies you'll need, in addition to the frame:
Hot glue gun/glue
Hand-sewing needle/thread
A small amount of one or two 7/8"-wide ribbons; at least one should be the same on both sides.
A way to seal your ribbon, either Fray Check or a wood-burning tool

Warm up your glue gun. Decide how long you want the borders to be, and cut two lengths of ribbon to this length. Mine are 6" for a frame that holds a 5x7 photo (below):

Seal the ends of the ribbon, and glue to corner as shown. I also did a "V" cut in the ribbon along the part that will show:

Thread your needle and knot the end, then set aside. Take your ribbon (still on the spool), and seal the top edge. Create a six-loop tuxedo bow, as shown in the photos below, by folding back and forth ... you may have made bows like this for packages, because they're so simple. Note: This folding process will not work with printed ribbon, since it's not the same on both sides. Start with the smallest two loops, and keep folding larger loops until you have three on each side:

When you're finished folding, cut and seal the ribbon on the back, then sew the bow together in the middle:

Cut a piece of ribbon to 2 1/2 inches long, and seal both ends. Fold over the center of the bow and glue to the back:

Glue to the corner of your frame (see first photo in post), and you're done!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A lifetime of sewing, revealed

Back in January I wrote about my mother-in-law's battle with Alzheimer's, and inheriting some of her sewing books. Sadly, she passed away in mid-March after falling and breaking her femur about three weeks earlier. She never really recovered after the surgery. Evelyn Rose McCool was 87.
There's been a flurry of activity since, of course - the funeral, where she was laid to rest next to her husband, Don, who died nearly four years ago. Though a sad time, I found peace in the knowledge that she no longer had to suffer. And with the extraordinarily high temperatures for March, the flowers and trees were in bloom, and the burial took place under a bright blue sky. We said that she planned it that way.
And then there's the clearing-out of her home, a sad and difficult process for my oldest sister-in-law, who lives closest to her and has been doing much of the cleaning. We've gone through bags and boxes of items given to us to sort, keep, donate or discard. I've been sorting a large part of her sewing "room" that we brought back here...and some of the items have made me smile. Her beloved Bernina, purchased in 1995, is a fantastic machine. I love this book that came with it. Don't we all need a puffy shirt like this?

I also found a $100 bill in her pattern stash! I called Mr. Birdsong at work to tell him about it, and said I left it on the dining room table so he could see. He was excited about it until he saw it:

And I did find a project I want to finish. She spent so much time creating all of the "parts" for a Raggedy Ann/Andy quilt, which I think was intended for my oldest daughter, based on the date of the pattern. She finished all the heads, feet, hats, dresses, overdresses, pants, legs, etc., before quitting and leaving this as a UFO. I can't find the backing fabric other than the two blocks she pinned together here, so I'll have to buy new. But this definitely calls for completion, don't you think?

This makes me think about my own sewing/ribbon room...will anyone appreciate my vast array of ribbon and fabric? What retro items or books will make my kids smile? And, of course, should I leave a REAL $100 bill in my pattern stash?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Congratulations to the winner of Accessories Challenge 8

Congratulations to the winners of the accessories challenge this month!!!

The winner of of the Judge's Choice award goes to...Ashley! I liked all the entries, but Ashley's bow is very symmetrical and is so spring-like with its Easter theme as well. Ashley wins a $15 gift certificate generously donated by The Ribbon Retreat.

The Voter's Choice award goes to Latoya, with her fantastic collection of bows and flip flops! She wins a tutorial of her choice from Birdsong Bows and Patterns!

Thanks so much to everyone for entering! Both winners can contact me at birdsongbows [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll host another contest next month! :)