Friday, 9 November 2007

Latest Sewing Attempt

From Sewing Stuff

Here is my latest sewing attempt. It is a playmat/bag that opens out and could be hung from a hook. There are tabs of velcro in the top corners to hold it shut. I got the idea from a dinosaur mat/bag that my son was given when he was small. The picture above shows it hanging from a hook with the little card pockets and felt board showing.

It all started with this applique which was completed a couple of months ago and was just waiting around for an idea. The applique was a purchase at the Craft Fair at the start of the year. It is from The Craft Cubby.

Very slowly the idea of making a carry bag/play mat was born. I wanted little numbered pockets to hold some cards that I had also made. These can be used for memory games, snap, sorting or number matching games. Then I wasn't sure what to put on the other part of the mat/bag so I had to sleep on it some more before coming up with a felt board.

It is still evolving as I am creating felt pieces for the board section. I think I might make a couple of little holders for the felt pieces as these could be stored in the front pocket.

What have I learnt!

1: How to quickly quilt the outside fabric using the method outlined in the beautiful book "Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts" that recently arrived in my household. This method is used for the very quick baby quilt and I found that it was just what I needed to hold the batting in place on the outside fabric. It is hard to see in the photo showing the front and the pocket but there are little red satin stitched ovals in some of the blue squares.

2: When a project evolves as you go along sometimes things don't go to plan. The handles are too far apart and so the mat buckles when you carry it around. This meant the addition of a piece of cord in the centre so that if it is hung open from a hook then it will not buckle. See the photos below! I also think having had a second (third, fourth..) look at the dinosaur one that the handles are too deep for a little one as it will drag on the ground if they are carrying it. I have no little ones to try it out with!

3: The pocket also gaped when the bag was carried and so another loop of cord was attached - this came over from the back and down to the pocket and over a big button. This was decided on very late in proceeding and so I had to hand sew the buttonhole. Only took two tries to get it looking nice! Oh well at least it looks even with two pieces of cord hanging around as well as the handles.

4: Deciding on the outside seam allowance first rather than after the creation of the inside pockets is a better idea. The edge pockets are narrower that the others. Measuring and dividing is a better approach that eyeballing and guessing. Lucky for me I chose squared fabric because I used count the squares as the way to decide where to stitch the pocket lines.

5: Stiffening the felt board with an iron on stiff interfacing (it looks a bit like holey white card but is slightly more flexible - sorry cannot think of it's name and I do not even know it I was told the name when I bought it) is a good idea except for when you are trying to turn the whole thing through a small opening after sewing the outer and inner fabrics together.

6: Making the cards is easy with pre-purchased business card paper that runs through the printer and is then torn apart on the perforated lines. There is even a template in Word so that everything aligns properly. By the way I created the ladybird image on the cards a couple of years ago when I was learning how to create vector images in Paintshop Pro. You can buy laminating film that is just the right size for the cards and has nicely rounded corners. I just used my little home hot laminator and had no trouble.

7: If I tried to sell it I would lose money on the deal. Isn't that the way with lots of handcrafted stuff - we put so much love, effort and heartache into our creations. Lucky that it is a Christmas gift.

8: The button worries me as the intended recipient is probably too young for things with buttons. I did stitch it on as securely as I could with waxed dental floss and chose the biggest one I could find at short notice in my collection.

My idea was that even though the recipient is a little on the young side for learning numbers etc that they would have fun just putting things in pockets now and be able to play card games with Mum or Dad or someone at a later age. What do you think?

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