Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Teacher Appreciation Gift # 1 The Tom Brady Bag

Every year I make bags for the girl's teachers.  Who can't use a new bag right!? And I make them pretty big as it was told to me one time by a teacher friend of mine that she needed a big bag to carry all her teacher stuff in.  Makes sense.  I am so in awe of teachers.  Anyone who can devote their time and lives to day after day being in the classroom with children all day is amazing to me.  You have got to keep them all paying attention and behaving throughout the day.  I've volunteered for short little bits and there are so many different kids behaving in different ways, learning in different ways, it makes my head spin.  I have always been very happy with the teachers my kids have had and felt like they did a better job than I would have expected.  They are getting paid but what they give to my kids I feel is priceless and I wish I could give them something in return to show my appreciation.  These bags are my attempt.

This past year my older daughter had a teacher that's a HUGE fan of the Patriots and Tom Brady.  The photo above shows one of the displays she made outside her classroom in preparation for the Super Bowl this past year.  I knew right then her bag was going to utilize team fabric! I always wondered what to do with team fabrics so this was my chance.  I wanted to give her a bag that said I'm a mature teacher but open it up and I'm a crazy Patriots/Tom Brady fan!

It was easy to find a photo of Tom on the internet.  I used my ink jet printer and printable fabric.  I have long since used this fabric to print my fabric labels and then hand-cut them.  I've laundered my bags with those labels over and over and haven't had any ink runs on my labels yet.

Tom made a perfect pocket.  I could just imagine her going in for her keys or phone and catching a glance.  I was laughing to myself pretty much the entire time I was making this.  It's good to mix up your sewing with a little silliness.

The finished bag was a beautiful sensible, low key exterior, just like I had in mind.

The inside boasted a true Patriots fan.

I even put a handy zipped pocket on the outside with team fabric.

This was by far the most fun I had making a teacher appreciation bag!  I'll share the rest of my teacher appreciation bags in my next post.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tip on Getting Wavy Knit Fabric Hems Flat

It's been month's since I even looked at anything pertaining to my blog.  I just realized my last post was on saying goodbye to my little Winnie and that was super sad to anyone visiting for the first time.  I never intended to have that be the story I left as my opening page for most of the summer!  Well life goes on and I thought I would share something that totally bugged me for a loooong time when I was learning to sew with knits...wavy hemmed edges.  No matter what stitch I used I always ended up with a wavy edge.  Some people would say use a zigzag, some would say just slightly stretch the fabric, some would say don't stretch the fabric and on and on.

 So here is my hemmed edge of a cardigan I was making.  Super wavy (and wrinkly).  I'm not sure exactly what this knit is made of but it's very thin and does seem to wrinkle easily.  I think I bought it at Joann's a long time ago when they didn't have the selection they do now.  I used a zig zag stitch on this because I wanted the look.  Normally I'm not into a zigzag but I was feelin' it for this.

The big secret is all in the steam.  Don't touch the iron to the fabric!  Just slowly work steam all over it and you can almost watch it shrink up.  If you put the iron to the fabric even pressing it, the weight of the iron keeps it from shrinking up and thus it will only make wrinkles and waviness worse.

 You can see in the photo above that the top half is a before and then the lower half has been steamed.  You can see some slight wrinkles in the bottom half still but if I just picked it up lightly and put it back down for another steam it would be perfect.

 Here it is now with the whole thing done.  I wasn't really concentrating on removing the wrinkles in the body of the garment yet but you can see how much the steam removed.

 Here's a sleeve sample/before and after.  The top sleeve was steamed at the hem and the bottom one wasn't and you can see how wavy that hem was before steaming.

Here's a close up of the zig zag and the straight (not wavy!) edge.  It's a beautiful sight...

And the finished project!  This was started about 5 years ago, no lie.  I had it all sewn together except I did not finish it because I could not get the hems to lay flat.  I found it in the bottom of a box and was like whoa! I've come a long way and couldn't wait to hem it with my mad sewing skills I've acquired since then.

And the back.  Luckily the color and style are still in after 5 years.  At least I think.  I second guess myself a lot more these days as my girls get older and roll their eyes at some of the things I like.

Oh and the way I like to sew knits, sometimes with a slight stretch, sometimes not stretching at all and sometimes with a zig zag.  ;o)