In Which Andrea Complicates Simple Sewing Projects
Stitched Sewing Organizers is a project book for a good number and variety of sewing-related pouches, organizers and items (like pin cushions and needle books). I bought it last year, and this year (after having started a few embroidery projects and letting the spools of floss and thread pile up on a table, rendering it unusable) made some up.
Although not in a straightforward way. I mean, why make a textile project if you’re not going to add a pound or two in embroidery threads?
Boxy Pocket Pouch
First up. I made the exterior from a large-ish leftover bit of linen/rayon I used to make Echo shorts a few years back. The pocket and lining were made of a fat quarter of Alice in Wonderland tea print, bought for no purpose because I love both Alice in Wonderland and tea, and now visible permanently and holding all of my metallic and metal embroidery threads, and embroidered pendant findings.
The other exterior pocket was also embroidered with a little corner border design from Teeny Tiny Menagerie that I have long wanted to use.
Fold-Up Sewing Folio
The interior I made up just as directed (though somewhat smaller than planned, as I used the batting pattern piece to cut it out, and then had to alter the size of the pockets to accommodate, and I left out the pincushion–I’d rather use a standalone one).
The exterior I crazy quilted.
I cut an exterior piece out of a scrap of plain muslin, interfaced that, and then loosely planned out a patchwork pattern on the piece in pencil. I sewed the fabric scraps (from dress and shirt projects in years past) to the exterior and then embellished with silk and cotton perle threads, and one or two tapestry yarns and a bit of silk ribbon.
This is now holding the flosses from a few different embroidery projects, a pattern, and associated needles and scissors.
I love this one. Sizing goof aside, it is perfect and exactly what I needed. I keep picking it up, petting it, unfolding and refolding it, and putting it down again. It is tricky to turn right-side out with the vinyl, which creases with too much handling, so I’d be careful that you (ideally) only need to turn it once.
I crazy-quilted the exterior of this one as well, but using a different piecing technique to accommodate the curved edges (where the pieces are turned under and pressed using freezer paper, and then edge-stitched in place). The crazy-quilting embroidery is a little simpler to emphasize the landscape, and uses exclusively perle cottons in various weights.
I then pin-basted the exterior, batting and lining together and did some hand-quilting along the seam-lines to 1) make the whole thing act more like a single piece of fabric rather than 3 layers and 2) give it a bit of quilted puffiness, just for fun. A few flowers and birds were added at this stage too for the same reason.
This is one project where I would make some changes in the future:
- The tab was too short to accommodate the size of magnetic clasp I had, which is the only size of clasp easily available here. I’d add an inch to the length of this piece and the interfacing and then judge during assembly how much of that length I’d need. Or replace the clasp with a button and buttonhole and adjust the length according to size.
- I’d make the binding strip narrower. 3″ was overkill; 2 1/4″ would probably have been enough to create a nice stable barrier with a 1/2″ external seamline and good coverage of stitches.
This is a simpler project with fewer moving parts. This, of course, was unacceptable, so I made it much more time consuming by using a Stitchrovia pattern (from her book, Cross Stitch for the Soul) for the front piece. (I adore Emma Congdon/Stitchrovia’s patterns. The bright colours and elaborate and modern lettering are delightful. I have five of her patterns from Cross Stitcher magazine stitched up and on display permanently, one completed and in the process of being framed, and a small mountain of her holiday pieces that I bring out for Christmas. I can’t recommend her or her patterns more highly.)
I meant to do some patchwork around it, but the navy is so dark it showed through all of my quilting cottons and made them muddy and sad. So I left it.
I used a piece of leftover linen from a trench coat project to back the finished piece so that the white batting wouldn’t show through the aida holes, did a bit of quilting to make all the pieces act like one and stiffen up a bit, and then assembled the rest of the project as directed–except for replacing the suggested zipper size with the matching zipper I happened to have on hand. The lining is a gift from a friend, who bought it for me as a souvenir from her trip to Hawaii. The coral binding is leftover from a blouse a few years ago.
I’d love to travel back in time 30 years or so and give Grade-9 me, sitting in the cafeteria cross-stitching Christmas presents on her lunch breaks, a big hug of thanks for getting me started on a hobby that has been so helpful over the past few years.
Anyway. These have kept me very busy outside of work for hours for the past — if you can believe it, because I can’t — two weeks. Other projects on the go, and now nicely housed in little practical pouches made up of scraps and leftovers.
It’s definitely possible to just make up the pouches as directed and get something useful and attractive. And I mean, obviously, that’s the actual point of the book. But if you are looking for a way to use up some of your fabric scraps that makes something useful and pretty, I recommend this as providing a good number of base templates for creative embellishing.