I used to make Barbie dresses by cutting out a circle of fabric, adding three holes in the middle, fitting it over the head and arms of the doll, adding a belt, and there you go! A great Barbie dress. And then came dresses with a few hand-stitches involved. Eventually, my mom let me use her sewing machine to make a few things…but I don’t think that went very well. Fast forward many many years, and I find myself knowing a lot about sewing, from pure osmosis, but not really being able to even thread a machine. From hanging out with my Mom and her quilting magazines, I started to feel the urge to really sew, like a real sewist. (haha, that is a word apparently) Sew, with the help of my Mom and a friend, I have started on the sewist path in life. I can now thread and re-bobbin my machine. Next step in this new world: tools. I was almost overly excited with this purchase (thanks to a Michael’s coupon). You people rarely see me so excited, I can tell you. Now to begin: I have a cutting mat, ruler and cutter, bring on some fabric!
Sew, the other day I picked up a little kit for a ‘baby taggie blanket’ at a (insert heavenly music) quilting store and decided that I would make it for the next day’s baby shower. First I needed to test my new rotary cutter….on something……here this will do….she doesn’t needs sleeves anyways…
The new kit was an assortment of cut ribbons, a small rectangle of flannel and a small rectangle of…..purple minky. (Yes, that’s really a word, too) At the last minute I decided maybe I should look up ‘tips for sewing with minky’ online. Well, it turns out it’s a good idea to wash your fabrics before you use them…I read this after I had cut the flannel. Instead of making just a little blanket, I thought how cool it would be if I could make some baby blocks to go along with it. (I was feeling ambitious with my new tools!) And so now I needed to wash the pieces. I really didn’t think I could or should skip that step. (Someone said that the minky is treated with sprays for bugs!) I carefully threw them in the wash in those little mesh washing bags…..and came back to this:ugh. Who knew flannel unravels so much!? (Probably everyone but me). I was able to salvage my pieces, and since there wasn’t an exact pattern for the taggie blanket, I just kept trimming. This project had to keep going, no matter what.This was the piece for the stuffed blocks which I was going to make with scraps of flannel and minky. *Maybe I should pause here and insert a little dictionary of terms, since they were fairly new to me and might be to you, too. A “taggie” blanket is an extra small blanket for a baby to play with, rimmed with “tags” of ribbon. Have you ever noticed how fond babies are of playing with and sucking on those little tags on the bums of stuffed animals? Someone somewhere noticed and invented these cute, mother-sanctioned, play blankets. Cool, eh? And now about the Minky…..
As I was starting my project, it was immediately interrupted by supper. While we were eating, I casually mentioned my new little project, and added offhandedly, “I had to wash my Minky” into one of those conversation lulls that sometimes happens. Talk about your supper conversation stopper. After a long awkward pause, and a few ‘Mom-what-on-earth-are-you-talking-about-?’ glances, I explained that Minky is a fuzzy furry kind of fabric sometimes used to make quilts or backing quilts, and it may or may not have little bumps all over it. Ahhhh!
I dare you to try that phrase out at your next supper party. (You could practice it a few times out loud right now!) It might get some interesting reactions, if you sup with non-sewers.Sew, I tried to make sure I figured this all out. Right sides together, ribbons facing in, check. It seemed like a bit of quilting should be added to keep the minky and flannel together and un-floppy. Some notepaper as a quilting pattern seemed like a good idea. Pin that slippery Minky down!Just sew over it….And easy as pie, tear away the paper…..or not……the stitches looked like they’d rip out, so I ended up using a seam-ripper (another cool tool) to perforate the paper and to c a r e f u l l y rip it out from around the stitches. Waaay more work that I had originally bargained for. Now for those exciting, 3D blocks! The pattern in the magazine looked straight forward enough…Wow, I couldn’t believe it! Matching up the dots and actually following instructions left me with an actual 3D block!! Oh wait, you have to turn it inside out?Maybe leave that opening a bit bigger next time….. And sew, 2 blocks were sewn and I felt very accomplished and proud. Tada! Here are the pics: Found some fun baby sleepers to go with my sewing projects!The best part: finishing on time for the surprise baby shower!! It’s nice to give something that has had a lot of my time, love, and work put into it. I definitely learned a few lessons…..probably won’t be buying or washing Minky in the near future, will sew edges of flannel before washing, etc. I figure every project will teach me something new. Oh, wait, that sounds like school or something, yuck! What I mean is that I plan to have fun making some awesome sewing projects in the near future, whether I learn something or not!