Sunday, June 23, 2013

4th of July Embroidery

Every Christmas my family draws names for gift giving. The family is large and it is work to find gifts for everyone. Instead we exchange names. Stress is greatly reduced having only to buy for one person.

This last year I was the recipient of one of my sister's names. On her list for a gift was a shirt for the United State's 4th of July holiday. She collects holiday shirts and sweaters. One of the hardest to find is one for the 4th of July. Yes I know it is almost July,(so I am not late right?) but there is no way to have the time to do this from the time I get the name. I had to search for the embroidery design I wanted to use and then find the shirt that would work.
Early in the year I found the perfect shirt. It was a red tie-dye in rows of red and white. The problem was that it was Armani and the cost for a simple tee shirt was around $100 US.

Ahhh, No.

I found a knockoff in blue and white, really cute, but it was not her size. I emailed and asked...bummer!
About a week ago I found a blue and white shirt that should be her size at one of my favorite stores in Germany. The store is Globus. Think of it as a super Walmart, only larger and two stories. This store is so large that if you forget something, you might not go back to get it because the walk is too long. Last week I was trying on shirts. Tee shirts are now in the stores and the selection was good, not to mention on sale. Globus has good prices so the price was right. I found a blue and white striped on with a good fit.

Now for the design...I love the designs at Embroidery Library.  Most of the time I find just what I need, like the football turkeys I used for another gift for the same sister.  
I did a search and found America the Beautiful in  a really fun design format. I also found fire crackers. Laying the designs out and figuring out what to do with them was the hardest part.
I decided to do the name of the  design on the back and I put 4 fire crackers across the bottom.
On the front I put all of the other designs. I found myself singing the song as I went along each time making sure I put the next one in the correct spot.
Adding a couple more fire crackers to the sleeves and it is done and cute if I say so myself.
For the first time ever in all the years I have embroidered on items I was able to repair a bad spot.  Usually it is in a bad spot and I just have to start again. The phone rang while it was doing the first design. O Beautiful for Spacious Skies". I never answer the home phone since someone is always trying to sell me something clearly in French. But I did since I was expecting a call. While gone, the machine ate the shirt. Put a hole in it. See the star next to  "O"? It is there to cover up the eaten portion of the shirt.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

La trousse

A trousse is a sort of kit or bag that holds groups of things. As kids we had a pencil bag (La trousse scolaire), later we had a bag for our toiletries (La trousse de toilette) and in later years we might have a bag for our medicines or a first aid kit (La trousse à pharmacie).

In sewing we could have a sewing kit (La trousse au coudre).

A couple weeks ago I was given a pattern for a sewing kit and was asked embellish it any way I wanted to. The pattern was simple. It was the embellishment that would make the bag.

The pattern was a prolate spheroid.

Hmmm, interesting but what does that mean? Well it means that its axis of symmetry is longer than its other axes. Not to be mistaken with an M&M chocolate candy, which is an oblate spheroid. Its axis of symmetry is shorter than its other axes, and definitely do not mistake it with an ellipsoid since that one is formed by rotating an ellipse around one of its two axes. The equation for this projection onto the x/y plane of an ellipse of revolution is (x/a)^2 +(x/b)^2 = 1. where 'a' and 'b' are the semi-major and semi-minor axes, respectively. Also it does not have pointy ends.  I remember this from somewhere in math background, but it is not what the pattern was.

No the pattern was definitely a prolate spheroid. click here to see the complex math that goes with it. In the meantime, I will just tell you it looked like a football.
American football not European football, otherwise known as soccer. There of course we are talking about a round ball. But I digress!

So you start with 3 pieces of Timtex, that would be Gifitex for us in France and you cut out 3 footballs. Size would be the size of the bag you want to make. My pattern was 4.25 (y axis) by 8.25 (x axis) inches. I thought it made a bag that was larger than I would want, but that was the size I was given to work with. You cover one side, cutting out the fabric piece about 1/2" larger than the Timtex. You baste it down through the Timtex.
To finish the football, you sew on a lining fabric. I cut out a slightly smaller piece of stabilizer and then fused it to the wrong side of the lining. Last step was to iron and glue the seam allowance down. That made it easy to sew the lining into place after you finish the front design that is.

Now what do I do with it. I needed a design. Finally it came to me, Sewing owls. Ya I know we think about sewing owls all the time don't we? I suppose we think about them as much as we do oblate spheroids. Yum, Chocolate!
Back to the owls. For the last week anytime I was in the car I was sewing owls. I needed 2 of them and I needed a needle and, well, they needed to be sewing something. Here is what I came up with for the front:
The small spool of thread is one of those wooden spools you can buy at craft stores. I drilled a hole in the center horizontal to the hole already there and then wound some thread on it and glued the thread in place. It was then sewn on like a regular button through the drilled hole.
Here is the back:
The fabric is Nu-Suede. I bought a pack of 18 cuts several years ago at Nancy's Notions. The lining is hand dyed silk.
Once I had the lining sewn on after I finished the owls, I had to sew the thing together. There is an elastic loop in the center that hooks around the spool of thread to keep it shut. Only the bottom is sewn together. Due to its shape, it closes itself.
I like the way it turned out.