Welcome back to the daily grind, my friend! How was your mini-vacation? I hope you enjoyed East Tennessee and the mountains of North Carolina. Things are on auto-pilot around here with the World Cup in full swing. Weekends center around soccer-watching. Fortunately, my husband has several friends who enjoy watching it too, with wives and kids who do not. So we've organized get-togethers the last few weekends, which have made the hours of sports on television much more bearable!
I am FINALLY ready to show you the project I gave a little teaser about back in early May. (It's both daunting and distant to revisit the intense trauma of the Tennessee floods, two months later...) You may have guessed by now that these little pieces of fabric were pattern pieces for the Pincushion Caddy in Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me. Maybe you recognize the green and chartreuse pieces from the pincushion I gave you for your birthday!
I should warn you and our readers that I may ramble on here. LOTS to say about this project.
I fell in love with this little caddy when I first read Seams to Me after I received it as a gift last Christmas. Having dealt with a little tomato pincushion for years, and constantly losing it and my scissors under fabric (and having to convince my cat it is NOT one of her toys and pins are NOT for eating), I was ready for something sturdier, more practical, and more visually appealing. I decided to make a pincushion caddy for myself.
Right around that time, I realized your birthday was coming up, as well as my friend Blair's birthday. So, I decided to make three pincushion caddies. And, since I was already going to make so many, I figured, might as well make one more... just because. So, FOUR pincushion caddies were cut and prepped, in a variety of coordinated fabrics.
I know from our crafty secret santa exchanges that Blair's favorite color is orange and yours is chartreuse. My color themes and fabric choices stemmed from that knowledge. I wanted to included linen as much as possible. My own caddy uses scraps from blue and brown fat quarters I bought with my mom when she was visiting. I liked the thought of these fabrics reminding me of her whenever I sew. As you know, she is an inspiration in "getting it done". For the fourth pincushion, I used some blue and teal prints that I love, including some Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt and Kaffe Fasset from a while back.
I'll be honest, this project was a pain in the booty. Way more complex than I expected going into it. I do think the result is worth it, but it is also not nearly as polished as I would have liked, especially for a gift. If you are making this pincushion caddy, please cut your pattern pieces EXACTLY right and follow the directions with military discipline. It also helped me to look for pattern reviews in the blogosphere and get some tips prior to diving into it -- for example, to use a container to hold the caddy's shape when stuffing. I screwed up in several parts, and paid for it FOUR TIMES.
Another thing you should know -- and Anna Maria Horner does mention that in the instructions -- is that there is a lot more hand sewing than machine sewing in this project. This was actually kind of nice, since it allowed me to slow down a bit and sit down with Ben while he played with Tinker Toys or puzzles. This also allowed me to work on them outside on pretty afternoons and to take 3 of the pincushions-in-progress with me on our trip to Austin and Nashville. I think I may have finished yours on the plane!
Here are some of the challenges I encountered while making this caddy:
- I didn't measure my seam allowance correctly when sewing the sphere pieces and had to redo the assembly for all 4 caddies. Please be a measuring nazi here! Even when measuring exactly, you might still need to adjust a seam or two so that the edge of the sphere matches exactly with the tube circumference -- not the simplest thing.
- Some of my pieces got pinched when sewing the sphere to the tube. You can see the pleats created by that error on the top of the pincushions in some of the pictures. I should have been extra careful when flattening the two surfaces together and checking seams.
- The stuffing is very uneven in several of these, especially mine (which I used as prototype, with all first steps). Just make sure to push the first pieces of stuffing all the way around so that the part away from the opening is as thoroughly filled as the parts near the opening.
- Despite holding the shape with a container and having used the heaviest duty interfacing for the tube, the inside isn't as smooth and straight as I would have liked. Not sure what I could have done differently.
- My fabric bubbled once ironed onto the interfacing -- I'm not sure what I did wrong here either...
- Linen may not have been the best choice of fabric for this project, since once the caddy is stuffed, the filling tends to push the seams out quite a bit and some of my fabric unraveled in places. So, either double the stitching on the seam here, or don't use linen.
I think that's about it. I hope this helps you or anyone else who might try to make this project!
Like I said before, perfect or not, I still think this little pincushion caddy is an awesome and fun accessory to have at the sewing station. Totally worth making it for myself and friends. I hope you enjoy and use yours! And, maybe we can include that fourth blue one in a little giveaway at some point in the near future...
UPDATE: We're giving away this blue pincushion caddy along with Heather Ross fabric, gorgeous yarn and some vintage goodies starting July 12! Check it out here and leave us a comment (or a few!).
The trip was great! Dollywood/Gatlinburg: Hot, crowded, expensive and exhausting. North Carolina mountains: relaxing, refreshing and beautiful. Ian loved the rides at Dollywood, and the people watching in Gatlinburg was STUNNING to say the least, so it all evened out.
I absolutely love the pincushion you made me, and I have to wonder if you aren't being a bit hard on yourself over the "imperfections" you mention. When I look at mine I don't see anything but a thoughtfully made gift! I have to say that I am glad you made this for me, because anything that involves military precision in any form is just not my strong suit.
Fusible interfacing can be a real nightmare, my last (and only) interaction with it involved a good deal of swearing and gnashing of teeth when I ruined a perfectly good piece of fabric because the interfacing got weird ridges in it. I have to admit that I love projects that use interfacing in theory, but I never end up making them because the whole process seems unappealing to me.
What I DO find appealing about this project, and in general, is the art of hand sewing. I would love to learn how to properly sew by hand (as opposed to the Frankenstein stitches I usually use to close things up at the end of a project). I wanted to bring some hand sewing with me on our trip so I could have handwork for the car ride, but after the packing, cleaning, cooking and other preparations I didn't get my supplies together in time! Do you have a favorite resource for learning the stitches?
(And I have some things I could include in a giveaway too! Why don't I look through my stash of supplies and see what I can come up with!}