Friday, 25 March 2016

Oven Mitts

I never seem to be short of inspiration for new projects. Rather, like most quilters, I've got far too many ideas and not enough time. That goes along with far too much fabric I'd like to buy and not enough money. Lately though, I've been trying to sew a bit more for function rather than art.

By the time I finish the couple I have in progress, I will have made ten quilts four myself. Four of those are bed-sized and six throw-sized. So it made sense to me to focus on other projects for a bit and having recently bought my own house, I decided some more house projects were in order. I write more because I started making things for my house long before I got it, way back to last summer.

There was the Patchwork Bench from Anna Graham's book Handmade Style.

I refinished an old dresser from the attic and a trunk found at yard sale.

Then I sanded, stained and recovered these sling deck chairs.

Pair those with the quilts and the addition of the ottoman, and I was off to a good start.

Today I want to share the oven mitts I made a couple of weeks ago. I found several tutorials online and went with this one by Heather from Quilts Actually.

For the main fabric, I chose some fabric I've had in my stash for a while but couldn't seem to find a project for. The design on the print has worked out perfectly for oven mitts and matches my light blue kitchen nicely. I used fabrics from the Botanics line for the accent strip, binding and lining - some green on white stripes and a floral grid.

I sandwiched two layers of batting and a layer of Insul-brite between my fabrics and quilted them with randomly spaced organic lines. Not worrying about keeping my lines even was both stressful and freeing. I wanted them to be wavy enough so that you could tell they were intentional but straight enough to be horizontal. While stitching them, I would deliberately look at the television and keep my foot on the pedal, just because I could.

I traced and cut the oven mitts out of my two pieces, then sewed them right sides together. The dense quilting made the oven mitt panels pretty flat, but even after notching the curves, I still had difficulty turning the thumbs right-sides out. For the second mitt, I ended up shortening my stitch length to make sure the edges of the fabric wouldn't pull through on the notches. I was much happier with the result on the second mitt.

Binding the cuff was a bit of a challenge as well, but I really like how it sets off the accent strip and finishes off the oven mitts.

I was left with oddly shaped scraps from the panel I quilted and it felt wasteful to throw them out. So I traced some circles to cut out a set of 4 coasters. I didn't feel like binding them, so I used a zig zag stitch around the perimeter and left them raw edged. From some of the bigger sections of the panel, I cut out rectangles with rounded corners. I added two pieces of fabric, each folded in half, to the back. I used a zig zag stitch again around the outside, this time making those little finger oven mitts you can use to grab light baking sheets from the oven or dishes from the microwave.

Finally, to use the last of the scraps, I cut small rectangles and improv pieced them together to make a hot pad. I increased my stitch width for this, and where they didn't catch, I just went back and stitched over them. The more I stitched, the cooler it looked. I would definitely do this again. I think it would be fun to try different shapes, making stars and hexagons out of already quilted scraps.

I've used all of these a couple times already and they work fine. I've got pretty oven mitts, used some of my stash and didn't have to buy anything new. A win-win.

More to come :)

Linking up with Fabric Frenzy Friday, Finish it up Friday, TGIFF and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Oh, and you should really go check out TGIFF, hosted by Anja this week, who's posting her Ocean Sky quilt - one of my patterns in progress. Its release got delayed by my house, but now that my version is sitting on the back of my couch, I need to get photos and get it out there!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Reupholstered Ottoman


It's me. I'm back! And now that I'm in my very own house, I've got some finished house projects to share with you. First up is an ottoman that came with the house. I pulled it apart and put it back together again with some new cushioning and a quilted fabric cover.

This is what the ottoman looked like at first. I noticed that it had good metal casters on it, so I told the previous owner I would keep it.

If you're interested in the sewing part, for the cover, I started with a rectangle of fabric for each of the visible faces of the ottoman. The top and two sides were pieced with strips and the other two sides were wholecloth. I quilted the pieces with a layer of batting, using straight lines in a sort of random pattern. Then I sewed the sides together so that they made a loop and the attached them to the top. When calculating measurements, I measured the base and added a bit of allowance for batting.

I debated different designs for the ottoman, such as having a quilt block or patchwork top and making all of the sides the same. I decided to go with a design that wrapped around the sides instead, since the big base makes the sides so tall.

As for the construction, I took the casters off of the ottoman and had a lot of staples to pull out; they really made sure that cover was secure. Once the cover and foam was off, I discovered another fabric stapled over the springs. Ugh. With the springs removed, I was left with just the base, which is heavy and solid.

I had my brother cut a scrap of 1/2" plywood to the size of the base - 19 1/2" x 18 1/2". (We made a deal - I had to hem his curtains that day and he had to cut my wood the next. I think he made out better on this one.) Then I constructed it the same way I did the Patchwork Bench from Anna Graham's book Handmade Style. It was convenient constructing it while the guys were working on my house, as they had a nail gun, staple gun and sawhorses already set up. I had my cousin attach the plywood to the base with finishing nails and then I got to work on the cushioning.

I used a twin sized mattress foam, that thin, bumpy eggshell foam. It cost about $10-$15 and was much cheaper than the rolls of cushion foam at craft and fabric stores. The foam was 36" wide and I needed to cut two pieces 18 1/2" from the width, so I cut one 18 1/2" and left the other 17 1/2". I used 6 layers of foam altogether, laying down the wider one first, with the flat side against the bottom, then centring the narrower piece on top with the bumpy side down, so that the two pieces sort of fit together. This kept my cushion flat. I repeated that with the other four pieces. Initially I used spray adhesive to attach the cushions, but it was a windy day and we couldn't tell if it was really working to glue one cushion to another, so I stopped using it.

After the foam, I wrapped a piece of batting around the top and two sides of the ottoman, stapling it to the bottom of the base, to keep the cushion smooth and in place. I wrapped another piece of batting around the top and other two sides as well. Then I was ready to put the cover on!

Once the cover was on, I flipped the ottoman upside down and stapled the fabric to the bottom of the base. I made sure to pull the fabric tight, as I didn't want the fabric to sag when people sat on it, compressing the cushion. At the same time, it was difficult to make sure I was pulling each of the sides an equal amount, so that the cushion was straight and even on top. If I was doing it again, I would measure up from the bottom of the fabric to where I want the fabric to hit the bottom edge of the base and make markings, to make this step easier. Because half of the foam didn't reach all the way across the width of the ottoman,  the top is curved rather than flat. I like this effect and would probably cut half the foam an inch shorter in the other direction as well next time.

The cover secure, I cut back a bit of the fabric on the bottom to screw the casters back on. Finished!

I spy a cat toy - one of his favourite foam golf balls.

I'm quite pleased with the result. The ottoman is comfortable but firm and sturdy and looks good in my living room!

Check back soon for more home sewing projects :)

Linked up with TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? and Fabric Frenzy Friday.