Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Urban Home Goods Swap

Remember the pillow swap I did a few months ago?  Well, the same crafty ladies just hosted an Urban Home Goods Swap.  My partner (it's a blind swap, so I can't tell you who she is yet) said she liked Russian Nesting Dolls and rainbow colors.  One of the items on her Wish List was placemats. So, I ordered fabric and started making placemats.  Then I felt like I should include some napkins.  Then egg cosies.  A whole breakfast set was born. 

I worked for two days on this set.  As I said in my pillow swap post, I am in awe of the women in the swap and their sewing skills, so I tried very hard to push myself beyond my limits with my design, color combos and sewing abilities.  There were no tears this time, but I did learn a few things.  As a self-taught sewer, I'm trying very hard to keep track of the lessons I learn during each sewing project.  I want to use the lessons as a chance to grow as sewer and designer.  I thought I would share my lessons with you from my latest sewing blitz.

Lesson One:  Don't be shy at the cutting counter.  In the past, I've allowed myself to feel intimidated by the women who cut the fabric at my local sewing stores.  I felt like I had to pretend that I knew what I was doing.  But for this project, as I faced a pile of rick rack, with no idea how much I would need, I decided to bare my soul and admit I didn't know what I was doing.  I marched up to the cutting counter, rick rack in hand and said, "I'm making four 12"x12" napkins and I want to edge them in rick rack.  How much do I need?"  She very kindly, with no condensation, explained how many feet I would need and how that translated in to yards.  And she was right on the money.  I realized that I was always over-buying what I needed because I was afraid to ask for help.  Or, even worse, I would have to run back for more supplies in the middle of project!  These kind fabric cutters, for the most part, are long time sewers.  Why wouldn't I take advantage of their wisdom?  (By the way, I used to be financial controller, but for some reason, fabric measurement confounds me.)

Lesson Two:  I learned how to make linings!  I read about a dozen online explanations and it kind of hurts your head to think about it when you are sewing (don't forget to leave a spot open for turning!), but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.

Lesson Three:  Everyone has to pull out stitches.  I used to get really, really cranky about pulling out stitches.  I thought I should be a better sewer and shouldn't have to do it.  After reading a couple of sewing blogs, I realized that everyone has to pull out stitches sometimes-no matter how good they are at sewing.

Lesson Four:  I learned how to sew rick rack as an edging.  Check-out this blog.  It's so much easier than how I used to do it. (I'm not telling how I did it before.  It's embarrassing!)

I'm so proud of the breakfast set I made.  I'm especially in love with the egg cosies and am thinking of making some more for my shop.  Would you buy them?  Or should a make a tea pot cozy or something instead?