That last time you heard from me, I was making pin cushions for my sister, June Mears Driedger, to take with her to The Democratic Republic of Congo to give to the students at the BOMEN Sewing Training Center and Workshop. I’m a bit late in reporting how everything turned out because I’ve been laid up with a sinus AND ear infection for the past three weeks. I don’t have all of my strength back but two rounds of antibiotics seems to have done the trick (I normally let my body heal itself but this time it was losing the battle and I needed the antibiotics).
Anyway, as you may recall, I had tried laminating some muslin as a way to protect the wrist from straight pins but it made them difficult to sew. Back to the cutting table I went and my second attempt turned out much better. I bought a sheet of plastic that is used for making quilting templates and cut them into 2 x 2″ squares and inserted them into the wristband underneath the pin cushion. I opted for buying the plastic because I only had one cottage cheese lid and that wasn’t going to be enough for ten pin cushions!
It was a lot of hand sewing but I’m pleased with how they turned out.
After the pin cushions were finished, I started working on the sewing roll-ups. June’s inspiration for the sewing roll-ups was the makeup roll-ups she had seen on Stitched in Color and asked me if I’d be able to adapt it for notions. I told her “sure!” And so we were off and running with it.
Here is the sketch I sent to her before I had even started on the pin cushions:
While I was working on the pin cushions, I let the sewing roll-up idea percolate (I’m a percolate-type of thinker). When I was ready to start, I made a muslin of the roll-up using all of the “pattern making by draping” skills I learned in design school. But it was a bit easier because I was working on a flat surface instead of a dress form with lots of curves.
I then made patterns with all of the markings and notations to myself. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from that process. The next step was fairly easy. Because all of the pockets (and the extra pocket piece for the scissors pocket) were squares, I just needed to start tearing the fabric and using the rotary cutter to cut the pieces into the correct sizes.
But I froze. You see, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, being married to a sculptor, I’m not used to working with prints. His influence on me is that solid-colored fabrics show off the form (what sculptors are all about) better than a print. And my sister had sent me all of these beautiful quilting prints and I was trying to just match up two fabrics–one for the outside and one for the pockets–and it wasn’t working. Thank goodness for The Mister! I showed him the photos of the makeup roll-ups and he simply said, “June is a quilter. She’s going for a quilting look that is similar to the photos. With the fabrics she sent, you can’t go wrong. They will all work together. Mix ‘em up!” So that is what I did!
Each pocket consisted of two pieces–the one that showed and a lining piece for reinforcement. I think I also used interfacing on the lining pieces but now I can’t remember for sure if I did or not. I do know that I used interfacing on the backing fabric.
Anyway, I sewed each pocket around the sides and top and then turned right side out and clipped the corners. Then I turned under the bottom edge and used “Steam-a-Seam” to seal the opening shut. The pocket for the spool of thread was a bit trickier. I inserted some elastic along the top edge before turning it right side out and making the other seam for the elastic casing.
After the pockets were finished, it was time to assemble the roll-ups. I laid them out onto the backing to make sure I liked the combinations and then started top-stitching them on! I also tacked the ties to side.
After all of the pockets were stitched on, I pinned the backing, the 1/8″ thick batting, the flap, the outside fabric, and the ties together (wrong sides facing). Then it was a matter of sewing the layers together and then turning them inside out (trimming corners, etc.). I then topped stitched around the main part of the roll-up.
I made three rows of quilting stitches in each one, using my trusty see-through ruler as the guide to keep the lines as straight as possible. One last pressing and they were done!
My sister told me that the women at the training center really liked the pin cushions and roll-ups and are looking forward to the time when I will be able to visit the school, too.
And, I’m really pleased with this idea of a sewing notions roll-up and, when I’m feeling full-strength again, will be making a tutorial (with pattern).
Oh! The title of this post refers to the fact that most of the time I was praying for the women who would be receiving these gifts but an occasional curse slipped out and then I had to do a quick “backtracking prayer” to counteract the curse.