Thursday, February 28, 2013

so quick update

So as usual life has gotten in the way of blogging.  What is UP with that?  I am working full time as a Middle School chorus teacher, helping out with the school's production of Seussical Jr. (costuming and vocal coaching).  I have been sewing a lot too, but tomorrow everything will be put on hold and I will be heading out on vacation.  Disney World, here I come!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pin Spin: The making of the ultimate picnic blanket

I have dedicated many hours to pinterest browsing. Too many hours. Hours I could spend crafting instead. As much as I love winter (read: snow) I have been longing for the sun dresses, daffodils, and picnics of spring. In my hours of browsing aimlessly, I came across two different pins that I thought looked especially promising as items I MUST MAKE.

Bandana Quilt

Bandana quilt (with tutorial) perfect to keep in the car for that impromptu summer picnic! So Bandanas are super cheap at walmart and these would be awesome for when we go for a picnic. :)

Lined Beach Blanket

Used old towels to make this huge beach blanket. Add a vinyl tablecloth to the back: blocks sand, doubles as tablecloth. Road trip must-have! ----

The info the commentors had put in with the pins had made both look promising... but I didn't open either of them to read the directions at the time. I broke the cardinal rule of successfully navigating pinterest, I know.

Fast forward a week or so and both projects had been in the back of my mind. I happened to be in hobby lobby when I passed by the racks upon racks of bandanas and the lightbulb went off “Hmm... maybe I should actually make that bandana picnic blanket...”

When I opened the link to the first pin, I was disappointed because it linked to a tutorial on creating a quilt with your child. Not quite what I was looking for. Undaunted, I forged on, deciding to wing it. My original intention was to make a bandana “sheet” out of the sixteen bandanas I purchased for $.99 each at hobby lobby. I did everything you are supposed to when you quilt (prewash, press, cut down so each square is exactly the right size and all of the corners are square). Then I settled in for the long haul with a cup of coffee, my trusty Singer Confidence, and the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. I had wanted to join the squares at the edges by zig-zagging over the seam but the thin fabric did not like that idea. A few minutes of drooling at Mr. Darcy and unpicking the thick black stitches, later and I was back to a pile of squares. Not to be deterred, I stitched it all together like I would a quilt, pressed the seams, and laid it out on my bed to be admired. Done? Not quite.

Pin #2 had been in the back of my head the whole time because as I was planning on making what would essentially be a very pretty sheet, I realized that if I were to actually throw it on the ground on the grass any where but the desert, my butt would be damp as fast as you can say “May flowers.” Hence the trip to walmart to purchase flannel backed vinyl table cloths for less than $5 each.

Let my preface all of this by saying this blanket is a monster. It is 80” x 80”. So I purchased two beige table cloths (the nice[er] ones you find in housewares, not the disposable ones you buy for parties). While I had been planning on a print or at least a cool color, it isn't spring yet. The picnic/spring kind of stuff is thin on the ground and the prints were HORRENDOUS. There was not a print that didn't include garish colors and pictures of food. You have no idea. It made boring beige look incredibly appealing. Other problem: the the largest square table cloth available was 52” x 52”. Not going to work. So I bought two 60” x 102” cloths, stitched them together and cut them to size with minimal errors. I decided I didn't want to fuss with binding (actually, I couldn't be bothered to leave the house mid-project to go to the sewing store to buy the 500 or so packs of double fold bias tape this would inevitably take...) so I put in my ultra-sharp needle, stitched it right sides together, turned it inside out, and then top stitched around the edges to make it look more finished. No need to press (unless you want to melt your project. In which case, go ahead). Just shake and done.

Check it out.  It is huge!  Not perfect (check out that huge wrinkle) but it will do wonderfully.

Admire that lovely beige backing

Oh yeah.  That beige table cloth is SEXY.

All that's left is for there to be a warm spring day to merit a picnic. And possibly a tall, dark, and handsome man to bring the picnic basket and bouquet of wildflowers. ;-)

The only thing I would change: I meant to sew large washers into each of the corners to make sure the blanket won't go flying on a windy day but I completely forgot until I was ¾ of the way done top-stitching and really didn't want to undo it all. As my mother has requested one, perhaps I'll remember next time. And maybe write a tutorial that actually has all the relevant info.