Friday, January 1, 2010

A completed project, and an interesting discovery

It's only the first day of the year and I already have a completed project under my belt! I'm doing a little happy dance on the inside, as I am a chronic starter of craft projects and a very poor finisher of same.

Whilst some of my bloggy friends were able to finish the year with a lovely list of completed projects, I think I was lucky that 2009 didn't actually end up on my UFO/WIP pile! So to start the new year by finishing something is a good omen I think - it's important to start as you mean to go on!

This is an embroidered travel journal cover I made for The Junior Crafter's wonderful Grade 2 teacher who is taking this year off to travel around the world! She has been a brilliant teacher and we felt so lucky that The Junior Crafter was in her class, and she will be greatly missed this year.

As a project, although I was very happy with the end result, it was not all smooth sailing.

When I measured and cut the outer and lining for the journal cover I did not allow enough extra width to cover the seam allowance and the topstitching required to make the pockets for the journal to slip into. So when I stitched the outer and the lining together and turned them right sides out, I had no hope of being able to top stitch the pockets down and still fit the journal in.

So I unpicked. Which took a really long time. And in the end, was not very helpful.

You see, the outer of the journal is a gorgeous piece of vintage linen I found at my local op shop some time ago. As luck would have it, my Gutermann 02776 thread is an exact colour match to the linen, and I very carefully sewed the linen and the lining together using stitch length 1 so as to hold the delicate fabric very securely. Which it did. So the unpicking was a difficult and frustrating affair.

To make matters worse, it didn't even help in the end. I restitched the (now slightly damaged from the seam ripper) vintage linen to the lining using the SCANTEST 1/8 seam allowance, carefully turned it, ironed it to within an inch of its life, still didn't fit :(

After experimenting with elastic, ribbon, matching binding (here is a fab tutorial for using a bias tape maker) I quickly realised that nothing would work, short of starting over, and I had already put so much work into the piecing and the embroidery!

Just then, The Junior Crafter stepped in and saved the day! Why don't you just sew it onto the journal Mum? said she. Because my sewing machine won't sew through a hard book cover darling, I replied. However, with no other options (and plenty of spare needles on hand) I decided to give it a whirl. Which leads me to the interesting discovery: my Janome can sew through four layers of fabric and a hard journal cover!

Forgive the blurry photo, but that is my trusty Janome whizzing through all the layers with ease. And not a broken needle in sight. The moral of the story is always listen to your children, they might be saying something very useful. And there is no limit to what a good sewing machine can handle!

Happy New Year friends xx


  1. Oh that's super cute!!! I have the same chronic disorder... even a list of 'not even started' projects weiging down the incomplete ones ;)

    HAPPY productive new year!


  2. An excellent finished product... certainly worth all your hardwork.

    Happy New Year to you and your family. I have really enjoyed reading your blog in 2009 - looking forward to reading on into 2010.

  3. What a great idea... and adorable to boot! Well done on your very first completed project for '10!

  4. Awesome job, Stitch length 1 is made for madness you know. Anything you sew that tightly is bound to need unpicking , its like tempting the gods of craft - but the junior crafter deserves a medal for that great save ! yay !

  5. great job, love it!
    this above all has given me the impetus to start something new.
    Love your stuff
    Happy 2010

  6. A positive start to the year. Remember it is often the journey that is more important than the destination. The journal will be treasured, whether or not the cover comes off! Good old Janome can always be trusted to come through!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. It's nice to know I'm not just talking to myself here! Hope you enjoy the blog :)