Monday, November 30, 2009

Practical, cute and cozy

The other item which I have copied so far is something called a "warm wrap" at the craft fair, but most people call a hot pack. Rice is a popular filler and I had some on hand, so that's what I used. This was super easy to figure out, even without a model.

Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between being frugal and being cheap, or even mean. It seems to me that frugality is a virtue when you have a moderate income, a necessity when you have a meager income and a sin when you have a liberal income. Since I currently have a very limited income, frugality is a necessity to me, but I long to be more liberal in my spending in order to support some of the very deserving crafters out there. All this is said as an excuse to justify my recent sewing adventures. Having attended a lovely craft show this past Saturday morning, I was inspired to recreate some of the items I coveted but, alas, could not afford. I did part with a little money for items I felt I could not create - a machine embroidered dish towel with a cute saying and a pair of clever hot pads/trivets that were very well designed and made. I also picked up a microwave potato bag because it had been marked down to $3. The virtue of having something that was complete and ready to give outweighed my natural parsimony. I also thought it would be nice to have one to study in order to recreate it. I had read instructions on-line on how to make one, but they seemed difficult to visualize. So, that very afternoon I retired to my sewing aerie and figured out how to make it. Since I used material I had on hand - calico fabric for the outside which was bought over 25 years ago, a scrap of muslin "inherited" from the stash of my bff's mil and a scrap of cotton batting left over from a quilt, my cost was negligible. I am quite happy with how it turned out, but I haven't taken it for a test drive yet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

frugal sewing or "make it do"

I'm patting myself on the back because I "invented" a couple of items to make life slightly more comfortable or convenient. I sit in a leather office type chair at the computer. In the summer it can be a little sticky. In the winter it can be cold at first. I also have two cats (not declawed) who claim it when they can. I had taken to keeping an old bath towel on it, but of course it wouldn't stay where I wanted it. I debated sewing on some elastic and then hit on the idea of sewing an old hand towel across one end. It's a little like a pillow case with one side extremely short. I clipped the corners, turned it inside out to hide the seams and - voila! - a comfy chair cover that stays in place and covers the back and seat. It's not great to look at (but not too ugly, lol) but it's fine since our "office" is not that fancy.

The other item I created out of nearly nothing was a soap saver. I had several remnants of soap bars that were getting too small to use. I can never get them to stick together, either. I had seen patterns to crochet or knit a sachet type bag to hold them, but didn't want to take the time. I remembered I had an old washcloth that had become very thin. I had set it aside as a rag, but rescued it and with a little folding and a couple of seams, I now have an envelope type mini-bag that holds my soap remnants. I have haven't taken it for a test-drive yet. That will have to wait for my next bath. Again, it's not pretty, but it's just a prototype. I could always make another one with a new piece of terry cloth and even embroider it on a friend's machine. I could sew the seams (I used a zig-zag stitch) with contrasting thread.

All this reminds me of one of my Dad's favorite sayings: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." Dad often invented little gadgets to make life easier. He got a big kick out of making something instead of buying it. He created a simple scale to weigh letters to see if they were more than an ounce so he didn't have to put an extra stamp on "just in case" or make a special trip to the post office to have it weighed. He could easily have afforded to buy an electric postal scale, but where's the fun in that? Sometimes what he needed couldn't be bought, as far as I know. He created a little gadget that would hold a paper napkin in place over his tie, rather like a bib, with two tiny clothespins and a length of narrow ribbon. He could fold it up and keep it in his pocket, hel together with a rubber band. It's probably a good thing Dad didn't know how to sew! He might have gotten carried away. His main hobby was carpentry and his handiwork tended to be "rough and ready" - practical rather than artistic. Hmmm, perhaps I'm following his example more than I knew!