Thursday, June 17, 2010

BFF to the rescue!

On her sewhooked blog my awesome bff Jen posted some terrific pics (way better than I could ever have taken, I assure you) of the perpetual calendar I made her for her birthday.

Here's the complete set I made her:

And here's the link to her blog where you'll find many pics of all the individual items involved.

This all started when I stumbled upon the flyer at Joann's early in March:
Perpetual Fabric Calendar : earth day : holidays: spring : Shop

I took the flyer and starting looking it over, and decided I didn't want to do it as instructed for Jen since she is the "fabric master" as far as I'm concerned, but I really liked the idea of the perpetual calendar... it's more eco-friendly than buying kitchen or living room calendars every year, and you could really customize it for the person. And it's a gift that can be used for a really long time... well, perpetually!

I started bewing ideas, then decided I would never make up my mind, so I just went to my local quilt store, but didn't like the black and white fabric I saw there. I wandered around the store, overwhelmed by all the choices, when the coffeebean fabric jumped out at me. The whole line was there, called "espresso yourself". I saw the fabric with the colored squares and coffee cups and decided that was perfect! So I bought that and the cream colored fabric with words like "french roast" and " latte" and "columbian" as well as the awesome coffeebean fabric. Thankfully, I had the forethought to buy more than the instructions called for, because I totally changed it all up again after getting it home, lol. I didn't like the instructions for the seasonal fabric and iron-on letters for each month, so I decided I would "figure that part out later".

I had issues finding buttons to cover that would work with the coffeecup fabric, and finding enough of them here in town, so I evetually ordered them from a terrific website I found called, which I totally recommend if you ever want to, well... cover buttons. ;) They also sell pin backs and stuff to make ponytails, keychains, etc. The best part was that they gave you the choice of flat backs or actual button backs and a choice of buying them individually or in various increasing amounts. I ordered the flat backs so that it would be easier to apply the velcro dots. I had so much fun making the buttons, I think I may order more in various sizes and some flat backs pin backs and things, do make some fun buttons and pins and magnets out of fun fabric scraps I have lying around. Once I finally had all my buttons I covered them using the coffee cup fabric and stamped them with number stamps (they came with the months of the year stamp set I bought from Hobby Lobby) using Tulip Soft fabric paint in either "linen" or "chocolate" depending on the color of the coffee cup on that button.

I did the piecing as instructed but starting with 3" or 3.5" wide strips of fabric instead of the 2" called for in the pattern. I changed the pattern around a little bit as well, and used some high-thread-count natural unbleached muslin for the border. I made a freezer paper stencil for the Days of the week at the top, and painted that onto the muslin with Tulip Soft fabric paint in "chocolate". I used some coffee-themed fabric that I already had in my stash for the back, added batting, and then using the "quick-turn method" (where you lay the backing face-up on top of the batting, then lay the quilt-top face-down on the backing so that top and back are "right-sides together", pinning, sewing along all four sides with a half-inch seam allowance, leaving several inches open to turn). I, however, left the entire top open, for adding the "tabtops" later (see next paragraph). Then I turned the open edge in and pressed. I "stitched-in-the-ditch" along all the pieced "calendar grid" and in-between the days of the week and around all of that to area to quilt it, with a thread whose color was actually called "espresso" (catching on to some sort of theme? lol). Then I pinned the top including the tabs that I made for hanging (basically just a tube of fabric turned inside out, sewn up the side, and then turned rightside out and pressed with the seam in the middle of the back so it's not seen, and folded in half with raw ends together at the base) topstitched around the edge of the border, sewing an additional row at the top to make sure I secured the tabs and all of the open top so that it was all closed up.

The tab top for hanging was a change I made from the original pattern, in addition to the rectangles with the months. I stamped the months onto some of the same muslin I used for the border (using the "chocolate" fabric paint again) which I had ironed onto some stiff fusible interfacing to make it sturdier and cut into rectangles. When I got to December I realized that my stamp set was defective... the stamp that was labelled December was actually another November. :O So I had to take that back and exchange it for another set (which I made the people at HL open and check every stamp before accepting the exchange).

To finish the months, I found seasonal fabric-ribbon in the scrapbooking section of Joanns, so I picked one for each month, using cakes for April since that's Jen's birthday month . I peeled off one side of a couple of sheets of double-sided steam-a-seam and lay each "muslin month rectangle" on the sheets leaving about a ½ inch space all the way around each rectangle. I then cut those out making sure to leave an even ¼ " border of steam-a-seam all the way around each rectangle. I then cut even larger rectangles out of ecofelt. I then peeled the back side of the steam-a-seam and stuck each "muslin month rectangle" face up onto each felt rectangle, centering it as much as possible and leaving the border of steam-a-seam showing. Cutting the ribbon into 4 pieces to fit slightly longer than around the edge of the muslin rectangle, I then layered the ribbon pieces on top of the steam-a-seam borders, basically framing each month, covering the raw edge of muslin and leaving a small felt border. I made sure to stick additional scraps of  steam-a-seam between ribbon pieces at the corners to help it all adhere together. Then using a press cloth so as not to melt the ribbon or the felt (which is recycled from plastic bottles) I ironed (using the cotton setting) on both sides, fusing the whole thing together!

Lastly, and integral to the calendar actually functioning as a calendar, I put a circle of E-6000 glue on each sqaure on the calendar, and while that was setting up and getting tacky I scuffed the backs of the fabric buttons and then put a circle of E-6000 on those. I then stuck the self-adhesive backs of the "fuzzy" part of the velcro dots onto the E-6000 circles on the calendar, and the "scrubby" part of the velcro dots to the E-6000 circles on the button-backs, and after a few days of drying (and airing out, whew!) it was a permanent bond (in fact, the calendar itself is machine-washable!) and the buttons could stick right to the different squares!

Because I still had fabric left, and because I felt there needed to be a place to store unneeded buttons and months, I made an envelope for the months, that closes with velcro and also fits, with the buttons, into a simple drawstring bag I made of the coffeebean fabric.

There were 5 "scrubby" sides to the velcro dots left (the calendar sqaures took more of the "fuzzy" parts than the buttons took of the "scrubby" parts), and those I glued using the E-6000 to the center of the long thin rectangle of coffeebean fabric above the days of the week. That is for the months, which, because they are backed with felt, don't need any velcro! (That was an idea I was particularly proud of, I might add, lol).

Whew! So there you have it. This is really long so I won't blame you if your eyes glaze over one paragraph in... but I'm proud to say it's done, gifted, appreciated, and hanging on Jen's wall on a cafe rod. It was my first "real" strip piecing, patchwork, and quilting, and I'm glad I did it. I think I might be able to handle a simple quilt now.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's amazing! Thank you for sharing the story of your ingenuity and perseverance with this project. I'm going to add a link to my post, too, so others can see how you did it. :D


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Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
This is my place to talk about crafting, what I make, and maybe even why I make it.