Friday, September 23, 2016

In the Black

This week has been a black one in the studio.

First, having finished some projects and before starting another, it was time to do something about the black hole.

Do you see it? This black hole (empty space at far left) has been plaguing me from day one in the studio, because anytime a bed quilt or large landscape quilt is in progress, the black hole tries to swallow it.

It's an odd-sized space, but it finally occurred to me that one of my Sterilite drawer units could fit below/under the little table. It was at least a start. (The drawers will be put back later, after their contents--fabric paints and brushes--have been transferred into a different set of drawers.)

Okay, so now what? Well, with my subscription to Quilty Box, those cool little shipping boxes that are always the same size and look like little shoe boxes, have been piling up in the attic. Well, guess what?

Right side up, one box, laid on top of the Sterilite unit, happened to be flush with the table top. I cut down a second box sideways, to fit next to the first box, and covered both boxes with postage tape to make their surfaces slippery.

In front of the Quilty Boxes I put a Whitman's Sampler candy box, and on top of it, a slick acrylic Tsukineko ink stand/holder turned upside down--again, flush with the table.

All of this stuff was already in the attic/studio space. I may not be the Queen of Recycling, but I might just be the Queen of Making Do.

After that, the ironing board was put back in its usual spot with my two favorite acrylic rulers on top of it and positioned flush with the tables, to finish off my slippery quilting surface. (Again...Queen of Making Do. It should be mentioned that the maple table has been with me for 45 years and has served in many capacities in many rooms.)

Don't get me wrong, though...the ironing board still gets used for pressing, and often. I just lay the rulers aside and quickly raise the ironing board (the iron is nearby). The more multi-purposing, the better.

The next project was to alter the waistband of a pair of very nice black jeans my son found for $4 in a thrift store. A word of caution here...maybe don't try to downsize a stretch denim waistband by more than an inch or two. This particular waistband needed to lose three inches to fit him--and that's without taking the stretch into account!

Hence, a total of ten wedges ended up being cut into the waistband (additional cuts are at the sides and in front), each tapering from 3/8" (any wider would have caused dimples below the band)) at the top of the waistband to a single point near the bottom of the band (an actual total of 3 and 3/4 inches, due to the insidious stretching that kept occurring during fittings).

The three-step zigzag stitch was used to pull the little wedges' cut edges together, stitched from top to bottom and back toward the top again, where a bar tack (repeated zigzagging with a very short stitch length) was stitched for extra strength. These adjustments won't show when he is wearing the jeans, as his t-shirts will hide the waistband.

Then came the hem (yes, the jeans were not only way too big in the waist but too long as well.)

The doubled-over hem (why cut it if you don't have to?) had to be pressed down and beaten into submission at the seams, but using the dual-feed foot and the hump-jumper allowed me to stitch the new hemline securely and attractively.

Next, I celebrated (?) the completion of that tedious project by turning one of the same son's old t-shirts into a pillow. (What can I say?...I'm a mom.)

He loves European Black Metal music, so has a lot of metal-band tees. When they start getting holes under the arms or raggedy at the neck ribbing, they become pillows.

Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex all-purpose woven fusible interfacing (black), a 14-inch black Coats & Clark closed-bottom sports zipper, and an 18-inch poly pillow form made this a fast project. The interfacing not only adds body and makes the t-shirt fabric very easy to work with, but makes any minor wear-and-tear on the t-shirt difficult to see. All-purpose sewing thread and a universal 14 needle was used, and worked well for everything--zipper included.

Most of his t-shirts have a design on the back, which gets used for the back of the pillow. This one had no back design. But this cool, black foresty-looking fabric was in my stash, and since my son loves spending time in the woods (just like his mom), it seemed like a good choice. I took a shot and used it without consulting him.

He loved it. 'Very metal,' he said. A mom-win! And don't we love those.

Well, it's nice to have all these black projects finished, but here's to working with some color again! Next week on the machine will be a quilt (not black) for The Center for Women & Families.

Have a great weekend!



  1. I love how you managed to come up with a practical justification for a quilting subscription and a box of chocolates. Only the son of a quilter might open up his dresser drawer to find all his favorite shirts missing, then notice they've been transformed into throw pillows when he see the couch!

    1. LOL, right? Ha, the pillows are made on commission by him...except, I don't get paid! He buys the pillow forms, though. :)

  2. Well done, Queen of Making Do. That space will no longer be a hindrance. Great alteration job and neat pillow, Linda.

    1. Thanks, Angie. Next I get to replace the ribbed knit cuffs on his hoodie. It never ends! LOL


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