I am going to start off this final Learning Project post by saying how proud I am of myself. When I chose sewing as my learning project, I thought I was way in over my head. Every week was causing me some sort of struggle whether it be with the machine, the thread, or the denim fabric. There were many times throughout my experience where I wondered why I decided to do sewing! After today, my denim quilt is officially finished and I am so proud of myself for actually finishing it and for how well I did as a first timer (don't mean to toot my own horn, but it's pretty nice).
If you have been reading my blog then you know that I have been posting steps with pictures for each step I have taken in making this blanket. This is a 15 step process I have created!
Previously I had...
Step 1: Collect jeans
Step 2:Cut jeans into squares
Step 3: Iron squares
Step 4: Lay out your pattern
Step 5: Pin pieces of fabric together
Step 6: Line the fabric up with the needle and start sewing using the foot pedal
Step 7: Once you have a row sewn together, continue on the next one until all of your rows are sewn together
Step 8: Once all of your individual rows are sewn together, sew the rows together too by following the same format
Step 9: Cut longer pieces of jeans to use as a border. Again, follow the same sewing technique as the squares
Step 10: Sew on the border of the blanket
And in this last week, I've added:
Step 11: Cut quilt batting to the size of the blanket. Leave a little space as you will still need to sew on the back fabric
Step 12: Hand sew thread into the batting so that the batting does not move around once the blanket is sewn up
Step 13: Cut out the top layer of fabric and pin together just like the earlier steps to make it easier to put through the sewing machine
Step 14: Sew up three sides from the inside. Flip it inside out and sew up the last side on the outside
Step 15: Wrap yourself in it and take a nap. YAY!!
With these 15 steps, I was able to create my blanket. Of course, I could not have done it without some of my trusty resources. There were four sites/blogs/videos that I would have been lost without. Let's reminisce:
1) For when I had no idea where to start: "How to Make a Gorgeous Denim Quilt from Blue Jeans"
Thank goodness to these resources. They were my saving grace throughout the process!!
Now let's look back to day one!!
Looking back at my first post, I had laid out my game plan. Here is how it looked:
Week 1: Buy supplies, read up on how they are all used and do a refresher course on sewing (research).
Week 2: Find some articles of clothing around the house that have holes in them - practice hand sewing on them.
Week 3: Get a little more creative - try sewing on buttons, patches and zippers.
Week 4: Research the sewing machine - how does it work and what do I do.
Week 5: Practice on some smaller pieces of fabric (nothing too elaborate, just simple items).
Week 6: Buy fabric and begin my final project (this may waiver, but as of now, this will be a large blanket).
Week 7 - the end of the semester: Working on and completing my final project (hopefully it turns out well!)
So how did I do?
I stuck with this pretty much perfectly. I had a few minor setbacks within the week 7 to the end of the semester with struggles from sewing, but overall I followed my plan very closely.
I learnt so much through this process. I learnt how to make a time lapse video and a how-to video. I've come so far. When I started, I knew how to sew up holes in shirts at a mediocre level and now I can sew together complete quilts! Wow - I am impressed with myself.
It also helped to have my EDTC 300 and 400 peers around to help support me through my journey. Some weeks I found myself lacking the energy to do any sewing, but after reading encouraging words from my peers, I let that be the motivation and support I needed to pull through and finish my blanket.
It has been an amazing experience. Sewing is something I've always wanted to learn, but never took the time out of my day to do so it feels great to finally have tried it and actually created something out of it. Also I think it was cool to learn this all from online, there were so many resources to look at to help me along the way and once I found the ones that worked best for me everything fell into place.
My only trouble with this was that, although there are tons of resources, no quilt is exactly the same so I had a tough time finding a blog or instructions on how to make a blanket in the exact way I wanted to. Some websites didn't use denim, others were doing very different patterns and many denim quilts were shows with their seams sticking outwards to add a fringe look to them. So once I found websites and videos that worked for me, I had to slightly adapt them to match my blanket specifically. For instance, the inside batting needs to be sewn down so that when it goes through the wash or gets used in life, the batting won't get all squished. I looked up online how to do it and they suggested to sew it making it almost look like a web and having the batting sewn on while it is inside the blanket (like a sandwich) - I linked the video here. My problem was that I did not want a bunch of seam marks on my blanket, I just wanted to seam marks to go around the blanket. I had to adapt and instead I hand-sewed thread into the backing and into the batting. This process probably took a lot more time, but I love the way my blanket looks!
There was one little mistake I made while sewing it up - I missed a little bit of fabric that was shorter, so when i folded it in to get sewn on the machine, it didn't quite get picked up so I resewed it with the machine and missed it again and then had to do it again so I think it still looks fine, but I guess you live and you learn from these mistakes.
Overall, I am extremely happy with my experience creating this blanket and I highly recommend anyone if they have the time to try it out because not only do you get a super cosy and warm result at the end, but whenever I was not struggling with machine, I found it very relaxing to sit there and sew for a few hours.
Here are some pictures of my results. And I'm sure you can see by my facial expressions in some of these pictures that I am so proud of myself. I literally finished it and ran to my roommate's room and made her take a picture of me immediately because I was so excited!
Funny enough, all this time I was working on this blanket so I could bring it to the beach and ever single I finished it, I've been cuddling up with it everyday! Who knows if it will ever make it to the beach!!
Thank you to Katia and my EDTC 300 and 400 peers! I had a lot of fun making this and I am so proud of myself for all my hard work.
Thanks for a great semester everyone and thank you for reading my blog!!
Hello Friends! I was aiming to finish my blanket this week, but turns out sewing on a border around the blanket takes a long time. All I had to do was sew on 4 thin pieces of material, but due to my not straight cutting skills and the difficult corners, it took me about 2 hours to do it.
Not cutting straight has made this project 10x more difficult so if you ever want to try this, I advise you to be willing to pay the money to get the proper tools so that you can avoid the frustration I went through. As I mentioned earlier as well, the corners were hard to do as well because if I had previously sewn too far, then I had to unstitch some parts in order for the corner to have a clean cut top layer. Unstitching was hard because once you do that, the original stitch is no longer strong and you can't re-sew it using the sewing machine because it is now too big to fit under the clamp. So I had to hand sew pieces of it to assure that it stayed nice and tight so it would not come apart.
Eventually I was able to get the four borders sewn on and the corners sewn together. My next step was to lay the blanket it and double check for any holes or weak spots in the quilt. Once I sew the backing on, it will be extremely difficult to fix it as I would have to tear the back off. Also since I am hoping to use this as a beach/picnic blanket, I needed to make sure there were no holes for sand to get stuck in and that it could withstand the outdoor environment. I find a hole which, lucky for me, I was able to stick under the clamp and quickly sewed it up. I sewed up a few more spots as I could tell they were a little weak.
That was all for this week as I said it literally took me two hours to do these two "easy" tasks. So next week, all there is left to do is put in the batting (somehow sew it in a little so that it won't move later on like in the wash) and then sew on the back blanket/fabric piece! I'm so excited to see the finished project and see where all my hard work has been put over this semester. Stay tuned next week for the final results.
Well if you came here this week to learn how to sew, join the club. In all seriousness, I can probably teach you a thing or two if you are new to sewing, but if you have any experience in it, then you probably have an idea of what do to already.
This week came with its own trials as usual. DARN BOBBIN. For some reason, my bobbin hates me and makes me life a living nightmare!
1. My needle was not picking up my bobbin
2. The thread through my needle came out
3. I realised my bobbin was out of thread
4. I struggled to re-thread it, tried it again
5. It kept getting caught in the sewing needle and denim fabric: I was confused and frustrated as to why it wasn't working
6. I looked at the thread, realised it probably was not wound up tight enough
7. Grabbed a new bobbin, re-threaded it and eventually got it back in my machine.
You see now why I may not be the best person to take sewing advice from ... But I am trying my best, just some minor inconveniences that made this week a lot more stressful than it needed to be. In trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, I started searching the internet and realised this is a pretty common problem - I watched a YouTube Video: "Sewing Machine Problems: Thread Bunching On Underside Of Fabric & Unjamming" which was super helpful in helping me see the different causes of the jamming. I also read a Q & A site to find out reasons why my thread might be coming out of my needle which was very helpful too - I still have not solved the problem fully, but it seems to do it less when I tightened the tension on my thread!
On the bright side, I FINALLY got all my squares put together which completes Step 8 of my process (which I have been documenting in picture form - Pic 1). I love the way it look so far! This also caused me a few headaches, as I am not good at cutting straight lines. For some reason, my lines start straight, but never end that way. I did search online for what type of sewing tools would help me cut straighter, but I was not willing to spend the money. If I decide to pick this up as a hobby outside of class, I will for sure spend a little money on some of the tools. Anyway, sewing some of these pieces together were increasingly difficult due to them being crooked and caused a lot of frustration. This is also why my blanket so far is a little crooked, but oh well. After getting the squares all attached, I had to work on getting a border for the blanket. I had planned to do this and sew them on, but these four borders took me hours to get right and they still aren't straight! But, I cut up some longer pieces of denim and then sewed them together until they were the length I needed (Pic 2). Next week, I will finally get those on and the front of my blanket (and the hard part of my blanket) will be complete!!!
This week, we were also asked to share our learning with our fellow classmates. I created a how-to video/vlog. I walk you through the steps of creating a denim quilt by starting with sewing the squares together. I decided to show this part in the video for two reasons: 1) That was where I was at in my learning so it made the most sense and 2) This was a step that I struggled with a lot at the beginning, but got the hang of it the more I practised and worked on it so I thought it would be an important and helpful step to show all of you! The video can be found directly below and feel free to leave me any comments or feedback! Thanks for checking in this week!
This week we were asked to find a tool that we have never used before. As you can probably guess from my title, I decided to try time lapse. It is something I have heard about many times and thought about using, but never got around to actually trying it out.
Overview of the tool:
I really enjoyed doing a time lapse! I had a few problems at the start. I used the iPhone Camera App where they have a Time Lapse option. After a few takes, I discovered that the video was moving way too fast that I could not even tell what was going on. I tried to look for ways to slow it down, but struggled so I headed out to Twitter and asked for help on there. My mentor, Jayden gave me some great advice which was to try iMovie. Thanks Jayden! Once I was accustomed to how iMovie works (I've used it before, but it was a while ago), I got the hang of it and was ready to go. It is pretty easy to use. I uploaded my video and if you click on the strip of video, it will be surrounded in a yellow lining. Then if you hit the little timer button at the bottom of the page, a little scale with a a turtle and a rabbit will show up (Figure 1). Simply move the line to the speed you want and VOILA!
I also wanted to add in some generic music to make it a little more entertaining to watch. In order to avoid any sort of copyright, I figured it would be easier to see what iMovie had to offer. Once your video strip is clicked, you can click on the plus sign (+) in the left hand corner. Then click audio, and then I clicked Theme Music. After that, I just listened to a few until I found one that fit. I decided on Modern and then it just added itself (Figure 2). I could play with the sound if I wanted to but it fit the video perfectly so I left it as it is. Overall I highly recommend time lapses as they are super convenient and easy especially if you have a long video you want to show, but can't afford that large amount of time. IMovie was super easy to use and I recommend it to anyone in need of a video/movie source for a project!
I was hoping to get through sewing all my rows together, but it took me longer than expected so I have a few more to go and then finally I can work on sewing them all together. So far I think it is going pretty good, I get excited every time I finish a row because I can slowly see it is coming together nicely! Everything is pretty much the same as last week as I'm just trying to get these rows done. Below is my time lapse video of this week's sewing so please watch it and feel free to give me any feedback!
Thank you for reading and watching! Stay tuned next week for a full look at he top layer of my blanket!
I finally got my sewing machine working this week and started sewing together my jean squares for my blanket. This took me way too many hours, I kept running into problems. I can confidently say, "I think I got the hang of it" by the end of the day.
I pulled out my sewing machine and the manual and began setting up my sewing machine for work. Everything was working out fine, until I got to the part about a bobbin. A) What is a bobbin B) I don't have a bobbin and C) Where does the bobbin go and how is it used. I searched the manual from cover to cover and it gave me little to no information on the bobbin. So I resorted to Google and Youtube. I found out what a bobbin is and I linked it in case you are curious. And then I watched this video on how to insert a bobbin into the machine (SUPER helpful). So I ran out to Walmart (AGAIN - I've done probably 4 different trips already this week). I bought some plastic bobbins. And then followed the instructions of the video to put it into the machine. Finally, things were starting to come together.
Things were moving slow when I first started and I was having trouble with how much space to leave between my seam and the edge of the square. This video was super helpful in giving me the right dimensions and providing me with a visual on how I should be doing it.
Once I finally started to get the hang of it, things were moving at a nice pace, but a new problem occurred. I found my main thread kept pulling out of the needle. It was very odd because it wouldn't happen all the time, just at random times. And I wouldn't even notice it until I started doing my next square and no thread would come out. I have just learnt to deal with it as I really don't know what I can do to stop it - I guess just have to keep a better eye on it while sewing. I googles it, but did not get any helpful responses. If anyone knows how to avoid that, feel free to let me know!
After all these minor inconveniences, everything went smoothly and I was able to get three rows of my blanket done. I stopped after three because I was tired since I had been at this for multiple hours. But at least when I am ready to pick it back up this weekend, it should flow a lot faster.
Continuing with one of my other posts, I have shown you each step I do. So The last thing I did previous to this week was Step 3: Ironing the squares. This week was Step 4: Lay out my pattern, Step 5: Pin squares/fabric together, Step 6: Line the fabric up with the needle and sew it by using the foot pedal and Step 7: Once a row was sewn together, continue on to the next way until all the rows are sewn together. Pictures are provided below for a visual on my steps. Also I have taken a time lapse video of me sewing a square - it is a little faster than I thought it would be so I may need to figure out a way to slow it down so you can see it a little better! I will try to put one up next week so you all can take a look at the process!
Overall, I am super proud of my progress so far and I am very excited to see it all come together.
This week I was sick. I caught the bad cold that was going around and found myself lacking any motivation to do anything. When I tried to start sewing my blanket, I could not focus - my head would not stop hurting and nose would not stop running. So in short, I have no progressed at all this week.
Since I was unable to sew, I decided to read my sewing machine manual again (I had already looked at it once). The other thing I did this week was research different kinds of threads. In preparation for sewing, I was very confused as to which types of threads were best for my sewing machine and for my project.
Click the following links if you are interested in some information on the differences between threads:
LET'S TALK ABOUT THREAD: THREAD WEIGHT, FIBER TYPES, THREAD PROCESSING
Different Types of Sewing Thread
Different Types of Thread for Sewing (Video)
That is all I have to report for this week. Next week I will have to do double time in order to make up for this week, but life happens and sometimes I just needs a break! So I am feeling better and look forward to getting this project started!
This week my learning project is beginning to finally take off. I have finally begun taking the steps to making a blanket as a final project. I got my hands on a sewing machine and read through the instruction manual, as well as reviewed the sewing machine instructions/videos that I talked about in last week's blog post.
I decided on creating a jean quilt which I am hoping to use as a beach blanket as summer is fast approaching. I received many great tips after reading a blog called "How to Make a Gorgeous Denim Quilt from Blue Jeans". I also used the instructions provided by Instructables. I then decided to create my own steps with pictures (with my Bitmoji of course) to help me keep track of my progress, but also to help anyone else out who might want to try this some day.
Step 1: Collect Jeans = Lucky for me, my mother had three boxes filled with old jeans. My strategy was to pick the lightest jean material. Since this will be a beach blanket and will be carried to the beach, I want it to be as light as possible. So all the thicker material jeans went in the no pile. After that, I tried to focus on colours - what kind of schemes I wanted. This was a little harder as the jeans came in all different shapes or sizes, so for many of them I did not know how many squares I could get out of each pair of jeans.
Step 2: Cut the jeans into squares = this took me almost three hours to do. I might just be slow, but it took forever to figure out what size I wanted the squares (they are rectangles in my case) and then actually cut them. My thumb felt bruised after doing this from the constant pressure of the scissors. But it was all worth it because I got my squares. I forgot to take a picture of them all laid out so I'll post a picture of my pattern next week.
Step 3: Iron the squares = this is important because after cutting them, they are folding all over the place so this is a crucial step to making sewing them together easier. The trick is to not use steam as with jeans, they will become more damp and that makes them harder to deal with as they do not dry as fast. Simply iron over the squares a few times and they are good to go.
This week has gotten me so much more excited for my blanket now that I can see it is beginning to come together. These may seem like three small steps, but they took quite a bit of effort. I am very excited to see how my blanket turns out and a little scared to start sewing, but more excited!
As I mentioned in my last post, this is not going to be a very exciting week to blog about, but bear with me. Next week, I will have a sewing machine: I am a poor student who begged my mom to let me use hers so I will finally get a hold of it next week. That means this week is all about preparation.
How do I use a sewing machine?
That is my biggest question as of now. I used one back in grade 10 I think so it has been a while. In order to learn how a sewing machine works, I researched by watching many videos - click link 1 and link 2 for the ones I used most. I also used this blog called Crazy Little Projects which had lots of useful tips for people who are just learning to sew. I never knew that there were so many things to consider when buying and looking at a sewing machine - a little relived I get to use my mom's because not only are they pricey, but the differences between them are so hard to see for beginners so this makes my life easier.
My next step was to decide on my final project - a blanket. I still have not decided on whether it will be a fleece blanket, a quilt or a jean quilt (My grandma makes jean quilts and they are beautiful so very tempted to try that - story and pictures at the bottom). I decided to research all three and I will keep you posted on what I decided to do. I will most likely decide once I actually get my hands on a sewing machine and see how easy or difficult it is to use. Either way, I'm excited that at the end, I will have a nice blanket to cuddle up with.
My next question was what materials am I going to need to make a blanket:
-Sewing Machine = Still Need
-Thread = Yes
-Fabric Scissors = Still Need
-Pins = Yes
-Fabric = Still Need
-Measuring Tape = Yes
And I think that it is! So there are just a few things on my list that I still need to grab which shouldn't be too difficult. I am weirdly excited to go to the fabric store. Although I have never had to go there, I am very excited to look around and get to choose my material, colours and patterns.
My grandma (or as I call her, Memere - I come from a French family) is a sewing genius in my personal and totally unbiased opinion. She has sixteen grandchildren, including me and as a graduation from High School gift, she makes each one of her grandchildren a jean quilt. She uses old jeans and cuts them up into squares and carefully picks out patterns for the inside of each grandchild's blanket that she feels they will like.
These blankets take months to make and as she gets older, they take her more time to do, but she continues making them. Her dedication and patience is amazing to me and I think she is such a talented person. This blanket, that she crafted for me four years ago is one of my most special possessions - it was made by one of my favourite people, she put so much thought and effort into it and it is the warmest blanket I own. So this is a picture of the blanket she made for me and possibly what I may attempt though if I do choose to do something like this it will be smaller and the squares will be bigger. Anyway that is the end of my story, I thought I would share who my sewing inspiration is and show you how amazing her work is!
That is all I have to report for today's blog! Hopefully I will have some pictures of the beginning of my blanket in the coming weeks!
So this week was a little less exciting. I decided to focus on how to sew add-ons like buttons, patches and zippers. I will not be using any of these things in my final project which is why I wasn't sure whether I should bother, but I decided that it would be a useful skill to be able to resew on buttons or fix a zipper. I started with buttons - I bought a package of purple buttons and I had no idea what to use them for as I had nothing that was in need of buttons! I decided to simply sew them into a random piece of fabric for practice anyway. I used Wiki How and followed the instructions provided. It was very helpful because the site gave me options and instructions for sewing on a two-hole button or a four-hole button. I also tried a few different things so the picture at the bottom only shows two out of my many attempts. I decided to sew on one of each and voila: two nicely sewn on buttons on random fabric!
As a student, I am on a budget which is a big problem so instead of buying patches and zippers, I made do with what I had. I watched a video on how to sew on a patch and practised with a random piece of fabric on another. Although it is much different without a patch, I think I mostly go the gist of it. I started watching some videos on how to sew on a zipper, but quickly realised that it was super difficult without a sewing machine. As I mentioned before, I am a poor student so my mother said I could borrow her machine, but I will not get that until next week so unfortunately I was unable to try a zipper.
This week was pretty tame, but as the weeks go on, I will be putting much more time and effort as I begin to make a blanket! It never hurts to pick up some other random skills along the way!!
This was my first week starting my sewing learning project. This week was all about completing little hand sewing jobs so I could work on my basic sewing skills. The first thing I did was gather all of my materials for the week which included thread, needles, clothes pins, tape measure and pins.
I worked on sewing a few holes in shirts, pants and socks. This sewing has been pretty simple, I mainly used prior knowledge of how to do basic sewing and then watched a few YouTube videos to refresh my memory. The other day, I put on a blouse and as I was about to leave the house, I discovered there was a big hole in the armpit section. So I am already seeing how this is such a useful skill to have as I was then able to sew it up and wear it out! After that, I searched the house for anything with holes in it and now everything I could find has been sewed up. It is a little trickier than I thought it would be though. When I sewed up the hole on the blouse, I did not correctly fold it in and ended up with the fringe of the fabric sticking outwards. I then learned how to unstitch the thread and I attempted it again and did much better - still not perfect, but not a bad first sewing project. Here's a picture of my progress on that blouse:
I am excited for the upcoming weeks as every week I challenge myself a little more. Next week, I will be focusing on add-ons to articles of clothing. I will learn to sew on buttons, patches and zippers so stay tuned for next week's blog.