15 January 2013

Non-Quilty Crafty

Welcome! Please feel free to skip all of the ranty [goodness] and scroll on down to the pictures. I included the narrative mostly as an introspective tool for myself.

Even though I have been quilting for a few years now, up until recently, I would still say that I was scared to sew. [Sewing = The construction of practical, non-quilt things.] Over the past few months, I have been challenging myself to branch out of my comfort zone and teach myself to make useful and crafty sewn things.

Honestly, my main motivator was that I always intend on making a quilt (or 7) for myself to keep, but every time I make one, I see where I messed up, and am not happy with the end-product.

We are always our own harshest critic, I know. But still I would find myself frustrated with a seam, a wonky bit (or not-wonky enough bit, depending on the pattern), puckering, bunching, binding corners, etc.

These are all simple skills that I have improved upon significantly. But that being said, I am still human and these mistakes still happen. There is at least one highly noticeable (to me) flaw on almost everything I make.

These flaws, however insignificant in appearance to everyone else, left me discouraged and would frustrate me on a daily basis if I had inflicted the torture of looking at them every day upon myself.

So I give them away.

These quilts full of my absolute most cherished and prized fabrics on which I spent days/weeks/months of my time, energy, love, and money were given away because I do not want to look at them. When I realized what was happening, it broke my little heart. These were the fabrics I bought especially for myself to use on projects just for me, and they were gone.

Since a lot of time goes into making a quilt just to give it away (don't get me wrong, I love making, and make tons of quilts for other people, but I am talking about one intended to keep), I decided to learn how to make smaller, quicker things in the hopes that I not be so critical and end up keeping them. At least this way I would still have projects lovingly made with my favorite fabrics.

It started inauspiciously enough with a purse or tote bag here and there. I continued to press on and practice more projects.

My evil plan worked! Even though I could see the flaws in these smaller projects, my practicality overruled my perfectionism and their usefulness convinced me to keep them for myself! Score!

I decided to write a blog about some of these sewing projects I have been tackling lately, in the hope that it will:

  1. Motivate me to continue making useful projects.
  2. Help me to transfer my acceptance of these projects' flaws into other areas of my life and crafts.
  3. Trick me into trying to make another quilt for myself.
  4. Act as a therapeutic exercise. 
  5. Provide an opportunity for wonderful people to point me in the direction of more projects!
Tote bags were an easy place to start. I do not have pictures of all the patterns I have played around with, but this picture shows one of my favorites. This particular picture shows two Star Trek totes. I used this pattern to teach my cousin how to setup and use her brand new sewing machine since she had never sewn anything. It was a lot of fun!

Pillowcases are also something easy to make. This one was actually made for my mom, but it is still practical, sewn, and crafty so I will let it slide.

I also got over my irrational fear of zippers. Well, I'm in the process of getting over it. The fear is still palpable. This project was from a kit at my local brick and mortar quilt shop. I was tremendously proud of myself for it.

The flaw on it is okay with me, other than the fact that I want to know how to make it not happen. When I sewed over the zipper, it destroyed the tension on my machine. Is that normal? I'm guessing it won't happen on my new fancy Husqvana. Anyone have any insight/helpful tips?

In an attempt to make my life more eco-friendly, I also made these adorable velcro sealed, rip-stop nylon lined snack bags right before the week long cruise I went on. They were perfect! We were able to take snacks on shore excursions with us to save money and possibly avoid parasites since some of the destinations had questionable reputations. I toyed with the idea of making 75 of these for my college students this semester. I'm hoping to talk myself out of that.

Last but not least, I made myself a wallet. I was finding it difficult to buy a wallet knowing that everything in stores was either too big, ugly, too small, or just not right. So what was stopping me from making the perfect wallet? Apparently nothing! I used some of my absolute favorites (main exterior fabric is from Japan and the lamb and interior fabric are both Dutch).


  1. Love those lambs the collection also has one with elephants that is adorable. Your pouches look great, I have five zippers ready to help me overcome my fear... Well lets just say I haven't done it just yet. Visiting from freshly pieced.

  2. It is so easy to notice the mistakes in our own work - glad you are finding a way to enjoy the practicality of it all and let any mishaps slide! Lots of lovely projects - love the wallet!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous wallet. I love love it. Visiting from WIP Wednesday

  4. All great bags. My daughter would die for the Star Trek bag LOL

  5. Your wallet is absolutely fabulous! The fabrics you chose are just great! I've been thinking for a while about making a wallet and it has never seemed to get to the top of my list, but seeing yours may just be the push I need! Good luck with the challenge of flaws. I haven't yet found a solution but know I sympathize!

  6. cute wallets. how fun to mix all the fabrics and tucks.

  7. I would say your non quilty crafty projects are pretty amazing!! I love the fabric you chose for all the projects. Did you get the Dutch fabric here in the States?

  8. Love your wallet, it is gorgeous!!

  9. Love your post. I tend to shy away from small projects for the same reason you do quilts! That wallet is really cute.

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    1. I really like the re-usable ziplock bags. These would be great for my daughter and he cheese-its! Do you have the measurments/order of process you went through to make them? They would be great by the pool or at the beach too :0)

    2. I emailed you info, and plan on making up a tutorial soon. Let me know if you don't get the email.

    3. i don't see it, but I will check the spam folder...

  11. Great fabric choices, I particularly love the wallet :)