Monday, March 5, 2012

Teatime and Superheroes

My mom's birthday was in early February, and I knew I wanted to sew her something. Lindsay made a cute teapot cozy with a pattern from Retro Mama, and since my mom enjoys a good cuppa as much as I do, I moseyed on over to Etsy and bought a pattern to make her a home for her teapot. My mom loves pale blue, so I bought a few fat quarters of Taza by Dena Designs in blue, white, and aqua just for this cozy. I really like the mix of bold florals, stripes, and geometric shapes and soft pastels. It's traditional with a modern flair.

Here's the finished product:

The back used a slightly different pattern:

This was my first time using a cut-out pattern and there were a few hiccups. It was hard to get the arc of the cozy just right. The batting was a little thick, and I had trouble stitching straight in a few places. (This is before I mastered my walking foot!) If you saw the pieces before I stitched them together, they would really show that I had no idea what I was doing! But I think the finished product looks okay.

I quilted straight lines, since this was still one of my first quilting attempts and I didn't want to rock the boat too much. The most difficult part was the binding, which would not cooperate. It just didn't want to fold over all the layers. I started out machine stitching it, but I wasn't catching all the layers, so I ended up having to go back and handstitch parts of it. I've become more confident with binding since this project, though, and I think next time, I'll make it a bit wider.

I put a little embroidered message inside the lining:

I used variegated floss, parts of which didn't show up well in the picture, but I liked the way it looked on the gray lining. (Ignore that rogue thread... it kept sneaking into the picture.)

I had plenty of leftover fabric, so I decided to make some coordinating coasters. I used this tutorial , which was very easy to follow. It uses a log cabin technique, and each coaster is a little bit different. Quilting was a challenge, since there wasn't much surface area to work with. If I do them again, I'll be a bit neater with my stops and starts.

the front

the back

Yup, I personalized these, too! I tried to match the floss to the petal color, so it would be a bit more inconspicuous.

And here is the whole shebang:

The teapot is mine, included for photographic purposes. I bought my mom her own tea set, complete with cups and saucers, in a powder blue to match her new cozy and coasters. She loved them! I'm not sure about the practicality of having cloth saucers or a lightly colored cozy, given potential tea stains, but at least they will look pretty for a little while and can always be washed.

In other news, I am able to reveal some of the drawstring bags I made. My godson Ryan just turned 5. He's always playing with his action figures and they never seem to stay in one place -- they get stuck in couches, behind his bed, under seats in the car, etc. So I thought he could use some superhero storage to make toting his good guys and bad guys more convenient. I even made him two, so he could separate the good guys from the bad guys when he's not around to monitor the safety of Gotham City / Metropolis / the universe. This called for a special order of some Batman fabric. (The Fat Quarter Shop had a ton of superhero fabric to choose from!)

Ryan didn't seem quite as excited about the bags as I was about making them, but his parents thought they were great! I remember being his age and being disappointed whenever I got something I couldn't play with right away. I figure he'll come to appreciate his superhero storage over time. :) I also got him a book, which he seemed to have more interest in -- Michael Chabon's The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man. I love a great kids' book, and this is one of the best I've read in ages. It seemed perfect for my favorite little superhero!

I've actually been busy at work on my second quilt. More on that soon!

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