Thursday, February 4, 2016

Clover Wonder Clips vs. The Other Brand

I love my Clover wonder clips, but they are so expensive.  I decided to take a chance on the off brand and ordered a package of a hundred Urbest clips by iauto from Amazon for $9.99.  The lowest price for the same number of Clover brand clips would have  been $25.

No plastic box with Urbest Wonder Clips, but I never liked the box anyway. 
 Both sets are exactly the same size.

The plastic parts seem to be identical in shape, thickness, and quality. There is a difference in the metal piece in that the Urbest brand seems a little stiffer.  I think that translates to a need for slightly more pressure to open the clip.  If you really have a problem with your hands, they might not be a good buy for you. For me, this is not a problem at all.  The difference between opening the different clips is minimal. 

Both brands hold onto fabric well and open sufficiently to get around the number of layers needed for quilting and binding.  Since some reviewers said there were broken clips in their packs, I tested every single clip.  One of the clips was off kilter making it unusable.  The rest were fine.  For a savings of $15, I am glad I went with the cheaper brand. 

I like my new storage container, too. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Prayer Kneeling Pad

Update:  Rather than a new separate post, I am posting about prototype #2--the more successful one here.  I was not happy with the give of the foam sold at Joann's even with the addition of the  heavyweight Pellon.  After Kyle left, I decided to try making one with an ordinary garden kneeling pad cut down to size.  Yes, he could drag along a plain garden kneeling but, but doesn't this look better?

The garden kneeling pad I used had a handle as in an oblong hole at one end.  I cut off the handle section making the pad about 16 inches long.  

Final consensus is that this one is the winner for several reasons. 
  •  First, it is more comfortable to kneel on for an extended period of time.
  •  Second,the all-round sizing works better.  The extra inch of width makes it easier to kneel on while the loss of length was not any problem at all.  The loss of depth makes it less cumbersome.
  • Third, this is a tightly woven denim which works well for sewing and longevity.
  • Last, it is lighter and easier to carry in his backpack.
As Pam mentioned in her comment, you could put some hardware on for a carrying strap.  I had mentioned that to Kyle, but he nixed it.  He will be tossing it in his bag and didn't see a need.  I almost wish I had gone ahead and done it with this new kneeler.  I think he would have found a removable strap to be handy at times--maybe even for hanging it up when not in use.

The minister son apparently gets stuck kneeling on hard surfaces for extended periods of time.  I don't know about you, but for me having a guy in the family ask you to sew something is highly unusual.  To encourage that, I got this done pretty quickly-- for me.

I like to refer to this color denim as minister black.  I don't know what Joann's calls it.

It is 15x10 inches which was just enough on the long side for him.  Do men have man-spread when they kneel??  Without having had him kneel down for measuring, I would not have known to make this 15 inches wide.  It just works for him.  Might try 16 inches the next one.

We had some foam cushions around to help choose the thickness (high density from Joann's).  He thought three inches was too much, but I would have wanted the three inches.  He choose the two inch thickness.  I added squares of the heavy-weight Pellon product used in bag-making over the top and bottom of the foam.  The Pellon is soft and gives a nice flat top.  I might add a layer of batting over the Pellon next time to soften the edges, though.

The fabric is a black denim from Joann's.  I used this on the advice of a store clerk and wish I had gone with the other heavyweight fabric with a tighter weave as I originally planned.  The edges of the denim unraveled like crazy without serging.

The two main squares of fabric were 16x11, and the zipper was long enough to go around the sides about a third of the way. I cut a three-inch strip for the side without the zipper and two-inch strips for each side of the zipper.  After sewing these two strips to the zipper, I cut that strip to three inches.

Look at that nice fold for hiding the zipper ends.  Remember to put on the no-zipper strip first.  Then it will be on top of the zipper says the person who did not do that and made some seam ripper work.

Zipped up, finished and ready for Kyle to take back to Minnesota on Saturday.  Oh, doesn't it feel good to finish a project?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The New Slippers

Apparently these slippers are quite popular with men in Mongolia.  My son Kyle knows his father's taste in clothing runs about as simple as possible.  Shirt, pants, shoes, belt--all in dull colors and he's set for the day. I only got him to wear a pull-over sweater a couple of years ago.  So, of course, these slippers are what Kyle brought back from Mongolia for his dad this week. Kyle also knows that no matter what he gives his dad it will be accepted graciously.  These slippers, however, truly were a test of that.   

Brian's been wearing them a lot since getting them.  I suspect he's hoping to wear them out fast. If these slippers are as good as the Mongolian socks Kyle brought back last year, Brian's slippers will be keeping our kids giggling for years to come. I'm just waiting for the day Brian forgets he's wearing them when he goes out to the mailbox. 

Sewing with Joann's Shopping Bag Fabric

Finally getting around to using this fabric purchased long, long ago.  As I said a few posts back, this is the same as the fabric that is now being called Oly Fun.  Here's my first reusable grocery bag from Joann's shopping bag fabric.
Straps are too long.  Will have to fix that.

I'm pretty sure my grocery bags are gonna be prettier than yours---and yes, I am bragging.  I used a ready-made shopping bag for  measurements.  That worked well except that I picked up the wrong bag to measure for handles.  These are a bit too long.

You have to press the bag to get sharp, easy-to-fold corners.  (Not too hot!  Fortunately it peeled off my ironing board and pressing cloth easily when experimenting last week.) Without pressing, it balloons out when open and doesn't fold well.

My bag before pressing--the pretty one--next to the ready made used as a pattern.

Once pressed, it is easy to fold back up for storage and seems to hold the creases well.

Nicely pressed and folded.
 I serged the seams although the fabric doesn't unravel. I think I'm still trying to justify my serger's existence for something other than sewing up the edges for fabric for prewashing.

Yes, those are nicely serged seams!

I like this stuff.  I know it will wear faster than other fabrics, but other fabrics don't stand up for easy filling at the grocery store like this does.  It cuts easily, sews easily, and is only $2.99 full price for a yard of 60 inch wide fabric. Then there are always those Joann's coupons for 40 or 50% off.  Can't beat that unless you have a mismatched set of bags with all kinds of company logos on the front--which is what I am presently using.  Looking forward to finishing a few more of these.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Flapper Headband Success

I used's great FREE pattern to make this:

This one is the slim adult which I traced onto the fabric using that line as the cutting line--kind of between the regular flapper and the slim adult flapper headband sizes.  Slim looked like it might be too thin for me (cuz I get to keep all my prototypes, of course;-).  It probably would have been fine, but my version worked, too.  I chose top stitching rather than putting in piping, but may do piping on the next one.

Here is the back.
Since this was my first try and I was making it to fit me, I decided not to bother with a buttonhole.  I wrapped it around, tacked the spot where it fit, then sewed on a button.  Directions say you might want to put on a couple of buttonholes if it is for someone else to make sure it will fit.  I think I'd use velcro rather than having an extra buttonhole showing.  BUT you gotta have A button on there even without buttonholes cuz it looks so cool.

If you use a yo-yo flower as I did, you get to have matching buttons.  Fleece Fun has a link to directions for making a satin flower if you prefer something a little fancier.

The pattern was quick and easy.  Even with making the yo-yo and hand sewing the buttons, it was finished in less than an hour including getting the pattern ready. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Force Is With Me

in the laundry room.
Kind of a funny thing about this fabric (from Missouri Quilt Company, btw). I saw the fabric before the movie.  From the picture of Rey on the fabric, I thought she had one leg.  I asked Brian who had seen the movie about it, and he had no idea what I was talking about.  I mean, come on!  Look at her.  Am I the only one who thinks she looks like she has one leg there? I actually thought that was kind of cool and wondered about the back story.  Okay, maybe it's just me.  Moving right along.  Back to the post.
My OCD insists that I apologize for not seeing that thread on the S before photographing this.  Stupid OCD.

I loved these hampers until I found that hampers without tops are not a great idea when the laundry room opens to the family room.  As they say, don't be airing your dirty laundry.  Hence the need for hamper covers.  Putting this on Sew Can Do link party--the force demands to be shared.

ANOTHER PROJECT DONE!!!! YAY!!!   And I got a new toy. 

Is that not cool?  It creates a beautiful, ever-moving mist.  It was a gift from the universe because my sister couldn't keep it.  Her cats viewed it as a combination personal drinking fountain and toy.  You can change the lights to a few different colors or have it change continuously from one color to another..  Then there are the light flashing options, one of which  is way too close to the disco lights of old.  That option will not be happening. Disco lights have always made me feel as though I'm one step away from a seizure.

This is the first fountain I've had with a silent motor--no noise.    All you hear is the tinkling sound of water.  I like it, but Brian has become a bit obsessed with it.  He drags anyone who comes in the house to stare at it and treats them to a light show.  I fear he will start knocking on the neighbors' doors to invite they over to see it.  I'm hoping his infatuation dies down by the end of football season.  Right now he can hardly leave the house because of games of one kind or another, and, for once, I am thankful for that.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What the Hell is Oly-Fun Fabric?

Oly-Fun is the fabric many companies use to make reusable grocery bag.  It's extremely lightweight and soft but kind of rigid in a soft way. (I hope that makes sense, best can do.) 

It's a 100% polypropylene, can be washed on gentle, air dried, and will not unravel. 

Since Sandra wanted to see if it would work as a substitute for felt for eyes and such on toys, the experimenting began. 
A couple of circles, small and smaller--easy to draw on the fabric.

It is easy to cut, easier than felt.   I still found it hard to get a nice circle.  I could be that I just really suck at this.  Should have paid attention in grade school art classes. I always sew mine down which covers a multitude of sins anyway.

HOWEVER, the black seems to cut better than the white.  It has a much smoother edge which may not be too obvious here.  Take my word for it.  I just could not bring myself to get out the white chalk to make a full circle.  As my mother used to say of me, "lazier than a pet skunk."

An issue with the white is that it has a level of translucence that may make it unsuitable as a felt substitute.  You can see the lines of my cutting board pretty clearly here.  If you put the white on dark fabric, it makes it look dull and grayish (greyish for you Canadians/Australians).  If you are sewing them down, a double thickness would solve that problem.

See double thickness is opaque.
Now for the cost.  I got a beautiful bird print from Joann's a while back for $2.99 a yard (60 inches wide).  Joann's called it "shopping bag" fabric.  I've never seen it online, but have gotten it several times in the store around the shelved decorator fabrics despite the fact that it is clearly a utility fabric.  It may be there because it comes on a bolt rather than the large rolls used for utility fabrics. Now Joann's is selling this same type of fabric online and in some stores as Oly-Fun fabric in lots of bright colors along with black and white).  Cost comparisons from two places I found it because it's really important! Pay attention!
  • Joann's online or in store:  You can get a 10-yard bolt of 60-inch wide fabric for $29.99 and who doesn't have a 40 or 50 percent off coupon sitting around.   With a 50 percent off coupon, we are talking $15 for 10 yards of 60" fabric or $1.50 a yard.  I know some of the Joann brick and mortar stores are selling Oly-Fun, but I don't know for sure that it is being sold by the yard or just the bolt.  As I said, though, the "shopping bag" fabric was available by the yard, so I'm thinking Oly-Fun will be, too.

  • Walmart has prepackaged Oly-Fun with prices, depending on the color you choose, from $4.73 to $8.97 for 3 yards of 20-inch wide .  My black Oly-Fun was $7.59, and the white one was $8.97. 
         My math sucks, but let me try this.
    • Three yard of black 60" Oly-Fun at Joann's:  $8.97 at full price (don't forget, you get to use a coupon to bring that down 40 or 50% most times) .  To get the same amount from Walmart I would need to buy 3 packages of 20" wide, 3 yard long fabric at $8.97 making it  a whopping $26.91. No coupons for Walmart.
    • Three yards of white 60" Oly-Fun at Joann's at full price:  $8.97 (but remember that 40 or 50% off coupon).  Same amount at Walmart would be three packages at $7.59 making that $22.77.  
The comments under the Joann reviews give you a several ideas for using this fabric for projects  other than shopping bags, but I'll be making bags.  Someday I will be making bag.  Anyone who sews knows how that goes.  So many projects!

Feel free to share any needed math corrections in the comments.