Friday, March 5, 2010

How to (Sort of) Sew in (Fairly) Straight Lines

I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year. It's pretty nifty. It's called the BROTHER CE-4000 (sounds more magical than a Nimbus 3000, doesn't it? [With a name like that, why can't it just finish all my sewing project for me, like a little sewing robot]).

[Source]

My extensive sewing experience involves helping my mom carry around her old machine, which is 50 years old and is approximately the weight of a full grown elephant. And that's it. Impressive, I know. But I'm not one to let my complete ineptitude or lack of (any) experience deter me from a project. So, with the idea of making our own napkins for the wedding, I set to work on my first sewing project (with plenty of help from YouTube videos telling me things like: 1) how to turn on my sewing machine and 2) how to thread my sewing machine).

I found some cute red and white striped fabric from Ikea to fit the picnic vibe we're aiming for (I only noticed its canvas like quality after I bought it [it'll just be a bit of extra exfoliation for our guests, free of charge]). As for size, Mr Pincushion and I thought we didn't need 'full size napkins' (which seem to be about 18" squares), so we measured our own laps and decided 12" squares should be a-okay.

And then I cut and cut and cut. Considering the fabric was 5 feet wide, this step took up an entire room (I worked on the floor [don't worry, it was post-Swiffering]).

I followed this basic tutorial from The Purl Bee. I made a few alterations to the tutorial (and by alterations, I mean I cut out a few steps, because let's face it, I cut corners sometimes [which is particularly ironic, because in this instance, I cut corners by physically not cutting the corners of the napkins]). The recipe for the napkins pretty much goes as follows:
1. Cut squares.
2. Iron squares.
3. Sew squares. Optional: try to sew in a straight line.

Step 2 was the worst. My super-mom heard of my ironing sorrows, and when I was home for a weekend, she woke up early and ironed nearly all of the napkins before I had even wiped the eye boogers from the corners of my eyes. I then spent most of a day sewing up the edges of the napkins that my ironing fairy prepped for me. And when I finished, I sat back, admired my handiwork and gave myself a hearty pat on the back for finishing my first DIY project

Now I have all of these left over scraps laying around. I kept them, thinking I might be able to use them for something. More than likely though, I'll take after my mom and keep my fabric scraps around in a plastic bag for the next 20 years and not do anything with them.
Any suggestions for what I should do with my fabric scraps?
Did anyone else learn how to sew, or take up any other crafting skill for their wedding?

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