It’s been Santa’s workshop here at Casa Muslinette over the last couple of weeks… lots of sewing, and several hours of (hand) embroidering. I’m officially wiped. Here’s to buying gifts! Kidding… give me a week and I’ll be making once more!
Two of my sets of gifts haven’t yet been opened, so I can’t (yet) share them publicly. And one of them is the apex of sewn gag gifts… oven mitts, from Simplicity 2276, and a french press cozy, self-drafted, sewn in Free Spirit’s Be a Man collection…
I also used Windham Fabrics’ Adventures in Wonderland collection – along with a toile tea cups print – to make a set of kitchen accessories for my boyfriend’s sister-in-law, whose academic work centres on Alice in Wonderland:
I was so glad that she understood the reference straightaway. All our fabric store had was the army of cards prints from this colleciton – nothing with Alice herself. I was thinking, either she’s going to get it, or she’s going to think we’re suggesting that she has a gambling problem.
The oven mitts are from Simplicity 2276, and I self drafted the potholders and the napkins. After two trial runs – a pair of mitts for me, made straight from the pattern, and the Be a Man mitts, made from a lengthened version of the pattern, I ended up making a number of changes to the Simplicity’s mitt design:
- Simplicity’s mitts, as designed, are really short. They look short on the envelope. They reach my wrists – but go no further. I lengthened them by two inches so that they’re closer to RTW oven mitts in length.
- I slimmed down the design by about a cm for the Wonderland mitts – as the recipient has quite small hands, but widened it for the Be a Man mitts. This is easily done by slashing and spreading the on the grainline.
- I added the loops for hanging these on a hook. I think that’s pretty standard on oven mitts, though I reckon Simplicity wanted to keep the design as easy as possible.
- I used a combination of insul-bright and cotton batting. Simplicity has you use two layers on batting on one side of the mitt, and one layer on the other; I followed this because I was running short of the insulated batting, and four layers (two insulated, two cotton) makes the mitt quite thick. The issue is that it’s not that easy to determine which is the thicker side of the mitt. I do think they should be equal.
I was thinking of doing the teacup shaped pot holders shown below – perfect for the Mad Hatter’s tea party – but again, they are quite small – no bigger than my hand. And I worried they might be a little too quaint. I’m not sure how useful Simplicity’s potholders are intended to be – they have them decorated with buttons. Am I the only one thinking… wouldn’t plastic buttons melt?
I simply drew a 8.5″ square for the potholders and rounded off the corners. I made some wide double fold bias tape to bind the edges – and sewing that on evenly turned out to be the trickiest part of the whole project.
With my scraps, I put together a couple of small napkins (also ‘self-drafted’ – if drafting means drawing two squares and some rectangles!).
I’m pretty proud of these guys. At first, I was just going to do some narrow hems, and leave the seams between the main fabric and the contrast binding exposed, while finishing them with my pinking shears. However, while I was playing around with the fabric, I decided to fold the contrast binding right over the seam allowance. Because I stitched in the ditch, the seams are fully enclosed and almost invisible from the right side. The napkins are small – but I’m hoping to make some bigger ones for my boyfriend and maybe his parents too.
All of this was done with my new (to me) straight stitch machine – a 1951 Singer Featherweight. It really does sew a beautiful stitch and lives up to the hype.