Friday, August 26, 2016

A Train Tummy Time Outside Blanket

Fiber crafters are truly marvelous people.  I've received many gifts from fellow knitters, spinners and now sewers.  When I was learning to spin, a local spinner gave me a trash bag full of different types of fiber so I could experiment (including dog, wool, alpaca, cotton and more!)  Now that I'm learning to sew, someone on Ravelry sent me a bag of remnant cotton fabrics to help me have some scraps to play with.

Train Panel.  ~35" x 44"
I say scraps, but most of the pieces in the pouch from Canada are larger than a fat quarter!  Included in the bag was this wonderful train panel.  I would never be able to cut it up and so I spent some time considering what I should do with it.  I wouldn't want to make a quilt around it since the scale of the print is so big... what could I possibly do?

Rowdy will be 4 months old tomorrow and I currently struggle when we go outside to play with Lucky.  At the playground, I wear Rowdy in the ergo and that works great, but at home I want to be able to put him on the ground.  The small flannel blankets we have blow over and get scrunched up, which doesn't make for cute photos.  Plus if the ground is at all wet then I worry about my littlest getting soaked during tummy time.  Aha!  I can use this train panel to make a water resistant picnic blanket!  There are many awesome tutorials out there but I really liked the Picnic Blanket Tutorial by Design Sponge.

I considered quilting the trains (lightly quilting) to some batting but this project really doesn't need that amount of effort.  I got some fusible fleece (Pellon TP971F - Fusible Thermolam Plus) that I can iron directly to the train fabric to give it some more weight.  Then it will hold its own better once sewn to the oilcloth PLUS it will be extra comfy.  One yard of the oilcloth is a perfect fit for the blanket.

The back side of the fusible fleece grips onto the cotton fabric really really well.  It took a few times to align the panel and smooth it out but once that was done I was ready to cut.

I started in the middle with no press cloth on the wool/steam setting of my iron.  When I got to the edges I used a yellow cotton scrap of fabric as a press cloth.  I had to take a break from the ironing because Rowdy woke up.  I wanted to make sure I paid special attention to the edges and really fused the fleece to the fabric so I went over it a number of times.

The back of the vinyl is a little sticky, too so the fusible fleece actually stays on it really nicely.  I am only going to trim the vinyl a little bit but then do a double folded hem around the sides.  I started with one of the long sides and finger pressed the vinyl down once and then a second time for it to overlap the blue border.  I hated to put pins in the vinyl but I did it to hold the edges secure and then used navy thread to stitch down the borders.  After both long sides were done I did the short sides.

Woah, this is hard to sew.  i set my straight stitch length to 4.0 (tension 3) and had to pull it through the machine, the vinyl wouldn't slip through with the feed dogs on its own.

Once I got the hang of it I just made sure to let up off the pedal before I stopped pulling.  The second seam was MUCH better and straighter than the first.

I didn't change my needle... mainly because I don't know HOW to change my needle.  Thankfully the fabric didn't tear or anything like that.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  This train fabric is so joyful and I'm so glad that I found a fun way to use it that didn't involve cutting it up.  Rowdy is currently sleeping so I have to wait for him to wake up to play with it outside.  I'd say I can't wait but please, baby, take a long nap!  (Of course Rowdy spit up on the blanket during his first tummy time!)

The train panel is just so pretty.  I'm not sure if you can tell from these pictures, but each section of the train has a different pattern it it so it look like it is made out of a bunch of appliqued pieces.  It make a beautiful blanket.

I really like sitting on this myself.  It is a great size for one adult, and I could see myself using it for soccer games or other times I have to sit somewhere while my boys are playing.  I think that I will make a larger one for the family to use in the future, although I shudder a bit at stitching two pieces of vinyl together and getting those through my machine. I wonder what else I can make out of oilcoth!

started and finished 5/13/2016