Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ghost Printed Tea Towels

It's time to  1, 2, 3 Sew! and start learning how to do some of the basics with my wonderful new sewing machine.  

The very first project in the book is a tea towel project to learn how to make a basic hem and folded corners.  The project suggests making fruit stamped towels, but I don't really USE tea towels so what on earth would I do with them?  Since I was in the process of planning Lucky's second birthday party I realized that I could do some fun footprint ghosts on black towels.  This will be a fun part of the party decor PLUS we will be able to reuse them every Halloween in the future.  (This was, after all, part of the inspiration to do a Halloween themed birthday party in the first place.)  

For the ghost tea towels I purchased some cheap ($2.98/yard) black cotton broadcloth.  The reviews on this particular fabric (#BCR-002) indicated that it picks up lint really easily, which I noticed immediately after prewashing the fabric.  Since these towels will only be used once a year at most I'm not worried about it.  

I could make these towels any size I want.  I'm struggling because since these are purely decorative I could potentially figure out a way to make more than 4 towels from one yard to practice.  In the end, I decided to just cut the fabric into fat quarters (20"x20.5").  I expected each to turn out a slightly different size but to my surprise I was able to end up with even squared up quarters with very little left over from the trimming (to square things up.)  When I got a piece 20" wide I did fold it in half to maximize the use of my fabric, so that helped keep things even.  

The book has you stamping the fabric before you sew, but I want to decide how I'm going to fold the towels after the hemming is done so I can decide on the placement of my stamps.  Time to start hemming!

I've done some hems with Lucky's Lion costume but I didn't do proper folded hems where the raw edges couldn't be seen in the wrong side.  This time I'm doing the first fold of about 1/4" and the second of 5/8".  Well approximately.  I suppose if I keep sewing that I'll get really good at eyeballing these small measurements.  I think my 5/8" is closer to 3/4" but I suppose that is still pretty darn close to my target.  

I can see why learning mitered corners in the next lesson is going to be helpful, these corners are bulky after just the first fold.  Even without any stitching yet this tea towel already has a nice finished looking quality to it.  I can see why doing these folded hems is worth the effort!  I was able to finish pressing all of these hems within a portion of a nap time.  This way I'll be ready to start sewing while Lucky is at school tomorrow without worrying about interruptions or continuously running up and down the stairs.

For the love of fiber, please tell me if I'm doing something wrong.  I'm stitching with the wrong side up on my machine so I can stay close to the edge of the fold.  The bobbin and thread are the same black.  If this is NOT what I'm supposed to do will someone let me know?  

I focused on following the folded hem versus trying to make a straight line with the edge of the fabric.  I think that at one point I started to try to get too close to the edge of the hem because the fabric started bunching up under the foot a bit.  I moved over a bit more and it got better.   I can see what I'll need to practice on in the future!  The first square stitched up in no time.  This is a nice project for a lot of practice with my machine.  

After the sewing was competed I wasn't quite done.  I still had to trim the threads (hey, this is WAY better than weaving in loose ends) and then press out the hems again so the edges would be nice and crisp.  Now I'm ready for Lucky to get home from school so we can do some fabric paint prints

For the placement of the ghosts, I folded the tea towels in half to print along the center line.  (I plant to hang these tea towels folded in thirds.)  On a bath night, much to Lucky's delight, we painted his feet with Tulip soft matte fabric paint in Glacier White and stamped the tea towels.  

After the ghost bodies were stamped, I added eyes and mouths using Scribbles 3D fabric paint in the color "night star".  I would have preferred black puffy paint, but this is all I found at my craft store when we went there.  Unfortunately on the one ghost I tried to paint the face came out really pale.  I think I'll just sharpie on the faces of the other ghosts once they dry.  (Maybe this night star will dry darker, but right now I"m not feeling very optimistic.)  

I did date and initial the towels "LAB 2015" so I will know years down the road which child made these towels.  It is possible  the slight white in this puffy paint will dry clear so you will barely be able to see these marks, but that is a risk that I took.  

Wow, the glitter night star color is way more visible than I expected.   I love the glittery sheen and will add eyes and mouths to the remaining 5 ghosts towels.  

The first project of "1,2,3 Sew" is now complete!  These towels might be more the size of cloth napkins but I'm really glad that I got the chance to practice my hemming.  I cannot wait to start the next project!  

Project started 9.10.2015