Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer craft series: triple feature

I guess I'm overdue to wrap this up, but here's the story of two aprons and a pillow.  We'll start with the first apron: The Apron that Almost Never Was.  (I'm sure that's grammatically incorrect, but whatevs.)

My sister recruited me to make a few different gifts for her friends this summer.  Her friend, Ali, is getting married later this week, and her bridal shower took place at the beginning of August. Leslie asked that I make an apron for her, and she emphasized that Ali is not at all frou-frou so my typical apron aesthetic would have to be modified (i.e., no pom-poms anywhere).

I went to Crate and Barrel (because I also needed to pick up a gift card for Leslie--her job was pretty demanding this summer), and I chose two dish towels for aprons while I was there.  Whichever one Leslie didn't want for Ali I knew I would use for my friend, Sarah.  Leslie chose this one and paired it with grey grosgrain ribbon:

This project, even though I've done it a thousand times, nearly caused me to throw myself out of a window.  Here's the thing: If you use this set of instructions, you must cut off the finished edge of the towel hidden underneath the ribbon so your machine can handle it.  It will look like this if you don't:

I texted this to Leslie at 1am the night before she was planning to see Ali ... needless to say, it wasn't ready in time.

Just shoot me.  Once you fold the grosgrain ribbon over the pleated and finished edge of the towel, you cannot get the damn thing through the machine.  (Maybe if you had a denim needle it would work?  I don't know.)  I ripped off the ribbon and repleated the apron TWICE.  The third time, I had to have my mom rip off the ribbon, and that's when I had the genius idea to cut off the finished edge hidden under the ribbon.  This made the pleated top less bulky, and it flew right through the machine.  Unfortunately, a few inches of the grosgrain ribbon was really chewed up and ruined, so I had to cut out that portion and try it again. (It was still long enough for Ali's tiny waist.)

I also had to go with grey thread for the final product. I had thought that a contrast with black or white would be better, but it just looked sloppy.  Without all the bulk under the ribbon, the sewn line came out completely straight.  Doing this the hard way (three times) made it a lot easier to finish Sarah's apron:

I love the shades of green on this fabric, plus there's the very bridal appropriate concept of "The Perfect Pair."  For the ribbon, I went through my own supply and used the gorgeous dark green grosgrain leftover from my own Williams Sonoma shower gifts from four years ago.

I used brown thread for the top stitching on the ribbon, and it blended pretty well.  So, the final lesson is this: It's a lot easier to make this apron when you use a pre-made dishtowel.  However, you must cut off the finished edge that you plan to hide under the ribbon (waist ties).  Also, if you buy a dishtowel, make sure that the pattern or image on it runs horizontally and not vertically.  Many of the towels at Anthro are beautiful, for example, but you wouldn't be able to wrap the towel around your waist without turning the image on its side.

Finally, we have Marcie's pillow.  You've probably seen Cat Studio's items featured in gift stores and magazines.  When I was on my honeymoon, I saw their "California" image on a coffee table tray.  (I'm certain it was a glass tray, but I don't see anything like this on their website.)  You can buy their hand embroidered pillows, but I found their dishtowels while walking through the Ferry Plaza Market.  I had the choice of San Francisco or California towels, and I ultimately bought two California towels: One for me and one for Marcie.  The towels are printed rather than embroidered, but I thought I could turn the towel into a pillow.

Marcie loves San Francisco, but the California design has all of her favorite places, including Palm Springs and Santa Barbara.

It's sort of annoying that the design is crooked on the towel, but what are you gonna do?

I couldn't help myself: I had to add pom-pom fringe.  I need to get over it--I know.  Sadly, the multicolored rick-rack at the bottom ended up hidden after I stitched shut the finished product.

I've wanted one of their California pillows since my honeymoon, but they're so freakin expensive.  For me, this is a nice compromise.  After I finished one for me (because I assumed the first one would get messed up), I made Marcie's.  It's ready to go for her when I see her later today.

So that's the end of the Summer Crafts Series 2012.  There were two chiffon projects that I wanted to try and didn't get to start, but maybe I'll pick them up soon anyway. I have to finish a baby blanket for one of Leslie's friends, and then I have at least two more to start as soon as that one's finished.

Is summer really over?


Jess said...

"The girl is crafty like ice is cold!"

Cat Lady, Esq. said...

To quote one Suri Cruise... this blog? I'm already bored.