November 4, 2010
Finally, a finished project to write about. It's taken a week of dedication to self imposed deadlines to complete this very festive, homemade fabric party garland. I'm an inexperienced sewer so I didn't embark on this with any level of skill, but I did know what I wanted it to look like and that's always a good start.
I used this fabric bundle from Purl Soho, which I bought a little while back. It is a collection of 52 fat eighths of fabric, enough for the coloured bit of their colour wheel quilt. Though it's stunning, I didn't want to make the quilt, but I knew I could do something with all that fabric as I have an affinity for all things colour ordered (our vinyl, cds, books and dare I admit to it, my wardrobe is all ordered by colour) so I convinced myself to buy the bundle. I'm glad I did, because a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed, not able to sleep, frustrated with my lack of progress in getting to know my relatively new sewing machine and decided I needed a project to mark Ollie's second birthday. And so it came to me that a party garland of every colour of the rainbow would look brilliant in our green garden, or against our white VJ walls. I had the fabric, I just needed to get on with it. So I did!
Cutting the fabric was the most time consuming part of the process, but I like repetitive, meditative labour, and a couple of hours over a couple of evenings saw the triangles cut and ordered. I managed to get two flags out of each fat eighth, but these are double sided so that the garland should look good from any angle and added to the colour wheel bundle from my own stash. (I saved a small scrap from each piece of fabric and I'm thinking of making a permanent mini-garland (with ribbon rather than bias tape) for Max's room.)
I sewed along the longer edges of each flag to prevent the raw edges from fraying too much (I think a little fraying will look nice over time), and I used a pale grey thread (I couldn't find any invisible thread, but the grey is hardly visible). I realised half way through that I should be chain piecing them together rather than doing them individually and once I'd had this epiphany (I am a beginner) I zipped through them and the flags were all ready to go.
I made some bias tape, double folded (in half lengthways and then raw edges folded into the middle) and pressed it, ready to sew to the flags. I had some cute blue binding leftover from Ollie's quilt but it was a little wider than I needed it to be and there wasn't quite enough. But, I did have enough natural muslin to make the 20 or so metres of tape that I needed and before too long, it was done and ready to use. I pinned the flags to the tape and started sewing last night and this afternoon, sewed the last couple of dozen flags onto the tape.
I couldn't wait to hang it, so while the boys were sleeping, I haphazardly hung it in our dining area, took a shaky snapshot to email to Will at work and sat back to admire my handiwork. I am very happy with the end result and it's better than I had envisaged it. Our house is now ready for a party.