Thursday, March 28, 2013

Advent during Lent? And failure

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I was a little hesitant about picking the next project out of the lottery.

Luckily, I picked a project that I started maybe-oh I don't know-six or seven years ago, and it just needed to be finished. As I was looking at it I realized I was more than half way done and I had already done the most difficult part. I guess I get bored. Or distracted. Probably distracted. Actually, I get frustrated.

On to the project!

So, many years ago I started an Advent Calendar. I can't remember where I picked it up; I even called my mom to see if she was with me but she didn't know either. Somewhere in my wanderings this Advent Calendar and I met.

Basically what it is is a panel with a scene on it. You get to cut out the various people, animals, buildings, etc, glue some loops onto the different figurines, sew on some buttons, and then finish the panel however you see fit. I really like it because there are 25 figurines and you can hang a figurine each day in December. Kind of fun!

When I picked it up last week, I had already cut out all the figurines and had even used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2  (seriously people, this stuff is awesome!) to attach black felt to the back of each. This helps to stabilize them and they hang a lot nicer.

Next I cut out 25 2" pieces of black thread. The instructions said "crochet thread" but I have no idea what that is so I just used the thread (or floss) I would normally use when I do my counted cross stitch. Then I hot glued the thread on the back of each figurine, slightly burning my fingers in the process.

Did I take a picture of this part in the process? You betcha I didn't. It was late. It was dark. My fingers hurt. It wasn't happening.

The instructions said to use certain colored buttons to sew onto the panel. Part of my whole sewing philosophy (and this extends into various other parts in my life) is to use what I have. I wasn't going to go out and buy 14 aqua buttons and 11 some-other-colored buttons just for this project. I just scrounged around my sewing area and found 25 buttons that were about all the same size. I barely made it but I was happy to use up buttons that had just been sitting around with no purpose.

I sewed those bad boys on and it's pretty awesome because you sew them onto either little stars or red flowers, so you have the right placement.
I took that picture upside down on purpose

So, the figurines have been backed with felt and a loop attached, the buttons have been sewn on, let's finish this off nicely.

I cut out a piece of fabric for the back, cut out some batting, and made a nice little batting sandwich. Pinned all three pieces together like a pro-a pin every 4 inches-and started basting the edges. At this point it is after 10 PM (which is my bed time) and I wanted to get the basting done so I could make the binding the next day, attach it and be done. La-Te-Dah!

Did that happen? Not even a little. I start sewing one side, turn the corner, sew the bottom, turn the corner a second time, sew another side, turn a third corner to sew the top and finish sewing all three pieces of fabric together. About two inches from the end I realize that my bottom fabric is somehow two inches short.

I don't claim to be a sewing genius-in many ways I am self taught and still learning-but I did know enough to cut my bottom fabric bigger than my top fabric. So why is it two inches short? There might have been some mild cursing at this point in the game. I apologize. It was late. I was tired.

Again, did I take pictures of all this? No. And I do regret that I didn't because I do want to show my failures as much as my successes.

I went to bed. I didn't touch the thing for about 36 hours (hence the frustrated part). Finally, I did the smartest thing I could do: I called my mom who is a sewing genius-she's been sewing since she was in her teens! She made her own prom dress!

She told me that I didn't cut my bottom fabric big enough-it needs to be four inches bigger than the top fabric. I think I only did two.

Here is my second batting sandwich with the bottom fabric four inches bigger
Luckily I had more Christmas fabric hiding out in my stash and I was able to layer all three pieces of fabric together with no problems. Made my binding and attached it. I hung all the figures on the buttons and showed my husband. He liked it and then asked how I was going to display it.

Look at that beautiful binding!
 Machine stitched on one side, hand stitched on the other
Oops! Forgot to add the loops to the back.

Hand sewed those on during the kids' nap and then I was done!

I like it. It's cute.

But it's time to get honest.

I'm not really sure why I bought it in the first place-was I on a sewing high?- because I already have an Advent Calendar that I love. So I am not too sure what I am going to do with it. The kids will like it because they can attach all the figures--which makes me think that it would also be cool to do this with velcro instead of buttons. Maybe easier? Not that sewing buttons is difficult. But just a thought.

I won't worry about what to do with it until Advent.

By then I might have a plan for it!

If you would like to have this in your home, I did a quick Google search and found a couple of different places for you to buy it.

You can buy it here on Etsy already completed.

You can buy the panel here and do it yourself.

But shop around online and see what works best for you!

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