A crafty day

Do you watch Top Chef?  If you do, you know that they always get busted on deserts, and use the excuse “but I’m not a pastry chef”.

I am like some of the contestants, in that I cook, but I don’t bake.  For one, I’d probably be 100 lbs. heavier if I baked, but really, it’s because there is a precision in the chemistry of baking.  You have to measure, there are ratios of things (see, I don’t even know what things), and you have to know the chemistry of baking.  The way I cook, I might read through a recipe, but I rarely follow it, even the first time through.  I might not have all the ingredients, or it might call for cumin, which I don’t like, or there might not be enough garlic, so I improvise based on the idea of the original.

And sometimes, there isn’t even a recipe.  I might see something on TV and say, that sounds good, and then I’ll make my own version that might taste nothing like the TV version.  The problem with that, of course, is that nothing is measured or recorded, so if you come up with something really good, you can’t reproduce it.  🙁

In knitting, I pretty much do the same thing, although I do follow patterns for the most part, but once I’ve made something, I don’t follow the pattern much if I make it again.  Or even the first time, sometimes!  And if I am counting stitches and come up short, I’ll just M1 and get it balanced and move on.

I’m starting to think sewing is more like a pastry chef than a sous chef -type pursuit, and I really need to work on that.  Not necessarily in following a pattern, but in measuring, balancing, etc.

But anyway, here’s a case of the saw it on TV but didn’t write anything down, didn’t buy the pattern, didn’t measure, just winged it.   I’m new to quilting, but I can work my DVR, so I have been recording shows like Quilt in a Day and Fons and Porter.  On the latter, there was an episode where they made a bag out of pre-quilted fabric.  I looked on their web site to see if the pattern was available, but it wasn’t.  So, I just watched the episode again, and then I winged it.

Here’s the result:

Now, those of you who are pastry chefs will be all itchy over the crazy wobbly looking pockets, but I just pinned the pockets on and started sewing.  I didn’t know what I was doing, but it’s functional!

The inside has a divider, which is just a folded piece of fabric sewn into the side seams.  I thought that might help it be more stable when the ironing pad or mat is removed.  I have no idea if that will work, but I’ll get to test it out next weekend at the LAMQG weekend sew.

Since I used Amy Butler Love quilted fabric, I decided to link into the Sew & Tell and Amy Butler challenge on Amylouwho’s blog.  I guess I’ll have to wait for next week though, as I’m late for this week. I’m linked up now.  Go take a look and see what other Amy Butler goodness is being made. 

The other project is more of the ‘read the recipe, didn’t follow it’ type.

Over here, there’s a great tutorial on creating fabric baskets.   And I read it, but I wanted a longer basket for storing my large fabric scraps, and thought I might make a few and line them up all neat on my IKEA Billy bookcase, out of reach of my toddler.

So I decided to make my fabric 22 x 16, and cut out 5″ squares, so I’d have some charm squares out of the deal instead of wasting that fabric.  And I didn’t have the type of interfacing that she had, I had a much stiffer Pellon (70 maybe?).

So, with this wicked stiff pellon, it wasn’t that easy to sew around those really bulky corners.  I was wrestling and wrestling with it, and mumbling to myself that what the heck is free about a free arm when you can’t even wrangle the thing around the thing when I thought of the solution.  Hang the end of the machine off the table, and no more wrestling!

Here it is stuffed with the leftovers from La La’s quilt, plus the fabrics I’m planning to use for an Xmas tree quilt.

I wrapped the fabrics around my 4 1/2 inch square-up ruler, and they fit perfectly in the box.

I like the nice sharp corners.

It’s not as wobbly as it looks, it’s just full.

So that leads me to an ethical question.  When someone puts up a tutorial or a pattern and you use it for inspiration, I think it’s widely accepted that it’s OK to mention the inspiration and make your modifications and move on.  Sort of like open source software.  That’s what I plan to do with the green fabrics.  I plan to make a wall hanging inspired by the one posted on PurlBee last year.

But what if you are inspired by something that’s not a tutorial or free pattern, but is just a photo of a completed work or a pattern for sale?  Is that fair game in the same way?  What about software.  If you found a program online that does some cool stuff that you never thought of doing before, but instead of buying it, you write your own code to do the same thing.  Now that you have the idea, is that OK?   What if you don’t try to sell or give away the resulting software, but just use it yourself?

8 thoughts on “A crafty day

  1. karen

    Great finishes!! I admire you for making something without a pattern. The end result is a pretty and practical bag. Enjoy your weekend away.

  2. Sara

    I love your bag! I think the fabrics go really well together. And when I saw your fabric organizer…I will have to put that near the top of my to-do list, because yours looks so neat with all the fabrics neatly organized inside. I keep mine in a big plastic storage and I have to rifle through them every time, and most of the time I forget what I have in there. This would be great to have!

  3. Carol

    Love the idea of hanging the machine arm off the edge of your table. I use the other method of sewing with the bag above the machine, which leaves the bobbin thread on the outside of my bag/box. My opinion on the question is more questions! what are you going to do with the item you made from the inspiration/ Are you going to make them for your use? are you going to sell the sewn items? Are you going to publish a pattern based on the inspiration? I attended a class on Pattern Making and the copyright on clothes is very limited. You can actually go into Macy’s and lay out the blouse in a dressing room and make a pattern from the blouse, without breaking the copyright law. Patent Law says you must change/improve 10% to qualify for a new patent.

    I’m like you I rarely follw the directions the second time around. If the directions are hard or I want more pockets or longer straps. I change it. I have a favorite bag, I bought years ago. The company that made it is no longer in business. I wrote notes as I made a new one. Then I added pockets where pockets had not been, then I added zippered pockets instead of my plain pockets. I have added a waterproff bottom and adjusted the sizes. My current notes/pattern looks nothing like my inspiration bag. I don’t sell the pattern, I wrote a free tutorial and I give the bags away as gifts. I may sell the bags next summer at a craft fair, I’m not sure.

  4. amylouwho

    cute projects! I love your fabrics in the little basket too. I got all fired up about making some of those baskets and even bought a bunch of that super stiff pellon, haven’t gotten around to making any though…

    As to your ethical questions, I think you should always give credit to your inspiration if it can be documented. I think we all like to tweak things so that the process or the end result is more along the lines of what we would consider “me”. I definitely have I-can-make-that-myself-itis. But I also think we should respect the hard work others have put into eveloping patterns and such. I don’t know if any of that answers your question at all.

    Glad you linked up to the party!

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