Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Buried Treasure, 2015: Confessions of a non-sewer


I'm once again joining Seth Apter at The Altered Page

for his 7th annual Buried Treasure hunt.

Similar to my Second on the 2nd (where you feature a post on the second of each month from your past you are especially proud of, or one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed), Seth only features his event once a year.  And lots of people play.  In fact, I've played for the past six years and wouldn't miss it for the world.  Why, you ask?  Because it's where I see some of the finest mixed media art in the entire solar system.

Of course, we have Seth to thank for this annual event, because if he hadn't put it together, I for one, would never have known there were other mixed media artists out there.  So, thanks SETH! 

This post was dug up from my blog from November 27, 2014.  It's a bit mixed media, but it's more hilarious, especially if you are a seamstress or sewist or whatever the term is for a person who makes lovely, accurate art pieces using their sewing machine (and more than likely a rotary cutter).

Although I did a tiny bit of editing (especially pronunciations), here is the post of when I made a scrappy journal cover:

I am NOT a seamstress.  I sew.  That makes me a sewer (pronounced SOer, not SUEer).  So if you came to see lovely sewing today, perfect stitches, detailed cutting, straight seams, linings that fit flawlessly, and everything matching, you might as well forget it and move on.  All you will get here is a good belly laugh.  This post could easily be called "how NOT to make a journal cover."   If you are a sewing perfectionist, you will either laugh or walk away in shock.

Your first indication should be the fabric I chose for this project.  My dear friend Sally gave this to me, and I debated what to use it for.  I can assure you, it would NOT fit me.  Actually, it would fit me about three times around.

One of the benefits was, it was white on one side and striped on the other.  At least I had a color choice.  After all, I'm driven by color.  You can see I've already started to tear it to "size."  Size is a term I use quite loosely.  I'm driven by color, not actual, or even realistic, fabric dimensions.

I missed photographing a few steps here.  I tore the outside fabric, which I will show in a moment, then I tore the inside fabric, which I show here.  I also tore some old jeans fabric and sewed two pockets: one to hold pens or pencils, the other to hold notes, tags, and/or ephemera that can be added to the journal.  You can see the inside does NOT line up with the outside.  Note also how I had to lap the inside over after I had sewn the two pieces together (SAD, but remember, color is my only strong suit)!!!  One thing I did remember was to add the closure, which was a purple ponytail holder.

Note how dark it is outside when I started this project.  The outside of this scrappy journal has a painted and stamped fabric piece I made quite some time ago.  I got tired of looking at it, and decided to use it on the cover.  I'm not sure you can tell, but the inside fabric STILL does NOT line up with the outside fabric seen on the right side of this photo, even after I "reworked" it by folding it over. 

Here it's even more obvious, and you can see my wonky stitches that hold the two sides together.  Nothing precise in my sewing world, because I'm driven by color.

After I assembled the papers that would go in the scrappy journal, I successfully sewed one signature into the book.  (For those of you not sure what a signature it, it is a set of pages, also known as a section, or specific number of pages that are bound together in the middle.)  But as I was sewing the second signature to the cover, I broke my needle, seen here on my sewing machine.  That put a real smile on my face (NOT).  Note how it's now nearly mid-day.

I finally got another needle (these needles are about $2.00 USD each), and attached the second set of pages.  I was really pleased with myself, until


I turned the book over and realized I had created this mess when I sewed the second signature.  All I could do was laugh and rip the stitches out.  So with thread ripper in hand, I set out to remove the errant stitches.  Why is there always time for rework, but never time to do it right the first time?

This journal was certainly living up to its scrappy journal name!

I was ready to try again, and this time, I got it right.  Or at least as "right" as this color driven sewer could.  Although you can't tell, it's started to turn dark again and I haven't added a single embellishment, either.

Feeling incredibly pleased with my accomplishment, and rather than spending time embellishing the first journal, I set out to create my second cover.  However, after I "sized" and sewed the front cover to the focal piece,

and finished the inside cover, it was time to put everything away, because I was expecting company in less than an hour.  Sad, but true, I spent over nine hours putting these two covers (and two signatures) together.

I hope you laughed at this tale of sewing domesticity.  I'm sure I'll laugh at this post in about 10 to 20 years, too.



Actually, I'm laughing now and shaking my head at how much I've learned about cutting and making these scrappy journal covers since I created this post in 2014.

Thank you for visiting during Seth's Buried Treasure.  I'll be by soon to see your buried treasure, too.  I hope your buried treasure isn't quite the disaster mine turned out to be, but I could have picked a different post if I hadn't wanted you to laugh at my amateurish sewing skills.  I truly hope you enjoyed it! 

BTW, if you are on Google + only, I am unable to leave comments, because they insist I join in order to leave one.  That will only happen when hell freezes over, or Blogger goes exclusively to G+.  It all depends on how you set up your comments, I'm sure because I have no trouble leaving them on some G+ blogs that are attached to Blogger.


13 thoughtful remarks:

Divers and Sundry said...

I love how people with such talent pooh-pooh their skill lol. My sewing machine is a child-sized hand-crank toy. You look like a seamstress to me ;)

froebelsternchen Susi said...

You make the most beautiful things here - shouting out that you are a non sewer..lol!
Marvelous! This encourages me to put my sewing machine out !
Happy day Elizabeth!

pearshapedcrafting said...

I missed this first time around - no idea how - although my comment on the post following it said I was going to catch up another time - obviously never did so this is a real treat! This sounds just like my attempts to sew like I knew what I was doing! Somehow though, I still don't think I would have ended up with something as wonderful as your covers!! I love the piece of painted and stamped fabric and those little pockets are 'sew' clever! Hugs, Chrisx ps Hubby fine thanks!!!

Viktoria Berg said...

LOL This is my kind of sewing! (And I have a professional mum-in-law seamstress who has been looking over my shoulder for the last 25 years, shaking her head no doubt...) Actually, I ditched the sewing machine for these kinds of projects long ago, as doing it by hand SAVES time (time ripping it up, that is, the machine is much faster than my after-thoughts). I am not colour-driven though, but functionality-driven.

Love the result! I envy colour sense. Very enjoyable post, glad you reprised it.

Denise Price said...

So, what you're saying, then, is that you are color driven? :) I like the colors on both journals; they are very summery.

Glad you enjoyed meeting Toby yesterday!

Jo Murray said...

Your sewing has character...don't let anyone say different. Great 'Treasure'. Love seeing how far you've come.

Joi at RR said...

Wow - they look like fun covers to me.... just SUPER. I have never made a cover so my hats off to you!!! Thanks bunches for sharing from your archives! j.

~*~Patty S said...

With our son's visit I missed participating in Seth's Buried Treasure.
Life moves so fast it was great to see this project again.
Sewing in your Elizabeth style is really special and your results are always great.
oxo

Annette Bouchey said...

Thank you for validating my own efforts with sewing journals. I made a fabric journal and covered the mistakes with lace! Then I got up my courage to make another fabric journal, moved my machine and all fabric to my office, sat down and my sewing machine was totally dead! I sewed it by hand!!!! Sign me, Hand Sewer

johanna said...

your sewing skills are just awesome! i don´t think the traditional quiltmakers are our Idols;) it has much more charme the way you do it and i really enjoyed your post, elizabeth!!
have a great Weekend!

dawn said...

Look at you, so good to see this post and your amazing sewing again! yes, you made me laugh reading this.

Jean said...

This looks like so much fun! I think it is a treasure!

Raylee said...

love your journal cover!
thank you so much for commenting on my "buried treasure".