Thursday, January 29, 2009

An FO in fabric

I never really know how I get obsessed with certain ideas. Suffice it to say, recently I decided that our bedding needed a facelift. We'd been using a tan duvet cover with a really basic pattern on it, somewhat leafy and flowery without offending Coffeeboy's lack of interest in overly feminine bedroom decorations. The comforter, however, was proving too hot for a house in the south with the heater located in the attic right above the bed, so we'd switched to using a lightweight down blanket covered by a nice quilt. I missed the scrunchy comfortableness of down, though, so I found a lighter-weight down comforter on sale and bought it. According to my measurements, however, it wouldn't fit in our old comforter cover. Of course, I now see that my measurements might have been wrong, which was perhaps simply an excuse to try a new type of project...


... that of making a duvet cover with a quilted top. I decided I didn't want to hurt the nice quilt we'd been using by making it into a duvet cover; besides, it would have been too warm. So maybe if I made a patchwork quilt top and quilted it to the middle layer, leaving the space between the middle and bottom layers to stuff the duvet into, it would work. I searched the internet and found this inspiration. Coffeeboy asked it it had to be so flowery, and I said, no, "not necessarily."  (It's still flowery.  Maybe not as flowery as he hoped to avoid, though!)

I bought some fabric and laid it on the bed to make sure it would look all right.  I bought a yard of each fabric in order to have plenty of material to play around with.  I also bought a white king-sized sheet for the middle layer and a pretty blue sheet for the bottom layer and borders.  The king size would give me room to fiddle with on a queen-sized bed.  (Actually, my first fabric purchases didn't work; they were too dark, so I went back and got others, which you see here).  Magellan, the most frequent denizen of the bed since she's there both night and day, watched on curiously.

fabric on bed

I cut the fabric into big blocks (less sewing that way), and laid them out on the bed to see what looked nice.

cut pieces testing a layout

Not bad, not bad! But now I had to sew.  And sew, and sew.

I don't know why, but the sewing machine sort of scares me. Ok, not quite scares, but it's so much more complicated than a wheel or two knitting needles. All those settings, sharp points moving rapidly... it's never been my forte.  Plus, you have to have the iron on all the time, heating up the room, and the bulb in the machine makes everything around it hot, too.   I also tore around the house trying to find the manual, just to make sure I was using the right needle and so on, and I couldn't find it.  The cats looked on in alarm: why was I running around and tearing into things as if I were as crazy as they are?

Eventually I plunged ahead without the manual, sewing, sewing. My goodness, was it a lot of fabric.

sewing the pieces

So much fabric that eventually the machine protested and I needed to do some basic maintenance, but I didn't have the manual. Coffeeboy, wanting me to return from the land of obsessive sewing, no doubt, found it online for me, and downloaded it, the better to get his spouse back, I expect. I had been sewing Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday... it was time to finish the thing so we could use it (and so that we could finally watch the Lost series premiere and retrospective, something the sewing hadn't permitted)!

I laid the quilt/duvet cover out on the living room floor, much to Juniper's amusement. "What is this new rug,"  she must have wondered!  Magellan came into the room and demonstrated that it wasn't a rug: she promptly pounced on the fabric just as she often does with our bedcovers.  Was it ever huge! It was as big as our living room rug!  Had I really sewed that much in just a few days?!

laying it out

A little more sewing proved that the effort was well worth it!

finished quilt object

Magellan also checked out her new napping environs, and seemed well-pleased with the results.

Magellan examines the new bed

The comforter and its cover are cozy, just the right warmth, and such pretty colors! I almost feel that I've never made such a "me" project before. I love the colors; they make me think of daffodils and spring days. The cover reminds me of my favorite childhood blankie, a patchwork quilt with colorful squares. (I swear, that wasn't intentional. I'm not sure what it means that as a grown-up, I've made a patchwork quilt for my bed. I'm sure Freud would have a word or two or three to say. I'm not going to worry about that, though; it's cute and cozy; I made it myself, and I learned a lot while doing so!) 

Coffeeboy seems to like it too; he keeps calling it "folk art." I'm not sure that's a good thing, as such a designation refers to things like my amateur attempts to add snaps, and when those didn't work, buttonholes, using those extra buttons that come with clothes that I've stashed for years on end.

a real buttonhole with a button, even

I'm really glad I tried out the buttonholes; this forced me to use the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine and realize that it's really not that hard, at all, to do. Maybe I can actually do this sewing thing after all! Next time, of course, I'll have to measure more carefully, get a little bit better at sewing a straight line, and well... I'm not at all known for my spatial and geometric abilities, to put it mildly, so if a lack of right angles, a slightly too-snug comforter cover, and some funky buttons make something "folk art," then so be it.  I'm quite pleased with the results; they are oh-so-comfy, and I'm a little bit surprised I did it at all! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it came out beautifully! Not too flowery at all.

-- Coffeeboy