In order to send off 2020 in the best way a quilter knows how, the Sew-Op issued a challenge on December 8th with the apropos name, "SCRAPPING 2020". The following are some images of the challenge rules along with the 4 submissions we received. If you'd like to vote for your favorite use of scraps, CLICK HERE. The winner will receive a little bag of sewing goodies. Voting ends on January 15th, 2021.
Sleeve for iPad/Tablet
In the spring I ran out of coordinating fabrics. I have a lot of old dyes, at least 18 years old, that I “rescued” versus it going to the landfill. So I started dyeing fabric to improve my technique and to see which dyes were good. The center dark green block was the result of dyeing over a block that didn’t dye well the first time. The yellow border is scraps of a border I dyed for another quilt made during the lockdown. The green flap (& back) are scraps from the flower blossom baby quilt we made this fall. The sleeve is lined with a pocket. Batting between fabric layers provides padding. Velcro is used as the closure. The sleeve is larger than my tablet because I didn’t want to cut down the center block.
I am just finishing the original quilt project. I have one column yet to quilt and then the binding. The original quilt uses reproduction fabrics from the 1920s that were also used/seen in the Downton Abbey PBS series. I am straight-line quilting using a walking foot on my domestic machine. At the time of the original fabric purchase, I thought I might include more blacks which is why I had these pieces left. I took close-ups of the pieces in the quilt that I used to make the tote.
Wall-hanging + Owl
The Wall-hanging consists of fabrics left over from the elephant quilt and from the backing on that quilt. I sewed 18 prairie points on this piece. I used several orphan squares left from the corners of the elephant quilt. The two kitty blocks were orphan blocks from another wall hanging I did of kitty cats. Notice on the yellow kitty in upper left, I placed the bow tie that belonged to my sweet Auggie who died in 2020. A keep sake for me for sure. If I were to label this piece, I would call it Kitty Pandemia 2020. The Owl - Ollie Owl - was a pattern from a book entitled, Sew Modern Baby. To make this as a gift for a child, the pattern would need to be revised so that all raw edges are sewn to the inside and not like the pattern, which leaves all of the feathers' raw edges exposed. This would not be safe for a child due to the possibility of strings unraveling where a child could possibly swallow them.
I keep pretty much all of the scraps left over from sewing projects because I really love the idea of "zero-waste sewing". The concept actually comes from the garment industry and the idea that a pattern might be laid out on the fabric in such a way as to reduce the amount of waste left over. I'm not there yet, so I keep the scraps in the hopes of using them in other projects. Here are some patches I made for my husband's favorite winter garment. I like patches that are visible because I think they illustrate that a garment is loved. Sewing patches on is not my favorite activity - it can be tricky to line things up right - but I appreciate that it makes me stop and be still a minute...
Here at the Sew-Op, we want to give major props to Sonya Muhammad. She is the program lead for Magic City Seams (the parent program of Magic City Seams Jr, MCS Jr). And last year, she ran a successful season of MCS Jr with 5 high-schoolers in the Sew-Op's shop. Students met with Sonya after school and created pajama tops and bottoms from scratch, learning to read and alter a pattern to fit them.
We were gearing up for a 2nd season of MCS Jr when Covid-19 hit and we had to shut down the Sew-Op shop. Viola and Sonya pivoted quickly and by May, students from all over Birmingham were applying to participate in a virtual MCS Jr session. Sonya learned how to utilize Google Classroom and started creating her virtual instructional studio. With 22 applicants, the June session started off with 10 students, 7 of which completed the full course with an 80% or higher (Sonya had weekly assignments, as well as the final assignment of sewing a pair of pajama pants from scratch, reading a pattern). Many of the students were reading patterns for the first time, and one had never even used a sewing machine before. Ever. Check out some of the final projects from the June session below.
Because of the high number of applicants for the June session, we quickly put the gears in motion to offer a July session. Three of our June participants ended up returning, and when that session ended, 4 of the 8 participants finished with an 80% or higher, sewing skirts from a pattern. Sonya chose a pattern with lots of variations and as you can see from the screenshot at the beginning of this post, the students explored those variations quite successfully! All three returning participants went a step beyond the assignments and created additional garments. One even braved "pleats" and followed the math instructions she found online.
The virtual version of MCS Jr was so successful this summer - funded in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts - that we are launching a September session that is not grant-supported. We've priced the cost of this session competitively so as not to create too much of a barrier for participation. If you would like to purchase a scholarship for one of the students on our wait list, you can do so HERE.
Our virtual program even managed to keep our favorite part of MCS Jr: Designer Fridays! Each week, Viola and Sonya scheduled a new guest for students to learn from. Guests provided tutorials relating to their field of expertise and then students got to ask questions about the industry. This is a really great part of the program because young people get to learn - first hand - from local designers about the opportunities available to them in the fields of design, fashion, merchandising, and more. Designers and entrepreneurs who helped out with Designer Fridays but aren't pictured below: Miriam Omura, Daniel Greer, Lacie Woodward, and Aaliyah Taylor.
Since the new "normal" is likely to contain face masks for months to come, we don't want to exclude those who can't sew...everyone can make a mask! You just need a t-shirt and a pair of scissors (preferably sharp!)
Bib & Tucker Sew-Op is a sewing co-op located at the convergence of Woodlawn, Crestwood North and Avondale.