Monday, January 7, 2013

Santa's Post-Christmas Sewing Sweat Shop: Day Five

We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.
~ Winston Churchill

Okay, this project - my last Christmas gift project - got off to a rocky start.  

ETA: Thanks to Lisa for pointing out that I forgot to say what it is!  It's an insulated casserole tote - for a round casserole dish.  :)

First I found myself slightly annoyed by the fact that the instructions called for me to cut a 17 inch diameter circle and did not provide a pattern piece.  It's easy to cut rectangles of any dimensions, but circles are a bit more complicated.

In the end, I made my own compass by cutting a ribbon 8.5 inches long (1/2 of 17) and pinning one end to my tracing paper and then slowly spinning it around, marking the end of the ribbon with a pen:  

That worked amazingly well.  :)

But then, issue #2 raised it's ugly head.  Not enough fabric:  

I had purchased one yard, but apparently - between the fabric being on the narrow side and my ripping off a strip on each end to make sure that I was working on the grain line - I didn't have enough fabric left to get 4 copies of this circle and the handles...  

And there wasn't really time to re-order more fabric...  

So, I cut 2 circles out of the fabric (for the outside of the casserole tote) and then scrounged around in my stash and found some medium weight canvas and cut 2 more circles for the inside of the tote.  Hopefully that will be okay - the inside generally won't show...  

The one thing I had PLENTY of is the insulation - I have yards of that stuff left over from last year's Christmas presents!  ;)

Once the pieces were cut (top & bottom, two handles), I basted 4 "sandwiches" with the insulated batting in the middle of each:  

The circle fun wasn't over - it turns out the next step was to cut a circle out of the middle of one of my big circles.  I decided the easiest way to make sure that it was centered was to cut it out of the original circle pattern.  

And then I folded the fabric in half for the actual cutting - it actually worked pretty well.  :)

After basting around that inner circle, the instructions had me cut the circle in half:  

Next was the start of a bias tape binding jamboree!  ;)

If you aren't a fan of applying bias tape, I'd avoid this project.  On the other hand, it gave me lots of good practice trying to get everything lined up so that I could stitch-in-the-ditch for the final attachment seam.  

Wide double-fold bias tape was used to cover the sides of the 2 handles and the straight edges of the circle pieces:  

Extra wide (quilt binding) bias tape was used to bind the inner curve of the two top pieces.  This curve is pretty narrow and I had a hard time getting the bias tape to lie smoothly around it.  In fact, I had to rip stitches on the first half, so I hand basted the bias tape on the second half before using my machine.  That helped.  :)

Finally, the two pieces (top and bottom) are ready to go together!  

The extra wide bias tape around the inner circle is used as a channel for a cord that can be relaxed or tightened.  

And, finally, the last of my Christmas gifts is done!  :)

I am going to take a day or so for a breather, and then try to get myself mentally organized with sewing plans in 2013.  I hope it's a wonderful sewing year for all of us!  :)


  1. It's pretty, but what is it?

    1. Oh my goodness! Ooops! ;)
      It's an insulated casserole tote - I had better go add that information to my post!
      Thanks, Lisa! (face red)

  2. Your solution to not enough fabric worked perfectly. Good job!

    1. Thanks, Gwen! :)
      Sometimes I think I save too many "scraps" from my sewing projects, but it makes me so happy when I can use those scraps to save a new project! ;)

  3. It looks good, but I don't have any bias tape jamborees planned for my future. Just sayin' ...

    1. Well, okay Mary, but if you are skipping the jamboree then no tambourine or maracas for you... ;)

  4. You have more patience than me. I hate applying bias tape! Maybe if I did it more....nope, can't make me, not gonna do it!

    They look great. I see no reason that the inside needs to match the outside.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! I really didn't mind all the straight seams, because I want to be better at it and found the practice helpful - but those curves - yuck!