Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Jessica Fediw at her blogsite (see below), has generously provided pdfs and lots of letters in the tutorial she made for fabric letters and numbers.  I used her patterns to make two sets of them.  One for my cutie pie littlest girlie girl's birthday, and another one to keep here for when all the grandkiddos come to visit.  I tried to match designs in the fabrics to the letters...see the soccer S, peppers in the P, and music designs in the M.  Except for a couple exceptions, all the fabrics in both capitals and lowercase are different.  Also, tried to mix it up with a lot of colors.

One thing discovered while sewing is that I could go pretty fast on straight lines, but had to slow down on curved ones--almost to the end of the second set, I realized using my totally open toe clear foot worked best for seeing where I was going.   Part of this is having very old eyes!!  Part of it is my perfect ability to space when I'm doing repetitive things, too!!  I also have a bright light that shines onto the foot and helps a lot.

I also discovered that using a finger to hold the fabric in place as a pivot point worked pretty well on the larger circles, but the tiny curved places such as the opening in the p's, b's, d', etc. meant a lot of time starting, lifting foot and then starting to sew again.

I put flannel on the backs of all of the letters so they can be used on a flannel board.  It worked best for me (since I can only sit at the machine for about an hour at a time) to pin the fabric/batting/flannel "sandwiches" in my comfy chair.  I tried to make sure the placement of the patterns would allow for the desired designs to show when cut.  Used pinking shears on almost all edges except where it was too small to get into.  You want sharp shears for cutting through all of it.  I had also pieced some of my batting and that was definitely interesting trying to cut.  My thumb has a small blister on it right now.  What we do for our craft, eh???

The box to hold girlie girl's letters that will include a laminated card with pictures of the letters in alphabetical order.  Except for the very bottom of each corner, it's all sewn on the machine.  I've made boxes out of cardstock for years and years, so came up with this one by measuring the height of the letters and the width of both stacks, plus about 1/2 inch all around.  I made a paper pattern, but when cutting what I think is called peltex (a heavy-duty pellon) and the fabrics I just cut individual top and bottom, sides, front and back and flap for the velcro, first out of the peltex the exact sizes I needed, then the fabrics about 1/2 inch extra all around.  Used a pencil to trace around the peltex on the inside of one of each fabric, then sewed all around and left an opening to turn.  I trimmed corners a bit on each peltex piece and mostly they just slid right in pretty easily.  Then I pinned the openings and sewed close to the edge.  The handle is long enough she can carry it and also so it can fold back and let the lid open.  The sizes of each piece in inches: top/bottom 6.5 x 10, sides 6.5 x 4, front/back 10 x 4, flap 10 by 2 and then corners were curved.  If you wanted a solid color for inside and same or another fabric for outside, you could just use those dimensions to cut a pattern.  I would suggest cutting the pelton as individual pieces and then zigzagging them together so they bend, or you can get the pelton to fold if you iron it, too.

To assemble, I used a pretty variegated red thread and zigzagged the pieces together.  Front, bottom, back, top and flap together first, then added sides.  It was a bit tricky getting corners sewn, but that open toe foot came in handy so I could see what was going on, and I was able to get within an inch on each of them.  Will whip stitch the bottoms of the corners before sending.

Am very pleased with the results of the letters and the box.  I made an open bag to use here and you can see it with some of the yet-to-be-trimmed letters needing to be done when my thumb doesn't have the blister! The fabrics are vibrant and my colors, but don't like it nearly as well as girlie girl's!  May just have to make me one like hers in more my colors.

Thanks again to Jessica at: http://www.happytogetherbyjess.com/2009/07/rag-quilt-letters-tutorial.html  Have fun and try them yourself.  They went together a lot faster than expected, but I've been sewing for almost 60 years, and do a lot of applique by hand and machine.  Can quilt pieces if want on lettters and