Saturday, June 17, 2017

Charity Sewing Project: Mastectomy Pillows


As I thought, it took longer to make the mastectomy pillows than it did to make 200 port cushions.  In fact, the second hospital picked up their port cushions as we were finishing the mastectomy pillows for the first hospital.  She took one of the mastectomy pillows with her to see if there was a need for these with her patients. She told me she would let me know if they want some.

The first hospital picked up their mastectomy pillows and could not stop talking about how much their patients appreciated the port cushions.  Apparently no one there had heard of such a thing but they certainly love them.  I have a feeling we will be making more port cushions in the future.  That is fine because I now have a variety of 5/8" Velcro in various fun colors.

We have not really decided on our next project at this time.  We've asked the hospitals if there is a project that they would want us to do, but neither hospital could think of anything.

In the meantime, I've been thinking about making a simple red, white and blue, patriotic patchwork type throw blanket.  So far, I've been going through scraps separating out my red, white, and blue fabric.  More on this project later.

Mastectomy Pillow


Step 1:  Make the pattern.  We made one from cardboard construction paper for 1/2 of the pattern to be placed on the fold.  Cut 2 of these.  We also made one full pattern out of cardboard.  Both patterns were used.  It really depended on your fabric as to which was best to use.


Step 2:  We cut out 2 pieces, back and front, of the pillow, pinning them together as we went.





Step 3:  We serged and sewed around each 2 pieces of the pillow leaving a good 2" to 4" opening on the side.





Step 4: We stuffed each pillow with cotton fiber.  We did not stuff to capacity.  Since the women using these pillows will have surgical incisions which are trying to heal, we did not want the pillow to cause the arm to be lifted too high.





Step 5:  We sewed the opening closed.  Some were sewn by hand and others on the sewing machine.





That's all there is to it.







 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Adventures With Summer Charity Sewing Project


Many years, no, I guess that's decades, ago I was into crafting and sewing.  After awhile I had made all of the clothing and house stuff that this little family could use.  After another while no one wanted any more handmade gifts.  Slowly, I put my sewing machine aside for repair purposes and didn't pick it back up for a long time.  After another while all of the scraps and material were either thrown out or given away.

Once the internet became available, I found how to repair my machine and began sewing once again.  The material and scraps began accumulating.  After several years I discovered embroidery machines and eventually opened my embroidery shop, Cajun Stitchery.

With Cajun Stitchery gaining in popularity and business doing fine, more and more scraps and fabric were accumulated.  My husband began politely commenting that perhaps I should throw some of these scraps away.




 Over the past years, I truly have been trying to cull the herd of scraps but this is very hard to do.  Yes, I'm a fabric addict.

One of my absolute favorite websites is Pinterest.  One day, several weeks ago, I ran across some sewing projects for "charity sewing."  It piqued my interest and I began looking at pictures and reading articles.  I contacted a few friends and we decided to do some charity sewing as a summer project this year, each Saturday.  I am offering up my scraps and fabric stash.  After contacting a couple of our local hospitals to make sure our items were wanted we began our project.


Our first project was to make 100 port cushions for each of the two hospitals.  The project required 2 pieces of 5" x 8" fabric and a strip of 5/8" Velcro, which I also had.  The following website is the article with the directions that we, more or less, followed:

http://www.abbieandeveline.com/2014/09/12/my-recipe-for-portacath-pillows


These adorable little pillows were easy to make and I was able to go through just about all of my scraps to make them.  The hospitals were thrilled and so were we.  Not to mention my husband is 100% behind this project.

The following weekend, which was last weekend, we began a new project:  mastectomy pillows.  For this project I read several articles and used bits and pieces from them to create our pillows; however, the following website contains the pattern we used with instructions:

https://hubpages.com/politics/projects-to-sew-for-charities

This project is going to take longer than one day.  Our goal is for each hospital to receive 50 of these pillows.  This project requires larger pieces of fabric, a 12" x 12" pattern.  We broke into the larger pieces of fabric for this project.

Things that I've learned so far in our Summer Charity Sewing Project is:

1.  If you are sewing 100, 50 or whatever number of items, make number tabs to keep track of how many you have done.  When we were working on the little port cushions, every half hour or hour someone would say, "how many do we have now?"  Invariably, the rest of us would say, "I forgot."  We would then re-count the items.   Save yourself some time and create  number tabs of some sort.


2.  There are four of us in our group.  I usually keep my sewing machine and my serger out but took out two additional machines to accommodate all 4 of us.  It was a good move because I could check and make sure all of the machines were in good working order.  However, we ended up deciding on an assembly line to make the port cushions and one of the machines was not needed at all.


Again, with the mastectomy pillow, we are using an assembly line to do the project.


3.  With the port cushion project we used woven fabric and set aside all of the knit fabric and knit scraps.  With the mastectomy pillows, we are not only using just woven fabric but also decided we only want lightweight, cotton type fabric.  I had several yards of flannel and lots of satin but we decided since these pillows are used under the arm pit and near an incision we wanted to use only fabric that we felt could breath and not harbor bacteria as much as heavier, denser fabric.

4.  The port cushion project went through a lot of my scrap fabric and I was able to toss smaller pieces of scrap without too much heartache.  However, making the mastectomy pillows and using the larger pieces of fabric created, you guessed it, more scrap fabric.   It was a real "DUH" moment for me.









Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016

Earlier this year I embroidered the Jill sham with all of her children's and grandchildren's names around her name.


Jill was such a hit that a customer ordered a Marlene pillow sham.



Then another ordered Rhonda


And others were done, as well.  For Christmas a customer wanted the same idea of the names but on a blanket.  The customer furnished the blanket and we put the grandmother's name, Sandra, in the center.  Then Sandra's children's names in a different font and size around her name.  Then Sandra's grandchildren under their respective parent's name in a different font and size.  Two of the grandchildren have children and their names appear beneath their parent's name in a different font and size and enclosed in parentheses.  There were 30 names in all.  The photo makes the blanket appear army green but it was a much brighter dark green.  The customer was thrilled at the outcome.


I found this Just Another Day in Paradise design online.  I digitized it and made it multi-colored (10 colors in all), embroidered it onto a hand towel and put it in our Etsy store.


A customer saw the towel and liked it.  But she wanted a set where the other towel had words on it in the same style but not the same words and using blues.  This set is what we ended up doing.


This apron was ordered by a gentleman for his girlfriend who owns a diner.  It turned out very nice and he messaged me to say she loves it.


This Christmas a customer wanted her grandchildren's names on the hem of pillowcases so she could put their presents inside, tie up the end of the pillowcase with the name showing, and the pillowcase becomes an extra present.  Cute idea.


One of my friends and customers is a dance teacher.  She always gives her students a little gift at Christmas.  This year she celebrated her 20th year.  We monogrammed her 20 year logo on 78 bags.


It was a busy Christmas season and we closed last Thursday for the holidays.  Tomorrow we open once again getting ready for 2017.  I wonder what new embroidery we will develop next year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Peggy

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Is The Christmas Season Once Again

It Is The Christmas Season Once Again


Where did this year go?  All of my hopes and plans of keeping up with this blog failed again this year.  Guess that means blogging will be my New Years Resolution for 2017.

We have done some absolutely fabulous things on the embroidery machine this year.  Digitizing embroidery for machines has become an integral part of the business, too.  Truthfully, I just enjoy the creating and then watching the creation come to fruition.

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  With all of that said, let's get down to pictures of embroidery.

I'm an avid Pinterester and love the antique/heirloom embroidery.  This year I decided to create my own alphabet that looks antique.  It took all year but I finally finished.  The alphabet contains 2 Q's.  I couldn't decide which I preferred, so, I just did both.  I call it my "Ancient" alphabet.  I put it on several wristlets that are listed in the Etsy store but these can be embroidered on anything, in any size or color.  It is funny but some alphabets I don't like the style of the S or I or various letters.  In this alphabet I created letter styles that I do like with an antique flair.  What do you think?

My studio has two bathrooms but the largest would be considered tiny in most homes.  Nevertheless, I needed bath rugs.  Something that I can just throw in the laundry to clean but yet still have a rug so wet feet don't have to meet cold tile.  One of my suppliers sells hotel type towels and had those towel rugs.  They are almost too big for one of the bathrooms but still it does fit.  I put a nice, big, 8" tall, monogram on it the same color as the walls in the bath.  They turned out so pretty.  I used my new Ancient alphabet for the H.  One was made for each bathroom but I think I'm going to make 2 for each so that when one is in the laundry, the other can be on the floor.  

The rugs were made and I looked at the bathroom as a whole and decided to do a matching towel and hand cloth.  When we painted this bathroom, I told my husband that I wanted painter's tape blue and that is what it is.  This is the smaller of the two bathrooms and the blue and white makes it look so happy.

 The second, larger (ha) bathroom is done in black and white.  I already had the little mermaid hand towels but they really popped when I put them over the black monogrammed bath towel.
 Okay, so it is now Christmastime.  Here are a couple of Christmas stockings that I made because it is Christmastime and that's what I do.  They are made with red muslin and fully lined with white satin like the cuff.  The total height is about 16".  They are a nice, normal size for a Christmas stocking.  When I look at things like this, I see lots of room to embroider.  Rather than the cuff, a name going vertical down the stocking would be really cool, don't you think?

This next one "Wine a bit you'll feel better" just about says it all.  I did one on a waffle weave towel and the other on a flour sack towel.  They turned out very nice.


 Then on one of our nice cotton hand towels, "Just another day in paradise" in a multi-colorful array of threads.

 Just had to throw in our Krewe of Wrecks Mardi Gras patch because, well, just because :)


Here is one of our fringed fingertip hand towels.  That horse turned out perfect.  I love those colors.  Wish I could say that I did that digitizing but no, that is a purchased design but wow.


 Of course, we are always doing the wedding handkerchiefs.  So many styles, fonts, colors, and messages.  One lady had so much to say to her mother that the message took up the entire handkerchief.  She liked my suggestion of simply framing the handkerchief with the message and did just that.


Until next time ...
Peggy

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cajun Corner - March 16, 2016

One of the most difficult techniques for me to learn in machine embroidery was to embroider with metallic thread.  There have been some very frustrating moments where I had to just walk away from it.  Over the years, thank goodness, I have learned.  The trick is to loosen your upper tension, slow the machine down, and put your thread on a stand or in a cup on the other side of the room.  Yes, you will still get some thread breaks but much less.

All of that said, I have fallen in love with gold work,silver work, and the look of a shimmering metallic design.  In fact, yesterday I made two black shams with gold metallic dragons.  Here are some pictures:



Remember when making shams, make them one or two inches smaller than the pillow insert in order for the insert to fill the sham to capacity for a better look and fit.

Have a great day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Cajun Corner - March 13, 2016

Cajun Stitchery celebrated its 7th Anniversary this month.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around that fact, and I'm still loving every minute of it.

Here are some pictures of project that we did that first year in 2009.  I did not know much about digitizing back then.  Heck, I was still a novice at embroidery but we had a lot of designs.





Here are some of the projects we have done this year (2016).  Over the past seven years, I have learned to digitize and embroider much better.  Many new techniques have been learned, and some were simply created out of necessity.  Cajun Stitchery has well over a million designs and literally thousands of fonts, alphabets, and lettering.







Still stitching and enjoying every minute of it :)

THANK YOU so much to everyone who has helped us through these years by either patronizing Cajun Stitchery and/or being our friend.

Peggy