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Monday, February 11, 2013

Sew what?!

I finally got the sewing machine back out.  This is actually kind of a major task, because although it is in plain sight in the downstairs closet, it fits best underneath a tote of coats and stuck behind several folding chairs plus a 8 drawer organizer, all of which have to be moved in order to get the sewing machine out.  So obviously I have to be more than a little inspired in order to do all that work before I can even begin a project.

I've had some projects pinned to Pinterest (where else?) for some time.  While I was in the big city last week I stopped into Fabric Land to pick up some things I needed for my sister-in-law's shower at the end of March.  I also browsed the clearance section and found this semi-heavy duty, albeit boring cloth that I though would hold up great for a table tent.  At 3.00 per metre, I bought 5 metres. I had plenty for the tent and hopefully a longer lasting creation than those plastic sticks and nylon material that you pay at least $15 for. 

Saturday it was only Emma and I home in the morning so I decided it was a good time to make an attempt.  Originally the plan was to follow the directions from this pin.  However the link proved to be dead so I figured without eating up all my toddlerless time in further research to just forge ahead directionless.  I ended up laying my 5metres of fabric across the table lengthwise.  Leaving a little extra on the floor at both the head and foot of the table I cut off the extra.  Next I cut out two side panels.  (You could also do five panels to have a more professional looking finish, but I figured with my abilities, the top would end up having a too short side or some other ridiculousness so I decided to go with only three panels.)

M&M wanted to have a door on the long side of the table with one circle window and one square one. The easiest way to cut out a rectangle is to fold the fabric wherever you would like the middle of your window to be and then cut a smaller rectangle so that  when you unfold the material you have said rectangular window.

I really wanted to do cross panels for panes in the windows, so I figured the best way to be able to attach them would be to add material on the back of the window.  So seams out I sewed four strips of material on the window and then flipped them out and sewed them up the back.  This got really tricky and ended up not at all like I wanted.

The material made a neat outer hem, but added a lot of bulk and the window sags a fair amount.  I'd gotten kind of sick of working on that side of the tent so I decided to start on the other side instead of going at the cross pieces for window panes.

For the door I cut a slit up the side of the fabric and then pinned two chunks of fabric seam side out so that there would also be a nice finished seam on the outside.  My first attempt I stopped at the top and did some funky manoeuvring to try to get the two pieces back together.  My second attempt due to another mistake I started at the bottom and just sewed one seam all the way up one side, across a little at the top and back down the other side.  It was much neater on the inside, but both ways looked good from outside.
Door from the outside.

For the circular window I again folded the fabric in half and cut a half-circle out and unfolded to an imperfect oval.   I ended up snipping a few bits and pieces and came out with a much better looking circle.

For the seam on this one I thought I would try pinning a seam by rolling the fabric under itself.  This worked much better and was far less bulky than the rectangular window.

Next step was to sew on the two long side panels.  For this step I pinned the two sides of the panel together where they would fall over the legs of the panel.  The longer panel that ran the entire length of the table continued when I had reached the top of the shorter panels so I pinned the next side of the panel into the never ending panel and surprisingly the corners turned out not too bad.  The step had to be repeated once more when the length (of the table) was reached and you continued down the far leg. 

At this stage I thought I was pretty much set.  As I finished up the last bit I realized something was wrong.  The first panel went on fine and there was about 2 inches of extra material because in the very beginning I had left a bit extra on either end.  I assumed I'd cut it off once I finsihed getting the second panel on.
As the second panel came together I realized there was a lot more extra appearing on the skinny end of the table.  I had grabbed some extra material rather than the matching panel and sewed my door and window into that. They were similar in size but not perfect!  On the far side the panel comes together okay, but on the closer end the corner is really off and the table leg was showing.  Knowing I still had to put a bottom seam around the entire tent I decided to start over and use the correct panel. 
I'm glad I did, even though the hubby kept saying it was fine, just leave it.
The other issue I was having was I had left too much extra hanging across the top of the table and correspondingly
along the sides, so rather than do a bunch of seam ripping to get the panel out, I just cut the panel off and several inches of extra so that the corners would hang at a more appropriate spot.  Repeat all the cutting and sewing on the window, sewing the half finished tent to the second panel and then doing a seam along the entire bottom and this was the result.
I'm still undecided if I'm going to add flowers and curtains and those cutsey details with more material or if I will just get a pack of fabric markers and let M&M go at it.  I promise an update when we decide!
Fun project for Momma that Emma's been very possessive of!  Once we can get the sharing idea sunk into those two heads it should provide hours of fun and a quick cleanup.  (Much quicker than blankets that refuse to stay in place anyways.) 

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