“other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path, but the lesson to be learned is always ours.”
so, i DID do some sewing today. but, more importantly, i learned a few lessons. lesson #1 yes, washing your fabric before you use it is the best way to go. that way, you're covered on the color bleeding, fabric shrinkage, etc. however, if you are washing *scraps* of fabric (i.e. fabric that has already been cut), make sure to trim all edges with pinking shears, wash in a lingerie bag, or use some other preventative measure to keep the scraps from fraying...big time. lesson #2 don't get too big for your stitches...er, britches. if you haven't really sewn anything on a machine (except for sewing two pieces of felt together) in 16 years, do yourself a favor and don't start with a project that has curved pattern pieces. it is much easier to keep a consistent seam allowance if you're working with straight edges. i'm just sayin'. lesson #3 a 1/2" seam allowance does NOT mean you can get away with a slippity-sloppy 3/4" seam allowance (this lesson linked with lesson #2 above). lesson #4 if you have a tutorial but no pattern and you think you can *eyeball* the pattern because, afterall, they're just simple circles...go with your eyeball measurement and then add another inch or so. alrighty....so BEFORE i learned the lessons above, i made this little ditty... ...which is cute and all but only 3" wide and, therefore, not the most practical of coasters. but, hey, if anyone you know needs a super-cute area rug for a dollhouse, let me know. taking what i learned, i set to work again and, lo and behold... not perfect, by any means (and needs pressing)...but definitely a viable coaster. in hindsight, i should have trimmed the corner of the batting. good thing is, these little cuties whip up very quickly and don't use much fabric at all...really great for using up scraps (don't forget lesson #1!). on another note, i've recently discovered that i really love embroidering. i came across the Sublime Stitching website, which has wonderful how-to's, patterns, kits, textiles, etc. embroidery is a relatively inexpensive craft that seems to be making a comeback, which means there are now a good number of resources (online and otherwise) for non-fuddy-duddy patterns. i've purchased a few patterns from this site and just finished my first project, a tea towel. i love the way it turned out and, remember, i'm really new at this...so this is a great craft for those of us who like some immediate gratification!