Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Serger Ate My Checkbook Cover and Other Tales

Alas, since I spent all my jack on a Janome serger, I can't get a Kindle.  So I downloaded the free version to my computer and purchased - you guessed it - a book on serger projects!  Since I'm VERY much a newbie to serging, I got a very basic project book that explains about sergers and gives some easy projects and "stepped-up" versions of the basic ones.  It's called Ready Set Serge - quick and easy projects yu can make in minutes.  And you literally can make them in minutes - it takes longer to cut out the material than it does to make the projects.  There are some very nice projects in the book that are helping me to get acquainted with Donnie.  He's very different from a sewing machine like Marie!

Two things I learned from my Kindle download experience: 
  • Don't purchase books that may have patterns you would want to print.  You CAN'T print from a Kindle.  Not even the real ones, from what I could learn from the FAQs pages.
  • I REALLY REALLY want a Kindle for regular reading!
 So...I perused the projects in my new Kindle book and decided, of course, not to start with the first project.  I had to jump into the middle of the book, deciding to make a book cover since I always carry a paperback with me to the dining hall.  They don't take much fabric - 4 pieces of fabric with the largest being 11 x 8.  So I dug through my scraps and came up with enough to make my very first serged book cover.

Yes, the pages are GREEN!

Too Cool!  It even has a handy bookmark built right in!
I'm all set to take off to the dining hall now, and I don't even have to use a napkin to mark my place when I have to give up reading and go back to work!  First time out of the gate, my book cover actually fit.  I'm on a roll.  So what about larger sized books?  OOK!  This might involve measuring and MATH!  My brain finally cramped around the project and this is what I came up with, again using scraps.  I managed to create a cover for a trade-sized paperback book. 

I got a little funky here and added beads to the yarn bookmark. 
 The "Stepped-Up" version of the book cover pattern involved creating a tassel with the serger to add to the bookmark, but I didn't want to try that.  Instead, I tried using a 2-thread cover stitch to create ladders on a piece of cream-colored fabric.  I literally spent hours running yarn and embroidery thread through these ladders.  But since my directions for creating these ladders wasn't real good, the results were unusable even if the fabric did look pretty.  It looked like tapestry.  Don't know what I did with that mistake, though.  It's somewhere in my sewing room and eventually I'll salvage it to use for something... project book mentioned checkbook covers.  Pretty neat, I thought.  Back to the scrap bag I went.  And came up with this:

But it didn't feel substantial enough with just the fabric.  So I decided to add some quilt batting to the project.  Everything went pretty well at first.  I thought that I would dress up the front of the cover by adding a little applique.  After all, Marie has this great applique stitch that I figured it was time to master too.  So I did some internet surfing, found some free flower applique patterns, and came up with this:

I really liked the dark flowers.  But when it came time to put everything together and serge, I discovered that Donnie does not like thick wads of material.  He started to jam, then went crooked and ate quite a bit of seam allowance.  I still managed to get everything put together, but it just wasn't straight and neat.  And it took a while to get all the little pieces of batting out of the machine...NOT fun!  Add to that the fact that I had to re-thread Donnie and I was getting stressed out!  But I couldn't quit...

And the inside looked even worse.  So I decided to sacrifice some of my fat quarters, more batting, and try again.  But this time I cut my batting slightly smaller than the cover.  Marie really likes to applique on quilting sandwiches now that I've got this great walking foot, so of course we had to add flowers to the newest cover.  Then it was time to let Donnie have a turn at putting everything together.  After that, I tried putting a check pad in, and everything fit.  It was time for just a little more embellishment - I had found some really great little buttons at Noblet's Dime Store on Saturday, so I added some to the center of the main flower:

That should make spending money just a little bit more fun!

After that, I decided that I could use another set of my precious fat quarters (I'm just now discovering the wonderful world of fat quarters and love to look at my tiny stash!).  I needed to see if I could create a trade-sized embellished book cover for a really huge book.  This is what I came up with, after just a small amount of math-related frustration:

Voila!  I now consider myself to be the queen of appliqued book covers.  Potential Christmas presents for the readers in my family?  Hmmm...there's definitely some potential there!


  1. Hey there! I love that you named your sewing machines Donnie and Marie! How fun and very original. I think you did a great job on your book covers and your checkbook cover. Book covers were one of the first things I tried making when I started sewing!

    I wanted to let you know that you entered the October give away on my blog -, and that your blog is set to a "no-reply" message. That means that I don't have your e-mail address to let you know if you win one of the prizes. I know that I said I wasn't going to go chasing after people to get their e-mail addresses, but I really do want you to be entered and eligible. So you can either change your setting, or if you don't want to make your e-mail address public, please just sent me a quick e-mail through your regular e-mail account so I'll have it in the event you win! If you want your e-mail address to be accessible from your blog but don't know how to do it, just let me know in the e-mail you send me and I'll explain it for you.

    Thanks so much and I'm so happy you're following me. I'm following you now, too! :o)



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