Bonus Post: Iron Craft Challenge #23

I finally had time to do the Iron Craft challenge again, which this week was called You Are Here: make something with a map or make something that looks like or is inspired by a map.

In my stash were two world maps sent by the charity Doctors Without Borders, and a piece of scrapbook paper I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy that was a piece of a road map, but I couldn’t think of what to do with them. While doing something else at the sewing machine I looked over at the scrapbook paper and thought about stitching the lines onto fabric, but that with all the red roads it risked looking like a bloodshot eye. Then I thought topographical maps would translate really well to embroidery, but tried in vain to find a good topographical map relevant to my life (I am from the flat lands, and also there are a great many websites that promise free topographical maps and provide nothing of the sort). Somewhere along the line the idea of a topographical map of something non-topographical popped into my mind, and after a little more research and work I present to you Landscape of Love:

topographical embroidery

If I did it right, it is a topographical map of a larger-than-life pair of lips (and surroundings). The fabric is cotton calico and the floss is DMC satin, which is a terrible thing to work with – even if you spend time pumicing your fingertips and filing your nails between each session, it catches on the needle itself. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, though it would make a good boudoir pillow. Although actually, I’m not so impressed by my stitching. I am very proud of the pattern, though, and in case you like it too, I actually made the effort to put it in sharable form, suitable for size changes.

Bonus Post: Iron Craft Challenge #17

I wanted to make Lion’s “Two Peas in a Pod” amigurumi (registration required to see pattern) as soon as I saw it, but when does someone who’s not planning a wedding or bridal shower have a reason to make an explicitly wedding-themed project? Well, as it turns out, when Iron Craft takes the British royal wedding as its inspiration and sets weddings as the theme of the week. Until I remembered this pattern I wasn’t going to participate, since I have a number of wedding gifts to make but they are either already in progress or items I can’t complete in a week.

I added some silver to the mix, in the form of a hatband and trim on the bridal veil. Crocheting with metallic floss gets a big thumbs down – the strands would either prefer to have nothing to do with each other, or they catch on each other. However, I am very happy with how it came out! (except perhaps for Mr. Pea’s mouth.)

peas in a pod

peas taking vows
Stumpy got his one-day license for this.

posed picture
Smile for the camera!

silly picture
You always need a silly picture.

I made them grinning and winking because I wanted joy. Long ago I cut a 50th anniversary announcement out of the paper – they had used a wedding picture for the announcement, and happiness shines out of it.

wedding photo 1951

I cut it out as a reminder that unless I feel the way they look, I shouldn’t walk down the aisle. Also, they’re just darn cute.

Bonus Post: Iron Craft Challenge #16

ribbon purse front view

My sister and brother-in-law went to Japan last year, and one of the many gifts they sent me afterward (solar-powered dancing sumo wrestler!) was a five-yen coin. It added to my collection of coins from New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, and various Euro-using countries.

Through Dollar Store Crafts I learned of the existence of Iron Craft, a weekly crafting challenge. I’m minimizing my craft expenditures, at least through April[1], and so I passed on the Peep-crafting challenge, but the following week was money-related crafts. Perfect! I have wanted to try making a ribbon purse for a while now, and had the perfect ribbon to go with the yen.

ribbons and yen

I’ve structured the rest as a tutorial. You’ll need a wider ribbon, a narrower ribbon, and some coordinating lining fabric. My wider ribbon was about twice as wide as the narrower ribbon (7/8″ vs 3/8″), so if yours isn’t your bag will have different proportions. I don’t recommend my sheer wide ribbon, as it did not want to stay squared, which made it hard to work with. The amount needed will vary, of course, but mine used less than 2.5 yards of the wider ribbon and 2 yards of the narrower ribbon.

Let W be the width of the wider ribbon and N be the width of the narrower ribbon. Cut 5 lengths of the wider ribbon: two of length 3W + 10N + 1.5 inches (“shorter”), and three of length 2W + 15N + 1 (“longer”). Cut 9 lengths of the narrower ribbon: five of length 10W + 1.5 inches, and four of length 3W + 1. [If you are working in metric, 1 can be 3cm and 1.5 can be 4cm. It is not important to be exact.]

For me, the height of the bag is 5N. Take one shorter and one longer wide ribbon and pin them at 90 degrees, the shorter ribbon centered on the longer one with one edge 5N + 1/2″ away from the end of the longer ribbon (or a bit further). Weave the remaining wide ribbons in a grid, pin, and stitch in place (I stitched along both edges of each of the two shorter ribbons).

initial weaving weaving the second side

Weave the narrower ribbons through the longer loose ends of the three wide ribbons. Put the longer narrow ribbons closer to the middle, and line all of them up so there is 1/2″ overhang on one side. Stitch along the outside edges of the wide ribbons.

Continue to weave the narrow ribbons through the wider ones. Work with the bag inside-out – that will make the final corner easier. You shouldn’t need to sew more than the far edge of each side (so, no maneuvering the sewing machine in the inner corner).

Of course, if you’re me, and you cut your narrow ribbon to be 8W instead of 10W, you might utter some unladylike words and have to cut new lengths of ribbon to cover the fourth side of the bag. I cut them much longer than necessary so I could line up the ribbon pattern in the corner.

fixing my oversight box-shaped

When you get to the last corner, pin the narrow ribbons right sides together and stitch, just far enough out from the corner to avoid catching the wider ribbon. Trim to 1/2″ and press open.

Now you need to cut out lining pieces. Follow my directions for the flap; if you prefer for the rest futuregirl has a tutorial complete with worksheet. The flap piece should be (flap height + 1)” by (flap width + 1)”. The other piece is (2*(bag height) + bag depth + 1)” by (bag width + bag depth + 1)”, where “depth” is the front-to-back measurement. [Here, precision is more important, so in metric, replace 1″ by twice your desired seam allowance, and in the following, replace 1/2″ with your seam allowance.]

lining pieces

Center the flap lining on the right side of the flap and stitch around the outside, catching only one of the two kinds of ribbon in your stitching but otherwise stitching as close as possible to the weave. You may need to scrunch the ribbons down on the middle wide ribbon, since they are not sewn in place. If you want fancier corners, as I did with my angled cut-off, I found it easier to stitch squarely with the ribbon side up, and then turn it over to stitch the angles. That way you know you are not stitching too close in, but you don’t have the visual distraction of all the ribbons.

Trim the seam allowance and turn. My ribbons didn’t take well to ironing, so I topstitched close to the flap edge to keep the lining from puffing out.

lining pinned to flap sewn and trimmed

Fold the larger piece of lining material so that the bag width is preserved (fold the 2height+depth direction in half; you are making a seam that will run up the center of each side of the bag). Stitch the two edges perpendicular to the fold, with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press the fold into a crease. Cut along the fold line outside each stitch line.

Open the seam allowance and fold the side down so the seam line runs along the bottom crease. Mark a line (bag height + 1/2)” down from the top edge, perpendicular to the seam line. Pin and stitch along that line. Do the same on the opposite side, cut the corners off at about 1/2″ from the stitching, and press them up toward the side seam. (If your wide ribbon is not sheer, pressing down toward the bottom of the lining is also fine.)

one edge folded down corner marked

Fold the top edge of the lining down 1/2″ all around, with the raw edge and seam allowances to the outside, and set the lining into the ribbon bag. Line the lining seams up with the center sides of the ribbon bag, pin, and topstitch all around the bag. Again, you may need to make sure the narrow ribbon hasn’t arced up on the middle wide ribbon in front.

You may want to turn the bag inside-out and stitch from the ribbon side, to make sure that on the back of the bag your stitches line up with the ribbons.

pinned and ready

To make the bag fold in at the top and improve its shape, turn it inside-out, pinch the sides in half vertically, and stitch close to the fold line for 3/8″ to 1/2″. Turn the bag right-side-out again, pinch the four corners (try to catch the lining in the pinch all the way down) and stitch vertically close to the fold top to bottom.

stitched to pinch inwards corner stitching

Finally, sew your coin (or button, or beads) centered at the edge of the flap. A snap or magnetic closure could be added underneath, or a button could be sewn on the front of the bag and a loop sewn onto the flap. I did none of that, so my bag does fasten shut. But my remaining international coinage has a prettier place to live now!

front-profile view back-profile view

[1] edit: apparently Dollar Store Crafts took down their “April is Stash-Busting Month!” page after April. The idea is to buy nothing new for the month; craft only out of your existing materials.