Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Running Shirt

Back in Nov, I started running again. It's been about 6 or 7 years since I had last been running on a regular basis. I bought a pair of Newton running sneakers and joined the Y.  I'm loving it there. Did I mention their pool has a water slide? What's not to love? I've been running on their indoor works really well for me...except that I'm HOT. Even with a tank top on.  So I went to a few different chain stores to buy tank top with mesh on the sides. But I couldn't find one.

Then I got the bright idea..why don't I take one of the many dri-fit shirts that DH has, and modify it for me? I can cut off the sleeves and then add mesh on the sides and on the back. It'll save me $$ and I'll have fun re-purposing an old shirt.

It turned out DH had a dri-fit tank top that had accidentally gone through the dryer, and shrank. No longer fitting him. I quickly claimed it as mine.
 I had some left over mesh from a pair of running pants that I had shortened into shorts.
At this point, I should mention that other than hemming pants, I don't have a lot of experience sewing garments. But I was determined to make myself a shirt that was cooler.

I folded the mesh over on itself so that I had two layers of mesh and I cut out two pieces that were 4 inches wide and 12 inches long.

Next I pinned the mesh to the shirt, approx 3 inches down from the ummmm...arm pit hole (is there a technical term for that?) I also cut a triangle piece of mesh and pinned that on the back of the shirt, 3 inches down from the collar.
Using a zig-zag stitch I sewed the mesh panels onto the right side of the shirt.
I used purple bobbin thread  because I was too lazy to fill up a black one so that you could see the stitches better.

The next step was my favorite one, turning the shirt inside out, I carefully cut away the shirt behind the mesh panels.
When I was done, I was left with exactly what I wanted!! A dri-fit shirt with mesh sides. Not to shabby.

This has quickly become one of my favorite running shirts.  Maybe I should have laundry 'accidents' more often.  :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ironing Board Envy

I'm not gonna lie..I've spent some time drooling over those large ironing boards that I've seen at various quilt shows. I may have even stopped in the middle of the aisle to stare at them. Drool may or may not have reached the floor. But their price tag has always kept them out of my reach.

Recently while ironing a yard of fabric fresh from the dryer, I had an idea. Why not transform my cutting table into an ironing board!! It would be perfect for ironing yards of fabric after pre-washing, and just right for fusing batting to any size quilt.
My cutting table.
My plan was to create and ironing board cover out of Therma-Flec that I could plop down on my cutting table when I wasn't cutting fabric. Of course this would also mean cleaning off the cutting table which is home to many misc items. But I figured a little cleaning would be worth it.

After measuring my cutting table I bought two yards of pre-quilted Therma-Flec. What I didn't realize was that the edges were raw, with batting sticking out.

I thought about serging them, but in the end, I decided to bind them with pre-made bias tape from my stash.

I didn't have any of those fancy wonder clips, so I used office binder clips to "pin" the binding in place. They worked out okay. But honestly, I had a hard time getting both sides of the binding to stitch down at the same time. And I had to flip the entire cover over and re-stitch the binding from the back catching all the spots that I had missed.
Office binder clips holding the bias tape in place.
I usually sew the front of my binding on by machine and then hand sew the back on....I like my usual method better...but I was interested in trying to machine sew both sides of binding at once. I'm sure with a bit more practice I could get the machine method down pat.  I would like to try the wonder clips and compare them to the binder clips to see if they work better/easier.  The one thing that I really did like about using the office binder clips was that they were super easy to remove. Easier than pulling pins out. I might try using the clips on other projects and see what happens.

After I had the edges bound, I was going to sew material onto the sides so that the cover would spill over the edges of my cutting table on all four sides. I had decided that I would just use clamps to hold the cover in place while ironing. But then my MIL walked in....she looked at it and said..'Why do extra work? I bet the weight of that cover would keep it in place, you can probably get away with only clamping down the two ends.' hmmmmm. Less work. I love this idea.
Completed cover!!!!

So I went with it. So far soo good. I love the cover, it makes ironing so much easier when I can really spread the fabric out. And the best was super inexpensive. Which of course leaves me with more $$$ to put toward fabric!!!  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thread Painting WIP - done!

One of my goals for this year is to finish up the projects in my WIP pile. I'm happy to report, I finished one!

I love thread painting, and few years ago I had printed out a photo of Jack the Pumpkin King (from the movie 'The Nightmare Before Christmas') on printable canvas. I fused it to timtex and spent a few weeks painting it with various threads. I loved every minute of it.

Once I was done sewing, I set it aside trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. I didn't want to add it to a quilt, nor did I want to frame it and hide the stitches behind a piece of glass. So, it sat on my cutting table while I thought about it.

Then, last Halloween I came across this lace fabric with bats in it and an idea was born!

I stitched the lace to purple faux suede fabric, and then sewed it around the edges of the thread painting.

Then I waited until DH had to work late, and I snuck into his wood shop (he doesn't like me to use power tools unsupervised. If anyone knows first hand what a klutz I's him). I rummaged through his scrap wood pile (he hoards wood, like I hoard fabric). I found four pieces that were the same width and thickness. I helped myself to the power tools and cut them down so that they were all the same length. (go girl power!) I glued and clamped my freshly cut wood making a frame. I let it dry over-nite. I was pretty proud of myself.

The next night I eagerly drove home from work excited to finally finish up this project. I wrapped the fabric around the frame and used my staple gun to staple it in place.

The wood was very thick, so the staples didn't go all the way in. I ended up using a hammer to pound them down. I used lots of staples so that I wouldn't have to worry about them coming out.

Once I flipped it over I realized my mistake. I hadn't tacked down each side of the fabric first - I just started wrapping the fabric on one side and went around the frame clock wise. The entire thing had shifted during this process. DOH! Why hadn't I thought to tack/baste it down with push pins or something??

I'm not a perfectionist and there was no way I was going to remove ALL those staples and re-position the fabric.

I thought to myself: There has to be a way to make this work off-centered, making it look like I did this intentionally, so that it would be 'artistic'.

I stared at it for a while, contemplating my options. Suddenly I remembered the set of Jack pins that I had picked up on sale last summer which were living on a shelf in my closet while I decided what to do with them (do you see a theme here??) I put the pins in the lower right corner and up the right side. Now it looked perfect!!

My 'mistake' had not only made the piece better, but it also gave me a great new way to display my pins! It was a win-win.  I hung up Jack in my studio...a constant reminder that mistakes, are not really mistakes. They are artistic creations coming to life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Find your Pin-spiration...check out my guest blog post over at
 PatchedWorks , I'm sew excited to be blogging with them!

About Me

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Welcome to Calico Cali Designs! I’m Kat, digitizer and sewing enthusiast. I learned how to digitize in 2010 from master digitizer Walter Floriani…it was an amazing experience. Soon instead of spending my time sewing, quilting and stitching out other people’s embroidery designs, I was sewing, quilting and stitching out my own embroidery designs. I created this blog, not only as a place to share my embroidery designs, but also as a place to share all the things I make, sew, paint, embroider, and create. You’ll see posts about my life, my studio, patterns I’ve sewn and products I’ve tested. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. Follow me on twitter . Hugs!! – Kat