Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Quilt Files, Episode 23

It's been a while since I've detailed any quilting projects on the blog, because it's been a while since I've worked on any projects. I still have a king-sized piece I'm hand-quilting, but it will be a long time until that's done. In the meantime, I got invited to a summer wedding, and thought I'd find a little project to supplement a gift on the gift registry. I saw a kit in a catalog for an insulated casserole tote, and thought it looked like a fun little project. Then I opened the pattern, and saw the directions required 60 feet of cotton clothesline ... what the heck? I looked at the directions. What had looked like thin sewn strips in the tiny catalog picture was actually fabric-wrapped pieces of clothesline. So after a four-store search to find cord of cotton-blend, not polyester (which wouldn't be good with heat), I was finally able to get started. I wrapped twelve strips of fabric around the line, then zig-zagged the pieces together. I cut them into smaller slices and sewed the slices together to make the body of the carrier. (Click on a photo to enlarge.)

 For the covers, I pieced more strips together and made a sandwich: strip-pieced top, insulative batting in the middle, and solid bottom. Then I put a mitered binding around three sides of each cover. I didn't bother tacking down the binding by hand, I could stitch in the ditch and catch the underside without a problem.

Next was to take the covers and attach them to the top of the zig-zagged clothesline sides. That could be done by machine, and once the tops were attached to the sides I could do more binding on the top of the clothesline sides. Pulling the binding to the inside and tacking it down (again by machine) hid the seam very well, as you can see in this picture. I butted the edges of one cover right next to another; in the picture you can see one cover is flipped back (the black part on the left), while another is lying on top of where the casserole goes (the black and white stripes).

Next came the fun part—NOT! I had to attach the binding at the bottom of the clothesline sides to the reinforced, cloth-covered bottom by hand. Since this seam had to hold the weight of a glass casserole, filled with food, the pattern recommended using tapestry thread. As you can see from the picture, it's pretty heavy, at least three strands, and I had to use a tapestry needle to fit the thread. Pushing a tapestry needle through regular cotton fabric is tough, and I had to start over twice to get the circular side to line up with the square bottom. It was painstaking hand-work (emphasis on the pain, that's big needle to wield), but I finally finished.

And here's the finished product! You can't see, but there is a casserole dish on the inside, nestled under four layers of insulated covers on the top and kept secure by four ties that were sewn directly onto the bottom of the base. Something pretty, functional, and hand-crafted to accompany the casserole dish that was on the registry. It was a fairly work-intensive project, but I liked how it turned out so much I might make it again for myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment