We live in a bungalow that has been split into 2 rental units and we are in the upstairs unit. It’s a small space – not tiny – but small. In my kitchen, which I actually dislike with an incredible intensity, I keep my small freezer, leaving no room for a kitchen table & chairs. We had a set when we moved in here, but never really got into the habit of using it so got rid of it and, nature abhorring a void, other things moved into the space – all this to say, we eat in the living room. I have stonewear bowls and we love soup & stew, however, they get screaming hot and are a challenge to hang on to.
I made up my mind, quite a while ago, to make insulating pads to hold the bowls in so there are no more burned fingers. I say quite a while ago but what I really mean is a few years ago. I got one mostly done at that time, gave it away and got distracted by many other things – as I tend to do.
My crafting strength is knitting not sewing so I fight the sewing machine the whole way – we are not friends. Getting a straight seam is a serious miracle, worthy of buying a lottery ticket miracle. Cutting fabric straight is next level miracle….I rarely make this level, but am learning to relax about it….sort of. Any sewing project I want to tackle takes quite a bit of talking myself into. This is ridiculous, I realize, but that’s how it is. I feel I should be good at this, despite having had very little practice, and if I’m not good at it, I must be defective.
Soooo, I’ve been talking myself into making these bowl pads for a while now, and decided yesterday to take the plunge. I took a quick look at a pattern walk through I found online a year or so ago, and off I went.
I measured the bowls we mostly use for soups and stews….11 inches from one side, down under and back up the other side to the brim. Okay, measure and cut cotton fabric 11 inches square, 2 pieces per bowl pad. Got it! Used plaid. While pretty, probably not my best move as the pattern clearly shows my fabric wasn’t quite straight when I cut it, but learning to let things go!
The pattern instructions I read said to sew a pad of batting onto the wrong side of each piece of the bowl pad with a seam from corner to corner across the middle in an x. The writer of the post wanted to be able to put the bowl into the pad and microwave the whole thing….I do not, so non cotton batting should be fine. One piece should also be fine. And here is where, in hindsight, things went awry…….
I put the two pieces together, with a piece of batting in the middle, pinned them and sewed them corner to corner through the middle, making an x. Two of the straightest seams I’ve ever done. SO PROUD! Okay, quick look at the walk through….need to cut a notch out of each side so the bowl cover will curl, cupping the bowl. All right, grab the ruler, grab the scissors, cut the notch. Excellent.
Sew those seams, put the…two…panels..together…wait, what?!
And there is my error. As it is now, there is no way to hide my cut seam because there is no way to turn the pretty side out when I’m done sewing the notches!
Sewing tip #1…..read the whole walk through then figure out the changes. Do not do that on the fly, it will probably go wrong.
Having figured out my error, I’m going to make the other 3, the right way, then I’m going to rip the seams on the first one, straighten out my notch cut, add the other 3, and put the thing together….the RIGHT way.
For the purposes of this blog entry, I finished one! Let me repeat…..I finished one! WooHoo!!!!
Funny how much faster the whole thing goes when you know what to do.
Now, the correct way:
From your cut fabric, cut notches in each side about 1 inch in and about 2-1/4 inches long.
I cut both pieces for one of the pads at the same time, in the hopes that the notches would line up when I sewed the whole thing together. Stay tuned….
Next thing is to sew the notches. I used a quarter inch margin all the way through this project. I’ve done a quilt and several quilt patches and now the habit is 1/4 inch. (I say I’ve done a quilt but what that actually means is that I fought to make a wall hanging, with some of the most crooked seams ever done….looks like a Tim Burton movie.)
Then, turn both pieces, wrong sides together and sew around the edge, leaving a gap to get the batting in. I pinned each corner & notch so they matched up. I believe I mentioned difficulty with straight seams? I do what I can to stack the odds in my favour.
As much as I hate to admit it, ironing does make a difference…to the good.
Now, stuff some batting in there. I only left about a 2 inch hole and had to fiddle & finagle to get the batting in somewhat evenly. I sewed around the edge with a zigzag stitch, hoping to trap the batting. I think it worked fairly well. Once that was done, and I closed the gap, I did sew from corner to corner across the middle and lo & behold, the seams are straight. I’m buying a lottery ticket tomorrow, because I am clearly having some major luck.
The finished product – I am so pleased with it. Is it perfect? No. Is it done? Yes, and I have decided done is better than perfect.