Friday, March 23, 2012

Sidetracked by pillowcases

I continued to make progress on the embroidered caftan until this week.  With the heat we are getting so early this spring I decided that it is a higher priority to make my husband a linen pillowcase to go with his linen sheet.  One of my sons has taken over the table I use for my sewing machine, so I decided that I'd just hand stitch the pillow case since that would also allow me to work on it during the drive to and from work.  I cut it out at home a couple evenings ago, using an old pillowcase as my 'pattern'.  All the rest of the work has been done in the car.

First I evened up the edge of the fabric that had been cut unevenly in the originally purchased fabric.  The cutters at the fabric store don't seem to care so much about such things.  I prefer to have square edges, so I pulled any threads that didn't go entirely across the end.  Then I finger pressed about 1/2 inch to turn under the make the doubled open edge facing, enclosing the cut edge.  Folded that over so there was a nice, maybe 4 inches, doubled area, pinned it in place and started stitching.

I did a running lock stitch across the folded side, not enough to be top stitched, but very close to the fold.  Once that facing had been finished I pinned the raw edges wrong sides together, so I can make a sort of thickish French seam enclosing the cut edges.  I didn't bother to cut off the selvedge, so I am making the stitching line about 1/2 inch from the edge, so as not to stitch in the selvedge.  After the edges are stitched together I'll finger press the seam, fold it inside out, repin and stitch the final seam.  Another day or so should finish it.

It would be much faster if I was doing this on the machine, or when not in a moving car, but that's OK.  I'm making great progress and finishing something that I wouldn't even have really started if not for the decision to make it by hand.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Linen adventures continue

I have continued to work on linen handkerchiefs off and on over the winter.  The embroidered linen caftan spent most of the winter waiting for me to get back to it.  With the short daylight hours I wasn't able to work on it riding to and from the office, which has been the times I was working on it.  Yesterday I put it back into the car and worked on it during the ride to and from the office, and again this morning.  I'm part way along the last short edge.  Feels good to get back at it.

I've been using the black linen caftan as my after shower breakfast outfit quite often, particularly after showering to wash my hair.  I use another linen cloth made of a beautiful deep blue to let my hair drip into it.  This blue linen is handkerchief weight, or possibly slightly heavier.  It is very thin and light, packs easily and dries very fast.  In fact, when I use it after washing my hair it is usually only at the most damp where my ends hit, often it is dry.  The really nice thing is that my hair seems to dry a lot faster when I'm  using the linen cloth.  It may be the combination of the cloth with the linen caftan, but even just the cloth really helps.

The smooth texture of the linen is also good for my hair, as it does not abrade the scales of the hair causing them to roughen up.  I need to make some more of these cloths.

The linen sheet I made for my DH has had a lot of use.  He likes it, and thinks it helps, but he would like one that is wider.  I need to get some more fabric to make him a wider sheet, and also pillowcases.  I sleep on a silk pillow case since that is very smooth for my hair, and I get cold easily.  He is usually hot, so linen is much better for him.  My sons are also interested in getting linen sheets, so I'll have to make several.