08 September 2022

Mending without Spending

I need to cheer three times because I finished three projects during the three-day weekend! All three are from my mending pile instead of my WIP list, but I'm making progress, slow but steady, in finishing things that have needed to be done, some for a decade or more.

First up was a very short stack of various batik layer cake leftovers I thought could make a good quilt or quilt back in a bind. This stack has been on my sewing table (which sometimes doubles as a dining room table, ha ha) for at least a couple of years. My mending pile has sojourned right next to these layer cake remnants, so I've always considered the blocks part of the mending pile. The scrappy layer cake has grown a bit in the last two years until it finally contained 12 blocks, which is my own definition of perfect for a kid quilt layout.

Somewhere along the line, I bought a half-price jelly roll, thinking that would make perfect sashing for this leftovers project. When I finally sat down to work out a layout, I found I wasn't very happy with two of the 10-inch squares, and I found out why the jelly roll was on sale. I didn't like it too much at all.

I ended up cutting out three more 10-inch blocks from my batik stash, then incorporating leftover batik strips I cut myself back when I was designing batik jelly roll quilts for my grands. I also threw in a few blocks from a sale charm pack I picked up who knows how long ago. I LOVED the charm pack, but there were only 24 blocks, so not really enough to make a quilt. Using the squares in this project helped me feel like at least one sale precut I bought was worth the price!

I'm thinking this might be an excellent quilt backing. It could be a quilt front, too, but I promised I would not create any new quilts until I finish a few more WIPs. I can even make this flimsy bigger by adding more of my home-cut batik strip leftovers around the edges if I need to, perhaps even creating a fancy border.

Next up is the dress I intended to wear to my niece Lyndsie's wedding. Back in 2016!!! Lyndsie actually gave birth to her second son last week, and I have a pretty nice little stash of finished kid quilts now, so I was able to get one off in the mail the day after my new grand nephew arrived instead of spending the three-day weekend making another baby quilt.

I bought this border-edged rayon batik even further back than Lyndsie's wedding, perhaps in 2010, at the now-defunct Denver National Quilt Festival. Oh, how I fell in love with the fabric!!! Total impulse purchase! I bought three yards, because it was wide, thinking that would be enough for a dress. I finally began the dress perhaps a month prior to Lyndsie's wedding... I typically can finish most dresses in one day. But no, not this one... I did not have enough fabric for both the bodice top and back.

I can't remember how long it took me to find a nearly matching rayon batik so long after I bought that original fabric. I do remember I didn't find it in time for the wedding. So I had to wear something else on that special day.

What I bought doesn't truly match, so I ended up cutting both bodice parts from the additional fabric (and sending the original bodice piece to the scrap stash), hoping the dress wouldn't look too bad with the top of the dress made from a different fabric than the bottom.

I can't remember why I didn't put the top and bottom together when I finished cutting them out, but it's possible the timing coincided with 15 quilts for my new grandkids for Christmas! A very worthy distraction! Oh, and in looking up that significant event, I discovered that's also the time period when my 34-year-old beloved Viking Husqvarna finally gave up the ghost. I distinctly remember that unfortunate event putting all kinds of delays into all quilting, sewing and mending projects. The dress got buried by one more mending project after another, until I couldn't even see what was on the bottom of the stack and until I bought a new, very inexpensive sewing machine, a Brother Project Runway (approximately three years ago). Last weekend I began deconstructing the mending pile to discover why it had grown so tall and what secrets it held.

I thought perhaps I may have procrastinated finishing the dress because facings are not my favorite thing to do, particularly when I blind-stitch tack them down by hand. I don't remember even putting the top of this dress together, but, lo and behold, I did. I also don't remember crocheting (and installing) the loop I planned to use for the back button, which I no longer have (at least in a location I might think to look). Thankfully, my button stash included a suitable button that fit the crocheted loop, and half an hour later, my dress was done!

Last but not least, the mending pile included two pairs of bike shorts. One needs a new chamois. Cheaper than buying a new pair of cycling shorts. But doing a project like that by hand (which is how I began... 15 years ago!!!), obviously convinced me I'd be better off buying a new pair of spandex shorts. The second pair of bike shorts in the stack needed the chamois tacked to the shorts because each washing resulted in serious slippage and very uncomfortable rides. I tried my hand at this pair using my sewing machine and learned why the first pair of shorts was being done by hand. Those chamois pads are not the easiest things to sew, by hand OR by machine!!! Nevertheless, my stash of cycling shorts now is one pair richer without a single dime being spent.

Linking up with Alycia Quilts.


  1. Dang!! Look at you tackling that pile!!! I really like the batik quilt you made - its super colorful!!
    your dress is gorgeous!!! and now that it is all done you will have to go someplace to show it off!!!

  2. It's very satisfying to get things done, especially mending. :-)


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