Given that it’s a rainy Saturday and I don’t feel terribly motivated to work on my summer dress collection (see previous post), I decided to turn my attention to more crafty pursuits. Earlier this week in a fit of madness I decided to organise and clean up my fabric collection;  I even went through my scrap bag – gadzooks what was I thinking.

Scrap collections are wonderful things. My mom almost never threw any of her scraps away, they went into the scrap bag instead. Over the  years she has made all sorts of weird and wonderful things out of her scraps: I have two small quilts that are made from scraps (I can identify various dresses, blouses and pjs in these quilts) and a house coat that is such a crazily ensemble of mismatched pieces that it looks like a choreographed piece of art. Given that it was drilled into me from an early age not to throw out fabric, I’ve got myself a fairly established scrap bag. Every time we move I have to force myself to go through it and  get rid of a few things are I am unlikely to be able to incorporate into much apart from a braided rug (and I’m not likely to get into that any time soon). I even managed to make a baby quit for some friends recently almost entirely out of the scrap bag.

I loved looking at all the fabric and remember what I made, the occasion and the patterns. There are some really wonderful pieces in there, a few ‘what was I thinking’ items and then of course those projects that just didn’t work so were buried at the bottom because the fabric might come in handy if you can bare to unpick all the damn seams.

Anyway my desire to be crafty collided with my desire to clean out the scrap bag, so I decided what better than to make some lovely Clara Bow Pins. See the Coletterie of which I am a devoted fan has some fantastic little sewing tips, tutorials and ideas. The Clara Bow Pin is one which I have been meaning to give a go for a while now.Image

My first one didn’t turn out quite as good as I had hoped, but after a few goes I think I figured out a pretty go way to make it work.

For a start the dyslexic  in me really puzzled over the very first instruction:

  • Cut ‘Four 3 5/8” x 3 3/4” squares, if using stripes, cut two on each bias’ and then ‘For bias stripes, sew opposite stripes right side facing (stripes don’t have to match at center seam). If you’re sewing pieces cut on grain, stitch the shorter sides together.’

But why bother having cut 4 pieces (unless you were cutting against the grain) if you’re just going to sew them back together? This logic is perhaps why I have never become addicted to quilting.

ImageOn the second bow, I instead I cut Two 3 5/8” x 6 7/8” rectangles thereby bypassing the need for steps 1 and 2 and jumped straight to step 3. It worked out pretty good – although for a dyslexic the math of working out 3 ¾” x 2 – 5/8” nearly killed my brain!

ImageNow my first attempt I think a major problem lay in how I pleated the bow (see step 5 in the tutorial).  Having never attempted to pleat a bow I just looked a bit  … err … folded.  So for the subsequent bows  after initially pinching the centre, I turned down the outside.

Although as I made more, I realised that the type of fabric really impacts how it folds and actually the crème and red floral bow, which gathered slightly as I sewed the two rectangles together, I think is one of the best!

 Also I struggled with the centre band. See I just don’t quite get it, how am I suppose to turn a band as narrow as a  3” x 1” strip with a 1/4” seam allowance? So to be honest I just folded edges to the middle, wrong sides together. Image

Eek these are fun!  And ok mine aren’t quite on par with the one from Coletterie but hey ho.

What have you made with your scraps?


The two pokadot bows are scraps from shirts I made my husband, the strawberry is from an old summer dress, and the red floral was a blouse I gave to a friend.



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