Thursday, 1 May 2014

"What's Your Sign, Then?"

CLOSE VIEW Of Sign-Front
What can you sew for a teenage boy's 16th birthday...that he will actually like?!  Hmmm...A challenging conundrum, more trying still when skint!

My much-loved nephew is a "normal", and (at times) moody teenager, with a cheeky sense of humour.  He has gadget cases, doesn't use a wallet; and, none of the usual sewing ideas for teens on the web seemed right for him for one reason and another.  What to do! What to do!

One evening, I witnessed my teen-aged nephew stomp off to his room, he angrily scrawled a note, haphazardly taped it to his bedroom door, then slammed it shut.  It read:


Well, now! Both of my eyebrows raised, I noted: his scribbled-in-Biro sign was hard to read - the white piece of paper blended invisibly with the white door; and, the fine point of the ballpoint pen necessitated nose-pressed-to-door posture, eyes squinted, in order to read it.  This will not do! It will not do at all! 

Full View Of Sign-Back
Auntie to the rescue! My nephew is not the first, nor will he be the last teenager expressing an exasperated need for some cool-off space and privacy.  So, I thought, why not provide him with a real sign, laced with a bit of cheeky humour, in the form of a word-search puzzle on the flip-side? [Okayed by his parents first, of course!]

Both my brother and sister-in-law got a good chuckle at my sketched-out idea.  Their verdict was that their son would get a kick out of it. Cool!

Off to the market I went to buy a couple of 9-inch x 9-inch felt squares @ .50 p. each: 1 in red, 1 in white - his favourite football team colours!

It was super easy to make with virtually no sewing - I used Liquid Stitch. After deciding how big I wanted the sign to be, here's how I did it:

Basic Signboard

Using plain black flannel from my stash, I cut a couple of 12-inch x 10-inch squares.
  1. Lining them up, I machine-sewed the squares together on 3 sides to make a pocket using 1/4-inch seam allowance.
  2. I cut a piece of sturdy cardboard, slightly smaller than the flannel squares.
  3. Ensuring a snug fit, I slipped the cardboard piece inside the pocket.
  4. I set the pocket aside a moment.
  5. Using plain black webbing, (also from my stash), I cut 2x 7-inch pieces.
  6. Next, I folded both pieces of webbing in half to create 2 loops.
  7. I inserted the loose ends of the webbing loops about 1-1/2 inches deep into the unsewn seam of the pocket at the left and right corners.
  8. I folded the rough edges of the pocket down about 1/2-inch, then pinned the loops and seam together.
  9. Using 1/4-inch seam allowance, I sewed that final seam together; making sure the loops were even, and securely in place.
  10. I set aside my new bare-bones, black flannel, and cardboard signboard.
 "Go Away" - FRONT
Full View Of Sign-Front
  1. Taking my felt squares, I cut them in half width-ways.
  2. I used one white felt-half as the background for the "Go Away" side.
  3. I used one red felt-half to cut out the letters to spell "Go Away", using a combination of my Fiskars Rotary Cutter and my Westcott scissors.
  4. Using the remaining piece of red felt, I cut out 4 small triangles.
  5. Using my Liquid Stitch, I attached first the white background onto the black flannel signboard.
  6. Making sure the letters were evenly-spaced, I glued each letter onto the white felt background.
  7. Then, I "liquid-stitched" the 4 triangles to all 4 corners.
 Word Search Puzzle - BACK
  1. Using the remaining half of the red felt, I cut out a 12 cm x 10 cm square.
  2. I set aside the cut-out square.
  3. I had already created and cut out my paper word search puzzle: a 13 cm x 11 cm square (It is slightly larger than the 12 cm x 10 cm window created, so the puzzle edges could be glued without obliterating any of the puzzle letters.)
  4. I glued the paper puzzle to the windowed felt, making sure the whole puzzle showed.
  5. I attached the puzzle window to the reverse side of the black felt signboard in the top centre.
  6. I used the 12 cm x 10 cm red felt cut-out square as the word list  background.
  7. From the remnants of the white felt, I cut out a slightly smaller square.
  8. On that piece of white felt, I used a black, fine-point Sharpie marker to list the words used in the puzzle (in alphabetical order).
  9. Grabbing my handy-dandy Liquid Stitch again, I applied it to the back of the word list, centred it on the slightly larger red felt square, pressing it in place.
  10. Then, I cut out the curved arrow from the white felt, and pasted it on the space adjacent to the word search puzzle.
  11. Now to grab a bamboo rod cut to size.
  12. Lastly, I put in a few stitches in the webbing loops to help hold the bamboo rod securely in place...and added one more to hang the finished sign on a hook..
Personally, I've always wanted a "Go Away" door mat. >:0} Unfortunately, the door mat fairy hasn't yet delivered.  Perhaps she was put off by the lack of welcome? [Sigh]

Having said that, you can probably guess the response if I'm ever greeted with the tired and cheesy question:

"What's Your Sign, Then?"