Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wip Wednesday: Clothing Plans and Quilt Top

I've been bit hard by the sewing-clothing bug.  I even asked my husband recently, "Will I ever quilt again?"  I have a sweet dress to share in another post but I have also cut out most pieces for an ice cream social dress and some bedtime story pajamas.  Sewing for my daughter has been really rewarding- she really loves what I make for her and with the ease of these amazing user-friendly patterns- these projects are usually done within 24 hours from start to finish.  

(My fabric choices: the bunny fabric is a vintage corduroy fabric find from a recent yard sale and the pj's will be made out of that gorgeous Lecien floral).

I did have to take a break from sewing clothing to make a very quick quilt top for a friend in a mom's group I am part of.  She is two weeks from having her second child, a baby girl and I learned that the family likes unicorns as a nursery theme.  Luckily, I already had half a yard of Anne Kelle unicorns leftover from the bow pillow tutorial.  I found a bunch of stash coordinates and made this very simple top:

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sewing Weekend

My friend Cassie and my sister came for a long weekend almost two weeks ago and we did some touristy things in Springs.  We visited Red Rock Canyon Park:

We toured the Olympic Training Center:

And we made Cargo Duffel Bags!  It was awesome and I love how ours came out:

I do have to confess that my bag was a lesson in the importance of reading the directions.  I thought I would be glad to get all of the quilting of the pieces out of the way before Cassie came- mainly because it's such a loud process and I was looking forward to talking with her.  Well, it turns out that pre-quilting all of the pieces was definitely not a smart move but I made it work somehow:

Cassie's is perfect and she even exercised lots of patience in installing an impeccable lining too:

On Sunday night, Cassie got working on her Red Letter Day quilt:

And I started another Lily dress with some loved fabrics: an AMH Dowry print and a South African ShweShwe print I've had for ages:

I did a small pleat at the top of the sleeves instead of gathering them and I was much happier with the results- I also found it to be a much quicker process.  I also put half of a hair elastic on the back for the button closure instead of spending tons of time knotting embroidery floss on the back to make a loop:

Charlotte was the most stylishly dressed tourist at the Olympic training center, if I do say so myself (she was the one who insisted on wearing it that morning and I didn't argue):

This summer has been filled with visitors at our home and it's been awesome and helpful with the growing pains of our move.  Now it's time to get "back to normal" as the summer is drawing to a close.  I am looking forward to a little more structure and possibly squeezing in a little more sewing (hopefully.)

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pincushion Mania: 10 Gifts for Friends

Our family had the pleasure of hosting some friends- Janelle and Scott- from Massachusetts for a few days recently.  They were on their way to a family reunion but made some time to visit with us and it was definitely one of the most significant highlights of our summer!  They have three lovely children, two of them very close to the ages of my children.  It was chaotic but fun to have five children under the age of five in our home for a few days! Gregory and Allen played constantly together and had a blast.  

We took them to Garden of the Gods and I probably talked the ear off of my friend Janelle.  

Janelle kindly offered to bring me something I might be missing that is only available in Massachusetts but instead, I asked if she wouldn't mind bringing back a baby quilt for a mutual friend.  Then I got the brilliant idea to make lots of pincushions for our friends who sew:

The pattern is Wild Flower Pincushion, designed by Anna Maria Horner, available for free here.

I used many very special, favorite fabrics and enjoyed putting together unique combinations from my stash (this was definitely not part of the "purge").  I think this one is my favorite:

Poor Janelle took seven pincushions back for me, which I really appreciated!  It wasn't so much about saving the postage money, it was just nice to not have to track all of the addresses down, package them up, and get to the dreaded post office to mail them!

Soon after our friends left, I made three more for some other friends:

Here are some tips I have for making these:

  • Reinforce the seams on both ends of the base (base= part stuffed with fiberfill)
  • Make sure the petals are spaced evenly around the flower center- that was what seemed to be the trickiest part and it was made easier if I did a good job of sewing the center smoothly
  • The "heavy" interfacing needed for the very bottom is Peltex.  You can also use chipboard (a cereal box).  
Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Capes and Weekend Sewing Plans

More "Purge" projects with some super capes for two birthday parties we have this weekend.  The birthday children are turning five and three and these cute capes were a fun project to make for them.  Every time I do something like this, I make sure to remind my husband how much money we are "saving" (because this sewing hobby is so cheap.....) when I make presents from stash rather than buying presents at the store. ;)

I am seriously scared that my novelty/children's fabrics stash will still be around to use when I have grandchildren, so it always feels so good to use up some of it:

I really do have a small shelf with "rainbow" fabrics, curated mostly before my tastes in fabric really changed, and I never use them.  This wavy stripe is about as old as my marriage, a find on one of my very first Marden's visit:

My friend Cassie and my sister are coming to visit from today until this Tuesday and I asked Cassie if she'd want to make the Cargo Duffel bags together.  I am in the throes of all the wavy organic straight-line quilting and wondering how people make multiples of this project.  Wish us luck!

Linking up to Stitched in Color and Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Giant Star and Purge Backing

Last weekend, I finally cut into some more of my Uganda fabrics to make a giant star quilt (tutorial from In Color Order, found here).  A while ago, I had a loose goal to make one quilt a year from my Uganda fabrics and unfortunately I have only completed two and it's been exactly seven years since we returned from our time there.  

This quilt was super quick but I have to admit that it was still a bit of a challenge for me.  I think that working with large cuts of fabric can be just as difficult as working with tiny pieces sometimes.  My finished HST units were quite wonky and I found that cutting a 16.5" square template piece out of pattern paper was the easiest way to square everything up.  

I also have to admit that it was quite difficult to use up one of the two yards of the Sunflower fabric I had left! It is the most striking, beautiful fabric!!!!  

As part of "the purge"- I went ahead and made a backing out of some of my un-loved blue fabrics from my stash.  My blue fabrics are seriously overflowing - I guess I reach for pink, red, and yellow a lot more often.  I chose blue fabrics that are hard to use: most being prints with other dominant colors.  I find that I use monochromatic prints much more often than multi-colored prints.

Linking up with "The Purge" at Stitched in Colorand "WIP Wednesday" at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Muppet Alphabet Cross-Stitch

My sister has been living with us this summer and it has been awesome.  She usually spends the summer with us but this time we really had her around 24/7 and the kids and I have loved it.  At night, after the kids are in bed, we have worked on our cross-stitch projects while we watch Prison Break on Netflix.  I am working on Once Upon a Time, and she has been doing this epic Muppet Alphabet pattern.  

 We love the Muppets in this family!  I have always been a big fan - the first time I went to Disneyworld, I probably went to the Muppet 3-D theater over a dozen times.  The movies are fun for all ages and quite timeless.  If I had to choose a favorite character, I would probably pick Fozzie.

I can't wait to get this framed- it's too precious to make it into a pillow.  I wish custom framing weren't so darn expensive!

I feel a little smug that I really got my sister addicted to an aspect of sewing- it's been perfect for her with some of the health problems she's struggled with!  Now she's back to working on a crazy-complicated depiction of the cover art of The Deathly Hallows book.

Thanks for reading!  More to share tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lily Dress: Briar Rose Edition

My design wall is quite empty and I have to admit that I am itching to start a major quilt project.  But it's also nice to have a break and work on smaller things.  After finishing my Jacob's Ladder top, I knew I wanted to get back to making some clothes for my two year-old daughter.  

A trip to Fancy Tiger a few weeks ago left me with these goodies: the Lily dress pattern and 1.25 yards of this Briar Rose fabric that was on sale for only $5.25 per yard.  Now, I have to admit, I kind of regret falling for that bargain because this acidic orange is not my favorite color.  In my defense, my whole family was in the car waiting for me and I was definitely in a rush!  But I guess it was good to have my first go at the pattern with a fabric I didn't love - as I was kind of nervous, through the whole process of making the dress, that the whole project would be a failure.  

Luckily this first Lily dress wasn't a failure and Charlotte loves it- she's worn it three times already:

I really had wanted to use this project as a way for me to get acquainted with my new-to-me serger, but I soon learned that the serger needle was broken.  I made the quick decision to finish the dress rather than go to Joann's for at least an hour just to buy a new needle!  (The Joann's here is insanely busy all of the time here- I try not to go to often!)

I scoured my stash for a coordinating fabric for the yoke of the dress: I wanted it to stand out and I feared that if I went with green- Charlotte would really look like a pumpkin!

One big stumbling block through making the dress was that the pattern calls for single fold bias trim to finish the neckline.  I was pretty confident that anything at Joann's would not match the red fat quarter I was working with (and I had already decided I wasn't going to use my precious sewing time to wait in a line at the store)- so luckily I made it work with the scrap I had of the yoke fabric- youtube also saved the day in teaching me how to make the trim myself.

The pattern allows you to make the dress with long sleeves or sleeveless.  I decided to eye-ball it and alter the pattern to make short sleeves.  They are a little longer than I would've liked but I think it kind of adds to the "vintage charm."  I used an old button for the back closure that really matches the design of the small flower on the yoke fabric. I really think Charlotte looks like a baby doll in this dress- I really have had people tell me that she looks like a porcelain doll with that blonde hair and her very pale skin!

I had planned to immediately make another Lily dress, with some more-loved fabric, but I had something come up that I need to attend to first. More to share soon!