Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Special Gift

 Isn't this quilt amazing?  My friend Sarah surprised me by sending it to me last week.  It is so perfect for Owen and our family.  I am overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family with the birth of this baby.  We've been so blessed!

I love this quilt and what it means. I have made many meaningful friendships through guilds and sewing connections and they are so rewarding and precious to me.   I know Sarah won't be offended when I say that I hope Owen will use it frequently, nearly wearing it out!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Le Challenge Entry: Method

"Method" was the theme for Le Challenge this month.

When it comes to sewing apparel, there is definitely a specific "method" I adhere to.  I am very much a beginner when it comes to making clothes and I am reluctant to deviate from the method I have found to enjoy and used.  I almost exclusively use one pattern designer (Oliver and S), I stick to the instructions with exactness, I only use quilting cotton, and I only sew for my daughter.  I prewash my materials and almost always have to make a quick shopping trip for notions.

Quilting is a lot less "prescribed" for me.  I never prewash, sometimes I follow a pattern (and I am willing to try all sorts of different designers), shopping is rarely necessary since I have such a "healthy" stash, and I have made quilts for many people in my life.  I am willing to experiment, deviate from the instructions, and try new things.  I am sure that with more experience and practice, my approach to garment sewing will become more adventurous.

Thanks for sticking with me!  Here's the dress I made this weekend:

This fun print is a Clover Sunshine print designed by Alison Glass.  I've got the kids calling it the "eye spy" dress because there are so many fun little designs in the fabric: an octopus, paintbrush, jet, rainbow, etc.  The pattern I used is the Library dress by Oliver and S, in a 4T.

Sometimes I spend inordinate amounts of time in the button aisle at the store but not this time!  I am in love with the glitter-y buttons I found at Joanns.  They match the dress perfectly.

Even though this dress did not have cats on it, Charlotte loves it and I am so pleased.  She wore it all day today and had to be bribed to take it off for a few minutes for me to get a garment-only picture.  Success!

Linking up with Le Challenge and Finish it up Friday.

Le Challenge

I haven't caught up with my stash fabric tally in a few posts, so here's the catch-up:

Total stash fabric used in the past three posts: 3 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 82 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  85 yards

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Purse Palooza Sew Together Bag

Last night, in just a few hours, I made a Sew Together bag from start to finish in just a few hours!  It was so fun for me-it's been a while since I've found the time and energy for any project.

One of the most fun parts of any sewing project is choosing the fabrics from my stash.  The far left floral print in the below picture is one of my all-time fabrics designed by Anna Maria Horner.  Matching fabrics to coordinate with it was somewhat difficult: it contains some very unique shades of green, orange, and blue that didn't find friends within my stash- so I chose fabrics that were "close enough."  This is a strategy that I have learned to use often.  Avoiding perfectly matched combinations is a style I like anyhow.  

I had three 9" mustard colored zippers set aside for this project, but I could not find them!  I finally settled on using some other zippers in my small zipper stash.

This cute bag is off to a dear friend who hopefully will love a little surprise in the mail.  I love this bag pattern SO much and I think every sewer needs to have one.  I use mine all of the time!

Lining up with Purse Palooza 2015 and Finish it up Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Purse Palooza: Children's Library Tote

I have entered the world of children's birthday parties thanks to my son's recent entry into kindergarten.  My son had his birthday party last week- a rewarding but exhausting project that explains a lot of my absence on my blog lately.  Then, this past weekend, he was invited to a party for his classmate, Hailey.

I decided to make Hailey a child sized library tote.  I have made adult sized versions previously:

I scaled it all down for the birthday gift, using some of my treasured Anne Kelle girlfriends fabric:

I am not sure if I love the dimensions of this bag- it seems a little "off."  Are the handles too long?  Too wide?  Either way, I knew a six year old would probably like it and I think she did!

Linking up to Sew Sweetness for this year's Purse Palooza and Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

P.S. I received some questions via a blog comment from a person named Lindy in Australia but her google account is set to "no reply" - so I cannot respond.  Please email me Lindy and I will be happy to help you out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Le Challenge Entry: Gold

Hi friends!  Just under the wire, I wanted to submit an entry for this month's Le Challenge.  The theme is: gold.  I took an easy, literal approach to the challenge by making a bow pillow with some Remix chevron gold-accented fabric that I won at a guild retreat almost two years ago.  You all know I am a big Ann Kelle fan, so this was a great prize.

I used my own Bow Pillow tutorial along with some Kona solid (Apple?) from my stash.  

I always prefer a zippered pillow back but decided to favor the time saving technique of an envelope back:

Le Challenge

Thanks to the ladies at Le Challenge for providing the inspiration to get back in my sewing room, it was getting a little dusty in there thanks to the demands of raising three small children!

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

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1.5 yard
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 80.5 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  82 yards

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tula Pink at Fancy Tiger

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me.  I am trying to catching up on things, including blogging!  So please excuse my tardiness, but I must talk about Tula Pink's visit to Fancy Tiger Crafts on September 4.  I drove a carpool of friends to Denver and had an amazing time!  I even made the effort to bring my real camera, but totally spaced it and only took two poor iphone photos.  I was so distracted by the gorgeous fabrics in the store as well as many friends in attendance, taking pictures wasn't my first priority.  

Tula's presentation was just awesome.  There are so many talented fabric designers I've had the pleasure of hearing from, but not all of them are decent public speakers.  Tula is talented in both areas!  She was hilarious and so fun to listen to.  She spent a lot of time explaining her design process for the Elizabeth collection and it really helped me understand how detailed and thoughtful her fabric design process is.  Everything she does is thoughtful and has purpose.  

I met up with one of my most "favorite people in Colorado," Cassie, who lives in Ft. Collins (too far!).  Here's a goofy selfie of us in front of the Eden butterfly quilt:

I really love the new collection, Eden, the pixelated tigers are to die for!

If I had an unlimited budget, I could easily drop $500 at Fancy Tiger.  They always have the newest fabrics and I want everything!  My souvenir fabrics from that night were these bargain one yard cuts of Tula Pink fabrics for $5 each shown below.  I bought two yards of the horses (far right) and hope to see if my daughter will consent to a dress made out of them (she can be very picky).  

The morning after Tula, I got up very early with my family to see the annual balloon launch downtown.  This is one of my favorite events in the city.  There were much cooler balloons than the stupid Pepsi one, but oh well.  We got there just as the Darth Vader and Yoda ones were ascending.

We finally had Owen's baby blessing when my parents were in town and it was so nice.  I am really, really enjoying Owen because he's sleeping through the night without any major hassle on my part.  It's been amazing.  He's such a good baby and I don't know if I can take any credit for it but I am receiving it with a grateful heart, especially when my childbirth recovery had been so miserable!

Well, blogging and looking at my pretty new fabric really makes me want to go sew!  Too bad I have a morning meeting today but I will get to it asap.  Finishing the nearly year long Weekender WIP has really lit a fire under me to keep completing things and finding time to sew now and then, even though things are so busy with taking care of my three young kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Le Challenge: Wilderness Weekender

Phew!  I am ridiculously proud of myself for completing this bag.  Actually, instead of calling it a bag, it really should be called "luggage."  With an Amy Butler pattern, there should be no surprise that this thing is HUGE.  I've seen them in person before, but when I finally made my own, it finally became clear how big the Weekender pattern really is.

I chose fabrics for this project 44 weeks ago and let it sit for a long time.  Later, post-baby, I goofed on some fabric/color choices and my project took a whole different direction.  The fabrics I did end up using include: Echino Decoro prints (some stash favorites long overdue to be used!), Moda Mochi Linen Dot, and Canvas Duck Cloth from Joanns.  

Unfortunately, the deer got totally covered by the straps on this side of the bag:

I made a point to get the deer wearing red glasses on both side pockets:

This bag was a popular project in a few years ago.  By being late to the party, I had the advantage of being able to review several blogger's "tips and tricks" posts.  I'd like to contribute my thoughts on how to make this bag an easier sewing experience:

  • The instructions ask you to attach peltex to nearly every piece of the bag to provide stability.  For many sewers, this has resulted in a thinner wallet, broken needles, and many unfinished weekenders.  Stability and structure can be achieved without the peltex.  
  • Make the bag pieces with a layer of canvas, batting scraps, and your chosen exterior fabric, ala this method.  Make your pieces a little bigger than the finished pattern piece size because distortion will happen with the quilting. 
  • Don't skip the piping.  I've seen a few weekenders without it and you just don't get that handmade/polished look.
  • Yes, installing and dealing with the piping is a pain in the butt.  Make it easier on yourself by buying the piping if possible.  
  • Sew the piping onto the exterior pieces with a thread that matches the piping but contrasts with the canvas interior layer (thus, choose your canvas or duck cloth color with care).  By doing this, you will have any easy guide to follow when you are assembling the bag all together, as you'd like to sew very close to the piping to make it pop along the seams of the bag and you can just parallel, very closely, the thread line that attached the piping to the exterior.
  • It's one extra step, but next time, I am going to sew the raw edge of the piping to the exterior pieces, after the piping has been attached the traditional way.  When I assembled the bag, the piping would get bunched up and pop through seams many times.  This was NOT fun to seam rip and fix multiple times, this could have been avoided if all parts of the piping were firmly attached to the bag.
  •  The directions instruct you to pin the zipper to the bag gusset and sew it from the exterior on top.  Instead, I used 1/4" washable tape to attach my zipper to the gusset and sewed directly on the zipper (wrong side up) and it came out really nice.  I felt like it was too much guesswork to rely on pins and sewing on the top of the panels, hoping to precisely catch the zipper without seeing it.  
  • I increased the strap dimensions significantly.  I worked with a scrap piece of fabric to see what I thought would work for me before I cut into the duck cloth.  I also put a thick scrap piece of batting in each scrap to help with cushioning.  I love this pattern but I think the skinny straps are silly for such a big bag that is meant to carry a lot. 

A big thanks to Le Challenge, whose theme this month is "wilderness."  This was just the motivation I needed to finish up this nearly year-long project.  Can you get more wild than non-domestic animals posing in picture frames and wearing glasses?  I think not.

Le Challenge

Total stash fabric used in this post: 3.5 yard
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 77 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 80.5 yards

Also linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.