Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Patchwork Tote Bag Part II

I made another Patchwork Tote Bag simply because it's a fun easy pattern and it was also an exercise in avoiding the WIP's waiting for me.  I dug into my vintage fabric stash and added some Denyse Schmidt fabrics for the exterior and handles:

The interior is a soft, lightweight fabric gifted to me from a friend of a friend, straight from India:

I think there's at least one more of these bags that needs to be made by me, I have been using the perfect thrifted packages of fusible fleece for these totes and I have one package left!

Linking up to Super Online Sewing Community Match at Sew Mama Sew.

Pattern for this bag is from the book: Make It, Take It: 16 Cute and Clever Projects to Sew with Friends by Krista Hennebury.  The pattern is by Ayumi of Pink Penguin. 

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1 yard
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 76  yards

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Decorating My Sewing Room: Using Thrifted Materials

Sew Organized for the Busy Girl has really inspired me to get my sewing room organized.  Time is so much more limited with a new baby and it's embarrassingly true that I waste far too much sewing time looking for things instead of sewing when I get the chance.

My habit of buying crafty items at yard sales has not kept pace with using such items and I am now trying to change that!  

First up, is a big thread wreath.  I used to buy any and all thread I came across at yard sales.  Sometimes I would use it for sewing but have since learned that very old thread is unreliable within one's projects.  It becomes brittle and often dusty, not something you need in your machine.   About two years ago, I made this thread wreath with autumn colors.  It was finally time to use the rest of my thread stash and make a rainbow one to decorate my sewing room.  This thing is heavy, many of the spools are wooden.  I love how it came out.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, four years ago (!), I went to Quilt Market and bought this Basic Grey Canvas Sampler at the Sample Spree.  I finally put it together over the weekend, adhering fabric scraps via "wonder-under."  Choosing the fabrics took an eternity, actually putting the whole thing together was very quick.  Once all of the fabrics were placed, I sewed some vintage glass buttons at most of the patchwork intersections.

Wooden embroidery hoops are always easy to find and cheap to buy at yard sales.  I've stashed these for years and tortured myself by tripping over them as they lay in the corner of my sewing room for months recently.  I finally selected a non-traditional rainbow of stash fabrics and put these together as hoop art.  I really like how this looks, this picture doesn't do it justice.  I will add to it as I find more wooden hoops at yard sales.

Eventually I will do a "final reveal" of my sewing room when everything is put together.  That may be a while, my next project is to organize my patterns- a mammoth task I'm still not sure how to approach.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thrifted Sewing: Patchwork Tote Bag

Most people that know me know that I love yard sales.  It's a "hobby" that has enabled our family to enjoy a lot of things that we couldn't afford to buy new.  It also is a money-making endeavor that I can pursue pretty easily as a stay at home mom (I buy used books and movies and sell them online).  Attending yard sales after having had a new baby is happening now because the baby is taking a bottle: HALLELUJAH!  (My first two wouldn't, so this is a new freedom for me.)

So this past Saturday, I heard about a woman unloading tons of her fabric at a yard sale at $2 per yard.  This woman seriously had at least eight tables full of stacked fabric, all folded and measured neatly.  Apparently, she had worked at a fabric shop until she was 75 years old and decided she'd rather travel than sew when she finally stopped working.  Later I told my husband that I hope that my family will enjoy choosing my completed quilts to keep rather than having the burden of unloading a massive stash after I've died!  

In years past, I would buy any thrifted fabric I came across, but I've finally learned to be very selective.  I love vintage/retro- looking fabrics.  Their quality can often be questionable, which is why I try to avoid using them in quilts.  Most of the fabric at the yard sale was not my style but I found several gems and only ended up spending about $8.  

On Sunday afternoon I took a nap and therefore couldn't sleep that evening.  I stayed up late and made this tote from the book: Make It, Take It: 16 Cute and Clever Projects to Sew with Friends.  The tote pattern is by Ayumi of Pink Penguin.  Ayumi's style is impeccable!  I really like how this bag turned out, mixing black and white prints with colorful fabrics is one of my favorite things to do.  It's hard to let go, but I am giving this away on my personal facebook page.  I am sure I will make myself another.

I recently organized my vintage fabric stash and it really inspired me to use more of the thrifted finds I've acquired over the years.  It makes me pretty happy that I put some of the newest stash additions to use so swiftly!

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

Total stash fabric used in this post: .5 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 74.5 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 75  yards

Friday, July 10, 2015

Finish it Friday: Three Finishes!

Hello friends!  I hope you are having a good summer so far.  Today marks three weeks of my caring for these three on my own since my husband went back to work.  Some days are really long and tedious, but the hard days are interspersed with easier ones.  It feels like my older kids are demanding a lot more from me.  Sneaking in sewing time comes in small chunks, here and there.

I made myself another pair of pajama pants with some clearance DS Joann's fabric:

I finished up this mini, a decoration destined for my sewing room:

Mini quilts are a great project to use practicing different free motion quilting techniques.  In the picture above, you can see I did some free motion cat heads.  What a funny term!

I love the look of using thread that is tone on tone:

The highest project on my priority list has been finishing up this baby quilt.  The baby shower (that I am hosting!) is being held tomorrow afternoon.  Somehow, I made the top and quilted it in a matter of a few days.  But it was hand sewing the binding down that took ages.  In the past, this step has usually been accomplished in the evenings after children's bedtime but now that I have an infant, all time and energy is focused on him.  I finally completed the last edge last night.  Phew!

I backed the quilt in a large piece of pink Erin McMorris flannel, with a small strip of the yellow colorway on one side.  I chose this fabric from my stash in the interest of putting it to good use as well as it was one of my few options that matched the colors of the quilt.  Quilting on flannel wasn't too bad, but definitely not as easy as quilting cotton.  There's a lot more "drag" with flannel.

As I have worked on this quilt, I have wondered if I chose the right amount of dark and light fabrics. Did I really master "value" with this quilt?  It's helped me realize that my stash could use more dark fabrics, like that lovely Amy Butler wallflower print and the pink Washi geometric.  I am really pleased with the Kona Ash as sashing; it helps the light and dark fabrics pop and will hopefully be more forgiving than white when it comes to stains and wear and tear.

This quilt measures 49" square and it is bound in a Patty Young Lush fabric.

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

Total stash fabric used in this post: 9.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 65.25 yards
Total stash fabric used to date: 74.5  yards

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Circus Mixtape Quilt

This past Sunday was a calm, easy day that afforded me an unusual amount of sewing time.  I managed to pull fabrics, do all of the cutting, and sewed  all of the blocks for this baby quilt.  It was amazing!  Settling on small pieces of "Urban Circus," complementing stash blenders, and an Oh Fransson pattern called Mixtape (now retired) proved to be a winning combination for this baby quilt.  I am also psyched that I was also able to incorporate the colors gray and yellow (which match the couple's existing baby stuff, due to not finding out the gender ahead of time) - while still making this very girly. 

I am backing this with some quality flannel from my stash, already prewashed.  I've never made a quilt with flannel backing, so I am a little nervous.

I am feeling frustrated because just a few weeks after receiving my machine back from being serviced, the same problems I had been having have resurfaced.  I am going to finish this project up and bring it back to the shop.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Finish it up Friday: Clothes for Me

I feel like I need to begin with a disclaimer to this post: all sewing done since the arrival of my baby has been accomplished in intermittent little bursts here and there; mostly when my husband was home from work for "paternity leave."  If I ever have the privilege of choosing between a nap or sewing, I always choose sleep.  I am obsessed with sewing, but not that crazy.  Sewing has been a big emotional boost for me lately, I am glad I've still been able to do it occasionally.

While my regular machine was in the shop, I finally opened the box to the Hello Kitty Janome I bought several months ago.  I am pleased with how well the machine has been working, but I don't have the patience to figure out how to achieve a perfect 1/4" seam.  So I decided to work on a few clothing items for myself instead of quilting WIPs.

I made a pair of pajama pants, a wardobe staple these days:

The "Lolita Skirt" made out of some Tammis Keefe crocodiles: 

I've spent a fair amount of time on IG and Bloglovin via my phone while nursing the baby.  I came across a few whole cloth quilts sewn by IG user sevenpretty, and it inspired me to make one for Owen.  I love this Moon Phase print by Lizzy House so much, and this gave me an excuse to use and see it frequently.  The reverse side has another fabric favorite: tiny elephants by Diawabo. It measures 36 x 42.

Now that my regular machine is better and working well (fingers crossed it stays that way!), I've been chugging away at a mini quilt destined for decorating my sewing room:

It was tempting to stop there, but I decided to add one more border.  It will look something like this:

On one of my first kid-less outings, I made a trip to a local yard sale of a woman who had run a home quilting supply business.  Most of the materials were not my taste and the prices were kind of high, but I was quite excited to treat myself to several new publications from Stash Books, discounted to at least a third of the list price.  I buy very few quilt/sewing books, so this was a real treat.  I am really enjoying "Sew Organized for the Busy Girl" and it's inspired me to clean out and organize my sewing supplies.

While organizing, I pulled out several stash selections to make a baby girl quilt that's due to be finished in two weeks (!).  Friends of ours had a baby just after I had Owen.  It's pretty exciting because they had tried to have a child for over five years and got pregnant with no special intervention.  They didn't find out the gender beforehand, so they have a fair amount of gray and yellow nursery decor.  The mom didn't have many requests pertaining to the baby quilt I'd like to make: just that I include some "girl colors" and she did mention she has a thing for giraffes.

I want to stay committed to using my stash but I am finding these choices a bit uninspiring.  Most of them are small/odd measurements and I have a tight deadline.  I may go ahead and order this, Stand Tall in Grass, by Tamara Kate.  I blame my friend Heather for bringing that fun fabric to my knowledge.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 6.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 59 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  65.25 yards

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Baby in the Hood Jacket

Hello friends.  Thank you for all of the kind words, congratulations, and comments recently.  I apologize for my lack of response and engagement.  Recovery from the birth of Owen has been difficult for me in the extreme but I think the worst of it is finally over.  I had a scheduled c-section and anticipated the recovery to be similar to the last two, but it ended up being a lot more than I bargained for.  Nothing life threatening, thank goodness, but difficult nonetheless.  Thankfully Owen has been healthy overall but my health problems resulted in some feeding issues for him, so life has been pretty crazy lately.  

My husband still has this week and next off of work and has been an amazing help with everything.  The kids were hyper and a bit unruly following our hospital discharge, but have soon calmed down and even have been very helpful on occasion.

Thanks for letting me share.  I am trying to be a little more personal in this space but will always be focusing on sewing here.  I have one last pre-baby project to share:

I was incredibly nervous before the scheduled c-section and spent the day before the procedure making Charlotte a coat to keep myself distracted.  I ordered the Anne Kelle kitty corduroy off of Etsy on a Monday and it came on Wednesday from Ohio.  Thankfully, the purple lilac pearl bracelets from my stash was a fun match for the project.  This pattern is called "All Set Kid Pattern Set" by Anna Maria Horner, also found in smaller sizes from her book Handmade Beginnings.   I made the jacket is size 4T, Charlotte fits perfectly in most 3T's, so I think it's safe to say that the sizes run a little small.

Unfortunately, this jacket gave me a lot of trouble.  The most aggravating part was getting the sleeves to line up with the arm holes of the jackets- there was way too much extra fabric to get it to all connect neatly.  I finally gave up following the directions and gathered the sleeves to make it work, luckily they didn't come out puffy at all.  I also had issues with one jacket placket being longer than the other!  Really not sure how that happened but I did manage to fix it.

I also had lots of trouble with my machine doing button holes correctly: the machine would stitch them incompletely, too long, and inconsistent in size.

I made this pattern two years ago in sizes 18-24 months with a different Ann Kelle corduroy print.  The sleeves didn't give me trouble then and I did the loop button method instead of traditional buttonholes.

Despite some frustrations, I love this pattern and the look of the jacket.  Charlotte wore the whale version quite often and I am sure the kitty one will be just as favored.  

Currently, my machine is being looked at by a local Janome Dealer due to all the problems I have been having with it.  A few different people have told me the computer may be dying in the machine: which is not good news, especially after owning it for less than two years.  A postpartum mom in the throes of illness and breastfeeding problems does not take that kind of news too well!!!  Let's just say that there have been a few tears shed and a few prayers given that it is a more minor problem causing issues.  Having it looked out now is good timing, I have not had time or energy for sewing although I do miss it!  

Posting will be sporadic but I hope to sneak in some sewing now and then, if only for my own sanity and enjoyment.  Thanks for reading!

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

Total stash fabric used in this post: 1.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 57.75 yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  59 yards