Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lizzy House Dress Contest Entry

Just before I left for my summer in NH, I made a somewhat impulsive decision to enter a dress in the Lizzy House Dress Contest.  See, I've made four dresses for my daughter out of Lizzy fabrics and obviously I've become a bit obsessed with sewing my Charlotte dresses anyhow- so I felt compelled to make something special for her. 
Recently I acquired the book Sew Classic Clothes for Girls by Lindsay Wilkes from an LQS.  I had never heard of this book before but once I thumbed through its pages, I knew I didn't want to leave the store without it.  I chose the Darling Dainty dress as the pattern for this project.
I had a lot of Lizzy House fabric in my stash already, so getting started wasn't too hard.  I've been a loyal fan of Lizzy since her debut collection of Red Letter Day till now; she can simply do no wrong in my book.  I needed a little more of what I did have to complete this dress (the butterflies and mini pearl bracelets in Tomato):

I was a little scared to step out of my Oliver and S comfort zone to try a new pattern, but I did okay with the instructions in the book.  I only made one alteration in adding interfacing the white collar and hand stitching parts of it to the bodice of the dress, for fear it would stick out a bit from being a bit stiff.  I worried that the mini pearl bracelet piping would show through the pale white collar fabric without an extra layer.  I wish I had added interfacing to the button placket in the dress, it feels very flimsy back there unfortunately.

I've always been attracted to this kind of little girl dress, it's so classic and sweet.  I will admit that before I added the butterfly skirt, I worried that the whole thing was looking a bit too patriotic with the color scheme but it works.

I am not sure what else I can say about this dress.  I just love Lizzy House fabrics SO much- I finally realized I needed to buy at least half yard cuts of her prints because fat quarters just aren't enough.  I have noticed that her newest line, The Lovely Hunt, has been disappearing fast and a lot of stores haven't been able to reorder, as the best prints weren't being reprinted.  If folks at Andover fabrics are reading this, I would encourage them to not retire her designs so quickly!

I don't really know what the rules or criteria are for the Lizzy House dress contest- it was something introduced loosely on IG and the designer's blog.  The deadline for entry changed three times, but I managed to finish it in time for the second designated date.  We'll see what happens but regardless, I am thrilled with my project and happy that Charlotte loves it so much too.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Scraptastic Sew Together Bag

Greetings from southern New Hampshire.  Our family just wrapped up a fabulous two week vacation here.  We've gone to the beach, Plimouth Plantation, LEGOLAND, and a few other local attractions.  I am in heaven being back in New England with the opportunity to visit friends and family.  My husband returned to Colorado yesterday (darn day job) but I'm hanging back with the kids for a while longer.

I've already made my way to a few of my favorite fabric stores, my adventures there probably merit their own blog post.  Just before I left Colorado, I signed up for the "Under the Sea" swap on Instagram and being in coastal New England has already lent itself to a lot of inspiration for that project.  I did pack a small suitcase full of a few projects to work on while I am here, but as expected, sewing time and opportunity is proving to be scarce so far.  June and July will probably not be filled with much blogging especially, so please pardon my absence here.

Before I left on my trip, I sewed myself another Sew Together Bag.  I know I make these frequently, but the pattern just does not get old.  It's such a unique and useful bag.  I already have one of them to hold my sewing notions, this one is meant to carry personal essentials and I designed it to coordinate with my recent Weekender:

For the first time ever, I made a scrappy exterior instead of just using a plain piece of fabric.  It took me a while to decide how I wanted to design the outside but I finally settled on simple patchwork squares.  I also decided to go extra scrappy by using six different fabrics for the bindings and tab ends.

Thanks for reading.  I have one more pre-summer project to document, I'll be back soon!

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday with She Can Quilt and Mrs Sew and Sow.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Art Student Tote: Mustang Edition

 Thank you for all of the amazing response to my Weekender bag.  I think that project may be my best-loved project to date in the social media world.  I really appreciate everyone's generous comments and encouragement!

I am definitely on a serious bag making kick.  This week I learned of a friend going through a very difficult time.  I had already grabbed a yard of this Melody Miller fabric in canvas off of the #thegreatfabricdestash with her in mind because she loves horses.  (It turned out I needed more than one yard- which was a pain but I was able to get more at an LQS).  I already had the Anna Maria Horner Art Student Tote pattern on hand too and I got to work.

This pattern's difficulty level is much more easy than a lot of bags I have made but I still managed to have some issues, thanks to user error.

See those pretty front pockets?  I originally cut the horse fabric for those pockets and got it all sewed together but changed my mind because it's such a novelty fabric and it bugged me that my pieces didn't perfectly center a galloping horse.  I didn't like having horse butts being the only pieces of the horse that you could see in some places.  Luckily I had two fat quarters of this minty gold metallic fabric to use instead.

I also had major issues with the strap- it should NOT have been so difficult!  The strap is supposed to be a 128" loop and somehow I managed to make it 92"- a full yard's worth too short!  That was not fun to fix.  After I fixed that, I later realized that I had resewn the strap twisted!  So I had to unpick some of it again!

Anyway, the pattern is really straightforward and well written.  I did a few of my own modifications:

  • I didn't use the templates as instructed.  I measured the pieces and cut my fabric with a rotary cutter.  This was quicker and I think I did it in a way that resulted in less waste.
  • I skipped installing a magnetic snap- those little things would not be very helpful, in my opinion, in keeping this HUGE bag closed.
  • I added an interior zipper pocket on one side of the lining.
  • I didn't even try to sew on top of the metal zipper teeth in one small section- that is a recipe for a broken needle (or worse!).  There was no avoiding this and I am not sure why the pattern didn't address this.
  • I bought extra of the "accent fabric" (Playful print by Melody Miller- with the letters) and nearly doubled the width dimensions for the 8 side straps instead of inverting thing fabric tubes- a process that would have taken ages!)
  • I changed the way I sewed the large interior pocket panels to avoid having a raw seam edge poking up inside every pocket- I simply folded and ironed one edge of the panel 1/2" in, sewed the other side per directions, and sewed the folded edge onto that seam line: encasing the raw seams.

Here's a picture of the back:

I love the look of this bag!  I hope I can find the time to make myself one this summer.  It's a very unique look compared to the other bags I've sewn before.

Thanks for reading!

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday and  Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Weekender Finished!

Picture overload here friends.  Consider yourself warned.  I am just so thrilled with this bag.  I stayed up till midnight last night, hand sewing the lining into the bag and I had a hard time getting to sleep afterwards because I was so excited to be finished and that it looks great.

I definitely feel like I am behind the times when it comes to sewing the trends- and getting into sewing the Weekender is definitely an example of that!  I know I was intimidated- people really make a big deal about how difficult it is to sew this bag.  But it's not that bad, honestly!  I would even do another one.

I did English paper piecing for this outside hexagon panel ages ago and it sat for a long time.  Completing this long-standing WIP feels so good!

This finish coincides with the May Le Challenge link-up with the theme word, "Blossom."  There are lots of floral fabrics included in this bag but my favorite is this older Melody Miller linen weight fabric shown between the handles in this picture.  I have a friend who told me she doesn't really like flowers in fabrics and I was surprised: that's definitely a difficult motif to avoid in fabric!  Luckily I love them.

In this post, I listed many tips about making the weekender.  The only thing I would change is that I would encourage you to make your own piping.  The piping designated in the pattern is much chunkier than the store bought piping and makes a bigger statement.  Making my own piping this time around was easy.  Now I am going to make my own for my daughter's dress- it's not hard!

This typewriter square was the impetus for the color scheme of this bag.  I won it in an IG giveaway.

On my last Weekender, I waited way too long to make and install the lining.  With this bag, I basically told myself I couldn't do anything else until this bag was truly D-O-N-E.  Here are the lining fabrics I chose from my stash:

I installed an interior zipper pocket - something that will definitely come in handy I hope!  I used instructions for how to do so via the Noodlehead 241 pattern- I definitely like her method.

Linking up to Finish it up Friday and Le Challenge.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Donut Dress

After I finished the fox quilt top, as a little reward to myself, I allowed myself to make Charlotte another dress.  Sometimes I get in a mode of wanting to make dresses all day everyday and that is just not practical- but it's so much fun!

When I saw this donut fabric, I thought it would make an adorable dress for a four year old.  Then I decided to make more of an event out of it and take a special trip to Annie's Donuts with Charlotte wearing the dress.  

Annie's Donuts is a locally famous donut place that is known to be delicious and to have a lot of variety.  My initial impression was that it was a donut place that put candy bars all over their donuts, which truly isn't very appealing to me.  But then I tried their Maple Old Fashioned and I finally understood the hype.  It doesn't hurt that they have warm glazed donut hole samples available too.  

Charlotte was hesitant to stand in front of the counter and have her picture taken but she did great.  The place was really busy and no one paid too much attention.

Here's my crazy crew shown below.  We had a fun morning.  Nick and I didn't go too crazy eating donuts: we've both been trying to lose weight.  Nick has lost 20 lbs and I've lost 10 (typical guy vs. girl dynamics when it comes to losing the pounds!).

The pattern I used was the Oliver and S Bubble dress.  So classically simple and a polished piece.

The button selection at Hobby Lobby is awesome.  It's tempting to start a button stash and just buy a ton there.  The brand they sell is called Sew-Ology and the stuff is much cuter than anything I've ever seen elsewhere.  How perfectly do these pink and white stripes go with this dress?!

With so much to do lately, I felt a little silly giving time to this project, but I just couldn't get the idea out of my head and I figure when you're four years old, you can wear donuts!  It's cute and fun.  Life's too short to not make these fun projects now, before she's older and won't wear hardly anything handmade.

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Scrappy Project Progress

I have a few scrappy projects to talk about today.  First up is my pixelated Hello Kitty top.  The picture below shows how far I have gotten.  I have to admit that I haven't worked on it in a while, I feel too much urgency to work on other things before my summer trip.  All of these fabrics are from my scrap bins with the exception of the plain white:

Here's another scrappy project that was gifted to me by six guild friends who made this adorable mini quilt.  They made this for me because of that retreat swap that fell very flat for me when I received nothing handmade.  It's hanging in an honored spot in my sewing room.

We had a guild event at a LQS where we all worked on our own versions of the Color Dive Quilt.  In 6 hours I felt like I didn't make a lot of progress on my AMH HST's, but I had a lot of fun with my friends.

Linking up to Scrappy Tuesday.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Fancy Fox Quilt Completed

 I finished my Fancy Fox quilt.  I am so happy with it!  Close to completion, I was getting a little tired of the project but the effort was worth it.  I started this at the February guild retreat, so it didn't languish in the WIP pile too long.

I don't know if there's much more I can say about this project.  Elizabeth Hartman is a talented designer and I enjoy her patterns a lot.  I want to make many more of her other animal quilts.  In the early days of modern quilting, her blog and first book were significant resources for me learning quilting techniques and I can thank her for the information I used when I finally took the plunge to try free motion quilting on my domestic machine.

I am not sure when I will finish this quilt.  I've got lots on my plate right now and it's not urgent.  But it feels so good to have it done, after I finished it, I rewarded myself by allowing myself to sew up yet another dress for my daughter.  Stay tuned :)

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