Monday, September 15, 2014

A Few Finishes and Purge Finale

My giant star quilt is quilted and bound.  Everything came from my stash, although I did have to buy some yellow thread and batting to finish her up.  


The focal fabrics on the front are souvenirs from my time volunteering in Uganda.  I have so much precious fabric from that trip and I had originally planned to make this quilt really scrappy with lots of different African prints- but I am so glad I went simple.

I am planning to give this quilt as a surprise to two of my favorite people we met in Uganda: Joann and Mark Forbes.  They were an LDS missionary couple we met there and sharing our African experience and volunteer work together was a true sanity saver.  I haven't seen them since we left Uganda- but I love and miss them a lot.  Joann is also a quilter, so I know she will be excited to receive this.


I have to admit that I really rushed through quilting this and it's probably not my best work.  At 64" square, it is about as big as I want to go on my domestic machine.  I know that renting a longarm has surely spoiled me.

I bound the quilt in an older Peacock Lane print:


This was the first "Purge" project I did this past summer: I used pieces of blue fabrics that have been languishing in my stash for years for the backing.  Basting it felt a little more tricky than if I had only had two pieces for the back, but I know it was worth it and it saved me some money.


Finally, as my final "purge" project, I made some pillowcases for the 1 million pillowcase challenge.  I dug into my girly novelty fabrics that are hard to use as well as some "scaley" multicolored fabrics that is as old as my 8 year marriage.  This project was fast and fun and helped me make peace with my serger- it seems to periodically become un-threaded in one place or another- is that normal?


All told, I used up about 17 yards of fabric through participating in Stitched in Color's Purge.  This blog activity was right up my alley: I do a decent job of getting rid of fabrics I truly don't like and know I won't ever use - but I hang onto a lot of fabric that is nice quality and usable - it's just not my favorite or easy to use.

Thanks for reading.  Linking up to Stitched in Color and Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Red Letter Day Halloween Quilt

I am not a huge collector of novelty Halloween fabrics but over time, I have acquired quite a few favorites.  My son is nuts about Halloween- he was born in October and it really just seems to be in his blood.  So I decided it's definitely time to make a fun kids Halloween quilt we'll see if it actually gets done in time for the holiday this year.

Even though I had plenty of fabric to get started, I went ahead and ordered some Halloween Parade from my BMQG friend, Hema.  She waited till after I moved from Massachusetts to start selling fabric online!  The nerve.  Thankfully- receiving it in the mail is almost as fun as getting it from her in person.  (A little bundle of Jungle Ave slipped into my order too- LOVE it!).


Anyway, I am seriously in love with this Halloween Swoon quilt by Amanda at Hey Porkchop.  It has juvenile fabrics but it is designed in such a stunning and "mature" way.  Inspired by that beauty, I am trying to make a Halloween quilt with another Thimble Blossoms pattern: Red Letter Day.    

Monday morning- I was just floored by one of the Sewvivor entries for the Hexie challenge.  I love her use of a unique color combination: teal, olive green, and black- but I especially love that she used all prints (no solids) to make something so unique.  

I decided to try to make a Red Letter Day block with only prints - I debated combinations of fabrics for over an hour- it was annoying!  I finally just went for it, but after all of that effort, it looks like a hot mess to me:


I think the picture makes it look better in person but it's way too busy, right?!  I feel sad that such good/cute fabrics may be wasted (I am still debating with myself if I can salvage any of it for this project) but I keep trying to tell myself that it's good to experiment and the wasted fabric is minimal in amount and cost.

So I decided to try again, using a neutral along with two prints.  What do you think?  I feel like it's world's better than my first attempt:


I would seriously love any opinions!  Thanks in advance.  Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Bedtime Story Pajamas

The p.j.'s are completed with a little blood, sweat, and tears.  This pattern could be completed by a grade schooler- but my problem was my inexperience with my serger.  I accidently cut a nice sized hole in an armpit of the shirt in an effort to finish the seam.  I ended up patching it with a scrap and some Wonder Under.  Not cool.  I was already feeling less than enthused because the thread was really loose and playing with the tension dials wasn't fixing it.


I am going to take a break from clothing and finish up my Giant Star quilt before I attempt to use my serger again.


The pajama top is really big on Charlotte but the pants fit a little better.  My 2.5 year old is tall for her age but isn't truly a 3T yet.

At least she likes the pajamas- she threw a fit when she couldn't wear them the other night when they weren't yet finished.  She doesn't know or care about the patched up armpit- so I still call this project a "win," despite the mishap.


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

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Sew Together Bag

Labor Day weekend was such fun!  We squeezed in the Denver aquarium, a visit to some family, a hot air balloon festival, and a hike in the mountains.  Somehow- I still squeezed in a little sewing with friends.  On Friday night, a few people got together to make Sew Together Bags.  I am sure you are familiar with the ubiquitous pattern.  

I have to admit that I really wasn't sure what cut pieces would become what part of the bag, so I decided to go simple and stayed with a simple color pallette:


Patience is required for making this bag but it really feels worth it.  It's such a unique and clever design!  I also think it makes a great gift and I am still debating who to give this to.  It may be set aside for someone special at Christmas.


I keep meaning to blog about my severe obsession with this notion: Wash Away Wonder Tape.  It has completely erased all of my fears about zippers.  I use it instead of pins to keep my zippers in place and it works perfectly.  I have noticed that my zipper foot has become a little gummed up- but it all came off easily.  This stuff costs about 3.49 when notions are 50% off at Joann's.  You can also find the same thing in different packaging in the quilting section of a craft supply store- it's supposed to help with applique I guess.  If you are afraid of zippers- I really urge you to try this stuff out.


Now I am off to make more bags- stay tuned!  Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Three Finishes for Finish it up Friday

Another Ice Cream Social dress, so 2010, I know.  But this pattern is seriously awesome, great for a beginner.  Also, you really don't need a serger, if that's a concern for you.  All of the seams become enclosed except for the sides of the floral fabric, but it's very easy to do a French seam there.


I have to mention that I adore this Japanese fabric- there are kittens among those flowers.  It's a perfect compromise between Charlotte and I: she prefers the novelty/character type fabrics and I love the flowers and geometric prints.




I had to include an outtake of my "photo shoot" for Charlotte wearing this dress.  She tends to smile very vigorously- with her whole body- and she lost her balance here.  It was pretty funny and very cute- so glad I caught the moment!


I also decided to make another Rollerskate Dress (the 6th!) for Charlotte, doing the collar version this time.  I also became brave and finally cut into one of my most favorite fabric collections: Constellations:


I finally used my serger for this project and I am psyched!  Threading it had a steep learning curve but I am thrilled with it and can't wait to use it again.


It always amazes me when I find the perfect vintage button in my small box of thrifted buttons.  Isn't this one dreamy?  It totally goes with the celestial print of the dress.


Not long after this picture was taken, she got a fair amount of peanut butter and jelly on the front of the dress.  Thank goodness for stain spray!


I also finished the baby quilt for my friend in a mom's group I have been attending:


I used leftover pieces of binding and a 2008 aqua print for the back:


Linking up to Finish it up Friday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thrifting and 10 Quilty Secrets

Last weekend I went to an epic estate sale of a deceased quilter.  Good or bad, I only discovered it on the last day of the sale- which means I probably missed out on a lot of great stuff but it also means that the third party running the sale was much more willing to lower prices.

I couldn't resist this box of vintage silk small thread spools, I want to somehow use them to decorate my sewing room:


And this is most of the rest of my haul: a light box (for paper piecing- my most exciting find!), lots of paper piecing supplies, tons of interfacing, a dressmaker's ham (for ironing curves), and a few other items.


New topic:  I can't resist any longer, I want to play along with the "10 Quilty Little Secrets" of 13 Spools.  Here we go:

1.  I don't prewash my fabric ever: not for clothes, not for the color red.  I only make the exception for flannel and even then I don't always pre-wash.
2.  I am super cheap.  I rarely buy any sewing item- especially fabric- for full price.  Finding a bargain is part of the fun.
3.  I don't like pre-cuts and any fat quarter collection I buy will inevitably be distributed among numerous projects.
4.  I rarely shop locally and prefer online shopping and I don't feel bad about this.  Local shops rarely have sales, do not carry the items I want, and have hours that cater to retired empty nesters.
5.  I love the color blue but I rarely use it- I gravitate more towards warmer colors.  I prefer brights and wish some of my favorite designers would stop doing pastels so much.
6.  I still love reading blogs and prefer it to Instagram.
7.  I blog because I really like doing so.  I don't get why so many bloggers act like it is such a chore- why do it if you don't enjoy it?
8.  I join guilds to meet people and make friends who have similar interests as me.  Learning something new is a bonus.
9.  Being in guild leadership was tough.  Too much drama for me, I am taking a break for an indefinite amount of time.
10.  I keep most of what I make even though it seems very fashionable to give everything away.  I am working on letting go more- but I find it difficult to make something with another's tastes in mind.  Also, most people are very appreciative of handmade gifts but I guess I have let the few negative experiences become too powerful.

How about you?  What are your quilty secrets?  Linking up with 13 Spools.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thrifting Finds and a New Dress

Before and after the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild Meeting last Saturday, I went to several yard sales.  At the meeting, a member shared some cute City Gym shorts - a pattern that has already been printed out and waiting for me....  But part of my delay was not having a bias tape maker - I've made bias tape without that gadget but it sure would be nice..........  And it was awesome that I found one new in the package at one of the yard sales I went to after the meeting!  I also scored this adorable vintage corduroy with bunnies and flowers, schmetz machine needles, and that sweet black/pink vintage print.  This particular yard sale was primarily filled with the stash of fabrics and supplies from a deceased quilter.  I tried to negotiate lower prices on several pieces of solid fabrics and the family was so offended, it made me feel like a criminal!  I wasn't pushy at all but they were pretty determined to get high dollar for their stuff.  I went away feeling really weird about the experience....


But all was redeemed when I found this vintage quilt top at the next yard sale for only $15.  It's in really pristine condition- no holes and I spotted only one small stain on one of the fans.


I mean, come on, can I really be "Dresden Lane" if I didn't rescue this top?




I definitely have a knack for finding nice vintage sewing goods but my weakness is in actually using them- so I am really proud to say I've already made a dress from the bunny fabric I found last Saturday:




I love this Ice Cream Social Dress pattern.  The corduroy wasn't too difficult to work with- I hope I might have enough left to make a fall jacket for her- I love the primary colors.  Linking up to Finish it up Friday.