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.

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.