Thursday, January 28, 2016

WIP Thursday: New Projects in Progress

Amidst all the little-girl dress sewing, I have been dabbling in several quilt projects.  This week, I cut almost all of the pieces for a "Windowpane quilt."  My daughter's fourth birthday is coming up and I've had these princess fabrics since July (I even spent my own birthday money on them!) and its time they finally became something.  

The Liberty Lifestyle fabrics from the Bloomsbury range are my all-time favorite fabric collection.  I made an X-Plus quilt with them a few years ago but I want to revisit these fabrics again and have quite a bit left.  I am endeavoring to make another quilt in the Swoon pattern- this time with 16" blocks instead of 24".  I am having trouble committing to either a 2 or 3 fabric pattern.... I made the block on the left and now I can't decide if I should continue with three colors or start fresh with just a LL fabric and one other stash fabric.... (as shown in the second picture in this project).

I realize the red version of the block is more striking and vibrant but the green one is beautiful in its simplicity and I'm a little worried about figuring out 14 more fabric combinations (with a three fabric scheme) that will work well with this pattern and these fabrics.........  Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

A while ago I cut everything to make a girls version of my Circle Circus quilt.  I am proud of myself for having it all cut, so the next step is appliqueing all of the circles onto the squares.  I may save this project for the summer when I go to New England for several weeks since it's ready to go and would be easy to take with me.

I've made a start on the pattern in the book "The New Hexagon."  Three of the fifty hexagons completed.  I've tried glue basting for this and the jury is still out for me regarding that technique.....

This last project is not for a quilt, but for another Weekender bag.  I love my first version but really wanted to make one that was more scrappy/patchwork-ish.  I am in love with warm colors these days and I am pretty excited about this!  I have set aside the other hexagons to work quickly at making a big scrappy hexagon panel for one side of the bag in a gold/pink/plum color scheme.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Apple Picking Dress

 As a little treat to myself, I made another dress quickly after finishing the Betty Lou Dress.  Oliver and S patterns are so personally valuable to me: they've taught me how to sew little girl's dresses.  If I had started out with other patterns that weren't so well written, I don't think I'd have this obsession.  I love the process of learning one of their new patterns and moving along through every step.  When I work on a new-to-me pattern, the process has the excitement of putting together a fun puzzle.

I received the Apple Picking Dress pattern for Christmas and quickly made a size 5 of "View A" out of a Cotton + Steel Lucky Strike fabric.

I wasn't sure if I'd love the style of this dress but now I am smitten.  It's so classic and sweet.  My fabric choice made it seem especially retro, in a good way.

This dress has the potential to have a totally different look with different buttons.  I am wondering if I should have chosen something that would've contrasted with the fabric more but I am okay with my choice too.  Sometimes making the decision is easy when I think about having to make yet another trip to Joanns.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 2 yards
Total stash fabric used since Januar 1, 2016: 5.5 yards
Total stash used to date: 7.5 yards

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Betty Lou Dress

Here's another dress I made for my daughter this week.  Shocker.  I know.  All of my blog readers that are strictly quilters may be gone by now.  Of course, interests, time demands, and needs change.

I bought this pattern, the Betty Lou dress, during a great Black Friday sale. For less than $5, I got a bargain!  I was a little nervous to try a PDF pattern that was just under 50 pages, but as you can see, it worked out:


I did find this to be a challenging sew but not enough for me to never return to the pattern again.  Gathering the ruffles was very tedious and the bodice ruffle took me at least a full hour.  I also struggled with the instructions - it wasn't the clear, concise format I've been used to.

I purchased the fabric from an after Christmas sale at $5 a yard.  That kind of price was perfect for a project like this, especially when I thought I needed 1.5 yards of each fabric.  (It turned out I needed a bit less of each, as I have some leftover fabric besides scraps).

Stash used in this post: 2.5 yards
Stash used since January 1, 2016: 3 yards
Stash used to date: 5.5 yards

Thanks for reading!  I am going to sew another dress this week but I've also started a brand new quilt.  I'll check back in soon.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Baby Girl Quilts x2

I had all week to make a baby quilt for a shower that was scheduled for this morning.  I was excited to finally try making a pixelated heart quilt.  I used a Valori Wells butterfly print from my stash to inspire a warm pull of stash fabrics in deep and vibrant shades of plum, orange, and red.  I considered surrounding the heart in low volume prints with white and pink but soon discovered gray was a better way to go.  

The funny thing that happened was, on Thursday night, when it was all put together, I decided I simply couldn't part with it.  I want to do more with this piece and I wasn't willing to quilt it up, bind it, and give it away so soon.  

So I decided I'd better make something else and began this second quilt yesterday around lunch time, finishing around 1 am (with lots of interruptions, of course, including the monthly book club I attend).  

I am really pleased with how this came out too. Here's my personal feedback on the quilt:

The bad: I will admit I am embarrassed with how wonky the whole thing looks.  I really don't think I trimmed it crookedly after quilting.  I don't think I ever had this problem when I pin-basted and I am wondering this has anything to do with spray baste?  The edges are definitely kind of wavy.  The picture, which was done in haste, as I was running late for the shower this morning- makes it look pretty crazy but I promise it looks pretty cute in person.  If anyone has any insight into this, please let me know.  Edited to add: I don't think it's the spray baste- what has changed is that I have been machine binding my quilts.  Am I wrapping it too tightly?

The good: I LOVE the bear print and this pattern showcases it beautifully without wasting a lot of fabric by way of fussy cutting.  Matching prints from my stash was a little difficult but I think I did decently and I am giggling at all the coincidental "b" words in this print: bear, balloon, bike, bird, and butterfly.

If you ever want to do this pattern yourself, it's so easy.  The measurements I used are: two 10.5 x 40 panels of the bears and the strips measure 2.5 x 7 and I used 60 strips from 11 fabrics.

This week was personally difficult for me because my baby has had a terrible cold which I also caught from him.  We've both been miserable.  Yet somehow I persevered with these two projects.  The deadline of the baby shower was a BIG motivator to work on these but I also think my enthusiasm was linked to starting something new and fresh with fabrics that I was excited about.

This has helped me understand myself better: maybe I am sewing so many dresses for Charlotte and avoiding my WIPs because I am tired of my old projects and I enjoy the almost instant gratification of finishing up a dress in a day or two.  When I am not excited about a project, I do everything to avoid it!  So I decided I am going to give myself a break and allow myself to start some new quilts, which also relates to my goal this year of tackling some stacks of fabric that have been waiting for my attention.  There will come a time when I will feel motivated to deal with my currently uninspiring WIPs- and there aren't even that many: I think there are only four.

Stash fabric used in this post: 3 yards (not including the heart quilt top)

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

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

106 Yards in 2015

Here's a picture of (approximately) 106 yards of fabric to represent my accomplishment of 2016: I used up 106 yards from my stash!  My goal had been to use up 50 yards- I tried to be conservative, considering when I made the goal in January, I knew I would be having a baby in May.  

It was an interesting process to see how much fabric different projects really used up.  And it felt gratifying to see that my use of fabric is substantial, even with the significant life event of adding a third child to our family.  I plan to keep track of my stash used in 2016 but I am not going to aim for an arbitrary number of yards to be used up.  I could easily use up lots of fabric if I only made simple items like pillowcases and whole cloth quilts.  What I am really interested in accomplishing in 2016 is to work on some projects that have been waiting for far too long: I bought the fabric, I mixed in stash favorites, and these piles have sat and waited for years.  I am particularly concerned about any kid-themed quilts.  I want those done for my children to enjoy- it will be too late when they're teenagers and older.

My favorite project of 2015 was my Swoon quilt.  I can't believe how fast it came together and I love everything about it.  I wish more projects would feel so effortless.

And I certainly embraced my love of making dresses for my daughter:

I am still mulling over specific goal ideas for 2016.  Right now I just feel overwhelmed because my baby is fighting a never-ending cold, my sewing room is a mess, and I am so sad Christmas vacation is over and I feel the need to establish a real routine- which just feels overwhelming!  I will get my sew-jo back soon, I am sure!  I have to get a baby quilt done for this Saturday- so I will be sharing that soon.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Sunday Stash: Presents Received

Just for fun, here's a "Sunday Stash" post.  I make gift giving (for myself) easy because I always have my eye on a sewing book or fabric range that appeals to me.  The books I received for Christmas include:

The New Hexagon by Katja Marek
Quilt Lovely by Jen Kingwell
Old Quilts, New Life by Sarah Fielke
Beyond Snapshots by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey

I am especially excited about The New Hexagon (I also received the paper pieces to make the 52 unique EPP blocks- totally worth it to not photocopy and cut from the book!).  I realized I had recently been quite keen to do the EPP for Owen's stocking and that this might be a fun project to work on when I have the desire to sew but only the energy to watch Netflix.  More on this project, coming soon!

Nick generously gave me lots of fabric for Christmas: Ella Blue Basic bundle (left), Paper Bandana (right), and Lecien Modern text basics (bottom).  The Ella Blue collection is my favorite- I am sure these versatile fabrics will appear in many projects.

Finally, The Intrepid Thread had some killer end-of-the-year deals that will feed my interest in garment sewing.  The purples/grays will be two dresses for Charlotte and the others are designer knit fabrics that I couldn't pass up at $5 per yard!  I am so excited.  I've never sewn knits before but for such a bargain, I am willing to try.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.

Last Finishes of 2015

Tomorrow Nick goes back to work and my sister is already on her way back to Ft. Collins.  I am definitely feeling the post-holidays blues.  It's been an awesome break with a lot of fun and not too much stress.  I don't want it to end! 

I managed to squeeze in a few more sewing projects before the end of 2015.  The Oliver and S Jump Rope dress was all the rage about 5 years ago.  There's even an archived sew-along on Sew Mama Sew.  Finding a paper copy of the now out-of-print pattern is no easy task but I luckily grabbed one on Etsy for a few dollars.  

Even though my daughter is a true size 4, I impulsively decided to make a size 5.  It was a lot of work, so I am glad it will last a little longer as she grows quickly.  

Her reaction to the dress was priceless, she was so thrilled and insisted on wearing it for our full day in Denver this past week.  She really loves this gem fabric (Natural History, designed by Lizzy House) and thinks it's relevant to her favorite Disney princess: Elsa.  I found this pattern very challenging- most notably the button placket on the front of the dress.  But it all came together relatively smoothly and I look forward to making this dress again.

Recently Gregory seemed a little jealous that I keep making his sister so many dresses.  He asked if I could make him a quilt for Christmas.  Sorry buddy.  If quilts came together as quickly as dresses do, I totally would have been on that!  But I know I garnered a few parenting points by making him this cute zip pouch to store some of his most favorite Legos.

The one priority of this vacation had been to finally put together my "DYO Sampler" quilt which is approximately 1 year and 7 months in the making....  I was able to put half of it together but I am going to take another break on it- this was frustrating thanks to all of the math and my imprecise piecing of the tulips on the bottom.  It's a bit wonky and I fear that if I force myself to press on immediately in putting the rest together, I will be careless and frustrated.  I promise to get back to it soon though- I so want this off my design wall!

So here's my final tally of fabric used in 2015.  Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts at Finish it up Friday.

Total stash fabric used in this post: 2.25 yards
Total stash fabric used since 1/1/15: 103.75yards
Total stash fabric used to date:  106 yards