Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Christmas Dress and Year Wrap Up

The end of the year project that I focused on was a Christmas dress for my daughter.  It's pretty obvious that I love dressing her up and the combination of the new Liesl Gibson pattern paired with Brambleberry Ridge fabric seemed like a great idea.

I bought the book at Fancy Tiger in November when I took a break from all of my frenzied craft fair sewing and drove up to Denver with my friend Annee to meet Liesl Gibson for the book signing.  It was a really fun night and Liesl is so gracious and easy to talk to.  I'll admit I was a little star struck:

The Building Block dress book gives a basic pattern for a sweet dress that appealed to me.

I've made a dress with a Peter Pan collar before and I didn't have too much trouble:

But it was tough!  My frustration with it made me want to avoid sewing all together.  The part that gave me so much trouble was the collar.  On the dress above, the pattern "taught" me how to install a lined bodice.  With the Building Block instructions, you install a bias strip to encase everything around the neckline.  It was not easy and I did my fair share of seam ripping:

The only alterations I made to the pattern was to add handmade bias piping around the collar and I added an inch of length to the skirt on the size 5T (I'm very glad I did!).

Charlotte has loved the dress and was able to wear it many times throughout December.  I don't plan to put it away for a while, despite Christmas being behind us now.  I'll admit that the frustrations with this dress made me think about how much easier (and even cheaper!) a time I've had with Christmas dresses when I've bought off-season fancy dresses off of the Dillard's clearance rack......

I made matching plaid bow ties out of the scraps of fabric I had leftover.  The boys looked darling.  Owen looks so sad in this picture: it was well past his nap time when we took this picture.

Here's a cute picture of Gregory wearing the bow tie, I think he felt glad to be included in my apparel sewing for once but honestly I don't feel bad that I don't sew clothes for him.  He's very picky about what he wears and prefers his t-shirt and basketball shorts hands down.

Another fun thing that came to fruition in December was a feature of my thread wreath in the Australian magazine, Homespun:

This year, I made Charlotte eight dresses.  I completed five quilts.  I participated in vending at two craft shows.  I made a quilt almost completely out of scraps (Hello Kitty). I conquered my fear of sewing with knits.  I made a king size quilt for my brother.  I made lots of lovely bags.

A few weeks ago, when I was laboring over Charlotte's dress at a guild sew-in, a person made a comment  amounting to something like this, "I would never work so hard on something that would just be grown out of."  I know what she was saying but I didn't really love or appreciate the sentiment.  It feels worth it when I look at these pictures and remember the excitement she shows when I make her a new dress.  She's probably the one and only daughter I'll have and I want to relish this time when making her a dress is usually affordable (1-2 yards is enough!) and her enthusiasm for my creations is contagious:

(she can fit into this one now, I'll have to post a picture!)

Edited to add: I forgot about this Hide and Seek dress I started the night before we left for NH.  I was so stressed about taking a long flight with three young children, this project helped my anxiety calm down a little:

She wore it to Lego Land:

My husband has had a ton of time off for the holidays and my mom is coming for a visit this next week- so I've definitely been in vacation mode lately.  I haven't wanted to hide away in my sewing room while everyone's home- which is probably a good thing- although I miss it and even feel a little guilty.  But I have been cleaning up and organizing my sewing room some and thinking about my 2017 sewing goals:

  • Finish the Hello Kitty quilt.
  • Make a quilt completely from scraps.
  • Open and maintain an Etsy shop.
  • Make a quilt using some of my favorite and long-hoarded Lizzy House Constellations fabrics
  • Make a skull/Halloween quilt for Gregory
  • Finish at least 3 WIPs.
  • Make more quilts- 10 will be the goal.
  • Attend the February guild retreat.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sewing Gifts Given and Received 2016

  About two weeks before Christmas, I tried to talk myself out of making any handmade presents.  I conceded by making my in-laws some patchwork dish towels and hexagon coasters (but forgot to take a picture!).  A week later, I finally admitted to myself that I just had to make something for the kids.  The compromise that I made with myself was that I didn't have to make something for the baby because he's too young to remember it and I was running out of time.

I decided to make a skull pillow for my oldest son, Gregory.  As I've said before, he loves all things Halloween, all year round.  I spotted an amazing looking skull block on Instagram and found that the pattern was from the new book by Tula Pink and Angela Walters: Quilt with Tula and Angela: A Start-to-Finish Guide to Piecing and Quilting Using Color and Shape.  I made one block out of some glow-in-the-dark fabric and black Kona, I added some borders to the block to make it 18.5" square:

I used some of the Halloween stash (also fabrics that glows) for the back to make a zippered closure:

Gregory really loved it and especially loves that it glows.  We've been talking about me making a full Sugar Skull quilt soon- but let me tell you- making quilts for your kids increases in difficulty as your children start voicing their opinions- opinions that are strong and do not budge.  He's really intent on me using this darn panel I've had for ages and nixed my idea of doing a colorful bright solids version of the quilt..........  to be continued!

I can't wait to share what I made for Charlotte, but I will save that post for the next Scraptastic link-up (I won a prize this month and I'm motivated to continue my participation with that fun blog activity!).

I was spoiled by my husband in crafty goodness for Christmas gifts.  I've wanted Blueberry Park fabrics for ages and the warm palette bundle is simply perfection.  I've also wanted Mostly Manor and my husband snatched some up during a FQS flash sale when the bundles were 50% off.  I'm going to undo the pretty bundles and sort the pieces into color order into my stash tonight.  I also scored a yard each of Tiger Lily ballerinas on white and some older Christmas Anne Kelle.

Every Christmas, I tend to get lucky and receive some awesome crafty additions to my sewing related library.  I've checked out Handmade Style at least four times from my library and even made a quilt from a pattern therein, so I am very happy to finally have my own copy.  I heard Amy Gibson speak at our guild in the fall and was dying for her "Quilt Block Cookbook."  I was able to see many of her quilts from the book in person and they're simply gorgeous.  Finally, the "By the Bundle" book is one that I like every pattern within the book- I seriously want to make them all!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you are enjoying this holiday season and finding some time to be creative.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Scraptastic Tuesday: Thanksgiving Table Runner

 Here's the truth: I think sewing so much for those craft fairs this fall burnt me out a bit.  I haven't been sewing very much lately.  I'm tired.  When I have some spare time, I have preferred to go to bed earlier, read, and watch the occasional Netflix drama.  I'll admit that I feel a little guilty for not churning out lots of sewing projects.  I will say that I am still enjoying the fruits of my craft fair spoils: I bought myself winter boots that actually fit (I've been using a pair of thrifted ones a size too large for years!) with some of my proceeds and I've been using some of my craft fair inventory as gifts to family, friends, and teachers.  It's felt so good to just rifle through all that stuff and pull out something cute and handmade that is ready to go.

So I guess this post is a little overdue, but the night before Thanksgiving, I decided to start a table runner, in hopes of finishing it in time for the next day's meal.  Nick and I reached our ten year anniversary in June, yet we've never had to cook our own Thanksgiving turkey- but this year was the year to finally do it!  Nick took charge of it and my responsibility was potatoes (we had friends over who brought other dishes too).  I didn't feel too bad focusing on this spontaneous idea/project because the meal preparation was minimal for my part.

In early November, I spotted these "Grateful" Target placemats in the Dollar Spot (they were actually $3 each).  I decided to use them as the focal points of the runner:

We have a very long table, so this runner was almost two yards long (13" wide).

I had quite a bit of Insul-brite (that batting that is supposed to be great for making pot holders) and pieced together a long piece to use as the top layer as batting (I also added another layer of thin polyester batting as well).  The thickness made it all a little tricky to sew up neatly, but I think I did okay.

I raided my orange/yellow/brown scrap bins and bags to make a scrappy patchwork front.  I've heard a lot of people often say they "hate" the color brown for quilts but I think it's underrated.  Dark chocolate brown adds such a nice contrast, it truly helps other fabrics shine.  

I'll admit that I didn't finish the runner in a super-timely manner, it was all done about twenty minutes after all of the food was ready.  I did take sewing breaks to help with the meal but seriously- you guys- my husband is just a great guy who is so supportive and really showed patience with my crazy idea to make a table runner none too soon before the big day.

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday.