Sunday, May 31, 2009

Linen dress

linen dress 2
Here's a dress I made based on my version of the Weekend Sewing Summer Blouse. For this dress I kept my alterations to the blouse and added length to make it a dress. I bought this fabric a long time ago and I don't remember what it was, only that it was called "linen-like." It behaves like linen but isn't, which is a little odd, but still pretty comfortable.

linen dress sleeve
I used a contrasting linen for the sleeves and the placket, which I put on the outside of the dress instead. Instead of using my blind hem stitch I stitched two lines at the bottom hem, just for some visual interest. I've been on a garment-sewing bender lately, so more soon!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend Sewing Summer Blouse

summer blouse 2
I've had Heather Ross's book Weekend Sewing since February, but I only just got around to making the Summer Blouse, which was the project I'd wanted to make most! I actually made a lot of modifications to the pattern and went through two muslins to get the design set. I have been using flat sheets from Target to try out all my patterns before actually cutting into the $9/yard fabrics I've bought for these things. I use a hera marker to trace the paper pattern onto the sheet, and then I sew the pattern together with a basting stitch. If it needs adjustments, I make them on the sheet. Once I get it how I want, I take the pieces apart and use those to cut out my actual pattern pieces. It's a great way to save customizations to a printed pattern, and to extend the life of a printed pattern, too. It is a little time-consuming, but it's nice to not wonder how something is going to turn out!

summer blouse 3

For this top I spent three hours working up two different muslins. I made a lot of changes to the original; I:
  • lengthened the body
  • shortened the sleeves
  • lowered the neckline
  • raised the armpit hole (but didn't change the sleeve shape)
  • took in and shaped the sides
  • raised the bust darts
  • added a v-neck
  • pleated the sleeve

...that's all! ;) I also used a pre-made binding tape for the neckline and my machine's invisible hem stitch to hem the bottom and the sleeves. Fabric is from Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party line (of course!).

The verdict? I love this top. Totally worth all the time and effort I put into it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Little peek

Dollhouse detail
Here's a little something I worked up for a friend's birthday, which is next Sunday, the 31st. It's kind of a silly gift, but also totally appropriate for this friend! Will show you the full thing soon. 

Iris on linen
And here's Iris from last Saturday morning. I left my linen out while the iron heated up, and when I came back she was laying here like she'd been there all morning (when it was more like five minutes). Silly kitty! She was just too adorable for me to move her. 

Iris in basket
Here's Iris in her basket next to my sewing desk. The basket is full of clothes to be refashioned, but she has claimed it as her own and I'm not going to argue! It's so sweet to be working and to glance over and see her curled up there. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

May S.T.U.D. quit revealed

STUD May 1
I've just heard from my partner that she received my May Swap Til You Drop quilt, so now I can post it! The theme this month was "twisted traditional." My partner loves log cabin blocks, so I knew I wanted that to be my starting point. But how to take a log cabin block and twist it? 

STUD May square
Turn it into a circle, of course! I designed this paper-piecing pattern myself and am immensely proud of the fact that it actually worked! The middle two squares of each log cabin block finish at 1/4", so paper piecing was the only way I could make this work. There are 15 pieces in each log cabin block (which finish at 3"), so 60 pieces in each circle block (which finish at 6"). I added sashing to the middle only and not the outsides because I thought the white binding would help equalize the amount of white around each circle. 

STUD May block close
I quilted this in three echo-quilted circles around each circular block because I really wanted to emphasize the circle-ness of these, but I'm not sure I like how that part turned out. Oh well. 

STUD May + twin 1
I also finished my twin for me at the same time, which felt great! Fabrics are all from Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party line and were leftovers from my stash. This is now my third mini quilt in a row to use fabrics only from my stash! This is great. All the more reason to continue to built a stash--having fabrics on hand just when you need them. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My new bag!

Spring tote bag 1
Okay, so I am totally in l-o-v-e with this bag! I had been wanting to make it ever since I got the new issue of Stitch magazine, but I finally had a chance to work on it over the weekend. It is awesome. It's called the "Spring Tote Bag" and the pattern is by Rashida Coleman-Hale from i heart linen. I bought a bunch of linen just for this (and I have a couple of yards left over, so you'll be seeing it pop up in more projects) but everything else came from my stash.

Spring tote bag 3
Except the grommets. The grommets (called "eyelets" on the package but "grommets" on the pattern) were purchased especially for this. I was really nervous about putting them in. The whole idea of poking holes into something I'd just spent time making kinda freaked me out. I actually considered making button holes on my machine instead for the same effect. But I ultimately tried the grommets. And let me tell you something: setting grommets is totally badass! I felt like a crafty superstar, pounding away with my hammer at 11am on Sunday morning.

Spring tote bag inside
And the results! This bag is roomy and deep and sturdy (fusible fleece!) but the straps are interfaced and hold it up well. The top really cinches pretty tight, which was a nice surprise (though I don't know why that surprised me...) Other than dealing with the shiftiness of the linen, which made it tricky to cut the pattern pieces, this was easy to assemble. I followed the instructions pretty exactly. I did stitch a dividing line down the inner pocket to make one side of it just for my cell phone. I also added an interfaced loop inside the bag for me to hook my keys on.

Spring tote bag 2
Have I said that I love this bag? I love this bag. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A gift FOR me

Molly iPod case
Occasionally I realize that I make a lot of things for other people but very rarely do people make things for me (unless you count my swap quilts, which are for me but also made to fulfill an assignment). Last week I received a package from my wonderful friend Molly of Misadventures in Crafts (which is hilarious, by the way) containing this lovely iPod cozy she made. For me! Not only is it adorable and very well made, but it also saved what was possibly the saddest mail day EVER: I got the bill for Bellow's euthanasia. :(  It was still a very sad day, but this little bit of cotton and button certainly made things a lot better. Thanks, Molls, for saving the day! 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Even more fabric

vintage Dresden plates
Oh yes, even more... These two vintage Dresden plates came from my local quilt shop, where they were $1 each. They are so lovely I just couldn't pass them up! I'm not sure what I'll be doing with them. Maybe appliquéing them to a mini-quilt? Or putting them in embroidery hoops and hanging them on the wall? Whatever I decide, it sure is nice having them around, on top of the many many piles of things on my sewing desk. 

Connecting Threads books and fabrics
In April, just post-birthday, I had a little speaking gig at the school where I got my Master's. It wasn't much, but I did get paid for it (!!) and I used the money to place a big order at Connecting Threads. The books were on sale, and I went a little crazy snapping up fat quarters and half yards of fabrics from their Mama's Cottons 2 line. As you can tell, I'm still obsessed with the 1930's repro fabrics and have been amassing them at a rate that completely eclipses my sad, slow progress on my Dear Jane quilt (which I haven't even touched in nearly a year!). 

Connecting Threads fabrics highlights
Here are some highlights from that big pile. I am totally in love with those sweet mint and lavender prints! Now to come up with a project that will actually use them (besides my Dear Jane, of course...) 

Friday, May 15, 2009

More fabric

Quilting Arts fabric order
I am nothing if not predictable, right? Way back in March I posted about a sale at Quilting Arts Online quilt shop. I went a little crazy and ordered 15 yards of stuff, because 50% off is 50% off, right?!? Unfortunately, the shop was going out of business. Probably good for me (and the Visa bill) that the package I got was much slimmer than the one I ordered and only contained what's pictured above. 

Alexander Henry Aviary fabric
This is some Alexander Henry Aviary fabric, and it is even more soft and gorgeous in person than it looks in the photos. I'm thinking it would be great as a skirt, but I am so in love with it that so far I've just been looking at it and caressing it occasionally. Oh come on, like I'm the only one who does that?!? (Please, tell me I'm not....)

Katie Jump Rope -1
Here are the fat quarters from Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope line. Do you notice something missing? I had ordered six (and let me tell you, it's very important that I have six for the plans I have for these fabrics) but only five arrived! What's a girl to do? 

Down Shadow Lane fabrics
Order more fabric, of course! These two bits above came from down shadow lane's Etsy shop, which I highly recommend! I got 1.5 yards each of Anna Maria Horner's Small Gathering in sea and the blue/brown plaid to complete my Katie Jump Rope set. 

Katie Jump Rope all 6
Ah yes, here they are, all together. Much better, I think. As I mentioned, I have big plans for these fabrics, but they are top secret for the time being. 

Lest you think I've only been amassing fabric and not actually crafting, I hope to have some crafty updates to share next week. It's been rough, losing our kitty and trying to adjust to the smaller size of our family. The grief sneaks up on me at unexpected moments. I've been doing okay for the most part, but I cannot think about those dear little paws or I lose it. Being at home is easier some days than other, especially on the weekends, but I've been doing what I can to keep busy. Unfortunately, everything I've finished lately is a gift and cannot be fully revealed until it's been received. I have a trip home to visit with parents and grandparents (and attend my high school reunion, which was an unfortunate afterthought) and I *need* lots of new dresses to wear. I plan to finish my swap quilt this weekend, then get going on stuff for me. I am so ready for that. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day mini-quilts

Bird minis 1
I'm back to blogging...again. I really do think I'll be updating more than once a week! Pictured above are the two mini-quilts I made for Mother's Day. The one on the left went to my mom and the one on the right went to my gramma. Unfortunately, they weren't received until yesterday, one day late, but they still seem to be appreciated! 

bird mini orange
The pattern is based on the "Out the Window" quilt from Material Obsession. The birds and leaves are all hand-appliquéd using the starch-on-the-edges-around-the-template method. All fabrics came from my stash! 

bird mini red
I loved making these birds, and I think my favorite part was their funny legs. I just kept giggling as I was embroidering them on. The quilting is a scribbly stipple in the white areas only, and a curlicue in the flower border. I really liked making these, even though the hand-appliqué took quite a while. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

April STUD mini sent

April STUD sent
My April "anything goes" mini-quilt for S.T.U.D. was received a while ago, so now I can post it. The pattern is called "Vintage Voyage" and came from an issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I'm not really sure what it is about this pattern that drew me in, but after I saw it I knew I had to make it. 

April STUD wonky
This is a LOT of half-square triangles (as I mentioned way back in this post)! I had some seam-allowance issues, apparently, because even after trimming the little squares, I still had to trim the rows to get them to fit the bigger squares, and the poor little corner squares got cut off. 

April STUD + twin
Still, there were some really good things about making this quilt. I love how the colors work together, despite some of the wonky piecing. I like that everything in it, including the back, is from my stash! I also like that I did my swap quilt and my twin for me at the same time. 

I'm sorry for staying away from the blog for so long--I didn't mean to. Last weekend our kitty, Bellow, got very sick very quickly, and on Tuesday he had to be put to sleep. Our little family has been traumatized and devastated by the experience, and I feel like I've been walking around in a daze, trying to pick up whatever pieces are left. We are slowly getting back to "normal" life, but the absence is palpable and the grief is so painful. I've been working, but it's going to be baby steps back to crafty productivity. That said, I have been working on some Mother's Day projects that I hope to be able to reveal next week, and then it's on to the May S.T.U.D. swap, which is "twisted traditional." I have some ideas, but need to sit down and see if they actually can be made to work.