Monday, June 30, 2014

My Clara Dress

This is where it all began. I'm sure many of you can relate. Find something cute on Pinterest and then just have to make it! I am not a garment sewer, I am not a garments sewer, ... This is what I told myself, but the obsession had begun.
I finally talked myself into making this dress a few weeks ago. If I can make dresses for the little one, I can do it for myself, right? Pattern and fabric were purchased, now for the hard part, actually sewing it. Bonus: this pattern comes with a step by step video tutorial to show how to put the whole thing together.
Pattern cutting is easy and when there are straight lines involved, I cheat and use my rotary cutter. The bodice is the first piece to be constructed. No real problems here.
Then it comes to this point, the dreaded sleeves. Play dreaded tune here. I swear sleeves are the bane of my sewing existence. Maybe I am just too particular, maybe I am not supposed to do curved seams, or maybe I just need practice? The sleeves took me a few hours just to get the first one on. Once I get the sleeves on the rest of the dress just kind of comes together.
This dress has elastic in the waistband. The only other part I had any trouble with was getting the elastic stretched enough while sewing it in. The first attempt was not stretchy enough. Enter Jack, the seam ripper. This particlar seam was a doosy because I used a tricot stitch, a zig zag with three stiches per zig. One hour later, I had the elastic removed, stretched more, and resewn. Wow, much better.
The Clara Dress is a challenging pattern made easier with the video tutorial to accompany it. Other than the sleeves, I had no troubles. The outcome is a super cute dress. I am already shopping for more fabric so I can make another. The second is always easier than the first.


Sunday, June 1, 2014


It must be the 6 year old's time for handmade goodies. She had never helped me pick out the pattern or fabrics for one of her own quilts. I finally decided that it was time for this to happen. After tour through my extensive pattern stash, we chose the Fireworks pattern by Thimble Blossoms.

That decided, it was time to make a trip to my favorite quilt store, The Quilt Patch. Amazingly, this was a quick trip. She immediately fell in love with the Daydreams line by Kate Spain. In and out in less than 30 minutes, I think this is a record for me!

I was so excited to start this project that it was allowed to jump to the front of the project line. This line gets longer everyday. There are several goodies waiting that will appear on here before too long. So off to the cutting table for me. This is not my favorite part of the process, but handling beautiful fabrics makes me so happy. Aren't they such pretty piles of fabrics?

The blocks for this quilt took quite a bit of time to put together because there are many pieces in each. They are not hard to put together acurately, just time consuming. The only beef I had with this project is all of the waste. I don't know about you, but I hate wasting good fabric.

All of the flying geese pieces are made with a rectangle and two squares. This means that there are four triangle pieces of waste. My solution to this was to draw two sewing lines on each square making the flying geese units and two half square triangle units at the same time. I will share some of my projects using these left overs soon.

This is only part of the pile of extra half square triangles I had left over!

My daughter laid this quilt out with very little input from me. Have you ever tried to do this with a 6 year old? It can get a little sticky, but she is my last and I have learned a little bit about working with little people on this type of project. She did a great job and it turned out fabulous!

Here it is getting quilted with swirls as requested.

All in all, this is a great project that looks amazing.

Happy Sewing




Sunday, May 25, 2014

Scrappy Cargo Duffle

It all started when a friend of mine sent me a picture of her fabric she had just received in the mail. It was the Giraffe Crossing line from Riley Blake. My youngest daughter is obsessed with all thing giraffe, so I told my friend that someone here would love that fabric. This friend graciously gifted me the left overs from her quilt project.


Then the real thinking started, the steam was really rolling. Part of that was from the thinking and some was from negotiating with the 5 year old. My daughter wanted a quilt, but there was clearly not enough fabric for a quilt. We were preparing to go to Florida for a visit with family. Guess who had to pack in a reusable Disney shopping bag? Unbelievable, I know! This was the final push to find a bag pattern that could be put together with the amazingly cute scraps.

I had already scoped out the bag from Anna over at Noodlehead. She had recently shown a Cargo Duffle, that I knew would work out great for someone in this house. A girl can NEVER have too many bags. Having made several of her patterns, I knew this would go together smoothly!

Everything went wonderfully, including the zipper! The zipper had me a little worried because I had never used a metal zipper before. Wasn't sure how it would work in my machine, but all went smoothly. Well, except for that one part when I sewed the zipper pull into the seam. My fault, I know...

The interior of the bag is wonderful because there are no raw edges left exposed. Unlike most bags I have sewn, this one does not make the lining separately. It is quilted together and then each piece is handled as a unit.

I would reccomend this to anyone that has a little bag making experience. Fun, fast and straight forward!

Happy Sewing



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Family Reunion Dress

My youngest daughter (I have 4) is going to be 6 later this month. Realizing that she is growing up WAY too fast, I thought I should make her as many dresses as I can before she decides my homemade stuff is just not for her. In all fairness, my college girls still like the bags and pj pants I make for them.

Shopping for dress patterns is fun but overwhelming at times. There are so many adorable options for girls dresses. After many hours looking through picture after picture of cute girls in fabulous dresses I chose a few patterns by Oliver & S...The Family Reunion Dress and The Ice Cream Dress.

The Family Reunion Dress is the first one that I decided to tackle. I am not usually a garment sewer, but I like to make simple dresses for my girls. Sleeves intimidate me. As a quilter, I don't sew curved seams, they are scary!

Being slightly afraid, I looked for a sew along. I found just the spot at Her thorough directions and excellent pictures helped me know if I was doing it right. The directions that came with the pattern were also wonderful. There wasn't one step that I didn't understand. By nature, I am good with directions, but in a foreign area like garment construction good directions are a must! Even the sleeves went smoothly, much to my relief.

The dress turned out wonderful! The pin tucks in the front and back add interest to the front of the dress. Adding six lines of stitching at the hem adds a nice touch to the bottom of the dress and makes it more stable, so it shouldn't turn up in the wash. I am so pleased with how it looks and even how it feels. My daughter couldn't be happier. She insisted that she felt like a princess. Every girl should feel like that sometimes.

I can't wait to try the Ice Cream Dress.

Happy Sewing



Monday, May 27, 2013

T-Shirt Quilt

Whew, what a weekend! My daughter graduated on Sunday and her party was directly after. In the few minutes before her party I made her pose with her quilt.

She has been very active in sports and is a smarty pants as well! I put this quilt together in March and took it to be quilted by a long arm quilter. This is only the second quilt that I have allowed someone else to quilt. Both experiences were great!

Go figure, she picked running horses. She is a horse nut, loves all animals, and is going to college in the fall to begin studies for Pre-Veterinary medicine.

You may have noticed that most of the shirts are green, so why orange and black for the sashing and backing? Well, she didn't want black like her sister, so we decided to use her college colors, orange and black. Watch out University of Findlay, here she comes.

T-shirt quilts are not difficult to piece, especially this pattern. Getting the cornerstones to match up in the right place is the hardest part. One tip for sewing these together is to always sew with the t-shirt piece up. I am not sure why this works so much better, but if the t-shirt side is down, the pieces shift and bunch.

If you decide to make one of these, the worst part is fusing the interfacing to the backs of the shirts. Making this quilt, I think I counted to 10 Mississippi at least a hundred times. I was thinking that a heat press might work to speed this up. Anyone tried this? Someone offered to let me use theirs. Wonder if the interfacing would hold up?

Things should slow down for me in the next week or two with the last track meet tomorrow and only 3 more weeks of school left before our summer vacation. I am dreaming about the hours I will be able to sew. There are only about a dozen projects I have lined up in my mind to make next. Looking forward to turning on the machine this week!



Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Weekender Bag

Since I have finished the baby quilts, with a little time to spare, I was able to work on a project I have been dying to get started! While working on the baby quilts I began assembling the supplies necessary to put together a Weekender Bay (Amy Butler). These bags have been all over blogland and I really wanted one. My goal was to finish mine before my husband and I go away for our annual Anniversary trip. Here we are over a month ahead of time and it is finished.

Isn't it fabulous? I love it. There is enough interfacing in this bag to carry two bowling balls on our trip, but I think I will just pack clothes instead. They are a little more practical.

This pattern by Amy Butler was challenging, but if the directions are followed, the bag will turn out great. I am used to sewing quilted bags with cotton batting on the insides. The idea of using not one, but two types of interfacing was strange. Despite this, I followed the suggestions and couldn't be happier with the way the bag turned out. I may even have to use this double interfacing concept on some of my other bags, if I want them to stand on their own.

While assembling the bag, the directions said to use binder clips to hold the pieces together while sewing. Go figure, the teacher has all of her binder clips at school and couldn't possibly wait until Monday to finish the bag, so I just used some super heavy duty pins I used to use when I stretched quilts on a frame. They worked fine, but if I ever make this bag again, I would like to try the binder clips. It may be just a smidge easier.

This is my first attempt at pattern matching. One side turned out great, the other looks good, but not quite a match. I need to choose an easier point in the pattern to match, like I did on the first side. Lesson learned.

Don't you just love happy accidents? I did not plan for these zipper panels to line up like this and create a snake like pattern, but isn't it cool? Pretty sure I couldn't make that happen again in a million years.

If you would like to make this pattern, don't be afraid, just read the directions carefully and be prepared to spend almost a whole day cutting out the pieces.

Notice how the bag I made in Florida coordinates with my new Weekender bag? I have plans for one more medium sized bag to go with these two. Both of these bags are made out of fabrics from the Juggling Summer line from Moda. There will more than likely be enough scraps for a few other travel items to go along with the set. Now that I have matching luggage maybe I will have to travel more often!

Now I need to get cracking on the Mother's Day gifts I have planned for next Sunday. Off to the machine.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Winter With The Lorax


There are going to be three new bundles of joy entering our family this spring. My brother and his wife, my niece and one of my nephews are all expecting fairly soon. This means that I have spent the winter sewing up a storm for these new arrivals. I do love picking out and making baby quilts. While obsessively seeking the perfect projects for these babies, I found an awesome quilt kit for The Lorax fabrics by Robert Kaufman. This kit included a panel that had illustrations from the book. Perfect! One quilt picked out.

This is from a free pattern available from Kaufman fabrics, called I Speak For the Trees. I had a few problems with the pattern for this quilt. One of the measurements is incorrect, all of the pieces that are cut 13 1/2" should actually be 13" cuts instead. This was an easy fix. The other error is that the panel blocks and the 25 patch blocks wind up being 1/4" different in size. This was easy to fix also, but would have been easier if they were just cut the correct size from the beginning. So if you are making this quilt, check your block size. You may have to trim an 1/8" off of each side of your blocks. Despite the pattern troubles, I love how this quilt turned out. So much so that I made a second one!

This second quilt from the I Speak for the Trees pattern came together much smoother than the first. Knowing what to change before cutting made it so much easier. My brother and his wife should have this quilt, in New York, by the time this is posted.

For the last baby, I happened upon yet another Lorax quilt kit called The Need for Thneeds. This pattern was excellent and the quilt top came together nicely. I was a little nervous about getting the knitting thneeds all lined up and centered all the way across the top. No need to worry, they lined up perfectly (well as close to perfect as I get).

After making all of the Lorax quilts, I have so many scraps! I sure am glad that my two little girls love The Lorax and want several things made from these scraps! Speaking of my little girls, I want to say thank you to them and my husband for taking the time to hold up my quilts on the back deck for these pictures!

There are all of my helpers!

The baby quilts are finished. Now to get on that t-shirt quilt...or maybe something for myself?