Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The summer of Helena

Growing up, my mom made tons of matching dresses for my sisters and me - and we loved wearing them! She said she did it because it was cheaper than buying dresses but I think she actually made them so she could use the fabrics and trims she liked.

As an adult who sews now, I love sewing little girl dresses too. Let me tell you, they are SO MUCH easier than adult dresses - you don't have to worry about fitting curves or darts. Lately I've been following along with all of the adorable patterns put out by Simple Life Pattern Co. So much so that I've been making quite a few of their Helena dress lately! The first two were for my niece, the third for a friend. And then the fourth for the niece again but somehow I did not get a picture yet.

When you are turning 6 years old and your favorite color is purple, everything must be purple! I love making dresses for my little niece and though I love purple as well, I had a harder time finding bigger pieces in my stash to use for dresses. Luckily it all worked out.

This first version uses an Art Gallery print by Frances Newcombe and went very will with a pink and blue crossweave linen I had on hand. The niece was particularly fond of the buttons down the back. I, on the other hand, am a little concerned they might poke her when she sits down. Time will tell I suppose. She's very tall for her age so I made a bigger size - it's a bit too big for her now but will fit her for awhile.

The bodice on the second dress gave me a little trouble. I started by using a rayon spandex for the bodice and it was difficult to work with but I made it through. I was really unhappy with the waviness of the waist seam so I threw it in the wash to see if it would go back to it's original shape. It did not. The washing also highlighted a few tiny holes in the fabric that were now much bigger. Crap.

I ended up cutting the bodice and skirt apart to redo the bodice with a heavier weight cotton lycra knit by Art Gallery. I changed the gathered skirt to be pleated instead, hoping that would make the waist seam look a little nicer. I think the final version ended up pretty cute! The skirt is a cicada print by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton and Steel.

The third dress was this cute little number for my redheaded friend. I let her choose from a few fabrics I had in my stash and the pink was her favorite. It's from Amy Sinibaldi's Playground line for Art Gallery and the 1 yard I had was just barely enough to eek out the outer pieces in size 4T. I used something else for the bodice lining and embellished the front with some ruffled ribbon. Ahh, it feels good to use some of my stash!

The fourth version is a tunic for the niece our of the cutest mermaid fabric! It's a Michael Miller print but I don't know the designer - sorry. This tunic is going to be adorable with some leggings or jeans. I made the back neckline a little more modest too so it will be appropriate for back to school.

Now, let's tackle that pile of finished and nearly-finished quilt tops...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sleepy Sloths

I've been working on this one awhile, possibly procrastinating because it's just so cute to look at. But now it's complete and has gone off to live at it's new home.

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Sleepy Sloth pattern and altered the layout a little to suit me - I wanted both sloths to be hanging out on the same tree. This quilt is for a baby boy so I was a little worried at first that the body fabric might have too many girly designs but it turned out just right. This was my last bits of the Whimsicol print from Jeni Baker's Nordika line for Art Gallery Fabrics a few years ago.

Quilting this was a lot of fun and was all done with Aurifil on my Juki 2010. The tree definitely needed a bark-like motif and I knew I wanted some type of leaves in the background. Flipping through Christina Cameli's Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting, I found several designs that would work and this is the one I settled on.

The sloths themselves were a little harder. I thought about trying to make it look like fur but that seemed like it might get complicated. Instead, I went with the swirls I've been practicing a la Vicki and Angela. I do love a good swirl. The backing is from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis.

I think they all work pretty well together in the end. Plus, all that texture will be fun for tiny hands. It's now washed, dried, crinkled, and gifted!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

June do. Good Stitches blocks

Once again it's my turn to lead the Emerge circle in our quilt for this month. As someone who could barely stand to plug in my iron this past week due to a ridiculous heat wave, I'm keeping it easy this month. We'll be making a scrappy black and white plus quilt.

Instead of the usual 2 blocks, I'm asking each member of the circle to make one larger block and one strip, all from 5" squares.

(15) 5" square white/cream low volume or solid fabrics
(5) 5" square black/dark grey fabrics
* Please make sure you are using modern quilt-shop quality fabrics.

Arrange and sew per this picture - you will make one 4x4 block (measuring 18.5 x 18.5" when sewn) and 1 1x4 strip (measuring 5 x 18.5"):

Please press your seams open to avoid bulk and ship to me when you're ready.

In the meantime, I'll finish up my May blocks and get quilting the other two Emerge dgs quilts I have in the works.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quilt-It Modern

Welcome to my stop on day two of the Quilt-It Modern blog tour featuring Riley Blake Confetti Cottons and Crayola Colors. I'm happy to show off this mini quilt that I've been working on just for today.

Riley Blake has always has solid fabrics of course, but they have changed them up and added a whole bunch of new colors - over 100 now! And they are so, so soft, almost like a brushed cotton. I just wanted to pet them the whole time I was sewing them up.

It is fantastic to have so many colors and shades to choose from but for me that can be too much of a good thing. Where would I even start narrowing them down!? I took the rainbow road and chose to work with the Crayola Colors as they already went together beautifully. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the fabric with the matching crayons but they really do match and the colors are so vibrant and pretty! And soft - did I mention soft? Also, the Crayola colors can be purchased in super adorable crayon box fat quarter sets.

I used EQ7 to design a paper piecing template to use for this project. I used freezer paper piecing (see my tutorial on that here) to make things easier. Those skinny strips and sharp points would have been a major paper-removing headache otherwise!

Originally, I was going to make all of the columns the same height but my plan evolved as I went. Who knows, maybe I'll end up making a second version with my original plan.

The straight line quilting was a no-brainer when looking at the finished design. I wanted to let the colors and shapes stand out and for the quilting to keep your eye moving. Same goes for the white binding.

And here are a few more pictures because look at those colors! I'd like to thank the local elementary school for having this fun mural too - I'll definitely have to come back here for more quilt photos.

I hope you are inspired to sew up some of these solids yourself now. Trust me, you'll love them! There is much more to come on this blog tour so do make sure to check in with the others. I've seen some sneak peeks and there is great stuff in the works!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pillow challenge - take 2

The Seattle MQG is in the midst of a pillow-making challenge right now that I organized with Me+You/Hoffman fabric. I love their modern Indah batiks and wanted to give our guild the chance to play with them. Me+You was super generous in sending over tons of bundles for us to pass out to interested members, who are then to make a pillow cover with Me+You fabrics and any other Hoffman fabrics they want to add. They are going to be displayed at the Pacific Fabrics Northgate store for about a month starting July 15th.

I had a few ideas for what I'd like to make but finally decided on using the Meridian quilt pattern by Alison Glass and Jessica Beaudet. This is one of many patterns I have that I would love to make but have not found the time yet. All those curves are a little daunting as well so a pillow is the perfect place to start.

I cut up the provided fabric along with a few others (so happy I won some of their solids at Quiltcon!) to make 4 blocks from the pattern. I was not loving my creation. My 4 blocks didn't really look right to me but I could not figure out exactly what needed changing. I think they would be fine if I was making a whole quilt and all of the colors were incorporated into other parts of the quilt but not so much for just the 4 sections alone.

Yesterday, I cut pieces for 4 more blocks from a different section of the quilt pattern. I planned it out a little better this time and I think I like it better. Now I've just got to find some time to sew it together in the next few days and finish this pillow up! Although looking at it here, I may need to change out a piece or two before sewing. We shall see.

However it ends up, this has convinced me that I DO need to make a full quilt of this pattern. It shall be added to the never-ending to do list. Also, the original block (above, with the green) is now growing on me. Maybe it will be a 2 sided pillow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of poppies

I was delighted when Amanda Herring asked me to join in on the Desert Bloom blog tour for her newest line with Riley Blake. She has made so many great fabric collections and this one had some prints I was seriously crushing on.

Desert Bloom is inspired by Amanda's love of Utah, a state I'd like to visit sometime, and she even sent along a sweet little Utah care package. Did you see the amazing cookies she had commissioned to match the fabric? Adorable!

The blues in this line are my favorite so I really wanted to make something to take advantage of those. I've been playing around with designing some paper piecing patterns in EQ7 and decided some clouds and rain might be cool. Even the Utah desert needs a little rain sometimes, right?

The clouds are 10 x 20" and were fairly quick to piece despite the amount of tiny sections. I may have to work on that... The rain blocks are also 10 x 20". How perfect are those geometric stripes for rain? I love them.

I kept the quilting pretty simple with horizontal waves for wind, vertical curvy lines on the rain, and some cloud-like echoes in the clouds. I was able to use the longarm at my local store, Sewing Machine Service, which made it go super quick and easy!

I couldn't leave out the red prints altogether and what better for the back of the quilt than a whole field of poppies that have been well watered with all of this rain? My friend Kenzie approves.

The quilt finishes at 60 x 70", a great size for snuggling on the couch. Just as soon as this ridiculously hot Seattle weather passes, that is!

Be sure to check out all of the other stops on the tour. There has been some great stuff so far with even more to come.

6/6 - Fabric Mutt
6/8 - Allison Sews

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewtopia Virtual Challenge

I really love a good quilt finish, don't you? A few months ago I signed up to participate in the Sewtopia Virtual Challenge. They would send us some Me & You fabrics and we were to make something with them. The prizes are pretty great and I seem to work better with good motivation (and a due date!) so of course I was in. Not to mention I was already building up a stash of these beauties on my own.

I decided pretty quickly that these would make a cool Chaos quilt. I had just taken a class with Libs Elliott through Seattle MQG and loved her method that allows you to make up your own pattern with her technique. You should definitely take the class from her if you get a chance.

The black and white prints wanted a little pop of color so the yellow print was added in, along with the yellow and white solids and a little more of the arrow print. It was a bit overwhelming trying to plan out where the different prints would go on my coloring page so I made the blocks completely at random fabric-wise. I knew how many I needed of each different block and that was it. Thankfully I had access to a design wall to tweak the layout here and there when the blocks were done.

All of the quilting was done free motion on my Juki TL-98Q, even though it's mostly straight(ish) lines. I like the organic nature of the not-quite-perfect nature of the quiltingin lines compared to the fine points and crisp angles of the piecing. I even threw in a few spots of curved quilting to keep your eyes moving around the quilt.

A cool quilt of course needs cool binding and what better way than extend the yellow parts out into the binding. I used Debbie / A Quilter's Table tutorial and am mostly happy with how it came out. Those angles are tough to match up in just the right spot! I'd like to say they got easier with each angle done but let's be real - they did not. I think the whole quilt turned out pretty great though!

Now for what to name it.... let me know if you have any suggestions. Naming quilts is not my forte.

Stats for me:
Fabric: all Hoffman Me + You Indah batiks and solids
Batting: Hobbs 100% cotton
Quilting: FMQ Superior Magnifico top and bobbin, 90 topstitch needle
Size: 36.5 x 42.5"

This one was also on my finish along goal list for the quarter so yay me!

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