Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A matching dress for me

My last post was about dresses made for my niece but I actually bought that black floral print for myself. I've been muslining and experimenting with the Greenstyle Laurel dress and was finally ready to try the dress length. It was a happy coincidence that there was also enough of this print to make a little girl dress too!

I really like the Laurel pattern. It's similar to other patterns I have but so much more flattering for me with the pleats for the skirt instead of gathering. There are options for a few different sleeve lengths and a cowl neck too, but it's summer and it has been extremely hot over here in Seattle so I opted for a sleeveless scoop neck. And pockets. Mine had to have pockets too!

I don't recall what the finishing instructions were in this pattern but I went with another Coletterie recommendation and did wrapped binding to finish the arms and neck. For the hem I used a little seam binding tape to keep the bottom even, folded up twice, and finished with a twin needle right next to the fold. I think the seam tape gives it a little extra stability for the twin needle so I don't have any tunneling and the maxilock stretch thread in the bobbin gives a great stretchy seam.

The fabric came from Denver Fabrics, my first order with them. I love the print and it is sooooo soft - it's a cotton lycra. It's also survived a few washings so far in good condition and with good color retention. I would order from them again but now know they do not actually ship for a week or two after ordering. At least I know that now!

Until next time,

Friday, July 17, 2015

Uptown Downtown dresses

When I was little, my mom was always sewing my sister and I matching dresses. We are only 18 months apart so of course it was adorable to put us in the same dress, or the same dress pattern but different colors. She kept it up awhile after my younger sister came along too. Looking back, I have no idea where she found the time to make us those adorable creations with 4 little kids running around. I'll have to dig up some pictures one of these days. I'm also not sure when I stopped being a dress girl but I'm trying to get back to that a little bit these days.

Anyway. Now that I have a serger, I've started sewing some little dresses for my niece as well. I've made her a few dresses over the past year that she loves (this woven one and this knit/woven combo) and so I thought I'd whip up a few more for her 4th birthday. I mean, is there anything cuter than a small child wearing a dress you made for her and her bragging to you that YOU made it for her? This kid has a great memory!

I've been collecting some cute knit prints lately (I may or may not have been on a knit-buying binge... oops) and a few were just perfect for tiny dresses. I broke out the Uptown Downtown Dress pattern by Sew Straight and Gather to once again sew up. It's the same pattern I used for her rainbow fishy dress and I seriously love this pattern. My little niece is tall for her age so I added 2 inches to each of these and of course had to include the pockets this time. I even remembered to put a little ribbon tag in one of them to mark the back.

When she opened these up on her birthday I knew she liked them. I was so excited to get pictures of her wearing one a few days later -  so cute! Apparently she also told everyone that her auntie made her that. Awww! I wonder if she told them I had made myself a matching dress? Because I did. More on that later.

Now that they are done and gifted, I realize I should have taken some construction pictures but alas, I did not. You'll just have to take my word for it that these are finished with 2 different methods, both found in this amazing Colette guide. The white dress was finished with bands and the black one used the seam covering binding. In both cases I was silly enough to close up the underarm seam before finishing, leaving me with tiny arm holes to wrestle through a giant serger foot. I won't make that mistake again!

After attaching the bands and binding, I secured them with my trusty twin needle and maxilock stretch on the bottom. I use the stretch thread in the loopers of my serger to make the seams a little softer but I've also discovered it's wonderful in the bobbin for twin needle sewing. Woolly nylon is also great for these uses but is a little more expensive.

I have a Pinterest board I've started with great tips and tutorials like the one above if you'd like to follow along on Sew: Apparel and Sewing Tips.

 Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All of the Arrows quilt

This one has been lingering in various stages for a few months now so I'm happy to have it finished and ready to donate. February was my month to be the quilter in the Believe circle of do. Good Stitches. I asked my circle to make arrow blocks in a soft springy palette with neutral solids for the background.

It was fun seeing all the different blocks that came back to me. Some big, some small, some paper-pieced, some improv. So much variety! And because I did not limit them as far as size went, there was a lot of variety in that, too. It made laying them out a little more challenging for sure!

I really like the layout that I ended up with and there are some more great blocks on the back that didn't quite fit the color scheme of the front so it's almost like a whole second quilt.

I thought about how I wanted to quilt this one for awhile and was trying to think of a way to free motion quilt it that wouldn't be too busy for this quilt that already has a lot going on. Then Jen posted about a new foot she got for her Juki that has a guide on it (Jukis do not come with one, sadly) and my mind was made up. What better design than a giant spiral that looks like a target of sorts for this quilt with so many arrows?! I will definitely be using that foot again, though maybe on something a little smaller. My shoulders are still feeling that workout from constantly rotating the whole thing.

I found a fun print in my stash that had just the right colors for the binding and this guy was finally ready for picture day! Thanks to my friend Grace for helping me take pictures in Pioneer Square this weekend.

This was one of my Finish Along goals for the quarter so CHECK! It's also my last quilt with the Believe circle. I've since moved to a new circle, Emerge, and look forward to making my first quilt for them in August. Time to start thinking of a plan....


Monday, June 8, 2015

Quilts for Project Linus

A couple months back, Pat Bravo put out a call for people to sew charity quilts for Project Linus out of her enormous pile of scraps. I jumped right in and volunteered and got a fun package int he mail a short time later. You'd think I would have taken a picture of that pile, huh? Oh well.

I had a few ideas of what I wanted to make but the scraps I got just didn't fit with those ideas. I was stuck. I knew I needed to do something though, so I started cutting them into strings of various widths 1" - 3.5". I sewed them onto copier paper to make diagonal 8.5" x 11" string blocks, being pretty random about placement. I am not usually so scrappy and random so this was pretty hard for me and in the end - I really did not like what I had come up with.

I had to sit on it for a week or two while I thought about how I could make this something I would like better. I thought about turning them into half rectangle triangles with some solids. I considered doing some slash and insert in the opposite direction. Neither of those were jumping out at me as the answer though.

Finally I decided to slice them into skinnier rectangles and see if I could make some arrows out of them. I really needed some negative space to break up all that scrappiness! There are still a few things I would have done differently but overall I'm so much happier with this final layout than I was with the original string blocks.

The navy blue in this is a microfiber sheet so it's SUPER soft. I hope it makes a kid feel comforted and happy when it finds it's new home via Project Linus. Maybe they'll even enjoy the fun variety of free motion quilting I did.

There are actually a ton of quilts that were made for this project and I like so many of them. Pat is giving away 10 yards of fabric to the quilt with the most likes (click the heart on the pin you like) on her Project Linus board. I'd love if you go click mine - you know I can always use more gorgeous fabric in my life!

As an added bonus, this was also one of my goals for this quarter's Finish Along. Yay!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Color Hex

I am so excited to show you all my latest quilt finish. But I do need help picking out a name so let me know if you think of something while you're looking at the pictures.

I met Alison Glass at Quiltcon and talked to her a little about her upcoming lines which she had some sneak peaks of at one of her demo talks. I knew right away that I loved Ex-Libris and had to make something with it. Alison was kind enough to send me some advance yardage to make this guy. She wanted something made with the white Art Theory panel which is amazing. It is so, so, so pretty you guys.

I got the idea to cut it up like pie pieces and radiate them out from a full center circle section. I made a few tweaks as I went so I was able to incorporate a few more prints from the line. My friend Kristen gave me the great idea to use the tan chambray as an outline and I think that gave it just the right touch of contrast.

This design gave me a ton of negative space to play around with the quilting and I had a great time with that. I'll show more of the different sections later this week. Right now I'm off to finish hand-sewing the binding so I can send it off to Minnesota for Alison's schoolhouse presentation. I must really like this quilt - I hate hand sewing with a passion.

This quilt was one of my goals to finish this quarter for the 2015 Finish Along.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A whole lot of WIPs

It's been awhile since I've posted my extremely long list of everything that's in progress. I don't expect to finish all of this in the next 3 months but hopefully will complete at least a chunk of it! Linking up to the 2015 Finish Along.

Timber Quilt - this is an Alison Glass pattern that I got for Christmas. I love it! There are SO many ways to change up the look of it. I decided to go with a warm, bright, sherbet-sunrise palette.

Project Linus scrap quilt - Pat Bravo sent a package of scraps for me to make a charity quilt with. I had a plan that involved triangles but once I received the scraps they didn't really seem to make sense with the design I had thought up. Right now they are sewn into 16 rectangular string blocks.... we'll see if they stay that way or not.

Ex Libris quilt - I was so excited to get some advance yardage of this gorgeous new line from Alison Glass! I started sewing this past weekend and should have the quilt all finished in the next 2 weeks at most. Okay, maybe 3 weeks.

Do Good Stitches arrows quilt - February was my month to design the quilt for the Believe circle. I asked them to make arrow blocks in a beautiful palette with a neutral solid background. Now it just needs to be pieced together to make a really fun quilt for a foster kid.

Jellyfish quilt - I started this at Quiltcon, in Improv with Intent with Cheryl Arkison. I need to make a whole slew of jellies to be friends with this guy.

Emphasis quilt - I'm really excited to make more blocks for this one. I have a design in mind that will involve a massive amount of negative space for some FMQ fun. I started this one at Quiltcon also, in class with Carolyn Friedlander.

Tallahassee quilt - I started this last year with members of the Stash Fabulous bee. I think I still need to make a few more of these adorable little paper pieced blocks and I have a plan to fill in the background with larger squares of low volume white prints.

C&S August Lions quilt - I started this one at our Seattle MQG retreat last November but I didn't have a use in mind at the time, I just wanted to use these prints. I think I know where it will be headed now though and I got some great ideas for the quilting part from classes with Angela Walters at Quiltcon so it's time to finish up piecing this top and get him done!

Technicolor Galaxy quilt - This one will definitely not be finished in the next 3 months but it's in progress nonetheless. I have fabric pulled and templates printed so I just need to get started! 

Paint Chip Challenge - Seattle MQG is doing a challenge right now, due in May, to make an 18" mini out of only the colors on our assigned paint chip. I better get on that now that I think I finally have a plan!

MQG Riley Blake challenge - my plan involves a little bit of fabric and a whole lot of FMQ. I think this is due in July. Maybe June...

Cotton and Steel Mini Quilt Swap - I think I'm making this sweet viewfinder pattern from Penny Layman's The Paper-Pieced Home. Swap is due in June.

Laurel tunic & Dress - I need to do the finishing on the teal one and start the aztec version. I really love this pattern by GreenstyleCreations! I actually used the pattern to also draft my own open front flowy cardigan!

Knit Staple dress - I've made one in woven and love it, time to get this one done for a little more casual, comfy version.

Fishy Izzy dress - I'm changing up the Izzy top by Climbing the Willow a little to lengthen the bodice and make a dress for my sweet 3 year old niece. I've already made her one that's tunic length and she loves it but she also loves to wear dresses.

Lane Raglan - I'm making the Lane Raglan by Hey June in this fun chevron print with solid blue sleeves and another with this pretty coral lace burnout. If I like them, I'm sure there will be many more versions to follow.

Flowy Knit Cardigans - I drafted this pattern as a mashup of the Laurel and some things I learned by watching Fit2Stitch on PBS. Oh how I love that show. I have at least 2 of these in the works and I would love to finish them so I can start wearing them. And then I will promptly make about 5 more.

Syrah skirt- I've been saving this magenta knit to make myself a maxi skirt and now I've FINALLY printed out the pattern after having it for several months.

Well. That's quite a to-do list. I better get started - my boyfriend just texted and asked for a pillow case tonight as well!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Etno Blog Tour

I'm so happy to welcome you to the very first stop on the Etno Blog Tour! I'm Allison and I like to sew. A lot. I quilt and make bags and have even started trying to sew some clothes for myself. Have a look around to check out some of the goodies I've sewn or you can also check me out over on instagram.

When Pat said she was looking for some people to sew up something awesome with her new line, Etno, I knew I wanted in. This line is so fun! I especially like the bold graphics combined with some of my favorite colors.

I decided to pair the Dreams of Amina print (definitely one of my faves from the line) with a navy solid from my stash to make this Bonnie Bucket Bag. I love how it turned out! Of course I had to take advantage of the lining and zipper placket to pair a few more prints with it.

As you know, no bag is complete without a matching pouch - I mean really, who can have too many bags or pouches? I used my favorite new pouch pattern (the Lola pouch by Sotak Handmade) to make a matching pouch and I think they look pretty great together if I do say so myself.

Ready to see more awesome Etno projects? Check back tomorrow with Brandi and also at Pat's blog every day through April 18th for link to a great new post. You should also have a look at the free pattern designed for this line and Etno's lookbook for even more ideas in the meantime.

Thanks for stopping by!
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