Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Faux Clamshells are the cutest

Awhile back, I saw a really cool tutorial by Rachel of Stitched in Color that I knew I wanted to try at some point. That point has finally come and I liked it so much I did it twice!

Rachel made faux clamshells by cutting circles and layering them just so. The cutting of the circles was the most tedious part but it went pretty quickly. Then it was time to arrange and sew them down! For both sets, I created a panel to use as the outside of a Lola Pouch, my current favorite pouch pattern (though I do tend to just make it whatever size I make it).

The first was gifted to Christina Cameli when she came to teach a workshop to the Seattle MQG. I wanted hers to be in our signature aqua, white, and grey. I was even able to combine a few circle shapes to make one of the pieces out of a little logo print I had on hand.

The second was a long-overdue pouch for my friend Allison who had won a giveaway on my instagram when I reached 1000 followers. I tried to incorporate her favorite Cotton and Steel colors and prints. I'd say she definitely likes it!

I always like to finish my pouches with my tag (need to order more!) and a fun zipper pull charm. Do you have a good source for tags? What do you like to use for a charm?

I now want to make several more of these but lack the desire to cut circles. Thankfully, Kathy was kind enough to lend me her Sizzix cutter at our Meetup so I've got a nice big stack now and I can make more. Yay!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kona Colored Raindrops

There's not much us quilters love more than a huge selection to choose from and 303 colors is pretty huge. I was lucky enough to win a color card at QuiltCon and have been enjoying petting all the colors ever since. I think Beth has been enjoying them too because Stash Fabrics is stocking all 303 colors!

Beth was kind enough to let me curate a palette and make something fun to show you. I wanted something light and summery but with so many colors it was hard to narrow things down. That's where the design wall came in handy - you can add as many fabrics as you like to the design wall on Stash Fabrics site, then move them around, add, and delete while you make decisions. It was such a big help!

I had an idea of what I wanted to make so that helped narrow down the selection some. I finally settled on something fun that reminds me of warm summer days. Beth sent me a picture of them all together and it was love! Even better than that - they were all labelled when she sent them to me so it is easy to reorder specific ones.

I recently started using EQ7 and set to work making my vision come to life. I was thinking I could use quarter circles and half rectangle triangles to make the raindrops that I wanted but it wasn't working out quite right. After some tweaking here and there, I came up with a block pattern that I was happy with. Time to add in colors and design the whole quilt. 

Being able to print the templates from EQ7 made things so easy! I was able to quickly cut the pieces I needed and they sent together perfectly. As I sewed the curves, I used tweezers to keep them aligned at the end of the curve. 

Once all those curves were done, the rest was a breeze! I'm pretty happy with how the quilt top turned out. It's 42 x 48"and ready to be quilted. I've been perusing some of the other Kona Blogger Bundles and I think it would also look really cool in several of them like Elizabeth's palette with blue ombre drops and a lime background.

I'm so happy that I was able to pick out the perfect colors for this from Stash. They have even offered a discount for all of you!  You can get 10% off your entire purchase now through the entire month of Sept 6th! Coupon code “WOW303”. Expires  and does not apply to pre-orders or clubs. This is of course in addition to free shipping when you spend $50 or more so pretty much a double discount. Thanks Beth! I may just have to make that other version of this quilt.

Think you might want to try to make this quilt too? I've decided to share the templates for the 6" raindrop block so you can try! Have a try with this pattern and please let me know if you do make one - I'd love to see!

I hope you've enjoyed this stop on the tour. There have been so many great stops already and still a few more to go. Be sure to check them all out, and definitely pay a visit to Stash Fabrics. I noticed they just got in the newest low volume line by Zen Chic that looks awesome!

Stash Fabrics Kona Blog Hop Schedule

July 17 – Darcy @ Modern Cozy
July 23 – Jacey  @ Jacey Craft
July 27 - Kelly @ Kelby Sews
July 30 – Nancy @ Owen’s Olivia
August 6th – Jodi @ Tales of Cloth
August 10th – Megan @ City Stitches
August 12th – Rita @ Red Pepper Quilts
August 17th – Elizabeth @ Andpins Handmade
August 19th – Tara @ Rad and Happy
August 21st – Sharon @ Color Girl Quilts
August 24th – Allison @ Allison Sews
August 27th – Kristi @ Schnitzel and Boo
August 31st - Jessee @ Art School Dropout

Monday, August 3, 2015

C+S mini quilt swap

I've been trying to sign up for less swaps as I'm always procrastinating to get them done but some are useless to resist against. This was one of them and with four months before it had to be sent, surely I would get it done with plenty of time to spare. Right? Not so much. But I did have a plan and knew what to make for at least 2 months if that counts for anything.

My partner Yanick wanted something creative and fun. I'd been eyeing the viewfinder pattern from Penny Layman's Paper Pieced Home book and thought it might look pretty cool along with Kim's view master pattern. It would give me a chance to show off little bits of many different Cotton and Steel prints as well. I wasn't sure if I would make 1 or 3 of the view master blocks but after making the first I knew it should just be the one.

I love the way these two blocks look together and it was fun digging through my C+S stash and all of my selvages (from my Quiltcon loot!) to find good bits for the pictures. I think I was able to cover a wide range of their collections. I finished it off with matchstick quilting and (of course!) viewfinder fabric for the binding.

Since I had all those selvages, I knew I wanted to use some in this swap. I put several together to make a backing for the mini and used several more to make fabric for a curvy clutch (free pattern). All in all, I was pretty happy with how this package turned out and Yanick liked it too. Yay!

In return, I was super excited to find this amazing package from Kat in my mailbox. Holy cow - this Rebel mini is so cool! I can tell she put a lot of work into it and I've been admiring it from my desk every day since. She also made me a great little clutch from the oh-so-popular typewriter fabric and included a few other fun extras. It's perfect! And in a fun coincidence, Kat lives somewhat close and will be coming to Seattle for the PNW MQG Meetup later this summer so we will actually get to meet.

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!

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