Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Montlake Tee

I've been spending some time the past week or so helping to test and tweak a new pattern release from Straight Stitch Designs, the Montlake Tee. I'm happy to report that the process was great and I love the final product!

Kimberly Payne, the designer behind Straight Stitch Designs, also lives in the Seattle area and names her patterns after different parts of the city. So fun! She was great to work with, really listening to all of our feedback and suggestions during the testing process. I won't bore you with my hideous muslins but check out this finished shirt. Not too bad, huh?

The Montlake tee is a great relaxed top with a flattering scoop neck and 4 different sleeve length options. I considered doing an FBA but decided to keep it simple by instead taking in the front waist a little more than the back. I have fabric washed and ready to cut out several more of these - this blue one is a Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey (cotton lycra) and is super comfy. I would recommend you get yourself this pattern if you're looking for a great basic to add to your wardrobe.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Free Motion Friday: Compass

This one was made to display at Quilt Market in October, with Sunprint 2015 fabrics by Alison Glass. I really love her fabrics. I was hoping to work with her newest line, Sunprint 2016, but Andover wanted something with this line so I changed my plan a little.

I went with a pretty traditional design but played with the colors to modernize it a bit. I used a new (to me) ruler for making Kaleidoscope blocks - it was a big help! The color gradient turned out just how I wanted and the pop of yellow is great.

This is the biggest quilt I've made yet - 75 x 90" - and I wanted it to be super cozy to bundle up in or put on a bed so I used wool batting for the first time. It's so thick and plush! I made sure to get one that can be washed too because a quilt that cannot be washed is not super useful.

I had a tough time figuring out how to quilt this one. I knew I wanted to do something a little more dense in the circle/outline sections so I free motion quilted figure eights there. In the remainder, I ended up doing some fairly light quilting so the batting really puffs up and stands out. I may go back and do a little more but it's good for now.

I'm happy to have this one home from Market. Time to wash and crinkle it so I can start cuddling!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Free Motion Friday: Intrepid Thread Challenge

A few months ago, I responded to a call for people to make something with a little bundle that Julie / Intrepid Thread had put together. I loved the fabrics and wanted in. I thought about it and knew I wanted to put together the mini charms in a patchwork panel and then graffiti quilt on top of that (a la Karlee Porter) with some colorful thread. I could then use this masterpiece as part of a bag. It was going to be great!

And then real life and procrastination happened. I had the patchwork ready forever, just waiting to be quilted, but I wanted time to practice the graffiti some more first. Eventually I did quilt the piece and was so disappointed when it did not turn out like I had hoped. The fabrics were just a little too busy for the quilting to really shine without me going over it another time or two. I would love to do that but I know better than to think my aim is that good to be able to trace over FMQ that I've already done!

So it was time for Plan B. I cut the quilted patchwork in half and made it into two sides of a beautiful potholder. I think it was a pretty good compromise. I'll be able to see and enjoy it every day in my kitchen and I won't be spending hours making a bag with a piece I don't love. Plus, I finished the binding by hand.

I had actually bought another challenge pack from Intrepid Thread in December so I do have more that I can try again with for the bag idea. I'll keep you posted on how that goes - I think I'll use a neutral thread next time so it's not competing so much with the fabric.

Thank you so much to Julie for hosting this challenge! You all should definitely check out all of the amazing projects on the Intrepid Thread challenge link-up.

For now, I'm off to do some more practice graffiti quilting and doodling. I got Sariditty's coloring book for Christmas so I'll be using that for some more doodle inspiration.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Q1 Finish Along

Where to even start when you have so many projects in the works? I think I might have a touch of crafters ADD... I'll just list a few projects here that I actually plan to finish in the next 3 months rather than a ginormous overwhelming list that I know I won't even come close to finishing.

First up, my entry for the #intrepidthreadchallenge. I was going to make a cool pouch for this challenge - I love pouches. Then I decided to up it to the new Makers Tote pattern from Noodlehead. I had the mini charms sewn together and was just working up my courage to do some graffiti quilting with a pretty purple thread over the patchwork. Nothing like a deadline to get me in gear! Now that this part is quilted, I just don't love it enough to turn it into a bag that will take hours to make and not get nearly enough use. I'd love to use the back side but it's just batting unfortunately. I'm still making up my mind, but I think this piece is destined to become either a pouch or some cool quilted potholders, which I actually do need.

My practice piece for the above, however, I am in love with! The purple thread on the black fabric looks amazing and just may be what ends up on my Makers Tote.
A photo posted by Sew all the things! (@allisonsews) on

Next, a quilt I've been working on for quite some time and should have been finished before Christmas as a gift. I have about half of the FMQ finished and I think I've figured out what kept breaking my thread so I should not have any more problems. Let's call this the Lion Quilt.

This one, Kona Colored Raindrops, has given me a bit of a headache. I started quilting it before I was ready and hate how the quilting turned out. I'm hoping it's fixable with a little more time and effort but I'm not sure. Maybe it will just be donated when finished. I did the quilting on a longarm that kept freezing up and having to be reset - this did not fare well for the tension on the back of the quilt. I'm just hoping it does not have to be unquilted because I'm definitely not up for that.

Finally, I'd like to finish my #rainbowminiswapr2 quilt which is somewhat related to the picture below. I'm trying to not give away too many details yet though. Stay tuned....

A photo posted by Sew all the things! (@allisonsews) on

I'm happy to be linking up to the 2016 Finish Along, co-hosted by my friend Debbie.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hexie Cats

I think it's about time to do a little catch up with some more of the quilts I finished this year. Let's start with this one, a baby quilt for a friend. Their little guy will be here in the next few weeks and I'm thinking he's going to like kitties as much as his parents do.

I had a fun bundle of Makower Cats with lots of adorable prints in there. I pulled out some of the more boy-friendly ones and finally tried Modern Handcraft's popular Modern Hexies tutorial. It was great! I made the hexies a little bigger - the sides are 1.5" instead of 1" so I was able to show more of some of the larger prints.

I assembled about half of the hexies her way and then decided to veer off course, armed with starch and my iron. It went so quickly this way! I just cut squares the right size to cover the hexagon paper, sprayed the fabric with a little starch, and then folded and pressed each side around the paper. Once they were cooled off, I took the papers out the the fabric held it's shape until it was glued onto the background fabric. I will definitely use this method again when doing Modern Hexies. They were a little difficult to line up just so but I love how it turned out. The backing is Pearl Bracelets - I think the triangles look fun with the circles.

And one last shot, playing around in the train station while our train was delayed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Usually about once a year in the Seattle MQG, we do a swap with a specific person in mind. All of the other swaps are blind but I prefer making for someone in particular and receiving something made just for me. We had this swap at our October meeting last week.

I was lucky enough to draw Louise of I'm Feelin' Crafty. She sews so much amazing stuff and I'm always looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. She had a few ideas of what she would like and one of those was an Autumn pillow for her house. I was more than happy to oblige with the weather turning a bit cooler these days.

I thought about it a little and decided to miniaturize Emily / Carolina Patchwork's very cool Percolate pattern in a Fall palette. It was pretty cool seeing all the blocks come together with her method. I tried a few different layouts and ended up mixing up all the HST colors instead of leaving them in chunks in the original pattern.

I was pretty happy with the layout but ended up making this MUCH bigger than I intended - it was 26x26"! So into a euro sham it became with a fancy little quilted flange all around. I had fun free motion quilting the top and used some secretly scored not-yet-released Karen Lewis fabric for the back. I mean, it was really the perfect color for this. I told Louise she can cut the whole thing into something smaller if the pillow cover is too big for her but I think she likes it.

In return, I was gifted this gorgeous mini quilt from Jaci, made of Alison Glass Handcrafted prints and chambray. It's so pretty and I really love her quilting. On the back she has scraps of all the beautiful prints and handy corner tabs so I can easily hang it. I had said I was open to receiving whatever the maker wanted to make so hopefully that made it more fun than stressful. I'm going to add this one to the growing wall of minis in my office.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Winner! Winner! Woo, I'm so excited!

With all of the visits to and from Clothworks / American Made Brand for the Meetup and Seattle MQG, I kept hearing about this Tiny Quilt Challenge they were having and wanted to make sure I entered it.

It took me a little while to decide what I wanted to make but eventually I settled on Amanda's Teeny Tiny Feather pattern (that little block finishes at 4" square!!) with a whole lot of negative space. I mean, as much negative space as you can have in a quilt that's only 10 x 12".

I had fun sewing up these feathers at our retreat in September. I didn't want them to be solid colored feathers though, so I did a little bit of improv striping that was different for each one. I should have kept in mind that these would have extra bulky paper pieced seams but it all worked out alright.

I made 3 different feathers and arranged them as if they were floating in the breeze. The quilting was easy, I knew this was how I wanted to quilt it as soon as I decided on the feathers. Because it's so small (and I hate my Juki walking foot) I used the regular foot and it was all good. I've named this one Float.

The cherry on top was getting an email from AMB letting me know that I had won 3rd place in the quilting category! I win an awesome prize and this little guy will be on display at a special Tiny Quilt Exhibit at Road to California in January. You can see more about this and all of the other winners on the Clothworks blog, including Bainbridge Island MQG's Marla Varner!

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