15 October 2017

Q is for quilting skills

When I was 29, I spent a year working in Montana and due to a variety of circumstances, I had no living expenses except my car payment. I was able to save A LOT of money that year. So for my 30th birthday, I bought myself a plane ticket to Australia for a month. One of the souvenirs I brought home was a duvet for my bed and a couple of duvet covers, a plain purple jersey one and this one:


It's still near and dear to my  heart, but it's been sitting in the closet for years now. Last year, I was thinking about making quilts for my kids during our cold New England winters, and the idea came to me to make this into a quilt - lay it out with batting inside, quilt it, and sew it shut. I decided this would be my first test run for learning how to do free motion quilting. 

Last week, I literally crawled inside the duvet cover to lay out the batting smooth, and then pinned it all. Got it set up on my machine, and within 60 seconds of starting to sew, I had managed to get the fabric wrapped around the free motion foot, snagged in the machine, and snapped off the needle. Right.

Rule 1: GO SLOW.
Rule 2: Don't let the fabric get bunched up near the needle.

Picked out the stitches, and started over.

I was going to do swirls all over, but we see how that went so quickly. I think I'll backtrack and learn free motion quilting swirls on something substantially smaller ...

I just traced around the edges of the flowers, and didn't add any other quilting except an outline all the way around the edge of the quilt to make sure the batting stayed all the way out to the sides.


Don't look too closely at the flowers because heck yeah, this was a wrestling match between me and the sewing machine, and it's not very pretty. I'm being quite generous to myself to call this a new quilting "skill." The fabric isn't smooth at all - there are tucks and bulges all over the place. But from a distance, it works. JK, who is 4 and has claimed this for her bed, doesn't care. She just knows it's purple, and it's a quilt that Mommy made. That's good enough for me too.

06 October 2017

2017 finish along q4 - Trina

If you are here from the Finish Along link-up ... yes, there are two submissions from Operation Domestic Goddess. Mindy and I are sisters who share this blog from opposite ends of the continent, not even in the same country. She's in Alberta, Canada and I'm in Connecticut, USA. Different people, different projects!

My line-up:

1. This is a large woven star that Mindy and I did as a joint project when she visited me this summer. I need to sandwich, quilt, and bind it. I plan to follow the lines of the star with the quilting, but I'm not sure about quilting the outside yet. Maybe just keep following the lines out to the edge.

2. This is a duvet cover that is near and dear to my heart because I bought it in Australia. It hasn't been used for a duvet in years and years - it's just been sitting in a closet. So I'm turning it into a quilt - I literally crawled inside it the other day and laid out batting, and pinned it. This is my project for learning free motion quilting. Swirls! My 4 year old has claimed it because it's purple.

3. I got a bug the other day to make a fall-colored runner for my kitchen table. It's almost entirely from scraps - the only yardage I cut into was the green/silver hearts, and the red/silhouette (which is Jane Austen, by the way!) It's 88 inches long - I have a big table! The strips are 12 x 2.5 inches (no, I don't know why I didn't think to cut them 12.5 long). Time to figure out a backing. It will be bound in a brown and white tiny print.

4. My attempt at a design wall - it's just some random space in my work/storage room. (I do not have a pretty studio. At all.) I've been working on this off and on since January for my 11 year old - she calls it her "Night Sky" quilt. The big stars are 20 inches across and I'm not planning to make any more of them. Time to figure out my layout and start making little stars for the filler. Mindy made the three 8-inch ones to contribute.

And the theory is that I should make all new flannel pajamas for my 5 kids for Christmas, but honestly, they don't need more pajamas. Their drawers are crammed full of perfectly good clothing already. I might actually get to devote this winter's sewing ALL to quilts! That would be AWESOME!

05 October 2017

P is for Pearl bracelets

Yep, this is another Oliver + S pattern! The Ice Cream dress. I have the pattern only up to a size 4 - TA is turning 6 in a couple of weeks but is my teeny girl, so I just had to lengthen it a bit. I added a couple of inches to the green section and to the bottom band so it reaches the vicinity of her knees. If it gets too short, we'll just add leggings.


The green center fabric is called Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House - this is the first fabric I ever bought that I knew the name of the pattern and the designer. (I've since bought other fabrics by specific designers, but that's another story.) I loved it as soon as I saw it. I've actually been holding onto it for ... a really long time ... I think I bought it when we lived in Mississippi and we've lived in Connecticut for 4 years. Hmmm. Anyway - I've started using it now! I find it amusing that I see a lot of clothing and even quilts on various blogs and I can identify the fabric/designer, and some of it is used by a lot of people so it's really common. Like Pearl Bracelets. But in real life? Totally unique. No one else has a dress like this - the pattern or the fabric!

 

O is for Oliver + S

I love Oliver + S patterns - I learn something new every time I do a pattern. Pleats, pin tucks, different ways to flip a neckline with or without a lining ... those are the ones that stand out the most. I read the directions ahead of time but can never understand what they mean until I'm actually DOING it ... and then it's, "Oooohhhh ... I still have no idea what I did, but it worked."

First up - a Family Reunion Dress. I made it sleeveless because I expanded the shoulder/neck area, and I didn't feel brave enough to alter the sleeve pattern to accommodate for that. I also added length. I have the pattern only up to size 4, and JK is almost into a 5. She chose the fabric at the store, and we added the hint of blue lace around the bottom. She didn't like the pintucks - she called them "wiggles" - but they're such an integral part of the pattern that I might as well have just scrapped the whole thing. She came around when I threatened to give it to her sister when it was finished, and now she loves it.



Next was a pair of Lunch Box Culottes. JE recently decided she hates dresses (yyyyeah, she's my kid. I hated them too.) and was putting up a fight about getting ready for church. So I told her I'd make her some shorts that look like a skirt for her to wear to church and we could fool everyone.


Last is an Ice Cream Dress for TA. She bounced around with patterns and fabrics, and I finally cut her off. That will be posted next, for the letter P.

Lest you think the older two girls are getting shortchanged ... in 2016, I made only two dresses, for them. RG got the Fairy Tale Dress last summer, and SM wanted a Book Report Dress at Christmas. Also O+S! This wraps us around back to the beginning ... next set of 5 garments coming up! (After some more quilting.)

N is for Navy


Mindy and I did this joint quilt project while she was here this summer - it's now time for me to sandwich, quilt and bind it. We're really proud of how it turned out and excited for more joint projects in the future!

I wanted to get the flimsy posted for N, because I have O and P done, and Q on the sewing machine. Ha! I'll post another picture when it's all the way finished.

04 October 2017

Finish-A-Long 2017 Q4 (Mindy)

I stumbled across a blog: Sew Me. Or rather, a particular post on that blog: the 2017 Finish-A-Long.  It's a multi-blog contest where you post a list of all the projects you have started and hope to get finished by the end of the quarter.  And then you post your finished projects at the end and possibly win some prizes.  Motivation to finish things?  I'm in.  
1. Fluttershy costume for Snowflake
The basic jacket is done, but needs hems and details.
Pants are cut out but not sewn.

2. My Little Pony-inspired fabric balls.
All 12 are cut out, 4 sewn, 3 stuffed but not closed.
A Christmas gift for Snowflake.

3. Flannel Rag Quilt
I actually had it sewn together in May? June?
It has been a while.  Time to make it fray.

4. Fleece Jacket for Cupcake
I made one for Snowflake (as a trial Fluttershy)
and cut one out in a much larger size at the same time.
So the pieces are cut, but nothing is put together.
I should probably finish this one too - it needs closures.

5. Canada Quilt
This is where most of my time will go.
I've designed it and got all the fabric.
I can't wait to start making my squares!

06 August 2017

the kitchen accent wall

Before: Green, with the table running parallel.


After: Cranberry, with the table turned perpendicular


20 July 2017

GRANITE!

We! Have! Counters!



I never thought that I would just sit and look at kitchen counters, of all things, and think, "Wow! That is so beautiful!" But I do.

17 July 2017

Easter dresses

I'd been meaning to make a Maggie Mae for a while.  And while I was looking for a walking foot to make my first quilt I found this sweet sheepy fabric and promised Cupcake I would make her something with it.  Spring rolled around, and things finally fell into place.  

There wasn't enough of the lavender to make the band across the skirt, so I skipped it and lengthened the skirt to a maxi instead.  I also added piping across the top, and faced the ever-intimidating series of button holes.  But I took the time and actually read the manual for my sewing machine (after finding it online), and learned to properly do button holes.  And they turned out great!  It was amazing!  I learned later that Trina's sewing machine makes it even easier, but I can do them on my own machine, and it made me very happy.   
 
I made Sammy's blessing dress last summer with this Butterfly Dress pattern, and I really liked how it turned out.  So when I found out Snowflake was going to be a girl, I figured I'd make one for her too.  And then my friend Michelle was having a girl, and Ashley was having a girl too, so I decided to make three.  I forgot to take pictures of the others, but it's all the same dress with different fabric.  And I made a matching diaper cover for cuteness.  

zipper pouches

 My lotion exploded all over my purse. And since then, I've kept my essentials (lotion, kleenex, nail clippers, etc.) in a plastic bag, instead of scattered lose in the bottom of the purse.  But WHY?  Why use an ugly plastic bag when I can make useful zipper pouches to organize my stuff?

I found a fabulous Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial, and made four of them in a weekend - one in each size, plus an extra medium-sized.  I gave one to my sister full of birthday surprises, and use the rest to keep my diaper-bag organized.

What did I learn?  Zippers aren't that scary!  Take my time, use a zipper foot, and I can make neat things!

So while I was on my zipper kick, I decided I needed a camera bag, especially for traveling this summer.  Usually my camera just gets knocked around in my purse, so a little padded zipper pouch with room for batteries could come in handy.  I used one tutorial for the math, to make it exactly the size I wanted.  Then I used this tutorial to put it together, plus a little from this tutorial for the handles. 

08 July 2017

Tag Toys

I had the sudden urge to make baby tag toys, so I did.  


Scraps of fabric (flannel and cotton) and lots of different ribbons from my stash.


And the crinkle stuff in the middle?  An empty container of baby wipes.
(I got that idea and the basic directions here.)


I think it took me more time to pick out the ribbon than it did to actually sew it.


Baby approved!

28 June 2017

Glass Onion Adventure

I bought a pattern by Shwin Designs over a year ago.  Then life happened.  So when Project: Run & Play posted up this month's challenge: Adventure, I  was excited to finally sew my first Glass Onion.  Because the split back is perfect for warm weather, and nothing says "adventure" like summer.


Not the most adventurous fabric, but I let Cupcake pick it, and that's always more important.  It's actually a vintage sheet from the thrift store!  But I love the top so much I think I'll whip up another one real quick, since she's already in the largest size. Little sister Snowflake will be gets lots of these in the future though - I made this in less than a day and the curve wasn't nearly as scary as I thought.


We went to the library for pictures, because reading is incredibly adventurous, but she had other plans.  It started with a cowboy hat and got out of hand really quickly.


This summer will be full of adventure.  Flying across the country, playing with cousins, eating popsicles, smelling like campfire, reading in the hammock, swimming at the pool, digging in dirt, and blowing out birthday candles.  With this kid around, everything is an adventure.