15 October 2017

Q is for quilting skills

4th quarter finish-along entry post
4th quarter link-up post on Sew Me

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!

Even with my couch in the way ... this is the ONE picture we have of the two of us with the quilt top. And now we're on opposite ends of the continent again.

Entry post for 4th quarter Finish along
4th quarter Finish Along link up

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.

ADDED 30 OCT 2017
It's finally pinned and ready for quilting!

ADDED 10 DEC 2017
D.O.N.E. And into the mail to be sent to Tawnia for Christmas! It's about 48x48 inches square.

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.

All 12 are cut out, 4 sewn, 3 stuffed but not closed.
A Christmas gift for Snowflake.

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.

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!