Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holiday Sew Along alert!

Sew, Mama, Sew is hosting a No Excuses Holiday Sew along!

With the insane class I have this semester, I need some easy wins. I need quick projects that make me feel proud. I need someone to take me through it step by step. Thank you Sew, Mama, Sew!

There are three major projects in October. There is a totally cute scrappy place mat and napkin set that would be adorable all year. There is a cute advent calendar. Finally there are tree pants (because not all trees wear skirts).

I hope to do at least the place mat and napkin set as well as the tree pants.

Besides the class ends in December, so this way I can pretend I'm almost there with all my Christmas spirit!

Oh yeah, and the jacket is coming, I had to go out and buy more corduroy after all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The French Knot in Nacogdoches

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the French Knot Quilt Shop in Nacogdoches, TX. They recently won second place in the Texas Quilt Shop Hop for a beautiful display. After I got their e-mail I knew I wanted to see it live.

I am lucky I have family near those parts, so after some conspiring I convinced Mr. Thinks it was high time we pay a visit. I am so glad I did, what a great little shop!

Now, living in Texas, we have a weird amount of state pride. We say we are from Texas with a certain swagger. How many other states can say they were once their own nation, and occasionally still say they could?

So check it out, the fabrics are made by Moda.

This quilt pattern is Texas Sunsets by Janet Coggins. It seems she has designed several other sunset style quilts, but I loved the Texas one French Knot had so much I had to buy the pattern! All of the fabrics used above are part of a Quilt Across Texas special line in limited quantities by Moda.

The over quilt was made using the same set of fabrics, but features a fabric that has several Texas themed panel pieces that were sewn in. I love it!

I had to include the stars above the bed for effect.

Here is an adorable apron made using the same line of fabrics.

Look at the great sewing basket! I got some of the fabric shown on this on the left side with the words and pictures.

This black fabric was my favorite, but unfortunately they were out!

Apparently I was late to the party, because they looked kind of picked over, but still had some amazing prints left.

How amazing is the cowboy boot wall hanging up above the shelf?

Now thank you French Knot for allowing me to take all those pictures while you cut my fabric. If anyone is looking for a great quilt shop in East Texas, I highly recommend this place. They had an amazing amount of goods that were non-Texas related I didn't even get too. It also appears they do classes as well.

Expect to see my jacket this week. No, really, I mean it! It would have been done by now, but we have a house showing, so I didn't want to drag everything out and mess it up before the potential buyer comes. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Route 66 Birdie Sling

I did not have much time for sewing this week, but I was so envious of the Birdie Sling I sent my sister-in-law, I  bought the supplies to make one for myself.

The handles and outer fabric are both quilting cottons from Joann's. I have had my eye on this print for awhile, but it was too cutesy to actually wear. I was tempted to make some around the house shorts out of it, but this bag seemed like the perfect opportunity.

It features all the states and major cities along Route 66. I'm tempted to make one to send to my sister in law in The Netherlands because it is so darn American.

The inside is made from the blue polka dot shirting I used on my Traveler Dress. I added the key fob again, but this time I played with some decorative top stitching on the pockets and I love the results!

The stitch looks like little asterisks, and it is super cute. Be warned though, you will have to reload your bobbin earlier than expected using this one.

Here is the other pocket. I just did a line across the top because this pocket isn't split down the middle.

Now, this was a mistake. My handles got twisted, and I didn't bother fixing it. I think it will look fine and still be comfortable. That just goes to show, don't get too good for instructions on your second time making a pattern.

I did alter the pattern some on this bag. I added about an inch to the band piece. That seemed to make the mouth of the bag wider and fit a bit better to the lining and outer pieces.

Overall, I love it! I may make a matching zipper pouch again.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Corduroy: A Public Service Announcement

I'm finally getting around to my Simplicity 2443 jacket.

I washed my navy blue corduroy as usual on scalding hot heat and super nuclear dry. I don't want my clothes to shrink after I make them right?

So the first time it happened, I thought that is weird, but it is just a facing. No big deal...

Notice how the fabric is not wide enough to match the pattern?

Then came the sleeve. OK the sleeve is kind of a big deal on a jacket right?

It hangs over on both edges! A lot! So as I worked around it because I didn't have enough fabric to make to separate sleeves and silently cursing Cynthia Rowley for her poor pattern execution it occurred to me: wait, surely this can't be Cynthia's fault? I'm a big fan, and I have heard so much good stuff about this pattern.

I measure my 44" wide material and saw it had shrunk to 40" wide! What the heck? Sure it is Joann's stuff, but a full 4 inches? Then I thought to myself, thank goodness I had prewashed it or I might have had a "Fat Guy in a Little Coat" kind of moment.
Chris Farley doing Fat Guy In A Little Coat

Anyway, it is all cut out now. I think if the sleeve really doesn't work out I can rip it out and buy new material, but I think I can make it work.

In other good news.... I got a coupon in the mail!

My assistant took one look at it and passed out! High Fashion Fabrics is a place I have always wanted to visit. From what I understand it is Houston's closest thing to a fashion district. There is one store for high fashion fabrics and one for home decor. I hear it is incredibly addictive and expensive. I try to stay away from things with that particular reputation, but now that I have a coupon, I may just have to swing in. 

On the quilting front I have some fat quarters that I may make the Turning Twenty...Again quilt with. It looks easy, but more skilled than the crazy quilt.

I do have some different news too though, I have been working on my diagnostician certification at Sam Houston State University. I only have one class this semester, but it is a booger. I will be learning how to give a test which measures IQ. That does not sound very hard, but with that I will also be able to label children and adults as intellectually disabled (or mentally retarded, if you are a few days behind). That is a big deal, because that is a label you can never really shake if it is given erroneously. Because of the intensity of the course I am afraid my blogging may suffer until the weekend of December 10. 

My usual goal is to get two posts in a week about whatever projects or sewing news I have, but I may need to cut it down to one per week. Bear with me though, I've got the jacket, quilt and another Birdie Sling in the works!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My first quilt

I finally fished my first quilt! I have been working on this Crazy Quilt using the Moda Countdown to Christmas line. It turned out to be a nice sized lap quilt. Last you saw I had a top and bottom to it, but now it is sandwiched with batting, sewn together by stitching in the ditch and bound using the green snowflake fabric.

Of course I have my ever present assistant to help show off all the hard work she did. Her biggest contribution would be the dog hairs you can see if you really look at the details in the pictures.

The back of the quilt turned out very nice. I used an old bed sheet and sewed together some scraps to make a stack of design up the middle.

As for the binding I used a 3 inch binding folded in half. You better sit down for this...I actually hand stitched the binding to the back.

I don't know that I used the right technique to hand stitch, but it really looks nice. The binding took the longest of all the steps. It was maybe 3 hours, but I was watching TV while I did it over a few nights. It was a nice hobby to keep my hands busy, and I actually didn't hate it as much as I thought I would.

Now I just need some cold weather and the holiday season to get some good use out of it!

In other good news, Holly finished her crazy quilt as well. Maybe she will share a picture when she gets a chance.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knit jacket redo

I went to the outlet malls last weekend and fell in love with a ruched sleeve jacket from Michael Kors.

I wish I had taken pictures of it, because the one on the web site doesn't do it justice. Anyway, it is $140 on the web site, and was $98 at the outlet (seriously Michael, teacher discounts are all the rage). Needless to say I didn't get it, but I was still thinking about it when I got home.

I remembered this knit blazer I had bought a few years ago, but just didn't wear much anymore.

It is kind of formal, but I used to wear the heck out of it. Worst case scenario, I don't wear it even less.

I began but cutting off about 4 inches off the sleeves.

I then hemmed the sleeves and filleted them along the front seam.

I then used a thin elastic and stretched it out and used a zig zag stitch to ruche the back seam on the sleeve. I resewed the filleted part of the sleeve.

I wound up with slightly ruched three quarter length sleeves.

Not bad for a jacket I already owned and didn't wear! I think it looks much more modern now, even if my face reads angry heifer. :-)