Friday, November 25, 2011

Taffy of Terror!!!

OK, it's not the Taffy's fault at all. I just thought it was catchier than Chiffon of Chit! "What," you may be wondering, "is Stacie going on about?" Exhibit A:

I'm a maniac! Maniac! On the floor!

Yeah, that's my Taffy from the Colette Sewing Handbook paired with a rockin' side ponytail. I picked up this fantastic navy and polka dot chiffon the other day. I do not blame this on the pattern at all. I must stress that! I will be making this again. The fabric was horrible! And hey, sewing is fun. If I can't laugh at my mistakes, what can I do?

If you look closely at a scrap I cut, it shredded a good 1/4" into it as soon as it was cut, and as soon as it caught on anything, it would run. I know, chiffon is tricky, but I've used it before! I liked it! I am convinced this was just bad fabric.

Because the chiffon began raveling as soon as it was cut, I just made a rolled hem on my serger, and I kid you not, I had to go a good half inch in to avoid further shredding. I think if this had turned out, I would have gotten maybe 2 wears with no washes out of it. You can see just below my chin the unraveling that is already underway.

On the other hand, I really like the pattern and instructions. This was from the A Fine Finish chapter and actually has amazing instructions on how to make French seams throughout the shirt. I actually did this, but I had to go pretty deep  because of the shred factor, so they were a bit bulky.

Here you can see the seams along my sleeve, and they look fantastic, they just had to be too big.

The back was a bit big, but that could just be the fabric again. This was my first "on the bias" garment, and it really wasn't too bad. I think between user error and/or crappy fabric it just wasn't meant to be. I do plan on making this in maybe a voile or lawn. Like I said, the pattern was fantastic which leads me to...

I had a friend say they would be scared to buy a Colette pattern because they are expensive and never go on 99 cent sales. Here is how I handle that.

I trace the pattern with a Sharpie in the size I need to make it darker.

I then trace the pattern in the size I need onto Swedish Tracing Paper along with any necessary markings. Why Swedish Tracing Paper? (That link is to the store on Etsy I buy it from. Support small business!)You can actually sew it together. This makes for easy pattern fittings. I just baste it, then rip it out to ensure the right parts hit in the right places. This also allows you to make any adjustments you know you need without destroying your original pattern.

"OK, stupid Stacie Thinks She Knows it All, now I have Sharpie all over my floor!"

I tell you what, Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean takes anything off the laminate flooring (and tile) including Sharpie!

About 10 minutes of extra work and your expensive pattern is still in tact and you have a personalized pattern in just your size with any adjustments you need already made! I usually include the pattern name, size and number of pieces to make it easy when I want to make it again later.

Now, I don't do this on my patterns that go on clearance at Joann's, but for my well loved, tried and true and expensive patterns, I don't know a better way to do it! Now go buy that book! I made a tosser, but just wait and see my next one!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Friends

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and to everyone that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving...Happy Thursday!

I got to thinking last week. I have made everyone I know an apron, and I need one with Thanksgiving looming and Christmas right around the corner. I went to High Fashion Fabrics with my awesome teacher and friend Jenny this week and we got to talking about colors. I have been sitting on this fabric out of the Inncoent Crush collection from Anna Maria Horner for a long time, just waiting to use it on something. I, being of fair to borderline translucent skin cannot wear yellow. While shopping Jenny shared I can wear whatever color I like, I just needed to get the right shade. I had one yard of the mustard color with flowers and one yard of the coordinating purple. What to do? Of course I pulled out my One Yard Wonders book for an apron pattern.
I stumbled upon this book when admiring the sew along Pink Chalk Studio is doing. People are making amazing projects.

<-------- Their final version of the apron.

The fantastic layout and easy to read directions.

I made the cottage apron and made a few modifications. I used self made bias tape and instead of ribbon I made ties from my contrasting fabric to match the bias tape. Because I did not have a whole lot of fabric left after cutting bias tape I changed the back of the apron to just have a halter style neck.

See, no crossover straps back there.

You can see here I fussy cut my pockets so they would match the pattern on my fabric, and so the whole apron would be centered with the flowers in the middle. You can see the bias tape along the tops of the pockets and finishing the raw edges around the apron.

Also, the original pattern used an eyelet finish to edge the top and stick up above the neck line.  Being difficult like I am, I wanted to participate in Debi's So Grateful challenge. This called on all her readers to use something, fabric, pattern notion, etc. in a project that had been given to you by someone else.

I chose this pretty lace trim that I got from Project Angel Kisses. My sewing machine did not like it. It is pretty thick. I basted it along the neckline before I added the bias tape around the top. I managed to catch all of it! I think this is my favorite detail on the apron.

Now, being an American here is my tribute to some of the things I am grateful for:

  • Mr. Thinks He Can and his unending patience and support
  • My beautiful four-legged assistant for all the kisses, tail wagging and cuddles. 
  • My family near and far. We have had a rough patch lately and I am amazed at how we all pulled together and supported each other.
  • My blog and readers, I love that people are interested in this hobby I am learning.
  • My friends and colleagues that make all my days better... I can't call everyone out by name because it would just get too long!
  • My job and education.
  • Every day.
Thanks for reading everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tree Pants update

OK, I am declaring an October redo. I blew October for various reasons, mostly beyond my control. At the beginning of October I cut out a billion little pieces for the Christmas Tree sew-along on Sew, Mama, Sew.

Check me out I finally made some progress!

The sew along really lays things out for anyone making tree pants. I did not know it, but I have stumbled along my most intensive quilting project on this one. As you can see it is not perfect, but I'm pretty darn proud of the results.

This tree skirt is make of more Moda Countdown to Christmas fabric, so it matches my Christmas Crazy quilt. I don't have enough of this fabric to bind the tree pants with the same, so I may use plain black. If you have a brilliant idea for a binding please let me know. I am game on this one.

For more fun news, I got my Colette Book last week and have been reading through it all. It is very well written and beautiful. I have a trip to High Fashion Fabrics with my awesome friend and sewing teacher Jenny this afternoon, so I will be on the hunt for some fabrics to try a few of the projects with.

I am off all this week, and am hoping to be able to get several projects done. That will help make up for all my slow times lately. Thanks for hanging in there as a reader and for all your support in the last month. Even though most of us have never met, your kind words really mean a lot to me. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beach hats and burp cloths

Remember that hat Holly and I made after the quilt show? It was the Amy Butler Blue Sky Hat. Holly was headed to the beach, and found this great pattern. In the end it is two pieces - a triangle and a band. Hot bad at all. Partner sewing is great. One person rips seams and the other one sews. It's a huge time saver!

Here is Holly modeling the hat in my sewing room, in a sweater. I bet it looks even better at the beach! The fabric calls for duck cloth to give the hat its body. We had never used this fabric before, but it really worked.  By the way, this is another Amy Butler pattern where she requires you to buy way too much fabric!

Here is the hat from the back. How cute is that? I heard that next time Holly would add a chin strap to help keep it on in the breeze. She also reports if you move somewhere on a beautiful beach you could keep yourself afloat selling Blue Sky Hats.

Now onto the burp cloths. I made these using various tutorials on the Internet. I made them from prefolded baby diapers by Gerber and a couple of fat quarters I found at the quilt show. I gave them to the expecting mom today at the baby shower and they were a hit. She is having twin boys, Riley and Cole, obviously.

I made one of each style for both boys with their names on them. I just tied them with a string and added a Grandma Betty gift tag. Super fun gift for just a few bucks!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A look inside the Houston Quilt Festival

I am lucky to live in the city of Houston because for one week every year we get to hold the International Quilt Festival. After last week, it is great to have readers with such kind words for me (thank you so much for your support everyone) and friends like my best sewing buddy Holly to get me out and going again. We spent excessive time exploring the quilt festival this weekend. It takes place in the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown and is massive! It consists of two parts: the award winning drool worthy quilts I can't even comprehend how are made and the crazy marketplace in which you buys tons of stuff you didn't even know existed and get totally inspired.

The winners:

OK, these aren't the actual winners, which you can Google. These are my personal winners.

The above quilt features Swavorski Elements. What they lack in cuddle appeal they make up for in sparkle. They really added to this very beautiful quilt.

The above quilt looked very simple with the Chicago skyline featured. I love the Chicago skyline. I grew up there, and when my family moved to Dallas I cried because when I saw the Dallas skyline I had been tricked. I thought I had moved to a city, not the country! The bead work on this quilt was beautiful and made this simple quilt fantastic.

Did you think there would be a post without a dog? Heck no! This was an award winning quilt featuring an "American Dingo" I read that to mean mutt dog. You know how I love me some mutt dog.

Here we got into the market place. This quilt was made of minky and cuddle fabrics. Minky and cuddle fabrics were everywhere. It was so soft and cuddly. I may need to back my next quilt with minky.

Giant rick-rack was also everywhere. I love the idea of it in lieu of an actual binding on a blanket. I'm still working out in my head if it is workable for a quilt.

This was a cute gift bag that I was inspired by that would be the perfect size for w wine bottle gift.

I just liked this pillow. It is simple, but the felt balls in the middle are just fun.

Turns out Holly and I are actually secret hipsters that both love all things owls. How cute are these potholders? I plan to dissect the picture and create a tutorial on this soon.

Check me out on the long arm. Le sigh...

So cute! It is a Christmas decoration, but notice some more giant rick rack being featured? H.O.T. Hot I tell you!

 The two pillows above are made of ribbon with fabric just framing the ribbon on the sides. Love it!

Remember my crazy zipper love? Well Ghee's, the company I wrote about, was there. I was star struck to meet Linda, the head zipper guru.

Check out her self embellished sweater featuring a great zipper decoration. The ladies at the booth were amazing and the zippers are even better in person!

Above is an example of crazy zipper love going to far. Just kidding! I totally get it! This is a fellow zipper lover at Vogue Fabric's of Evanston, IL. Holly and I did go a little crazy here getting cuts of beautiful fabrics at reasonable prices. Expect to see a pretty floral Violet out of me soon! I think I may do more shopping with Vogue in the future as their web site looks pretty comprehensive.

Spoiler Alert: The above pen is magic! It is a Pilot Frixion pen. I wrote a self promoting message above.... scroll down below....if you think you can handle it....

Here I am ironing half of it.....

And the self promoting message is gone! The secret is this pen has ink that goes invisible at 140 degrees. Friction (Frixion) = heat! Get it! Instead of friction you can use an iron to make the ink invisible. If you accidentally iron your marks, you can make it reappear by placing your fabric in the freezer overnight (disclaimer: I haven't tried that just yet). To remove the ink simply wash it as normal after you are done.

So far I have used it on cotton, polyester and satin and it has worked on all three. I bought two and can barely contain my excitement over them.

Oh, we made a hat too. More on that this week! Happy Sunday everyone.