Sunday, January 29, 2012

Basic T-shirt

I joined the Shirt A Month (SAM) group per Doobee, then realized I need to make a shirt now because I have three days left this month, and they are almost totally filled. I had New Look 6838 in my stash and a cut of camouflage knit I found on clearance at Joann's, so I thought 'what the heck.'

I really like this shirt! I made the whole thing in about an hour. I followed the measurements in the pattern and made an XL. I wound up taking it in an inch on both sides and the center back as well as the sleeves. Also, those sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 length. It was a bit huge. Now, take in consideration I don't work with knits a lot even though I would like to. I used my serger for everything except the neck and sleeve hems. I didn't hem the bottom. I'm tricky like that.

Here is my center back. It is wrinkly because I am holding up my hair. I almost cut it on the fold, but I had to take it in so much everywhere I am glad I didn't.

Here is a goofy picture of my neckline I used a very thin zig zag stitch. I didn't think Mr. Thinks He Can was shooting my face, so I am looking goofy. The neck was huge as well, but when I took in the center back that helped the neckline as well.

Overall it is a comfortable shirt. I always wear long sleeve T-shirts and I am proud to have made my first one. Next time I make it, I think I will go with a medium. I think I will even wear this one to work tomorrow.

Look at me, shirt a month challenge for January is in the bag! The quilt is looking awesome too. What a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

French Roses quilt update

I have discovered something about quilting. It doesn't make for fascinating blogging. It takes a while and in this case I am making the same thing 25 times before I move on to step two. Each of the 25 things takes about 10 minutes. In other words is a bit of a slow go. Here is my update though.

Here is how my flowers are shaping up. I have 15 (the ones on the left) fully together and the blocks all connected. I have a few spares that are put together. This quilt does feature an interesting way of putting the flowers together.

Here is a close up of one quilt block.  Remember, around the edges the fabric will fray, so the thread will be less obvious. It features two leaves and four flowers layers. You put the leaves on first and then the first layer. Then you cut the inside out. You can see what I am taking about on the back.

That way the most layers you are sewing in is two. That is much easier than sewing through five layers. I hope to have this top done by next weekend.

I am also joining a shirt a month challenge that Doobee brought to my attention. I need to get on that! I may do a Clover shirt or an old stand by since the quilt is taking up my time right now.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The start of a new quilt

I did it. I started a new quilt. This one is for a friend as a surprise that is really into shabby chic decor. I saw a version Little Miss Shabby did, and I knew I needed to make one.

This quilt is called French roses. I bought it off Etsy and had the pattern within three days. Love it! I have also been eyeing the Moda Bonnie and Camille Ruby line of fabric. I figured this was a match made in heaven.  I wound up mixing some Ruby with the past line called Bliss. My biggest concern is that it would look too juvenile.

I was concerned about cutting all the flower pieces, but it wasn't bad at all. I traced the outlines on my lightest fabric using my Frixion pen and then pinned it to the other four fabrics and cut them all out at once. It took about 45 minutes for the whole process. Why pin it?

My assistant likes to keep my fabrics warm whenever they are on the floor. This keeps me sane when she bunches up my projects. If you look closely you can see my pen markings.

Here is a sneak peek at how it should shape up. I haven't sewn anything yet, but I wanted to get a visual on how it would look. This quilt uses an applique technique that will allow the 1/4" seam allowance around each level of flower to fray. That will help set apart the colors some I think.

Here is a close up of one of the flowers. I am trying to think of binding. I want to see it all together, but I may use the aqua color that is used in some of the prints. That may help the kiddie-looking quilt situation. What do you think? Is it shabby chic?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitchen mat tutorial

I made a quilt that I just lost the love for. It was too bright and crazy to be a quilt. It sat as blocks for months until I had a sewing date with my friend Holly Saturday. She said to make it a kitchen or bathroom mat. Thanks, genius!

I googled 'kitchen mat tutorial' and came up with my own method based on what I found.

1. Place your fabric or top layer right sides together with an old beach towel. Wait, why a towel? I spill stuff sometimes and wipe it up with my rug. You know you do it too. It's about absorbency.

2. Sew around the edges, I went with a 3/4" seam allowance because my two fabrics didn't match up perfectly. Leave about a 6' opening to turn it right sides out.

3. Turn it right side out and iron it the way you would like it to lay. I also trimmed the corners because they got pretty thick. I then top stitched about an inch in which helped secure the 6" opening as well as making the fabric lay properly and not shift..


I had a white clearance rug in there and it was filthy. My new one should hide dirt, absorb liquids and is totally washable. Love it! It's not perfect, but it was made to be spilled on. I may use my scraps and left over blocks to do some matching hand towels and pot holders.

Check out my new sewing table. It doesn't bounce like my plastic one, and it was cheap on Craig's list!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A very nice dress or two

The part of Mr. Thinks He Can will be played by Ryan Gosling.

True story. That also explains the glasses and general disorient going on with these shots. 

I really like how the Peony went together. It was a quick dress to make, and yielded nice results. I did make a muslin of the bodice, and that helped. Had I not I don't think it would have worked out at all. I let out the front waist darts a bit and took in and lengthened the top back darts quite a lot. I plan on making the cummerbund for this pattern in black fabric or maybe hot pink to match my zipper.

See the pull there at the top? I do mean it is hot pink! I also have my hands in my pockets for that picture.

I used some of the left over print from Brindy's quilt with squirrels running up trees. You can't see them, but I like knowing they are there.

Overall I am pleased with my new dress. It went together very quickly and I plan on making it again. I would like a V-neck version I think as well.

Check out the dress Holly made, and I mostly watched her make yesterday. She did a fantastic job on this Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity 2178 dress. It was a doozie because of the tie at the shoulder, but I believe we liked the results so much we both want to make another one. It should go faster this time. She also made the awesome curtains she is standing in front of as well. She is so accomplished like that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Have you ever hit a wall?

I have had a Peony dress cut out for a week, but haven't been able to talk myself into going and sewing.

I found this medium weight cotton on ebay for maybe $8 with shipping. When I got it in I knew it was perfect for the pattern except...there isn't enough. I had to skip facings, shorten the sleeves and use something else for the pockets. Mary made a really great Peony with bias tape instead of facings, so I feel OK with it. I made a muslin of the bodice, advice by lladybird, a few weeks ago.I also wanted to do piping like she had done, but I just don't have enough extra fabric. It fit pretty well, but I did let out the bodice darts some. I told myself this afternoon to just go in and sew the darts today. I got the whole bodice done and half of the skirt done. This is a quick project! Then hunger called.

I put out some drumsticks for Asian Glazed Drumsticks. It is my favorite recipe right now, so it won. Check it out.

Anyway, to keep me accountable, I took a bad picture in the bodice. It is proof, it is out there and not too bad. It should be finished this week.

Not a flattering shot, but it is turning out nice. Tomorrow is quilt club. I don't know what to take to work on. I finished my quilt, and don't want to start another just yet because I don't know what I want to do. I may just go and hang out. Holly and I are in charge of dinner anyway. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

That crazy squirrel quilt

It is finally finished and I love it!

I was torn on how to bind it, but I decided to just double fold the backing over and machine stitch it to the front. It doesn't look as nice as a hand stitched binding, but I won't worry about the pup catching her collar in the hand stitching.

Here is a close up of the binding. No, it's not perfect, which drives me nuts. It is more functional and sturdy this way I think.

Here is a picture of the back all quilted. You can see I machine quilted and went with a geometric pattern. Aren't the bones awesome?

I outlined here the quilting I did. I combined a cross hatch pattern with stitching in the ditch. I expect to wash this one a lot, so I wanted it to hold up.
Here is how each square wound up being stitched as well as the outline.

I used the same method over the squirrels. I had to think about it, because I didn't want it to look bad, but you can hardly see it. Again, I wanted it to hold up well.

The biggest challenge this quilt presented was any time any part of it touched the floor or I laid it out to take a look at it, my boss here hopped on top and tried to nap. I guess that means she likes it.

As I mentioned on an earlier post this was inspired by the Simply Spring quilt in the book Simple Choices by Abbey Lane. I am really a beginner, and this quilt was easy all the way through. Highly Recommended!

One last piece! Check out my January Block of the Month Craftsy blocks! I went with the blue and white theme and am very pleased with how they turned out. There is still time to sign up for this free course!

OK that is the last on quilting for a while. I know you guys are hungry for garments. I am too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Are those hot pink squirrels?

Why yes, yes they are.

I just put this top together and saw my dog-loving neighbor. I threw it over the balcony and unfurled it in all its glory. "Look what I'm making Brindy for Christmas!" She looked for a minute and said, "Are those hot pink squirrels?" It was a hit. She thinks I should make a line of hot pink dog toys. I may need to do that.

As you can see I got the top together. There are a few weird seams, but overall it went very well. I love it even more all put together.

Here is a closer view of the details. I was worried the squirrels would clash with the rest of it, but I really love how it came together.

Her is the princess sitting on the quilt top while I tried to take pictures inside while sneaking kisses on my hand. No wonder that dog is my best friend; she's my biggest fan to boot! I have quilt club tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some advice on my wonky things and get it sandwiched tomorrow as well as my Craftsy blocks of the month. After this is done I need a garment. I have some knit that may need to be a dress. :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Block of the Month and Squirrel Quilt

One of my New Year Resolutions I have been thinking on for a couple of weeks was doing a block of the month club. I really like quilting and creating quilts that will be used and loved for years, but I am a pretty bug novice and would like to become more proficient. Most traditional block of the month clubs are held by quilt shops and quilters guilds. They complete one block a month using a new technique and have a finished product in a year or however many months the program goes on. I know me. I would find reasons not to go and probably drop out while blowing a lot of money. Then, I found the prefect solution!!!! is a web site I have been lurking on for a while. They offer various classes at a reasonable cost online. They announced for 2012 they will be hosting a block of the month club for free! January is a slashed block month and we are making an asterisk block and wonky pound sign block. There is a 28 minute video tutorial and a PDF version of the directions. The information is also available for as long as you would like it, so say you remember your resolution in June, well, it's not too late! I'm really excited about this. They are using some fancy fat quarters, but I got a couple yards of three solids to work with to make it manly. I plan on giving it to Mr. Thinks He Can next year for Christmas. If you join the class I'd love to hear it so we can share blocks and tips.

I am using navy, white and light blue for now. If I feel I need more colors I may add in some grays. I just think blue and white quilts look so clean.

As for my assistant's quilt, I got the squirrels appliqued.

Appliqueing was easy, but the stitching was tedious. I think that is all I had in me tonight. I hope to get the top put together tomorrow.

For the shape I Googled 'squirrel silhouette" I got a lot to choose from. The original is on top. I like a squirrel with a flipped back tail, so I redrew it myself. When cutting it out I also smoothed out a few of the details to make it easy to use. I love how it is turning out. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My summer uniform

Despite my weird facial expression, I love this skirt. In Houston it is about a million degrees in the summer and the only advantage women have in life, in my opinion, is that we don't have to wear pants in that weather. Oh, and it is brutal summer from about March to October, so this T-shirt and skirt combo is my go to outfit. Work, shopping, walking the dog....I am rarely seem in anything else.

This is the Butterick 4461 that I did not destroy. I made it up in about an hour and a half and used a quilting cotton my dear friend Jenny picked out for me because it was blonde colors. I like this pattern because I made the skirt with only about 1 1/4 yards of fabric.

I am obviously wearing this crooked. I made a size smaller than my wildflower skirt, but I could even go in a little more on the seams to stop it from shifting.  I used the length prescribed by the pattern and it really turned out nice.

I thought we were done with some quick pictures when Mr. Thinks He Can said, "Wait, should I get some pictures of the zipper?" What a thoughtful photographer! I said of course. It isn't a perfect zipper, but I never tuck in my shirts with skirts like this, so I'm fine with it.

You can see on the inside I just serged all the pieces together and also to finish raw edges. I don't know if you can see, but I hand sewed the facing down with neon green thread from the frog pants. I don't know when else I will be able to use that color again! This skirt is highly recommended and an easy win.