Monday, April 21, 2014

A Ruffle Skirt

I made a quick ruffle skirt for Mer for this year's "Easter Dress" 
We came home from church and she requested that her brother come out and take pictures of her.  You know, so she can have a good instagram pic to post. 
 I wasn't there for the photo shoot but it looks like it was a ton of fun, don't you think?
 I was laughing out loud when I uploaded the photos today. :) There are about 20 that look like this...

 I'd say the skirt AND the photo shoot was a success! 

Sewing notes:

  • This skirt is basically ruffle fabric with wide elastic sewn to the top of it.  It took about an hour to make...about 2 times as long as I had expected. It turns out those ruffles can be a little tricky to keep flat when your are laying the side seams together.  I recommend A LOT of pins if you make one of these. 
  • I also recommend sewing the side seams with the regular machine first and then with the serger AFTER you make sure those ruffles are in the right place.  I learned that one the hard way.
  •  I also had to change the differential feed on the serger to 1.5 to accomodate for the super stretchy-ness of the the fabric. 
  • We tried to dye the elastic to match. It turned out perfectly until we sent it through the washing machine.  There wasn't time to dye it again so we settled for off white instead of pale pink. 
  • I would also recommend stretching out the elastic a bit before you measure for the right size.  After Mer tried the skirt on 4 or 5 times the waistband was suddenly way too lose, and we had to do some last minute adjustments just 15 minutes before we walked out the door. That's how we roll. :)

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Little Bunny Embroidery Pattern

Hi sewing friends! Easter is on it's way and this year I thought I'd convert my bunny wall hanging to PDF pattern I could share with you all.

Maybe you are looking for some fun handwork to do over the long weekend, maybe you have some little stitchers that are looking for something fun to make for Easter. Well here it is...

Iit is a pretty simple little embroidery project. I've also included step by step instructions on how to sew a fabric sashing around the edges and frame it like I did.

  This is my first experiment with a PDF pattern, so I'd love it if you'd download it, take a look, and give me some feedback.  I've listed it for free for a limited time on Craftsy. I hope you've heard of Craftsy by now. If you haven't, it's an fantastic online hub of craft classes and patterns. Most items on the site are for purchase but there are quite a few free series and patterns as well.
 Happy Stitching!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

We Wrote a Book...Just For You :)

I'm buzzing with excitement over here. Today I get to officially tell you about a big project I've been working on over the last year.  I've been writing a book... a sewing book!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Herringbone Finish!

A little more than a year ago I started on a quilting adventure to make a herringbone quilt using a tutorial by Bijou Lovely as part of the SewCanShe New Year Sewalong.  I finished the quilt top but never got around to quilting it because my machine skipped stitches so badly every time I attempted machine quilting.  Well I was lucky enough to get a new machine recently and am happy to report that I quilted my Herringbone quilt.  Yay!

 As crazy as the colors are on this quilt, I love it. I love color and I love random.
 I chose to quilt it with just straight lines. I tried out my walking foot as well with great success I think.  Here's the back...

My daughter has had her eye on this quilt for some time hoping she could use it for her bed.  So yesterday after it was freshly washed I gave her room a good cleaning and surprised her with her new bedspread. Luckily it even looks great with the pillows she already had.  She loved her surprise which made me happy mama.

More details...
Fabrics: there are too many to name. Mostly bold beautiful florals that I've collected over the years. I used ALL my favorites. 
What I learned:
  • This tutorial produces A LOT of scraps. Not wanting to waste them I turned them into quite a few other projects you can see here and here, including some hotpads.  I even have a rather large pile left waiting to be used.  
  • Sometimes it's okay to not push myself to finish a project. Originally I had a border on this quilt top.  I really thought it was a good idea at the time but it never really sat well with me when I looked at it.  My delay in quilting it turned out to be a good thing because it gave me time to come to my senses and remove the extra fabric which just added to the craziness, not in a good way. 
Sew happy to have crossed this one off the list!

For a little extra fun I'm linking this fun project up to SEWjo Saturday at My GoGo Life and Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Got a ruler that slips? Fix it with TrueGrips!

It’s no secret I’m a little obsessed with making quilts right now. I’ve got a couple more in the works that I’ll show you soon.  Today I wanted to share a little something that has made cutting all those strips and blocks SOOOOO much easier.  Have you heard of TrueGrips?

They are non slip little circle stickers that you can put on the back of any ruler to help it stay in place while you cut.  

Okay, honestly I do most of my cutting with the mat on the floor so I can put my knee on one end of the ruler and my hand on the other so it doesn’t slide on the long cuts.  That changed when I started using TrueGrips. I’ve found that one hand is enough and I’ve actually been cutting with the mat on the table instead.  

After seeing how well they worked on my big ruler I stuck them on my my smaller ruler as well and I still have leftover.  Anyway they are pretty inexpensive and totally worth it.  You can use the leftover sticker bits for bumpers on your cabinets and drawers or stick them to the bottom of your presser foot to keep it from scooting away as you sew. 

I’m adding TrueGrips to the list of my favorite notions. You can find them for sale through the TrueCut Site and I bet they are at your local quilt shop as well.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

15 Minutes of Play Quilt Mini tutorial

I had a question about the dimensions of the blocks for my 15 minutes of Play quilt. I thought I’d just share my measurements today, so you could reproduce it if you like. I must say I used this quilt design that I pinned as my inspiration.  

The finished quilt measures about 40’’ X 40’’, a nice baby quilt size.

Here are the dimensions of the cuts I ended up using (for the quilt top only):
I started with the center block and then just added each section
I made my own fabric from scraps inspired by the work of Victoria Findlay Wolfe using techniques I learned in 15 minutes of Play

Center square
8 1/2’’ cut from scrappy fabric

Center sashing - Gray polka dot
2 strips 2 ½’’ X 12 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ X 8 1/2’’

12 surrounding blocks that form the “Star”
4 - 6 1/2’’ squares of gray polka dot
4 - 7 inch squares of scrappy fabric cut into 8 Half Square Triangles (HSTs)
4 - 7 inch squares of Gray polkadot cut into 8 Half Square Triangles
Sew the HSTs together to form 8 star points.

Star Sashing
2 strips 2 1/2’’ X 24 1/2’’
2 strips 2 1/2’’ X 28 1/2’’

Scrappy Blocks
32 - 4 1/2’’ Squares cut of scrappy fabric

Outer Sashing
2 strips 2 1/2’’ X 36 1/2’’

2 strips 2 1/2’’ X 40 1/2’’

I think next time I make this I would enlarge the center square and decrease the width of the inside sashing to 1 1/2" ... to maximize scrappy-ness of course. Hope this helps!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I love color, deep rich beautiful colors. When I was introduced to the work of Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Quilt Beach a couple of weeks ago I fell in love with her quilts. I love her randomly beautiful color choices and her technique of playing with the fabric until something interesting emerges.  I saw some of the things in her quilts that I had been messing around with when I chopped up and rearranged my scraps from my Herring bone quilt and turned them into pillow shams.  Victoria has seemed to perfect the art of making random scraps of fabric unite into something unique and beautiful, reminiscent of early "crazy quilts' but with a fresh spin. She recently published a book about her process called 15 minutes of Play

It is such a great read if you get a chance to pick up a copy. In this little world of blogs and Pinterest I find that I've become a browser. I skim pictures more than really reading every post as I browse for something fun to inspire me.  I picked up this book and started reading about the inspiration behind Victoria's quilts and it was so nice to pause and delve into the deeper meaning behind the projects. Her "Polka Dot Squared" quilt is one of my favorites.

Her approach is fresh and fun, and not tedious at all.  It seems, looking at her quilts you might feel overwhelmed at what it would take to put all those little bits and pieces together.  But you would be surprised at how many scraps you can sew together in 15 minutes.  In her book she goes through the basics of making your own fabric and then gives you a series of challenges to inspire you to make something completely your own. Letting your creativity run wild.

So that's what I did spent 15 minutes at a time sewing up scraps, and I sewed up quite possibly my favorite quilt I've ever made.

It started with scrappy straight lined log cabins since most of my scraps are in strips. Then I chopped them up in to a star. I got so excited about this I had to snap a few cell phone pictures and send them to my Sis and Mom

I pieced more fabric and cut them into squares for a border.

I backed it with soft minky. Gray, of course.... I have an obsession.

 No batting! This will be a lightweight but snuggly baby quilt for a dear friend. I quilted it with a large meandering stitch.  There are a lot of great tips for quilting with minky fabric in this Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial.

This was so much fun to make. So creatively satisfying. 

You can visit Victoria's Blog for more inspiration and there is also a 15 minutes of Play Blog with challenges where you can play along and share what you've created.  Let me know if you've tried her technique, I want to see.
Happy Sewing!
UPDATE: I just posted a mini tutorial with the dimensions of the quilt blocks so you can make one too if you'd like...Go HERE

For a little extra fun I'm linking this fun project up to SEWjo Saturday at My GoGo Life and Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She.