Monday, September 15, 2014

Dusting off the Cobwebs...

Can you hear the echo in here?

I've been sadly neglecting the blog because I've taken a little sewing sabbatical over the summer and there wasn't a whole lot to blog about!  But I've started to dust the cobwebs off the old sewing machine and I'm catching up on some past due Scrapbeelicious blocks!  But before I show off some blocks later this week, let me show you the last project that I tackled before my sewing mojo went on strike :)

The last summer dress that I tackled was a huge success and so while I was riding on a garment-making high, I also decided to try the second pattern that I bought which was the Leanne Marshall #1877 pattern for Simplicity.  I actually went back into the large cut of Honey Honey that I got in the big old February fabric binge and got down to work.

Am I the only one who feels like the pattern piece cutting and marking are the longest steps to the garment making process?  Or maybe I've just picked out some good patterns lately?  Either way, I was pretty happy because in two days I had a finished dress!

The details in this pattern are so pretty!  From the flutter detail on the shoulders to the perfect pleats at the waist, this is delicate (but not too precious) from head to toe.

If I had to make it over again, or if I went back and made a second one, I'd add some side darts to cut down on the underarm wings and give the sleeves a bit more definition.  And maybe I'd bring up the v-neck a bit.  It can get a little gape-errific and my chest doesn't really need the extra attention ;)

This dress got worn quite a bit - but not nearly as much as my other two - over this summer.  It even made an appearance at the last SMQG meeting where quite a few of us were wearing our handmade lovelies :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Been a While...

...since I posted anything about my alphabet stars quilt. My mistake for not sharing the progress I've made on it so far! 

Over two months ago, I finished all the FMQ on the top. I knew from the start that I wanted fairly dense quilting and was planning on all of it being concentrated in the black spaces on the quilt.

After all, I reasoned, if I'm using black thread then my mistakes won't be terribly obvious! Brilliant thinking, right? But as I spent what felt like hours doing FMQ "straight" lines,  I came to the sad realization that all this work was going to stay relatively invisible on the front. Head smack.

But, I plowed through and got it done working on and off through a long weekend. When I finished up, I knew immediately that the star centers needed some extra attention. In an hour, I went through the whole alphabet and did some FMQ flowers with white thread. I really like the loopiness alongside the straight lines!

So what the heck is taking me so long, you might ask? One final quilting element - I decided to hand quilt the inside of each star with variegated perle cottons in 6 different shades. I love the effect, but I am definitely a sloooow hand sewer.

At my speed, this will last the rest of the summer. But I think the effect is so worth it, I don't mind taking things easy!  It's come on vacation with us, so maybe I'll get more than a few letters done sitting lakeside.

Enjoy your summer everyone!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sari Feathers...

It's been quite a few posts coming, but my queen-sized feather quilt is finally finished!  All those deep purples, pinks and oranges were such rich colors that the finished feathers reminded me of an Indian sari.

I love how you can see the backing print as the sun is streaming through the quilt here!  I've written quite a bit about the quilt top itself, but there is a whole new layer of amazing-ness on this quilt.  Peer a little bit closer with me...

This was my first time sending a quilt out to a long-armer and I was a little nervous.  But as soon as I opened up the box from Margaret Gunn, all anxiety was banished.  I was simply blown away.

The feathers in relief!

The beautifully detailed side borders done in different shades of taupe!

All those clams and feathers together with intersecting waves outlining the single feather shape of the blocks!

I dropped everything - seriously everything because laundry and cleaning can WAIT - and got right to trimming and binding.

I had a whole roll of this gorgeous Tile print from Joel Dewberry ready and waiting for binding - a perfect complement to the Heirloom print I chose for the backing.

This quilt finished at 82 x 102 - by far the largest quilt that I've ever made!  Now that it's finished, it's headed to the "master" bedroom to keep us snuggly in modern style.

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swap Til You Drop...

Within a week of joining Instagram, I saw a bunch of blogger friends hopping onto Round 2 of the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap.  Never one to skip a party, I joined in with over 600 swappers from around the world - how cool is that?

Using my partner's favorite colors, this is the palette I chose to work from (just imagine a creamy orange inserted in there).

I had to insert some Anna Maria Horner fabrics in there - a designer that is completely absent from my considerable stash!  With my new purchases plus some charms from a friend who is an AMH devotee and a big stash pull, I was ready to go.

I settled on the Wavelength pattern by Freshly Pieced but since this is a MINI swap, I had to shrink the paper pieced templates down to 60%.  Even then, doing all the quilty math and getting the amount of rows and columns that I wanted, I knew it was going to run on the plus-size.

Seriously...what was I thinking making 100 paper pieced blocks that were going to finish at 2.75"??  It took foreeeeeeeever.  But once it started to come together, I could tell it was going to be worth it.

All sandwiched up and ready to be quilted...
I was super proud that I fought the urge to straight line quilt this bad boy and kept on with my free motion quilting practice.  I did mostly flowers with some loopy lines thrown in to fill space where I needed it.

 It is bound with a gray and silver metallic fabric that complements everything nicely and backed with my coveted Nummers fabric.  I hope that my partner loves it as much as I do!

I would love to make a full-sized Wavelength someday...guess it's another one to add to the list!

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Dress and No Stress...

I've done a fair amount of sewing for the girls, which always feels pretty satisfying.  The results are super cute and you don't need to worry about everything fitting perfectly because things always need to be a little big so that they've got room to grow.  With adult clothing, this is not always the case and I've had one too many patterns that look great on the package, but then after all that effort and expense, look terrible on my body type.

But there are way too many of my friends, online and in real life, that are super talented garment makers and the temptation to try something new for myself was just too great.  Even though I have the half-made Washi dress still lingering in the WIP pile, I came across two patterns that I was itching to try for myself.

I started out with Simplicity 2886 and the green Amy Butler sari fabric that I purchased in the great Fabric Binge of 2014.  With only 7 pattern pieces and a fairly forgiving silhouette, I figured that I didn't have too much to lose.

As usual, I think that ironing and cutting takes more time that many of the other steps and this time it was true - mostly because I was trying to figure out how to cut out the pieces so that the border of the skirt as well as the waistline could utilize the pretty selvage edge of the fabric but I had already hacked into it for the details on one of the girls' summer dresses.  Oops!  But once I figured out how to cut everything out and moved onto the actual sewing, things came together pretty darn quick and 24 hours later, I had a dress!

Photo courtesy of my 6-year old photographer :)
Granted, the fit was a little snug around the bust, but not uncomfortably so and when you've got a slightly larger chest size, a higher neckline doesn't do it too many favors.  But still, it was wearable and I could breathe and I loved it!

After a couple days in a row of wearing it and feeling pretty proud of myself, I went out and bought this beautiful butterfly fabric (Anna Maria Horner I think?) that I had wistfully thought would make a great dress but didn't think I had the chops to make good use of.  The second time around, I made the next size up and dropped the neckline a few inches.

It seemed fairly easy to do, but I did have to add in a couple extra darts under the armpit region so that I didn't have wings sticking out that would give people a peep show of my bra. Once that was done, it was a perfect fit!

These two dresses have become a staple in my summer wardrobe and I wear them almost weekly.  I think it's time to get going on the next pattern so that I don't wear these out by the beginning of July :)

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Friday, June 13, 2014

How Fast Time Flies...

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was dropping my oldest off for her first day of kindergarten in the middle of tears and nerves and begging me not to leave.  Those fears stuck around for a few anxious weeks.  But then one day it was almost like the clouds cleared, the fears receded and all of a sudden, school was SO much fun!

I give a lot of credit to her fabulous teacher Jess who kept the classroom a warm, inviting and engaging place to learn and have fun throughout the year.  I toyed with the idea of a quilt as an end of the year thank you gift, but a friend wisely pointed out that this would set expectations for coming years pretty high...she is only in kindergarten and just a few years down the road, I'll be pulling double duty when both girls are in school.  Instead, I decided on doing a larger gift for Jess and two smaller (but coordinating, natch) pouches for her art and music teachers.

Of course, these gifts were created in a whirlwind and gifted almost immediately after they were finished, so I'm going to have to rely on some smaller IG photos and hope that you all forgive the quality :)  They came out so cute that I might even get away with it.

The two smaller bags are the Vintage Pencil Case pattern from the book Patchwork Please - I did not look closely enough at the dimensions when I started out, but this zippered pouch turns out TINY.  Ironically, it is so small that regular colored pencils are too long to fit inside.

Those paper pieced pencil tips are even TEENIER...they are smaller than the head of my flower pins!  But I love the rainbow pencils against the Kona Dark Gray.  I lined them with my leftover Summerville.

The larger bag is the amazing Noodlehead Super Tote - after completing this pattern as well as the Divided Basket, I totally get why Noodlehead is such a go-to pattern designer.  The finished product is amazing and polished and the instructions are ridiculously easy to follow.   The only alteration I made to the pattern was to create a centerpiece of 15 of the Patchwork Please pencils on the front exterior pocket.

Even though I enlarged the pattern, they were still pretty small and I think that creating this front pocket panel took longer than assembling the rest of the entire tote.  But seriously, you just can't resist a rainbow of colored pencils and the effect was totally worth the effort.  Plus I even got a little bit of fussy cutting in so that the "Once upon a time" got a little time to shine.

The lining is a Cloud 9 organic cotton that I picked up on sale at Joann's - love it!  I've never tried a recessed zipper before, but I love how polished it looks.

I put pockets on both sides of the bag interior - two on one side and three on another.  Even managed to sneak a label in there.  The exterior pocket is lined with more leftover Summerville that gives it a few extra pops of color.

You know that a gift is a good one when you want to keep it for yourself.  Of course I could just make another carbon copy, but after a total of 25 of these teeny tiny pieced pencils, I am ready to tackle some bigger pieces and don't know if I have it in me again.

I've got a lot of stuff that I've been working on to share - two dresses, one quilt and two minis in progress - I just have to stop long enough to actually blog about them!  Stay tuned and if you want to see a few more "in progress" pics, follow me on Instagram @simplesewendipity

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Broken Oreos...


So now I can appreciate why people love free motion quilting.  I'm not at the love stage yet, but I'm pretty happy with how my first FMQ top came out - and I haven't even put it through a wash/dry cycle yet!  I completely the entire top in a day of quilting which I think is pretty fast considering how many stops and starts I unnecessarily threw in because of my own mistakes.  

What mistakes you might ask?  Thank you for that encouragement but in the middle of my second block I was simultaneously forgetting to breathe, lacking planning enough to know where next to direct my fabric, and interrupted every 5 seconds by the kiddos.  I panicked and did this:

It's so spastic that it defies all logic!  I figured that the best thing to do instead of swearing and spending 15 minutes picking it all out was just to stop, pour another glass of wine, and move onto the next block.  I could always go back and redo it before I bound the whole thing.  Whoops.  Forgot to do that last part.

I know that most everyone considers the meandering stipple to be the easiest of the free motion designs, so I must be stipple-challenged because I just can't easily create the pattern in the machine.  Instead, I did continuous curlicues in the black and white portions of each block and travelled column by column.  When those were all done, I did a micro-curlicue through the black sashing between blocks. I think it's going to crinkle up SO nicely in the wash!

I love the little snippets of fun things like goldfish, Ghastly trees, or bicycles that catch your eye throughout the quilt.

The backing is a print from the Summerville collection along with a stacked coin of the leftover black and white strips.

The Summerville was just so perfect for the backing because all those cute little characters are a pretty good color match for the mix of solid color sashing on the front.


Not to mention that the white background didn't make all of my questionable FMQ movements all that noticeable.  Score!

I used more of my leftover black and white strips to make a pieced black binding.  This quilt finished up at 52 x 68.

I was toying with the idea of giving it away but my husband likes it a whole lot more than I anticipated, so it might end up staying home with us.  One more quilt to add to the pile!

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design