Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Last and the First...

While the title of this post sounds like some profound novel in progress, I have my last finish of 2014 to share with you.  But what I'm most proud of is that it's also my daughter Sophie's first quilt finish - ever.  She is 6 and has been watching me sew for her entire life.  She's pretty crafty herself but the furthest we've gotten as far as sewing is her sitting at my sewing machine, practicing sewing straight lines onto paper.  But last week,  I got on a potholder kick due to a gorgeous post by Ashley at Film in the Fridge.  More on this next week, I promise! 

Inspired by the idea of scrappy rainbows, I had ALL of my color coded bags of scraps out and scattered across the floor in my tiny sewing corner.  Sophie sees all the fabric and asks if she can sew too - usually this just amounts to her taking her ragged safety scissors and ravaging the life out of fabric scraps.  Sure, I say...and if I'm being completely honest, I was only half listening and trying to stay in the zone.  Maybe a minute later, she asks if I can sew these two pieces of white fabric together.  Yeah, yeah, here you go....I mumble.  I zip it through my machine and back into the zone I go.

Five minutes go by and suddenly - in typical mom fashion - I realize that things are quiet.  Too quiet.  I turn around and see this:

I feel instantly proud - here she is armed with only scraps and a glue stick, making this adorable rainbow "quilt".  But also, in that flash of proudness, I felt that awful flash of mom guilt.  I was wrapped up in my own project, single-minded and focused...and this was happening literally a foot behind me.  And I was missing it.

Needless to say that the potholders were set aside and we finished the rainbow together.  It took all my self control not to trim here or smooth a rough and jagged edge there.  She was happy with how it looked and it was HER quilt.  Perfection be damned.  It looks perfect to her, so who am I to argue?

When all the gluing was done, we ran it under the iron to set things up a little firmer and I asked if she wanted me to quilt it all down.  If this was practice for her, it was going to be practice for me too!  I decided to practice a different technique in each color band - matchstick quilting in the pink center, pebbles in the purple, crosshatching in blue, meander (I stink, STINK at this supposedly easy style!) in green, ribbon candy in yellow, chain squares in orange, and a regular curvy back and forth in red.

Even though the backing is really dark and busy, I love how the rainbow quilting looks on the back :)

I did a very tight grid in the white background and a free motion sunburst in the block of sunshine.

Sophie says that she wants to use it as a doll blanket, but I added a couple pockets on the back just in case she decides to hang it on the wall instead.

My favorite part of this whole thing is that it was pinned up on my corkboard while I was deciding how to quilt it and Sophie wandered up behind me and put her little (okay, not so little anymore) arm around my waist.  "Mummy," she says.  "It's so beautiful that it makes me want to cry!"

Me too, honey.  Me too.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Quiltalong of Stops and Starts...

When I was literally two weeks into a new (and labor intensive) paper pieced quilt, I saw that Lee at Freshly Pieced was hosting a quiltalong at We All Sew for her latest pattern called Chandelier.  I loved this pattern so much and was already dying for a change from the crazy tiny paper piecing.  But I was determined NOT to go fabric shopping - I had done too much of that recently.  So I gave myself a couple of self-imposed rules

Rule #1: I wanted to try and look through my hefty Pinterest folder of color schemes and pick something that I liked but wouldn't usually be immediately drawn to.  Plus, I wanted to pick a color in that palette for the background that was not my usual light or white background.  The above four choices were my top picks.

After a lot of IG hemming and hawing, I decided on the deeply saturated tapestry palette with the bright aqua blue as the background solid.  Which brings me to Rule #2:  I could participate in the quiltalong if I shopped from my own stash - with the one necessary exception being if I needed more solids for the background. I did a fairly quick fabric pull and came up with a solid selection.

I was JAZZED and ready to go!  And then came the cutting.

So. much. cutting.

But I powered through and was still on track for week two!  Celebrating, I opened up the instructions for week two.  And then read about the epic amount of HSTs.

So. many. half-square-triangles. to. trim.  Spoiler alert:  I did not stay on track for week three.

In fact, I did manage to complete a few blocks but only because I stopped assembling all the HSTs as my brain was begging for a break.  And sadly, they are still all hanging out to the side of my ironing board.  Just waiting for me to pick them up and start again.

I'm coming lovelies....eventually.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Welcome to the Clutch Factory...

First off, I've got some winners from my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway!  I loved reading about everyone's fabric fails - we've all made them and (more often than not) they are too numerous to count or remember :)

So now that all four Far Far Away clutches are out the door, I've started making some more - and first on the list was one to match my brocade Super Tote.  I thought that the original clutches were beautiful but a smidge squishy, so for these new ones, I added a layer of Craft Fuse to the outside panels to give them a little more weight and a sturdier shape.  Now I think they are perfect!

I loved how my Fox Field clutch turned out so much that I'm making a couple more duplicates. If I keep this up, I'll be all set for my end-of-the-year teacher gifts before the end of 2014!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Farmer's Market and Selfish Super Tote...

Have you ever bought fabric that you thought would be perfect for something specific...and then it sits in your fabric bins for YEARS before you finally get around to actually sewing with it?  Yeah, I know you have.  I bought this beautiful Brandon Mably fabric called Burlesque Brocade at Mardens at my first BMQG Retreat two years ago and thought that the large scale print would be perfect for a bag.

It is SO satisfying when you prove yourself right.  Bonus is that this bag is all MINE and I positively love it!

The last time I made Noodlehead's Super Tote pattern, I thought it was super easy to follow and made a gorgeous finished product.  If I didn't have to work in such stops and starts, I could probably bang this bag out in a day.  As it was with the littles, it only took 2 days from start to finish.  Okay, 2 years and 2 days.  But still.

I used my black and white Madrona Road text prints for the pocket binding, the handles, the gusset and the recessed zipper facings and I love the contrast between it and the bright print.

Plus, I got to fussy cut the binding so that my favorite text was prominently featured.  The pink geometric print is one of the Cotton & Steel basics that I got in a "berry" solid bundle.  It's such a great compliment :)

The interior is a complimentary light blue Lizzy House from the 1001 Peeps line, and the pockets are my bright brocade.  This bag holds SO much and has become my go to errand/library bag.  In two weeks, it has already gotten a lot of use!

We are clearly on another Mo Willems kick...
I still have a decent amount of the print left and I'd like to make a medium sized complimentary clutch that I can toss in the tote and then take out during small errands.  Anyone have a great clutch pattern to recommend?

So....while I was making one bag, I figured why not make two?  The annual SMQG Yankee Swap was coming up the first weekend in December and we were asked to make a handmade item to swap.  I wanted to get rid of some fabrics that I bought for something specific (again) but so much time had passed that my original idea was no longer necessary for our house.  I couldn't really see using these Alexander Henry "Little Green" fabrics in anything else, so why not "get rid" of them with a Farmer's Market Super Tote?

I just couldn't resist more fussy cut binding - food related, of course.  Besides, how can you resist super bright green lining and a kiwi green zipper?

But in making this, even though I love how it turned out, I think I majorly broke a swap rule.  I could have sworn that the rule was that you could make anything if it cost under $30...which it totally was! But then when I was all done and feeling quite proud of myself, I reread the swap post and it said a "small item" like pincushions, pouches, etc.

Oops.  Super totes are definitely not small.  But look how many groceries this bag can hold!

I felt very much relieved when several other medium sized bags were gifted during the swap as well.  Phew!  But this Farmer's Market Super Tote is living with a very grateful recipient and I hope will get used as much as my own :)

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design
Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Turning Fail into Fabulous...with a Giveaway!

I had some really, really good intentions for a bit of selfish sewing.  I was going to make myself a super cute skirt with flair.  Two colors of tulle flair with shimmery fabric and Heather Ross Far Far Away scrumptiousness to be exact.

"Pattern?" I chuckled.  "I don't need a pattern - I've been on a clothing roll and how hard can a simple elastic waist skirt with tulle be?"  I think we all know where this is headed...

Looks innocent and cute enough while it's lying on the ground...but people, this was NOT a cute skirt on my body. I cut the topskirt layer too big so that it gathered way too much.  As if that wasn't bad enough, I cut the 4 layers of tulle and the shimmery blue underskirt not large enough so that the amount of gathering on those layers was just...weird.  Volume was not my friend here.  But honestly, I don't really know what I was thinking to begin with.  My bottom half doesn't really need any extra volume, so even if I had executed this properly, it still probably would not have had me looking my best.

This skirt was NOT leaving my house on my person.  But all that fabric waste made my heart (and wallet) hurt.  It was just too pretty to let sit rolled into a sad ball in the bottom of my closet.  After seeing some very cute clutches and bags at our SMQG Yankee Swap this past weekend, I went searching for During Quiet Time's Ruched Happy Bag pattern and went to work.

Fabric saved and a fail turned Far Far Away fabulous!!  Even the shimmery fabric got saved as a nice decorative detail.

I was so excited about the ability to make lemonade from my lemon skirt (plus I had a TON of skirt that needed to be chopped up) that I pulled a few more colors from my stash and started a clutch factory.

And hey...did you know that today is Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day??  How fabulously convenient!  I've made a few and I'd like to giveaway more than one clutch - just means more chances for you to win :)  

So here are the rules:  Leave a comment and tell me one of your fabric fails - or if you've been lucky enough to not have one!  Don't forget to tell me your favorite colored clutch :)  Leave a second comment if you follow my blog AND leave a third comment if you follow me on Instagram (@simplesewendipity).  I will ship internationally, so don't be shy if you're not in the United States - the more, the merrier!

The comments will close on December 12th at 8pm EST and winners will be notified on December 14th.  These would make a really cute gift for someone or (even better) a gift for yourself!  Can't wait to hear from you all and enjoy the giveaway here and at all the other link ups :)

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Fashionable Princess...

Novelty fabrics - I am not usually a fan.  Well, maybe I should clarify that I'm not usually a fan of "licensed character" novelty fabrics.  But at the beginning of the summer, I can across a bolt of this fabric called "Fashionable Princess" in the Disney novelty shelf of my local Joann Fabrics.  

It looks darker in this stock photo, but in real life the background of this is a very pale pink.  Disney Princess but with a little more sophisticated look?  And I had a store coupon?  I bought the rest of the bolt.  And there it sat, making me feel guilty all summer long.  My only saving grace was that the kids had no idea that I bought it, so I wasn't getting asked "Did you make my dress yet?" on a daily basis.

But when I stumbled across the Poppy's Peekaboo Dress pattern by Create Kids Couture, I knew that I needed to get off my butt and start sewing.  I grabbed a simple black polka dot as the accent fabric and got going.

I did want to fussy cut one of the princesses for the front bodice and Belle was the one to make the cut for this version.  Unfortunately, that meant that the entire pattern piece was cut on the bias, so I Best Press-ed it to death and that kept it from stretching out.

The pattern has a few really nice detail touches that make it stand out from the crowd but it was really, really simple to follow.  The back view is just beautiful!

I still have plenty left in my stash and my oldest has already specified that she wants her version to be more about Snow White.  While I'm not planning on making another Poppy, I've got a pretty clear plan in mind.  It's in the queue, kiddo.  

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design