Quilt Decisions

So, long before I have time to make a quilt for our bedroom, I need to make a quilt for a certain little boy ().

His mother and I have talked about patterns a few times, and here’s what it’s narrowed down to (Flickr Gallery) [link removed]. Leave your comments in Flickr or here.

I have started to pull out the fabrics from my stash that I’ve purchased with this quilt in mind (or at least with a little boy in mind).

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Perhaps that picture isn’t very helpful for you. How about a collage?

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And… some ones I’m not sure about can be seen here [link removed].

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And… the little boy in question (on the right).

(The other one is already kept sufficiently warm and wrapped up.)

So, what are your opinions? Design? Fabric choices? Encouraging words that I’ll get this done in time even though I’m starting [at least] three months later than I did with ? I would love to start cutting out fabric soon – Christmas break will do fine for that, I think. So, you have a week to weigh in. And… go!

Received!

For me, DQS9 is now officially over. I received a note today saying the quilt I’d mailed out had been received, and I received mine in the mail on Tuesday. So, lots of pictures ahead!

Let’s start with the one I sent out. I’ve been waiting anxiously for it to arrive at its destination so that I could do a full reveal.

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Front (with a peek at the back)

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Back - this fabric was the first one I picked out, and it's how I determined all the other ones actually went well together, despite the oddity of orange + purple. I think it turned out really well.

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My first wonky star ever. Really not that hard. The only thing is... I totally miscalculated, twice. The first time, I cut only half the number of pieces I'd need to assemble it. So I corrected, or rather overcorrected, by cutting twice as many. So, there's a cheery sun on the back too.

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I love this one! I was able to get the most "artsy" with this one, even though that was really hard for me. Prince Charming had to help me figure out how to do those shading lines on the canoe, because I am really not an artist (in the drawing/painting sense).

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Sneaky little brownie with his bucket of... who knows what. Sand? Water? Wonder where he's going....

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Added in the flower, since he seemed like he needed a bit more. Did you catch that they all have red hair? ๐Ÿ™‚

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Fishin'...

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All sorts of excitement going on here! My favorite bit is the umbrella.

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This was the square I kept secret from everyone, because I wanted it to be a surprise. I took the logo for DQS9, traced it onto the background fabric, and then tried out tinting with crayons (which we happened to have in the house). Then some embroidery, and voila! I don't think she'll mind me sharing this even though it has her full name on it - I'm guessing there are quite a few Karen Jones in the United Kingdom (that's right, I sent it to England!).

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I used a decorative stitch on my machine to do the quilting, something I'd seen some other people do. This was leaves - it looked the best out of all my options.

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Goodbye! I sent it off with almost all of my Joel Dewberry "Deer Valley" scraps, since she'd mentioned how she liked them (they were all that I had left over after making pillows for the living room, and now that I've decided to change the color scheme in there, it seemed silly to hoard all that fabric that I'd probably never use).

Here’s the beauty that arrived for me on Tuesday! Unlike the quilt I sent out, which had a long ways to go, this one only had to go a tiny distance – my partner, Rebecca (craftalittle) lives in the metro area (well, kind of). [Editor’s note: I thought it would look nice to photograph these in the sunbeam that streamed into the living room yesterday after work, but it totally didn’t end up like I wanted to. Well, lesson learned.]

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The quilt, and some fun extras! Hexagon templates and a charm pack!

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Do you see this awesomely cute bird? He makes me very happy.

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She quilted it with these beautiful flower motifs!

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What is that there? Oh my goodness, there's a big "K" on the back! Have I mentioned yet that Rebecca had a baby mid-August? And still managed to make this? While managing a toddler and a newborn? I am in awe.

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Here she is, in all her (shady/sunny) glory!

As if that wasn’t enough, we came home to a present from my father-in-law, celebrating our anniversary (which we knew would be “food,” but that’s not much of a hint).

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Cute packaging! Wait, what does that say on the box?

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Cupcakes! Quick, free them from their plastic prison (and sentence them to a tasty death instead)!

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Each one is a different flavor combo!

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This is the one Prince Charming chose to eat first. It was chocolate with... sprinkles on top. Or something like that.

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Cookies and cream maybe? We haven't eaten it yet.

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They're all decorated so cute! See the flower? It's not plastic, like I thought, but actually frosting!

Needless to say, after having a cupcake (mine had fudge frosting, which totally did me in for the rest of the evening) or two, dinner was postponed. went out for a run, and I still wasn’t hungry when he came back. I made up sweet potato fries, and he made up some mac & cheese, of which I ate a few forkfulls. I was very, very full.

We’ve had a great few days, don’t you think? Such happy, happy mail!

Two Pictures for Tuesday

Just two pictures to share with you today. Not much to say. This first one is primarily for , who helped me out this weekend picking out fabric and doing a lot of stapling.

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Two chairs already covered in the floral. The blue one is what I found last night to coordinate for the other two chairs, unless someone tells me it's a horrible idea. Note: the selection of home dec fabrics (the 45" wide ones) at JoAnn keeps getting smaller, and there weren't many options. I miss JCarolineCreative.

And, a final sneak peak of my DQS9. It’s going off in the mail today, and when I know it’s been received, I’ll post pictures of the completed project.

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Ooh, pretty!

Happy Tuesday!

Not blogging is hard

I was trying to keep the giveaway front and center last week, so I didn’t blog on Thursday and Friday. I had tons to say, but I don’t remember any of it. Bummer. I did take some pictures, though. Very random….

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Being a quilter (I can call myself that, right? I mean, I quilt - not exclusively or extensively, but I do quilt) means that sometimes, you see quilts in the most unlikely places. Do you see them? This is the stair railing at Metro. (Taken with my iPhone.)

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I did have some sewing success recently, and this is one example. I think I mentioned this top before (I made two), but this is the other print. A major success - both times I wore the shirt, I got compliments, but no one asked me if I made it. Wow!

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I've made some progress on the embroidery for DQS9 - not as much as I'd like, but some. I've had to take creative license with these guys, since the color palette of the fabric is a bit limited (red, orange, purple, green), so the water is purple, and I'm sure there will be other strange things that happen (what color am I going to stitch the lighthouse in?). I love their little hats and boots, though. They're getting red hair, btw. It's OK if there are a few more redheads in the world.

Lastly, some pictures I took with my iPhone while drove me home from class last week (we were a one-car family for a week while he had some work done on his car)….

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...

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I’ll tell you about my weekend (and a success story) tomorrow!

Three Thousand!

This marks my 3,000th blog post! Here is a screenshot to prove it:

That draft? That's this post. And those private ones? Those are ones I removed in the interest of keeping my job when I decided to put a link to this blog on Facebook. Not that I would ever say anything mean or negative about my job. Or anything else. Really. I am the paragon of cheer.

So to celebrate, I’m having a giveaway. (Some people have giveaways at 100, I apparently have them at 2,300 and 3,000.)

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Well, that's a pretty butterfly. It looks kind of familiar....

I made this up last July – I tested the pattern for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, who provided everything I needed to complete it.

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I like the pattern, but I am not a huge fan of batiks.

For the most part, it turned out lovely. There was one rather large error, but if I don’t point it out, maybe you won’t see it?

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No mistakes here....

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It's called "Butterfly Radiance" and you can order the pattern on the Robert Kaufman website.

However, seeing as how it doesn’t match any of our decor and I’m not too fond of the batiks, I’m giving it away! I’m also giving away a stack of batiks that are left over from this project. So, there will be two lucky winners (assuming that I get at least two comments)!

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Here are the "scraps" for giveaway - many of them are quite large.

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The top and bottom ones are particularly large pieces, and the white one and the one on top of it are pretty small.

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Does this help sell the beauty of these batiks? (It's really hard to do when I'm not a fan, but I'm trying!)

So… leave me a comment here and I’ll randomly pick winners Friday, July 16th.

Comments are now closed. I will post the winners on Monday. Thanks for visiting!

Sewing Lessons I’ve Learned Lately

Do you remember that sneak peek I gave you last week? I got it almost finished over the weekend (not completed: hemming).

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Cute, right? Pretty, summery linen? How bad could it be?

How bad could it be indeed. Bad enough that there’s no photo of me in said dress (though if you’re good, i.e. leave me nice comments, I might get to take one later).

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Hrm. Maybe you can tell what one of the problems is from this picture. By the way, both the bust piece and that back piece (the green olive pieces) are fully lined and hand-sewed on the inside. Really? I spent time hand sewing a dress that I can’t wear?

You see how that bust part kinda hangs out there when it’s on the hanger? It does that on me too. This dress was clearly made for someone with a C cup, which is so far from reality that it’s laughable (really, there has been much laughter about this dress). Unfortunately, due to the construction of the bust, there’s no way to re-engineer it to make it work.

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Oh, but that’s not all that’s wrong with this darling dress.

What else is wrong? Well, quite simply, there is absolutely no way to adjust the gathers in the skirt (there are ties that go through the front and wrap around to the back, which makes sense only in person, as I cannot explain it better) to fashion a look that does not make me look 6 months pregnant. No joke.

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See her? She doesn’t look pregnant. Not at all! Nor does she have a C cup. I feel misled.

Part of the problem with this is that I used a medium-weight linen, which has body instead of drape. The linen wants to billow out from all those gathers, not drop or flow.

So, lesson learned, must pay attention to drape/body factors of fabric when matching with a pattern.

The other lesson learned from this experience (when coupled with another dress disaster where I accidentally made myself a gorgeous muumuu, complete with French seams and a lovely rolled hem), is this: I have a waist. I need to wear dresses that have waists. Not empire waists, but actual waists. When I was in high school, we were calling this style “baby doll” – it didn’t look good on me then (especially since the dresses were short, and I was tall…), and it doesn’t look good on me now. I’m not exactly sure what you’d call my shape – a thin rectangle with a dent in the middle? I’m not exactly hourglass, but pear-shaped isn’t exactly right either (even though that seems like it would be it, seeing as how I’m lacking on top and hippy). Whatever it is, I need to wear clothing that accentuates the fact that I have a waist, not clothing that tries to hide the waist area (which many people, understandably, want to do – I’m just not one of them).

No worries about the dress though – it will get a new life, in ‘s closet. She came over last night, tried it on, and it looks so cute! So, I will hem it up for her, and perhaps get a picture of her in it to show you, and then the dress can fulfill its destiny, while I continue on my quest to make myself a dress (since my last three attempts have failed miserably).

Thinking about these lessons, I had to go through the other patterns I bought at the same time and see how many of them will not work for me. But first, a laugh for you:

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Do you see what I see? Gotta laugh at this. What happened is that I bought 8 patterns (McCalls were on sale for $1.99 and Vogue for $3.99, and I really wanted to make a summer dress), which “retail” for $15-25 each (though I would never pay anything close to that for a pattern. Plus I had a 40% off one item coupon, and a 10% off my total order coupon. Still, this is hilarious. That’s a savings of… I can’t even do that math. 1 million percent.

Now let’s look at those patterns and see how much damage I’ve done (we won’t even think about the rest of my patterns, some of which suffer from the same problem as the pink floral muslin I made up for Easter – ooh, a dress success! – that being curved side darts which create a poofiness at the tummy that is less than flattering, and some of which, I’m sure, suffer from this high-waisted problem as well.)

[Editor’s note: pardon the crappy photos – it was 8:30 last night when I remembered to take these, and there was almost no natural light left, and I was too impatient to share with you to wait until tonight to take the pictures. I hope to re-take and replace them, but in the meantime, you’ll have to suffer through these.]

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Oh, success right off the start! Can’t go wrong with a shirt. (OK, lots of things can go wrong with this, but not in the waist area.
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Bummer. Failure. A said, that’s so cute! Cute, yes, but methinks it will not look cute on me (unless perhaps I walk around the whole day with my shoulders thrust back, and maybe some padding in my bra).
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Huh. I don’t know about this one. It seems like it might have a waist, but it might be too high. I think I’ll have to look at the pattern pieces to be sure. The gathered bust is quite flattering for those of us who are not so endowed, so I’m going to hold out hope for this one.
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Waist, yes. Potential poofy belly anyways? Yes. Only with a very drapey, flowy, thin fabric. Also, must check pattern pieces first to see how low cut this actually is, because that looks a bit low for me.
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Success! I think this one actually gets it right! (Must check to make sure the top isn’t too big – might need to add in some darts or something.)
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Another success! I’m feeling good about myself at this point. I’m kind of in love with D/E (and A would make a satisfactory base dress, which was what my previously mentioned pink floral muslin was supposed to be a template for).
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And… failure, I think. Those front gathers, unless the fabric is absolutely perfect, will just make me look chubby in the tummy. Bummer, since I really like A/B.

Well, in light of that, I’m feeling a bit down about myself.

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Does that not inspire you? Maybe you can’t see the fabrics well.

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The green suiting is for this skirt [link removed] (view A), the grey suiting for this dress [link removed] (any view), and the polka dots for this shirt [link removed] (any view – most likely a short-sleeved option).

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Feel free to shower me with compliments and/or advice now. ๐Ÿ™‚

[Editor’s note: come back tomorrow. Big post tomorrow – I might be giving something away. I’m just sayin’. You don’t wanna miss it.]

Pretties

I want to share with you some pretty things that have come into my life recently.

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My Aunt Jane made this bag for me as a thank you! It’s pink and brown (our wedding colors, if you remember), and the inner dividers can be moved around because they’re attached on both sides with Velcro. It’s ingenius, practical, and lovely!
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My father-in-law gave me some hair clips for my birthday, including this gorgeous one that I’m not sure I can wear to anything less fancy than a wedding. I might feel out of place with jewels in my hair at work. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fabulous gift!
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As Mom and Jim are dealing with merging two households worth of stuff, I luckily am ending up with the cast-offs (like the Kelly train and the sock monkey). This is a crocheted table scarf (we may repurpose it) that Dad’s mom made while she had TB (she also made some table cloths and other stuff, which amounts to about a zillion little crocheted stitches).
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Isn’t it pretty?
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Dad’s mom also made this kitchen towel. Mom used it so much that it is no longer usable as a towel, since it has a large hole in the middle. I’m brainstorming things to do with it.
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And lastly, a peek at what I did over the weekend. The bottom bit there is only pinned on, so you can see I didn’t make it very far. I’m hoping to be able to show you a lot more after this weekend.

As an extra bonus, here’s a slideshow of all of the pictures I took on the 4th with my iPhone [link removed] (OK, took the first one of me).

Homemade

My goal for today is to not have someone ask me if I made my shirt myself. I’ll keep you updated.

I finished up two shirts that I started the day I dropped my machine off for service (2 1/2 weeks ago – that’s a pretty short turnaround time for me from start to completion).

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Pardon the headless shot - I hadn't put on makeup or done my hair yet, and my photographer was leaving the house.

The fabric was $5.98/yard, and this shirt used one yard, so… two shirts for $12! Good deal! (I’m counting the pattern as free, since I bought it many years ago to make a Christmas shirt.)

A few notes on this project: I have made Vogue 2611 before, though last time I made the fluttery-sleeve version, and I didn’t make it with a jersey. I like it much better with jersey – it is fitted just enough and drapes well. I did have to take in the sides just a bit under the arms, but I’m assuming chestier women would not have this problem. The front drape part is supposed to be finished, but since this is a knit, I didn’t do anything (it won’t unravel in the wash). Because it drapes so much, and because I didn’t finish the edge, I have it tucked into my bra, which actually works well to protect my modesty (otherwise I’d have to clutch at the neckline every time I leaned over slightly).

The drape at the neck is quite low (though not the lowest cut version of this pattern), so that might be an issue for someone with significant cleavage (I have no idea, having never had that problem). The back neckline and arm holes are finished with single-fold bias tape, which makes a nice edge. I used my twin needle on the bottom hem so that it looks like a store-bought shirt. I made both shirts at the same time, hoping to minimize the time it would take (assembly-line and all). It basically took me two evenings to complete these, not including cutting out the fabric.

I’m kinda bummed that the long-sleeved versions are wrap-front instead of the drape – they take significantly more fabric (3 yards compared to 1), and I really like the drape (it creates the illusion of a bust, which I always appreciate).

I also made those pants, but that was nearly two years ago. You can tell that I’ve lost weight because the pants are way too baggy – I think I need to take them in at the waist a bit so they don’t look quite so silly (though in person they look better, especially with short heels). I’m thinking two darts at the front will work (there’s a side zipper, so I’d rather not take in the sides) – there are already darts on the back. I love, love, love these pants. The fabric was $2/yard, and they are so comfy!

Total outfit cost: $11.50.

The weatherman said “snow”

I heard it. It is an actual possibility this weekend. And that, boys and girls, is why I have not put my seedlings in the ground yet. Minnesota has been uncharacteristically warm for the last month, and I know plenty of people have jumped the gun on gardening. However, the average “last frost” date is May 10, which is next Monday. Since I would rather not watch my new lettuce seedlings (or cucumbers and tomatoes, which have also sprouted) die, they’re still sitting inside, in the sunny window.

Truthfully, I had already picked out this outfit last night, long before I heard the weatherman predict snow (OK, it’s probably slim possibility), but what better way to combat cooling temps (and withdrawal from California weather) than a new spring skirt?

I have owned Sew What! Skirts for… a long time. Over a year, at least. And though it’s a lovely book, and I’ve had fabric mentally picked out to make several of the skirts, I have not made anything from it. That is, until two weeks ago. I finally drafted pattern pieces for the a-line and straight skirt. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was when I tried this on and it fit, first time! I have had a terrible time lately getting pattern-based clothing to fit (and I carefully read the measurements on the back of the patterns, so I have no idea what I’m doing wrong), so I was incredibly pleased.

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Mirror reflection, quickly taken this morning before leaving for work.

You can’t tell, but it has a fake waistband. I made the facing as directed, added some interfacing to it, and then sewed it in. Then I did the whole understitching thing, which did make it roll inside so as to be invisible, but I still had a raw edge inside the skirt. I carefully measured and ironed-under the facing, and then from the front stitched it down. It looks like it’s two pieces, if you don’t look too closely. I also used lace hem tape to enclose the bottom hem completely, and stitched it on, visibly, from the front.

I decided it needed a bit of fun, so I added some embroidery to it. I used a pattern I’d favorited on Flickr (details are on the photo pages in Flickr), and some variegated thread I already have. I even used a zipper that I had in my stash, ripped out of a thrifted skirt that didn’t fit. The fabric was a remnant, so the total cost of this skirt was… $1.25.

It took me two evenings to make the skirt, and a few more to finish up the embroidery. It was actually done before we left for California. I washed it up last night, hoping that more of the pattern ink would wash out (it didn’t, but I have hope for future washings that it will eventually fade).

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Taking pictures of a skirt you are wearing 2 minutes before leaving for work will get you awkward angles and not high quality photos. But I couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you.
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Quite springy, I think!
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Close-up on the butterfly and that variegated floss.

Since I was feeling springy, I decided to wear the butterfly earrings I made a while back (I’ve shared these before).

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What a perfect match!

Monday night I started on the straight skirt (I drafted both patterns at the same time), using this grey stripe fabric [link removed] (also a remnant). Unfortunately, it did not end up fitting as perfectly, and I had to make some alterations to the shape last night (I also had to buy a zipper*, because I didn’t have any more 7-9″ invisible zippers, which are my new best friend). I think I’ve got the shape fixed, and now I only have to finish the side slits, hem it up, and stitch down the facing. The total cost of that skirt will be around $5.50 (more than 4 times the blue one!).

I still can’t make a skirt in under an hour, but that’s OK. Between the invisible zipper, facing, and hemming, that is an hour alone. Plus, I’m watching some excellent TV while sewing, so I’m staying entertained.

*Bonus: While at JoAnn last night, I was able to pick up several clearanced zippers for 50 cents each. They were discontinued colors, I think (dark teal, mauvy-pink), but most were invisible. You might want to check it out if you’re in the market.

It’s grey again today

…which seems to put a damper on my ability to write entertaining slush. So, instead, you get pictures of more clothes I plan on making but, in reality, will never have time to complete. (Hey, I’m just being honest. I will try and try, but there are only so many hours in a day and too many of them have to be filled with homework.)

I should mention that these are all knit/jerseys. Every last one of them. And most of them were around $2-6/yard (fabric.com).

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Just a yard and a half of each of these, to make the knit shirt (View A, yellow). Hopefully a simple way to practice working with knits before tackling some of the more difficult pieces below.
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I love this pattern so much that I bought it twice (accidentally), in both a size 12 and size 14. I’ll be modifying this pattern to have something between mini and mid length (I would prefer just above my knees, as that is most flattering).
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I’m loving the wrap dress, but haven’t committed to it. I’m not really a dresses-with-sleeves kind of girl. In fact, I own zero dresses with sleeves. And yes, this fabric really is as bright as it looks. I may not be brave enough to wear a magenta dress. I’ll have to ruminate on this further.
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How cute is this dress! Again, I don’t really do sleeves on dresses, but the temptation to own something with 3/4 sleeves that are actually 3/4 (apparently I have very long arms, because 3/4 sleeves usually hit just below my elbow, which is an incredibly annoying place) is strong.
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This blue fabric is ever-so-dreamy. It feels like butter, and drapes oh-so-well. Getting View A (the red one) made up with this fabric would be enough to motivate me to shrink those love handles, because as fabulous as this fabric is, I don’t think it performs magic or any sort of visual illusions.
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Just one yard of these two prints (I was a bit unsure of them), so I can only make up the sleeveless version (View E, actually, with the less-slutty neckline). They should be cute for layering under a jacket this summer (or next summer, or four summers from now).
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I cannot tell you how much I am in love with this fabric. It is not only gorgeous, but it feels divine. I actually have View B (the print dress) cut out and waiting for me. It could get finished by the end of this week. If nothing else, I have a few hours on Friday between coats of primer. (Though this may be obvious to you, it was not to me, and so I’ll share with you what I learned – French seams with knits are totally redundant and not necessary. Duh. Knits don’t unravel. I only made that mistake once.)

I was cleaning and reorganizing my office this weekend (that I’d love to tell you about, but still don’t have pictures because I didn’t get home until after 9 last night), and have stored together all of the apparel fabrics with the patterns that I intend to use them with. There’s a smaller pile of apparel fabrics that I can’t seem to match up to a pattern, and those got stored elsewhere.

My hope is that having some of the decisions made will make it easier to start a project. Were I really ambitious, I’d cut out the pattern pieces (just the tissue, not the fabric) and get them ironed too. No cutting out of fabric until I’m ready to go, though, just in case my measurements change, or I change my mind about the match-up, or… whatever. Life happens.

Really, I would love to leave work early (I won’t) and go work on that grey floral dress. Or at least touch the fabric some more, because it is yummy.

As always, feel free to weigh-in on the match-ups of pattern and fabric. I know it’s hard to make judgments based on a picture of fabric, but don’t let that stop you.

Thankful

… for Behr.com that not only lets me play around with color, but has useful information like how long before you can repaint and how much samples cost (the answer for both is 4).

… an extremely busy week at work, even though it has prevented me from starting a new book.

… Spring Break! Have I mentioned yet that it’s Spring Break? Yeah, I thought so. But really, it’s wonderful. I only did homework for an hour and a half last night. And maybe half an hour tonight. Yay!

… the combination of extra daylight and warm weather (and the afore-mentioned Spring Break) that not only sparks creativity but gives me the chance to be creative.

… the promise of a short work week next week, which somehow makes this one feel shorter too. Go figure.

… getting all my laundry done last night, and all the half-square triangles ironed. I thought I’d mentioned that project yesterday, but apparently I didn’t blog yesterday. Tuesday night we got out of class early (yay Spring Break!) and ERIC wanted to watch Lost (which I do not particularly enjoy), so I took the opportunity and finally sewed up the stack of charm squares I’d had prepped for months. I use the no-waste method, which means two half-square triangles out of each pair of white-and-print. I did up 38 aqua-schemed ones, and 60 pink ones (so, really, 19 aqua sets and 30 pink sets). I only had time to sew them up and cut them apart, so last night I managed to iron them all out. I added them to my existing stacks, and now I just have to play around with layouts. I have to projects in mind for these.

… headphones. Sometimes blaring loud music in my ears is the only thing that gets me to 4:00.

What are you thankful for this fine Thursday?

I’ve been told…

… that summer is coming. I think that was wishful thinking on someone’s part. The snow, while not growing in quantity, is not shrinking either.

Last night, after getting all of my homework done that wasn’t lesson plan writing (which is all I have to do this weekend – one week of lesson plans for two classes, which is not easy if you’re thinking it sounds that way), I braved the tape measure and had do my measurements, again (the last ones were more than a year old). Then I pulled out my Pattern Fitting with Confidence book (by Nancy Zieman) and figured out how to best augment Simplicity 7641. On modern patterns, pattern fitting is a bit easier than with vintage. I’d already traced out the pattern pieces onto Swedish Tracing Paper (which is lovely, btw), at which point I’d learned that someone had not only used every single piece of the pattern, but that they had not cared one whit for it and just shoved everything back into the envelope. Tape and a not-too-hot iron were required, and it still wasn’t pretty.

The problem with vintage patterns is that they’re one size, not the beauty of multi-sizing like modern patterns. For those I just draw a line between one size and the other (because my shirt size is smaller than my skirt size). I used Nancy’s pivot technique, after doing the math on how much I needed to add to the waist and hips (I’m hoping that I added more than I needed to and will be able to take the pattern in slightly). It worked wonderfully, and I used the new pattern to cut out a “muslin.” That’s in quotes because the fabric I used was not muslin but was, in fact, this bright pink floral [link removed] that I’ve owned since the beginning of this century. I have five yards of it, so still more than a yard left. I figure if it turns out OK, I’ve got a second bonus dress, and if not, I won’t cry over having to turn all that fabric into charm squares.

Since I can’t spend all weekend long writing lesson plans and will need to take a break (to foster creativity, of course), I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sew up a majority of this dress. Unfortunately, most of the seams will end up being sewn at least twice, since I’ll baste first and check the fit, but I’m going to do French seams on the real version later, which also means every seam is sewn twice. It takes a lot more time, but I do love the end product. I’ll use my narrow hem foot again, and maybe I’ll get around to writing up my tutorial on it (because it is so fabulous and I can’t believe I didn’t know it existed until recently).

Tonight is the last meeting of my half-semester class, and I’m hoping that I have all of my work done for it. We’ll see in class if any of the instructions for our final project are clarified, requiring me to do some rewriting. Other than that, I’m done, and it will be nice to be down to two classes. It is also nice because it means Spring Break is one week away. Ah, one blissful week without homework. The luxury of it!

Did you know that the more I talk about school, the more comment spam I get? Term paper writing is apparently a big thing in the spam world. Sewing? Not so much. Thankfully, there’s a plugin that catches all of the spam, so you’re not subjected to it. Last month I was getting long paragraphs in Russian as spam. This month it’s tons of links and term papers. What are you going to do. (Do the spammers not know that I have less than 25 readers on an average day? Really not worth their time and effort, methinks.)

Here’s hoping your weekend is lovely, and that my lunch lasts me until 8 pm tonight!

I’m making you think some more

More match-ups of fabric with patterns for you to mull about. You can see in these photos why I usually use my ironing board, and not the cutting table (that nice shadow across all of them? that’s my arm).

I’m starting out easy, but it gets harder…

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View C - the long pants (I'm pretty sure they're ankle length but fold/button-up. The fabric is your basic bottomweight khaki, with just a bit of stretch in it.

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I bought this fabric at SR Harris last year to make a shirt. It has some spandex or Lycra in it, so it should be great for this. Long sleeved? Short sleeved? (Not no-sleeved.)

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This is some fabric from my stash that's so old, I'm not sure when I bought it. Probably this century, but that's as specific as I can get. It's a bit see-through, but silky and smooth. I think I have enough for View A, but might have enough for View B. (I have no idea what fabric I'd use to complement it for View C, so I think that's out.) Thoughts on embellishments? I'm not so much a sparkly/glittery kind of girl, especially for work attire (I may have to either wear a camisole or adjust that neckline to make it work appropriate, but a camisole will probably be necessary anyway, given the fabric).

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It's hard to tell, but that fabric is dark grey (charcoal), and like the two above, has a nice stretch to it. I think I have enough to make the short version of this dress, which would be a nice basic wardrobe piece.

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Sorry for the blurry photo. The fabric is a bright pink (not hot pink, but pretty bold), and is a bit heavier than I'd really prefer for a shirt, but I think it will be OK. Not one of the versions with embellishments (not A or C). I'm more likely to do a version without buttons, but my new sewing machine handles buttonholes well, so I'd be willing to attempt it.

(Here’s a clearer version of the pattern.)

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I have 2 yards of this moleskin in "Slate," which is a dark grey-blue. The moleskin has great drape and is a bit heavy, so it would make a great skirt, or a suit, but I don't wear suits. I think it would complement this pattern nicely. View A, probably, but if someone had a suggestion for lace or something, I'd be willing to go View B.

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This one I do have doubts on. The fabric, which is difficult to see, is "Sueded Cord" in "Loden Green," which is a very dark sagey-piney green. It is a super-micro cord, and is pretty thin, unlike most corduroys. It drapes quite well, and I'm not sure if it's perhaps too thin for this skirt, and instead would make a good dress. With 3 yards of it, I can make any of the versions pictured here. I like B best, but not sure if this fabric is best for that. I would like to make A at some point, but am not sure what fabric I would use for that.

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I'm a bit fuzzy on the fabric, but I'm pretty sure it's a lightweight (but not too lightweight) muted-sage green. I'd make up View B, the jumper. Too boring? (It gets more boring in a pic or two.)

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Technically, I have no idea how much I have of this fabric. It's an oddly shaped remnant, but nice and lightweight (think summer shirting). I have wanted to make a shirtdress with it forever, and think that this pattern might be right for it (View A, with short sleeves). I've actually tried on shirtdresses at the store to see if they look OK, and surprisingly, they do, if they're fitted enough. Does that mean I need a belt? Or maybe a bit of elastic across the back?

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It was really difficult to find something for this purple fabric. It's a bottomweight, so too heavy for a shirt. Would I wear a purple skirt? I really don't know. I have made up this pattern before and really liked it (link below).

(Here is View B, though it photographed quite poorly. It looks cute when worn. I get compliments.)

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Another solid to contend with, and a lightweight brown at that. I think View 3 would be cute - no collar, no sleeves. This fabric would flare nicely for the skirt, I think, but it might need something special to make it look... less boring. Would jewelry work, or do I need to do something with the dress itself?

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And here we get to the ultimate in boring, this paler grey fabric. It's not as lightweight as the above, but not a bottomweight either. I was drawn to this pattern because View C is in a solid dark grey, and it looks OK. I'm really not a dresses-with-sleeves girl, so it might be View A that I'd do.

Part of what made this task hard (matching up fabrics with patterns) was trying to not make more than one item from a pattern, spreading the love around, so to speak. I have several other patterns set aside for projects that are in progress or are otherwise reserved. The other thing was that several of the patterns I would have liked to make took more than 3 yards of fabric, which I didn’t have of any of these.

What I’m really looking for are answers to these questions:

  • Does it work for you, the match up of fabric and pattern?
  • Do you absolutely hate one (or more) of the patterns and think it would look ridiculous?
  • For those that are solids, and there are quite a few, what can I do to avoid the boringness? Basic and classic are OK. Nondescript is not. Feel free to tell me that a dress out of medium grey cotton is just not allowed. I won’t cry. I’ll be much happier with criticism now, before going to all the effort of making something and finding out it was a bad idea (though I’ve done plenty of that, like this sundress that is impeccably sewn but is actually a mumu, and this dress that was too hideous to finish).
  • Which one would you make first? Just curious.

Thanks for your thoughts. I’d like to be ready to go when I get the time to sew, and this helps a lot. Once I’m decided, I can cut out pattern pieces and start that process, which takes much longer than it really should. Thankfully, all the fabric is washed and ironed, so I have that going for me.

Decisions, decisions

Alright, I know that at least a few of you out there reading this have years, if not decades, more sewing experience than I do. So, I’m asking for your help. Yesterday I was cleaning in my office (in an attempt to actually be able to use it for something other than homework and ironing), and decided to match up all the clothing fabric I have with patterns. I was… mostly successful. I still have a stack that I just don’t know what to do with. And most of what I matched up yesterday I don’t have pictures of yet, so I’ll have to save that for another day. But, I do have these two to share with you.

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Well, this one is kind of a no-brainer. I had been in love with this fabric ("West Hill by Heather Ross - Floral Stripe") for such a long time that I finally broke down and bought it (I swear I've been watching it in ebay for over a year - the seller just kept relisting it). I bought all 4 yards that she had. It's a fabulous cotton with a very smooth touch, almost like high quality sheets, and is just begging to be pajamas. I was thinking pajama pants, but while looking through my patterns I saw this one and thought I might be able to do the short-sleeved top as well. I don't really have a question about this pairing, just wanted to share.

shirting_simplicity7641
This one, however, I have questions on. I bought the blue fabric, technically shirting, at JoAnn on clearance for something ridiculous like $2 a yard. I stood there in the store looking through my patterns on Flickr (aren't iPhones great?) and finally settled on something that I was sure I'd remember. I bought the 3 yards the pattern said I'd need. Of course, after getting the fabric home and washing it, I no longer remember exactly which dress it was that I wanted to make. The fabric is pretty lightweight, but not see-through (though I'd need a slip - not a big hassle). There's white stitching that's a bit shiny just above each of the pintucks, which would run vertically on most patterns. Thoughts? I have tons of other dress patterns, but just couldn't figure out exactly which one to use. (Note that this pattern is only partially my size, and I'll have to make some adjustments to accommodate my hips.)

(More dress patterns here.)

As a side note, perhaps I should get myself an ironing board cover that’s a bit more… neutral? made this one ( picked out the fabric), and it’s great, but a bit distracting when used as a backdrop, and it is the best surface I have to take pictures on (height, relationship to light, size, etc).

Hopefully I’ll have enough time at home while the sun is still shining to take pictures of my other pairings, and y’all can weigh-in. Sewing expertise not necessary – just an eye for fashion. I tend to make mistakes when matching up fabric with patterns, or even in picking patterns that will look good on me. I know enough to steer clear of certain colors (for instance, I will probably not wear a bright red shirt, so why make one), but then I’m sort of crippled. My mind has trouble making the necessary connections between the fabric, pattern, and my body type. You’d be happy to help me out, right? You know I’d do the same thing for you (and have, for some of you, several times).

Now with 30% less angst

Would you like, perhaps, a little more fun in today’s post? I thought you would. I have picture goodness to share with you, since I finally got everything uploaded to Flickr.

straight
Yes, my hair is still straight. People are still talking about it. Apparently I look fab. I got hit on last night at the gas station. My scalp doesn’t hurt yet,* so I’m sticking with it as long as possible. It makes getting ready in the morning so quick!
ironing
Finally finished up the ironing, as you can see. It’s actually all put away,too. That nicely folded fabric, that is. The cutting table itself is still full of stuff. Yes, that is part of a Christmas decoration back there.

*As strange as it sounds (and believe, I know it sounds strange), my scalp usually hurts a few days after straightening it, but it goes away if I wash it and make it curly again. I know it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t hurt right away, so it’s not “trauma” from the straightening iron. I think it might have to do something with combing my hair so the follicles are being pulled in different directions, but I’m not really sure.