Operation Sister Quilts

I’ve gotta admit I’ve been feeling pretty horrible these last few days. I’ve was slammed with a sudden flu like something and then the shooting in Las Vegas hit way to close to home. It feels more and more like the world has gone mad. I don’t write this blog to get into politics, but how I feel definitely directs my posts. I’d planned to write up a project I made for myself, but instead I’m posting a project that I’ve been working on for over two years. Something warm and happy and lovely.

I’m a pretty big fan of Heather Ross prints. I keep an eye out for her prints on apparel fabric for me (exhibit 1 and exhibit 2) and when the collection is something special I buy quilting cotton too. The Tiger Lily collection came up for pre-order when I was all high on newborn baby fumes and I was inspired to make sister quilts for my tiny and tough girls. I loved the mix of ballerinas and girls climbing trees.

Now I can finally call the project a wonderful and finished success.

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These suckers were quite a bit of work. Churn dash was the only block pattern I even really considered. It just seemed to suit the fabrics so well, but trying to figure out which prints to pair took me many many evenings. Early on in the planning process I realized I didn’t have enough fabric and had to desperately email Westwood Acres Fabric to order a bit more! I also originally thought I’d make the tops with different mixes of fabric, but I couldn’t ever quite figure out how to make it work in a well balanced way. So both tops are identical.

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Well, the tops are identical except one one very special detail. I hand embroidered their names in the sashing. Even this detail took a lot of thought. Originally I’d planned to have them machine embroidered, but then I was too lazy to actual research it after my friend with an embroidery machine said her machine couldn’t handle the size of the project. The big push came when my local yarn store announced they were getting rid of embroidery floss and I made a quick run down to buy really high quality floss while I could still see the colors in person.

In fact a lot of this project was only moved along with pushes from the outside world. I kept procrastinating the next step until I couldn’t wait any longer. The sashing? Well that was motivated by my local quilting store’s going out of business sale. I shopped there pretty frequently, but the threat of having to buy sashing fabric online was nerve wrecking enough for me to drag the squares down to the nice natural lighted store before I was left guessing shades against a computer monitor!

I was so good about piecing the fronts and cutting all the strips for the binding and then the project just sat again…for months. I hit a rut in my sewing. I wanted to piece together the backs, but we were in a tight financial place and I couldn’t afford to spend money of fabric. I dug through my scrap bin and and found the leftovers from my dark green butterfly dress. It was lawn, not quilting cotton, but that’s okay! I also found left over rose print from the dress I made to wear to my bridal shower. The colors weren’t quite perfect, but with everything gathered I had just exactly enough to eek out two twin sized quilt backs. Not matching like the fronts, but similar enough.

img_0895With the fronts and backs completed all that was left was the quilting and binding, but instead of just getting it done I stuffed it all in my sewing cabinet and forgot about it. Finally in some of the hottest weather this summer I decided to pull out all the supplies and finish these suckers. With lots of swearing and sweating I managed to mostly pin the layers together with a minimum of wrinkles. Only took 4 attempts. With the home stretch in front of me I couldn’t turn back. The pair of quilts were also threatening to take over my sewing space (our kitchen table). Once I got past the horrible pinning part hand tying the quilts was hot but easy work and the bindings went on pretty easily.

These quilts are absolutely massive in their tiny toddler beds, but I hear a bunk bed is  coming this winter! My hope is these snuggly twin quilts will be just perfect for many winters to come.

 

 

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Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady

Last weekend my baby sister got married! I was so touched when she asked me to be her one and only bridesmaid. She was my one and only and I thought is was really sweet that she returned the gesture. It was the most gorgeous and wild wedding.

But the real question is…what did I wear?

I really struggled with that question. The wedding took place at a Burning Man affiliated event. Most people were camping. There was belly dancing, swords, fire, many unicorn costumes, and the best man was dressing as a wizard.

My first thought was to make this stunning Simplicity pattern I’ve been lusting after since November. I wanted deep red silk to coordinate with the groom’s tartan. But then I kept thinking about the camping, the tents, the fairground bathrooms, and wrangling two little girls while wearing floor length silk. Also, where am I going to wear this again? If I’m spending money on silk I’d better be able to wear it more than once. Is scarlet a strange color for a May wedding?

Okay, plan B. After thinking on it for a few weeks I kept coming back to some fabric I already had in my stash. 2 yards of grey lawn and 3 yards of floral lawn. Both from Heather Ross’s latest collection Sleeping Porch. I’d bought them for a summer dress, but why couldn’t I use them for the wedding and then keep on wearing the dress afterwards?

The deal was sealed when I found an inexpensive hot pink petticoat online. Add fun colored tights and I had a fun kind of costume-like dress to wear to the wedding.

It was also a chance to up my pattern making skills. I wanted something sort of 1950s, but not too 1950s. Something dancer like, but not a leotard. I think the end result is nice. I rotated my darts into the center front and split them to make pleats. With a v-front I think the nod to vintage is there. What do you think? Anyone interested in a tutorial on how to do this?

A circle skirt finished the look and gave plenty of room for the petticoat to poof. I wish I’d had about 2-3 more inches of yardage as I had to make the skirt just that touch shorter to get it to fit on 3 yards.

And boy was I surprised to find a historical house on the fairgrounds. No tours (boo!), but I did get to wander around outside and take these wonderful photos.

Today I wore my pretty floral dress again without the petticoat and I love it even more like this. So perfect for a spring day!

Nothing but Skirts!

It’s been a little quiet around here. Sorry! I’ve been working on a couple gifts that I can’t post about until they are given. Those have been in the big projects. But I’ve been busy with a few little projects too. Mostly making clothes for Lu to wear this summer. Her school usually requires navy and red uniforms, but summer they have free dress. Yay!

The only problem is that Lu has decided she only likes to wear skirts and with her little 19 inch waist almost all commercially made skirts fall right off of her. And yes, I could have just altered the waists on purchased skirts, but making them is more fun and super easy.


For instance this little elastic waisted skirt featuring Ann Kelle’s Super Kids fabric.

Such a simple skirt to make. I just cut a big rectangle, added a casing for the elastic, and hemmed it. A project that takes less than an hour from start to finish but makes the most of a larger scale print.


There is also this little skirt made with Heather Ross Briar Rose Fabric.

This is fabric Lu picked out when we went to The Intrepid Thread last February. To make this one I traced her favorite Hanna Anderson skirt for the shape and length. Then I added a ruffle to the bottom and an elastic waist band. I was cursing myself for adding the ruffle because it sucked up a lot of time, but the end result is so cute that I’m glad I stuck with adding the fun detail.


Then there is the skirt Lu and I designed together using Cotton + Steel’s Palm Springs lawn.

This was a fun skirt to put together. I had a piece just 26 inches long and spent a couple of months trying to decide how to use the fun pink border that runs along one selvage of the fabric. It wasn’t quite long enough to be on the hem of a dress or skirt. So one night Lu and I studied the fabric and we decided to put the flower on a pocket. Yes! a pink pocket. Lu was pleased. And I had just enough length left to make a pink waistband too. This one is fun because it is also fully lined with the blue flowers.


And the last to share today is not actually a skirt, but a skort!

Skorts are the best. Looks like a skirt, but with shorts built in for modesty while playing. The fabric came from a Girl Charlee KnitFix. I decided to try it out one month and was disappointed in the prints and quality overall. But someone traded with me so I could have this daisy print which worked perfectly for this project.

Originally I’d thought to make a dress with it, but then I took a trip to JoAnn’s and found McCall’s patterns on sale 5 for $7. So I took a look through their catalog and found that their children’s patterns start at size 3. Perfect! M6918 is such a versitile pattern. 4 different skirt shapes and the option for shorts or capris underneath. I will get a lot of use out of this pattern. All I had to modify was the length of elastic in the waist!


Whew! So that makes 4 skirts for this summer, but that won’t be enough! More to come once I have them put together. But probably not for a couple of weeks as my machine is due for a little maintenance. In the meantime I’ll be knitting and update you on a couple of other projects I’ve been working on.