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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Liberty Meets Washi

Oh Liberty of London. I wanted to believe your fabric was not worth the crazy high price. That it was just the name and not really that nice. But this week I had my first chance to make a garment and I’m a believer.

Oh and maybe you have heard of a sewing pattern called Washi Dress? It might have been featured on a blog or two or perhaps about a thousand. Forgive me. I’ve been busy having babies and am just catching onto these trends!

Anyways, a few months ago I opened my Liberty Club package from Westwood Acres and gasped when I saw the top fabric on the pack. It was the Whiltshire pattern in color way S. A classic, but new to me!  They offered a discount to club members who wanted to purchase yardage, so I took advantage to purchase 3.5 yards, the recommended yardage for Washi in an XL.

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And I love it. The combination worked so well. Because Liberty is 53 inches wide I was able to cut the pieces on the cross grain and fully line the entire dress with the 3.5 yards. Fully self lined. Luxurious.

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And after wearing nothing but knit dresses with a cross over front for the last oh…10 months, it feels amazing to wear a regular dress. A-ma-zing. Plus all the shirring in the back highlights the fact that I do still have a waist!

Of course I did have to make a few alterations. I did a 2 inch FBA, lowered the bust dart 1 inch, added 1.5 inches to the bodice length, and added about 1 inch to the hips. All of these alterations were relatively simple and made the Washi pattern into something that will be incredibly versatile for my life. Casual enough for the weekend, but nice enough for the office with better shoes and my favorite sweater. Looks like I might need to make a sway back adjustment next time, but this is still a solid start.

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Okay, maybe the sweater isn’t the best shape, but oh so soft and a perfect weight for LA. And I just put buttons on a new cardigan today. Perhaps it will suit the shape a little better. We’ll see.

But my main take away from this project is that 1) shirring is so damn easy and 2) Liberty is worth every penny. These pictures were taken on a hot day when I’d been running around and sweating and it did not wrinkle a bit. Magic.

Mommy Is Worth It

My mom just celebrated her 60th birthday and to celebrate I made her…a quilt. I know you’re not the least bit shocked. Quilts have become my go-to gift for super spacial occasions because they take less time than knitting and are way more fun to make than knitting a blanket.

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Way back in April I received this package of fat quarters from Westwood Acre’s I Want Her Stash Club and I knew back then I wanted to make my mom a quilt with them, but I just wasn’t sure when I would do it.

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Plus while the quilt pattern that came with the bundle is really fun I just didn’t feel like my skill level was up to snuff yet.

Fast forward to July and it hit me. This could and should be a quilt for her birthday! Settled on an idea I started playing around with the fabrics and thinking on which pattern to use. And then we went on vacation. And Charlie learned to stand. And Lu ‘needed’ skirts for all the summer school weekly themes. Then I needed to make an Edwardian dress (more on that later). Before I knew it July had gone poof!

Oh wait, wasn’t I making a quilt? Yes I was. Wait what was the pattern again? What fabrics did I decide on? It took me a while to make decisions and it cost me quite a bit of sewing time.

Finally I got my butt in gear and picked a pattern (Fireworks from Thimble Blossoms) and got to cutting on August 1st.

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Her party was on August 15th and I still can’t believe I got it all finished. Mom, that’s how much I love you. I spent a minimum of 2.5 hours every single night for two weeks in my non-air conditioned kitchen in August to make your gift. But it was worth it.

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The quilt is totally gorgeous. Most of the fabrics were from the original I Want Her Stash bundle, but I added a couple others such as Sacred Seeds Brittle from April Rhode’s Wanderer and this print from Moda’s Sweet Serenade.

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The back is a print that I cannot remember. I picked it up at my local quilt shop New Moon Textiles. I want to say it’s from Robert Kaufman, but I could be totally wrong. Then I used the left overs from piecing the quilt blocks to break up the backing and frame my favorite print from the whole bundle, Moda’s Passport in China White Paris Map. My nod to the trip to Paris my mother, aunt, sister, and I took many years ago.

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My only regret was procrastinating. I like deadlines, but this one was a little too close and next time I really should start early. I’m just glad I got it done and that my mom likes it!

I love you mom!

Buzzzzzzzz Quilt!

The eagle has landed! The eagle has landed! The quilt I made for my sister was delivered today and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and how it was receivedIMG_2366

The fabric is the Sweet as Honey collection by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics I found at Westwood Acres and the grey background is Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman. Gosh it was hard to find a coordinating fabric that would show off the bee fabric. This grey was a good find at my local LQS.

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I knew I wasted a honeycomb look, but as a new quilter I wasn’t sure I could handle a hexagon quilt, so I followed this tutorial from Amanda of Westwood Acres. It was a lot of cutting, but also very fun to put together Everything didn’t quite line up, but I think you can’t tell much.

But the back, the back is my favorite part. Its a hexagon!!!!!

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I probably would have picked a less busy background, but my sister owns two fluffy silly dogs that shed like crazy. I see the flowers as camouflage. And I followed this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew to make the backing the binding as well. So so simple and perfect for when you don’t want a binding made from a different fabric. Mine was 2 inches wide instead of 1 inch, so it makes an extra wide border on the front.

For the quilting, I like simple designs, so I followed the zigzags of the grey down the front.

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This was just such a fun surprise. I can’t wait to do it again!

Back to Work!

As I mentioned in the last post I have headed back to work full time. I cannot believe it has been 4 weeks already! I’ve sewn up 3 dresses and 3 skirts so far with plans for a few more as summer comes closer. I’ve share the first already, but here are a few more things I whipped up.

Double gauze is amazing. I bought a dress quantity of Cotton + Steel Bespoke double gauze because I was intrigued by how much people seems to love wearing this fabric. And while it was a bit difficult to sew due to the easily frayed edges and its ability to stretch along the curves, wearing my finished dress is like wearing pajamas to work. Two thumbs up. I picked this up from Westwood Acres which usually only has pre-cuts, but sometimes has yardage available too. It’s a very nice shop to order from as things ship quickly and the prices are very competitive with other small fabric businesses.

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And maybe it isn’t the most flattering dress I’ve ever made, but the Sewaholic Yaletown dress pattern was dead simple to make and the fit of the bodice is easy to fit with the amount of ease built into the pattern. Plus the cross front makes it very easy to breastfeed when I’m home or pump while I’m at work.

It also fit in easily with shoes and sweaters I already owned which is a big plus when you’re having to buy or make an entire new wardrobe. I snapped this picture when I was in the office this last week. Now I’m trying to decide if I have enough time to make a sleeveless spring version in time for Easter next week.

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Next up is a simple dirndl skirt I made with a print from Zoe Ingram for Robert Kaufman in the line Carried Away. It was a total impulse purchase from my local quilt shop and I also have some yardage of the feathers. But honestly I don’t like this skirt and I’ve never worn it aside from these pictures. I think I’ll cut it apart to make summer clothes for one of my daughters. Two yards is plenty for a skirt of dress for littles.

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Lastly I made a skirt using Sewaholic’s Hollyburn Skirt. And I’d like to say a big thank you to Sewaholic for printing patterns made for women with more of a pear shape. I was able to cut one size and have it fit right out of the envelope!

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I ironed this skirt that morning. Probably less than 20 minutes before these photos were taken, but it’s made from linen. Gloriously light and easy to wear but always wrinkled linen. And I have two small children who need lots of help doing everything. It is what it is. I’ve already made two of this pattern, so it’s on the back burner for now, but I’ll pull it back out eventually because it was so great to sew together.

And that is all for now. I’ve continued to sew up a storm so next time I should have at least one quilt to share and more clothing as well.

Thank you for reading along!