Layer Me Up Tunic and Dress

Sew all the clothes!

The problem with sewing clothes instead of quilts is I never feel self conscious taking pictures of my quilts in the backyard, but the 5 minute selfie photoshoot I did of my bust this morning trying to get a good shot of the neckline of this tunic would have been pretty embarrassing if any curious neighbors had wandered by!

I got some mustang fabric from girlcharlee, and it was burning a hole in my sewing room, so I had to make a tunic. This fabric is incredibly soft and nice to sew with. It’s lightweight, but not see through. And it has horses on it.

This is the Patterns for Pirates Layer Me Up pattern (which I made another of here).  I decided to make this version with sleeves and cuffs. Turns out I love making cuffs – who knew?

Ok, here are the pictures of the neckline I risked all of my dignity (Let’s be real, I have no dignity) to take. I think it looks great despite me pulling it down a million times all day to nurse (I mentioned I have no dignity). My last two necklines were not so great. I think I’m perfecting the “stretch the collar not the shirt” secret to successful knit necklines? And here is a link to the Etsy shop I got that teething necklace from.

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#memademay #biscayneblouse

It’s the last day of May, so I’m going to talk about #memademay which is a project where people document themselves wearing clothing they’ve made.  I love the idea, and since none of my clothes fit right after the baby, it’s good timing for me to get into garment sewing anyway.  I think I might be *gasp* a little bored with quilting!?! I’m sure it will come back to me. I think I was just ready for a new challenge, and I got a little bit obsessed! I made some shirts, skirts, and more skirts.

I tested a new blouse pattern, the Biscayne Blouse by Adrianne Appl at Hey June Handmade. It was my first time testing a pattern, and made me realize HOLY COW pattern designing must be so incredibly difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I always feel like anyone who is designing bag and garment patterns must be basically magical because things that seem impossible to me just fly together like magic when I actually read and follow the instructions.

But it was really fun to be a little bit on the inside of the process and really increased my respect for people who have the ability to clearly explain complicated sewing techniques. This blouse is not hard  per se, but it definitely uses sophisticated techniques that I had no experience with. It’s super wrinkly here, but, you know, real life happens.

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This is a blousy blouse, it is gorgeous in silkier, flowier fabrics than what I used, and a little poofy in the cotton/spandex blend and vintage polyester I used in my two versions – but I still like them both and will definitely wear them.

It is loose fitting and a lot of the testers went down a size, but I made my based on the recommended size for my measurements. I think the finished shirt looks professional despite my sloppy approach and inexperience. All the seams are enclosed, which I would have thought would be intimidating, but she explains everything so well!

As a fabric choice warning, I will say I had more issues with the placket on the white shirt. Because it was heavier fabric, I didn’t fully interface it, and it didn’t make very crisp lines when I ironed it. I kind of lost track of my folds and chaos ensued. But I’m sure after a few washes the little flaws will disappear.
#biscayneblouse

I like the loose fit, partly because it’s more comfortable and very easy to pull up for nursing. I’m a fan of the “wear two shirts and pull up the top shirt to nurse” team vs. the “wear a shirt that opens and pull it down to expose the breast” team. I think mainly because I had a winter baby and exposing any extra skin was not a good idea.  But  ANYWAY, whichever camp you’re in, this shirt works great because the button placket could definitely be pulled open for nursing.

#biscayneblouse

I had a ton of fun working on these shirts. And the navy fabric was free from some trash pile years ago and the white fabric was $3 so yay! Don’t judge the pattern based on my sloppy shirts here, by the way~ I’m such a beginner to garment sewing. This is a fun pattern and it looked great on all the testers with many different body sizes – I totally recommend it!

I’m looking at the Hey June Evergreen Jacket now. Doesn’t it look cool? I like the idea of doing it some novelty fabric like this girly heart stuff.

Also Hey June has this adorable free pattern for a girl’s knit dress.

Finished Woodlands Baby Quilt!

So, I started this quilt a month ago and then the internet erased my post. Dangit, internet. This is a new thing for wordpress to do to me, and I hope it never happens again! Ok, fingers crossed this blog doesn’t disappear on me too!

Woodlands Baby Quilt Car Seat Cover

I finished hand-sewing this quilt. I previously posted about this quilt here and reviewed the Auriful Aurifloss I used to embroider it here.

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Bloggers Quilt Festival – Scrappy Quilt

This is my second entry into the Bloggers Quilt Festival. The first is my Rainbow Lonestar Quilt which is also technically a scrappy quilt. This one is for my scrappy Charley Harper Mosaic Goldfinch quilt! It’s about 6×6 feet. You can find a million other awesome quilts at the Bloggers Quilt Festival and register to win a free sewing machine. Or you can go straight to the Scrappy Entries page and vote for your favorite (It’s ok if you don’t vote for mine, they are all awesome!).

Most of my quilts lately have been scrappy quilts – I love scraps! And I have an unfortunate habit of taking in other people’s scraps too. I don’t like any fabric going to waste, ever! I will save half inch wide strips sometimes, and then I’m like, WAIT, you can’t even sew that. So, I’ve starting throwing those away.

Sometimes I’ll be at group sewing events and see people tossing like, half a fat quarter and almost choke to death. I may or may not go through the garbage bins at the end of the day. Feel free to judge me! I can’t help it!

Charley Harper Goldfinch Quilt Finished!

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Knit Challenge Part II: Tank Girl

My husband saw me printing out the pattern for this Tiny Tank Dress and said, “Oh, tanks, perfect for Josie. Is it for when she’s driving her tank?” I have been joking that she looks like a cross between Charlize Theron in Mad Max and post-Soviet bloc dictator, so it’s natural his mind went to the war machine type of tank vs. the summer shirt.

Here we are in our matching tank driving shirts. Except I guess you can’t hardly tell they’re matching…

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Anyway, suitable for tank driving or chewing on, I made her a little tank dress with the last of my Charley Harper Knit from the awesome Knit Challenge sponsored by Fabricworm and organized by Rachel at Stitched in Color.

I cobbled it together out of the scraps from my previous projects with this fabric. I split the dress back into two panels — one of them had to be cut upside down. Waste not, want not. I am a scrap quilter at heart so I hate having any leftover fabric.

The straps are just bias tape which also finishes the arm holes. I used a stretch triple straight stitch on the arms and on the hem. Probably not the best choice for a hem, as it is so slow even on this little dress I was falling asleep at the wheel. By far the biggest barrier I still feel when approaching sewing stretchy fabrics is my sewing machine set up.

I have a serger and a straight stitch Brother 1500 neither of which you can do finishing with for knits (that I can figure out!). I also have an old Pfaff with an injured bobbin case (due to a bent needle disaster) that causes it to stitch weird a lot – including when I tried to use a twin needle – lots of skipped stitches and puckering. It seems to be able to manage the triple straight stitch so that worked for this project. Maybe I’ll try a blind hem to finish my next skirt?
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My verdict: Ugh, not happy with how it looks up close!

Baby’s verdict: It’s delicious, thank you.

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Knit Challenge: Charley Harper Knit Syrah Skirt and Layer Me Up Tank

Phew, I finished my Fabricworm Knit Challenge in time.  It was a great chance to tackle the terrifying beast that is knit fabric.

I was so happy to have the opportunity to play with this beautiful fabric! I experimented with two patterns. First up: the skirt!

Charley Harper Barn Swallows Knit Fabric
I covered my first two rounds with the Syrah Skirt pattern here. It’s a great basic skirt pattern and it can be used as a maxi skirt or a shorter version. I looked at about a million patterns before choosing it, but it’s probably going to become a serious percentage of my summer wardrobe.

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Bloggers Quilt Festival – ROYGBIV

Really Scrappy Lone Star Rainbow Quilt

Rainbow Lone Star
King Size – 95″x100″

Folks who follow my blog have seen this quilt before, but I wanted to enter it into the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I love going through all the pages and seeing what everyone has made and voting for my favorites. I have entered my Goldfinch Mosaic quilt into the scrappy category.

This my Scrappy Lonestar Rainbow Explosion Quilt, which I’m entering into the ROYGBIV category. Feel free to vote for the quilt, so it can become quilt president! Or you know, the equivalent. I love this quilt, and for street cred I’ll remind you all that 1. I basted it while 8 months pregnant and 2. I photographed it while 9 months pregnant in 18 degree (Fahrenheit! That’s -8 to the Celsius followers) weather. Just saying. Here’s my previous blog post where I talk about it more.

Now that I have the baby I am just proud to get pants on every day, and most days I just wear skirts cause, ugh, pants are too much trouble. But one time I made a giant rainbow quilt.

Here is an upclose of the piecing – all from scraps! Mostly my strips.

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Syrah Skirt

I love the blog Stitched in Color and was so tickled to be chosen to receive some free beautiful Birch Knits from Fabricworm.com. The other folks chosen are listed here.

I took the challenge seriously! I got a serger back in December as my Christmas gift. It was a super deal on a Brother 1034D – but unfortunately too good of a deal – it was broken! Luckily Brother had a good warranty and I got it fixed – and picked it up from the shop two days before the baby was born.

Fast forward 3.5 months and  I was very excited to finally get to use my serger – which for those who don’t know, is a special sewing machine that is particularly good for sewing stretchy fabrics.  They are intimidating! But actually super easy to use and made sewing these skirts a dream. I find the Brother 1034D to be kinda clunky and buggy and very noisy but I don’t know if that’s because mine’s still kinda broken, or they are always like that.

After much debate and staring at patterns during nursing sessions, I chose to make the Syrah Skirt by independent pattern designer Selvage Designs. I’ve heard that independent pattern designers are easier to follow for new sewists, and this pattern was definitely full of little helpful hints. I have been quilting for over a decade, but stretchy materials as basically terrifying to me.

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Selvage Giveaway

Selvage Giveaway!
So, selvages aren’t much to some people, but to the right person, they are worth their weight in gold. I saved my selvages for years thinking I would start getting excited about selvages. After all, I love scrap quilting! But I am having to get real about the 10,000 projects waiting in the wings. I have more fabric than I think I can use in my lifetime, and umm, I’m in my thirties.

So, I’ve been destashing like crazy, and decided to give away my selvages as a thank you to all the awesome folks on instagram who make destashing possible and profitable. It’s so much easier sending off a beloved piece of fabric to a “good home.” And making a little money in the process, even if i don’t always get my costs back, it’s better than the pretty fabric moldering on the shelf? I don’t know. But it’s getting easier to find what I want when I do get time to sew with a new (and apparently teething, yikes!) baby, so I’m seeing some success for my efforts.

Anyway, if you are a selvage person (you know who you are!) Head on over to @DanaWaterPenny on instagram.

Pouches! Baskets! Noodlehead, Oh My!

Before baby, I made a handful of cute pouches, and then waited for them to become useful.I’m sharing how we used them for our new baby, in case that is useful for any other new parents thinking about using up their fabric stash for baby storage purposes!

Anna at Noodlehead makes amazing patterns.

Noodlehead Wide Open Pouch

Her wide open pouch is actually a free pattern –  I think it’s my favorite pouch to make and use – so handy.  I use this one to keep my hand-sewing kit in – thread and notions for whatever project I am working on. That may not sound like a “baby” use, but our baby likes to sleep in my lap, which means I do a fair bit of hand sewing during nap time. It’s peaceful.

The design on the outside is made from taking the cut off triangle endings from making a quilt binding – including some precious Tula Snails and roughly sewing them down. I used gold metallic thread for the quilting.

Hot tip! If you put the metallic thread in the BOBBIN and sew with your fabric UPSIDE DOWN it’s wayyyy less finicky in the bobbin than when you run metallic through the needle up top.

Because bobbin thread has so much less work to do, fussy threads, like heavier weight threads and metallics work smoothly in the bobbin. When they are threaded up top, they have so many places to get messed up tension when you run them through the needle.

ANYWAY, I also made several of her Divided baskets, which is another great pattern!  I have had a lot of friends recommend these as baby shower gifts, and they are right! They are perfect for everything baby. Read on to see all my Divided baskets and how I use them!

Noodlehead Divided Baskets for Baby Storage

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