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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Go Anywhere Bag – Diaper Bag and Pattern Review

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

I made the Aragon bag by Sew Sweetness for our major diaper bag – and it has been great for plane trips and day trips. But for just running around town for a few hours, I knew I wouldn’t need a bag that big. Especially now that we’re able to breastfeed on the go (thanks in part to our awesome baby carrier!) we really only need a few diapers, a changing kit and a change of clothes. And sometimes blankets, extra burp cloths, paperwork for doctors visits – and snacks, water and lip balm for me of course! Lucky this bag is actually big enough to hold all of that – granted at that point it is stuffed to the gills!

Here it just has a cloth diaper and a craft box that I use to sort pills in it. I added basic pockets to both sides of the inside, and I wish I had made them both bigger! They are great for sorting things!

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

Basically this is an oversized purse. Or a regular sized purse, if you’re like me and don’t like to leave the house without an arsenal of things you might want.

I used a Melody Miller cheater print – the lovely telephones! I love this fabric! Maybe it’s ironic to use an old school phone for a baby bag – since the baby will never probably use a rotary phone in her life! Check out this video about rotary phones if you want to feel old!

It was stressful for me to find basics to go with it that weren’t too matchy-matchy – but I didn’t want the whole thing to be the cheater  print either. I lined the large outside pockets with a basic linen. The inside is a dot I got at Joann fabric eons ago, and the burgundy I think is Kona Burgundy – but don’t quote me on that!

Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

I made the handles longer by 3-4 inches, which is standard for me on any bag pattern, as I am almost 6 feet tall and find most bag handles to short for me to comfortably sling over my shoulder.

I love the long narrow outside pockets for dropping in my cellphone, my wallet and keys. They are deep enough to feel secure, and the perfect width for fishing around to pull them out. and it’s great to not have them lost in the depths of the main body of the bag!
Go Anywhere Bag Diaper Bag

This pattern was easy to follow and went together quickly. I want to make more of them now, but other projects have to come first. My only regret is not being more careful to match up the side seams on the pockets when I was cutting – if I had been fussier about it, the fabric would have matched up perfectly.

I’m always amazed by bag pattern designers. I can’t imagine how one would go about constructing a bag like this and it always seems like magic when the pattern just comes right together!

 

 

 

Capes! Making Toddler Capes for Christmas

DIY Super Hero Capes

Oh is it not Christmastime? Consider this early for next year :) For Christmas I made my four toddler aged nieces and nephews shiny satin capes. 

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Here are some pictures of the capes in action – I couldn’t get them to slow down to pose, so that is a good sign that they liked them!

I used the Nancy’s Notions free cape pattern which was very helpful. I believe I adapted a few things, but it’s been a few months now and I can’t remember. I had their parents measure them from shoulder to knee to figure out how long to make them.  I did do some creative piecing and cutting of the satin so that I was able to get 4 capes out of 4.5 yards of fabric (for just one cape according to the pattern, you need two yards of fabric).

I went to Joann’s wondering what kind of fabric to get for kid’s capes, when lo and behold, I found “Play Satin” there! Perfect kids colors. It’s like they know that people want to make costumes for kids! It was very fussy to sew with, and I do worry about it fraying, but I tried to finish the edges with extra rows of stitching and a wider seam allowance to make them a little tougher. It would have been nice to have a working serger at that point, but in December I had a brand new broken serger (turns out there was a reason it was on the sale rack. Thanks to a great Brother Warranty, now I have a working serger!

I am normally a big fan of raw edge applique, but I knew that wouldn’t work with this low quality satin – or any satin. So I did what I’ve heard called “Dryer Sheet Applique” though i would not recommend using dryer sheets for it.  Because dryer sheets can have toxic chemicals in them for one reason, and I would worry how they’d hold up over time. I used a fusible interfacing for the backing of the applique.
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This satin melts with the tiniest bit of heat – I am sure you couldn’t put in the dryer – so applique was a bit of a challenge. I took some photos of my applique process in case it is helpful to anyone else who knows any little heroes!

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