Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Selfish Sewing Week Edition!

I was so excited to have a full day of sewing.  The kids are gone, and it's just me, the dog, and my sewing machine.  But it's just been dreary the last couple days, and it's hard to get excited about sewing cute summer skirts.  (And awful for taking pictures inside, even with all the shades up)

But, I'm going to power through!  I've got two piles of fabric ready to be turned into Alder skirts.  I'm really excited to be pattern testing for Rachael at imagine gnats.  For some reason I thought this pattern had already been released and I'm trying to curb my sewing spending, but she put the call out for testers, so free pattern for a skirt I wanted to make anyway.  Win win!

These are going to be my skirts by the end of the day.  The Alder skirt has an optional contrast waistband and pocket linings, so the flowery Cloud 9 fabric will get green, and the blue Juliana Horner fabric will get orchid.  The blue is a bit brighter than I would normally pick, but I just loved the fabric so much and summer clothes should be bright and cheerful!

The rest of my fabric pile will be clothes for the little girl.  These two will be super fast Simple Skirts from Dana's awesome tutorial.  The corduroy might end up a skirt too, or maybe some parsley pants, and the knit was just too cute to leave (especially at $3/yd, love a JoAnn's sale!!)

Now let's see how far down the list I get!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

  WIP Wednesday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: A Sally Dress for Easter!

My big goal for Kids Clothes Week was to make Dell this little Easter dress.  Everything else was just gravy, but this had to be cute since her brother has already gotten a little suit from his Nona.  And she definitely needed something with big pockets to hide Easter treasures.

Luckily, I had everything on hand and ready to go once I realized that this was the thing to do.  The fabric was bought, washed and pressed for last summer's Kids Clothes Week, but then found it's way to the back of the drawer once I failed at time management.  And the pattern is the Sally Dress by Very Shannon, another from Pattern Anthology, bought and printed ages ago.

I made the 4t size based on her chest measurement which ended up fitting her perfectly without changing anything, though it's a bit tight getting on and off.  I'll just pray that she makes it through the Easter festivities without spilling anything on herself and maybe see about adding a button placket to the back to make it last a little longer.

I also went with the longer sleeve, since we've still got snow hanging around.  And I added some bright yellow piping along the collar and waist.  I'm pretty excited to add piping to everything, especially since I've bought all the colors on super discount at Marden's.

The neckline was a bit tough to pipe, because you have to pipe the front and back pieces separately, then line them, then sew them together at the shoulders.  It worked, but the seams are a little bulky.  Good thing she's got plenty of hair to distract!

But the whole thing was super easy to make.  I think she'll need a couple more of these big pocket dresses for twirling and stashing this summer.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week and Crazy Mom Quilts!

kid's clothes week

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Vintage V-Neck Tee Wonkiness

Last night I finally went through all the drawers and pulled out the old t-shirts that hubs and I don't like anymore so that I can make them into tees for the little man.  I was going to just do the old standby and use a shirt that fits him now to cut new ones, but then I remembered that I had the Vintage V-neck Tee pattern from last fall's Pattern Anthology.

But for the life of me, I can't get the "V" to sit nicely!  I carefully pinned and stretched, but still ended up taking out the stitches twice.  And after the last sew, it still didn't look nice, but if I took them out again I'd end up shredding the gray fabric.

The "V" looks so cool, but I might just recut the pattern to a crew neck, because I just can't stand patterns that are too fiddly.  And I want to make at least two more t-shirts because the kid has almost none to wear this summer.

But, on a happier note, I finally busted out the non-straight-stitch-only sewing machine and got to do fun things like zig zag stitches and sewing with my double needle!  But now there's two sewing machines on the dining room table and absolutely no room for actually eating dinner.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week and My Quilt Infatuation!

kid's clothes week

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids Clothes Week: Purple People Eater Sweater Dress

I try to keep things even among the kids.  So after I made Isaac his green sweater, I bought some more yarn and decided to make the same sweater for Dell.  I was only going to change the front panel, but then I got a bit carried away.

The pattern is a top down raglan, so I started with the neck collar.  I didn't like how the first sweater had a K1P1 rib, so I switched that out for a K2P2 rib and twisted my stitches so that the rib would look neater.   Now it pulls together much nicer and sits right up against her neck.

The next bit to knit is the chest, arms, and back.  I've been wanting to play with more textures, so I just started scrolling through stitch libraries until I found on that would work well with my increases.  This honeycomb pattern is worked over four stitches, so I was able to just add half and full honeycombs when I had enough new stitches on the sides.

Then I put the arm stitches on to waste yarn and had to decide how much of the honeycomb I wanted.  I thought of just continuing the pattern to the hem, and finishing it like a regular sweater, but I got a lot of votes for a sweater dress from friends.  So I continued the pattern to just above the waist and then increased every few stitches so that it would flair out a bit.  I have no clue how many I eventually added, but it was enough.

Then I realized that I only had one ball of yarn to finish the sleeves (still on the waste yarn) and the bottom of the dress.  I'd already cleaned out the store and had to buy a different dye lot, so I didn't want to have to go back and add a third dye lot to the pile.  The solution was short sleeves!  Which is perfect since the weather turned warm, and long sleeves would have been too hot to wear in the spring.

In the end, I love how it turned out.  It's so different from the first sweater, but I love that I'm getting comfortable enough with my knitting to start doing crazy things like this.

Linking up with Kids Clothes Week!

kid's clothes week

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The (not so) Definitive Guide to Quilting

So here is the absolute best way to quilt a quilt.  Not really, not even close, but this is how it often goes down for me.

First, you must gather your materials.  The quilt top is all sewn together, and you've begrudgingly pressed all your seams.  I do this on a tiny pressing pad on my dining room table.  I know, I should just grab the ironing board, but it squeaks and it's late and kids are asleep, so pressing pad it is.

Next, you must search through all your piles to find the one can of 505 Spray you own.  Lift it just high enough to realize it's empty (or at least close), and scour the house to find all the safety pins that have been doing other jobs since you discovered 505.

Pin.  Pin.  Stretch.  Pin.

Now that you have a sandwich all put together, you must contemplate how to quilt it.  I like to start off flipping through First Steps by Christina Cameli, which will usually help me decide between quilting an all over pattern or trying to quilt the individual shapes.  If that doesn't work, I pull out the Internet.

Once you have half an idea, it's time to hit a creative block.  This is the best time to just roll that quilt sandwich up in a ball, toss it next to the sewing machine, and pray that the elves finally take the hint that you'd like them to get to work.

In the meantime, look up cute animal pics on Facebook and watch TV.  Tonight, it's Gilligan's Island.  Bonus points if you can cuddle under something you've already quilted.  It helps get the good quilting vibes going.

After enough time has been killed, you'll just want to jump in.  Find a spot, put that foot down, and let it rip.  No matter how many quilts I quilt on this machine, I always forget how fast full throttle is, so those first couple stitches will always look horrible.  I try to hide those on a busy print and pretend they never happened.

Plus, I hate ripping out stitches, so once I start, there's really no turning back.  It has to be really awful for me to stop, and it's almost never really awful.

And right after your first pass, you'll have your first problem.  Tonight, I had some thread snapping (I blame the bobbin gremlins).  The best thing to do is say at least three mild curse words, get some chocolate, and chug along.  Once you have that first hiccup, the rest is pretty much smooth sailing.

I'm hoping to finish the quilting tomorrow and take some really nice pictures in the sun.  (I just have to watch out for those bobbin gremlins.)  Happy quilting!

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday!