Tag: sewing

Starling Quilt

The quilting bug has certainly taken hold; so much so that I finally joined our local Modern Quilt Guild and have already attended the first two meetings.

My mother’s birthday was coming up this month and I felt like I really needed to gift her with a quilt. The Fat Quarter Shop released this Starling Quilt pattern as a freebie and when I saw it I knew it was the perfect pattern for her. (I also knew that there was a pretty good chance I could get it done in time too).

I searched high and low for some fabric for her and when I saw this Steno Pool line from Cotton and Steel I knew that was it. My mom went to secretary school way back and learned shorthand. When we were growing up, my mom would write our Christmas lists in shorthand, which used to frustrate me to no end because I couldn’t decipher them. I even think I tried to use her shorthand dictionary at one point to try and figure it out! This shorthand panel was the tipping point for her quilt.

I found some coordinating fabrics to go with the line, including this lovely, sparkling chambray and got started.

This is a pretty simple quilt to cut and piece. The pieces are bigger and after making so many quilts with tiny pieces it was a welcome respite! I’m still working on my exact piecing skills and I know that some of these don’t line up perfectly, but I’m getting better.

I had originally purchased some fabric for the back, but the color was totally off from what I thought it was and I actually miscalculated and didn’t order enough. Instead of purchasing more, I decided to piece the back (a little inspiration from my quilt guild meeting show and tell) and I’m super happy with how it turned out.

I quilted it with a wavy block with my machine.

This quilt is super soft and washed up really well and I’m beyond thrilled to gift it to my mom on her birthday!

2017 Year in Review

If I think back over some goals I had set for myself years ago, this year would have been the banner year for meeting those. From published articles to Etsy orders to Instagram and even reading – there were so many goals I set for myself and I have to admit I’m a little proud (and amazed and humbled) at this year.

Etsy

I sold almost 50 pdf patterns this year. And for someone whose been longing to develop that part of her shop for a while, it was a huge boost. I’ve been working to redraft all my patterns over the past couple of years and I think I’ve updated almost all of them; including restitching the ones I hadn’t made for a while. By far my most popular patterns are my Christmas ones.
I didn’t do as much custom embroidery has I have in years past. I stitched about half a dozen custom family portraits and did just a few custom typography type orders. Here’s a few of my top favs from this year:

Custom Wedding Vows
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This was the first full year I officially hung up my shoe embroidery business and I honestly I wasn’t sad to see it go. I had a great run for a few years and it’s crazy how many shoes I had my hands in!

One huge goal I have for next year is to start making dolls. I’m not sure where this is headed, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. This first little pocket doll (prompted by my little pocket mermaid) made me super proud and I’m excited to develop this even more.

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Published!

This year I had the joy of having two magazine articles – one for the December/January issue of Sew News and one for the August issue of One Thimble. Both were a great experience and projects I really am proud of and enjoyed making.

Sew News Dec/Jan 2017

One Thimble August 2017

I also worked with the DMC Designer Program for most of the year and was a part of the Buttons Galore and More Team for the last half of the year. Both of those experiences were definitely stretching and good in many ways. The Buttons Galore team is finished and I’m hoping to be able to do more with DMC, but we shall see where that goes as they had a change in leadership of the program about half way through the year.

Books Read:

A lot! I read nearly 50 that I recorded on Goodreads and that probably doesn’t count the ones I forget to record that I’m prereading or reading along with for homeschooling. 2018 will be a little different in regards to books, because I’m holding myself to joining a book club that reads a new book for every month. I also have a HUGE stack of books that I want to read this year and I know that the only way that will happen is by spending less time online. Check back for a bookish post in the next week or so.

Getting Social:

I closed up my daisyeyes facebook page. I honestly didn’t use it and I’ve come to rely on facebook pretty much for getting info from the groups I’m part of. Instagram on the other hand got a little out of hand. I love it (although the way it’s all curated now is totally annoying – as in when they dropped the chronological feed it really destroyed the beauty of the app) and I can get lost looking at it all day long. I love posting pictures and I garnered more followers than I could imagine (although I’m sure most of them are bots). I decided to take a break over Advent and through Epiphany and it’s been such a great idea. It has been nice to just enjoy life and making without always having or feeling like I need to post something. I’m toying with the idea of doing a better job of taking photos and just playing around with having more of a focused feed rather than just random snippets of life. We will see.

In my Sewing World:

I am officially hanging up my “sewing teacher” badge in 2018. I am trying to sell my class machines and hoping to clear out some supplies etc in the studio. I realized that it was a season and I’m kind of relieved that it’s over. I did 3 camps this past summer and I think that they are great camps to go out on. I finally did a fashion camp, and it was actually successful! And my beginner camps were overfilled and super fun.
I’m slowly becoming more of a quilter and I can definitely see how it can be super addicting. I took a break from garment sewing, but I’m hoping to sew up a few in the coming year. I need to slow down and take my time on it and just work on re-honing my skills.

Other Goals:

I survived my first semester of homeschooling both children and honestly I really enjoyed it. I’ve really loved having both of them home and while the pace of life didn’t slow down as much as I had hoped, it definitely slowed some. I’m really wanting to start writing again and I’m trying to figure out how to work that into my life. I’m doing better, but it has still been hard. It’s like the part of me that has been buried and asleep and I’m still trying to wake it up.

That was pretty much my 2017.

Pattern Review: Cheyenne Tunic

This shirt was such a long time making. The biggest hiccup in the whole process was the loss of my sewing machine for a month due to it being in service. I finally rescued it and with great joy was able to finally finish it. I do think in the end, making it so slowly was actually for my benefit. I figured out some mistakes along the way that I’m not sure I would have totally realized until too late if I hadn’t been forced to sew this shirt in so many small spaces of time.

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The Cheyenne Tunic pattern is by Hey June. I’ve made her Lane Raglan many times and love it so much. I was anxious to see how this tunic would come together.
I used one of the Hipster Grizzly Plaid flannels by Kaufman. I love the feel of this flannel and it hangs really well for this shirt. It did end up being a little bit harder to work with than I had thought, primarily due to the thickness. It’s not a super thin flannel and perhaps I might have done better if I would have made a muslin or even made this shirt first in a thinner cotton versus starting with the flannel.

Overall this is a very well written pattern. I ended up following the sew-along off her blog and it helped answer some questions that I had with the actual pattern directions.

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One mistake I did make was putting these arms tabs on the outside instead of the inside. I realized after I posted the picture on instagram (doih!) that these darn things come up from the inside and hook onto a button on the outside. Even though I had already completed the sleeves etc, I was able to take them off and restitch them on the inside. I did decide to only include one pocket on the front instead of the written two.

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I have never done plackets and cuffs before and I was super nervous about it. I’m still thinking that I did my cuffs backwards, but who will notice right? I did end up having to follow her directions on the sew-along and I watched a couple of other videos to help with sewing these together. I had a really hard time visualizing how they were supposed to work. But, yeah!, they all came together.

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I feel like the placket on the front went in pretty well and I ended up finding some buttons at JoAnns thankfully. Fit wise it’s a mix. The actual bodice fits me perfectly. The neckline is great and the shoulders are pretty square also. I’ve always got issues with sleeves and the sleeves area¬† little long on me. When I make another one, I’ll probably size down the sleeves actually and for sure make them shorter. I did end up shortening the cuffs a little bit when I was sewing, but I’d almost prefer them to be a little thinner than they are.

Pattern Review: Syrah Maxi Skirt

My main sewing machine has been in the shop for going on three weeks so I haven’t even tried to finish the Cheyenne Tunic I was working on. I had a couple of knit projects laying around so I figured I would tackle those since they are primarily sewn on my serger.

First up was the Syrah Skirt by baste and gather. I’ve wanted to sew a maxi skirt for a while and this skirt pattern seemed to be perfect. There are many different options for lengths and seams. I also had nearly 3 yards of this random knit that I had purchased like a million years ago to “practice” on. This pattern uses a ton of fabric and in the end I’m SO glad that I made a practice skirt first.

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First I will say that this knit is not high quality. It’s from Joanns, but it’s probably going on 6 years old and really doesn’t have a nice hand to it. I do like that it’s a bit heavier and so I opted to make a version without the inner lining.

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I know that this is a fairly straightforward sort of garment to make, but there were a few directions along the way that I feel like she could have offered a more detailed explanation. This is a great pattern style to make if you are new to knits and if I were new to sewing I’d be a little frustrated and lost. Probably my biggest frustration was the waistband. There are two different options for the waistband, but she only shows one version (the more complicated ruched one) in the directions and then it’s implied that you do the same with the other version. But the pattern pieces are completely different looking so if you were new to this whole sewing thing (or not paying attention like me) you could easily sew the wrong sides.

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I sewed a size medium and while the length and fullness of the skirt are fine (and kind of fun!) the waistband was HUGE! I had to take it in at least 3-4 inches from the pattern piece. And even still it’s not quite as snug as I’d like it.

Overall, it’s a good pattern and would be good for beginners. That said, I would sew slowly or use some crappy knit to sew your first one just to get the fit right.

Sewing for little hands: Build a Softie

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This spring I had the great joy of teaching a few Saturday sewing classes to some great girls and one of my favorite classes was our Build a Softie day. Last Sunday was Sew a Softie day around the world and while I’m a little late to the game I wanted to share this fun activity we did in our class. This is a great designing and sewing activity to fill these last, crazy hot days of summer before school starts up again.

First up, you will need to gather some supplies:
cotton fabric and felt scraps
trim, ribbon, ric rac etc
polyfill stuffing
scissors
chenille #22 needle
thread (I recommend either thin crochet thread or cotton perle embroidery floss size 5)
a needle threader (I highly recommend Loran needle threaders)
buttons for eyes
directions for making your pattern buildasoftie

How to Build a Softie:

Build a Softie Class

Using your Design a Softie sheet, first figure out what shape body you want your softie to have. Using a sheet of printer paper, draw out the shape of the body (make sure to draw it a little bigger than you want it to be. This is called adding a seam allowance – that’s the little bit of fabric that is in the inside where you sewed the two pieces together) Repeat this process for the legs, wings, arms and the rest of the body parts you want to include. Remembering ever time to draw your pattern pieces a little bigger than you want them to be. Cut out your paper pattern.

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Taking your fabric scraps and your paper pattern, cut out the pieces of your softie. Make sure you cut out 2 body parts (a front and a back), two wings, two arms/legs etc. For the ears I recommend using felt because it’s a bit stiffer and the ears will stand up by themselves.

Build a Softie Class
Build a Softie Class

Now decide if you want to add some trim to separate the head from the body. You can use ribbon, ric rac or even a strip of fabric. Pin this down to the front of your softie and take it to your sewing machine. If you know how to sew with a zig zag stitch, go ahead and sew this down with a wide zig zag straight down the middle of your trim piece. Repeat on the back of your softie (if you want).

Next up, decide what sort of face you want for your softie. Add some eyes, a nose or a beak and using a whipstitch or a running stitch sew these onto the front of your softie.

Now you need to sew your legs and arms. Match each leg up with it’s front and back with right sides facing (this means the backside of the fabric is showing). Sew a straight stitch on your sewing machine all the way around the sides – leave the top open. Check to make sure you don’t have any holes and once you’ve sewn all of them, flip them right side out. You might need to use a chopstick or a seam ripper to help you pull out all the edges.

Build a Softie Class

Now take your arms and legs and pin them in place to the right side of the front piece of your softie. They should each be laying inside. Put the back piece on top – with right sides facing – and pin it to the top.

Build a Softie Class

Sewing really slowly on your machine, sew a seam all around the outside of your softie. Make sure you leave an opening in the side for stuffing. I like to leave my hole on the side between the arm and the leg. Before you flip your softie right sides out, stick your hand in the hole and take out all the pins.

Build a Softie Class

Then flip him right side out and your arms and legs should flip out! Go ahead and start stuffing. And stuff and stuff and stuff!

Build a Softie Class

Sew up the hole with a whipstitch.

Build a Softie Class

And give your new little friend a big hug!