Sep 202013

Since Glowbug’s our last baby, after she was born, I decided that I would make myself a whole bunch of shorts. And they’d be cute! Not too long (cause I look terrible in long shorts), and not too short (cause I’m not a teenager, hah). After I made myself two pairs of Iris shorts, I promptly lost steam. When I found out about the Tania culottes, they were so cute that they gave me clothes-sewing energy again, so after only a month of dithering, I finally finished them!
jersey culottes - front

I initially wanted to make them out of voile or some other woven since that’s what I’m used to sewing, but I ended up getting this rayon jersey because I liked the print. As you can see, the print is very much not matched up at the seams. This really uses up the recommended yardage, so I didn’t have much extra space to attempt to fussy cut anything. I cut out a small, which probably would have been too tight at the waist if I’d bought a woven, so good thing I had a knit! The small is also a good length for me, but I’ve read other bloggers saying that their culottes came out pretty miniskirt-ey. I’m sure they’re taller, though — I’m (almost) 5’2″.

jersey culottes - flat

The jersey is slightly sheer, and I worried for quite a while about whether I should try to line my culottes — it was a stressful idea since I’m not a very experienced clothes sewer and lining isn’t in the pattern, and does anyone line jersey clothes, anyway? I procrasti-googled for a while, and finally found someone who posted some great advice: sometimes the simplest solution is the best; wear a slip. Heh! (I wasn’t able to find a slip-slip, but tights work well enough and look less underclothes-ey when Sunshine lifts the side of my culottes up to my hip.)
jersey culottes - side

I tried using woolly nylon thread in my serger for the first time, and it took me an entire night just figuring out what settings to use. I was so happy when it finally worked! Then, you know how sergery people recommend you make a binder or something to record your serger settings for all the different fabric-thread-stitch type combinations? I had the iDatabase app on my ipod, and it’s so fun for keeping serger settings!
serger idatabase record

I learned from Four Square Walls that the great thing about making these in a knit is that you can leave off the zipper and just use elastic. Yayyyy! I zigzagged most of my seams on my regular machine and then finished them on my serger, but when I made the waistband, I zigzagged the stitching line first, then zigzagged one inch elastic onto the top seam allowance. That part obviously gets stretched a lot, though, so I’ve been hearing the stitching pop apart when I’ve pulled my culottes on too carelessly. What I should have done was serge the seam with the knife lowered, then serge the elastic on, again with the knife lowered. Next time!
jersey culottes - waistband construction

Other bloggers very helpfully mentioned that you have to let bias skirts hang for a day (as a clothes-sewing newbie, I totally didn’t know about that), but then it was an ordeal trying to mark a level hem. I don’t have a dress form and everyone’s asleep when I sew, so I tried this really neat idea to use a chalked string tied across a door (I used the kids’ sidewalk chalk, heh) to mark the hem line, but I couldn’t get it to work. I ended up taping the string between a desk and a chair in front of a mirror, and then guesstimated where to pin mark the hem, since my arms aren’t long enough to reach without bending a little.
jersey culottes - back

My next challenge was to try rolled hems for the first time; this took another full night. I ended up using Line of Selvage‘s settings for when wooly nylon is in both loopers, and that worked perfectly. Whew! For future reference:

  • Left needle: no thread
  • Right needle: 3.5 (regular serger thread)
  • Upper looper: 2 (wooly nylon)
  • Lower looper: 5 (wooly nylon)
  • Differential feed: 0.7
  • Stitch length: R
  • Stitch width: 5.5

I’m not sure whether it was my ability (or lack thereof) or whether I was on grain or bias, but sometimes my hem came out straight, and other times it came out wavy-lettucey.
jersey culottes - rolled hem

These culottes are sooooo comfy that it’s kind of amazing how cute and fancible they still look (well, would look, if I wore anything besides t-shirts). The box pleat that hides the shortsiness is really cool.
jersey culottes - inside front

And I can sit down without having to be fussy about it! Hoo boy, I am the opposite of lady-like. No primping for blog pictures here… although I did moisturize my dry knees for you. Mr. Yazoo was sighing at me because I realized after we took a bunch of pictures that my knees were all grey, and I made him wait while I ran inside to put on moisturizer. hehehe.
jersey culottes - criss cross applesauce

This was my September goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Now I have three whole (casual, hot-weather-wearing) things to wear on my bottom half!

Aug 292013

I finished my August goal, so yay…
books for baby quilt

It’s quilted in a diamondish fashion, and I did manage to finish it in time for Cosmo to use it at school. I was kind of too lazy to put a label on it, but since Cosmo’s stuff is supposed to have his name on it so they don’t get mixed up with other kids’ stuff, I sewed in some twill tape with his name stamped on.
books for baby quilt close up

When I gave it to Cosmo, he flipped it over and told me the robot flannel side is the front, cause that’s the side he likes. I think the robots are cool, too, but WAH. This is what I get for not having appreciated all the stuff my mom sewed for me when I was a kid! Karmaaaaaaaaa!
books for baby quilt with kiddies!

Jul 252013

Just in time for his first birthday this weekend, I finished the quilt meant for my nephew’s actual birth! It was my July ALYoF goal and also one of my strategies for stretching my crafting money (finishing wips to stave off starting quite so many new projects).
monsterz fussy fairytales

It’s made using Kate Conklin’s Fussy Fairytales pattern. I remember that I was amazed at the neat way she has you cut fabric, but now I can’t actually remember anything about it. Hah! Since this was supposed to be a special event quilt (and also because I was more spendy then), I bought a fat quarter bundle of Monsterz just for it, and I just love the funny little ghosty guys!
monsterz fussy fairytales parachute block

I’ve been wanting to baste differently in order to save on buying spray baste (plus, the last time I spray basted, I got a blister on my finger. How ridiculous is that!), and Blair Stocker at wise craft happened to have recently posted about how she bastes with regular pins and craft foam as stoppers. It’s so awesome!
pin basting

I basted my quilt on the dining table without using clamps (I read someone else saying that the weight of the quilt hanging off the edges is enough to keep things taut; plus, I’m lazy) and it was so easy! I normally haaate basting, but this time I actually enjoyed myself. The bent sewing pins went in much, much more easily than basting safety pins, so there was no struggling with dull points, jabbing holes into the table, and ending up with great big holes in the quilt top. I also felt quite thrifty because I pulled my old, bent pins out and used those first. After those were used up, it was fun but weird to bend perfectly good straight pins!
haha bent pin

It only took half a sheet of the 6mm craft foam to stop all the pins, so that was nice and cheap, too. I never got jabbed while I was quilting the quilt, even though a couple of foam squares fell off their pins because I’d stuck them in off-center. I had fun making a temporary pincushion for my basting pins and foam bits — it looks even crazier than a normal pin cushion since the pins are bending every which way!
new basting pincushion

I finally got to try out a fancy (for me) straight-line quilting pattern! This is the pattern I wanted to use for the Full Swing quilt, but wasn’t able to mark off properly. This quilt’s small, so I was able to use my hera marker and the dining table to mark the lines. Yay! I made the lines a non-fancy inch apart so the quilt would stay squishy.
fussy fairytales back

I machine bound the quilt, and you can really see in the unevenness that I don’t like to pin in advance. Oops!fussy fairytales binding

It is now the portion of the post where I shamelessly put up pictures of my kids because there happens to be a quilt under them. Oh, oh! My excuse is that I haven’t yet figured out how to take good pictures at my parents’ house (direct sun is too bright, shade from the house is too dark, and I haven’t figured out where there’s diffused light), but I seem to have an easier time fixing pictures with a person in them. Babies are better than blank paper for white balancing?
monsterz fussy fairytales glowbug

monsterz fussy fairytales sunshine

monsterz fussy fairytales come on now

Jul 062013

This month, I’m going to finish the quilt I started for my nephew before he was born… his first birthday is at the end of this month! The top’s all finished, so I just have to baste, quilt, and bind it. No biggie! 😀
July ALYoF goal

My Juki’s walking foot is working wonderfully now, so if my quilt top weren’t so suspiciously wavy, I’d plan to do some straight line quilting. As it is, I think I’m better off doing loopy fmq again. Tallyho!

Jun 282013

After almost exactly two years, my grandma-in-law’s Full Swing quilt is finally done! Hurray!
Full Swing quilt on the clothesline

My goal this month was just to put the binding on. I was a little worried when I went to my stash to find binding fabric because I don’t have very much in that particular shade of blue, and I remembered having cut up leftovers from this quilt in order to try EPP diamonds. But I was happy when I discovered that I’d put aside some matching fabric just for the binding!
Full Swing quilt, baby included for scale

According to my notes, the quilt was supposed to have been 75″ x 90″, but it actually turned out to be about 70″ x 85″. Goodness, how did I lose five inches in both directions? In any case, I’m super happy that this is finally done. It’s so nice finishing wips! 🙂
Full Swing quilt on the wall

Jun 072013

My goal this month is to finally finish my Full Swing quilt that I started almost exactly two years ago…! It’s taken me this long because I sewed and unpicked two attempts at straight line quilting before I came to my senses and just did my passable loopy fmq.
full swing fmq

I had so much trouble with the straight line quilting! My second attempt at it was on my Juki TL-200Qi, and I could not keep the lines straight. I haven’t been able to go anything less than full zoom, and I think that’s why I had so much trouble. I also read someone’s opinion that the Juki’s included walking foot isn’t good, so maybe I can blame a portion of my problems on that. :> Anyhoo, Mr. Yazoo’s going to try to fiddle with my Juki’s foot pedal to see if he can adjust the voltage whoozit to make it easier for me to sew at different speeds, and I’m going to keep my eye out for a new walking foot.

I did adjust the Juki’s fmq foot so that it wouldn’t hop, which made my quilting more enjoyable because it was easier and quieter.
juki fmq foot
See the little part off to the side there? That used to be at the very top of the foot, and part of it sat over the screw on the presser foot shank so that when it went up, the foot would hop. I saw on a quilting board that someone had cut off the bit that hangs over the screw so the foot would no longer hop, so I took my foot over to my dad-in-law (He Who Has Tools) for a little doctoring. But then he noticed that that piece is held on by a screw and just unscrewed it! heh.

I also stopped using gloves while I was doing fmq, and that made it so much easier to move the quilt! I’ve read many people who love their grippy gloves, but I forgot to think about how they live on the cold, dry mainland, while I live on a warm, humid island AND tend to have sweaty hands. I didn’t have any problems keeping hold of the quilt, and no gloves meant I felt more dexterous.

Anyhoo, so all I have to do this month is attach the binding. Yippee! I thought I should have a modest goal for June since a lot of our time will be taken up with moving out of our eeny house so we can sell it. 🙂

May 292013

I finally finished Phuong’s photography block for Piece Bee! Gahhhh!

It’s based on the diagram for camera obscuras… and, of course, I forgot to reverse it when I was making it up. Whoops!

I did end up using freezer paper templates and kind of EPP-ing the box together, which was a lot less stressful than trying to foundation piece it (it was so not stressful that I was dozing off while I was hand sewing!), but probably a foundation pieced version would have been a lot more crisp. I had to just get it done, though, because I’ve been putting it off for a long while!

I’m linking to the fantabulous ALYoF, and here’s my goal setting post for this month.

May 072013

A Lovely Year of Finishes is really helping me with my suuper late bee blocks — this month, I’m going to finish up poor Phuong‘s camera-related block. She was so good about getting everyone’s blocks done, and I haven’t made hers yet! If I finish it this month, it won’t quite be a year late. >_< The theme was photography, so I wanted to do something like a camera obscura, but they kind of just look like boxes, which isn’t very fun. Instead, I’m planning to make the diagram of how cameras work (I think), and I’m going to see if I can English paper piece the weird box pieces together. Then I think I’ll applique it down onto a background fabric, embroider or machine stitch diagram lines, and applique the candles on. This is my plan! camera worky thingy diagram

Mar 212013

I finished a quilt for my cousin — yay! Due to my inability to plan, I think I have enough leftover blocks to make a second quilt — boo!

It’s based on the Juicy quilt from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe, but I didn’t follow the directions because I didn’t want to cut and piece 232 triangles. O_o Instead, I used The Sometimes Crafter’s tutorial for making pairs of hourglass blocks and Connecting Threads’ tutorial for making four flying geese blocks with no waste. Those are awesome!

However, I changed too many things at once (I also planned for 8.5″ finished blocks, instead of whatever it is the real pattern calls for), and when I laid everything out, I found out that I could make a queen-sized quilt! I revised my plan — I thought that round about 9 blocks by 7 blocks would be a good lap-sized quilt.

After I sewed the whole top together, I found out that it was now a twin-sized quilt. Dur! I took off two rows to make it a more reasonable 72″-ish square, and in the end, I had all these leftovers.

I busted out my zippity fast Juki to do the quilting, but even though I was sewing in the daytime, I felt bad about how loud it was (plus we live in the upstairs unit of a townhouse), so I only quilted very lightly along the diagonal lines. Then, over the next couple of days, I hand-quilted around the print squares. I normally use just a soft leather thimble, but it was really not up for hand quilting, and it developed holes. I have two black spots in my finger now from when the back of my needle poked through and pushed some of the thimble fibers in! I didn’t want to wait a week for a new thimble from Amazon, so I went to my local craft store to get a coin thimble, where it cost twice as much. Gahhhh!

Some of the light neutrals are Essex linen, and I really like the texture and heavier feel it got after I washed the quilt. If I ever get rich, I’d like to make a quilt all out of Essex linens. Oh, and a quilt out of double gauze and voile, while I’m in wish land.

I made this for my cousin who’s having chemotherapy, since I read that it can get chilly during the sessions. I hope he thinks the green and yellow color scheme is cheery in a guy-ly way!

Mar 042013

My goal this month is to completely finish a quilt for my cousin. I’ve been making a ton of teeny projects, and now I feel like making something big! I’ve gotten as far as cutting everything out, and as usual, it took me longer than I expected.
fabric cut out for Kevin's quilt

Part of the reason it took so long was that I had to make it pretty scrappy since I wanted to make the quilt from my stash, and I really didn’t have enough of my solid dark and light fabrics. See that pile of five brown fabrics? That’s supposed to be one brown! It’s hard to see, but I’ve also got three different off-whites in that light pile. Anyhoo, I tried to plan out where different colors would go, and only realized that my plan could never work after I’d spent a whole lot of time staring at (and nodding off over) my color chart. Shucks!
stinking color chart

I made some test hourglass and flying geese blocks to make sure I was going to cut my fabric correctly, and I was all proud of myself until I realized that I had used actual fabric for the quilt in my made-to-throw-away test blocks. Dur!
test blocks

I’m optimistic about finishing this by the end of the month — since I threw out my colorchartplan, I can do super duper mindless chain piecing. We shall see, though… here’s hoping!