Aug 062018
 

For the last of the preschool teacher quilts, I made the Star Gazer quilt with an extra column and row. The pattern makes a 41.5″ x 51.5″ quilt, and the extra column and row brought it out to 46″ x 56″. That’s still kind of smaller than I’d usually choose for a grownup, but on the bright side, I had exactly enough Rhoda Ruth fabric left over from a previous quilt to make this one!

It took me a block or three to remember again that for this kind of block, I needed to use full 1/4″ seam allowances, instead of scant ones. One day it’ll sink in!

This was the first quilt that I spray basted using Jacquie Gering‘s method of spraying the top and back, and then putting the sandwich together on my design wall. I liked this method, but my design wall isn’t really big enough to fit larger quilts. Also, my friend lent me her spray bottle trigger grippy thing (Rustoleum spray grip), which I loved. In the past, the finger I used on the basting spray trigger would get really sore and covered in glue, but not this time! (Actually, my fingers did get covered in glue and fuzz, but that was from putting together the quilt sandwich and that’s not the spray can’s fault.)

As part of my lazy catching-up-from-not-posting-for-almost-two-years, this is the Allie Owl quilt I made last February from the original bundle of Rhoda Ruth.

Jul 142018
 

My youngest is finishing up her last year in a preschool we LOVE, and I’m so sad that we don’t get to go there anymore! The teachers work incredibly hard and they’re wonderfully loving with the kids, so I wanted to make quilts for them.

I was very excited about this dog quilt pattern because it’s wacky and cute, and I was looking forward to making more quilts in the series, but I had such a junk experience with the pattern designer that I don’t want to give her anymore money. Basically, I bought the pattern directly from the designer’s website and received a file that had a ton of errors. I spent a few hours writing up all the corrections I could find and emailed the designer back. It turned out that she had sent me a non-final draft, so she sent her actual final draft, along with the tiniest apology possible (“Sorry about that.”), a bunch of non-apologies that made me SO MAD (“I am sorry you…”), many explanations that just felt like excuses, and a refund.

The thing is, I didn’t ask for a refund and I would have been perfectly happy without one if she had just replied with a pleasant and sincere apology. Bleah. Then, to add insult to injury, when I finally made up the pattern — with the final draft! — it STILL had errors!

I’m just happy that I’m finished with this one. It does make a funny quilt!

Elizabeth Hartman’s Legendary quilt — as always, her pattern was a pleasure to sew. The sasquatch block is delightful!

Pen and Paper Patterns’ Tonal Trees quilt was super fast to sew. I like it! I didn’t realize when I bought the pattern that the trunks were made from bias tape.

This quilt made me really notice how much better straight line quilting ends up when I go SLOW. Previously, when I had problems with stretching while quilting on the bias or rippling in any straight line quilting, I thought it was just me or the batting or my basting, and I didn’t think I could do much about it. But when I quilted Tonal Trees, I did the top half while I was sewing with friends, and I quilted very, very slowly because I was talking at the same time. The next night, I quilted the bottom half by myself, and I went faster because it was so boring. It was ripple city! I even picked out the quilting and redid the lines as slowly as possible because the difference between the top and bottom halves was so noticeable! You can still see how my bad quilting pulled the bottom trees’ trunks out of shape. Ooooops! I actually hadn’t noticed that until writing this up.

I had the kids sign all the teachers’ quilts. Since all the backings are solid, I was lazy and told them to write directly on the quilt. Now they can’t be regifted! Muhahahahaha!

I have one more quilt for the teachers that is finished, but not signed yet. Just in time — the preschool summer session ends this month. I’m going to miss this school!

Jul 042018
 

I have a quilt to finish and a bunch of clothes that I want to make… so I stayed up late to make myself a new small Maker’s Tote! I made the large size a few months ago, but I thought it was too big. Right now, it’s sitting, unloved, in my office, with way not enough yarn inside. Here’s a picture of it with a little kid for reference.

And here’s the cute, smaller size with a larger kid for reference. Hah! So unhelpful.

The instructions are really good and a zillion people have made this tote, so I don’t have much to say. Oh! Except, if you’re using a cute print for the lining and you want to fussy cut something above the zipper, the part of the print you want to see should be placed in the strip between 0.5″ and 1.75″ from the top. The zipper will cover the area between 1.75″ and 2.5″ from the top.

I realized this too late.

I was happy to be able to use my new rivet press (Thanks, Amber, for the lesson!) to attach my handles. I put them on the inside because I didn’t want to cover up the cute print. (Thanks, Nancy!)

The webbing for the handles are from someone’s belt that wasn’t going to get used. I covered the ends with scraps of leather — the webbing is super thick and I didn’t think I’d be able to sew through a double layer of it.

I forgot to measure my handles (I just cut the belt in half), and they luckily turned out just the right size for me to be able to put the tote over my shoulder. That’s great because one of the things I didn’t enjoy about my larger Maker’s tote was that the handles were so short that I had to carry it on my arm.

The pin is from Noristudio. Nori Studio? Anyway, I love it! Guinea pigs are adorable!

Apr 042017
 

I made a bunch of clothes since last year, so I’m catching up!

McCall’s 6648 — it’s so cute on the pattern envelope! Mine didn’t turn out quite as nice, and I think it’s because I chose a too-large size. I like it from the back when I stand like this!

From the front, though, I feel a little linebackery. Also, I feel a little silly about the collar, even though I bet I’d like it on someone else.

Glowbug’s annual matchy Christmas Uptown/Downtown dress made from Girl Charlee fabric — I’m still getting my money’s worth out of this pattern!

Glowbug and my mom wore matching outfits on Christmas, complete with wrapping paper skirts!

Megan Nielsen Harper shorts — I made these for the imagine gnats blog. Even though I was a little unsure about these at first, now I wear them all the time! They’re so comfy. And I just realized that the reason I’ve been getting a funny wrinkle in the front might be because I sometimes sew my shorts seam in a non-ideal order: sometimes I sew the crotch curve first, and then the inseam second. I also just serge really close instead of clipping the curves because I saw that RTW things are made that way, but I thiiiink that only works well if you sew the inseam first and then the crotch curve. I plan to test this out the next time I make shorts!

MHC Julia cardigan — I made this pattern once years ago, but this was the first time I’ve ever sewn a sweater knit. I used 1″ seam allowances and found a narrow zig zag setting that made my seams look okay, but I was a little sad that the seams definitely didn’t stretch as much as the fabric. Is there a stretchy sewing machine bobbin thread I should be using, like wooly nylon serger thread?

Since I read a sweater knit tip that warned that ironing might smash the nice sweater knit texture, I didn’t press this too much. Then I worried that the shawl collar wouldn’t lay nicely along the seam, so I topstitched it. I’m not sure if that that was a good decision, but either way, I’m sure my sister won’t mind. Oh, and the wrinkles in the middle of the shawl collar are from the sweater sitting all crumpled up for a few days before I pulled it out to take pictures. I’m not used to knits wrinkling so easily!

Megan Nielsen Flint shorts (which I bought the day it was released!) and Burda Style cowl tee

First, the cowl tee — I like this a lot! I think I need to make a larger size and reduce the cowl drape if I make it again, though.

Next the Flint shorts — I definitely love these! Even though I was too lazy to make a muslin, I tried really hard to patiently follow the Pants for Real People instructions. I tissue fit my shorts first (with the waist elastic and everything!), then cut them out with 1″ seam allowances in some places, and made sure to baste the bits that I was supposed to baste. However, I made a fitting mistake early on and never got quite enough room in the back after that. This is why I should make a bunch of shorts in a row — to keep things I learn in my head and get everything straight — but I don’t have the attention span for that!

Ooh, but I did learn from my Harper shorts, and I extended the rear darts 1″, which I think mostly fixed the pooling at the dart ends.

It makes sense, but I think it’s funny that there’s a big hole in my left pocket (since that’s where the button opening is). I get worried when Glowbug tries to stick her hand in my left pocket — what if she yanks and rips my shorts!

Funnily, I’ve been wearing my Flint shorts less often than my Harper shorts. I think it’s because I think my Flints are cuter so I’m more precious about making sure I’m wearing them in a nicer ensemble (as in, with a tucked in tshirt), whereas I’ll just throw on my Harpers with whatever any day. So silly!

Mar 132017
 

Goodness, I took a blog break! Hello, again! Zooming back to last year, I made a bunch of Sew Together Bags for presents. They’re finally with their recipients, so I can show them!

I love these bags! They’re surprisingly addictive to make since they’re pretty quick to sew. (The fabric selection, on the other hand, takes me a whole extra sewing day.)

These are all made with linen canvas exteriors and Soft & Stable, and the side and zipper bindings are cut on the bias. I added fabric zipper ends to the interior pockets in order to make attaching the pockets to the bag sides easier. (Also because my zippers were too short, heh.)

The pattern instructions have you attach the main zipper end tabs to the sides as the last step by topstitching over the finished binding. Also, the main zipper tabs are not interfaced, so they ended up a little droopy. Plus, since I used a lighter fabric, I could see the darker zipper through the fabric, and it looked lighter where there were fewer layers. I didn’t like it!

After my first bag, I interfaced the main zipper tabs, made them with only one side seam, and changed the sewing order so that the main zipper tabs were sewn into the sides of the bag earlier. Then my final step was to topstitch the main zipper into the tabs. I wasn’t fantastic at it, but the mess was more acceptable to me.

This sewing order also gave me a better chance of remembering to put in my label. It only took me two attempts to realize that the label works better at the end-end of the zipper (as opposed to the beginning-end).

I ended up having to finish the binding by hand because the Soft & Stable was so thick and my binding strips didn’t have enough overlap for machine topstitching, but that was fine since I like hand-sewing binding. I just had to make sure that my thread matched my zipper since my stitches showed underneath.

I gave the guitar fabric one to my dad since he likes buying little pouches for his USB drives and assorted cables, and he gave this incredulous little laugh, like “why would you give this to me?!” *SIGH* Oh well!

Dec 232016
 

This wasn’t actually for Christmas (I made them right after Halloween), but here are some reindeer!

ruby reindeer

They’re made using While She Naps’ Ruby the Reindeer pattern and minky from my local Fabric Mart. I really like how they came out! The pattern instructions were fine, although I only really used them to make sure I put the antlers and ears in correctly.

One not-great thing was that the large body pattern piece was split between two pages and meant to be taped together, but the two parts didn’t line up! The curve along the page join wasn’t smooth. (To clarify: I don’t care about taping pattern pieces together; I care when they don’t match up.) It wasn’t a big deal to fix — I just smoothed out the curve — but it was annoying to find in a pattern that I expected to be professionally presented.

Oh, the pattern instructions leave the eye whites loose, with just the safety eye to keep them in. I ended up sewing the white felt down after imagining little kiddie fingers picking at it. Also, they looked a little weird just sproinging up around the safety eye.

ruby reindeer

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had initially planned to make just one reindeer for Sunshine. HAH! Cosmo picked the colors for his reindeer — he made it like a Christmas tree! 😀

ruby reindeer

Dec 062016
 

I picked up a few Style Arc patterns over the blackfriday-smallbusinesssaturday-shopmoresunday-cybermonday-palooza weekend, and the one I was most excited to try was the Violet knit jacket. I hadn’t sewn any Style Arc patterns before, but I’d heard a lot about them, so I made sure to get the pdf version so I could get a few different sizes and seam allowances marked (too lazy to add them in myself). (ETA: Thanks, Siobhan, for pointing out that I was mistaken, and that Style Arc always includes seam allowances. I mixed them up with Named patterns, oops!)

style arc violet knit jacket

I wanted to make this in a cozy wool double knit, but I had a hard time finding fabric I liked. Fortunately, Thornberry had already shown that this could be made in a woven, so made mine with a pretty blue wool blend and underlined most of it so the slightly scratchy wool wouldn’t touch my skin. The underlining is one yard of woven plaid cotton I got in a destash, and it might be from Paris, so my new cozy jacket is all fancy and Italian-French!

style arc violet knit jacket

After much dithering (as usual), I went with my correct size by bust measurement; this is a size 8. Oh! That’s one thing that did annoy me about the instructions — the pattern itself doesn’t include the size chart, so I had to keep going back to the etsy listing to look at it. HAD TO.

style arc violet knit jacket

This was a really fun sew! It would have been pretty fast, too, if I hadn’t been underlining and serging almost everything (I didn’t underline the armhole bindings, pockets, and bottom bands). I enjoyed the puzzle of how the armholes get created, and my Featherweight didn’t have a problem going over the thicker underarm seam intersection. It’s nifty how the collar facing gets sewn onto the seam allowance after most of the jacket shell is constructed since that avoids contributing bulk to the underarm seam.

style arc violet knit jacket

The shape of this jacket makes me so happy! I especially love it in this fabric with a little more structure. Now that I look at this picture, I kind of look like an origami frog from the back. hehehe. I love it!

style arc violet knit jacket

Other reviewers mentioned that the pockets are tiny, so I widened mine enough to be able to fit my hands in, and I deepened them as much as I could. The pockets are completely enclosed by the bottom band, which is great — then they never peek out when they’re full!

Have I mentioned that I love my new short-sleeved coatigan? I’m SO going to make more!

style arc violet knit jacket

Dec 012016
 

I love looking at other people’s beautifully-sewn clothes for their children, especially when they use gorgeous fabric like Nani Iro double gauze(!!), but for my own kids, I only have the patience to make quick things that make me giggle because they’re matching, and are relatively cheap because they’re made of knits or scraps from something I’ve made myself. I’m too selfish to make them clothes out of pretty fabric that I don’t get to wear!

During one of Craftsy’s many sales, I suckered myself into buying some Ann Kelle remix hearts on interlock knit. I knew it would look super cute on Glowbug, and I ignored the feeling that it would be a little ridiculous on me. (I was right though — it’s very loud on me!)

I made Glowbug’s dress using the adorable Sew Straight & Gather Legends pattern. I was excited about the neat collar, and I really wanted to make the drop-waisted dress version. The pattern explicitly said that it’s meant for 4-way stretch knits, but I went ahead with my 2-way knit since that’s what I had, dagnabbit!

sew straight and gather legends dress

The pattern wasn’t kidding, of course. I couldn’t get the dress over Glowbug’s head, and I had to unpick and resew the neckline to give her just enough space to get her head through. Luckily, Glowbug thinks it’s funny when the dress gets stuck on her head going on and coming off.

(Also matchy in this picture is my Plantain tee.)

legends dress and plantain tee

I made two other matching shirts while I was slogging through the eight thousand muslins I made for the Willow tank (because I was working off the wrong size, doh). This one is E & E Patterns’ Bubble Pocket Top. It’s super cute, especially because Glowbug stuffs her pockets with so many things.

I have a bad habit of pfft-ing at lots of kids’ patterns instructions because I’ve encountered a bunch with junk finishing instructions and weird drafting. I know that I don’t know a lot about apparel sewing, but I’m pretty sure that armscyes shouldn’t form a point when they meet at the seam! (To be clear, I’m not talking specifically about this pattern [because it’s been so long since I made it that I can’t remember {but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this pattern that had that problem <if anything, this one might have made a vee at the armscye, but I really can’t remember>}].) Anyway, the Bubble Top’s instructions mentioned that you might want to serge all (or most? it’s been a while) of the raw edges before starting, and I pfft-ed at that since it’s a lined top and I figured everything would be enclosed. But it turned out that the bottom of the lining hangs free, so the raw edges aren’t so much enclosed. Oops! Now I know for next time.

(Also matchy matchy in this picture are my (too-small) Willow tank, Chardon skirt, and Glowbug’s mini Tania culottes.)

E & E bubble top

This last one is a Simple Life Pattern Company Molly top made with scraps of kitties, coral rayon challis, and lined with bits of leftover super soft Italian cotton. Can you tell that wish this was for me?

The coral rayon challis is actually from a completely failed muslin of the Willow tank. I was surprised at how hard it was to get scraps out of the top — I only barely salvaged enough for the skirty part of Glowbug’s shirt, and I had to add a seam in the back.

(Another matchy Willow tank.)

simple life pattern company molly top

Oct 262016
 

My boys wanted to be Link for Halloween, so I decided to make them Windwaker Link costumes since that cartoony version is a lot simpler than the more realistic Link. heh! (I also made three costumes since I knew Glowbug would want one when she saw her brothers being matching.)

link #2

I didn’t want to make separate vests and tunics because Halloween here is really hot. The shirts are Deep Sea V Necks with the vee deepened and a panel of lighter green sewn behind. Also, I used the same lighter green for the sleeves.

link #3

I think Link wears white pants, but that wasn’t going to happen for my kids. Their shorts are all light grey Coastal Craze Baggies.

link #1

For their shields, I googled to find a clear picture, which turned out to be the nendoroid toy. Then for each shield, I did this:

  1. cut out 2 shield-shaped pieces of Soft & Stable
  2. basted solid-colored quilting cotton to one side of each piece of Soft & Stable
  3. painted the shield design on one shield piece (using just cheapie acrylic paint)
  4. made two kid’s-wrist-sized fleece loops and sewed them to the other shield piece
  5. basted the two shield pieces WST
  6. bound the raw edges using 2″ wide white bias strips
    1. pressed the bias strips to make double fold bias tape
    2. sewed the bias tape to the front of the shield along the bias tape’s fold line
    3. folded the bias tape over to the back and pinned in place
    4. stitched in the ditch from the front and caught the back edge

wwlink_shieldsf

wwlink_shieldsb

I used an instructables tutorial to make the hats. I also added some decorative “stitching” along the seam because I saw it on hats for sale on Etsy and thought it looked cute. :} For the stitching, I cut slits in the hat and threaded brown fleece strips through in x shapes. (In the picture, the left hat is inside-out to show what the underside of the decorative stitching looks like.)

wwlink_hats

For each of the belts:

  1. cut out ~3″ diameter circles: 1 Soft & Stable, 2 yellow quilting cotton
  2. sew all three circles together layered with the Soft & Stable on the bottom and the two cotton circles on top
  3. pink raw edges
  4. cut a turning slit only in the topmost cotton circle
  5. turn right side out and close up the turning slit by ironing a scrap of interfacing over it
  6. stitch a spiral using brown thread
  7. cut a kid’s-waist-circumference x 3.5″ strip of something brown and stretchy (I used leftover ponte)
  8. sew along the length to make a tube and turn it right side out
  9. insert elastic, if you want (Glowbug’s belt looked fine without it, but the boys’ ones needed the elastic to look wide enough)
  10. sew the belt into a loop (the join doesn’t have to look nice)
  11. hand sew the belt buckle over the stitched-together part of the belt

wwlink_belts

I finished the costumes early, and the kids sure know how to make me want to make them more things — they’ve been wearing their costumes and playing together a lot. It makes me so happy! 🙂

wwlink_3set

Sep 292016
 

I made gigantic pants! I’m so excited! This is Vogue 8499 view C, which I coveted after I saw Cat in a Wardrobe’s adorable stripey version (which I have fabric to copy with next, hehehe).

vogue 8499 view C

PatternReview reviews were so helpful — I read and reread people’s posts, and they helped steer me towards making the size 6. (I did still dither a lot, and I double checked by measuring the pattern pieces, but I can’t seem to avoid that yet.) I have 27.5″ waist and 37″ hip measurements, whereas the size 6 is listed for 23″ waist and 32.5″ hip measurements, but the size 6 fits perfectly. Ease city!

This version was my wearable muslin, but I didn’t end up needing to make any modifications so this is straight off the pattern. Even the pant length is not too bad — I’m 5’2″ and they do pool a little at my heels, but not so much that I’m stepping on my pants all the time. It is funny how low the knee darts (which I love!) end up on my calves, but I love the shape too much to want to try shortening them.

vogue 8499 view C

I like that even though these are elastic waist pants, the front waistband is flat. (When I bought the pattern, I actually didn’t realize that there was elastic in the back since I’m terrible at reading the information right there on the pattern envelope.)

vogue 8499 view C

Since I sewed most of the leg panels together without the topstitching so I could adjust the fit if needed, I ended up doing a lot of topstitching all at once, and that saved me from having to switch between my topstitching and regular thread a few times. You might notice that I ignored the instruction to topstitch at 1/2″ from the seam. Instead, I eyeballed arbitrary amounts from my presser foot — I think these are at about 1/8″ or 1/16″.

vogue 8499 view C

Here’s my fancy styling: cuffed like Cat in a Wardrobe! 😀 These are made with linen, so I’m excited to try wearing them somewhere hot and mosquitoey and seeing if such huge pants really do keep me cool. All my life, I’ve worn shorts and smaller shirts when it’s hot, and it’s only been recently that I’ve noticed that people bring out the maxi dresses and giant linen things in the summer. It doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe it will once I try!

vogue 8499 view C, cuffed

Styling disclaimer: I don’t have the guts to wear these pants with a cropped shirt in real life; I just wore this shirt for pictures so you could see the waistband. 😀