Jun 202016

Sunshine’s teachers are awesome too, so I wanted to make (smaller) presents for them (and I supplemented them with gift cards since they’d probably like that best, heh). I have a bunch of largish canvas scraps left over from various weekenders and poolside totes, so I thought I’d make pouches out of those, and to make them a little more fun, I made them with two zippers. First, I made a quick prototype without any fiddly zipper tab bits. It was nice and fast to sew, but the top corners are obviously not great.

double zip pouch, prototype

Then I made a better pair that had all the zipper end tabs. Those top corners came out great! I also entertained myself by making different zipper pull setups for each pouch.

double zip pouch, tigers

After that, I got tired of my “mass” production, and I took a break by making the preschool administrator a grocery bag.

michelle patterns easy grocery bag, horsies

With my energy refreshed, I was able to finish the last two pouches. Isn’t that star split ring fun? I had completely forgotten that I had them, but found them when I was scrounging around after I realized that I’d run out of regular split rings. (The squid zipper pulls came in my orders from zipit.)

double zip pouch, arches

Here’s another picture of the zipper tabs… I was so pleased at how they turned out! For these, I just cut the zipper so they wouldn’t have to be sewn into the corners (they’re cut off right after the zipper tab topstitching), and I really trimmed the pouch corners close to the seam.

double zip pouch, zipper tabs

I’m sloooowly improving my wrapping game — I at least put these in bags (although they were an assortment of paper bags from stores like Bath & Body Works) and put tags on them. I didn’t put any tissue paper in, though. My excuse was that I put the recipients’ names on paper tags that I pinned to the pouches, and I had to be able to see in to know who to have Sunshine give them to! ;D

Jun 162016

I really appreciated Cosmo’s first grade teacher this year — she emailed the parents all the time, which meant that I actually knew what was going on. Cosmo hardly ever remembered to tell us stuff… which is normal, right? 😀

Since I was in a quilty mood, I made an Arrowhead quilt for her end of year present. The pattern is great! The design is obviously fantastic, and the instructions were really nice — it includes efficient cutting layouts for using fat quarters for all three sizes of the quilt. (I used yardage, though, so I didn’t have to pay attention to those.)
Initial K Studio - Arrowhead quilt

Since it’s mostly HSTs, I got to use my Bloc Loc ruler again (I haven’t gotten pictures of the first quilt I used it on, yet). I LOVE this ruler! Since I’m a cheapie, I only have one — the 6.5″, which was the biggest size that I saw on sale at the time. The next time I have to make flying geese, I’m going to get one of those rulers, too! I can’t do the same thing as with the HST ruler and just use the biggest flying geese ruler for all size blocks though, can I?

I actually spent quite a bit of time planning how I was going to straight-line quilt this. I drew a whole bunch of options on my computer and kept bugging Mike to help me decide. But then after I quilted all of one set of diagonal lines on the quilt, I got impatient to be done and stopped. hah!

When I was squaring it up, I found out that all that diagonal quilting had pulled the quilt very not square. (The flimsy had right angle corners, I promise.) Oops! That didn’t make me go back and try to fix it by quilting in the other direction, though — I just took my lesson and went on with binding.

Initial K Studios - Arrowhead quilt

After the school year had ended, Cosmo’s teacher mailed us a really nice thank you note… which inspired us to actually remember to make the kids write thank you notes to their great-grandma for a present box she had recently sent. See, such a great teacher — teaching the parents, even!

May 252016

I’m catching up on old projects now — this past Christmas, I finished up some Wild Olive fruity placemats for my friend. They’re such a creative way of using English paper piecing!

Wild Olive fruity placemats

I like to use freezer paper for my EPP: I cut the shapes out of freezer paper, punch holes in the center, and then iron them to the fabric. That way, it’s easy to prep them for fussy cutting, and I don’t have to do anything to hold the fabric and paper together for basting. Also, I avoid sewing through the paper while basting so that I can pull the papers out using the punched hole after everything is sewn together. They’re reusable!

blueberries placemat

When I first learned to do EPP, I whipstitched the pieces together, but nowadays I use a ladder stitch.

pineapple placemat

I love the little faces that Wild Olive puts on everything!

watermelon placemat

I always feel a little guilty when I give people placemats — they’re super fun to make, but I wouldn’t want to receive them for gifts. My kids are still at the messy stage, so that would just be stressful. Plus, we also use our dining table for storage and Lego-building and quilt basting (like normal people, yeah?), so getting placemats out of the way all the time would just be irritating. I inflicted placemats on my sister-in-law when I first started sewing, and she kept them out on her dining table for years before they finally disappeared. She stuck in there way longer than I could have! 😀

Wild Olive fruity placemats

May 172016

I’ve been wanting to do something for my cousin-in-law after she was such an awesome realtor for us, and I finally made her a thank-you quilt. It only took me two years, hah! I chose Meadow Mist Design’s free MQG Use Your Illusion pattern — it’s a great graphic design, and I figured that if it didn’t happen to be her personal taste, she could always use it for house staging. 😀

use your illusion quilt

The quilt design is obviously great, and I think the instructions are probably fine… I may have messed up cutting or lost pieces when I took breaks from sewing because I ended up having lots of extra strips in certain sizes, and I also had to cut more strips in other sizes when I ran out towards the end of assembling blocks.

I tried out a nifty swirl fmq pattern from Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, mainly because I was trying to justify having bought the book. My swirls were pretty uneven, though, and I kind of ruined the great straight lines of the quilt pattern. derp!

use your illusion - close up

Even though this didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, hopefully it still made my cousin happy. I should probably practice those spirals some more, huh!

use your illusion quilt

Apr 042016

People in my office tend to retire without letting people know so they can avoid being fussed over, but that makes it hard to make quilts for retirement presents! So since I had the feeling that my favorite coworker was in a retiring mood, I made her a birthday quilt this year.
adore-la quilt

I used the free Adore-la pattern by Cut To Pieces. I love the all solids version, but I already had a small fat quarter pack of Carkai which worked perfectly with the pattern — I just had to add in one other print.
adore-la quilt

The templates were good, but they sure left a lot of wiggle room for trimming! I didn’t really mind, but I did notice that I cut somewhat hefty chunks off when I squared up the drunkards’ path blocks.
adore-la quilt

It’s quilted with a circuit board-like stipple. I tried to concentrate on keeping the corners sharp since the last time I used this fmq pattern, I sometimes got antsy and accidentally made rounded rectangles. I like how it turned out!
adore-la quilt

This was such a fun quilt to make! It made me really happy because I got to use up stashed fabric, finish a project quickly, and make something for a really nice person!
adore-la quilt

Mar 282016

Back in December, I did one of my I-really-want-this-pattern-so-I’ll-justify-it-by-making-it-for-presents things and made Wee Wonderfuls’ Miss Fox for Glowbug. (Later on, I also made one for my niece so I could feel “thrifty” about using a pattern twice, heh.) I love how it turned out!
Wee Wonderfuls Miss Fox

Like the Elsa doll, a lot of Miss Fox’s parts are meant to be whipstitched on, which is never my preference. Instead, I sewed what I could into existing seams. There are darts in the head that were perfect for sewing the ears into! On my first attempt, I sewed the ear into the dart backwards, though. 😀
Miss Fox's ear

The legs were pretty easy to sew into seam between the front and back body pieces. I did have to check to make sure that they ended up pointing as straight down as possible since the body’s bottom seam is curved, and I think I ended up flattening out the bottom curve a bit. Also, I left openings in the legs’ inseams so that I could sew them to the body unstuffed, and then I stuffed and ladder-stitched them closed after everything was right-side out.
Miss Fox's legs

I did whipstitch the tail on, as instructed. Since it’s pretty large, I felt like enclosing it in a single seam would actually be weaker than whipstitching it around a larger area, especially considering the herringbone fabric’s looser weave. The thing about the tail is that it’s suuuuper cute, but it makes it hard to put the fox in a sitting position. Maybe I could have sewn it higher to make sitting easier? I think it looks like the tail is in the correct place, though…
Miss Fox's tail

I also followed the pattern by making button joints for the arms. I thought about enclosing them in the body’s side seams, but the way it seemed to be reaching out to you in the pattern picture was too cute!
Miss Fox's arms

Miss Fox is made out of some pumpkin shetland flannel that I had in my stash — it’s the perfect color and so soft! I had originally bought a yard of it to make a skirt because it looks so pretty, even though I don’t know what kind of skirt I thought I could get out of a yard of flannel that would be fit to go out of the house with. >_< Anyway, now it's got toy-shaped bits cut out of it, and I'm all ready for the next can-be-reddish-colored Wee Wonderfuls doll pattern to tempt me! Wee Wonderfuls Miss Fox

Mar 092016

Oops! A few days ago, I had a post up at imagine gnats about three pairs of Megan Nielsen’s Virginia leggings that I made.

For Rachael’s post, I tried to be good about showing the leggings since I do really appreciate it when other sewers show how clothes look on real people (although I did specially make this Plantain tee for extra butt coverage 😀 ). In regular life, though, I always wear my leggings under skirts or shorts.

virginia leggings normal look

I didn’t realize until I was editing these pictures that those shorts look kind of weird with that shirt. hah!

Mar 072016

In my New Years resolutive sewing through patterns and fabric I already have, I made a copy-of-the-pattern-cover Victory Patterns Madeleine skirt. I love it! I feel like I’m doing French cosplay when I wear it with the suspenders. 😀

victory patterns madeleine skirt

I shortened the skirt a lot (about six inches, I think) so it would end up just above knee-length. Then I only used 1.5 yards of the 2 yards that I bought, yay! This is the size 6 made up in Kaufman 8 oz black washed denim.

I love the way the skirt turned out, but some parts sure made me grumpy — particularly the lapped zipper instructions and the way the skirt back B is cut to “help” with it. I think my zipper turned out okay, but I had a really hard time figuring out what I was supposed to do. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if I’d followed the instructions exactly, I would have ended up with raw center back seam allowances!

One of the diagrams for the waistband overlap didn’t seem to be illustrating what I actually had on my skirt, but at that point I was barely looking at the instructions, anyway. I accidentally switched the direction of the waistband overlap, but I don’t mind because that’s the direction all of my other skirts hook in.

victory patterns madeleine skirt

I also made the pockets differently. The instructions don’t say to understitch the pocket edge, and they have you sew the pocket exterior and lining right sides together so that you can turn it right side out and have all the raw edges enclosed. I understitched my pocket edge (no peeking-out linings for me!), and then my exterior and lining pieces didn’t match up nicely anymore. So instead, I basted the exterior and lining along the bottom curved edge, pinked the raw edge, and pressed in along the basting line.

I tried to figure out the best place for my buttonholes, but didn’t quite manage it — when I put on the braces, the middle buttonhole makes them too loose, and the highest buttonhole hikes the skirt up to my ribcage. Without the suspenders, the skirt sits nicely on my natural waist.

victory patterns madeleine skirt

I had fun again with topstitching on my quilting Juki. So pretty! I was a bit of a doof though, and used slightly different stitch lengths all over the skirt. 😀

victory patterns madeleine skirt

This pattern is SO CUTE and I love it! It would be pretty noticeable if I made more than one (recently, a non-sewing lady at work asked me if I sewed my own clothes because she noticed that I wore Hollyburns, Brumbies, and Eucalypt tanks all week, hah!), but I just found an adorable red chambray version that I feel I must copy…

victory patterns madeleine skirt