Sunday, May 17, 2015

Banzo's Quilt Top.

This quilt should have been finished last fall for my five year old, but it's just barely made it to the quilt top stage. It started with a request from my son to use some construction truck fabric, and honestly, I was stumped. I pulled a stack of rainbow blenders to go with the trucks, and it sat on the edge of my sewing table, quietly mocking me.

But when I had a bout of inspiration and cut the truck fabric from the mix, I immediately knew that I wanted to make another plus quilt.

Ten blocks in, I started to doubt myself. Would this actually look okay? I had made a lot of the blue and green blocks, and I found myself wishing I had limited the palette to those two colors. (Wouldn't a scrappy blue and green plus quilt look yum?) But I kept pushing forward, and when all sixteen were lined up, I was happy with the result.

Of course, as I was piecing the backing this morning, my son asked me where the construction trucks were going to be, and I still haven't figured out that one. Maybe the quilt label will have trucks?

I'm planning to all over FMQ this one, which will be the first time--I think?--that I have ever done that!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Finished Felicity Dress

I finished my Felicity Dress by Jennifer Lauren this weekend. I slipped it on for these photos and then promptly took it off because in this household, a white linen dress is a luxury item. The entire ten minutes I wore it, I was sure the baby was going to throw up on me or one of the big boys would grab onto my skirt with peanut butter (or worse) on their hands. I escaped, but needless to say, this won't be my go-to mom outfit.

But a girl needs a little handmade luxury, right?

I've had this white linen for a very long time. Like before I started sewing and even had a machine long time.

I'm not gonna lie, friends. This dress was a struggle. Not because the pattern was bad--nope. The pattern was clear and easy to understand. It was a struggle because it didn't fit my body perfectly the way the pattern was written, and I don't have a ton of apparel experience to know what to adjust. The kajillion tutorials on altering garments were also kind of useless because I didn't know what didn't fit, just that it didn't. Cue some extremely frustrated evenings spent staring at this dress and begging it to cough up the information and let me know what to fix.

I started with coming to terms with the fact that the bodice was much too large. At least one size, possibly two, though I went with the size my measurements suggested. I made a muslin of the bodice, but I struggled with knowing how much space would disappear when the zip was added. Apparently I just need to make a practice dress with each pattern. Next time, I'll make a size down. I'll also try raising the waistline an inch, and today I discovered Jennifer Lauren has posted a bunch of alteration tutorials for this dress, which is all sorts of awesome. (And I already have the fabric for the next one, woo!)

By the time I'd come to all of these conclusions, I'd put in the lapped zip and finished off my exposed seams with bias tape, and there was no way I was ripping out that zip to make more complicated fixes that might not actually fix anything. I did go back and sew in the side seams about a half an inch on each side to bring the bodice in closer. I threw in some additional gathers to the neckline. I also shortened the hemline because I'm on the short side.
All together, those minor fixes made the garment look less marshmallow and more dress. And with a cardigan on top, I rather like it. (Since I adore cardigans and try to wear them every moment of every day, that's not really an inconvenience.)

This is finish 4 of 14 for my Q2 FAL list.

Friday, May 8, 2015

When Hazel Met Andy Quilt Top

Hi Friends! I'm popping in today to show you my latest quilt top finish, When Hazel Met Andy.

When I was doing research for this quilt, I wound up pulling my color scheme from soup cans.
(No, really.) Granted, they were the limited edition Andy Warhol Campbell's tomato soup cans that Target sold a few years ago, but STILL. Soup cans.

You see, my younger sister is a huge Andy Warhol fan. And when I was thinking about what kind of quilt to make for the little bambino in her tummy, I couldn't decide. How could I top my niece's epic quilt that will probably hold a permanent spot in my top five favorite quilt makes? Forget topping! How could I even match it? Would this little one know that I loved him as much if his quilt was blase in comparison?

And then the idea of an Andy Warhol quilt hit me. It's been done before, of course, but I'm not sure it's been done using Elizabeth Hartman's Hazel the Hedgehog II pattern. (And if it has, that's totally okay too.) I pulled out my trusty kona card, matched a bunch of solids to my computer screen's representation of the soup cans, and crossed my fingers. Thankfully, I liked the fabrics when they arrived, and my sister, who owns all four cans, can tell me how well I did when she gets the quilt.

I used Architextures cross hatch prints for the background fabrics. (I know the yellow and orange are Curry and Tangerine, but I don't know what the white on white and black on white are actually called.) I wanted a little additional texture in the background, but nothing too big, and I've been wanting to justify the use of Architextures for a while now, so it all worked out well. If I could do it differently, I'd switch the face and body colors of the above block. It's quite similar to the other bottom block, even if those yellows are ever so slightly different. But I'm not sure I could have visualized that properly from soup cans and a stack of fabrics, and I'm happy with it all the same.

I haven't yet decided how to quilt it, and it will probably be the first quilt I tackle on Stella. I quilted my niece's first initial into her quilt, and that's the only thing my sister requested about this quilt. She wants my nephew's first initial quilted into this one. Can do.

This is the child's size version of the Hazel the Hedgehog II pattern, and it finishes at 48" x 54". I used a lot of spray starch on this one, which is unusual for me, but there are so many seams to keep flat that I found it easier to starch.

Do you have any ideas about quilting? I did hand quilting, FMQ, and straight line quilting on my niece's quilt, and I think I'd like to repeat that with this one.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Wow. Friends. Things have been intense around these parts. Not bad intense, per se, just intense. And life promises to be more so in the next year. Yikes!

I have been sewing, but it's not the super exciting sort. Lots of handstitching on my Gypsy Wife quilt. Some hemming and clothing repair. Some EPP. A bit of work on the linen dress that might kill me. AND, I finished a quilt top for my nephew, but you'll have to wait until Friday for that. I'm calling it, "When Hazel Met Andy", aka "I Love You 152 Pieces". I never name my quilts, but I'm pretty stoked about this one.

However, the most exciting news by far has been the addition of my newest baby. I'm calling her Stella. I love her so. freaking. much. I do love me my Agatha, and I will always love her. There's something about sewing on an old school machine that makes my heart swoon. Knowing that my husband's great grandmother taught her two daughters to sew on it? Super cool.

BUT STELLA. Not only is she a Tula Pink Bernina, but she's loaded with all sorts of awesomeness. Friends, we're talking a knee lift. We're talking needle up/needle down. We're talking an extension table. But not just that! Stella has a LIGHT THAT WORKS, people. (I never thought I'd get so giddy about a light, but after sewing on a machine that's over 60 years old, the small stuff is thrilling.) There are about twenty kajillion more features that I haven't acquainted myself with, but Stella and I are destined to be close.

Is she my best birthday present ever? Um, yeah. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Birthday Pillow.

Yesterday was my friend S's birthday. And as I was terribly overdue for giving her a Christmas gift too, I knew her birthday gift had to be extra special.

So I made her a Hazel the Hedgehog pillow. I used a bunch of fabrics from stash, including a bit of my favorite tree batik print for his eyes and nose. The background is a white on white stripe that came into my collection at some unidentified point. I can't remember purchasing it...yet, there it was...

The back doesn't quite match the front, but I like it. (It reminded me of some of S's handpainted fabrics too.) I used an envelope closure, but I like the binding finish on the panels that the pattern suggested. I do a lot of envelope closures for my cushions--usually because I don't have the right size zipper on hand and I can't be bothered to go to the store or wait--and I think I'll start adding the binding. Time will tell.

This is finish #3 of 14 off my Q2 FAL list, woo! Now, to get those other eleven done!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rainbow pajama pants

My linen dress and I are having a bit of a standoff. I require a more precise fit, and she is remaining mum and refusing to tell me how to best execute that. (What a jerkface, amiright?) Then, I caught sight of my fabulous new rainbow pajama pants waiting to be photographed. Game. On.

I was hunting through my sewing closet a few weeks ago for who can remember what, when I stumbled across a ziploc bag from the far away past. (Or, like ten years ago.) It was the fabric for BFF pajama pants.

I met my BFF in freshman French, and we quickly became tight pals. At this point, we've spent most of our friendship living in different cities--and even different continents at one point--but we've remained close friends, and she is my bestie. And when she was living in England, and I was in the US, I had this great idea that we would make pajama pants on one of her visits home so that way, even if we lived far apart, we'd remember each other because of our fabulous pajama pants.

I knew almost nothing about sewing. We went to Wal-Mart to pick out fabric, bought quilting cotton and a pattern that was probably for beginners, bought some fabulous trim, and cut up our fabric. I severely underestimated how much time it would take us to finish even one pair, so when she left to go back to England, I promised to finish the pairs and mail hers. I finished hers. And mine sat. For TEN YEARS.

Of course, the fabric got separated from the pattern, and I'd already cut the pattern pieces. Thankfully, pajama pants are forgiving, and my body shape hasn't changed too dramatically from college. I started assembling, guessing at the instructions. When I initially tried them on, I realized the waist band hit me extremely high. So I cut off some of the fabric. And then I cut more because they were still high waisted. And then I cut even MORE because they were still practically at my shoulders. Except that time, it was a bit too much, and now they are ultra low waist pajama pants.

Did I mention that I'm not sure we prewashed the fabric? So the first wash of these babies might be disastrous. One leg is about 1/8" shorter than the other, but you would never know if I didn't tell you, so I'm calling it golden.

Best part of the story? I called my BFF to tell her I finally had my pajama pants, and she was delighted. She still has hers. Still wears hers. Apparently they are covered in holes and about to disintegrate, but she has them. She says I can wear mine for the next ten years of our friendship, and maybe in 2025, we'll make two new pairs and wear them together. I love that we can talk about 2025 and know that we will still be besties.

This is finish 2 of 14 from my Q2 FAL list

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Happy Green Mini Quilt and Some Other Stuff

In the last week or so, I've had three small finishes from my Q2 FAL list. Since my list is about a bajillion items long, that still leaves me with a bajillion minus three to complete, but I've started, and this mini is the first I get to share with you.

A friend of mine is moving into a new place soon, and I thought she needed a small mini quilt to liven up her walls. That green is her favorite color, and I used some of the LV EPP flowers I've been making. It's not fussy. I didn't do much quilting--I left the appliqued flower lines to do that business for me--and the backing is the same green fabric as the front--a Moda grunge fabric that converted me to Moda grunge fabrics--but I like it, and I hope my friend will too. This is finish #1 of 14.

Also on the table for this week were suck pads. (Isn't that the most horrible name? But there it is.) For funsies, I told my husband I made suck pads, and he grimaced and looked at me as though I'd lost it. It was fun. Poor man.

(Suck pads are made to protect my Ergo baby carrier straps from the inevitable baby slime.)

I have been enlisted to make an additional four sets for other babywearing mamas in my life. But they take about five minutes to make*, so it's not that big of a deal.

*That may be a slight exaggeration.

Finally, I made my husband a bow tie. The plan was that I would make myself a pretty new dress, and I'd make him a bow tie, and I'd dress our three kidlets in matching shirts and we'd all look adorable for the family photos we were supposed to take this evening at a lovely park. The weather is not cooperating for an outdoor shoot, and my dress isn't done, but my husband loves his bow tie, and he proudly wore it to work today, and he was so adorable, and it made my heart so happy to know that I had made him something that he really really loved.

And now he wants a whole set of them. (Of course he does.) 


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