WIP Wednesday: Starting to Quilt the Forest Animal Quilt

Quilting Forest Animal Baby Quilt

I have a confession to make: I’ve never quilted before. Sure, I’ve made a few quilt tops, but until now, I’ve never actually quilted any of them. Before, Mom lived a scant 40 minutes away, and after scoffing that I could do this myself, she would quilt the quilt for me. (Thanks, Mom). Now, she lives halfway across the country, and although I could probably box up the quilt and send it to her and she would quilt it for me, I think it’s about time I do it myself.

After Craftsy had their mega-sale on all their classes, I picked up Machine Quilt: Free-Motion and More, taught by Wendy Butler Berns. I like that she’s not a perfectionist: her points don’t always match up, like mine, and that makes me more content about being able to just go with the flow when quilting. She encourages practice, and even shows you how to make the same designs freehand drawing on a piece of paper. I’m not a doodler, but I might start doodling now to practice stipiling or feathers.

I found some scrap batting and fabric and practiced some free-motion quilting with the darning foot. I already had a quilting pattern in mind for the quilt, but I couldn’t quite follow the outline of it well with free-motion. I did pretty well with stars and a little stipiling, but following lines on a pattern wasn’t going to happen with the darning foot. When Wendy was stitching her straight lines, she used a walking foot. So I threw the walking foot on my machine and tried that out. As long as I went slow and shoved the quilt through the throat of the machine every once in a while, I was able to follow my pattern pretty well. There were a couple times where it wasn’t “perfect” and I ripped out the stitching. Then I thought that ripping it out because of a couple misplaced stitches was silly, and my newborn niece wasn’t going to scrutinize the quilting I’ve done (plus, that fabric pattern is very distracting, if not headache inducing), so I embraced my mistakes. I EMBRACED MY MISTAKES. That’s not something I do often (unless I’m really lazy, and maybe I was just being lazy, which makes sense since I’m still feeling pretty sick still).

I’m so excited with the progress I’ve made so far. The design was suggested in the book I got the pattern for the quilt from. There two nested circles inside the snowballs, and the bowties have two hearts (I made from a piece of cardboard) connected by a sinusoidal wave. I have to say, quilting is pretty time consuming, and maybe it’s just because I’m starting out… maybe I’ll get faster by the time I’m done with it. :)

 

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Unicorn Quilt: All Sewn Up

Unicorn Quilt: All Blocks Completed

Click to view a larger image

 

A couple of things have been going on since I last wrote. Nothing big, but enough to throw me off the momentum that I had with sewing for the last few weeks. First of all, it’s basically fall in Seattle. It started raining again, with threats of more rain in the forecast, despite the sunny and warm days we’ve had the last couple of days. I guess the ground is wet outside this morning. So, I haven’t been in the mood to sew any more summery dresses.

Also, it’s National Sewing Month, and I set a goal for myself to make my laptop bag for this month. I haven’t… started yet. I need to look for some interfacing/batting to use for the project, and I haven’t done that yet. I don’t know why sewing a rectangle scares me, but it does.

Then, a ton of Craftsy classes went on sale, so I picked up a couple I’d been pining over for a while. This shouldn’t hinder my sewing progress, but it gives me the tools to continue working on some other projects, like the baby quilt for my future niece, since I’ll be quilting that myself.

And lastly, I’ve been sick. I got my first post-summer cold and I’ve been feeling like a Walking Plague or something. I’ve lacked any ambition to work on said laptop bag, so I’ve let myself work on easier projects… like continuing to rip the stabilizer from the back of the Unicorn Quilt blocks. I finished that quicker than I thought I would and spent most of last night sewing up the rest of the quilt. I didn’t even run out of sashing! (Although, I think I’m suppose to have enough to go around the quilt, so I hope I do.) I thought I would need to find fabric for the border (which is suppose to be the same fabric as the quilt blocks), but apparently I was smart enough to buy enough for that too (and that’s good, because I bought that fabric in 2007 and I’m sure it’s been discontinued).

I’m so happy that I’m one-step closer to having this quilt done, even if I still have a lot more applique to do.

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Made It Monday: Put Some Birds on It!

Bird dress without beltThis dress was kind of an experiment, and I wish I could have done this fabric more justice. This is a pretty quilting cotton with watercolor finch-type birds, from designer Dear Stella, called Paloma Birds. I picked it up at West Seattle Fabric Company while I was out on a fabric shopping trip with a sewing friend. If you get a chance to go to this shop, she’s got a lot of pretty quilting fabrics (cottons and flannels). She even had a couple rolls of Italian shirting, that my friend picked up. Yay for supporting local businesses!

I originally planned to make a Cynthia Rowley dress that had a button-down bodice with this fabric, then decided I didn’t want to. I probably should have stuck with my original plan, because I’m not really digging this design with this fabric, despite the smile on my face.

Added Pockets

I added pockets to this dress. I adore dresses with pockets, and this silhouette seemed more agreeable to pockets than the sheath dress I made previously. Since this dress has such a high waist, it was a challenge to figure out where to place the pockets, but I think I figured it out.

Horsehair Braid Hem

Gertie had a tutorial on her blog for adding horsehair braid to hems of skirt to give it a little more fullness. This would probably be more obvious on a circle skirt, but it was a good experiment to try. It was pretty easy to apply, so when I try it next time, I’ll know what to expect.

Bemberg/Ambiance Lining

I’ve heard people rave about this lining, so I bought some to try with this fabric, since it’s a white cotton and it needed more than just facing. It’s slippery, and I used a ton of glasshead pins when working with it, but the end result feels lovely. I’m sure it’s on par with other rayons (which I plan to try next time I make a skirt).

So, while I was making this, I was having issues with liking the crazy long pleats on the bodice to the skirt. It divides the print up too much along the bodice and I didn’t like the way it was looking. I basically like the dress from the bodice up and the waistline down. I wish I had had the foresight to realize what was going to happen to the design on the fabric and gone with either a different pattern or altered the skirt design so that the pleats weren’t so long.

I tried to figure out a way to mitigate the look, and made a belt out of silk dupioni, but I was getting mixed reviews on it. What do you think?

Bird dress with beltAlright, onto my official review.

Pattern Description

A Project Runway design from Simplicity (Simplicity 2145). Above-the-knee-length dress with a ton of pleats on the front, and a pleated bodice.

Pattern Sizing

I went with size 12 through the bodice to the waist and then graded out to size 14 at the hips. Also, adjusted the back waist length 3.5cm less. That adjustment was made on the skirt, so I was kind of paranoid about the length of the skirt, but it seems to be okay.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Pretty much, except I didn’t add any sleeves or any of the wrap decorations.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yeah.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Even though “laundered cotton” was one of the suggested fabrics, I don’t think this worked well with this pattern.  I left off the wrap decorations on the front, and that left these incredibly long pleats along the front. I also don’t think the back pleats worked well… they kind of just… stuck out. Another reviewer on PatternReview.com made a similar observation.

Fabric Used

Quilting cotton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

Left this as a sleeveless design; added my own lining along with the facing around the neckline; and added pockets.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I don’t think I’d sew it again, but with a fabric that drapes well, I would recommend it to others, especially if they wanted to add the front wrap decoration.

Conclusion

This was the first Project Runway from Simplicity pattern I’ve made, and I wasn’t super impressed with it. I think it looked better on paper than made.

Lastly, put a bird on it.

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WIP Wednesday: Ye Olde Forgotten Cross-stitch

Fortunate Traveler

 

This is my poor, neglected cross-stitch I’ve been slowly working on for a couple years. If you’ve read through some of my previous posts about cross-stitching, you’ll know that I track how many hours I spend on my projects (because I’m crazy), but I can’t recall off-hand how many I’ve invested into this one so far. I haven’t been working on this bad boy for a while because… knitting… sewing… quilting… and my back and neck have been hurting when I’m cross-stitching. I recently picked up a frame stand, so I’m hoping that will take some pressure off my back and neck, and I can pick up the pace with this.

Regardless, I’m happy with how it’s been going so far.

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Planning for Gertie’s Vintage Inspired Wool Dress

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I was on vacation most of this past week, so I didn’t finish anything. I worked really hard on knitting the Tappan Zee cardigan, but there’s only so much knitting that can be done in Las Vegas… especially when you’re getting sunburned by the pool. Today, I picked up some swatches I ordered from MoodFabrics.com (I’m planning on making my husband a wool coat for this winter). These swatches are for one of the new Butterick patterns.

As usual, my picture taking abilities are pretty poor, so here’s a description of of the different swatches: Black wool with red accents and red gabardine; black and white cashmere in houndtooth and black gabardine; a purple wool (I realize it looks black) with lilac accents with a lilac wool/lycra blend. One of these will become the dress below, which is one of the new Butterick patterns from Gertie. I’m partial to the top two selections, but threw in the third because it’s different, and might be a little cute. Which would you choose?

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WIP Wednesday: Forest Animal Quilt

Forest Animal Quilt start

We have a new niece on the way, so onto another quilt! I’ve actually got a lot more done than what’s pictured here, but this is the gist of it. The pattern is called Snowbows and it’s from the book “101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts“. I love this print: it’s fun and trendy, I’d almost want to make a skirt from the purple fabric! My husband has been helping me with this one too. I gave him the task of cutting all those small squares into HST (half-square triangles), plus, he made a cardboard template for me to cut the corners off the purple blocks. This one I plan to quilt myself. I figure the Baby Lock can probably handle a small baby quilt, and my mom gave me some advice on how to transfer the stitching pattern to the quilt. Should be fun!

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Made It Monday: Proof-of-Concept Fit Dress

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(Previously, I started taking Lynda Maynard’s “Sew the Perfect Fit” class provided by Craftsy.)

Procrastination. That’s how a lot of my projects start out getting ignored. Fortunately, I couldn’t procrastinate for too long, because the altered muslin was using up so many of my pins, that I was having problems sewing other projects. Also, knowing I needed to make so many pattern changes, I couldn’t make myself anything until I figured out what those changes were. I was having a difficult time translating those changes over to my pattern since I my body had changed dramatically that I really should have cut a smaller pattern.

I started over.

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