Baby and big sister gifts.

Our friends, Meredith and Bryan, are about to have their second baby. We met Meredith and Bryan because their daughter is super great friends with Charlie (and they saw each other one night out at a pizza place. Charlie was like, oh that’s my friend from school! and then we ended up all sitting together.) It’s so fun to have playdates with them because we all get to hang out too.

So a new baby means a new quilt! I used a pattern I’d never tried before – Storytime Squares by made-by-rae. My sister made an adorable version for one of her mama friends last year and it totally inspired me to try the pattern. I used 4.5 inch squares instead of 5 inch squares because that’s what I had already cut, so I had to adjust the sashing some, and then it turned out a little smaller than I wanted, so I added an extra border on the outside. I probably could have quilted it a bit more –  I really liked how the quilting looked after doing just a 1/4 inch around the big blocks and extra lines in the sashing, so I stopped there.  I am really happy with how it turned out!

My version of Storytime Squares

I knew that they were doing robots and monsters in their nursery, so I found a cute monsters flannel at Joann’s and used that for the back. Of course I forgot to take a picture ;) There are also a few flannel blocks in there on the front. It turned out around 41 x 41 inches.

I didn’t want to leave big sister out, so I made a little something for her too. My friend Mary-Heather pointed out this adorable pattern for a doll, Elsa, by Wee Wonderfuls, and I thought it would be perfect for her because she loves princesses and pink and purple. It was really fun to make and actually pretty quick – the hard part is the finishing touches, like the face and the hair. The pattern calls for felt eyes but I can never get them cut out quite right – I bet if I used better felt I could! So I embroidered a simple face. I feel like the face can make or break a softie like this – it is so easy to make the face accidentally weird or scary. Ha. Hopefully this doll’s face is just cute ;)

Flutterberry.

I followed the pattern directions to make the hair, and then braided it and tacked it down over where the doll’s ears would be. This made the braids hang really nicely. Her skirt is removable, and I can totally see making fun little dresses for a doll like this too. Big sister was very excited about her doll and decided that her name would be Flutterberry. :)

Hooray for friends and new babies and siblings!

 

More sewing with knits: the Laurel Tunic.

Happy Friday! I finished another sewing project: The Laurel Tunic, by Greenstyle Creations. Overall, I think this pattern is very straightforward to sew – it took me a minute to understand what I was supposed to do with the cowl neck, but the directions are very clear and I think a beginner could definitely sew this. My version took me a little while to finally finish because I kept seeing ways to make it better. The final version looks like this (not the greatest picture but you get the idea):

The Laurel TunicBut it took me a little while to get here. When I started making this, the top part fit great as it was in the pattern, so I put the whole shirt together with no alterations and declared it done. Hooray! Then I had Jacob take some pics of me in it, and I couldn’t believe how BIG it was on me. I just didn’t notice it until I saw the picture:Laurel Tunic, first go round.

So it looks cute, but it is kind of shapeless. Jacob said it looked like a square. Ha. ( I was like, why didn’t you tell me it looked so huge? and he said, I don’t know, I thought it was supposed to look like that!)I decided to take the sides in and remove the pockets (because this fabric is pretty thin and they looked bulky), and see how I felt about it then. Here’s take two:

Laurel Tunic take two.

 

Okay SO MUCH BETTER. Now it’s actually a little bit flattering! However, the length just wasn’t quite right for me, and it looked super weird with a skirt. So during my photoshoot with my friend Denise, I folded up the tunic to see if we liked it better shorter. And we did!

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ooooh this looks like a shirt I would buy at the store! So after work I ran home and trimmed some length of the shirt. I was so excited and happy after I hemmed it that I accidentally cut INTO THE SEWN HEM when I was trying to trim off extra fabric. (OMG I am such a dork.) So, the final version is a wee bit shorter than I originally wanted it to be, but ultimately I think the most wearable version of the shirt. When I make another one, I’ll definitely do the shorter length, and I may go down a size with the pattern, because I had to take the sides in A LOT for the fit to look right. I also think I would like a dress length version of this.

sewing-projects

After all of that, I ended up with a shirt that I love, and that I can really wear with lots of other things in my closet. I just used my regular old sewing machine for this pattern as well – she mentions in the directions when you need to use a stretch stitch (like a zig zag or the stretch tricot on my machine) versus just a straight stitch. I also tried using the twin needle on my machine for the first time and it really does make the hems look so finished (and more like the hems on ready-to-wear knits). I really am working up to using my serger! SOON.

Hope you are having a great Friday! I’ll leave you with a picture of our newly adopted pup, Wally. He’s one year old, and a snuggler.

Distinguished gentleman.

Tiramisu, the third.

So apparently I can’t stop making Tiramisus. Ha!

 

TiramisuSorry for the slightly crappy picture. I haven’t had time to get real pictures of it so my smudgy mirror selfies will have to do ;) This Tiramisu is made with some cotton spandex knit fabric that I got from Girl Charlee and it is so soft – it feels like wearing pajamas! It isn’t quite as heavy as the knit I used for my second Tiramisu, so I was worried that it would be super fiddly to sew with, but it was totally fine. The only thing I’ve started doing is when I sew a seam, I don’t start at the beginning – I start like an inch in, because my machine seems to want to suck the knit fabric in when I start sewing at the beginning. Since I’ve started doing this, I had way less trouble with the fabric getting sucked in and tangled up.

This fabric is obviously stripey, and the Tiramisu pattern gives you guidelines for matching stripes. I LOVE the way the stripe matching turned out. I want to make other ones in stripey fabric now!

Tira close up

Here’s a close up of the bodice (and please ignore my imperfect top stitching!)  The way the pattern works, the neck binding is a little bit shorter than your bodice pieces, so you gently stretch it to fit, which makes the whole bodice stay nice and tight and not gapey. I definitely have to do some fitting each time, so I baste all the bodice pieces together, and then pin so it fits, and then baste again. and then sew it up. This has worked super well for me! I also tried to do the pockets this time, but with this fabric, they looked lumpy and weird so I decided to leave them out. I think this next picture best shows how I feel about this dress:

yay!

Taken with Photo Booth on my work computer ;) I made it on a Monday night and wore it on a Tuesday! I wanted to mention that I’ve been using my regular sewing machine to make these Tiramisus. I *do* have a serger, but I’m sort of working up the courage to use it on actual seams on actual dresses. Ha. I am such a wimp. But I did practice threading it! Progress!

I’ve already started working on the (hopefully wearable) muslin for my next project. This one is the Laurel tunic, by Greenstyle. I started sewing last night and got close to finished with the top:
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I am making the medium and so far, the fit seems great!

What are you working on these days? Any sewing patterns that you are absolutely loving? Or knitting, even? :)

 

Tiramisu, the second.

I finished my second Tiramisu!

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I am really happy with it. This time, I made the bodice pieces just like I did in the muslin, but I went up one size for the skirt (since I had the issue where the skirt pieces were way too small) and that meant I also had to retrace the bodice pieces as well. I also used my cutting table, pattern weights, and my rotary cutter instead of pinning the pattern pieces and using scissors, and it made a huge difference.

I didn’t make any effort to match up the chevrons, but I think it still looks okay. This knit is a little heavier than than my muslin fabric, and it was much easier to work with. I also remembered to use the stretch stitch when I attached the binding to the sleeves and they are super comfortable – no tightness at all. I wore this dress all day at Easter with my family, and it is so comfy!

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I topstitched the sleeves and the neck binding, which seems to help them lay flat and also just looks nice. I haven’t hemmed this yet because the pattern says to wear it unhemmed for a bit so it can settle before hemming. NO PROBLEM. The nice things about knits – it doesn’t look unfinished without a hem! (I mean, it will look MORE finished with a hem but I’m totally fine wearing it with a raw hem for a bit.)

happy about my dress

 Y’all I cannot get over how wearable this is. I want to SEW MORE KNITS! and also more clothes! I always get the itch to sew clothes for myself when the weather starts getting warm, and this year is no exception. Luckily, I went through my fabric stash and found a bunch of voile that I bought last year – probably enough for a few dresses and a shirt – and I still have enough knit fabric for one more Tiramisu. I also may have hit up Joann’s during the one dollar Simplicity pattern sale and bought some more patterns that are meant for knits. Other things I’m planning to make are the Amelia dress (look at all the gorgeous versions in that blog post from Bolt!) and the Endless Summer Tunic (One Stitch Short Sarah made a super cute version of this tunic!) I always make grand plans for sewing and they don’t always happen, but it’s nice to dream about doing it and maybe I’ll actually make everything this time :)

My family!
Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates! We lucked out with some gorgeous weather here, so it was a perfect day for an Easter egg hunt. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

More sewing!

It feels so good to be blogging again! And it’s so nice to chat with people in the comments. HI!

As soon as I finished Ollie’s quilt, I already knew what my next sewing project would be: the Tiramisu dress, by Cake Patterns. I’ve been wanting to sew with some knits for a while, and THEN Jacob got me a serger for Christmas, so now I really have no excuse. I ordered some awesome knit fabric from Girl Charlee – including some super cute and super sale fabric to use for a muslin – and got to work.

tiramisu-muslinI learned a few things in sewing my muslin. The Tiramisu pattern I used is one that you print out and then tape together, which is super handy but also sort of a pain. (But, instant gratification, so.) When I do patterns like this, I usually use freezer paper to trace the pattern pieces in my size, and then pin the freezer paper pieces to the fabric to cut it out. For me, the knit fabric was way harder to cut precisely than quilting fabric or some other woven fabric. So lesson one: clear off my cutting table, and use pattern weights and a rotary cutter instead of the floor, pins, and my scissors.

The pattern tells you to use a “lightning stitch” to seam the pieces – this is a stretch stitch that you’re supposed to use with knits. On my machine, (a lovely Pfaff Ambition) this stitch is called a stretch tricot stitch. However, it’s way more difficult to rip seams that have been sewn with this stitch. So I learned that I need to baste, baste, baste with a straight stitch, try the pieces on, and THEN sew with the stretch stitch once I’m sure things fit right. (I know, DUH. I didn’t say these were lessons that everyone needs to learn. ha.)

So I got the bodice all sewn up – I got lucky and the bodice mostly fit great. I had to make a few adjustments,and the neckline is a little snug, but not uncomfortable, and I’m taking notes for the next time I sew this. It’s my muslin, right? I just want it to be wearable. Next, I go to sew the skirt pieces together, and they are WAY too narrow. Now, I had a choice between sizes when I was cutting out pattern pieces, and I did choose the smaller of those two sizes, but I think the issue was in my cutting. (See lesson one!) I think the fabric was moving around too much when I cut and I cut incorrectly. To fix this, I cut two strips of fabric and seamed them on the sides of the skirt pieces. It’s a design feature. HAHAHA.

Finally I put all the pieces together!

Tiramisu muslin

It’s *mostly* wearable. I would need to wear a sweater with it at work because there’s a hole in the back where my fabric got stuck in my machine, and the sides might be a little weird from the extra fabric I had to add. BUT I can totally bum around the house or at the playground in this! and I think I’m going to be able to make one that fits really, really well next time around. So hooray for muslins! I’ve already cut out the pieces for Tiramisu number two.

A Quilt for Ollie.

Well I was going to post this all on Flickr but man, Flickr looks crazypants these days, and I thought, who is really going to go look at all of this on Flickr? Where could I post this info? I do still have this blog…so hi there! I’m posting on my blog about a quilt I just finished. Now it may be the case that no one will come here to read the quilt details either, but at least it’s a little easier to navigate than Flickr.

Quilt for Ollie, March 2014.
A quilt for Ollie.

Finally finished Ollie’s quilt! I started this when Cathy was pregnant. The finished quilt is 39.5 inches x 50.5 inches.

I didn’t use a pattern, but this quilt was the inspiration. It is basically wonky stars and nine patch blocks, alternating. I started with 4.5 inch squares and tried to stick with a purple-green-pink-blue palette. It’s a little loud, but I think that’s perfect for a baby quilt :)

This quilt is machine bound, and I used this method where you end up with a main binding color and then a little accent color. This is probably the first machine binding I’ve ever done that I was happy with.

The backing fabric is from a set of curtains I got on clearance at Target – I cut the lining out and it was perfect!
Quilt backing! Read more about the quilt here.

I also used my machine to embroider a label.
Quilt tag

I’m super happy with how it turned out! I can’t wait to get some pictures of Miss Ollie on her quilt. :)