Monday, June 30, 2014

a dress for the birthday girl

I kind of love making dresses for my little girls, and birthday dresses are the very best kind. This is the 4th birthday dress for this little love of mine (others here, here, and here) and it is possibly my favorite yet. It is fun as she gets older to get more input from her about what she'd like. This year the requirement, once again, was a spinny dress. She first was going for something like this, but after I explained how freaking hot all those layers would be in the dead of summer, we decided maybe something a little lighter was in order. Enter the Scene VI dress.

It is perfect. I am not kidding when I say that I want one in my size. We looked through my voile scraps to pick fabrics for the top, opting to omit the piecing and just have one fabric triangles. She picked the fabric placements and chose the color for the skirt, and it is just awesome. And let me tell you, this dress can spin. I wish I had a picture of it, but my model was being uncooperative so I'll have to try again later.

I made her a 3T with the 4T length for my tall skinny girl and it fits perfectly. I probably could have gotten away with the 4 all around, but honestly, I won't mind making her another when she outgrows it. The hardest part was sewing around for the elastic casing (I don't really understand the elastic, but oh well) and I definitely had the skirt get a little wonky. Hemming was another headache, but worth it in the long as you don't look too closely, it's fine. Also it called for 1.5" elastic and I used about half that width. The most exciting part was putting in the bra slider. It was simple and makes this so much easier. That is one of the main problems with kids dresses, the straps are either not adjustable or they tie and come undone.

Really, I hope she has a great time wearing this and spinning in it for her birthday. And I do honestly hope I get to make more of these beautiful dresses in the future.

Friday, June 27, 2014

some sweet bags

I love making bags! So useful, and in this case pretty easy to make. Perfect little projects. Two bags have snuck their way into my making recently. To one of them I say "finally!" and the other, well that little cutie just snuck in there to help me avoid other things.

I don't know how long grocery bags have been on my to-do list. It is definitely a long time though. Deciding on a pattern has been tough, but I finally found one that I really wanted to try. It was a quick make and I love the way it turned out, now I just need to test it for a while to figure out if I want more of that particular kind. I ended up making mine reversible, mostly because I didn't have any big enough cuts for a solid lining. But in my mind there is an outside since on side is linen and decor weight fabric. This bag is huge! I am going to start out by testing it on our trip and then putting it into the grocery bag rotation to see how it goes, but if it works well, I will definitely be making more.

The other bag is a project bag. Because when you spend so much time anticipating making a sweater, and getting yarn and needing to transport said yarn to use your father's yarn winder, obviously it needs a pretty bag. Made from absolute favorite fabrics.

This bag is a mash up of probably 4 different project bags I have seen and liked. I mostly used this one from Very Shannon, but I did the drawstring differently so it is not reversible and figured out my own measurements for the different fabrics.I made a bigger one, using a 16" square. I did interface the outer fabrics and I will say that the essex linen made the drawstring casing a little tougher to open and close, but I love it so much that I don't care. The lining used two fabrics only because I didn't have enough of the flower one to line the entire thing, but I love it and having the darker fabric in the bottom will help hide dirt/fuzz anyway.  It stands up pretty well on its own and is big enough that it should fit a sweater I think. I am so in love with this bag that I know I will find a use for it, whether it involves a project or not. Admittedly there were probably other things I should have been doing when I made this, but I am sure whatever it was got done eventually.

I do still have a couple little pouches that I really should make before I leave, so I should probably make some time and do that. And pack, definitely pack. Next up: birthday awesome! Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

this and that

Do you remember how I said when I felt overwhelmed, it seemed like a good idea to start a new quilt? Because apparently that is actually a thing I do. I thought at the time that it was kind of a one-off thing, like maybe just then because I had been waiting to make that particular quilt or something. But no, I've done it again. Unfortunately, this will not be nearly as quick as the last time, so I may be putting myself in for yet another long term project. I just got this block in my head the other night and So I started sketching and thinking and working out the math and in the morning sewing and ripping and drawing and playing until I had just what I wanted. And I'll tell you, I love it. But they take forever and being the crazy person I am, I really want a pretty big quilt of them. They finish at 6" so it is going to take quite a few of them and this represents all of them that I got made this weekend. So, there's that. On the plus side, it should be a mighty good scrap buster, which I need right now :)

In other news, I am stitching away at my kawaii winter sampler from the frosted pumpkin stitchery. I got it years ago and even got all the materials and everything and it has just been sitting and waiting. Finally as part of my cleaning out all the things, I pulled it out. It is the last thing standing between me and sweater making, so I am pretty determined and have been spending all the time I can working at it. It takes longer than I'd like and I don't think I love cross stitch, but I do absolutely love the way it is coming together and I am very much looking forward to having this one to hang up this winter. Even if I am actually driving myself a little crazy with it right now.  The top left corner looks a little wonky, but I promise it isn't.

The cross stitch is really what is sucking up most of my time right now, but I have some serious cleaning and packing to do since we will be away next week to see family and celebrate a certain little girl turning 4(!!!!). Next week I will finally share the birthday things I have been making her, and let me tell you, they are pretty awesome. I guess after we get through that, I have a certain 1st birthday to prepare myself for....oh boy. I don't know if my mama heart can take all this excitement haha. Anyway, I'll be back soon with some other little things that have been happening.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the end of the pony club

I don't know if it is with great sadness or relief that I write this, the final post in the journey of my pony club quilt. Maybe both? Either way, the journey has come to an end. I know that I mentioned before that this has been a bit of a roller coaster, a lot of love-hate going on, but I am happy to say that I am absolutely in love with this finished quilt!

I started this almost a year and a half ago, and took a long break from it last year. This year I decided it was time to finish it up and I had a great time doing it. 89 blocks from the book plus my one addition, mostly scraps for the blocks. The cornerstones are sketch in mist, and it is sashed and bordered in interweave chambray, which I have to say, turned out to be the perfect choice. It has more depth then a plain gray but was easier to work with then a linen, I thought. I had wanted to use a peppered cotton, which would admittedly have been softer, but this one was just the *perfect* shade of gray. I was worried that the blocks wouldn't have enough breathing room with the tiny sashing (it only finishes at 1" wide) but it seems I needn't have worried.

It is backed in a lovely, soft Joel Dewberry voile and, in a strange move for me, bound in that same chambray. I don't know if I have ever bound something to match the border, but I think it was the absolute right decision for this quilt. It felt like it took ages to bind this thing, probably because of the weight difference between the voile and the chambray, but it worked out in the end.

It took me a long time to decide on quilting. Part of me really wanted a nice allover design, like baptist fans or something, but I just don't have the skills yet to pull that off and I knew I would just get frustrated and feel like I ruined my quilt, so it had to be straight lines. I thought about just staying in the sashing, but I really wanted to secure the blocks themselves a bit, so diagonal lines seemed a good answer. I knew I wouldn't like just an X through each block, but when I thought of doing a double X, hitting on either side of the cornerstones, I fell in love. I really think that makes this quilt for me. It is still light as far as quilting goes, but it also feels secure and doesn't detract from any of the blocks. I actually used masking tape to mark each diagonal and then figure out where to line up my walking foot so that it would hit where I needed it to.

It came out a smaller queen size and is already happily residing on my bed. I think before I washed it, it was about 84"x93" so there is not a huge amount of overhang on the sides, but I think it will work perfectly just the same. Once I get my double wedding ring quilt done for the bed, this one will probably move to the couch, but I am totally okay with that. I am beginning to think that in order to have a quilt on my favorites list, all I have to do is back it in voile, so I'll have to remember that!  This quilt was a long time coming, but I have to say that it was worth the wait!

Monday, June 16, 2014

sweet baby wrap sweater {a first}

Lately, I have been a little obsessed with always having a hand project going on that I can work on while on the couch or bed or wherever I happen to be relaxing with the people I love. I really dislike EPP, so mostly it's been knitting lately (although the current is a cross stitch, more on that another day).

I decided before she was born that the babe needed a sweater. Keep in mind I have never knit a sweater before, but clearly that is beside the point. I have had this book, Easy Baby Knits, for a long time and have made a couple things out of it, but until now, I hadn't gotten brave enough to try a sweater. Let me just say, I think knitting sweaters is scary, a fear I am very hopeful of conquering this year. All that work and it has to end up actually fitting someone! But anyway, I had this yarn that I had gotten from my dad and it seems a perfect match for the wrap top pattern in the book. I had enough to make the 18-24 month size, which will hopefully fit this fall. It was a lot of firsts for me and I am proud that I made it and that it looks like it is supposed to. It only took me a little over a month, which is making pretty good time for me, especially considering this has been waiting to be made least 10 months I think and I had to change the size so it would be for this year instead of last haha. If you want more info, it's on my ravelry page.

With that done, the next knitting item is a sweater for me. Pattern and yarn are already on hand and I am just trying to get this cross stitch done, and hopefully I can join in with the summer sweater knit along at Very Shannon. I doubt I'll get it done in their time frame, but it would be so nice to have a handmade sweater to wear this fall/winter. Anyway, that's my knitting news. Next time: quilting news!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

sweet little piece of cake

I know, I know, a second day in a row! Don't die of shock or anything haha! I just whipped up this little dress for the babe and I had to share it real quick.

When Anna Maria Horner released this sweet (and free) little dress pattern, I knew I had to make one! And since we are pushing the size limit around here, I figured it had better be sooner rather than later. And really, doesn't a little sister deserve a cute little dress to wear for her big sisters birthday too? Am I justifying a bit too much?

Anyway, I used this plaid shirting because it's light and summery and I had it. To avoid cutting what I had left of the fabric on the bias to make the bias tape, I used some that I had leftover, from some piping I think, which was perfect and a nice little detail inside. Super easy pattern, came together in like an hour, and so stinking adorable. I still have to get pictures of it on the model, but that's alright, I will get a chance to try eventually.

And now, happy weekend! Next week, I will finally be able to share the big things I've been working on and I.can't.wait!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I made shorts, people! And they are probably as nice as any I've bought! And they fit and I love them and thank goodness they are done because it's so freaking hot!

This was a big one for me, in case you couldn't tell. Bottoms, elastic waistbands aside, are scary stuff! I used the grainline studios maritime shorts pattern, and it is fantastic. I decided to test it out with some corduroy I had sitting around, and used some leftover lawn for the inside of the waistband and the pocket linings. I inserted my first zip fly, which was not as hard as I had feared, and ultimately changed the closure from a slide hook and eye thing, to a button. I even hand stitched down the waistband like a champ and they look so professional. I admit I am a little shocked.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of me wearing them. Mostly because by the time I thought of it they had been worn all day and looked it. But they fit great. I think I might actually shorten them a bit on the next pair, because oh yes there will be a next pair. Once I figure out what to make them out of.

I think that's about it as far as clothes for me for the moment. I am sure there will be another round, but I am definitely taking a breather for now. I have a few things for the kiddies and of course, a quilt to share soon :) I have so many things to get made right now and I am pretty sure every day I add something else. Currently I am figuring out what birthdayish things I need to make all sneaky-like while the little is at camp during the mornings next week, and trying to have it all ready to go so I can actually get it done.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

tunic time

I am suffering from a serious case of *more ideas than time* right now. Things feel so super busy, and I am afraid they are only about to get worse, but I am working away trying to get some things done. Right now I am in the midst of both a lot of hand work (binding and cross stitch in fact) and some birthday/travel prep. But today, I want to share the washi tunic I made!

I have had this pattern for quite some time, but was waiting for my body to settle down from that whole baby thing before I made one. I really want to make a dress version, but that is for when the little nursling is all finished I think. This one is a medium that I made out of a lightweight fabric my grandmother gave me. It is definitely a cute top, but I'll be honest, there is something about it that is a bit off for me. I think it seems a bit short in the straps or the waist or something, so I might try adding some length there next time.

In this version I narrowed the sleeves for a tank top and made the scoop both wider and deeper. I didn't use any facings or lining or anything and just finished it with bias tape on the neck and sleeves. It does feel a bit puffy in the belly and I think I keep wanting it to come in under the bust where the seam is instead of floating away, but I'm not really sure. I ponder these things every time I wear it. I do plan to make a voile maxi dress version at some point, for sure, but I am probably going to have to do another test to work all this out. Hopefully as I learn more about making garments, it will be easier to figure out what my problem with things actually is and how to fix it. For now, it is still a cute shirt that I am happy to wear :)

Now I need to get back to my binding I guess. For some reason, this pony club quilt is taking me absolutely forever to bind, but I just keep telling myself it will be worth it when it's done. Maybe this week. If I can keep myself from getting totally distracted by cute cross stitch. I am still very much in clean it up mode and this cross stitch is the last thing standing between me and the sweater I desperately want to try to knit later this summer. In my overambitious dream world, I am planning on having it finished in the next month....I'll be back to show a bit of it later, once I get a bit more done.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

more tanks

Not too long ago, I posted about the tiny pocket tank from grainline studios that I made. It is really a great pattern and it is so nice to have a solid basic pattern like this. For the record, I live in tank tops. Like, all year. I wear them probably more than anything, so it only makes sense that I figure out how to make some myself that I love. After my first test version, I made 2 more.

The first is a super soft voile. Now to be honest, I had been in love with this print and was super excited about it, but I was very disappointed when I got it and it was only 44" wide so I had to get another yard. I was invested at that point though, so I got the other yard and carried on. I decided to line this with a super soft white voile too so it wouldn't be so sheer but would still be light and airy. I just treated the two as one and went about my business. I did french seams again on this one and I love it. It is super comfy and good for a hot day, but will also be cute with a sweater. It does wrinkle a bit, but I'm okay with that.

For the second, I wanted to try it with a knit fabric. I knew I was going to need to alter it a bit but instead of going down a size, I decided to use the same size I had cut and alter from there. I started by trimming off between 1/2" and 1" on each side of the back, tapering up to the armpit. I used the serger on this one for all the seams and when I tried it on, I ended up taking off another probably 2" from each side to bring it in enough for the knit fabric. I had been saving this stripe fabric for years. It is so soft and lovely and I want to wear it all.the.time. I went with the bias tape on all the edges again and it was perfect. If I could somehow manage to have this clean every day, I might just wear it that often.

Once I find some more super awesome knits that I want to live in, I might make a couple more of these. But I also have some t-shirts to try out at some point, so we'll see. I have a couple more articles of clothing to share and by then I really hope I have a quilt to share. My pony club quilt is quite close to finished and I'll be honest, I love it so much more than I thought I would! Hopefully that love and the desire to have it on my bed will help me push through the binding in the next few days :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

dress #2

Well here we are, another week. I made some good progress on my quilting this weekend so I hope to have a quilt to show soon, but in the meantime, some more clothes! I mentioned before, I made 2 dresses, and this is the less practical one, but naturally the one I am totally in love with. Unfortunately there is no way I can nurse my babe in this so it will be mostly tucked away for a while. Still, I love it.

It has a bit of a difficult story though. I made this from a class. I had been wanting to check out some of their offerings and I saw this class to make this peasant dress and I fell in love. I couldn't stop thinking about it and how much I loved it. So I signed up for the free trial, and while I admit I have a nice finished product, I am sure glad I didn't pay for it. It was a bit of a nightmare. The class is to learn how to take a tank blouse pattern, which they provide, and alter it into the dress, which is something I was seriously interested in learning. Things started out pretty badly though, when I printed the pattern and it was almost impossible to tape together. I am not kidding, it was the worst pattern taping experience I have had. The pages were askew and didn't line up even remotely straight, and there were absolutely no markings to tell you where the pages should overlap. I made my best guess based on the overlap of words and curves, but it was so frustrating. Not to mention I absolutely could not find a size chart in any of the class information so I had no idea which size to cut. I went with the size I normally wear; thankfully it is a really forgiving dress so it worked out. The materials for the class were a bit off too, saying that you need a zipper (which you don't for the dress, only if you are making the top it's made from) and that 2 yards of fabric is enough, which it is if you don't have a directional pattern, but otherwise you will need more as I found out the hard way, which is why my design goes sideways.

The class itself was fine. A little sparse on information and there were mentions of things that were never taught, like cutting slippery fabric which it says she will talk about and show tips for, but it doesn't happen. I actually thought I was going crazy for a while there. I did learn a few good general tips though so at least there is that. Clearly, I was so in love with this dress that I was willing to deal with all this and not quit, and what I am saying is you have to be really dedicated to work through this one, but if you are, it is so worth it. I used an Amy Butler voile that I found on sale and am completely in love with. And I am happy to report that it looks just as cute with my sandals as it does with my boots and a cardigan, so I am set for year-round wear.

In conclusion, the class was rough but the dress is awesome. I really really love it and I think a date night may be in order so I can wear it soon :)