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Hitting the Reset Button

Life happens.

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written here. I had big plans for 2017 — and then life happened. My priorities shifted to something that needed my full and immediate attention, so my plans were shelved.

But it was far from a year without crafting. Even in those times when my heart hurts and it feels like the weight of the world is on me, I am grateful to find respite in creating. Maybe 2017 wasn’t my prolific year of making, but I know that my priorities were in the right place.

And now I’m determined to get back to crafting and writing, and eventually dusting off those shelved plans.

I hope you’ll follow along.

The Hunt is On

QuiltCon is here, which means the QuiltCon Scavenger Hunt has begun! Follow me on Instagram (thatcraftaddict). Then find at least 15 of the 20 Instagram photos on the list below for your entry to be complete. Happy hunting! The Scavenger Hunt form is now closed. Thanks for playing!

Freebie Friday

I have intended to start a regular feature like this for some time but just haven’t gotten myself going on it. Times, they are a changing!

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I designed this beach bag for Westminster Fibers last year to showcase the Beach line of fabric by David Walker. It’s a nice, roomy tote with a flat bottom, exterior pocket and interfaced with Soft n Stable so it doesn’t droop. I’ve made a couple for gifts; they’re really easy to sew and can be personalized in so many ways (I’m thinking laminated cotton for the exterior!)

Here’s what you need to make one:

Exterior: 7/8 yard (.81m)
Lining: 7/8 yard (.81m)
Straps: 3/8 yard (.343m)
Pocket: 1/4 yard (.229m)
Binding: 1/4 yard (.229m)
1/4 yard (.229m) of heavyweight fusible interfacing
7/8 yard (.81m) of By Annie’s Soft n Stable
3/8 yard (.343m) of 3/8” elastic

The nice folks at Westminster have the instructions in handy PDF format here for downloading. Enjoy!

 

Costumed Crazy

DragonCon 2013 was a blast, as expected. Labor Day is usually a time most folks are trying to sneak in a trip to the beach but the geeks in my house all head into downtown Atlanta to spend a few days among our people.

I was an Attending Professional this year and spent a few hours on panels for the Costuming Track, which was just a joy. I love talking about sewing and getting the chance to do so with some amazing costuming professionals at a fun convention just makes me happy beyond belief.

Miss L loves dressing up just as much as I do, so I decided to sew companion costumes for us to wear one day. I was inspired to create these after reading the book The Night Circus. There’s such vivid imagery in the book and I loved the idea of playing with historical fashions to create my version of what Reveurs might wear.

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L’s top is a girl’s boned ballgown bodice pattern I bought online somewhere. I drafted the skirt and used black piping between the pleated ruffle and the skirt to add a little flair. The stripes on her skirt are cut on the bias. Matching them up was fun. If you’re idea of fun means “crazymaking and dizzying.” My sweet friend Amber surprised us with the fingerless gloves she crocheted to complete the look.

My outfit used four patterns from Truly Victorian, including the corset and petticoat under the skirt. I’m so in love with the vest basque, it’s not funny. But it’s a crazy amount of fabric in this costume. Crazy. Like, 20 yards or so. Did I mention that it’s usually in the upper 80s — if we’re having a cool spell — and I was wearing a wig? Just a little bit hot in there. Major props to my Honey for helping me get in and out of that get up in a parking lot. He’s a real trouper.

We Love Summer Camp

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Today was the first day of Little Stitchers summer camp at Intown Quilters and I couldn’t be happier.

This is the first time I’ve offered a camp for kids younger than 11. All my other camps (and the camps done by another teacher) are aimed at older kids. Inevitably, we get calls about things younger kids can do and have to turn them away.

After the fun we had with Miss L’s birthday party, I started brainstorming a camp for younger kids. All the projects involve hand sewing and each project builds on the skills from the previous projects.

Obviously I had to sign up Miss L, who has been disappointed that she’s not old enough for my other camps. She and two other students arrived bright and early this morning for the first three-hour camp day.

And they loved it.

Miss L is showing off the nametag she stitched up this morning. (Isn’t that fabric so cool? It’s by Timeless Treasures and has some great school coordinates.)

It was awesome to watch the girls work, contentedly sewing and then grinning broadly as they finished.

I have the best job EVER.

New Year, New Bag

I think I probably sew more bags than just about anything else in my repertoire. There’s just something gratifying about making something I can immediately use — and I literally wear out the bags I sew, which means there’s always room for another in my closet.

Daisy Girl Backpack

This bag combined two things I fell in love with on sight: Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Rising fabric and the Daisy Girl Backpack by Fig Tree & Co. Honestly, the most difficult part of this exercise was cutting into the fabric. It’s OOP! It’s the only half-yard of it I bought! Once I make something with it, that’s it! Oh em gee!

Yeah, I may get a little worked up on occasion.

I actually bought the fabric with another project in mind but couldn’t find quite the right lining fabric. I’m glad I waited because I love how this bag turned out. LOVE. IT!

The contrast fabric is Kona (if someone’s really interested, I can match to  my color card) and I used a minty cotton twill for the lining (I inexplicably bought about four yards of it and it’s a pretty nice match). A note on linings: I tend to stick with light-colored fabric for lining bags. If you’ve ever owned a purse with a dark lining, you know that a black hole it can literally be. So much easier to rummage around and find what you’re looking for (I’m looking at you, debit card) if you can actually see the bottom of the bag.

I added a swivel hook to the bag lining to keep my keys, because it’s much easier to find them if they’re always snapped to it. I also substituted a flat magnetic clasp instead of the magnetic snap to save on wear and tear of the opening (I’m rough on bags and inevitably rip the snap through, even with plenty of reinforcement). And I goofed up a bit with the interior pocket and drawstring casing (read the directions! I’d save myself a ton of heartache if I’d follow my own advice!) but it’s still functional if not quite what Joanna Figueroa intended.

There’s a drawstring closure of the bag top which uses grommets and I deviated from the instructions here to do them more like corset grommets. The biggest difference is that I use an awl to work holes for the grommets rather than cutting the fabric. It works on smaller grommets — I can’t see how the technique would work on the big drapery grommets — but is incredibly tedious. It probably took me about 90 minutes but I think it helps keep the fabric stronger around the grommets since there’s no cutting involved. Obviously YMMV.

The bag size is pretty good for my needs. It holds my checkbooks, wallet, iPad and/or Kindle with room to spare. But not so roomy that it will end up a bottomless pit of old receipts, coupons and forgotten mail. Oh, who am I kidding? I am, after all, the woman who can junk up a wristlet!

Miss L was crushed to learn the bag was not for her, so I am fairly certain I’ll be sewing another of these in the near future.

Remember DragonCon?

When I was in Houston last week, the delightful Jessica Levitt razzed me about not finishing up my DragonCon costume posts. Sigh. She’s right; I’ve been really slack in the blogging department for a while now. But I’m reforming my lazy ways and catching up with something that happened on Labor Day seems like as good a place as any to start.

Steamed at Dragoncon

This costume sort of came together at the last minute, in that I had a vague idea that I wanted something Steampunk with a corset but no clear plan for it. The boots were a given (my fabulous Fluevog  Babycakes that I got for a steal at Squash Blossom in Decatur) but the rest of it just sort of fell into place.

And yet I love it so!

I do need to give a major shoutout to the amazingly talented and sweet Ana Aesthetic, cosplayer and costumer extraordinaire. I met her at DragonCon in 2010 and am so happy to call her my friend. In addition to introducing me to some of the better dining spots in the area, she also looked at corset muslin #8 and steered me in the right direction on the fit issues I was having. Thanks to her help, I actually pulled off a wearable corset.

I used the Laughing Moon Silverado and think I may add the hip gores next time to make it fit just a wee bit better over my badonkadonk. LOL! The fabric is by Quilt Gate and such an amazing  Asian stripe. I do wish I’d cut out both sides independently, rather than with the fabric doubled over, just so I could have spread out the stripes a bit more evenly. Still, I had so many people comment on the corset and that just made my day.

The tiny top hat is a pattern from the Quilted Fish. I like it but I will probably make a full size top hat to wear in the future. My hair does not do well with combs, clips and barrettes, so I spent all day trying to keep the hat from migrating even further down my head. It does look super cool, though.

I made just a basic, elastic waist skirt from a purple stretch sateen and dressed it up with some embroidery from Urban Threads. Underneath is a simple petticoat that I whipped up with some lining fabric and layers of gathered tulle. It’s kind of a hodge podge of tulle (I was working my way through my former tutu supplies) but it gets the job done.

I need to add some Steampunk gear to really make the costume work but it’s definitely a great start. And insanely comfortable, in spite of all the steel boning.

Sew Fun Birthday

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Is anyone else addicted to Pinterest? I swear, I go back and forth between cursing and praising that site. On one hand, it’s such a time suck. On the other…well, I’ve definitely been inspired.

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Pinterest played a key part in Miss L’s seventh birthday party, which started with this blog post. I instantly fell in love and just knew my bunny would love to celebrate her 7th with a sewing party.

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I did a little appliqué and embroidery on linen for the party invites, scanned them in and added the rest of the details in Photoshop.

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On Saturday, our guests were met at the door with a fun “wreath” made for the occasion.

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We started out with some fun crafts with each girl making a little embroidered piece to take home and a funky felt floral headband.
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A lunch of heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, baby carrots with ranch dip, caramel drizzled apple slices, yogurt with fresh berries and sewing themed sugar cookies was served.

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A cute-as-a-button cake and raspberry lemonade completed the meal.
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We played a laugh-filled game of “put the spool on the sewing machine” and trotted out the props in a photo booth session.
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The day ended with a piñata, also themed for the occasion (a giant spool of thread)!

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Our birthday girl thanked each guest for coming with a handmade goodie bag and chocolate button lollipop.
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The little miss deemed it “the best birthday ever,” which made it worth all the work.

Resources

Candy button molds, sewing cookie cutters, polka dot paper straws: Bake It Pretty

Flower Frill Clover template, party hats and crown pattern by The Quilted Fish, Michael Miller fabrics (polka dots from Children at Play, ginghams from Mini Mikes): Intown Quilters

Fabric pinwheels: tutorial by Sandi Henderson (modified)

Ruffled chair garlands: tutorial by Hank + Hunt

Cake: me and Publix (story to come)

Sugar cookies: Recipe from Cake Central, royal icing by CK from Cake Art Party Store, decorating tutorial (my first time decorating cookies like this!) by Sweetopia.

Drink bottles: Starbucks single-serving Frappuccino, saved for me by my son’s super sweet girlfriend (thanks again, Laura!)

Birthday banner: tutorial coming!

Spool piñata: tutorial coming!

Goodie bags: tutorial coming!

Tip Junkie handmade projects