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!

Untitled

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.

Reveurs
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.


That Quilty Thing

A couple of months ago, Sarah and I were trying to figure out the whole Block of the Month thing for the shop for 2014. Our regular BOM teacher is taking a break this year, so we decided that the two of us will lead a Block of the Month. Or possibly she suggested that we do it and I dove in, feet first, and dragged her along with me before she changed her mind. (If you’ve met me, you probably can figure out which is the correct scenario.)

We figured out pretty quickly that we were on the same wavelength when it came to choosing a quilt and decided to take different approaches to the fabrics. She chose a beautiful neutral Essex linen for the background of her blocks and a scrappy assortment of fabrics, leaning pretty heavily on ones from the Kaffe Fassett Collective. I went a little more…crazy. LOL! Here’s a sneak peek:
stars

The background is from the Collage line for Windham Fabrics and I used a mix of dots, chevrons and solids for the stars. I know the fabrics aren’t for everyone but I was so thrilled to see it come together the way I saw it in my head.

Ultimately, I think our quilts really reflect our styles. I absolutely love how mine turned out and I can’t lie: I think Sarah’s is pretty darned awesome. Hers is off with the longarm quilter and mine is waiting for me to get the back pieced but I’ll share pics when they’re ready to be unveiled. (Plus links to sign up for the BOM, just in case you’re interested.)


Patchwork Duffle

I don’t have PS on my laptop. I use my iPhone for maybe 99 percent of the photos I take these days. I’m waving the white flag and giving up on any pretense of polished perfection in favor of actually writing more than one blog post a year. So if less-than-perfect pictures offend you, you probably want to stop reading my blog.

Life happens. A lot. So here I am, seven months since my last blog post, trying to start anew. So how about I just dive back in?

At Quilt Market in Portland this past spring, I snagged a copy of Bari J‘s Holiday in London Duffle Bag. Bari is one of my favoritest people ever and I really love her aesthetic, so I pretty much had to pick up one of her awesome bag patterns, especially one that had the potential to become my go-to travel bag.

I was itching to make something with a gorgeous range of Michael Miller fabrics we had at the shop. Norwegian Wood plus a bunch of other gorgeous, graphic brights. Elizabeth Hartman’s patchwork Weekender came to mind but I didn’t want to make the Weekender so the patchwork Holiday in London Duffle came into being.

Holiday in L

I picked up 10 fat quarters plus extra cuts for the handles, strap and binding. Oh and separate lining fabric. Yeah, not doing twice the patchwork. As it was, the patchwork, quilt-as-you-go method probably added about eight hours to this project. Why? Because I’m slow and sometimes mess things up and have to figure out a fix midstream.

Holiday in L

I did an easy piecing job by using strips of different widths to fill the space. If you do this, you’ll want to cut the Soft n Stable at least an inch larger all the way around to compensate for how much it pulls in during the quilting process. I forgot this on a couple of pieces and so my bag turned out a wee bit smaller because I had to trim things up to get them to fit together properly. Whoops!

Holiday in L

I tinkered with the straps and handles (and tabs) and just made them into casings to slip cotton canvas webbing through. I really like using webbing for the durability factor and having them covered with fabric pulls together the whole look. I also used my favorite, favorite, favorite Fuse n Wrap piping because it is one of the best inventions ever. Seriously. (Soft n Stable falls under that category, too.)

The instructions were easy to follow and I like how the seams are all encased. If I make this again (and I probably will because I think it will be a great graduation gift), I will attach the bag bottom a little differently because I’m too lazy to do the hand sewing. (What? Have you not met me?)

Holiday in L

I skipped the “faux piping” step at the end because it’s a little on the bulky side and I just wanted to be done with it and start using it. I immediately took it upstairs to show off to Miss L and my Honey because nothing says “I’m done!” quite like show and tell. Ok, I really wanted someone who was not me to ooh and aah over it because it is FABULOUS. I love, love, love it and am so glad I put in the extra effort to do all that piecing and quilting. If you’re thinking about making this bag, I highly recommend checking out Bari’s fantastic sew along.


Shop Hop Time

The past few weeks have been utterly CRAZY! I love my job and I love it even more when we are preparing for an event. This time of year is all about Shop Hop.

The Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop takes place in March each year and Intown Quilters (where I teach and work) is one of the participating shops. Shop Hop is an organized event with a group of quilt shops. People visit each shop during the event, taking a passport along with them and having it stamped at each destination. After completing the passport, they leave it at the final shop and are entered in a drawing for some big prizes. (In years’ past, the grand prize has been a BabyLock sewing machine!) Even if people don’t “hop” to all the shops, they can still enter in a prize drawing at each shop they visit. All the shops have special things like goodie bags and free quilt patterns for the occasion.

This year’s Shop Hop theme is Quilting…It’s Our Passion and IQ’s theme is Modern Meets Traditional. That means lots of samples and items relating to that theme. It’s been lots of fun planning samples, pulling together goodie bag items and figuring out cool displays for Shop Hop.

I even got inspired to design a quilt! Here’s a little sneak peek:

Dial-a-Quilt

I named it “Dial-a-Quilt” and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. OK, maybe a wee bit happier: the actually basting and quilting parts are not my strength (it may have been suggested to me that I take the machine quilting class at the shop) but I can live with it.

The quilt uses one of my current favorite fabrics (the vintage telephone print from Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Sparkle line for Kokka), green and blue blenders and the prettiest Essex Linen from Robert Kauffman (medium aqua). It’s based on a traditional log cabin block (one of my faves!), which I thought made it a good fit for our Shop Hop theme. Even cooler? The boss liked it enough to have me make kits of it to sell during Shop Hop!

I’ll post the full quilt once Shop Hop starts and maybe a link to the online kit after it’s over (if there are any kits left). And be sure to say “hi!” if you see me during Shop Hop!


Winter Bouquet

I love having crafty friends, especially when those friends go all DIY wedding.

In December, an amazingly talented seamstress friend married one of the nicest guys ever. It was a small affair but the bride was determined to craft as many of the decorations as possible and even made most of the food for her cake-and-punch reception.

And did I mention she designed and sewed the most unbelievably stunning vintage-style wedding dress ever?

She was still working on that dress a few days before the wedding and mentioned that she’d probably just pick up some flowers for her bouquet since it was unlikely she’d have time to craft the posies she’d planned. I asked if I could make one for her and she said, “yes.”

bouquet

I’ve made a lot of things in my life but this kissing ball is probably one of the loveliest. I used my Clover Kanzashi Flower tools and some dupioni silk from stash, along with a mix of vintage and new buttons. Some of the covered buttons were made with my iTop button maker and others from one of the Prym/Dritz packaged button covers.

bouquet2

All told there are about 50 silk flowers attached to a smooth foam ball form with low-temp hot glue. I cut up small pieces of beaded bridal fabric to fit in some of the spaces between flowers.

I made my way through the first season of Hart of Dixie on Netflix while making the bouquet, my living room floor littered with bits of silk fabric and thread tails. That’s what friends are for. :)


Tie One On

I don’t know about you but I think time has somehow accelerated. Surely it can’t already be February, can it? How did that happen?!

I’ve been pretty slack in the blogging department for the past year but I’m determined to make it work (in the immortal words of the fabulous Tim Gunn). What better way to kick off than with my little muse and the quick project she requested.

bowtie1lo

I picked up the ruffled button-down on clearance at the Land’s End store inside Sears. As soon as she saw it, she said it needed a bow tie and vest.

Yeah, there’s no denying that face.

bowtie2lo

My talented friend Jona has a great pattern for a men’s/boy’s bow tie; surely it would work for Miss L, I thought. Yes and yes! I’m really tempted to whip out a few more of these for my girlie and maybe the men in my life, too. But first there’s that vest…


Sewn Hats Giveaway

As cool as it is to have a book of my own, I have to admit that I probably squealed even louder when my contributor copy of Sewn Hats arrived on my doorstep. There’s just something incredibly fun about seeing your name alongside those of some of your favorite sewing friends. It’s kind of like those old Mickey Rooney movies when all the kids got together to put on a show.

Carla Crim aka The Scientific Seamstress may just be the Kevin Bacon of the sewing world. Flip through the contributor list and I think you’ll be inclined to agree: Alexia Abegg, Bari J., Melissa Averinos, Lisa Carroccio, Joanna Figueroa, Shelly Figueroa, Linda & Scott Hansen, Karen LePage, Kathy Mack, Kaari Meng, Heather Niziolek, Jennifer Paganelli, Betz White,  Patty Young and many more.

But what’s really impressive are the hats.

A little closer look at p. 100:

My own Miss L was clearly the inspiration for this darling cloche, but I also have to tip my hat to the amazing Diva, my friend Lisa, who was the impetus for this project. (Those gorgeous spiderweb roses on the samples in the book are her creations — and the book includes instructions for making them yourself.)

Want a copy of your own? Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win! I’ll close comments and use Random.org to choose a winner on Thursday, Oct. 4. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other stops (and more chances to win a copy of the book) on the Sewn Hats blog tour:

9/4 –  Scientific Seamstress

9/5 –  ModKid Boutique

9/6 – French General

9/10 – Pink Chalk Studio

9/11 -  Lulu Bliss

9/12 – The Domestic Diva’s Disasters

9/13 – Green Bee Patterns

9/14 – Goosie Girl Boutique

9/17 – Melissa Lilac Lane

9/19 – One Girl Circus

9/20 – Tie Dyed Diva Designs

9/21 – Figgy’s Patterns

9/25 – Craftiness is not Optional

9/26 – Bari J.

9/27 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

9/28 – Sis Boom

10/1 – Sew Mama Sew

10/2 – Aesthetic Nest

10/3 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/4 – Betz White

10/8 – Yummy Goods

10/10-  Wiley Craft