Computing in Style

My older son sort of volunteered me to make a laptop bag for one of his friends. She was having trouble finding one to fit her new computer and he knew how much I liked her, so he asked if I could help her out. She’s one of my favorite young adults, so I really couldn’t say no.

I knew when I saw this Amy Butler fabric in the shop that it was “the one,” but the boy insisted she’d prefer something else. While he juggled bolts of fabric, I snapped a pic with my phone, uploaded it to Facebook and tagged it with her name so she could see some options. As I expected, she loved the fabric I chose. (Score: Mom – 1,000,000; J – 3)

I drafted the bag to her computer’s dimensions with a little more room to accommodate the AC adapter and maybe a notebook. The bag closes with a parachute clip and strap to make it tough for someone to open it without her being aware.

She’s been at college a couple of weeks now and says she loves her one-of-a-kind bag, which mostly has been used as a messenger bag to carry her books to class. I’m just happy to have sent a little handmade love with her to college.

Birthday Nibbles

I like baking.

It’s gratifying, in that I not only get to make something but I get to make something consumable that sometimes looks pretty cool, too. Plus, I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe!

Two of my friends had birthdays the same week and I felt compelled to bake for the occasions. My friend Eryn went home with about three dozen Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes, which she said made her very happy. They were yummy, I have to say, even if I did mess up the caramel and it ended up a little grainy. *sigh* She had no complaints, though, and genuinely seemed to enjoy them in spite of the not-so-gooey middles. I completely forgot to snap pictures of them, so you’ll have to take my word that they were incredibly cute. (Confession: Some of the chocolate buttercream got too warm and when I piped it on the cupcakes looked a little poo-ish. I may have eaten the evidence.)

Next up was my friend Sarah’s birthday and I made her a cake from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Whimsical Bakehouse. I used their recipe for House Buttercream and have to say that it’s still not my favorite. I think it’s not a good match for Southern summers. It tends to be a little on the soft side so it doesn’t hold up very well to dam the filling (the cake was supposed to be tilted at a rakish angle).

The cake, as a whole, was so yummy, though! I made a raspberry mousse filling (also from the cookbook) that’s been a hit with everyone who’s tasted it. (Confession: I spread the excess filling on the cake trimmings to snack on while the crumb coat is setting.) I rode to the shop to take it to Sarah on her birthday, in the rain, and held on to the cake plate really hoping I would not have to stop abruptly and watch it slide into my dashboard, since it was too tall to fit in my cake carrier. “Sorry, officer, I was trying to save this cake!”

Into Twilight

Are you familiar with this whole Twilight phenomenon? It’s possibly a little wacky if you’re not into the books (or the movie and it’s upcoming sequels) but fans come in all ages — and include me. And a few of my friends.

I needed a break from some other things on which I was working, so I dusted off the Yudu and made a couple of tees to surprise a friend. I was a little afraid that they wouldn’t turn out, since I haven’t done too much with the screenprinter and my results have been inconsistent.

Luckily, the lapse in use didn’t erase everything I’d learned and I actually pulled these two shirts with minimal gnashing of teeth and sweating the details. Whew!

They’ve made their way to their new home and I can’t wait to see them modeled. Of course, I may still need to make one for little ol’ me …

And Now: Fall

It’s hard to get into sewing for fall when it’s in the 90s every day but I found the perfect fabric for my Indygo Junction Trench Topper pattern and had to make time in my schedule to sew it up.

The fabric is from Denyse Schmidt’s home dec line for Free Spirit (I can’t remember the name and am too lazy to hunt it down right now; feel free to chime in if you know it). The weight is just perfect for a light jacket and I love the colors and print.

I always struggle with picking prints for clothing I sew for myself but this one was easy to visualize on a grown-up body. Just a really nice scale and it worked well with the jacket.

The jacket is not lined, which is good for our pretty mild fall weather here in the South. I was not paying attention when I was making the jacket so I ended up with a version that only has three-quarter length sleeves. It feels a little awkward but maybe will seem less so when I actually layer it over a long-sleeved shirt.

I did not have enough fabric to make the underside of the collar, so I used a coordinating babywale cord I had in my stash. I like the weight it adds to the collar, giving it a little more shape without being stiff.

I’m still trying to find the perfect buttons for the front of the jacket but I used some vintage ones from my stash for the tabs on the back and the pocket flap.

Sidelight Sprites

I’m still pretty surprised about my enjoyment with this quilting stuff. Although technically, I’m not quilting; I’m piecing quilt tops.

Regardless, I’ve done far more this year than I ever expected to sew in my life. Among them is this lovely top, made with Alexander Henry’s Sprites of Tillbrook line of fabric. The pattern is called Sidelights and it’s the first quilt pattern I ever bought (purchased at Intown Quilters last year). I liked it because it didn’t look particularly complicated and seemed like a great way to use either a really big print fabric or a preprinted panel.

On a whim, I decided to use the cool border print of sprites. I think it’s so cool! Of course, the print did not stay true after I washed it and trying to cut it so it looked straight proved impossible. Oh well.

I fussycut the centers of each block from a coordinating fabric, showcasing different sprites in each. The frames of each block are alternating pink and green toadstools. Looking at them now, I wish I’d anchored the mushrooms so that the stems went around the blocks in a circle. But I can live with it as it is.

I’ve picked out the backing fabric and the binding but the top is hanging up as a sample at the shop right now — which tickles me to no end.

Little Goddess Lanterns

When I saw the Tina Givens patterns at Market last fall, I was excited at the prospect of sewing them. The look is so different from the children’s clothing out there! Just funky and bohemian, not fussy at all.

The reality of sewing the Little Goddess (made with Laura Gunn’s Lantern Bloom for Michael Miller) was a little different. The pattern isn’t very complex but the directions were sometimes a little vague for me (I later found that Tina has some tutorials on her blog, which surely would have helped).

I love this little applique detail on the back! I used a square of linen left over from another project and fussy cut the heart. It’s really a shame that it’s on the back because it deserves more attention.

The fit of the dress is rather generous. I finished it up the week I taught sewing camp and had one of my 11-year-old students try it on — and it fit, although definitely too short for a dress. More like a tunic suitable for pairing with leggings. It took nothing at all to get one of the gals at the shop to try it on — a grown woman — and it fit her as a top.

Miss L loves it but I think I’ll make her wear a top and leggings under it. But I don’t know of another thing I’ve sewn her that has the potential for so many years of wearing.

Summer Sewing

In spite of the total lack of blog activity, I actually have been sewing this summer. The pace of life changes during these months and I often find myself lazing poolside or just hanging with the kiddos, but there has been a bit of sewing fun involved.

I whipped up this KeykaLou purse for a friend of mine who works with my son. She bought the fabric and told me she liked bags with a round shape the she could wear over the shoulder. I just knew she’d love this Pixie Handbag and I was right. It came together so quickly and I love the interplay of the two fabrics.

I think this has been my favorite wardrobe piece of Miss L’s this summer! The dress is from Ottobre (I think last summer’s issue) and it sewed up in a flash. The fabric is a Baby Lulu knit I nabbed at the Sewing Expo from Some Art Fabric two or three years ago (talk about stash curing!) and it’s so nice to work with. Not quite as heavy as some of the Chez Ami knits but just a nice weight and the print is beautiful. The dress gave me an excuse to use my coverstitcher, too, which has been sorely neglected. I’m glad I paid so little for it because it really does not get enough use.

For Me?

Back in May, I had the pleasure to meet the lovely and talented Genevieve Gail at Market. Imagine my surprise when she sent me pictures of a new necklace she designed and asked if it would be OK to call it the “Craft Addict Necklace.”

And then she sent me one! I love it and think it’s absolutely perfect. You should totally stalk her Etsy and see if she stocks more because the others she’s made have already sold.

And mine is not going to be pried out of my hands.

(BTW, you also should be sure to check out her debut fabric collection for Windham, which I hear is out now. It’s called Flower Bucket and it’s absolutely lovely — just like Gen!)