Summer Tunic

There were a few projects from Weekend Sewing that made my must-sew list but after seeing Jona‘s take, the tunic jumped to the top of my list.

I grabbed a few yards of this pretty floral from the clearance bin at the shop and went to work on a wearable muslin. I altered the sleeves and made them about three-quarter length with a ruffled cuff. I also added a little length because I like a bit more coverage in the mid section.

There are a few things I’ll change the next time I make this. The first: Sew a smaller size. I rarely err on the side of too large but this was one of those cases. In fact, even my older son told me it was too big and would look cuter if it were smaller.

I also made the gap in the yoke too wide so there was no stitching it closed without creating a goofy looking pucker in the front of the top. It’s OK on this one, which will be my to-the-pool-and-back top this summer, but I’ll be sure to actually measure and draw a line on the next one instead of eyeballing it.

The top came together pretty easily and I’m looking forward to sewing another and getting lots of use from it.

Back to Otto

I’ve been missing sewing from my Ottobre Design magazines. When the latest issue arrived, I was bound and determined to sew at least one item from it and the Three-Way Dress seemed like a great place to start.

It’s essentially a sleeveless peasant dress or pillowcase dress but it’s Ottobre and thus cooler. LOL! It was a really quick project and I had fun picking out the fabrics.

Really my only complaint about the dress is the neck tie. It’s supposed to gather the front and back panels but it doesn’t actually keep them gathered and that just bugs me. Plus the ribbon is a bit too long and I’m concerned about it being a choking hazard. I’m thinking about doing a combo elastic-and-ribbon thing with some anchoring stitches to resolve both issues.

Miss L, of course, thinks it’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. There was a small amount of bribery involved in getting this photo, hence the very obvious case of bedhead.

Overall, I think it’s a great summer dress and will be a wardrobe staple all through these hot, steamy days.

Buy Handmade

One day while driving down Main Street in the city where my kids attend school, I noticed a new shop’s sign on a long-empty storefront. An artists’ market. I was so excited, it took everything I had to not pull over and peer through the window. Of course, it was 6:30 a.m. and nothing was open, and I really needed to get home so my husband could get to work. I made a mental note to check back later.

It was about two weeks before I could stick my head in the door and scope things out at Leasa: Life’s Work. And what I saw made me a bit giddy. Cool handmade goods. Some other neat gift-y things. A cool workspace for classes. Best of all was Leasa, the owner, who’s been making and selling handmade cards forever. I loved hearing about her work and her vision for her new shop. I think it’s a great thing for our area and I can’t wait to support it and the craftsmen who are selling their wares there.

I’m also excited to be offering some of my things there. I’ve already taken three Miss Madeline dresses adn a couple of wristlet bags.

Miss L watched me take the dresses into the shop and was so sad to see them go. Of course, they’re all too small for her and it’s not like I can’t sew her others. (In fact, I’ve already made her a different dress with the Heather Bailey and Dena Designs fabrics, so I’m not sure what the deal is.) And I always love sewing with Paula’s Flights of Fancy. It always makes me smile!

The wristlets are my own design and feature embroidery from Urban Threads of two lovebirds. I thought it added some interest to the little bags and I especially love the repetition of the Park Slope fabric with all those cute little birds.

Camp Goodies

Can I brag on my campers one more time? They were such awesome girls and I had so much fun with them last week. They also were amazingly prolific during the course of camp. Clothes, bags, quilt blocks. You name it, I threw it at them and they knocked it out. Out of the park, even! LOL!

Friday was our last day and they came in that morning and whipped up their fourth A-line skirt before tackling the big final project: crazy log cabin blocks. Because I only had two girls in the camp, I could let them work on different projects so one girl chose to make a little bag and the other a pillow.

They used 7″x7″ pieces of muslin for the blocks and I had them foundation piece their log cabins. Why? Well, I think it’s easier to keep the shape — especially when using different sizes of strips — if there’s a little something to help guide the block formation.

The girls kept me busy cutting strips. One decided to use only the fabrics she’d sewn with all week for her blocks while the other was willing to dip into my stash for hers. Of course, she also wanted to use her favorite fabric — Paula‘s Par Avion from Flights of Fancy — for the centers of all her blocks, so I spent some extra time fussy cutting them.

I could not be more proud of their finished projects and they were so happy with them, too. And they promised me they were going to wear and use everything they made (in fact that’s why one pair of PJ pants is missing – they were worn the night before at a sleepover!). Also missing from the photos are the gifts they made their moms as a thank-you for enrolling them in summer camp: another wristlet and a tote-style purse with pre-made handles (which I hear were much appreciated).

Pssst! Live in Atlanta? I’ve got a second week of sewing summer camp in August.

A Little Campy

I’ve been teaching a sewing and quilting summer camp at the shop this week, so my days have been busier in a new and different way. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since most of my teaching has been one-day or half-day kind of things. Would my students get along? Could they get through each of the projects in the amount of time allotted? Would it be fun for all of us?

It’s been an absolute blast.

I have two 11-year-old girls in my camp — lifelong friends of each other — and they are just the coolest kids. Love to sew, excited about every project, thrilled with everything they’re learning. And oh my gosh, are they fast! They would have finished Thursday’s big project before they left today if I’d had the right elastic with me. (They literally groaned when I told them the news; they were that bummed!) They just beam whenever they finish a project, so absolutely pleased with themselves and their work.

I’ve even been able to get a little sewing done myself this week which makes me happy: a baby quilt top, a new dress for Miss L, a wristlet, a halter top and two skirts for Sarah‘s daughter.

I’ve made them promise to bring all of their projects on Friday so I can photograph all their work (which should be at least one tote bag, two wristlets, a pair of pajama pants, two key fobs, an Amy Butler Sun & Surf Halter and three skirts — plus whatever they make Friday). I’ll be sure to share pics so you can ooooh and aaaaah as much as I have!

Something Fishy

Sorry. Sometimes I can’t resist a pun. 🙂 Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway (as well as the one on Facebook for the tee). And the winner of the autographed fish is …

Congratulations, Karen! Email me your mailing address (flourishes at gmail dot com) and I’ll get your prize out to you!

What a Catch!

It’s taken a little longer to get up this last Quilt Market-related post than I thought, thanks to a little thing I like to call “My First Child’s High School Graduation.” But that’s over and all the family has left town, so life has resumed some semblance of normalcy (or as much as is possible now that school’s out) and I’m back to my blog.

I think you’ll agree it was worth the wait.

I finally got around to sewing my first softie, a cute fish from Melly & Me, only I modified it a bit to just use two fabrics instead of the patchwork called for in the pattern. I also made the decision to use no-name fabric, lest I offend anyone with my request. For an autograph. Behold:

Yes, I walked around the International Quilt Market with a fish softie, asking fabric and pattern designers and the occasional author to autograph it. Fortunately, no one I asked turned me down, which means the lucky winner of this fish will have the autographs of such cool people as:

Kaffe Fassett
Brandon Mably
Jennifer Paganelli
Heather Bailey (who drew one eye)
Laura Gunn (who drew the other)
Bari J.
Genevieve Gail
Barb & Mary of Me & My Sister
April Cornell
Ellen Lumpkin Brown
Jenean Morrison
Tula Pink (really — that’s how Jen signed it!)
Patty Young
Paula Prass
Kay Whitt
Liesl Gibson
Sandi Henderson (thank her for the zexy fish lips)
Lynne Farris
Lila Tueller
Chelsea Anderson
Joanna Figueroa
Erin McMorris
Amy Butler
Luella Doss
Jay McCarroll
Robyn Pandolph

I am so, so jealous because I don’t have one to keep. Nope. This baby is one of a kind. Just one. And she’s looking for a new home.

Quilt Market has to be one of the most inspiring and energizing places I’ve ever visited. And I love meeting so many creative people who inspire me with their work, whether it’s the fabric they’ve designed or the patterns and books they’ve written.

In order to win this fabulous, one-of-a-kind Quilt Market catch, I want you to comment and tell me about what or who inspires you. Could be a quote or a song or even one of your kids. Just tell me about it in the comments. And I’m going to let you earn five bonus entries if you Tweet about it or write a post about it on your blog and link to this post. (You can even grab the little graphic to use, if you’d like). I’ll keep the comments open until 8 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, June 1, with a winner announced on Wednesday, June 3, (unless I have so many entries that I need a little extra time).

But that’s not all! You also can win one of these limited edition “Sew Nerdy” tees! Doesn’t Myrinda make a fabulous spokesmodel? She and I each have one (hers is bright pink; mine is red). I made an extra before I left for Market, black on light pink, just so I could give it away. However, you need to be a blog fan on Facebook (giveaway details are there, BTW) in order to win it.

Two giveaways! Yours for the winning! Good luck!

Art+Quilts

It’s a three-day weekend and I’m gearing up for the annual Decatur Arts Festival. We discovered this festival when we first moved to Atlanta nearly nine years ago and I think we’ve only missed one in all this time. Lots of great crafts, art, food and more, in one of my favorite downtowns.

This year is even cooler because — for the first time ever — there is a quilt show being held in conjunction with the Festival. My friend Sarah has really done an amazing job getting everything going for this quilt show, along with folks from Intown Quilters quilt shop, Phoenix Quilt Guild, The Fearless Friday Guild (my guild!) and the Brown Sugar Stitchers. More than 50 quilts will be exhibited, ranging from traditionally pieced quilts to very funky art quilts. And maybe even one from yours truly.

Attendees can cast their vote for their three favorite quilt and voters will be registered for door prizes donated by local Decatur businesses including Squash Blossom Boutique, Brick Store Pub, Leon’s Full Service, Little Shop of Stories and Intown Quilters, just to name a few.

The Decatur Arts Festival is Saturday and Sunday on the courthouse square in scenic downtown Decatur. The inaugural Decatur Quilt Show is noon-5 p.m. Sunday inside the Old Decatur Courthouse. Be sure to say “hi” if you see me running around over there!