At the Movies

Ahh, summertime. I love the lazy days of summer and have spent the past 10 days enjoying Miss L and our more relaxed schedule.

Today was a movie day, thanks to a 60 percent chance of rain. “Mirror, Mirror” finally made it to the $2 theater near us, so it was the perfect remedy to a rainy day.

It’s just an OK movie but the costumes! Oh, the costumes! The late Eiko Ishioka (who won an Academy Award for Bram Stoker’s Dracula) just blew me away with her over-the-top designs. The textures, the details, the colors — total eye candy. I also spied some familiar fabrics.


Being a total fabric addict, I had to hop on Google to find pictures to back up my discovery: That’s quilting fabric! One dress was definitely from the Kaffe Collective and there was another featuring motifs from Pillow & Maxfield’s Gypsy Bandana Line. On closer look, I saw that Patty Young’s Andalucia was used for the skirt on the same costume.

My fabric geekiness knows no bounds.

Funky Baguette

As I flip through my ever-growing pattern collection, I often wonder if I’m in need of an intervention. So many patterns, so many intentions and yet so little follow through. For instance, I’ve had an Echino purse pattern since 2008 and even bought the fabric but never got around to making it. Why?

In part, because the pattern is in Japanese. This may surprise you, but I can’t read or speak Japanese. Shocking, right? But the Japanese craft books and patterns usually are so detailed with diagrams that it’s really not necessary to be able to read the accompanying text.

Except this pattern. There’s one little diagram that I just wasn’t sure I understood. I finally took another look at it and realized my confusion: The little wiggly line means to gather the section between the arrows. And the diagram on the pattern sheet shows to gather the fabric to an opening of  29cm. Woooo!

And thus my newest purse came into being:

Kokka Baguette

The body of the bag is a fun, new linen/cotton blend from Kokka, part of the new Trefle line. My favorite bright colors+sewing images? LOVE! I lined it with an aqua and white gingham from the Michael Miller line Mini Mikes. The tabs and strap are made with the MM Cotton Couture line of solids (which I am so loving).

All told, I think the bag took maybe 90 minutes to cut and sew. My strap is a little longer than the pattern piece and I also made mine a little different (I cut it four times the finished size and folded it like bias tape, with a touch of Decor Bond to interface). I did mess up the tabs on the first go and these aren’t quite right, either. I also left two pins underneath one of them and had to work them out through the seam. Oops!

I usually don’t like bags without interior pockets but this silhouette doesn’t really lend itself to pockets. Fortunately the size it perfect for my must-have items so I don’t really need any pockets inside. I can seriously see myself making several more of these. Next time I want to use some of the Kokka ready-made strapping.


You want this shawl. Really.

I’ve written about Indygo Junction patterns a time or two, so it’s probably no surprise that I’ve sewn another of the company’s patterns. This is my first time sewing one with knit fabric (the gorgeous stripe is from Michael Miller) and I’m thrilled with the results.

The pattern is the Simple Sleeved Shawl and the whole thing — tracing to hemming — took about 2 1/2 hours. The shawl is unlined, which is why I chose the striped knit, since it’s yarn dyed and looks the same on both sides. The shawl comes in two lengths; this is the longer of the two and sized M/L. I think most people could wear that size, actually. When I took it to the shop (it’s on display there as a sample), it fit everyone who tried it on, all of us different body shapes and sizes.

I opted for the long vs. short because I wanted to make sure it was right for me, proportionally. I think I might go just a little bit shorter the next time I make it (yes, I will make it again!) because I did not go as deep with the hem as the pattern instructed. The extra length gives you some play to pin the front to the opposite shoulder (see photo above right), or just to wrap it around yourself for a little extra huggability.

I’m so eager for the weather to turn cool enough to wear this shawl! (Hear that? Yes, I could be tired of our unseasonable warm weather *cough*12 degrees above normal*cough*) I can just see pairing it with jeans or maybe a cute cord skirt, tights and boots.

Like I said, you want this shawl.

A Spring-y Set

Do not adjust your computer screens. The outfit you see to the left was intentionally sewn big. LOL!

My final sample for the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo and Greater Atlanta Shop Hop is the Flora Tunic & Twirl Skirt by Sew Liberated. I have long admired Meg’s aesthetic and was so excited when Sarah started carrying her patterns. This makes the third one I’ve sewn, I think!

Because this was made as a shop sample, I intentionally made it too big for Miss L to wear right now. She’s a pretty skinny size 5 and I cut out the size 6 for both the top and the skirt, thinking she’d wear them next year. Unless she has a massive growth spurt and goes straight to an 8 in the next year, I suspect she’ll get two years out of this outfit.

The top is made from more of that gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile. I think I need to make a dozen shirts out of this stuff for me. It’s just so soft and divine to feel. *swoon*

It’s a raglan style top with elbow-length sleeves and a neck facing, which came together pretty quickly. I think I’d like to make another closer to L’s current size so she can wear it this spring and summer. It’s just a nice basic top that would go with pretty much anything.

For the skirt, Sarah and I picked out a pretty Alexander Henry home dec fabric plus some of Patty’s Mezannine line for Michael Miller Fabrics. I think it makes for a sweet, Spring-y outfit that’s a little dressy and a lot comfortable.

I followed the directions for the skirt, more or less. The directions have you cut the skirt pieces perpendicular to the grain, so if you’re going to follow them, I’d steer away from an obviously directional print. The pattern recommends home dec fabric for the main skirt and mid-weight fabric for the hem band and waistband. In the future, I think I’d use all quilting cottons. The home dec fabric just fit when gathered to the waistband but the 1/2″ non-roll elastic wasn’t strong enough to pull in the waistband (that’s why Liesl is holding up the skirt). After I took the picture, I ripped out the elastic and replaced it with 3/4″ non-roll elastic and it made a huge difference (although it was a tight fit to get it through the casing).

I did do all machine sewing on the skirt; the directions call for handstitching in two places but I’m just too lazy to do it. I might be more inclined if I were using fancier fabrics or going for more of an heirloom-sewing look, though.

* * * *

I’ll be a the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo this morning, working the Intown Quilters booth, so come say “hi” if you’re in the area!

ModKid meets Alexander Henry

I’m not lying when I say that I love Patty‘s patterns. The styles are so fun and hip, and the clothes sew up so nicely. I’m never disappointed by the results and Miss L always loves wearing them.

About a year ago, I tried to bring home Patty’s prototype for the Sydney hooded tunic but was foiled. Lucky for me that I can now make one whenever I want — and I’m expecting there to be plenty in L’s closet before too long.

Now, this particular Sydney was made as a sample for the shop but I did let my sweetie wear it before I dropped it off. The two main fabrics are by Alexander Henry and I have to say that I love them just as much now as I did when Sarah ordered them at Market in May. Bright, fun, bold — all the things I love. The green dot is actually one of Paula‘s from Summer Soiree. A few of those prints actually look really good with the AH line but the dots won out for me. Why? Because I have a polka dot fixation. (The green corduroy pants, BTW, were a Carter’s purchase and a perfect match.)

I did make one change to the construction of the tunic and that was sewing the front facing over the hood so that the front edge of the hood ends up between the facing and the tunic. I think it makes for a nice, clean line in the front of the tunic and no serged seams to show if the neckline flips open. If you want to try this yourself, follow the directions for attaching and turning the facing but skip topstitching the opening as well as basting the facing to the neckline. Then when you attach the hood, pin the facing so the hood is between it and the tunic, with the wrong side of the facing on the outside of the shirt. Clip the corner and turn the facing back to the inside of the top before topstitching around the hood and the shirt’s V.

I don’t think it took me more than two or three hours to sew it up, and part of that was because I got caught up in the TV show I had on while I was sewing. (Shhh! I have an unhealthy addiction to the SoapNet’s repeats of Beverly Hills, 90210!)

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.

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.