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.

Pink Christmas

I am not a test-the-waters kind of gal. I’m more of a jump-in-with-both-feet person, which probably explains all the half-finished projects in my life. And craft supplies. And this year’s completely overboard Christmas redecorating.

But I digress.

I had heard of Don’t Look Now! patterns but it wasn’t until I saw them at Market in person that I really “got” it. They were so cool and so different from what I’d seen before. Over time, I started thinking, “Hey, I could totally do this!”

Now, most people might think this and decide to try a pillow before diving into a quilt. I am not most people. My life would surely be easier if I were most people but probably a whole lot less interesting. Behold my take on the Don’t Look Now! White Christmas pattern:

White Christmas in PINK!

The tree is Kona Bright Pink; the background is a white-on-white snowflake fabric from Timeless Treasures. The binding and backing are from Kaufman (Tinsel Tree, maybe?).

I traced, cut, fused and stitched around every. single. one of those snowflakes. Some of ’em are a little wonky looking and I really need an extension table and a class on machine quilting. But I did it! I did the whole thing! (With some fantastic advice from my friends Taffy and Patty, I should mention.)

quilting detail

Because of my complete lack of quilting experience, I enlarged some of the snowflakes (another suggestion from the dynamic duo) and quilted around them on the white. I probably should have done more quilting in between but it ain’t happening.

I definitely learned a lot from making this (those grippy gloves are a must! you can’t have enough thread!) and actually am looking forward to making another Don’t Look Now quilt at some point. Just not anytime soon.

Oh, Baby!

I have just gone crazy for the beautiful voile prints by Anna Maria Horner. The hand is just amazing and I’ve loved everything I’ve made with them.

My friends Sarah and Clare came up with the sweetest baby blanket to use as a shop sample and I *had* to copy it. Lucky for me that I have a bunch of preggo friends right now!

The blanket uses such a small amount of fabric and sews together so quickly. It’s backed with flannel, so there’s no quilting or binding involved, which just adds to the ease factor.

I’ve picked up some extra yardage of the block print just so I’ll be sure to have it for future baby gifts. Or maybe just because I like to stroke it against my cheek. (Don’t judge me — try it yourself and see if you don’t do the same.)

I’ve written up the instructions for recreating the blanket. It should be up on the shop blog any minute now but I’m also happy to email you the PDF. Just drop me a line! (flourishes at g mail dot com)

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.

More Wristlet Action

I guess I’m a sucker for cute little purse patterns. (OK, I’m a sucker for cute patterns, period.) Which is why I couldn’t resist when I saw this sweet little bag from Keyka Lou.

And then it took me three weeks to finish it.

This was not the fault of the pattern. Rather, it was the fault of the sewer. Or, better stated, the fault of the shopper who could not find the darned clasp for finishing the strap. Oh, and after they arrived, I managed to misplace them for another three days, just so I couldn’t

I love the shape of the wristlet and the size is just perfect. I lined it with the same Heather Bailey fabric that I used with the Dena Designs fabric on a dress I made Miss L last month. (It remains one of my favorite fabric combinations.)

The wristlet sews up pretty quickly — provided you have all the needed hardware — and I definitely see more of these in my future. I’m thinking it’s going to be a wristlet-heavy Christmas this year, since I have so many folks on my list who need a little something handmade under the tree.

Twirl, Baby, Twirl

I love when inspiration strikes. I’ve been mulling over a modified version of the That*Darn*Kat Round Neck Dress. When my Wonderland by Momo (Moda) fabric arrived from Fabric Hound, I suspected it would be a great match for my idea — and I was right.

Miss L’s very twirly dress is a huge hit with both of us. The modification was very easy: I cut the bodice about three inches below the armscythe. The lower part is essentially a twirl skirt cut with three 6.5″ tiers (I used a 1/2″ seam allowance). The middle tier is four pieces of two alternating fabrics (the same ones used on the bodice and neckline).  (Note: I used the size 4/5 as the basis for this dress, intending for it to last throughout the summer and maybe into the fall.)

I used only one button on each side of the neckline, a pretty red flower button from a past Chez Ami sale that reminded me of the flowers on one of the fabrics.

A certain little miss is really into twirling and said she was quite satisfied with the twirl factor of this dress. And repeatedly demanded that I photograph her in action. (Definitely a good idea to take pics before she ate dinner; that could have been gross.)

It was definitely a lot of gathering — even with the use of my serger — but the results made it totally worthwhile. Especially when I saw all those happy smiles.

The Purse That Wasn’t

During my visit to Quilting Adventures, I picked up the cutest little purse pattern. The Ellie purse by Bunny’s Designs. They had the cutest sample sewn up, made with some great Japanese fabrics. I could not wait to sew up one for me.

As I was sewing the purse, I had an epiphany: the Ellie is designed for kids.

Don’t ask me why it took so long to figure this out. After all, I actually checked out an actual bag made with this pattern. Held it in my hands, turned it inside out. Duuuuuuuh.

(Luckily for me, Bunny’s Designs has a grown-up version — the Julia — which I now own.)

I made the not-my-purse with some of that fun Kawaii Asian fabric from Robert Kauffman. Just love the colors! I’m fairly certain I’ll make the big version for me with the same fabric.

Had I actually had the proper size of zipper on hand, I would have gotten the bag done in about an hour. Yep, it’s just that quick. Believe it or not, it’s basically all one piece. Just a cute little clamshell of a purse.

That little miss of mine has insisted on carrying it everywhere for the past week or so, and it’s stuffed full of her treasures. With any luck, I’ll be filling my own soon.

Lunch with Good Folks

It’s not unusual for me to find out about a new product and then ask Sarah if she’s going to carry it at the shop. Imagine my delight the day I stopped in and she’d received the new laminated Anna Maria Horner fabrics before I’d even had a chance to ask!

I immediately volunteered to make a shop sample with them. (Admit it — you would have, too!) The laminated cottons (henceforth referred to as “lamco” because I’m such a dork) have such an amazing feel to them. They are so soft and pliable. My only complaint is that there’s not enough variety in the prints because I’d love to make more with them.

I used the two Good Folks lamcos to make the lunch bag from Favorite Things. I’ve had the pattern for a while but never got around to sewing with it and it seemed like the fabrics were a good choice. Well … yes and no. “Yes” because the fabric makes a nice waterproof lunchbag. “No” because it’s awfully hard to press a fabric you can’t actually iron.

I think the next time I make this pattern, I’ll do a couple of things differently. For one, I’ll use a woven cotton for the exterior so I can actually iron the darn thing. Next, I’ll add more Velcro strips to the flap so it closes more securely. And since I’m talking about the flap … I’m also going to lengthen the flap to give a little more coverage while it’s closed. It seems just a little skimpy, in my opinion.