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.

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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.


ModKid Sew-a-thon

There’s nothing like having your child go to her grandparents’ house to inspire you to sew. And, boy, did I take advantage of the free time. I’m still having a blast cranking out pieces from Patty’s new book, Sewing ModKid Style:

A bouquet of Bloom dressesA bouquet of Bloom dresses, some with coordinating leggings

Yoga shorts/pantsStretchy and fab Yoga Pants and Shorts

A few years ago I went on a knit-buying binge — and then never did anything with the fabric. Man, is it fun to “shop” in my own stash! I wish I could share info about all these fabrics. I believe the bird print and matching orange solid came from Joann. And I think the pink/white/green stripe is Chez Ami. The rest? Not a clue.
Bloom dresses

I’ve made the Bloom dress several different ways now: With self-binding neck and sleeves, stitched hem, lettuce hem and sleeves, fold-over elastic binding. Miss L is a big fan of the “ruffles” aka lettuce hem and will request it if I ask her opinion. I’m really digging the FOE and am thisclose to trying some stretch lace trims now that they are in stock at my LQS.

For reference, L is 44.4 pounds and 3’11.75″ tall and I’m making her the size 4 in width and size 6 length for both the dress and the leggings.

The yoga pants look like the perfect item to throw on over gymnastics leotards, so I had to make some of them, too. The aqua is a cotton/Lycra blend from SpandexWorld.com and I had plenty of fabric to make both the pants and shorts from it. For my first attempt, I cut the size 4 with the size 6 length. They are supposed to be snug but I think it’s a little too snug for my taste. I used my coverstitch (Janome CoverPro 900CP) for the hems.

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The third pair I made with a lighter weight knit that obviously has some spandex in it, although I’m not sure of the blend (I picked it up at a local fabric warehouse for $2/yd). These are a size 6 in width and a 10 in length and I think the sizing is spot on.

This one got some embroidery, a sweet lotus and butterfly design from Emblibrary.com, part of my commitment to using all the things in my arsenal. I also used the coverstitch on the hem of these but stitched it so the chain would be on the outside. Oh my! Love!

Suffice it to say, I’m loving the book and can’t wait to make more from it. I’ve already picked up some swimwear fabric and keep eyeing the rest of my knit stash, trying to decide what to use next.


ModKid Style

I love me some Patty Young. Not only is she talented, but she’s super sweet. And doesn’t hate me even after I wake her up at some ridiculously early hour by sending her text messages. (Still not too good with the time zone thing.)

I have been on pins and needles awaiting the release of her book, Sewing ModKid Style, and could not wait to crack it open and get sewing. It’s chock full of great information about sewing with knits and I devoured every word, then got to sewing.

Sewing ModKid Style

I’ve amassed quite a stash of knits so I pulled out some I knew Miss L would love and traced off the Leggings and Not-so-Plain Tee patterns. My little tiny is such a pea;I opted for a 5 in the tee, even though the size chart dictated a smaller size. The length was perfect but the width a bit roomy (should have stuck with the sizing guide!). I made the leggings in a 4 with the length of a 6, which yielded a perfect fit. This is pretty typical of my experience sewing for L (I use a 4 with the length of a 6 in my own patterns) so why I deviated on the shirt is beyond me.

I used my serger to add a lettuce hem to the sleeves, leggings and shirt bottom. The Wooly Nylon is a nice touch. On the neckline, I opted to use fold-over elastic (commonly referred to as FOE) because I’ve been itching to try it and have a bit in my stash. My friend Myrinda passed along some helpful tips and I only had to rip out the elastic once.

I’m eager to sew even more from the book and hope to knock out the Bloom Dress and another pair of leggings after dinner tonight. And I’m seriously thinking a cute ModKid swimsuit is in our future. Patty just makes it look so easy!


Embellished

Our niece celebrated her fifth birthday in the middle of July. And I was late getting her present in the mail. Embarrassingly late. Not just in mailing but in making — or, rather, deciding what to make.

I hate being struck by indecision, but especially when it means that I miss a birthday because I can’t making up my freaking mind. *sigh* And then it hit me: Why not make her something from … my book? As soon as I considered it, I knew exactly what I’d make: one of the skirts with a tee to match and maybe some kind of hair thingy.

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, folks!

Seriously. Once I decided what I was going to do, I knew the perfect fabric (Patty Young‘s Flora & Fauna) for the skirt and trusted that the rest would just fall together. I thought I’d use a white T-shirt but happened upon the most perfect coordinating shirt at Target. I couldn’t believe how well it matches! It’s like it was meant to be. Meant. To. Be.

You may have noticed that the skirt isn’t visible in the above photo. That’s because I can’t show it to you yet. I did, however, take a full-length picture of Liesl modeling the entire outfit to share with you when I can. In the meantime, let me tell you a little more about the shirt and headband.

The skirt uses a border print fabric and I ended up with a nice chunk of polka dotted scrap after I cut out the pieces. It took no time at all to cut a few bias strips from it, sew them end to end and then finish the two ends (serged then turned under and topstitched). I left the edges unfinished — in theory, they shouldn’t fray — then sewed two parallel rows of gathering stitches so I could create the ruching detail. I just followed the curve of the neckline, then sewed it down with a zig-zag stitch.

I opted for the bias-cut ruching and zig-zag sewing because of the curved shape but also because that fabric needs to be able to stretch when the shirt is pulled over the head. Make sense?

The headband was another stroke of luck. It came in a three- or four-pack of headbands (Goody brand, also at Target) and was a great match for the aqua. I simply used my Clover Yo-Yo Maker to whip up a fabric yo-yo with some of the leftover scraps, then fussy cut one of the bees from another fabric to make the covered button for the center. A few hand stitches and voila! A fun, coordinating headband that completes the head-to-toe look.


Rosie+Isabel

I fell in love with Rosie‘s fabrics for Lecien when I saw them in Houston last October. I’ve never made my love for all things Melly & Rosie a secret, so it’s likely not a surprise that I could not wait to get my grubby, needs-a-manicure hands on some of this yummy fabric.

Which is why it’s taken me three months to finally buy some.

OK, not really. The real reason is that 1) I’ve been incredibly wrapped up in The Project to the point that I’ve had no time — or interest — for personal sewing and 2) I try to know what I’m going to make with a fabric before I buy it because my tendency is to collect and I try to keep that from happening.

Whew!

After a nearly three-month break from sewing (with only a couple of exceptions), I finally regained my focus and was ready to dive into Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Luckily for me, Sarah had recently received a shipment of the new ModKid sewing patterns. In no time at all, I’d grabbed the Isabel, a couple of bolts of fabric and was picturing the results in my head.

The two main prints I used are from Rosie’s line (or range, as those Aussies call it) but I pulled a great polka dot from Henry Glass to accent. Polka dots just make me happy and I love using them with anything and everything!

Miss L was a little skeptical about the dress when I showed her the pattern and fabrics but she quickly came around after it was sewn. I did make a couple of goofs while sewing but nothing I can’t live with. When you take a crack at it, make sure you really pay attention to sewing around the straps so they come out nice and even, with pretty points. And look at the stitching diagram of the pocket before you sew it so the little swoop at the bottom retains its shape. Patty does such a great job of making sure the instructions are clear and complete, so I really have no one but myself to blame.

I’m loaning the dress to the shop until the weather warms up, so you can check it out in person if you’re in the Atlanta area. And I’ve got some more Grandmother’s Flower Garden sewing on the agenda next week with a quilt that also is destined for the shop. First, though, I need to finish sketching it out and making sure I have all the measurements right before I cut it.


Houston Round-Up: Patterns

I intended to blog from Houston but technical difficulties prevented that. So I guess I’ll just try to muddle through and remember all the details from three jam-packed days of fabric, patterns and friends.

I’ve tried to do a chronological Market round-up the past two visits but I think I’m going to try a thematic approach this time. First up: Patterns!

Because I sew clothing, I’m always on the lookout for cool, new patterns to try and there were plenty to choose from at this fall’s International Quilt Market. If you follow Patty Young’s blog, you already know she’s got some new patterns on the way. I loved seeing them in person and have really enjoyed sewing her patterns, so the new ones definitely will be added to my collection.

Fellow Michael Miller fabric designers Paula Prass and Sandi Henderson also have new patterns on the way. I loved Paula’s new bag pattern but the jacket and dress patterns really caught my eye. Just a really great aesthetic, kind of an updated retro vibe. I’m pretty excited that Sandi’s adding some adult patterns to her repertoire. The wrap skirt looks so pretty and romantic and I think the ruffled pants for women will be well received, too (although I’m not sure I have what it takes to pull them off LOL). She’s also got a new pattern for boys with her own little guy modeling.

Chelsea of Pink Fig showed off her new patterns and I can already guess the Nie Nie Skirt is going to be huge. The story behind it is so touching and Chelsea’s donating a percentage of the pattern’s proceeds to the Nie Nie fund.

Her aunt Lucy debuted her new pattern line, Hot Scott, which should make those moms of boys happy. Yes — a line of patterns for boys! Lucy is such a sweetie and I’m so excited to see her Market debut. The patterns are cute and I saw a lot of traffic at her booth.

Speaking of new pattern line debuts … My beautiful friend Sheree had her first booth at Market for her new pattern line, Sheree’s Alchemy, which will be out in November. I have always loved her aesthetic and can’t wait until these patterns come out. The girls’ clothing ones are kind of “classic contemporary,” very refined and age appropriate. And her home sewing patterns are just as cool as she is. I totally understand why she had a steady stream of visitors to her booth!

Kay Whitt at Serendipity Studio never ceases to amaze me with her designs. This Market was no exception with six new patterns, including a sweet, modern tunic/dress pattern that I had to snatch up on the spot. Seriously. I’m planning to hit the shop this week to buy some fabric for it; I love it that much. The new bag and skirt patterns are also really cool and I’m sure they’ll end up in my collection before too long.

Is there anyone on the planet who is not aware of my love of all things Melly & Me? Melly and Rosie are just so incredibly sweet and talented, and it’s impossible for me not to love everything they do. Which probably explains why I walked away from their booth with a new Rosalie Quinlan Design’s quilt pattern, two new bag patterns and Melly’s first book, Kaleidoscope. I probably would have bought more except I already own most of it! LOL!

The talented Amy Butler has a couple of gorgeous new patterns coming out, including a shirt dress and a coat. I want them both but after seeing the dress on Amy, I’m not sure if it’s going to fit my curvier self. Of course, I’ll probably give it a try anyway! LOL!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Indygo Junction patterns. The fit of the women’s clothing patterns is sometimes a little boxy but I keep buying and sewing them because I do like them. I think the new Bell Sleeve Blouse is going to change my opinion for the better. I checked out the samples and the darts and cut seem to be much more figure flattering. They didn’t have any available at Market or else I’d have grabbed one to try. However, I know Sarah ordered it so I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s in.


Sweet Spring Emma

My week of pattern testing comes to a close with my version of Patty‘s Emma top and skirt (plus a cute little coordinating purse).

This actually was the toughest set for me to sew — not the actual sewing but the fabric selection. I really wanted to sew from my stash but nothing seemed quite right. Or I didn’t have enough fabric to make it work.

Sigh.

In the end, I decided to use opposite polka dots, picked up some yardage and knocked it out. Looking at the finished product, I think I cn honestly say I’ve made it “me.”

The most time consuming part of sewing this pattern is finishing the hem on the petals (there are 12 between the top and skirt). My serger made fairly quick work out of the rolled hem and I’m grateful for that. Of course, I’m envisioning a pretty lace edge to the petals on a future project, which I’m sure I’ll be cussing about after I get started. LOL!

I threw a T-shirt on Miss L before we left the house today and it’s just as cute as without (but a bit more comfortable for this hot-and-cold Spring weather we’re having). The colors are so pretty and I think the outfit may be just the thing for the annual Easter egg hunt we attend.


Kawaii Kyoko

I’ve got to ‘fess up: Patty‘s Kyoko pattern is the one of hers I was most looking forward to getting my hands on. I just love Asian-inspired clothing and the cross-over bodice combined with stripwork skirt made this pattern a must-have-NOW sort of thing.

I knew right away what fabric I was going to use (Robert Kaufman’s Kawaii Asian). What I did not know until Patty sent me an email after she dropped everything in the mail was that the pattern called for five yards of binding.

Say what?

Yeah, not huge on sewing on binding. I think my response to Patty was something along the lines of “I hope you know how much I must like you to be willing to sew on five yards of binding.”  As you can see, it was totally worth the effort.

And, honestly, sewing on all that binding was really not that bad (I used some of the Michael Miller red pindot and it sews like a dream). Patty’s pattern has you do it a certain way that actually made it easier than I’ve done it in the past and the final product is just so pretty that I really do think it’s worth the (minimal) effort. That’s not to say I may not try to do it without some time, but I’m not in a huge hurry to try.

I think this pattern will work with a lot of fabrics but I really like how these came together. I think you can tell from looking at my past sewing that I really enjoy working with vibrant colors and prints and you really can’t get much more vibrant than these. I’m itching to make another one and am already toying with a few fabric combos in my head (like Sugar Snap!).

The dress pulls over the head and is nice and loose without the obi but I really like how the sash just cinches it so nicely and changes the profile. L prefers it without the obi so it’s nice and twirly (big surprise there).

I probably could have sized down on the dress and cut a longer length for a slimmer fit but I’m also hoping she’ll get lots of wear out of this in the next few months, so I don’t mind it being a bit roomy. Patty shows a shorter tunic version on the pattern cover with her Sophie Three-Way Pants, so I’m already planning ahead and thinking how cute a fall version would be with a long-sleeved top and pants.

Now if I could just talk Patty into designing a grown-up version of this for me women …