Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lap of Luxe Quilt

I recently finished a quilt for my cousin Stephanie (a great customer of mine!), who needed a somewhat belated wedding gift for her sister and brother-in-law. When we first talked about colors, I was really obsessed with using a certain black solid that I sell in the shop, from Michael Miller's solids line, Cotton Couture. It is such a soft, deep, rich black. So I toyed with a lot of different quilt design ideas, and eventually decided that this just wasnt the time for that black (it'll happen though!).

We picked out teal, aqua, blue, grey, and white as the color scheme, and I added a few other fabrics that had a touch of black too, just so I didnt totally abandon my idea (although I think abandoning ideas is fine!).



I had just finished a quilt that was all improv pieced, no pattern, where I make squares and then fill in the background. I love doing quilts like that, but I really wanted a pattern for this one, so I could cut out a stack of pieces, sew them all together, and mindlessly follow directions. Nothing wrong with that! I found a pattern that uses half square triangles in an interesting way, and creates fairly large blocks, and I thought it would be perfect! (It's called the Lap of Luxe quilt, found on the Art Gallery blog, here).

Finished Quilt!

I made 30 blocks, which each measured 13 1/2" square I believe. I used a combo of fabrics from the store and older favorites I had at home. There is a good amount of Art Gallery fabrics, some Robert Kauffman, a little Anna Maria Horner. The background is made of 5 different light grey or white fabrics which I think keeps things interesting. I used to love all white backgrounds, but I've been more into the scrappier look lately for whatever reason.

The back is something I was actually really excited about because it is still relatively straight! Usually my quilt backs go a bit diagonal, but I think having my big work table at the store helps, it is great to baste on! I used a big piece of Lotta Jansdotter print in the middle, with two panels of a graphic grey and white fabric along the sides.

Straight-line quilting

I quilted it by doing a straight line along either side of every seam. I like the tiny boxes it created, and I think it is just the right amount of quilting, about every 7". It gives it some quilted structure, but doesnt distract from the pattern.

Also, you cant really tell in the pictures but the binding is pieced too, I used 3 different greys, a stripe, a polka dots, and a cross-hatched one. They are subtly different, but I like how they look  a lot.

So now I just have to add the names and wedding date to the front and this baby will be all finished! I really liked using this pattern, and definitely recommend it, especially if you want a good looking quilt that doest take endless amounts of time.

I hope the recipients like it too!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nettie Bodysuit

Nettie Bodysuit
Nettie Bodysuit

To continue my sewing with knits adventure, I decided to try my hand at the Nettie Bodysuit! I remember in sixth grade I had a black ribbed bodysuit that I paired with a pleated plaid skirt and patten leather loafers, and it was one of my favorite outfits, so why not bring it back, 20 years later?! This pattern was actually released on the same day that I was lamenting that I had nothing to wear with these high-waisted, loose-fitting black pants, so when I saw the Nettie, I thought it would be the perfect solution!

The Nettie is a really versatile, PDF pattern, that can be made with long or short sleeves, a variety of necklines and backlines (backlines?) and can also me made as a dress. It was released by the awesome lady behind Closet Case Files (I have admired her sewing for a long while), and I really think it's a great pattern!

Close up
Close up

For this version I cut the size 4 for the shoulders and arms and then graded out to the size 8 to accommodate my J. Lo booty (is J. Lo still relevant? Is there a more current big-bootie celeb I should be referencing?) (Beyonce, perhaps?). Anyway, that was a smart move because the bottom part actually covers my.... bottom part? :) So it's really comfy and no wedgie! Yay! I think the 4 would probably be too tight if I was making this a dress, but its good as a shirt, and the tightness helps keep the arms from falling down, so it works here.

The Nettie before the legs were finished
The Nettie before the legs were finished

I made the medium dipped neckline, and the medium-low back, and I like both. I think the amount of scoop is really flattering. The back does kind of show my bra straps, but I dont mind my strapless bra, or there is the option to sew in foam cups, so that would take care of that (and be comfy!), so maybe next time I'll attempt that (I dont like to have to learn too many new things per pattern!).

From the back
From the back

As a side note, check out my hair! Longest its ever been :) The fabric I used is a cream-colored knit that I sell in the store. It is really soft and a nice quality, its a nice weight but not at all bulky, and it didnt curl too much when sewing, which was nice. I dont usually sew solids, so this was sorta boring, but I needed something basic, and it will look cute with lots of different skirts (including the neon green one I'm about to start) so I guess sewing basics is needed too.

Also I used my new sewing machine to sew this (a Husqvarna Viking Opal), after I took the machine class, so I was able to use some good knit stitches and it made things much easier! I also followed the Nettie Sewalong on the Closet Case Files blog, so that made things pretty easy because there were lots of pictures! I am not positive that I sewed the neckline and leg bindings on right, but they are on and look fine, so I guess it's ok!

Hand sewing!
Hand sewing!

The only bummer was hand sewing all these snaps. It took me forever but thats because im really slow. I didnt think about it at the time, but I should have used voile or something other than knit to attach the snaps, because it made that part really bulky, with all the folded layers of fabric. But thats fine, Im just proud I actually did it!

Anyway, I really like the Nettie, it is quite quick to sew, even for a newbie like me, and the pattern doesnt take long at all to tape together because it isnt very many pages. Highly recommend! I think my next one will be stripes, or possibly flowers...decisions decisions!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Washi Dress Class at The Fabric Studio

Starting Wednesday, June 18th, is the Washi Dress class at The Fabric Studio! It is a three week class that will not only teach you many useful skills, you'll also end up with a Washi Dress of your very own! The Washi Dress truly is one of the greatest modern sewing patterns, and there is a reason that so many people have made one (or two, or three, or ten).
Snap-front version by Carrie in Stitches

Firstly, it doesnt just tolerate quilting cottons, it looks great in those fabrics, which is awesome because there are so many amazing quilting cottons out there today. But it also looks good in chambray, linen, double gauze (like the Nani Iro version above), or even silk! (ooh lala).
Expansion pack version by Cut Cut Sew

It's also great because its a great showcase for fun patterned fabric, but done in solids it becomes a great staple piece.
Tunic version by Sew Caroline Tunic version by Sew Caroline

Secondly, it is versatile, and over the years since the pattern has been released so many modifications have been posted online. It can be a short dress, a maxi dress, a tunic. It can have a collar, or a bow at the neck, or buttons, or a zipper.

Long-sleeved bow version by Made by Rae Long-sleeved bow version by Made by Rae

It is also a great project for beginners because there  is no zipper closure or buttons or anything too tricky. But, its not boring for those of you who have been sewing for a while, because it can have a lining, a cutout neckline, and whatever other fancy additions you want to make.Autumn version by Devon of Miss Make Autumn version by Devon of Miss Make

So, taking the class, from the awesome Devon (pictured above), you will learn how to read a pattern, find your size, pick out a fabric, how to cut out the pieces, construct the dress, sew shirring with elastic thread, insert sleeves, add pockets, and hem. You will be going at a nice slow pace over 3 very informative weeks and since the class is full at 4 people you'll get plenty of individual help when needed. And when you're finished you'll have a great summer dress that you can wear all the time, as well as the skills to make plenty more!

This class will be meeting 3 Wednesdays in a row, June 18th, June 25th, and July 2nd. Can't wait to see you there!