Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hexagon quilt #2

Hexagon Baby Quilt #2
Ugh!! Just a side note- I'm so sick of blurry quilt photos! They make me sad. So, my apologies. Have a few older projects to post and from now on my photos should be better as I have finally purchased a nice camera... now I jut have to learn how to use it and I'll be on my way... to stardom! JK.

Close up on cute baby elephants
I was so happy when my old roommate from 2004-2006 emailed me requesting a baby quilt! I had made one for her baby last year, but it was a gift from me and another friend, so I never got to talk to her directly. It was so fun to catch up, and also make something for her brother who is expecting a baby with his wife. Fun fact, they met at Loyola and used to come to parties at our apartment when they were freshman and we were juniors! Good times. I really love making quilts for people that I know, I tend to think a lot about the recipient as I sew, so it was nice to remember people from my past this way.

Baby's name
We went with a girly yet slightly whimsical feel and it was fun to pick out fabrics! I like all the little objects hiding in the quilt, from elephants, to balloons, to bees, and flowers, and feathers. I hope babies like looking at those things as they grow. 

Headed to Kansas City!
I used a Cloud 9 voile for the binding, which is so soft and nice. I also did straight-line quilting to echo the lines of the hexagons, and used my little knee bar on my sewing machine for all the pivot points which made it a thousand times better than having to manually lift the foot on every corner!!

Close up on the back
I really love the back too, I think all the fabrics are so sweet! As you know I adore this elephant balloon print, the bows are great, and I love that top fabric with the kids and the animals, and I think they work really nicely together, and the pink quilting thread shows up well but isnt too bright.
All done!
Another fun baby quilt in the books for 2015! Thanks, Lauren, for the order :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
Greetings! Can you believe how many times I've post in the past week or so? It might be due to my new weekly checklist system, but we will see if I can keep it up! Also, welcome to the parking lot of my store/apartment complex. A great, private, and very bland place to take photos but thats ok. I finailly tried out my new tripod and camera, so hopefully pics will continue to improve. 

So casual!
In an effort to keep wearing nothing but navy, white, and black, allow me to present the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt! I have heard great things about this skirt for ages, but honestly wasn't totally sold on the middle center seam. I just don't usually like font seams on skirts, but I guess I'm just odd like that. This yellow version, by Lauren, finally sold me! It looks so cute in a solid, and she raves about it, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

This is me giving it a whirl
I used a nice Japanese indigo cotton that I have at the shop (and online! here) that is a bit stiffer and a tiny bit heavier than quilting cotton, but not much. I thought the pattern was subtle enough to keep the middle seam from bugging me. And I was right! It's actually not even noticeable, really.  I made version 3, which is short without button tabs or belt loops, but I may add loops net time. I have some stretch cotton twill in bright reddish-coral that might be perfect for this! (Otherwise I'll just copy Lauren's yellow version!)

Up close and personal!
I made the size 6 with no adjustments, which was fun! I usually have to grade out because my hips are always a bigger size than my waist, but I have heard that Sewaholic patterns are made for us hippier ladies, so that was nice. And I must say that it fits really well! (Except after a big lunch!) I like that it has body, but isn't gathered at the waist, so that it lays a little bit flatter and doesnt add volume to the lower-stomach problem zone!
Tripod selfie !
I am quite happy with the skirt, and it was definitely easy since there was no gathers. I also really like the pockets since they show up and arent just hidden in the side seam. I think side seam pockets add bulk to hips as well, another no-no! (but I still love them because pockets are great). Im glad to have a pattern fit me out of the package, and one that doest take long to make either. A flattering length, good for flats or heels. Way to go, Sewaholic!

Check back soon, I have some quilts I'm finishing up, and I'm also getting my hair done Monday which means that soon enough my bangs will no longer be a different color than my ponytail. Fancy!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Triangle Baby Quilt!

Triangle Baby Quilt!
I've made a million of them (maybe 10 of them, really), but I do love a good triangle quilt! I just think it's a modern version of patchwork, a great way to showcase fabrics, and there is just something fresh and simple about them that I really like.  An old co-worker and quilty supporter of mine brought his pregnant sister and her husband into the shop a while ago so that they could chose fabrics and have a baby quilt made. I always love seeing what fabrics people pick out, and how people combine the fabrics I have. I honestly am always surprised and delighted!
Close up
Just when I think I've exhausted all possible combos, people come in and shake things up for me, and I think that's fun. Two of the fabrics they chose, the red, pink, and brown on, and a grey and peach chevron, are probably 2 of the last fabrics I would have ever used in the same project. They chose a few greys as well, and then I added some Japanese fabrics and a few others from my stash at home to round things out. Also, they hadn't found out if they were having a boy or a girl and I think these colors are a very interesting option for a gender neutral quilt without relying on green or yellow.
Cotton and Steel lions
They also chose this great lion print from Cotton and Steel's first collections, which I think gives the quilt a great pop of color and whimsy. Gotta have whimsy!! Anyway, I love how this quilt turned out, in what I think is a really unique, special color palate. I hope their future baby loves it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Modern-Rustic Plus Quilt

Plus Quilt!
This is a quilt that I finished up right around Christmas time... so late May is an appropriate time to write about it, right?? This was far from my usual color palate, as you can probably guess, but I actually had a lot of fun choosing fabrics for it. I used 4 or 5 from the shop and then ordered the rest online to create a quilt that would be at home in someone's cabin-esque home in the outskirts of Chicagoland. Basically the countryside. 

Kinda blurry photo
My friend ANgie ordered this quilt for her brother who was getting married. I dont think I used a pattern for the pluses, but each block is around 12" square, the middle bar being 4.5 inches wide, if I recall correctly. I made the binding out of Robert Kaufman's Essex yarn dyed linen, in "leather" which is actually one of my favorite fabrics because it really has a lot of depth in person. And a different texture than the rest of the quilting cottons, which I like. 

Close up
I used a Riley Blake flannel for the back, since they had a winter wedding and live in a cabin. It is a really soft and snuggly fabric so I thought it would be perfect. I also loved using a few Alison glass prints (the red, and the dark teal with green x-circles, the tan with red pluses). They are so rich in color, and so unique, I just love them. I have a fat quarter bundle of the whole line and I just can't decide what to do with it! Aside from stare lovingly. 

I fun departure and a nice, wintery quilt! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mini Quilt Swap

Hello again! Anyone still out there?? I am attempting to blog once a week, and have a backlog of old projects I would also like to catch up on, so this is the first one. Wish me luck, and thanks for reading!
Original inspiration fabrics
This past winter (whoa, where has the time gone??) I signed up for my second "mini quilt swap" on Instagram. This one was hosted by someone name SchnitzelandBoo and seems to have a lot of people participating! You get a partner and look through their Instagram account to get a feel for what they like, and then you make and send them a gift. Your partner is a secret, and it's actually a lot of fun!
I pulled the above fabrics to start with, and then stared at them for a few weeks. I really wanted to use the top one, which is a Nani Iro double gauze with cool neon dots, but I didn't have a plan other than that. 
After looking through my partner's photos I thought I would do something that was somewhat star shaped, had a white background, and used aqua. I found a paper-piecing pattern called "Celestial Star" from a shop called From Blank Pages. It's a cool block because depending on how you lay out the colors it can look really, really different. You can check out lots of examples on Instagram with #celestialstarqal. I eventually decided on this layout, but it wasn't easy!
Waiting to be quilted
The block is made up of 12 triangles that each contain 10-12 pieces so it is a lot to keep track of! It helped to use the coloring guide and cut out everything ahead of time, rather than cut as I go, which I occasionally do with paper piecing, even though it creates more waste I think.

I used straight-line quilting to echo some of the shapes but kept it simple for the most part. I used aqua thread so it would stand out a little bit more.
I used an older Anna Maria Horner print for the binding, and I really like it because although it has colors that arent in the quilt it still matches, or at least coordinates ( at least I think it does!). I must say that paper piecing can be really fun, and it can also be really tedious! I have to be in the right mood to do it, but I could never make enough of these blocks to equal a whole quilt. Yikes. That would be so many pieces of fabric!! But I am working on a much more simpler paper-piecing project for a large quilt for myself (when I have extra time, which is so far not at all), so we'll see how that one goes!

I have one more mini that I am finishing up for a Cotton and Steel swap, which now that I think about it also involves aqua, a circle, and white, but ah well!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

McCalls6696 Shirtdress!

McCalls 6696 View B
I recently (yesterday) finally sewed the buttons and buttonholes on this dress to complete it, and it only took 2 months! I actually think that's a pretty good speed for me because i loved this pattern but thought it would be too hard for me. 
Greetings from my shirt dress!
When Mary from Idle Fancy  first announced this kind of "group sew" for this dress, I was intrigued. It wouldn't be a bunch of very detailed posts on how to make this dress, just a lot of helpful links and tips, and plus I work best under deadlines, so I thought I'd give it a shot and push myself a bit, knowing there'd be some support around!

Extremely washed out in the Nashville sun (no complaints)
Side note: I used to think my ipad took good pictures but I've recently become obsessed with a camera I cant afford, so now I no longer like them :( But stick around and hopefully someday soon I'll have that camera! 

Awkward close up
I really like that this dress can be made up in lots of different fabrics, but looks really classic and good in something a bit stiffer, which makes it easy to work with, cut, and iron. I got this light blue and white striped cotton for a super low price at a jeans store here. Twice a year they have a yard sale and sell awesome fabric and denim for cray prices. It's great! I think I got 5 yards for $15. Which made it very easy to cut into and attempt this dress. 

The bodice. 
I did, however, make a muslin of the bodice first. This pattern goes by cup size, not bust measurements, so I was slightly confused at first, but I ended up cutting the size 8, which I believe is the smallest, with the small bust bodice (A-B cup). Once I tried the muslin on I ended up adding 1" to the bodice pattern pieces because I have a longish torso, and then it ended right at my natural waist.

More January sunshine
Other than that adjustment the only thing I changed was to take an extra 2" off the hemline. This pattern has lots of fun things (fun to me since it was my first time doing them), like hemming before you add the button placket. I also love making pleats, I had fun making little belt loops and pockets, and I also sewed a collar for the first time (with mom's guidance while home for Christmas). I like patterns that teach me things but aren't overwhelmingly hard, and this one did that for sure! 

Laughing at Katie, my stylist/photographer
I think the sleeves and bodice are really flattering on this, and the skirt is a little poofy in this somewhat stiff fabric, but not overly so, which I was a bit worried about at first. 
The back
The back bodice is also gathered at the top and bottom, and while I think it's cute it kinda puffs out a bit too much so I think I will try removing that for the next one I make (have some eyelet already cut out for a sleeveless second version).
Who knows
I'm so glad that I pushed myself and took my time and really tried to figure this pattern out. It felt good that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! There are lots of other dresses entered in this sewalong,  you can check them out on the Flickr page, here. Or you can search Instagram with #1000shirtdresses.
Parking lot modeling
Thanks for checking out my dress! Making something that fits and looks good is such a great motivator. I have a large wish-list of items to make for a trip down under that is only 46 days away so wish me fast sewing!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quilting Bee! Everything you ever hoped to learn, and more!

Thanks again for signing up for a quilting bee! They are a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is able to create and learn throughout the coming year! Below are the general guidelines for being a part of a bee. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask!

When you are the host:
When you are the host you will be in charge of emailing the rest of the hive at the beginning of your month, telling everyone what block you'd like! (or, if this is a more free-form request, just what size and color). This is also a good time to introduce yourself a bit and tell everyone a bit about yourself! The deadline for emailing out the info will be the 4th of each month, but feel free to do it sooner. Tell them the color scheme you are after, and if there is a specific fabric you'd like them to use, then please be prepared to mail that out to everyone. You also want to let your bee know whether you want seams pressed open, or in one direction, and whether or not you want them to send trimmed blocks to you.  Generally, you will make yourself a block as well, and possibly, at the beginning of the month, post a photo of the fabrics you are planning to use so people have a better idea of what you're after. Then you just sit back and let the blocks roll in! Be sure to send out your address when you email the hive so everyone knows where to mail their blocks, and then keep track as you get them of who has sent theirs in and who hasn't.

Here is a link to a Pinterest page I've started with links to many blocks and block tutorials. I will keep adding to it! Click here!

When you are making blocks for others:
This is a fun chance to get to make blocks you wouldn't normally make, and possibly work with color combos that you wouldnt always choose for yourself. Embrace it! Try your best to follow the guidelines given to you by the host each month. Feel free to post pictures of fabric possibilities if you want feedback from the host. If you are having trouble with any part of a block, just reach out for help! That's another benefit to being in a bee, that you have other people to give you pointers and tips. You also want to make sure to iron seams however it's been requested, and check if the host wants their block trimmed or untrimmed. Do you best to mail things on time! I know months can get hectic and fly by, so if you know you will be a week or so late, just let the host know that you still plan on making the block. The deadline to mail should be around the 10th of the following month. When you mail, please put your block inside a ziploc bag, just in case! And include a note so the host knows who it is from!

One more thing it is useful to have during a quilting bee is a "queen bee," this is simply a person who keeps track of things and makes sure that everyone is sending their blocks on time, and if someone vanishes from the bee they can help to find a replacement. The month that you are the host, you will want to report to them who, if anyone, did not send you blocks.
Collected blocks from my first bee, up on my design wall

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Join a Quilting Bee in 2015!

One of my favorite things that I did in 2014 was take part in my very first quilt bee! I saw on Instagram that someone was getting groups (or hives) together for a bee using a book my friend Lindsay wrote! (see book here). I had never done a bee before and thought it would be fun to try.

A bee, for those of you who havent done one before, is made up of 12 people, and it takes a 1 year commitment. This is because each person in the bee gets assigned a month that is "theirs." When it is your month, you chose the block and the color scheme, and the 11 other people in your bee make the block that you have chosen. I have seen bees where people mail out fabric to the other group members, but I really enjoyed seeing what other people had in their stash, and having the chance to receive fabrics that I had never bought or even seen before! The 11 other members are to send their completed block to you by the end of your month, and then, ideally, they have 12 (or sometimes 24, if the block is smaller) blocks with which to make their own quilt! Then the next month begins and you get a new block assignment from someone else!

Some of the blocks I have made in my bee this year
There was a lot that I loved about the bee (and I've written about it in more detail here). It was really fun and interesting to me to see what color combinations people requested, and it is fun to work in a palate that you dont normally work in. It's a good way to stretch your design sensibility, I think. I also liked that a lot of this bee took place on Instagram, a really fun way to connect and see peoples progress. Sewing is such a visual hobby, and has a history of companionship, back when quilt bees were worked on all together in person, and I like that Instagram can help create a modern version of this. For all the bad things that people say about technology making us more isolated and removed from human interaction, I think it also has the ability to bring you close to people that you wouldnt get to meet or interact with otherwise.

Good, old-fashioned fun! (image from here)

And that brings me to the bees I'd like to get started this year! What better time than now to start something new!

1. The Tennessee Local Bee (#tnlocalhoneybee)-- I'd love to start a bee of people living in or around Nashville (or just TN in general if there arent enough people interested in town). I would love to incorporate some of the in-person aspects of the quilting bee, such as coming together to help baste large quilts (and being able to take advantage of the large table in the store to make this so much easier!), to possibly having group quilting days, hanging out drinking tea, and having the option of choosing any fabric at the store to use and have it available at a discount. This can be open to all levels of skill, so dont be shy if you have never done a bee.

2. The Newbie Bee (#newbiebee2015)-- For first timers! A great place to start, and I will post throughout the year and be available to answer any questions that may arise. This will be for beginner-intermediate skill levels, and you will also receive discounts at the online Etsy portion of The Fabric Studio throughout the year.

3. Paper-Piecing/ Advanced Block Bee (#challengeacceptedbee2015)-- Is 2015 the year you'd like to push yourself to try more difficult blocks, and maybe learn a few new techniques? Maybe you've seen some of From Blank Pages' amazing paper-pieced quilts but thought there was no way you could ever make 12 of the same thing (I know I have). I think (and hope!) this bee will create some really spectacular quilts that just might not be possible on your own. Keep in mind for this bee people may be choosing paper piecing patterns that you would need to purchase (usually these are less than $10, though there are also tons of free ones available) but just think of it as a way to expand your pattern library and help independent pattern designers. Discounts from The Fabric Studio will also apply.

So, if any of these sound tempting and fun to you, please do join! You can leave a comment with your email and which bee you'd like to join, and I'll be emailing you with info in the next week. Looking forward to a fun and quilt-y 2015!!

Some of my favorite #moderninstabee2014 quilts
(from instagrm users @alexandra1008, @heatherisgr8, @tennjenny, and @tifray)