Jul 20 2015

Best Coco Dress Yet!

Published by under Sewing

Coco dress front

So in my last post we saw my recent attempt at a Coco dress. Well, after making that and realizing that it was too large, I traced out a size 1 (down from a size 3) by looking at how much I was taking in at the waist each time and seeing which size would give me that as a final version. This time the fabric I used was some jersey ITY stuff I had lying around (it was previously used to make a dress I gave to my pregnant friend who loved it). And I love how this one turned out! Now that I know my size, this dress is such a great one to put together quickly if I need a dress for something.

Back of armscye Front of armscye

Back of armscye after trim Front of  armscye after trim

I did need to open up the arms a bit to make it more comfortable. Basically I dropped each side down about an inch and then blended into the curve.

Coco neck folded over

I finished off the neck and arms the recommended way: stay stitch, fold and zigzag stitch. It worked quite well and looked nice and finished. The other seams I serged.

Coco dress back

Even hubby was impressed by this version. This one is certainly more fitted and therefore maybe not as work appropriate at this length, but great for a night out with my husband or friends. And it’s super comfortable!

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jul 17 2015

Casual Cotton Coco Dress

Published by under Sewing

Coco dress front

Over the weekend I made a couple of Coco dresses by Tilly and the Buttons. I had previously made a glam version of this dress that I was really happy with and have worn a couple of times already with many compliments. I wanted a more casual version for summer (ooh, look my toes are still painted for 4th of July).

I had picked up this cotton jersey knit intending to try this dress out in cotton. This fabric is Embrace by Valori Wells from the Quill line.

Laying out the coco dress

It went together pretty much like the last one except there were only 2 pieces to cut out since I was making a sleeveless version.

Seam tape for coco dress

I used this grey grosgrain for the shoulder seam to stabilize it although I did serge all the edges to finish them as well.

Here's how I seam tape

I had previously made a size 3 and had to take in the waist, but it looked fine. However, when I cut a size 3 out of the cotton jersey it was huge on me. Maybe it was the drape of the previous fabric that it didn’t really show how big it was, but this one was quite large.

Taking in the waist

I knew I could take in the sides as I had before as I show above, but taking it in too much at the arms would shrink the armholes which were already rather snug. Guess I’d just have to cut those bigger, too. I decided to continue on.

This neck is too loose

But I had more serious problems when I got to the neck. I finished off the neck seam as recommended but used a straight stitch instead of a zigzag. Not sure the zigzag would have helped. It just gaped so much on me. It would have been off the shoulder if I’d left it as is.

Coco neck binding fix

But I fixed it! I brought it in the neck seam with a little pleat on both sides. Then I covered the stitching with binding. I did the same on the back. And I used the binding on the armholes as well.

Coco dress front closer

This was my first time doing this kind of jersey binding. Basically I cut the binding about an inch shorter than the circumference, made it into a loop, stitched it to the front, then wrapped it around, folded under and top stitched on the front to catch the back. There are several good tutorials on line although I realize now that most of them don’t do that extra step of folding under the edge. Interesting . . . anyhow, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out overall.

Coco dress back

It’s stil a bit big, especially around the arms, but it’s comfy and works well with a little crop sweater or a gray cardigan that I have over it and that hides the arms. Not sure how much I’ll wear it, maybe just to hang out, but it was some good experience sewing knits. Next time I’ll definitely go down a size or two.

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jul 13 2015

Bright Squares Quilt

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Bright squares quilt

This was a fast and fun quilt. Basically it consisted of taking a layer cake of Kona cotton solids (the classics in this case), randomizing them by throwing them in a big pile and then laying them out in a 6×7 grid. Yes, that simple. I wanted something to practice my longarm that would still be “fun.” I think this managed.

Bright squares quilt back

I quilted it with yellow thread to bring out the brightness a bit and used a gray wide back fabric that I got from JoAnn’s using a 60% off coupon (seriously a great deal that way — I will definitely be buying more of that when I get my next coupon). I love the way the yellow contrasts with the gray on the back. Batting was the Quilter’s Dream Green Polyester which is made from recycled bottles. I really liked the loft it had so I will probably use that again in the future.

Bright squares quilt closeup

The other thing that I find so cool about this quilt is that the colors go together so well, that at any given junction of 4 squares, you have a beautiful color set. So if I ever need some color inspiration, I can just go to my quilt to find it!


The binding was done using the other half of the yellow stripes I used for the crazy 9 patch quilt.

Bright squares quilt binding

I tried a different method this time where I stitched it to the back first, folded to the front and then top stitched. I was happier with how this turned out overall, although my binding still isn’t as even as I would like on the back. I’ve got a couple more methods to test out on the next few quilts, so I’m not declaring a “usual” way just yet.

Bright squares quilt folded

But overall, I was really happy with this quilt. I’m sure I’ll use it — for picnics or color inspiration! It was very gratifying to make something that came together so quickly and still looked nice, so I’m sure I’ll be making another soon since it’s also great for longarm practice!

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jul 08 2015

Map quilt x 2

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Map quilt

When I got certified at the first longarm place, a year or two ago, the first thing I did was some practice quilts. I had bought two yards of this map fabric and made each one into a practice quilt. I did similar quilting on each but at different scales.

Dog in a blanket

The first one was done at a large scale. We ended up using it as a dog bed in the crates. Honestly, I can’t believe she let me wrap her up like that. She must have been tired :)

Map quilt detail

The second, above was done at a smaller scale. I did wavy lines on landmasses and waves in water with the occasional “eddy” (aka swirl).

Map quilt detail

The binding was self-binding by cutting the backing 1 inch wider than the whole thing and folding over. I’m posting this now because I finally finished the binding on the second one and I never posted pictures of the first. The backing is just a red broadcloth and the batting is some old polyester stuff I had. I don’t think I can donate it because they don’t like polyester for baby quilts, but the polyester stuff sure does puff up nicely.

Map quilt folded

The first one has been well “loved” by the dogs (they like to drag it around the house). Not sure what I’ll do with the second yet . . .

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jul 05 2015

Crazy 9 Patch Quilt

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Crazy 9 patch after washing

Over this holiday weekend, I’ve been trying to finish up some quilts that I’ve had laying around. Quilts take up a surprising amount of space when they haven’t been finished. Extra fabric hanging off. Not really folded. All sorts of mess. I have a few that are just waiting for binding. Most of these right now are “practice” quilts. I either had them lying around or I made them because I wanted to practice my longarm quilting.

Side view of the awesome fabric

One such quilt is this crazy 9 path quilt. I started it years ago. Literally years ago. I can’t even remember. It’s been sitting in my UFO pile for so long. Definitely at least 4 years. Anyhow, finally got off my butt and finished it.

Layering fabric to cut

The first step was to finish the 9 patch squares. I had finished 9 of them previously and had cut the squares for the other 9 (there are 18 total). Originally this was going to be 2 baby quilts, but then I decided to turn it into one big quilt because I didn’t know who I would give the baby quilts to and I was more likely to use a big quilt.

Cutting the crazy 9 patch squares

Crazy 9 patch is pretty simple to do. You just chop the squares all together in some random diagonal lines. It’s important to cut all 9 squares together so that they all have the same shapes.

Crazy 9 Patch quilt squares laid out

Then lay them out, one after another, starting with a different square each time so that you end up with one of each color in each square.

Crazy 9 patch quilt

And stitch them together. I do columns and then rows. The one thing I don’t like about crazy 9 patch, is that I can never seem to get the points to line up. It has to do with the math and angles. It will never line up, not without weird stretching. I know this. But it still annoys me.

Laying out crazy 9 patch quilt top

Once all the squares were done, I laid them out in a pleasing fashion, mostly trying not to get too many like colors next to one another. Simple black sashing completed the top.

Longarm quilting crazy 9 patch quilt

Next up was quilting which I do at Always Quilting (or visit their blog). I decided to do a geometric quilting pattern to contrast with the craziness of the 9 patch. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I used some mottled charcoal colored wide back fabric that they had at the store along with Hobbes batting which I also got from the store.

Crazy 9 patch quilt before washing

Here’s how it looked when it was all finished, but before washing (after washing is at the top — you can see it got more crinkly). This also has the binding which was that last step. I used a striped yellow fabric. Love me some stripes for binding.

Crazy 9 patch quilt binding

I used the method where I sewed it to the front, then wrapped it around the back and top stitched it on the front so that it caught the binding on the back.

Crazy 9 patch quilt binding back

I’m happy with how it looks on the front, but not thrilled with the back. This led me to go searching for other binding methods. So on the next few quilts, I will try those. I know, I know — hand sewing is the “proper” way. But that’s just not my way. I will do the hand sewing thing once in a while for quilts that call for it.

Crazy 9 patch quilt before washing

However, I’m still quite happy with how this turned out overall!

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jun 29 2015

Fast and Easy Men’s Medieval Costume

Published by under Miscellaneous

A maiden and a castle

Last weekend my husband and I went to a medieval midsummer’s fair at a winery that is a castle. Medieval attire was “recommended” which meant we were definitely wearing costumes because I love medieval stuff and especially medieval costumes and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to wear medieval costumes at a CASTLE.

I, of course, had a medieval costume (see above). I have to admit: I did not make it. My mom bought it for me at a renaissance faire when I was in high school. I loved it. I still love it. It makes me feel beautiful whenever I wear it. And yes, I can still fully lace up the corset. Win! 😀

Medieval Men's Costume

Anyhow, my husband did not have a costume. Well, that would not do. I wasn’t going to be in costume and have him not in costume, especially after he actually agreed to wear a costume. So on the Thursday before, I ran to JoAnn’s and I picked up fabric and a pattern. I had planned out several other patterns, but unfortunately, JoAnn’s only had McCall’s on sale and I have issues paying more than $1.99 for any of the big 3 patterns (because why pay more if you know they’re going to go on sale in a week or two). Anyhow, none of the McCall’s costume patterns were very good. I needed something authentic but simple. Guess I was gonna have to wing it.

McCalls 5992

I ended up going with McCall’s 5992 which is actually a pattern for pajamas. I picked it because the top and pants were pretty simple and I was pretty sure I could make it work. Also fortunate was that I was taking a serger class this week. As a result, I was feeling pretty confident on my serger which ended making the costume look significantly more professional and more comfortable and allowed me to make pants in about an hour. More on that latter.

The top

I made the XL but probably should have made the L. I don’t have a lot of in-progress photos because I was kinda in a rush to make this thing. But I cut it out as planned. Unfortunately, the pattern calls for 60” fabric (because it’s intended to be made with fleece) and the stuff I wanted was kona solids. I bought 3 instead of 2 yards.

It wasn’t enough. 😛 

Medieval Men's Costume

So I had to piece together the bottom half to make it long enough (you can see the seam above). Fortunately, the belt that he wore fell at about where the seam was so it wasn’t that noticeable.

Medieval Men's Costume back neck facing

I stitched all the seams with tan thread that I had picked up and then serged them with white. I also serged the edges of the neck facing so they would lay flat and be clean.

Medieval Men's Costume front neck facing

I made a facing from the front and back patterns, just cutting out the area around the neck, making the front facing extra long so I could do a V cut. Then, rather than stitching on neck binding, I just sewed the facing to the neckline. When I got to the center front, I sewed in a deep V. Trimmed the seam allowances. Flipped it inside out and there you go.

Medieval Men's Costume neck tie

I added grommets using on of these tools and laced it with some leather lace I had picked up at JoAnn’s.

Medieval Men's Costume shirt trim

Finally I trimmed the sleeves and bottom with some pretty trim that coordinated with my costume. I did this by folding the edges up to the outside and then laying the trim over it so the edge of the trim lined up with the fold. This did double duty of finishing the edge and sealing off the raw edge. On the bottom of the shirt, I cheated a little. I didn’t flip the edge up up because I had made the selvedge the bottom edge of the shirt so I just lined it up with that. No folding needed.

Medieval Men's Costume arm cuff

The leftover trim I tied around his waist as a belt. Voila!

Medieval Men's Costume  shirt

The neck opening was a little big for him (it is a pajama pattern after all) so we found him a reasonable white shirt to wear underneath as you can see in the top photo. I’ll make him a better shirt to go under it eventually.

The pants

After I finished the top, hubby was happy with it, but didn’t have any pants that looked good. We tried jeans, cargo, but they were way too modern. I said I would figure something out.

So the next day before we left for the trip, I ran home and made him some pants in an hour. Yes, it took me just under an hour from cutting the fabric to finishing the hem. The only thing I didn’t get to finish was the elastic which I threaded through in the car.

Medieval Men's Costume wasit band

I had bought the fabric the day before expecting to have time to make it on Thursday but obviously I didn’t. I cut out the large since the XL had been big on him. This ended up fitting pretty well. I wanted to add pockets, but I opted for speed rather than convenience. Besides, I would give him a little pouch.

The pants were pretty straight forward. I serged all the seams — fast and clean — and plus I had all these cool new tricks from serger class for how to nicely finish off edges.

Medieval Men's Costume cuff

But basically: stitch the inside seams. Stitch the crotch seam. Stitch the outside seams. Serge the leg openings. Serge the waist top. Press the waist down. Press the leg hems up. Stitch hems and waist with a conventional machine leaving an opening for elastic. Ta da!

The pouch

Hand sewn purse closed

Since I had neglected to put in pockets into the pants, we needed something to carry phone and wallet in (because my costume certainly did not have any where to put anything — someday I’ll make an overskirt that has pockets). We had a long drive, so I hand sewed (SO AUTHENTIC) a pouch that could be slipped on the belt. Pretty simple, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It really does look reasonably period (if you ignore the elastic and plastic button) and worked great.

Hand sewn purse

Hand sewn purse back and belt attachment

So that was how I modified a men’s pajama pattern into a men’s medieval pattern in only 4 hours (not counting the purse).

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jun 25 2015

A zipper bag for workshops

Published by under Sewing

Zipper bag

This is just a fun project I decided to share. I needed a little zipper bag to organize some of my dance stuff (ballet shoes, knee pads, snacks, etc) that I use less frequently in my dance bag so they weren’t floating around making it hard to find the things I do use frequently.

I had these two coordinating fat quarters lying around so I made one of my Doo Wa Ditty Bags but a bit bigger. Essentially each side is just a fat quarter cut in half so it’s a bit longer than the ones in the tutorial.

Inside of zipper bag

So far it’s doing its job nicely!

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jun 17 2015

A flower quilt for my grandmother

Published by under Quilting

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

Remember I told you I’d show you what I made out of the extra apron fabric? Well, here it is — a quilt for my grandmother.

Grandma Flower Quilt

Look at my mom’s cute little toes sticking out as she models this for me :)

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

This probably the scrappiest quilt that I’ve made to date. Everything is scraps from the apron that I made my mom except for the yellow (which is also the backing fabric and the green sashing).


I designed it myself based on how much fabric I had left over and used almost every little bit. The original design is above. Obviously it ended up turning out slightly different based on how much of each fabric I had (I didn’t have enough of the pink flowers to do the sashing with it). And most of the squares actually ended up being pieced together.

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

But all in all, I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Grandma Flower Quilt Ruffle Closeup

Oh, the other part which I ended up buying was the fabric for the ruffle. When I got to the end and was ready to bind it off, I felt it needed it something more. Thanks to the internet and eBay I was able to find a stripe fabric from the original (and now out of print) Ginger Blossom fabric line. I love using stripes for ruffles and edging. I really think this was the icing on the cake for this quilt and I love how it turned out.

Grandma Flower Quilt Ruffle Closeup

I longarm quilted it at the first place I was doing longarm quilting before they stopped offering rentals. It was my first successful “real” quilt (as opposed to a baby or practice quilt). It’s mostly just meandering but in the squares I also did flowers and some words that related to my grandmother and things we share like “dance” and “love.”

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

Needless to say, she loves it :)

Flower quilt

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jun 09 2015

Some teasers for now

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Pressed quilt tops

Just a couple of quick updates. I have been quilting along and working on a variety of items. Above are a couple of quilt tops that are pressed and waiting to be longarm quilted. They’re quilted now and I just need to add the binding.
Below is the neon quilt which is SO close to being finished. I really just need an hour or so more before the quilting is done and I can do the binding. Now if I can just find that hour . . .
Neon quilt progress!

No responses yet -- what do you think?

Jun 02 2015

April O’Neil Cosplay Prop Construction

Published by under Cosplay,Crafts

April O'Neil and Shredder

What is April without her Turtle Communicator to call the Turtles for help?

Two weekends ago I went to Fanime Con 2015 as April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Check out the earlier post here for more fun pictures like those above with cosplayer David Volko as Shredder. In this post, I talked about the sewing aspect of the construction. In this post I’ll talk about how I made some of the props for my April costume.


Of course I had to have one! I did some searches on the internet and you can get one of the retro ones that they used to sell as toys for anywhere from $20 to $100 on ebay. This was a bit much for my taste.


Fortunately, some internet searching turned up this adorable turtle tackle box at the much more reasonable price of $4.


I measured the inside area and cut out some shapes that looked about right on my Silhouette out of brown vinyl. The reason for doing this was two fold: 1) to give a base for my sticker and 2) if I screwed up my sticker (or the vinyl shape), the vinyl removes easily.


Fortunately I did pretty well on getting the shape of the inside part and my vinyl cutouts fit nearly perfectly.


I shrunk down the shape and filled it with designs similar to this image I found on Turtlepedia. I did all the designs by hand in the Silhouette program (as opposed to overlaying on the image and tracing) and I think I did a reasonable representation.

April O'Neil and Shredder

The other props that April had were a watch, a belt that I painted the buckle gold with nail polish, white boots, her microphone and the wig, expertly cut by Pocky Princess Darcy.

The white boots were actually thigh high boots that I tucked the top half into and the microphone was one that I added a windscreen to. I chopped the box the microphone came in so that I just had a cube part, covered it in white sticker paper that I had printed a red 6 on and then jammed the microphone through it. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Technically April should have a camera bag at her back left, but I forgot about that the day of. Next time! Most of the pictures were from the front anyhow, so I don’t see it as any great loss.

April O'Neil Cosplay Bag

I think that’s about it. I had extra fabric so I made a bag to keep all the parts of my costume in.

I leave you with this fun animated gif :)


No responses yet -- what do you think?

Next »