Nov 24 2015

Rope Bowl

Published by under Sewing

Rope Bowl

I’ve been busy working on a variety of things. There will be posts. For now, enjoy this rope bowl.

I made the bowl on my sewing machine using a tutorial from Flossie Teacakes that I found via the Sew Mama Sew Handmade Holidays. I’m amused that it’s listed under “hipster crafts” because it’s not really what I would consider hipster. More crafty or homey.

Anyhow, I used cotton clothesline that I picked up at the hardware store for a couple of bucks. It went together pretty quickly and seems pretty sturdy. It was fun! You can’t seem them in this photo, but I’m using it to store extra needles for now. This only used about half the clothesline in the package so I’ll guess just have to make another one. :)

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Nov 11 2015

Midnight Mystery Quilt — October

Published by under Quilting,Sewing


I’ve now completed October’s instructions which means if I can get November’s instructions done in the next 3 weeks, I’ll be all caught up!

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps

This month was courthouse steps. Big ones. They ended up 19” by 19”. But they were nice and relaxing to make and there were only 9 to make so it wasn’t bad at all.

Here are photos of each step:

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps

Ta da!

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Nov 08 2015

Sprout Patterns Zippy Top by See Kate Sew

Published by under Sewing

Sprout Patterns Pumpkin Zippy Top

Sprout Patterns is a new online retailer which just opened officially. They sell patterns already printed on fabric which comes from Spoonflower. By working in tandem with a number of indie pattern companies, they allow you to preview the design you’ve selected on the garment. Any design — including your own custom ones — that is available through Spoonflower is an option. Once you’ve chosen your pattern and design, you pick your size and any other options and order it!

I was excited to try out this new method of ordering patterns. I ordered two patterns: the Zippy Top by See Kate Sew and the Myrtle Dress by Collette Patterns. There are now even more options than when I ordered although I suspect I still would have gone with these two. I didn’t use my own fabric designs. For the Zippy Top, I picked a pumpkin print (designed by Maya Pletscher) figuring it would be perfect for fall and all the appropriate holidays. For now I’m just going to talk about the Zippy Top so I’ll share what I picked for the Myrtle later when I post it.

Sprout Zippy Top Label

First off is the ordering experience. This is very very cool. Being able to visualize the design on the garment and rotate it around is amazing. Even if it’s not exact placement of the design, it’s so much better than my brain can do. It really helps you see if the design you’re picking is too busy or has too many repeats or doesn’t work with seams well. I loved this aspect. It’s so much fun to try out different designs on all the styles. I must have spent a couple hours just doing that. It really is awesome and you should at the very least try it (although don’t blame me if you’re tempted to buy afterwards :).

Sprout Patterns Pumpkin Zippy Top

After picking my designs and hemming and hawing about the size, I ordered my items and crossed my fingers. Once you start sewing muslins, it becomes a little bit of safety net in terms of knowing that your pattern will fit. No muslins with this service. No size grading either. :-/ Needless to say I was a little nervous.

However, I’m really really pleased to report that Sprout just announced that they are now giving the full pattern along with each order! This is amazing. It means that if you want to make a muslin before sewing up your pretty fabric, you can! It also means that if you want to grade your pattern, you can order the size up and then do it once you get it. This is really great news! And definitely will make me less anxious about ordering next time.

Interestingly, on the Zippy Top instructions that they make available for download after ordering, there are additional sizing instructions. I’ve already recommended to Sprout that it would be nice have those when ordering. Fortunately, I did end up with the correct size, so it all turned out okay :)

Here’s how the fabric looked when I got it (well after opening the little tissue wrapped bundle):

Sprout Zippy Top Printed

When you first get the fabric it’s really cool. I’ve ordered several samples from Spoonflower but it’s a whole other thing to get yardage. For the Zippy Top I got the Poly Crepe de Chine fabric. It was quite nice to work with and the colors are very vibrant on it. My serger wasn’t a huge fan of it though, so I ended up finishing all but two of my seams on the standard machine and that worked great. But it ironed up just lovely, drapes well and suits the pattern. Oh, and it’s also really comfortable!

After getting my fabric, the first thing I did was toss it all into the wash on warm and then dry it in the dryer on warm. That way if it accidentally gets tossed in the washer and/or dryer in the future, I’m safe. The colors were just as nice after the wash/dry as before. This is in contrast to some fat quarters I had recently gotten from Spoonflower printed on their Kona cotton that lost color where it was wrinkled during drying. That was disappointing. Strangely, Spoonflower’s basic combed cotton also washed and dried fine, so not sure what was up with the Kona cotton. But the Poly Crepe de Chine and the Performance Pique that the Myrtle dress was printed on both washed up great as well and I would definitely order either fabrics again.

Sprout Patterns Pumpkin Zippy Top Sprout Patterns Pumpkin Zippy Top

The whole construction took a little under 2 hours, start to finish including cutting, printing, taping & cutting templates, and sewing. I think that’s pretty good and about what I expected. I’m sure if I ordered another one it would be faster. I only had a couple of “bumps” during the process.

First, the Zippy Top pattern indicates that the front and back facing should be interfaced, but the pdf template that came with the instructions (at the time) only includes the back facing piece for cutting out the interfacing. I was able to trace my front facing piece to cut out the interfacing for the front facing, but it seemed like the template for the front facing should have been there. However, more disappointing was that I tried mailing Sprout about this twice through the online contact form, but never heard back :( I know they were probably busy with a recent promo they ran on zipper purses, but even an automated “we’ll get to you soon” email would be good. Of course, now that the full pattern is included with each order, this is no longer an issue — you’ve already got all the pieces!

Another bump was installing the zipper, specifically the topstitching of the zipper. To me, it seemed that you should go over your previous topstitching but really you need to go super close to the edge to catch the zipper tape and it would have been nice if they had indicated that it should be a second line of topstitching. The diagram in the instructions makes it look like the zipper top stitching is at the same distance as the previous stitching. I think it actually looks nicer and works better with the super close top stitching, but I feel the instructions could have been clearer about this one thing. Otherwise, they were very good with nice diagrams.

Extra fabric from Sprout Zippy Top

My last issue with the process was in the layout of the fabric. There was so much extra fabric! I was actually able to make an entire other top and some gift bags. If you’re curious, I tried out the Sorbetto by Collette Patterns with some modifications to fit it on the extra fabric. I’ll post about it later this week, but it’s free so you can try it too :) Anyhow, as someone who hates to waste good fabric (I’m still trying to figure out a decent scrap storage/organization solution), this was sad. I think they could have been better about layout, especially for smaller sizes. I understand from a software standpoint why this sort of feature wouldn’t be in version 1. I’ve expressed my thoughts to Sprout and hopefully we’ll see better fabric use in the future!

In general, it was a fun experience and I’ve recommended to several people that they at least try it. A great application for these patterns is for sewing classes. For example, have everyone in a beginner class order a zipper pouch of the design of their choosing. It’s a cool way to make it personal and I definitely hope to make use of it that way. Plus now that they include the full pattern, I’m more motivated to buy from Sprout when I can see what my fabric will look like and just order it, especially if I was going to order the pattern anyways. I’m definitely looking forward to using this service more in the future and seeing how it grows.

Below are some additional construction photos for those that are curious.

Zippy Top facing and back marked for zipper

Marking where the zipper goes.

Zippy Top back facing

Attaching facing to neckline.

Zippy Top zipper inside

Zipper has been inserted and topstitched in.

Zippy Top baby hem

Baby hem on bottom.

Pumpkin Sorbetto Tank Top

Serged side seam.

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Oct 31 2015

Happy Halloween from Robin Hood and Maid Marian!

Published by under Cosplay,Dog,Sewing

Robin Hood and Maid Marian

Are these not the most adorable Robin Hood and Maid Marian you’ve ever seen??

This is actually their costume from last year, but since I never had a chance to post it, I figured this Halloween is as good as any :). In case you can’t tell, they’re supposed to be Robin Hood and Maid Marian from the Disney movie. Here’s a screen grab for reference (image courtesy of Disney Screencaps):

Robin hood 1080p disneyscreencaps com 5263

I started with Simplicity 9520, specifically view C for the most part (funny that it’s shown on a German Shepherd there, too).

Simplicity 9520

I made Maid Marian first, mostly because the pattern’s idea of “large” fit my little 50 lb girl. So I was going to have to do some alteration for the big boy.

Maid Marian neck

The outer dress makes a V in both the front and back, as did Marian’s. For her necklace, I sewed a ribbon around the mock turtleneck. The brooch is pinned on (in case this needs to be washed which is almost certain with dogs). The brooch is just a piece of timtex covered in gold lamé with a plastic rhinestone glued to it.

Maid Marian lining

The shirt and skirt were made as two separate pieces and then tacked together so that I could put everything on at the same time (because getting one thing on a dog is hard enough, let alone two). As you can see, I didn’t even bother to finish the shirt since you wouldn’t see  that edge.

Maid Marian sleeve

The sleeves are poofy and I did two rows of elastic since, as you can see in the photo, Marian has that two row detail on her sleeves.

Maid Marian waist detail

Similarly on her waist, she has the waist detail of two rows which I added here. You can also see how this went on my pup, using velcro down the front.


Finally, Marian’s head covering was made with a timtex base covered in fabric. I stitched around the edges and then tacked the loose bits with my glue gun. The sheer dressing was finished with a baby hem and then tacked on to the head band using some tacking stitches. Elastic held it on to my model’s head, albeit briefly.

Robin Hood collar

Robin’s was much simpler from a construction standpoint but more challenging from a fitting standpoint. As I mentioned, the largest size of the pattern fit my 50 lb dog. Maybe the pattern makers don’t expect people to dress up their 90 lb dogs? Why wouldn’t you dress up a 90 lb dog??

So I started with the largest dog pattern, measured my dogs chest and then expanded it to account for the additional 10-15 inches or so which also included making the arms a bit bigger. Since he’s (mostly) a German Shepherd, he has that deep chest so I had to take it in on the sides, too, to fit his slim waist.

Robin Hood belt

I extended the collar a bit so it would fold down nicely. I added the belt (it’s not real although the buckle is legit but sewn on) and the neck “ties” are also sewn down with velcro between them.

Robin Hood finishing

I did mostly zig zag finishing on Robin’s outfit since I figured he’d be a bit more “rustic” so it fit. He had more exposed seams that needed to be finished nicely and the zig zag did that well and thematically.

Robin Hood hat

Finally Robin’s hat was made mostly with timtex wrapped in fabric using my glue gun. Elastic kept it attached to my model’s head — although the model was very interested in the feather and you can see he snacked on it a bit 😛

Robin Hood and Maid Marian

Such good models! (I think there was food involved . . .)

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Oct 28 2015

Halloween One Hour Baskets

Published by under Sewing

Halloween One Hour Basket

I had been seeing all over Instagram references to the “one hour basket.” Various posts of cute little fabric boxes or baskets that were tagged with #onehourbasket or #hourbasket. Finally I found the source. The one hour basket is a free pattern available on Craftsy. You can get it here! It’s put out by Hearts and Bees who is a duo of seamstresses. So I had to see what the hype is about.

First off, it is a fast basket to make, especially if you follow the instructions on the pattern. Which I did the first time. I always like to play by the rules the first time I try out a pattern. But of course, after that I typically make some modifications so it turns out more how I like. Here are the changes I made to the original pattern:

  • I trimmed the fusible interfacing by 1/2 inch on all sides so that it didn’t add bulk to the seams.
  • I pressed my seams open, again to reduce bulk although I don’t think this makes a huge difference.
  • I used 1/2 inch seam allowance on the corners (but this was because I didn’t realize the instructions said 1/4 inch until later 😛 ).
  • I did completely different handles although I used the same measurements to cut the fabric for them as for the original pattern.

So all the cutting follows the original pattern. It’s only the construction that I did differently.

Halloween One Hour Basket Handles

For the handles, I stitched them in strips as per the original instructions. In the ones here, I did the stitching with decorative 12wt white Aurifil thread and I love how it matches the quilty-looking fabric. Then I pressed under 3/8 inch and then pressed 1.125 inches on either end so there were no raw seams exposed. Then I sewed them to the sides using a square stitching pattern. Each one was stitched 1.25 inches below the top (or 1.75 if you’re doing it before attaching the lining) and 2.5 inches from the seam to the outer edge of the handle. This gives a little bit of space between the handle and the bag, making it easy to grab.

Halloween One Hour Basket Handles

Halloween One Hour Basket Handle seams

The first time I tried this kind of handle, I sewed it through the outside and lining. Unfortunately, this leaves seams on the inside. I kept my stitching clean so I don’t think it looks bad, but I wasn’t a huge fan. I would do it this way again though, if my thread matched the lining because I think it adds some extra stability in keeping the lining in. In general, I think I’ll just go with whatever way looks best in the future.

Two One Hour Baskets

I made two for Halloween. One for me and one for my mom. I thought they’d be fun to put the candy in. The one I made for myself was my first practice of doing the trimmed fusible fleece and the handles, so I didn’t do the extra bit with the orange bottom as I did for my mom’s since I knew I could always do the “standard” way for my mom’s if I messed up mine. As it turns out, I like the basket even more with my modifications!

Halloween One Hour Basket Inside

Candy goes in there!

Halloween One Hour Basket

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Oct 25 2015

Midnight Mystery Quilt — September

Published by under Quilting,Sewing


Moving right along with catching up on my Midnight Mystery Quilt-a-long by Meadow Mist Designs, I’ve now done September. For this month, we were supposed to make square-in-square blocks. Another first for me!

Finished square in square

One of the things I love about this mystery quilt is that I’m getting so much experience doing some of the more basic quilting arrangements. As a relatively new quilter, a lot of what I’ve done has been my own thing which has been very modern and not requiring very exact seams. The blocks for this quilt (last month’s flying geese and this one) have required the true scant 1/4” seam. It’s been great practice — especially when you have to make 34 square-in-square blocks!

Squares for Septembers instructions

The instructions have been great so far. Very clear with helpful diagrams. For this month, I used the squares I had cut out originally, but now needed to cut the smaller squares into triangles.

Cut those squares into triangles

Once that was done, I had to sew one triangle of each color to either side, press, then repeat, making sure that opposing sides had different colors. Here are the steps as one photo:

Another view of steps for square in square

I think it’s pretty obvious at each step where I added on a triangle.

Steps for Square in Square

And there you go — 34 completed squares in squares, all trimmed to size. These definitely took me a while. They were probably the longest month yet. But I did it!

Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt Squares in Squares

Now on to October. If I can get it done this week (not likely) then I’ll be caught up. But either way, I’ll be caught up soon. Excited to see what happens with these square-in-square blocks!

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Oct 21 2015

Kimono Slippers . . . with some modifications

Published by under Sewing

Slippers are done

So this is a little bit of a detour from some of my other projects. I wanted to make some slippers to have at a camp to go to and from the bathroom. I decided to modify the Woman Kimono Pattern from by removing the back because I wanted the slippers to be slip on without using my hands.

Slipper pieces

Unfortunately although I got the pieces cut out before I left, I didn’t get the slippers done.

Kimono Slippers top

Basically I had sewn the tops, but I had sewn the wrong edges together (the curved edge instead of the straighter edge as shown above) so I had to remove all the stitching and start over. So I was pretty much at the cut out pieces stage before I left.

Kimono top pieces after top stitching

But since I had everything cut out anyways, I decided to finish them when I got back. So I finished sewing the tops and did some top stitching.

Pin sides to base

I attached the tops to the top of the sole . . .

Pin tops to bottoms

and then sewed the whole shoe to the bottom of the sole, right sides together. At this point, I kinda had to sew in the seams to catch everything so they ended up being a bit smaller than anticipated. They still fit, but I couldn’t fit the timetex bases I had so carefully cut out int here. So I just sewed ‘em up with batting and left it at that as you can see in the pictures above.

They’re fine, but I don’t know how much I’ll use them. Maybe I’ll try again with some other fabric at some point . . . after all the other hundreds of projects on my list . . .

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Oct 18 2015

Sunday Stash: Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

A little bit of stash candy for today.  Above is a fat quarter bundle of Loominous from Anna Maria Horner which I got from Massdrop.  I had been eyeing the Loominous line ever since I heard about it. They’re yarn dyed as opposed to printed like most quilting fabric. The fat quarter bundle seemed like a great way to enjoy these fabrics. I’m planning to use these for bags and other items rather than quilts (well, other than the purple and mint at the bottom). I particularly love the metallics and how the metallic threads are woven through the fabric. Check out the photos of this beautiful fabric to see the line of colors.

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

The reddish, warm tones.

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

The blues and greens.

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

More blue-ish ones.

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

The purples.

Ana Maria Horner Loominous Yarn Dyed Fabric

The neutrals and other colors that didn’t seem to match other bunches. In this photo you can also one of my favorite parts of yarn dyed fabrics. Since the yarn itself is dyed, the back side is pretty as well. It’s not just white that was printed on.


And I also got 2 1-yard cuts of the purple and mint metallic check from Hawthorne Threads which I have earmarked for a special quilt.

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Oct 15 2015

Pinky minky quilt for a lovely lady

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Folded pinky minky quilt

This little blanket was being sent off to a lovely little lady who just came into the world. I’m hoping it will keep her warm and cozy — at least until her real quilt gets to her.

Pinky minky quilt

I had scheduled some rental time on the longarm to stitch up a quilt for Miss Lily. Unfortunately due to work/travel/life/etc I didn’t actually finish the top I had planned despite having ordered an insane amount of fabric for it.

So I decided to just do some whole cloth quilting. I picked out what looked like a fun fabric. Since her real quilt is mostly pastel pink, I thought hot pink would be fun.

Minky side of quilt

I decided to do minky on the back because it’s so cozy — perfect for a baby blanket — but also to try it out. Well, I love it! It shows off the stitching so well. It looks so neat!

I used a purple thread on both the top and bobbin. It matched the quilt top nicely and I wanted to be able to see the stitches. I thought it would contrast with the back although you can’t actually see it on the back because of the plush of the minky. No matter. You can see the designs and that’s what counts!

Pinky minky quilt

For the binding, I picked up some coordinating fabric (I think they’re from the same line) while I was at the store. Both fabrics have little spots of metallic gold. I love that extra sparkle. I bound it by sewing to the back first, wrapping to the front, and then top stitching on the front. Another new technique for me.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to send it off to Lily, honestly, because I was worried about trying so many new things with this quilt. I’m not going to send someone something that I’m not proud to say I made. But after finishing it up and washing it, I loved the way it turned out. So off it went and from I hear, she and her mama quite like it :)

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Oct 12 2015

Rainbow Sampler Quilt

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Rainbow sampler quilt folded

The previous time I was at the longarm quilter, I had a whole day because of a long weekend. So I brought about a yard of wide back fabric. You may remember this gray fabric from the backing for my Bright Squares Quilt. I marked out borders and 7 sections — one for each color of the rainbow — although I only ended up doing 6 colors because I ran out of time.

Rainbow sampler quilt front

For each color, I did a different style, hence the name: Rainbow Sampler Quilt. It was great for practice and it ended up looking awesome.

Red paisley close up

For red, I worked on my paisley. You can see how I fell into a rhythm after getting into a bit (I started on the right hand side which was actually upper left when I was quilting it).

Orange water close up

Orange water close up 2

For orange I did stair steps or I think sometimes it’s called tranquil waters.

Yellow spirals close up

Yellow spirals close up 2

Yellow was spirals. I’ve done spirals before, but they can always use practice to work on the evenness and roundness.

Green leaves close up 2

Green leaves close up

Green was leaves. This was kinda obvious. Green. Leaves. But it was a new pattern so I enjoyed it. I’d use it again on the right quilt.

Blue pebbles and waves close up

Blue started out as pebbles (or bubbles as I was thinking of them) but about 1/2 hour in, I got annoyed by how long the bubbles were taking (I had been quilting for some 6 hours at this point) so I switched to waves. I think the bubbles looked okay (though they could definitely use more practice and I think they wouldn’t look quite so bad if the thread color matched the fabric — that would hide some of the error), but wow they take a lot of time.

Purple flowers close up

Purple flowers close up 2

For purple, I did flowers. I switched up the sizes for interest.

Rainbow Sampler Quilt Feather border

Finally, all along the borders, I worked on my feathers. For those I did do gray thread to match the gray background.

Overall, I was very happy with how the patterns turned out and I plan on using most of them in quilts at some point or another. Even the feathers weren’t too bad! But definitely good to get a feel for them before putting them into a quilt I care a lot about.

Rainbow sampler quilt back

I used a gray bobbin thread (same as the feathers) so that it wouldn’t show amongst the colors and I liked the contrast with the turquoise background fabric I picked. You can’t really tell here, but it does look nice. Both the front and back fabrics were wide back cottons I got from JoAnn’s with a sweet 50% off coupon.

Rainbow sampler quilt binding

For the binding I used some dark gray Hawthorne Threads hues. For this one I machine sewed it. First to the front, then topstitched on the front to catch it on the back. Since it was just a sampler quilt I wasn’t going to hand bind it and I think it turned out well enough.

Overall, quite happy with the results of this quilt!

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