Sunday, February 26, 2012

Innocent Crush Dress

I made this dress last year for Matt's work Holiday Party. I was still living in Illinois with Addy at the time, so I flew out to Seattle for the party. I never took adequate photos of the dress, until this fall! We had our family photos taken, and I decided this dress would be perfect. So after we spent some time walking through our neighborhood for the family photos, I asked Melissa to take a few of my dress! (And my coat, I'll show that later this week!)
The front:
A side view:
Fashion Fabric: Anna Maria Horner, Innocent Crush VoileTurn of Events in Indigo
Lining (not shown): Free Spirit solid voile in Powder
Pattern: Project Runway Simplicity 2922
I really like how this dress turned out. I made a muslin first, which was helpful. I took up the sleeve length a bit, because it looked a bit droopy. If I were to make it again, I would probably make the dress a bit more fitted (it is meant to be a sheath dress, though!), and I would omit the zipper. I find that sometimes zippers make it harder to wear belts with dresses, because they don't flow with the fabric. (See above photo...) And this pattern really doesn't need a zipper, it slips on quite easily.
I also added a lining to this dress. I was worried about the weight of the voile for a winter party, and I was a bit worried that the dress would be transparent, as well! It was super simple to add the lining, and I think it was worth the extra money I plopped down for matching voile. (And I may be a tiny bit anal about how I finish the insides of my garments. I did serge this, but I also love that the lining makes the inside of the dress as polished as the outside!)
I have absolutely no clue what size I sewed this dress up in. I probably graded the pattern to adjust for my small frame on top and wide hips, but even that is a guess this late in the game. ;)
This is probably my favorite handmade dress to date! I love the fabric, I love how it looks, and I love that it can be dressed up or down. (And layered! I wore a fitted turtle neck under it for the holiday party. I was toasty warm!)
*One thing I will add about the Project Runway line of patterns is that all of the design elements are mix and match. It's a very fun way to customize a garment, but it involves overestimating fabric yardage, because the pattern gives you yardage for cutting each element from a DIFFERENT fabric. I bought 4 yards of this voile (yes, I'm really that crazy), because I followed the pattern envelope yardage. When I bought the lining I only got 2 or 2.5 yards (I can't remember which!) and it was plenty.
All photos are the work of Melissa McClure. Check her out, she's fabulous!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Echo Baby

I'm sure you've seen Echo pop up all over. It didn't take long for me to buy some of this line - the first time I saw it in a local shop, a little bit followed me home! I wanted several different prints but didn't want to spend a lot. So I picked my favorites and asked for small cuts-anywhere from 1/8 yd to 1/3 yard.
I paired these prints with kona in ash (probably my most favorite shade of kona-and the hardest to find lately!). Simple strips, some straight line quilting, and bias-cut binding. It made for a great baby boy quilt!
Quilting detail on front:
DSC_0212 And on back:
In a tree:
It was so hard to give this quilt away! It was graciously accepted into it's new home, though, where it is surely keeping a baby boy snuggly warm!
P.S. Check out the snow in those pictures! I think we got 6", and school was closed for 4 days (plus the Monday before was a holiday!). Oh, Seattle! It amuses how the busy, busy city just quietly shuts down for the snow. And ramps right back up when it melts!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Habitat Challenge

Last fall the modern quilt guilds had a challenge involving the Habitat fabric line created by Jay McCarroll. Each participant received a cut of six different prints from the same colorway. Our guild had the brights colorway. We decided not to place restrictions on the project type, and participants were allowed to buy more yardage of any of their prints. Solids were the only fabrics we could add that were not part of the Habitat fabric line.
I decided that the very modern style of these prints would work well with a bit of traditional piecing. I had visions of a sampler style quilt, so I started piecing blocks in some of my favorite patterns. To challenge myself a bit, I used solid white in some blocks and solid khaki in the others. Originally I planned to frame each block in a hot pink solid, but I couldn't find the right shade of pink. I had a bit of kona in chartreuse in my stash, which worked really well to frame the blocks! And then I got stuck on the border. My first instinct was to use white in the borders, but that caused the khaki blocks to look out of place. While I was chatting with some quilting friends one night, one of them suggested a dark grey border and maybe some cornerstones. I loved the grey border right away, and the bright blue cornerstones really tied the whole quilt together.
DSC_0040 To keep the quilt modern, I quilted it densely with organic straight lines. Dark grey binding keeps the eye focused on the quilt blocks.
DSC_0002Several quilt blocks didn't make the cut for the quilt top. I included them on the quilt back, along with thin strips of crossweave on either side of the pieced strip and dark grey for the background. I purposely left a label off of this quilt, so that we could display the quilt front or back!DSC_0004

Size: Approximately 36" square
Fabric: Habitat by Jay McCarroll, Kona, Moda crossweave
Quilting: organic straight lines
I think it looks great with the bench that Matt made! (The pink paint was $1 in the "oops paint" section at Home Depot. I love how well it matches the Habitat fabric! Maybe one day I'll make baskets for under the bench...)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Autumn Chevrons

I started this quilt a few months ago (in autumn, actually!), before the holiday rush. I began by pulling some autumn-colored fabrics from my oft-neglected fat quarter stash. I knew that I wanted to make a chevron quilt, so I cut strips in various widths and started to piece them together. I was staggering the ends of my strips (like this) so that I could trim up the edges later, but I soon realized that I wasn't staying consistent in my staggering. I was aiming for 45-degree angles on my strips, but soon decided to cut the pieced strips at (somewhat) random angles.
DSC_0042 After I had a few strips pieced and the edges squared up, I played with layout options. I didn't intend to use a sashing between the strips, but the variation of color, print, strip width and angle resulted in a horrible eyesore when all of the pieced strips were butting up against each other. Still unwilling to admit defeat to this quilt idea, I auditioned some solids for sashing. My first instinct was to use kona snow, but it read as a fairly bright white against the darker prints. I initially pulled out the khaki simply because I had enough yardage on hand, not expecting to use it. Boy was I surprised when that ended up being my favorite!
DSC_0045 To quilt this piece, I followed the angles of the pieced slices in the strips and formed a horizontal zig zag pattern across the quilt. The quilted lines are spaced (somewhat) randomly apart, but I did make sure that every slice within the strips had a quilting line running through it. Why? Because I'm a tiny bit obsessive compulsive like that.
DSC_0051 I couldn't imagine binding this quilt in anything but the khaki solid. I wanted the piecing to really stand out, and I think that any other binding would have distracted from the piecing just a bit.
For the back I used a DS Quilts print from JoAnn's. The colors worked really well with the fabrics on the front.
DSC_0050 I'm toying with the idea of re-opening an Etsy shop this fall when Addy is in school all day and and I have a bit more free time. My intent was to save this quilt for the shop, but while I was sewing the binding down I found a flaw in the material on one of the borders. So lucky me, I get to keep this one! We don't have a lot of space in our house, so Autumn Chevrons is currently hanging in the stairway leading to our basement. It's just the touch of homemade that my stairway was lacking! DSC_0053

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I bought some of this fabric to make some simple pillows for my parents. They were originally going to be for Christmas, but then my sister and brother had the idea to buy them each one gift from all of us. I was still able to finish up the pillows before we visited our families last week, and I gave my parents the pillows for their birthdays.
Here are the pillow covers (fabric on the back is an older Tina Givens print - I love that all of her collections work so well together!):
On the pillow fronts I quilted in a paisley pattern, and on the backs I quilted in a grid:
I also made this cute ornament from some felted wool. I found a similar ornament online and asked a friend to sketch the pieces for me. I love how it turned out, and I had just enough wool to make one for our tree as well! DSC_0202 
The cute braided tail:

Friday, February 3, 2012

The last of the Christmas gifts!

I have lots of projects that I'd like to blog about, so I'm going to wrap up the Christmas gifts in one last post.
I found this on pinterest a few weeks before Christmas and knew these would make great gifts. I found a scarf at a local thrift shop and used some scraps for the characters.
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The puppy dog went to a friend down the street and I put the queen in Addy's stocking. The other 2 were for a good friend's little boys. I had them in mind from the beginning of this project, because they have a very tall staircase, perfect for parachuting!
The two boys who received the parachuters now have a baby sister! I made her a small (14" square) lovey with jumbo ric-rac trim and some cuddly Folksy Flannels on the back.

I did very little sewing for Addy this year. I made this yoga skirt from a knit remnant:
Addy has been asking for Squinkies for awhile, so I bought her a few from the Ariel set. I didn't want these tiny creatures lost around the house, so I made a drawstring pouch for them. (Fabrics are Melly and Me and Summersault.)
And lastly, Addy has been on a play-doh kick lately. Matt's favorite play-doh toy as a child was the fuzzy pumper, which I couldn't find at Target. Instead I found a small set of play-doh "tools", which also required a drawstring bag! I made this bag larger to accomodate the many tubs of play-doh, cookie cutters, and other random household objects that are perfect for playing with 'doh. (Fabrics are Sugar Pop.)
We rounded out Addy's gifts with some clothes, card games, and a new Ariel doll. With the gifts from us and our families, she has more than enough to keep her imagination busy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gifts for the M Family

Here are a few more gifts that I sent off to friends this holiday season. This family has a big sister and a little brother.
For big sister, a tote bag! I could just see her packing a few things into this tote and heading to the park to read under a tree.
And for little brother, a travel checkers set! I thought up this checkers board when I was brainstorming boy gift ideas, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.
DSC_0075 A bit about the checkers board, I made the board in 4 pieces and sewed them together with a wide zig zag stitch so they can be folded up like a typical board game. Peltex provided the prefect amount of structure to the board.
Here's the back of the board:
I folded 1 side:
DSC_0080 DSC_0081
And then the other:
And then folded the board in half:
The checkers are simply wooden discs that I bought from JoAnn's. I left half of them unfinished and I painted and sealed the other half. A simple draw-string pouch for storing the game, and I think I've found a new go-to boy gift!