Thursday, October 23, 2014

First Quilt - Strip Tango for my Niece

I made my first quilt!  It was a gift for my youngest sister who is expecting a baby girl.  I don't know if I would advise making your first quilt as a gift!!  You might want to practice a little, first. Nevertheless... I had fun with this process and learned so much.  Choosing the fabrics and piecing the top was so fun and actually went fairly fast, in comparison to the rest of the process - sandwiching, machine quilting, binding. 
strip tango quilt
 Initially, I planned to use Heather Ross' Briar Rose collection for her quilt, but once I saw the crib bedding, I changed my mind.  I decided to mirror my niece's crib bedding which features little foxes and orange and aqua tones.  First I found the cute, cute, cute woodland animal fabric used in the center panel  It is "Camp Out" in white from Michael Miller's Sorbet Collection. From there I chose the other fabrics, also Michael Miller except for the white print (which is Washi). I love the fresh colors and combination of patterns. I purchased the fabrics from and really liked using the design wall feature to see the fabrics together.  The backing, which is not pictured, is "Widescreen"crosshatch from Carolyn Friedlander in gray on white.  

Strip Tango quilt

The quilt pattern, which I found via Pinterest by searching baby quilt is Strip Tango from My Quilt Infatuation.  It uses large strips (4.58 x 20.5 inches) which are quick to piece and allow for a little play with the different fabrics. The woodland fabric became a feature block framed by one of the other prints. I definitely recommend this pattern for a first quilt, or when you need to make a quick quilt to gift. 

string tango quilt

So, true confession, I started this first quilt with a definite deadline (baby shower!) without really knowing what I was doing.  Piecing the top was so fun and went very fast....and then the project stalled. I had read about the sandwiching and qulting process, but had never actually done it.  I started reading blog posts and pulling all the dusty quilting books in my sewing room, to prepare myself to jump in!  I decided to take some steps to simplify the process.  I didn't try pin basting and went for spray basting, which was fairly easy after I watched some youtube videos for tips.  I also did not piece the back, so that also simplified things.

Next, I needed to machine quilt this beautiful basted sandwich.  I should mention that this baby quilt is really not "baby" sized, at 48"x60" and I really didn't take into account wrestling this through my small-throathed machine. But, I learned from the experience.  Again, I watched some youtube videos that were incredibly helpful and will add the links when i find them. I quillted in randomly spaced vertical lines with a very loose multi-step zip zag stich.  I got inspiration for the quilting style from a post on Vanilla Joy.  You can sort of see my quilting lines in the blurry picture above. (another lesson learned, take plenty of pictures before you race off to gift the quilt!).  For the center block, I stitched around the outside borders. It was sort of a pain to quilt around this block and I wasn't quite sure what to do when I ended a row of stitching at the center block (ie bury the threads, lock stitch, etc??), so things got a little messy. Hopefully my niece won't mind ;-).

strip tango quilt

For the binding, I kept the process simple and machine stitched.  I think it looks nice. Perhaps, I'll hand stitch the binding.  I have one last step on this quilt and that is adding a label. After sweet baby girl is born, I want to make a label with her name and vital stats!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Supertote in Anna Maria's Ghostwing

The Supertote by Noodlehead is as super as you've heard!!  This is my first time using one of her patterns, and it definitely lived up to the reputation - quite thorough with nice details that make the bag special and functional.  I actually made this bag as part of a class at a local shop - SEWN Studio.  It was nice to have dedicated sewing time, especially for an intricate project like this.  I learned some great tips along the way from our instructor and tried some new skills such as making piping and installing a recessed zipper.  

My main fabric is the gorgeous Ghost Wing print by Anna Maria Horner.  It is a linen-cotton blend and the colors are just amazing.  For the gusset, I used a dark denim from my stash. I have seen some nice versions of the Supertote using Ghost Wing and a natural linen, which i contemplated.  In the end i went with the darker denim so the bag could be a little less fussy (read:  not as prone to picking up dirt).  The dotty lining is from Kaffe Fassett and I found it locally at Silk Road Textiles.

I don't really enjoy making straps and wanted something sturdy, so I picked up some jute webbing.  Because I was only a day or two away from the scheduled class, I found this at Hancock in the upholstery section.  Next time I will shop online where it is much, much less expensive.  

The denim gusset was actually a redo.  Initially, I used a light brown linen-blend and just didn't love it.  I doubted it all along the way, and only decided to start over once the gusset was fully attached.  Of course...  I should have listened to my gut sooner.  I used one of the aforementioned tips learned during my class to rip the seams  - my husband's hair clippers ripped the seam right out.  Have you tried this?  Amazing!  Fast! And he didn't know the difference after I blew away the lint ;-)

I followed the pattern closely, but added just a couple of variations.  I divided the inner pockets - one into two sections (large enough to fit diapers and wipes) and one into three sections (great for smaller items).  I added an additional hidden pocket to the large outside pocket.  It's a small slip pocket near the top to hold my phone.  I'm so glad I did. This bag is so large, I would never find my phone!  I may add a clip for my keys for the same reason. 

Initially, due to its size, I didn't anticipate carrying this bag as my main purse/tote, but I have.  It is large, yes, but not bulky at all.  And it holds everything I need - regular purse stuff, plus my water bottle, toddler supplies, book, mail, etc.  A magazine slips perfectly in the outside pocket.  

I've carried this bag for over a month and have been happy.  I will add a key clip as mentioned.  One thing I will pay closer attention to next time is slightly increasing the size of the lining (top to bottom dimension).  I seemed to have sewn it slightly smaller than the outer bag.  When the bag is loaded up, the top of the bag sort of pulls inward as you can hopefully see in the photo below.   Adding a little length should solve that issue.

Next up, I plan to make a slightly downsized Supertote with a cross-body strap for my 9-year old.  

Prefontaine Shorts for my girls

This summer, I made two pairs of Prefontaine Shorts by Made by Moxie. I bought this pattern as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel.   This is such an easy pattern to sew up, with big results.  Love these shorts.  The shorts are bound with strips of t-shirts. Genius!  Cutting and applying the binding was so easy.  I immediately starting thinking of other applications.

Girls Prefontaine shorts by Made by Moxie

 This floral pair is one of the Briar Rose prints from Heather Ross.  This is the smallest size and fit my almost 2-yr old perfectly.  The teal pair are for my oldest daughter.  The fabric is upcycled from an old summer dress of mine and is the softest cotton.  Both pairs received alot of wear this summer.

And the pockets are a hit with the toddler set!

Pea Pod Baby Carrier

How cute is this Pea Pod Baby Carrier that I made last fall?  It is a free pattern by Sascha Romeo featured on sewmamasew in 2010. The Pea Pod is designed to carry an older baby on the hip. This was easy to sew and a fast make – my favorite kind!
The fabrics are both home dec weight from IKEA. I’ve had that grey print since I first saw it popping up in bags and other makes on the interwebs a year or so ago. I love the burst of white and like the corner placement I chose on the carrier.
I didn’t have fusible fleece on hand so I just used some warm and natural batting and added the random quilting lines to secure it to the orange lining piece. The buckles were ordered online from Strapworks
This orange and grey combination makes me happy :-) . I haven’t used the colors together before but after i made this realized I have several things pinned with this combination. And I recall watching a Tennessee Vols football game recently and admiring their orange and grey uniforms. It’s what you notice when you watch football, isn’t it? Use of color and pattern and……
 My baby is 14 months in the photo. The fit is nice for her and comfortable for me.