Sunday, May 31, 2009

Old Red Barn Co. quiltalong

Like others in blogland, I decided that this looked too good to pass up. I got my fabric today:
It's for a little girl, and it's a lot of Clementine by Moda, Lila Turner, and a couple of others mixed in. I love pink, orange and green together. My fabric is all cut and I'm ready to go.
In the meantime, I'm still busy making nine-patches (here's where I start to lose steam with that project) and I'm also quilting a baby quilt today.
It feels good to be back to quilting and away from garment making-- I'm much more confident.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Live Piecefully-- June

My newest virtual quilting bee begins with June. Here's what I made for Kat:It felt really good to get back to my sewing machine tonight. This picture was taken before I squared it up-- ignore the ragged edges. The fabric is beautiful, and it's probably a good thing I don't have any yardage of that faux bois because it'd end up in just about everything. This fabric posed an interesting challenge for me: most of the choices were large scale prints on a yellow background, so fussy cutting and flipping around my squares and rectangles was important. Looking at it now, I'm pleased with the movement. I wanted it to look like a big bird was sitting on a branch, and that the branch was visible through a window. This was especially tricky, as the bird head was actually below the bird body in the piece I was mailed. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I love the pink, yellow and gray. It feels very fresh.

AQB2-- June

OK, you guys didn't play along trying to guess what local fabric designer inspired my June fabric choices.  Since the envelopes are in the mail as of today, I'd figure I'd tell you: Paula Prass, Flights of Fancy.  She lives in the suburb where I grew up, about 10 minutes away from the Sweat Shop, but I haven't yet met her.  This is a particular favorite that I've included: 
AND, because I'm extra tricky, I've included some jumbo ric rac to include in the blocks.  I'm super excited to see what these talented ladies will make me!

Don't forget to enter my IKEA giveaway!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

an IKEA giveaway!

My vacation was wonderful, but I didn't get any crafting done-- not even work on my needlepoint pillow. That's OK though, because in honour of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day, I'm going to give one of you four jumbo half-yards of my favorite IKEA home dec fabric. I call them "jumbo" because the fabric is 54" rather than the usual 42" wide:

I'll pick a random commenter, but you'll get a bonus entry if you either: follow my blog/ use a reader, blog about my giveaway, or tell me what you'll do with this IKEA bounty. I'll leave it open through May 31, and will ship internationally. So what are you waiting for? De-lurk, and let me know you're here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


In the rush to get everything ready before my glorious six days away, crafting fell by the wayside. Therefor, I renege on my previous goal of getting my bee fabric out early, and showing you cute pictures of the matching blue and white seersucker dress (it hasn't been made yet). I will, however, show you the cutest pair of pants I got at Anthropologie on supersale ($19.99!)

I will be at the beach with no internet access. I'm very excited for Memorial Day, and the excuse to wear cotton and white again. Leave me lots of comments to let me know I'm missed!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

AQB2-- June

June is my month for Another Quilting Bee Two. I'm so excited, I addressed all the envelopes and starting cutting the fabric tonight. I'm a little nervous I'm not sending enough, so I keep adding more. I love all things local, so the only hint I'll give is that the fabric designer lives very close to the Park Avenue Sweat Shop. And this designer designs super cute fabric that is very different from the previous fabric used for this bee.
I don't know why I'm so into secrets these days-- I hope it's not annoying. Leave your best guess, or wait for the mail, AQB2 ladies!
Also, I'm leaving for a much-needed vacation on Thursday, and will not post until the following Wednesday. I'll send the fabric out before I leave, so y'all have something new to work on over Memorial Day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

PTQB-- May

Here's Colleen's block:I had been giving myself gold stars for getting these quilting bee blocks together pretty quickly-- but then this one came along. Colleen sent beautiful fabric, and asked that we not add any of our own... and I came up embarrassingly short. Luckily, she was nice enough to send me some extra and I made a block I'm proud of.
This fabric reminded me of vacationing in Greece, and old-skool airlines. The squares within the green in the center remind me of windows on a plane, as do the large stripes and symmetry of it. I hope Colleen likes it!

Also, here are pictures of my wrap dress from "Chic and Simple Sewing". The front:The back:
Seersucker is hard to photograph. Also, ignore the wrinkles. Looking at the pictures, I'm afraid it looks a little like a hospital gown... does it? I will say I'm in love with the circle skirt, and you know I love anything that involves a bow and the waist. I'm going to make a matching blue and white one, too.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

secret quilt update

OK, I read over my post from yesterday, and really, I'm not as angry about the book as I might have sounded. I just thought I'd throw that out there, in case I scared anyone away.

And, to make up for it, I want to show you what I'm calling the secret quilt-- I just couldn't resist sharing this as I'm in love with these blocks:
So cute, I can't even stand it. Also, since it's been a while, here's my progress on my hug pillow:
Coming right along! I'm visiting my mom over Memorial Day, and I figure this will be a nice project to work on during that trip. Do you think I'll be OK with a tapestry needle on the plane?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

chic and simple sewing

I really wanted to like this book. Really.
I got "Chic and Simple Sewing: Skirts, Dresses, Tops and Jackets for the Modern Seamstress" by Christine Haynes at the library. The cover is cute, and I immediately liked that the book lays flat and included full sized patterns. Unfortunately, that's about all the praise I can give it.
The designs are arranged by season, even though it's quite clear that it's arbitrary. The patterns are designated on a level of difficulty from one to five and list the required skills. The very first dress, "The Classic Wrap Dress" is pretty cute, as is "The Opera Dress". Those are the only ones that look even close to something you'd wear.

None of the designs have zippers, buttons, darts, lining, facing, interfacing/stabilizer, or even embellishment suggestions or views in alternate fabrics. Everything is shapeless and shoddily constructed. The hems are all machine-stitched, and the designs don't even fit the models that well. All of the accessories on the models were wrong, too, including a prominent black woven belt that keeps reappearing to hide many elastic waistbands. There's also a large bottom ruffle shown on FIVE different dresses.

There are very few diagrams, and I was surprisingly annoyed that Haynes didn't even show how the patterns ought to lay on the fabric. She mentions in the 40 page general sewing instructions that all of the patterns should be laid out to maximize your fabric usage.

That reminds me: the patterns. I went ahead and made the wrap dress, and the book told me to cut out a handful of patterns that came with numbers, like "20, Bodice Back Side". The previously-mentioned full sized patterns are still printed on tissue paper, and every piece has generic names. There's no mention of the dress as well, so I could've easily cut out another "Bodice Back Side" if I didn't also match the number.

Back to my making of the wrap dress. The instructions offered little more than, "Cut out your pattern. Sew your dress." I bought the recommended yardage, but after cutting, I still have about half of it left (that's fine-- I'd rather have extra than coming up short, and I'm also glad I picked fabric I like).

Here's an example of the vague direction given: "For this dress, pick something lightweight, medium weight, or even slightly heavier." (p.105) Lots of help, eh?

If you're still with me, I will say that the small pattern actually seems to be a small. And the wrap dress did indeed come out OK. I promise to post pictures soon, but right now I'm way too tired to model. Bottom line, "Chic and Simple Sewing" gets a big thumbs down from the Park Avenue Sweat Shop.

happily handmade giveaway

If you're not already familiar with the Happily Handmade Giveaway, allow me to introduce you.  Twenty-five crafty shops are giving away wonderful products.  All you need to do is visit each website, submit an entry, and drool over what you could win.  It didn't take me much time at all (except for getting distracted by all of the great merch).  It's a chance for these indie businesses to gain visitors, and a chance for us to discover something new.  You don't even need to be crafty to enter-- just appreciate handmade things.  Today is the last day to enter, so be sure to check it out now.  Tell them the Sweat Shop sent you.
Coming soon: another book review, frantic pre-vacation sewing, matching mother/daughter dresses, and quilty goodness.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May Giveaway Day

Those crafty crafters at Sew Mama Sew have decided to host a May Giveaway Day, and I've decided to participate.  It's not until the end of the month, so I have a little bit of time to decide exactly what I'm going to giveaway.  I will say that it's in the category of "handmade item AND sewing supplies", so you'll get something out of the Sweatshop as well as raw materials.  And I promise to make it good.  Won't you join me?

I think this will be fun, and a perfect excuse for me to give something away.  Yay!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

sewing for moms

Happy Mother's Day, if applicable. I'll be visiting my mom in a couple of weeks (she lives 1000 miles away), but tonight I'll have dinner with my in-laws. Of course, that means sewing something for my mother-in-law. Here's what I made:It's a variation on the Buttercup Bag, which uses a single fat quarter for the outside, and a second one for the lining. I decided to make it bigger, but since I still only had a fat quarter of the Good Folks, I compromised and made the strap pink (like the lining). I also added jumbo ricrac, which is probably my favorite part, and some striped pockets inside. I hope she likes it! I'll probably make something similar for my mom, too-- and I'm glad I have a couple more weeks to do so!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

secret quilt

Oh, I have so much fun fabric to show-- I have June for AQB2 and I finally decided on fabric today-- but I'll be good and not show all at once.

I've started a new quilt, because I'm about 2/3 of the way finished with the nine-patch, and sometimes a girl needs to work on something a bit more challenging. I don't want to share ALL the details of the latest and greatest, because I know the intended recipient reads this and I want it to be a surprise. I will say it's inspired by one of the quilt-a-longs that I've been lucky to be a part of. Also, it's going to be a two-fabric quilt. I love a lot of the two color quilts out there, and have never been able to stick to that plan. The Stephen quilt was supposed to start that way, but ended up quite differently. Here are the two fabrics I'm using:
Banana Kona Cotton:And Alexander Henry Mocca:I'm really excited to see this one take shape.

Friday, May 8, 2009

tulips in my garden

Look what I got in the mail from Daniela, my partner for the six o'clock stitch's spring swap:That's the front. Here's the back:
Love it! She calls it "Tulips in My Garden", and I think it'll have a new home on the wall leading upstairs. I'll post pictures of what I sent Daniela as soon as I know she's received it (not wanting to ruin the surprise, you know).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

nine-patch madness

This nine-patch quilt-to-be is for my cousin Sarah. Click on the picture to enlarge it:Here are my first 31 blocks-- all from my stash! I'm surprised, too, because I feel like I don't have too many pinks, but I guess this is proving me otherwise. It's going to be very feminine and cheerful with the white sashing.

Also, here's Allison's block for May:
This went so easily, I kind of want to make a quilt out of nothing but circles. That'll be my next one, for sure.

Monday, May 4, 2009

neptune dress-- with pictures

By (kind of) popular demand, here are some pictures I took of myself modeling my new dress. The front:And the side, showing the pocket detail:Last summer, I bought a big pattern cabinet full of patterns (mostly from the 1990s) on Craigslist. This was a funny way to go about making a dress, as I bought three yards of the navy and 3/4 yards of the coral. I went to the pattern cabinet and found something I could make, and decided on this. It's a 1992 McCalls pattern, #6004. It's no longer in print, and has been out of print so long I didn't even find it on the McCalls's out-of-print section. Here it is:
I made view B, like the yellow dress. It's hemmed to about my knees. The pattern called for 3 1/2 yards of one fabric, but I switched it up to accommodate my two different fabrics. I followed the pattern just about exactly, with the exception of adding a few rows of shirring to the back. I wish I could've taken a picture of the back; I think it's the cutest part. It's a very comfortable dress, and I think I'm going to get a lot of utility out of this one.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

neptune dress

Grr, my camera battery died just as I was about to take pictures of my latest dress. I made a Marilyn-Monroe style cotton halter sundress out of this fabric:With the pocket lining, halter tie, and big tie belt with a bow at the waist out of this:I'm having a bit of a problem getting it to fit under the arms (what else is new?) but I think I might be able to fix that with some elastic in the back. It's really cute-- take my word for now, and I'll take pictures later.
I wish more fabric designers had a sense of humour like Tula Pink. I had to tell my husband that there are turtles and fish in the fabric.
I also made a zillion more nine-patches for Amanda Jean's nine-patch quilt-a-long. I'm set for the next month.

Friday, May 1, 2009

3x3= 9 patch

I'm one of the fifty participants in Twiddletails' nine-patch swap. And I'm such an overachiever, I finished my sixteen today:I made eight of each. The blue is a seed dot from Amy Butler, and I'm in love with orange and blue now. I'm a little bored of all of the red and aqua, so I feel like this is a fresh change.

Also, I got Allison's fabric in the mail and I'm going to give curved piecing a try. Yikes!