Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Love

Every once in awhile a fabric comes along that is just Love At First Sight.  That happened to me with this dark teal Liberty fabric a couple of years ago, with the unfortunate name 'Mitsi':

The thing about Liberty fabrics is they're obscenely expensive and they are usually a very, very thin cotton.  So unless you know exactly what you want to do with it, it doesn't feel like a wise investment.  Even if it's the purdiest thing you ever did see.  Even if all your friends want to date it too.  Even if it drives a really nice convertible and has a dog.

Being a rational person, I didn't buy Mitsi right away. But every few months I would cyber-stalk it, just to make sure SOMEONE  was still selling it. And a couple of months ago it seemed like it was starting to disappear - not a good sign when only Etsy sellers have stock left. I bought two yards without a plan. I would have always regretted it if I hadn't made my move.

This is the summer shirt I decided on.  I needed to do a tester because I didn't want to make a mistake with Mitsi, come off as overly enthusiastic.  so I did a first version for my sister with another voile favorite, Amy Butler's Josephine's Bouquet.

The back had this pretty tie to make it size-adjustable:

It came out nice enough, but was pretty roomy and the v-neck wasn't working with the sleeves so well.

So when I cut into Mitsi I went x-tra small (I know, if you've ever seen me in real life you can guess where this is going) and did a more tailored sleeveless version with the v-neck.

I didn't try it on until after I sewed in the arm and neck lining, because I thought Mitsi and I had an understanding.  I thought we were in this together.  I had no idea how uncomfortably tight it would be across the shoulders, or how the alignment of the v in the neck with the gathers at the waist would just be so, so wrong.

All to say, this is going to need to be un-sewn (and I used the tiniest stitches which will be hell to rip out), and maybe re-sewn without the pretty French seams, or repurposed altogether.  That's the end of my trying-to-sew-clothes phase for awhile. The girl totally burned me. The fantasy of matching sister shirts was nice while it lasted. I hear Sister Responsibly and Amy Butler are still going strong out in sunny California.

Luckily I've spent the last couple of weeks working on a much more successful project.  My first entirely paper-pieced quilt, full of some lovely new fabrics.  Maybe not Love-At-First Sight fabrics, but some Japanese cottons that were at least nice to hang out with.  I'll show it for real once it's shown some loyalty quilted.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My First (Dresden Plate)

Our Modern Quilt Guild did a sewing room swap where you picked someone's name and anonymously made them a gift for their sewing room.  I'm usually more into the giving part of this kind of thing (hello, Secret Santa) since it involves my two favorite things: getting creative and surprising people.  But in a swap with these talented ladies I must admit I was selfishly much more excited about what I was going to get.  I was not disappointed!

One of the suggestions I'd given my giver was a knitting needle organizer.  I've bought material specifically for this project twice, but never got around to designing or making anything.  This has been my system since I bought my first pair of needles seven years ago:

I was lucky enough to have my name picked by the amazing and talented Hema, and knew before opening it that this was going to be so much better than anything I'd make for myself.

The back has this lovely umbrella material and my NAME, which as you all know, if you've seen my next generation quilts, is one of my favorite things to include on a handmade gift.  So I loved that, especially since it was in my favorite color.

The inside had more fabric from the same April Showers line - originally from Seattle, anything with a rain/umbrella motif will always remind me of home.  Since knitting is really a cold and rainy day activity, it felt particularly appropriate.

It took me about two seconds to fill this up and discover I had as many as three sets of the same size needle - now I know exactly what I have and will never buy another duplicate. And how nice that there's space for the long needles and right below, the double-pointeds? You'd think she was a knitter.  Everything I wanted to, fit, including the crochet hooks and stitch holders.  Thanks so much Hema!

My recipient had no requests in terms of object or color, so I got to do whatever I wanted.  I had never heard of thread catchers until I saw them at Quilt Camp, and immediately wanted one (so everyone else must too, right?).

They're like little trash cans you can hang off your sewing table for when you clip threads/corners so your floor doesn't look like mine.  I decided to use this pattern, and was pretty happy with how it came out.  My only complaint is that you're supposed to use glue in several different sections when sewing wasn't that hard and made it so much nicer.  I ended up only using glue to attach the rubber shelving mat on the bottom, and even that I'd sew on next time.

This was a May project so I was feeling summer and went with yellow and this corn/sunflower fabric that I bought too much of at Marden's ($2.99 a yard!).  I don't even like yellow that much, but I like it here - and since it turns out my recipient lives in Florida most of the time...

The top is a pin-cushion topped with a mini-dresden plate, which I'd never tried before.  It was totally quick and easy and made me want to make a whole quilt of them.

The pin cushion is velcro-d to the stability tile, so you can detach it if you need it elsewhere:

I was very happy with what I gave and got, can't go wrong in a swap!