Friday, March 11, 2016

More Zombie Fun

When Jen of the Tie Dye Diva patterns said this dress could be made in the last minute, she was not kidding. We play Zombie Board games with another family, and I ordered this Alexander Henry Zombie print over a month in advance, thinking to make a zombie dress for their daughter.

Well, fast forward a bit, and there we are 2 days before the party, and my husband says, "are you picking up a gift for them, or am I?" Uh... panic! Not that I can't think of any other use for Zombie fabric, but this is the gift that's already paid for! Fortunately, I already stash Kona Black, so it was just a matter of cutting this dress out, and sewing it together.

Oh, and guessing the correct size for the recipient.

Operating on such a short timeline, I had to cut the dress out before the recipient's mom could text me back with a size. So, when she came back with a number two sizes larger than I'd guessed, I had to improvise.

Honestly, I think the black stripe down the side looks kind of cute - and thanks to the simple architecture of the dress, it solved the problem without much of a fuss. I may do it again, just for fun.

Our friends were thrilled to receive a handmade (and so not-stereotypically female) gift, and I got just a *little* impromptu bonding time with my sewing machine. Win, win!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


And introducing... my only quilt of 2015, IsaiahSaurus. This beauty was completed *just* under the wire, and I'm excited to show it off!

IsaiahSaurus was designed as the feature quilt for my new baby's nursery. Its artwork comes from the "Have you seen my Dinosaur?" panel by Jennifer Pugh, with coordinating fabrics from the line (purchased at Ethelbird & Eliza ) and some nice pops of color from a local quilt shop.

To design this quilt, I took inspiration from the book Panel Play, and put together my own composition. I started with just the panel, and rearranged the pieces until the proportions looked pleasing, and then filled in with the other elements as I went. The stripes on the top and bottom are pieced in, but the dinosaur "photographs" on the side were sewed on afterwards for a more 3-dimensional look. I'm actually pretty excited about it turned out!

The back was pieced from another coordinating stripe, and moda weave in cheddar and crimson. I have to admit, that stripe on the back was one of the first things that drew me to the line. It was also really fun to work with the bright colors; those are my favorite kind.

I have since added a hand-stitched dedication (that's what took so long - the rest of this quilt was ready to go in October) so now this quilt is up for use. It's probably going to spend most of its time hanging in the nursery, but a baby quilt isn't a baby quilt until it's been used at least once for tummy time.

So, we're off for a test drive. Gotta love that smile :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

More 'Mingoes

If there is a "Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress-a-holics anonymous," I almost certainly belong in it. I keep swearing I'm going to try other patterns, but this dress is so quick to sew and so universally appreciated by the recipients, I find myself adding extra projects in at the last minute with this as the pattern. I think I'm down to less than $2 per use on the Baby Tie Dye Diva Dress pattern, so I didn't bat an eye when the girls' version went on sale for 30% off on Cyber Monday, I just bought it.

This particular beauty is for the recipient of last year's Octopus Peasant Dress, who turned two in December. She's loved her first dress since she got it a year 8 months ago, and is as of late obsessed with the Flamingos at the local zoo. As is often the case with me, the fun novelty print is from Equilter, and accents are a Moda Marble from my stash.

As usual, this dress came together quickly and looked great. But best of all, the recipient was old enough (and the dress long enough) that no diaper cover was needed!

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts to participate in some community fun!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 Completions

This year, I learned to love garment sewing. I didn't anything done between January and March thanks to a rough bout of pregnancy sickness, but I made up for it starting in July when my son was born.  I added three new clothing patterns to my repertoire - approximately doubling the number of garments I'd made before - and changed from quilts to outfits for the babies of my childbearing friends. I've also learned the value of a project with a shorter time to completion, since sewing hours are just that much more precious with two kids than with one.

That said, I am particularly proud of my sole quilty finish this year: a feature quilt for my son's nursery. I started with only a panel and no pattern in mind, and improved my way from start to finish on a quilt whose design and color palate I adore. 

I'm not sure I'll be able to go "up" from here in terms of total productivity (I was assisted this year by maternity leave and a brief stint of unemployment for my husband), but I'm pretty excited about the skills I get to carry into the new year.


IsaiahSaurus (post forthcoming)

Completed: December 2015
Fabric: Have You Seen My Dinosaur by Jennifer Pugh
Designed, Pieced and Quilted by RLQ
A feature quilt for my son's nursery


Octopus Dress (link)

Completed: April 2015
Fabric: Undersea Adventure by Norcott Fabrics
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva
Gifted to a Friend's Daughter on her First Birthday

Rainbow MLP Dress (link)

Completed: April 2015
Fabric: Pre-Rutched MLP print from Hancock's
Pattern: Freestyle from several tutorials
For my own Daughter, a consummate My Little Pony Fan

Origami Peasant Dress (link)

Completed: July 2015
Fabric: Origami Oasis by Michael Miller
Pattern: Easy Peasant dress by Tie Dye Diva
Gifted to my Niece shortly after her first birthday

My Little Pony Birthday Shirt (link)

Completed: October 2015
Fabric: My Little Pony fabric from Hancock's
Pattern: Easy Peasant top by Foo Foo Threads
A top for my daughter to wear to her MLP-themed third birthday party

Easy Peasy Umbrellas (link)

Completed: November 2015
Fabric: April Showers by Bonnie and Camille
Pattern: Easy Peasant dress by Tie Dye Diva
Gifted to the newborn daughter of a friend

Star Wars Romper (link)

Completed: December 2015
Fabric: Star Wars by Camelot
Pattern: Sweet Comfy Romper by Puperita
First Garment for my son, made to commemorate the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Quilts: 1
Other: 6

WiPs that made it from 2012 2013 2015 to 2016 with progress but no completion: Christmas Traditions
WiPs without any progress in 2015: Star Wars II

Monday, December 21, 2015

May the Romper be with You

Anybody who's followed this blog for any length of time know's I'm kind of a nerdy sewist. I've also given birth to a son this year, and picked up garment sewing as a less-time-consuming alternative to quilting. So while all my friends on all my message boards were putting together christmas dresses for their daughters (and yes, I do have one: she is 3) I was sewing a decidedly NON-christmas-y first outfit for my son: a Star Wars romper for him to wear in celebration of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (premiering Dec 18 in the US).

To start with, I decided on a pattern I've been eyeballing for a while, the Sweet Comfy Romper by Puperita. And I picked up a great Star Wars Print on eQuilter, which is even greater in person. The fun thing about Puperita's Romper is that there are contrast pockets and cuffs show the lining fabric, giving me a great excuse to trot out my manipulable color card and pick the exactly *perfect* shade of Kona cotton to go with my feature fabric.

I spent *hours* on this card last year when I took a "Color Intensive" course (currently being offered again - I highly recommend it), and it was nice to see it pay off.  (I settled on Kona Copen in the end).

Putting this together was definitely more time-consuming than I'd expected. I probably spent a good 10-12 (interrupted) hours cutting it out, sewing it together, and fussing with buttons and seams. Admittedly, part of this was putting together the PDF pattern (which I usually keep) and learning my buttonhole foot, which hopefully I won't have to figure out again. And, while wrestling with legholes on a 6-month sized outfit wasn't exactly my favorite, at least it wasn't another diaper cover.

Overall, I am pleased with the results! The romper did turn out bigger than the advertised size (perhaps due in part to the touted "relaxed fit"), but I was able to get out 6-month-onesie wearing son into a 6-month sized romper (more or less) by adding a second set of buttons on the shoulder straps. And, I can always cut off the buttons/unroll the legs as he grows!

He seems to like it fine, and I am one proud mama: in every sense of the word.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Dress for A Rainy Day

A few weeks ago we got our first rain of the season, and it got me in the mood for a project I've been meaning to complete. One of my dearest friends from high school had a daughter this past March, and I've been meaning to make her a "welcome to the world" gift.

My friend lives in San Francisco - and it's always raining there, so close to the ocean - so I simply couldn't resist using these colorful umbrellas from Bonnie & Camille's April Showers (Moda) for the feature fabric. I used the Tie Dye Diva Easy Peasant Dress pattern again (for those counting, this is time #3) and this time, I did it with 3/4 length sleeves and a ruffle. The accent fabric is Moda Weave in Crimson.

I also added a unique personal touch for the first time: since this is my fifth garment, I celebrated its completion with some custom twill tape labels from MommieMadeIt on Etsy. It took a little while to get these beauties in (and I designed them myself using MSPaint), but they were totally worth it.

Now, to send this off to its intended wearer. Hopefully it will brighten a rainy day for her!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Projects on Hand

Oh, the siren call of new projects and new fabric. Since my stashing space is somewhat limited, I always try to alternate my with "projects on hand," ie, all the stuff I squirreled away (wisely or unwisely) while working on previous projects. Having finished A's party shirt, and being within a stone's throw of completing my son's dinosaur quilt, the other night I pulled some of my most recent additions to the "to-do" list just to keep myself motivated.

Easy Peasy Peasant Dress #3:

If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing twice, right? Or maybe the third time's the charm. I'm not sure *which* cliche keeps me coming back to this dress, but it sure doesn't hurt that it's cute as heck and a pretty fast sew. Given that my "quilt-worthy" friends seem to be having daughters at approximately 5x the rate I can actually make a quilt, this is a good alternate gift that I have *some* chance of getting in the mail before a first birthday.

This particular combo is intended for a friend who lives in San Francisco, where it is rainy and foggy year round. Hers is a spring baby, and I bought it back in May. The umbrellas are for the body, and the red Moda weave will be fore the ruffle, sleeves and diaper cover.

Easy Peasy Peasant Dress #4

Yes, I know. It was not wise, but I'd been admiring this forever, and then the Fat Quarter shop had a sale, and, and... I still haven't made a Peasant dress for my own daughter. Though I think I'll probably miss out on it this year, It's still a nice fantasy. The snowman is for the front (obviously), the red snowflakes are for the back, and the geometric print would make good sleeves and ruffle. Of course, in laying this stuff out for photos, I noticed that the moda weave from above would *also* make for good sleeves and a ruffle...

Gum Drop Pillows

One of our local quilt shops has one of these made up, and every time we go there, my daughter goes nuts for it. So, long ago I sprung for the pattern there, and then late last year I came up with a combo of fabrics I liked for one.

THEN we re-did her room, in a my little pony theme. And although I was just going to stash the purple star print below (under consideration for the birthday shirt, but ultimately rejected), I found it while cleaning up my sewing area and thought, you know, those two would look good sitting together in her room...

Of course, I'd have to buy more of the MLP feature print, making this "half on hand" at best. Maybe 2/3 if you count the pattern.

Gracie Ruffle Skirt

Honestly, I am starting to reconsider my fabric selection on this one as well, but... I love the look of this pattern! And my daughter loves a good ruffle-ey skirt. I really love all the Lily's Garden fabrics separately, but together... I'm not so sure. I've probably got some time, though, since there's plenty of other stuff to do.

And of course, no list would be complete without some of my "in progress/on hiatus" projects. I'm usually pretty good at working on the same projects consistently from start to finish, but the year I got pregnant with my daughter (now 3) resulted in some exceptions. I find it's hard to regain momentum after I have lost it, but I'd really love to be using these now, if I could just get them together:

Star Wars II:

One of my rules of quilting is, "never make the exact same quilt twice," and it's a good rule, but I just had to break it for this one. Star Wars I was completed in 2012 for a friend who was putting together a Star Wars themed nursery, and it was my first foray into applique. My husband thought it was such a cool idea that I couldn't bear NOT to make one for us as well, despite my rule already being well in place at the time. I had the foresight to make two of each of the applique blocks at the time (every quilt has duplicate blocks!), but then I assembled one and... promptly lost momentum for the second.

Some of it is probably performance anxiety (since this will be our own quilt) and some of it is definitely the creative conundrum of "having solved the layout problem once, I can't envision anything else any more" when ideally, I'd rather the two quilts not be identical. But with my husband super into the X-wing miniatures game, and the new series coming out in December, it sure would be nice to have this to enjoy in the hubbub.

Christmas Traditions:

And speaking of "hubbub" and "December"... Christmas is quite the biggie. Since 2011, I've been working on a pretty awesome quilt that showcases the history of the Christmas Tree (see the planned outcome here). It's slow going, because it's been a huge skillbuilder for me (I had to learn both paper piecing and applique to work on it) and also because, well, quilts for *yourself* don't get "overdue" like quilts for babies and friends' special occasions do.

Unlike Star Wars, this has been a consistent (if low priority) project on my shelf. Right now Christmas traditions is entirely pieced - front and back. I basted it, and now it's just waiting for that first bit of quilting. I can do it!

Or at least, I can do *something* from this list... honestly, the top half sounds like a lot of fun to make, and the bottom half sounds like a lot of fun to use. But I think with some time and some decent self-control (and as always, the siren call of being "allowed" to purchase new fabric upon project completions...) I should be able to turn most of these WIPs and wishes into finished products.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced because, well, this post is well qualified!