Monday, March 13, 2017

2016 Completions

Ah the joys of a busy mom! Two kids meant not a lot of time to sew this year, and a surprise bathroom remodel (thanks to hardwood floors and a leaky toilet) meant lots of watching the kids while my husband got all the project time.

Nonetheless, I did have two milestones this year - one, my first winging it on a terrible PDF pattern (I have nothing nice to say about the Pink Poodle Reese Dress Tutorial), and my second, working with knits! Both experiences turned out alright in the end, and I think I may be turning into a knits/clothing addict, at least until my kids are more self-sufficient on the weekend. 

No quilts this year, but here's the non-quilt roundup. 


More 'Mingoes (link)

Completed: February 2016
Fabric: Novelty Print, Moda Marbles
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva

More Zombie Fun (link)

Completed: February 2016
Fabric: Walking Dead by Alexander Henry
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva

Shark Shirt (link)

Completed: August 2016
Fabric: Smithsonian print by Robert Kaufman
Pattern: Semi-Freestyle after purchased pattern left lots of holes and ambiguities
For my own Daughter

Chompers Hoodie (link)

Completed: September 2016
Fabric: "Chompers" from Knitorious
Pattern: Dragon Hoodie by Puperita
My first Foray into working with Knits; given to my son

Quilts: 0
Other: 4

WiPs that made it from 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 to 2017 with progress but no completion: Christmas Traditions
WiPs without any progress in 2016Star Wars II

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kaleidescope Pretties

This past May, a new arrival graced my brother's family - he and his wife gave birth to their second baby girl! Their first daughter, V, turned two the month before, giving me a great opportunity to coordinate their gifts.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly is probably tired of hearing me tout the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress pattern, but... some things are cliches because they work. At my local quilt shop, I feel in love with this Lumina Metallic print by Robert Kaufman.

Obviously, this was just begging to be fussy-cut into two different dress designs for the girls. Big sis got the medallion, little sis got the "flower," and both had the (small) lilac octagon centered on the back. I paired it with a Moda Weave for the sleeves, and little sis also got a matching diaper cover (another TDD pattern), since her dress is in the 6-12 month size.

What can I say? I love how they turned out. The TDD pattern is an old friend I keep coming back to, but with the right fabric selection, the dresses still turn out unique. I went through 2.5 yards of fabric on these guys - and in the end I used up almost all of it - but it was totally worth it.

Because as always, this dress produced happy customers again! Here are my nieces in their brand new outfits: It's almost too much cuteness to bear!

UPDATE; SIL texted me to let me know that V wanted to sleep in her dress, and wore it for two days straight after receiving it. If that's not a win, I don't know what is!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chompers Hoodie

Ah, a return to patterns I can use! After the (mis)adventure with my daughter's Shark Shirt, I turned my attention to a patternmaker I knew I could trust, because I had a new experience I wanted to try: sewing with knits!

Last November I fell in LOVE with this bright, vivacious print from Knitorious. Even though I'd never sewed anything with knits, I talked myself into it; there's always time for a new experience, right?

I'd been eyeing the Dragon Vest pattern by Puperita, and the two seemed destined for each other. A trip to my local chain store and some blue fleece later, I was ready to roll.

Construction was smooth and straightforward, with one small glitch; apparently when they say a zipper is "all-purpose" they don't really mean ALL-purpose; they just mean "all purpose unless you need a separating zipper." Ooops. Fortunately my seam ripper, plus some quick customer service at the Zipper Shipper bailed me out.

Aside from some less-than stellar zipper technique (for which I blame myself and my first-time bumbling) I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Knits were definitely easier to work with than I'd anticipated - and the end product is way softer and more comfortable for regular wear.

Although I finished this during the summer, it's just now beginning to get some use. Here's little I modeling it a month or two ago. When It comes to knits, I am definitely a fan, and quickly becoming an addict!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Adventure in Mishaps OR This Shark Shirt Bites.

They say life's not an adventure until things start going wrong, and if that's the case, this was one adventurous shirt. I knew I wanted to make a fun new shirt for my shark-obsessed daughter, who recently grew out of her My Little Pony Peasant Top. She's an active kid, so I wanted something feminine but practical, and Etsy is full of dress patterns that are easy to modify into tops. Or so I thought. This shirt was a lesson in *not* purchasing your pattern at the start of your allotted sewing time.

No, I will not be linking to the maker of this pattern. You'll see why shortly.
The pattern I selected was the Reese Dress by Pink Poodle Bows - the simplicity of it, and the practical-but-feminine shape appealed in photos. But as soon as I downloaded it, I knew I had a problem: the pattern itself is terrible. First off, the size chart on the dress is determined by length. Length! Not as in "here's what the length should be for it to fall at the calf, here's what it should be for the knee or ankle." but "if you want a dress this length, you should make size 4T." Uh... length is easily the least critical parameter I use when selecting a dress for my kid. What about chest measurement? What about arms? Stuff is way easier to hem than adjust the sleeves on, I'm just saying.

You have to admit the print is beautiful
But, the kids were out with my husband, and this was my opportunity to work, so I pressed on. I cut into a beautiful ($15 a yard, legacy) Robert Kaufman shark print, and hoped upon hope that the pattern's sizing was reasonably close to storebought. Which, it wasn't. Well, maybe on average it was, but the body was way too big, and the arms were just about right for my child, who is a little on the skinny side. If the whole *thing* were big, that'd be liveable - too-big clothing is a problem time can solve in kids. But having sleeves that fit now and a body that will probably fit later... that was no good. Time to modify!

Anyone who's been following this blog for any length of time knows I have made exactly NINE articles of clothing from a pattern in my life. 5 of which were actually variations on the Tie Dye Diva Peasant Dress, leaving my experience limited to 4 unique patterns and an add-a-strap tutorial. So point being, I am not exactly a master sewist. But I don't have infinite time or infinite amounts of this limited-run fabric, so into the woods I went.

Yes, little A, that is the appropriate face to make
The end result involved some pintucks, a major shortening (which was to be expected when transitioning from dress to shirt), a grey contrast band to hide the part of the shirt I couldn't bear to cut off and so pleated for future growth potential. All things told, I'm pretty happy with it. But I will never, EVER be buying a Pink Poodle Bows pattern again! Lesson learned, read the reviews on etsy, don't just look at the star ratings for everyone who's happy the PDF came quickly. At least it came out cute anyway, and I get some of the design credit this way.

And, we got a smile in the end.

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!