Saturday, March 22, 2014

Last challenge of the PQ season, and man was my inner quilter on vacay this week!

 So I started this week determined to finish out this season of PQ strong.  And I read the challenge on Sunday and pulled out a couple quilt books and flipped through them.  Then on Monday I googled "triangles."  On Tuesday I posted on my Facebook wall asking my friends what "triangles" made them think of, and received some very helpful replies (Pizza, Doritos, Pie.... notice a theme?)  On Wednesday I asked in a little sewing group I am in, and got some slightly more sewing related replies.  But nothing was jumping at me... and then Thursday rolled around and I went back and looked through all the suggestions I had and decided on one from my friend Cara.  I also decided it was a good time to make something for Justin, since he never gets anything.  **In my defense, he refused to pose for testers**

The Triforce... if you don't know is the iconic symbol from the video game Zelda.  So I started here: 
So A - this is REALLY boring looking, I know.  B - the weird mark on the floor is from when I used too sticky tape to tape a quilt backing down to sandwich... I will eventually figure out how to get it off. C - At this point I was stuck again.

So going retro..  Did any of you play Zelda?  When we were teens we BEGGED my mom for a Nintendo64.  I had to promise to be nice to my brother for like a whole year.  And we got it and Ocarina of Time for Christmas I think (is it sad that I can't remember that far back??).  Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are to this day my FAVORITE Zelda games.  And probably in my top games of all time. I don't want to talk about the stupid pony race part, though. 

Ocarina of Time had these three temples you need to restore: earth, fire, and water...  Aha!  Next idea...

We will not discuss how much unpicking we needed to get the triangles to line up relatively nice.  OH!  I forgot! My friend +Kimberly Odell  bought me this:

When it arrived, I thought... why is she sending me a pet groomer?!  I was insulted for a moment, and then she explained.  This is THE COOLEST seam ripper.  It took me seconds to undo the rows I botched.  So if you're like me and make more mistakes than you probably should admit to... this is pretty awesome.

Okay, back to work... Each of the three elements has a symbol to go with it, so I added them on as well in the form of appliques.  Then I picked a pretty purple for the backing and it was time to quilt..  I did some stitching in the ditch around the big triangle and the Tri-force.  Then AGAIN I was stuck.  Seriously, where was my brain this week?  Here's what I went with:

Points for creative FMQing at least?  Each stright part got one of Link's (the hero) weapons: slingshot, bow and arrow, and sword.  And  then in the corners I added three more well known symbols from the game:  1/2 of a life heart (if you played this game you can now hear that annoying beep-beep in your head), a blue rupee, and a key.

I also added the words that the Triforce pieces symbolize into the middles:
 Power. Wisdom. Courage.
If I had my own sewing Tri-force, I think it would read: Procrastination. Inspiration. Improvisation. 

Then I did some swirls on the border pieces and it was time for binding.

Guess what?  I got stuck AGAIN.  I don't have a lot of solids in my stash anymore, and since I'm working through another set of 50 before I can shop again, I was sort of limited.  I did have some pre-made binding on hand and decided to go with that...

  Okay, color wise I KNEW the yellow went best, but see how it was folded poorly?  It made it look yucky when it was against the darker colored border.  o I looked at the others, hated them, and unfolded and re-ironed the yellow.  It really was the best choice.

The details: 
Size - 33" on each side
Fabrics used: Michael Miller (green), Moda (Yello blender), In the 
beginning (red and blue), and purple (Kona).

And here is my finished project - Oh, a name... ack... (stuck again... seriously??)  How about...

Hey! Listen!  <memorable catchphrase by the game's most annoying character>

Here's the link to the Voting!  Click the little heart on your four favorites to help pick the people's choice for this final challenge of the season!

Pattern Review: Leila's Everyday Blouse from Little Kiwi's Closet

There are certain things that are a staple in any little girl's wardrobe - this is one of them.  And the variety of options that come with this pattern, make it even better. 

Leila's Everyday Blouse from Little Kiwi's Closet is really a gorgeous pattern.

Puff Sleeve, Collar with trim, and buttons.
The details:
Sizes:  9mo through 8yrs
Two collar options:  regular collar (instructions to add trim/piping), and ruffle collar.
Multiple sleeve options:  short puff with band, short puff with elastic, cap sleeve, long flowy sleeve, puff with long sleeve addition, and flutter sleeve.
Two hemline options:  Straight or curved.

Collar with trim, Cap sleeve, curved hemline and buttons

As is the trend with Lydia's patterns - they go through an awesome, extensive testing period.  Would you believe this pattern started out with one hem, two collars, and two sleeves!  I love testing for Lydia and and seeing her "wait, should I add a <insert idea> option??"  I wish my brain were as creative as hers. 

I think that my favorite option for all of them is the ruffle collar.  I wasn't sure when I first decided to try it how it was going to look, but once I did it, I'm in love.  And so is Inara - she pulls this shirt out as soon as it comes out of the wash to wear it again.  This one is the original size ruffle collar, it was made slightly shorter, which I have a pic of too!
Ruffle collar, cap sleeve, curved hem, buttons
How cute are the wooden toggles I used for the buttons in this one?? I was stumped when I got done with the shirt and asked in the Little Kiwi's Closet Pattern Group and one of the awesomely helpful ladies there suggested wooden toggles - talk about an awesome suggestion. 

Ruffle collar, puff sleeve with long sleeve addition, curved hem, and snaps!
I want to show you a close up of this last one, because I realized when I did the Asian inspired one how cool the stitching used to stitch the facing down looked, and I did it in a contrasting color on this one...  You can leave this off and just stitch the back facing down if you *really* want, but I really like the detail the stitching adds.

How pretty is that detail?!?
The pattern is easy to follow, with clear pictures and lots of explanation.  The finished product looks so professional, and the pattern has all the steps you need to sew with or without a serger.  And, if you get stuck at all, join Lydia's Facebook group and everyone is always so helpful.  She's in NZ, so she might not get back to you when its the middle of the night for her (though she seems to be ALWAYS UP!), but there are plenty of US based fans who are there to help as well!

Just a shot so you can see the curved hemline and the back.
The pattern is available for sale here in the Little Kiwi's Craftsy Shop.  And if you are looking for a skirt to put with it - I highly recommend the Twirly skirt ( look at the gorgeous version in the shirt listing!!)

If you're new to Little Kiwi's Closet, join the pattern group and check out all of her patterns - they are some of my absolute favorites!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pattern Review: Children's Pants No. 2 from E+M Patterns

Happy pattern review day!  I don't think that's *actually* a day, but I'm mildly delirious.  Ever since Daylight Savings, my kids have become nocturnal.  I think it may be taking a slight toll on my sanity.  Sanity is overrated, right?

When Allison of E+M Patterns posted her tester call, I thought two things (1) her FB name makes me giggle, and (2) those pants look awesome.  So I did the sign up and cross my fingers thing (I do that a lot - its funny, but it still makes me sad for a moment when I don't get picked - then I realize I get to look forward to the pattern releasing and it goes onto my "wish list" till then, and I perk right up).

The Details:
Sizes: 2yrs through 10yrs
Pants or Shorts option
Optional hip pocket
Optional hip pocket ruffle
Gathered or Pleated back pocket options.

AND (this is the best) complete instructions on creating fully enclosed seams for a professional finish without a serger!

The pattern itself is very well written with clear step by step instructions.  For the pants, I followed along with the "no serger" main instructions.  It did take a little more time than sewing with my serger would have, but I absolutely love how professional the finished look is (inside and out).

Gathered pocket option

My daughter is weirdly sensitive about seams (for some reason only with wovens not knits), so it was exciting to make a pair of pants that she wore and didn't get all upset about the seams bothering her.  And she got tons of compliments on them.  The reinforced french seam on the crotch (with the great added stitching to secure that seam even) gives these pants a completely finished look.  The waistband has a lightweight interfacing in it that helps it keep its shape, without being uncomfortable on the child.
Optional hip pockets

And as nice as the pants are, Allison added a shorts line (*and the note to cut 1" shorter than the line for girls* - I add this note, because I used the boy line for Inara's, so if you like shorter ones, then you can always adjust).
My model is a nut
The separate waistband, pocket bands, back and hip pockets all combine to give you lots of mix and match options with this pattern.  Which makes it fun to give it your own flair.  I did use my serger for the shorts, to speed myself along a little, as the 2 days out of town sort of threw me into turmoil, lol.  If you want to skip all the fancy seams like I did for the shorts, you just follow along these boxes that are in the pattern for the steps you can use your serger on instead. 

Even though I used my serger, I did the top-stitching on the seams still.  This actually made Inara much happier too, so maybe I should do them on everything....  

Time estimate, I would say all the french seams add maybe 30 mins of work, to a pattern that is maybe a 90 minute sew for a not-so-fast-easily-distracted seamstress like me. I'm also kind of excited (and a little sad) that little man will probably fit in these before summer is out, but definitely in time for fall!

If you'd like to see more boyish pics there is a tester album on her Facebook page! 

The pattern is available here, for $7.00.

You definitely won't be disappointed in the professional construction and finished product from this pattern. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I may have lost my mind :)

So, as I stated a few days ago, I reached my hundred items!! WOOHOOO, right? I want to do a quick recap of them to point out some of my favorites, and then let you know where I'm going from here. 

First of all, this has been GREAT for getting my stash (slightly) under control.  Second, it's been kind of a fun bonding event.  If you need some motivation, its a really positive group, just there to support each other in whatever our goal is. Creating 100 items or more is really a great concept for those of us who might just be a little bit on the hoarder side of fabric buying. 

 Tulip Tunic and Dress from Heidi and Finn

She has already worn a hole in this one, so it is in the pile to get repaired... wish me luck!

Connor modelling my vintage style headband - free craftsy pattern.  I seriously love this thing and wear it all the time.

These are one of my all time favorite sews... Free pattern for little baby dolls turned into Minions.  Connor loves these guys.

Is it embarrassing that I can get an entire Peppermint Swirl (Candy Castle Patterns) out of my stash without blinking an eye?

Mini Angel Girl from Ellie Inspired - this is my favorite one of all of the doll clothes I did.  I love the Shop Hop print in there.

Mini Pixie Girl from Ellie Inspired -- she looks so fancy - I just wish I had shoes for her.  

Kenzie's Party Dress from EYMM for my first ever blog tour!

A) I was so honored to get to be part of it
B) I LOVE this pattern

Connor's Agathe and Theo Slouchy Pants from Filles a Maman.
He calls them is "nin-ya" pants and loves them.  This pattern will definitely be getting lots of use. 

Love Notions Everyday Play Dress
A step away from our normal prints, but I think she looks so sweet in this and it's soft and comfortable. 

So yay for 100 items.  Now what?  I'm doing it again! (sort of).  My friend Kim from Sew and Tell with Mama Eggo and I have both agreed that this was great for our stashes, and a lot of fun, even though it was hard.  So we've decided to do it again, and again... and maybe even again.  But slightly differently.  We are going to do sets of 50 items.  After each 50, we will get caught up with each other, and start again!  So here's to more and more stash busting!  There is even a little room on my shelves now.  And I did very little shopping during my splurge period - which means I have all this pent up shopping need still! LOL

Thanks for bearing with me through the first 100!  <3

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pattern Review: GYCT Seaside top and dress

I saw a tester call for this super cute top that was unisex and had a dress option, and decided to jump on it.  It was perfect for both kids.  And as it seems to be getting slightly warmer around here, I thought light weight long sleeves would be nice.  Plus, I've done a lot of girl testers lately, and I don't want little man to feel left out!  Introducing the Seaside Summer Top (and Dress) from Get Your Crap Together Designs!

 The details:
Available in sizes 6mo to size 8.
Four sleeve options:  long, short, flutter, and sleeveless
Two length options: shirt or dress (with or without sash)
This is a great beginner pattern - no buttons, no zippers. 
The neckline is the only curved part to sew.

Cutting + sewing for the tunic took under an hour.

GYCT is breaking into the PDF clothing world with some great beginner patterns with easy to follow directions and LOTS of pictures for the visual learners.  If you get a chance to check out her blog too, there are some great organizing tips there!

For the first couple tops, I went with some beach-y themed prints... Mermaids for Inara and some RB Pirates for Connor.  

This pattern went through two extensive rounds of testing to get the fit just right, and I think Chelsea has nailed it.  Patterns for woven fabrics that slip over the head are hard to fit, and I was amazed at all the great testers who happily made more than one of these as the pattern evolved.
Does the beach not totally go with this shirt??
I will say, if your squish has a big noggin, you may want to measure the opening before you sew up your side seams, but I had no issue with the fit of mine on either kiddo.
Don't mind the mess - he loves water beads

The top is recommended for woven fabrics, but I whipped a quick knit one up in this cute Pacman Knit from Sweet N' Charmed Fabrics, and it works quite well in knit too!
Don't mind the terrible pic - we were at LiveYers
The nice part of doing it in knit is that you don't need to do the placket as low as I did in the front.  Plus, the neckline was changed after this one, making in wider, allowing for the less plunging placket as well.

In round two, I decided to whip up a short sleeved on for Inara, since she complains so much about long sleeves - and used this gorgeous Michael Miller from Lori's Country Corner.  

And Connor got a more boyish bug fabric print (also Michael Miller)...

He wouldn't put the phone down, but don't you love that little face <3

This whole testing experience was fun and the kids have some great new spring tops to wear - I think I'll make up a dress with flutter sleeves for Inara when I have some more time.  The tester pics of those were WAY cute.    Keep your eyes on Chelsea, she brings a great eye for design to the PDF world!

You can get your copy of the Seaside Summer Top and Dress here!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pattern Review: Rain's Flutter Top from EYMM

It seems like a rather busy week around here.  I have all my inventory entered for the consignment sale (I head out of town Wednesday and Thursday), but I still have a handful of stuff to hang and tag.  I'm trying to get myself all caught up before I go, but I'd rather be sewing, so I keep getting distracted, lol.

AND I did another tester that released today that I REALLY want to share..

Rain's Flutter top from Everything Your Mama Made and More!  Kymy has this cool new line she is working on that she calls her "pinspired" line.  This line is full of the the trendiest looks for the season - and if this one is an indicator of what's to come - this line will be totally in.

The details:
Available in two size groups: NB through size 18 (tween/teen)  and XS-5X
Made for knits, but people were finding that going up a size worked with drapey wovens.
Multiple hem options: un-hemmed, rolled hem, traditional hem
Fast, easy sew - great for beginners

A cute flowy top that is easy to sew with the coolest sleeves.  This top I used a double knit, so the inside is cool stripes, and left the hem raw, around the outsides but hemmed the neckline... She loves it - ran around the house flying all day.  Oh wait, that makes more sense if you see the sleeves...

She calls herself  Flying Princess Rainbow Unicorn....  Really, if you call her Inara in this shirt, she won't answer.  With a name like Rain's Flutter top, this shirt was screaming for some UITR, right?  I know its directional, and unless you want to add a shoulder seam to keep the unicorns from being upside down, I wouldn't use directional prints for this top (see shoulder seam below).  Adding the shoulder seam to keep the print right side up, added a total of maybe 5 more minutes to a shirt that takes a total of about 30 minutes if you decide to hem it.  Yes, this top takes like 30 minutes- which is an even bigger win in the house of small people constantly climbing all over me...

And (avert your eyes!) I decided to make myself one also (the women's version is called Storm's Flutter Top) - the fabric was $1.50 on clearance at my local Walmart, and is a light-weight sweater knit that I just love.

I might have gotten in on the flying action too...

I thought that some mommy-daughter shots would be cute... Inara thought otherwise...
Honey, just LOOK at the CAMERA! ... Mom, you look ridiculous.
If you're looking for Rain's top it's available here for $5.95
If you're looking for Storm's it's available here for $5.95
OR grab the bundle here- which is an amazing deal at $8.95

Pattern Review: Greenstyle Creations Centerfield Raglan

So I rarely (as in like next-to-never) sew for myself - in fact, the last clothing item I made myself was for my brother's wedding in August.  At some point this winter I made myself a scarf as well, but that's about it.

Recently I decided it was time to try some healthier eating habits and find my figure again under all this fluff, so I've started a slow, and somewhat bland journey.  Since the "exercise" I can do is really limited - changing my eating habits is probably the most efficient way for me to lose some weight.

Then GreenStyleCreations posted a tester call... and I thought, well, maybe this is a good place to start - I NEED some new shirts, and I'd love to have a *before* *after* deal that I can do with the same style shirt in like 6 months .... Do you know when the last time I bought a shirt for myself was?  Um.... I think before Connor was born LOL

So despite hating picture of myself, I signed up, and I am SO glad I did.
The details:
Goes from sizes XXS to 3XL
Lightly fitted shape that totally flatters the body.
Short, 3/4, or long sleeve options
Ruched sleeve and/or side seam options
Rounded or straight hem options
Scoop or traditional neckline options.
Optional elbow patch shapes

Wow, laid out like that, there really are a lot of options for this shirt!

My first shirt took me a little over an hour to print, tape, cut, sew.  I did the scoop neck, 3/4 sleeves.  I used some of my yummy Doctor Who c/l Knit from Nikki at The Fabric Igloo (giggle at the name- they are in Canada), and cut the body out from a t-shirt I bought on clearance from Walmart for $3.  This is the first one:

I love this shirt so much that you all have to see my pictures!
So the sleeves may look a little wide to you, don't worry, that was fixed in testing.  But if you'd like to think I have abnormally slender arms, that's okay too. ;)  By the way, this shirt is #99 out of my 100 items!

And then I made one for my friend Heather, in a size medium.... also cut from 2 clearance t-shirts (woohoo! for turning to ugly huge shirts into one awesome one).  Heather makes a much better model for my 100th item!!!

She doesn't like this picture - I think she looks fab!
She's already requested a whole bunch more - even her husband liked it!  And because I loved my first one so much, I decided I wanted to do one more before the testing ended... this one is regular neckline, 3/4 sleeves and ruched sides.  I used ribbing for the collar and sleeves, and the body is an c/l from a company called JBJ Fabrics, that I'm not sure is actually around anymore - but man is this fabric soft!

Do we love my totally accidental pattern centering???
So keep checking back, I think I will make one of these a month to see my progress :)  Maybe I'll make more, just because I love it... You should too.

The pattern is available here on the Greenstyle Creatiosn website.  AND today and tomorrow the code "centerfield" will get you $1 off the already awesome price!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm hungry... for Project Quilting Challenge 5

It's been a busy week over here, and I am supposed to be getting ready for the LMNOP Consignment Sale coming up next weekend, but instead I'm procrastinating by sewing, blogging, and watching Primeval. I sort of love this show, though I don't understand why all these BBC shows insist on killing of characters that I love.

Anyway, that's not important.  This last week I reached my 100th item in my stash busting challenge - which I will show you on Monday or Tuesday, since it was a tester... a tester for ME - crazy right?  Don't worry, I'll crop my ugly mug out of the photos, so that you can just enjoy the shirt. 

Then I decided to take a break from my regularly scheduled sewing to do my Project Quilting challenge for this week.  The theme with week was Grocery Shopping  - we were to pick three items from the store as inspiration for our project this week.  And man, did this challenge throw me.  I'm not really sure why, I think because I've been working on better eating habits, that the last thing I wanted to do was go drool over other food that I can't eat.  So during another morning of yogurt with my coffee, I realized what I really wanted:  Bacon, eggs, and as usual, a cup of coffee. 

So into the stash I dove.  I know I reached my 100 items, but I am waiting on my friend Kim to catch up so we can do a little splurging and start the process all over again.  Man, I'm a glutton for punishment.  I found this, what I will refer to as, ugly plate fabric in my stash and all of a sudden I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Check out the insane scale on this print?
 I added a border once I cut out a plate and cup together.  Then I set to work making my bacon - two different color reds from the Modern Solids line from In the beginning fabrics.  And then my eggs (can you believe I have no solid white fabric?), so I used an off-white I had, and added a mottled yellow for the yolk.  Then I appliqued both onto the plate:
I'm actually really happy with how these came out.

Then I added some brown fabric to the cup for the coffee, sandwiched with a random farm print  that I thought brought it all together (cows=milk for my coffee, pigs = bacon, and chickens give eggs?), and then it was time to FMQ.  Have I told you how much this part stresses me out?  But I even picked 3 pretty threads to make it all match!

And in typical me fashion, I decided to spice it up with some swirls and words:

I think it came out pretty cute, actually.  And then, because I didn't want to cover my cute border with a wide bias, I did a narrower width bias tape, and added two cute ribbons that fit the theme, and now it is proudly hanging on my wall!

So there we go, I think I'm getting a little better at this quilting thing ;)  Keep watching over at Persimon Dreams for the weekly voting update that will go up after all submissions are sent in tomorrow!

Oh, and don't forget to change your clocks forward an hour for Daylight Savings!