Saturday, 30 October 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am loving the idea of an online blogger's quilt festival! It was only a few days ago that I blogged about my first quilts, but I didn't have much trouble thinking of another early quilt I'd like to talk about here for my contribution to the quilt festival.

Before I started quilting, I bought Denyse Schmidt's Quilts book to get inspired. I fell in love with all of her quilts in there but the one that really caught my eye was this shabby chic, modern country quilt in red and white. I didn't follow the pattern, but the idea. I had all these strips laid out on my floor for a couple of weeks while I pieced it together. It was a total mess. I had a lot of trouble with the wobbliness of the bars because of their slightly curved shapes. This was my first project of the sort and learned a lot about sewing "wonky" lines. Anyway, I got frustrated with this quilt many times and in the end didn't think it would turn out as nicely as Denyse's quilt in the book. However, once all those blocks were sewn together, the quilt top worked its usual magic on me and I fell in love. I decided against traditional binding, because I wanted a quicker finish to this already very long project. So I folded over the backing an extra two inches or so and machine stitched it in place. Then I hand tied it with red yarn, completing the very homemade look. What do you think?

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Christmas Tree Skirt

I've been working on this Christmas tree skirt since yesterday. My daughter and I were both stuck indoors for the last two days because of a nasty cold, and this was a great way to keep my mind off my sore throat. I got the idea from the lovely lady at Tall Grass Prarie Studio (find the tutorial in the right-hand margin of her page). I don't have a Christmas tree skirt in my Christmas décor, but I do have some leftover holiday fabric from the stockings I made last year. I also wanted to try my hand at some new techniques, specifically the "wonky star" and these cool trees. I have a bigger quilt project in mind with a tree theme, and now I think I have the confidence to go for it.

This skirt is still a work-in-progress, but I was so excited by how it is turning out that I thought I would share. It's been a while since I have enjoyed every moment at the sewing machine, and this project totally put me there.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Sewing Clothes Kids Love - Dortje Pants

A few months ago I bought a funky little sewing book called Sewing Clothes Kids Love. This is the second garment I've made from the book and I am loving the patterns. The whole theory behind the book is sewing something for your child that they will just go gaga over - the examples in the book are a bit gaudy and over-the-top - but they are absolutely fun for kids to wear. 

Still long and loose - but these were a US size 4 equivalent!

These pants are pieced together, which made doing my first pair take a few hours, if you can believe that. I was just very mindful of potential errors that often come out when you're sewing from a new book - and me and my seam ripper are not on good terms at the moment. Thankfully, I only had to take out a few seams (practically nothing compared to my norm), but the process still took me a long time because I felt I had to read and re-read the instructions (spartan as they are, so I do recommend this book for intermediate or advanced sewists).

The fabric I used was all knit, because I wanted something I wouldn't have to iron and that she would likely be able to use around the house most of the winter. It's an easy wearing poly-cotton blend that I am very happy with.

The pattern is called "Dortje" - it's a German variant of Dorthea (I believe it's pronounced like Dor-t-ya, if you're curious). A useful tip: sew a size up and alter the waist for your child if you are sewing these with different knee fabric, this is especially important is your child has long legs like my little fairy above.

Interesting techniques you take from this pattern are:

  • sewing pieced pant legs
  • curved seams
  • gathering knits (if you use them on the bottom ruffle)

I really like this book and I recommend it to anyone who sews for youngsters. The book includes patterns for girls and boys (though a bit lighter on boy patterns) and size up to age 12!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Gifted Quilts


I was searching through my external hardrive for old photos of etsy projects I could relist, when I came upon some of my first and favorite quilts.

From what I understand, my niece actually has this quilt hanging on her bedroom wall. While flattered that they didn't want it to get "messy," I couldn't help being slightly disappointed that she wasn't snuggling her little face into it each night. I had this dream of it getting dragged around on sleepy mornings, to slumber parties later on, and getting enough wear into it that the fabric turns ultra soft from so many washings. I never had a quilt growing up, but I have fond memories of my favorite blankies and I wanted this quilt gift to be one of hers.

this photo taken when my sewing desk was still uncluttered with projects!

 The process of quilting is very multi-step. Assembling the quilt top is the most dynamic and thoughtful part. When you finally square up and get all the measurements checked, the fabric backing cut, and the batting ready, you can begin to actually quilt the fabric sandwich together. This, for me, is extremely arduous. I usually end up with neck aches because I like to just get as much of it done in one sitting as possible. Plus, the anticipation of seeing it all together and bound can be just too much!

Anyway, back down memory lane...this second quilt still stuns me with its color. While I was sewing it, because it was my first more complicated pattern (other than patchwork squares), so I was nervous! Nervous about the color and pattern juxtaposition, nervous that it would be too busy, nervous that it wouldn't be liked...Even when I finished each block, I was a little bit unsatisfied with its progress - because my original vision was getting harder to imagine. However, once that quilt top was sewn together, I was shocked. It worked! There is a lot going on, but it's organized at the same time. Plus, it was a quilt for a baby and I just knew that with something this colorful she would probably be more entertained by her quilt than her mobile hanging above!