Here Comes 2015! My Project List For The New Year

I am excited for 2015.  My baby boy will be born in May; that’s #1 on my list of awesome things that are to come in 2015.  #2 is that I am actually going to buy the printer I need to digitally print fabric and sell it to all you lovely people who love to sew.  There will be so much more that goes into that venture than just purchasing a printer, but I’ll get into all that as it’s happening.  #3, my oldest daughter is going to kindergarten next fall!  I can’t believe she’s already that old.

I could talk about that printer and the business for days, but right now I want to talk about all the projects I on my “To Sew” list for the coming year.  I have bought so much fabric recently and I intend to sew it up!

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Not in order of the picture arrangement, but by when each item will be sewn:

My oldest daughter got a few pajama sets this fall that came with flannel pants.  Both of my girls love the soft pants and want to wear them a lot.  So, I think they would like to have a few more.  I need to get going on these since it will be too hot for them to sleep in once weather changes, which happens earlier here than in other parts of the country.

Last summer, my oldest daughter had a dress from Target that had bicycles on it.  She LOVED it.  She continued to try to wear it long after it was too cold for short sleeves.  I eventually ended up having to hide the dress from her, but I told her I’d make her another bicycle dress and I found this super cute bicycle print by Michael Miller to use.  I love the color palette of the print; the bikes are pink and white and the background is gray.  I am using the Norah Dress pattern by Mouse House Creations, which has a retro vibe to it, so I think it will look great using that fabric!

Each year I buy cover ups for my girls to wear to the beach and the pool.  I came across this pattern for a children’s robe from Dana Made It and just loved it.  I bought a bunch of hot pink terry cloth at Mary Jo’s recently for this project.  Of course, I already had plenty of cotton fabric with pink in it to use for the hood lining and all the binding.   So, I let each girl pick out their favorite cotton fabric and they chose the two in the picture above.  I think they will really like wearing these.  Since they are taking swim lessons throughout the rest of winter, I also need to go ahead and get this project completed so they can wear the robes to the aquatic center.

I will probably make the sundresses before my due date, which is May 5th, just because I want them ready for summer and I may be not be sewing for the month or so after the baby is born.  I bought several yards of Wee Wanderer last fall (who doesn’t adore that fabric line?  I sure do!)  and saved it to make sundresses for my two girls and my oldest niece.  If I have any extra fabric left I will try to make some baby clothes for my younger nieces, but I find sewing tiny arm/leg holes to be very tedious and difficult to get the seams straight.  So aside from baby clothes made for a specific event that required a special outfit, I waited until my girls and niece were are at least a size 2T before I started making clothes for them.  However, I may have to suck it up for the baby boy and sew him some john-johns and other things.  Boy clothes are so boring and drab, I will probably need to make some especially cute outfits for him.

After I have the baby, I know I am going to want some new clothes that are figure flattering.  Both the Staple Dress by April Rhodes and the Washi Dress by Made By Rae should be perfect to mask my post-baby body shape since they are both high-waisted.  I have a new love for Art Gallery Voile and have bought quite a few yards that I intend to use for these sewing projects.  Additionally, I want some tunics to wear after I have the baby.  Stretch pants are a “go to” for me postpartum, but I don’t have any summer tunics to go with them.  The Washi Dress offers a tunic length, so am going to make another one of those.  I bought the expansion pack for the Washi Dress so the tunic should look quite different from the Washi Dress.  I am still searching for another tunic pattern for the second tunic I intend to sew.  However, as labeled above, I do already have fabric for it.  The other one will be made from the cotton voile that looks like it is a watercolor, which is from Cloud 9.  I love organic cotton , but it’s not nearly as soft as the Art Gallery voile and the hand of the fabric is more stiff.  I still love the print though and I am looking forward to wearing it.  Side comment; I love this idea of an expansion pack!  I usually embellish any pattern that I use, but rarely go so far as to change the neckline or add a different type of sleeve.  I will probably make several Washi dresses because I love the shape and it looks comfortable to wear, but by using the expansion pack, I won’t have six of the same dress in my closet!  I love it!

My youngest daughter has a Bitty Baby that she plays with quite a bit.  Bitty Baby also has a matching set of furntiture which we got at Costco that includes a crib and high chair.  The crib came with a mat, a pillow and a blanket.  And the high chair has a fabric insert as well.  Though the set is super cute and nothing is really wrong with it, I have noticed some things I would change with the design of these accessories, plus the fabric used for these items reminds me of an outdoor upholstery fabric, but it’s slick and cheap feeling.  I’m sure it’s water resistant, which is good, but I’ll take pretty over utilitarian.  So, I’m going to use my stash of Dena Designs Tangier Ikat collection that I have been hording.  I have a charm pack, which I will use for the crib’s quilt and a bunch of yardage that I will use for the rest of the items.  I should still have plenty of fabric left over to make something for myself too.  Brynn should love it because she loves purple and that fabric line is heavy on the lavender.  I need to finish this project before her birthday in October. Love a handmade gift!

And then there is this (sigh), which I also intend on finishing this year (I have a long way to go on this project).   I am nuts about Carolyn Friedlander’s Facing East Quilt which is a pattern included in her book Savor Each Stitch.  I love the simplicity of the pattern.  Though it’s a simple shape, I find the design interesting and appealing.  The inspiration is clear and expressed well in the design.  It is my first attempt at paper piecing, but the first section went very well and as long as the circles are easy to sew in, I think this project will go pretty quickly once I start to pay it some attention.  Despite my disappointment at what very little amount of sewing I have done on this quilt, I can’t wait to have the finished product draped across the arm of my couch in the winter (or wrapped around my body)…  I guess that will be winter 2016 unfortunately.

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This list of upcoming sewing projects is long, and I even have a few ideas in my head of projects for which I don’t have a pattern or fabric yet, so I excluded them from this list.  Additionally, I am currently working on 3 Sew Together bags and a mug rug that I will have to finish before I can even start on any of the projects listed above.  I am concerned that I have put too much on my plate considering I am having a baby this year, but at it’s least something to strive for.  I am going to make a project calender to help keep me on track during the year.  If I stay focused and motivated I think I can accomplish all this sewing plus meet the goals I’ve set for my small business launch this year.  Wish me luck and check back often because I am going to write about all of this sewing, plus what’s going on with my business plan on this blog.

What all is on your “To Sew” list for this year?  I know there are a ton of washi dresses and staple dresses out there.  Is there another new awesome dress pattern that has been released recently that I should check out?  Also, do other people make a calendar and project plan for their sewing and crafting projects, or am I the only dorky one?  (I doubt I am, wink wink, …well, I hope I’m not the only one at least).  Also, please comment and let me know if you have a favorite tunic pattern that I might want to use for my postpartum wardrobe.  I’d really appreciate any suggestions.

Happy New Year!

 

My 2nd Crib Quilt

My best friend already had two boys when she told me she was pregnant with a girl.  I was so happy for her to get to add some pink to her life!  She decided to let her youngest son and baby girl to share a bedroom to start off.  Remembering what the bedroom looked like, I decided that the baby would need a quilt to make her side of the room more girly.  But, the quilt also needed to coordinate with the current colors of the room, so I specifically chose some fabrics that contained blues and greens.

Most of my sewing projects start with some fabric that I “must have” and then I figure out what to do with it later.  In this case, I made a special shopping trip for the project, but I did come away with some prints that I love from the Cloud 9 fabrics line called House and Garden for Joann Fabrics.  I also used a cute owl print and a blue floral.  The only fabric that I sort of regret is the pink and orange chevron.  I like it on it’s own and in the store the colors matched well with the owl print but its a stark contrast to the rest of the fabrics.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I started cutting the fabric, except that I was super excited about the project.  Usually I OVER plan things, but that day I made a sketch and one template for the angled strips, but didn’t really calculate any measurements at all.MaelynQuilt1

So, without much planning, I just started sewing away the diagonal strips, which were probably 3 inches wide.  And since I didn’t measure anything, I ran out of fabric.  As you can see in the picture of the sketch, I erased the middle section of the quilt and added a band of the Tweety Tweet Blue print across the  middle.  So, I cut the panels of diagonal strips in half and turned the them inward so the middles touched.

MaelynQuilt2This is a picture from when I was working on the placement.  To mask any imperfections in way the diagonals met up, I decided to add strips between the panels.  Although, I don’t actually think that the seams were off by much.  At first I had yellow strips of fabric between the diagonally pieced panels, but then I decided that was too busy.  So I ripped them out and changed it to white.  Now I wish I had used the Tweety Tweet print.

My other fail with this quilt was the quilting itself.  As I did with my first quilt, I just stitched in the ditch.  At this point, I still hadn’t read anything about how to sew a quilt.  I didn’t know about using a 1/4 inch seam or even how to straight line quilt.  I have told my friend that I want to get the quilt back and straight stitch the along the seams, but she lives about 2 hours away and then her baby girl would actually have to give up the quilt for a night.  Maybe it will happen one day.

However, a major plus for the quilt is that I used a yellow dotted minky for the backing.  Children LOVE it because it’s so soft; that’s the same reason I love it actually.  And its really durable too.  Based on experience with another crib quilt I made, the minky isn’t too hard to get through the sewing machine when quilting even though its thick.  I just sew slowly and use a walking foot.

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Overall, for my second attempt at sewing a quilt, considering I didn’t really know how to quilt yet, I like how it turned out.  It’s definitely more complicated than my first one.  And, the baby loves it, so that’s what really matters!

Happy quilting!

By |July 14th, 2014|Quilting|1 Comment

Baby’s Nursery

This is a “getting to know me” post, so you can see my tastes and learn a little more about me.  I wanted to write about this project even though it was so long ago, because it was my first attempt at making a quilt.  It isn’t fancy and isn’t even quilted properly, but it is still being loved every day by my youngest daughter, so I consider it a success.

Prior to decorating my daughter’s nursery, I mostly sewed clothing for myself.  I made some roman shades for the sun room at our old house, but that was pretty much the extent of my non-garment sewing attempts pre-2010.  Part of the reason I made all the decor for my daughter’s nursery was the cost savings.  But also, I didn’t really want the exact same stuff that everyone else gets for their kids from a big box store (even though I love getting a Land Of Nod catalog in the mail and always read it thoroughly).

I made a quilt, curtains, a pillow, a bumper guard and a mobile.  I went to my favorite fabric shop in Gastonia, NC, Mary Jo’s and browsed their quilting cotton for hours.  I found one print that I loved immediately.  At the time I didn’t realize it was a Free Spirit fabric, but now it makes sense that I loved it so much, since I like all their designers and fabrics.  The print is from the collection called California Dreamin’ by Jenean Morrison.

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Then I chose several monochromatic fabrics to match the colors in that print, plus a hot pink and white fabric from Michael Miller that kind of reminds me of a lattice design.

The theme for the bedroom was bunnies.  I appliqued bunnies that I cut out from white minky on the quilt and the pillow.  My dad bought me an adorable bunny lamp for the dresser.  At an antique store, I found a white ceramic planter that is shaped like a bunny (what luck!).  And I also found the perfect print to match the theme and my focal fabric on Etsy from the store Make Me Some Art.  Since my girls now share a room I don’t have a place to put this print, but I intend on rehanging it in my future studio.

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For the bumper guard, I just sewed equally sized squares together, sandwiched them around quilt batting, bound the whole thing and added ribbons to tie it to the crib rails.  It was pretty easy to measure the inside of the crib to determine how large the squares of fabric should be.  It wasn’t very time consuming, but did require a good amount of fabric, so it’s a shame I had to remove it as soon as the baby was able to sit up, at about 5 months.  I don’t even think I used it at all for my second daughter.

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The pillow was also really easy.  Again, just rectangles sewn together with a single piece of the white print for the backside.  I sewed coordinating ribbon on the seams, but I didn’t even bother to put a zipper in it; I just sewed it closed.  This was the quickest item created for the nursery, but the most useful for me.  I am so glad I made this pillow because I sat in that rocking chair nursing and rocking my little babe for many, many hours and the pillow was the perfect size to support my back.

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The quilt matches the design of the pillow and bumper guard.  It is simply rectangular strips of fabric sewn together. The back is hot pink minky.  There are 3 white minky bunnies appliqued onto the green section of fabric.  I didn’t take a full picture of it when it was still new and clean looking, but a good portion of it can be seen in the picture above with the bumper guard.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of the mobile either, but it can be seen in the picture below of the whole nursery.  However, I can tell you a great hack to make a custom mobile to match the rest of your nursery decor.  I bought a mobile that was on the clearance shelf at Babies R Us.  The package had been opened and damaged, but the mobile operated perfectly.  When my sister came to visit, she actually finished this task for me because I was so tired.  She took apart the umbrella portion of the mobile using a seam ripper, then used those pieces of fabric as a pattern.  She cut new fabric from my selection and sewed it back together just like the original.  Then I used that same bunny shape to cut out 4 more bunnies and hung them from the corners of the mobile’s umbrella using ribbon.  It looked fantastic.  I would highly recommend this hack to anyone who wants the mobile to coordinate with the other fabrics in a nursery.  It only took my sister a couple of hours to complete the mobile and she even went the extra mile and added cording where the pieces of the umbrella joined.

Here are two pictures of the completed nursery.

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The quilt is still used every single day; all day long actually.  My oldest daughter really took to her Jelly Cat giraffe, but my second daughter took to the blankie and never let go!  She loves the soft minky on the back.  She carries it with her all over the house and sleeps with it every night.  The binding is starting to show wear and it is kind of dingy looking even though I wash it frequently.  I have thought that if it starts to show too much wear and tear or if my daughter is still this attached to it after she becomes too tall for it to cover her body that I still have all the fabric from the bumper guard and from the curtains, I could rework a new quilt in a queen size or lap size for her.

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Happy Sewing!