Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gifty Lap Quilts

A few months ago I decided to make lap quilts for three lovely children of my acquaintance for Christmas.   I've figured out why making things without patterns is a bad idea!  I don't particularly love any of them, but I am happy to say they are done ;)  I also get to say that all three of these were made at least partially with fabric I won, which made it less risky if they didn't turn out.

The first was made mostly with a pretty Kona Cotton Bundle from Canton Village Quilt Works that I was lucky enough to win from Alyssa at Pile O' Fabric.

It really ended up looking like I think it's the 70's still.  No idea what a 12 year old is going to think of that, but I won't worry about it, there are two dogs that can use any of these if the kids don't like them!  Her favorite color is pink but I still think I went overboard.  It's not quite as bright as the picture implies, but it's

The second was made with a combination of Kona solids and some Robotic fom Birch Organics given away by Fabricworm through Sewcanshe.  I went with the sexist slant of boys like robots (and his Dad said he'd like the robot and sciencey prints, which makes it slightly less sexist?  I know his daughters are just as interested in science as anybody).   It's my favorite of the three, maybe because it's the least busy.

 The last one had a good amount of Monaluna's Fox Hollow organics that I won from Moona Fabrics through a giveaway from Maureen Cracknell last year,.  This was a hard one, I decided to make it around the Fairy Tale Castle pattern I tested for Blossom Heart Quilts.  I made side A too busy, had to cut it apart and simplify it.  Side B was mostly a gathering of 12.5" blocks.  When I got "done" I realized it was way too small and had to add on, and now the 7 year old has the largest quilt.

When I started the quilt her favorite color was purple, but as of last night it was pink, sigh! She has surprising taste in fabric, picked out the prints for this ball I made and didn't choose the prints I thought a young girl would.  I'm still banking on her standards being lax if there are animals involved though, and hope she will just start singing about foxes and what they say.

I'd just done straight stitching on the first two quilts, after it taking less than an hour to stipple this one, I'm wishing I'd done that for all of them, it was actually easier than all the repositioning.

OK, long post, big pictures, wish I'd gotten outdoor photos, and glad they are done so I can get back to the other holiday sewing projects I have!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sew Sweetness Greenbacks Wallet

What a BIG photo!!!

I'll be working on improving my sewing skills in 2014 so I can make higher quality items, things that have little to no chance of falling apart in the same calendar year, things that people will say "No way, you made that?  Compared to the crap you turned out last year, that's fantastic!"

Cough..  OK, no really, I'm just waiting for a compliment on something I've made.  It's been two years, and that was clothing, so I'm waiting for that craft sewing flattery.

cell phone holder on back of wallet
That said, I thought I'd try something totally new to me, a wallet.  Sara at Sew Sweetness has a pdf for a variety of wallets of varying difficulty -  beginner/intermediate/advanced, more or less. I didn't really have a need for wallet #1 which is about credit card sized, and attempting wallet #3 scared me, so Wallet #2 it was.

I wasn't quite sure what size it was going to be, I figured it'd be similar to the clutch I made from the patchwork pencil pouch tutorial at LBG studio.  What?  The tutorial specifies on the first page that it will be 5" by 7"?  I just didn't read the directions until now because I'm lazy, but Bam!  Her tutorials are complete, so if you're not lazy like me you'll be very happy!

The fabric is from timber & leaf by Sarah Watts.  I'd coveted Fawn in Birch Blue print and missed out on the last of it.  Hawthorne threads finagled some bolts that turned up in the manufacturer's warehouse, and I luckily saw their FB post about it, and ordered these three prints.  
Interior of wallet
I may have gone overboard on interfacing after my floppy purse fiascos of a few weeks ago.  I didn't trim it 1/2" smaller than the fabric, resulting in lot of layers. 

Deviation - I altered the pattern.  I have a spiffy  pouch I put all my seldom used cards in, it's the only "madebysomebodyelse" item I didn't throw out like yesterday's trash once I realized I could make my own shit, and I love it. Therefore no need for that many credit card holders in the wallet.  Luckily making lots of zippered bag in the last year came in handy, and I just add a zippered bag onto one side.  

The only problems I ran across were 1. when sewing the credit card area into three slots it didn't work - I needed just a wee bit more room (was wondering if I'd needed to add a seam allowance but that didn't seem to be the case).  Instead I divided it into two, resulting in 6 slots.  2. I had trouble following the directions for the wrist strap, and although it's not a direct result, I feel it's too long - a few inches longer than I'd like, too long to feel secure if I'm carrying it solo in public.

With a zip pouch on the other side (and I HIGHLY recommend doing this, I feel kick ass - not only do I have a place to stash change and bills - who am I kidding?  I don't carry cash since debit cards were born.. but there's room behind the pouch to stash a small notepad or your checkbook) this pattern ticks a lot of my wallet needs.  I'll throw it in my purse because it feels stealable despite the wrist band, but I'm pretty happy with it.  Damn urban living!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Anybody? That & A Mini Quilt

I'm linking up my winter fabric choices for Ali's (yes it IS the best name ever isn't it?) winter Stash Flash.  My husband and I take turns decorating the tree each year, during my years its a tasteful (;) blend of silver, turquoise, green and purple, and his years it's that plus whatever will stick to the tree.  It doesn't help that we give each other ornaments each year, and while I usually receive something pretty & feathery, I keep giving him things with tentacles that just don't really coordinate well with anything...

That said, my idea of winter mainly combines the limey greens I love with the classic red I associate with the holidays.  In my bundle are lots of prints that make me think of ornaments, stars & wrapping paper.  That koi print? yeah yeah, it just includes two of the colors I find Christmasy, AND every winter I worry about fish in ponds freezing to death.  Mmmhmm.  You have until the end of the month to link up!

I also finished binding a mini quilt I'd been working on.  I was looking for a pattern that would work large scale, and though it would be fun to start making test minis to try them out.   This block pattern was from EQ5, and I made it with 2" squares that ended as 1.5" squares.  The end product is just under 12.5" square.  I am just amazed as many points line up as do!   This just won't work for what I had in mind, however my machine pedal has been slipping all over the place and I put this down today between it and the carpet, and it's keeping it in place so I'm pretty content!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Self Drafted Tote

Somebody needs to use a lint roller before taking pictures.

Now that I've made a couple of bags I thought I would try my hand at making a simple one myself (as both bags are too huge to carry as a purse).  I had an amazing purse that I bought for a trip to Italy some years back, it was ugly but GIANT, so I could carry all the normal things, a bottle of water, a book, a hex paper piecing kit, and still throw in whatever else I might need.  It got splattered with painty water a few weeks ago and I had to get rid of it.

My dress form was kind enough to model the tote for me so I could take some pictures (although she did bitch that I haven't finished the shirt she's wearing yet).  I think the storage inside is just about right, with one zipper pocket and two interior pockets for my keys and compact.  I put an exterior pocket on it for my phone and it was nice to be able to customize it to just the right size, deep enough so it doesn't peek out and get snatched by a crazed phone thief, but not so deep I'm digging for it if it rings.

lining, it stands up on it's own, yay!
Eventually I'll have the perfect bag, but for the moment, this is a great general tote. The only thing I don't love about this is that the fabric next to the zipper should be stiffer, but I made it right after the Aeroplane bag & before I vowed to the heavens above to never skimp on the proper interfacing again. 

AND I should not be lazy, I should've switched my black thread out for something peachy to topstitch the interior zipper. Other than that, the only thing I would change is to insert some elastic or an elasticized pocket along one edge to slip my water bottle in so it can be upright instead of lying flat at the bottom.

Next on my table is a more purse shaped purse, we'll see how that goes, then I'll get back to other people's patterns, cause there are less headaches that way ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aeroplane Bag, ready for flight!

Phew, it is done, and I got to use a cheesy title!  I'm entering this into the Sew Sweetness Bag Contest just for fun.  Sara has good complete directions, and I've added her book to my shopping list, since I have faith it will be just as good as her pdf patterns.

There were two patchwork panels I was going to use to make yet another Noodlehead open wide pouch, but co-opted them for this and just added to them.

I'd ordered half a yard of Essex Yarn dyed linen in black from, and lo and behold, I got the end of the bolt (they put a little sticker on it that says "JACKPOT - you got the end of the bolt") and I got almost a full yard of it, plenty for the straps and bottom.

For the lining I used Serenade Moon Light from Art Gallery's Poetica line.  It was already the center of one of my patchwork blocks & while conflicted about having a dark interior, I rarely have enough of anything to accomplish something this fabric consuming, so just used interior white zippers.  

I still have a lot of work to do on figuring out interfacing.  This lacks the stiffness in the sides that I'd like.  Silly me, Sara has a great post about interfacing and bags right here - which I forgot about until I started writing this post.  I tend to buy few yards of different interfacing here and there and can't keep track of which is which so I winged it. Joann's is having a half off interfacing sale right now so I'm going to get bolts of the most needed ones so I don't run into any confusion again.

There were some mishaps along the way, but they were pretty much just user error.  I did remove my sewn in backwards zipper and put it in correctly like a good girl, although I don't think its as nicely centered as it should be there in the picture.  I LOVE how when I unzip it it stays open, this will make it a great bag to carry crafting stuff around in and not have to root around for things. I'll either be making this again or reducing the pattern by 50% to make a handbag from..maybe both :D