Monday, February 29, 2016

Garment sewing: Esme tank

Bolstered by the success of my Washi top, I quickly dove into making another shirt for myself, this time a take on the Esme tunic from Lotta Jansdotter's wonderful new book, Everyday Style. I am in love.
This top went together so quickly, especially after mastering some of the techniques, like bias-tape facing, in my Washi top. I used the top version of the shirt from the book but left off the cap sleeves, opting instead for a simple sleeveless silhouette. I used the bias-tape facing technique to finish the exposed armholes.
Because the facing for the neckline is stitched down, I didn't have to bother with the understitching or staystitching used on the Washi top, and I love how easily it slips over my head and lays properly. The fabric is Pattern Guides in Navy from Rashida Coleman-Hale's Macrame collection. It's a heavier-weight quilting cotton, but it's so delightfully soft and has just the right amount of structure for this style of top.
Other than the sleeves (or lack thereof), the only other change I made was shortening the hem a bit. As it is, the shirt is a tad on the short side, and the hem proposed in the pattern would have taken another 1/2" or so off. Next time, I think I may lengthen the pattern just a bit.
I want to make a whole summer wardrobe of Esme tanks in a million fabrics. I'll definitely be putting the sleeved top and tunic versions of the shirt on my to-do list as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LVLC quilt: A finish!

The blocks have been rolling in for my February quilt for the Emerge circle of do.Good Stitches, so it's about time that I finally finished the first quilt I led for the group. These blocks were from back in September, but with prepping for QuiltCon and then the holidays, the quilt just kept getting pushed back. It's good to finally have it finished! I'm calling it the LVLC (low volume log cabin) quilt.
As you may recall from earlier posts, I asked my beemates to make two blocks, one with a teal log cabin and one with a lime green one. They then added low volume fabrics around their log cabins in an improv style, and I pieced them all together, adding more low volume fabrics as needed (since the blocks weren't all the same size).
I debated on how to quilt it for a long time. In reality, it probably needed an allover free-motion quilt design, but I didn't have the courage to try, so then I planned to do a randomly spaced crosshatch, similar to what I did on the Austin House quilt.
But after I finished the vertical lines, it seemed like it was going to be too much (design wise) to do the horizontal lines, so I figured it was time to edit myself and just stop. I think it works with the quilt design well enough, but it didn't turn out quite like I hoped.
Still, I'm quite happy with the quilt overall. I think it's bright and happy and contains some really fun "I spy" fabrics: pencils, newsprint, kitties, mice, and lots more.
For the backing, I pulled more teal and green from my stash (no shortage of those colors), along with the perfect ginghams from Tucker Prairie (foxtail and saltgrass). I love a good pieced backing. The binding is the perfect teal Netorious print from Cotton + Steel.
The final quilt measures 58" x 70". I'll be donating it to the local chapter of Project Linus, so I hope it brings some joy to an older kid.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ebb and flow

After finally finishing the applique on the last row of my Catenary quilt (I finished assembling the top last week!), I immediately started debating what to do for my next applique project. I'm loving having a handwork project to work on while hanging with the hubs or when I just need a break from my machine. I have several I'm dying to do, but one rose above the others.
I'm tackling Carolyn Friedlander's Ebb quilt. I initially planned to do the full wall hanging but decided that two pillows would be more useful in the house (my couch pillows need an upgrade), so I broke my rainbow in two and am doing a "warm" pillow and a "cool" one.
This pattern actually gives you a lot of options with templates that can be turned in different directions and combined in a number of different ways. I finally decided on this layout for the warm pillow. All of the fabrics in the pull are from Carolyn's collections (with just one exception in the greens): Carkai, Doe, Architextures, and a splash of Botanics. I'm using Moda Bella Snow for the solid background.
I used a handy little tip I learned on Instagram to mark the 1/4" seam allowance on your thumb while you're basting. So quick and easy, with no marking needed (well, other than your thumb, of course).
My mother-in-law's been in town the past few days, so it was a perfect excuse to start on the applique (since my sewing space is in the guest space and therefore off limits when we have guests). Loving it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Garment sewing: Washi dress

I made a real, live shirt, and it actually fits! This project has lingered at the bottom of my to-do list for far too long, and I'm so glad I finally busted it out.
The pattern is the tunic version of the Washi Dress by Rae Hoesktra (Made by Rae), which was super popular when she released it a few years ago. I bought the pattern but then never worked up the courage to actually make it. I bought this fabric (Morse Dot in Blue from Katarina Roccella's Imprint collection) last summer in the hopes of getting it done in time for my little sister's bridal shower and then her wedding, but it wasn't meant to be.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I was between projects and decided it couldn't wait any longer. On the whole, it went together really easily. Being pretty new to garment sewing, I learned a lot of new techniques (some of which I had to look up because the pattern offered little explanation), including understitching, bias tape facing, darts, and shirring (that was a bugger to get started).

I finished the inside seams with the overlock foot on my Janome. Who needs a serger?
I'm so pleased with the fit and already have plans for some more new garments. In fact, I've already finished another shirt -- what!? Who am I? (Don't worry, I have a finished quilt post coming up, too.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rush Hour quilt: A finish!

A little over a month in, and I finally have my first quilty finish of 2016, the Rush Hour quilt!
I am so in love with this quilt. The pattern is from Vanessa Christensen (V and Co.) and uses her new line of ombre solids, which are absolutely gorgeous. These pictures don't do them justice.
I made this quilt (the baby size, which measures 36" x 36") as a sample for the LQS where I work, Janie Lou. It uses one jelly roll of the solids (so quick and easy) and a white solid (I used Moda Bella 98) for the front.
The jelly roll contains two strips of each color, and I only needed one of the sets to finish this quilt. I even had enough left over to make the binding, and I have big plans for the second set of strips. For the backing, I used Art Gallery Squared Elements in Blueberry, which seemed like the perfect color to tie everything together.

I kept the quilting simple, centering one triangle at the bottom of one of the teal groupings and then echoing the other triangles from there. (The quilt is actually flipped upside down in some of the shots. Oops! The teal grouping actually points down. The quilt is facing the "right" way in the full shots on the pier.) I used Aurifil white (#2024) for the quilting to keep from detracting from all of the pretty colors.
If you're local, you can see the quilt in person at Janie Lou. It certainly makes me happy when I walk in the door.