Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Japanese Pattern Book Top

I love voile.  It is wonderful to use for clothing, mostly because it is so soft and has a nice drape.  I also often love Japanese styles and designs.  I got a Japanese pattern book, called Stylish Dress Book:  Wear With Freedom by Yoshiko Tsukiori, last Christmas and have been itching to try a couple of the patterns.  I actually traced and cut out the pattern pieces for one of the tops back at the beginning of January, but didn't have a particular fabric that I thought would work well with the style of top.  Then when I got the new It's a Plus Voile by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9 fabric I figured it was time to make my top.

I chose top "B" which is shown in the photo below, because it was a little out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to try something different and this particular top looked pretty easy and straightforward to assemble.  Little did I know that I would have quite a bit of difficultly with a couple of aspects of the top.  The directions for the top were all on one page of the book, except for two steps that referenced techniques on other pages.  The short instructions were not an issue, because it is a simple design and they had diagrams for many of the steps.

Where I had the biggest issues was in attaching the sleeves to the shirt.  I am obviously not a professional seamstress but I do have a good deal of experience and I have done my fair share of sleeves.  These sleeves, however, almost sent me over the edge...could also have been lack of sleep, but who knows.  The sleeve just did not line up well with the arm hole, there was a lot of extra fabric and the sleeve was not intended to have gathers at the top and I did not want to add gathers there because of the style of the bottom portion of the sleeve.  Thought it would be overkill on gathers.  One of the possible reasons for this issue could have been because I added a slightly larger seam allowance to the pattern pieces.  The pattern called for 3/8" allowance to be added and I did 1/2" not thinking that it would make a difference as long as I used 1/2" seams.  Being that I have never tried a pattern without seam allowances already included, this might have been an epic screw up...not sure.  This is were it pays to do your research and yes, yes, I know make a muslin first!  Anyway, after struggling, saying a few chose words and lots and lots of seam ripping I made piece with the sleeves and decided that my solution that I came up with was going to have to be good enough.  I ended up lessening the curve at the top of the sleeve by about a 1/4" or a little more and it turned out okay I suppose.  Either way it is done and I sure do like the feeling of completing something.

As for the other issue I had it wasn't too bad really.  I actually liked the technique, of how to encase the elastic for the bottom of the sleeve, but had a little difficultly with it.  Let's see if I can explain it well enough.  You construct the sleeve first by gathering the bottom portion of the sleeve and then attaching it to the top portion of the sleeve and then finish the seem.  After that you sew the seam down the inside of the sleeve (creating the tube that is the sleeve) but instead of sewing a continuous line all the way down the sleeve you leave a 3/8" opening, starting 3/4" from the bottom of the sleeve.  So that when you create the hem on the sleeve there is a small opening just on the hem just on the inside of the bottom of the sleeve.  Pretty clever, because you really don't even need to stitch it closed after you get the elastic in.  Now, the hard part is not getting the elastic in but getting the other end of the elastic out of the same hole after you make it around the sleeve.  I managed to shimmy the tiny safety pin that I put on the end of the elastic out but it was tough.  I thought I was going to rip the seams or even the fabric but I didn't and it actually looks okay in the end.  Probably should have taken a picture for you, perhaps later, sorry, but trust me it looked pretty good.  I did, however, take a picture of the out side of the sleeve bottom for you.

Now, I felt that you really needed to see the top on so you will get to see me wearing it....yikes.  Wish I have my dress form with me right about now.  Oh well, I feel like the shots that my dear husband took for me aren't as flattering as I feel the top really is, but it gives you an idea.  It really is a cute and comfy top and was pretty easy to make.  I will have to try another one of the patterns in the book soon so that I can see how much harder or easier it is than this first endeavor.

Well, until next time, have fun creating!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dwell Quilt: Week Seven of Simply Retro Quilt Along

I have been trying to keep up each week with the quilt along and made it (pretty close to last minute) again this week, but I feel like I cheated a little since I just did a small wall hanging of the Dwell pattern from Camille Roskelley's Simply Retro.  I think it turned out okay.  I like the blocks but I think I tried to hurry too much to finish quilting it and it turned out a bit sloppy.  I was going for a Christmas wall hanging to match the Christmas quilt I "started" last year using the Cherry Christmas line by Aneela Hoey for Moda Fabric.  I also used Kaufman Essex linen in flax for a door and the binding and then a couple of Bonnie and Camille fabrics, from both the Vintage Modern and Ruby Collections.  Then one of the chimneys is from Kate Spain's Christmas collection from last year, also by Moda.

 I tried to do some unique quilting to give it a little more visual interest.  For example, I tried to do panels on the doors to make them look somewhat realistic.

I was having a hard time thinking of what types of patterns to quilt on the houses, then AFTER I finished my quilt my husband says, "It would have looked cool if you would have done some wood grain on the houses...."  What?!?!  Heck, why didn't I think of that....oh well, hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.  There is always next time.  I really liked the house with the pinwheel, especially the aqua fabric with grey pin that fabric!  Especially with the red chimney of course.  Unfortunately, the quilting on the pinwheel house was probably the most "messy."

I also tried to quilt "smoke" coming out of the chimney.  Not sure how noticeable it is, but its there...

Anyway, I won't ramble on anymore.  But I will say I LOVE this quilt along.  It is super fun and it is great to see everyone's awesome projects every week.  Plus, one of the best parts is that you might win something, and guess what?  My number came up last week and I won!  I am super excited to see what is in my fabric bundle from Sew Me A Song.  Thanks to Jana again for hosting the blog, you are awesome.  

I hope to have a couple more blog posts up soon on a couple of my other non-quilt along projects as well.  Until then....have fun creating!

Linking to Craft Buds Craft Book Month.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Playground Quilt: Week Six of Simply Retro Quilt Along

It is a first for me to have a stack of quilt tops to quilt; a stack being three.  I am pretty excited at how much I have finished in the past couple of weeks when there are actual deadlines to meet.  Deadlines are good, because it makes me get things done, but I am getting pretty tired staying up so late to finish the quilt tops on time.

Anyway, the Playground Quilt from Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley was one of the designs that I liked the most from the book, so I was excited to complete it.  I, however, only had three layer cakes to choose from, which I know you do not have to use one but I felt it was the easiest way to go with such little time.  One of the layer cakes I definitely did not want to use because I felt it would not go well with the pattern and another I am waiting to use with the Framed pattern from the book, so that left me with Keiki's Mind Your P's and Q's.  I found this particular layer cake on sale a while back; it was not a line that I would have usually picked up but did so mainly because is was on sale (I am a sucker for a good sale) and it had letter and animal prints which I thought would be great for my two year old.  That said, she does not really NEED another quilt.  Excuses...or justification to buy more fabric I suppose.

Now back to business, I did not modify the pattern at all.  I used the layer cake squares as suggested  and used a solid cream as the background.  Pretty straight forward.  I noticed I had the incorrect number of squares cut when I got toward the end which was a little frustrating, because I had too many small sizes and needed ONE more larger sized square....figures.  Can't make the smaller ones bigger, obviously, so I ended up having to cut an additional layer cake square, which was fine because the pattern did not use all of the squares in the pack....thank goodness.  So much for counting twice and cutting once, or however that goes.  As for my pictures, I have to apologize that they are not very good since I had my husband holding up the top outside in the rain....thank you B!  Perhaps when the quilt is finished and I am not on such a time crunch, I will get some better photos up.

Maybe this week I will be lucky and win the drawing in the Quilt Along, then again there is always next week.  That is if I can make the deadline, now that all the kids are back home and school is about to start.  Wish me luck and have fun creating!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dapper Quilt: Week Five of Simply Retro Quilt Along

Ha.  I managed another quilt top in time for week five of the Simply Retro Quilt Along at Jana's Blog!  It is sort of amazing that I got another one finished and I am pretty excited about it.  Then again when school starts back my production level will plummet.  Anyway, I have been wanting to get my hands on some of Heather Ross' Nursery Versery fabric for a while, and last weekend when my family and I were heading back to VA from GA we stopped at a fabric shop in Richmond, VA called Quilting Adventures.  (I do want to give a quick shout out to my family for being so awesome and patient with my fabric addiction.)  The shop was actually pretty great and if you are ever in the area it is worth checking out.  They had a tone of fabric that I personally liked and had Japanese fat quarters, so I was really excited, and one of them happened to be the Little Pigs Nursery Versery Print in green....awesome.

So as soon as we got home I went through my stash to see what might look good with it using the Dapper quilt pattern.  I found an orange and cream stripe from Bonnie and Camille's Marmalade collection, a pink print from Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow collection, and of course my trusty linen.

I was originally going to use linen as the pinwheel portion of the pink block but decided it did not have enough of a contrast so went with the white.  The original pattern idea changed as I was cutting and piecing it, but I think I do like how it turned out.  Do you?


This is actually one of the smallest quilt tops I have ever made.  I tend to always want to make them larger so that they can have more uses, however I am happy with how it turned out and I think it will be the perfect size for my two and a half year old.  Hopefully she will enjoy it when I actually get around to quilting it!

Until next time.....have fun creating!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Vintage Quilt: Week Four of Simply Retro Quilt Along

Over at Jana's blog, she is hosting a quilt along for the projects in Camille Roskelley's new book Simply Retro.  I was pretty excited about this for a couple of reasons.  One being that I loved most of the patterns in the book, and this quilt along would gave me an excuse to push all of those projects to the top of my list (and perhaps even win some awesome prizes in the process).  And two, I have never participated in any quilt along, sew along, etc. so this seemed like a great one to start with!  The first project I completed, and on time nonetheless, was the Baby Love quilt wall hanging, which I blogged about last week.  Unfortunately, despite finishing it on time, taking pictures, uploading them onto my computer and all that jazz, I went on vacation and forgot to upload them to the quilt along site by the deadline....which is about par for the course for me.  Anyway, I did, however, buckle down and finish the quilt top for week 4 of the quilt along.

But you guessed it, I missed the deadline by a couple of minutes....ahhhhh!  I ended up emailing Jana and asking if I could still get my project into that week's competition and she was amazing and did it for me.  Thanks again Jana.

As for the Vintage quilt top above, the pattern in the book called for fat quarters, but I could only get my hands on fat eighths in the fabric that I wanted to use.  The fat eighths turned out great because I was able to get half of the pieces for the block from each of two fat eighths that were the same color and very similar in pattern.  I then just alternated them in the block, as you can see in the picture above.  I used 24 fat eighths from the Moda Esprit de Noel fabric collection by French General, and still have nine fat eighths left and plenty of scraps to make some stockings or perhaps even some pillows!

When I get around to finishing up the quilt, I will have to take some better photos.  I was a bit limited in my lighting options at 11:50pm!

Now, back to the quilt along.  I did not win for week 4, but I am working on week 5 right now and I am pretty excited about it.  I broke out my linen fabric again and a Heather Ross fat quarter...awesome, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Baby Love Quilt from Simply Retro: Finally Getting Things Done...

Well, I am finally getting SOME things done.  I feel like something always suffers not matter what.  For example, I finally get some time to finish a sewing project but then there is a pile of clothes that inevitably needs to be washed or dishes to be cleaned...I am sure you know that I mean.  Anyway, I am a pretty big fan of Camille Roskelley and her latest book, Simply Retro, is great!

 Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley

More specifically, I really like the majority of the projects in the book and that is pretty rare for me.  Since I downloaded the book, (freakin' love Amazon and my Kindle Fire, by the way) I have been making big plans to complete several of the projects and the first one I managed to get finished is the Baby Love wall hanging.  It is an over-sized block pattern that I decided to add a monogram to.  I used some left over fabric from the quilt I made for my youngest daughter, who is also known as the Goob, sound familiar?  Then around the monogram letter I just pulled out some of the graphics from one of the prints and boom....a monogram quilt block wall hanging.

I also tried to branch out a bit and use some new quilting designs and techniques.  I really love the way the "pebble" design looks but it is super intense to do.  Then again, it could just be me making it intense.  I have a tendency to quilt my patterns really small, as you can see with the pebbles.  Even if I try to make it larger as I move along it gets smaller and smaller....annoying.  Anyway, I also tried wood grain, a couple of different leaf designs, basic lines, was fun to play around a little with the quilting design.

I had also been itching to try my hand at embroidery.  Unfortunately, I was so eager to just do it that I did not do enough research.  I sort of screwed up trying the knots on the back, if that is even what you are supposed to do.  The front looked great but the back was a mess and the knots that I tried to tie would not stay, etc.  I ended up putting some fusible interfacing behind it to make sure the strings/knots stayed put.  Looking back it probably wasn't the best idea I ever had, but hey at least next time I will know to get my basics down before jumping in.  Regardless, here is the end product up close.