Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm wonky-block addicted.

After completing the wonky sock-monkey block for the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild challenge block, I decided to do one more from my scrap pile.

Well, one turned into two, and so on, and I finished up 4 wonky blocks last night. 

For these first 2, I used some teeny tiny left-over scraps from R's Hedgehog dress to provide a focus block for the centre.

These other two have a more flowery centre.

I'm pretty pleased with these. This "winging it" thing is pretty fun! Each block measures out at 12.5" square. They don't look perfectly square in the photos; I guess my camera was at a bit of an angle.

I've barely made a dent in my stash of scraps. I've been saving them up for the past 2-3 years, not really knowing why but now I'm so pleased that I did. I love these scrappy things! I'm trying to use a bit of black in each one to maybe provide a small amount of cohesion between them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I feel so guilty.

Oh dear, I can't believe it has been over one month since my last post. We were away for 10 days and then all manner of life things intervened (read: rampant illness and summer activities). I don't know if anyone is actually reading this thing (aside from my mom - hi, Mom!) anyhow so perhaps it's a non-issue.

Since we returned from Toronto a few weeks back, I have actually done a fair bit of sewing.

First, I thought I had better get started on a quilt project for my Niece. I am planning on giving her a twin-sized quilt and pillow sham for Christmas this year. She will be almost 2 and close to moving into a "big girl" bed. Since my last quilt took me eleventy-million years to complete (ok, well a year), I figured I better get going or it wouldn't be done in time.

Well, I started cutting and sewing, and by some magic process, the whole entire quilt top was cut and sewn in a matter of about 5 evenings!

I'm totally amazed. And happy. And now wondering how I'm going to quilt it. Isn't it a cute pattern? The snowball blocks in the centre are 10", which probably explains how fast it went together. It will be perfect for my Niece; her parents' house is very old - apparently Sir John A. Macdonald used to live there! It is a nice mix of traditional and modern.

A close up of the cute fabric. The fabric line is called "Flutter". The pattern I used is called "Spice Cake". 

Riley continues to be a dress-only girl this summer and so I have sewn yet another one of those dresses that she loves. This time, we used a meter of this amazingly cute Michael Miller fabric with adorable Hedgehogs on it. We popped in at Spool of Thread and she went nuts for it.  They have some outstanding fabric at that store.

I attended my first Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meeting last week. So many nice people with fantastic quilts. I am so excited to be a member!

One of the members, Paul, issued a Challenge Block. We picked up a small square of fabric that had an image of a sock monkey on it, plus a 1" wide strip of white. We were challenged to make a "freeform" quilt block - the only restrictions being that the white strip had to go around the monkey and that it had to finish to 12.5".

I was totally terrified to make a block with no instructions, being a total newbie at quilting, but once I looked up a few tutorials (thanks, Quilt Dad), I just dove right in. It was completely liberating! To make a block without worrying about having the pieces exactly the same size! To not stress about sewing exactly 1/4"! To just grab scraps from the left-overs of other projects without too much thought!

I can see this being something I do on a regular basis. I have a mountain of quilting cotton scraps left over from sewing quilts AND clothing. Scrap-busting, here I come! (Turned out really cute, right?)

Oh, and remember that blouse I was going to sew way back at the beginning of this blog? I did actually make one up but despite my paranoid over-measuring and fitting, it ended up about 1" too small at the waistband. So I gotta either drop 10 lbs (which I could totally stand to do) or make another (which I will probably also do). 


Monday, June 14, 2010

Last minute, pre-vacation sewing panic!

Lately, R has been incredibly picky about clothing. Specifically, it seems like she has to have the minimum amount of material actually touching her body. This usually results in huge getting-dressed battles every morning.

We are about to leave on vacation to visit relatives in Central Ontario, which is very hot and humid at this time of the year. I have absolutely no desire to duke it out with her every morning about clothes, so I decided to whip her up a dress or two from a pattern that is basically a sack with shoulder straps.

I've sewn this pattern for her twice before and it used to be a winner, except for some reason the elastic around the arm was now bothering her (although it is not too tight, but what can you do). So I swapped out the sleeve for a ruffle and now it's her favourite thing.

I started cutting out dress #2 from this pattern, and then realized I had heaps of this particular fabric grabbed from my stash, and how CUTE it would be for R and her baby cousin E to have matching summer dresses. Of course, I decided this yesterday; we are leaving early Wed morning and I haven't even started packing yet. Panic!

So I dig through my stash of patterns and come across a baby sun dress pattern from 1991. I think this must have been inherited from my mom as I don't recall it at all. 

Ok, so not the most modern thing every but the sun dress is pretty cute and it was literally the only pattern I had that would work for a 1 year old. Plus, a ruffly sun dress on a cute baby in the summer? ADORABLE!

The end result: 2 sun dresses that aren't really matchy-matchy but will hopefully result in some cute photos of R and E together. The fabric isn't wouldn't be my first choice, but R chose it out of my stash and all little girls love pink butterflies and flowers.

I also finished up my first ever vintage sewing project for myself - Butterick 3375 circa about 1964, judging from the hair and the price on the pattern. (Photo taken with my iPhone Hipstamatic camera for true vintage-ness!)

I'd like to point out that I really wish I had a dress form, as this looks much better on me then hanging all droopy on a hanger. But I just don't have time to model this right now!  This was a trial run with some left-over fabric I had in my stash - a black and white graphic print. 

The pattern turned out very similar looking to the pattern envelope, although I eliminated the elastic band at the bottom hem as I figured I have enough fluff there without it. One other thing that is interesting is that the armholes seem to be much smaller than modern patterns. It fits, but it is definitely a different fit than a modern sleeveless blouse. 

I will definitely wear this top this summer and it will probably make it into my suitcase tonight. I don't know if I would make it again but it was definitely a nice, simple way to get over my phobia about cutting into my vintage patterns.

Bye folks! My next post will likely be in about 2 weeks.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zipper Quilt done!

I have actually been sewing like a mad person the past few days. I haven't had time to update the blog - lots of happenings including R finding out that she needs glasses. She is not a very happy 5 year old little girl at the moment. I think she looks adorable in them, but there's no convincing her.

About a year ago I started sewing a quilt from a book called "The Modern Quilt Workshop". The pattern is called the Zipper Quilt and it has about 3000 pieces. I'm not sure what I was thinking as I had only done 2 very simple quilts prior to taking on this project. One year later, I had finally finished piecing the top.

My Mom very graciously agreed to quilt the top of this queen size quilt for me on her Juki that is mounted into a quilting frame. It's done and it looks amazing! Here is is on our bed:

And a close up of the cool meander pattern Mom did on it. It's quilted with a medium brown thread, which I think looks wonderful.

I also have to throw a big thank you out to my Mom for doing the binding as well. She is an expert hand sewer, and I am ... not.

I have also sewn a dress for R, a bathing suit for R and have tackled my first vintage pattern in the past few days:

I'll try to get photos of everything up in the next few days. I also would like to sew another Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt before we leave on vacation next week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Self-Stitched September

When I was browsing Andrea's New Vintage blog last month, I noticed her talking about "Me-Made-May". "Hm", I thought to myself, "What's that all about?"

Well it turns out that Zoe over at "So Zo What Do You Know" had organized online sewists and crafters for a month of wearing at least one item every day that was hand made. How cool! 

Obviously, I discovered this way too late to join in, but Zoe's at it again for the fall with Self-Stitched September, and I totally signed up.

Here's my pledge:

I, Heather, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear one or more handmade item(s) of clothing every day for the duration of September 2010.

I can't wait to see how everyone does with this!

Simplicity 2728 is done!

Jacket for upcoming summer wedding: completed. 

I totally didn't think that crazy fitting adjustment was going to work but it did and now I have a jacket that fits me better than anything I could buy in the store.


I'm pretty damn happy with this. It's not perfect but it's pretty good, no gaping at the bust, fits properly in the shoulders, waist and hip, and is cute.

Here's a link to my review at if you want to read more about it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quickie Infant Bibs

R informed me yesterday that it was one of her preschool teachers last day tomorrow, because she was leaving to have her baby. Her teachers are so sweet and R really loves them, so we decided to put together a small gift bag for her.

We got a vibrating teether (cool!), a baby bath piggy-duck that tests the temperature, some wrist rattles and a couple hooded towels. We also wanted to get bibs but they were all so yucky and boring; I told R I would whip up a couple from my scraps when I got home. And...ta da:

The (free!) pattern was found on this cool blog called Nested. The instructions are very good and the bibs are sure cute when done. Also, fast to make - each one only took about 15 minutes. The contrast portion on the bottom is a pocket to catch spills. They are small, though, definitely only for tiny, cute newborns.

I will definitely be making more of these in future.

The blue and green one is from left-over fabric from 2 different quilts, and the brown and ice-blue one is made from cotton from a summer dress and a tote I made a couple weeks ago.

Also, in other sewing news, the jacket that I started for the summer wedding is done except for buttons and button holes. Somehow the crazy-looking bust fitting adjustment that I did actually worked. Huh.

I hope to get the buttons done tomorrow and then I will post photos of that too, as well as a pattern review on my account over at Pattern Review.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I hate it when a whole pot of tea goes cold before you have a chance to drink it.

Sometime last week, I popped out for about an hour and left B home watching our daughter. I arrived back to find that my tea cozy from Harrod's London had been accidentally lit on fire. To which i immediately thought, hrmpf, but of course I couldn't really get mad because it was an accident.

I drink about a gallon of tea every morning so this was a real tragedy.

Fortunately, mom belongs to a quilt guild where members bring in notions and fabric that aren't being used and put them on a "swap" table. And it just so happened that there was a tea cozy liner on that swap table, which she brought in for me.

After a week of having my pot of morning tea cool off WAY too fast, I sat down today for 1 hour and quickly threw together this cover for the cozy.

I scrounged through my scrap drawer and found a couple of pieces of Michael Miller Disco Dots that were left from decorating R's room a few years ago.

The fabric got cut up into 3" squares and sewed together with 1/4" seams, quilting-style, until I had two rectangles of pieced fabric that were 5 squares wide by 4 squares tall.

Then I took the two pieced rectangles, pinned them right sides together, and then laid the tea cozy liner on top and traced the curved edges.

After sewing all along the traced line and hemming the bottom, my groovy tea cozy is all done and ready for duty.

I gotta say, I think I like this better than the stodgy Harrod's one anyhow.

I know I am supposed to be working on that jacket but there is only so much cold tea a girl can take.

Ta ta,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I hope this works...

Eeep. I started work on Simplicity 2728 today. This will hopefully be a jacket to wear with a dress (which I have already made) to our friend's wedding in Ontario next month.

I have never done an FBA (that's full bust adjustment) on a pattern without a side dart before. Here's a photo of the front bodice after I have done the 1.25" FBA.

Next, I rotated the side dart created by doing the FBA into the existing vertical under bust.

That just looks crazy to me. I mean, I know the vertical under bust dart would become large, but that thing looks huge.

I've redrawn the dart and cutting line in the photo above. But I've since decided that I'm going to fill this all in with tissue and cut the fabric that way. Then, if I need to reposition the dart or possibly change it to 2 darts, I will have the fabric to do that.

Hands up who thinks I'll be out shopping for a jacket in a week?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pac-Man's 30th Birthday!

Wow, I just visited and they have the coolest thing for Pac-Man's 30th birthday, which apparently is today. The Google logo is done up like a pac-man game. But the best thing is that you can play the game.

How interesting that the game is still fun 30 years later. Also of note is that I totally remember this game coming out and playing it on our state-of-the-art Atari system.

Hi. And my next sewing project. And also a recently discovered band that I *adore*.

I'm so inspired by all the amazing sewing blogs out there. There are a number that I check in on every day. I thought I'd give the blogging thing a try, but I doubt I will be limited to just sewing related things because I'm also a huge music fan and also I love all things nerdy and/or retro.

So, in the hopes of getting the blogging thing rolling, here is my next sewing project.

Cute, right? I was out briefly yesterday to get some plain cream cotton for a quilt project I'm also working on, when this pattern caught my eye. It has some pretty cute retro styling and I fell in love with it. Then I fell in love with it some more when I realized that the pattern had bodice pieces for different bra cup sizes, which makes fitting about eleventy-million times easier for me. I can't wait to get started on this one. I'm not sure which version I'm going to make but I will post some photos once it's done.

Also, I would love for everyone to check out an amazing band from Jonkoping, Sweden called The Mary Onettes. My iTunes "Genius" kept recommending this band to me, so I finally gave in to the cyber-pressure and listened. Wow. I wish I'd listened to my "Genius" earlier because they're perfect for me. And for you too, if you happen to like things like Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, New Order, The Church, The Raveonettes and The Stone Roses.

Here's a song from their most recent album.


Ta ta,