Sunday, April 29, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things [from the past week]

 My little sister headed to Prom as I headed out on a date night. We're so classy.

 Was absolutely giddy when I got all the sanding done on my coffee table.

 Had an evening to myself. Doesn't get better than ice cream and Friends.

 Tapas at a delicious Spanish place. Loved the chorizo and the potatoes in a spicy aoli.

Saw the Lion King in an off-Broadway production and it was AMAZING.

Fought some Orlando traffic to go network at a local investigations center that my neighbor offered to take me on a tour of.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sartorial Saturday: The Prom Accessory Edition

Today is Prom!
You're doing your hair and makeup, putting on your dress, and grabbing that clutch that will hold your camera, allowing you to take pictures of all your friends for you to immediately upload to Facebook when you get home. And you couldn't find a clutch that you liked, so you asked your big sister to make you one. And because she's been listening to your Prama [Prom drama] for several months now, she agrees to do it so that you will have as perfect a Prom as possible.

Ok, so this doesn't really go with Sartorial Saturday.

But I've barely sewed all week because of moving and job interviews and deciding to refinish my living room coffee and end tables [stupid timing Rebecca], so this is where the Prom clutch ends up.

And since I think this will be the only time I ever make one of these I figured I'd share.

I used a silvery satin. And 3 freaking layers of a stiff Pellon interfacing. The lining [from the Moda Cape Ann line] has a thin interfacing fused to it. Sewing them right sides together was fine. Turning it right side out was a bitch. It crinkled pretty good, so my sister is going to steam it.

I used super glue to place it in the metal frame. The holes mean that technically it's a sew-in frame. But I didn't have time for those shenanigans.

The black balls were supposed to be removed for some teal beads, but the beads weren't quite big enough. Oh well.

I never want to make one of these again because it was quite stressful. But my sister is going to look top-notch, so it's all worth it! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Wow, I feel like I haven't been here in a bit!

The quilt on Friday and the ruffle shirt on Saturday were scheduled posts, and Sunday's post is not usually about sewing.

Also, I haven't sewn in a week and this leads me to drink makes me very sad.

So even though my dining room looks like this...

...and packing should be my main priority right now [t-5 days until the move]...

I'm spending the evening at the sewing machine. For my liver peace of mind.

Project #1: Making a clutch for my sister for Prom on Saturday [cue high school prom nostalgia]

Project #2: Jessica's mini for our personal swap!

And not touching these new fabrics unless I get everything else finished :) Erm, I've petted them, like how you should pet a llama, but I won't cut into them yet.

*Linked up over at Lee's!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things [from the past week]

 Worked a Girl Scout event about recycling and saw this cute piggy bank made from a 2-liter!

 I packed all my fabric except what I need for my current project. It only takes up 2 boxes!

I made up lots of binding. Love polka dot binding!

Had a delicious dinner of crab cakes and drinks outside in downtown Gainesville with old friends.

 Went snorkeling with manatees! It was amazing. I was a foot away from this guy about 5 minutes after this photo was taken. We made eye contact while he munched on grasses :)

Attended an outdoor concert at my alma mater [Go Gators!] with my old roommates.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sartorial Saturday: The Ruffle Edition

I didn't finish my dress from last week. In fact, I haven't even fixed the bodice yet. My week was full of other things.

But I have something else!

Thursday night I couldn't sleep, and so I grabbed a yard of coral knit, and made some magic happen.

I used a top that I own and had the neckline that I liked [although it isn't a tank top], and I used it to cut out the pieces for a tank. I really only used the curves of the armholes, because I lowered both the front and back neckline, changed the shape of the sides, and lengthened the hem. But it was a launching point.

My machine really didn't like this knit because it was so thin and stretchy, so I laid some paper over top as I stitched, and it did just fine. I'm all about the tricks!

Now, let me tell you, this thing is comfortable. It was tempting to just leave it like that and wear it around the house when I'm being a bum. And I might make another one for that purpose.

But then I decided I'd add a peplum-type feature. Is it still a peplum when it's in a knit? Anyways, I know that many people would have cut their shirt where they wanted the elastic to go, and then sewn the elastic into a casing. However, I'm all about the shortcuts, so I just folded my shirt up [right sides together] where I wanted the elastic to go, and sewed a 1/2" seam. To get the elastic the right size, I placed it around myself where I wanted it to sit, just comfortably, and then took off about 2" off that length. Add a safety pin to the end to feed it through the casing that was just made, and I was all set! By the way, I just cut a hole into the side seam to feed the elastic. I didn't stitch it up because the knit won't fray, but if you use another material you will then have to stitch your hole back together.

I can't get this to not be sideways for some reason

To make the ruffles I cut a piece at 3.5" and stitched 2 lines about an inch apart. I wanted a light ruffle at those locations. To make the overall ruffle, I made little pleats at the neckline as I added the strip. This required patience, and lots of pins! And in fact, after I took that photo I noticed that the strip was on backwards [there is a slight texture/print to the knit] and so I had to re-do it! That's what I get for doing this at 2 am.

Voila! A shirt! Comfortable and cute. And it cost about $10, which was the price of the fabric. Everything else I had on hand. I think I'm going to call this a win :)

Maybe people would be interested in me walking through the details with more pictures so you can make your own shirt? Holler if you'd like that :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Know what ya doing, doing to me? Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

10 points for you if you know who sings that song :)

So here she is in all her glory! Ruby [plus some friends]

There's a charm pack of Ruby, plus some Michael Miller Ta Dots, Sandi Henderson Secret Garden, Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow, Sweetwater Reunion, and Jenean Morrison Silent Cinema. The solids are Kona White and Kona Medium Gray [I think]. And the polka dot binding is from Farm Fresh.

I knew that I wanted to cut down on the sweetness of Ruby, so I chose the triangle design, and left the edges jagged. I also think that the gray helps bring down the cutesy effect. Although, truth be told, I didn't want to use gray. I've been wanting to branch out and use something other than gray and white, but I was making this on a deadline and that was what coordinated at the store. Ideally I would have used an aqua color of some sort. Another time!

The backing was a real struggle for me. I didn't want to buy any more fabric, but had gotten a yard of that Ruby print really cheap, specifically for this back. But I could not get the back to something that didn't look like I just threw the leftover pieces on there. Finally, after cutting and rearranging at least 20 times, I came up with the final design. And I think the aqua Ta Dot print is what saves the back.

I used my pattern tracing wheel to help with the quilting and it was phenomenally helpful. I traced the seam lines from the triangles out to the edges of the quilt, so that when there were no more seam lines to follow I could still achieve straight lines [ok, they're a little wobbly in some places]. The tracing wheel does not leave a permanent mark, and is much like a hera marker. As you can see in the second picture, the quilting in the gray is both diamonds and just radiating lines, and I loooove it.

Now, here's my issue with the quilt. First, I need to sew slower sometimes. I had several triangle points that didn't match up when I sewed the rows of triangles together. Secondly, does anyone have any tips for basting on carpet? In my current apartment I baste in literally the only space that is big enough for it, and I'm sure it will be the same in my new apartment. There is no area of hard flooring for me to baste on! I've made Stephen help me with every quilt in the past, but he wasn't available to help this time, and I wasn't able to achieve the crisp, wrinkle-free basting that I needed. But I didn't know it wasn't good enough until I started quilting [I had fixed all the wrinkles above in the photo]. So, any help from carpet-basters would be much appreciated!

Anyways, this went to my lovely friend and old roommate, Allie, and I hope that she loves it! :)

*Linked up at Crazy Mom Quilts and Amylouwho

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An update and a thanks!

First I thought I'd update you guys on the Essex linen situation, in case anyone was interested.

Several of you had suggested I contact Hawthorne Threads, and I had actually already emailed them when I wrote the post.
I received a reply a few hours later. While I appreciate the speedy reply, I was a little annoyed  by what it said. It was suggested that I had purchased Quilter's Linen in the past and that's why I was sensing a texture difference. However, I included the picture of my new and old Essex, and it clearly does not look anything like Quilter's Linen in Natural. Kelly has a good picture of a pillow she made using that fabric. So I'm unsure as to whether the photo I attached to the email was even looked at. And since I've purchased Essex linen in Natural three times in the past I'm pretty sure I didn't get the fabric wrong each of those times. I also searched Flickr for some examples of other projects using Essex in Natural, and this close-up of a quilt at Oh, Fransson! looks exactly like the Essex I already own.

I found a bigger piece of my old Essex to compare the two. The new is on the left. Look how different the texture is!

I was told that I could return the fabric [and I do appreciate that offer!], but that I'd have to pay return shipping, which would amount to me only getting a refund of 1 yard of fabric, when I purchased two. So I will be keeping the fabric I received, and washing it to try and change the texture. I was pleased with the rest of my purchase at Hawthorne Threads, and am sure that I'll purchase from them in the future, but I will not be buying Essex linen there. I'll stick with the places I've bought it in the past. So guys, I'm totally not trying to bash on them, I'm just upset and confused at the fabric, not at my overall experience with Hawthorne Threads.

Now, on to happier things!

I received my winnings from The Intrepid Thread! It was packaged beautifully, and I totally felt like I was opening up a present :)

The fabrics feel very soft and I think they look totally different in person than on screen. I wasn't sure that they were exactly my style, but there are several prints that I totally see fitting into my aesthetic nicely. My favorite print is the bottom left!

Thanks Sunni and Julie!

Come back tomorrow for the Ruby full reveal!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I fell off the wagon

Hi, my name is Rebecca and I recently gorged myself on fabric.

[crowd] Hi Rebecca.

I'm not really sure why I decided I'd do lots of online shopping 2 weeks before we move. But I guess if I have to carry an extra box then I won't mind too much if it's filled with fabric.

I just received my very first order from Hawthorne Threads today. [Sidebar: I love getting mail, but seeing a bundle of fabric stuffed in the mailbox might be the greatest feeling ever].

I love that they carry Essex linen, and wanted it for the quilt that I'll be making with all my bee blocks. So I got some yards in Natural. Well, maybe it's Natural, but we'll discuss further in a moment. I also got some of that cute little British fabric for a project that I cannot reveal yet. But hey, now you know it's British ;) So those are the things that I actually needed, and I got sucked into that Cabana Bloom print because I have no self control. By the way, it feels like Art Gallery fabrics, yum!

And, as though my willpower wasn't teetering on useless already, their scrap packs were on sale. Only $6 for 2 yards of fabric? Yes, please. I should have ordered multiples! All of those pieces are at least a quarter of a yard, with many of them bigger. Since there's 8 I'm thinking I must have gotten more than 2 yards...excellent.

So here's my issue. This photo is of the 2 yards of Essex linen that I received today. And the strip on top is from the Essex linen in my stash. You might have to enlarge it to see it all better, but there's a noticeable color difference. The pieces I already have are lighter. Well, this isn't too alarming as I have gotten plenty of Kona solids from different batches that are slightly different colors. My big problem is that they don't feel the same! Not even remotely. The yardage I just received is scratchy and "nubbly." I made my boyfriend feel the two pieces and he said the yardage felt like a burlap sack. Um, PROBLEM. I do not want a quilt that I slave over to feel like a burlap sack! The yards and yards of Essex linen that I've been buying for the last year haven't been as smooth as regular cotton, but they certainly haven't been scratchy either.

Has anyone purchased Essex linen in Natural recently and had this issue? I'm devastated, as I love all the other pieces I made with my old Essex, and was looking forward to getting more.

[Oh, and because the first step is admitting you have a problem, this wasn't my only fabric purchase recently. I'm just still waiting for more mail.]

Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Functional Sewing

You guys, I think I've grown up.

Today, I'm sharing what may be the most functional sewing I've ever done.

The horror.

I'm kidding. Sort of.

I'm sure that many sewists/quilters have fabric that they bought because they liked/loved it, but it doesn't fit within their creative aesthetic. I have some prints within my little baby stash that I've loved enough to buy [and with my budget, I usually wait until I find something I really love], but once they're in my little hands I just don't know what to do with them.

Swatch courtesy of

Amy Butler's Lotus Wallflower print is a prime example. I LOVE the print. Which is surprising in and of itself, because it's red and floral, and that's so outside of my norm. But I like that it's sort of geometrically floral, and not overwhelmingly red. So I had bought 1.5 yards of it a few months back [I didn't have a lot of red then,so I was trying to make up for it]. But the scale of the print is just too large for anything I usually do around here, and just doesn't play nice with my other fabrics. It was sitting around unloved, and that's so sad!

Enter: the fabric napkin!

I will be bringing life to some of my fabrics that I really like, but have no idea how to use within my quilting world. They're still perfectly lovely fabrics, and deserve their day in the sun.

Oh, and I made a pair with this brown Flea Market Fancy print and some yellow Farm Fresh crosshatch. Because I wanted to, not because those are forgotten prints. I think they'll look delightful on my table in the fall next to my Marigold Fiestaware.

And yes, I'll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor over how cute those napkin holders are. Tiny shovels, hoes, and rakes? UM, YES. And no, I have no idea where exactly they're from, but my mom got them for me from some handmade shop in West Virginia.

Next up on the functional sewing list:
-Fabric baskets for a myriad of places within my home [I need at least 6 for an Ikea unit]
-Two more pillows for our couches

*Linked up with Quilt Story [who have featured my linked projects the past two weeks eep!] and SewHappy Geek

Sunday, April 15, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things [from the past week]

 Chick-fil-a Chicken Minis. I wish I could stop eating them. But I can't. Little bits of heaven. Om nom.

 Cutting strips to send out to my bee ladies. If I had ever purchased a jelly roll this part would have been much easier...

 Seeing my little sister walk into the Girl Scout meeting wearing the first Schoolhouse Tunic I made was a smile-worthy moment.

 Worked at an animal hospital for a few hours as part of the interview process.

 Packed my first box [and 2nd and 3rd]. Packing more today.

 Had coffee with my dad at Starbucks one morning. We sat outside so the pups could join in!

Played volleyball and grilled burgers with great friends yesterday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sartorial Saturday: Simplicity 1877

First of all, let me just share some exciting news. A few weeks ago I had a card for a free pair of underwear at Victoria's Secret. So off I went. And it happened to be during the 7 for $25 sale, which is a deal I just couldn't pass up. Then they were giving rewards cards with your purchase that have the surprise amount on them until the following month, but all of them are worth at least $10. Well I never thought they ever had any other amount on them.
Except yesterday I found my card on the floor of my bedroom almost under the bed.
And checked it online.
It has $100 on it.
I KNOW, RIGHT?!! Where is all this good luck coming from?!

Anyways, undergarments aside, this week I worked on my first new pattern, a Leanne Marshall dress [the blue version, not the horrid ruffly/flouncy thing].

I must be getting more patient in my old age because I actually made a muslin of the bodice. I knew I wanted it out of this fabulous Carolina chambray I had, and I didn't want to waste it!

Apologies for the absolutely terrible photos in this post, all were taken at night on a cell phone because my camera is dead and I've been doing lots of nighttime sewing.

 Now, this was just a very rough attempt, since I really just wanted to make sure I was cutting the right size. And it was really easy to sew up. A total of 4 pieces in the bodice, and 6 darts total. I thought this fit really well with the exception of the shoulders. It might be hard to tell in the photo, but you can sort of see the exposed shoulder above has the fabric just sitting above it, instead of resting on the shoulder. I figured I would just take up the shoulder seams a bit, and that would also help the bust darts lay a bit higher [and maybe raise the neckline a bit...scandalous!]

So I made the bodice up the other night in the chambray. Now, this photo is taken at a slight upward angle, so it's a little different perspective from the muslin photo. I did take up the seams and you can see the difference that it made. But I think this went too far, and that I need a fit more in between the two. I also really don't like the sleeves on me, so I might just make it sleeveless.

But seriously, look at all those encased seams. Not a raw or zig-zagged edge to be found. It's positively beautiful on the inside. I even tied the bust darts at the end instead of back-stitching so that I wouldn't get pointy bits.

I cut out all the pieces for the rest of the dress, and hope to work on it tomorrow! Is anyone making clothes right now too?