Thursday, February 27, 2014

Target Log Cabin Quilt - Complete!

I love how it turned out! You wouldn't believe the sorts of nonsense that got quilted - flowers, stars and names, even "Be Happy". The quilted surprises aren't obvious and I hope this quilt creates smiles for years to come.

By the way, the colors above are not what they really look like. Check out an older post to get better view of the colors.

I made this quilt in three long panels, layered and quilted each one, leaving a few inches unquilted on the inner edges that were to be joined. To connect them, I sewed the top layers together and pressed the seam allowances. Next, using a 1/4" seam allowance, I basted the batting together, then trimmed it off using a rotary cutter. Basting kept the layers from shifting and helped to make an accurate cut.

To make a smooth join, I stitched the batting pieces together again, this time with a long zigzag and allowing the needle to pierce the batting on the left pass only. Yep, it didn't sew the batting when it came to the right. This eliminated making a seam allowance - the batting pieces were joined, but flat. From there, I hand-stitched the back panels closed and  filled in the blank areas with more doodle quilting. The Bernina had no problems with this. So, maybe I can sew myself a king-size quilt...

Finally, after everything was joined, sealed and quilted, I added the red binding. Yes, the binding is the same fabric as the middle squares. I pressed it in half before sewing it to the quilt.

This was fun. I want to do it again!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

The only sewing I’ve done since moving is to add some quick-fix elastic to the inside of a skirt that became too big. Too big on me? Yes, along with reducing my belongings, I’m also reducing the size of my body. This move caused me to want to clean up my life inside and out. To date, lots of furniture, dishes, books, clothing, and about twenty pounds are gone.

When trying to figure out what I wanted to do food-wise, I kept returning to the book Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, written by Joel Furhman. What he says makes sense to me and I especially like that I don't need to measure, weigh or record what I eat. The plan is plant-based (though allows for small amounts of dairy and meat). No added oil or salt and yet, for the very first time in my life, I’m not constantly hungry looking for junk to consume. Agreed, this is a drastic change. Also, I admit that I do use a bit of olive oil and salt. However, my blood pressure is down along with my blood glucose readings. Haven’t had my cholesterol checked yet, but there is a very good chance that that has improved too. The weight loss is a wonderful “oh, by the way” benefit.

In organizing my tiny pantry closet, I started totally over. Gone is the sugar, flour, boxed cereal (kept the oatmeal), chips, canned soups, etc. I bought some canning jars and filled them with raw cashews, walnuts, dried beans of all sorts and other basic, real foods. My refrigerator got a makeover too and is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Spices follow me home from Penzeys. Kale has become my friend. I want a Blendtec blender...

I have always enjoyed cooking, and this new way of eating has given me reason to search and attempt many new-to-me recipes. Just like sewing bloggers, vegan bloggers are very kind and generous in sharing their knowledge. I keep finding recipes for things I had never heard of before, much less tried. For example, yesterday I made a pudla. Have you ever heard of a pudla? Well, if you haven’t, a pudla is a garbanzo bean flour pancake filled with vegetables. The one I made had baby spinach, mushrooms, and onions. Delicious and will become a regular. Don't get me started about chia seeds...

My clothes are baggy and need to be replaced. Style Arc patterns are my favorites but how annoying to have them available in single sizes only. I’m going take a shot at modifying them and if that doesn’t work, I’ll look to my multi-sized BurdaStyle, Ottobre Woman and Jalie assortment.

Oh, I have been working. Currently, I'm at a company in Uptown, working on a special project. It will likely be completed by the end of the month. I have no idea what will come after that, but I am trying to think of all of these changes as an adventure and not be anxious. And really, even with all of the struggles of the past few months, I have laughed a lot!

It is daunting how much sorting and organizing there is yet to do. In addition, daughter #2 is getting married in March and I have known for many months the date of the wedding. Do I have a proper mother-of-the-bride dress? No, I do not.

She also has asked for the quilt I had been making before the move. It will be perfect for her bridal shower gift.

I better get busy...

Friday, October 4, 2013


So, here I am, a few weeks from my last post, living in Las Colinas. Los Colinas is a part of Irving and Irving is a suburb of Dallas. Had you told me two months ago that this is where I would be, I would have called you a joker. The decision was easy to make as I'm here to be closer to family.

Me and the dog have found a nice place to take walks near my apartment. Isn’t it pretty?

This new apartment is smaller than my last, in fact I’ve stayed in larger hotel rooms! This means I have room for only the basics. My sewing things and the dog are included, but not much else. I have to tell you that this was purposefully done. My goal is to get organized and own only things I really love or must have; all else will go by the wayside. This is a huge transition and one meant to force me into sorting out what is and is not important.

It hasn't been painless but so far nothing too horrible. There has been a ticket and a smashed toenail. My cell phone has zero signal strength in the apartment (wi-fi to the rescue?) and the toilet seat is sized for a young child. On the plus side, the ice maker produces beautifully clear ice and I have been enjoying lots of iced tea (can't find the k-cups for the Breville). Other than that, the sewing machines are still in boxes as are the fabrics, the unfinished Style Arc Jenny shirt and the quilt. Now, I did finish the Style Arc Barb pants before I moved and they fit great! The fabric I chose is better for fall/winter, so for once I’m ahead of the season.

My main living space is floor to ceiling boxes with furniture scrunched in between. There is but a narrow passage to the window blinds wands so I can adjust for natural light. I’m curious how long it will take to sort through and get settled…

I miss sewing.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Jenny Shirt - Sleeves

Life got in the way last week and there has been no sewing. None. However, since my last posting, I was able to attach the cuffs to the sleeves and sew one of the sleeves to the shirt.

Back when I traced the pattern, I shortened the sleeve length by one inch because shortening sleeves by one inch has become my standard sleeve adjustment. Once I tried the shirt on, I realized I got it wrong, I’ll have to shorten the sleeves another 1 1/4”. For now, I folded the cuff to the right length – the cuff isn’t that narrow. That is also why the placket isn’t laying flat. Pins and folded fabric, what can I say?

Really, I should just cut new sleeves, plackets, and cuffs and start over. Yet, I won’t because this is a muslin. I’ll remove the cuffs, cut 1 ¼” off the bottom of each sleeve, gather and pleat until it matches the cuff. The plackets are plenty long enough to handle this treatment and since it is a woman’s shirt I think I can get away with a bit of gathering.

Once I get the sleeves in, there is hemming, buttons and buttonholes…say, another two weeks? Hah. Maybe more as the next few weeks promise more of the same time suck for my sewing time.

Style Arc Barb's Stretch Pant
I’ve also started another pair of pants using Style Arc's Barb's Stretch Pant. Just need to attach the waistband and hem. Though narrower, construction of the Barb is the same as the Linda - incredibly easy.

Oh, in a positive move toward finishing the quilt, I broke down and purchased another LaPeirre Studio Supreme Slider. Yes, you should be impressed…

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In Progress: Style Arc’s Jenny Shirt

By now, you know that I am not a blogger who worries about how many yards I sew per month or keeps track of the dollars spent per garment. If I really cared, I suppose I could export a report from Quicken to Excel and break it down by notions, patterns, fabric, equipment, etc. Just know that I really do not care. This sewing thing is both my hobby and my wardrobe. Some people play golf or go to the movies. I sew. 

I buy fabric (mostly on clearance) and patterns (fewer and fewer of the Big 4 lately) that I think will flatter my body and sew it up. Happily, the vast majority of things I make become part of my wardrobe and the few that meet the bin are not mourned. I learn and I move on. One of my challenges is to sew a well-fitting classic shirt. I have sewn the shirt pattern from the Bernina software (Bernina My Label) a few times (here and here); the resulting shirts fit, and I’ve worn them a lot. However, since each of the Style Arc patterns I have sewn have worked so well I wanted to attempt a Style Arc shirt. I chose the Jenny Shirt.

Style Arc Jenny Shirt
I had cut this out shortly before (or right after???) moving into my apartment. Anyway, it has been passed over for several months and I finally got around to sewing on it about two weeks ago. The fabric is a $1.00/yd stretch cotton from, and yes, I have several yards of this one and another similar stripe. You will be seeing it again.
After getting home from the office, I would sew for ten or fifteen minutes before deciding I didn’t like the lighting or I was too tired, etc. Given this pace, I project that it will be another two weeks before it is complete.

I wasn’t expecting how the front darts pull the side fronts to the bias. I like it!

Changes made to the pattern? I shortened the sleeves an inch and smoothed out the side seams at the waist. That extra at the waist might not be needed; I’ll wait until it is further along before I commit.

I wish I had made an effort to center the stripes on the back piece. When I cut this out, I probably was considering this an unwearable muslin and opted to conserve fabric. There isn’t a guarantee that the shirt will turn out nor do I want to spend time with the seam ripper, so I’m not looking back. Once I have a pattern that works, I’ll take more care. I do want to figure this shirt thing out. To that end, I’ve printed several tutorials that deal with specific parts of shirtmaking and have put them into a notebook. The plan is to update as I come across better techniques.

I guess it is time to start digging through my buttons. Hope I can find some that match.

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fabriconda #6 – Style Arc Riva Raglan T-Shirt and the Jalie Scoopneck Top

Another lucky unused pattern, the Style Arc Riva Raglan T-Shirt, was chosen for the plaid knit from the Fabriconda. Like most of the Fabriconda fabrics, this one had lots of tape and tape residue. I cut all of that tape stuff away before starting. That way I knew exactly what I had to work with (barely just enough!).

Style Arc Riva Raglan T-Shirt

Looking at the pinned together pattern on the dress form, I could see that the neck was close fitting and the hem long. My only modification was to smooth out the side seams a bit for more room at the waist…

I wore it last week with my Burda Style 01-2010-136/Ottobre bird Capri’s and some cute sandals. The shirt fits nicely and I was comfortable. Enough said.

However, the Fabriconda has freed me up to try patterns that I’ve been hesitant to try. Testing a new pattern is often risky and for that reason alone, it has been well worth the $7.00 spent. After all, patterns aren’t much good if they don’t get used.

And yet the next top did not come from the Fabriconda.  This Fabric Mart ITY has been on the shelf for several months. With confidence from the success of the Jalie Raglan Tee, #3245, I went forward with the Jalie Scoopneck Top, #2806.

This is view B with the 3/4 sleeves from view A. The fit and comfort of this top is simply wonderful and the style is appropriate for office garb. I’m restraining myself from gathering every piece of knit fabric here and turning them into this top! Seriously, I so wish I had attempted this one a long time ago!

Jalie Scoopneck Tops #2806

Oh, the quilt has been calling my name…

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fabriconda #5 - Style Arc Island Ali Top

Two pieces of knit burnout from the Fabriconda came together to make this top. The blue piece had a huge circle cut from the middle and what was left was the perfect amount for the sleeves. Sadly, I didn't have enough of the grey to center the front properly (yes, I cut it after the back...). I also had to cut the lower back piece on the crosswise. Just know that I'm going to wear it anyway and the world will go on...

The wooly nylon thread came out of the drawer and I used it for the rolled hem on the sleeves. I really like how it allows the fabric to drape nicely.

Style Arc Island Ali Top Sewing Pattern

I hadn't sewn a top like this before, so before starting, I read the instructions (pretty basic but adequate) and had to look to the pattern pieces for the hem length and a few other things. As I've found typical with Style Arc knit top patterns, I had to shorten the neck binding (guessing worked). Other than that and the rolled hem for the sleeves, there weren't any other changes.

I will wear this with a pair of grey Capris I'd made a few months ago. This top is far from perfect but for a wearable muslin I'm pretty happy about it and I'll definitely sew it again! I think it would make a nice dress, too. Don't you?