Tuesday, March 1, 2016

That Pink Tiger Dress

So, alas, I finally sewed up Lyla's "pink tiger dress". It turned out so cute! I decided to try the Roller Skate Dress pattern by Oliver + S. I've always loved the shape of this dress and the cute neckline detail. I'm excited to check another Oliver + S pattern off of my list - they are all so well done and I learn something new from every pattern. 

These tigers are one of my all-time favorite Cotton and Steel prints, from Alexia Abegg's Hatbox collection. I can't seem to stray far from fun prints when I'm making dresses for Lyla. For the neckline detail, I used this Kauffman dot chambray in indigo. I also lined the dress with chambray, but a different one that I don't love quite as much (saving the rest of the dots for another dress).


I sewed Lyla a size 2T, based on her measurements but added about an inch to the length. I'll be honest, I don't love the overall fit of this dress on her. The neckline is a tad big and I found that the dress tends to ride up if she's sitting. Also, I probably didn't need to add the length (it's a bit on the long side), but it will give her lots of room to grow. Maggie used to grow out of things so quickly, that every few months she was changing sizes. I could never keep up! Lyla, on the other hand wears her things forever, especially dresses!

Overall, this was a great pattern to sew! I believe actually that the fit is pretty accurate and this is just the style of the dress. I think if I were to make another roller skate dress, I'd use a more fluid fabric, like double gauze or rayon and/or I'd consider going down a size. The riding up business bugs her a little, but I'm hoping the tigers will win her over and she'll still wear it. In any case, it is a really, darn, cute dress!

It was 70 degrees here yesterday, so we took a walk to the little lake in our neighborhood. Lyla is such a good little hiker and will walk all the way around the lake. She stops to take a break and occasionally asks me to pick her up, but doesn't whine too much when I refuse. I love adventuring with her!

I'm really looking forward to Spring. The days are getting a little longer and brighter down here! Hope you're all enjoying some signs of Spring as well!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Blues

I really have no business feeling blue this February. It's been a relatively mild winter here. But, it seems there have been more gray days than not, and it's been just cold and dreary enough that I'd rather stay indoors. I'll admit - and this is a tough one for me to admit - I'm getting bored.   

That said, my time at home with Lyla has been so nice recently. She seems to have jumped leaps and bounds with her speech over the past month and it has made a world of difference. She talks, I understand (!), I respond and her face lights up with joy. We're having actual real conversations! 

We've been talking a lot about dresses lately. She loves the dresses I've made her and wears them (plus a couple more I've made over the year) regularly. Seriously, this girl is my biggest handmade supporter. So, of course I've told her I'll make her a new dress (or four). She wants "pink tigers" on her dress and she wants it done in about 30 seconds. She says "you make my dress now. OK, Mommy? I paint hearts." She paints a bit, turns to find me watching her and says, "s'ok, Mommy, you just make it." Sure thing, sweets. 

I think that soon enough, I'll be able to sew a bit with her by my side. Up until recently, I would never dream of us sitting here creating together, knowing she'd likely wander off within minutes and get into things. But, I'm noticing her becoming more independent and engaging in her own play just a little bit more lately. It's wonderful on so many fronts. I love those moments when she drifts off into her own little world, seemingly unaware that I'm nearby. What a bright spot she's been this February.

And, then, there were other bright spots, of the the impulsive purchasing type. I hope I'm not the only one who does that. Last week I added this pretty stack of indigo fabrics to my stare and gaze at on my shelf stash. Mostly all from Handcrafted by Alison Glass, but a little of Cotton and Steel's Bluebird as well. Good gracious, they're beautiful. But, what shall I do with them? That's what I'll be pondering this March while I sew dresses for my little girl.

I hope you've found some bright and beautiful spots this February!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bluebird Poolside Tote

I knew when I made my first Poolside Tote that it wouldn't be my last. This pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead is one of my favorites. It's a fun one to put together and makes a super functional bag. I especially love the shape and all of the details Anna has added to the pattern. 

The exterior of this bag features a fun print from Cotton and Steel's recent Bluebird collection. I'm slightly obsessed with this collection of blue fabrics (more on that soon). To me, this print screams summer, pool time, beach, and sunny travels. This particular fabric is printed on an unbleached cotton, which gives it a lovely natural look. Since it's a lighter weight cotton, I basted canvas to each of the exterior pieces. This adds some sturdiness and weight to the bag. It's just a bit on the floppy side, but I kind of like it that way.    

The handles of the bag and the interior are yarn-dyed Essex linen in black and chambray. The accents are Cloud9 Fabric's Cirrus Solids in Coral (which I was ecstatic to discover at Joanns!!). I interfaced all of these fabrics with Pellon SF101.

This bag is so roomy and can hold so much! I included a little leather clip on the interior for those keys that tend to disappear.

This bag was a gift for my friend Kendra's 40th birthday. This is the year my closest friends (and I) turn 40 (I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one) and I decided I wanted to sew something for each of them. Maybe Poolside Totes for everyone and then a group trip to the beach! Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Linden Sweatshirt

I've been having fun sewing Linden sweatshirts (just one of many appealing patterns by Grainline Studio) over the past couple of weeks. I finished this version over the weekend when we were snowed (or, iced, actually) in. It was a good weekend to sew something super comfy!

I really love this pattern! It's been a happy starting place for my year of garment sewing. It is really such a straightforward, quick sew, and I still learned a bit from sewing it. For starters, I've finally switched over from using a narrow zigzag stitch to using the stretch stitch on my Bernina. This stitch uses a lot more thread but also seems a lot stronger. I also learned to use a double needle to give the neckline a nice professional finish. 

It seems that this top would be great in a wide variety of knits. My first version, in french terry (from Imagine Gnats shop) has a distinct sweatshirt look. While this version, done in some lovely new Cloud9 knits, is a little less sporty, but still so comfortable. For sizing on both tops, I went with the sizing indicated for my bust and then graded the pattern piece out to my hip size. I found my first version was a tiny bit short, so I decided to add about 1.5 inches to the length on this one. I love how the pattern pieces indicate where to lengthen/shorten!

Growing up as a brown-eyed girl, people always told me that brown looked good on me, so I went with it in many of my wardrobe choices. I recall having a closet full of brown, actually. But, then brown started to disappear and everything was grey, black and white. Recently though, I've started to see brown sneak back into fashion and color trends. So, anyway, I was pretty excited when I found these pretty brown prints by Cloud9. It's such a lovely soft shade and I love the floral + stripes pairing!

I definitely see more Lindens in my future. Right now, the two I've made are on a steady rotation. I'm looking forward to the garment pattern I'm going to try next though! Something a little dressier. I can't wait!  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Picnic Plaid Quilt

About a year ago my friend Mary, expecting her third child, commissioned me to make a baby quilt. The gender was to be a surprise, but she gave me full reign on the pattern and colors. I was excited to dream up this one as I felt like I had a good sense for Mary's style (and I liked it!).  

I sat on the project for a few months, trying to drum up some ideas. I was in a bit of a quilting funk. But then I got Anna Graham's Handmade Style book and found the Picnic Plaid Quilt pattern. It looked like a great fit for Mary - modern, yet simple, a quilt where you could really highlight some fun prints and colors, and still have a unique pattern. I texted a picture to Mary and she loved it. Yay! 

I really wanted the colors of this quilt to be calming and soothing, so I started with a palette of grey, white, and mint/teal. To that I added a couple of soft orange/peach prints to vary the colors a bit. I was a little obsessed with picking the perfect prints (like this, this, this, and this for starters), that I perhaps didn't do the best job at choosing fabrics with the right color value. Anna does a great job emphasizing the importance of value placement in this quilt pattern and how it will influence the final look of the quilt (in fact, she shares a great version of this quilt along with some discussion on value here). I recognized that some of my foreground prints were a little low-value, but decided to go with them anyway. I still love how the quilt turned out! It was a super fun pattern to put together. This is the lap size (59" square), but the baby size would come together in a flash!

The back of the quilt might be my favorite part! I made a simple string of flying geese in some scraps I had left over from the front. I love how it shows off the color palette. And, I've been thinking that I would love to make another quilt just like this.

I quilted this one with horizontal straight lines, spaced randomly. They are more dense in the middle of the quilt and spread out towards the top and bottom.

This quilt made it's way to sweet baby Emily (a girl!!!) last September. I have to say, I was super excited when Mary told me she'd had a little girl. For her, of course (she has two boys already), but also because I think this quilt just looked more fitting for a girl. 

Mary is an amazing photographer and keeps me smiling with her sweet pictures of Emily laying on this quilt (or anywhere really - she's ridiculously adorable!!!). Just check out the one in this post on her blog (which, by the way, is jam packed with beautiful photos, thoughts and words). Ahhh, so cute, right??? There is really nothing better than to see a quilt you've made being used and loved and cherished! I'm so happy I had the privilege to make this one!