July 28, 2008

21 bibs

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 2:04 pm

I finished up an order this weekend (placed before my break, ahem) for 20 bibs made from bar towels.  In almost 9 yrs of parenting, I’m sure I’ve seen bibs like this, but now I’m wishing I’d HAD bibs like these.  Pull over the head…no snaps or ties.  Pretty clever, eh?  Nope, not my bright idea.  These are for a customer who just had her first baby, a little boy.  The white bar towels bibs may be neat-o, but I decided that he also needed something cute, so I made a little drooler bib with his initial.

Here’s a close up of the bib.  The elephants and huts is acutally a knit…I wanted the bib to be soft…and it’s backed in blue flannels with darker blue stars.  And in between the above picture and this one, I added a snap…somehow I skipped doing that before the photo shoot.

That’s all for today.  I’m trying to clear out some stuff in my sewing room and tidy it up, put away new stuff, etc.  I’m hoping to be sewing again tomorrow!

July 23, 2008

My disappearing nine-patch block

I don’t remember where I saw this first, but I really liked the look and the simplicity of it.  So I gave it a whirl and I’m very happy.

In the beginning, there was a basic nine patch block.

Next, I boldly cut it into quarters.

Then, I rotated and rearranged until I was pleased with the layout.  Finally, I sewed the quarter sections together, and voila!  A very pretty quilt block.

I have about 9 more blocks partially pieced into nine-patches.  I’m still deciding whether to do each final block the same or try to randomize the arrangement.  I’m also still deciding why I’m doing this in the first place.  I could make it a baby quilt for our new little one, but maybe there are too many floral prints for a baby boy?  Or maybe a lap quilt for me?  Nothing bigger than that, though…or it’ll never get done.

BTW, the fabrics are mostly Katie Jump Rope and Ginger Blossom, with a few random prints from my stash thrown in to get a scrappy look.

July 22, 2008

Mail Call!

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 5:05 pm

It’s easy (for me!) to lose track of what I’ve ordered.  Until it all shows up.  On one day.  Especially when that day is the same day I hit the big Joann’s sale.  Many yards of fabric joined my stash today.

First, the personal stuff:

For me, the green knit and the green circles (fat quarters).  For my oldest and next oldest daughters, twirl skirts shall emerge from the teal batik-y and the pink floral fabric at the top.  The three bottom middle prints (stars, cars & sharks) are destined to be shorts for my two boys and lastly, the very cute onesie I won from DaisyEyes and just by chance, some turtle fabric I bought from a fellow sewingmama.  Everything but the turtles came from Joann’s and was on sale, except the fat quarters.

Then, the actual mail and “business” fabrics (though that’s not a hard and fast rule):

Across the top, several “green” fabrics I couldn’t resist while buying the rest.  Top right are four prints from Robert Kaufman’s Iota Lagoon line.  All across the bottom are prints from Erin McMorris’ Park Slope collection.   Can you tell that I like green and blue?

So it’s off to the washer for all of these!

I’m currently working on a quilt top using the disappearing nine-patch block.  I didn’t plan to do this, but the urge came over me the other night and was irresistable.  Plus I had broken one of the needles on my serger and for some reason, didn’t have any more (thus the trip to Joann’s).  So I had to sew something that didn’t need a serger.  Now I have needles, so watch for skirts, shorts and maybe even a quilt top soon!

July 18, 2008

Sewing for a boy: bibs & shorts

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 4:30 pm

I admit, I think sewing for girls is more fun than for boys.  My oldest boy prefers to wear jeans, tees and button up shirts…all of which we get in quantity from a couple of friends as handmedowns.   My (currently) youngest son, at 18 mths, could care less what he wears…he’d prefer to be naked, actually.  So I naturally tend to focus my limited sewing time and energy on my much more appreciative girls.

But I decided to spread the sewing love today and made a couple things for my youngest boy.  First up, bibs.  He is very determined to feed himself using a spoon or fork and, of course, makes a huge mess doing so.  The bibs we have are old, ratty, and too short.  They keep his shirt clean, but don’t protect his pants.  Part of the issue is that we use a wooden restaurant style highchair that doesn’t pull up quite as close to the table as I’d like.  (But I detest those huge, plastic highchairs with a zillion little cracks and crevices for food to get stuck in and a footprint the size of a refridgerator, so it’s a worthwhile trade off for me.)  So, I drafted a bib pattern that I hope will work better for us.  If these testers “pass”, I’ll make some for sale.

These bibs are slightly wider and much longer than what we’ve been using.  They are 10.5 inches wide and the main front area is about 12 inches long.  This will cover the straps of the chair and his lap.  I made 4.


They are flannel backed and fasten with a snap.  I tested some different stitch patterns for the top stitching, some worked better than others, especially around the tight curve where the snaps are.  I’ll post a “how they are working” update in a week or two.

The other thing I made him was a pair of shorts.  His older brother was not this size during summer and the handmedown shorts are too short, plus they don’t fit over his cloth diapered tush.  I’ve been cutting off the bottoms of pants with worn knees for him, but wanted something a little nicer.


Pretty cute, eh?  I used a vintage-y pattern for boys pants and then made them the length I wanted:  slightly below the knee.  I might make the next pair a little bit shorter, maybe an inch or so.  And I need to add one inch to the back rise.  I think this fabric is so cute…and I’d completely forgotten I had it!  I moved something and voila! there it was.  (Is that a sign my stash is too big…noooo, of course not!)

Another cute picture, an action shot, with our poor garden in the background:

My big girls come home tomorrow from their week with the grandparents and I’m so excited to see them!  And I need to tackle the weeds in the tomatoes and replant (again!!) our second crop of peas:  some small animal keeps digging up the seeds.  Have a great weekend!!

July 16, 2008

A is for Apron: Provence Smock

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 10:47 am

click for link to Amazon


This apron is one of the reasons I bought the book.  I love the look and style of it and knew it would be a great pregnancy apron.  And now that I’ve made it, I love it even more.

This apron is designed by Joan Hand Stroh.  It is one of the more complicated aprons in the book, but well worth the effort.  It took me about 3 hours all together to cut and sew it.  A large chunk of that time was dealing with the bias binding.

Most sewists have things they don’t like to do.  For many, it is zippers or buttonholes.  For me, it is narrow bias tape binding.  I struggle to keep the fabric tucked it and sew the very narrow tape in a straight line.  If I were to make this again, I think I would go through the hassle of making my own bias tape in a slightly wider width…or maybe just alter the pattern to do regular hems.

I made a couple changes, the most important is that I lengthened the neck straps by about 8″.  I’m a plus size woman and pregnant to boot.  When I pinned together the pattern pieces to do a quick test fit, the strap that should stretch from one’s shoulder the the side of the apron only reached just past the middle of my back.  So anyone sewing this apron who is “plus size” (I’d say size 14 or up) should do a test fit and lenghten as needed.

One thing to double check before you start is if you have enough fabric.  The pattern say 1.5 yards.  I needed closer to 2.  My fabric was directional, so that may have something to do with it.  But just to be safe, lay everything out before you cut.

The instructions, as I’m finding to be typical in this book, are sometimes confusing or strange.  For example, instruction number 3 says to attach “the bias tape across the top front of the apron”.  What they want you to do is attach the bias tape all around the edges of the front (skirt) of the apron but NOT the top:  that is where you will be gathering.   The last step tells you to fuse a small square of interfacing for the button to the neck strap, rather than the apron front. 

The instructions also have you jumping back and forth.  Add interfacing to the neck straps for the buttonholes, then trim the yoke, then sew the pockets together (but not onto the apron).  It says to stitch the gathering stitches for both the pocket and the apron, but then set them aside and pick up the yoke and neck straps again and join them together. 

I think it makes more sense to do all the steps to the neck and yoke at once, then stitch and gather the apron front.  Oh, and those pockets?  I think they would be easier to put on the apron before it is gathered, rather than after as the instructions say…but maybe that’s just me?

Here are my pockets.  I used some vintage ribbon I have rather than the dreaded bias tape.

This pattern is another of the ones I had enlarged at the local copy place and that brings to mind one more thing I wish the book did:  put the name of the pattern on the pieces.  It’s written on the page the pattern is printed on, but once you cut out the pieces, the name is gone.  I’m a pretty organized sewist, but still sometimes find random pattern pieces wandering around my sewing room.  It would be helpful if the name were printed on each piece in little tiny letters that would be clear to read at 400% enlargement.

Summing it up:  great apron, good pattern, fair instructions and a lovely end result.

July 14, 2008

Hey, I’m a winner!!

Filed under: random stuff — Tags: , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:20 am

Wow, I’m so happy. I won a cute embroidered onesie from Daisyeyes

I can choose any of her designs and I think I’m going to go with a turtle…I’m really liking turtles lately.  I like the “turtle motto” that “slow and steady wins the race”.  It reminds me that I shouldn’t try to sprint through my days, but enjoy them and pace myself so I don’t miss the little things that really matter.

She has some really cute things…go check it out!

Woven skirts for a girl

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:10 am

**This post was originally written on Friday the 11th, but I clicked save instead of publish**

Today I finished four skirts for my next oldest daughter (she is 7)…just in time to take with her as she spends a week with her grandparents.

The first two are simple woven skirts.  I take a rectangle that is 2 inches longer than the finished length and about 1 1/2 times her waist measurement.  I serge the short ends together to make a tube, hem the bottom using a super quick serge, turn and stitch method and then serge on elastic, turn it and stitch down.  Quick and easy.  These are “play” skirts and so I don’t want to spend much time on something that she’ll soon be climbing a tree in.


I did spend more time on this one.  It’s a strip pieced woven skirt with a border hem.  Very cute and, again, pretty easy to do.  Each strip is a trapezoid with the top being approx 1/6 of the waist measurement + ease.  In this case, her waist is 22″ and I went up to 30″ to give plenty of room to pull the skirt on and off and to allow for a little twirly action.  So 30 divided by 6 is 5 inches plus 1/2″ seam allowance.  For the bottom, I wanted a full skirt, so I doubled the top measurement to 60, again divided by 6 to get 10 inches and added my seam allowance.  The length was 22 inches (the skirt falls to mid-calf).

The waistband is a 6″ wide piece of knit folded over to form a casing for a piece of elastic.  The border hem was a little tricky to get on, because the hem curves and I did not cut the hem fabric on the bias.  But I subdued it with my iron and it looks great.

Oh, I also did a quick A-line knit skirt for her, too:

This fabric has been in my stash for a couple years and I’d really forgotten I have it.  I have about 4 more yards, so the other girls will be getting skirts or dresses, too.

Since I’m keeping track, I used about 3 yards of fabric for these skirts, bringing my total to 5 yards so far.  I really need to get busier.

Next up…hmm…so many choices, but I’m going to be spending most of my weekend working on our garden, it’s time to plant spinach, cauliflower, turnips, more carrots and peas and beans…all for a September harvest.   I’m not getting as much sewing time this month as I planned.

One last thing…at our ultrasound this week, we found out our newest little blessing will be a boy!  That brings our family to 3 girls and 3 boys.  The wee one looks perfect and was having lots of fun trying to kick off the ultrasound transducer.  Less than 4 months to go now!

Have a great weekend!!

July 7, 2008

A is for Apron: Waldorf

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:06 pm

click pic for link

As I was cleaning up my sewing room in preparation for my month of family sewing, I found this apron, all cut out and ready to go, it just needed stitching up.  It seemed the work of just a few minutes to put it together.  This is the Waldorf apron, designed by Erin Harris, from A is for Apron.

Here is my version, in Amy Butler’s Brown Lacework:

Here are the changes I made:

* I used wider bias tape.  I did this for two reasons.  The first one was that I wanted to really highlight the pink in the flowers.  The second was that it was what I had and I’m trying to use what I have this month.

* I added a muslin lining.  Again, for two reasons.  The first is to further protect the user’s clothing.  The second and more important is that I’ve have terrible luck with bias binding staying on a single layer of fabric after multiple washings…it tends to pull off. 

I’m thinking of adding a pocket to this…but can’t decide.

The directions in the book for this apron were much better than the Josephine apron.  No skipped steps, but some were a little fussy for an experienced sewist…taking two steps to do something that could be done in one.  For example, when sewing the ties, the instructions say to sew along the long edge (right sides are folded together).  Then the next step says go back and sew the 45 degree angle on one end.  I did this all at once.  Minor stuff and easily combined for those with experience.

This is also the first pattern from this book that I used an actual enlarged pattern.  I took the book to our local office supply store, made a photo copy of the pattern page and they scanned it and reprinted it at a 400% increase.  Each extra large copy cost about $3, so I’m doing two or three at a time.

Overall, I’m very happy with this apron.

July 5, 2008

Basic Knit Skirts for a Girl

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 3:31 pm

I got started on my family sewing today, working on three quick, basic and simple knit skirts for my oldest, who is 9.  Using the formula from Sew What! Skirts for an elastic waist a-line skirt, I made these:

I’ve made lots of these for my girls, so I can whip them out pretty quickly.  They are very comfy and take less than a yard of fabric each, even though they are on the long side, reaching to mid-calf.

One of my goals for this month is to “stash bust”…sew only (or as much as possible) from my overflowing stash.  I’m going to keep track of how many yards I sew up and then decide if I made a big dent or just a tiny ding in the stash.

So, these skirts each take about 3/4 yard, which makes my grand total 2 1/4 yards today. 🙂

Next up…skirts for my next oldest daughter, the baby blankets for the neighbor and maternity clothes for me!

July 3, 2008

JD Aviary Almond Sparrows Wallet

Filed under: random stuff, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 5:30 pm

Yes!!  It’s done, packaged and mailed!  My break can officially start now.

This is the wallet.  I wanted a sparrow right at the front by the snap closure, but the way the fabric is printed, I couldn’t find a place where I could do that and not have one upside down somewhere else!  So I used a swath of fabric with no sparrows and appliqued one on exactly where I wanted it.

I love how it came out!  I also added a couple sparrows to the bag.  Here’s one…

I had a great mail day today.  I received this book all the way from Japan:

Yes, it is in Japanese, but it has really clear diagrams.  The doll is about 15″ tall and the book includes the pattern to make her and about 20 outfits ranging from panties & pjs to casual wear to a fancy party dress.  My plan is to make 3 of these dolls for my girls for Christmas.

But first, we will celebrate the 4th of July and I will spend part of the day sewing some skirts for my oldest before she goes to Gramma’s and day camp next week.

Enjoy the holiday and stay safe!!  Leave the fireworks to the pros. 🙂

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