August 9, 2008

Fabric Giveaway

Filed under: random stuff — Tags: — Lady M Quilts @ 4:09 pm

No, not my giveaway, but one I’m entering, over at Vintage Chic.  She’s giving away 4 yards (yes FOUR WHOLE YARDS) of the new Heather Bailey Pop Garden line of fabric.  I’ve been looking and drooling a bit over this collection, but have held back from buying any due to the almost overwhelming amount of fabric I already have.  But I can’t pass up a chance to win some!

There’s a prize for non-sewers, too, so take a moment to check it out!

August 7, 2008

Historical Dress – Bodice

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:58 pm

The pattern for the historical dress I’m making for my friend’s daughter is Simplicity 3723.  Here is the best picture of the envelope I could find when my camera batteries croaked.  The basis for this particular dress is View D, the yellow floral.

There were several alterations requested.  First, eliminate the scarf.  Second, make the neckline appropriate and modest for a young woman.  Third, make the sleeve cuff less full. 

Before I started the dress, I ended up watching a few hours of Little House on the Prairie with my children.   I looked carefully at the dresses…hoping to glean some ideas, but unsure of the accurateness of 1970’s Hollywood designers portrayal of 1800’s fashion.  I also did some Internet research, but quickly got overwhelmed with the many different styles.

So I prayed and then carefully traced the bodice pattern pieces, adding a bit here and there and started putting it all together.  I added an inch to each side of the bodice, to cover more of the shoulders.  I cut the bodice center insert on the bias, for two reasons.  First, I thought it would look pretty and two, I wouldn’t have to match up the plaid.  I added a muslin trimming, accented with a brown ribbon, to raise the neckline.   I slimmed the sleeve cuffs, cut them on the bias to match the bodice insert, and repeated the muslin & ribbon accenting.  Put the whole thing together and put it on my dress form, Julia, left.


You can just see the muslin trimming above the brown ribbon.  It was obvious to me that there would still be too much skin showing.  So I came up with a plan…add a gathered “fichu” across the décolletage.   I like how it looks…even though in this picture, it is just sitting loosely there.  I want to adjust it exactly when the young lady tries on the dress tomorrow.  I like the added layer of movement (gathered fabric vs non-gathered) and how it really shows off the muslin/ribbon trimming.

So all that is left on the bodice is the zipper…I didn’t have a long enough invisible zipper until I ran to JoAnn’s before dinner.  I’m going to wait and make sure the bodice fits just right before I put the zipper in.  And of course, the skirt is missing.  It is cut out and pieced together, and I will spend the evening hand gathering it to the skirt.

Here is a close up of the sleeve detail:

I have to say that I’m very very pleased…alright, I’m downright proud…of how well this dress is coming together.  I love it and I hope the young lady does, too.

I’ll post pics of the finished dress tomorrow, along with the items I’ll be listing at Retro Femme.

August 5, 2008

Hedgie Zipper Pouch

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:53 pm

It’s so hot here.  Well, I have to qualify that.  It’s *unusually* hot here.  It was about 90 degress today…15 degrees above our “normal” mid-70’s.  I don’t enjoy the heat, which is why I’m glad I live near Seattle.  Days like this are rare.  Being pregnant doesn’t help, either.  But I’m not complaining about that! just the heat.  It’s about 8 pm now, and it’s actually hotter in the house than it is outside…especially in my west facing sewing room.

I did want to share that I got the little hedgie zipper pouch put together this morning before my sewing room turned into an oven.  Here it is:

Pretty cute, eh?  It’s listed for tomorrow night’s stocking at Beautiful Enchantments

For the next few days, I’m working on a lovely dress for the daughter of a friend.  It’s a full length, long sleeve, fitted bodice dress that is meant to resemble those of the late 1800’s.  The pattern is for a more colonial style, so I’m altering here and there.  It won’t be “period accurate”, but it will be perfect for what she wants to wear it to…a local historical site.  This is the first time I’ve attempted a dress like this and the young lady is away camping until the day before she wants it, so it’s going to be a challenge…but I’m up for it!

Besides the dress, I have orders for three Mix It Up aprons, pants and a skirt for another customer and Retro Femme stocks on Friday, so it will be a busy week!

August 4, 2008

Getting Back to Business

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 7:11 pm

My break is over…and not only was it too short (aren’t vacations always too short?)…I didn’t accomplish half of what I wanted to.  Sigh.  At least I have another month before we start homeschooling and three months before the baby is born.  Maybe, just maybe, I can cross off a lot of projects from my sewing to-do list before our newest son makes his entrance.

In the meantime, I’ve listed a couple things at Beautiful Enchantments.   The Waldorf apron and a new tote I made today.  I’m really liking this tote…I will definitely be making other totes like this.


If I can, I’m going to make a little zipper pouch tomorrow, using some very cute Japanese hedgehog canvas and deep chocolate corduroy, with a turquoise ribbon trim.  Check back to see if I can get it done!

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!

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