Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Classy Cargo Dress Pattern Review

As soon as I laid eyes on this pattern, I knew immediately that I had to have it. Olive Ann Designs is a new pattern line to me and one that I'll be looking out for in the future because it was so well done.
 The pattern packet contains tissue patterns with size marking from sizes 2 through 10 and even a size for an 18" doll. I made the size 6 for Lula. The fabric is called Littlest, by Art Gallery Fabrics, if you are wondering.
 My favorite part is the pocket detail. I added the bias edging to the pleated cargo pocket, but it would be cute without it as well. My one suggestion for improving the pattern would be to add interfacing to the buttoned front and neckline. I just automatically always add this important step when garment sewing to give more body and a professional look.
 The back is designed with a kick pleat and belt loop. I found the directions and photos to be well done for the most part, especially for anyone who has some garment sewing experience. The elastic belt was very easy to make and a creative alternative to the sashed belt featured on the front of the pattern.
 The dress design is so perfect for Lula's slender body type. Since the style is a bit grown up,  I'm not sure it would be as cute in the size two, but maybe with different fabric it would be great for younger girls. Lula loved the dress and so did her mommy...which is very important!
With leggings and a tee, it's perfect for a fall day at school.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Morning

"For God is greater than our worried hearts
and knows more about us than we do ourselves."
2 Timothy 3:20b The Message

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friendship x and + Quilt Reveal

It's an exciting day - the reveal of of my version of the Friendship x and + Quilt! Susan and I began swapping blocks a year ago - eight each month for eight months.
 I decided to put 5 of my 64 blocks on the back in the shape of a plus sign. The middle block serves as my quilt label with information penned on.
 Each month Susan and I chose 3 colors from our basic color pallet for making the swap blocks. I decided to group the resulting blocks by color on the front rather than scatter them around the top.
Trying to create a modern twist to this pattern, I added a large solid aqua plus sign. (Honestly, I'm not quite sure how successful this decision turned out to be.) 
 Straight-line cross hatching emphasises the large cross while an all over rose design is quilted over the scrappy x and + blocks. I quilted the all over design on my quilting frame but did the straight lines with my walking foot on my Bernina. 
 Several pink fabrics from my stash were pieced together with the 5 blocks to make my quilt almost reversible. 
It's always fun to photograph a quilt all rolled up. As you can see, I used Flea Market Fancy for the binding. The colors are the perfect compliment. 
 I love having this token of the long distance friendship that Susan and I enjoy...all because of blogging. 
 The colors remind me of the opposite seasons that Australia and America enjoy. I think that I might even name it, "Opposite Seasons".
There were several other quilters who joined us on this fun friendship swap.
You can visit our flickr site here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/2336168@N20/ If you posted about your quilt today, please let me know so I can list your post below for others to see. Okay!
Here's Susan's
And Cindy's
And Carla's
And Elizabeth's
And Heidi's
And Jane's

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Morning

"And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out His love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
whom He has given us."
Romans 5:5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Meet Charming, my end of summer quilt...
 Yesterday I shared that I was practicing my free-motion quilting on this quilt. Here's one of my favorite designs that I tried out...
 But, really, the top is so busy that you don't even notice the quilting design that much anyway. Who will ever realize that it was my sampler unless I tell them?
 I really like the large floral backing fabric. It was purchased from Joanne's several years ago. The colors are perfect for my summer/fall project.
 This polka dot binding fabric is one of those fabrics that just never seems to get used up in my stash. Maybe it multiplies at night or something! (The quilting just looks like one big mess here, doesn't it! Yes, it does.)
 Though I'm not sure when the top was finished, I do remember that I made it as a leader/ender project using up 5 inch charm squares and 2.5 inch stash squares. It's a very simple design.
 The colors are so happy and cheerful. It's a nice reminder of the colorful flowers of summer. Soon we'll be seeing the beautiful fall foliage here in the Midwest.
 One last hurrah for summer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sampler Quilting

Since I am getting ready to quilt my Friendship x and + quilt, I decided that it might be a good idea to brush up on my free-motion quilting skills. I found this cheerful quilt top in my sewing closet....ready and waiting to become a quilting sampler!
 The inspirational Angela Walters was the guest speaker at one of my quilt guilds this month so I wanted to try out a couple of her ideas. The No-Mark book is a recent addition to my quilting library. (I use pre-wound bobbins when I quilt. Do you?)
 Both books gave me ideas for some simple shapes...the kind that this "Utilitarian Quilter" might be able to handle. 
 Right now, I don't have a certain purpose in mind for this quilt...perhaps I will donate it to charity. Where ever it ends up, the quilting on it will be interesting, let's just say... I probably tried a half dozen different designs on it!
Stop by tomorrow to see the finish!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Twirly Froggy Dress

 Three times is a charm, they say. It may be true as my third try at sewing up the First Day Dress, by Made, resulted in the best fit, so far, for Lula.
 Searching for a fabric that had a polka dot look, but a little something different, I decided on the cute little froggy fabric, called Hopping Along, from the Lotus Pond designs by Rae Hoekstra. The organic fabric is made by Cloud 9 Fabrics. For lining, a little cotton floral, found on the clearance table at Joanne's, seemed the perfect contrast as well as price!
 Cutting the neckline down about a half an inch and using the next size larger pattern made the dress a lot more comfortable for Lula to wear. It would fit a bit better with a little tapering at the waistline but would require a zipper in the back, I think, to make it easy to put on. A belt at the waist might do the trick, too, and look pretty cute.
 Lula loved the large turquoise flower shaped button at the neck. Again, I made a self fabric loop closure rather than the suggested elastic cording.
 When the weather turns cooler, later this week, Lula can pair the dress with leggings and a cardigan for a different look. She'd really like to turn the fully lined dress wrong-side-out and wear it that way as the lining fabric is her favorite part! I might have to think about how to do that next time!
 The best thing about this dress, really though, is how twirly the skirt is!
 And twirling is pretty important stuff when you are in kindergarten, you know.
Okay, I guess I better slow down on the Little Girl Wardrobe and get a bit of quilting done now. More on that soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Made By Lolly - Little Shift Dress

 Today was a picture perfect day....still summer for a few more weeks. Here's a cute pattern to ring in the new school year: Little Shift Dress by Favorite Things.
 The coral pink fabric, Children at Play by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, has been in my possession for a couple of years. Called Hopscotch, it sewed up so darling in this easy to make dress pattern.
 The back features a placket opening with a button closing and self-made bias trim around the pleated neck-line and gathered sleeves. Add some tights and a sweater, and the shift will work well for cooler autumn weather.
I only made a few changes to the size 3 pattern instructions - adding interfacing to the placket, raising the elastic waist casing up 1 3/4 inches, creating a fabric button loop rather than cording, and making the sleeve openings a bit smaller.
 The dress sews up very quickly and is one that I'll be making again sometime for any one of my six grand daughters....the pattern includes sizes 2 through 10. The fit is true to size and the sewing directions are easy to follow.
 Tomorrow I will show you more of Lula's kindergarten wardrobe made by Lolly  using this cute frog fabric by Cloud 9 and the First Day Dress pattern.
Can you tell that I'm having a ball sewing up little girl's clothes?!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Morning

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while
you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith-
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-
may be proved genuine and may result in praise,
glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him,
and even though you do not see Him now,
you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."
I Peter 1:6-8

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hand Work

 When I travel on long trips I usually like to take along something to keep my hands busy. A car ride to Colorado in July and a plane ride to California in August found me starting something new
As a rule, hand applique is not my go-to kind of quilt project. But, I've fallen in love with a couple of fun leafy quilts lately so decided to make that my hand project for the next weeks...months....years...whatever!
 Admittedly, I haven't made much progress yet...only 8 little blocks so far, but I like where this is headed and have enjoyed the needle turn applique.
 The gold eye applique needles that I started out using have eyes so small that sometimes it takes me 5 minutes just to get one threaded. How excited I was to find some with a little larger eye while out shopping yesterday!
 The needles are made in Hiroshima, Japan, by the Tulip Company. Isn't the packaging darling! I first saw these a few weeks ago when, like me, Kelly fell for the cute packaging!
 The needles themselves come in a tiny corked jar with instructions to wipe them down after use and store them in the jar to maintain good performance. Since I need all the help I can get with preforming hand applique, I plan to follow their rules!
 I used a new Tulip needle this morning to applique down one leaf. Threading was definitely easier and the needle slid through the fabric so smoothly. They were worth the extra cost, I think. If you live in the Kansas City area, and are wondering, the needles were purchased at a new quilt shop, called The Quilted Sunflower, in the small town of Spring Hill, Kansas. The shop had some great fabrics, as well, including the new American Made solids.
 In other news, I've started putting together my X and + blocks. Here's a hint of where I'm headed with that project. I'm supposed to have it finished and ready to post about on the last Friday in September. Yikes!
 While in California, I took over 500 photos....lots to edit and go through. It was such an enjoyable vacation...part of the time at the ocean and part in the redwoods.  
 Nothing like God's "hand work" to put life and my problems into perspective!