Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Material Obsession

 As a little girl I often visited the quaint Pea Green Store back when it was still a little grocery and general store. It seemed the perfect place to take photos of my latest finished--the selvage quilt. I'm calling it Material Obsession.
Only if you grew up near Olathe or Delta, Colorado, would you even know that there was such a town called Pea Green. My mother attended grade school across the street in the now-abandoned brick Pea Green School. (Someone has since converted it into a house.)  The only other buildings in town are the Community House, where my parents used to attend dances, and an old run down house.
No one was manning the junk store, now housed inside the Pea Green Store, so my husband and I had fun using the building and old truck parked outside as a prop for photos of my quilt.
Peeling paint is one of my favorite backdrops for photos and there was no lack thereof. 
The few farmers who drove slowly by while we were shooting pictures probably wondered what were were up to, but nobody cared enough to stop and ask.
The back of my quilt is as cheerful as the front. I used a fabric called Wildflowers, in lime green, from the High Society line by Modkid. Yes, it came from JoAnn's and is one of their high quality (and-pricy-without-a-coupon) fabrics. I bought it because I did have a coupon!
 From the back, the straight-line quilting shows up well. Because the selvage blocks were all made on muslin foundations, I used Mountain Mist Light batting thinking that polyester would help to make the quilt not so heavy. It's a little poofier than I like, making me wish that I had just used a layer of flannel instead.
 Here's a good shot of the back showing off the big chevon X that I top-stitched onto the backing fabric. I wanted to mimic the X's on the foundation pieced blocks.
 I ran out of the black and white zig-zag Remix fabric, by Robert Kauffman,  when I only had a few blocks left to make. You can imagine how excited I was to find enough on-line for the binding as well!
 My quilt measures 60 inches by 72 inches and is the perfect size for wrapping up in on a couch.
 Finishing the binding on the long car ride from Missouri to western Colorado, I found it great entertainment to admire and read the selvages as I sewed and cuddled with the quilt! Probably only someone truly "obsessed with material", like me,  would think so, I admit!
I don't recall for sure, but wouldn't be surprised to learn, that the infamous Pea Green Store once sold fabric up those old concrete steps!
 Instructions for creating my selvage blocks can be found here. Apparently it's not just me that's become addicted to fabric and quilting. I might need to check the roster of Quilters Anonymous to find out if my husband might be a secret quilter? Could yours be one, too? 
 We'll find out August 1!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Morning

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take 2, Etc.

My second try at making the First Day Dress resulted in a better fit around the neck. Besides making a size 6 rather than 5 like last time, I also used the cutting line for a different size neckline to enlarge the opening.
Next time I might leave the back neckline alone and only cut the front piece with a lower opening. For summer, though, the lower back makes for a breezier top!
It was so toasty outside that my lens fogged up while I was shooting these photos of Lula in her tunic top.... sorry about that!
I added a little ruffle to the front and used the cap sleeve version this time. The pattern called for treating the lining and the top as one when hemming but I chose to hem them separately for fear that after washing there would be some puckering. I think we are maybe ready to try the dress pattern next!
Size 2 summer outfits are as much fun to sew as size 6, I've found!
I've been wanting to try out this Burda sundress pattern 9551. The Posey print by Aneela Hoey is so sweet.... I just adore it! I also love tiny piping on little girl's dresses for some reason. Fortunately, I had some on hand left over from my hand-smocking days.
Lois has been wearing size two clothing for quite awhile now. The length of the skirt was perfect on her but it was a bit wide through the torso with this pattern. 
A back zipper makes for easy off and on. I added buttonholes to the bodice so that the straps can easily be adjusted by just moving the buttons up or down.
Lois, like her girl cousins, loves wearing a cute little dress whenever she can!
Of course, her Lolly, is happy to accommodate! Here's the Burda skirt pattern made up in her size using Heather Ross's strawberry fabric. 
I left off the big bow and did not line the skirt this time.
It seems to me that Lois likes it that way just fine. She even came up with a name for her skirt: The Birthday Skirt!
She must be planning ahead though because she's got a few months to go before her birthday rolls around!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Morning

"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I have hope in Him."
Lamentations 3:24 NASB

Thursday, July 17, 2014


With days of low humidity and highs only in the 70's, midwest living is as delightful as anywhere right now. Like the lovely blooms on my fragrant flocks, I know that they won't last, but, Oh, how I love these days!
 I've tried to sew every single day this week. Here are some hints of what I have been up to:

The selvage quilt is together and quilting has begun! I'm hoping for a finish to show you in the very near future.
 I tried something new on the backing. Stay tuned for that!
 Sewing for little girls has kicked into high gear--pink for Lois. I'll show you the finish once we try them on for size.
Another version of the First Day Dress is complete and waiting for Lula to return from vacation so we can access my "tweaking" for fit at the neckline. I love the antique button, don't you!
My head is swimming with more ideas than I have time to sew. Do you have that problem too? 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Morning

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news give health to the bones."
Proverbs 15:30

Friday, July 11, 2014

First Day Dress and Top Pattern Review

Today, I am excited to share a new pattern with you called First Day Dress designed by danamadeit. (I hope you like orange, because what follows is a ton of orange flowered photos!)
The downloadable pattern features 5 style options, each made with or without sleeves. I chose the summery sleeveless peplum top to try out this cute pattern. The fabric is Sunnydays by Kate Spain, which I had on hand.
All of the style options are lined. I chose to do a half lining for this first try. A Briar Rose print by Heather Ross made the perfect combo for the lining.
The peplum style is so flattering and Lula couldn't wait to try it out! (That's a disc golf game she's leaning on in case you are wondering what in the world it is!)
Really, the style is just as darling viewed from the back as it is from the front!
There are 46 pages to this pattern set so it take a little while to print it all off. Printed on regular 8"x11" paper, the pattern pieces are made to be taped together and cut out for whatever size you are going to sew. 
 At $10, the pattern includes sizes 2 through 10 and has lots of how-to photos plus very detailed and clear instructions. After you download the pattern, you can go back and print off just the pieces you need for whatever view you are wanting to make. I found a clear plastic bag to store the pattern pieces and a notebook to hold the instructions.
According to the size chart, Lula, who just turned six, measured at a size 4. I couldn't bring myself to sew that small of a pattern for her, so settled on the size 5.There were only 2 pattern pieces for the peplum top so cutting it out went quickly. The lining technique used was different from anything I've lined before. Instructions called for pressing under 3/8" all around the armholes on both the outer fabric and lining. Thinking that it might lend a more professional result, I first sewed 3/8" from the edge to create a fold line. 
I would definitely recommend that added step as the edges folded in like magic, as I'd hoped, and topstitching the lining and top together at the armhole made for a nice finish. 
One other change that I made was to create my own button loop using a 1" bias strip of fabric and folding the raw edges into the inside. (The pattern calls for using elastic cord, which I didn't have and am not fond of.) 
Just be sure that you cut the fabric loop long enough to go around the button you choose. I found a fun antique button in my collection to dress up the back.
Okay, here's where I get to the disappointment part of this adorable pattern. The fit. I wondered as I was cutting out the pattern just how it was going to work to use the same pattern piece for both the front and the back of the top. As you can see in the photo below, indeed, maybe it didn't work very well at all.
 The neckline in the front is very high. So high, in fact, that Lula immediately began tugging on the top to pull it down from around her neck. She is very slender, so a larger boned child would be even more uncomfortable, perhaps.
 Also, the armhole openings hike up at the top on Lula. I'm so thankful that I chose to make the larger size or it would not have fit at all.
When I make the pattern again, besides cutting the front neck opening larger, I will also make the back opening slit longer. Lula had a bit of a struggle getting the fitted top over her head and down over her arms.
 The top could also stand to be a little longer, but then Lula is also tall for her age. I will definitely be using the size 6 or even 7 the next time I sew up this style.
Although disappointed with the fit, Lula and I both liked the top and think it is worth it to keep tweaking it till we get the shape right. We are anxious to try one of the dresses next. Doesn't Felicity looked cute in her matching tunic! (For Lula's birthday, we took Felicity to the beauty shop in the American Girl Store for a new hair do. Fancy, huh!! Felicity, a retired American Girl Doll, was purchased for $3.99 at a thrift store last month. What a find!)
Well, after all of this "fitting of the top" stuff, we decided to have Jane try it on for size. Jane, who will be four in August, is small for her age. You can see that the proportions of the size 5 are all wrong on Jane, but the neckline fits great.
Pearl..........doesn't really care a hoot about what fits who!!
Have a happy weekend! Hope it includes sewing.