Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Butterfly Baby Quilt

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So it's been a while.....

Shortly after the Fourth of July we decided to sell our house.  You may know what a giant hassle that can be.  After making this decision we had to stage our house to sell it.  That meant packing up a lot of junk for storage because apparently people want to buy houses that look empty.  The biggest source of clutter in our house was my sewing room.  So all my fabric, machines, and notions got packed up and shoved into our basement.  We sold our house four days after listing it, spent a frantic week looking, then finally found our new house.  Six weeks later we moved.  That was the beginning of September.  We moved in on September 4 and about a week after that I had my sewing room set-up and operational.  I spent 2 months without my sewing machine and any sort of crafting outlet.  Two months.  I'll let that sink in.

I didn't realize how much I missed sewing until I started again.  I made this baby quilt in about 2 weeks.  It was so much fun and was really nice to create something again.  
I made this quilt for my sister-in-law and her husband and their soon-to-be daughter.  She is due in December and is having a baby shower in November.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back then so I thought I'd have it ready to give to her when we say them this past weekend.  I asked her if she had a theme or colors picked out for the baby.  Sister-in-law told me "Care bears and pink."  Neither were very inspiring for me so I didn't listen.  Instead I decided to go with butterflies because I knew she really liked butterflies.  I saw the butterflies Cath had made on Wombat Quilts and was in love.  The pattern she used can be found here from Tartan Kiwi.  I also used that pattern.

I was also inspired by the butterfly fabric for the Natural History line by Lizzy House for Andover.  I like how they are lined up like they are on display in a butterfly box.  

I started by making butterflies.  I played with the size by increasing and decreasing the percentage when I printed.  I think the largest was 200% of the original (5") and the smallest was 75%.  I used scraps for all the butterflies and their backgrounds.  I wanted a mix of neutrals for the backgrounds and tried to stick with most of the colors found in the butterflies in the Lizzy House print.  

After I made the butterflies and was happy with the number, the sizes, and the selection of color I started putting them together.  I wanted them lined up like they were framed for display, of which I think I did a pretty good job.  After I had them lined up and pieced together I started putting together scraps and piecing together the rest of the quilt, improv-style.  This quilt had the least amount of planning from me so far.  I've never gone with the flow so much.  It was a lot of fun. 

After I got to a size I like I stood back and thought.  It was this:

I hated the beige strip at the top and my Facebook friends agreed.  It had to go.  So I ripped and pieced some other things to end up with my final version.  I think it looks much better with the beige; it was too distracting. 

With the background improv-piecing I tried to go from dark in the bottom-right corner to light in the top left.  I think I mostly succeeded in that goal.  Or there is enough going on that it doesn't matter.  I can't decide.

One thing I did differently when paper-piecing the butterflies was I kept the paper on the back until I was completely done piecing the quilt.  This helps prevent stretching and allows each paper-pieced square to come together so smoothly.  I have never paper-pieced with so little seam-ripping before.  That is probably one reason I enjoyed this so much and why it went so quickly.  I picked that tip up from Wombat Quilts.  It was a life-changing tip.  :-)

For the back I used a large cut of the Lizzy House butterflies plus other fabrics that matched.  I bound the whole thing in coral.  I straight-line quilted 2" diamonds.  

One thing I will have to work on is a better place to take pictures.  Clearly the wood floors is not the best.  I apologize for the not-great pics.  

Next thing on my to-do list is Halloween costumes.  Hopefully Mini-Man will stop changing his mind soon so I can start on something.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Couch Pillows, Revised

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You may or may not remember the couch pillows I made last summer.  If you don't, you can see them here.  I really like the ducks-in-a-row HST pillow that I made.  Technically, it was good and I like the look.  The bulls-eye pillow was pretty awful technically and it was really starting to bother me.  It wasn't the worst thing I've ever made, but I had lived with it long enough and was beginning to hate it.  I decided to replace it completely.  

Equilateral Front

I made a completely new pillow using the same fabrics.  The pillow front was created by piecing equilateral triangles together.  I thought it would be a nice compliment to the right angles on the other pillow.  I also quilted equilateral triangles.  I love how that turned out.

The back was made using fabrics I used on the previous pillows (green dots and whales) plus some navy dots.  The quilting on the back is not equilateral triangles.  I'm not sure what I did, but I ended up with isosceles.  They don't' look as cool and the lines aren't straight.  Fortunately the fabric is fairly busy so you can't tell as easily.    

Equilateral Back

I took apart the original pillow because I was going to reuse the binding.  It was looking a bit grimy so I instead used new binding.  I went with navy instead of the original lime green.  I think the navy will work a bit better with future design possibilities.  Lime green, as awesome as it is, can be a bit limiting.  Navy is a little more neutral.  

Equilateral Back

I ended up taking apart the right angle pillow as well.  I was really starting to hate the floral on the back of both pillows.  Honestly, what was I thinking?   I got rid of the floral section from the right angle pillow then took the non-floral section from the bulls-eye pillow to create a new-ish back for the right angle pillow.  I also replaced the binding with navy so the pillows would match.

Right Angle Front

Right Angle Back

Much better.  My head can rest easy knowing that my couch pillows are now improved.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Play Clothes

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To complete the boys' summer wardrobe I made one last outfit for them.  The shorts were copied inspired by Pam's (from Threading My Way) awesome shorts.  I don't often copy garments so blatantly, but I loooved the number fabric and had to make shorts out of it too.  I used the Little Heart Breaker Pants pattern from Sewing for Boys.  The fabric is Figures in Linen by Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics.  

The t-shirts were made using my own pattern and the color blocking was made the same way I made these shirts.  In fact, the whole outfit was made the same way!

Simple and fun summer clothes!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Wedding Clothes

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Last weekend was Husband's sister's wedding.  The wedding was out of town in a forest preserve and we had a grand ole time.  I, of course, made outfits for the boys and myself.  Husband was not made any clothes because he is a giant and it takes a lot of fabric to clothe him.  Also, I don't have very many men's patterns.

Since the wedding was outside, I kept the clothes simple.  

I made the boys' t-shirts using my pattern.  I split the front the back piece into two pieces (sort of like a yoke piece) to create the color blocking of solid navy to stripes.  I added a pocket of mint to each.  I was going for navy, gray and mint/emerald for the color scheme of our outfits.  The fabric for the pockets is from the Acorn Trail knits collections by Birch fabrics.  The fabric is adorable, but way outside of my budget.  I originally wanted the whole shirt in that fabric.  I instead ordered swatches (much cheaper) to add just a pop of mint in the pocket instead of a whole shirt.  


The shorts were made using the Little Heart Breaker Pants pattern from Sewing for Boys.  I love that pattern have used it several times.  I made these shorts using linen I had in my stash.  I don't know where it came from, but I'm assuming I found it on clearance somewhere since it is linen.  The pockets were lined with Pigeon fabric.  Love that.

For myself I made a skirt using Simplicity 2263.  I made view C, but altered it from a mermaid-like shape to more A-line.  I used a new-to-me fabric, rayon challis, lined with cotton voile.  I love the challis it is so soft and drapey.  It is perfect for a skirt.  I have some left-overs and I think I'll make a blouse with it.  My shirt was made using my altered-fits-me-perfect-amalgam-of-several-patterns t-shirt pattern.  I used cotton jersey.   

How is your summer going?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Owl Play Clothes

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Summer break is here and the boys needed some new play clothes.  These little outfits were made almost entirely from upcycled clothes or fabric scraps so other than my time they cost very little.  I would say that is best when it comes to play clothes.


The shirts were made from upcycled XL men's t-shirts.  I used the Oliver+S Field Trip Cargo + Raglan T-shirt sewing pattern.  I obviously shortened the sleeves from long to short.  I used shirts that the kids have to guesstimate the new sleeve length.  

After completing the shirts I freezer-paper stenciled owls to the front.  I found the images of the owls from a google search which I then traced onto freezer paper.

The shorts were made using the Aviator Pants pattern by Winter Wear designs.  The pattern comes with the option for shorts.  I omitted the welt pocket in the back, but kept the slash pockets up front.   

I used upcycled sweatpants for the black French terry fabric.  The striped navy French terry fabric was a scrap.  I didn't have enough for two pairs so Mini Man got two-sided pants and Little Man got the stripped fabric on his pockets.  I used knit ribbing on the waistband and drawstring elastic.  I like the sporty feel.


A quick and easy start to the summer.  How is your summer starting?


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scrappy Bookmarks

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Yesterday was the last day of school around here.  I can't believe the school year is over!  To thank Little Man's teachers we made bookmarks.  

Front 1
I used this tutorial as a guide.  However, I didn't use fabric fleece on the interior.  Instead I interfaced each side of the bookmarks with light-weight fusible interfacing and then added some sew-in medium weight interfacing to the middle (only one layer of it).  

Back 1
I made the first one by myself just to figure it out.  Little Man helped me with the second one (the one with the owl, of course).  He picked out the fabrics and helped me sew the bookmark together.  He pushed the petal and I steered.  He signed the back of each one (blurred in the photo) and we were done.  

Front 2
Another thing I did differently was to add the extra quilting to the front instead of just the top-stitching around the edges.  I felt like the bookmarks needed some random, straight-line quilting to keep all the layers together.  

Back 2
He gave the first bookmark to his teacher's aide and the second to his teacher.  They both seemed to like them.  These gifts were quick and easy and I like that Little Man was involved in the project.  

Now, on to summer!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Scrappy Greek Cross

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Amy at Amy's Creative Side is hosting her bi-annual Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I haven't participated in a while, but with a recent finish I thought I'd join in.

I made a quilt using mostly scraps.  The name of the block is Greek Cross and I used the tutorial by Fresh Lemon Quilts.  

This quilt is for my sister-in-law who is getting married soon.  When I asked her to give me a handful of colors she and her fiance like she told me green, blue, gray, and black.  I added purple after I found out that was one of the wedding colors.  I had the idea for a Greek cross quilt shortly after she told me the colors.

I spent a long time just thinking about what colors to use where, scrappy or solid, neutral or bright.  I ended up deciding on green and blue crosses, purple diamonds, and neutral backgrounds.  I used mostly scraps for the whole top.  With the exception of the purple.  I didn't have many purple scraps so I had to go into my stash for those fabrics.

For the neutral fabrics, I mostly used scraps from my I-Spy quilts.  After looking through the scraps I realized I had a large variety of tones.  It was then that I decided to organize the blocks from light to dark.  Most of the backgrounds are not the same fabric.  I wanted to keep the tones the same, but was ok with mis-matched patterns.

After I cut out the background pieces I started on the crosses.  Most of the crosses were from scraps.  A few pieces had to be cut from my stash.  Because the diamonds and backgrounds are very scrappy I wanted the crosses to be all one fabric or color.  That way they would stand out more and keep the quilt from getting too chaotic.  I made sure to pick a variety of light and dark greens and blues for maximum contrast with the background pieces.  I also decided to alternate green and blue crosses.

For the purple diamonds I didn't do much planning with those at all.  I wanted the fabrics to feel random.

I backed the quilt with a gray text print and an off-center stripe of purple scraps.  I really love the stripe.

I bound the whole thing in more purple.  Most of the binding is Dottie by Cotton + Steel.  There are a couple scraps in there too.  

I mixed it up a bit in the quilting by quilting 2"x4" rectangles rather than 2"x2" squares.  This was decision was made entirely by my impatience and my desire to be done.  Quilting is my least favorite part of making large quilts.  I don't have a ton of room and the throat on my sewing machine is not very large.  Quilting large quilts often feels more like wrestling rather than an enjoyable hobby.

I really love how this quilt turned out.  It feels very Easter-Eggy which I surprisingly like.  I also really like the purple even though purple has never been a color I'm really drawn too.  I hope Sister-in Law likes it as much as I do.

Thanks for stopping by!