Ode to a gathering foot

I’m not usually a gadget person. I feel like a lot of them are gimmicks. So if I can do something the old fashioned way, without newfangled gizmos, I will do so, thank you very much. For example, when attaching ruffles to something, I would stitch two rows of basting stitches and tug on those threads to create gathers, inch by pitiful inch, and spread those gathers evenly and attach them. But after sewing my niece’s Isabella Romper and the miles of ruffles it requires, I was ready for another way. I was planning another romper for a friend’s barnyard themed birthday and slightly dreading the ruffles. My friend and coworker told me I needed a gathering foot.

This:


I’m pretty sure it’s crafted by wizards and kissed by unicorns before leaving Baby Lock’s warehouse. I increased my stitch length and upper tension and watched it turn my flat fabric strips into beautifully gathered ruffles.


I’m not sure how it works.  Probably magic and the unicorn kisses. (It could have something to do with the adjustments I made to my settings and the raised portion on the foot that keeps the feed dogs away from the fabric as it moves under the foot, but it’s probably mostly the unicorns.) You can also use the slot in the foot to attach the ruffle to another piece of fabric, but that application didn’t work for me this time. See?


Magic. So sometimes, a gadget isn’t a gimmick, but a useful tool that saves time and enhances our work.

Bonus gadget: the Fasturn fabric tube turners. I used one of these to turn the straps for this romper (contrary to pattern instructions).

After sewing the fabric tube, I slid it onto the Fasturn tube.


Then I inserted the wire piece, twisted to secure the end and pulled it through the hollow tube.


It arrives, right side out, from the other end. I untwisted the wire and after a quick press with the iron and it was ready to be attached to the romper. So quick and painless!

There you go, a couple of totally-worth-it tools that will speed up your process and make the whole thing more enjoyable!

What are your favorite gadgets? Or do you have a tool you can’t do without?

Thanks for visiting!

 

A quilt in progress 

I previously shared a romper I made with fabric from Cinderberry Stitches’  Saltwater line from Riley Blake Designs (Remember? Mermaids and Narwhals!).  Well this weekend I started on a quilt from the same fabric. I designed it with my Lily lady in mind. (In fact, her curly little head was peering over my shoulder just now and she saw a picture of the fabric and said “that’s my favric!” She says “favric.”) This is what I have so far:


It’s my first Dresden plate! (When I showed it to Lily she said “Good Job, Mama. Thanks!”) It is far from perfect, but I love it nonetheless. I realized as I was contemplating this post that I designed a quilt featuring Dresden plates having never actually made one.  I think that’s because I have confidence in my sewing. I know that I can figure it out, even if it takes a few tries or some adjusting. I wish I had that confidence in other areas of my life. I have let my fear of failure keep me from stepping out of my cozy little nest. This year, my resolution was to be brave. And I know…goals need to be clearly defined in order to be attained, so this resolution was poorly planned. But I’m trying to overcome the fear and step out with confidence.  Like my quilt, I’m still in progress.

 

The best kind of procrastination

I have been eyeing the Sew Together Bag ever since my boss, Maxie Makes, made hers. I bought the fabric (from Bonnie Christine’s Winged line) and it has been sitting there, taunting me, begging to be turned into the perfect form and function union. So this weekend I started the project and planned on finishing it last night. I pulled it out and in just one evening I went from this:


To this:


(Remember those pictures in Highlights magazines, where you had to find the differences? Hint: in mine, I managed to add the outer piece and two little strips of binding. It’s ok if you didn’t spot that immediately…)

Why? Well because of 3 molars that are working their way through the gums of my favorite almost-two-year-old. And that little guy needed some extra help (and snuggles) to get to sleep. And his big(ish) sister was way too cute last night, insisting that her shoes were actually called “cookie socks.” And the giggles that ensued when I suggested she put on her cookie jammies were so infectious, we took a little extra time to be silly before bed. And then there’s my big girl, who never stops talking. I know that sounds like a complaint, but it isn’t. She is so full of insight and humor and so expressive. And last night I took extra time to listen. And my big guy, whose interests so often lay far, far outside my own (can someone please explain the appeal of minecraft?!?) was actually attentive to his mom, and snuggled up to me for no real reason. And I realized those instances would probably become less and less frequent. And I savored them. So I put off working on my project. Because when it comes to choosing between the things I love and the people I love, well, that decision isn’t even hard to make.

 

The limited room in my crowded nest

In my crowded nest I have room for:

  • Chris, Levi, Cora, Lily and Eric
  • Love (in fact adding this one thing seems to make room for everything else of importance)
  • Silliness
  • Creativity
  • Peace
  • Discipline

In my crowded nest I don’t have room for:

  • Clean Laundry that actually makes it to the drawer before being worn (I’ve tried. I can’t seem to squeeze it in)
  • Going to bed at a reasonable hour (Those last quiet hours are way too precious)
  • Unrest, conflict, unresolved issues
  • Another scrap of fabric (haha. Just kidding.)
  • Comparison

I’m trying to learn to be a better filter for my house, to only give time, space, and priority to the things that uplift and encourage my family. If it doesn’t build us up, make us happy or serve a necessary purpose… my little nest is too crowded with good stuff to let anything else in.

 

Mermaids and Seahorses and Narwhals. Oh, and a romper, too.

Look at this.   

I mean it’s mermaids and seahorses and narwhals for goodness sake. I fell in love with this fabric line at first sight and a quilt started designing itself in my brain. I wanted to take time to conceptualize before I started on it but couldn’t wait to make something! So I talked my sister into letting me make an outfit for my niece’s first birthday. (Truth: it didn’t take much convincing. I think the convo went something like this… Me: Can I make Ellie a super cute outfit for her birthday?  Her: yea.) I came across the The Isabella Romper pattern by My Childhood Treasures and couldn’t resist.  The pattern was very easy to follow and had lots of great pics (a must!). Although, I must admit that at this point in the construction I was worried I was being tricked into making a pair of giant, ruffled granny panties.    But my fears were unwarranted and I ended up with this instead.

 
Sigh. I just love it.  The quilt in my brain will be under my needle soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for visiting! And happy creating!