A quick project with my little lady 


I haven’t had time to sew in two weeks. Two weeks! So this morning I had about an hour and a half before work to put something together really quick. I had already purchased this design from Pickle Pie Designs to make a hand sanitizer holder.  And I had about a fat quarter of this adorable panda fabric from Cotton + Steel left over from the purse I made for Cora.  Plus I had a lovely little 3-year-old who was anxious to help me.
 Sewing in jammies=an awesome start to any day.

This was my first in-the-hoop design, and I loved how quickly and easily it went together! The instructions from Pickle Pie Designs were very well written and easy to follow.  It was almost mindless.  The hardest part was making sure that the pandas were going in the right direction.  (I debated admitting this, but since I value honesty…there is supposed to be a ribbon loop on the side, but I accidentally put it on backwards and had to cut it off.  Follow instructions, friends; it’s important.)


I love the embroidery capabilities on my Baby Lock Sofia 2!  And Lily loves to push the “Start” button. It is so fun to personalize things and make custom embroidered and appliquéd shirts, onesies and quilts. Making this little hand sanitizer holder almost completely in the embroidery hoop was so quick and easy on my sweet little Sofia.


After I took it out of the hoop, it needed a snap.  I love KAM snaps.  My husband teases me because I want to put a snap on everything.  I have a wide variety of colors, and debated putting a neon snap on this, but ended up using my snap pliers to put on a simple silver snap.  It turned out really cute, and with all the germs floating around school, it’s definitely something she needed! Now to make one for Levi…

Thanks for visiting!

 

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A deep breath in

My big kids start school tomorrow.  It’s always a little bittersweet.  I love the freedom of summer, I like having my kids around and not having to make plans around the school schedule.  But the routine of the school year is also nice, and I tend to be more productive when I’m functioning in a routine.  This week I didn’t sew a single stitch.

I did warp my new loom though…


(It’s from Wood Creek Looms)

And I went on a long walk with two awesome kiddos.


And I went to a football game to watch my big girl cheer on her team.


And I hung out with my oldest son, savoring the time I have with him before school starts.  He’s kind of awesome.  I don’t have a pic of the time we spent together but it would have included sweat pants and a messy bun, and a super cool 11 year old.

And I took a deep breath in.  I was feeling overwhelmed by everything I wanted to accomplish.  So I stepped away, to plan my upcoming projects (spoiler: lots of knits for fall, and a little linen too…).  Now I feel refreshed and ready to make some beautiful new things!

Thanks for tuning in to my rambles…

 

From order to chaos to order

I sew in a cage. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that detail of my life with you. My husband has selflessly given me a corner of our living space and it is dedicated to my creative endeavors. We have put a fence around it to keep a few of my mischievous monchichhis out of it. I could have been cute and called it a nook, or elegant and called it a studio. But I value truth too highly, and it has been honestly dubbed “the Cage.”

My little cage goes through various stages of organization.  I usually have more than one project going and there are scraps and tools and rulers all over the place.  I will clear just enough space to take an uncluttered pic of my finished project.  But right outside of the frame is a disaster.  (It’s so easy to only show the tidy parts of our life on the internet, isn’t it?!? But that’s a topic for another post…)  When I have time (and motivation) I do tidy things up.  I take it from chaos to order.  At least for a little while.

Sewing and quilting starts with order.  We start with beautiful, complete pieces of fabric and cut them up in order to turn them into something even more beautiful. The part in the middle, where there are raw edges and odd shapes, isn’t so pretty.  But someone with vision can take those pieces and create a masterpiece.  From order to chaos to order again.  The chaos is an essential part of the creative process.

In my own life, I have seen the biggest growth and strength in the chaotic times.  I tend to fear change.  But that’s silly.  I don’t want to fear chaos, but submit to the Creator, who has a master plan in mind and can take the mess and turn it into something beautiful.

Cultivate Blog Tour

inside full shot

Hi Friends!  Today is my stop on the Cultivate Blog Tour.  When Bonnie Christine asked for bloggers to make something with fabric from her newest line, Cultivate, I thought “Oooooo me! me, please!!! me!!”  (At least that’s what was happening on my side of the screen.  I tried to play it a little cooler online…)  I have already made several things with fabric from this line (here, here and here) because every piece in the collection is beautiful.  And also because it’s from Art Gallery Fabrics, which means it’s Pima cotton.  So it’s incredibly soft and easy to care for (minimal to no ironing = essential for this busy mom!)

blog-tour-image-1

When Bonnie asked me to join the blog tour, I immediately had this dress in mind.  The dress pattern comes from Tanya Whelan’s book, “Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time.”  Because of the gathered shoulder, draped bodice, and gathered waist, I wanted to use something lightweight, and Art Gallery makes the softest, prettiest voile.  Perfect!  I lined it with the same print in the quilter’s weight cotton.

outside shoulder

Enter Store

The Salvage Co. is a shop on Main Street in my little town (isn’t it charming?) and it has the coolest stuff! It was so fun to take pictures there! (All of these pictures were taken by the talented and very patient Maxie. Thank you!!)Hello

(I couldn’t seem to get service.)

dress back

One reason I love to sew is that I can’t typically wear dresses off the rack.  I have a pear shape that is even more pronounced after 4 pregnancies.  If something fits at my bust, it is typically too small around my waist and hips.  But when I’m in charge of constructing my garments, I can get a fit that works for me in a style I couldn’t usually buy.

back bodice

And of course, I had to make a clutch to go with the dress.

clutch

inside

I love the mint color in the print on the dress, so I chose two of  Art Gallery’s Pure Elements to complement it: Icy Mint for the main fabric and Mink for the accent.  I used a pop of Cultivate fabric for the lining.  I’m planning on wearing this dress to a wedding and this size clutch is perfect when all you need is your wallet, sunglasses and lipstick.  I will be giving a clutch away, and will have the pattern available at that time.  Come back for details on how to enter the drawing!

I had so much fun making this dress! Take a look at the adorable outfit Audrey posted yesterday on Skirt Fixation.  And be sure to visit Bonnie at Fish Sticks Designs tomorrow to see what she made.  If you’re feeling inspired to make something with Cultivate fabrics, you can purchase them here (oh, hello, free shipping…) Honestly? You should probably visit everyone on the Cultivate Blog Tour, they are all making such beautiful things!

Thanks for stopping by!

Handbag Menagerie

 I have two girls. The big one loves pandas. The little one loves flamingos. These handbags were inspired by their obsessions. Both feature a front pocket and a zippered closure to keep everything inside (it would be a catastrophe to lose one’s favorite flavor of Lip Smackers!)

 When I came across this Panda fabric, I immediately thought of my Cora girl. She has been Panda crazed for a while, so I loved seeing a print in turquoise and navy instead of black and white! There are two other similar prints in this line from Cotton + Steel (view the collection here). I also liked it’s subtlety; you kind of have to look twice to see the pandas. I used another print from the same designer, Alexia Marcelle Abegg, for the bottom and strap accents. I used a solid navy for the piping and straps. And of course, I added a monogram to the outer pocket with my Baby Lock Sofia 2.  Because all 10 year olds need personalization!


(Can’t you tell she’s smiling! Love her.)


For Lily’s, I used a flamingo print from Andover fabrics and a pink and gray houndstooth from Riley Blake. I used a solid bright pink for the piping and accent on the strap. I used Baby Lock’s awesome piping foot to make and attach the piping for both bags.


Another awesome foot from Baby Lock, it has a raised portion in the center so I can stitch very close to my piping, closer than I can get with a zipper foot. It has become a foot I can’t do without (like my gathering foot, which I wrote about here).


Because sometimes a lady needs a handbag and binoculars. For adventuring.

I love my silly girls. And I loved designing and sewing these handbags for them. I’m working on a pattern and hope to have it available for you soon! (I’m looking for pattern testers, let me know if you’re interested!)

Thanks for visiting!

 

A Tiny Tote (free pattern!) filled with Pattern Weights

 I always use pattern weights and a rotary cutter to cut out my pattern pieces.  It is so much faster than pinning! It also leaves the fabric flat on the cutting surface, so it doesn’t get distorted as I cut it out.  This is especially helpful when sewing with knits.  The fabric can stretch when scissors are slipped under it.  I wanted to make my own and found this tutorial and pattern from Tea Rose Home and made a bunch!  I used two fabrics from Jen Kingwell’s Gardenvale collection.  Each of them have 8 different prints across the width of fabric, so I got 16 different prints from two 1/4 yard cuts! Score! This would be great for applique, too!

 

 


Of course, I needed something to put them in!  So I designed a tiny tote.  I usually end up cutting out my patterns on the floor, so this little tote is super convenient.  I toss in my pattern weights, little ruler, rotary cutter and a pencil.  Then I can alter, trace and cut out my patterns keeping everything right in reach.  I embellished the front with 1/2″ hexies.  I was inspired by the many beautiful things on Modern Handcraft.  I didn’t want too much quilting on mine so I just followed the basic lines from the negative space hexie.  Then I drew one hexie on the back and quilted out from it.  I used Soft and Stable by Annie’s on the inside of the tote.  Like its name implies, it is soft but has the stability to keep it upright.  I might make few more of these tiny totes; they are super handy.
  
If you want to make your own tiny tote, I wrote out a little pattern and you can download it for free here.  If you make your own I would love to see it! Post a pic on Instagram with the tag #mytinytote.  What would you use one for?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

One Pattern, Two Dresses


I love to sew for my kids.  And, if I’m being honest, I especially like to sew for my girls.  They are more excited about my handmade items, and for some reason the girly things are just more fun and diverse than the boyish ones.  I found this beautiful pattern from Violette Field Threads, called Stella.

Stella One-Shoulder Dress

Isn’t it darling? I bought the pattern intending to make the dress for my youngest daughter, and used some beautiful fabric from Bonnie Christine’s newest line, Cultivate.  Whenever I bring home some new fabric she says “Is dat my favric, Mama? Dat’s for me?” And her delight when I tell her that it is, in fact, going to soon be a dress for her is contagious.  I used a contrasting print for the ruffle and left out the sash.  For the hem, I strayed from the pattern and sewed a band on the bottom that I embellished with a hem stitch.  Here is the final result:


She’s super cute and incredibly difficult to capture.  She just can’t stop moving!

After I finished her dress, my older daughter told me she wanted one, too.  Of course I would happily oblige.  She came to the shop and picked out her fabric.  She’s in a teal-loving phase right now, and chose a print I happen to adore.  Guess what? More Bonnie Christine! (I’m so happy that she chose Art Gallery fabric. I’ve said it before, but if you haven’t felt their fabric, do it! The pima cotton is unparalleled and doesn’t require ironing like other quilter’s weight cottons.)  This print is from her Winged line.  For her dress, I chose not to do a contrasting ruffle, as I thought it was a slightly more mature look to make the whole dress with the same print.


When she first tried on her dress it was very ill-fitting.  Like her mom, she is slightly hard to fit.  It was gaping at the bust but fit perfectly at her waist.  I huffed and told her to take it off and flopped on the couch and took about 20 seconds to pout.  I wish I had taken a picture of the “before” dress, but no one wants to have proof of failure.  So I had her try the dress on inside out and pinned where it needed to be taken in on the side without the zipper.  I also measured how much I needed to take in around the zipper.  Then I took out the zipper, ironed back the excess and put it back in.  Then I prayed and had her try it on again.  Hooray! It fits beautifully now.  I didn’t trim the excess away so that I can let it out in the future if I need to.  For her hem, I was feeling lazy… I liked the length as it was cut, so instead of doing a traditional hem, I used a narrow 3-thread overlock on my Baby Lock Imagine.  I like the look, and I think it gives it a dainty finish. (It is actually unhemmed in the pics above.  She was ready for her shoot before her dress.)  Now it’s her favorite dress and she tries to find reasons to wear it.  Another reason to sew for my girls: they are so very appreciative!

Out takes:

She’s blurry.  Because she’s busy.  Always.

Aren’t they the cutest?!?

PS-I am planning a one shouldered dress for myself, too.  Just because I’m feeling a little left out.

Thanks for visiting!

 

A Cake and an Outfit for a Baby Shower

Creating is what feeds my soul, whether my medium is fabric, yarn, paper, or a combination of butter and sugar.  Cake decorating is a hobby of mine. I don’t do it often enough to cultivate real skills, but it’s something I enjoy. Yesterday I made a cake for a friend’s baby shower. (She is actually my husband’s cousin’s wife. So we are family. Kind of.)


I think it turned out pretty cute. I frosted it with buttercream frosting. For the yellow accents, I made marshmallow fondant, which is really easy to work with and doesn’t taste bad like the store bought stuff.

 (More about pattern weights to come!)

I also made this cute outfit for her. I love all of the fabric Bonnie Christine’s Cultivate line.  If you haven’t felt Art Gallery’s knits, get your hands on it. It is so soft and a dream to work with.  I bought the machine applique design here and stitched it out with my sweet little Baby Lock Sophia 2. I have used this design a few times for the princesses in my life, and I love how pretty it turns out.  I used this tutorial and pattern from Zaaberry’s blog for the hat.  I drafted a pattern for the leggings from a pair that I already had, and put everything together with my Baby Lock Imagine serger.  I have kids instead of time, so my Imagine is my best friend.  It threads itself, which is of course amazing, but the biggest time saver for me is not having to adjust any of the tension settings.  I timed myself and after cutting the pieces out, I made both the hat and the leggings in 25 minutes.  25 minutes! (That includes using my Baby Lock Diana’s cover stitch function to do the hem and elastic casing on the leggings).  I love projects that come together quickly! (And no, I’m not sponsored by Baby Lock, I just love my machines!)

Thanks for stopping by!