Monday, February 29, 2016

February "garment" finished

I pledged to try and make more garments this year.  Don't know if this one really counts, but I finished something I can wear!

Simplicity 1959 - a collection of hats made from fleece.  I made view D: a beret-like slouch hat with super-cute tucks around the band (shown in pink on the pattern envelope)

What a simple pattern! Two pattern pieces, and only two lines of instruction. The only tricky bit was sewing so very many tucks. I worried whether my seam allowances would be accurate enough to allow the finished product to fit my noggin.

The fabric is from my scrap bin: camouflage fleece that made a very comfy pair of pants back in 2012.  (Pants that still see regular rotation as loungewear at home.)

Happy to make something useful from scrap fabric.

Not sure about the camo, but fingers crossed
Of course, I want this garment mojo to keep going.  So far, two months into the year, and two completions.

I have so, so much fabric--Must. Keep. Going.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leftover Minky

A scrap project inserted itself in my February ToDo list--and it's so cute!

A blogging acquaintance alerted me to this project: a triangular neck pillow.  (Free pattern and instructions at the link.) The theme is scrapbusting; this adorable pillow could be made from some unusual scraps.  Yay!

I had some Minky leftover from a couple projects: a fluffy lap blanket and a full-size bed blanket that I made for a Christmas present.  What does one do with long, narrow lengths of fluffy goodness?

Well, it turns out that the pattern pieces perfectly fit what I got had. Even the Echino prints used on one of the three sides were scraps--although I haven't yet made the bag I originally cut out of their yardage. Finally, the lengths of ribbon and twill tape used as handles were also from stash.

Such a win!

And what will happen to these soft, scraptastic pillows?  Well, it just so happens that I have a red eye cross-country flight coming up. And I didn't own a travel pillow... until now.

I'll be sure and report back on how it works out for me.

Friday, February 19, 2016

BOM: The votes are in

I teach the Block of the Month group (BOM) at my shop.  This year, the theme is traditionally-pieced, very star-heavy blocks, using black-and-white fabrics with a white background.  To make each project unique, the color palette is to be supplemented by each participant--some are using the same accent fabric all year, and some are making it colorful (like my samples!)

audition blocks...
We are six months into this 12-month project, and I let the participants decide on which blocks they wanted to complete for the remainder of the year.

I made 5 blocks at retreat in January

And another 5 blocks during the first week of February

The BOM group voted at February's session.  They were very thoughtful in their choices, and so that's what we're gonna sew up.

Wanna play along & learn these blocks?

I had my reasons for making up different block samples, mostly having to do with techniques to teach.  (Oh, and a couple of them were just plain cute.)  What I didn't take into consideration so much was how the 12 blocks were going to play together in a single quilt/project.  I think this is what I was missing--my gals helped me to focus on the whole, not just the cute individual bits.

Techniques still to learn: piecing along diagonal rows; no-waste flying geese; quarter-square triangle; and more uses of folded corners.

I'm excited for the rest of this year!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Oakie's "Luggage"

Third finish of 2016: Oakie the travel penguin now has a bag to hold all his outfits and accessories!

This is the Sew Together Bag, slightly modified.  I removed the center zippered pocket to leave a large open space.
Top: modified; bottom: unaltered pattern
Initially, I thought Oakie could travel in the center compartment, but I was wrong...

Snug as a penguin in a pouch

Not that he didn't fit, but his clothing needed more room.

This guy has more of a wardrobe than I do! Visible in the photo: teddy bear, new Christmas hat and ugly Christmas sweater, sombrero from Mexico, visor & board shorts.  Yep, this is one well-appointed penguin, no matter the occasion.

A lad and his luggage... contented sigh.

Stash report: entire bag was made with scraps and stash; according to the pattern, almost a yard of fabric gets used up in this beauty.

[Credit for Oakie's new Minion hat goes to my talented sister--wish she had a blog for me to link to]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jungle January

Hey, I finished a garment!  My Jungle January garment, to be specific.

Supposed to be easy--and it was, mostly.  Just that life got in the way a bit, so it wasn't as quick as I might have hoped.

The pattern: McCall's 7166 (long out-of-print; I think it's from 1980?)

The fabric: ooh, it's also old! I purchased this a looong time ago to make a maternity tunic top (my youngest child is 23).  I believe it is a french terry knit, rather stiff.  Would have been perfect for a tunic...

The Fit: this is my year to try and adjust, correct, and get fit issues sorted out in home-sewn garments.  I refuse to let my me-made items suffer from the ill-fit of ready-to-wear. 
  • I lengthened the shirt by 4 inches all around.  (I am 5' 9" tall; length is always my first pattern alteration.) Then, on the advice of a friend, I shortened the front a bit.  
  • My initial FBA attempt was too low, and not a deep enough dart.  Undaunted, I pin-fit a new bust dart while wearing the top, then adjusted the side seams accordingly.  (This meant I ended up with the front length even shorter--but still about 2 inches longer than the original pattern.)
  • Made the sleeves 3/4 length, with hem depth determined while wearing.
Hi-low hem: all the rage right now?

The verdict: I love it!  A basic pattern, quick to sew, that could be a wardrobe staple.  And the perfect re-introduction to sewing garments.

Have you ever participated in Jungle January?  I still have a bit of this material left--what could I sew that might need some leopard trim?

Stash report: per the pattern envelope, 1 1/4 yards used busted

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter Retreat, 2016

Official camp photo
The Universe took a pause and allowed me to attend Quilt Retreat over my birthday weekend in January.  All my favorite quilt-y friends were there, which was good because there was a lot of emotional family stuff happening at the same time.

The Projects

Challenge blocks: this year's challenge was to make a 12" finished block using floral fabrics with a cream background.  The challenge as I saw it was to find such florals in my fabric stash so that I could stitch up a block using them.

As I have done in the past, I took the opportunity of making a single block using a new pattern or technique.  I used a tutorial from Barbara's blog Cat Patches to make a circle applique--with no hand sewing and no fusible+topstitching required.  The block turned out wonderful! And a pretty simple technique, too.  You can bet I'll be using this again in the future.

1930's Scrappy: my main goal for retreat was to finish this top.

Before retreat began, I had all the 16-patch blocks made, and a few of the X blocks started.

Took my usual amount of time to make 24 X blocks, and somehow got all the rows and columns put together.  Yay! 

However, ran into a bit of difficulty when it came to size: this only measures 56 inches square.  Needs borders.  And, since this is a scrappy/stashbusting project, I am limited in my fabric choices.  Too much fussy thinking necessary to make this next step work out... for now.  I put it aside.

Black & white BOM blocks: I was determined to get a bit ahead of the game for the final 6 months of the BOM I am leading at the shop.  I made 5 blocks, and that felt very good.

And that wraps up another quilting retreat.

Thank goodness for friends.  And my hobby--which distracts and calms me when life gets to be a little bit too much.  What does your ideal retreat look like?