Category Archives: Quilting

A rare planning post

While many plan with the seasons, I have decided to plan anyway in this season-less land. I do very much miss seasons, and someday I will spend more time back in a place that has them, but for now, this nonsense doesn’t really cut it. Funny story, talking to a shopkeeper the other day, I asked him how he was enjoying the comparatively cooler (that is, like 7 to 10 degrees Fariegnheit cooler) weather in Mumbai. Mumbai winters usually last a week or two, with low humidity, days in the 80’s, evenings in the high 60’s, a veritable winter wonderland. He told me he really couldn’t get used to this weather and it was making everyone sick. I do not understand people sometimes, I swear.

Someone recently asked me what is the most challenging thing I’ve ever made. I couldn’t really think of anything that I thought was so very impressive, although there are things I’ve made that were more complicated than others. I think more about the things I HAVEN’T tried, or don’t as well as I would like to yet. I have actually made two coats, although one I never blogged, but I wasn’t really that happy with either, and rarely wore them. So that is a goal for the future, although spending a lot of time in Mumbai makes that unappealing right now, not just because I would have no opportunities to wear it here and could only bust it out when I’m back in the US or traveling somewhere cool, but also because the idea of constructing it in this hot place makes me sweat just contemplating it. But that is on my sewing bucket list, someday, a really nice well made wool-cloth coat. Ah, winter dreams…

Coat cravings aside, there are a few things I do have planned for myself in the coming months. Some are old patterns I’m excited to revisit, and some are new ones I can’t wait to explore. So here are my 2017 crafting plans so far:

Sewing:

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Ah, yes, that elusive beast the circle skirt. I want one of these, I actually want ten of these, but I want at least one or two. The circle skirt is the best, and while I attach them to dresses, I think I want one or two on their own. Solid colors, preferably grey, to go with everything and make me feel like I’m living all my 1950’s movie star dreams. What I need for this one is actually the fabric. I’m having a tough time finding that idea bottom-weight in a solid color I like here. But I continue to search!

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A blazer! (And a pencil skirt to go with it in a cute little set. Which is patterned!) This one I DO have the fabric for:

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So, do I NEED a suit like this? No. No I don’t. Shut up, you can’t tell me what to do! I have a vision of myself in a polka-dotted skirt-jacket combo and I cannot shake it. I have already cut this out, actually, using the Seamwork Delavan pattern for the jacket, and my skirt block for the skirt. I think a whimsical blazer is just the thing that’s going to take me from writer to whimsical-blazer-wearing-writer. Don’t you?

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Blow blouses. I love these things! This is the year I finally find my perfect one. I do enjoy the Seamwork Addison blouse, which I’ve made twice now (both unblogged, ugh, gotta get on that…). But is there a bow blouse anyone else would recommend? I’m also a big fan of the True Bias Sutton blouse, again, made two, gotta blog at least ONE of them…. I have a very lightweight silk that might be nice…

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Using an old favorite, Simplicity 2017 from the 1940’s which I’ve made one before, I want to make a few pairs of lightweight full-length and possibly culotte length trousers. How amazing do these wide-legged orange trousers look? I’m not sure if I could be so daring in color choice, but maybe burgundy? I’ve tried this out recently with strong results, again, gotta blog that. Sensing a theme?

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I’ve cut out the Colette Rue dress in this floral fabric, which I’m excited to stitch up! And then maybe a plaid version….I know, I’m a copy cat but come on, it’s so cute!

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I have made a lot of Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas and never. blogged. a. single. one. Frankly, I have been nailing down a good fit, and I think my last one really did finally get there so I should probably photograph those, sigh. It’s like, what am I even doing with my time? But this cat fabric was just too fantastic and I’m excited to sleep with kitties.

 

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I totally missed the Ginghamalong, mostly because I couldn’t find any gingham, but of course since then I’ve seen it everywhere. I want a gingham dress! How cute are these? This is clearly a more vague idea because I have no pattern OR fabric for this, but I just love it. Thoughts?

Now, for some patterns that I don’t currently own, but might want to tackle this year:
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Clearly a lot of love for Closet Case this year! But the Sophie swimsuit is so great. I am intimidated by the cups and the construction, but that just means I will have to try to figure it out, which is fun! And the Ebony is straightforward but I love it. Raglan sleeves, yes!

Now, a few quilts (baby gifts)

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I love the See Kate Sew Modern Ombre quilt. Wont it look amazing in these fabrics? Again, a tried and true here, I’ve made this more than once. That’s why I want to try something different, adapting this Purl Soho pattern to cottons:

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Now, beyond the machine, there are a few other things I want to do this year:

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I love these coloring books for grown-ups, mostly because I want to use them as embroidery patterns! Isn’t that mouse amazing? Or the whale? I gotta get stitching on these.

And in knitting news:

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I’m currently two-thirds of the way through this sweater for my mom. I picked up some wool to make myself one too, but let’s see when I finally get through this one. For such a simple pattern, it’s taking me FOREVER….

 

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Filed under Closet Case Patterns, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Planning, Purl Soho, Quilting, seamwork

The Cat Bed Quilt

Sometimes I don’t even know why I bother thinking anything I make is going to be anything ever but a bed for a fat fluffy dictator.

Side note, have you ever seen a photo of Joseph Stalin as a young man? He. Was. Devastatingly Attractive. In a super indie way. Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes on THIS:

DylFIRight? RIGHT? If you saw that guy at a bougie bar over an expensive cocktail you would be pretty into it, right? The hair. The hair is so good.

At any rate, I finished this quilt last night, and even before I had fully finished hand stitching the binding on the wrong side, someone decided this was his new favorite thing.

CBQ 1I think if you look closely you can see a pin sticking out or two. And yet look at that face, that face says, back off, bitch, this is mine now. And he’s been pretty committed to that position ever since:

CBQ 2The pattern comes from See Kate Sew, and you can find her instructions and the triangle template here. As my third quilt ever, this thing was super simple and relatively fast, by quilting standards. I like it a lot, it’s a crib quilt but it just covers my body, and it’s a nice if rather ornamental layer for my bed. But who am I kidding, this thing is clearly for my cat and my cat alone. Even as I type this, he sleeps on it contentedly.

But take a look at the whole thing!

CBQ 4I started this as part of the stashbusting challenge and it really only took me about 3 and a half weeks working on it intermittently as I did other projects.

CBQ 5For the back I used a vintage sheet and I put in a strip of pieced fabric from the front fabrics, which I really like doing. I think it’s really cute. I bound the quilt with the bright blue fabric.

CBQ 6This is all scrap, baby! The blue, the blue stripe, the aqua and the white are all vintage fabrics, two of which I dyed, the blue and the aqua. The pink was scraps from a dress I made my mother, which I have yet to blog, and the floral print with birds comes from this dress.

Can we talk for a moment about how quilts are hard to photograph? Because they are. They really are.

CBQ 7So, quilting. Well, I can’t say I adore adore adore it, but it really does satisfy something in me, the part of me that loves using scraps and loves combining colors and loves making something so homey. So I’m going to keep making them, but never fear, quilt/cat beds are all well and good, but garments have my heart.

Do you think this counts as sewing something for others?

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Filed under Challenge, Quilting, Scrap

Fighting and Scrapping

Boy, I came a bit late to the Stashbusting Challenge game this month, now, didn’t I! And yet I am still trying to fit some scrap usage in before it’s too late. So in light of that, I spent my Sunday cutting out a fair number of projects for little bits of fabric, in the hopes of at least making a gentle dent into my enormous scrap pile. What have I been concocting here in Brooklyn? Step into my lab…

I am a compulsive fabric saver. I just can’t stand to let even the tiniest scrap go by the wayside, and that is not a great quality for someone who lives in New York. Or, really, someone who lives. You just can’t save it all, you can’t use every fiber and flash of fabric, it’s not humanly possible. And yet, I try.

The thing that I loathe throwing away the MOST is jersey. So I went on a hunt for scrappy projects that involve that material. It’s not easy, honestly. There are a ton of things you can do with scraps of quilters cotton or even apparel weight cotton. Like make little mice for your little cat (or dog):

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I honestly forget where I found this template, but I know if you google “mouse toy diy” you will find just a million and one templates and tutorials and ideas. I have made many of this pattern for friends and no cat has ever neglected to enjoy this when a bit of catnip goes into the stuffing.

But back to my jersey woes, I have, of course, found the obvious solution to small pieces of stretchy jersey left over from knit projects:

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So I made a bunch of underwear, of course. I’m not going to model it for you. That would be weird. My mom reads this.

But what do you do with LARGER jersey scraps that you love, that AREN’T the kind of stretchy material that would make for comfortable underwear? Because having attempted underwear with 2-way stretch fabric, that is just some bad news bears. So I hunted down a way to use such pieces, and I found this! The Dixie DIY Portia Top, a pieced pattern suitable for lightweight wovens AND knits! Yay!

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Cute, no? It’s a bit big on me, which is weird, because I cut it down to an extra-small to fit onto the fabric I had, hoping it wouldn’t be too tight, and there you go, still loose. Bizarre. The printed fabric is leftovers from this dress, and I got it originally from Girl Charlee (guess what? Girl Charlee now has a blog where you can submit projects you made with their amazing knits! Do it!). The white comes from a t-shirt that I never wore because it was huge on me. So there you go, refashioning and stash busting all at once!

Scrap 8Sorry about the less-then-stellar photos. I finished this about an hour ago and wanted to post about it as soon as possible. I’ve just missed the January deadline, sigh, but that’s okay, I’m glad I got to use a bunch of scraps!

Scrap 9This is the back view. A bit blurry, sadly.

This shirt is fairly easy to put together, despite all the pieces, and really you could do all kinds of color combinations, which is cool. I would make it smaller next time, trimming everything down a bit, because it’s really quite blousey for a knit top, but I like it and I’m sure it will be airy and cool come summertime. The only changes I made were not gathering the sleeves (because I didn’t know that was a step, sigh) and changing the cuffs to a binding on the sleeves.

I just really think this is kind of a cool top, and I like the scrappy nature of it, I do! It’s like a t-shirt/quilt. I like it! Would you guys be into something like this or is it just too weird?

Scrap 10For all my travels, it’s nice to be back with Cadfael!

And I’ve also started a quilt! I’m using a free pattern from See Kate Sew, a blog I have just discovered and fallen madly in love with, like I do. She’s looking for pattern testers for clothing for little people, if you are interested…

But I’m making this quilt:

cribShe has this free pattern on her blog, and it looked fun and easy. I might add strips to the sides to make it a bit bigger, but for now, these are my fabrics:

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Of course, it’s really hard to bust your stash when your amazing friends keep GIVING YOU NEW FABRIC! What the hell, awesome friends? Why you gotta be so amazing? To be fair, of the two gifts of fabric I got recently, one I did see coming, as I asked my friend Rohan (hi, Rohan!) to bring me fabric back from India, from whence he comes. Don’t worry, I gave him some rum from Puerto Rico as a thank you…

Scrap 4I have just under three yards of each of these three fabrics. WHAT? Rohan is a marvelous man. And god, he has astoundingly good taste, right? I love each of these, they are so lovely! The orange border print, the ikat, the blue? I LOVE THEM ALL. I don’t know what I’m going to DO with them, but I will figure something out, I’m sure..Well done, Rohan, well done. More rum for you.

And then, my glorious roommate Emily got me fabric too! WHAT? Yes. My other equally glorious roommate Jenny got me this compilation of plays, so I honestly can’t decide which of these two ladies I’m more in love with right now, but hey, luckily I live with them and don’t have to choose! (I made them nice gifts too, I promise!) Look what Emily scored for me:

Scrap 6Is that…LIBERTY OF LONDON? You bet your ass it is. A. Mazing. And the blue behind it is just buttery as all get out, I love it! What to do, what to do with these amazing stash building gifts? My poor stash, it’s one step forward, three steps back with me.

Scrap 5Cadfael says, this is mine now. I likes it.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Quilting, Scrap, Sewing

The Four Months Later Quilt

Oh. My. God. I FINALLY finished this quilt. AND this shirt I’ve been working on (i.e. not working on) for three weeks. And then I was able to bang out three wine bags for my mom, and cut out 15 more. WHAT? WHY? Moving is so disruptive! Sewing streaks, they are so weird! Life, why you gotta be that way sometimes? Sigh.

Anyway, more on the shirt later. First, to the quilt! I made a whole quilt!

I didn’t really know how to photograph this because I’ve never MADE a quilt before so I’ve never PHOTOGRAPHED a quilt before because I don’t just go around photographing quilts, I’m not some kind of sicko.

An honest to God (oh, thanks, buddy, for the help on this one, patience wise, I owe you  a fruit basket. I’m just kidding! I know you prefer roast lamb, but what’s a modern girl without a pre-A.D. temple to do?) quilt! Like, the real deal, squares and blocks and batting and everything. And it was, like so much of my life, a huge flipping struggle.

Okay, so it must be said, this whole thing was inspired by Dispatches from Whitcomb Street. I’d never even considered quilting as something I would be interested in doing but as I said back in Me Made May (hahahahahahaha, there was  a time I thought I would finish this by the end of May! God, I was so young and foolish then…) that I can’t stand scraps. Gotta use em. Can’t throw em out. I COMPOST. I RECYCLE. I NEEDED SOMETHING TO DO WITH FABRIC SCRAPS. IT WAS A REAL PROBLEM. So, I was like, well, I guess I could make a stupid quilt, I mean, it’s lame and stupid and not like a dress or whatever but I GUESS I could make it work….

That all being said, this was actually kind of fun. I mean, it took 4 months of my life and I would love that time back but really it was something I put aside quite a bit and kept coming back to, obsessed, as I am, with finishing tasks. I chose a string quilt, because A. that’s what Dispatches from Whitcomb Street made and B. it seemed like a simple enough way to go. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHA. SIMPLE. SURE. WHY NOT. So I found a tutorial (there are dozens online so I’m not going to link to just one) and I cut stripes (none too exactly, let’s be real about the universe).

I made 80 blocks, pieced them together, stitched it all  up, grabbed a college dorm-room bed sheet for the backing (because for REAL when am I ever going to sleep in an extra-long twin bed ever again?)

Ignore my rather pitiful hand-quilting, thanks.

and slapped the whole thing together. Of course, I used an extra thick batting (…it was cheap? I don’t know why I did this, honestly) and so I had to quilt it all by hand (Screw. That. Process. is all I have to say) and then I forced it into submission, bias-tape wise (I bought that, though, COME on, a girl needs respite), stitching on by machine and then by hand the stretchy stuff to bind the quilt and wash my hands of the silly thing. I don’t know that you can tell in the photos but it’s about 80″ by 64″.

But now? I’m pretty into this quilt. In fact, I’m over the moon about it. Yes, it’s a bit of a messy, a bit strugglesome, but it’s also impressive and adorable and WARM and snuggly and FUN! And I like how it looks, all pieced together! Quilting, it’s even more of a puzzle than garment sewing, I think. Am I a convert? I don’t really know. I know I will make more quilts because A. I still have tons of scrap and B. it’s interesting, a ton of work, but interesting and C. they make EXCELLENT gifts. But will it be my main deal? No, it takes far too long and I really like wearing what I make.

Still, it’s an amazing record of past projects. Like:

That blue and teal strip is leftover from my San Cristobel Skirt and my Don’t Mind My Yacht Shorts! That floral in the right corner is from my Dear Betty Dress!

That maroon shot cotton at the top is from the first group of fat quarters I ever bought, as is the crazy blue floral underneath it! The plaid is from the hoarder stash.

There’s remnants of my Too Hot For Tzfat Skirt, and bits from my grandfather’s attic. It’s a plethora of projects all in one!

Of course, the people who love this quilt the most are in fact of the fuzzy variety. Cadfael actually isn’t that into it:

See, he refused to model. FALCO, on the other hand, is all over this:

Um, you made this for me, right?

RIGHT?

Sure, buddy, that four months was all about making you a hand-quilted cat bed. Isn’t that always what all the things I made really become?

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Filed under Quilting, Scrap, Sewing