Thursday, December 29, 2011

McCall's 6237: A Birthday Dress

My daughter's birthday is December 26th and I can not believe she has turned 2!  How those baby-months fly by and before you know it you have a "big girl" on your hands.  I decided to make her a pretty party dress for her birthday and I settled on McCall's 6237 because it had long sleeves and a classic shape. 
But, would you look at the sample from the pattern cover??!!

It is hard to tell but that dress is made with "contrast pockets and bodice".  If you ask me that dress is NOT made with "contrast" anything, rather it is made with really similar, almost the same, black and white prints.  The skirt and sleeves print has a kind of green wash which I guess they were trying to emphasize through the addition of the acid green bow.  McCall's - thumbs down to you for your horrible sample dress!  Good thing your adorable model is a professional and can work it in any crazy thing you put on her!

Ok, now for my version of McCall's 6237, view A ...

I used a nice cotton print by Anna Griffin that I picked up at my local quilt shop.   I love the vintage feel of the print and I think it made for a really sweet, kind of casual little girl's dress.  I went for contrast pockets and bodice lining but skipped the bow and kept the bodice, sleeves and skirt in one print.  The pockets and bodice lining are from Kona solid.  I wouldn't normally recommend Kona for a garment lining but it was the perfect color, just sitting there in my stash ready to go! My daughter's favorite thing about the dress is the pockets - she loves a pocket! 

And the fact that she gets to wear her boots with it - she also loves a boot! 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sitting Room Renovation: Window Treatments

So far my sitting room renovation has gone from this...

To this!

I've been sewing miles and miles of curtains.  I made 6 panels for this little room and these babies are 114" long.  I used a large scale print from the AMH Loulouthi line - it is called "Clippings" in the Glow colorway.  

I ended up using quilting weight cotton because I really wanted this print and felt I could make the cotton work as a drape as long as I used a good drapery lining. 

This is my first time hanging rods like this from the ceiling - I really like the effect that these floor to ceiling drapes have in this room.  The ceilings are 9' in this room and the drapes make them seem even higher than they are.  I think that for privacy's sake I may need to hang a sheer inside the window frames on a tension rod.  I'm not sure yet, we're going to live with the window treatments as is for a while and make a decision later. 

I have plans for a nice upholstered chair that will go near the front windows.  I have several additional print fabrics that I'll also bring into the room.  There will be pillows people!  I also have plans for little chochkies and such to fill the walls and flat surfaces.  And I have my eye on a great circular mirror with a vintage feel that will hopefully live above my fireplace someday soon, reflecting the big front windows. 

And I have to create some type of screen for this:

This fire place is original to the house (1910) but it hasn't been in use in the last 50 years or so.  I would love to have some sort of gas insert put in (since the last home owners refurbished the chimneys) but the reality is that won't happen for years.  So for now I need to hide this insulation some how.  I'm thinking an upholstered board of some sort that would sit inside the grate.  Maybe? 

It's not done yet but I'm very happy with the way this room is turning out.  I can't wait to curl up in there with my Kindle and a glass of wine!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yo-Yo Tree Garland in Parisville Fabrics

Let the Christmas Chores oops, I mean Cheer, begin!

I'll give you fair warning that usually Christmas is not my favorite holiday.  I've been told that I have certain tendencies reminiscent of you know who:
I find Christmas to be a stressful time of year.  There is the shopping, the decorating, the cooking and baking.  I always feel like I have a Christmas-related to-do list that is 1 mile long and I never can get it all done. 

However, this year I'm kind of excited to decorate the house and start the Christmas countdown.  I'm not sure what brought about this change.  Maybe it's because my kids are old enough to really know what's going on at Christmas time and get frantically excited.  Maybe I have a little more energy this year because I'm not pregnant, or nursing, or pregnant and nursing as I have been for the last several years. 

As evidence of my Christmas-y spirit I give you this tree! 

This Christmas tree is at the end of my counter top in the kitchen.  I made the yo-yo garland over my Thanksgiving break using tiny pieces of Parisville fabric that I had in my stash (plus a solid in pink) and one of those Clover yo-yo maker thingies.

In addition to the yo-yo garland I tied some of the branches here and there with little strips of fabric.  The ornaments are all Wizard of Oz characters that I've had for years.  I'd say roughly 50% of my Christmas tree ornaments are Wizard of Oz themed.  I love the Wizard of Oz.  Alot.   
I'm really just down to scraps of the Parisville line at this point.  I'm consoling myself by stocking up on some Prince Charming while I wait for Tula's new line due in April 2012:  Nightshade!!!  Exactly what the doctor ordered for this Halloween-lover stuck in Christmasville. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sitting Room Renovation: We have paint!

I am pleased to report some great progress on my small sitting room renovation. 
The fixture is hung and I love it! 

And the walls have paint!  Wait, did I really pick that color?

Ok, when my husband and our nanny saw this color on the paint chip they were supportive but I did detect a little bit of doubt.  When they saw it on the walls they were full on freaked out.  It is very pumpkin pie.  If you wanted to be mean you could say it was orange.  My husband's exact words were, "Honey, I know you love Halloween but ..."  He couldn't even finish the sentence.  Because he was afraid I would kill him.  The color is actually a Behr shade called "Mulling Spice".  I felt that I was taking a risk in chosing this color and without any window treatments or other decor it is really hard to see what I'm going for.  What I wanted was an unexpected nuetral that was warm and maybe even brassy without being harsh.  And my plan is to add great prints and lots of color to the room with the curtains, upholstery, etc.  See, like this:

The photo above is from the most recent Mackenzie-Childs catalogue, it shows their Highland collection.  Lately I'm very drawn to this type of over the top pattern on pattern.  More is more I say.  Look how they have the turquoise painted shutter next to the orange-ish wall.  Unexpected right?  On their own those 2 colors would probably just look weird together but add in all the prints and suddenly it looks just right to me!  Usually I chose more conservative colors and patterns for our house.  But, you know how you see something in a store or a magazine and you think, "that is really cool but I don't know if I could live with that everyday in my house"?  Well, with this little room I'm just going for it.  I am pressing ahead with my original vision - undetered by the strange looks even my painter gave me when this color when up on the walls!  Next up are window treatments and an upholstered chair.  I will keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mod Sampler Quilt in City Weekend Fabric: Top Finished

With Halloween sewing behind me and the fabric for some new drapes on order I was free to work on my Mod Sampler Quilt.  I have finished the top and I like the overall look, but let's just say there are some problems...

First problem - I didn't square up my blocks before I sewed the rows.  I checked several of them before I sewed the rows and they were pretty darn close to 8.5" exactly so I skipped the rest of the blocks and I really wish I hadn't.  After the rows were together I had to lop off the side of the left hand column in order to get a straight edge.  Not good:

Second problem - My sashing on the left and right sides was very stiff.  I pinned it to the quilt top and trimmed it to the same length once it was pinned in place.  The Moda fabrics I used in the blocks seemed to grow a bit as they were sewn and the sashing didn't.  As a result the sashing is an inch too short at the bottom corners.  Also, not good:

I'm trying to figure out what to do the save this quilt.  I'm considering a few options and I'd love to get some advice from any more experienced quilters who might be reading this.  So far I'm thinking I can either:

1.  Press ahead, make a backing and quilt it up as is.  I can trim the outside sashing to 1" after it is quilted and bind it in white.  This doesn't do anything for the patched blocks in the left column though.

2.  Take a step backward and rip out the sashing and the rows.  Square up my blocks and remake patched blocks that got trimmed.  Essentially, start over with just a stack of blocks to be sewn into a top.

3.  Rip out the sashing and the rows and instead of reassembling in the original order use some of the remaining City Weekend fabric in my stash to cut 8.5" squares.  I could probably piece something close to a twin size quilt using the pieced blocks I have and the new whole squares.

SIGH!!!  I don't know what to do.  I guess I'm leaning toward #2.  Any suggestions?  Help!!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Modern BOM: September

I have fallen behind on my BOM sewing but I found some time this past weekend to get the September block sewn...

The September block for the Modern BOM looks very simple but was actually a bit complicated to construct.  You cut squares and then cut them into triangles (not half square triangles), then other squares get cut, sewn together and then cut into a traingle.  Then you have to use the triangles you created as templates to cut angles into your background pieces, etc.  A seasoned quilter has probably used these techniques in the past but I am not a seasoned quilter so there were a couple of new-to-me construction techniques involved in the creation of this block.
To get good results you have to be very precise and also careful not to stretch your triangles out of shape as you sew and press.   I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  I love all the nice pointy, points that I was able to achieve.  Fun, fun.

I pulled fabric to make this block again in pinks with a print as the background and solid triangles.  Anyone else sewing along with this BOM over at SewMamaSew? 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Simplicty 2569: Finished Witch Costume!

I am pleased to say that I finished my daughter's witch costume just in time for Halloween.   
It is fully lined in black cotton voile.  The self drafted collar mirrors the lines in the peplum.  There is a little faux placket that addes some interest to the bodice and a gathered organza sash at the waist.   

I made her hat using black felt and some scraps left over from the dress and this tutorial at Project Run and Play.  It is stitched onto a padded black satin head band that I had hanging around the house. 

Her broom came from one of those 60% off Halloween decor sales that seem to be happening in every store you walk into these days.     

I'm pretty proud of the dress.  I probably spent a little too much time on it for a dress that would only get worn once but Halloween is my favorite holiday so this dress feels special to me and I was willing to put the extra time and effort into it. 

I can't wait to see what she will chose to be next year when she is old enough to speak her mind on the subject.  I hope that everyone had a great holiday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simplicity 2569: Bodice Progress

I am making some good progress on my daughter's witch costume.  So far I have sewed a full lining for it and assembled the bodice in the fashion fabric.  I also added a faux placket to the bodice front and drafted a collar that will echo the peplum that this dress will have at the waist.  Here it is so far (with the underskirt just sort of pinned on)...

To draft my collar I taped the bodice front and back pattern pieces to each other along the stitch line of the shoulder seams and I taped those pieces down onto my mat like so.

Then I layed a piece of tracing paper on top of the original pattern pieces and taped it down too and I traced the neckline and the center front line.  I also marked the seam line for the center back. 

Finally I just used a ruler and a french curve to draw a collar that suited me, starting and ending the collar inside the center front and back lines.  I went for a pointed shape that would look similar to the shape of the bodice peplum I am using.  I added in a 1/4 inch seam allowance to the outside curve.  I used this pattern piece to cut 4 from my fashion fabric and 2 from interfacing for my collar. 

For the faux button placket I just cut 2 rectangles from the black satin that were 1 1/2" wide and as long as my bodice pattern piece at the center front.  I put them right sides together and sewed with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Then I turned my tube and pressed it from the back only and edge stitched it to the bodice.  I have some black buttons I'm going to add and I'm also planning to do a little bow at the neck and waist in black velvet ribbon.  However - I've edited out my beloved puffy shoulders!  They just seemed like too much with the collar and the ribbon.  It was hard to let the idea of those puffy shoulders go but I think the bodice looks right now without them. 

My son was working right along side me on his own project and when he saw me get the camera out he wanted to photograph his work too!  I like this shot because it shows how stuff is happening right outside the frame of the pattern pictures above.  No quiet time around here!  So cute...

 It's coming together well so far.  Next I'll work on the underskirt and the overskirts.  Here are the cut pieces for the organza layers of the overskirts. 

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get buried and lost forever under a huge mountain of sparkly organza!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simplicty 2569 - Toddler's Witch Costume

I love Halloween and now that I have kids it is more fun than ever.  This year my boys have decided to be Jedi.  Specifically, they will be Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi.  Most of the components for their costumes were purchased online or pulled out of our toy boxes and dresser drawers. 
But for my daughter I decided to go all out and make her a witch costume since this is probably the last year that I'll be able to pick her costume with little or no input from her.
My favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz so when I think "witch" I think Wicked Witch of the West.  I wanted my daughter's costume to have lots of the same elements that Margaret Hamilton wore in the MGM film.

Most important to me were the fitted bodice with long sleeves and puffed shoulders, plus a long swirling, gloomy skirt.  As I was looking for a pattern, Simplicity 4024 caught my eye because it is a Wizard of Oz pattern, even though no Wicked Witch is pictured. 

The line drawing for Glinda's costume (view B) actually looks like it would make a pretty good witch costume.  It has most of the elements for my witch's dress - fitted bodice, long sleeves with a puff shoulder and a long skirt.

Rendered in gloomy fabric instead of pink frothy fabric I think it could work for a witch.  However, that neck line was not at all what I wanted.  My witch will be much too wicked for a v-neck line.  I was looking for something prim but spooky - like the fabulous Miss Wednesday Addams would wear...

She is so scary!  I love her.  Ok, back to the pattern selection...

I finally found this one, Simplicity 2569.  If you look past the pastel tulle used in most of the views and all of the frilly Tinkerbell-esque peplums you can see that this dress pattern meets my requirements pretty well.  Puff sleeve option?  Check.  Long skirt?  Check.  Fitted bodice upon which I can work my prim, yet creepy embelishments?  Check. 

Yesterday I dragged my 3 year old son through Joann's to purchase the pattern (thank you Columbus Day $.99 pattern sale) and all the fabrics.  I avoided the costum satins and went with a nice black satin from the bridal fabrics line (used a 50% off coupon for that).  I found a bolt of crushed organza in orange on the red-tag clearance shelf (50% of the clearance price!).  I also picked up a couple of yards of black tulle with spiders and sparkly webs on it (60% right now at my Joann's).  For trim I purchased black velvet ribbon.  I will be making the size 1 for my daughter.  Can't wait to start putting this dress together.  Anyone else making Halloween costumes right now? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mod Sampler Quilt in City Weekend Fabric

When I was digging through my fabric stash to find prints and solids for the Threaded Mess Block Drive I realized that my sewing supplies and fabrics were in total disarray.  So I did alot of sorting, folding and organizing.  It felt great to get everything in order and I found quite a few patterns and pieces of fabric that I forgot I had.  For instance, I found quite alot of fabric from the City Weekend line by Oliver + S.  I thought I had used up most of my City Weekend stash but it turns out I had 1/4 yard cuts, 1/2 yard cuts and even 1.5 yard cuts of several prints!

I decided to try to use up my City Weekend since Oliver + S is due out with a new line called Cape Ann and I know I will want to purchase some of these new prints when they hit stores in October...

  How can I justify stashing a bunch of Cape Ann when I still have so much City Weekend on hand?  I can't - so I must sew first, then shop. 

I'm pairing my City Weekend prints with solids in pink, blue, yellow, green and grey and using the free Mod Sampler Quilt pattern (by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson).  I'm thinking that I will do 2" rows of white sashing.  Binding color is still up in the air.  I will probably do a pieced back but I'm waiting to plan that untill I see what fabrics and amounts I have left over after I've pieced the front. 

Here are some of my completed blocks.  I have really been enjoying the simple piecing work for these blocks.  Relaxing late night sewing during these stressfull back to school times!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

And now a break from your regularly scheduled programming...

This blog is about my sewing projects but I thought I'd do a couple of posts here about a small renovation project I've got happening at our house right now.  We have a small room, just to the left as you enter our front door.  This is a little sitting room that is about 6'x10' with 11' ceiling, wainscoating, great moldings, an original fire place (not currently in working order) and windows on 2 walls.   When we bought the house 5 years ago this little room had fabric glued to the walls and ceiling.  The fabric was blue with huge faded pink roses all over it and rips and holes in the fabric here and there where previous owners had hung things on the walls.  Not good.  Today the room looks like this...

Generally, when we do some type of work on our house my main goal is to upgrade the wiring and add modern conveniences without loosing the original character of our 100 year old home.  So far my husband has pulled the fabric off the walls and ceiling and we have had new windows installed - I chose windows with a row of cottage panes at the top to match the look of the original double hung windows we still have in some other rooms of the house. 

This room gets plenty of day light but at night this sconce is the only current source of light in the room - it is hot wired and you screw the light bulbs in and out to turn in on and off. 

An electrician will come next week to wire the room for a ceiling fixture and light switch.  I chose this hanging fixture:

Then my plaster guy will come rehab the walls including any damage done by the electrician.  Currently the walls have alot of this going on:

Then comes the fun part - paint, window treatments, furniture and stuff for the walls. 

The room will be used as a sitting room and a place for guests to hang their coats and catch their breath as they come into the house.  There isn't alot of room for furniture and the like.  Maybe one nice chair with a side table?  The ceilings are high though and I'd like to draw the eye up.  I would love to find BIG art work to hang.  My current thinking is that I will keep the walls, upholstry and window treatments nuetral and bring in big swaths of color with the art work and other accents.  However, I'm nervous about over doing it because the room already has alot of architectural interest with all of the wood moldings and such.  We'll see how it goes.  I am no decorator and constantly agonize over what to do with our house.  I'll show some more pictures as soon as we have some progress!