Friday, July 13, 2018

Goldilocks and the Three Quilts

You all know the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, but have you heard of Goldilocks and the three quilts?
I've been collecting Alison Glass fabrics and particularly saving the handcrafted line and the sun prints for a special day when inspiration might strike.
While deciding on what projects I wanted to work on at my retreat in May, I knew I wanted to finally work with my AG stash.  I cut 9" squares of all the Alison Glass and planned to make a simple, sort of rainbow order quilt. I cut all the squares before I left for Wisconsin, so I was able to have a finished quilt top a few hours after arriving at Stitch Supply Retreat Center.

When it came time to quilt it I pulled out all the thread spools with colors of the quilt. I didn't use all of them but I did use a lot of the 20 colors that I had pulled out. 

Straight, horizontal lines, about 1/2" apart, seemed like the right way to quilt it. I had a little problem with puckering while quilting this piece, but I blame that on my lack of experience with my new Juki machine and the fact that I used voile to back it. All the lovely crinkles of the quilting created after laundering pretty much made the puckers disappear.

I used this great print of Alison Glass voile/lawn for the backing. It makes the quilt so light and super comfy. I also made a few matching pillowcases. I've heard for years how soft and comfortable lawn pillowcases are to sleep with. I'd made them for gifts in the past but never for myself, until now.

AT 68" x 84", it's a perfect size for my side of the bed. I think I have slept with it every night since I finished it at the end of May. The binding is another Alison Glass fabric, a near solid in bright pink.

This quilt is the one Goldilocks tried out first. She really liked it, but I had my heart set on it so this one belongs to Mama Bear.

Whenever I pull out a big pile of fabric I really dislike folding it and putting it away after I cut a square or two here and there. I needed to make a quilt for a baby shower gift. It's my sweet friend's second baby, so I usually like to make a family picnic sized quilt instead of a baby quilt. Since I had these fabrics still out in my sewing room I decided to use them for Lindsay's quilt, too. Combined with a charcoal yarn dyed chambray and using a free pattern by Faith Jones, on the Bernina blog We All Sew, I cut all the components for the quilt one day and then took a few days to piece it.  

I really didn't want to quilt this one myself, because it was quite large, so I called one of the long arm quilters I have used and asked if she could have it finished in a week. She started out by saying she was getting ready to go on she'd hurry and get it done right away. By right away she meant she'd do it in one day! I just love the all over motif she used because it has so many different combinations of swirls, bubbles and squares. This gave the quilt great movement.

Because I was running out of time I was not able to order fabric for the backing or binding. I had to find something at our local quilt store and they really don't carry my style of fabrics. It was my lucky day when I found this traditional batik, which had a very modern look to it. I used it as the backing and the binding.

Since this is the biggest quilt in the trio it would definitely be Papa Bear's quilt. Goldilocks gave it a try but I told her not to get too comfortable;  this one was going to someone very dear to me. At approximately 85" x 86", I'm hoping it will be the picnic/beach quilt for the growing family of my friend Lindsay and her husband, Scott and their growing family.

I grabbed the remaining fabrics and used the improv stripe method to piece a baby quilt. I spray basted this quilt, trying out a method my friend, Debbie, had suggested on her blog. I've never used the design wall to spray baste vertically instead of on the floor. It worked really well for this small sized quilt. I'll have to try it on a larger quilt sometime soon. 
I had a small piece of wool batting and some IKEA Nummers print for the backing. I managed to make it work, despite the fact that I barely had enough of the batting or the backing.


Quilted with Wonderfil Invisible Thread on my Juki 150QVP. I'm still having thread breakage issues, but for the most part "Justine" liked this thread.

This small quilt measures 34" x 47" after laundering. Goldilocks tried it out but declared, "This quilt is too small".

Dear readers, just because I like you so much, here are some lovely photos of flowers growing in my garden this summer.

And, in case you were wondering, the part of Goldilocks was played by Martha Stewart Labradoodle!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Gambier Jacket

Since I first fell in love with knitting, about 6 years ago, I hoped I would gain the skills to make Mr. Romance a sweater. After finishing three sweaters for myself in the last year I knew I was ready to tackle something a little more complicated and worthy of making for Paul. 

men's gambier jacket

I first saw the Gambier Jacket on Instagram and knew this would fulfill my desire to knit for Paul. I love the color work, the bulky yarn and the fact that it reminds me of a sweater you might see Adam Levine wearing. It's very stylish and looks so warm and cozy, too.

men's gambier jacket

When I began knitting this sweater, I never imagined it would only take me 10 days to complete it. From start to finish, it was a most satisfying project.

I liked the example on Ravelry so much, that I decided to use the very same yarn the designer used when I made Paul's jacket.

I found the most perfect buttons to finish this jacket. They are made of fallen antlers that have been recovered in the forest. They really are perfect and the fact that each one is a little bit different makes them even more special.

antler buttons

Paul was a very willing model and hammed it up pretty good in several photos.

I had enough of the yarn leftover to make him a matching hat. I'm pretty sure that men don't wear matchy-matchy knits, but he'll have the hat to keep him warm when we travel.

It wasn't until I was editing the photos and deciding which ones to use in this blog post that I discovered a big boo-boo on the left front piece. I used the wrong color yarn in the pattern. What should be the honey colored yarn is grey in one of the diamond motifs.

After knitting this sweater, blocking it, admiring it several times, it wasn't until I was photographing Paul wearing it that I noticed the error. There was no way I was going to unpick the entire sweater, so I fixed it (visually) by stitching over the errors with the right colored yarn...cross-stitch style. It's not a perfect fix but it sure won't draw my eye to the error each time Paul wears the sweater.

 In this photo the honey and the white yarns sort of run together and look the same color
He's looking mighty handsome in his jacket AND he was a real good sport modeling this for me during our 90'F heatwave, last weekend. It's a good thing we did it then because it's 105'F this weekend.

I understand there is a Ladies version of the Gambier jacket . I think I need to make myself one now.

Sweater Stats
                    Size 46
               50% Canadian Rambouillet 50% Alpaca
               Colors: Ash, Snow and Honey
Needles: Lykke Interchangeable circular needles sizes 10 and 11
Buttons: Natural, fallen antler, Purchased at Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. in Long Beach, California


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

My Body Model

If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I am completely obsessed with a new web app called My Body Model. What you might not know is that I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was growing up. If you've not heard about the My Body Model app, it is a Beta app where you can put in all your body measurements and produce a croquis for designing clothing, trying out patterns and designing knitwear.
Here's what mine looks like.

Then I use an app on my iPad called SketchClub and my Apple Pen to draw and design, adding hair and coloring in the garment I have sketched. You can even audition fabrics. This is a drawing of my Easter Dress and me wearing it on Mother's Day. I like using the Sketch Club app on my iPad because it doesn't waste paper and I can easily add or subtract lines and colors I have used to design my garments and fabric combinations. My sketches have improved from when I first started drawing just 2 weeks ago.

Sometimes I just sketch to see what a style might look like on my pear shaped body.

This is my first complete sketch to finished dress. I photographed the fabric then used it in the Sketch Club app to see how it might look made up in Simplicity Pattern 6467. I'm so pleased with this dress and the gorgeous Viscose Poplin I purchased from Blackbird Fabrics.

Knitters can also design using the app. I didn't design this Gambier Jacket, but I did make it for Paul. There's a woman's version that I just might make for myself after seeing this sketch.

Trying to decide if I should make the mid-length or the long length Winslow Culottes, I've scanned in the fabric I want to use and I'm leaning toward the longer length. 

I enjoy sketching so much, I'm even sketching clothes I see others wearing. Growing up, I remember my mother had a beautiful coat that I called "the oatmeal coat", because it looked like someone had spilled a box of uncooked oatmeal all over the wool fabric. My sister and I have been trying to find a photo of mom wearing the coat, but so far, no luck. I've always wanted to recreate that coat and after sketching it on my body croquis I think I need to make it a priority.

I've sketched in different arm positions on some of my drawings and even altered the croquis to simulate a back image, hopefully Erica will be incorporating these things into her app soon. I'd love to recreate the gown that Barbra Streisand wore in her 1967 concert in Central Park.

Erica has a design class of videos on her YouTube channel. So far we have learned how to draw necklines and sleeves. It's really fun to follow along. Who knows, I might become a fashion designer after all!

If you'd like to see more sketches and also know more of how sewing has given me more confidence, pop on over to the My Body Model website where I am a guest blogger today.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Making a Handbag

I am not a fan of a large purse and designer handbags don't impress me. For me, a handbag need only have two qualities, be lightweight and only be large enough to carry the few essentials I need with me; those essentials are my wallet, a lipstick, my cell phone and a small bag of "stuff" (Kleenex, gum, a pen and maybe medicine or vitamins). That's it!! Oh, and it must be attractive.
The Hampton Handbag fits all the criteria and it is easily made in an afternoon.
I first discovered Upstyle Designs when I saw Robin on the Martha Stewart Living TV show, a long time ago. Her patterns are really well written and turn out perfectly each time.
I made one adjustment to the pattern. I added two inches of height to the pattern, making the bag finish at 10" x 10" x 4" deep.

hampton handbag

I made the Hampton Handbag using a cork fabric that I purchased from Sew Sweetness. The cork is easy to sew with and really does not require any special treatment. You just want to measure twice and pay attention to where your seam lines are supposed to be. You really don't want to unpick stitches when using cork fabric because the needle makes holes in the fabric. I sewed with regular Aurifil 50 wt. thread and a size 14 leather needle.

The inside of the bag has two pockets, one with a zipper, the other without a zipper, making a perfect place to put your cell phone for easy accessibility.

I purchased the black finish hardware kit from Upstyle Designs which even included purse feet. If you're like me you dislike putting your handbag on the floor in a public place. I try to keep it close by and find a chair to put it on. If that is not available, then the purse feet help to keep the bottom of the bag off of the ground.

Most sewists have had a go at making a "bag style" purse, but making a framed handbag ups your game and gives the bag a real pro look. Give it a try.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mandy Boatneck Tee

A few weeks ago I ordered this yummy French Terry from the Imagine Gnat's website. I thought it would make the perfect summer tee shirt to wear for the July 4th holiday.

I used my iPad and My Body Model croquis to sketch three different tee shirts. I was leaning toward making the Mandy Boatneck tee but asked my Instagram friends for their opinions to help make my decision. My IG friends were split between the Mandy and the Mimosa and it was a resounding NO to the Tabor. It just does not go well with these stripes.

The Mandy Boatneck Tee is a free pattern on the Tessuti website. I first heard about it a long time ago but was dissuaded by the One Size category, knowing that I do not fit into a one size fits most pattern. Recently, while listening to the Love To Sew Podcast I heard Caroline mention that she loves this pattern, so I thought I would give it a go. I read a few blog posts about it and knew I would need to enlarge the sleeve, because it runs really small and also lower the front neckline a bit.

I've drawn out a little sketch of the changes I made to make the pattern fit my arms and to lower the front neckline 1/2". I spent an afternoon making this tee shirt. The instructions are clear and it was an easy sew using my serger and a twin needle on the Bernina. It would have gone even quicker, but I cut the sleeves with the stripes going the wrong way and had to re-cut them. It's a good thing I had enough fabric to do so.

The final garment turned out just as I had hoped. Our eldest son usually comes to California for the July 4th holiday (and his birthday) but this year they'll be staying in Arizona for his son's volleyball tournament. I'll miss our annual beach party but instead I'll be wearing my new Mandy Boatneck Tee to our community's boat parade.

mandy boatneck tee

I'll be making more Mandy's and I think I will elongate the back by 2-3 inches and do a split side seam.