Posted on January 31, 2013
It is finished! My #scrappytripalong quilt is all done–and I could not be more in love, seriously.
What’s really funny (although I totally should not admit this here, because I’m sure I’ll be un-invited to parties from now on if I do) is that just a few months ago, I remember telling my friend Elle that I was “done with this whole quilting thing–I mean, I think it’s out of my system.” Given that I whipped this out within four days of the whole virus getting started on Instagram, and now have a list of no fewer than seven planned quilts on my wall PLUS the other six I cut and prepped and put in project bags last fall, it seems apparent that I am not “over this whole quilting thing” in the least. But, you know, like any other kind of sewing or creating, I think it comes in waves and stages–and I feel like I’m coming out of a trough and back up toward a cresting peak. Which is exhilarating.
I think my favorite thing about this quilt is the bright, bright colors and the punctuation of white throughout. It’s so cheerful and spring-y, great for the gloomy rainy day I shot these photos. Something about the black-and-white polka dot binding really spoke to me, like a whimsical frame around the body of the quilt.
The quilting is very simple lattice stitching, diagonally in both directions through every other row of squares. I thought at first I would do diagonals and then straight lines parallel to every other seam, like Rita’s, but after I did the diagonals (which were totally fun–I just eyeballed them and it was quick and satisfying), I loved the way it looked and figured I’d leave well enough alone. Plus, at 72″ x 72″, this quilt is pretty huge, and I was tuckered from wrestling it up on the table.
The back is pieced from some random chunks of fabric from my stash–which seemed appropriate for a scrappy quilt. The strip of Kona white was leftover from making the strips for the quilt top, and I liked the way it breaks up the larger sections of fabric.
I’m taking my #scrappytripalong with me tonight to the new West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild meeting for show-and-tell, too! Will you be there? So fun to have a new quilt guild forming, and to see the sheer level of excitement and involvement that is already springing up–I know the ladies who are organizing the guild are looking forward to a good turn-out tonight. If you’re an Atlanta local, I hope to see you there!
Posted on January 29, 2013
Remember last year, when you guys gave me suggestions for a manly Valentine’s Day gift, and I made up a tutorial for all of us (plus a round-up of other tutes around the web)? Yeah, that was totally fun.
Who’s up for another round? I’m looking for suggestions for a great hand-made gift for guys for Valentine’s Day. Throw ’em out there, no matter how crazy they might sound. Anything goes, as long as it’s manly(ish) and can be sewn–doesn’t even have to be out of fabric, if that’s how you roll. I’ll run through the suggestions and work up a tutorial for ONE idea in the next week, and debut a free tutorial on Friday, Feb 8! Just in time to whip up something awesome for that gift-receiving man in your life.
Posted on January 28, 2013
It’s not too late to join the Sewing Knits e-course! If you loved the knit tee from Stitch Savvy, but you’re not quite sure you’re feeling confident enough to work with the jersey or interlock fabrics you’re seeing around, this is the perfect chance to join a five-week class mastering those techniques. And even if you’ve conquered your fear, Sewing Knits is such a great way to cement those foundational skills, meet other like-minded folks, and sew up some really great projects! (You could always try one of the other sewing e-courses for 2013, too. Just saying.)
Speaking of the knit tee, let’s announce the winners of the Stitch Savvy sample giveaway!
For the Reversible Quilted Satchel, it’s number 41:
For the Knit Tee, it’s 80:
Congratulations, Emily K and Monique! I’ll email you both separately to get your shipping addresses and send these prizes off to you.
If you didn’t win, maybe you’ll feel better if you have a Sewing Buddy?
Sewing Buddy pairs are still being made and Buddies notified via email–never fear, if you haven’t gotten your introductory email, it just means I’m still working on finding your perfect match in the swirly-whirly bin of Sewing Buddy magic! Sign-ups for 2013 close on Feb 1, so click on over and get yours while you still can!
Posted on January 23, 2013
OK, I’ve been promising all along throughout the Stitch Savvy blog tour, and here it is: I’m giving away TWO samples of projects from the book! These are the actual samples, made by me and photographed here on the blog or within the pages of the book, using the patterns and projects included in Stitch Savvy.
First up, the knit tee! This has been a really popular project throughout the blog tour, and I personally love this top. But I’ve got the blue one from the book, and so I am letting this one go! It’s a very drapey Italian jersey knit, lightweight but easy to layer. It’s made on the size M from the Knit Tee pattern, which is a size 6/8 in off-the-rack (but it has a good amount of ease plus it’s a stretchy jersey, so the sizing is pretty forgiving). I think it’s such a great top for spring/summer/fall layering!
Second sample you could win? The Reversible Quilted Satchel from the book, in the amazing Japanese cotton/linen canvas Paris print! I adore this bag, and the fabric, but giving this one away will just motivate me to make another–and it’s such a dreamy fabric! Perfect size, just the right shape, plenty of body but without being heavy. Fabulous bag, and on its way to a loving home, I hope!
To win one of these projects and have it sent right to your very home, simply LEAVE A COMMENT here. Tell me WHICH of the two you’d like–I’ll choose randomly for each prize, but want to be sure if you want the tee and not the bag that you don’t end up with the bag and find yourself disappointed! If you’d be happy with either, just say EITHER in your comment.
Giveaway is open to anyone, worldwide. Comments will close on Saturday, January 26 at midnight. Winner will be awarded Monday, January 28!
While you’re at it, sign up for a Sewing Buddy? That closes Feb 1, so get those requests in now! I’m already pairing folks up and just getting ready to send out the first batch of Buddy matches! Woot!
Posted on January 22, 2013
The final day of the Stitch Savvy blog tour! I’m so pleased to have my dear friend Marisa of Creative Thursday writing about the book today--she and I met through Lizzy House at Quilt Market years ago, and I think she is just smart, and funny, and open and kind. I always enjoy spending time hanging out with her on the rare occasions when we’re in the same city, so reading what she has to say about my book is extra sweet!
And as the last sample to share that didn’t make it into the pages of the book, I’ve got TWO versions of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dress!
I make no secret of the fact that I love Back to the Future. And in the scene where Marty takes his mother to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, she’s wearing this divine 50s full-skirted, fitted-bodice dress with a little accent flap in a contrasting fabric on the upper edge of the bodice:
In my memory, the upper edge didn’t have that little snip-and-dip to it, and so the design of the dress from the book reflects that. My goal wasn’t to re-create the costume exactly but rather to create a dress that’s modern and wearable and that channels the feel and the shape of the 50s–but that’s also completely SEW-able for someone of nearly any skill level. I feel as though I’ve done that, and this is now one of my very favorite styles from the book.
This version is the one I made for myself this past Easter (and a coordinating one with straps, from the book, for my oldest child), and believe it or not, it’s made out of quilting cotton. I know! Nothing super fancy or hard to find at all, just a lovely print in a familiar cotton. The bodice is lined with the same print, and there is interfacing throughout. No fancy boning or complicated seaming, just a clean, easy sundress that feels great to wear. The shaping is from darts at the front and back waist, and at the side bust. There’s an invisible zipper at center back, and a nice, simple hem.
For this version, I wanted to exploit the stripes in this print, so rather than cutting the bodice on the fold at center front, I cut it in two pieces, on the bias, and created a chevron with the stripes where they meet at center front, instead. I loooooove the effect, and it has been a super popular display piece at the shop!
There is one alternate version featured in the book–the original dress has straps, of course, and one strapless version is shown on the boo’s pages. When the photos were taken, though, the stylist neglected to fold down the flap at the upper bodice edge! Eeek! I don’t think it’s the end of the world, and I certainly love every single photo in the book, but the dress is designed so that you can leave the flap UP for more coverage or when you make it with straps, as a sundress, and worn DOWN for a sassier strapless dress look. This one is in an amazing silk taffeta from Italy, and I bought it simply because I wanted to have this dress in something so pretty, to wear to some summer party to which I have yet to be invited but I just know I will because this dress should NOT go to waste:
I love the straight seam at the waistline, and the fullness of the skirt that isn’t too poofy and overwhelm me with frilliness. I love the fitted simplicity of the bodice, and how simple this entire style is to sew. It’s really fun to make, and makes me feel so pretty to wear!
Be sure to take some time to explore Marisa’s blog while you’re there reading her Stitch Savvy post today! She has some amazing paintings that I love, and her own book about her creative journey and how you can tap into your own–a book that is so warm and well written that I can’t imagine you can make it another day without owning it. Marisa’s fabric, too? Yes, thank you!
Tomorrow here on the blog: I’m giving away two of the samples featured in Stitch Savvy! That’s right: two of the projects shown in the book could belong to YOU. See you then!
Posted on January 21, 2013
Today, in the next-to-last post on the Stitch Savvy blog tour, I’m so pleased to have Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread giving her review of the book! Ellen is such a talented lady, with such a keen eye for clean, modern design. I’m so excited to see what she thinks of the book–and totally love her fabric suggestions for the projects she liked best.
And I’m sharing the alternate view of the Piped Footstool Slip Cover, which has been really popular with folks over the course of the tour:
This is such a fun, simple slip cover to sew up, and the piping really makes it pop. In Stitch Savvy, the original slip cover is straight and fitted. This one is a gathered variation, which is also featured in the book as an alternate construction. I love how light and fluffy it is–just right for a soft girls room! This was made for an Ikea footstool that came in a number of variations–inexpensive and just the right size for adding a seat in any room in the house!
And when you have such cute babies who need seats, why not add an ottoman or footstool to every room, right? I wish the pink in this Anna Maria fabric worked better with the girls’ room, because this sweet footstool would totally live in there if it did.
Take some time to tour Ellen’s blog while you’re there to read her review of Stitch Savvy! She’s got an amazing array of tutorials, but even better than that, she does regular round-ups of tutorials around the web, making it a great one-stop place to find a huge range of ideas and sewing projects. Plus, Ellen’s new fabric line, Stamped, makes me actually drool with desire!
Last stop on the Stitch Savvy blog tour is tomorrow, and Wednesday of this week I’m giving away TWO samples from the book!
Posted on January 18, 2013
Hooray!! Stitch Savvy blog tour, day…not sure what day, but everything has been so pretty and so fun that I could totally do this forever, so let’s not spoil it by counting, OK? Today, I am so excited to have Rachel from Stitched in Color as part of the tour with her Reversible Girls Dress:
This project was designed years ago, actually, back when I was still manufacturing children’s clothing–it was one of my favorite designs ever, because it includes all the attributes that make me love a garment for my girls, like reversibility, adjustability and subtle retro styling.
The dress is really TWO dresses sewn together at the tie ends around the upper edge, and then hemmed together (with or without the rick rack that Rachel used–is that darling??). That way, if you’re in our family, anyway,
if when you spill yogurt down the front of your freshly-laundered dress, Mom can simply flip it over and you’ve got a whole new (mostly) clean dress to wear! On top of that, the ties are fully functional rather than being decorative, which means that as she grows, the dress can be adjusted: it’s a mid-calf dress when she’s little, then a mid-thigh tunic as she gets taller, then a hip-length top before she’s too big to wear it! The sizes are listed as XS-L, but our girls would wear the size S from age 2 up to age 5 with no trouble at all. Love!
Plus, because this style takes hardly any fabric, it’s a great chance for you to show off those bits of fabric that you don’t want to break up into a quilt, and enjoy them for so much longer. I hated it when my girls would outgrow something that I loved–what on earth was I supposed to do with an outgrown garment in fabric that I really, truly, deeply loved?? With this style and its simple retro A-line shape, you don’t have to make that decision. You can put it over a tee shirt or under a cardigan, wear it with shorts or with pants, or all by itself–all year long (much like the Pinafore; there is a method to my madness, y’all). Rachel did find a bit of errata in her construction of this dress, for which I am thankful–keep your eyes out for a Stitch Savvy (hopefully very short) errata page with updates!
Take some time to tour Rachel’s blog while you’re there reading more details about her Reversible Girls Dress. I’m so flattered and tickled, seriously, to read what she had to say about the Paving Stones Quilt! It was such a fun quilt to design, and to think about all the variations that could come out of the pattern–knowing that someone who is such a skilled and talented quilter, who loves to work with color and shape and improv the way Rachel does, was attracted to and inspired by my design is such a day-brightener! Rachel uses print and color in such amazing ways, and always pushes herself to experiment with new techniques and new looks in her quilting–plus her voice on her blog is so friendly and honest and transparent in her journey as someone who sews that it’s a true joy to read each day’s post. Check out especially her gallery of finished quilts and her (very impressive) work over at do.Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee run through Flickr.
Next week, the last couple of stops on the Stitch Savvy blog tour, and a chance to win one of TWO samples from the book!
Posted on January 17, 2013
Today on the blog tour, I’m excited that my friend Dana from MADE is taking part and reviewing Stitch Savvy! Dana was one of the very first internet friends I ever made, more than five years ago, and her style and color sense and exceedingly good taste have made her one of the real vanguard in the online sewing community. I’m so proud and grateful to call her friend, and so excited that she had such lovely things to say about Stitch Savvy! If you haven’t had a chance to see the projects inside the book yet, her post includes some lovely photos of the pages and highlights some of her favorites.
Once you’ve done that, check out the Knit Top from the Garments section!
This is an alternate fabric for this top, one which didn’t fit into the Garments chapter. The model (the very, very happy model, as folks have pointed out–the one with the awesome hair) was wearing this blue version:
I chose the blue first–as anyone who shops for fabric with me will cheerfully tell you, if something comes in blue or green, I’m almost certain to get it in those colors. I don’t think of blue as my favorite color–if you asked me, I’d tell you it was leaf green or Whipstitch yellow–but I sure do own and wear a lot of it. So when I made this version of the top originally, I fully intended it to end up in my own closet.
I love the V-neck, and the way the easy gathers accent the best parts of a woman’s figure, but downplays the parts that most of us would rather downplay. Very loosely fitted at the waist, so it’s great for casual wear, but with the pretty neckline, it also looks great under a blazer or with a scarf.
This fabric is a lovely silky jersey that feels amazing on, and the blue is actually teeny tiny circles that overlap one another. I didn’t he the sleeves or the lower hem, because I like that vaguely bohemian look that comes with letting the jersey roll at the edges the way it does.
This other version is a French import print that I think is really edgy and fun. It has a little more body than the blue jersey does, which makes the gathers pop even more.
I love that this pattern has an easy raglan sleeve that is both easy to sew and easy to wear–no easing in the sleevecap to get a good fit, but a smooth edge where the seams join.
And I love the clean line of the neckline, but that it also meets the soft gathers at the bustline. It makes for a flirty feminine top that doesn’t push the line into girly. It’s a comfortable, flattering knit top for a grown-up.
I’m actually not at all surprised that this has been one of the most popular projects in the book so far. I know it was one of the very first that I had in my head when I was writing the book, and that I knew for sure belonged there. So I’m really excited to see that everyone else seems to feel the same way!
Speaking of which, if you’re loving this knit top and wanting to make it but not sure you have the skills and experience, there’s still space in my Sewing Knits e-course that starts in just a couple of weeks! This is a five-week class that’s really fun–and covers everything from where to get knit fabric and how to find the best stuff online all the way to how to sew a really lovely seam with just your sewing machine. See more details and register on the Sewing Knits e-course page!
Giant thanks again to Dana for her post in the Stitch Savvy blog tour today! I would be startled and shocked, honestly, if you told me you weren’t already reading her blog–she is such a brilliant and funny and down-to-earth lady, and has had such a tremendous impact within the online community with her gorgeous photos and really clever projects and ideas. There is so much about her blog to love, but check out for sure her Rollie Pollie pattern (I’ll be making one of these for our boy’s room when he moves up to his big boy bed) and her Diaper Cover tutorial (we have used this a ZILLION times), and of course the Shirt Dress, which might just be the tutorial that started it all. She’ll be your new best (online) friend!
Keep checking in on all the Stitch Savvy blog tour posts, and come back right here next week for a giveaway of TWO of the samples from the book PLUS a freebie for everyone!
Posted on January 16, 2013
Another exciting day on the Stitch Savvy blog tour! Today, Katy from Monkey Do (you might know her by her Twitter/Instagram handle I’m A Ginger Monkey) is sharing her fave projects from the new book. Hers might also be my favorite reaction on seeing the book for the first time–she said, “It’s beautiful! And HUGE!” Which made me laugh, but also feel puffed up with pride that a book with my name on it could get that kind of reaction from someone who has for sure seen her share of sewing books. Whee!
And in my on-going series of sharing with you photos of alternate versions of the book’s projects that we couldn’t fit into the book because it was already so huge, today I’m sharing another look at the Paving Stones Quilt!
When I wrote the quilting section of Stitch Savvy–which has five projects of increasing challenge, all patchwork and quilted–I originally had a full-size quilt as the Level 5 project. Obviously. Because it’s a FULL quilt, right? But then I realized that maybe it was kinda dumb to ask readers to make four other patchwork-and-quilted projects and keep referring them to the quilting instructions for THIS project but make them wait to actually MAKE this project. Duh. So I made this the Level 1 project–the first quilted project in the quilting section is a complete quilt! Woot!
The version showcased in the book is in a really cool citron-and-grey version, which I hope will weather the test of time and be just as cool-looking ten years from now. This version, though, was always and forever made to be used in my den at our new house, which we had only just bought when I was finishing up designing this quilt.
The quilt is made with 12″ blocks, four pieces of fabric per block, and then each of the blocks can be rotated to create a seemingly-random pattern of rectangles and squares. Then, to make it even funner, I used only four fabrics in this version, two of them very close in color, and allowed like fabrics to touch each other without editing–resulting in a bunch of shapes I couldn’t have put together easily any other way. I think it makes for a very clean and modern look here in this all-Kona-solids version.
The quilting is done with a walking foot in straight lines, all spaced about 1.25″ apart. I love that really tight, straight, parallel, Japanese-inspired quilting, don’t you?
This has become one of our very favorite quilts to snuggle under while watching TV or looking out rainy windows from the playroom. Or, if you’re a four-year-old boy, to wipe your ketchup-stained chubby cheeks upon, thereby leaving stains on your mother’s brand-new quilt. Which is fine by me, actually, although I won’t be telling him that: quilts are meant to be lived with and loved, and a stain here or there just reminds me that my family love to be at home and together. (Although I might be reading too much into a ketchup stain.)
Speaking of quilting, spend some quality time catching up with Katy’s blog, I’m A Ginger Monkey, while you’re there reading her blog tour post. She’s one of the ladies to blame for suckering me into the #scrappytripalong, and does some of the most amazing things with scrap fabric that any human has ever seen. I really love her eye and her sense of style–and, quite frankly, her sheer audacity when it comes to combining colors and fabrics. Her sewing is downright inspired, and I’m delighted she’s part of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!
Stick around for more Stitch Savvy blog tour and to win one of TWO samples from the book next week!
Posted on January 15, 2013
The Lovie Blanket was designed to be part dolly and part blankie–as the mom of three kids who love their special blankies, I came by the inspiration for this very honestly (my oldest never had a blankie, but even she thinks this project is pretty cute). It’s a shaped and stuffed animal head with lined ears attached, and then the whole thing is sewn, not to an animal body, but to a soft and cuddly blanket for loving on. It has a compact size that I love, which makes it great for napping or traveling.
The original was in a white faux-fur with silky-lined ears. Carrie’s version is A-DOR-A-BLE with the textured fur and these vintage cotton prints for the ears and the blankie lining. I can hardly stand how great they turned out, and how much they look like a treasured toy from a simpler time, as if you’d walked into your parents’ or grandparents’ houses years ago and found their favorite toy, just new and fresh. So sweet!
If you’re not currently reading Carrie’s blog, This Mama Makes Stuff, you’re missing out. She makes the prettiest things, and is a true trained patternmaker and seamstress, with a really lovely bent toward the vintage that makes all her sewing turn out like something from a magazine 50 years ago. Plus, she runs and manufactures running skirts, and is the best Sewing Summit roommate I could have hoped to have. Check out especially her Rock & Roll Baby Gown tutorial–put the lovie together with that puppy and you’ve got the coolest baby shower gift in town.
See you here tomorrow for another stop on the Stitch Savvy blog tour–and next week, the big giveaway of two of the samples!