Monday, July 27, 2015

my view lately

Samples, writing, samples, revising. Getting very close to finishing up the Gold Ring pattern. Yay!

Monday, July 20, 2015

pompeja pillow cover(s)

One for me and one for my birthday girl sister, Lori. Pillow covers make great handmade gifts! No fastener required if you do an envelope opening in the back. You can showcase gorgeous fabric without using a lot of yardage, just 19 inches square for an 18 inch pillow. Easy to mail, too. These colors seemed right up my sister's alley. They sure ping my meter. Brights on dulls! My favorite. I'll get yours in the mail to you, Lori!

I used my own tutorial to make them. Even though pillow covers are pretty simple to sew I was a little vague on how I did my piping last time. My blog comes in pretty handy to me. Har. I'm my most loyal reader.

The fabric is that vintage Swedish curtain piece I recently purchased. I have some scraps leftover that I can use another way. It's just too pretty to throw away.

In situ. How I hate this old brown couch in our dining-area-turned-sitting-room. I think the color is called "Slough of Despond". But the new pillow certainly makes it easier on the eyes. I'd so love to replace the couch with a light and bright Ektorp. Someday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

wiksten tova for me

Finally the follow through. I actually bought this pattern two years ago. I was fizzing with excitement to make myself heaps of cute tunic tops at the time. Then the muslin I made was too small and I was stymied by the adjustments needed for my shoulders, yada yada yada...couple years go by and I attempted it again.

I used a chambray linen blend by Robert Kaufman that I had in the stash. I'd say it was a success overall. I think it's a cute top and this is the first time I've ever sewn set-in sleeves without wanting to cry. They eased in like a dream. The photos in the pattern are a bit hard to decipher (because of the fabric she used) so I read this great Tova sew-along by VeryKerryBerry and she has some really useful tips.

I made it in a larger size overall this time to fit my shoulders and ended up having to take it in quite a bit on the sides. I think if I did it over I might just try to widen the shoulders instead of sizing up. I think the neck looks too gapey on me in this size and I'm not thrilled with the way the collar lays open. I think I might try to make the neck opening smaller next time.

The trickiest part by far was sewing in the yoke. It's makes for some pretty weird contortions as you sew!

Two minor mods I made: I cut 1/2 inch off the collar piece. I made it as is on the first try and it stood out in a strange way, probably because the neck opening is too roomy. I redid it with a thinner collar as shown. I also added three tucks to the hem just to jazz it up a bit.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

what I'm up to

Busy, busy, busy. I always envision lazy summers but somehow that never happens. Doing lots but blogging little. Sewing, traveling to see family, teaching Bible classes (I just finished a quarter with my truly awesome 4-6th graders), VBS madness.

And of course I'm working on two patterns right now, the Gold Ring ornament (5th in the Twelve Days series) and the EarlyBird NightOwl Pillow. Busy digitizing pattern pieces and making test samples for both.

I've sewn a couple of shirts for myself but I can't seem to find a good time to photograph them. Or the motivation to get shots of me wearing them. Or the courage to show you. I'll do that soon. Ish.

And my head was completely turned recently by this vintage curtain remnant on Etsy. I love the combination of the brights with the dull brown. It's a 60s print called Pompeja by Swedish designer Marta-Lena Bjerhagen. It needs to become a pillow for my couch. I'll squeeze that in between samples.

I hope your summer is going well! Or your winter, for my friends in the southern hemisphere.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

testing, testing

Very first try at custom printing at Spoonflower for the quick-sew version of the Early Bird Night Owl pillow. The colors came out better than I thought from the screen preview, though some patterns are darker than anticipated.

This is a big experiment with both the method and the cost effectiveness. So far I really don't like the results that I get sewing together the small pieces like the beak and eyebrows. Those would look much better in felt, IMO. The small size makes them kind of a pain to turn and the stuffed shape doesn't look smooth even when I carefully clip the allowances. I'm rethinking those parts.

I'm considering having the large pieces pre-printed (front and back of the bird) and then just adding felt and pom accents. That would sure be a lot cuter and easier. And you could also embellish with trims and embroidery if you wanted to. And maybe that way it would fit on a fat quarter. I'll have to check that. That would bring the cost down.

And no worries, I'm also working on the traditional sewing pattern for this in woven cottons with applique, felt accents, and poms!

Friday, June 12, 2015

painted my brown brick hearth white, check

For so long I've wanted to do this. Why O why did I wait?

I um. Didn't mention it directly to my husband just before I did it. I totally did mention it several months ago to him and received a noncommittal noise in reply that completely might have meant 'Yes, please do this, it will be gorgeous' or may have possibly meant 'Over my dead body'.

I got the bee in my bonnet a few weeks ago to follow through so I went right out to the home improvement store and got a quart of stain blocking paint/primer in one, matte finish. Thanks, Mr Paintguy. I actually needed every bit of that quart because the brick and mortar are so porous.

Here's a before shot and also an action shot taken by my daughter. I didn't even think about taking a before shot until she mentioned it right before I started in on the mortar. She'll make a better blogger than I. The brick is the same brick as the accent on the outside of our house and just looked so dated in my light/bright room. It was a light sucker, especially with that black gas stove in the middle.

And yes, I managed to get paint in my hair. The painting took a few hours because I'm super picky about getting very accurate edges.

I wanted pretty full coverage but I didn't get the brush in every nook and cranny. Before I started painting, I considered just hitting the high spots of the brick with a roller instead of a brush to create a more distressed, patchy look. I was afraid it would be too busy in the small space. I wonder if I could go back with sandpaper and knock off some of the paint in random spots? I'm kind of enjoying the white out right now though.

When Michael got home I was in our bedroom. I heard him pause in the family room. I squinched my eyes and called "Don't you LOVE it?? I think it's GORGEOUS." (go for the over-the-top sale)
Short pause.
Then he said, very kindly, as he came into the bedroom and loosened his tie, "I don't love it yet."

He later mentioned that he was going to get used to it quicker than he thought. (For the win!) Now to get rid of the man-chair.

Monday, June 1, 2015

oh my! thank you, National Nonwovens

You know very well my strong feelings about wool felts, so you also know what a stack of happy this was to get in the mail. SIGH. This gorgeous and generous fat quarter sample pack is from National Nonwovens! Oh, the things I will make.

If you are not familiar with National Nonwovens it's probably because they are primarily wholesale. They offer such a wide range of lovely felts. It took me a good while to peruse all their color cards. They have options for 100% wools, wool blends, bamboos and acrylics. And of course, wool roving. Chances are if you've made something with a wool-blend felt, it was made by National Nonwovens!

I was also delighted to be featured in their newsletter and to have my Partridge & Pear ornament set displayed at the National Nonwovens spring quilt market booth in Minneapolis. What an honor! Thanks again, Christin!