Anne, one of my bestest of buddies, just had her second daughter and since we were out of town for the big event I decided to try and make up for it with a quilt. Nothing says “I love you” like cotton. 🙂 Anyway this is the second quilt I’ve made. I used Lotta Jansdotter’s book Simple Sewing for Baby as my guide and although I like this book very much I think one of us had her math off. I could easily be wrong, but I suspect that neither of us accounted for seam allowances, so the back of my quilt was bigger than the front and I had to cut to compensate.
I still had a pretty big wrinkle in the back after I started the actual quilting, so I ended up pushing the wrinkle all to one edge and sewing it down. This solution worked pretty well. The only other issue with the blanket was my own doing. I didn’t have the patience to wait until Cool Cottons was open and so instead of using one whole piece of batting I used two rectangles one way and then overlapped it with two more rectangles going the other direction. This made for a kind of bumpy ride which I’m hoping will smooth out over time. There is also a small triangle of quilt that seems to not have ANY batting and this is, of course, beneath the lightest fabric square. Lovely.
One of the reasons I chose to use Lotta’s pattern was the pocket. I added the O(for Opal) applique by using Pellon’s Wonder Under which is super easy to use and has become practically second nature to me after doing so many capes! All and all this was a labor of love for I have definitely caught the quilting bug. PZ really wants me to make her one next. I’m thinking I’ll make her one for Winter Solstice. Something to keep her nice and cozy.
I ordered one of Amanda’s 4 Way Reversible Swing Top pattern and tutorials a couple of months ago from her Etsy shop Kitschy Coo Kids and finally found time to try it last week. The pattern was drawn on nice, thick butcher’s paper and although one of the pieces was mislabeled it was pretty easy to figure out what was what. Plus, Amanda was quick to answer any questions I had. I contacted her through Twitter, but I’m sure she’d be responsive through her shop or blog as well.
The tutorial is printed out on the front and back of 4 pieces of computer paper and has 17 process pictures. Most of the steps were easy to follow. Toward the middle, when it is explaining how to seam the sides of the shirt, things got a bit muddled for me. The pattern instructs to pin the inside fabric and to leave the outside fabric loose as you sew the side seam together. I found the mechanics of this hard to understand and the loose hanging fabric a sewing accident waiting to happen. I simply pinned inner fabric to inner fabric and outer to outer until I had a tube, then sewed it like a pant leg or shirt sleeve. Figuring this out was a bit frustrating for this beginning sewer at 11 pm in the almost pitch black hole I call a craft room. 🙂 I ended up leaving it for the night and coming back fresh the next afternoon during nap time. In the light of day it was a breeze.
My button holes ended up kind of funky as well. I should have looked more closely at the pictures online. When I made this top for Q I also made one for PZ, but the buttons ended up even stranger for that one and so I’m turning it into a double breasted top. I know it is going to look fabulous. *Don’t worry! I’ll post pictures as soon as I’m done. I hope during nap time today.
Even with those few kinks I must say I’m pretty happy with the final product. Amanda said she is hoping to start sending her patterns to get printed professionally which I think should really help. I’m planning on ordering more of her patterns soon. I like both her Tunic pattern and am excited for when the Smocky Top is written up. I think she is a great designer and I bet with a bit more tinkering her patterns and tutorials will reflect that.
When I purchased this top I also got the Double Breasted Reversible Coat pattern and tutorial which I’m very excited about for fall and I happened to have been a winner during one of her giveaways (Yay!) for her Boy’s Single Breasted Coat pattern and tutorial. So stay tuned! You’ll definitely be hearing more about Kitschy Coo patterns here in the future.
In case you are wondering about the fabric, I got the Matryoshka Dot fabric from Cool Cottons, (but you can get it at Superbuzzy)and the 30’s reproduction fabric is RJR’s 2006 Everything But the Kitchen Sink. I got it from Fabric Depot a couple of years ago. The buttons came from the button jar my mom sent me this winter. She’d been collecting them forever. PZ loves sorting through them. (Thanks Mom!) I should also send a shout out to Yancey who was a sweetheart and got me the early birthday present of a new ironing board. I’d been using one of those tiny table top numbers, but now I have a brand new baby. It is HUGE and adjustable, with a place for me to sit the iron and hang the clothes underneath. So cool!! Thanks Yancey!
If you’ve been following along you’ll know all about the Handmade Experiment and how back in January I committed myself to making all the gifts I give this year. So far this has involved some baking and woodworking and a LOT of sewing. I had done a bit of sewing before – some pillows and the lining for a crocheted bag I made for a friend, but nothing like what I’ve done this year – tote bags, kid’s clothes, costumes, and even some plushies.
My hubs says he’s really proud of me. I’m proud of me, too! Sewing and creating for myself and friends and family is something that I’ve always wished I could do. I thought it would be so hard, but its not. My best piece of advice: start out simple. Sure you want to made retro swing dresses that fit you perfectly, but why not start with a cute tote or wrap skirt? One success will give you the confidence to move on the the next project and the next. Before you know it, your friends will be asking you to sew stuff for them!
For those who are letting their lack of a machine get in the way, check out your local fabric stores and crafty shops. You might find that there are sewing machines you can rent or a space you can go to work on your project. If you live in Portland or the surrounding area, check out DIY Alert! for a map of crafty spots around town and lists of classes.
Okay, so you might have picked up I’m big on promoting handmade. To prove I’m not all talk and to be a part of the May Giveaway Day spectacular that Sew, Mama, Sew! is throwing, The Handmade Experiment is reaching out to those sewing beginners and wish-I-coulders with an awesome sewing supplies giveaway from two great Portland designers!
Posted in Handmade Projects
Tagged a fabric outlet, baking, Cool Cottons, crafty, DIY Alert!, duck fabric, eQuilter, fabric giveaway, free fabric, giveaway, Handmade Experiment, keyka lou patterns, lizzy house, May Giveaway Day, patern giveaway, pattern pdf, Portland, portland designers, red letter day, sew mama sew, sewing, sewing supplies, woodworking
While PZ and hubby did a bit of gardening, and I do mean just a bit since it was raining for most of the week, I managed to get in some sewing. I’m still building on the girls spring/summer wardrobes and was inspired to do some light cotton pants after getting a great deal on retro striped fabric from Knittin’ Kitten (it looks like what they make men’s dress shirts out of).
two pants for Q
I finished my first wrap skirt!! I used Daisy Chain fabric from Amy butler which I got at Cool Cottons. I didn’t have a pattern per se, but I did look a little at this and that to guide me through the process. Although mine didn’t come out perfect, the process was pretty easy. If you’re thinking about a first project and wanting to play around with your spring wardrobe, a wrap skirt is a really good way to go!
*pictures taken by PZ (my 3 year old daughter).
Posted in Handmade Projects
Tagged Amy Buttler fabric, beginning sewing, child photography, Cool Cottons, crafty, Daisy Chain, first skirt, links to wrap skirt tutorials, Portland, sewing, wrap skirt