Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pattern Tester: Evelyn Dress and Tunic

Recently I had the honor of being selected as a tester for Peek-a-Boo pattern shop.  I love the creative process, and was excited to get my feet wet in the tester department!

I tested the Evelyn Dress and Tunic (Click here to view more details) - a pattern Amy has had out for quite some time - but she was making some revisions AND extending the size range!  Yippee!!!

The details:
Size: 3 month through girls 12
Length options: tunic or dress
Front accent options: flat or ruffled / gathered
Hem finish options: bias tape or traditional hem

This was a pretty quick sew - I forgot to time myself (and my sewing time tends to be broken up thanks to the two munchkins who like to "help").  But I'd say around an hour.

I was asked to test the size 5 in tunic length - and I chose to do the ruffled / gathered accent and bias tape hem.

The pattern was pretty clear throughout - lots of photos.  During the testing process I had a few questions about which way to press things, etc. - and suggestions for seam finishing and top-stitching reminders and I'm excited to share that those things have been made even more clear in the final pattern - YAY!

I LOVE the back detail.  The little keyhole and ties are just too adorable!

This is such a simple, yet fun and funky, little pattern.  My little model wore her tunic with a pair of jeggings and boots and it looked adorable - but it will also be great for spring / summer with shorts!

Depending on your fabric / finish / style choices, this one could be made to have a very retro look - or a super sweet, simple top.  A few of the testers even added embellishements like lace to it - so much fun.

The fit is GREAT.  My little model wears a size 4/5 in ready-to-wear clothes and her mom says she's at that tough stage where lots of things fit funky.  This tunic was a perfect fit.  It has enough room to be able to play / move around - but the shoulders fit perfectly, the length was spot-on, and the fact it has the keyhole / ties in the back make it an easy-on and off piece of clothing.

I can't wait to sew up some more of these adorable tunics / dresses - and you shouldn't either!  Right now, this pattern is on sale for $6.95 to celebrate its re-launch! Get it here!  Yippee!

I'd love to see the Evelyns you sew up! :)


Disclosure:  In exchange for being a tester (and sewing / providing feedback directly to the designer), I was given the pattern to test for free.  I was not compensated in any other way.  The opinions above are mine alone - and are not influenced by the fact I got the pattern for free (I'd LOVE it even if I had paid for it!) :)  This post contains a few affiliate links.  Buying from Peek-a-boo patterns using these links helps make a little money for me - to allow me to continue to pursue my creative adventure.  Thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday 3/26

Before I get to what sewing I'm up to this week.... I definitely have to take a moment to wish my awesome Hubby and biggest supporter a very Happy Birthday!  The kiddos have a BIG list of "must-haves" for around the house / the "celebration" tonight when he gets home from work - so I think I'll be spending most of today baking, decorating, cleaning, and putting together some handmade gifts!


What am I sewing up this week?!


Custom orders, Etsy shop stock, apparently a "rectangle shaped pillow" for Colby....

But yesterday I stole some time to work on some of the BOM blocks for this month.  This is the latest in the month I have sewn for these quilt-a-longs since the beginning of the year - where did March go?!

Aurifil Designer of the Month {Emily Herrick} March Block
I will be combining the blocks from this quilt-a-long with the Wishes QAL and some football blocks from the "Touchdown" pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew

ViceVersa BOM - traditional block

ViceVersa BOM - inverse block

ViceVersa BOM - March blocks - traditional and inverse

ViceVersa BOM - January through March blocks.  Loving how these are looking together!

And my true WIP - I didn't quite get to my Wishes Quilt Along block for this month (but definitely will before the end of the month!) - it's all cut out and read to sew!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced - I'm link #102 this week - can't wait to see what others are sewing up!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Staggered clips: a row piecing organization techniqe

It's been a while since I have posted a "Sew with me Sunday" tutorial / tip..... but this week as I was sewing up my Project Quilting piece, I developed an organizational strategy that I thought was worth sharing!

This week's quilt design wasn't quite as straightforward as some of my designs in the past - much harder to tell as I was chain piecing squares if I had accidentally rotated one of the squares and was sewing the "top" of the pair - rather than the right side, etc.

So I needed some sort of strategy to keep track of the correct side to sew - and where each row started / stopped.

Confession:  I severely dislike pins.  Straight pins, safety pins, push pins..... you name 'em, I don't like them.

So when I discovered Wonder Clips - I KNEW I needed them ASAP.  While they don't work for EVERY situation you would use pins - they're a pretty great substitute most of the time!

I had all my half square triangles laid out in my final quilt design.
{excuse the cell phone picture - I didn't think to take a picture with my REAL camera}

I started at the left side of the quilt and laid the square from column 2 onto the one from column 1 (right sides together), column 4 on 3, column 6 on 5, and so forth.  Because this quilt has 11 columns, I had one square that wasn't part of a sandwich (yet) - column 11's square - for each row.

Then I got out my Wonder Clips.  I wasn't clipping them together to line up the sides perfectly ready for sewing - I was clipping with the purpose of keeping track of which side of the square to sew, and which pairing (2&1, 4&3, etc.) this was.

Here you can see rows 9 through 12 of my quilt - with the clips staggered for each row.  And a dump truck.

I used sticky notes to write labels for each row - and just clipped them onto the column 1 & 2 pairing.

Here are a few more close-up shots of the pairs...

You can see that column 11 is not paired up - I left it positioned just as it would be for the quilt.

Then I stacked each row - with column 11's square on the bottom (keeping the "right" edge in line with the clips)

A close-up shot of row 12 - see how the clips are staggered?  Another bonus - - - this makes it so that your clips don't stack directly on top of one another!

Then I stacked the piles for each row on top of one another - in numerical order.  This stack is rows 9 through 12.  I found a stack of 4 rows was perfect - I wasn't afraid it was going to topple over.

As I sewed up each pairing, I continued to clip the number to the first bit of each row.  I sewed 4 rows at a time - so this helped me not lose track of where each row started and stopped.

This picture shows rows 5 through 8.  At this point I had sewn together the pairs - columns 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, and 9&10.  Then I clipped the column 11 square to the 9&10 pair - ready to sew up during the next round.

After that, I would sew together the 1&2 pairing with 3&4; 5&6 with 7&8, and as mentioned above 9&10 with 11.

I kept clipping that number marker to the first block after every step.

When I got done with each row, I'd have the row label clipped to the column 1 square for each row.  I left these on until I sewed all the rows together - even when I was pressing seams, etc. - so that I didn't lose track of the row number or which side was the "left" side of the row and which was the "right".

(another cell phone picture..... with a few scraps of paper, foam block, and plastic "nail" - can you tell I have little "helpers"?!)

No.... I do not know why I wrote out the numbers "one" and "two" - when I went to write "three" I thought "um..... the number would be sufficient!"

I hope you like this little tutorial.  I'm sure this isn't a novel idea - but it was something I hadn't come across before (though I can't say I've looked) and that worked GREAT for me / this project.  When I shared that final picture in the Challenge Quilts group on Facebook there were at least a few people interested in my labeling technique...... so here it is!

This post Staggered clips: a row quilting piecing technique first appeared on Sew & Tell with Mama Eggo and includes my honest, unsolicited opinion of a product, Wonder Clips for which I was not compensated.

WWIT {a triangle quilt}

I am excited to share my quilt for the final Project Quilting Season 5 Challenge - inspired by triangles.

The challenge posted on Sunday..... but I didn't get to start working on this until Wednesday (briefly) - and most work was done Thursday evening and Saturday.  Well, and Sunday seeing as I finished this quilt at 2:15am this morning!

The name I'm giving this quilt is very appropriate - as it is something I kept saying all week / weekend - WWIT - what was I thinking?!

This quilt is 44" x 48".  It is comprised of 132 half-square triangles that finish at 4".  I combined two Moda charm packs (Urban Chik and Juggling Summer) that I thought worked well together (after removing a few colorways of one of the packs) - along with a sampling of white-on-white fabrics for the negative space.

I free motion quilted the white spaces using a variety of patterns - really just whatever came to mind.  I love how it helps make the colors POP even more.

The backing is a Blank Fabrics dusty aqua (is that a color?  I'm going with it!  It's a bit more green than the photos are showing) floral picked up at a local fabric shop.  It is bound in a rusty orange print from Jo-Ann fabrics.

I kept thinking "I should scale back.... I can finish this sometime soon, but can I really get it done by Sunday?!"  I thought about straight line quilting it to save time.... but I just kept thinking "I have put all this work in already, and I KNOW I want to do something softer and rounder to contrast with all the sharp angles."  Turns out.... with some LATE night (or early morning?!) sewing - it can get done!

I create in my home studio in Montesano, WA during nap time, after kiddos go to bed, or with two adorable boys "helping" me.

Make sure you head over and vote for your top four favorite projects from this week (hoping this is one of them.... but there are MANY amazing finishes - I know I had a hard time deciding on JUST four!) - Vote here

To vote, just click on the heart in the corner of the picture.  Clicking on the pictures will take you to the blog or flickr post to read more about the project!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Etsy Feature Friday

Happy Friday!

The sun is shining and I have a fun weekend of sewing and family time planned - I hope you are looking forward to (or already enjoying) your weekend, too!

My WIP Wednesday this week was a sneak peek at some dresses I was sewing up - one for a custom order, and the other five "just because" - to add stock to my Etsy shop (in bigger sizes, by request) - and because I love picking out fabric combos and seeing how they sew up!

The result were these six dresses:
Left: gray / aqua / mustard floral (available in sizes 6-12mo through 6/7)
Right: aqua / yellow paisley flowers (available in sizes 6-12 month through 6/7)

Left: blue flowers & black chevron (ready-to-ship in size 6/7)
Right: gray and yellow chevron and flowers (available in sizes 6-12mo through 6/7)

Left: pink flowers and polka dots (ready-to-ship in size 6/7)
Right: rainbow chevron and flowers (available in sizes from 6-12mo through 6/7)

All these bright cheery colors and the sun shining outside (even though it's still quite crisp & cool) make me think Spring might actually be headed our way!

half square TRIANGLES

For this final week / challenge of Project Quilting we are to be inspired by triangles.

Pretty quickly I decided to use a few charm packs I have had sitting on a shelf for nearly a year, mixed with a bunch of white-on-white fabrics.  Then I browsed Pinterest, blogs I follow, and a few books I have on hand for some half square triangle inspiration.

The way I'm going about this challenge / quilt is a bit different than my usual.  Most of the time, I go in with a plan.  A solid plan.  One drawn out in colored pencils on graph paper.

This quilt.... the plans were:
a) use half-square triangles
b) use the selected fabrics
c) have a scrappy feel (don't necessarily sort by color family, etc.)
d) make a "throw-sized" quilt

I had no set design in mind.  Not much of a plan (relative to usual).  It made me a little uncomfortable!

So last night I sewed up 130 HSTs - pairing one printed charm square with a white-on-white.  There was no rhyme or reason to how I was sewing them (I have 5 or 6 different white-on-whites that I'm using).

I cut them apart.  I ironed them.  And then I went to bed {it was nearly 11pm at this point and I knew if I didn't go to bed, I would end up staying up WAY too late!}

This morning, I started playing with the HSTs.  Using a few of the photos I had for inspiration, I re-created quilts / designs I loved.  And I flipped a few squares and watched as the design changed.  Over and over.

These photos are from my phone - just snapped quickly so I could get a feel for what the various designs looked like.

I have to say - taking the photos made a HUGE difference.  I'm still deciding what design to go with (one of these..... or maybe something else?) - but this has been such a fun process - SO cool how many different things can be done with these blocks - and this is a VERY small sampling / example!

I'm not sure if I'll get a big ol' throw quilt done.... or if I'll need to scale down and complete a quilted throw pillow cover for the challenge and then get the quilt done very soon.... we'll see what kind of sewing time I can "steal" between now and Sunday morning!

....THIS is just one of the many reasons I LOVE Project Quilting!


Which is YOUR favorite?!