Friday, October 17, 2014

Beginning a new quilt

I have a lot less time for sewing since school began this year.  Part of the reason is that I have taken on another non-tangible responsibility and am spending a lot of the time that was formerly sewing time on it.  It's a good thing for me, but for now it means less sewing is getting done.  I figured I would share what I am working on here even though it is not done yet, or anywhere near done.  I have started a new quilt.  I have been really itching to make a quilt lately.  It is less practical than sewing clothes for my kids or creating a new pattern to sell, but, with so little time for myself, I wanted to do something I would really enjoy.  I don't want sewing to be yet another job.

An idea had been bouncing around in my head for a while for a log-cabin-style quilt that I plan to use as a wall hanging in my dining room.  I wanted to use this blue fabric with little flowers that I have had forever.  I paired it with some yellow, orange, a lighter blue, and a dark brown, as well as the Kaufman Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen Blend in Flax that I loved so much in the last quilt I made.  The colors were inspired by a painting we have hanging in the dining room that we got at a starving artists sale about 10 years or so ago.

I sketched out my design for the quilt on an iPad app that I love, called Concepts.  It has been great for sketching out quilt ideas and other ideas while I am on the train or, in this case, on vacation. As I mentioned, it is a log cabin style quilt, but each strip around the center square (with the exception of the first one) is pieced from two different fabrics.  I played with the placement of the blocks on the app and discovered a fun secondary design when I turned the blocks so that the corner of one of the colors (the orange below in the picture) was always pointed to the middle of a four patch of the blocks.

When I got ready to cut out the fabrics I realized I didn't have enough of the light blue to use it as designed, so I decided to swap the light blue and orange.  And actually, I am happy I did - I think it works better that way. 

I'll have to share more on the cutting and piecing next time or this post will never get published.  Until then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cloth Book: Colors

My youngest niece has a birthday this month and I decided to make her a cloth book. I wanted it to be simpler than the one I made for my little guy though, partly because she is only one and partly because I knew I wouldn't have time to make something that detailed.

I decided to make a colors book, using several scraps of fabric for each color.  That way it could be a scrap-busting project as well as a nice gift.  Because I sew all different kinds of things, I have scraps of many different kinds of fabrics.  I thought it would be interesting to use different kinds of fabrics in the book to create different textures to provide a richer sensory experience for my niece.  I used scraps of fleece, satin, vinyl, knit and corduroy as well as quilting cotton.

On the red page I actually used a piece of webbing leftover from a pre-blog tote bag project.

Fleece provides a nice texture contrast to the quilting cottons.

The yellow circle is a scrap of pleather from a Batman costume I made for the big guy three years ago.

If the fabric was woven, I applied wonder under to the back and then I cut the scraps into simple shapes using freezer paper templates.  I ironed the woven fabrics onto my pages and pinned or glued the others down temporarily.  Then I machine stitched around the edges of each shape.

 The  words on each page and the cover were printed on to iron on t-shirt transfer paper (affiliate link)

The pages were made of a lightweight canvas. I cut the pieces of page fabric 7" x 13.5" so that each piece of fabric had two pages on it, with the finished page size being approximately 6"x6" after accounting for the seam allowances and loss of some of the middle of each two page set due to the binding of the book.  Because of the way I was planning on sewing the pages together at the end, the first page and last page (red and black) were on one piece of fabric, then the second page and second to last page (orange and brown) were on the next piece of fabric and so on.

 After all the scraps and color words had been applied to each two-page sheet, I sewed two sheets right sides together (red/black to orange/brown and yellow/purple to green/blue) with a piece of batting on the outside, leaving an opening for turning. I clipped the corners and turned right side out and stitched around the edges, closing my gap.

For the cover I sewed together scraps in rainbow order, log-cabin style around the title. I used a heavier weight canvas for the inside and back covers and sewed the outside and inside covers right sides together with batting, just as I did for the other pages.

Finally I stacked the pages on top of eachother and sewed down the middle.  I was able to do this on the machine since there were only three page sets to sew together.

If you've read this far I assume you are a pretty dedicated reader of this site, so I wanted to let you know that you will probably see fewer posts than usual from me over the next several months.  I have taken on an additional, non-tangible, commitment that is going to take up a lot of what had previously been my sewing and blogging time.  At some point in the future I hope to be able to devote more time to sewing and blogging again, but for the immediate future you will probably only see about one or two posts from me each month. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August Mystery Challenge: London Dapper

Tangible Pursuits: Mystery Challenge

I signed up to participate in a mystery challenge - where a group of bloggers are each assigned a random partner who gives gives the blogger a theme that they must create a project for.  Karly from Paisley Roots was assigned to give me a theme and she chose London Dapper.  I started looking on pinterest and saw a lot of suit jackets, button-down shirts, and trouser-style pants.  I told Karly this would be a challenge for me as I usually went pretty casual.  In the end I'm not sure I rose to the challenge so much as I brought the challenge down to me.

I considered making some formal clothes for my little guy because I am still the one who dresses him, so I knew I could get the clothes on him, while the big kid might flat out refuse.  But it is my big kid who is more in need of clothes now, so I decided to find a way to make an outfit for him that would fit the challenge.

In browsing pinterest I did see some cowl-neck sweaters in the dapper category and I knew my big kid would wear that, especially if I made it in fleece.  I used the varsity cowl neck pullover pattern (affiliate link) from Peek-a-Boo pattern shop and some navy blue micro-fleece that I had purchased for $1/yard from a fabric store near where I work.

Tangible Pursuits: Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover

I also wanted to make a collared shirt.  I was thinking that layering the shirt under the cowl neck pullover would give it a more formal look, but in the end the collared shirt wasn't even visible under the pullover.  My big kid recently told me he doesn't wear shirts with buttons, so I decided to make a knit pullover shirt with a collar and a slit so it could get over his head.  I mashed a few different patterns together to get the look I was going for.  I used a grey and navy striped knit that I had purchased on Girl Charlee, but I didn't quite have enough to make the long sleeves, so I decide to make a faux layered look with a solid navy sleeve underneath.

Tangible Pursuits: Collared knit pullover shirt with double sleeves

I had also wanted to make a pair of pants for the big kid.  I was thinking a trouser-style pair of jeans or something like that, but I didn't end up having time.  Then I realized that I had made him a pair of pants a couple months ago that I had never blogged about that could work.  They are made out of a tan corduroy that I think might have also come from the $1/yard barrel at the fabric store near where I work.  I used the little heartbreaker pants pattern from Sewing for Boys (affiliate link).  They are wide leg, where much of the stuff I saw in my pinterest search was skinny leg, but they do have kind of a trouser look to them and I figured homemade pants that didn't quite fit the challenge were better than store-bought pants, so I went with it.

Tangible Pursuits: little heartbreaker pants

In the end, I am pretty happy with the outfit although it doesn't exactly scream "dapper."

Tangible Pursuits: Mystery Challenge outfit

And I think my big kid will get a lot of use out of the items this fall.

Tangible Pursuits: Mystery Challenge outfit

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who participated in the mystery challenge below:

Mystery Challenge
Friends Stitched Together - History of Flight - 8/17
Felt with Love Designs - Under the Sea - 8/18
Knot Sew Normal - Fruit - 8/19
Friends Stitched Together - My Little Pony - 8/20
The Berry Bunch - Cover Up - 8/21
Pensebrox - Titanic - 8/22
Tangible Pursuits - London Dapper - 8/23
Rebel and Malice - Disco - 8/24
Sewing Sober - Espionage - 8/25
Sugaridoo - Musical Instruments - 8/26
Lulu and Celeste - Morpho Butterfly/Rainforest - 8/27
Paisley Roots - Classic Summer Movies - 8/28
Create 3.5 - Morocco - 8/29
Mae&K - Solar System - 8/30
The Sewing Sparrow - Safari - 8/31
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