Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Sam's Quilt

Baby Sam's Quilt

This quilt was a little late getting to it's brand new baby tiny person, but I don't think he minded too much. Sam is our besets friends' new baby. He's put them over the two-kid-line both us and his parents never thought we'd cross. And we are over here watching in awe as they make it look totally easy :) We are so happy he is here, and I just had to make him a quilt of course. His mom showed me some colors she might like, and I honestly can't remember how closely I stuck to what we discussed... probably not all that close!

I pulled everything for this quilt out of my stash, and the scheme started out with a lot of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line. It's my favorite fabric line that's come out in a long time and I've used it so many ways lately. To that I added some Lush Uptown, a few Joel Dewberry print, and other scraps that fit the scheme.

I knew I wanted to do a simple log cabin quilt.  I decided to give it dimension by putting darker fabrics in the center and going lighter as the blocks grew out. The picture above is my progress as shown on Instagram (@alittlegressica) a couple months ago. I had done the darker value centers and then the layers of medium values around that, but hadn't added the final round of super light prints and linens.

The back is this amazing fabric called Shetland Flannel by Robert Kaufman (purchased at Sewn of course, along with most everything else in the quilt.) It's super soft but also has a subtle herringbone texture in the weave. And the fibers going in each direction are two different colors, kind of like shot cotton. This one is blue combined with a  citron-y yellow, and the light teal it makes is just perfect.

I kept the quilting pretty simple on this one so it would stay soft and flimsy. At first, I regretted not doing my favorite quilting- dense straight lines. But now that I see these pictures, I like the effect the large cross hatch has on the log cabin blocks. Sometimes keeping it simple works best.

The binding is probably my favorite print from Botanics. Even baby boys need a little metallic gold in their lives right? Fabric designers, please make more prints in this dark gold color. I need them all.

Baby Sam's quilt

So baby Sam finally has a handmade quilt to hang out with. I really really love how this one came out and I might have to make another quilt in these colors for me to keep!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Scrappy Strings Quilt

This was another quilt I finished back in January and photographed when we were in Florida that month. It was a gift for my oldest brother and his family. I started on it at the end of November, just picking up some scraps on a whim and making string blocks on 8.5" squares of printer paper as foundations. 

The technique is similar to the string quilt in this book, only I changed the size of the blocks and I cut my strips to all different widths without measuring, some of them at slightly wonky angles. That really made this project go fast for such scrappy quilt.

I'm not 100% happy with the back. I wish I had made those pieced strips just as scrappy as the front blocks, but I was lazy and just chopped up 4-5 fat quarters to fill the space I needed. The gray is actually a tiny sketchy black and white print from Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics collection. I love that choice, but it would have looked a little better with more colors against it. No biggie. Just one of those choices you get  a better perspective on after everything is finished. 

The binding is a deep purple Joel Dewberry woodgrain print. 

The quilting is a little hard to see in places, and equally hard to do in those places. I did dense straight lines that crossed thru the solid star. But then in the leftover areas I free-motion quilted in scallops growing out from the star. By the time I got to the edges of the quilt, I was doing lines of scallops that got way too wide to be done very easily, but in the end it worked out. I like the contrast in the two quilting styles.

I can't remember exactly, but I think it ended up about 60" square. My sister-in-law especially appreciated the gift because she has started to really get into sewing too, even a little quilting. It's always fun to see someone new take up your obsession! My younger brother's wife is also a very good quilter, so between us and my mom, we somehow ended up with a family full of sewing women. One day when we aren't scattered all over the country we'll have girly sew dates together :)

In the meantime, my mom and I will be going to Sewdown Nashville together in just a couple weeks! I'm getting really excited about the workshops (seriously, check out our AMAZING teachers!) and fun social sewing time. Anyone else going??

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Princess Anna Dress- New Oliver & S Spring Patterns

So have you  heard of this one movie called Frozen? It's a bit under the radar, not every little girl everywhere has been singing all the songs from it for the past 4 months or anything. Elsie is so special and unique in her little 2.5 year old movie tastes. Like a snowflake. 

I kid, I kid. We are all obsessed around here, not just Elsie. When I got home from work today, her and Hendrix had been building Kristoff's ice sled out of blocks together. It's pretty cute how much their playing together revolves around that movie lately. When I first saw the preview in the fall, it said something about "The biggest Disney event since Lion King." I immediately thought, yeah right. Now that I've watched it 8 times,  I'll totally give them best since Lion King, easily. Anyway, point is, you should see it if you haven't. 

This whole princess sewing thing is new to me. I've never actually tried for "Princessy" in my sewing before. At the same time, I didn't want to make a dress-up dress, I wanted it to be something she can wear whenever. Like with froggy rain boots, if need be. 

So it's not an exact costume, it's more inspired by Anna's clothing and the jewel tones of the movie. It's more like the green dress she wears to the coronation. I stuck to the deep green on the bodice and added gold grosgrain ribbon, which is what really makes this dress feel like hers.

At Sewn Studio, we recently got Amy Butler's new Hapi collection and this print caught my eye right away. It's so interesting and unique and this color way reminds me very much like Frozen. I liked that it's linear elements could go vertically across the skirt and feel a little bit like Anna's gorgeous green pleats, without being that formal. Elsie likes both of the frozen sisters equally, but now she is begging for a Queen Elsa dress, of course. I'm excited to try to make an "every day" version of that dress next!

The pattern is the brand-spankin-new Garden Party Dress and Blouse from Oliver & S. I was very excited to get this pattern in advance to try it out, and it didn't disappoint! The way the bodice comes together is so clear and clever. It also makes gathering pretty painless, which is probably my least favorite thing to do in garment clothing. Have you discovered the dental floss trick yet? Instead of just sewing a row or two of gathering stitches, you lay out a length of floss and zig zag over it. It gathers up so much easier. It's the only way I do it nowadays.

I can't wait to try a sleeveless blouse version of this pattern for spring/summer too. For more inspiration, check out Kristin and Gail's super pretty floral versions. Stellar as usual from those two. Also, thanks to Sewn Studio for letting me take pictures among the pretty bolts on a gray day.

I moved Elsie up to a 3t in Oliver & S for the first time and I'm glad I did. It's not too big, but roomy enough that I know it will last all summer. I'm sure we'll still be singing about building snowmen come July!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Florida Quilt

When we were in Florida a couple weeks ago, I finally had the chance to give my mother-in-law this Christmas present. While she doesn't do a whole lot of cuddling up to stay warm down there, she has alway made it clear how much she admires the things I make. So I was happy to finally make a special quilt just for her.

She loves bright sunny Florida more than anyone I know, so I tried to pick colors that felt Floridian. They even feel kind of specifically like the beach town I grew up in there. I actually had a hard time with these colors when I was working on the quilt top because they are SO unrelentingly bright. I normally need some toned down shades along with black or gray in my schemes, or at least some soothing natural linen. And I don't usually use so much bright white, but I do love the subtle stars scattered in there on this Lizzy House print from Constellations. (I have to say thanks to Ara Jane for sending me the extra fat quarter I needed of that fabric!) And to top it off, I really hated a few of those larger floral prints in there. So many little things irking me, how neurotic of me.

But really, once I got it all finished, the front and back and quilting and binding as a package really made me love it. It definitely has that Florida feel I was going for. And most importantly, she really liked it and it looks at home in her home. Good good.

The back is a length of ombre fabric from Sewn Studio with a strip of scraps up the center. I'm really liking those ombres for quilt backs lately.

The quilting was really fun to do.  Cloudy Florida skies. (Yes, it's mostly sunny, but every summer afternoon needs a freakishly short thunderstorm, just for fun.) It's not the most amazing quilting job ever, but it's so nice to finally feel like it's not a huge deal to try new things with my FMQ skills. And I love the puffy, cloudy texture!

So it's the most electrically eye-searing quilt I've ever made. But it took me back to my roots (both literally and by way of fabric), and it turned out to be a really happy thing. Giving a quilt to a loved one who really appreciates it is always a happy thing.

I used the "Small Plates" pattern from Elizabeth Hartman's first book, but kept it a bit smaller at 56" square. Next up, I'll show you the very scrappy string quilt I made for my brother and his family. It's much more me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Scrappy Circles Pillow

At work this year, we decided to have a little "Secret Santa" gift exchange. It turned into a more of New Year thing rather than Christmas, which was fine with me! The nice things about exchanging gifts with a bunch of sewers is that everyone understands how busy sewing for Christmas can get.

I drew my friend Pat's name to make a gift for. She is so fun to work with and always so encouraging of anything I make, so I felt like I wanted to wow her a little. Plus, I had been wanting to try Jen's signature quarter circles ever since I saw one of her gorgeous quilts in a show last year.

I used her pattern from the Winter 2013 Modern Patchwork magazine. The pattern is for making an apron, but it would be easy to use for anything. I've done improv curved piecing before, but nothing like these precise circles. It was surprisingly easy! You have to take a little more time, pin extra, and be careful. They aren't perfect perfect circles, but I never screwed up too badly or had a problem with puckers.

I used all small scraps I had and Robert Kaufman chambray from Sewn for the background. It ended up being a large 20" pillow, and she loved it!

What's even more fun, is that Pat was my secret maker! She actually knitted me this amazing purple cowl. I was over the moon about it. I've never had a gift knitted just for me, and she really chose the perfect color and everything. It's super cozy and I wear it every day. Yay for friends who make!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Zebra Ice Cream Dress

Last week we were fortunate enough to escape the frozen tundra of the Midwest to spend some time with family in Florida. And we even got to visit Disney World for a couple of days! Elsie wore her favorite dress there, (complete with new pirate sword) so I was reminded that I had never shared it here. I only shared it on my Instagram- @alittlegressica

I had actually cut out this Oliver & S Ice Cream Dress during the fall KCW, but then it sat for a few weeks unfinished. I had been wanting to make this dress for her for so long, since I had already made a blouse version and a couple dresses for Sewn samples. It's definitely high on my list of all-time favorite patterns. I finally got motivated to finish it so she could wear a new dress to our family Thanksgiving gathering in Tennessee. Zebras are totally all American Thanksgiving-y, right?

Elsie's so fun to sew for at this age, so I have to remind myself not to put these kind of projects off. She tends to be tom-boyish, but she doesn't object to wearing dresses yet, so it makes for some fun combos on clothes. Her favorite color is green, so I used a sea foam Kaffe Fassett shot cotton for the contrast. The Zebra fabric is Alexander Henry and I got it at Mill End in Portland last summer. (It think?) She calls them "Zebees, " and I think she likes the black because that's her brother's favorite color. Whatever he does is pretty cool. 

I made a size 2, even though she is wearing mostly 3 these days. This dress is a little loose fitting by design and will easily transition into a tunic this spring. 

 Besides it being a hit with Elsie, I was most chuffed about the pockets! Totally camo on that big print. I love when details like that work out, even if no one appreciates it but me. And you guys :)

By the way, this week I was featured over at Rae's on her Kniterviews series. Check it out here!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Film Petit #11: Princess Bride

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like this movie. Even if you don't remember how much you like this movie, watch it again... you will love it. 

Buttercup and Westley, the unstoppable love. They beat everything to be together. Pirates, princes, ROUS, even partial death. And every character and twist in the story along the way adds the hilariousity. 

For clothing, I wanted to sew useful wardrobe items for this one and still make for a fun photo shoot. Of course, I was inspired by Inigo Montoya- the Spanish fencer with a very overdeveloped sense of revenge, and Fezzick the giant. They aren't exact costumes, but I think what I came up with is a little cuter than head to toe brown and dingy pirate shirts!

I showed the kids a few silly sword fighting clips from the movie and they had no trouble getting into character. That's pretty much every day in our house- Elsie is crafty and vindictive while Hendrix remains the gentle and happy big brother. Plus swords and chasing. 

It was REALLY fun to get to take these photos in a friend's incredible home that is basically a castle built in the 19th century. Thanks so much Sara! It was perfect for this movie, especially that ornate dining room. Reminds me of where Inigo finally kills his 6 fingered enemy. The only problem was my conflicted mom instructions that day: "Ok, fight each other, put your swords up! You're pirates!"  "Whoa, stop running! Come back! You are going to destroy lots of very old expensive things!" Poor kids. 

 They were most excited about the eyeliner I scribbled all over their faces. They've been asking for facial hair every day since. I do like the chops on Hendrix.

For Elsie's outfit I made a Charlie Tunic from Made by Rae and simple Oliver & S Playtime leggings.    I had never made the Charlie, and I was so happy with how simple it was and how well it fits. I made the size 3 out of some really nice blue Robert Kaufman chambray and used a fat quarter from my stash for the contrast. She will be able to wear this top a lot without looking like a Spanish fencer. And it's a perfect transition to spring garment. The leggings are a nice soft brown jersey that will get a lot of mileage too. Nothing beats super-quick, one pattern piece leggings!

For Hendrix I got to try a new to me Oliver & S pattern, the Nature Walk Pullover. This garment is so fun to make! I used some woven brushed cotton I had leftover from this old Film Petit and just cut it with the stripes going in different directions for the contrast. The lining pieces are flannel inside so it's extra cozy, and Hendrix loved the pockets in front. I'd love to try another one in bright fleece or something. 

 The pants are my all-time favorite boy pants, the After School pattern. These are size 6, in a super soft but sturdy Shetland flannel by Robert Kaukman. Perfect stylish fit makes me happy, and easy elastic waist makes Hendrix happy. All my fabrics this time came from Sewn Studio!

This time we are really excited to have Jessica of Craftiness is not Optional as our guest! Her Princess and Dread Pirate are just about the cutest thing you've ever seen. She really nailed it.

And my partner in crime Kristin made the most gorgeous dress from Buttercup's wedding. It's so beautiful and such a precious dress-up piece for her daughter. See the MAWWAIGE scene right here.

Thanks for always loving Film Petit, it makes everything so much fun for us! And remember, you can always add your movie-inspired kid looks to the Flickr group here. We love to see them!