Thursday, December 20, 2012

Film Petit #5: Moonrise Kingdom

Suzy Bishop. Oh to be Suzy Bishop for a day. She's misunderstood. She's fearless. She's a collector. She goes berzerk. She has one of the best blue steels ever.

Sam: What happened to your hand?
Suzy: I got hit in the mirror.
Sam: Really? How did that happen?
Suzy: I lost my temper at myself.

Suzy is played by Kara Hayward in Wes Anderson's most recent offering, Moonrise Kingdom. You forget when you are watching this film that these are just two kids acting in a movie. Like any Anderson film, you enter their world completely and remember the pain and rebellion and excitement of childhood love.

Suzy and Sam Shakusky both live on the island of New Penzance and meet very briefly when Sam- a khaki scout- sees Suzy in a church pageant. They begin writing to each other and hatch a plan to both run away from their dysfunctional home situations to be together.

Sam: I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about.
Suzy: I love you too.

They have a long day of freedom on the island together. Relying on Sam's scouting skills and Suzy's adventurous imagination, they carve out their own little kingdom in a secluded cove on the island. But the next morning they are found by the well-intentioned but mostly incompetent adults in their lives. Being together after that becomes a bit trickier. I can't really give away any more of the plot here... but if you haven't seen it, you need to. Very soon.

Suzy: Was he a good dog?
Sam: Who's to say? But he didn't deserve to die.

This little dress was made out of thrifted women's blouse and mostly made up by me. I started with a basic a-line pattern shape and then added long sleeves and a self-drafted collar. That part was actually easier than I thought it would be, but I should have tacked down the collar in the back. I used the front of the shirt for the back piece so that I could use the blouse buttons for closure. Really simple, I just had to add one more button at the top, a unique vintage beauty that a blogging friend gave me. (Thanks Destri!)

 The dress has a white lining, and verges on too short, but I figure Elsie is still at the age where that is totally adorable (19 months.) And it's true to Suzy the smoldering rebel, of course. (Although I will say that when she is Suzy's age, Elsie MAY NOT wear skirts that short!)

I was lucky to kind these perfect knee socks at GapKids. But the smallest size was a 4, so I had to chop the entire foot off and sew up the bottom for a good fit. I love them. She's going to wear them with everything in the spring.

Sam: Why do you always use binoculars?
Suzy: It helps me see things closer. Even if they're not very far away. I pretend it's my magic power.
Sam: That sound like poetry. Poems don't always have to rhyme you know. They're just supposed to be creative. 

There is a scene in the movie when Sam and Suzy are camping together where he makes her pair of earrings out of iridescent green beetles and fish hooks. But her ears aren't pierced, so she lets him do it with the earrings. Hardcore love stupidity. I attempted to make a hair accessory inspired by the earrings, but, a) She has never worn anything in her hair and wouldn't keep it on, b) it turned out ginormous, and c) I shoulda put it on elastic for a headband. Also, it's really huge.

Those. Knees.

This was such a fun Film Petit for all of us. Yes, we have officially done more Wes Anderson films than not, so maybe we should just call it Wes Petit. Just kidding. Half. But if you have never seen a single one of his films, you should see this one. (Also, January's FP is definitely not Wes. It's a favorite from your childhood. I know that about you.)

Now go see Kristin's amaaaaaaazing work. She did both a Suzy look and a Sam look and she nailed it. Dead. 

And our guest this month is the super talented Robin, who also nailed it. She made a look inspired by Bill Murray's hilarious character Walt Bishop, AND a dress inspired by the khaki scout tents. So creative. Thanks for playing along with us this month Robin!

If you are new to Film Petit, the basic idea is that Kristin and I and a different guest each month all sew and post outfits for our kids from a movie we love. Not a kid movie, just a great movie we love with lots of creative inspiration. You can see all my previous FP posts here

And as always, we'd love to see your movie-inspired kid clothes in the Film Petit Flickr group.

Laura Bishop: Poor Suzy. Why is everything so hard for you?
Suzy: We're in love. We just want to be together. What's wrong with that?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old World- A Modern Dresden Quilt

In the spring, The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild will have a show at International Quilt Festival here in town. It's pretty neat to be representing modern quilting in a very large show full of jaw-droppingly beautiful traditional and art quilts. We had to have them done last week to get photos in to IQF. Even though it was a slightly inconvenient time to be rushing to finish a quilt, I'm so glad I participated. We will have over 20 quilts in the show, all of them a different modern take on dresden plates. 

 I've never made a dresden plate before. I knew I wanted mine to be completely round instead of having pointed blades, and I knew I wanted to have only a few of them in my quilt, along with lots of negative space. I've been wanting to do a quilt in all neutrals for a while now, so this high-contrast black and white design came to me. I started collecting prints that had no color and were either very low value or dark value. All of them came from Sewn Studio or Pink Castle. I used an easy dresden ruler to cut them, and after stitching all the blades together, I sewed a circle of muslin to the right sides of the circles, then cut the middle of the muslin away and turned it right side out so the edges would be turned under for appliquéing.

After making a background out of Moda Bella Black and Feather, (not quite white, more of a super pale gray) I stitched the circles to it with invisible thread. It was kind of pain to work with, but made the appliqué look really clean. There's really no other good way I could have done it. I did the center circles the same way, and then I was ready for quilting. 

Here on the back you can see better how I free-motion quilted in the dresdens (also with the invisible thread.) This is the first time I've quilted different areas of a quilt differently based on the design, rather than using an all-over quilting method. I drew some inspiration from Angela Walter's book, thanks to my mom. Even though I almost always prefer straight lines style-wise, I really want to keep getting better at it. 

After quilting those plume-like designs, I decided to torture myself by doing a gazilion curvy radiating lines 3/8" apart. Actually, it wasn't too bad and I enjoyed it for the most part. With that much white space, I really couldn't wuss out on the quilting. It had to be wowza quilting. The back has black in the same place as the front and then all my leftover lighter prints on the reverse of the white side. I even matched up the black and white sides on the binding. It finished around 70" x 60". 

I'm really happy with this quilt and feel it's so different from things I've done before. I learned a lot doing it. Nick says it's his favorite quilt yet so I'm giving it him... But not until after April. It's got to be pristine until show time!

Monday, December 17, 2012

You Could Win ALL of AMH's Sewing Patterns!

That's right. ALL OF THIRTEEN OF THEM. That's about $185 worth of patterns! Anna Maria Horner patterns are so beautiful and she was so generous to provide this awesome prize for the Holiday Craft Bash. 

 Here are just a few of my favorites:

(You can see my recent version of this bag here.)

So how do you get a chance to win this crazy good prize? Just make at least one project from our Holiday Craft bash tutorials and enter it into the flickr group. There have already been so many great entries, but the deadline is this Friday, the 21st, so hopefully this can light a fire under your last minute Christmas sewing!
You can find all my Christmas movie inspired tutorials linked on my right side bar. But you can also go to this post to find all 24 inspiring projects put together by me, Meredith, Jacey and Debbie

And there will be a second prize drawn- fabric from Sewn Studio! All entries into the Holiday Craft Bash Flickr group will also have a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of 11 prints from Kate Spain's beautiful Cuzco collection. 

If that is not enough motivation for last minute sewing and gifts, I don't know what is ;)

So in summary:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Field Study Pillow (and Winners!)

 Last month was my buddy Kristin's birthday and I wanted to make her something she'd love. You probably know her for being my partner in crime for Film Petit and an all-around genius seamstress, but she also listens to all kinds of craziness from me and some days keeps me going sewing wise. So the pressure was on to make something that would impress even the best of sewists.

The design is a granny square made like this tutorial, except I started the squares at 3.5" instead of 2.5" and added a 3.5" sashing. I also used beautiful Anna Maria Horner Field Study fabric from Sewn Studio that I knew Kristin liked.

Then I decided to just try something crazy I'd never done before. Great potential to completely screw up something beautiful that you just made= weird sewing rush. I don't know, maybe that's just me?

So I outlined the seams of the squares with straight lines and then did dense pebble quilting all around the white part. I have done some loopy free motion quilting a few times before, but it still doesn't come easy to me. This kind was stressful. It took a long time. It used a gigantoid amount of thread. When I was done, my shoulders ached and I pretty much hated the way it looked. I shoulda had some wine to relax while I was doing it. But after I put the back on and finished the pillow up with a zipper, it magically became better. I loved it. I wanted to keep it, which is a great feeling to have when you've made a gift for a sewing friend. (I liked it so much, I actually made the pillow top up again exactly the same way for our own couch! That probably won't get finished up until after Christmas though...)

These are both pictures Kristin took of the pillow on her bed. It looks pretty great in her room! You can read more on what she thinks here. Thank goodness for good sewing and blogging friends.

I haven't forgotten about the winners of last week's giveaway! The winner of one full set of my hand stitched Charlie Brown Christmas ornaments is...

#64 Bree!

"ack!!! Those ornaments are seriously to die for!!!!!
My favorite tv special was Emmitt Otter's Jugband Christmas. It was actually a tv special before I was born, and my mom recorded it on vhs. I totally wore the VHS out! My favorite christmas movies are the tim allen Santa Clause trio now, but those were never a tv special :) I can go on alllllll day about Christmas movies!"

The winner of one yard of Jay McCarroll's Habitat fabric is...

#58 Sara!

"I love the charlie brown christmas actually, especially the music. Can't believe you have the drop cloth fabric - awesome!"

I'm so glad to know they are enthusiastic about their prizes! I'll be emailing you both, congrats. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

This Week

It's that time of year when there aren't a lot of finished projects to show, but rather 37.5 of them in various stages of progress. So here are some peeks of what I've been working on this week.

These geese made up in linen and Liberty are really making me happy.  Today I finished this project for a special someone, but I can't show you just yet. I will tell you that I even broke out the good Liberty for this one, the tana lawn that I won a bundle of in PR&P. It made me sew really slowly just for fear of mucking it up. So pretty though.

Since I decided to sell sets of Charlie Brown ornaments on Etsy this past Monday, the felt shapes have been stacking themselves up on my sewing table. They aren't exactly organizing themselves very well though. You still have time to enter my giveaway to win your own set!

Sewn Studio has made kits available for my Bumble snowman stocking tutorial! So darn cute in that bakery box, right?  You can order one online right here

Saturday while Nick was at work I got it in my head that I had to make him a winter beer advent. I got the idea from seeing Elizabeth Hartman's version on Instagram. Taking my kids into the tiny liquor store to get the good individually sold bottles was a bit hairball. But totally worth it when he got home that night and about pooped his pants out of happiness. Sometimes men are hard to buy gifts for and sometimes they are very simple. Beer= great success.

 And lastly, this fuzzy picture is a peek at a project I'm working on for the CincinnatiMQG that I'm so excited about! It's been too long since I finished a quilt, and this one needs to be finished very soon.

It will all fall into place though, along with the 36.5 other things. (Oh, and an excellent Film Petit is coming! It's gonna be your fave.)

What are you happily toiling away on?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giveaway Day! (Yup, it's the Ornaments.)

So I've been blogging for a while now, and somehow I always manage to be completely oblivious to the fact that Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day is coming. Every single everloving time. This time, I caught wind last night. Phew. I was still tempted to get lazy, but I knew if I did I would later regret missing out on the fun.

And besides that, I have to celebrate/announce/getsweatyinmyarmpitsabout the fact that I've decided to re-open the old Etsy shop! (OLD. I'm talking, it's been awhile- like since before I got an iPhone and before anyone knew Mitt was a name.)

I bet you will be shocked and flabbergasted to find out that I'm selling....

....these. Are you sick of them yet? People seem to be partial to nostalgia in felt form at Christmas time. We'll see if their wallets are equally partial. Am I taking down the free pattern and tutorial for these? No way. You should still make them for yourselves and for your Christmas gifts if you want to. Just don't do other things that might be considered mean by most humans.

But for YOU today, no wallets need be involved if you would like to try to win your own set! All 7 hand stitched felt ornaments can be yours, just enter by leaving me a comment telling me what your favorite Christmas TV special was growing up. Obviously, it doesn't have to be CB, there are many good ones to choose from. I'll choose a winner at random by Friday.

A second random winner will get a full yard of this amazing fabric called Drop Cloth in Plum by Jay McCarroll for FreeSpirit.  I am lucky enough to have 2 yards of it. One for me, one for you. 

If you are new here from Sew Mama Sew, I'll hope you'll take a minute to look around A Little Gray. My name is Jessica and I sew A LOT. I've got a few new Christmas patterns and tutorials on the right sidebar there, just click on the pictures to see more. I've also got some other tutorials in the tab on top, mostly related to kids clothing. I sew very often for my 2 kids Hendrix and Elsie. If you want to see some of that stuff, you should check out the things I made for the sewing and design competition Project Run & Play. Or look at the movie-inspired kids clothing I've made in an ongoing series with Kristin called Film Petit. (We have a REALLY good one coming up in the next couple weeks!!!)  I make a lot of quilts and smaller projects as well. I hope you'll poke around and make yourself known. 

So thanks for coming over from Giveaway Day, I can't wait to read your comments. I'll be stitching up your ornaments while I do!

  • Leave a comment about your have Christmas movie or tv special.
  • Make sure your email address is in your comment or blogger account.
  • One entry per person, two random winners by Friday.
  • U.S. entries only please.

**** also be sure to check out the OTHER giveaway I have going on today for Go To Patterns!****

A Very Go To Christmas: The Billy Car Mat

Have you looked around Go To Patterns yet? It's exactly the kind of place sewists like us enjoy browsing. It's all your favorite independent pattern makers at your disposable in one marketplace. And there is something for everyone- kid patterns, women's clothing, toys, bags, and even quilts.

It's all the brainchild of the very talented Andrea, and I was so pleased she asked me to be a part of the Christmas tour de go-to.

I got to make the Billy Car Play Mat and Roll-up by Handmade Therapy. This is a great pattern for a beginner who wants to make some adorable kid gifts this season, or an advanced sewer who wants to crank out a quick project. Either way, the payoff is great if you know a little car enthusiast. 

It's a mat with fun roads, but it also holds up to 8 cars securely. And it's only about 17" x 11" so it's a great travel toy and easy to slide into your purse or diaper bag.

It only takes about a fat quarter of fabric plus a few other supplies that you probably already have. I used a Michael Miller Vehicles print on the inside and a number print from Reunion from Moda on the outside. The pocket panels are scraps of a canvas from Ikea. 

Make sure to check out more amazing versions of the versatile patterns in the Go To shop by these talents on the tour, and enter the rafflecoptor below to win some wonderful fabric and pattern prizes.

Sew Much Ado Nov. 30th
The Cottage Home Dec. 2nd
A Little Gray Dec. 3rd
skirt as top Dec. 4th 
you & mie Dec. 5th
Me Sew crazy Dec. 6th
see kate sew Dec. 6th
Delia Creates Dec. 7th

Enter to win a shopping spree at and Sew Fine Fabric!

Go To Patterns PDF sewing patterns 


Go To Patterns sewing pattern giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Handmades and Going Viral

The ice cream truck must have been driving by or something.... in November... twice. 

The week before Thanksgiving I decided the kids needed some new thankful duds. Hendrix got a shirt that was already cut out and waiting in the pile of KCWC leftovers. (You remember, the one where I planned like 18 garments and actually sewed 2.)

It's the Easy Linen Shirt pattern from Sewing For Boys. I liked it because it's a somewhat structured woven shirt, but without the real collar and placket. So it was a really quick sew. I used a gray striped linen from Joann. 

And Elsie got her first ever dress sewn from an Oliver & S pattern. For some reason this was momentous to me. Maybe I've just been waiting so long to make one just for her, since I've made two as shop samples. 

And the pattern did not disappoint. It's the Family Reunion Dress, size 18-24 months, made up in AMH Field Study and Michael Miller's mirror ball dots on the contrast. Both are from Sewn Studio. I just love how sweet this design is, especially on a younger girl. All the pin tucks remind me of vintage children's clothing, and it has the most perfect gathered sleeve. 

As if shimmery fabric and glittery shoes weren't enough, I really went for the holiday glam with these glass buttons. They are a little tarnished because they're from the vintage collection my mom gave me, but they are still very sparkly in person. I love them A LOT on this dress. 

Today I also wanted to show you this absolutely gorgeous pillow I received in the flickr Pillow Talk Swap.  It was made by Jenn and she really got me. I love the soft colors, the gray and yellow together, and the great straight line quilting. She used several of my current favorite fabrics, and the pop of aqua in the binding is perfect. We are loving it in the living room!

One last thing! Have you guys seen these guys around lately? It's kind of crazy to me where my little felt Peanuts ornaments are popping up. After they got pinned by a few of the right people, they were featured on Makezine. Then yesterday they were on Huffpost Home (What?!) and today they are on Buzzfeed.

Is reaching Buzzfeed the standard for going viral? Probably not, but it's fun.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grinch Placemats with Free Pattern

Here it is, my last Christmas project for the Holiday Craft Bash event! I'm so thankful that Meredith invited me to do this with her, because I've made some things I really love, and even better, my kids really love. To be honest, I've always been a bit of a decorating grinch myself. We put up a tree and hang our stockings each year, but that's about it. I always figured I'd make some more nice things for Christmas when we owned our own home and I could spend some time making it just like I wanted it. Some day. 

But my kids don't care about any of that. They really like characters from TV and videos made up in brightly colored felt. No use trying to class it up. And surprisingly, I really REALLY love my new bright and kitschy feeling Christmas. My apartment looks like Santa's workshop this year. I'm gonna go with it. 

So onto our project. These are some pretty fun placemats, but if you don't really fancy your kids sliming them, they are just as cute hanging on the wall.

For each placemat you make, you'll need:

  • A 13" x 18" piece for the top
  • A piece a bit larger than that for the back (fat quarters are great for both.)
  • Scrap of batting or fleece, at least 14"x19"
  • about 65" of binding.
  • The Grinch printable pattern- green, white, red, and yellow felt
  • Cindy Lou Who printable pattern- peach, yellow, pink, white and blue felt. 
  • Spray adhesive
  • Water soluble marking pen
  • Embroidery needle
  • Black perle cotton or floss

Basic steps:
  1. Use the pattern sheet to cut out your felt. I like to trace the shapes on freezer paper for this. 
  2. Use spray adhesive to get all your pieces in place on the top of the placemat, the 13x18 piece. 
  3. Stitch around every felt piece with your machine using a straight stitch. Using all white thread is ok too. 
  4. Use your water soluble tool to add the facial features. Hand embroider in black using a basic backstitch
  5. Baste your backing, batting and top all together using pins or spray and quilt as desired. 
  6. Bind as you would a quilt. 
*Not a quilter? Once you get your top appliquéd and embroidered, just place it right sides together with the back, along with a piece of fleece or sew-in interfacing under the back. Sew around the edges, leave a space open, turn right side out and top stitch the placemats. 

I think my Cindy Lou came out looking suspiciously like someone I know well....

Be sure to check out my other Christmas tutorials in the sidebar, and visit Meredith, Debbie, and Jacey for some more inspiring yuletidiness. 

And if you make any one of our Holiday Craft Bash projects, you still have a couple more weeks to add it to the flickr group. We have a great prize package for the sew-along finale, I'll let you know more soon!