Friday, April 27, 2012

PR&P Week 3: Sheet to Chic

This week the Project Run & Play theme is Earth Day. The challenge involved using all Earth-friendly materials. 

The journey of making this little outfit took approximately 18 twists and turns over the last week. Kristin and I keep talking about how we can totally understand how the designers on Project Runway get so dramatic and crazy. That was me this week. (As if this is even near the amount of pressure they feel. They get like 3 hours to make couture and they have to do it on camera. I'm totally crying them a river.) Anyway, I like where it ended up, but MAN I'm I glad to be done with it!

First I thought I would just go the thrift store and find some materials I would be inspired by. I went to one Goodwill, felt pressure to leave because of my kids being crazy, and just grabbed a couple things. When I got home I realized I hated them- what was I thinking? Wasting $15 on old clothes you don't want to use is not a good spur to creativity. (Goodwill is so expensive lately!)

So I decided it would actually be more of a challenge to make something beautiful out of a grody old sheet that was in my closet. I didn't want it to look "upcycled" from old clothes, but I wanted it to be stylish and little vintage-inspired.

Then I saw this photo here. I loved it. I don't know how they did that effect on the bodice but it's pretty crazy awesome. I figured I had a whole lot of fabric with a sheet right? So I'll just make a boat load of tiny 1/8" bias tape and do it that way. Hmm. Not as fun as it sounds. 

As you can see, my embellishment does not really live up the original. I don't think it was bias cut fabric they used, because I certainly could not make it behave that way. So please don't think my design lame after seeing the original, but this is how inspiration works I guess. It's always fun to see where people's ideas come from. 

The color of the dress was also not my original intention. I had to use color remover on the sheet, which started as dingy blue/gray. Then I bought "grapefruit" fabric dye. I thought it would be much brighter than this. I even dyed it again and it was still pretty pale. It took me a good two or three days to cope with this color, but now I love it. It fits the baby and fits the dress. 

Once I coped with the color, I had to throw in some fabrics that were more "me," and I think they all play nicely together. The lining and underskirt are Berry Bush, from Cloud 9 organic fabrics. It's from Sewn Studio of course. Sewn actually has a pretty nice little selection of organic cottons, which is really nice to have available. The leggings are from an old knit top of mine from Urban Outfitters that I hadn't worn in forever. The color and print are so cool. I love these leggings and she'll be wearing them a lot. (You can't see in the picture, but there is actually a wolf on her left leg. What is with me and the wolves??)

The buttons are my favorite favorites. They are for reals vintage from my mom's grandmother's collection.  They make the whole thing feel special. And the pin on the shoulder is the perfect accent. I bought it at a local boutique, the Spotted Goose

Here's a nice picture of me looking blurry and concerned about a half-second before Elsie fell on her face during the photo shoot because she was running around so fast. Nope, wait, that's not why... it was because I bought her shoes for this outfit that were too small and they made her fall. That's why she is mostly shoeless in the pictures. Just do me a favor and imagine her wearing some amazing vintage white leather moccasins that we have but were also too small for her little potato feet. Geez babies, it's hard to keep you eco-fashionable with all the constant growing. 

By the way, Elsie's daddy took the pictures this time. Aren't they fantastic? 

Vote for your favorite Earth Day look right here

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pocket Tutorial Up on PR&P

Hey guys, just popping in to say that I have a new tutorial up on the Project Run & Play site today- how to make perfect striped pockets with flaps. Check it out here

And of course THANK YOU AGAIN! I'm so excited to win again, especially with this all boy look. This one will be getting a lot of wear by Hendrix. 

Also, I forgot to mention in the original post about the outfit that my pictures were taken again by the amazing Nathan Peel. I know good photos go a long way in this competition, and I'm so lucky to have him. Seriously, if you are getting married any time soon, look into it!

Got to go, I haven't even photographed this Friday's look... or finished sewing it for that matter. Yikes!

Friday, April 20, 2012

PR&P Week 2: Howl at the Moon

The challenge this week in Project Run and Play is "Sportswear." Not necessarily having anything to do with sports, just casual, fun play clothes. All my initial ideas were more sporty than this, but in the end I didn't want to make anything too gimmicky. I just wanted to make something that my kid would love to wear and that I would love him to wear because it's so freakin cute. (He does, and I do.)

I think the whole look started with the pants. The one thing I knew was that I had to make Hendrix cuffed ankle-length pants with that gorgeous Essex linen in denim blue from Sewn Studio. That fabric is good enough to eat. I added 6 pockets, 4 pocket flaps, a faux fly, button tabs, and accents pieced with Moda Bella solids, also from Sewn. I double topstitched everything in bright yellow and did flat felled seams on the inside. When I found those aqua sneakers at H&M, I knew they were made just for Hendrix and those pants. 

The shirt is a basic raglan, with 3/4 length sleeves and a hood. I wanted to make something very boy, but also bright and a bit unexpected. I found the knit fabrics for it in 2 women's shirts at the Old Navy clearance section. The wolf was completely hand stitched in black perle cotton. I've never embroidered anything in my life before, and if you have, than you can probably tell. But I think the imperfection of my stitches works for this look.

The design of the wolf is taken straight off of this really interesting canvas print from Ikea. I've had it forever, not really knowing what it would be great for. Turns out, it's great for an old-school round duffle bag for a small stylish guy. I'm sure he'll be taking this bad boy to Nana's house this summer. The lining is a beautiful aqua fabric from Sewn that I took the time to hand stitch in place, but somehow neglected to photograph at all. Oh well, at least it's functional. 

I do understand that I've dumped an obscene amount of pictures on you, but I just couldn't help it this time. I don't know where this kid gets his modeling skills. Anyway, at least you can see the clothes are ready for action.

Alright friends, you know what to do next...

(Vote. The right answer is vote.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thank you and a Tutorial

Wow, thank you SO much to everyone who voted for my look this week in Project Run and Play! I won the first challenge, which is so crazy to me.

To be honest, when the Simple Simon girls first asked me to participate in the contest a couple of months ago, I was positive they had sent that email to the wrong person. My blog has been mostly quilting focused for the last 9 months or so, with the exception of the Oliver & S sew-along and a few random projects I made for my kids. Still, I considered myself very much an amateur at garment making, and I could think of 3 dozen other bloggers that would have been better in Project Run and Play.

But now that I have actually tried my very best and won one of the weeks, I feel so excited and confident that part of me thinks I should just quit while I'm ahead. "Thanks folks! I'm out!"  :)

But a bigger part of me is very competitive and has tasted a small victory... I'm in it to win it now friends, I'll make no qualms about it. Maybe I miss college volleyball more than I thought I did.

But the competition is fierce. Everyone is SO creative and talented. We'll see what happens from here, but I'm having so much fun! (Even if it is really intense and kind of stressful fun. Sometimes that's the best kind... you know, if you are slightly insane.)

So anyway, there is a tutorial up today on PR&P about how I pieced the chevron circle skirt. I also explained the much more practical skill of making an encased elastic waistband with a facing, so check it out here.

I will tell you that one thing I'm nervous about for next week is that I have lost this adorable model. Lily and her family are going to Disney World (jealous) which means I will have to sew for Elsie. Making for my own daughter should have me excited, but I'm a bit terrified of her small round body and weird baby proportions. I'll figure it out though.

For this coming weekend's look, I got to sew for Hendrix, which I'm much more comfortable with. I can't wait to show you! Stay tuned for Friday...

Friday, April 13, 2012

PR&P Week 1: Piece By Piece Chevron Skirt

It's finally here! My first look for Project Run & Play- and I'm really kind of in love with it. It's the perfect marriage of my two sewing loves- making cute kid clothes and piecing quilts. Every stripe on every panel of this circle skirt is pieced from Moda Bella solids provided by Sewn Studio. (My AWESOME sponsor and support in this competition.) That's 160 pieces. Holy seam matching. 

If you didn't look closely, you might think it was just some trendy chevron fabric.  But the fabric cut into a circle skirt wouldn't have the chevrons all going the right direction. I didn't mean to necessarily appeal to such a big trend right now-  I was originally thinking of it as a pieced herringbone skirt. But with the stark black and white in one inch finished strips, there's nothing else you could call this but chevron. And trendy or no, it's still pretty irresistible. 

Here it is on my floor in various stages of production. I love the way the seams looked underneath. The secret to the whole thing was in the cutting. You had to get the angle just right or the panels would not match up with each other. It was one of those moments you have in sewing where you work and work and really don't know if all your work will actually work until it's done. And thank goodness it did. 

I was inspired by Rachel's Herringbone tutorial. It basically starts out the same way, but I changed the dimensions and angles some. 

I also remixed the circle skirt pattern by changing the exposed elastic waistband into an encased one, with an extra wide facing that gives it the look of an adorable paper bag waist. I really love that detail and I think it will become my preferred way to finish circle skirts from now on. 

I put a lot of thought into what type of top to make for this skirt. It had to have enough style to stand up to the high impact of the skirt while not taking away from it. I decided to pair modern and retro with this throw back cap-sleeved bow collar blouse. The pussy bow is making a comeback in women's wear all over the place, but I don't think I've seen it on children's clothing yet (though I'm sure it exists.) I used Oval Elements in Amethyst by Art Gallery Fabrics, also from Sewn Studio.  I think the soft purple dots complement the black and white so well, while keeping things light and springy. And I always love a spin on the classic dot.

The inside of the shirt is all finished in French seams, and I made dainty quarter inch bias binding for the sleeves and neckline under the bow. The bow itself is actually unattached and held in place by three little belt loops (are they still belt loops if they don't hold a belt?) I placed at the shoulders and back of the neck. It's such a small detail, but I love how it feels almost a little masculine or military.

And thanks SO much to Nathan for the amazing pictures taken at a moment's notice. He and Edie also loaned me Lily as a model, who was exceedingly cute and cooperative, even though she felt under the weather. 

So that's it! Feels so good to finally get this show on the road :)    Vote here please!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Modern Meet-Up

This weekend there a is a ginormous quilt show here in Cincinnati (IQF) and our guild is planning a fun meet-up on Saturday night for all the MQG-ers, or just anyone who is interested. You know, just some women talking quilts, ordering cosmos, (ahem, man beer for me please) and winning door prizes.

LOTS of door prizes. A lot of them have been arriving at my house in fact, and I have decided to show them to you so I am not so tempted to keep them all for my selfish self.

Swag piling up

And this is really only a small fraction of it! Check out the Cincy MQG site for the full sponsor list and more info about when and where. I'd love to meet you if you are going to be in town for the festival!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Final Winner Is...

(Ha, that sounds a bit ominous doesn't it? Cue "Final Countdown" opening synth in your head...)

Entry #6, Jenny! I'm so glad Jenny won, she is another sew-alonger who has been so faithful and supportive. I'll be emailing you soon about your copy of Growing Up Sew Liberated. I wish I could buy a book for all of you who played with me, but I didn't win the Mega Millions. (Obviously, that would have been the first purchase on my list.)

Thanks so much for sewing-along and for helping me and one another thru these fun projects. I learned a lot, but I think my favorite part was seeing how encouraging everyone was to others in our little group. 

So thank you thank you thank you!!!

(I could remind you to vote for me this weekend, but I'll try and resist. That would just be annoying.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Fat Quarterly Today

Yesterday we had the most lovely time celebrating Hendrix's third birthday with just the family. That kid is one awesome three year old.

Today it's "back to work" for me, but in the meantime you can find me on Fat Quarterly sharing a simple stack and slash tutorial for how to make something like this wonky curves pillow cover. It uses Jenny Pedigo's quick curve ruler, which is awesome.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chevron Pinwheel Baby Quilt

... designed by me!

One slow afternoon when I was at work by myself, I had been staring at the Half Moon Moda fabrics long enough that this design floated into my head. 

It's a 44" square baby quilt with mostly Half Moon Moda fabrics plus a Pezzy Print and the green vines from Peacock lane. It's a super simple design and the chevrons are really the star. I think the bright colors are great for baby boys or girls. My boss came up with the name "Chevron Pinwheel," which I like a lot. I was inspired by Kristin's starfish quilt for the quilting. 

This is actually the first time I've pre-designed a quilt myself, like with math and everything. I've made up a few as I went along, but this feels a bit more official.

Here it is in the shop window. We made up 20 kits with all the fabrics required for the quilt top, although a few have sold. These chevrons are hard to find now, and although Riley Blake released a new line of chevrons with lots of great colors, I like the dramatic scale of these a bit more. We don't have an online store ready just yet, but if you are dying for one of these kits, we'll send you one. Find the phone number here. 

I'm having a really hard time focusing on my Project Run and Play designs. This contest is already proving to be a bit of a creative and emotional roller coaster... and it's hasn't even started! Send me your good vibes to get a lot accomplished tonight. Or just send ritalin and chocolate.