Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Works in Progress

I'm trying to get as much done on these as possible before NaNoWriMo because I sure won't have time to work on them in November!

All the blocks for my one block wonder are made, now working on stitching them together. This is also my NewFO for October.

I've been thinking about breaking this one into three segments. I'm always worried that design changes will negatively affect the appearance of the quilt but I just need to woman up and try something new.

 And then there is Stormy Path.

It's coming along quite nicely, I think.

And I finally decided what to do with this fabric that I picked up more than a year ago.

I'm going to participate with the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along by Michelle Foster at Quilting Gallery

The quilt along is just about finished, but I'm not going to start this one for a while. I would really like to finish up a couple other projects I've got going on right now. I'd like to have the three quilts on my design wall done by Christmas or New Year's.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and WIP Wednesday

Friday, October 25, 2013

Confessor's Dress Part 1

So like an idiot, I end up waiting until the day before the Halloween party to start my costume. Some of this was life, as I had some paperwork I needed to do last night (student loan stuff) and some of it was migraines. But anyway, I finally started today on my Confessor's Dress.
My temporary design board. I took over the entire dining room for this project.

This was actually really difficult to start, because although many many people have replicated this dress, I couldn't find a single tutorial. So I'm going to document what I am doing in the hopes that it will help someone else.

 I did find that someone suggested a pattern to make this dress, which I had on hand. The pattern is McCall 4491

From the costume study I've done, I think this pattern will work very well with a few slight modifications.

1. The straight part of the sleeves needs to be elbow length. The bell sleeves will have to be modified significantly. They will be much narrower and split all the way to the elbow.

2. The front of the dress is two pieces instead of one, with lacing from the waist up and open from the waist down. Bridget Regan wore a ankle length black skirt underneath the dress. As far as I can tell, there are no other slits in the dress.

3. A hood needs to be added.

First up was fabric. I had this beautiful red fabric that Jack bought me waiting in my closet to make this dress.
Yes those are cans of tomato sauce. They make great weights for holding slippery fabrics. 

The downside to this fabric is that it just isn't going to drape correctly. It is much too stiff. So if you are trying to make this dress, find some fabric with a good drape. It needs to be very flexible and a decent weight.

To cut out the pattern pieces, I started with the main body of the dress. I did not cut piece 1 (the center of the dress) on a fold as the pattern said. Instead, I cut out two half pieces and I left an extra inch where the fold should have been. This is necessary because I will need to finish that edge.

The edge on the right was supposed to be on a fold, but instead I cut it on the edge of the pattern paper.
The two front halves of the dress with the front side panels.

I left the train on the back. I think that the original has a long train and also, if it doesn't drape well I'm hoping to bustle it a little to get it to lay correctly. And I can always cut any extra fabric off.

All the main pieces stitched together, back view
This is the easy part - as they like to say, the devil is in the details. I will be tackling the sleeves next, then the lining in the bodice of the dress, and then the hood, and then the hem, and finally, the closures. And I need to finish it all by 7 pm tomorrow.

I love my dress form and strongly recommend that you get one if you don't have one yet. I always had trouble getting my costumes to fit until I got one of these. It turns out, my torso is shorter and my legs are longer than the average person. Having a dress form makes it very easy to modify the clothes so that they actually fit.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sewing Woes and Organized Chaos

I haven't had much time to sit down lately and stitch away. I'm still debating the merits of a Confessor's Dress for Halloween (Yes. I know I'm just about out of time). But last night, I decided to work on some of those flying geese for a few minutes.

This is how my sewing machine looked when I gave up and went to bed.

Sometimes it seems like sewing requires a mechanic's education. The problem was that when I stopped pressing on the presser foot, the sewing machine kept going. Um yep. Not good. I cut the power to make it stop. This seemed to coincide with a reduction in stitch length.

 After this happened four times, I took the thing apart and cleaned it really well, oiling the machine and removing all the lint I could get at. Then I went to bed and let it think about what it had done, hoping that it would see the error of its ways and behave itself.

Today I put it back together and stitched a couple of Stormy Path pieces together. It seemed to work ok, so now I'll have to test reducing the stitch length and see what happens. I want to get a lot more done on my active quilts before I post more pictures but in the meantime I observed my workspace and thought it was an interesting set up.

This is my workspace. I think it works for me. I actually have pieces for three quilts sitting right next to my sewing machine. Now I can work on whichever one suits my fancy without having to dig it out of a box. Sometimes I have trouble deciding what to work on and this gives me three easy options with little or no set up time.

The blue stack at the bottom left is my one block wonder, the scraps are for the flying geese, and the rest is Stormy Path. It is what I would term "organized chaos" and it makes me happy. And yep, that is my "Go To Bed" clock in the back, so I can't forget what time it is and stay up too late. It also functions as my Sunday morning "Go to Church" clock.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Building Blocks Tuesday/Thursday Threads

I'm sitting here listening to the Red Wings Game, enthusiastically commented upon by Jack. We are winning currently, 2 to 1! I wish I could stay up for the rest of the game, but I'm sure I'll get a play by play when Jack comes to bed in a couple hours.

This is the progress on my blue OBW.

And some of my favorite blocks so far.

I love how they all look different. In case you missed it, here is the original fabric.
Pretty nifty, huh?

Linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday and Thursday Threads.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Yes, I am participating in design wall Monday! Because I actually have a design wall now, in my sewing room.

Yesterday afternoon, I got tired of laying my stuff out on the floor, so I moved my bookshelves into the hallway (yes, I now trip over them every time I leave my sewing room) and opened a package of queen size quilt batting, and used pushpins to hold it to the wall. Lots of little tiny holes in the wall but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make in the name of creative genius.

Yes, that is my stars quilt. I have decided to make flying geese for the sashing. And next to it is my OBW quilt in progress.

And in the other room is my Stormy Path quilt, which means all my active WIP's are on display. I highly recommend this design wall thing, it makes life easier.

I now have no space to move about my sewing room, but it matters not.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday over at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

One Block Wonder Quilt Along

Since I already had some fabric set aside for a one block wonder, I went ahead and cut it up to participate in Newbie Jen's One Block Wonder Quilt Along.

The most painful part of this whole process is lining up the fabric. I think I did better this time than the last time I attempted (quite successfully) this type of quilt.

Original Fabric

There is some great advice over at  Quilter in the Closet on how to choose the best fabric. She also had posts on cutting and stitching your blocks, and some quilting options. Check her blog archive, they are all listed in October.

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Unexpected Day Off

Well everyone, I left my job today. I wish I could say that it was to raise a family, but I actually found another and hopefully better job. I start at my new place of employment on Monday and I am very excited.

My former supervisor was kind enough not to make me stick around for the entire day, so I said my goodbyes to everyone and high tailed it back home to relax a little bit.

This is what I've been working on - my Stormy Path quilt.

I wish the contrast was just a little more pronounced, but I'm committed anyway. I think once the whole thing is put together, it will look fantastic.

Here is a completed block. Its 16 1/2" unfinished. I need twelve total, plus all the border blocks.

I still have several hours of play time available today, so I'm going to scoot back into my sewing room.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Drumroll please ....

(Thank you to everyone who just drumrolled on their computer table)

My last star for this quilt is now complete. Please meet Ms. California.

I still have some work to do because I would like this to be a throw quilt, so I'm going to add some borders and such, maybe some Lemoyne stars at the top and bottom to make it more bigger. I'm not sure what fabric to use, since I was using FQ for these and I mostly used them up making the stars. This will truly be a colorful creation when it is complete.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sugar Skulls

Last night I came across this month's Art Quilt Challenge on QuiltingBoard.com and it piqued my interest. I was going to dedicate a weekend later in the month to working with the Halloween/Sugar Skull idea but I was too tired to do any serious crafting and some creative ideas just won't let you alone until you play with them.

This took me about an hour to throw together, so really no time at all.

Ta-da! My very own Sugar Skull, ready to be stitched on a wall hanging.

If I was to do this over, I'd make the mouth and eyes with dark fabrics instead of light.

Here's how to make your own.

1. Print a black and white outline of a skull onto foundation paper.

2. Select some appropriate fabrics. I went with mostly light-background florals. I just grabbed a bunch from my stash, whatever I had on hand.

3. Slice off random width strips. Starting in the center, stitch them to the paper, just like you would with any string quilt block. Press open after each seam.

Front of block after adding strings

Back of block after adding strings

4. Cut out along outline of skull.

5. Add details - eyes, nose, mouth. I just cut these approximately to the right size and shape and zigzagged them on. The nose is a fuzzy cut upside down heart. This is supposed to looks crazy, so don't worry about getting things exact.

6. Done! Honestly, I think it looks a little psychotic.

The plans are to put this on a black background and stuff it with quilt batting scraps to make a 3D wall hanging.