Saturday, December 25, 2010

FSL Ornaments

I don't do a lot of free standing lace designs. I really don't need multi-colored lace bowls and doilies around my house, but too each his own. I do like the ornaments though. When I can, I like to include a handmade ornament on a gift. The designs are from Stitch Delight. I'm quite happy with them. I made the peacock ornament for Joshua. I was afraid to try the design with metallic thread. Metallic thread is known to shred and cause major frustration. I decided to slow the machines speed down by three notches. I stopped the design when it was time to switch to the metallic thread and inserted a metallic needle. Perfect results. I think slowing the speed really help the thread from not shredding. I'll have to make some more of these. The metallic thread is so expensive so it's nice to have something to use it on. There are some loose threads on the ornaments. I probably should have trimmed everything up before I took the picture.

Christmas Projects 2010

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. I didn't sew too much for presents. Everyone got something homemade though. Everyone got pillowcases this year. I made Taylor and Conor's first. My husband told me I was not to put Conor's name on his. "Don't even put a C on it" he tells me. He thinks having your name or initials on your clothing makes you less of a man. When I purchased my new machine, I was given the instructions that I was to never put my husband's name on anything.

When it came time to make Whitney and Joshua's gifts, I didn't know what to do. It's not like Conor's gift. He's in a dorm, Jeff didn't want him to be made fun of. Well, that isn't the case for Joshua. In the end, I succumbed to Jeff's thought's on manhood. I did feel that having his/hers pillowcases wouldn't be that bad. The font used is called Pharmacy. It's a great font. I bought that from Jolsen's. For the most part, all the letters are the same size, no matter if it's a large case or small case letter.
Finally for Lauren's gift, my friend Yvonne and I stopped off at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, Wi on the way to Madison to pick up Taylor and Conor for Thanksgiving break. We both ended up breaking the bank at this shop. I found this lingerie fabric and knew that I couldn't leave the store without at least one yard of it. The alphabet is from "From the Needle of Anne". It's called the Girlfriend Alpha. Anne's designs are quite lovely.

The black polar fleece scarf was actually a St Nick gift for Lauren. I forgot to put it in the box though. So she'll have to wait until next December to wear it. I sometimes hem and haw about the design size. I'm fearful of going to big. Remember the little pink onsie and tutu from this past summer? I put a princess design on it and I was afraid to go big. I used the design for the 4x4 hoop and once finished, I was sorry that I didn't use the 5x7 hoop. Well, same story here. I should have used the design for the next size hoop. I thought Lauren wouldn't wear it if it had a big Santa hat on it. What am I thinking? She may not wear it with the small Santa hat! Anyway, the design is from Five Star Fonts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pillowcases for Kayla

If you love buying fabric like I do, you tend to overbuy especially when you find fabrics on clearance. I have a lot of Christmas fabric. When you can buy it at 75% off after Christmas, I don't even hesitate. If it's a cute print, it's mine. The problem is what do you do with all the novelty fabric?

I decided to make Kayla a pillowcase for each month of the year. That should cover most of the major holidays and I have fabric in my stash for those holidays. The first two months were November and Christmas. Her favorite is the turkey pillowcase. That surprised me. Is it because her name is on it?

I was trying to clean out pictures and realized that I hadn't posted these yet. The font used for Kayla's name is Tinker Toy. The "I Believe" design was a freebie from a Sew Forum member.

Sewing for the Nieces

Well, Santa's sweatshop, I mean workshop is winding down. I've been busy sewing and embroidering. I just don't have a lot to post right now.

You might remember the little Barbie skirt and tops that I made for Kayla. Well this new top has a similar design. The other Barbie was the same design except done in a silhouette form. The designs came from the Paris Pretties group from Planet Applique.

I have loved this little Grinch-like design for a while. I finally purchased it a couple of months ago and stitched it out. It's a good thing that this top is going to be large for Kayla because she won't be getting it before Christmas. The design is from Digistitches. The "K" is a font called "Grinched" from 8 Claws and a Paw. I don't know if the blue fabric was the best choice for the ornament. But I wanted it to sparkle. Of course, after I stitched this out, I remembered that I had pink sparkly fabric in my stash. Way to go Ellen. Pink would have been a better choice.

Finally, something for my niece Ashton. She's a freshman at Kansas University, home of the Jayhawks. I don't think I have the right shades of blue and red. I kept looking at KU apparel to get the colors right. Now that it stitched out, I think it's too dark of a blue. Hopefully not to many people will be seeing this while she's showering. I purchased a few fonts this past week from Jolson's. I have been wanting "Santa's Sleigh" for some time now. Ashton's project gave me the excuse to buy some things I've been wanting. The large font is called Garton, also from Jolson's.

A Dessert Smackdown

A couple of weeks ago at work, I had a couple of the maintenance fellows trying to figure why it was so cold at my desk. I also had IT at my desk helping with a phone issue. I can't remember the progression of the conversation but we were talking about baking. One of the guys made a comment on how wonderful a baker my friend Donna was. I then challenged Donna to a baking contest. We got together over break and decided when we were going to bring our treats in.

After talking with Donna, I knew I had to change my strategy. I was going to bring in cinnamon rolls and a cake. After mulling over things, I decided to make a chocolate espresso yule log and a white chocolate macadamia nut pie. Now mind you, this was a friendly smackdown. We decided no judging. We would just let our co-workers in IT and Maintenance eat the goods.

Here is my yule log. I think I should have left off the powdered sugar. I went to the florist and purchased lemon leaves and painted the underside of the leaves with the chocolate. The yellow cyathia's are made of marzipan.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Chanel Challenge: Part 3

I spent the better part of Saturday working on this jacket. Four days at quilt camp, three days spent on Miss Kayla. The Chanel jacket is finished. Not quite couture, but I think I came away with a Chanel feeling.

The jacket was fairly easy to construct. The difficult part was sewing down the lining at the sleeve head. The armhole opening is so small and it wasn't a neat process to trim down the excess lining in the sleeve. And since I ventured off the pattern path, I once again was making an outfit that I had no road map for. I hope that the jacket fits Kayla and that she can move in it.

When I purchased this fabric last year, I knew what I wanted to do but had no idea that I would be working on a new technique. I went looking for inspiration and found instruction. If any of you are interested in making your own Chanel jacket, here are some wonderful resources.

Go Chanel or Go Home fabulous sew-along blog. Very informative.
Great Sewn Clothes by Threads Magazine
Threads Magazine Issue #121 Inside Secrets of a Chanel Jacket Choosing Chanel-Style Jacket Trims
Threads Magazine Issue #23 Inside a Chanel Jacket
Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Schaffer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Ugly Fabric Challenge

Last spring at work, a few of us decided to partake in an ugly fabric challenge. The challenge was pretty simple. You could make anything you wanted with the fabric, garment, purse, quilt. The rule was that the item had to be finished if it was a garment, purse, table runner. If you were making a quilt larger than a baby quilt, only the top had to be finished. Unfortunately, there were no winners because no one had finished their items.

I picked the fabric from my stash and the reason why I deemed it ugly was that it is a teal colored fabric. It is a more difficult color to work with.

I figured that I would make a garment and then decided at the last minute to use a Chelsea Anderson pattern from McCalls.

The Chanel Challenge: Part 2

The next step on my Chanel jacket is to create the trim. Here is your chance to be creative with trims. Heck, part of my trim wasn't even purchased. Chanel has been known to even use the bias of the fashion fabric as a trim.

I found this bright pink fabric at Joann's. I cut two inch bias strips. After looking at the strips, I decided that the two inch width was too big for the girl's jacket. I think an inch to an inch and a half is a more desirable width. So I take my scissors to trim down the trim. I want to keep the bias strips from unraveling all the way so I run two rows of straight stitching down the strips.

Next, I needed something to give the bias strips a little pizazz. I found the sparkly, gaudy, hot pink trim at Hancock Fabrics. Seems to be perfect for a six year old girl. I trim all the little chiffon strips that are coming off this trim. I then stitch the sparkly pink trim to the bias strips.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Traveling Quilter Goes to Houston

Isn't it handy that my daughter moved to Houston right after the wedding. If Jeff and I had to move Whitney's furniture and wedding gifts down there, I may as well go during the International Quilt Festival in Houston. If you really want to know, I haven't been much of a traveling quilter for over a year, more of the traveling garment maker. But why pass up an opportunity to fabric shop.

Jeff, Whitney and I arrived about an hour before the show opened up. For those of you who attended the Chicago show in the past, the Houston show is a luxury. No more standing on the cement floor in the cattle corrals. We were able to go upstairs and get a coffee and, gasp, sit. No, no sitting allowed in Chicago. Your feet and legs were wore out before the show ever began.
A few months ago when we were in discussions about going to Houston, I mentioned the quilt show to Jeff. He said I could go and he would probably go with me. Well as the day drew near, he was rethinking his commitment. After all, he's a manly man. The morning of, he decides that he would take a chance and bring his laptop. Lucky for him that the convention center had lot's of areas for him to work. We bought a ticket for him but he didn't go inside until lunch. After lunch, he headed back upstairs. He only ventured onto the convention floor when Whitney and I were finished with the vendors and we were ready to view the quilts on display. My husband's only comment was "I'm scared." What's there to be afraid of with a few quilters mulling around the space. I must say, he didn't mind looking at the quilts. And at the very back of the quilt display, we found a curtained off area that said Men's Lounge. I think they had a big screen tv set for the men to watch football. I'll remember that for the next time.
My first stop, to see Luc the lace guy. Luc is from the Netherlands. He used to travel to the Chicago show with his French laces. French heirloom sewing isn't big in the frozen tundra as it is down south. We can make anything out of polar fleece but we really don't know what to do with this lace. Well, upon arrival at Luc's booth, I think he asked which vendors we had been to. I told him he was on my list for the first stop. He was surprised. I then told him that it I didn't have a lot of choices where I lived. He then said, "oh you're the person from Wisconsin". Ummmm, did my face turn red. Yes, I meekly said. He said, "you email me every year to make sure I'm going to be at the shows". Whitney then proceeds to text Jeff and said "Should I be worried that the Dutch vendor knows mom?" Luc is such a nice guy. He has a following. Lot's of heirloom sewers purchase his lace even though it's shipped over from the Netherlands. For you heirloom enthusiasts, you can find him at Cotton Laces. He has the best prices around. I think Whitney was a tad embarrassed that I asked if I could take his picture.
Whitney and I had a good time roaming the isles, all twenty-two of them. We came, we saw, we spent. Then it was finally time to go pick up Jeff and look at the quilts. We found the one we came to see. Pat Bishop's "Walk of the Cranes". How lucky in life can you be when you hang with such a talented artist. One of these days, I may just venture over to the dark side and try my hand at an art quilt.

Some Wedding Pictures

Whitney and Joshua got their wedding pictures from the photographer this week. We
were really excited to see them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Chanel Challenge: Part 1

The shell fabric (the fashion fabric) is cut out. I have to now cut out the lining fabric. When I purchased the fabric, I also purchased a nice pink lining for the jacket. I knew that I would be making a Chanel inspired jacket as far as the look went, but I hadn't planned on using some of the couture techniques. After doing some research, I decided to give it a go. So with that, the lining needed to be larger than the pattern pieces. So the lining that I purchased would no longer work. I didn't have enough fabric. I did manage to find some material that my sister Brenda sent me a couple of years ago. Finally found a use for it. The lining doesn't quite match the shell fabric but I was not going to leave the house. I needed to stay and sew.
The jacket shell is pinned to the lining fabric then cut out. I tried to cut at least two inches all the way around the pattern. I was a little short in some areas. I think I'll be fine. After cutting out the lining, I took the two pieces to the sewing machine to quilt together. I switched out my presser foot and put on the walking foot. You can see that my quilting doesn't line up in the pattern pieces. Hey, she's six, she's six. I'm not going to worry about it. You can't see the stitching lines on the shell so I'm good to go. I'm quilting about two inches apart and I'm stopping my stitching about two inches from the edge of the shell fabric. I need to have the fabric free to stitch the seams.

After all the pieces were quilted, I took the front and back sections and stitched them together at the side seams. Then pressed the seam of the shell fabric open. I took my scissors to the piece and trimmed to one inch larger than the pattern.

Finally, I trimmed the lining seam allowance then hand
stitched the lining down.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coco for Coco: The Chanel Challenge

I love Chanel. It doesn't matter if it's a purse, jacket or dress. You can tell a Chanel. The name Chanel has bring bringing people in thru the doors since 1912 when Gabrielle Chanel set up a millinery shop. It was around 1925 that the Chanel cardigan was born. The cardigan and the brand are still going strong now under the leadership of Karl Lagerfield.

Coco Chanel may be the most famous designer of all times. Coco brought us menswear as ladies wear in the 1920's. Scandalous for that time. She brought us the Chanel jacket, bell bottom pants and of course, the little black dress. What are the details that signal Chanel? She loved jersey, tweed, boucle, chains, trims, ribbons and buttons. Her construction techniques differed from the other couture shops. Coco's jacket linings are quilted to the shell fabric. You will not find facings in the jackets either. She used chains on the hemline so the jackets hung right and didn't loose their shape. These jackets do not come cheap. I don't know if you can purchase a Chanel jacket for under $4000. Thus the challenge.

Last year, I was cruising around Hancock Fabrics. I first spied some odd pink fabric. I didn't purchase it that day but I kept thinking about it. It was either on the second or third trip to Hancock's that I succumbed. Have you ever brought home an orphan? That's how I felt about the fabric. It needed a home. Nobody wanted it. It had been on the clearance rack a while. It was during the several trips around the clearance section that I spied the "Chanel" fabric. With that in hand, I knew my odd pink fabric would have a partner. Now the the bridal gown is finished, I guess I need a new challenge. One that will push my skills. So what better project than a Chanel jacket. This will be a practice Chanel. I won't be putting a chain in the hemline. I won't be adding pockets. My trim may be minimum unless I can find something appropriate for the fabric. I can't go full bore Chanel since I have a customer to please. She's only six. So I have to balance her likes with my wants. Follow me as I plunder thru some Chanel techniques. I have a 50% chance of succeeding. I won't know until I try. I hope you're all able to come along for the ride.

The Bridal Veil

Is there anything more that signals bride than a veil? You can put a woman in a bridal gown but a mother may not shed a tear until the veil is put upon the bride. That is the crowning touch in the bridal ensemble. The veil makes the bride.

Bridal veils have a long and varied history. Veils in times past were used to protect the bride from evil spirits. In arranged marriages, the bride was veiled and the groom did not see his bride until after the ceremony. In some cultures, the veil is used to shield the bride from other men who may make an attempt to steal the bride. In modern times, the veil is used to accent the bridal gown.

If any of you have gone bridal gown shopping, you know that veils can start anywhere from $50 to over $1000. The amount of lace, quality of the lace and the length of the veil will determine the cost. You can also save yourself hundreds of dollars by making the veil yourself. A couple of weeks ago, I posted the week of edging experimentation. Today, I'm just going to show you the final result. I took roughly 130 inches of bridal tulle. The width of the tulle is 108 inches. I cut the tulle into an oval. You could certainly have more of a rectangular edge. I then took 25 inches in the middle of one edge and gathered that. I handstitched the gathers onto a metal comb. I purchased the comb from The gathering and handstitching came after the pencil edge finsh. Here is the finished result.