Monthly Archives: January 2013

progress report

meander

Finally! I finished the quilting on the Candy Coated quilt Alice and I have been making. Quilting this, I used a free motion foot for the very first time, and so, it is definitely wonky! Embarrassingly so, in spots. I mean, I didn’t even start with the darning foot! I was using the walking foot for awhile, until I realized that was inane, and I was going to be insane by the time I was done. I got some tips here and elsewhere, and while I knew that I should practice first, I was impatient, and besides, when it comes to quiltmaking, I am somewhere in between the first and second stages in this article by The Sometimes Crafter. So I just went for it. It was really fun, once I figured out how to postition my hands to reduce the strain. After awhile, I stopped trying so hard to follow a “pattern” and let myself go, get a bit more swirly, doodle, if you will.
I will keep practicing, probably on some smaller pieces. It will be okay!

I will have more pictures and more analysis once I have the whole thing bound. Or at least the binding sewn onto one side. I think I may ship it off to Alice at college and she can handsew the edges. bwahahaha!

things to keep one warm and dry

I want to get all of the projects that Alice and I got done during her winter break documented before too much time elapsed. Here is a step in that direction.
Determined to get at least one quilt done, we started and finished this nine patch:

nine patch

When she arrived, she had with her a beloved quilt that she was given after the house fire, but that had seen much better days. There were spots that were transparent due to lack of batting. It was a nice quilt, done in maple leaf blocks of green with a main fabric of solid lemon yellow. We think that it dated from the fifties, to judge by some of the fabrics. Anyhow, it was clear that we needed to get that quilt stabilized somehow, and what better way than to use it as batting?
As neither of us have much experience with complex piecing, it was decided we would make a nine patch, and we sorted through my not-very-extensive stash for just the right fabric. I have stashed a lot of greens and turquoises since I have scrappy projects in mind or underway using those. And I happened to pick up some very unassuming ecru on sale, a lot of it. so there you have it.
We both cut, and she did all of the piecing and made the back. (You can’t really tell, but the centers are a really pretty wonky red polka dot, and so are the small squares on the back.)

pieced back
I love Joel Dewberry’s Floral Drop pattern, and bought a bunch of it when I discovered Hawthorne Threads, many yards in the above colorway, because I knew I would want to use it for a back. Before I had even made a quilt back! I was thinking ahead in the summer when the tips were rolling in! I knew there was a reason I spent hundreds of dollars on fabric, even though I had no time to sew…

I did very simple straight line quilting, using the walking foot for the first time, and then we bound it in more Floral drop, this time red. (Keep your eyes peeled here for an upcoming dress project using that fabric. Coming from Alice’s side of this blog.) The red binding draws attention to the red in the center squares. It’s awesome!

a bit of binding

I was going to post about the parka that Alice made for Mark, but I feel like I should leave that for her to talk about. Here is a picture of it though!

gore tex parka

miscellaneous

alice piecing on the singer
sewing action shot, and the little country studio.

Shannon here. I wanted to share a project that I just started, one that I have been dreaming about for a long time, but have lacked the confidence to undertake, due to its duration. Knitted leggings, on size 0 dpns. Yeah bud!
I am starting with the ringwood pattern stitch from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks, That done up in some merino sock yarn (dyer’s name forgotten by now), and then I switched to Poems sock yarn, one of those yarns that emulates the Noro color effect. You can see the massive increases there, in order to get a harem pant-style leg. These leggings are going to be made up of sock yarn remnants, so get ready for some chaotic color blocking!
freeform legging

Over winter break, Alice and I completely finished one quilt (as yet unblogged), got almost done with this quilt, and started a third, smaller quilt for a friend of mine. It was regular quilting bee, and there will be posts to come about it, I promise.

Also, exciting news is as of last night, no one had moved into the other half of the quad at Alice’s dormitory. Is there a squatted sewing studio in the futurre? Here’s hoping!

Herringbone Macaron

I bought Colette Patterns’ Macaron pattern on Black Friday, when all of their patterns were 30% off. I had coveted Chantilly for a long time, but Macaron is such a sweet pattern with a lot of room for variation, and a bit of a break from my normal full-skirted silhouette. I didn’t end up saving that much money, since shipping turned out to be about 30% of the pattern price, but my Macaron arrived in the mail a short time later, in an adorable pink booklet! Then it sat on my shelf while I frantically packed and sewed Christmas presents (for the most part undocumented, I’m afraid) and took my finals.

I brought it with me on break to my parents’ house, where it languished in a paper bag while I made a quilt (more on that later). I had brought with me a few yards of brown herringbone wool rescued from the Bins (a terrifying place, but lots of very cheap fabric if you care to find it). I didn’t really have any plans for it, and had only brought it because it didn’t fit conveniently in any of my boxes. I thought about making an a-line 60s miniskirt out of it, or a vest, or something. However, going through Mother’s suitcase of apparel fabric (most of which she has given to me), I came across a lovely sheer burgundy and brown floral, which, held up to the herringbone, cried out to be my first Macaron.

Newly enthused, I set about muslining!

…and muslining.

…..and muslining.

I have made things from patterns, but they have either turned out ill-fitting (as in my green blossom dress), or needed no alteration (as in my corduroy Burda skirt). I had never altered a pattern to fit me, and didn’t really know how to go about it. I made three muslins before I was finally happy enough with the result to make it up in my fashion fabrics.

My finished dress:

macaron

(It’s January, it’s freezing out. Also, time to invest in some hairclips.)

My alterations:
I shortened the bodice pieces by 1″, narrow-ed the back by 1″ (tapering off to normal at the waist), deepened the armscyes, widened the waist by 1/2″, shortened the entire bodice by an inch (I think I’m a petite size, technically), and did an FBA!

The last is really the exciting thing. I’d never done an FBA, and had really hoped to avoid it since Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup… but alas, ’twas not to be. The pattern piece was not meeting in the middle, so I pulled up a couple of tutorials and started drawing lines all over my pattern. (I traced it, don’t worry.) It fits much better now, happily, though I can’t say I’m thrilled to have to do that with every pattern I make.

macaron back

A little too much fabric in the back yoke, but the skirt pleats look fine despite my apprehension.

I bound the neckline in bias tape, and the same with the hem. I was going to use hem tape and do it all properly, but the wool is so bulky, I didn’t want to fold it under or anything. I got a bit lazy there…

bodice

With my next Macaron, I think I will have to alter the armscye in order to get rid of the excess fabric in the yoke (though you can’t see it so much in these pictures, so am I imagining it?). I deepened it here, which didn’t really solve any of my problems and resulted in it looking a little silly.

The sleeves are lined with purple silk:

sleeve

And the pockets are silk too! I won’t be able to put anything heavy in them, but any pockets are a luxury.

pocket

My invisible zipper is invisible this time!

invisible zip

The waistband doesn’t line up though, so oops.

In conclusion, I’m pretty happy with this dress, though it’s not perfect. I had some issues with the different types of fabric, which were all unstable and tricky in their own special ways. Some of my pattern alterations didn’t really work, and some of them worked but not well enough. But, it’s the first pattern I’ve ever altered, and it’s quite pretty, considering. I wanted the insides to look really nice, but they don’t, particularly. I should go back and bind them with bias tape of purple silk, but that stuff is hellish to cut so I seem to be putting it off.

Now, for something completely different:

chicken and me

No country home is complete without a pet chicken.