Yippee skippy, I have another new dress! And I made it from some yummy Liberty fabric!


Look at me, cutting into yet another one of my coveted lengths of Liberty Tana lawn.  Every time I start a project with this fabric, I feel like I should have a ceremony before the first cut with the scissors.  Not only is this fabric expensive, it has the nicest hand of any cotton I have ever sewn.

This picture is a little fuzzy. I may have to fire my photographer.

For this dress, I chose a pattern by Serendipity Studio called the Marilyn dress.  The Serendipity patterns seem to be sized for what I will call, um, relatively flat-chested bodies.  There is also a note on the back of this pattern that reads, “the length of the skirt will suit up to 5’4″ in height.”  Oops, I just found that note.

I took one look at the bodice front and knew it would need some adjustment.  I re-drew the bodice, adding a generous amount of space to cover my not-flat-chested self.  Here are the before and after shots of the front bodice.

Here is the tissue pattern next to the redrafted pattern I used.
Here is the tissue pattern next to the redrafted pattern I used.
The original laid over the new pattern piece.  To cover everything that needs to stay inside the bodice, I added width and length to the pattern piece.
The original laid over the new pattern piece. To cover everything that needs to stay inside the bodice, I added width and length to the pattern piece.
You can see it took multiple tries to add enough fabric to cover...
You can see it took multiple tries to add enough fabric to cover…

I love the back v-neckline and the invisible zipper.  I have a major supply of invisible zippers, so it’s easy to slap one in the garments I make.  One of the wonderful things about invisible zippers is that it pretty much doesn’t matter what color the zipper is.  If inserted correctly, the only part that shows is the zipper pull.  The zip in this dress is kelly green.


The Liberty lawn fabric is so soft and drapey.  Now this is a good quality in a dress, in my opinion.  However, that means that the hem of the dress hangs without any oomph.  To plump out my hem, to get it to have some body, I decided to add some ban-roll interfacing.  Ban-roll is a product that is typically used for interfacing waistbands.  It comes in different widths. IMG_0917

I measured and pressed my hem.  Then I added the ban-roll, snugging it against the pressed hem.  I basted it to the hem, then folded the excess hem over the interfacing. IMG_0918

I pinned my hem into place, then used the blind hem foot and stitch on my machine.  Because that’s how I roll.  I will freely admit that the idea of hand sewing a hem makes me want to heave.


I love my new dress.  It will be a great garment for the hot and sweaty weather here.  Would I make it again?  No.  While I like the shape of the dress and it’s components, the pattern is obviously sized all over for a petite figure.  My bad for not measuring the length of the bodice, waistband and skirt before cutting.  Lesson learned.

Girly Christmas quilt for a new baby


It’s raining babies.  Girl flavored babies.  And so the parade of adorable little baby quilts continues.


I found the cutest pattern for a big block quilt.  It’s called the Lone Star baby quilt by Amy Smart.  She has an amazing blog, Diary of a Quilter.  This pattern is on the Bernina website here:  http://weallsew.com/2015/07/08/lone-star-baby-quilt-tutorial-part/


I love the look of a one block quilt.  This one uses 10″ squares, a portion of a layer cake.  I got it in my mind that I wanted to make this quilt for an upcoming baby.  And I decided it should be a Christmas quilt.  A Christmas baby girl quilt.


Then what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A ten inch stacker by Penny Rose fabrics, Little Joys.  12 prints tied up with a bow.  Throw in four white squares and it’s a quilt.


Dorito approves.  The fabric has such sweet prints.  Little reindeer, toys, trees, bows.  And there are PINKS in this Christmas collection!  My heart is aflutter.  I ordered some yardage for the border, backing and binding. Or course i got extra of the two pink prints!

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You can tell that this gem goes together quickly.  For me, the tricky part, the challenge, is doing the actual quilting.  I’m getting better at making my quilt sandwiches.


I included this picture because you can see the quilting pretty well.  I used my walking foot, chose a section, and worked in a “spiral” towards the center of each section.  No measuring or anything, I eyeballed it and drove full speed.  I have only quilted a few things myself.  I can’t see myself ever attempting anything the size of a bed.  I do like how this one worked out.  Practice makes perfect, right?


This one is going in the mail this week, and will reappear in the state of

Still July, so more Christmas!


Time for a project, stat!  I don’t want to get behind on my Christmas in July projects.  Of which I planned ZERO.


I don’t have nearly enough table runners.  I’m serious.  So I grabbed a charm pack of Folk Art Holiday by Moda.


The pattern is from the booklet Angles With Ease 2 by Heather Peterson.  And I got to use my Triangler ruler from Anka’s Treasures.  I cut the remaining charm squares in half, sewed them into a 2-1/2″ strip and used them as the binding.  I am loving my scrappy binding!


I used my walking foot and improvised the quilting.


Oh look!  The back of the runner is the infamous Hawaiian print of yore!  Christmas 2012 I made matching outfits for the family out of the red and white.  We rocked that Christmas photo.

DSCN2154A few of us had different colored hair back then.

I got the shots of my new table runner, then someone seemed to need a little photo sesh…


I’m all about indulging the children.

I actually cut my Liberty fabric! Lo and behold, a dress sprang forth!


I can’t possibly be the only one who hesitates to cut into beautiful Liberty of London yardage.  But I did buy it to sew it into something.


I chose a wonderful pattern by Sis Boom, the Lucy Halter Dress.  I am in love with the Sis Boom pattern line for a couple of reasons – they give excellent sizing advice, and they include cutting lines for different cup sizes!  The patterns are also technically well written.  I love that I can fit these to my body type.


The Tana Lawn fabric by Liberty is absolutely amazing to work with.  It has the softest hand and perfect grain lines.  And it goes well with my hair.  Since we are planning another trip to London, I decided it was okay to use it since I can buy more next time!


This pose was my rather lame version of the Big Fig Newton.  I put this in here just to see if my mom is reading my blog.  Every photo session from my junior and senior high years has a Big Fig pose in it.  I could usually elicit a “stop that!” and maybe a choice word from my mother.

I was so tickled with this dress that I cut into another chunk of my Liberty lawn.  I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath to see that one.  Meanwhile, here is a gratuitous puppy picture.


I made little Miss Dorito a Minion outfit/jammies.  Way too big as you can see.  She wouldn’t move for awhile, and when she did, with her first footsteps she walked right out of it.

I dyed my hair pink, and now my new dress clashes!


I felt like whipping up a new dress this weekend.  I have been wanting to make the Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studio.   I pulled out some voile from the Robert Kaufman fabric line named London Calling.


The pattern is great.  The fabric is great.  My dress turned out great.  Then I had my hair dyed pink.  Although the dress has pink in it, it reads as orange when you see it in person or in pictures.  I wanted to get some pictures of the dress to show on my blog, and I dislike every photo taken.  It just flat out clashes with my new hair color!


I used pearl snaps instead of buttons.  I love snaps – so easy to apply and they make it fun to undress at the end of the day.


I made my usual armhole gap fix on this dress.  I have slim arms and a narrow chest, with larger boobs.  To fit around the boobage, I usually end up with gappy armholes on sleeveless garments.  I fix this by essentially making a casing in the armhole binding about 3 to 4″ each side of the side seam, and inserting a shorter piece of 1/4″ elastic to draw up the excess.  Works great for me.


I usually wear my hair blonde, so the color of the dress is a short lived problem.  In reality, though, this is not a shape that is flattering on my body.  I am too curvy for a an a-line shirtdress.  The Alder Shirtdress is an amazing pattern, but I am heading back to a more tried and true shape for me.  Stay tuned for my next dress…

Jumping on the “Christmas in July” bandwagon!


I’m being bombarded by Christmas crafts!  It is futile to resist.


I decided to work on some quilt squares from the book Winter Wonderland by Sherri Falls of This & That Pattern Company.


I have these fabulous fabrics called “Holly’s Tree Farm” by Sweetwater for Moda.  How cute is this mug and saucer?


Aside from the usual red/green/cream, this new Christmas bundle has an awesome aqua and some surprising gray.  I love the way the gray works in this snowflake block.


This is an ornament block.  I point that out because to me it looks more like a big round bomb with a fuse from a Pink Panther movie.  Maybe that’s just me.


Here’s a mitten for all the little kittens.  I had some fun deciding how to fussy cut this fabric.


At least this block is easier to identify than the bomb  ornament.  What says Christmas more than a Scotty with a bow?

These blocks are really fun to put together.  The cutting takes a bit of time, but the stitching goes fast.  I think I found my piecing mojo while sewing these.  Since I got my new sewing machine, I have been struggling to find a comfortable and accurate 1/4″ seam.  Every presser foot, every needle position is different on every machine.  I have two different 1/4″ feet for my Destiny, and neither was working for me.  I think I finally found the right combo that works for me with my machine!  So I’ve got that going for me.  Which is nice.


Since I’m jumping on this “Christmas in July” bandwagon, I want you to know that I’m not showing up empty handed.  I’m going to bring my own flute player.

Using your sewing time wisely


Why, oh why do I feel compelled to dress this puppy?  Is it because of her adorable little face?  Those gigantic ears?  The fact that she’s only six inches tall?


I was trolling around on Etsy and found the mother lode of patterns for tiny little dog clothes.  The pattern company is called Sofi & Friends, this pattern is called the Sweet Pea dress.  I used Moda Scrumptious fabric, the same fabric I used for that cute little baby quilt with the dresses.  Little Dorito is so tiny that I only needed teeny little pieces.


She still has plenty of room to grow in this, and it is the size xx-small.


The dress is fully lined.  Only the best for my little diva.  The patterns are beautifully drafted and accurate. There are lots of great details, like the d-ring so the dress can also work as a harness.  I have no idea where or why she will wear this dress.  But when she does, she will look breathtaking.  Now for some examples of her modeling poses…

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She acted like she had been frozen in place when I put it on her.  I didn’t even match up the velcro because I was scrambling to get my camera.  We obviously need to work on her catwalk.

Machine stitching the New Hexagon Millefiore quilt: rosette 6


Yahoo, it’s still June and number 6 is done!


I’m still using the glue basting method that I learned from Katja’s wonderful book, The New Hexagon.  I hand stitched the center star, and completed the rest of the center and all the other rounds using invisible thread and a narrow zigzag.


It’s all about feeling good about your projects, isn’t it?  This project was so far out of my comfort zone when I approached it with the notion of hand sewing.  I never could have made a dent in it!


It’s so exciting to see stitchers from all over the world embracing this project.  And all the ingenuity going into the fabric choices  – and construction methods – makes it all the more inspirational.


If you want to try the method I am using, check out my 3-part tutorial, starting here:


Hawaiian quilt blocks are taking over the house!


That’s a good thing, right?  I’m working on one more block, then I will have enough beautiful blocks for the quilt top!


Last time I spread the blocks across my bed, I looked to see what colors were missing or needed more presence.


Guess you can tell that I was feeling blue.


I also only had one fuchsia block, the flowers, not the color.


I also had to throw in some in which I just liked the fabric, because, well, that’s how we quilters roll.


And one more pineapple.  These aren’t ripe yet.


Anybody else out there looking forward to an actual quilt coming out of these blocks?  Besides you, Mr., I know you are impatient.

Have you tried the clapper? Here’s how to get flat, crisp seams!


This is not just a blunt instrument I keep in my sewing room, although I could put up a good defense with this.  This is a tailor’s clapper.

I was bouncing around in the internet world and saw a question posed recently regarding this handy pressing tool.  After asking around, I discovered that it is also not well known in the sewing world.  I decided it was time to give a shout out to one of my favorite tools.

These have been around in the sewing world forever.  It’s a heavy chunk of wood, unfinished, sanded smooth with grooves for your fingers so it is easier to pick up.  It is used to flatten seams.  If you try a clapper, you will wonder how you have gone all these years without one!


This is a seam on a quilt I am making.  I have already pressed this seam open with my super duper Oliso iron, but it is not as flat as I would like it to be.  Clapper to the rescue!DSCN0662

The first step is to press the seam with a hot iron and steam.  Steam is the key here, it is what makes the clapper most effective.


As soon as you lift the iron, while the fabric is still hot and steamy, put the clapper right on top of that seam.  Leave it there until the fabric cools


When you lift the clapper, like magic, your seam will be flat and crisp.  That’s all there is to it.  Really!  Now look at the before and after photos together:

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Awesome, isn’t it?  Simple and effective.  Now look at the difference on the sashing of the quilt block:

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You can buy a tailor’s clapper online from Nancy’s Notions and other retailers.  Go ahead, you know you want one.