Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Silent Partner…

For those who may have thought that Lindsay was an only child and was just making up a sister/partner in sewing, I, Michelle, the other (younger) sister, am finally here, entering a post. As with almost everything in our lives growing up, my sister is an over achiever, and I am left to try to fill her shadow. Seriously, she has three projects underway and blogged about, and I am just now getting around to introducing myself? Good thing we aren’t competitive, right mom and dad?

The truth of the matter is that, despite the lack of posts, I have been working on a few projects, most notably, a costume for the previously mentioned Little Bug, my niece.

To give some background, a little over a year ago, I got married – yeah! Our ideal reception idea was a “fancy picnic,” and our colors were light blue and brown. So in order to achieve the picnic feel; I purchased a few YARDS of blue gingham to serve as table accents.

I think it looks quite nice; the problem however, is what to do with all that gingham AFTER the big day? Well I thought, since my husband originally hails from Kansas, it would be cute to make a Dorothy costume for my little one. Next problem – I don’t have a little one, nor is a little one in the near future plans (just in case you were wondering.) So next best thing…you guessed it, a Dorothy costume for my niece.

I spent a few weekends at my sister’s abode, and started the project on her machine. I then returned to my home, and my machine, to finish the project only to discover the multiple inadequacies of my machine, especially when compared to my sisters (please remember I am NOT competitive with my sister.) But, despite my flawed machine, I worked through the pattern (yes I use patterns) at home. The flaws proved too much to get over and I have since ripped out every last stitch I made on my own machine, AND ordered a new sewing machine.

Isn't it pretty. It is the same machine that my sister has, so I know I will like it. And the best news…it should be at my apartment as I type this – per Amazon “Where is my package” it is being delivered today! Since all projects have been put on hold until I receive my new machine, (how could I possibly be expected to work on such an inferior machine?), you can look forward to many more posts from me very soon.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jersey Dress

Last night I had one of those moments where I had a vision in my head for a project and I knew I would never be able to sleep until it came to fruition. This was my first real attempt at making something for the Bug without an actual pattern but I was inspired by the fabric to try.

I came across this piece of blue and grey striped jersey in a remnant bin at Yoders Department Store in Shipshewana. It has a neat, kind of wrinkly texture to it and it is so soft. Using a dress the Bug already had as a basic guide, I drafted up my own pattern and sort of just made things up as I went along.

Here is the Bug this morning before church looking oh so hip in her Chuck Taylors, leg warmers and sporting her headphones and "music box". Yes my two year old has an iPod. Don't judge.

I was so impressed that it actually looked like a dress and everything fit! It was a little short though. Despite the added coverage of the leg warmers (which she insists on wearing pulled all the way up) she kept flashing her panties at church. Since we just can't have that, I attempted a fix while she was napping.

I added a wide ruffle at the bottom for some additional length. It was a little too much length but she'll grow into it, right? Once the ruffle was on I thought the dress needed something more so I made a quick flower out of a scrap of fabric I had left over.

For the ruffle, I used the gathering method that I've seen all over the web lately where you adjust your sewing machine tension to the highest number and use the longest straight stitch. It is truly a time saver. The machine does all of the work for you and there is no need for a special ruffling foot. It just comes out evenly gathered. Awesome. Thank you World Wide Web. And I wonder, where was this trick when I was gathering everything carefully by hand all of those years in 4-H?

The "flower" was also inspired by some on-line tutorials I've seen around lately. Super easy. I just made a quick hem on one side and then used the above gathering method to gather the other side. Then I simply started twisting the fabric in a spiral, making quick tacking stitches as I went. In the end, a few more stitches through the bottom of the whole thing shaped it up a bit and I sewed a pin on the back so that I can move it around if I want.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with the results. It was really good mental practice to do this "pattern-less". And it was good to work with the jersey. I've been stuck in a bit of a cotton rut lately and the jersey wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. And while this dress isn't up to the standard I'd have for something to sell I think it will serve the Bug well as a nice Fall church and play dress.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Camera Strap Cover

I've been working on a camera strap cover for a friend. My intention was that it would be reversible so that on days when she wasn't feeling the blue she could just flip it inside out and ta da! Red!

I realized pretty quickly that because of the nice thick fleece interfacing that I used (to help add padding and make the strap more comfortable) there was no way this little tube was going to be easy or convenient to just turn on a whim. Also, I think the pocket I made for the lens cap is too small to actually hold a lens cap. Bummer. Back to the drawing board I guess. The hubby had a great idea that I'm eager to try next.

In the meantime, here is the finished, super comfy, non-reversible camera strap cover. My apologizies for the rotten photo quality. I finished late last night and was way too eager to wait for nice natural light so we have to deal with that nasty flash glare.

The fabric is from the 1974 collection from Urban Chicks for Moda. I tell you what, those Urban Chicks can do no fiber wrong in my opinion.

I'm guessing this will find it's way onto the Etsy site once we put the finishing touches on our policies and go live. After all, it is still cute and functional--even if it isn't all I'd hoped.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blue Bird Quilt Progress

I am currently working on this crib quilt for a friend who is due in December. I absolutely fell in love with this fabric line (Swell by Urban Chicks for Moda) and have since snatched up two additional jelly rolls so that I can make a twin sized quilt for my own little Bug in the future.

Here's my progress, all of the blocks are sewn and pressed. Some are a little wonky but that's the charm of "homemade" right?

And here is the quilt top all laid out. It looks huge doesn't it? I have to keep reminding myself that the finished project will be smaller because of the seam allowances. I wonder all the time if I am doing this right? I learned pretty much everything I know about quilting in my fiber arts class in college so it wasn't exactly an excersize in being precise and technical. I guess that's where I count on my old 4-H foundations and hope that the garment sewing "rules" also apply here.

It is, at the very least beautiful right now. I love this fabric more every time I look at it. It really is just so sweet and sassy and vintage and modern all at the same time. And I like the simple "crazy quilt" block design. I feel like it really showcases the fabrics so you don't get distracted with fancy piecing. At least that's what I tell myself. Maybe I'm just too lazy and disorganized to piece a fancy quilt.

Another blog??


I decided that it was time for a new blog in order to seperate my creative endeavors from our family stories. My sister, Michelle, and I have been tossing around the idea of starting up a little on-line store at Etsy.com so this blog will be a part of chronicling that creative process as well.

I hope you enjoy seeing what we are up to and eventually, if you see something that you like here perhaps you'll be able to buy it for yourself!