Sep 272009
 

Did you know that you can gather with a serger too?  Yep!  It’s a handy dandy trick, especially since I don’t have a gathering foot for my sewing machine. You’ll need to up your differential feed and lengthen your stitch. (Test out on scrap fabric to get your settings just right! I’m sure it varies by machine and how tightly you’re trying to gather the fabric, but I think my differential feed was at 2.0 and my stitch was at 4.0) Perfect gathers and no pulling a stupid thread to try and get it even.

gathering with serger

Sadly, my serger broke again in the middle of construction. (I assure you, it had nothing to do with gathering fabric.) The most devastating part of all of this was that I had to do a real hem on this skirt to finish it up.  (I LOVE rolled hems!)  So anyway, it’s back in the hospital getting it’s motor replaced- and I’m seriously considering a new serger. And this time I will not be going with Husqvarna Viking. This is the second time that the motor has given up….the last time was about 6 months ago. That track record makes me a little nervous. I feel a little sad because all my machines are Vikings. But they have failed me with this machine so it’s time to look elsewhere. I am looking at Bernina and Baby Lock right now. If you have a serger that you love (and the motor hasn’t gone out twice on you) then please let me know!

Back to the Art Gallery skirt! I made Haley a skirt with the Spellbound and Nature Elements fabrics and we’re both in love with it!  (By the way, the tonal solid prints in Nature Elements are great!  And you guys obviously love them too b/c they are selling well!)  She requested an ankle length skirt. I knew I wanted to use multiple fabrics and have it go together quickly. So the tiered peasant skirt seemed like a natural fit!

Fine, you can take a picture

I didn’t have a pattern, I just used her waist measurement as the starting point.  Each tier is 1.5 times longer than the one above.  Next time I’m going to up that to 2 or maybe even 2.5 to give her a little more twirling power.  My girl loves to twirl!  I also cut out a few of the floral motifs to applique onto a shirt. She has worn it for 3 days straight – so I’m pretty sure it’s a hit.   :-)   

Patricia Bravo, the designer (and owner) of Art Gallery Fabrics, is from Argentina.  I realize this may not be important to you – but for me that makes her extra special since I studied in La Plata during college.  Anyway, she is really incredibly sweet and I can’t wait to see what she has worked up for Quilt Market this year!  

Be back tomorrow with the last You Made It winner(s).  I have not even started writing that post – so it’s not too late to add pictures to the Flickr group.  I think you ALL should win because everything you have made is SO great.  It breaks my heart that I can’t feature every single picture!

Sep 252009
 

I’m so excited to offer you guys a chance to win a Milkshake Baby Messenger Bag!

Wendy, the owner/designer/seamstress behind these wonderful bags, has graciously offered my wonderful readers (yes, that is YOU) a chance to win one of these fun bags!  And you get to design it yourself with any of the fabric in my store!  How awesome is that!!!!!

The bags are made with durable duck cloth and added stabilizers.  They have 3 pockets inside, 4 pockets outside, an adjustable strap, and a magnetic closure on the flap!  Plus they are just really really fun!

Any mom or student or grandma or basically any breathing person would love one of these bags!  And Christmas is quickly approaching!!!  Visit Wendy’s shop here.  

So how do you enter to win?  

Tell us which fabric you’d pick for your custom made bag!
Pick any of the fabrics I have available in my shop!

The winner will be picked on September 30th at which time I’ll get you in touch with Wendy.

Thanks for playing!!!!

Sep 072009
 

So my laptop sleeve is done!  
And I am in love with it.  
So in love, I think I might have to sleep with it tucked in right next to me at night.

laptop sleeve

See, here it is next to my Kashi waffles, grapes and chai.
MMMMMMM…..chai
I love chai

Regardless of if you are a Mac or a PC – we can come together over this way awesome fabric because it will love you regardless of your computing tendencies. It is by Red Rooster and is called Neutral Territory.

Neutral Territory

At Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, I kept walking past this booth and that red floral called out my name.
“Melanie, stop.”
“Melanie, come say hello.”
“Melanie, I’m neutral. I’ll love everyone and everyone will love me.”

It’s really freaky at first when fabric starts talking to you.
But you get used to it.
Kinda.

Anywho….I finally gave in to the siren calls and stopped by the Red Rooster booth. I love the red floral. But the fabric I really really  really love is the swirly dot.

Yummy Swirly Dots.
I Love it.
So I knew I had to use it for my laptop sleeve.
And the inside lining is also way cute.

inside fabric

Hello little green dot.
I love you too.

Oh – the applique.
I’ve been dying to use this Flights of Fancy fabric forever.
And now I have.
And I love it.
I just cut out a few of the motifs, adhered them to the cover and stitched them in place.

And I love it.
I love a lot of things today.
And I love you, too.

In fact, you can use to coupon code LOVE for 20% off your order over $20.
On my website.
Just this week (until 9-12-09)
Because I feel like sharing the love.
Regardless of if you’re a Mac or if you’re a PC. :-)

Sep 012009
 

Patchwork Camera Strap Cover

I could have actually worked on my “to-do” list today. It is long. It is growing. It would have been the responsible thing to do.

But I had to visit the dentist. (Follow up work, nothing new or unexpected.) Paying him even more money kinda put me in a bit of a mood. For me, sewing helps right that mood. So instead of being responsible, I made something pretty.  This not totally irresponsible now that I now get to share it with you!   :-)

Here’s how: I determined I needed my cover to end up 2 inches wide by 20 inches long (I wish now I had made it 2 inches x 22 or 23 inches so it’d go onto the leather strap area.)  I used a charm pack as my starting point. That along with a scrap of fabric for the back and some fusible fleece was all I needed to make this quick project!  (and the fleece is optional!)

3 inch squares
I used 9 – 3 inch squares from the charms and sewed them together.
(If I made it again, I’d use  11 or 12 squares instead so it’d be longer.)

Sew together

Then sewed the patchwork piece and the solid piece together.

fusible fleece

Iron fusible fleece on the wrong side.

top stitch

Top stitch the patchwork squares.

Fold ends

Fold over the ends and stitch in place.
(I did 4 rows of stitching because I though it looked cooler.)

Right sides together

Sew right sides together.

Trim excess

Trim the excess so the seam is not bulky.
(if I had used 2.5 inch squares this wouldn’t be necessary)

Turn and iron

Turn right side out and iron.

Camera Strap

Slide it onto your strap and you’re done!

****** BONUS ******
I have an extra one laying right here. It measures about 2 inches by 20 inches.
Would you like it? Just leave me a comment. I’ll draw a name in the next couple of days.

PS. The FABULOUS fabric is Momo’s new line for Moda.  It is called Odyssea and I am so in love with it.  The pre-cuts are here now.  The yardage will be here sometime this month!

Off to be “for real” productive……

Aug 252009
 

Yes, it's done

Have you tried free-motion quilting yet?  Is fear holding you back?  Go ahead and try it!  You really can’t mess it up!  As I was moving the fabric to and fro, that is what occurred to me with this last quilt.  It is not prim and proper !  It’s all over the place.  Running here and there.  Twisting, turning, changing it’s direction.  And that is pretty much exactly me.  A perfect fit!

the leaves on back

Ah -but let’s say that you are a person who doesn’t like mess or chaos.  You want things just so.  Precise and perfect.  Yep, I know a handful of you too.  Well, I still believe you should try this technique as an exercise in character.   ;-)  

Free-Motion Quilting

 It’s not perfect. I know that. There are imperfections.  But I am not entering it into any huge quilting contests. It’s for my little boy. Who loves it a lot. And his Mama made it for him – which makes it even more special to him.  And besides, aren’t the imperfections one of the things that make handmade so much more meaningful than manufactured?

 

*******************************

You’ll see this quilt again in Taylor’s room when I finish it. 
(It’s soooo close!  I have to find time this week to get it done!)
A quilt should be worth more than one blog anyway.   :-)  
And just to re-empahsize, dear husband, free-motion quilting is NOT cheating.

Fabric: Amy Schimler’s Animal Party and Forest Fun
Pattern: FREE download from Robert Kaufman

 

By the way, I also know some of you that are stuck at making your first quilt top.  Pick out a simple design for your first quilt. (Pre-cuts really simplify things.)  Then send it off to to be quilted.  My point is try to overcome the hurdle that is blocking your way.  Figure out a way to jump over it and take off running.  Even if that hurdle has nothing to do with sewing.   ;-)  

And now I must go hang shelves!  Until next time…..

Aug 172009
 

Kindergarten = Good

Today was the day Haley started back to school.  She was SO excited to go!  No tears!!! From me either – Amazing!

Bow and playdough

We got there and went through the routine together.  Then she was happy to sit down and play with her pink play-dough and have Mom leave.

Haley bow

One of my friends had some adorable black and white pictures on her blog recently with a splash of color.  I loved it!  So I had to play around with handy dandy photoshop and do the same for little miss Haley.  Isn’t it cute?  Cute little girl with her pink bow playing with pink play-dough.  Ahhhh

The bow brings me to the next part of today’s blog.

Cancer = Bad

I bought the bow  that Haley is wearing (actually I bought  9 – but she’s only wearing one!) from my friend Jessica.  Coming up in September, she is doing a 3 day 60 mile walk to raise money that benefits the Susan G Komen foundation.  ALL the profits from her store are going toward her $2300 required donation.  I’m certain there is a little girl in your life that could use some pretty hair bows!  Or donate directly towards her goal!  Click here to buy bows or here to donate.  

I asked Jessica what motivated her to join this 3 day 60 mile walk.  Here is what she had to say.


    I’m so excited! I am doing the walk in honor of my Grandmother Pat Torneden, who is a breast cancer survivor. She raised my brother and I when our mother died when I was only nine months old. She is my inspiration for all my crafty stuff I do in life and is an amazing woman who I call Mom.   I am walking because, if she had not survived Breast Cancer then my life would of been incredibly different. I owe her much more than 60 miles.   :-)     

 

 

Aug 152009
 

Taylor swinging

My baby starts school next week.  He’ll be going to preschool 2 days a week.  And he couldn’t be more excited!  (Isn’t he a doll?  I made those shorts he’s wearing too and never even blogged about it.  Man!  I’m a bad blogger!   ;-)   )

Of course, now he needs a lunch bag of his own! I bought this pattern from Cascade Lemonade on Etsy. Super cute – don’t ya think?

Taylor's new lunch bag

My little boy is messy (as most 3 year old are, I’m sure) so I wanted to make the outside and inside wipeable. I used an iron-on laminate to accomplish this on the outside fabric. The bag has then has a layer of insul-bright to help keep food the right temperature and nylon ripstop as the lining inside.

Of course I HAD to use the newest fabric from Amy Schimler. Animal Party is super fun. When Taylor saw it he asked if I would make him a blanket for his bunk bed. (He doesn’t have a bunk bed…but a friend of ours has the most awesome bunk bed ever. In fact, I’ll have to get pics to show you guys!) And then he added “And a shirt and some shorts too.”

Animal Party

This won’t be the last thing you see from this fabric for sure! I just LOVE it! The rich boy colors, the fun animals – it makes me so happy.  So happy, in fact, that I think I need to go cut some more of it up for my next project. :-) Okay – hope you have a great weekend!