Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fresh Sewing Day: September 2014

September in Seattle was spectacular this year, so I spent more free time outside frolicking and less time inside sewing. That’s okay though, because I’m really happy with what I did sew. In addition to finishing the Button Down Belcarra Blouse and Bubblegum Glam Clam Quilt, I made significant progress on several WIPs. Now that the days are shorter and cooler, I’ll most likely get more sewing time in. Watch this space!

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts.

Fresh Sewing Day

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bubblegum Glam Clam Quilt


They say that in order to be successful at something, you must want it more than you fear it. That certainly was the case with me and the Bubblegum Glam Clam Quilt. This past April, I felt compelled to make my daughter a new quilt for her bed in her favorite color. (My husband had let my daughter pick out new sheets, and they didn’t match the existing quilts.) The problem was, I didn’t know which pattern to use. One night, I stumbled across the Glam Clam pattern by Latifah Saafir, aka The Quilt Engineer. I was awestruck, and was determined to make one for my daughter. Since I had never sewn a quilt pattern with curves before, I chose to go with the 12” clamshell version. After downloading the PDF pattern from Craftsy (it’s free!), I was pleased to find that the Large Baby size would be a perfect fit for my daughter’s toddler bed.

Fabric Selection

My daughter’s favorite color is pink, but as that is one of my least favorite colors, I didn’t have very many pink fabrics in my stash. To fix that, I ordered a pink fat quarter color stack from Pink Chalk Fabrics, then added a couple fabrics from my stash, along with a handful of solids and two of Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelet fabrics. When I saw the Ripples in Rose fabric by Bari J. Ackerman, I knew it had to be the backing. The binding was the last fabric I chose, and I decided on the Cotton + Steel basic Dottie in Cotton Candy Gold.


Since I don’t have access to one of those fancy die-cutting contraptions, I cut out the clamshells by hand, using the templates. It was time consuming, but I was so excited about this quilt that I powered through it somehow. The cutting would have gone faster had I been using yardage and not mostly fat quarters, but I like how scrappy it ended up.


I kid you not, this is one of the quickest quilt tops I have ever sewn together. Normally, I would have been nervous about sewing so many curves, but I was hopeful after viewing Latifah’s YouTube video a few times. I actually love the no pin technique for curves. In an afternoon, I sewed eight rows together! I didn’t really understand the instructions for the last row, but I wasn't about to let that stop me. By the end of the week, the quilt top was done. Then it sat for a month before I had a chance to baste it.


Once the quilt was basted, I immediately got to work on machine quilting it. I had an overly ambitious plan that I changed on the fly. I stitched in the ditch along one row, and then used that line to guide my ½” echo quilting. Being unused to quilting curves, this plan led me down a path I did not expect. I do all my machine quilting with a walking foot, and the tightest curves proved to be quite a challenge. (Note to self: overcome fear of free motion quilting next.) I did a lot of unpicking. I set it aside for a bit. I picked it up again and stitched one line at a time. After two months of struggling with it, I finally finished the quilting. The binding was on in a flash, and then came the moment of truth.

My daughter loves this quilt! I was pretty sure she would, since throughout the spring and summer she kept asking if I was working on it, but it is still immensely gratifying to see her use it every night, and drag it from room to room during the day. It won’t replace her security blanket, but I dare say that at the moment, it’s her favorite quilt. It’s one of my favorites, too.