Friday, November 30, 2012

Wintergraphix is Coming! A Christmas Quilt

Can you believe it’s almost December? It feels like only yesterday that I started my Christmas in July efforts, only to be sidetracked by fun in the sun. Now that the days are shorter and the nights are colder, I’ve been able to find more time for sewing. (A road trip across the state and back over Thanksgiving weekend didn’t hurt, either.) Fortunately, I was able to finish this Christmas quilt for my grandma in time for it to be an early Christmas present. My grandma is one of those people who have a knack for transforming their home into a winter wonderland, so I knew she would appreciate this quilt.

Most of the fabrics in this quilt are from Wintergraphix I, II and III by Jason Yenter. In the Beginning was my favorite local quilt shop while it was still open, so I have a bit of a soft spot for Jason Yenter’s fabrics. My mom bought most of this fabric for me years ago. I dutifully stored these lovelies in their own plastic bin along with the pattern I picked out for them. When I pulled them out this summer, I realized that the pattern was no longer my style, as it involved lots of sashing and borders. I have grown to thoroughly dislike borders. I couldn’t find another pattern that felt right for these fabrics, so I made up a simple pattern based on 5”x10” and 2.5”x5” rectangles. I miscalculated somewhere along the way, so this quilt ended up closer to twin-sized than lap-sized. For the quilting, I just echoed the seams. I quite like how it turned out. Now I’m itching to make a Christmas quilt of my own.


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Brace of Birthday Bags

Fabric gift bags sure are habit forming! My quest to give gifts in reusable (and preferably handmade) wrapping has spilled over from Christmas gifts to birthday presents. Using the Drawstring Bag Pattern from Jeni of In Color Order as a guide, I made two bags to fit specific items for my sweet girl’s birthday, using fabric* from my stash. Being a toddler, she was much more interested in the toys themselves, so I reused the bags for the next family birthdays only a few days later.

Giving gifts in pretty, reusable fabric bags gives me such nice warm fuzzy feelings that I don’t think I’ll be able to stop anytime soon. I’m already eyeing the scraps from these two bags and planning the next birthday bag.

*Fabric used was part of a Happy! by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda jelly roll for the main sections, blue Sketch fabric by Timeless Treasures and purple small chevrons by Riley Blake Designs for the drawstring sections, and an unidentified fabric from Spill the Beans by Barb Tourtillotte for Clothworks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My First Garment: Wiksten Tank Dress

Making my own clothes has been something that I have wanted to do for years and years. More than once, I bought a pattern and fabric only to abandon the project in frustration or despair. Time passed, and eventually examples of the Tova shirt and Wiksten tank began popping up all over the blogosphere. As I read over and over how easy the pattern was to make and how happy people were with the results, I began to think that I just might be able to make one myself, previous failures notwithstanding.

During the Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meet-Up, I received in-person encouragement from Kelli of Drygoods Design. That day, she wore a Wiksten tank that she had recently finished. Paired with a cardigan sweater, it was both cute and professional. Kelli kindly answered my questions about her experience sewing up the tank, and confirmed that quilting cotton was a perfectly acceptable fabric for the tank. Shortly thereafter, I bought the downloadable Wiksten tank pattern and several yards of fabric from a line called AndalucĂ­a. (I'm a sucker for fabric named after foreign locales, especially those I have visited.) I stalled after printing out the pattern though, as I had neither the time nor the inclination to tape together so many sheets of paper and then cut out the pattern. The project languished in a corner until, on a whim, I packed it in my suitcase for Sewing Summit. I wanted to take advantage of the open sewing times, but didn't want to take any of my existing WIPs or something that required a lot of fabric. Packing this project turned out to be an inspired choice.

The Wiksten tank is indeed quite simple, but it took three evenings for this novice to complete the tank dress. It would have taken even longer if not for the moral and practical support of my mom. Along the way, I made a few tweaks to the pattern. I omitted the decorative pocket, make the neckline trim out of contrasting fabric, and used double-fold binding for the armholes (the single-fold option was too fiddly for my tastes). Let me tell you, I am thrilled with the results! In fact, I am sorely tempted to make half a dozen more, and spend this fall and winter exclusively in tank dresses, scarves, sweaters and leggings. Stay tuned for more of this pattern, as I’m planning to go stash diving for another tank dress soon.

 Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at crazy mom quilts.