Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dress Progress - Best Foot Forward!

Working on my dress again - and today it's all about sewing tips. First step sew the side seams of the skirt portion of the dress. Lucky me - I have a serger - bought it used years ago and this little machine just keeps on chugging.
I like finished seams - especially the long side seams of the skirt. If you don't have a serger you can use a zig-zag stitch to finish the seam.

The next step in the instructions is gathering the waist of the skirt - - - hold on here - - - I'd rather hem the skirt before gathering the waist - - - it's just easier. I'm using my Bernina to create a blind hem - this is so easy - - - the trick is in the fold of the fabric - - - pay attention:

Select stitch #9.

Prepare the hem line - turn the edge under 1/4''; then fold for the hem - - - I'm using a nice deep hem, 1 3/4'' deep - - - this will add a lovely weight to the skirt - - - it's gonna spin great!
Now the trick fold - darn - this is hard to explain - fold the pressed hem to the back, exposing the 1/4'' turned edge.
Use the #5 foot - - - see how the turned edge of the hem rides to the right of the center partition - - - the blind hem stitch will take 5 straight stitches along the fold edge. Then the stitch will cross the partition and take a bite into the fold on the left of the partition.
Here's my blind hem - can't see it that well, can you??? That's the whole idea - it's a blind hem!
Now that I've hemmed the skirt - - - onto the gathers at the waist. Typically, I would use my ruffler foot for making gathers - - - isn't this thing mid-evil looking!!!
Here it is attached to the machine. Today, however, I'm using a corded gather - - -
The dress instructions call for a single cord gather, but I prefer a double cord gather - - - it lays flatter. This is my # 3 foot - - - can you see that little toe in the center? That toe will hold my cord which will feed from the back of the machine - do you see it behind the foot?
Select stitch # 12.
Here's the foot in action - you can see the cording in the stitch area.
Perfect gathers every time - - - as long as you don't catch the cording in a stitch!!!
A word about sewing machines - - - it's all about the feet!!! Lots of us have hundreds of fancy stitches on our very expensive sewing machines that we'll never use. Instead of buying a machine loaded with stitches, buy a simpler machine and spend the savings on specialty feet - - - they will pay for them self time and again. I love playing with my feet!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sugar and Spice

And everything nice - - - I just love making dresses for little girls. And, I just love this pattern from Fig Tree and Co. - especially their shoulder instructions!!! This dress is fully lined in a complimentary fabric - - -
I decided to keep the white background fabric as my lining - doesn't matter - one good spin and everyone will see the lining!!! This is easily an under 4 hour project, and just darling, perfect for a party! Finished dress - tomorrow!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Favorite Things - Not So Fast!!!

So I had plans today - and it involved playing with my new fabric from Purl Soho - Bicycle from Etsuko Furuya for Kokka.

I found this pattern in my collection A Billfold from Favorite Things - I thought it would be the perfect application for my Kokka fabric - it measures about 4 inches square, the perfect size to show off the print of the fabric. I had high hopes - - -

Not so fast - - - agrhhh!!! There were problems - much ripping out - a dash of profanity - and an end result that is headed to the trash!!! Hey - that's my Kokka fabric that was just sacrificed for this ill-conceived pattern - drat!!!

Sorry Favorite Things - this pattern just isn't worth the time or fabric. I actually loved the way my fabric worked with the layout of the pattern. The directions were terrible for putting in the zipper - correctly.

This zippered pouch is for change - - - On heavens - - - just look at how terrible that top stitching looks - there were too many layers to top stitch - my poor Bernina couldn't handle it!!!

I even organized my fabric so that you'd see a bicycle when you opened the pouch - how fun - huh???
Sorry Favorite Things - this billfold just doesn't work - everything about it was wrong - and I wasted my Kokka fabric!!! Not even finishing it - throwing it in the trash - cutting my losses!!!
Now here are two weekend favorites that won't let you down - Seared Scallops with Lemony Sweet Pea Relish - so beautiful, and equally delicious - from May's Cooking Light!
For dessert - Lemon Pudding Cakes - gorgeous, delicious, easy and only 170 calories per serving.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jackson's Quilt - After a Dose of NyQuilt

NyQuilt - haven't heard of this quilt altering drug - well let me introduce you - - - this is what a little NyQuilt will do to calm down a chaotic quilt - - - there, that's much better - - -

Remember this trendy mess - - - yuk!!!
I found this setting while browsing quilts on line - a whimsical cattywompus layout I've seen referred to as Kirichigae from a book by Susan Briscoe. Kirichigae means "changed cut".
Take a closer look at how the blocks are set - - -

Want to play with this setting - - - this is how I drafted the block. The blue square represents the finished block dimensions (without seam allowances), and the pink square represents the pieced interior block (without seam allowances). Find the center of both and use a push pin to anchor them to your cutting mat.
Now you can spin the the pink block to your desired angle. Here I've aligned the side of the inset block with the corner of the finished block. Once you're happy with the angle you can draft a template for the pieces by adding a 1/4'' seam allowance around the perimeter.
When I set Jackson's block at this angle it was too severe - back to the drawing board.
Take a look at the block from the quilt - I've set it at a less severe angle.
Just for fun, I drafted a four patch block using the technique and 4 '' square blocks - fun! Want to see this setting in a quilt??? Take a look at this elegant example from E. Wolfmeyer Quilts - I love this quilt!Tomorrow - the border treatment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charley Harper Quilt Along

Here's a look at my espresso table books - quite an interesting collection - all very visual. My favorite - Charley Harper - - - My husband gave me this for Christmas - a mammoth collection of the works of Charley Harper - over 5 pounds and 423 pages from this master illustrator. His works are primarily nature oriented, but with a stylized, modern twist. He is particularly known for his illustrations of birds - he can create lots of motion with a few carefully placed lines - it's amazing.
This was my first introduction to Charley Harper - my 2009 calendar - it was love at first site.

Ethne at the Flaming Stitches blog has started a Charley Harper Quilt Along, fully blessed by the Charley Harper estate. Anyone can join with the task of simply producing a quilted something a la Charley's style - you can copy one of his illustrations exactly, or take on the bigger challenge by creating something new, in Charley's style. No copying for me - - - I'm putting on my creative cap and designing something original - spring is the perfect time for inspiration. I'll keep you posted as I work on my entry.
Hey - why not join in???

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lucky Clover!!!

I visited Clover Market in Ardmore (Pennsylvania - on the Main Line, outside of Philadelphia) today for the first time. It's billed as a vintage outdoor market featuring antiques and collectibles, as well as handmade goods and original art. There are two more more markets planned for the spring - May 1st and June 5th - - - clear your calendars - - - it's lots of fun, and very well attended!!!
My favorite find of the day ----- Kaye Rachelle Designs --- they make beautiful silk screened textiles including pillowcases, placemats, tea towels and totes.
Poppy and Bean is a lovely vintage retailer. I loved their up-cycled quilts and more, made with vintage linens.
These mobiles are so adorable and what a great use for yo-yo's!

Unfortunately I didn't get the information for this vendor - but I do love the dessert stands they made with these vintage plates and candle sticks; and aren't those door knob bottle stoppers great?

Here's some very quilt inspired art work from Lisa Kelley at Milkshake - click on the images to see the detail of her drawings - beautiful!
I did spot some quilted works from Brandeye - - - she had pillows and quilts.
All in all a fun day - - - if you have a chance to visit I think you'll enjoy it!

A Peek Inside My Shopping Bag

So - - - what did I come home with in my shopping bag - - - well, from City Quilter I purchased a yard of this amazing Japanese fabric, isn't it great?

Look at the texture from the nubby weave!
Selvage worth keeping - wonder what it says???
From Purl Soho more Japanese fabric - a yard of Etsuko Furuya for Kokka - I've been wanting to play with this fabric for some time now.
Love the colors and the bicycle - - - it's more of a canvas weight - perfect for a bag.
My last purchase - purse handles - I'd seen these on the Purl Soho blog and decided I needed to give them a try. They come in two sizes - I bought one of each. The package contains the metal purse frame and a paper twine rope.

I love the burnt orange color of the ball.

And, now I need your help - - - here are the instructions - - - yikes!!! No worry - I think Purl has the instructions on line - I'm fairly certain I can figure this out.