Bouquet of Geraniums

After sewing up a Geranium dress for my adorable niece, I got it in my mind to sew up four more for three friends who have little girls.

First, a pair of Geraniums for a pair of sisters. I wanted to use fabric from the same collection and really liked the florals from Beyond the Backyard by Jane Farnham for Camelot Cottons.

Sisters Geraniums

Big Sister got a tunic-length Geranium with cap sleeves and a pleated skirt with pockets and little sister got a sleeveless dress with a gathered skirt. I lined each dress with the opposite fabric for a little pop of coordination and both dresses had a U-notch neckline.

Big Sister Geranium

Little Sister Geranium

I also made another toddler size for my grad school roommate’s daughter. One of the first things I learned about Sarah was that she knew how to forage for fruit and mushrooms, so the woodsy print from Helen’s Garden by Tamara Kate was a perfect fit. This dress also has little yellow flower buttons.

Foraging Geranium

Foraging Geranium back

The last dress was for a friend from high school and college’s new baby girl. She had peonies in her wedding bouquet, so I thought this Pat Bravo Poetica print was spot-on.

Peony Geranium

Peony Geranium back

I hope these dresses are worn and enjoyed by my small friends! Finishing these was one of my Q4 Finish Along goals!

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Quilted Aeroplane Bag

QAYG Aeroplane

Finished!

QAYG Aeroplane

…Except for handstitching up the bottom where I turned the bag right-side-out after everything was sewn.  Which, let’s be honest, I’ll probably never do. The zipper is a little wonky, but I think it is just fine and functional.

QAYG Aeroplane

QAYG Aeroplane

I found the Aeroplane Bag pattern by Sarah Lawson at Sew Sweetness to be really clear. At a couple of places I wished I had the PDF pattern instead of a paper pattern so I could zoom in on the diagrams, but for the most part, this bag went together quickly and easily. And Juki handled the thick places like a champ, powering through at least 6 layers of fabric and Soft and Stable in places.

QAYG Aeroplane

QAYG Aeroplane

The lining is pink Outfoxed triangles and the pocket is Flea Market Fancy.

QAYG Aeroplane

And I even used it last weekend, packing it up and taking it to a cousin’s wedding in NH. It is the perfect size for a long weekend getaway!

This was my ALOYF goal for October as well as one of my Q4 Finish Along goals!

Reasonable Autumn Goals

Remember my summer Finish Along goals? Remember how I completed… one project? Yeah. They were pretty lofty goals. For Q4, I’m going to try and be reasonable and only goalify things that I really need to get done. Or something like that.

My Q4 Finish Along Goals are:
1. Aeroplane bag [FINISHED!]
2. Four more Geranium dresses. I’m considering this one goal since I’ll probably make them factory-style. [FINISHED!]
3. Giant secret Christmas present (revealed to be Metro Rings II). It is giant and secret. Sssh. [FINISHED!]

Something new

4. Metro Medallion needs batting patched together, backing to be worked out and then quilted.
5. Almonds baby quilt needs to be quilted and bound.
6. Fangirl Meadow

The last three are not as pressing goals and I may work on other stuff this quarter – I have a cowl and a sweater on the needles and a HST wedding chuppah to make for my best friend before next May and a baby quilt with pattern but no fabric… But them’s the plans! Linking up with the Finish Along link party at The Littlest Thistle.

Finish Along 2014

Aeroplane Bag

I’ve been drooling over Quilt As You Go (QAYG) bags for a while now. I love the ability to use scraps and bits of favorites and to frame motifs within the larger patchwork. I also need a weekend getaway bag. I’ve been using either a backpack or an open tote bag, which works but isn’t… cute. And with the open tote, has the possibility of tipping over and spilling my clean underwear all over the trunk. So a small, zippered something was needed.

Enter the Aeroplane Bag from Sew Sweetness. I like its domed shape, size, and that it requires no piping. I gathered scraps and quilted them directly on to the Soft and Stable top pieces using Elizabeth Hartman’s technique . I got to use pieces of my favorite lines: a fox here, a raccoon there, an octopus in the corner. Unable to decide on warm or cool colors, I went with all of them, with Kona Shale as the bottom and straps to tone things down.

QAYG Aeroplane Bag panel

So far, I’ve made the top and bottom panels and the straps.

QAYG Aeroplane Bag panel

I’m hoping to have this bag finished by this weekend and have made it my October ALOYF goal! It is also what I’m working on today for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Wee Mug Rug

I hope this isn’t a spoiler. Emily, if you haven’t received something from me recently, look away! Last week was my friend Emily’s birthday. Emily and I lived on the same floor in college freshmen year and her now-husband Brian lived on the men’s side of the building. We also lived in the same apartment senior year. Each of the 6 of us made dinner for the rest one night a week (with a forage day on Friday) and everyone present in the apartment (including friends, boyfriends, random classmates, etc.) got fed at dinnertime. It worked out well for all of us, and it was a happy year for the most part. Since college, Emily has started up the food blog Relishments. I appreciate her sense of humor, sensibleness, and friendship over the last decade. I’ve also been inspired by her success with blogging.

Mug rug

Last month, Brian reached out to me on FB to send a little something her way for her birthday. Emily likes tea (and has several (?) drawers full), so I made this little mug rug in some cheery colors using the Mini Dresden Plate pattern by elegantitus purchased on Craftsy. Feeling meta, I used a Melody Miller teacup for the Dresden center.

Mug Rug

Action shot at my desk at work!

Mug Rug

There’s a wee bunny on the back.

Back of Mug Rug

This was my very first Dresden and I may have to make more because it was pretty cute.

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Space Baby Dress

In addition to pulling together my projects and post for the QCR Blog Hop (tune in on Thursday!), I also whipped up a little Geranium Dress from a Made by Rae pattern for my sweet niece. You may recall that she has a space-themed nursery, and this fabric, Riley Blake Rocket Age in Rocket Blast, begged me to turn it into a dress. A Space Baby dress.

Geranium Dress rocket ship detail

The Geranium pattern came together really quickly, even though I felled the skirt seams and had to break out my old Kenmore sewing machine to do the zigzag around the flutter sleeves and skirt gathers.

Tiny felled seam!

I love that all seams, except for the flutter sleeves, are enclosed, which means that hopefully the dress will wear and wash well. Key when sewing for a baby.

Dress lining

I broke out the Kenmore again for buttonholes and let me tell you: the automatic buttonhole feature is MAGICAL. I want to sew another garment just to sew more buttons. And the buttons themselves are pretty rad; I do love a good pop of alternate color.

Orange buttons say hooray

Here’s hoping it fits for at least a little while! If not, the pattern was so quick and charming that I may have to make another in the next size up!

Geranium in Space

Crepe Dress

Remember how I mentioned that was getting together with old friends for a sewing day to sew the Colette Crepe dress? Well, the dress is finished and I wore it out to the theater last weekend!

Crepe dress

I met at Anna‘s early a couple of Saturdays ago, and before long, there were three sewing machines humming and fabric and patterns spread across the apartment. I opted to fit a muslin before cutting into my main fabric, which was wise, as the shoulders had to be taken down by about an inch.

The main fabric is Wish cotton voile by Valori Wells in the print Treasure and the contrast is FreeSpirit cotton voile in Red, both of which I purchased from bargains4sewists on eBay. I’m not being paid or reimbursed in any way to say this but seriously: bargains.

Crepe dress

The dress is interlined with cotton lawn, which gave the garment a nice weight, while still allowing the voile to be flowy. I followed Gertie’s Crepe Sew-Along. The pattern directions are very clear, but at times I needed an extra tutorial or visual on how to proceed. The armhole facings and hand finishing work were especially fiddly, and I’m glad that Gertie provided some videos.

Crepe dress

I like the details of this dress a lot, especially the wrap and the pockets. At the same time, I’m still not convinced that it is the most flattering dress on me – something seems a bit off with the little cap sleeves and the neckline does gape when I sit down, but it is done and wearable!

Ironing Board Cover

A couple weeks ago, I started noticing how gross my ironing board cover was getting. I’ve had the board since college; I believe it was a cheapo Target find. It’s moved from dorm to apartment, shoved under beds and in closets, and hung out next to a perpetually open window on a busy road for a couple summers.

Old ironing board cover

It’s stained, faded, and I never liked the fabric to begin with. I tried washing the cover a couple of weeks ago, which helped with the dirty factor, but I couldn’t get the foam seated to my satisfaction.

Several weeks ago, Rachel at Stitched in Color posted on refurbishing her ironing board and linked to her brief tutorial here. This idea has been percolating in the back of my mind until finally I decided to take the plunge. I picked out a old and fraying sacrificial towel, ordered a whack of Dowry Twill Bouquet in Navy, and got to it last night when the fabric arrived.

Nice, new ironing board cover

Nice, right? I didn’t trace anything, just laid out the towel and cut 1.5″ away from the edge around the board, and then laid out the fabric and cut 3″ away from the edge.

Drawstring casing with felled seam

I had a length of bias tape in my stash, which I attached with a felled seam. The bias tape made a nice drawstring casing, through which I ran a length of cord. I didn’t staple the cover to my board because I like the idea of being able to remove it for washing and also because I don’t own a staple gun. Here’s how it looks from the back side.

Back side of drawstring casing, old towel as pad

The cord cinches the cover on tightly, but when I want to wash the towel and the cover, it will be easy to remove.

Drawstring casing

From start to finish, this took about three RuPaul’s Drag Race episodes (what’s that, a little over 2 hours?). And when my husband saw it this morning and I told him that I had made it last night, his response was, “Wow, you made that?”

Here’s to a spoosh of spring sprucing of my sewing space! And to sibilant sentences! What are you doing to spruce your space for spring?

Petite Pachyderm Pals

My latest two petite pachyderms are finished! My lovely husband helped compress the stuffing on Saturday (while getting caught up on Agents of SHIELD, which inspired him to dub one of the characters “The Punching Solution”) and I did the hand sewing earlier this week. They’re plump and squeezable and I hope the children they’re going to like them.

Pachyderm friends

If you choose to sew this pattern, you should be comfortable sewing curves. The pattern pieces fit together really nicely with a lot of pinning, but you’re still sewing fairly tight curves in some places. There are a few fiddly bits including sewing the belly + feet piece to the animal side piece and then attaching the bottom of the feet to the legs.

Rhino

The pattern is well written with plenty of diagrams to show how to pin and sew things and goes together fairly quickly – I cut in one night, sewed over two, and stuffing/hand sewing took another couple hours.

Little Elephant

Little Elephant

Fabric is Tula Pink Prince Charming for the Rhino and Birds and Bees for the Elephant. They may have even elicited a squee from Manly Bearded Husband.

I feel like I’m in a lull with sewing projects, but I still have a list of WIPs.  In order from most to least pressing:

  • Change the batting in he Christmas stockings from fluffy Joann’s Cheapo to denser Warm and Natural and finish those up.
  • October Sugar Block for Quilt of Neptune
  • Cut more 2.5″ squares for Fortunate Granny and sew up the rest of the blocks
  • Figure out a back for my Fraternal Stripes top and quilt and bind
  • Set remaining Llama blocks on point and figure out a back, quilt, and bind

Once all that is done, I have a lot of ideas for future quilts:

  •  Equilateral triangle quilt in Lizzy House Constellations
  • Scrappy Trellis Crossroads from Modern Bee
  • Ring Toss by SewCraftyJess
  • Diamond Tread by Freshly Pieced

I should plug away at my WIP list but really, I have startitis and may just jump in and begin one of the above! How do you ever decide what to work on next?

Happy WIP Wednesday!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Socks and Stuffed Toys

Here are three quick and dark iPhone snaps for WIP Wednesday!

I finished one Porthos sock last week!

Blue Porthos sock

C’s best friend recently had a new baby girl. He already has a little boy, and C asked me to make stuffed toys for the kiddos. The rhino is almost finished – he needs his horn sewn on and to be fully stuffed and sewn up. Last night, C and I sat on the couch, got caught up on Parks and Rec, and rolled up little balls of stuffing (like how you would roll a ball out of clay). A friend of mine showed me that trick and I’m not sure if it is correct or not, but I like that it compresses the stuffing a bit before it goes into the toy so the toy doesn’t deflate.

Almost a rhino!

Rhino here is almost all stuffed and when I woke up this morning, C had filled an entire bucket full of balls of fluff, to use to finish Rhino and stuff Elephant.

Elephant in process

Elephant is almost done too – I’ll probably finish on Thursday. The patterns are from DIY Fluffies by Mariska Vos-Bolman. I’ve made each a couple times before and they’re just adorable. The fabric is Tula Pink, Prince Charming for Rhino and Birds and Bees for Elephant. I’ve been on a Tula kick lately – you’re going to see a Pink Tula Pink quilt here one of these months!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced