Monday, April 30, 2012

QAYG progress report: nearly done!

If this is the first you've heard of my QAYG project, here's all my previous posts:
Introduction and fabric choice
First big batch of blocks done
Second big batch of blocks done

Today I'm proud to say I've got ALL MY BLOCKS DONE!!!!
The pic at the top of this post is all my purple/black blocks.  You'll have to ignore the captions since they are no longer relevant, but here are all of my pink/black blocks:

Here are all my blue/grey blocks:

And now that they are all done, I have been fiddling with how I'm going to arrange them in the quilt top.  Here's a grouping I've dubbed the tetris triads:

Here are the blocks arranged in diagonal stripes:

My favorite so far is this big diamond:

Some facts about my quilt:

This quilt top is made entirely of fabric from my stash.  I didn't purchase any of it from the fabric store.  Thrift stores, garage sales, and hand-me-downs are my fabric sources.  I figured this was such a big project (that I might not finish) that I better not spend a bunch of money on it.  I feel like I did the best I could with what I had to work with.

All the blocks are different.  They are different versions of the log cabin style of block assembly.  I know this must be bothersome for some of you.  Mr. Ricochet has admitted to "not understanding" my aversion to making identical blocks.  The simple truth is that I don't do tedium.  After I made the second block I had an idea of how to vary the layout of the next block.  As I sewed the new variation, I came up with something new to try for the next block.  That's how it went, block after block.

I'm still undecided as to how I'll finish this up.  I have a couple choices as to how I can tackle this thing:

  1. Originally, I was going to follow my sewtakeahike tutorial and assemble the quilt top, center it on a solid backing, stitch in the ditch to quilt the front to the back, trim and bind the edges.
  2. Then, I found another QAYG tutorial where you cut up the backing into squares as well.  You quilt the backing squares to the top squares and sew them together like you would a quilt top. The seam allowances on the back side of the quilt are then covered with strips of sashing (like bias tape).  Then you trim and bind the edges.

Please forgive all the crappy basement photos.  It's a little too damp outside to lay out my quilt blocks on the lawn.  I'd love hear your opinions.  I'd love to hear about your own QAYG projects as well.

Since you're hear, please check out my latest sewing challenge for May 2012:
Garment Sewing Challenge: May 2012

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Garment Sewing Challenge

Garment Sewing Challenge: May 2012
[psst...this banner is button linked to the challenge on it]

I'm a bit apprehensive about the month of May.  Not the entire month.  Mother's Day is a nice event to look forward to.  However, the sewing challenge I got myself into.  Now that's another matter.  I have challenged myself (and others) to make a garment that I would be proud to wear in public.  I have a short history of sewing myself tops that rarely leave my closet and almost never leave the house.  Curious?  Kindred spirit?  Keep reading and I'll explain my dilemma.

First, I found this lovely top on the BurdaStyle website:  
Isn't it cute?  Casual, but stylish, right?  A pleasant step away from my usual uniform of t-shirts.  Plus, it was a free pattern and it looked quite simple to make.  What could go wrong?  Silly question.  First of all, I chose to work with knits for the first time.  I found a crazy good deal on all sorts of knits at a garage sale.  The seller used to make clothes for her whole family.  She had these striped knits that she used for making polo style shirts for her husband.  (Here's an example of I'm talking about.)  The price was right so I bought them all up.  When I found the BurdaStyle batwing top pattern, I thought I'd be so creative and use some of this polo shirt fabric.  Then I thought I'd blow the mind of the sewing world and turn the stripes vertical.  Yes, I thought I was so clever.  I was so wrong.  Take a look at my end product:

You might be thinking that it's not so bad.  I admit, it's not terrible looking.  However, it did not turn out anywhere near as cool as I had hoped.  I look like a rugby player or maybe a referee.  Structurally, I didn't take into account that the knit I chose only stretches in one direction.  So when I turned the stripes vertical, I ended up with a shirt that has no give "around" the torso.  Instead, I can stretch it down to my thighs.  But really, what good does that do me?  The biggest element of design that suffered was the bottom hem.  It has absolutely no give so it's tighter than I'd like it to be across my hips and more difficult than it should be to take on and off.  I'm not sure what happened to the neckline either.  The photo of the original shows a much deeper v-neck with thinner trim.  

I decided I had learned from mistakes and I'd try the pattern again.  This time I figured screw the neckline, it was too hard.  I went with a boat-neck style instead.  I used some velour knit from the same garage sale.  Here's how it turned out:
Halfway through cutting out my pattern pieces, I realize I don't have enough fabric.  I solved the problem.  You might notice that the front panel is divided in half.  When I was done, the top top was really big and bulky on me.  I ended up adding elastic to the bottom hem.  Conclusion:  this top is doing me no favors figure-wise, but it's OK for keeping warm while sewing in my basement craft room.  I think this style would look OK on me if I could get the fit and fabric right.  But I can't bring myself to try it again.

I researched my body type:  I'm a busty pear.  Not something I like to brag about, but I do enjoy joking about it!  What that means is that if you were to measure under my bust (my rib cage) I would be a size 8, my bust is a size 10, my hips a size 12.  Basically, I'm a small, medium and large sizes all at the same time.  According to my research, I should look good in tops and dresses with empire waists, deep v-necks, and no flaring out at the hips.  So I found and bought this pattern: McCall's M6120.  Here's an image of the top:
And here's how it turned out:

Once again, I used garage sale fabric.  This time it was a slinky, stretchy, metallic, synthetic fabric.  I feel like technically, I sewed a decent garment.  However, I failed in the fit and the fabric.  My bust was too big for the size I chose making the nice thick empire waist band curl up under my bosoms, and look sloppy.  The pretty little pleats are stretched to the limit, and my bra shows.  The fit across my shoulders and middle are is great though, so that's a plus.  The fabric, well you can see it's not very cool.  Literally, it's not very cool.  I sweat like a pig in it and it's so slinky, it just creeps up my body settling under my chest.  Not good.  Discouraging, in fact.  I haven't tried to sew a top for myself since.

So now you see why I NEED this sewing challenge.  I can sew handbags and am beginning to quilt with ease, so why can't I sew a stinkin' shirt?!!  This time, it will be different.  I have looked back on my past efforts and decided I need to step up my game and fork out some dough for better equipment (e.g., fabric).  

Look what I found:
Pippa is our cockapoo.  We rescued her from the pound a few months ago.  I love her!

I found a really cool piece of fabric at an actual fabric store, not someone's backyard (not that quality items can't be found at garage sales...that would be blasphemous to my thrifty principles), although it was on clearance at JoAnn's.  What can I say?  I'm cheap.  Anyway, I know some of you are thinking that fabric would be perfect for a skirt, right?  Well, I don't really do skirts, sorry to disappoint.  To back on subject, the fabric is a polyester knit.  It is a little silky, with a little bit of stretch.  I think it might work for this circle top pattern at a cool blog called Sweet Lemonyde.  I think this flowy top just might work with my fabric.  Thoughts?  Please, I need feedback so I don't hate myself.  Maybe that was too much pressure I just put on you?  How about you all just be friendly and keep me from making a wrong turn?  Please.  :-)

I'd like to make the neckline and edges finished very professionally, so I pinned this great tutorial by ikat bag.
One stipulation of this challenge is that you MUST try something new.  Making a top I actually liked is something NEW for me, but somehow I don't think that conforms to the spirit of the rule.  Instead, I'm going to learn how to bind edges with knits, AND how to tailor a pattern to fit my busty pear dimensions.  

Hopefully, I can pull this off and make a top worthy of public viewing.  Unless of course, you think I'm not on the right track.  Geesh, can you tell I have no confidence in this area?  Help.  Please.

While you're hear, please vote for your favorite Typography Challenge entry (during April 2012) and then check out the garment sewing challenge homepage.  You should join us.

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Spring!

My neighbor's crab apple blossoms.

Have you voted for your favorite typography challenge entry today?
Have you checked out the newest sewing challenge for May?

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana!
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

"I Will Wear it in Public" Sewing Challenge Homepage

In previous challenges we have made pillows, tote bags, clutches, and home decor items.  One area we haven't dipped into yet is clothing.  Personally, I have had very little luck and gotten very little satisfaction out sewing garments.  Nobody wears any of the clothes that I sew for them, including myself!!!  I want to change that.  I want to take the time to do it right and (fingers crossed) be happy with the results.  How about you?  Are you ready to sew something only for you?  Don't you think it's about time you pampered yourself with something nice, something you'll love, something you'll actually wear in public?  I am!  Please join me and accept the I Will Wear it in Public Challenge!

  1. The theme of this challenge is to sew any garment that YOU will be proud enough to wear in public. 
  2. This is a sewing challenge so machine or hand sewing is a required element in your entry.
  3. You must make a new garment for this challenge.  
  4. Upcycling and refashioning of existing garments is acceptable and long as you follow the second guideline.
  5. Don't confuse garments with accessories like hats, scarves, belts, etc.
  6. You must try something new when creating your garment.  That's where the "challenge" part comes into play, right?  Maybe you've never used a pattern, or sewn with knits, or installed a zipper.  Here's your chance!
  7. It's not mandatory, but please take a few minutes to get know your fellow participants.  Check out their blogs, facebook pages, pinterest boards, etc.  We're all in this together so let's show some support!

The Challenge Timeline:

  • Sign up and submit your entry by May 31, 2012.
  • Voting will take place throughout June, 2012.
  • Winners will be announced in the beginning of July, 2012.
The whole challenge in a nutshell:

  1. Fill out the easy sign-up form so your profile can be displayed at the bottom of this post.
  2. Accept an email invitation to the challenge's Google discussion group.
  3. Become a contributor to the challenge pinterest board.
  4. Promote the challenge through your blog/twitter/facebook etc.
  5. Finish your challenge entry by the deadline.
  6. Make a blog post (I can make one for you if you're not a blogger) about your entry.
  7. Vote once a day for your favorite entry.
  8. The entries with the most votes receive bragging rights and fancy buttons.

Grab a button for your blog:

Garment Sewing Challenge: May 2012

Garment Sewing Challenge: May 2012

  • Find the Garment Challenge Pinterest Board HERE.
Here are some pinterest boards from previous challenges:

Maha Lub from Spain
I made the same challenge to myself some time ago and came out with a fantastic yellow skirt! ;)
Pam from Austrailia
Threading My Way
I've just retired after 30+ years of Teaching, so for the first time in my life, I can wake up each day and decide how I will spend all the free time that I have. Amazingly, I wonder how I had time to fit in work. The majority of my spare time is spent sewing, blogging about sewing, or outside in my garden.
June from Iowa
Creations by June
Oh so happy for this challenge!!!  I have started sewing again in the last year and my new years resolution was to not buy new clothes unless from the person who made them or thrift store or make them myself!  I have a wedding at the end of June and have bought some really cool fabric to make a dress out of...but sort of nervous about it as it is harder than the elastic waist skirts I have been sticking with.  This will make me do my practice dress before using "good material" for the real dress!!!
Lakshmi from India
Adithis Amma Sews
SAHM.  Freelance fashion designer.
Kadie from Texas
Seven Alive
I am a craft mama to 5 fantastic kiddos.  I love to do all kinds of crafty things from sewing to cooking to crocheting.
Kei from the UK
Unfortunately Oh!
Crafter, bargain-hunter and volunteer!
My Photo
Steph from Nebraska
Steph Jacobson
I am married and have a 5 year old son.  I work full time as a pharmacist.  I hate housework.  I love to sew.
Marci from California
What you have to say
sleek maxi
Lee from the Phillipines
Lee Sew Junkie
Advertising copywriter by day, crafter 24/7.

Melody from New Zealand

Married, Mother of 2, love to make, bake, craft, knit & sew.  Also love a good challenge!
Lucija from Croatia
2 cut(e) 2 sew
I am Licija, work-at-home momma from beautiful Central European country Croatia.  I began to sew 16 years ago and it was true love.

Jasmine from Ontario
I love to sew.  I haven't sewn in a long time, so this will definitely be a challenge for me.
Katie from Minnesota
Unconventional Katie
I am fine tuning my skills as an artist and exploring whatever I can get my hands on.  I live in a cozy home with my boyfriend and two dogs. 
Traci from Scotland
My Handmadehappiness
Hi my name is Traci and I'm a SAHM of 2 boys.  When I'm not caught up in life & laundry, I'm sewing and crocheting!!
Kristin from Australia
pritty tings
Hi, I'm Kristin a 29 year old mother to a very busy little boy and wife to a very agreeable and understanding husband.  I work part time and when I'm not busy with chores or playing with blocks on the floor, you will find me baking, sewing, shopping or blogging.  I have been sewing for less than a year and have learnt heaps but still have so far to go!  This will be my first attempt at sewing a garment and I am quite frightened but hey, what better way to learn!
Helen from Alabama
Nanna's Place
Nanna to 7, party/wedding decorator for my church, love to sew for my home.
Kate from Australia
My Very Own Happy Ending
I'm a 20-something uni student with a small handmade business who NEVER sews clothes for myself!
Nancy from California
I sew and craft.  Brother this'll be the first time in a long time for me!
MiaJonique from Maryland
Decor Galore: DIY
I am new at sewing but I think this will be a great challenge for me.  I love pushing myself and I'm super excited about this contest.
Adele from England
Mammy Made
I am a SAHM to two beautiful girls and I normally sew and crochet things for them to wear.  I hardly ever make anything for myself so it will be a nice challenge to make something I will be able to wear!
Donatella from Italy
At some point, I'll figure out how to make...almost everything.  From head to toes and around the house.  Never let the battery of imagination run out of juice!
Melanie from
North Carolina
Bear Rabbit Bear Crafts
I'm Melanie from Bear Rabbit Bear Crafts.  I love crafting, DIY, sewing, and writing.
Katy from California
Mom of four, recent college grad...ready for the next adventure in my life & hoping for some free time now to craft and unassigned reading!
Lana from
The Netherlands
Lana Red
Hi!  I'm Lana, and I have been doing crafty thing for as long as I can remember.  I love a challenge and this sounds like a lot of fun!  Happy sewing everyone!
your face          ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZbbbbbbbZZ your name

Rikka from Montana
Challenge Hostess
Ricochet and Away!

I know I've got enough sewing skills to sew a decent garment for myself.  I just need to get over my dread of "wasting" fabric on myself.  It's so much easier to sew for others.....
Thanks to everyone who accepted this challenge.  You all are such an inspiration!  Now let's spoil ourselves with a cool garment we'd be proud to show off!

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