I’m into Squares

AQuilt_croppeddvanced quilters will have to refrain from laughing at my puny quilting efforts. Those who want to learn basic quilting, read on. Especially if you’re an experienced garment sewer like I am, eager to expand your horizons into new prints, colors and techniques. Here’s the story of my latest simple quilt.

I have been dutifully trying to use cottons from my acquired stash. It seems to me, though, that to finish projects one has to acquire yet more fabrics because you don’t have just the right patterns, stripes or solids in quantity. This time, I put out a plea to my local recycling Web site: Did anyone have fabric they were not using, so I could “finish up” projects or make lap quilts for charity? Why, yes they did. And they would be more than happy to have me pick it up from their porches or homes. In large bins. All of the fabrics you see in the pictured sample are the result. The bluish-looking solid is actually a spruce green. The red is a floral, the cream is a leafy lattice, and there’s a floral element to the dark green striped fabric. Despite the flora, and no holiday element whatsoever, my quilt looks like Christmas. Which makes it less useful, I’m afraid, as a lap quilt or to give away. I’m less enthused about it myself, in the early summertime, though the colors are lovely.

The real simplicity to this project is the squares. It’s impossible to miss if you’re a really creative quilter. My quilt has only squares! I use a “strip” quilting method, and over time I’ve perfected the quarter-inch (1/4″) seam allowance so that in the sample above, the corners match beautifully. Though I’ve read many techniques for creating triangles, especially ones that won’t distort on the bias, I’ve never tried to cut or sew triangles! There–it’s out now! I can’t be frightened of the technique, which is well explained, but I do fear combining colors and prints. After all, a triangle meets up with another triangle, and each should complement the other somehow. But soon, soon I hope to try a whole bunch of triangles. And maybe some off-set columns (strips). You see, I have a lot of fabric to practice with!

Cool Fashion Graphics to Awaken Your Inner Hipster

SoundStitches Sewing Blog CoolHipsterDressThis cool free graphic comes to you from Hipster Vector, which offers free graphics that can be downloaded and manipulated with graphics programs. They can adorn your Web site, blog, or Facebook page — the creator simply asks that you credit them, and so here is the credit for Freepik. The dress comes from a set called Cool Hipster Dress Up Girl — find it at the link above, and search for others. Other free art picks include vintage signage, mustaches, goofy clothing with or without body attached, bowties and badges (the digital kind!). Lots of fun!

And here’s the whole Cool Hipster Dress Up Girl set. For Halloween, I wanna be cool hipster girl!

SoundStitches sewing blog hipster girl dress set

Table Runner

RunnerNow that this gift has been given out and nicely received, I can post this table runner that I made for my second cousin Molly, at whose lovely house in the sunny desert we spent the holidays. I don’t tackle too many quilt projects — I favor garments — so it had to be something easy to finish and something classy and artistic (just like my recipient). I chose — and bought new — one (subtly) printed black and one printed white fabric. When I bought these I was sure I would do stripes, but I knew I had something good when I found a gray lightweight wool in my stash to provide contrast. The batting is a layer of sweatshirt material (reduce, reuse…!), the backing is the white print fabric, and the binding as you can see is the black print. To determine the width of strips, use your ultimate measurements and divide into the numbers of strips. (Very generally!) With such a small project, getting enough length in a strip is usually not a problem.

Molly’s home is black, white and cream. She’s an artist, and appreciates bold textures more than colors. This gift rolled up nicely in my baggage for a plane trip, and it looks lovely on her modern glass table. (This picture is taken on my wood table.)

When it comes to making gifts for an upcoming deadline such as a holiday, I try to keep it simple to avoid becoming overly-stressed. This was just such a gift — fun to make, easy to present, decorative and useful.

Wool Jacket Redux

SoundStitches sewing blog attends Urban Craft UprisingOf the booths at the recent Urban Craft Uprising, I most loved the repurposed woolens at Bella Sisters. I honestly felt I could either immediately locate a victim jacket at home or make a trip to the local thrift store. Finally, a way to use up fabric scraps.

I was surprised to see that you could use matching thread for the underside and because of the padded wool, the stitches wouldn’t show. The jacket I photographed has a classic style, but I spotted a pink wool short jacket straight from the 199os. What to do? Embellish it! It looked fabulous, and really there was nothing wrong to begin with except the outdated wear-a-jacket-to-work style of that decade.

I also enjoyed seeing a sewing machine booth at Urban Craft Uprising. For just $3, you could purchase a kit and hop onto a sewing machine. Perhaps it inspired a few people to get sewing.

As a side note, I bought this beautiful book of illustrations for my daughter the budding wildlife artist. Illustrations by Little Otsu.

New Interview Shirt

Last week I was asked to come in for an in-person interview on Monday. I’m not even sure I want to be considered for the job, but I haven’t interviewed in a while, and I rarely pass up the chance. On Thursday, I had two crazy notions: 1. I don’t have a good interview top or blouse and 2. Why don’t I sew one? I had three full nights between then and Monday, after all.

I can say in my defense that I had in mind a Simplicity shirt pattern that I have made before. So there were no fitting issues. I whipped out the pattern, used some lawn cotton (a light cotton) that I recently acquired at the ASG Yardage sale. It’s white, with vertical sprays of dots in black, dark blue and periwinkle. I lengthened the pattern two inches to give it a current tunic look. I acknowledge that I spent a lot of time on it over the weekend, yet I managed not to cut corners in the construction. I thought about wearing it with a belt but I’m not fond of contrasting horizontal lines. (See thoughts on horizontal lines.) I might choose to make a belt out of self-fabric later, with some contrast poking out from behind the main fabric.

Early tonight I finished, buttonholes ripped and buttons attached. The photos here don’t show as flattering as it is on. Maybe soon I’ll capture a photo of it on me, but for now here is my “interview blouse.” And I’m off to bed to prepare my brain!

 

What Do You Think About the New Vogue Lineup?

The summer Vogue pattern lineup is here. What do you think? Vogue Summer Patterns seems full of drape-y tops and dresses. What do I think? I’m surprised to see how very easy these styles are to sew up.  I think that the styles of the last two years are especially for the Dramatic woman. All that draping is wonderful if you’re what they call a “dramatic.” You like drama in clothing, and don’t mind lots of fabric around your body. It’s a great time for the Dramatic with curves, as well, because the fabric notices the curves but doesn’t cling to the less-flattering spots. I’m more of a “Classic Bohemian,” so this is not my time.

Tell me what you think of the new Vogue line by leaving a comment. Are these drape-y styles for you? Do these look easy to sew and wear?

Inspired

Once again, I’m inspired and impressed. This time it’s sewing student Katelyn, and I love how she is wearing her first sewn dress. Check out the boots, belt and casual sweater. Isn’t this the way we all take photos of our new creations?! She used Simplicity 2004, pictured below. It’s a Sew Simple dress, with just back, front and facings.

Katelyn ended up not admiring the fabric as much as she first thought. At some point she realized it was simple quilting cotton. But lots of garments are cotton, and and I love it in this picture with the accessories. I hope she will attempt it in another color because it’s great practice. I know she’s itching to make it up in a slippery fabric. I agreed it would look cute, but cautioned that slippery shiny fabrics can be hard to manage. Katelyn’s also tackling a bathrobe next and she asks, “Should I do it with or without contrast facing?” Whatever she creates next, I enjoyed getting to know her and wish her the best in sewing and her other ventures.