Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lotus Pond Geranium & Sketchbook

This is essentially the ONLY face/pose I can get out of this kid anymore. He was being the Hulk, I think. Or maybe he was trying to smile nice. There is no difference between those two looks. 

So welcome to my spot in the sunshiny glow of the Made-By-Rae Lotus Pond Blog Extravaganza! I mean really, does this fabric line make you happy or what? The colors together are an unstoppable happiness force. Don't fight it. See Tara's blanket, if you doubt me. And if you just don't know what I'm talking about, check out Rae's brand new line of organic quilting cottons from Cloud 9. I was so excited to get to play with this gorgeous fabric!


I made Hendrix an Oliver & S Sketchbook shirt using Snail Trail in gold and the Lily Pond print for a contrasting yoke. I made a size 6, but I think my just-turned-5 year old actually needs a 7 now. It just didn't quilt fit his chest right when it was buttoned and seemed a little short to me. Must be the Hulk muscles. But it's still pretty darn cute with that lily pad blue yoke. He bought the whole concept only because he has recently seen the movie Turbo, which is about a snail who wins the Indy 500. (huh?)  And these days he is mostly really happy just to have me making him anything. I should do it more. His sister accumulates my makes only because of the sheer volume of cute little girl patterns and fabrics, but she never shows that kind of gratitude. Hrumph.

Speaking of sass-master, she got herself a new Meadow Blossoms Geranium dress, made just a day or two after the fabric arrived in the mail. Which also happened to be the day before Easter. The Instagram was appropriately tagged #raesaveseaster. Really, could there be a more perfect Easter dress? (Besides this one. Geez Cino Jess, just had to be a genius with the trim, huh?) 

I really enjoy cute buttons on the back of a dress. One of life's greatest satisfactions.

I tried really hard to get those cute little hand-holding shots that one would expect from a perfect blogger like me with perfect kids like these, but this is what happened instead. I'm not complaining. 

Thanks so much to Rae and Cloud 9 because now these little weirdos have some extremely cute new summer duds. Check out the rest of the Lotus Pond projects over on Made By Rae, you will love them all to pieces. And if you are local, we should be getting the whole collection at Sewn Studio any day now! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hide & Seek Tunic

I made Elsie this Oliver & S Hide and Seek tunic about 6 weeks ago. Sooooo it's been washed and worn a lot before being blogged, as is my pattern lately. Still as adorable as ever, but that shot cotton I used on the yoke refuses to iron well. At least you can't see the spaghetti sauce stains near the birds, so there's that.

It's pony-tail weather now, which makes Elsie look like such a big kid. She loves this shirt a lot. She's more of pants girl than a dress girl, so it's great that most O&S dress designs come with tunic or blouse options. I loved putting this one together too. It didn't take too long, but it's a unique construction that lends itself to really cool color blocking options.

The bird border fabric is from Carrie Bloomston's first line Collage. I actually just saw her new Paint collection in person at Quilt Market over the weekend, and it's just as great as the first! There are some really cool prints that can be used uniquely in garment sewing. The yoke fabric isn't quite this dark in person and it's a Studio E Peppered Cotton. The tunic is sewn up in a size 3. 

Thanks so Liesl for sending me this pattern to try. As always, it was a joy to sew! You can pick yours up online here, or if you are local we carry the full line of paper patterns at Sewn Studio

Come back next week to see what I made for both kids with Rae's beautiful Lotus Pond fabric. After that, I really need to let the kids wear out their summer hand-me-downs and focus on finishing some quilting projects AND sewing more clothing for me. I've actually just finished up 2 Liesl & Co Metro tshirts that I love, so hopefully I can get pictures to share those soon too. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Autobot Raglan and After School Pants

I have the hardest time lately with blogging my kids' clothes before they get dirty and slightly trashed. So why not embrace the reality of kid slime? No ones kids actually look that clean by lunch time in the spring anyway. And goodness knows I'm not together enough to get blog photos taken in the morning. 

So I followed the kids (with cutey little school friend on the left) on a walk yesterday when they set out to make treasure paths on the sidewalks. I made Hendrix this Autobot tee to wear to his fifth birthday party a couple weeks ago. The Autobots are the good-guy Transformers, led by Optimus Prime of course, and that's their symbol.

I made the raglan with some cheap interlock from Joann (I prefer the nicer stuff normally, but birthday parties are expensive. So I was being cheap.) It's the raglan pattern out of the Sewing for Boys book, in the size 7/8. That pattern worked fine on him when he was smaller, but I'm not crazy about the fit of this one. I need to switch to Field Trip raglans for my kids, not sure why I haven't yet!

Of course, the freezer paper stencil was the fun part. I gave Hendrix the shirt right before his birthday party. He was trying to watch something so he mumbled a thanks without barely glancing at it. I told him to look at the front and he exploded off the couch in excitement, "I LOVE IT!"

The pants are Oliver & S After School Pants, once again. Still my favorite pants ever. They are in teal Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel, which is the coziest ever. I made these a couple months ago, when the weather was still very cold and Hendrix had already worn through the knees of his store-bought jeans. I hate that! This flannel, along with the relaxed fit of the pants, won't do that. I decided to get a little crazy with the pockets in Alison Glass' Sunprint. I hate how his outfits tend to get so dark and boring, partly due to the dismal color selection in the boys' department and partly due to the fact that his favorite color ever is black. Little touches like chartreuse pockets make me happy. 

He thinks his spacey rain boots match everything perfectly this spring. Ok, I like your style kid.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Back in the Bee

You guys, I have so many things to blog about that I've mostly just avoided it altogether.  I know, not the end of anybody's world. But I actually do want to share lots of these things because they are exciting to me and I like them. I've taken up a new crafty obsession, I've made progress on so many projects, I've learned new sewing skills and I really need to tell you guys about my recent Sewdown weekend because it was pretty amazing.

So instead of overthinking it, I'll just tell you one thing at a time. And probably still in my slow and forgetful blogging style :)

I recently re-joined the charity quilting bee, Do Good Stitches. I left my original circle of the bee last year just to take a break, which lasted about 9 months. But then Rachel so kindly invited me to be in her circle, along with several other of my favorite online quilting buddies, and I just couldn't say no. Plus, this time I'm only a stitcher and not a quilter. That means I just make the assigned blocks each month and I never have to be in charge of planning and finishing the quilts. That feels much more manageable for me right now, so I was super excited to get back into it!

Mystery Star

This block was for Rachel's March assignment. You can read about her instructions here, but she basically wants to make a quilt with a very eclectic piecing style but cohesive color scheme. So we had a lot of freedom of choice here. She did want our units to be traditional style blocks though, which she will put together in kind of an improv-y modern way. Cool idea, huh? So I had recently learned to paper piece (finally!) from my friend and boss at Sewn Studio, Julie. I was itching to try  another paper pieced block that fit the traditional bill here, so I tried Faith's Star of Mystery tutorial. It was so fun to put together! I can totally see why people get so easily addicted to paper piecing. I also sent along some tiny hourglass units with my star for Rachel to work into the quilt somewhere. I can't wait to see how she puts this one together!

String blocks for Jacey

This month, Jacey asked for simple 8.5" scrappy string blocks with solid blue center strips. This was quick and fun for me since I just recently made a whole quilt that's very similar. This time, I didn't put any wonkiness into my cuts though, and tried to mix in more thin strips. I love them. I need to just always be making string blocks once in a while- the pile of string scraps is constantly growing!

DGS Love Circle

DGS Love Circle

February was my first month with this group and Natalie (soooooo talented. I love everything she does!) asked for improv blocks that were one color each, but went from darker value in the center to lighter value around the outsides.  Now I also want to make myself a scrappy quilt in this style. She gave no size specifications for the blocks, they didn't even have to be square. I think that variation will make the whole quilt so interesting. 

Isn't this group awesome? It's nice to just follow someone else's directions when there is a perfect balance of guidance and creative freedom given. I can never wait to see what we are doing next. 

If you are interested in joining the bee, you can find sign-up info here, in the group news section. And if you are interested in seeing more timely, but less wordy updates from me, @alittlegressica on Instagram. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Sam's Quilt

Baby Sam's Quilt

This quilt was a little late getting to it's brand new baby tiny person, but I don't think he minded too much. Sam is our besets friends' new baby. He's put them over the two-kid-line both us and his parents never thought we'd cross. And we are over here watching in awe as they make it look totally easy :) We are so happy he is here, and I just had to make him a quilt of course. His mom showed me some colors she might like, and I honestly can't remember how closely I stuck to what we discussed... probably not all that close!

I pulled everything for this quilt out of my stash, and the scheme started out with a lot of Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics line. It's my favorite fabric line that's come out in a long time and I've used it so many ways lately. To that I added some Lush Uptown, a few Joel Dewberry print, and other scraps that fit the scheme.

I knew I wanted to do a simple log cabin quilt.  I decided to give it dimension by putting darker fabrics in the center and going lighter as the blocks grew out. The picture above is my progress as shown on Instagram (@alittlegressica) a couple months ago. I had done the darker value centers and then the layers of medium values around that, but hadn't added the final round of super light prints and linens.

The back is this amazing fabric called Shetland Flannel by Robert Kaufman (purchased at Sewn of course, along with most everything else in the quilt.) It's super soft but also has a subtle herringbone texture in the weave. And the fibers going in each direction are two different colors, kind of like shot cotton. This one is blue combined with a  citron-y yellow, and the light teal it makes is just perfect.

I kept the quilting pretty simple on this one so it would stay soft and flimsy. At first, I regretted not doing my favorite quilting- dense straight lines. But now that I see these pictures, I like the effect the large cross hatch has on the log cabin blocks. Sometimes keeping it simple works best.

The binding is probably my favorite print from Botanics. Even baby boys need a little metallic gold in their lives right? Fabric designers, please make more prints in this dark gold color. I need them all.

Baby Sam's quilt

So baby Sam finally has a handmade quilt to hang out with. I really really love how this one came out and I might have to make another quilt in these colors for me to keep!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Scrappy Strings Quilt

This was another quilt I finished back in January and photographed when we were in Florida that month. It was a gift for my oldest brother and his family. I started on it at the end of November, just picking up some scraps on a whim and making string blocks on 8.5" squares of printer paper as foundations. 

The technique is similar to the string quilt in this book, only I changed the size of the blocks and I cut my strips to all different widths without measuring, some of them at slightly wonky angles. That really made this project go fast for such scrappy quilt.

I'm not 100% happy with the back. I wish I had made those pieced strips just as scrappy as the front blocks, but I was lazy and just chopped up 4-5 fat quarters to fill the space I needed. The gray is actually a tiny sketchy black and white print from Carolyn Friedlander's Botanics collection. I love that choice, but it would have looked a little better with more colors against it. No biggie. Just one of those choices you get  a better perspective on after everything is finished. 

The binding is a deep purple Joel Dewberry woodgrain print. 

The quilting is a little hard to see in places, and equally hard to do in those places. I did dense straight lines that crossed thru the solid star. But then in the leftover areas I free-motion quilted in scallops growing out from the star. By the time I got to the edges of the quilt, I was doing lines of scallops that got way too wide to be done very easily, but in the end it worked out. I like the contrast in the two quilting styles.

I can't remember exactly, but I think it ended up about 60" square. My sister-in-law especially appreciated the gift because she has started to really get into sewing too, even a little quilting. It's always fun to see someone new take up your obsession! My younger brother's wife is also a very good quilter, so between us and my mom, we somehow ended up with a family full of sewing women. One day when we aren't scattered all over the country we'll have girly sew dates together :)

In the meantime, my mom and I will be going to Sewdown Nashville together in just a couple weeks! I'm getting really excited about the workshops (seriously, check out our AMAZING teachers!) and fun social sewing time. Anyone else going??

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Princess Anna Dress- New Oliver & S Spring Patterns

So have you  heard of this one movie called Frozen? It's a bit under the radar, not every little girl everywhere has been singing all the songs from it for the past 4 months or anything. Elsie is so special and unique in her little 2.5 year old movie tastes. Like a snowflake. 

I kid, I kid. We are all obsessed around here, not just Elsie. When I got home from work today, her and Hendrix had been building Kristoff's ice sled out of blocks together. It's pretty cute how much their playing together revolves around that movie lately. When I first saw the preview in the fall, it said something about "The biggest Disney event since Lion King." I immediately thought, yeah right. Now that I've watched it 8 times,  I'll totally give them best since Lion King, easily. Anyway, point is, you should see it if you haven't. 

This whole princess sewing thing is new to me. I've never actually tried for "Princessy" in my sewing before. At the same time, I didn't want to make a dress-up dress, I wanted it to be something she can wear whenever. Like with froggy rain boots, if need be. 

So it's not an exact costume, it's more inspired by Anna's clothing and the jewel tones of the movie. It's more like the green dress she wears to the coronation. I stuck to the deep green on the bodice and added gold grosgrain ribbon, which is what really makes this dress feel like hers.

At Sewn Studio, we recently got Amy Butler's new Hapi collection and this print caught my eye right away. It's so interesting and unique and this color way reminds me very much like Frozen. I liked that it's linear elements could go vertically across the skirt and feel a little bit like Anna's gorgeous green pleats, without being that formal. Elsie likes both of the frozen sisters equally, but now she is begging for a Queen Elsa dress, of course. I'm excited to try to make an "every day" version of that dress next!

The pattern is the brand-spankin-new Garden Party Dress and Blouse from Oliver & S. I was very excited to get this pattern in advance to try it out, and it didn't disappoint! The way the bodice comes together is so clear and clever. It also makes gathering pretty painless, which is probably my least favorite thing to do in garment clothing. Have you discovered the dental floss trick yet? Instead of just sewing a row or two of gathering stitches, you lay out a length of floss and zig zag over it. It gathers up so much easier. It's the only way I do it nowadays.

I can't wait to try a sleeveless blouse version of this pattern for spring/summer too. For more inspiration, check out Kristin and Gail's super pretty floral versions. Stellar as usual from those two. Also, thanks to Sewn Studio for letting me take pictures among the pretty bolts on a gray day.

I moved Elsie up to a 3t in Oliver & S for the first time and I'm glad I did. It's not too big, but roomy enough that I know it will last all summer. I'm sure we'll still be singing about building snowmen come July!