Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pink Jeans

Yes, that's right, PINK jeans.  Today is the beginning of National Sewing Month.  You know that lights me up.  I saw an article in O Magazine about pink being the new pink or something like that.  I decided that I had to have pink jeans.

Joann's had a 50% off clearance sale and guess what?  They had a pink cotton, spandex blend for $3.00 per yard.  The pattern called for 2 1/8 yards so with $1.99 for the zipper, these sweet britches cost about  $9.00 with tax.

My Pink Jeans

I used Butterick (butterick.mccall.compattern number B5682 ( I chose the slim ankle length, View A.   I cut the size according to their sizing chart and at the first fitting, the pants were huge.  I had to take 8 inches out of the waist at the back and side and taper that down through the legs.  This is no small adjustment as each step requires surging,  edge stitching and top stitching.  I had only done this as far as the back seem so it could have been much worse if I had followed the directions all the way through.  I did have to move the back pockets as well because after taking four inches out of the back seam, the pockets touched.  That was weird.  Even with taking two inches out of each ankle, the fit is still rather loose.  They fit well now, but I wouldn't call them Slim by any estimate.

The directions were clear and easy to follow.  I have a great piece of pumpkin and navy toile that I want to use with this pattern.  I'll cut them two sizes smaller next time and hope for the best.

I think I will wear this with a white collared button down shirt and a scarf.  Can't wait.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Every quilter should.....Go

Here is  a little list of ten things every quilter must try.  Once you try it, take the time to perfect it.  The trying is the journey, the perfecting it the goal.  Either way, you will be enriched and your skill will grow and your quilts will be amazing.

1.  A miniature quilt.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  My first one was a six inch school house block.  The seams were 1/8".  I quilted and bound it just like a bed-sized quilt.  I gave it to a quilting friend who moved away.  She loved it.  Our friendship was sewn into that tiny quilt and my love went with her to her new home.

2.  Go to a quilting retreat.  Even if it is just a quilt-in-a-day.  Being totally immersed in a project with like minds is so relaxing and liberating.  You will return rejuvenated and full of inspiration.  If you can go away for a weekend or a whole week, it's even better.  Good luck with that.

3.  Hand piece an entire quilt.  Say whaaat?  I once read an article in a quilting magazine that suggested this.  I tossed the magazine in a basket and scoffed at it.  Yes, I actually scoffed..out loud.  Two years later, I cleaned out that basked and found the article again.  I felt that it had found me and blamed me for scoffing.  I put together a carrying case (one of those little clear plastic bags with a zipper that sheets come in; aren't they great?)  with needle, thread, tiny scissors, a dresden plate template, a marking pencil and a few bits of cloth.  I kept it in the car. Whenever I had to wait, I cut and pieced.  It turned into one of my favorite projects.  It's been 14 years, it's almost done and it is part of me and I it.  It holds the memories of doctors appointments, soccer practices, long car rides and too many Veggie-Tale movies.  Priceless!

4.  Curved piecing.  Everyone said it was easy.  It looked to me like a sure way to fail badly.  One day, I felt bigger than failure and made a template (afraid that if I bought one and failed that would be double failure).  Guess what?  It is so easy and fast and I made two baby quilts in one week.  And had to stop because my family was getting really hungry.  

5.  Pieced borders.  Anyone can cut strips of fabric and sew them onto the edges of quilts.  Personally, I like a little one-inch black border to frame my work and then one or two larger borders to pop the color and make the quilt bigger.  This is such a cop out.  Even if all you do is chop up your left-over scraps and sew them into long strips, your quilt will be enhanced ten-fold.  But pull up your big-girl panties and and do a few intricate borders.  There are jillions of border patterns out there.  Yes, I know you thought you were done piecing, but you are not.  A simple flying geese will take your quilt up twenty notches.  The Seminole patterns are stunning; make up your own.  There are not border police coming to check for historical correctness on this.  Bedazzle your quilt for goodness sake.

6.  Foundation piecing.  I will admit that I do not love this method.  To me it is cumbersome and it wastes fabric.  But it does bring another element to the game.  You might really enjoy it.  I find the shreds of paper at the end to be a bit annoying.  I guess I just love the accuracy of my 1/4" foot...we have a real thing going on.

7.  The "Y" seam.  Why, yes I am talking about hexagons, thank you for asking!  This is like a drug.  Just try to go to sleep once you have tried this.  Moda Bake Shop is coming out with pre-cuts.  I'm not sure that I can take it anymore.  Get a clear template that has multiple sizes printed onto it.  It is very easy to slide it around to get the size that you want.  It comes with directions that are one paragraph long. Make a small pillow and I predict that you will be hooked on this.  It's just so stinking adorable.

8.  An historical tribute.  I was at ground zero for Hurricane Andrew.  What a mess.  We were a month without electricity in Florida's summer heat and three months without phone...pre-cell phone era 1992.  Everything was crushed, crumpled and destroyed.  My Bernina had sea water in it.  Talk about devastating.  But quilters are special folks.  The local guild put out a challenge to make hurricane quilts.   My home was too devastated to sew in but I went to the quilt show where they were all on display and it lifted my spirits.  Some were filled with sorrow, some thankfulness for survival, some pure grief and some were really funny.  If you don't laugh,  well, you should.  When the power came back on  and the seaweed was cleaned out of the bobbin area, I began to heal through a quilt.  That quilt is raw emotion. I could control absolutely nothing at that time of my life, but I could command a needle to be precise and accurate and I began to heal.  I love spectacular amounts of color and I used the colors of mud, dust and fog in this.  That should tell you how I was feeling.

9.  Hand Applique.  I use freezer paper.  I will not judge you if you don't.  I learned this from a sweet lady named Bernice.  She taught with a heart template so you could learn points and cleavage.  We laughed our heads off.  Hand applique is a great way to center yourself after a stressful day.

10.  Clean out your stash.  Please forgive me but you will never use that poly-cotton blend with Strawberry Shortcake printed on it.  I know.   Trade it, donate it, anything.  Make room for something that you love.  Clear away the clutter and you will set yourself free.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Heavenly Hexies

Hexagons...really, I'm not interested.  So thought I.  But I needed to make a sample for a class that I'm teaching at Joann Fabric and Craft Store.

So I bought a template, read the directions and started to cut.  Ok, that was easy.  I pieced one row; not too hard; two, three, 4,5, 6 and 7.

Putting them together seemed daunting.  But it was easier than I expected.  Once pressed and quilted, it looks soooo cute.

I didn't do much planning on this as you can see.  Placement takes a little practice.

Now I have cut out enough of these little darlings to make a Christmas hexagon quilt.  Wish that I didn't have to clean the house for a few days.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cutie Pie Coin Purse

So when you need two pennies, a dime and a nickel, do you just thrust out a dollar bill because it's way too hard to get the coins out of the change compartment of your wallet?   Oh, I feel ya.

Then you end up with more change in your wallet and the problem keeps on growing.

Enough!  This morning I dug around on the internet instead of my purse for a cute solution.

Here we go!

Cutie Pie Coin Purse

Cost = $zero

I cut out a page of an old fabric sample book; found a used zipper in the deep depths of my zipper box; rescued a vagrant snippet of giant rick rack because I cannot possibly part with a molecule of trim.

Time to completion was five minutes.

I think I will make some more.  Probably lots more.

Here is the link to the website that has a great tutee.

Just in case you do not have a ruler to translate metric into English measure:
I cut my rectangle to about 7" x 8"( radiused the corners for cuteness) and I cut my zipper down to 5".

Difficulty factor on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being really, really hard - I'll give it a " 2"

This is a project that you don't want to over-think.  I didn't use pins, just sewed the zipper in on the fly. Probably not a great project for a beginner because it is a bit tricky to get that zipper to curve around the corner.  Someone with just a bit of experience can knock this gem right out.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bird House Block

Bird House Block

This is just a little peak at a sampler quilt that is in the works.  This is block number 22 on the way to 30.  It will be a wedding gift for someone special...that's all I'm telling.

I found the free block pattern on-line at It said that it would be a 12 inch block....well, I was pretty careful.  In fact it was the first time I have played with foundation piecing in many years.  It's hard to mess up foundation piecing.  It came out to be a 13 inch block...too big for my pleasure.  Since I am the designer and can make all the rules, I whacked off a little here and there.  I sort of like the off-centeredness of the bird house on the right...  I also left out the door holes so this is the back of each house.  Still deciding if I will add a little bird; just not sure.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Little House Pillows

I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble.  So while waiting for a other pastime, I browsed around till I found "Pretty Little Pillows" by Lark Books...hmmm no author...oh well then.

 Not being very patient and full of inspiration, I dug into my endless stash and whipped up these two little cuties.  These were very fast and VERY fun.

 There are lots of cute ideas inside this little charmer.  More to come in the future!