Friday, June 29, 2012

My First Quilt - The Binding

This is a picture of the quilt pinned and wrinkled after first pressing. Repeat with same result.
I decided I wanted a ruffled edge to this quilt but only after the top was quilted. Well! That's not an easy task! I've thought of sewing a ruffle seamed in the binding but I'm not sure how that would wear. If I do that, should the binding be on the cross grain or bias? The ruffle as well? I would like to think I will do both on the bias but for this quilt, I'm looking for a fast solution.

I read that bindings should be bias for a well used quilt which I suspect this one will be. Something about it wearing longer than cross grain. Okay...

These links are sites I used to try to figure this out:

How to Make Continuous Bias Binding Tape from Modern Quilt Love
Continuous Bias Binding Strips from
Pretty Bird Ruffled Edge Blanket 
Gathering and Ruffles Made Easy
Spice up Your Baby Quilt with Ruffled Bias Binding
Continuous Bias Tape - a good description, tutorial and explanation of bias tape with mathematical formulas.
Bias Tape - How to make it attach it - making bias tape using the traditional method. Also how to make real mitered corners. Next time, I'm using this tutorial!

Edited to add: Is it possible to have strips that are on bias and others that aren't? I followed the link above from because it looked the simplest but now I'm not so sure. The tutorial from Modern Quilt Love has you numbering the lines you drew and in retrospect, I can see how this would be helpful. Once I had my lines drew and tried to match them to sew together, it was confusing because the lines were at right angles. Perhaps I sewed it together wrong, I'm not sure but as with anything, I suppose practice makes perfect!

Grey, Charcoal and Purple Comfy Career

Grey Purple 3

Grey Purple 2

Just trying purple and grey

Fall 2012 Wardrobe Capsule

Fall 2012 Wardrobe Capsule

What about charcoal, grey and purple? I would love these colors but finding the correct shades might be a problem. It would be better than black and tan, don't you think?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My First Quilt - Geez! LOL

Well, ya live and learn, that's all I have to say! Next time, I'm going to research fabric, loft and backing before I begin to sew. If I hadn't promised this to my grandaughter, I wouldn't finish it. It sure doesn't speak well for my sewing skills!

I decided to make a whole cloth quilt because I couldn't see cutting up perfectly good fabric only to sew it back together again! No - really, I guess I was too lazy and figured if I did that, she would get it by the time she graduated high school - and she isn't even two! I promised her this in April when she was released from the hospital and I'm sure she's forgotten about it but a promise is a promise!

I still want to sew a puff quilt but I'm just learning my Viking Platinum Plus that I bought a few months ago. I decided better to learn the machine on this than to try to learn cutting and piecing in addition to the machine. Wish I had batteries for my camera but you'll have to excuse me - you probably won't get pictures until it's finished.

Where did I go wrong? I didn't have starch and when I prewashed my fabric, it turned very soft. I've ironed it twice but it didn't help. It still wrinkled while I was trying to safety pin the layers together. After the second time pressing it, I decided there is nothing to do but put it together as is.

I also don't have a walking foot which makes basting the layers together a little difficult. All I can say is it feels very soft against the skin which I'm sure she'll enjoy.

The worst thing? I didn't check my stitch length before I began to sew. It's definitely not a basting stitch! Nor did I mark sewing lines so you can imagine what it looks like. I kinda eye balled it and my goodness! I'm laughing as I write this!

Somehow I'm going to make this pretty! Have any ideas? :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My First Quilt - Solution to a Problem

Find my other posts on the quilt at My First Quilt - Prewashing and Ironing,  and My First Quilt - The Grain and Wrinkle Fiasco. I promised this to my granddaughter and I'm not going to disappoint her!

Doing my first quilt has turned into quite a learning experience. I bought a nice cotton print that has a fairly large repeat with the intention of cutting large blocks. After prewashing and ironing, I found it was printed off grain. I'm not sure how that would affect quilt blocks but knowing how important grainline is in apparel sewing, I didn't want to try it.

I then thought of doing a whole cloth quilt but that wouldn't solve the problem. If I quilted it at right angles, the print would be off.

While reading Pinterest, I found a pin for bubble quilts - that might be my solution and they are adorable! The print wouldn't show as well but I thought I could center the character's face on some of the squares and alternate them. I love Pinterest but hate when you find a how-to that you have to pay for so I did a little research! I found it is easiest to find tutorials if you search for "puff quilts". has a good tutorial at Learn how to make puff quilts and it forms a good basis but I'm very inexperienced. I've never cut pieces using the rotary cutter. The tutorial has links to instructions for rotary cutting and I'm sure it will be very helpful.

A few questions came up while I was reading. It doesn't mention how much stuffing to put in each puff but I would think it would be wise to put the same amount in each one. I thought I would cut the batting into squares just as I do the fabric to make sure each puff is equal.

You use two pieces of fabric for each puff but one is 1" smaller. You line up the corners and pleat the larger fabric with the pleats all going in the same direction.

Another issue is deciding what size square to use. I'm not into intricate work at the moment and I thought 5" would be a good size to start with. Sadly, my camera isn't working at the moment but I'll take pictures as soon as possible.

You can either do the puffs traditionally by hand or by machine. Guess which method I chose?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attempting to Copy Styles from The Vivienne Files

I've been watching the Vivienne Files since I started wardrobe planning. For those of us who find it difficult to coordinate outfits, her blog is invaluable. One of her vignettes was especially helpful when I decided to change wardrobe colors. She not only puts together outfits but offers tips on wardrobe planning and gives visuals showing accessories for the clothes she chooses.

From the Vivienne Files - used with permission

I loved this color combination! Somehow when I saw it, it just resonated with me. I want to put together a church wardrobe and do it on a fairly inexpensive budget. Then I saw other combinations with the same skirt and now I can picture how with different tops and accessories, I can have totally different looks. It finally hit me even though I've researched wardrobe capsules until I'm literally exhausted!

Then I also saw the same skirt she had grouped with other colors and I like them just as well. With a small investment of tops and accessories, I can totally change my look from week to week.

From the Vivienne Files - used with permission
I'm going to use this pattern from Pamela's Patterns for the Magic Pencil Skirt. It fulfills all my requirements and I would be able to sew it in a much more quality fabric than buying RTW. The skirt is very simple in design and goes together fast enough that I would be able to finish without me worrying about a health crash.

Pamela's Magic Pencil Skirt Pattern

This is the shade of brown I want:

From the Vivienne Files - used with permission

I already have a rust colored suede jacket that I love and with a new scarf or coordinating jewelry, it would look fabulous, I think!

Look what I bought just before I come across her navy skirt and decided to change my colors:

Not as much money as you might think - each bought on eBay for around $5 The jewelry was $10 and total $70
There are very few based on blue or brown here except for the animal print ones. Regardless, I'll have a wardrobe of scarves to get me started. Since I have a lot of black in my closet presently, they will help to make the transition to other colors but not necessarily navy and brown.

I've been looking for fabric for the Magic Pencil Skirt. It's not easy finding navy blue fabric. The closest I came to was at Gorgeous Fabrics. I noticed that she lists the pantone color which is very helpful when choosing colors on the internet. She also tells you the weight of the fabric, which pattern it might be good for and offers suggestions for coordinating fabrics. But what can you expect - have you seen her blog?

As a side note on finding fabric - I've decided to buy only quality fabrics from Sawyer Brook, Gorgeous Fabrics, Emma One Sock, and of course others I find that have been recommended on my favorite forum - Stitchers Guild.

Their reputations is that they each go beyond the norm for customer service. Their online stores reinforce that fact when you shop there - they have not only the content listed but helpful little hints such as the weight and care of the fabric. Most offer additional services also such as button selection from Sawyer Brook's Distinctive Buttons. Love those buttons! While you're there, check out the Finding Closure blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A color change - from black and beige to navy and rust

I've worn black and beige for so long that it's become my mantra! Now I understand why I liked the contrast after reading, "What's my value contrast" on Imogen's Inside Out Style blog. My hair had a lot of red in it when I was younger but I always colored it to have blonde highlights or even totally blonde. People think it's natural! Ha! My eyes are a brown and olive mix. Now that I'm totally grey - a silvery grey - I color it to a very light blonde every few months. Needless to say, it's a very difficult color combination to put into a color season.

After months of looking at color, I've decided to trade my usual black for navy. I like browns but only to a certain degree - and prefer the orangey browns like rust, golden brown or bronze. I thought the two would make a good base for my wardrobe.

I find that black is too harsh now although I still prefer it. I think it looks classy and makes me feel that way as well. A few years ago my family started telling me I needed more color and it took me a few years to understand what they were talking about. Now I understand! My skin color has changed also through the years and I look almost sallow in black now.

The trick is going to be to change those blacks for navy. I have just purged my closet and pared down my clothes to a select few but black pieces remain as I can't totally buy a new wardrobe. I thought for the fall and winter season, I would start by buying or sewing a few choice pieces and slowly change my wardrobe.

I have black pants, a black cardigan sweater with bronze embellishment around the neck, a rust colored suede jacket, a black sweater with silver lacing going up the front and a dark wash pair of jeans that are left to start my fall wardrobe. I also have cream, grey and black turtlenecks made out of a tissue weight knit. I've also recently bought a variety of scarves. My jeans are comfortable but don't fit as well as I'd like.

I'm going to pair the black pants with the rust jacket, buy or sew a pair of bronze pants to go with the black embellished sweater and am going to start by sewing a navy blue skirt with navy tights and shoes.More on that to come!

Crashed again so I'm doing some planning!

Here I am again spending most of my time in bed. Sometimes I think I'll never learn - when I start feeling better, I try to get caught up on what needs to be done and inevitably end up crashing again.

I should know by now. I've been like this for six years and have crashed and burned more times than I can count. This time I'm even weak and shaky lying in bed - darn it!

One of the worst things about this is that your mind still needs stimulation - but not too much so it's a tough road to travel. One of the things I try to do is to plan and usually that means wardrobe planning.

This is the time that I'm reminded that I need easy care garments - something that I can wash out in the sink and hang to dry. Nothing too heavy because I can't wring it out. Just a nice knit that dries fast, washes easily and still looks presentable without ironing or drying in the dryer. Big order to fill.

It also needs to be wrinkle free when spending time in bed - I want to be able to get up frequently without worrying about nasty wrinkles in the fabric. At times like this, I usually spend a few hours in bed and then get up for 20 minutes or so.

Considering the very limited time I have to be productive - I've decided to buy yoga pants and tank tops for summer - long sleeved t's for winter. Some will function as pajamas and others will be day wear. I need something I can take care of myself - hate being a burden on anyone. I do think I can hand wash it myself if it's the right fabric. I looked online at JCP and found some yoga capri's that are inexpensive, easily hand washable and have good ratings. Good - that's taken care of and now I can plan my fall and winter clothes - I should be better by then and would actually be able to wear real clothes and take care of them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I've lost my motivation to sew!

I'm not sure what's going on. I suspect it might have something to do with the fabric I've chosen to sew. It's not like me to choose such bright colors. I haven't even prepared it and it's been here for over a month.

I'm also lacking in confidence. I've tried a few simple projects on the Viking and although I love how it sews, the projects themselves have been disasters. How hard is a headband? Or to makeover a skirt? Evidently I need patterns again!

I compare my skills to what I've seen on the net and sorely come up lacking. There are some beautiful seamstresses out there and I'm not one of them yet!

Another issue I'm having is trying to picture fabric and pattern together. It must come with experience and the last time I sewed anything substantial, it was out of satin and lace. Nice project but fairly simple in design.

Not sure how I'm going to deal with this yet but I'm going to start by adjusting my attitude. The bright coral linen and knit is going to be prewashed in the next few days. I'm also going to do the beige linen but I think I'm going to save that for a few TNT patterns - if I ever get that far! It's far too nice to start out on. I don't want it to become another wadder!

Edited to add: Now I know why I feel unmotivated - I've crashed again - still thinking about sewing though! :)