Saturday, November 21, 2015
"I'm the queen of little things," I told a friend once, and it's true. There's nothing I love more than a small patchwork project. This pocket mending book is definitely one of my tiniest projects to date, and I'm just crazy about it.
The book itself finishes at 4" square, small enough to actually slip into the pocket of my purse. The scraps making the patchwork X on the front finish at 1" square, and I added a little hand quilting with pink Aurifil thread just for fun. I love that I can feature tiny details in this design like that adorable kitty by Heather Ross!
The inside of the book is lined with my favorite Tiger Lily print. I added two felt pages for needles, pins, and buttons.
The back page of the book has two tiny pockets -- one for embroidery scissors and the other for thread. Trying to stuff a whole spool of thread in here would be difficult, so I wound a length of thread onto a piece of recycled card stock instead.
The binding and back is all one piece of material, this great pink geometric print from Sidewalks by October Afternoon.
I made notes while I was working so that I could sew more of these, and I plan to try another one this weekend to see if I got all the numbers right. With all the trial and error of trying a new pattern, I don't always get everything recorded as I go along.
But wouldn't these make adorable little gifts? I'm thinking stocking stuffers, swap extras, just-because-you're-the-awesomest-friend-ever presents...
Yep, it might just be time to set up my own pocket mending book factory in the sewing room.
Happy weekend, friends!
Friday, November 13, 2015
Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with that famous quote, "Do one thing every day that scares you." I'm not sure if that would be wise -- or even manageable -- on a daily basis, but once in a while, it's probably not a bad idea. So this week, I decided to finally tackle one of my greatest creative fears: free-motion quilting.
I've been saving a bundle of Little Joys by Elea Lutz for a Christmas project this year, and I thought it would be fun to downsize the Starlet mini quilt pattern from my book for a 18" square pillow. After figuring out how to use the darning foot on my machine, studying the pages of Free-Motion Quilting by Angela Walters, and practicing some basic patterns on a few leftover fabric strips, I took a deep breath and plunged ahead.
Christmas is a time for pulling out memories from the past, and I think this pillow is going to fit in well with that crowd. Every year, I'll be able to look at this pillow cover and smile over my first attempt at free-motion quilting -- not awful, but definitely with lots of room for improvement. I attempted a whole range of patterns on this project, including flowers, loops, and wishbones, with varying levels of success. Practice will do me good, and I'm looking forward to trying again in the months to come.
But for today I'm pretty happy because, hey...finished a Christmas project? Check. Faced a fear? Check. Participated in Finish It Up Friday for the first time in months? Check.
Yep, it's all good.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
The longer I quilt, the more I know what I like. A whole lot of my favorite things ended up being part of this retro nine-patch quilt, things like...
1. Melody Miller's fabric -- This designer can do no wrong in my eyes. She has a genius for walking the classy line between vintage and modern. I alternated 6" squares with the nine-patch blocks, perfect for featuring the large prints in her early Ruby Star collections. I love that both the designs as well as the mix of bright and subdued colors give this quilt a lovely retro feel.
2. Linen sashing -- I'm madly in love with the contrast of yarn dyed linen against quilting cotton. It just looks fabulous every...single...time.
3. Double gauze backing -- Wanna feel like a cozy little newborn baby swaddled in your favorite blankie? Use this stuff on the back of your next quilt. It gets softer each time you wash it and can be found in plenty of modern designs like this cheerful aqua version by Cotton + Steel.
4. Colorful binding -- I discovered a little secret last spring about Melody's wildly popular viewfinder reels: they make an incredible binding. This is the second quilt I've bound in this print, and there will definitely be more.
The best part of making a project out of your favorite fabrics? You have a whole lot of fun while you sew.
And yeah, you're pretty fond of that finished quilt too...
Saturday, October 31, 2015
So it was going to be a quilt.
I had finally gotten together all my low volume prints, cut the strips, and started work using this fabulous tutorial from my friend Maureen for my first quilt-as-you-go project.
But then I started thinking about how amazing those quilted panels would look on my family room couch. The best thing about low volume pillows is that they match everything -- and always look effortlessly cheerful and fresh while doing it.
And then I thought that I could pair them with a great floral print by Cloud9 Fabrics that I'd been saving, just perfect for the backing.
And then I realized that the panels I had quilted would be enough to make three whole pillows...maybe even four.
So I went with Plan B.
Sometimes, it's just the right thing to do...
Thursday, October 29, 2015
My assignment was to make bags and clutches for her booth. Maureen sent me a mailing envelope stuffed full of Fleet & Flourish strike-off pieces as well as a good number of AGF basic prints and solids. It was really fun to just be creative and make things up as I went along.
Since she was going for a romantic, bohemian vibe, I added lace and leather details wherever possible. I haven't really sewn with lace accents before, but it was a fun challenge. Leather always pairs well with patchwork. I use leather straps as zipper pulls on all my pouches now, and I actually cut one longer purse strap into two pieces for the handles on this mini tote bag.
My favorite project is probably the laptop bag I made using her canvas Roadside Guides print. I definitely need to make another one of these some time. This was my first time working with AGF canvas, and I was really impressed. This is the some of the softest canvas I've ever seen.
This tablet case was inspired by a clutch I had seen on Pinterest. I liked the mosaic effect of sewing pieces together with thin sashing and then tilting it all a bit to one side.
And yes, I couldn't resist adding a Deluxe Pincushion to the stack of projects. I just love fussy cutting the tiniest scraps for these pincushions. It's such fun!
You can check out the entire line of Fleet & Flourish at the AGF website here. I have no doubt that you'll enjoy sewing with it as much as I did!
Sunday, October 18, 2015
One of the best things about getting my fabric stash organized after our move was that it got me excited about doing fabric auditions again. I am absolutely crazy about my new Sterilite chocolate colored plastic woven baskets which I'm using to sort my prints by color. They're large enough to hold a lot of fabric, and they perfectly match my great-grandfather's old cabinet where I keep them. Now that I can see all my prints so easily, it's been a lot of fun to get back into my weekly habit of putting together stacks of fabric for real or imagined projects. I try to share at least one of these bundles on Instagram each week, and it's been great to start building up my collection of ideas again.
I call this stack "Librarian," and it reminds me of old libraries and vintage books -- two of my favorite things. I really like this mix of colors along with all the black and white prints. I don't have a project in mind for these fabrics yet, but I really would love to turn them into a quilt.
This stack was inspired by the Rifle Paper Co. note card on the right. I named it "Summer House," and it reminds me of lazy August picnics and lush fruit orchards. This stack could work as is, but I'm not sure if I'm done rearranging and adding to it yet. The more I play with this bundle, the easier it will be for me to decide what I want to make with it. That's the great thing about fabric auditions: they're a good way to get the creativity flowing whether I have a project in mind or not.
Take a few minutes today and try creating a fabric audition of your own. For your inspiration, start with a color palette, a theme, a picture -- anything that you're loving right now. Share it with me through a link in a comment below or tag me on Instagram @fabricmutt with the hashtag #fabricaudition. I would love to see what you put together!
Monday, October 5, 2015
You'll find me over at Sew Sweetness today, helping to kick off Sara's annual Purse Palooza event. I'm reviewing one of my all-time favorite patterns, the Triangle Patchwork Box Pouch from Patchwork, Please! by Ayumi Takahashi. Go check it out!