Saturday, November 23, 2013

EEE a Swap with All the Good E Named People*

*Yes, I know there are lots of pretty AWESOME E named people but it is just us 3 here ;)
OK, so my name is Emily, I have a friend named Emily and a friend named Elaine...we swap stuff and we call it the EEE Swap.  Emily actually wrote a great post about our EEE swap a while back when we started and did our first swap at QuiltCon (see the first picture).  We originally all met each other as part of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild but THEN Elaine just had to up and move to California!  So in anticipation of seeing one another in person again we decided to make some little gifts.  After MUCH thought I made the gals some pillow covers.  
Here we are at QuiltCon receiving our lovely swap items!
I hand drafted some paper piecing patterns for the pillow-tops and I really like the way they came out, so much so that I used the same idea for my Doll Quilt Swap Round 13 quilt.  As always choosing the fabrics was one of my favorite parts of this project, and I ONLY used things in my stash. 

The backs were pieced from scraps.  The finished size of these covers fit an 18" pillow form.  As you can see in the first picture I received a beautiful tote bag (that I use almost everyday) made by Emily and a pretty idea pouch made by Elaine (I bring this one to fabric shops with all my sketches and fabrics if I need a match).  
Sooooo of COURSE we could not stop swapping there.  Since the next QuiltCon is not until 2015 (and we knew we could not wait until then) we decided to continue the swap as a birthday thang.  Elaine's birthday came first and I was STUMPED on what to make her until I thought about something for her adorable kiddos.  So I made them one item of clothing apiece.
T got an Oliver and S Bubble Dress in size 12-18months.  I already had the cute hippos on hand and got some matching pink for the top.  I love how cute and simple this pattern is and the hippos, I mean c'mon!
I decided to make B some pajama pants using the Oliver and S Bedtime Story pattern.  This is definitely my go to pattern for pj pants and I love the contrasting hem and waist.  These are a size 3 with 4 length and I used some fabric I already had...ya it's a theme, using what I've got makes me smile!
Then, around came Emily's Allie two great Allie items!  Above is the Oliver and S Ice Cream Dress, another favorite that is super easy to make.  I love how this dress lets the fabric shine, in this case some great Echino.
Allie also got a pair of Class Picnic Shorts, size 7 (of course another pattern by Oliver and S).  I had never made these shorts before and as always Oliver and S did not disappoint with great instructions and an uber cute and well finished final product.  Emily actually had previously purchased the fabric for these and I just got to execute her idea for the shorts.  The story goes that Emily was going back to her hometown to visit  and she would be stopping by an ice cream stand that she worked at for MANY years and Allie would be wearing these shorts of COURSE!  The print is by Thomas Knauer and the cones look so groovy in those colors!

Now of course my birthday has come and gone and I have received some beautiful gifts...but we shall speak of those on another occasion, because there are a lot of words in this post.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Oh, ummm...Hello there!

Me at IQF with my friends...such great supporters!
So...long time no type.  I hope you have had a great end of summer early fall, I sure have!  It has been busy around these parts and I wouldn't have it any other way.  

My little brother Kyle flipping off the dock
The summer ended with a trip down to see my Aunt Eileen and Uncle Bill in Arkansas.  My whole family had good times swimming in the lake and just visiting.

Seriously her dress with the lace!
We drove home just in time to see my beautiful cousin Katie get married to Jorge...oh they are too CUTE!

Quilt photo shoot with my cousins! 
(aren't I lucky there are commercial breaks in the game?)
The beginning of the school year started off with me being a full time substitute in a 4th grade classroom for 9 weeks, my assignment ended last week and I miss all my kids so much but it was a wonderful experience!  

I DID manage to finish many projects in all this time as well, and I am looking forward to sharing them all with you, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 8, 2013


So today I gave Isabel (3.5 years old) a little pouch I made for her.  Really not a big deal for me, I have 40 pouches in progress (assembly line style) and I just threw one in to make her real quick, it felt good to FINISH one finally.  

When I gave her the little pouch she looked at it, smiled and said, "I am SO HAPPY!"  

I mean really, could my heart melt any more?!  She said it a few more times and I told her how happy I was that she was happy!  People, THIS is why I love to sew and give so much away.  Spread the joy, feel the happy, sew and give.  Thanks for reminding me Isabel!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sisters, Sisters...

So every time I hear the word "sisters" I think of the song from White Christmas with the Haynes Sisters.  The dresses the fans, oh the FANS, and their playful song about being ever so close with a touch of humor too.  I have two of COURSE I have always wanted a sister, but that's not gonna happen.  So instead I make outfits for the sisters I know, coordinating but not matching is my preference and so here are 2 sets of sister outfits!

For my first set of sisters I have little Misses Mina and Tessa!  So little, so cute, I made these tunics for them when baby Tessa was on the inside (I love how that makes it seem like she is serving time, ha!).  So anyway I made Big sister's tunic with the Oliver and S Bubble Dress pattern and some pretty green Amy Butler fabric.  Instead of a bubble bottom I cut it a little shorter and made it scalloped, easy and oh so FUN!

Little Miss Tessa's tunic was made with the Made By Rae free Little Geranium Dress Pattern.  I used some Anna Maria Horner Garden Party fabric, I think it is called Social Climber, and even played with the pieces until the rose on the bodice fell just where I wanted it.  

Now for Isabel and Riley's dresses they are a bit more matchy as their mother (my cousin) chose the main fabric and wanted the same pattern for each girl, the Puppet Show Dress by Oliver and S.  The floral print is actually an old bed sheet and I chose some nice matching solids to go with the print.  I LOVE the Puppet Show dress but is is definitely a more involved pattern with the darts, curved bodice, set in sleeves, buttoned cuff, and collar.  

But hey these little smiling faces are worth it any day!  Ah...sisters!

Have you ever made coordinating outfits for kids? do you wanna? talk  to me :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013


No that does not stand for I'm Quite Frantic...though that may be true!  The International Quilting Festival has come back to Chicago (well Rosemont to be specific but you know what I mean), and I will be doing a demo (no not of a woman on the edge!) on improv piecing in the Open Studios!  Can't you see how excited I am by how many exclamation points I'm using?!!!!!!!!!!!  The Open Studios are right where you enter the show and there are four separate studios: Quilt, Paint, Stitch, and Embellish.  If you would like to come by and see me (c'mon you know you wanna) I will be in the Stitch studio on Friday June 21st, from 12-2.  Check out Pokey's blog post for a schedule of who will be where when in the Open Studios.  
Oh ya so are you enjoying these completely unrelated pictures?  The story is I cut 14" of hair off to donate to Wigs for ya.  I also made my mother a birthday ya.  I hate pictureless posts so I had to show you something ok?
(In my best announcer voice) Aaaand now, for your reading pleasure I give to you, other things that my family thought IQF could stand for!!!!!! (cheers...cause you gotta have that part)

Its Quiet Finally (by Auntie Teena, she lives with a 1.5 year old!)
Incredible Quality Fart (oh Ma...dontcha just love her?)
I'm Quite Fatigued (Teena)
Independent Queries Falter (Dad)
Ithaca? Quite Fine (Dad, he loves making up words for acronyms)
Incredible! Queen Fartblossom...Just Tooted (Ma, ya she's a gem!)
I Quit Finally (Auntie Laura)
I Question Frugality (!)
I'm Quite Farty (Gram...87 and thinks like a 10 year old love it!)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adventures with the Chloe Dress

So here it is...the Chole Dress.  You may remember this post where I was being oh so cheery about putting this one together, ya final product worth it?  Maybe.  Get ready for TMI.

I basically bought this pattern to have some guidance about how to make a dress so fluffy and fun...the answer to that is to use 6 layers (the pattern says 4 but ya guidelines) I used for the skirt top to bottom: 3 tulle, one netting, one chiffon, and one quilting cotton.  

I had my doubts about how all this was going to go so I went ahead and made a "muslin" for another little girlie, Isabel, in violet.  Ya I can see that the muslin is made of silk dupioni and some awesome damask but hey why not make it great?  

So after some measuring of my girls I noticed that the pattern for the bodice seemed a bit too I lengthened it a couple inches.  I also reshaped the back of the bodice as it was not scooped enough for my taste and I lengthened the back edges so the dresses have more of a placket.  

I also did not like the finishing of the inside of the garment...just serging all the skirt and bodice layers and having them exposed along the waist is not my idea of a professional finish...all that tulle and netting could be scratchy!  So of course I had to make it more laborious and sew the skirt pieces to just the outer bodice and then fold the lining over the serged edges (essentially sandwiching the skirt between the lining and outer bodice) and hand-stitch it down. 

 I also made a tester bodice because in the pattern it has you stitch the bottom of the bodice together...ya after trying it on the littlest girl it was hard to get on as it doesn't have ANY give in the waist if you do it according to instructions.  So in order to be able to put the dresses on the girls I did not sew the bodice together at the waist and instead actually made an opening in the skirt a couple inches long below the bodice, in the end not that noticeable but it makes it SO MUCH easier to get on.   

Now for the skirts...looking at my two versions you can see a big difference due to some modifications.  In both I used 2 colors of tulle to try and give the dress some depth, in the pink the bottom layer is actually orange and the violet dress has 2 purples in it, both have white netting as I could not find any other colors.  The pattern also says to use nylon chiffon but I could not for the life of me find ANY nylon chiffon so I bought polyester and serged a hem.  

In the violet dress I cut all the tulle and chiffon to the same length (I just could NOT follow the directions to cut the netting the same length...the thought of the white peeking out made me not so happy).  Well I also made the mistake of gathering the layers separately (totally MY fault!) which made the chiffon (which is really, too long) not stick to the netting and just hang straight and look stupid.  Also, I used TWO layers of tulle when the pattern only calls for one but was not really getting the SUPER POOFY effect that I wanted...noted and fixed with the THREE layers in the pink dress.  

The pink dress also has netting cut at least 1" shorter than the tulle and the chiffon is 1.5" shorter than the tulle and the underskirt of quilting cotton is even shorter and I gathered all layers together...that's right 6 layers at once, I had to hand baste them with embroidery floss...ya it just got REAL!  Well sewing all the layers of poof really got me scared that I was going to break a needle but whew, some careful sewing and all was well.  

Now for attaching the sash, I used the pattern piece for the front and made the ties longer and cut a...I dunno whatcha call it triangled end?  it goes to a point, not a square so whatever you call that, see the pictures.  After topstitching, I hand-sewed the sash onto the bodice and sideseams as machine stitching seemed a bit impossible.  

In the end it will take me a while before I ever make this dress again though I do like the results I will mainly use the information about what makes it poofy for future reference.

I made the pink one to be worn by my cousin's little girl on Easter...well she didn't like it so it remains unworn (ya..ouch), but the meh "muslin" violet dress is loved by Isabel!  Fabrics are: Pink Dress: Valori Wells Rosettes in cherry, Kona Papaya for the sash, and Melon for the lining;  Violet Dress: Silk dupioni, some white batiste and some Etsuko Furuya Gothic Grape.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Improv Quilt and Book Reviews

 A Quilt!  If you watched Episode 305 of Quilty you saw me making some cool improv log cabin blocks and this is what they became.  So ya step outs were kinda a stretch for me since I had to make a bunch of the sameish thing...not so improv but being on the show was AWESOME. 

 When I finished the episode I had all these blocks in various stages of finish and I was NOT going to finish them all the same so I just jerry-rigged them all together into this little quilt for the CMQG's charity efforts for Project Night Night.  I like the way it finished and it is only 28.5"x40" so a baby size. 

I used whatever solids I had on hand and even a shot cotton I got at the Needle Shop (ok I guess I also used a stripe on the back and binding).  The quilting is also kinda improvised with my walking foot squareish and whaddoya know it holds all the layers together!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Palooza of Miscellany!

So I have a lot of projects that I have been working on and I have not been sharing...that ends NOW!  SO lets get on with it!  

This Awesome little mini quilt is all rainbowy and fun and I made it on a whim out of scraps from a big quilt that I have been working on for almost 3 years.  I love to improv piece and I mainly used this as bubble quilting practice, not too shabby eh?

This little Bubble Dress (pattern by Oliver and S)  was made for my cousin Lea's first little girl Ava.  The fabric is one of my favorite old sheets from Pottery Barn but they wore out so now the good bits can be made into cute sewn items that are oh so soft!

Isabel so deserves a pinafore so I made her one from the Blossoms and Bloomers pattern.  I really liked this pattern it has great proportions and it just hits the spot for a super easy turn it out, reversible, cutie of a dress.  

I made it in a purple solid and a Lizzy House print from I think 1001 Peeps, and I even included some ball fringe that I had laying around FOREVER for an extra dose of fun!

Next up is a cute little doll dress for my friend's little girl Poppy.  Well I guess it is for her doll but you know what I mean.  The pattern is from Oliver and S's book Little Things to Sew, and of course as always I love their patterns I love them and it is cute, so there.

Of COURSE  I had to make something for Tyler's 6th Birthday!  Per his request he got 2 pairs of Bedtime Story pj pants and he even helped sew the inseam on one pair!

His little brother Dylan loves getting his picture taken too and umm he also likes playing with my pincushion...ya that happened but everyone is FINE!

Another goofy one for good measure ;)

Final random thing for this post is this quilted bib.  A new baby will be coming soon, a first for my cousin and they are not yet sure of the gender but I could not resist whipping up a little bib, with some of my handprinted spikey fabric too!

Alright, I have 6 more dresses and a quilt that have not even been mentioned above...within the week I will finish sharing at least those so get ready for more!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring/Summer Fabric Giveaway!

Wahoo!  It's Giveaway Day!  On offer are these two stacks of fabrics that I will cut into fat eighths for two LUCKY winners!


Is it a little weird that I was super excited about having a blog so I could do giveaways?  I love them so!  I also LOVE putting together stacks of pretty colors...I betcha can tell!


To win one of these AWESOME stacks of Fat Eighths leave me a comment telling me which one you like best and what color you are totally into right now...mine is still Kona Papaya but I am also digging Neon Pink :)

Ok so for all the business...the winners will be chosen at random (one for Spring, one for Summer).  I will ship internationally!  The giveaway is open until May 10th at 7pm Central Standard Time.  If I can't e-mail you then I will pick someone else and you will miss out, sorry.  And finally, go on over to Sew Mama Sew to enter more giveaways!

*Giveaway Closed!*  Tyler Picked the winners for me via a scroll and point so here they are!

Spring winner is Binks who said:  "I love the Spring pack color caombo. This season I find that I'm liking a sherberty orange color. Not sure how..."

Summer winner is ircabbit who said: "I am so feeling the summer color scheme!  I have been buying mustard colors lately...yellows are generally not my favorite on their own, but i have been learning that i really adore some colors in combination that I don't care about on their own."

I sent an e-mail your way!  Thanks to everyone who entered. :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

CAKE!...and the CMQG Spring Retreat

The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild goes on retreat twice a year and so far I haven't missed it!  I am known for always bringing some kinda baked good, this time 2 cakes to celebrate Jen and Rachel's Birthdays!  Retreat is such a fun time to get to know people in the guild better and get some sewing done!

The first thing I did upon arrival at retreat was finish making all these zip pouches.

Ya...lets just say some of these should have been done before the retreat cause they were being given away at retreat but hey, I finished them on Friday after we got there!

Here are some shots of the room we are in at the Siena Center...I swear no tornado passed through, we just unpacked a bit.  A few supplies.  And fabric.  And machines...

Ah!  Beautiful people and lots of sewing just what we all needed!

My room all made up, you can't beat the charm.  I never get too much accomplished at retreat, too many people to talk to, but I will share later what I did finish, from the doll dress to the quilt!