Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wristlet gifts

Happy Holidays!!! I hope you and yours have had a wonderful holiday season. Our house has been full of fun and joy. My boys were definitely into Christmas this year. It was awesome!

This year, I went pretty light on the crafty gifts. I did make a few things, however, including these cute wristlets:

Oh, Fransson! zip pouches, style C with patchwork, front view

I used the "Perfect Zip Bags" pattern from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! and made style "C"-- the version that can stand upright.

Oh, Fransson! zip pouches, style C, back view

Well-illustrated with clear, concise directions, the instructions were great. My only quibble is that they involve a bit of navigation. If you go to the page where the "C" style bag instructions begin, it only gives you cutting instructions for the bag itself and informs you to go back and figure out what other pieces you need to cut based on style choices you can make (e.g., zipper, style of handle). So before I started, I made a list of the pieces I needed to cut. Just that little bit of pre-planning definitely made the process go more smoothly. But still, the flipping back and forth took a little bit of extra patience.

Oh, Fransson! zip pouches, style C, top view

I especially appreciated the detailed zipper instructions. Insertion worked like a charm! Yay!

Then, of course, I filled them with goodies:

Oh, Fransson! zip pouches, style C, with goodies

Those worked out so well, that I went ahead and made a couple more. This time though, I chose to skip the patchwork element and just go with one fabric for the exterior (time was of the essence at this point!).

Oh, Fransson! zip pouches, style C, versions 3 and 4

Making these is kind of addictive! I'm sure I'll find more reasons to make some soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Simplicity 3754

And here is the third project for me:

Simplicity 3754, on hanger

This is Simplicity 3754, view F (the shortest). It is actually the second time I've made this pattern (last time, I did view E). Back when I made the previous version, I said I wanted one in corduroy. Now I have it!

Simplicity 3754, side view

The striped corduroy was initially purchased a couple of years ago to make a pair of pants for Little Bear. But the fabric just kept calling to me-- I just love these colors! Unfortunately, I only had about 7/8 yard. So I had to do a bit of Franken-skirting.

Simplicity 3754, rearview

I cut the waist/yoke from a solid brown corduroy-- technically, it doesn't really "match" since that color of brown is nowhere in the main fabric. But it seems to work okay nonetheless. But I didn't have enough of that to do the yoke facings, so I found a quilting cotton in my stash that matched pretty closely. And then the pocket facings are made of yet another quilting cotton. It is a motley skirt, for sure!

Simplicity 3754, details collage

This time around I made a size 16. After reviewing my notes from last time, I decided to omit the binding along the top edge of the pocket. But, I forgot to add a little to the top to make up for the seam allowance I had to take, so I feel like the pockets sit a little lower than I'd like. But, I think they look okay still. The only other change I made was I used some hem tape. The skirt is so short, I didn't want to take a full 1-1/4" hem. Using the tape allowed me to turn up less fabric, putting the skirt at a length that works for me. It is the first time I've tried applying hem tape, so I found a tutorial and just went for it. It is definitely not perfect, but it accomplished what I wanted and the hem is extra pretty on the inside. Yay!

Simplicity 3754, front view

After three successful projects for me in a row, I'm feeling really motivated to make some more! But, the holidays are upon us, and I do have a couple of projects I want to complete before Christmas. Hopefully, I'll be able to get to some more sewing for me in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kwik Sew 3765

Kwik Sew 3765, pattern cover
I've been wanting a simple, black pencil skirt for quite some time. It's one of those things that I see in stores all the time, but think to myself, "I should make that." Finally, I did! Kwik Sew 3765 is the second of three projects-for-me that I've been working on. The description: "Straight pull-on skirts in three length have side seams, center back, seam, and elastic in casing at waist."

Kwik Sew 3765, skirt on hanger

I made view C (the shortest one) in a size M. The fabric is a black double-knit from Hancock Fabrics that I've had in my stash since 2007 (bought at the same time as the fabric I used in my recently-completed dress!). It is truly a wonderful weight and hangs beautifully. I referenced More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina, and decided on a 75/11 Stretch needle; it worked perfectly.

Kwik Sew 3765, casual look, front and back

No alterations were necessary for this one. The one change I made was to do a 1/2" seam instead of 5/8" for the center back seam. I decided on a blind hem for the skirt. While it is not the first time I have done a blind hem on my machine (I used it awhile back to make some curtains), it is the first time I've used it on something I intend to wear. I think it turned out pretty well, and love the clean finish at the hem.

Kwik Sew 3765, dressier look, front and back

It is a great basic wardrobe piece that can be dressed up or down (as I've attempted to show in the pictures above... it is magical what a belt and high heels can do to change it up!). It is a big bonus that it is comfy, stretchy, and soft. The design is super simple (I'm sure I probably could have found a tutorial that would have led me to the same result, but I do like the security and confidence a pattern gives me), but it is exactly what I was wanting. And now I want more skirts like this!

Monday, December 3, 2012

McCall's 6612

I've been wanting to do some sewing for myself for quite some time, but more pressing projects always seem to get in the way. So, once I got the wedding quilt basted, the mystery quilt top completed (pictures coming soon), and my sewing area picked up some, I decided to take the plunge and do some cutting.

M6612, front view looking serious

This dress is the first of three projects I cut. It is McCall's 6612. I made View B, but shortened it to View A's length. I cut a size 16 with no alterations.

M6612, neckline close-up on hanger

The fabric is from my stash, a super-stretchy textured knit that I bought from Hancock Fabrics back in 2007. The picture above shows the front neckline and is the best representation I could get of the actual colors in the fabric-- pretty burgundy, taupe, and black.

M6612, side view

I probably should have done a full-bust adjustment (FBA), but the knit was so stretchy, I decided to take the lazy way and go without. It looks fine, but I wish maybe it didn't pull quite so much across the front.

M6612, back view

The knit was textured on one side and smooth/slinky-ish on the back. After referencing the book More Fabric Savvy by sewing guru Sandra Betzina, I decided on a size 75/11 Stretch needle and a Teflon foot. No skipped stitches! Yay!

I made a couple of deviations from the pattern instructions. The first was to add the step of stabilizing the shoulder seams and back neck edge with clear elastic (I used a tip from PatternReview as my guide, "Using Clear Elastic to Stabilize Necklines"). The second deviation was to avoid sewing a set-in sleeve by sewing everything in the flat-- I attached the top of the sleeve to the body and then sewed one long seam from the bottom hem all the way to the sleeve hem. Much simpler!

The one other minor change I made was in using a 3/4" seam allowance for most of the sleeve, because of a little cutting mishap that left a notch a little too close to the 5/8" seamline for my comfort. But I tapered back in to a 5/8" seam a couple of inches before the underarm seam.

M6612, front view with a smile

Overall, I'm thrilled with this dress. I already have plans to wear it for a couple of holiday events, and I can even see myself making another one in the future. Success!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Basting it up!

I kind of lucked out. The last time I had to baste a queen-sized quilt, I had to do it in sections because we didn't have a large enough area of floorspace to do it. But as we are having some interior walls painted this week, we had to clear out our loft area. It is the perfect size to lay out a large quilt. And (even luckier!), my husband helped me with the basting, making it a much speedier process. Woo!

KC's quilt, ready for basting

I've been thinking hard about what to do with this one, and have a plan in mind. My thought is that I want some curves in the center area to help give all those straight lines some movement and a stronger sense of flow. Then in the outer border, I kind of want to do straight lines, mostly because I think it will look cool. Ha! Still not quite sure about the inner border... maybe a ribbon-candy type of thing? Or some vine-ish action? I guess I'll decide when I get to it. Hopefully, I'll be able to start quilting it later this week!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A festive pincushion!

I made myself another happy pincushion. Yay! This is another kit I received in the Shabby Fabrics Pincushion Club last year. It is one of their exclusive designs and is called the "Christmas Tree Pincushion."

my completed Christmas Tree Pincushion from Shabby Fabrics

It is a biggie! At the base it is about 6" wide and it stands 10" tall. As it is filled with crushed walnuts, it is pretty darn heavy too. Essentially, it is made of a series of stacked, stuffed yo-yos. It is put together nearly entirely by hand (the exception being the stitching on the star topper-- I did that on my machine). All of the fabrics were included in the kit, as well as the happy colored pearl-topped pins. I love those! Unfortunately, I don't see either the pattern or the kit available at Shabby Fabrics at this point. It might have even been a pincushion club exclusive kit. But, if you are interested, you could always contact Shabby Fabrics and ask (they are really friendly there!).

top view of my Christmas Tree Pincushion from Shabby Fabrics

My only challenge in putting this one together was in cinching my yo-yos closed... I kept breaking my thread. Gah! Eventually, I figured the whole tension thing out though. And now I have a happy tree pincushion, just in time for the holiday season. Woo!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finished: Paintbox Quilt Along!

After finishing up my wedding quilt, I was feeling motivated. So I grabbed my basted Paintbox Quilt Along sandwich, and got to work. And now I have another UFO complete. Woo!

Paintbox Quilt Along, completed, front view

The pattern is from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! She hosted a quilt along in 2010 for her Paintbox Quilt design.

Paintbox Quilt Along, completed, quilting detail

I made quick work of the quilting by doing a simple, all-over stipple using King Tut thread in White Linen (#971). I am thrilled with how it looks, especially after washing it!

Paintbox Quilt Along, completed, artistically draped... ha!

For the binding, I used Kona cotton in Navy from my stash.

Paintbox Quilt Along, completed, rolled up nice and tidy

I didn't do the fancy back suggested by the quilt along on this one. Instead, I used this happy blue-striped stars fabric from Sandy Gervais. It worked perfectly, as the front was completed using one of her collections (a layer cake of her Zippety Doo Dah line from Moda).

When I started this quilt, I was planning on giving it to my guild for donation to one of our chosen charities, so I did not include a label, as per guidelines. It feels weird to finish a quilt and not have a label! But there are some good reasons for keeping it anonymous, so I can respect that.

Last Thursday I gave the quilt to our Charity Committee at the monthly guild meeting. Hopefully it will end up in a happy new home!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Clue #4

Heather Spence Designs Mystery Quilt button

Here is my completed Clue #4 from the Heather Spence Designs Mystery Quilt:

Heather Spence Mystery Quilt, Clue #4 complete

There are many possibilities with this block! As I've received Clue #5, I know what direction it is taking now, but I'll wait until I finish the clue before I share it. I gotta say-- I'm loving these simple steps. They are making this quilt very a very do-able project for me right now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

This year, both bears had opinions about what they wanted to be for Halloween.

Little Bear finally decided on a "scary dinosaur." As we happened to have a dragon costume on hand (in the right size, even!), and I didn't want to re-invent the wheel, we have Dragon 2.0 -- aka Scary Dinosaur!

Scary Dino/Dragon, front view-ish, roaring

Dinosaur ROAR!!!

Scary Dino/Dragon, back view

Hopefully, I'll manage to get some better pictures of Little Bear as Scary Dinosaur today.

Meanwhile, Big Bear decided he wanted to be Perry the Platypus. I got to break out the sewing machine for this one!

Perry the Platypus, front and back views

I used Kwik Sew 2711 for the main suit, and then drafted my own tail, bill, and feet. I made a size Small, and shortened the legs by 1". The eyes are from Simplicity 3594 (the frog prince view). Because I had made the pattern before (Blue Kitty!), the main part went together both smoothly and quickly. The other parts took some time to figure out, but once I had a plan, they went together quickly (except for the tail... the quilting took a bit of time!).

Perry the Platypus holding Perry the Platypus

Here he is with the actual Perry. I'm still a little amazed I was able to find the perfect color of fleece. Best of all, Big Bear LOVES it. Yay!!!

the dynamic duo

Tonight, we trick or treat! Woo!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival -- Fall 2012

block signing station at my wedding
October 26th is a special day at my house. It is the day my husband and I were married-- and this year marks our 10th anniversary! At our wedding, instead of a guest book, we had guest blocks-- blank quilt blocks for our guests to write any well-wishes (or whatever else) they had for us. At left is a picture of our "block signing station" at the wedding.

After the wedding, I designed a quilt to feature those blocks. I even started the quilt. But then, for whatever reason (I can't even remember why), the project got set aside... Until now! I finished our wedding quilt just in time for our anniversary. Woo!

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, front view

I created the design using Electric Quilt and then I went out and shopped for fabrics. That beautiful leafy print just called to me, and I pulled all of the other colors from that.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, compass detail

The compass was created using paper foundation piecing. Setting it onto the background was one of my early attempts at hand applique. I try not to look too closely at the stitching. Ha! But I am pleased with the quilting. It isn't perfect, but I think it manages to add to the look of the compass in a positive way.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, quilting detail

I drew the pieced border onto freezer paper and then cut it apart to create paper templates. The templates were used to cut the fabric, and then I pieced it all together.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, corner detail

I love the little fans in the corners! I was seriously stressed out about those corners and what to do with them. Eventually I stumbled into the fan idea, and I'm so glad I did. They make me happy.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, corner detail from back side

Here is a view of the same corner from the back where the quilting is much more visible. Overall, I'm really proud of my quilting on this project! I used Hobbs Tuscany Wool batting for this quilt. I was actually really worried that it might result in the quilt being too poofy looking. But I'm glad I went for it. It is not too poofy, and it forced me to quilt more than I otherwise would have as the wool batting has denser quilting requirements than I'm used to. It really made me think about the type of quilting I wanted to do and how to deal with every space on the quilt.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, back view

The woodsy print in the center of the back was purchased when we went on our honeymoon to Maine. When I bought it I knew I wanted to use it on the back of this quilt. So even the back of this quilt has special memories attached to it.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, label

I vaguely recall creating the embroidery design back when I first got my sewing/embroidery machine. I think my intention was to use it in a block on the front. But, coming back to the project many years later, I couldn't figure out a way to make it work. So I put it on the back with the label.

Robin & Keith's Wedding Quilt, front view from an artsy angle

I am so glad that I finally finished this! Just picking up the project again, reading all of the wonderful words our friends and family wrote for us... it is a very special quilt, and it truly reminds me how blessed my husband and I are and I am so excited to continue our journey together!

Not only did I complete this quilt in time for my anniversary, I am thrilled that I've finished it in time to share in the Fall 2012 Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

Amy's Creative Side

Here are some stats for my quilt:
Quilt Name: Keith & Robin's Wedding Quilt
Finished size: 53" x 53"
Pieced and Quilted by: Robin Zaback (me!)
Best Categories: Home Machine Quilted Quilt; Wall Hanging

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your Blogger's Quilt Festival adventures! So many beautiful quilts; so much fabulous inspiration!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clue #3

Heather Spence Designs Mystery Quilt button

Lookie here! I managed to complete Clue #3 in the Heather Spence Mystery Quilt. Woo!

Heather Spence Mystery Quilt, completed clue 3

I'm thinking they must be borders? Maybe I'll learn more when Clue #4 is revealed on Friday. I'm loving the anticipation!

And a gratuitous boy pic:

Big Bear and Little Bear work together to try and lift a giant pumpkin

We went to the pumpkin patch last weekend. The boys had a great time (it was nice and muddy!). I love this picture of the two of them working together to lift a pumpkin. They weren't able to get it off the ground, but they sure gave a great effort! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Clue #2!

Woo! I seem to actually be keeping up with a project. A nice change, for sure!

Heather Spence Mystery Quilt button

I completed Clue #2 for the Heather Spence Fall Mystery Quilt (you can learn more about the project by visiting her Website).

my completed clue #2 blocks

The project is called "Jack of Hearts," so I'm thinking that these little squares will be set on point to look heart-ish? I kind of wish I had been more aware of my directional kitty print-- they have ended up rather cattywampus (ha!). But the print is busy enough that the off-kilter cats don't bug me too much (certainly not enough to unsew!).

Clue #3 arrived yesterday, and I'm ready to start stitching. Meanwhile, I have also managed to complete my wedding quilt top and backing (planning to baste tonight!), and I have traced out the pattern pieces for Big Bear's Halloween costume. I'm feeling productive!