Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas sewing - just a little

Some years I try to make most Christmas gifts, but this has not happened for a few years now; however, I did manage a few small things.

I made two tote bags following Adrianne's tutorial. I used a different size to maximise my piece of Soft & Stable and I did some straight line quilting to keep some of the layers together. My bags also have a bigger footprint - I chose to sew a 2" box corner. They went together super fast and the biggest issue was finding webbing for the straps that matched. These two were given as gifts to my two coworkers, one of whom had a tote in such bad shape I was starting to be a little embarrassed going around with her.

I also made four coasters for a Monday Modern Secret Santa - as is often the case with me, I forgot to take a photo before gifting it. Last year's was the same. I did a pretty traditional looking pattern using silver/white half square triangles on mostly black. The squares are 1" resulting in a 4" coaster. They looked a little bland, so I bound each one in a super bright solid binding (lime, coral, aqua, and hot pink). Here's a drawing of the design.

After a few years, I made two more woodland creatures (is a fungus a creature?) for the advent calendar. I am hoping to do at least one more before Christmas. These are so cute and go together so quickly, I don't really have an excuse why I haven't done more. I ordered the pattern from Etsy - they are by Amy Ray.

I have now finished work for a long while - I will return when my daughter starts school (6 weeks from now). I will hopefully get some sewing done when we are home - we are away for 3 weeks during the holidays.

Top priority is my center block for the 2015 Cotton Robin round robin. It is due by the end of January and since we will be away, I need to get it finished before I leave. This year's challenge is to use a color or color combination that we have not used before. I know I won't use blue or green, but it's hard to work out what I should use. Can't share more because it has to stay a secret, but here's last year's finish with my center block.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A dress

Lately I've been having trouble finding clothes for my daughter. Here in New Zealand, there seems to be a large hole in the sizes - most kids things only go to 8 or 10 and then suddenly there's nothing. There are few girls size 12, and nothing in a 14 or 16. I'm told she has to wear women's sizes, but she's shaped like a child, not a woman. The XS necklines are halfway to her tummy and the sleeves are 4 inches too long.

So, when faced with her primary school graduation (since when do you graduate from year 6?), I turned to some ancient skills - sewing clothes. There was a time many years ago when I would spend the weekend tailoring a fitted lined suit out of Italian wool crepe to a Vogue Donna Karan pattern. Those days are long gone and it's been over a decade since I followed a dress pattern.

But, some of the girls dresses go up to a 16, so I thought this would be the way to go until my girl gets taller and curvier.

We picked out a pattern (and then called around looking for somewhere who had it in stock - tricky) and some cotton fabric. I spent much of Sunday and another 45 minutes last night finishing it off. Everything was straight forward except the zipper - I always hated zippers. I used to prefer invisible ones in my pencil skirts and cocktail dresses, but I thought I'd just follow the instructions for the standard zipper. It's always the top part near where the slider stops that gets me. And there's always a gap at the top and I can never get the required hook and eye to work. But ignoring that, it came out great.

Since most of my sewing lately has been quilting, it's nice to try out some other techniques and stitches on my Juki F600 machine. The buttonholes turned out fine and I even used the blind hem stitch and special foot for the hem. I'm quite pleased at the end result. Maybe I'll make myself something...