Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween Dress

Back in August when I was hosting a class for my Edge Tote, a friend made a Halloween version of the tote using some glow in the dark skeleton fabric from Timeless Treasures. But they weren't cheesy skeletons, but rather scientific-looking diagrams of bones, labelled with their Latin names. It looked pretty cool. When my local shop ran out, I ended up buying a couple of yards online with the intention of making a skirt to wear for Halloween. I figured I could be Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, a witch, Dr. Brennan from the TV show Bones, or just dressed up for Halloween in general.

The skirt idea morphed into a dress and I'm happy that it did! I used a store-bought dress from my closet to draft a pattern. I cut the dress the same front and back, except for a lower neckline in the front. I used my new bias tape maker (so much fun) to make a channel inside the dress at the waist for the elastic. I sewed the elastic into the dress first, then joined the front and back pieces together. I left a large gap for the arm holes, which I finished with my rolled hem foot (love that thing!). Then I stitched up the side seam a bit to make the arm hole the right size. That way the rolled hem disappeared inside the dress past the side seam, keeping it all finished.

I finished the bottom with a rolled hem as well, since I was tight on fabric and didn't want the dress to be too short. That 3 inch difference between a metre and a yard makes a difference! I lined the dress with some jersey knit, sewing the lining and outer dress together at the neckline and then topstitching to finish it off.

I LOVE how it turned out. It's comfortable and fits pretty well. I paired it with a black bow belt from another skirt, my pocket watch necklace and a black hairband with feathers. We're well into fall here, so a black cardigan and leggings were necessary too. I'm also happy that I've gotten to wear the costume a few times. Last week I went to a local evening event called the Witches Walk. There were hundreds of women dressed in costume, with local shops offering discounts, treats, games, wine tasting, vendors and live music. Good times! I also got to enjoy two costume days at my schools and I have a Halloween party to go to Saturday after I hand out candy. I'm usually a last-minute costume-type person, but I'm glad I got an early start this year. I also love that I'll be able to wear this dress again and again around Halloween!

Linking up with TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and LAFF.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

2016 Quilter's Planner

I'm excited to share that a block I designed will be featured in the 2016 Quilter's Planner. The Quilter's planner was created by Stephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter. It includes monthly calendars and weekly spreads with to-do lists for work, personal life and quilting projects. Each week includes a different quilt block from a different designer - including me :) The planner will also include full quilt patterns from top designers like Pat Sloan, Amy Garro, Kitty Wilkin, Lee Heinrich, Mandy Leins, Yvonne Fuchs and Cheryl Brickey.  As well, there will be quilt planning templates, blank pages and graph paper to fulfill your designing needs. 

I know that some people like to make schedules and plan ahead and some people would rather remain unscheduled and be more spontaneous. Personally, I'm more the planning type. I've tried many ways to stay organized. I used to use an agenda faithfully, but over the past couple of years I've moved to using digital organizers as well. I have the iCal and Reminders apps synched on my phone and personal laptop so that I can keep track of appointments and to do lists. I also use the Stickies app on my work laptop to keep track of schedules, events, marking, lessons and other things at my two schools. But I also jot down notes on scraps of paper, type up quilting and sewing ideas in Word documents and sketch away on graph paper in my binder or blank paper in my sketch book. There's so much going on and new ideas are flowing constantly.

One of the things I miss about using an agenda is the visual of a weekly layout and the time slots for planning. So I have to say that so far, I LOVE how this planner is set up. It seems to have room for all of my lists, notes and appointments and as others have commented, it would be nice to keep everything in one place.

For more images and information about the 2016 Quilter's Planner and to pre-order a copy, click here.

This past year a quilt I designed was featured in a calendar, this coming year I have a block in a planner - what's next? ;) Are you the planning type? How do you stay organized?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Cape Scarf and Fall Colours

I've got the fall flannel bug. I know plaids go in and out of style, but I think it's always a fall staple here. My local big box fabric store had some nice soft shirting flannels on sale, begging to be made into a project. A month ago, when Jess of The Sewing Rabbit posted this Cape Scarf tutorial, I decided to give it a go. She used a knit fabric, but I went with this white, grey and blue London Fog plaid flannel.

I made a few changes to the scarf, opening up the slit more so that it opened up as far as my elbows while I was wearing it. It looked a bit more natural and allowed for more movement. I also used 1.5m of fabric, rather than the two yards it called for.

These photos were taken over Thanksgiving weekend, which ended up being gorgeous - sunny and 23 C. Too warm for scarves :) A few of us went for a little walk after turkey dinner to enjoy the weather.

My brother and I checking out the crabapples. 
My brother and sister-in-law
The good weather continued the next day, which worked well for some family photos I was taking. A warm fall has meant that the leaves just started turning a couple weeks ago. Now, a few maples remain in brilliant oranges, yellows and reds, but most of the other leaves have come down in the rain and wind. With the cooler weather, I've been wearing the Cape Scarf as an oversized scarf over a fall jacket to keep me warm during windy morning yard supervision.

Seven cousins under 8 yrs makes for a fun photo session.
I've been kind of jumping from one project to the next and I've got several on the go. Going to the open quilting class I attend makes it hard to stay focused. There are so many pretty new fabrics and temptations, with lots of enablers around ;) You can expect more new projects this week, as I seem to be finishing a few of them up all at the same time.

Linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Charming is a Plus Baby Quilt

I finished a baby quilt last weekend using Anita of Daydreams of Quilts' pattern, "Being Charming is a Plus." Her pattern includes clear instructions with diagrams and options for many sizes. You can make it with all charm squares, or a combination of charm squares and yardage. You can find it in her Payhip, Craftsy or Etsy shop.

I opted to use a charm pack of Kate Spain's Paradiso and some Robert Kaufman chambray in Indigo. You may notice that it's the same combination I used to make my Patchwork Bench. The pattern was quick and easy to put together and I was able to chain piece at almost every step. It was a satisfying project!

I backed the quilt with some blue and white flannel I bought on sale. I decided on some simple straight-line quilting and echoed inside and outside the plus shapes. Then I traced some squares onto the intersections of the blocks to make a quick diamond shape there. The binding is a ombre stripe from V&Co's Color Me Happy Line. I love how well it matches the colours in the quilt.

I'm planning on making another one in different colours, as I have a couple friends expecting babies and I'm not sure of their genders. As much as I like to say that there are no "boy colours" or "girl colours", society has trained us to think of pink and floral as feminine. I'd also like to make a fall table runner with 3 blocks in oranges and mustard yellows and reds, maybe. I'm going to be a vendor at a craft sale in December, so I've got a lot of other projects on the go and ideas spinning around, so we'll have to see.

Happy sewing!

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Tool Bag and a Kitten

I've been up to several sewing projects lately, all in various stages of completion. I'm hoping to finish a few up this week to clear the slate for all the new ideas I have. One of my recent projects was a tool bag for a birthday gift for my brother. It's modelled after ditty bags I saw online. I combined home decor weight fabric, quilting and rope for its creation.

To make the lining panel, I made a quilt sandwich out of a sort of canvas, batting and cotton twill. I densely quilted it with straight lines. The circular bottom of the bag got the same treatment. The lining was sewn together and set aside.

To make the outside panel, I used my rolled hem foot (love that thing!) to finish the top edge of a long  rectangle to make the pockets. I layered it over the outside piece and stitched lines down to form the pockets. Then I pieced together the outside panel, leaving an opening in the side to  turn it right-side out.

I sewed the lining and outside together along the top, turned it right-side out and topstitched. Then I added grommets and a rope handle.

The quilting took a bit with the dense lines, but it gave the bag a lot of structure. It stands up nicely on its own, which will be useful for holding tools. My brother recently built a workbench for his new home and has a very organized garage. With shelves, cubbies, magnetic bars and tool sets in cases, everything has a place. But it's also nice to be able to stash a few tools in a bag to take around the house, yard, or to the lake, without losing them along the way. The open aspect of the bag means they're easily accessible.

I'v bought some more home-dec fabric so I can make some more. I think they would be good for lots of things - storing sewing and crafting tools, toiletries or cleaning supplies. So many projects to think about!

I also wanted to share that I have a new addition to the household. Meet Oliver. He is playful, friendly and likes to explore. In his short time in the house so far, he's already "assisted" with a few projects. Once, he walked across my presser foot while I was sewing, giving me a surprising burst of speed. He also climbed up a big piece of flannel I was pressing, which resulted in a stream from the water spray bottle I had to get out. He tried to climb/jump onto the ironing board too, but only managed to do a chin-up with his claws stuck in the cover.

This weekend, I tried to teach him that he shouldn't paw at the sewing machine needle unless he wants stitches of his own.

I'm sure we're in for many adventures.