Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Stash

I couldn't help picking up a few additions to my stash this week. As with most purchases, I tend to buy larger cuts (half yards) of fabrics I like, versus buying a whole fabric line in fat quarters (unless I really, truly plan on using/really love the whole thing). It's just like buying music; I rarely buy an entire album and instead just invest in one or two songs. Unless it's Coldplay... because I eternally love them.

 My purchase from Hawthorne Threads

Anyway, in terms of Cotton and Steel, I really gravitate towards Rashida Coleman Hale's color and print choices - and her Mochi line is a huge winner in my book. I don't really see myself using many of the other prints in the new release (from the other four designers). I usually buy and use "helpful" fabrics; according to Rachel of Stitched in Color, these are mostly simple, one color prints (or those that are peppered with white, like Pearl Bracelets, Bike Path, that second fabric from the bottom on my stack above, etc.). I constantly mix fabric lines without shame and don't really feel loyal to any largely multicolored fabrics (except Anna Maria Horner's).

As a result, I'm still building up my Cotton and Steel Basics (I usually buy a half yard or a yard), and Netorious is by far my favorite and most used Basic (you're probably tired of hearing this from me!). This time, I bought the white and gold. The dark blue Viewfinders from Melody Miller were hard to pass up, and the purses from Mochi (yes, I realize they are multicolored - but they are so awesome!). I bought a yard of that purple Mochi print with the trees to use for a purse (probably - and just to hoard, because it's a perfect shade of purple). I bought the Mochi Lawn print for a dress, but it's more pink than I imagined from online. Oh well. We'll see. And I snuck that Anna Maria Horner knit into my order (third fabric from the top) for a shirt. I'm in such a garment-making craze right now (though there are no promises that it will continue! I just go by what I feel like making)!

Then, I picked up some much needed solids from Pennington Quilt Works, my (kind of local) quilt shop, yesterday. I was in the area for a lecture/trunk show by Cloud 9 Fabrics, which I set up for our guild. I hope to blog about it sometime this week. Anyway, I needed the solids (I know the white is Kona but I don't remember the blue) for my Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts starter. I need to get it started (today? maybe?) because I'm handing it over in AUSTIN IN 18 DAYS!!! What?! How is it February already? Oh, and I couldn't help picking up a half yard of that beautiful Doe print. I plan on buying a few prints from Doe (the orange one, the all blue one, and some of the whites) at some point.

What have you been stashing?
Linking up to Sunday Stash @ Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Days, Sew Days

I've been blessed with not one, but two snow days this week. I am dreadfully afraid of driving in the snow/ice so I've been cocooned in the house. Unfortunately, my husband, unlike me, does not work at a school but at a bank that hardly ever closes EVER, so he had to drive. We didn't get much overall in western New Jersey (only about 3 inches) but the roads weren't plowed here until at least 12 noon today.

Anyway, here's what I've been working on. These improv blocks are the basis of my Cascade Fabric Challenge for the CJMQG (due in March). I used these fabrics for my Gentle Improv Wave pillow (which went to Quilt Market!) and tutorial last year.  Jessica Levitt, a designer for Windham Fabrics and just an amazing all-around person (and one of my quilty best friends) (oh yeah, and she's our founder and current VP), gave out fabric to all who wished to participate. We can use any solids and I have to say that the solids in her collection, especially the light gray, are so versatile. These colors overall aren't my *usual* colors (you know I like my bright and jewel tones) but they are calming and so pretty. I've decided to take the fabrics color by color and lay them out as so. The project is still evolving and I'm not quite sure what the end result will be (Will I cut the blocks further? Will I lay them out on a consistent background or on appropriately colored backgrounds?). That's the best part of quiltmaking IMHO. Sometimes you just don't know what's going to happen!

This weekend I also worked on another garment for QuiltCon! I NEVER in a million years would have thought that by the end of January, I would have three out of at least four solid outfits to wear next month. Especially since I'm still (and probably will be for a while) really feeling my way through this whole garment-sewing thing. For example, this was a really easy skirt that took much longer than planned because I kept getting the elastic twisted up (full disclosure!), but it's all good now! I'll make sure to take real pictures of the finish soon. I have to say, though - rayon is beautiful and gorgeous and soft, but it was very hard to sew with! And yes, I read up all about it, but it just flows. everywhere. nonstop. I also made the full bust adjustment to my Socialite Dress (!!!) muslin and started cutting into my precious AMH voile, so that's in the works, too! Hopefully it won't be too trying.

There's some secret sewing going on here and there, too, but it's secret, so I can't really share. :D I feel like I'm starting 1.1 million projects at the same time right now, and while that makes for lots of choices, it does make it hard to focus on just one.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Teaching updates

This summer, I'll be teaching my Orange Peels and Improv class again at Pennington Quilt Works in Pennington, NJ! I really can't wait to teach this again. I wanted to give my readers a heads up in case you are in the area and interested. Space is limited to 8 people, and registration is open! I added an extra hour to the second session so students could spend more time creating their improv panels.

Orange Peels and Improv
7 Tree Farm Road, Pennington, NJ, 08534 
Monday, July 13, 7-9 and Monday, July 27, 6-9
A class in two sessions (you sign up for both)

 I'm also super excited to teach a modified version of this class at Mid-Atlantic Mod in April. It's sold out, and I believe the retreat is as well. One of my goals this year is to develop another class to teach besides Orange Peels and my Gentle Improv Waves Technique + Pillow class. The descriptions of these classes, as well as the lectures I offer, are all available on my Teaching and Speaking page.

Today, I received my business cards! Yay! I ordered them primarily so I could give them out at QuiltCon. I'll also bring them to all the sewing events I'll be at this year. I chose my orange peels to represent me, and a pretty orange-peel like rainbow design to complement it.

I'm finally feeling better after more than a week, so I've been sewing up a storm (plus, we were snowed in). I'll have plenty to share this coming week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Second Sorbetto Top

I don't remember much from this past weekend besides that I was sick and I was productive with my sewing. Granted, I had to take many breaks because my strength was waning (some of these breaks involved naps and Outlander-book-reading), but I got 'er done, plus a couple of secret projects on the side. I realize I look pretty normal in the picture below, but that's not the case, haha. :)

This second Sorbetto top was much quicker than the first. I added 6 more inches to the bottom, so it was more tunic-like (however, it's not really long enough for me to wear just leggings underneath and be comfortable). I didn't really want to make a dress out of this small-print fabric, even thought I had more than enough. The fabric is actually a Lecien lawn from the Sassy Tassel, a great small fabric store that sells lots of out of print modern fabric in Lancaster, PA (I bought it while at Mid-Atlantic Mod last year). I'm glad I have more to use in the future! Plus, now I have another garment to add to my QuiltCon wardrobe.


Yes, I used the sparkly Netorious from Cotton and Steel again for the bias tape... sue me... I love it! I also hand-stitched those buttons on the middle pleat. There are so many different options for varying up your own garments!

This is the best picture of the fabric that I could get. It's really more purple than pink. :)

Sewing is slow-going this week overall due to this ridiculous cold. Hopefully I'll be back to normal tomorrow. It's definitely on its way out.

Linking up to: Fabric Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Needle and Thread Thursday, Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF

Saturday, January 17, 2015

FAL Quarter 1 Goals

Last year, I participated in the Finish-A-Long for the first time. I found it helpful because it kept me focused on one part of year, but also forced me to plan out the rest of the year a bit (and I'm a list lover, so there's another plus).

Quarter 1 Goals:
1. Doe scrap/improv quilt - I want this to be a quilt top, and I want it now! It needs to be quilted, basted, bound, FINISHED. This is a just-for-fun-I'm so excited quilt. I love this one and would even more LOVE to really give it some more attention! I have some ideas swirling around in my head about how to quilt the negative space between the blocks. I just bought a pretty eggshell white Free Spirit fabric to work with. I can't wait to dive in soon. I already have 8-10 blocks!

2. Finish my winter mini quilt - hopefully soon! I'm just figuring out how to quilt it. I've shown some snippets of it on Instagram.

3. Make a Socialite Dress (pattern by Anna Maria Horner) - it's time! I'm flying high because I just finished my second Sorbetto top/tunic. I'm  confident enough to make this dress in time for QuiltCon (I hope). The fabric I'm using is Coordinates in Midnight voile from Field Study (also by Anna Maria Horner). Maybe I'll wear the dress to her class? Or would that be too much like wearing a band's t-shirt to their concert? :D

4. Finish my Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilts quilt! We're starting another round at QuiltCon (which I have to decide about, too) with some more amazing sewists, and it would be great to actually finish this one.

5. Finish my CJMQG bee quilt from last year. I asked my bee mates to make any block using flying geese. This will be a fun one to piece together improvisationally, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

6. Finally, it would be awesome to finish the Supernova quilt. I want to finish it and use it but it's not number 1 on my list for finishes. There is at least one other that was started before this one. We'll see!

Linking up to:

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Sorbetto Top

If you follow me on Instagram (@quiltyhabit), you may have seen me "overgramming" (posting constantly) throughout the process of making my first handmade top this week! I was so apprehensive in the beginning and for a long time before this week, but the desire to make some handmade garments for QuiltCon and all the fun sewing events to come this year overcame me. It all came together fairly quickly though - within two days! On the first day, I made two muslins to get the width and length of the top right. The next day, I dove right into cutting up my dearly hoarded Cotton and Steel lawn (the print is Truly Outrageous in Grey by Rashida Coleman Hale).

The first time I saw this fabric, I knew it had to be a top! And I did NOT plan for the gems to line up so perfectly on that front pleat! I decided I probably won't wear it without the belt - I just love it too much with it on! Here's the back (without it):

If you are a quilter or prospective sewist who has no garment sewing experience, such as myself, I highly recommend starting with a very easy pattern. The Sorbetto Top pattern is free, very clear, and simple. I learned how to do all of the following things within a span of 2 days:
  • read a garment pattern (well, at least for now! This one makes sense :) )
  • make bias tape (I prefer the method outlined here at Seasoned Homemaker)
  • use a bias tape maker
  • do an FBA (full bust adjustment - a very clear, picture-full tutorial here at Sew Mama Sew - did you know many standard garments are made to fit a B cup? That doesn't work for me at all!)
  • sew French seams (I got it right about the third time! This tutorial from Craftsy was the method that made the most sense to me)
  • sew darts(my IG friends were a big help explaining that one!)
  • sew a pleat (that was the easiest of them all, and the pattern was especially clear about that)

I chose to make bias tape out of Cotton and Steel's sparkly Netorious fabric, which I seriously need at least 3 bolts of for my eternal use (I used it in yesterday's post, too!). The sparkle is the perfect touch! Today, I was so excited that I prewashed three of my garment fabrics today in preparation to sew with. YAY! Hopefully, this success means many more to come. The plan right now is to make at least one more Sorbetto Top before QuiltCon (since I have all my measurements right! It will be a bit longer too), and then attempt to make my Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress again. I need to get more muslin for practice though.

I love these sparkly safety pin earrings from Macy's that I bought for Christmas! I'm always looking for great earrings (and if they're sewing related, that's a huge plus). They sell black ones, too, and yes, I bought those, too. :)

Here's my absolutely crazed 10:30 pm Monday night picture of it's-finally-done-omg! I wore it to work the next day and to our guild meeting that night. How nice it was to wear something all day that was super comfortable, pretty, and fit almost perfectly (only the length is still a bit short, even after adding about 6 inches)?


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