My First Quilt

Please forgive the terrible photo. The December light isn't the greatest and my photo editing skills are limited, so this is what we're working with. Photo aside, the actual quilt looks pretty cute. Piecing it together was my favorite part, but the actual quilting was pretty fun, too. I tried to use a walking foot that I had ordered just for this project but I couldn't get it to work properly. I'm not sure if it was me or the foot or what, but I ended up just using my regular foot and easing up on the presser foot which worked just fine. 

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I'd love to try another quilt for our bed, but I'm not sure how my small machine could handle something larger than this crib size. Next up for this sweet baby are some changing pad covers and pillows for the glider. 

In other news my patternmaking class ended and I'm actually quit happy to have a month or so off from class. The final project was a hideous blouse that is wadded up in a ball in my school bag, so I will spare you any photos. The highlights of the class were meeting some new friends like this one, and learning more about drafting a front and back bodice sloper. I'm looking forward to next semester (Sonja, you'd better be there that first class in January!) and learning more, but for now my Tuesday nights will be devoted to watching terrible TV and possibly some not-for-school projects.

Here and There

Since I have nothing to show for my many recent projects, I figured a cute picture of Raisin would do. It's not that I haven't been working on things, I have, it's that I haven't been documenting them. The days are shorter and the light in my sewing corner is terrible and together that makes for bad pictures. 

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Excuses aside, this has been a very busy fall. I'm working on a bunch of projects for a dear friend's first baby, TONS of homework for my patternmaking class, and various fun things for me.

Did I tell you I enrolled in the Pattermaking Certificate Program at FIT? Well, I did. And it's super fun. I actually think it might be saving my life this year since work is kind of the pits. I won't bring you down with the dirty details, but having a creative outlet built into my week has been helpful in boosting morale. 

So I'll try and be better about documenting, but for now just feast your eyes on the cutest dog in the world:

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Chair Facelift

I bought this chair years ago in Iowa City and did an OK job recovering the cushions. As I recall they were mustard vinyl and smelled like smoke. I ordered replacement foam, which was super hard at the time, but has now softened into a pretty comfy seat. The fabric I use the first time around was not as heavy as it should have been, so it hasn't worn well over the years. Add that to a chocolate stain and a general dissatisfaction with the state of the apartment and you have a chair facelift on your hands!

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I ordered a few swatches from Fabric.com and settled on a charcoal linen blend. It's definitely more durable and I love the look. I left the piping off this time around and I think it looks much more modern.   

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Next up on the apartment project docket is the reupholstering of a club chair and ottoman that we inherited from Ted's folks. As for sewing I'm going to start a winter coat made from a vintage Simplicity pattern. 

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Ikat Mini

Whenever I go into a fabric store in the city like Mood or B&J I usually leave empty handed. I think I just get really overwhelmed and feel kind of intimidated by the big rolls of fabric and all the people around me who seem to know exactly what they're doing.  

But the other day I was doing my usual "walk around and buy nothing" at Mood when I spotted a guy holding a roll of perfect black and white ikat fabric. I followed him around until he put it back and promptly bought two yards. 

Using my skirt sloper I made a pattern that was considerably shorter than the black pencil skirt and sans the vent. This was much easier to sew up having done the black skirt a few days before. For the seams I just used my edge stitch to finish the raw sides which eliminated the bulk.

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I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the length--it may be a wee bit too short, but maybe if I pair it with a more modest top I could pull it off. I do love the fabric because it has a nice bit of stretch to it. 

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I found a Chole skirt I'd love to try and replicate next. It's from about 5 years ago, but in my option scallops never go out of style.  

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Confessions of a Lazy Sewer

Before my patternmaking class this summer, I was a lazy sewer. In lieu of making a muslin to get the fit just right, I would jump right in hoping that it would fit me. If you remember my struggles with getting the Wiksten tank to fit right you'll notice that I didn't once make a test tank. WTF? I know better now. While it is a struggle to stifle the desire for instant garment gratification, I have realized that it's so worth it to take the time to do it right.

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The first sloper we made in patternmaking was a straight skirt. Since we were making it for a dress form the measurements were based on just the right half of the form and it obviously wasn't going to fit me. A couple weeks ago I set out to make my own sloper based on my measurements, and with the help of Cal Patch's book Design-It-Yourself Clothes it was kind of a breeze. I'm ashamed to say that I bought this book back in 2009, and that was the first time I really read it. I don't know what I was so afraid of--it's really easy to follow and not intimidating at all. 

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I finished my pattern draft and added the back vent based of the skirt I made for my sewing class. Next up was the dreaded but oh so useful muslin. I can't tell you how valuable this step was for me. I had goofed up my waist measurement and ended up taking a bunch in there as well as in the hips. I think I re-pinned my muslin three or four times before feeling like it was good to go. I transferred my corrections to the paper, added seam allowance and began the actual skirt. 

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I'm really proud of the final product. It was such a weird feeling sewing it and knowing that when I tried it on I was 99% sure it would fit me. It made me slow down and make sure I was taking my time because I knew I was going to wear it.

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I think next time I'll take it in a bit more in the hips, but overall I'm really excited to wear my first drafted, patterned and sewn garment!