Wednesday, April 30, 2014

building a summer wardrobe one skirt at a time

Over the past month I've had the great privilege of teaching several ladies in my area how to fit and make their own skirts using the book The Essential A-Line by Jona Giammalva. (You can read my gushing reviews of the book in these previous posts.) To date I've taught two sessions on making the basic skirt and one session on sewing this pleated version...

That glasses fabric! So fun! I started sewing this skirt last fall and nearly had it completed, but then the weather turned so I put it aside. A couple of weeks ago I finished it and decided to make another to refresh my memory on how it was constructed, which yielded this summer fresh version using fabrics from Kate Spain's recent Daydream line for Moda (yep, that's a bathroom mirror selfie you're looking at)...

After sewing all these skirts it feels like I can put the zippers in with my eyes closed. I use a combination of a few different methods I've seen (one day I'll write a handy tutorial), and all of my students have been very pleased with how easy they are to insert.

My skirts on display at the LQS where I've been teaching...

And here is my fabric selection for the next skirt - a tiered version where the blue large floral print will be the main piece and the smaller floral print on white will be the bottom "layer" both separated and hemmed by the fuchsia solid.  The florals are from Iza Pearl's new line Garden Party Tango for Windham Fabrics.

It's possible that I might have enough skirts after that one is complete (possible but not likely!) so I'll be expanding my repertoire and wardrobe by making this Schoolhouse Tunic next...

New clothes for spring - what could be better?! Have you made any new clothing recently?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

center block of Dreamy Hexagons

In my last post I showed you a peek of some fabrics I have pulled together for a new Kaffe quilt project. The large center block of the quilt will have eight rings of (12) 1" english paper-pieced (EPP) hexagons.

If you're not familiar with EPPing, it is a type of hand-sewing where the fabric is basted around a paper template or insert (a hexagon shape for this quilt) and then the shapes are hand-sewn together before removing the paper template. There is an excellent two-part tutorial for making EPP hexagon flowers from Lori Holt at Bee in My Bonnet here and here.

I use the same basic method (without the paper clip) to make these rings. The quilt pattern calls for using shot cottons to make the hexie rings, and I'm using a mixture of Kaffe shot cottons, Pepper Cory Peppered Cottons, and Robert Kaufman Carolina Chambray for my rings.

After all the rings are completed, each one will have a large flower appliqued under/behind it. Here is one of the fabrics I'm considering for the large flowers - Japanese Chrysanthemum in Scarlet by Philip Jacobs. It's my #1 choice so far :)

Coming in a close second is this Cactus Dahlias in Red also from Philip Jacobs. As you can see I've got four of the eight hexie rings sewn. I'll probably make a few extra and choose the eight I like best.

I'm trying to let this quilt evolve as each border is added and not have everything all planned out from the get-go (much like my border challenge quilt last year), but here are a couple of photo mosaics that show which fabric combinations I think might work well. All these photos are from the website. They have the largest and most comprehensive online selection of Kaffe Collective fabrics. A few local brick and mortar shops have a decent selection of his fabrics, but nothing rivals the inventory at Glorious Color. I buy what I can locally and order the rest :)

Jupiter in Red
Shirt Stripes in Red
Japanese Chrysanthemum in Scarlet
Lotus Leaf in Wine
Chard in Hot
Roman Glass in Red

Jupiter in Red
Cactus Dahlias in Red
Shirt Stripes in Red
Picotte Poppies in Red
Babble in Charcoal
Oriental Tree in Red

This glorious riot of reds, pinks, and oranges is so invigorating, but I'm trying to take it slow and enjoy the process of just playing with the colors and seeing where each step takes me. The fact that there is no deadline for finishing this quilt makes that easier!

Friday, April 4, 2014

one finish, one near-finish, and one new project

You know me - jumping from project to project! The last days of March were filled with family and some auto travel as Thing 1 was home for a quick spring break week, and then just as she went back to school Thing 2's spring break began. Thing 2 is a high school junior now, so we took a road trip to visit a few colleges in the Midwest. We visited three schools and right now it looks like we have a winner (or at least a very strong front-runner). We'll probably make some more visits though since it is a long while until applications need to be filed, and it's always good to have a Plan B, right?

On our travels to a couple of Indiana schools we were lucky enough to see our nephew John and his young family. So we met baby Zachary for the first time! I finished sewing the label on to the back of his quilt as we drove - a real "just-in-time" finish. But with all the excitement of seeing everyone, I forgot to take some final photos. Hopefully John will be able to send some photos of the finished quilt in Zachary's room.

Here are the last two shots I took of the quilt at my house. First - marked and pinned and ready for quilting...


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