Friday, February 27, 2009

Follow the bouncing baby ball

And now for something completely different. I don't usually pay alot of attention to patterns for baby toys, blankets or layette anymore because both of my "babies" are well past that stage. But as it turns out there are no less than 4 ladies expecting at work right now. And that doesn't include the other 4 that had babies last year alone. It's a veritable hot spot of fertility around work. Hmm not sure what that means exactly, I'll leave that up to you to decide. We are starting to joke about selling the water as a fertility treatment. But seriously, all these little babies and baby showers, call for some baby related sewing.

I needed a quick shower present the other day and true to form, I was trying to come up with something in the eleventh hour. I remembered that there was this cool baby ball pattern inside Anna Maria Horner's "Seams to me" book and after scanning the instructions I got to work. The best part about this project is that you can use up scraps. Most sewists have a huge collection of these. I can never bring myself to just toss them into the trash, so I have a huge bin that threatens to keep overflowing and taking over the rest of the room.

The ball consists of a series of pentagons and hexagons, pretty much soccer ball style as dear hubby pointed out ~ but way more fun than your usual soccer ball I would like to counter. Here's the result. It's soft and fun and was a hit with the new moms. Heck it's so colorful and fun I want one for myself! Well that was one shower down and 3 to go, so I guess I'ld better get busy and make some more of these guys.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

All a-flutter

I have to share some of the newest items in my spring collection for the TrilliumShoppe at Etsy and while i'm at it i'm going to preen a little bit.

Some of you might recognize this Feliz dress, it's a favorite pattern of mine. I must admit it was totally inspired by Paula Prass' Flights of Fancy line. I adore this line. The whole par avion print just spoke to me ~ So much so that the entire dress was envisioned as soon as I saw this preview pic of Paula's many months ago. So here's my Par Avion Feliz dress
I embellished the bodice with a little bird applique and accented the straps/hem with contrasting bias tape.

And yes there is more! Paula herself is giving away a bunch of fun Flights of Fancy fabric right now on her blog. You might recognize the first pic - I warned you I was gonna preen a little bit! Go check it out ~ you could win some yummy fabric!

And now onto a few more spring items. Here's my version of the ever popular pillowcase dress for the shoppe.
I modified the classic design to tie in the back instead. I like the dressy effect of the long bow. This print is also from Michael Miller (Tweet Tweet).

Enough bird references for 'ya?

Many many thanks must also go out to Kristen of Kristen Scott Photography for all the fabulous photos of my creations. Those are her cute girlies in the pics. Thanks bunches Kristen!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes

Continuing with the unofficial theme of the week, which is sewing for grown-ups, we have installment 2. This shirt was done with the Antonella pattern from Farbenmix. As with my Zoela, I'm just figuring out what fits here, so nothing fancy was happening on this shirt.

I have to say this shirt took quite a bit of alteration to get it to fit correctly. I really think the cap sleeve pattern piece for the double-layer tee is cut wrong. The sloper doesn't follow that of the armhole and won't fit. So, as a work around, I decided to just use the sleeve pattern piece and cut a short sleeve and a long sleeve and just joined them at the underarm seam. That worked perfectly.

Another change: the shoulders are really wide on this pattern - it looks really deconstructed this way, which is not my personal preference. I don't think it's just my samples, if you look at the design examples on their site, they are all this way. So, to solve this problem, I cut my pattern pieces 1 size smaller in the shoulders only. Left everything else the correct size and this did seem to alleviate the problem.

Yet another change: I thought the neckline was very wide on this pattern which I didn't like either - so I raised it up a bit before cutting out. My version is about half-way between boat-neck and crew-neck.

Yes, that is a lot of changes for one pattern. So you might want to keep that in mind if you plan to go down the Antonella path. I do like the final result and the fit is now perfect, so I will keep using this pattern for this style of shirt.
So now I have 2 pattern tees with a great fit - time to get to some serious embellishing.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Goodbye ready-made!

I have been playing alot with knit fabrics lately. They are my new favs. Tee-shirts really do whip up very quickly. There aren't that many seams to sew and nothing very complicated. The toughest thing about knits is to not pull the fabric so it puckers. That makes keeping the fabric flow evenly through the machine pretty important but aside from that there isn't much else to master. I have found that lowering my feed-dogs a bit helps with feeding heavier weight interlocks or multiple layers of fabric.

Finally, after many months of good intentions, I managed to eek out some time to make a couple tees for myself. So I pulled out my Zoela pattern and got to work. Zoela is a simple raglan sleeve pattern but I'm not usually fond of that style on myself so I started with some scrap knits to do a dry run before I committed the nice knits to the project. After fitting the dry run I was able to proceed to the good knits ~ Et voila. I think the hardest part is coming up with unique and cute fabric combos, well that and my limited knit supply. Nice quality knit fabrics are actually pretty hard to find, not to mention two or more of them if you plan to mix prints together.

Taking a page from our european sewing sisters, I've been inserting little folded ribbons into the side seams of just about all of my tees lately. I don't know why I am so enamored of this approach ~ must be the little added detail I suppose ~ well, that and an excuse to use some of my ribbon stash. The ribbon here is from Patty Young's Andalucia line which is rapidly becoming an all-time fav of mine. Works well with these fabrics, yes?

Now that I've got the basics down, I think I'll embark on some embroidery embellished tees and save myself the exorbitant costs they are asking for ready-made ones these days.

Monday, February 9, 2009

BFF (s)

A little V-day love in the tee-shirt department. The pattern is quiara from farbenmix.
Isn't the peeking gnome cute? That's farbenmix ribbon.

And I made 3 of these shirts, one for my daughter and one for each of her best friends - they had a birthday sleepover this past weekend. Too bad I didn't get to see the 3 of them together all at the same time. FYI, the furry appliques are very popular with the 8-and-under set.