Monday, July 6, 2015

Sewing by the seat of my pants!

I am not a very good planning sewer.  I am an excellent planner otherwise but I sew by the seat of my pants ( and no shoes).   I do know people that are AMAZING planning sewers and I envy their ability to see beyond.  Beyond is not where I can see.  I see now and when sewing I am there, in the moment. The projects that are shared here are in real time projects.  If there is a tutorial, it is happening as the sewing machine is whirling.  This is how it happens for me...angles singing and behold...the vision of a quilt...or how I will make whatever bag Sara has a new pattern for look like mine...or a doll diaper...and then it has to be done RIGHT NOW!  My head is a dangerous place. This project was the same, looking at the mess in the sewing room, tiding up and BAM! It had to be done! A few days later this is what it has become.




The log cabin blocks have grown tremendously over the weekend!  That design wall is 8ft tall! I wish the photos could have been better, we have been having rainy days and not great light.  What started out as an idea now has a vision and purpose!  This is the exciting part for me!  When things come together and it looks even better than what you had imagined.  Utter JOY!  I love all of the different colors and how they work together!  All of the pieces for this quilt are shirts from the Goodwill blue bins ( with the exception of one piece of fabric that I just happened to like the color).  This is mostly 100% cotton since it is so much easier to work with during cutting and sewing.  There is some linen but not much.



While I was filling a bobbin, this spool ran out!  GASP!  It was an emergency moment since the hands down best piecing thread is 2600.  I keep giving away my spools to friends (and sometimes strangers) to share the LOVE of 2600 so this was my last one.  This spool has last well over a year.  It was used almost continueslyfor the full year unless I needed a 40wt or black thread.



In a panic, I looked through all the threads I have ( there are quite a few) and found this one!  It is a wonderful new discovery and very close to the 2600 but just a tad darker, not too much but perfect for piecing!  I was overjoyed for sure.


Not sure if anyone wants or needs a tutorial for how to make this but if you want, I can whip up a tutorial as soon as I have completed this quilt :o)  I was taking notes while sewing, I guess that is the start of a plan.  Maybe I can change my ways.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Log Cabin Love!

I have made a few log cabin style quilts and have always adored this style but never gave it a go until now.  Not sure why I decided it was time but the thrift shop shirts were calling to me to start cutting 1.5 inch strips and just have a go with this pattern.  The shorts cut in line but now that those are completed I will be focusing more on completing more.  I am excited to see where this is going!




Happy July 4th weekend! Hope you will be finding some time to SEW!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shirts to shorts, an up cycle with style!

This is my very first pair of shorts!  Looking through Purl Soho's fabric is always a treat for me and so I was window shopping online and then up popped a tutorial for a pair of shorts with a FREE pattern and everything!  My interest was instantly peaked!  City Gym Shorts pattern is for all sizes and it so incredibly well written and the sizing is spot on!


The original intent for the black linen was a quilt top that I started working on two days ago.  This was a men's XL Coldwater Creek lovely black linen ( very nice quality) I had acquired from the local thrift shop for $2.  The binding is from my hoarded stash of Liberty of London.  The Liberty Lawn is such a perfect match to the black.

The pattern printed out, I chopped up the shirt, grabbed the parchment paper, wash tape, a pen and scissors and went to work! You can see Tara was very helpful through this process!


I have a small collection of vintage machines and I try to break them out and use them to keep them in good running condition.  This sweet Viking stays in my sewing room in her case and it was definitely time for her to be brought out to get some fresh air and sunshine! LOVE her so much!  For the thread I grabbed my Aurifil 2600 ( should have used #2692) because the bobbin was already full and I was a woman on a mission! 


The hardest part making these for me was the bias cut binding.  There was not much of the Lawn fabric and I did not want to make a mistake and not have the correct amount. Thank goodness there was just enough to finish the shorts! I pinned all of it down and ran right over those suckers!  I was not risking any mistakes ( please don't judge) ;O)


Honestly, fabulous pattern!  So much so, I think when Katy's friends have another sleepover this will be the project they do!  It is that easy!



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cathedral Window Sloan Travel Bag

As with most projects, this had stared as a last minute want for a new WOW bag to carry at Market.  It has ended up to be a bag that never made it to Market but I did finish it two days ago and I cannot be more pleased!  The pattern I used is Sloan Travel Bag by Sara from Sew Sweetness.  I did modify the bag to meet my needs.  My needs were that I add cathedral windows to anything I can because they are the most elegant thing I can make and I really love them!




The fabrics are a variety of Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, Sis Boom and even more!  The background fabrics are all text prints.  I am really happy with the way it all came together to make this explosion of colors!


For the foam, I tried the Pellon Flex Foam.  It was easy to find and easy to work with!  I can recommend it for sure!  One of the things that was unplanned and one of the reasons I did not finish this in time for market was that all of the centers needed to be hand tacked down otherwise they pucker.  It was not attractive. All stitched down makes it look so much more finished :o)


The recessed zipper is by far my favorite closure for bags!  Easy to put in and looks very clean.  All of your stuff ( I have a TON of stuff) is zipper securely inside.


The bag was constructed with Aurifil 40wt.  It is a thicker and heavier weight great for the layers and the high use of a bag.


For a fantastic bag that can carry everything you need and more this is the one for you! 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fashion at almost 50 Burda Style!

I finished a pencil skirt!  I tried months back and became discouraged with sizing issues.  If you have never sewn a garment pattern, sewing patterns are based on your actual measurements not your off the rack size.  In pattern sizes, I am two completely different sizes from my waist to my hips.  I am three sizes from my chest to my hips.  This makes sewing fitted garments somewhat challenging to the many people that ( and most are) many different sizes.

Fitted garments look better to me.  Tittering on the brink of 49, I walk the fine line with clothing of what is "age" appropriate and what looks good without looking matronly.  Then there is the comfort issue and not wanting to look as though I am wearing maternity clothing with garments that are too full. I did maternity four times and I am DONE!


I used the Burda Pattern Princess Seam Pencil Skirt 04/2012 #118.  It is a pdf download that is easy to print up!  I like that instant gratification.  Sadly, seam allowances are not added to the pattern so those have to be added in and that does take some extra time.  I used this super cool tape ( it says masking tape on the inside but it was more like wash tape) to line up and hold the patterns together while I traced the proper size adding in the seam allowances.



I also tried out this handy, what I am now referring to as my pin bracelet, wrist pin holder.  I bought this at Joann's after Christmas and somehow lost it in the Black Hole that is my sewing room.  I found it again last week when I was doing a MAJOR purge to find my way back and start sewing again.  I did find it helpful when on the floor pinning and also when I needed to do alterations.  the pins were right there and I did not even think about putting pins in my mouth once!


The pattern has very few pieces and the invisible zipper is lovely and adds to he polished look of the skirt.  I was very impressed with the fit once I was able to figure out how to adjust for the size differences. Overall I am very happy with this skirt and now I understand it better, I will be making at least one or two more. Katy says she wants one too :o)





Monday, June 15, 2015

Scrappy Vintage Leaf Block Tutorial

I cannot remember the last tutorial I wrote for the blog.  It has been way too long for sure! I was so inspired by this block, I simply could not help myself!  This is  an excellent scrap buster and works beautifully with a variety of fabrics! For my blocks, I used Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope, Flea Market Fancy and a smattering of Hope Valley that I adore! The charm of these blocks is the variety of colors and the imperfect feel of the stems keeping it more folksy.





To make this block you will need:

Fabric requirements:
3 3" squares in a solid color
8 3" squares in a variety of prints
9 3" squares in a solid white, off white or neutral ( I used Robert Kaufman Kona snow)

For half square triangles:
4 3.5" squares in a solid color
4 3.5"squares in a solid white, off white or neutral

Center Block:
1 5.5" square in a solid color

Leaf Stem:
You can either used curved piecing or appliqué for the stem.  It is whatever you feel most comfortable doing.  I will give directions for the curved piecing.  To keep with the feel of the original ( the stem was hand appliquéd) the stems are not perfect since they are more free form. Imperfect works with this block!

For curved pieced stem
1 7" in block in a solid white, off white or neutral
1 7" of brown fabric cut with the template

For hand appliquéd stem
I am not a hand appliqué expert, so I will give you the template which is the same for either method and would love for you to check out Jen Kingwell's video tutorial on Fat Quarter shop for some expert tips!
1 5.5" in square in a solid white, off white or neutral
1 strip of brown fabric cut from template



Other
Thread:  I use Aurifil 50wt 2600 for all of my piecing
Quilting pins for curved piecing
Marking tool
Rotary cutter




Please read through all the instructions before starting this block.  If you have any questions please shoot me an email. All seams are 1/4in unless otherwise noted.

Making the half square triangles first, take the 4 3.5in squares of the solid and the solid white, off white or neutral and place right sides facing together





Sew 1/4 in from the marked line in the center


Then sew 1/4 from the center marked line the other side.  I used chain piecing to save time and thread!

Using your rotary cutter or scissors, cut through the center line

Press the blocks your preferred way.  I chose to do mine 1/2 to the dark side and one half to the light.

Trim the hst to 3inches.

Lay out your leaf to get an idea for the scrappy placement! Then start start stacking your squares in each row right sides facing.

I pin all of mine on the side I will be sewing so I do not get confused and sew the wrong two together ( has totally happened many times)!


Using a 1/4 in seam, I chain piece all the squares together!

Press them in your chosen method.

And you are already this much closer to having finished this block!


You will be sewing together the rows again but in the middle section, instead of doing the row across, you will be sewing the two star points together.


When sewing the seams together, you should try to but up the upper and lower sides and then pin so there will be no shifting.  I am a firm believer in pinning as you will see coming up!

****UPDATE the leaf stem is directional!  It can be placed in two ways, if you are placing it the way show in the following photos, in the arc down position, when you are trimming leave about an eighth to a 1/4 in of the white fabric above the top of the stem.  If you are facing it in the arc up position, trim it with the middle of the stem being in the center of upper left corner.****

When you have sewn almost everything together, there is one part left to complete.  The stem!   If you will be doing hand appliqué, use the same template, press the outer sides 1/4" under, place on the 5.5" square and follow the link to Jen's tutorial mentioned above.

For the curved stem, I sewed a number of different ones and this was the best one that keeps with the feel of the original one without the hand stitching.

Print up and cut out your template, then pin to your brown fabric.  This is a bias cut so make sure to  lay the template as shown.






For the curved piecing stem place the template that you cut out of the brown fabric and place it on the 7in square.


Cut around the template piece and the solid square.



Discard the solid cream fabric and flip the stem piece so the center of the curves match up and pin in place.


The fabric is cut on the bias and you will be able to manipulate it to bend around the curve.  It is really very cool!  I LOVE pins, I may have mentioned that previously ;)  There are geniuses out there that CAN sew curves without pins...I am not one of those people!  If you can do it, go for it!


Again, using a 1/4in seam, slowly sew around the curve making sure the bottom fabric is not bunching up under. I take the slow and steady path.

If your fabric does get bunched up and you realize it after the fact, take a few stitches out ( no need to rip it all out) and then smooth it out, pin it and sew it up!


Press the seams toward the center

Flip pin, sew and press the opposite curved side!

The stem will look very wonky!


 This is totally OKAY!  I made it a bit larger so we can trim it down to a 5.5in block!





Now you can finish up the rest of your rows, press them and you have some amazing Vintage Leaf Blocks!



I hope you love this tutorial and make lots of these beautiful blocks! I already have the orange/yellow and pink picked out to make this week!  Please join me!  If you do make the blocks I would love for your to share them, please add the hashtags #vintageleafblock and #gogokim so I can see them all!  I am planning a linky party with a giveaway sometime in the next month to make it more fun!










Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An offer I could not refuse!

Something for nothing is not typical nor is it expected, especially when it is a random gift from someone you do not even know. Random gifts are so lovely!


This block made with Denyse Schmidt and Robert Kaufman Kona solids was made based on the gift I received last week and I will have a tutorial up later this week!




I went to a local thrift shop last week looking for shirts for a new project ( that will happen someday) and the shop was not opened yet.  They had vintage sewing machines sitting outside so I went to take a peek.  I have a "thing" for orphaned machines and cannot help but look.  There was an old Necchi, a Kenmore, A Singer Touch and Sew and a Brother that had all the attachments, case and manual.  A guy came out and said I could have them for FREE!!!! I really do not NEED another machine and my family may leave me if I dare to bring another one in the house so I asked if there were other sewing items.  He said yes, I whole bunch and I could have all of those for free too!  Then he asked me to wait a minute to go get a key.  He was not lying!  There was a warehouse full to the gills with sewing fabrics, books, magazines, and crochet stuff thrown in for good measure.  I looked through a couple elf the boxes and found something that made my heart skip a beat!

VINTAGE FABRICS!  These are the real deal vintage fabrics that have all the saturation of color and whimsical patterns that only vintage has to offer!


There were bags inside of bags of them!

The blocks that were found in the bags had appliquéd stems so I decided to make my own with simple curved piecing.


I love the acorn!

More lovely fabrics!

The red is so vibrant!



There is more that I have not even had the chance to go through and other hand stitched blocks I have found!  This sweet Dresden has given me an idea for another project! Aren't the colors divine!!!!

I did not leave the thrift shop without leaving a very large donation.  It is a great organization that supports the local community and they gave me WAY more than just some fabric!



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