Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meetup with a friend

Hey everyone!

Have you ever enjoyed your day so much you just thought you would burst because you were so filled with joy?!?!

Well I experienced this feeling this past weekend when I met my fellow sewing blogger Kyle (from Vacuuming the Lawn).  She was in Atlanta for a work conference, and since I live within driving distance of Atlanta, we decided to arrange a meetup.  I brought my niece Whitney along with me.  She is a sweet young lady in her early 20s who is not an avid sewer, but has a creative flair to her.

We began the day at Gail K Fabrics.  This fabric store turned out to be a gem!!  It's one of those places that doesn't look like much from the outside, but oh, the inside is just heavenly!  There were walls and walls, and shelves of fabric--all of it arranged like something you would see at Mood Fabrics (from the TV show Project Runway).

I had never (up until that point) been in a store like this one before, and was overwhelmed by the vast amount of fabric choices.  I was also overwhelmed by the seemingly lack of organization.  However, after wandering around and checking the place out, I decided to ask where they kept their matte jerseys.  A friendly store associate kindly pointed me to a section of the store that had both matte and print jerseys.  Needless to say, I spent the remainder of my visit in that section, sorting through the beautiful 60" bolts stacked on top of one another.  It was exhilarating to have all of these beautiful fabrics at my fingertips, and hard to maintain self-control as it relates to my budget.  But...I did pretty good, and stayed within my budget.  I can always go back again, right?  Actually, I will go back again!!

I walked away with two beautiful print jerseys!  I am still unsure about what they will become, but I can tell you that it will be something good.  The first fabric I'll show you is the most I've ever spent on a cut of fabric before...$12 a yard:

I simply fell in love with this print!  The colors are so vibrant, and the green and blue blends so well together.

My second cut of fabric was a border print that was only $7 a yard.

I have never worked with a border print before, and I am leaning toward transforming this one into a dress.  Maybe this one?

Vogue 8723

There were definitely a lot of great fabrics to be bought at Gail K. (I piled up a total of 4 rolls), but Kyle really helped me out when she asked if some of the fabrics she chose could be purchased at Joanns.  She was right on target, and I automatically eliminated 2 of my 4 rolls because they were nice, but they were also  something I could get much cheaper at Joanns.

Alas, here is Kyle and me with our final fabric choices:

I personally love the polka dotted fabric she chose, and can't wait to see how that one turns out!  Kyle is also wearing one of her lovely sewing creations, and I thought the color suited her well.  And to think I almost wore my NL 6034 top!

My niece Whitney started out amazed by all the fabric, but quickly ended up here:

I guess fabric shopping isn't for everyone! As for me, I could have happy danced all the way out the store!!  Gail K. will be a definite return spot (for fabrics I can't find at Joann's).

Our next stop was a smaller fabric store called Atlanta Fabrics.

This store was relatively close to Gail K, only about a five minute drive.  The assortment of fabric was smalll, but there was a lot of reasonably priced trim to buy.  I definitely think that in itself is a great reason to stop here if you are in the area.  I certainly wouldn't make a special trip here, only if I found myself close to the location.  Kyle bought some great trim for the underwear she makes, but I only browsed.  I did see two really great fabrics for only $5 a yard, but after seeing them against my skin, I decided they weren't that flattering.  

On our way out I also noticed a big box with a nice assortment of zippers, exposed and invisible, for only $1!  So there are a lot of cool finds at Atlanta Fabric if you are interested.  Just don't expect fabric on a grand scale.

Next we all headed off to eat lunch.  We went to Flip Burger Boutique, owned by Richard Blais (Top Chef all-star winner).  I was not familiar with this eatery, but when I did some research on line, all the burgers and ingredients looked so fresh and inviting.

In fact, we really flipped for Flip Burger Boutique...

I ordered their classic burger, well done, with french fries.  It tasted so fresh and yummy!  If I had to compare it to anything, I would say it is an upgraded version of a Mcdonald's Big Mac.  It had a similar tasting Thousand Island dressing, pickled onions, a beef burger, bread and lettuce.  The only thing missing (I noticed later) was a piece of cheese, but I honestly didn't miss it.  

The restaurant itself had a laid back, uptown feel, and the design inside was fabulous.  The best part of the eatery for me was the atmosphere, though.  It had people of all ages, young and old.  And it was not too uptown of a place to not be able to bring your kiddies along!  In fact, there were lots of kiddies there, so I enjoyed  that.  And the best part is I felt full, but not stuffed.  I definitely recommend stopping by here to eat if you get a chance!

After eating, I really wanted to hang out with Kyle and go to Whipstitch Fabrics with her, but my niece wanted to check out Urban Outfitters at Lennox Mall, and I had to get back to my husband.  So, as we were leaving Flip Burger, and getting ready to say goodbye, we spotted this...

Gigi's Cupcakes!!

How perfect to have a cupcake place right next to the place we ate at, knowing that Kyle loves cupcakes, and often features them on her blog?  So you know we just had to stop in and see what Gigi's cupcakes carried...


I have never seen so many delicious flavors of cupcakes in one place! I ended up getting the Red Velvet cupcake with the heart on top, located on the bottom left hand corner of the picture above.  I also bought one for my hubby, because our wedding cake was red velvet.  Whitney got a vanilla cupcake with sprinkles in the batter, white frosting, and sprinkles on top.  I ate my cupcake when I got home later that day and it was yummy.  My only dislike was the huge amount of frosting on the cupcake.  I ended up taking half of it off and blissfully eating the rest.  Oh, and I found out there is a Gigi's cupcake place closer to where I live, so guess where I plan to go this week?  

After cupcakes, it was time to say goodbye to Kyle.  Honestly, I had such a super time with her!  She is warm, friendly, funny, and has a kind spirit about her.  I enjoyed her company, and I look forward to seeing her again in the future, Lord willing.

Since my niece Whitney put up with all the fabric shopping I did, I compromised and took her to Urban Outfitters to shop.  She was so elated when we got there!!  I wish I had a picture of the smile on her face as she went around the store looking at every little thing here and there.  She kept telling me "Isn't this cool?"  I wish I could say I understood the "coolness" of the store, but I just didn't.  So I guess you could say it was a role reversal of sort.  I started the morning out in the fabric store asking her the same thing, "Isn't this cool?"  But I think she didn't get my "sewing coolness."  Either way, we both got to get excited about something we really like, even if it wasn't the same thing.

Looking around Urban Outfitters, I did spot a dress that looked a little familiar...

It's not an exact replica, but this dress reminded me of a Mccall's sewing pattern from some months ago...

The dress at UO obviously had more shaping in the hip and waist, but the concept is similar.  In fact, there were a few other pieces in the store that reminded me of different sewing patterns I had seen.  That is neat, because I never noticed it before.  But now that I have been sewing a few years, I am starting to notice different trends, and that is neat.

After all of this excitement, it was time for me to go back home.  I drove home with a smile on my face, and joy in my heart!  I can't think of one thing in the day that could have gone better, and those are the kind of days I love to have!

In closing, I will again say I had a blast!  Oh, and I finished the quilt for my friend's baby shower!  I finished it Friday, and it came out nice.  I will work on a review and probably post it on Tuesday for you all.  

If any of you get a chance to visit Atlanta, or if you already live in Atlanta, I hope you consider checking out some of the places we visited (especially Gail K.).

Stay sew-filled!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ready, set, quilt!

Hi everyone!

I hope you week is going well!  I had a great weekend of shopping for quilting materials at Joann's.  They had a big sale going on called their "Daffodil Dash," and a lot of their items were discounted between 30-50% off.  The notions wall was 50% off, as well as the entire selection of thread.  Mccall's patterns were 99 cents (though I have couldn't find one to squeeze into my collection), and the sale is still going on until April 21st if you need to take advantage.  I usually take the opportunity to stock up on thread and needles since I have been sewing a lot more recently.

Anyhow, so I started my Sunday morning at Joann's, and it was relaxing.  I usually bring coffee and a snack and just take my time.  My hubby is always sweet enough to watch the kids, and allow me to shop unhindered by constant inquiries, or calls of "Mommy!"  I went with the purpose of finding all the things I would need to finish the baby lattice quilt I have set up on my sewing table, though I ended up leaving with everything but a suitable color for the binding.

This quilt calls for "sashing fabric," which are the strips of fabric sewn around the quilt blocks (I'm learning all this).  I found a beautiful carnation pink that went perfectly with the Ooh La La quilt blocks I already purchased and had with me.

After searching a while longer, I finally found a backing fabric that tied all the colors in well, and added a little pop of prettiness.  It is a floral-themed print:

I also bought some Warm n' Natural batting, which I won't show you, because you have probably seen batting before, and you are not missing much if you haven't.  Anyhow, you put it all together, and it looks like this:

I had the hardest time finding anymore fat quarters to match my theme, until I happened on the beige-colored ones you see pictured on the right.  Depending on how quickly things move, I may attempt some embroidery, as I have been inspired by some of the things I have seen Jenna from Sophisticated Seams do.  But I am not making any promises!

Also, last week I did pick up another Simplicity pattern when they went on sale at Hobby Lobby.  I really wanted to buy some patterns for the kids, but the more I looked at what Simplicity offered, I figured I would rather stick with Ottobre.  Maybe I could even hint around to my hubby about getting an Ottobre subscription for my birthday in June...  Anyhow, it is a blouse:

I like that it is a basic blouse with simple features.  I also like that it is part of the Amazing Fit series, and it would be another "first" for me to sew.  I have been standoffish when it comes to doing buttonholes, but I think my daughter's Easter dress helped me to conquer that squeamishness.

So now begins the work of cutting and sewing the quilt!!  I'm a little nervous, but mostly nervous that I'll make a mistake with my measurements.  I get easily distracted sometimes while sewing, so I have to make sure that doesn't happen.

I'll check back in later this week to let you see my progress!

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quilting for a friend

Hello everyone!

Thank you for the comments on my daughter's Easter dress!  After I read the comments here, and on Patternreview, it made me feel so special!  So, thanks again!

My next project is going to be another "first" for me--sewing a quilt.  For some reason, I have never been interested in sewing a quilt before, though I have had a lot of people tell me I would love it.  Quilts just didn't appeal to me.  I appreciated their beauty, but I had no desire to sew one because I was more into garment construction.  However, now that I have another friend who is pregnant with her first little girl, I suddenly got this strong urge to make her a quilt.

It all started when I saw this gorgeous design on Moda bakeshop. It is a baby lattice quilt designed by Amy Smart, and it is lovely!!  As I began to read the instructions for the quilt, I was wondering if it is something I could actually do, since I have never done a quilt before.  With my background and experience in sewing I thought it was something I could do, but I was a little skeptical because some of the quilting terminology was throwing me off.

So, I decided to contact the quilt designer Amy Smart, after I found out she has a blog called Diary of a Quilter.  Let me first say, if you have any interest in quilting at all, this is a great website to visit.  Amy has a special section for beginners with all kinds of tips to help you along.  Second, I sent Amy an email regarding my situation (not expecting her to respond), and she kindly returned my email with such support and encouragement!!  She told me she definitely thought I could sew it, and I would just need to make sure to maintain 1/4 " seam allowances throughout.  She also wanted to see the quilt when it was done!

Her response gave me the extra push I needed to do what I already believed I should do, and that is to sew this quilt for my friend and her baby.  Now I originally planned to give myself a whole month to sew the quilt, just in case I had any mishaps, but I'm actually going to end up with a little less than two weeks in order to have it finished in time for my friend's baby shower.

Here is the quilting pack I decided on:

I went with this one thinking that the pictured fabric was pink, blue, and brown, which are my friend's baby shower colors.  However, the brown is actually a beautiful slate gray!  I was surprised, but it still works.  I still have to find the coordinating fabric, backing fabric, and batting, but I will be headed to Joann's this weekend to work all of that out.

Here is what most of the squares look like laid out:

This is not a final draft by any means, just me playing around with the squares.  I'll keep you updated on my progress until the month's end, but I hope it doesn't take me that long.  I wanted to squeeze in one more project for this month (a shirt for myself), but I figure I'd better leave that well enough alone since this has been a much busier month for me.

Enjoy the rest of your week,and stay sew-filled!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finished with my daughter's first Easter dress!

Good day everyone!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter weekend!  I did!

The last time I posted I was trying to finish Simplicity 2265, a toddler-sized dress.  I wanted my daughter to have something special to wear for Easter that was made by her momma.  Well, I was making great progress until I got sick (ugh, again) on Wednesday.  So somewhere around Friday morning I decided, sick or not, I was going to finish the dress.  I didn't want another year to go by with an unfinished Easter dress!!

I took some Vicks multi-symptom cough syrup (non-drowsy), settled in my sewing room, and got to work.  One late sewing session Friday, and another late sewing session Saturday yielded a finished dress:

And I am so pleased!!  I thought the Burda boys trouser was the most ambitious project I have sewn to    date, but this dress was far more ambitious for me.  It involved a lot of gathering, a lot of slipstitching, and
   a lot of pattern pieces, but the end result was worth it!

Here is the back:

This was supposed to be my daughter's Easter dress for last year, so I already had the pattern pieces cut out in a size 1.  I was nervous that it would be too small this year, but it wasn't.  In fact, I ended up taking off an additional 1/4" on the bodice and skirt, so this ended up being fairly close to the size 1/2.

The fabric is a pretty stable cotton knit I ordered from  I ordered it thinking it would behave more like a drapey knit, but was surprised when it showed up and looked more like a woven cotton.  I kept it because I knew it would work out with some garment one day or another, and because it is just such a pretty polka dot!!

The inside of the dress looks fairly neat.  I used my serger to finish off some of the raw edges, but there was one seam I forgot about on the lining.  I lined the bodice with the same cotton knit fabric, but used a polyester lining for the rest of the dress.  You see it pictured above, and it ends just below the white banding of the dress.  

Speaking of the white band, it is a basic quilting cotton I picked up at Walmart last minute.  At first I was not going to even do a band, but the original length of the skirt for this dress was not long enough for me to not add a band.  As a compromise, I added the band, but adjusted the width of it.  I think I took off about 5/8" or so on it so it would not be so wide.  I wanted to achieve a nice balance between the midriff and the banding, and I am happy with it.  Also, I added an overlay so that it would add a little weight to the bottom of the dress.  The overlay is explained in the pattern directions, and it's very similar to adding a lining.

My only small issue is that the band is just a little off at the side seams.  Just a little.  And that is mostly because I was sewing at 1 AM, and by that point, I just didn't care enough to undo it.  So, I left it well enough alone, knowing I am the only one who will know about it (except for you all):

A great thing about this Project Runway pattern is that it can be edited in multiple ways, according to what you like.  You can add trim, or a bow, sleeves, or none at all, etc.  There are instructions for multiple variations to the design, and you really get to be the "designer."  I pretty much made my version similar to the picture located on the right of the pattern envelope, though I decided to not add a bow on the back of the dress.  

I do love how the fabric flower came out, though.   It was simple to make, and had I had more time, I might have added a couple more!  For the flower I used another fabric from Walmart, this time a cotton/polyester blend of lining fabric.  I chose it because I liked the smooth texture and feel of it.

As far as the instructions go for this pattern, they were mostly easy to understand.  I did have a little trouble with getting the gathered petals to stay attached to the bodice.  I ended up tacking them down in different places, and that worked fine.  My other area of difficulty was the extension in the back of the dress.  I had trouble with getting everything to meet up and look symmetrical, but I somehow worked it out.  

I would highly, highly, recommend this dress for anyone that likes the design.  It is simply adorable, and it would be fitting for any little princess to wear.  It is a little more challenging, though, so once again, I would not call this a beginner-friendly pattern.  

Here is my daughter wearing her FIRST Easter dress made by mommy (can you hear me gushing with joy):

Let me tell you...from the moment my daughter put this dress on, it was as if she knew how pretty she looked.  She transformed into a "little princess" and cracked me up with the way she was carrying on at church.  She smiled at everyone, waved hello, and walked with confidence!  I enjoyed seeing her prance around, and I know this is a dress she will be requesting to wear often.

For the buttons on the back, I found these adorable ones at Walmart that were shaped as flowers.  I used them to cohesively unite the flower concept.  You notice it with the petals on the bodice, the flower on the midriff, flowers on the buttons, and we even found some shoes with little white flowers on them!!  I love it when everything comes together without going overboard!

Here are my two little ones together.  I only wish I could have made matching ties for my son and hubby to wear, but the Easter dress took so much out of me I didn't have anything left for anyone else.  I know to plan further ahead next time.  ; )

All in all, our Easter was wonderful!  We had a pleasant day with family, and my hubby even put some burgers on the grill.  

I am grateful that this dress came out the way it did.  And, with everything said and done,  I am even more grateful that my daughter's dress was given the "seal of approval" by my favorite person in the world...

my husband!

I wish you all the best!  I am already moving on to my next project, and I'll let you know more about that with my next post.  It will be another first for me, and another item I will be gifting.

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Countdown to Easter

It's APRIL!!!!

I am quite ready to welcome a new month, though I think this month will definitely be one of the busiest ones for me that I have had in a while!

First of all, I have family coming to stay with me for a couple of weeks, so you know what I've been up to--tidying up every nook and cranny of our home.  In fact, I found some nook and crannies I didn't even know we had!!  Second of all, the kids are on "Spring Break," so I am having to rack my brain to find activities to keep them (and me) busy.  Third, my friend's baby shower is at the end of the month, and I have yet to order the decorations, but I will be helping out with the party.  And last (but not least) I will be meeting up with my fellow blog friend Kyle this month to do some fun shopping in Atlanta!  Whew!  That is only the half of it, but just so I don't bore you with all my "oh my gosh you guys, I am sooooo busy" talk, I think you have probably gotten the picture already : ).

Well, last I left off, I was working on my daughter's Easter dress, Simplicity 2265.  It would have been nice to finish it at the end of last month, but I am thankful that March was officially the most productive sewing month I have had all year!  So even though I am joyfully trudging along with this Easter dress, in hopes of finishing it in time for the holiday, I feel good overall with the progess I have made in these last few weeks.  I started out with a plan for March, and falling one garment short of success is pretty darn good.

As far as Simplicity 2265 is concerned, here is where it stands right now:

I finished the bodice and attached the petals.  Also, I have gathered the petals, which was a difficult chore in itself, but it came out ok.  Considering past mistakes I have made regarding fitting garments, I chose to fit the bodice three different times already!  I bet you can imagine how the fitting process went with my almost three year old!!  But hey, I am not taking any chances with this dress.

Finally, I did give the Butterick shopping bag to my friend, and she was so pleased and excited to receive it! She really liked the colors of the bag, and felt special that I made it.  I decided to include a card and a beautiful journal too.

I'll update you as soon as I can!  

Stay sew-filled!!