In keeping with our Fantastic Mr. Fox nursery theme, I finished this fox stuffie for the Plaid Baby last night. It would have been done about a week earlier, but I had another pregnancy brain mishap and sewed both face pieces together when I free-motion quilted the felt eyes, nose and mouth on...and naturally, I only had a FQ of that solid to begin with, so I had to place a last minute Hawthorne Threads order and then not-so-patiently wait for it to arrive. I hope all my crazy sewing errors are making you feel better about yourself, lol :)
It only took me two months *wink*, but I finally got around to finishing the Plaid Baby's Mr. Fox quilt. Realizing there's only 6 weeks left until your due date will do that to you...and also that the Blogger's Quilt Festival starts at the end of the week - yay! I'll be entering this in the Baby Quilts category, so please, please vote for me if you feel so inclined :)
Part of the reason I stalled for so long is because I REALLY didn't feel like paper piecing, and my plans for the back included paper piecing not one, but three foxes. I wanted to use this pattern (yet again) to piece a little fox family on the back, including one at 50% size to represent the Plaid Baby.
I was originally going to go simple and use one big piece of fabric for the backing, but since we're in baby saving mode, I really didn't want to order another piece of that Field Study print since I already had a yard of it. So I added in the patchwork rows and fox family to add length.
Necessity is the mother of all creation, after all ;) I can honestly say that most of the projects/design elements I love most out of all my handmade projects, have been the product of a supply shortage, mistake or last-minute fix. I LOVE this quilt backing, and am so, so glad my fabric shortage forced me into being more creative :)
One thing that does really tick me off though is the fact that I chopped off most of my own tail *sigh*. But that's what happens when you're 34 weeks pregnant and crawling around on your hands and knees on hardwood at 11 pm....you fail to notice your backing is centered a few inches off from where you wanted it until you quilt the whole darn thing together, and notice when you're trimming the excess that you hold the sad tip of a fabric fox tail in your hands :( I don't know if I'll ever stop being perturbed by that...Ray will probably be rolling his eyes 4 years from now when I'm still bringing it up, lol!
And guess what? We finally bought a crib! Got it for a steal at Pottery Barn Kids and it's such good quality! We really wanted to get a solid wood crib instead of the particle board ones out there because our families aren't exactly what you'd call "dainty", and we thought solid wood would hold up better to abuse/dents/scratches over the years in case Plaid Baby's a bit rough & tumble like us ;)
Wish us luck getting the nursery finished in time... We still have to move the dresser in, hang pictures, make the curtains + crib skirt, and finish painting the tree mural on the wall. Whew. I'm exhausted just typing that list!
A couple weeks ago my co-pregnant friend sent me a link to a Cardigan Onesie tutorial asking if I could help her make one for her little boy due next month. I immediately fell in love because I'm a sucker for preppy baby things, and on a preppiness scale of 1 to Zack Morris, these faux cardigans are an 11. So we got together late last week for a sew party, and here are the fruits of our labor...
We used some striped onesies I picked up on sale at Baby Gap, a little bit of solid jersey, and voila! Most of the tutorials out there use a straight stitch for the solid jersey trim, but since I've only worked with jersey a few times before, I decided to go with a zig zag stitch to avoid the pesky "popped seams" issue. The look isn't as "clean" as with a straight stitch, but whatever. The thread blends in well and it's not like anyone's going to be coming up with a magnifying glass to stare at my seams, so I'll take durable over aesthetically pleasing in this instance.
And since my mom was a Navy brat and I'm obsessed with any and all nautically themed baby outfits, I couldn't resist adding those little anchor buttons (found at Joann's). It's my little homage to my wonderful grandfather - and the Plaid Baby's great grandfather - who she'll sadly never get to meet :( And I really shouldn't have thought about that or typed it, because now I'm getting all hormonal and teary and frightening the villagers....
I've been hoarding this bundle of Riley Blake halloween prints since the first Sewing Summit back in 2011. I cut the fabric last year to make a sofa quilt using Cluck Cluck Sew's Dottie pattern, but never got around to doing anything with it until now! Love those little ghosties so much...
Fabric for Plaid Baby's first Christmas dress :) The Ann Kelle Scottie print will be the body, the yoke will be a solid black with houndstooth piping, and the bloomers will be made from the same houndstooth print.
Pulled some different flannel/quilting cotton combos to make a couple blankies for the Plaid Baby. It never really gets cold enough down here to merit all-flannel blankies, so one side will be a snuggly flannel, and one will be a nice cool quilting cotton :)
I waffled back and forth for months over whether to make a diaper bag or just buy one. But after seeing the selection available out there (and what they were charging for them), I decided I'd rather make something to my liking for the price. I used the "Here We Go" diaper bag pattern from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book, and absolutely loved it!
I used two Home Dec prints from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill line, and a red PUL for one side of the changing pad to easily wipe away any grossness, lol. And since I didn't include the center divider, I was able to get away with buying only 2 yards for the lining and 2 yards of Peltex.
After hearing Peltex horror stories from friends who'd made/attempted to make AB's Weekender Bag, I was prepared for a battle going in. I fully expected crazed, hormonal screaming fits where I scared my husband and dog while yelling and shaking my fist at the sky, cursing Peltex, its makers, and everyone they love. But I can honestly say it wasn't all that bad, and I had a great first experience with it. I ended up being more disgruntled with the price ($9.99/yard) than anything else about it.
In sum, the pattern ended up being much easier than I anticipated - I work full time, and managed to finish the bag post-work in two nights (so maybe about 8-9 hours total?). All the seam allowances are 5/8" and you trim the Peltex down so it's 3/4" smaller than the fabric pattern pieces on each side, so you don't end up having to sew through all that heavy interfacing and deal with bulky seams, broken needles, or walking away from your machine in a fit of rage/disgust...
I didn't include the divider because I figured this bag would turn into one giant dumping ground for stuff, and the divider might be a hindrance to carrying large or bulky items inside (i.e. blankets, changes of clothes for me, baby, etc.). I went ahead and used 2 pieces for the interior Side Panels though (instead of cutting 1 solid piece like on the exterior) because the center seams allowed me to add the elastic loop for the changing pad as well as a small key hook on the other side.
I also meant to use the Main Panel templates to cut pockets that would be sewed into the seams on either side of the interior, but due to a bad case of tunnel vision combined with pregnancy brain, I COMPLETELY FORGOT POCKETS!!! ARRRRGH!!!! Still angry over this one.
Tips & Tricks
I wouldn't recommend using regular quilting cotton for this pattern. You really do need a heavy weight fabric.
Some helpful tips when dealing with double-sided fusible interfacing:
Put an oven mitt on your hand to apply pressure from the other side. AMH recommends a small, rolled up towel, but I find oven mitts allow for more control, plus you don't have to worry about your hand getting hot or burned while holding the towel.
Place a piece of Parchment paper on the opposite side you're ironing. The only way to get Peltex to fuse really well with your fabric is to use a super hot, heavy iron. The heat inevitably eeks over to the other side, and you don't want the back side getting all sticky and attaching to the potholder. The parchment paper provides a non-stick buffer you can easily peel off.
If you've never dealt with a 3 dimensional corner before (where you're sewing 3 pieces together instead of 2), it's important to note that you shouldn't sew your pieces from edge to edge. Stop sewing the distance of your seam allowance away. For example, when attaching the Side Panel to the Bottom Panel, stop sewing 5/8" away from each edge. Leaving these little flaps at either end allows you to pivot the fabric at the corners so you can get a nice square corner when sewing all 3 pieces together (the Main Panel, Side Panel, and Bottom Panel).
First things first, much as I might want to, I can't take creative credit for this completely amazing project. It was made by my friend Heather for her son's nursery, and she turned it over to me *cough* last October to do the raw edge applique, quilting and binding. Have I mentioned I'm more of a gypsy, Type B person before? Yeah. Unless you give me a set deadline, things tend to....well...languish around my house for a while until I draw up the gumption to finish : /
Believe it or not, she was 7 months pregnant when she started on this wall hanging, so right about now I can fully appreciate how hard it was for her to crawl around on all fours cutting up a giant wall map, tracing all the fabric pieces, laying them out, ironing *shudder*...HATE ironing, and then finishing up all the tiny border piecing. Makes my back hurt just thinking about it. By the time she had it ready to quilt, I think she was about 8 months pregnant, so she made me an offer I couldn't refuse (ummm...HEATHER ROSS seagull fabric!) and asked me if I'd finish it for her. I would have done it without the fabric bribe, but that can be our little secret ;)
And look at the wee little heart she embroidered over New Orleans! Awwwww!
After I finished the raw edge applique, I must have looked at about 5,000 pictures of quilted "water". That's part of the reason it took me almost 10 months to finish, because I didn't want to ruin her masterpiece and kept waffling over the quilting motif.
I finally decided most of the examples I'd seen out there wouldn't work because the quilting was so dense and intricate that it would take away from the rest of the quilt. So I went with a simple wave motion, spaced 1" apart. I LOVE the texture it gives the quilt when you view it from a distance. Can't wait to see how it looks on the wall in her babe's nursery!
And on a side note, God bless my new-ish Pfaff, because I shudder to think about what it would have been like to FMQ this on my tiny old machine! The Pfaff is like buttah, pure buttah!
I've been doing a ton of baby sewing lately, but the ironic part is that none of it's for me! There must have been something in the water a few months back, because almost everyone I know just had a baby, is about to have a baby, or is about to become a grandmother/grandfather. But at least it's giving me some good ideas (and lots of practice!) *wink*
I needed a simple gift set I could whip together on short notice for a sweet lady I know who just became a grandmother. I figured you can never go wrong with a baby blanket and wet bag, so I whipped up a 35" x 35" baby blanket with a cute Riley Blake All Star flannel on one side, and the can't-ever-go-wrong-with-it Herringbone in Pond print from JDewb's Modern Meadow line on the other. That print matches everything, I swear....which is why I have half a bolt of it in my sewing room. Shh...don't tell the hubs! I'd rather he not have an aneurism and leave me a single parent, lol.
The other item is a coordinating Wet Bag made with my favorite print from Going Coastal, and an orange PUL for the lining. The recipient lives in the Gulfport/Ocean Springs area, so what could be more appropriate than a super cute beach print? Not to mention it's adorable...and Emily Herrick (the designer) and her mom are two of the sweetest ladies you could hope to meet. Me and my rogue group of friends ran into them at Material Girls back at the Sewing Summit in 2011 when we were all being bad and ditching class...mwahaha! *twirls evil mustache*
Got a serious case of tunnel vision this weekend and managed to turn this stack into this...
I am so, SO happy with how it turned out. And the hubby loved it too, which made me glow :) Pictures don't do it justice, but the richness of colors and patterns is so lovely in person.
We have pretty similar tastes so he likes most everything I make, but it feels extra good to make something for our baby that we're both so happy with :) (if you want to see pictures of the nursery theme - Fantastic Mr. Fox - click here)
And can I just say, is there anything AMH fabric won't fix? Her fabric is like the baking soda of the textile world (or should I say the Windex of the My Big Fat Greek Wedding world? lol) - it's a fix-all for every problem. I didn't originally include this Field Study print because I thought there was too much pink for it to work, but after a bout with insomnia at 1 am where I spent almost 2 hours laying this quilt out on my design wall, I just couldn't get it right. No matter how I moved things around, the colors weren't working together like I'd hoped, so I chopped up that Field Study print and mixed it in - voila! Instant perfection. Oh Anna Maria, you crafty fabric designing genius you!
Remember when I started this last year during the Hurricane Isaac power outage?
Yeah....I just now finished hand-sewing the top (almost a year later)...even though I had it about 85% complete after Isaac blew through.
I'd be lying if I didn't say it needed a good fuzz-busting from a Scotch sticky roller....Whiskers might have napped on it a time or two while it was folded up in a corner of my sewing room. Sacrilege, I know. But at least my dog has good taste, right? Does that give me a few demerits back? Yes? No? I have a feeling a few of you are still eyeballing my knuckles with a yardstick...
Maybe another photo will quench the fires of your righteous anger?
I'm playing dirty, I know. Who can stay mad when looking at all that glorious Heather Ross rainbow cuteness?
The Plaid Baby may or may not be getting this. It doesn't match the nursery decor at all so I can't hang it on her wall, and I start getting a little sweaty when I think about it being dragged around and dirtied as a doll quilt. Decisions, decisions....
Now that my friend has them in hand, I can show you a peek of some pouches I made a few weeks back! I picked up some hard-to-find Stof fabric at my LQS for her, so I threw these in as a little "love gift" while I was at it...I figured a mom of 3 small girls can always find a good use for laminate-lined pouches ;)
Large pouch is Fine Feathered in Denim from AMH's Field Study, and Medium pouch is Tortoise Shell in Aqua from Tula Pink's Salt Water.
And I've finally started my first sewing project for the Plaid Baby! I pulled this stack about 2 weeks ago for her baby quilt and have been slowly working my way through the cutting. I'm doing a Plus Quilt because I wanted something really saturated in color that didn't require any sashing/solids.
Here's what I've been up to the past few weeks....
These are just a few photos from our Pinterest board. Click here to see more!
Me and the Mr. finally got to work on our Fantastic Mr. Fox themed nursery plans. We're not really into the whole pink for girls/blue for boys thing, plus we both absolutely LOVE the styling in that movie. Our palette consists of rich Fall colors like mustard yellow, rust red, pumpkin oranges, a splash of teal, and plenty of rustic wood and adorable critters :)
Painted the walls a rich, fall yellow (Status Bronze by Behr). Giant tree mural with fabric leaves still pending...
Finally found a home for the Heather Ross art prints I've been hoarding for almost 3 years. They were still in the Flat Rate Envelope she shipped them in....lol! Reclaimed barnwood frame purchased on Etsy from this seller.
Bought hangers and organized Plaid Baby's ever-growing pile of clothes. People REALLY love buying baby girl clothes (not that I can blame them)....
...which included this adorable Scottie sweater her Auntie Angela has apparently been saving for years in hopes of a girl lovechild between me and the hubs, lol.
Ray's been faux-complaining that his unborn daughter has more closet space than he does...which may or may not be true ;)
I recently received a request for a laminated waste bin that straps onto the back of a car seat. I'd seen photos of bags like this before, but I'd never made one. And since I like stretching myself to try new things (especially with laminates - they're so versatile!), I accepted the challenge.
The finished bag measures 9" wide x 11" tall, with 3" gussets at the bottom. And since laminates are a little floppy and don't have a strong backbone, I used some stiff interfacing to make sure the bag stays open and you don't have to fight to put your trash in it. Because no one wants that. That's the road that leads to cursing and food stains and fiery car crashes.
The straps are about 1" wide and I used two small pieces of 3/4" wide velcro to secure it to the headrest.
Overall, I'm pretty darn pleased with how it turned out, and the cutting and sewing were very straightforward so it only took about 3 hours to make from start to finish. I forsee one of these in my future since Plaid Baby is bound to bring lots of messes and waste disposal issues, lol.
And in case anyone is wondering, I used Treasure Box in Charcoal from Amy Butler's Lark collection for the exterior, and a gray PUL for the interior that I purchased here (gray PUL is surprisingly hard to find, believe it or not!).
The best part of quilting is definitely seeing cute, snuggly babies wrapped up in your work :)
Finished up this quilt (only 4 months post baby shower, lol). Straight line quilted and backed with some of my hoarded yardage of Folksy Flannels. Binding is a gray dot DS Quilts print from Joann's.
I'm trying to get all my backlogged projects finished so I can start sewing for the Plaid Baby without anything hanging over my head, because I really want to take my time and enjoy the process :) Just ordered some of the Briar Rose strawberry jersey from Amanda at Westwood Acres and can't WAIT to get my greedy little paws on it! Cute summer dresses, here I come!
I'm a little over 18 weeks along now and finally getting my sewing mojo back! It's a good thing too, because the To Do List was really stacking up...eek! I was severely behind on this baby shower gift (try 3+ months behind), and was able to turn this....
into the quilt top pictured above. The quilt is for a couple with the awesome last name Quackenbush, so the hubby and I like to refer to their little girl as "The Quackenbaby". I'm totally loving the colors they picked out for their nursery...so sunny and happy!
I also have grand plans to make my first piece of clothing and turn this stack of delicious AMH voiles and flannels into a pair of Quick Change Trousers...wish me luck!
Also, my sewing room is OVERFLOWING with fabric after the Renegade Craft Sewing Frenzy of 2013, so I just tossed up a bunch of scrap packs and fabric steals in my Etsy shop.
Personally, I'm partial to the Farm Fresh flannels because they'd make great backing for a baby quilt...I just don't have the room to store them, or the time to do anything with them :(