Monday, July 23, 2012

Music to my Ears - Vintage Fabric Jackpot

I got an note in my Facebook inbox last week from my held the magic words "I'm cleaning out some stuff at my house, do you want some fabric?" Uh. Yes. Yes I do.

Everyone on my mom's side of the family are avid collectors. They all collect different things, but my aunt Tala is a quilter, so you can imagine how excited I was to see what she had for me.

I took the kids and drove about an hour to meet her and was met with six huge bags of fabric and vintage chenille bedspreads.

There are tons of pieces that are 3 yards or larger...just awesome for backs for quilts. There are also a lot of Waverly fabrics, which are fantastic quality.

The colors of vintage fabrics are so wonderful to me. The one in the front of this picture with the grey and die for.

Some of the pieces are smaller, and I think they range from a pretty wide time frame. Some feel really old. I am not great at telling how old things are. The fantastic green and blue plaid in the upper right of this photo...I might have 10 yards of.

It all needs a seriously good wash and iron, but that is a small price to pay for so many goodies. I can't wait to show you some pictures of my favorites when they're al cleaned up.

Where do you find great vintage fabrics? Do you use them on any special projects?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM #2

I have to say, I really look forward to getting my BOM in the mail from Fat Quarter Shop. I looked at my calendar at work the other day and though "OOOH! It's the 10th, I'll get my next block soon!"

This was this month's block. I got it in the mail on Friday and finished it today. It was A LOT more piecing than the first block.

I like seeing how much better my piecing is, this is the most off of any of my lines in this block, it's in the upper right corner. Really, given how many tiny pieces there were in this block and I am really pleased with my overall showing.

On the other hand, I am THRILLED with how nice and crisp my points are on my flying geese.

What BOM are you participating in?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Off the Rail Top Finished! JayBird Pattern Review

I realized I never posted pictures of my finished Off the Rail quilt top. I know I showed you all pictures along the way as I cut and made the blocks. I am super happy with how the finished top looks. The sad part is that I have no idea when I will actually get to quilt it. I move so quickly onto the next project my "to quilt" pile is getting pretty tall.

Julie of JayBird Quilts makes absolutely fantastic patterns. Her directions are clear, and the pictures make it so that you see exactly how things are supposed to come together.

This however, did not stop me from getting some of the blocks sewn together backwards. Honestly, I cannot fathom how I did this...if you look at these two blocks, you can see they are headed in opposite directions. That's not how it's supposed to be. I did the blocks in groups of 5, and at least one of the groups, I managed to put the first set of rails on the wrong side of the center block and get them backwards. Can you say "duh"?

Thankfully though, I absolutely LOVE how it looks finished. This will for sure be a keeper when I do manage to quilt it. I originally was afraid of how the pink and orange would look together (along with green and brown). All that doubt is out the window now that it's together.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Great UFO Find! Already cut gift bags

Found already cut in my UFO box today, were two more of Monica Solorio-Snow's (AKA Happy Zombie) little gift bags from a 2010 Issue of Better Homes and Gardens Quilts and more (see them in the upper right corner of the cover of the magazine?). So, I quick sewed them up today. I've made these before, and blogged about them before...but they are SO perfect for gift giving.

They are the perfect size for gift cards, or a small box with a pair of earrings or some other wonderful trinket. Every time I give these out people love them.

This is the little devil that lays on all of my sewing. If I leave ANYTHING uncovered, she will find it, and claim as her personal spot to get cozy. My husband takes the best pictures...this perfectly capture's Hannah's haughty "I'm a cat and I'll do what I want thank-you-very-much" look.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Super Quick & Easy Passport Cover

Lucky me...I am going on vacation later this month, and I need to bring my passport. I was flipping through an issue of Simple Quilts & Sewing that I bought and saw this quick and easy passport cover that I had forgotten was in the magazine. Stash examining ensued.

This was my SECOND finished version. Thank god, they were was quick and it was easy, however...

The pattern came from this magazine...

and this shows the cover and some great luggage tags I have yet to try.

The directions were clear, however, the sizing was off. I was VERY careful to keep my seams to exactly 1/4", but the first cover I made was too short! I said 10", and when you take the 1" from each side that you fold over to make page holders, there just wasn't enough room. I remade it with 10 1/2" length, and it JUST barely fit. I put it under some heavy books thinking the fabric will stretch a bit and not be so tight in a few days.

(see the 1" folded over part holding the cover)

I'm pretty sure that all passports are the same size, so you for sure need at least the extra 1/2".

So for pluses with this took 15 minutes, total (for EACH one) and it does really spruce up a boring passport. It will for sure make it easier to find in my purse. Also, the fabric requirements are minimal and you can likely make a few from scraps you have in your scrap box.

My question to you is this...if you find an error in a pattern, magazine or you write? email? I'd love to hear if you do.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm a Copy Cat - State Street Tote by Bari J

You all already know that I love my dear friend Bari J. And you know that I am a huge fan of her patterns, and her "Keeping it Real" sewing philosophy. Well, when I saw that Jeni from In Color Order did a review of Bari's State Street Tote pattern, and how AMAZINGLY gorgeous it came out, I had to make one of my own.

The first thing I will say, is that the pattern cover was deceiving to me. This tote is much larger than I expected it to be. I hadn't made one because I thought it would be smaller, and well, I tend to carry a lot of junk around. The size of the bag is fantastic. It works out to be about 14" square and the handles are JUST the right length to put it over your shoulder (to distribute the weight of all that junk).

I used fabrics from three of Bari's lines of fabric. Some of my precious Full Bloom (the pink for the interior section", some of my Art Gallery, with the script writing, that I've been hoarding for just the right spot, and some Paris Apartment. Do you believe that three of her lines go this well together??

The interior is so roomy, and has a great divided pocket.

Another thing I didn't realize from the cover photo of the pattern is that BOTH of the sides are actually pockets too!

When you see it from the top, there is SO much room, and it's so sensibly constructed that you can use every little bit of room without your junk sliding around. Pure genius I say.

As always, Bari's directions were fantastic. Her detailed images that are used to show more difficult directions really make things clear. It took me around 3 1/2 hours total to make this bag. A time bargain!

Things I learned while making this pattern:

1. Precise pressing is really a big differentiator when you're making bags. Just like sewing, my pressing has improved greatly over time. I could really tell a difference with this bag how much neater everything came out and how smoothly things went together because of good pressing.

2. Lots of layers makes for even more difficult lining-up. I worked like crazy to get my side seams to line up. When I flipped the bag right side out I was not satisfied with how one of the sides came out. Your ideas and thoughts are welcome.

3. It's really important to have your lining/fleece cut as precisely as your fabric pieces. One of my sides was exact, the other side, my fleece was a little wonky, and it made for a tougher go of lining things up (see point number 2!).

Now go get yourself this pattern, and make one of these totes! You can buy the pattern here in Bari's online shop, and at many other online fabric stores.