Monday, June 27, 2016

A Doll for Gracie

My friend, Staci from A Vintage Fairytale, blogged about these dolls that were designed by Stacy Iest Hsu for Spoonflower fabrics. I thought they were the cutest things and so I wanted to make one for my friend's baby, Gracie. The funny thing was, as I was scrolling through all of the options and found the one most like her (pigtails, cute sweater, matching kitten) I looked further and the designer had actually named the doll, Gracie!!! I thought it was meant to be :)
I finally sewed it up last week and I had a blast. I love sewing for my friends' babies. There is something magical about it for me. Maybe it is because I wish I had more of a chance to sew more darling things because I love anything that is sweet and cute.
The back of the doll had an area to fill out the recipient's name and I thought it was a great excuse to do some hand embroidery! I wish I had  more chances to incorporate quick little embroidered details such as this one. 

I gave the doll with matching kitty to Gracie and she loved it. Especially the kitten! That would have been my favorite part too, Gracie girl!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wren dress

Happy Easter! I can't believe it, but...I actually made a plan to sew up a dress and got it done in timely fashion for said date! (Insert pat-on-back emoji)



When the Wren pattern first came out I fell in love! I love wrap dresses. I believe wrap dresses are the new little black dress- every lady can feel great in one! This wrap dress pattern includes a gathered skirt (my favorite kind) and a very elegant neck line.


I enjoyed sewing this dress up. Knitwear is probably my favorite thing to make. Maybe because I really love my serger and that's what I sew my knits on. It is probably also due to the fact that knits can be comfortable while still looking cute-which I think, is something that any lady can appreciate! :)

The pattern instructions are very user friendly and I feel like even people new to knitwear would be able to complete this pattern.

Some serger/knit sewing tips of my own:
1) Learn your serger and coverstitch machine inside-out before trying to make a garment.
          I know I am probably not the only one that likes to throw caution to the wind and dive right in. But nothing kills your sewing mojo faster than being in the middle of a project and a thread breaks or tension is off. If you already know how to thread your machine and how to read your stitches for adjusting tension, your project is going to go much more smoothly if you aren't having to stop and read your manual or having to do a mad dash to YouTube.

2) Knits are not like wovens when it comes to laying it to cut out your pattern pieces.
        With most woven fabric, you take the time to evenly match up selvages, etc when folding your fabric and laying out your pattern pieces. I know that there are several professional ways of figuring out/correcting grain. But I try to sew by "feel" as much as possible. When I am laying out my fabric I fold it up as best as I can selvage to selvage and while holding it up in the air, I kind of shake the fabric and move the layers around until there are no twists/wrinkles near the fold. I know my way seems a little willy nilly, but I have done this for all of my knitwear and so far they have all laid straight on body.

3) If you serge all of your knitwear seams, baste stitch curved edges on your regular machine before serging it.
           Once your serger knife gets ahold of your fabric, there is no going back (but don't let that scare you! Just be cautious). Also, if you baste stitch first, you won't have to deal with pins. Pins are also something to be cautious of. You want to make sure you remove them in a timely fashion. Believe me, it is not fun getting a pin jammed underneath your serger knife.

4) Baste stitch side seams
          I'm not going to spend any more time on fitting than I have to. So sometimes I just pick a certain size on a whim if all of my measurements don't match up exactly(after all, it's a knit, it will stretch right? haha). So I will baste up my side seams and try it on first before serging. I've already had a time where this has been helpful. The shirt was almost too small. Because I basted the side seam, I knew not to serge/cut off the full 5/8" seam the pattern was calling for.

5) Don't give up! You will be so glad to add knitwear items to your handmade wardrobe.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

QAYG Herringbone Lap Quilt

 This is really the first quilt that I have played around with the trendy modern quilter's "rainbow effect". The part that took the longest in this quilt was getting all of the fabric pieces laid out the way that I wanted it! I really need to take the time to make a design board (but that's time I could be sewing!!)

The pattern is Maureen Cracknell's QAYG Herringbone Quilt. I made it from her new Craftsy class.
The fabric is mainly Lizzy House's The Lovely Hunt fabric collection.

I'd love to tell you more :) In fact...I decided to start VLOGGING on my YouTube channel (Sew Illuminated) as a way to share my projects and my passion for sewing and design. Feel free to check out my video! :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Galaxy Quilt Top

Today, the gas company had to come and remove the meter from our basement to the outside of the house. It was kind of annoying to have to ask to take off of work so last minute (they informed me it needed to be done yesterday). On the bright side, I got some much needed sewing time. I cut out a new quilt and  was able to take this picture of the finished Galaxy Quilt Top. As I was cutting out all of the strips for my new quilt, I kept seeing the sun shining on the shed out back and decided it was a perfect opportunity to snap a photo of this work in progress. This is probably the most extensive piecing I have done so far and it will probably sit on my shelf for a few more months before I decide just how I want to quilt it. That's the thing about extensive projects, you get these sudden bursts of energy to reach a certain point and decide that all of your creative love towards it will have to be replenished on a later date. I started cutting out this quilt in Summer of 2014, piecing it in Dec 2014/Jan2015 and then picked it back up again this past December to finish piecing. That's alright, though. I am not one of those people that have a lot of WIP's just sitting around. I don't think I ever have more than two quilts in the works and I might normally have like one other unrelated side project (I am currently knitting a shawl for Fall).

Speaking of the new quilt that I have started...I have Maureen Cracknell's Quilting Quickly As You Go class and I am making her Herringbone lap quilt. I am using Lizzie House's new collection, The Lovely Hunt. I have decided to kind of put it in rainbow order (ROY G BIV) starting from one corner, radiating outward to the diagonal corner. Playing with color is probably my favorite aspect when it comes to quilting or really any other craft. This is the first time I am going all rainbow-y. I am excited to see the results :)

The pattern is suppose to be fast and relaxing. I just have to buy a few more supplies tomorrow before I get back to it. Stay posted for updates on that quilt!

Friday, January 29, 2016

First Embroidery Project

When I first started getting in to this project, I had my reservations. Just like the start of any other hobby, it is exciting to learn something new. But I think I always have an affinity for any project requiring a good deal of time and patience.  I have to say, though, that I have fallen in love with this pastime. I did the majority of this project while our dog was recovering from a neck injury and needed constant attention (they can not be left unattended,unless in a kennel, because any wrong move could cause further damage.) So it was nice to work on a creative pursuit from the comfort of my own couch ('cause, 'Murica). Can I say that I liked this idea so much that it made me pick up my knitting needles again?-But, that is a story for a different post.-

I bought Jessica Marquez's Craftsy class, Design It, Stitch It Hand Embroidery, last fall. Let me just say, it is one of my favorite class purchases so far (and believe me, I'm probably one of Craftsy's biggest customers!). Jessica has a beautiful design aesthetic and just a really easy way of presenting all of the technical content involved.

The pattern is by Amy Sinibaldi, of NanaCompany, and can be bought on Etsy. I so admire Amy and her work. Like her, I hope to incorporate more hand embroidery into my quilting projects.

The background fabric is designed by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics and is from her Wanderer collection.

I'm not really sure what I will use this finished piece for. I'm leaning towards just keeping it in the hoop, encasing the back, and putting it on my mantle as part of my fall decorations. You can watch my blog/Instagram account because I will be sure to add the stylized photo to both places :)

I already have two more embroidery projects rolling around in my head and hope to start on another one soon.

Here are some other projects I have been working on:

I started this quilt back in 2014. It is of my own design and I am naming this one, Galaxy. Obviously, because of the stars and because my latest nerdy love has, of course, been Star Wars!

My current knitting project, Stephen West's Chadwick shawl. This will probably be my  next finish-I am in a knitting frenzy! Also pictured, my current read because I am OBSESSED with the Bronte sisters. I read Jane Eyre last summer. I just finished Villette and began Wuthering Heights this past week.

Friday, December 25, 2015

My Spirit Quilt

Merry Christmas! I am so excited to be sharing my latest quilt. It totally embodies my sense of quilting style. Star shaped patterns are my absolute favorite and the colors deeply resonate for me. The fabric is entirely from Leah Duncan's Gramercy line by Art Gallery Fabrics. The pattern is from Jaybird Quilts and it is called Daybreak. I used Angela Walter's latest book, Shape by Shape, to help design the free motion quilting that I incorporated into all of the stars. I highly recommend this book, and anything else by Angela Walters, for that matter. She is very talented and has a passion for sharing her techniques with others.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall Floral Dress

I can't believe October is almost at a close. I bought this fabric and started this dress back in September. I put it to the side originally because I was trying to finish it before the American Sewing Expo and I ended up having tension problems on my serger. I was in a really frustrated state of mind so I ended up tossing this in my craft closet and didn't get it out again until last week. Since I thought this fabric represented the colors of fall well I was determined to get it finished to wear in its proper season.

This is an Art Gallery Knit. It is from Jeni Baker's line, Curiosities. I absolutely adore her design. It is hard to find a floral in these sort of fall colors, most floral prints come in more of a spring colorway (understandably). I really like the Art Gallery knit fabrics. They are soft and warm, perfect for the colder season approaching! I have grown fond of sewing knits because I love to wear knits. And even though I wasn't too happy with my serger when I first picked up this project, I love sewing knits on the serger. But honestly, I think the reason why I (and many others) get so frustrated with their sergers is because they don't take the time to read their manual or any other sort of training. Something goes wrong and then they just randomly adjust the dials, praying for a miracle (at least that's my own experience!LOL). I actually downloaded the Craftsy class, Serger Solutions: Troubleshooting Techniques and it really helped me to understand how my serger works. I was able to fix my tension problem on the first try after watching a couple of the instructor's lessons. I would definitely recommend the class!

The pattern for this dress is Butterick 6096. The instructions were clear and simple. The only technique that I did differently was  the finishing of the neckline. The pattern wanted me to just turn the edge in and sew. I did that on another knit top and it made the neckline really droopy. So I used a tutorial off of Threads:

It is a interesting technique, and I loved the way my neckline turned out! I like this pattern. It comes in many different variations, including short sleeved. I can see myself making more clothes from this one!