Flannel – Done!

Ugh. UGH. The McCall’s 6613 flannel shirt saga is over. Finished! Way back in November. I am just now getting pictures in spring. Ignore the kayak in the bottom of the frame. Don’t judge me.

I learned a lot making this shirt, and will apply it to the next one (I haven’t cut it out yet, but I have this lovely black and white cotton check shirting waiting for meeeeee.)

The shirt in and of itself is done, and overall, I’m really pleased with it. But, I’ll pick up where I left off.

Since I had already graded the seams at the shoulders and the yoke, I had to be really careful taking the seams out. Not to mention that I did beautiful top stitching with a triple stitch. I also haven’t filled my new glasses prescription, so I can’t see anything. Ahem.

I had enough fabric to recut the back yoke, and I had to recut the button bands, too, as long as I pieced them. That didn’t turn out too badly (I love using my pinking shears as a grading tool).

I was able to get the rest of the shirt put together, minus the cuffs, collar, and bands in one evening. I double and triple checked to make sure that everything was going in the right way. It was pretty funny, especially since I had my Adele Pandora station going. Croon away about rolling in the deep and then swear about the sleeve cap not easing in properly. (I put in my sleeves flat, not in the round. It’s easier for me, and I learned to do it that way from putting sleeves in hand knit sweaters.)

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve put on traditional woven cuffs, bands, and a collar on a shirt. The directions were pretty clear, and totally clever. I ended up having to put another pleat into the sleeve for it to fit into the cuff. I don’t like gathers in this kind of shirt, and the pleat blends in with the rest of the shirt.

I think I put the button bands in wrong, because the collar stand ended up being too short by the button bands. I just put a piece of velvet ribbon over it and called it done. I flat felled the arm and side seams, and edge stitched the bands and cuffs.

Yeaahh…. I’m glad that the flannel is patterned and hides a lot of the stitching. Flat felled seams only work when there’s enough fabric in the seam to stitch over. I will hand stitch down the cuff and bands next time. I will figure out the damn button bands. I will actually hem the bottom in the correct direction.


The pearl part of the snaps were easy to put in. Next time, I’ll do it flat, instead of on my bed as I watch knitting video podcasts.



All in all, not my best work, but I’m really happy with how my schlumping around the house and keeping me warm when I’m wrangling goats shirt turned out. The next one – it’ll be even more awesome.


Last Minute Bow Tie Quilt

Baby quilts! Everybody, and I do mean everybody is either having a baby, or getting ready to have a baby,

A friend of mine posted a picture of his wife at Easter, and I though – oh, she’s more pregnant than I realized, I should get on that baby quilt….

The next post on Bookface had the bambino coming a little early. Little Baby A is just fine, and has been at home for a few weeks now.


Enter the bowtie baby blanket. Dad wears bowties, so I thought it was appropriate. When I went to a trade show last year, I picked up two packs of charm square that are sewing related. When I took out the fabrics that had shears and sewing machines on them, it tones it down to just interesting squiggles.

This is a super simple block, and I was able to get the front pieced in one afternoon.I used white muslin for the background fabric. I decided to use Ikea home decor fabric for the back – it was in the stash. Did I mention that I did not have to buy anything to make this? Everything came from the stash, even the batting.

I love the hippos. Whimsical and cute. I pillow finished it, also known as envelope finishing. The first time, I made the quilt sandwich wrong (that’s what I get for rushing. I honestly know better), and had to rip it out. The second time, I made it correctly. No binding! I don’t mind binding, and really enjoy the hand part of it, but this was all about getting things done in a timely manner.

I had thought to use the hippo outline to quilt it, but decided that it would be too fussy, and I wanted the emphasis to be on the blocks, not on the quilting, which is my usual MO.

I used two strands of rainbow pearl cotton held together to tie it together. Simple, easy, and fast. I also like how the colors don’t clash with All of the Color in the rest of the quilt.

It ended up being 34 1/2″ x 53″. Perfect for the car and the crib.

Welcome to the world, Little A!

Grandmother’s Flower Garden – Progress Post 1

April’s Project Half Done is the English paper pieced Grandmother’s Flower Garden I started… three years ago?

In 2012, I made all of the ladies in my knitting group small project bags, and not all of the fabrics were to my personal taste. I decided that I would take the scraps and make paper pieced flowers. I used muslin for the centers of the flowers, since that’s I had on hand.

I finished putting together all of the flowers, and then put them aside. I had picked out and purchased the purple Kona, but hadn’t cut or basted any hexagons. I chose 1″ hexagons, and cut most of them out myself, the goal being to not spend much more money on a scrap project. Last week I completely put together the first row, and have started on the second.

I’m going to have rows of 5 flowers, followed by rows of 4 flowers. I think I need to make 6 more flowers to make a decent sized middle, The plan is, I think, to piece the center, and then piece a number of large solid colored flowers for the border, to make this a decent sized baby quilt to put in the stash. Once I get this EPP project done, I’d really like to start either the Farmer’s Wife Quilt, or paper piece a Lone Star Quilt. More progress soon!

I’m going to

Glimmerglass Baby Quilt – Finished!

Last summer I took Nancy Feve’s Glimmerglass quilt class at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD. I put the beginnings of the quilt top away, and picked them up again in March to finish. It turns out that I had actually pieced most of the 1/2 square triangle sets, and just needed to sew together the rows. I really learned the importance of the scant 1/4″ seam allowance, and pinning seams and points in this top.

I was able to finish piecing the top in two afternoons, and added a black border, with leftover black and white print squares in the corners. I wanted it to look like it was framed. From farther away, I can see where I didn’t have enough contrast in the grey and peony blocks. Still, I’m happy with how it turned out.

I used a mutlicolored King Tut thread, and quilted in diagonals across the quilt. The thread has colors that pick up the florals in the blocks.

I used huge decorative stitches in the border to show off the color, and give a little more contrast. You can really see in the picture above how I pieced the binding from leftover blocks.

Ignore the small piece of pink ribbon – it’s from my pajama bottoms. I was outside on my back deck to take this picture. I pieced the back with the leftovers that I didn’t turn into more glimmer squares. You can really see the diagonal quilting and the binding. I machine sewed on the binding on the front and back, instead of hand tacking it to the back as usual. Since this is a baby quilt, I imagine it’ll get a lot of washing. It ended up being about 40″ x40″, and will go into the pile for the next baby.

Friendship Braid Quilt – it’s an addiction

Ahh, another quilt from the UFO pile turned into a finished object. I really am trying to finish things up, and it feels really good to cross things off of the list. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have 50 bazillion ideas in the queue, but let’s discuss this one, first?

I started this friendship braid quilt last fall. I wanted to make a quilt for my best friend, who lives on the other coast. She not only is very understanding of the “I’m making you a thing, but it’ll get there when it gets there” timeline, but is also a quilter herself. She hand-pieces and hand quilts her quilts, and she does really appreciate the work and thought that goes into the things I make her. She’s also an enthusiastic gift receiver.

I used 13 different Japanese inspired prints, not from any one collection for the braids. I used the HexNMore ruler to cut half hexagons for the braid.

A moment about this ruler – I love it. It makes cutting different sizes really easy, and I don’t have to do math. Cut, rotate, cut smaller sizes out of the left overs. I have the really small one, too. I got them both at my LQS.

I used this basic pattern to put together the quilt. I didn’t have quite enough to do five strips, so I added a bit of the back ground to the middle strip.

You can’t tell from the iPhone picture, but the background is this really beautiful color on color chrysanthemum pattern. I wish I had bought a bolt of it- I love it that much and keep going back to it to use it.

Unlike my usual, I didn’t piece the back of this quilt. It’ll be easier for Elle to use either side of the quilt. I did embroider a label, and stitch it to the bottom corner. I like doing something a little different, so this one is round.

I quilted it on a BERNINA 780, using one of the built-in loopy decorative stitches. The binding came from my stash. The quilt ended up being 76″ x 80″.

Over all, I had a lot of fun putting this together. The friendship braid pattern is one of my favorites, and I can tell that I’ll be making it again and again.

Cobalt Blue for Me!

It’s obvious from the following pictures that I finished this way back in the fall, and am just now getting to blogging about this dress.

Every fall and spring, the fabric store for which I work has a fashion show in coordination with the fashion shows. We each get one of the Pantone colors, and then make something. I picked this dress because it was simple, I liked the interesting lines, and I wouldn’t have to do a lot of fitting. It’s Vogue 1312.


I cut the largest size, a 24, without any modifications. The fabric is an 18 whale corduroy in 100% cottony, about 3.5 yards and I used a blue batiste to fully line the top. I put an invisible zipper in the side, but I can easily slip it on over my head. I serged the edges to keep the corduroy nurdles down.

Yeah, it’s wrinkled. I wore it to work and ran out to take pictures while there was light. So far, it’s worn wonderfully, washed great, and was comfortable this winter with the cold weather. We’ll see how it does when it gets really hot this summer.

The best part? The twirl factor is seriously excellent. I plan on making another one in white denim, with really colorful embroidery, and not adding the lowest skirt layer on – the plan is just to extend the first skirt panels by about 3 inches so I can wear it with leggings.

Quick and Easy

Because I needed to be able to see what in the world I was doing with the flannel shirt, but I still wanted to sew, I pulled out some other fabric from my stash. I really want to make more garments, especially as my ready to wear items are starting to die.

I had this lace left over from an unblogged cotton half slip I made last summer (I cannot find one anywhere; everything is polyester, which is not what I want to be wear in August in Virginia. I made one, and then dyed it purple!). I wanted a lace blouse, something like this. but I couldn’t think of a fabric in my stash that would go with the lace, and I don’t have any shirts that are at the tear up point. I dyed my fabric green, and over dyed in black to get this greeny grey color that makes me so happy. I ended up using the Staple Dress pattern, again  What can I say, I love this pattern!


I very technically folded the lace selvage to selvage, matching up the motifs and pinned. I then cut the piece in half, so the front and back would be the same length. I traced out the back and front, and sewed the side and shoulder seams together, and then finished the insides with my serger. I used the rolled hem feature with black fuzzy nylon to finish the neckline and sleeves. For the hem, I just cut along the lace motif. I think I may have enough of another lace to make one more of these – very comfortable, and I’ve already worn it to work and received compliments.

Since I already had my serger set up for a rolled hem, I pulled out this piece of poly chiffon that I got from the remnants table at my local fabrics store. It has scissors on it! It’s 3/8 of a yard, about 60” long, so I used a French seam to turn it into a cowl, and then ran it through the serger to roll hem the edges. I think it may have taken me 10 minutes? There was time for sips of coffee in between.

The last quit and dirty came in the form of this skirt.

It’s this beautiful double woven French rayon that I got from a vendor at the American Sewing Guild Conference last summer. It’s just been sitting and staring at me. I put a French seam in the side, rolled hemmed the bottom, and wacked some elastic in the top. I think I’m going to redo the elastic – I wore this to work already, and I don’t like the way it feels against my skin. I’m thinking I’ll just make a knit casing and sew it down on it. (Edited to add: one of my co-workers liked it so much, I just gave it to her.)

A Whale of A Tale

Hur. Hur. Yes, yes I did.

We got these kits in at work from Cantik Batiks, so of course, ignoring the budget and my Firm Resolve to complete ten projects  before buying another yard of fabric – I bought two. The first one is In Sync.

The directions are really very clear. This is the first applique quilt that I’ve done.  I used the fabric included in the kit, and traced the pieces onto a double sided fusible interfacing. I pressed the large pieced together, and because the kind I used can be picked up and moved until pressed, I was able to get the parts mostly where they were supposed to go.


I used a clear applique foot to sew down the pieces in the applique. I used a mutlicolored embroidery thread around all the pieces that aren’t white. For the white, I used a kind of pearly color. You can’t tell here, but you can really see the glimmer when the light hits it.

I backed it with muslin, and then echo quilted around the whale tails. I put in an invisible zipper, using the left overs from the quilt to piece the back. This is intended to be a wall hanging, but I don’t have enough space for that in my house, so I made it into a pillow case. I still need to make the pillow form for it, since it’s an odd size (22″ x 41″). I plan on using ticking, mostly poly batting with feather on the outer parts to make it super soft.

Espresso Leggings – FAIL

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Espresso Leggings by Sewing Cake. I bought the PDF pattern and went from there.

It was easy enough to tape together, and follow the directions for making the custom pattern. As per usual, I lengthened the pattern by about 2 inches, cut it out, and zoomed it together on the serger.

…I don’t even have a picture of these. I think I just threw the failed muslin away. There was no way that I was going to put a picture up on the internet – the word “vulgar” comes to mind. There’s nothing wrong with the pattern, I used the completely wrong fabric to make these. It was not a very stretchy t-shirt knit, and I could see right through the fabric to my knickers.

Not the look I’m wanting.

I really need to add some more width to the thighs and bottom, and add about 3 inches to the back, and make it in the correct fabric.


Flannel … because I never really left the 90s

LL Bean has a great fleece lined flannel shirt that I wanted to wear as a layering piece as cooler weather approaches. (YAY FALL! YAY LEAVES! YAY NOT SWEATING!)

I went to the local store to try on the ladies version, which fit… mostly. As per usual with ladies long sleeve shirts, the sleeves were too short. It also wasn’t long enough, for me. I want a little more of my bottom covered. I went to the other side of the store and tried on the men’s version of the shirt. It was long enough, both in the body and sleeves, and fit fine in the shoulders. I just looked like I was playing dress up.

No bueno. I went to the pattern stash, and pulled out McCall’s 6613.  I had originally planned on using the pattern to make a few dress shirts for Matt, so I have a few copies. Stash pattern! I know that I bought it when JoAnn’s was having a 5 for $5 sale.

JoAnn’s had a sale, a coupon, and double napped 100% cotton flannel in the colors I wanted (pink, grey, and black). I took my prize home, and washed it. Very little pilling of the nap.

I cut the front button bands and the yoke on the diagonal, and everything else on grain. I even bothered matching up the plaids, using Lauren’s tutorial.

The pattern has the sleeve in two pieces – which I was totally not going to do. Why put an extra seam down the length of the arm when it isn’t necessary? I cut off the seam allowance on the smaller pattern piece, and taped it on to the larger piece. Ahhh, much better.

I changed the boring sleeve placket to an actual sleeve placket, since I want this to be warm. I used the Threads Magazine pattern,  and this you tube tutorial from Angela Kane.

I lost the cuff piece, and then found it when I went to set the sewing lair back to rights.

I spent last Sunday night putting the sleeve plackets on, with a lot of success and happy dancing. They aren’t perfect, but the flannel hides a lot of imperfections, and I think with a crisp cotton or linen, would be much easier to manipulate. Did I do a practice run on some scrap first? Of course not!

I did my happy dance, and went to show Matt and couldn’t figure out why the shirt wasn’t sitting correctly. It turns out that I had sewn the right front on backwards. Sigh. I need to rip it out, and recutting the back yoke. The interfacing I put in is way too much, and I look like a Romulan or a Pre Vatican II priest with it on. Out damn seams!

I hope to have this finished for this weekend. I even ordered pretty black pearl snaps from Cowgirl Snaps.