April 2, 2013

Here goes nothing

For some time now, I've been in falling love with Collette Patterns. However, somehow I haven't been able to start up one of their designs. I've already purchased the Collette Sewing Handbook (on preorder, even) but still have yet to dive in. In the meantime I enjoy following the blog and picking up all kinds of helpful tips and inspiration to put in my pocket.

That is until today... The Colletterie blog has announced a contest for their newest pattern, Laurel! The perfect excuse to get my feet wet, this is an easy shift dress with lots of versatility so the categories include multiple styling possibilities. Never been a fan of competition, it's the very first time I've considered entering a skill based contest. I'm kind of surprised by my strong desire to go for it! If Laurel was not an easy rated pattern I'd probably feel differently. I think this opportunity appeals to me by it's focus on executing your creativity. Perhaps best of all, I'm excited to already have five Spring/Summer ready fabrics at home, each would be perfect as this sweet dress.

Thoughts are now spinning around styling... Do I add an attached fabric belt? Cap sleeves? Some embroidery or applique? Perhaps a coordinating bias tape? Most important of all, which of my fabrics to use?

Suggestions welcome, and please wish me luck!

March 24, 2013


If you live in the Twin Cities area, like to sew and love a good deal, I hope you know about the SR Harris Fabric Warehouse. Initially I found out about it while I was pregnant. So while finishing up the nursery at 7 months along, I hauled my big belly around the warehouse. Had to ask for assistance from other customers to dig out upholstery bolts, hoist them up to the self-serve cutting table and later return them to the sales floor. It was all worthwhile to get such great deals on adorable nursery fabric. People who shop the wholesaler are also more than happy to lend a hand.

Since I wouldn't dream of taking my little guy to such a hands on shopping experience complete with fabric shears, it's been over a year since my first trip to SR Harris. Now that I have a lovely new sewing room and the inspiration is overflowing, it was time to pay another visit! Hubs let me take a baby free afternoon yesterday, so I got a list together and headed out.

Only giving myself two hours to work with (one could easily spend two days)  I was immediately sucked into the Missoni wool stacked high at the entrance. The huge selection of iconic, colorful zig-zag knit is going for 50% off at $20-$25/yd. Even at a steep discount I was unprepared to put down that much cash on fabric I've no dedicated use for. Peeled myself away to hunt through the 10+ aisles of cotton including designer prints and organics.

With the amazing discounts comes a price though. Shopping at the fabric warehouse is not for the faint of heart. You'll contend with:
1- No sorting of designs, color or manufacturer. The only grouping is done by general fabric type. So cotton quilting, fleece, jersey/stretch, flannel, upholstery, etc is the only sorting you may count on. This creates aisles stacked as high as you can reach full of every option available within a fabric type. It's both beautiful and maddening.
2- Other shoppers and carts. Try shopping at a slow time for the easiest experience since the aisles are wide enough for carts to pass, but barely. You also really have to get up really close to examine prints.  Having to deal with other shoppers makes this virtually impossible. It's a situation where you can see the end of a bolt and just the general color, but you'll need to work it out of the stack a bit to see what it really is.
3- Don't think you can skip using a cart to make shopping easier. Much like thrifting, you'll want to pull down every bolt you think you'll want right as you discover it. Realize that if you pass up a bolt thinking you can go back for it, chances are you just won't ever find it again. So stack that cart high and asses your selections at the very end.

Well here is what I made out with! Found lots of prints to fill the holes in my stash (small scale designs for trimming/binding and lining and more boy colors/designs. What was extra amazing is that I came across something I'd pinned ages ago! At $4.50-$5.50/yd, I'll call it destiny.

If you make the trip to SR Harris, I hope you have some great finds!

February 27, 2013

Sewing for baby girl

Well it's finally my turn to have a baby niece!!! This is an extra exciting time for my family who have been blessed with all baby boys until now.

Once I learned the news, there began a million ideas of baby craft projects floating around my head for this little princess. The only problem was finding the time with my own little prince crawling around!

Number one priority though... The grandpa blankie. This is from the same pattern as my own son's version, it uses a flannel shirt from my late father (baby girl's grandpa). The best part of making a project the second time is having the experience to help you make it even better than the first. This time I knew to pin the flannel strips all at the same time before quilting them down. It made the quilt top look much more symmetrical when completed. It also occurred to me this time to add one of the shirt pockets to the blankie! I'm calling it a "binky pocket" and love the way it turned out so much that I'll probably add one to my boy's too.

Since every little girl needs a little pink, this grandpa blankie includes some pops of pink plaid flannel as well. The best part is, I had enough to make an adorable coordinating capelet! Just like a  "Little Pink Riding Hood", this should be perfect for the dreary Seattle days she'll endure. Before I give it away though, I was somehow able to talk my boy into modeling it for me. (Thanks sweetie!) This proves the pattern is a little bit big, but that's ok. It rains in Seattle year round and she can grow into it longer this way.

Other projects include:

-hooded towel. This is simply a regular bath towel plus a hand towel for the hood, edged with home made bias tape. It's my first time making my own bias tape and I'm really proud of the results! The idea for the home made hoodie towel came from my realization that all those adorable infant towels are way too small once baby reaches 5 months. My guy started using a real towel at that point, so this will have to be something I make for him too.

-appliqued t-shirt. I picked a cute vintage print with pink cowgirl boots and appliqued onto an existing t-shirt. My mom even made some pink boots (crocheted)! Can't wait to see it all together. :)

All in all, I'm really happy with the four things I was able to turn out before the baby shower this weekend. Hopefully the parents-to-be will be pleased with them too!


Project resources:
Flannel shirt blanket -  thismamamakesstuff.com
Capelet - Simpicity 4434 (without the pom-poms and fringe, added lining)
Hooded towel - my own creation based off an existing hooded towel
Appliqued t-shirt - my own creation