Friday, June 27, 2014


I made my kid a pair of shorts! I talk about it more on the Pink Castle blog today, and how I'm head over heels in love with oxford fabric.

The only thing I left out of that post was any discussion of the pattern I used, because it's hard to explain. It's a hybrid. It's Simplicity 1454, view F, with the rise dropped 1.5" and 2" added to the legs, with the pockets of a made to measure skirt and a full separate piece for the casing for the elastic waistband (the pattern calls for a folded over one with 1/2" elastic, but also calls for a lighter weight of fabric, so I went with 3/4" elastic and a full separate casing, because I've done those before and they make sense to me.)

My kid seems to like it (them?), and I'll probably make more. I owe the confidence to alter patterns to having read books such as Cal Patch's book on pattern drafting Design-It-Yourself-Clothes, and Wendy Mullin's Sew U. And I made a muslin! Very important in cases where you can't tell from the pattern what the fit will be like.

I still have a small stash of oxford, including a 2 yard cut that I was intending for a skirt, but now that I found this pattern at the thrift store, I have my eye on view F:

How fun would that be! I'd better get started on that muslin, eh?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Swatches

I've been busy these last few days with a big project for the class I'm taking, so not much sewing. The class is on how to use Photoshop, and while I initially was just taking it to fulfill a prereq for another class, I'm really learning a lot. Turns out, Photoshop has changed a lot since 1998. I guess we all have?

But I do have some new swatches to show off, of fabric I designed and had printed through Spoonflower:

I first sketched this little bug when we were visiting my husband's grandmother over Memorial Day weekend. It was to be the companion to a floral design which I have yet to finish. It's funny, but as my class has progressed, three weeks farther on, I would now composit this a completely different way. Learning! It's amazing!

This block castle is something I sketched for a book jacket design project in my class. I added the woven texture through use of a blending mode, that is, I had the solid castle, and a woven texture, and projected one onto the other. It's mysterious to me, so I am not going to be able to explain it further. It's printed on the new faux suede substrate, which gives it a secondary texture.

In other blog news, I'm planning a new feature. And I'm going to try to blog twice a week! (I know!) I've managed to steal away a little time for cutting and sewing, and hopefully I can get the first one up in a week and a half.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dress Pajamas

I went to Camp Stitchalot with my sister! She's a garment sewist, where as I am more of a quilter, though I will sew garments, particularly skirts and dresses for little girls, I guess.

Anyway. When she arrived, we discussed what projects we were taking, and I brought out from my drawers a number of patterns, and she chose one from the pile, and said that if I were to make it, she'd be happy to help, as she has much more experience with a) fitting patterns to people and b) working with knit fabrics. So before heading out to camp, we swung by Pink Castle Fabrics to get a yard and a half of knit, and then threw it in the washing machine while we went out to lunch.

View B, obviously.
Then, bundling the wet fabric into the car, we went to Camp! And then shortly after we arrived I realized I didn't pack either my phone cord or my peach thread. So I used white thread, and borrowed phone chargers where I could.

Late Friday night we discussed fit and what to do to make something that would fit me around the bottom and not slide off my shoulders (I am a size smaller on top than I am at my waist and hips). And on Saturday morning, I was cutting out my fabric, and by dinnertime the nightgown was all but done.

I used Desert Blanket in jersey by April Rhodes for Art Gallery. I love the peach and navy! Also we did go around feeling all the knits and it was by far the softest.  I'm super impressed with their substrate.

The only complicated bit, apart from fitting the pattern to my shape, was the attaching of the neckline and facing. The pattern was not super clear on how that was supposed to happen. But we sorted it out between the two of us. I hand stitched in the facing in the end, because I was not confident that I could secure it neatly with the sewing machine on the right side of the garment.

I want to show you inside, so I can mention about seam finishing:

You don't have to do it with a kni. I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom with a double needle (as I explained on in this post about knits which I wrote for the Pink Castle blog), but I only folded them over once, rather than twice like you would with a woven fabric. And for the sleeve and side seams, I didn't do anything at all to them. Knit fabrics don't fray! It's amazing!

Outside in my PJs.
Of course, once my always in a dress daughter saw it, it was all over, and now she's campaigning for "a dress pajamas" of her own. I've... been looking at some patterns. We'll have to see, though. I have some quilts to work on, after all.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The other Echino circle skirt!

I went to Camp Stitchalot this weekend, (so much fun!) and as I was packing projects for that, I came across a skirt I had all but finished at the last Camp Stitchalot. So embarrassing. All it needed was a hem! And actually, the hem it needed was already pinned, it just needed to be sewn up. Oops.

So, I decided that I would do that, the night before I left for camp and wear the skirt to camp, finally done. And so I did!

I just top stitched it, to be quick, and I ended up using two shades of pink thread, because one spool ran out early, but no one knows (but you and me) and it looks fine.

This one is fabulous. I tried the thick waistband, and that's fine, but the awesome feature is the pockets.

These pockets are big and roomy, and despite my fears that they were kind of in the wrong place when I was sewing it up, it's fine when you wear it. Now when I wear the first Echino skirt, I'm all... but, where are the pockets in this thing?

It's very similar to the last circle skirt, but the zipper is in the back (so, it's in three pieces rather than two), and there's no button, only hooks and eyes to hold it together. And I finished the seams with the serger.

And then we went to Stitchalot and it was awesome!!! And I had just enough handmade skirts to wear one each day. I guess I need to start making some shirts, huh?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Orbits Quilt!

I have my first quilt pattern for sale! It's called Orbits, and you can buy it here from Pink Castle Fabrics.

I called it orbits because it looks both like eyes (right?) and because it has this outer ring, like some planet does...? And what do eyes and planets both have in common? They belong in orbits!

Brenda Ratliff and her boyfriend Jason (also of Pink Castle Fabrics) did a lot of the work of getting this from a sketch into a published object. It's one of the Color Inspiration Quilts, patterns designed to go with RJR cotton supreme solids that Brenda picked out. The color scheme is February's and called Date Night.

it seems to be upside down?
This is the original sketch. I got the idea working on one of the Round Robin quilts through the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt guild, and made the sketch, but didn't do anything with it, until Brenda asked me if I had any sketches of quilts I wanted to make.

I got the fabric from RJR and put it together mostly, it seems to me, over Easter weekend. It's mostly Drunkard's Path style curves with bias applique for the thin curves.

Oh, this navy is delicious!
Obligatory late night basement finish picture!

Outside in the shade - after the basting thread is removed.

Then it was sent to Kathy Koch of Thread Bear Quilting to be long arm quilted! I really like the designs she used. And Ronit ended up putting the binding on, there was a rush to get these out the door to Quilt Market.

I am not sure I used RJR cotton supreme solids before this quilt, but I really like them. They are both substantial and soft. And I have used them ever since. Though it's only been about six weeks. And two of those I haven't been sewing, so...