Saturday, April 28, 2012

Swimsuit Empire Band Insert {Color Blocking}

Although our local pool doesn't open 'til June 9th, I've already been working on swimsuits.

It's probably because we've had such an awesome Winter, i.e. almost no snow and 70-80 degree weather in March.  It's hard to not think about swimsuits when it is that warm in MN.  It was our warmest March E.V.E.R.!  And we loved it.  O.K., well I loved it.  My kids lamented the lack of snow, but I thought it was just lovely.

One of the easiest way to "fancy" up or embellish a regular tank swimsuit is to add a contrasting band on the front piece so that it gives it the appearance of an empire style suit.  You can also add it onto the back, which I don't always do, but it is done in the same manner.

I've posted a bit about this technique before: Color blocking, as it is called.  However, today I'll give you a bit more detailed instruction on this technique.

Truly this is so easy.

Here are instructions to add an 1-1/2 inch finished inset band piece.

  • First, on the already cut out front piece of fabric, all I do is measure down about 1-1/2 inches from the armpit and cut straight across the entire front in a straight line. We now have 2 front pieces--top and bottom.  NOTE: If you are working on a little girl's suit: i.e. size 6 or less, you may not want to measure down as far to begin with. 
  • Then on the bottom half I measure 1 inch from that previously cut edge and cut another strip across. 
  • Remove that one inch strip and toss it in the trash.
  • From your contrasting fabric you cut a 2 inch strip the width of the suit. Make sure that the stretch of the band is the length of the suit--greatest stretch going around your body.
  • Sew the strip to the top half using a 1/4 inch seam.
  • Attach the strip to the bottom half also with a 1/4 inch seam.
  • And voila! you have a 1-1/2 inch empire insert strip in your suit.
  • I then carefully (on low heat--i.e. silk or polyester setting because otherwise you could melt your swimsuit fabric) press both seams towards the insert band.  This just makes it a little easier to do the topstitching.
  • Topstitch (optional, but I prefer it) with a 2,5 Stretch Twin Needle and the band is complete.

This shows the backside after the topstitch.

Once this part is done you assemble the remainder of the swimsuit as the instructions indicate.
A Note about lining:
Instead of cutting the front lining pieces to match the cut pieces above I cut one entire lining piece using the pattern before altering for the color blocking.  This reduces the bulk at the seams.  However, I primarily do this because daughter #3 is extremely particular about how things "feel".  She wants it to be smooth against her body and not "itchy" as she says it is otherwise. 

Super cute store bought Target suit that #3 refuses to wear because of these "itchy" seams.

Whenever I ask her if she likes a particular piece of fabric her response is always, "Let me see."  She then proceeds to touch and feel it before deciding if she likes it or not.  She is all about feel and THEN the look of the fabric. 

This method of color blocking is also great if you have some fun swimsuit fabric leftover and it isn't big enough to do anything else except use it for a empire band or side insert.  And really you can do this on any size swimsuit.  I recently made a 2T suit for one of the neices using this little insert and it turned out so darling (see right below).

Here's another that I've worked on to reduce some of my swimsuit stash.

You can find these 2 suits (girls size 10) and others for purchase in my shop.

And my Miss B. wanted this combo for this year.

The Hawaiian girl print I've had for quite some time.  This is what was salvaged from the flop of a swimsuit top I had tried a couple years ago.

Color blocking allows you to change an otherwise simple suit into something fun and interesting.  I've got a few more ideas about color blocking that I need to make up. This year does seem to be the year for this technique.  So why not go ahead and try it on one of your suits.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quilt Club Block Catch Up

The ladies have decided that since we started our Anniversary Quilt Idea in March that we need to play catch up for the months of Jan/Feb.  Lucky for me as I hosted in January.  I told the ladies I wanted red/white blocks, sort of like traditional red work.  (I have this kind of awesomeness in mind.)  Won't that be so pretty?   

For February, Nelda wanted shades of blue.  
For whatever reason I have tons of blue in my stash.

 (Inspired by this)

 And a little menagerie of 9-patches

I love that I'm getting lots of mileage out of my 2.5 inch scrap bin these days!  I would've thought for sure after finishing my scrap-tastic quilt that I'd never want to see another small square again, but that is definitely not the case. Let's just say I can sew a 2.5 inch squares like nobody's business! 

In other happy news, today I am off to see an old friend.  Total spur of the moment trip, so unlike me, and quite possibly the world's worst time of year for our family, but I'm not thinking about that.  Instead I'm thinking only of Me, on an airplane, by myself, for the weekend!!  WooHoo!  I'll deal with the aftermath when I get home. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Start of a scrappy project

I don't need another all.  BUT Emily has such awesome scrappy quilts (here and here) that I've coveted wanted to make one myself.  I just haven't quite got in the mode (or mood) to do it until recently when I found the pattern I want to try.

I happened upon this book at my thrift store and decided it was worth the $1 or so that I paid for it. 
It is called "More Favorite Traditional Quilts Made Easy" by Jo Parrott

The two that I really want to make are her Geese in Flight, pg. 23

and Scrappy Rectangles, pg.39.

I'm starting with the rectangle project first. 
I've been cutting rectangles out of my scrap stash and collecting them in a bin.  After a fair amount I decided to go ahead and make one block to make sure it was what I really wanted to do.

This project will be ongoing for probably the rest of the year.  No really.  I'm not kidding.  It takes 1620 rectangles to make 90 blocks.  I don't yet have enough 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle scraps cut out and so for now........89 more blocks to go.

I'll keep you updated sporadically with my progress.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Thrift Store Goodness

I was beginning to get a little frustrated that I hadn't found anything good in my last few months of thrift store hunting, but then I found these lovelies.

Here is what I have planned for them:

Big Floral sheet on the left:  I think this one is so pretty!  I had no plans for it when I bought it, just couldn't pass up it's loveliness.  But since my my Bee Vintage Group is starting up round two this month maybe it could be the inspiration for my next bee blocks.  I love the colors!

Big Pink Stripe:  This one is so soft.  I'm using it on the back of my blushing squares quilt.

Dainty Floral on the right:  I've been in search of this particular sheet for about a year.  I have an exact match that my girls have been using as curtains in their room.  Now that I found another one their window will finally have two panels.

What about you?  Any good finds lately?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter Looks

We didn't get all the Easter dresses done in time to actually post them for Easter.  But here is what my girls wore for that day at Church.

Daughter #1's style is much simpler and more relaxed than the others.  She is all about comfort and then if it happens to look good too, well that's a bonus.

Here's what she wanted for her Easter outfit this year.

Simplicity 2850 Top
And happy day, we didn't have to adjust the neckline on this pattern to make it modest enough. 
This is probably one of her fav tees.

Simplicity 2609 Peasant Skirt
We only did 4 layers instead of the longer 5 because of the amount of fabric we had.  But it was a nice length and she was happy with the result.
Daughter #2 is always very particular about what she wants. 

For those of you who sew for your kids and they have not yet voiced an opinion about what you are making for them.  Gear up!  The time will come, it always does, when they will no longer wear what you think is awesome for them.  It may happen when they are 2 or 5 or 12, but I guarantee it will happen.  And no amount of bribing or cajoling will change their mind to wear the creation you present them.  From experience.....just saying.

Her dress was inspired by this Land's End shirtdress and after searching and searching we used pattern New Look 6587 to make her pretty pale yellow linen shirtdress.

She did the majority of the sewing.  I mostly took care of serging, attaching the collar, and the snaps.  The rest was all her.  She did a really good job and received LOTS of compliments on Easter Sunday.

We couldn't find buttons to match so we ended up using snaps (19 sets) instead.
We had to adjust the neckline up a bit and then she wanted 3/4 sleeves with a cuff.
Lengthened it about 4 inches.
She found the belt at the thrift store for about $3.  
And she is pleased as punch.

I think I need to make myself and daughter #1 one of these dresses too.  Should start looking around for the right fabric choice.
And finally for Daughter #3
We used pattern Simplicity 5645 and some lavender linen that I had originally planned on using for myself.  The skirt I made I didn't care for and so cut that up and used both that and the remainder yardage to make her dress. 

I used a little embroidery scallop detailing option on my machine to dress up the edges some.

Love this fabric....rats, so sad it didn't work out for me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilt Club Blocks for April

For April, Geraldine is hosting quilt club. 
 She happens to be the oldest member at the spry age of 87.

She requested lavender and yellow blocks.
I had no purple/lavender fabric in my stash whatsoever, so I had to "borrow" some from Geraldine. :)

Here's what I made...

Block instructions Here

No instructions for this one.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Doll Quilt Received!!

I finally received my doll quilt from the swap.  And I couldn't be happier! 
This intricate little log cabin quilt arrived on my doorstep just as I was beginning to think I'd been forgotten. Okay, not really, but I was definitely feeling impatient and anxious while I waited!  :)

Funny thing is, I had Debbie and she had me!  That was a surprise.  I had no idea we'd be swapping to each other.

(For whatever reason, I couldn't get the color right in any of the pictures I took.  This one is close, but still not exact.) 
Look at the awesomeness!  She quilted the back separately from the front. 

And as Leslie said, "Ooooh, French knots!!" 
 Oh, I noticed. 

I wish you all could actually see it in person, though.  I mean look at this... 
The piecing is teeny-tiny!  Each log cabin piece measures 1/4" wide.  

I am definitely doing this swap again!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chevron Craziness

Just a couple chevron items that I've put together lately.

A pair of pillows for the couch that I have yet to make a new grey slipcover for.
Therefore they look horrid with this current fabric.

 Some denim piping, cut on the bias, and brushed denim on the back.
 I just put a concealed zipper on the backside of the pillow.
And didn't care what color the zipper was and used what I had.

And a trio of skirts for me and my 2 older daughters.

Black and white for me.

Which, I've already wore mine once. 
I'm not sure I love this particular top with the skirt, but I definitely love the color with it.

Red and black for daughter #1

Blue stripes with a bit of purple and white for daughter #2

Using interlock on this blue skirt allowed the skirt to hold its shape more than the jersey used on the other 2 skirts.  Either way, we are all happy with our skirts.

This is the comfiest skirt ever.
I used the same pattern for all 3 skirts.
Pattern Kwik Sew 3672

The waistband is a band of knit, no elastic, and you can hardly tell you have it on.
We did, however, have to take the waistband in more than the pattern indicated so that it wouldn't fall off your body.  Not sure if it was the fabric, or the pattern.  Daughter #1 tested hers by jumping up and down to make sure it wouldn't slide down off her hips.  It passed the test.
And we lengthened the pattern for each of us--at least 6 inches--so that it would come to the knee.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wonky Crosses for Easter

 Happy Easter everyone!
We enjoyed a low key affair ~ Beautiful church services, gorgeous weather, time with family, egg dying, too much chocolate, and yummy food.  The perfect way to spend the day! 

This quilt is the product of a little flickr swap I participated in last fall.  I thought it appropriate to reveal on Easter Sunday.

These wonky cross blocks are super easy to make and lend themselves well to slash and stitch type sewing.  Great for swapping.  All it took was one day of frantic cutting and sewing and I was able to make 35 blocks to swap.

For the backing I used a recycled turquoise gingham sheet I bought last year.  It works perfectly.  And makes the quilt amazingly soft.  The binding is a nice little red (nothing fancy) piece I had in my stash.  Red seemed the obvious choice.
This way of swapping is so great, in my opinion, because you get tons of variety without having to have tons of stash.  I sent it 35 blocks, but in reality they were all kind of the same looking.  But once you mix them all up with what everyone else sends in... look at all the awesomeness!

Wonky Cross Tutorial
My blocks are 10" finished
Quilt measures 60" by 70"
Teal We Meet Again Flickr Group
Quilted by Lynn 

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday
and WIP Wednesday

Friday, April 6, 2012

Have you ever wondered about my quilter?

If you are a regular reader of our blog then you've heard me talk about my quilter before.  
Besides being super talented, she's also amazingly inexpensive. (My favorite part!)
Some of you have emailed me about her and I've basically tried to keep her to myself... 
But, it seems, I can't any longer.

Recently she has decided to expand her business from the likes of me and my quilt club ladies. 
Seems we aren't cranking out enough quilts to help her quit her day job. :)

So, if any of you have been wanting to find a good (and inexpensive!) long arm quilter
 I'm ready to share mine with you.

For the record:  She has basically quilted ALL my quilts for at least a year.  
I usually just give her a little direction (ie: I want something loopy, no feathers, an all over design, etc.)  and then let her work her magic.
I am not super picky, but she has yet to disappoint.

Even better is the fact that her turn around time is fast!
The longest I've waited is 2 weeks. No lie!
Now I can't guarantee that when her business increases that she'll be able to keep that pace, but she tries not to take on too much at once.

I hear of people waiting 6 weeks for their quilts to get quilted and all I can think is
 That's Ridiculous!
I guess I'm just not that patient.

 So, are you ready for me to spill??

Her rate is $.01 a square inch.  Yep, you read that right, one penny
 That's her regular rate, not some first quilt/limited time only deal.  It's all.the.time.  
I told you she was dirt cheap. 
 Now you know why I want to keep her for myself. :)

All you have to do is email her and she'll give you all the info you need to send off your quilt.  Just make sure you tell her I sent you so she knows she's not getting spammed. Ha!

 Lynn Peterson

BTW, Your Welcome! 
P.S.  I accept fabric scraps or chocolate donations as a token of thanks for all the money you will save.  (Kidding ..sort of! :)


P.S.  A word about shipping:  The cheapest way we've found to ship a quilt is thru the Flat Rate Boxes at the post office.  (Wrap your quilt in a plastic garbage bag so it will slide in the box nice and easy!)  The large flat rate box ships for around $15 and the medium one around $12.  Renae mails her quilts to Lynn this way all the time.  Granted she hasn't shipped a queen/king quilt, but she has shipped lots of lap/nearly twin sized quilts.  Even with the added shipping costs, Renae still finds the cost to be cheaper than can be done in her area.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Finished Doll Quilt

After mulling around ideas and brushing away my fears
here is what I came up with for the doll quilt swap.

A happy (Bright!) little churn dash quilt.
 The small scale blocks worked out so perfect!  Just what I had in mind.
My partner requested solids, as she had never made a solids only quilt before. 
That one was easy for me.  I love a good solid.
The color inspiration came from one of her mosaic pics.

Believe me when I say I am SO happy with how it turned out. 
My fears were unfounded, as they usually are...

I decided to hand quilt it (a first for me!).  
Again, so happy with how that worked.  
It's not perfect, but I got better with each stitch.
Dare I say it makes me want to hand quilt an entire quilt someday?!
In the end I knew it would be a tough one to give away, so...
I turned my bigger tester blocks into a quilt for me!
A little matcher to hang on my wall.
Win, win!

And now, I am officially DONE with this project.
Just waiting on my doll quilt to arrive!
Oh, the anticipation...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby Swimsuit Times Two

Recently I bought a new baby swimsuit pattern, Kwik Sew 3606, which unfortunately is out of print.  I don't know if they have plans to republish it under a new look or what now that McCall's has bought out Kwik Sew, but this is probably why I was able to buy it from the half price bin at my fabric store.  As far as I can tell, there are no other baby (under 1T sized) swimsuit patterns available thru Kwik Sew.  That is a bummer.

One of my favorite baby shower gifts to make and give are baby swimsuits.  Although I have been known to make a little Speedo for a boy or two, I generally just stick with baby girl suits.  Next weekend I'm going to a baby shower for a couple who recently has adopted a baby girl.  Can't wait to give her these.

 And yes, this is how teeny it is, compared to my hand.
3-6 months size
Aren't those ruffles just the cutest?!

Another little style I wanted to try was a chevron suit.  I had some scrap swimsuit fabric that really wasn't big enough for much else and so I used my standard toddler tank swimsuit pattern (Kwik Sew 2512--also discontinued) and made a little 1T swimsuit for her to wear next summer.

Even though it is cut on the bias I think there is still going to be plenty of stretch in this suit.

I might give a bigger girl suit a try with the chevrons, cutting the stripes on the bias, and see how that works out.  I certainly love the look and it is definitely "in" this season.

And here is how I normally package up this gift.

Inexpensive sand pail and shovel with some tissue paper.

You could also throw in some baby sunscreen, teeny sunglasses, hat or swim diapers.

Where's the beach?!  We're ready for summer!

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thrift store find and an Apron

It feels like we haven't posted in awhile, even though it has only been one week.

Last week my kids were on Spring Break.  Emily has been having computer issues and it is still at the computer hospital getting fixed, and Leslie is in the throes of pregnancy yuck!  So I guess that means you are all stuck with me. 

Right now I am in the midst of swimsuits and Easter dresses.  Hopefully I can get some cooperation with the weather and takes some pics and post later about those projects.  But for now I'll do some back-posting.

Awhile back (probably before Christmas) I lucked out at one of my local thrift stores and found this Amy Butler fabric--2 yds. for $1.47.


Then I decided to turn it into an apron because one of the ones I love and wear often has seen its last days. I used McCall M6255 view C.

Notes & changes:
  • Originally I thought I only wanted the waistband and tie to be contrasting.  Found matching fabric, cut it out, pinnned the waistband on and then changed my mind.  Didn't like it and so stuck with all the same fabric.
  • Instead of rickrack I used 1/4" double fold bias tape to edge the entire apron skirt and the the ruffles on the bib. (2 - 4 yd. packages needed)
  • Because of that I had to ease the apron skirt a bit into the waistband. (I hadn't adjusted for the side hem I didn't do and cut the pattern down 1 1/4")
  • Also, I preferred the bib ruffles to have curved edges, not square--i.e. bias tape the entire edge of the ruffle.

  • I feel like the bib portion should extend up over the shoulder seam up a bit more (probably 2") so that it is actually on your shoulder and not down on your clavicle when the ties start.  I didn't do it on this apron, but I most likely will if I make this again.
My hubby and kids all commented on how pretty the apron is.  I agree.  So feminine that I almost don't want to wear it and get it dirty.  Almost...


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