Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#QuiltsforPulse

The last several days have been awfully challenging to be a citizen of this world, let alone a citizen in Florida. Like so many of you, the recent Orlando tragedy has both shocked and saddened me, but I am proud to see that the quilters of the Orlando MQG are banding together to try to bring comfort to those affected by this tragedy, the best way we know how: quilts.

The Orlando MQG is collecting heart blocks and quilts of heart blocks for the victims, victims' families and first responders. There's a very simple heart block tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew you can use right here, or if you're not a fan of stitching and flipping you can download my new free heart paper piecing templates right here or via Craftsy. There's no cutting instructions on these templates, they are strictly templates, but they're extremely simple and easy to use.

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While you may say, who needs quilts in Florida, you'd be surprised how many my family piles on in the wintertime, not to mention how much joy a quilt draped across a couch can bring. There's loads of ways to get involved if you don't want to make blocks or quilts, and you can check out all of the details right here: The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.
Monday, June 6, 2016

Even more adventures in garment sewing

Thanks for all the encouraging comments last week! They were just the kick in the pants I needed! I spent the weekend, well the free time at least, working on my first Geranium dress. If you haven't heard of the Geranium dress, it's a super adorable little girls' dress or top pattern by the indomitable Rae Hoekstra (a.k.a. Made by Rae), and it's a garment pattern that I've heard from some friends was not entirely scary, so I decided to go for it, after my successful attempt at knits.

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I will say this - I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to start with, I truly considered making four of them. At once. Then the rational side of me took over and I decided to try one first, sew it all the way through, before cutting into the other pretty, pretty fabrics I gathered for my Geranium possibilities pile. I narrowed it down to a gorgeous Eastham by Denyse Schmidt print, and got to pressing and cutting.

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Everything was going well with the cutting and such until I got to the actual sewing and realized that while I thought "View A" in the pattern was the cuter of the options (though both are adorable), it was also the more challenging one, for me, because it required gathering, which I am absolutely dreadful at. I always pull the threads so hard that I break them. And unsurprisingly, I did just that in this project, but kept on trucking and gathered the best I could.

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Aside from the gathering, I didn't really struggle much. I fully expected to struggle. A lot. With the whole three dimensional-ness of garment sewing, I expected that I'd have a hard time understanding what to do and where, but the instructions are written quite well, very clear and concise at the same time, so it was really a breeze.

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The dress still needs buttons or snaps - I haven't decided which yet, in part because I've never installed either, but also because the mom in me thinks the snaps are more practical and I don't have any so it requires a trip to Jo-Ann's - but other than that, it's totally done. All hemmed and everything. And it's super cute!

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And it even fits her! Look how darned adorable she is in it!

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So, I think the chances that I'll make another (or twelve!) are mighty good. This pattern was definitely a good one for a complete garment novice like myself, so if you're on the fence about trying your hand at garment sewing, go for it. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. Need some proof? I even bought a few adult garment patterns, like the Scout Tee and the Bianca top/dress. And I might actually use them! Have a fantastic week everyone :)
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adventures in garment sewing...

There's nothing like having a daughter to make you want to sew pretty, pretty clothes. I've wanted to try garment sewing for years, but always felt intimidated by the large pattern pieces and crazy thick pattern packets for adult garments. But baby clothes? They're tiny! How hard can they be?

Knit prep still life by Elizabeth Dackson

I've been slowly gathering my courage to try making something garment-y for a few weeks now. Goodness knows that I surely have plenty of fabric to do it with! But I was totally lacking in the confidence department. Quilts are flat. They don't have to go over anyone's head. They always fit. I like quilts. Garments? That's a whole different story.

Curves ahoy by Elizabeth Dackson

So I thought I'd start small - even though I wanted to dive in and make a Geranium dress right away. I decided to pace myself, and start with a simple knit headband. I've never sewn with knits, so it was a bit of an adventure, but it turned out pretty okay. Having a cute baby to put said headband on sure helps it turn out okay! But sewing the headband made me feel a little more prepared for garment sewing, what with the curves and wiggly fabric and all.

A spiffy headband  by Elizabeth Dackson

Now I'm thinking that maybe I might just be ready to a Geranium dress, having been told by a few friends who know better that it would be a simple pattern for me. I just need to work on printing out the pattern pieces and taping them together and then build up my guts to cut into some pretty, pretty fabric. I'm leaning toward this print from Denyse Schmidt's Eastham collection, because purple is totally Lorelei's color. It looks so adorable on her. So we'll see what this week brings, but who knows - maybe by next week I will have officially sewn a garment! Imagine that! Have a great week everyone :)
Monday, May 16, 2016

The Circus Star Mini - in the new issue of MQU

It's no secret that I love solid fabrics - they're one of my favorite groupings of fabrics to use, especially in paper pieced blocks, because they make those beautifully crisp and sharp angles and points even more pronounced. But ombre solids have a special little spot in my heart. Ombre solids can be so much fun to work with, figuring out how to cut a single half-yard, for example, into eight or so different shades of one singular color and then seeing them come together in a finished block or mini. And if there's one designer I always associate with ombres, it's for sure Vanessa Christensen of V + Co.

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Before the baby came, I had a chance to work with some of Vanessa's beautiful ombre fabrics for a project for Modern Quilts Unlimited, and the Spring 2016 issue featuring the quilt, pattern and an article about paper piecing by yours truly has finally hit the stands. You'll find my Circus Star quilt pattern on page 40 of the magazine, with my article on paper piecing just before that on page 36.

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The Circus Star totally reminds me of the multicolored patterns you see on circus tents and such, and yet also gives off a kaleidoscope kind of feel. It's a three template project, and has loads of possibility. It could easily be done in a color wheel kind of style, or even in grayscale, and be really and truly stunning.


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Quilt Stats
name: Circus Star
pattern: Circus Star pattern in spring 2016 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited
size: 24" square
fabrics: V + Co ombres
quilting: Aurifil 50 wt in assorted coordinating colors in multiple styles, including straight lines, zig zags, meandering stipple and wiggle
Monday, May 9, 2016

Appreciating the teachers

This year my son is lucky to have a crew of five fantastic female teachers, who we were super happy to spoil with some simple handmade zipper pouches and their favorite candies last week. Second grade has been such a great year, and I'm so lucky that my son goes to a school where it feels like every single staff and faculty member cares for all of the kids.

Teacher Gifts 2016 by Elizabeth Dackson

His two teachers are so amazing. So patient, so thoughtful, so caring. They are the kind of teachers you hope your kid will have, and I'm so grateful to them for making second grade so enjoyable for my kiddo. My son is a gifted student, and while that comes with some wonderful pros that make him a great student, it also comes with some emotional baggage that can make school challenging, and his two teachers were so wonderful with him this year.

Writing sweet teacher notes by Elizabeth Dackson

His art and music teachers are also delightful with him. He played the role of Santa in the holiday school musical, so he's got a bit of a soft spot for his music teacher in particular. But right now, I think his favorite teacher is his PE teacher. She's always got a great big grin whenever I see her around school, and her sunny disposition is beyond infectious.

Now if only they'd keep him for the summer too - I'm kidding! Mostly ;) I know my son is sad to see that the school year is coming to an end, as he adores school, but here's hoping that third grade is worth the wait!
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy eight year old boy and a newborn baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
Copyright 2010 by Elizabeth Dackson. Powered by Blogger.

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