Lorelei's Building Block Dress Adventure

When I heard about Liesl Gibson's new Building Block Dress book, I was super excited to see it. Not only has she chosen to self-publish it, but the book itself is like having a garment teacher in your sewing room. Your very own Liesl Gibson, if you will. Liesl's Oliver + S patterns are some of the first modern garment sewing patterns I first noticed when I first started quilting that made me think to myself, hey, maybe I should try sewing garments!

The Building Block Dress book is focused on the art of learning a simple dress, the Building Block Dress, and then learning a zillion ways to alter or customize it, to make it in a bunch of different ways, essentially giving you a ton of new skills along the way. I look forward to spending more time with this book because I know I am going to learn ever so much from it!!! There's custom sleeves, different skirt options, pockets, necklines, you name it. Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? It's like that, but with garment patterns, in sizes from 6 months all the way up through size 12. For a beginning seamstress like me, it's a little overwhelming to start from, but at the same time, it's super exciting because I know it's the kind of book I'll come back to over and over again. In fact, I need to take it to my local UPS Store to get the binding cut off so I can have them spiralize it!

I started off planning to make a sleeveless tunic for my daughter, Lorelei, who's now nine months old and crawling up a storm. I still love putting her in dresses, but she seems to get kind of irritated by them lately, because they get caught under her knees. Measuring her to figure out how long I could make a tunic however, proved to be easier said than done so what I thought could be a tunic, really wound up being a dress. For that same reason, I also didn't quite follow Liesl's advice about making a muslin - though I think maybe next time, or maybe when she stops growing so quickly, I will go that route. I definitely can see why that would be wise.

While not everything went exactly as planned in making this dress, partly because I managed to slam my thumb in a car door (for the record, it's my right thumb, not shown above, and you're welcome for that!) and it severely changed my hand's normal mobility, I'm still super proud that I made this dress. I love that I sewed a bias neckline. I love that I shortened the bodice and skirt of the dress without fear. I love that my dress is unique, and is a mish-mash of many different techniques in the book. I think it looks adorable and I can't wait to plan out my next Building Block dress.

You can check out all things Oliver + S, including their fantastic patterns, great videos and tutorials and so forth on their website right here. And best of all, you can find the new book right here.

Have a wonderful week everyone, and hopefully once my thumb heals, I can manage to sneak into my sewing room to sew up another Building Blocks dress, or do some more fun cross-stitching. :)

Improv Piecing with Lucie Summers

I love quilting and crafting books, can't get enough of them. Over the past few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through Lucie Summers' Quilt Improv book. The photography throughout the book is positively stunning, the quilts are gorgeous, and the step-by-step instruction is really in-depth, but also really inspiring, as you can see lots of different ways to vary the different blocks and techniques Lucie shows in the book. Another thing I adore about this book is seeing Lucie's drawings peppered throughout the book. If you're not familiar with Lucie as a fabric designer, having released two lines with Moda over the last few years full of whimsical low-volume line drawings, here's one thing you simply must know about her: she is an immensely talented artist, who sells her many of crafty goods on Etsy. She's got a fantastic sense of color and style, which comes across in her quilts beautifully. She also blogs regularly right here.

As soon as I paged through the book a couple of times, I knew exactly what I wanted to make from her book. Improv is often a challenge for me - it's hard to set aside my Type A tendencies sometimes - but I kept coming back to the Crazy Triangles technique. I especially loved how scrappy and vibrant Lucie's sample was, so I dug into my scraps to made a version of this super fun block.

I managed to find a boatload of DS Florence scraps and some teal triangles in my unsorted scrap bin, and I liked the way they looked together, so I went for it. I can definitely see myself adding to this to make it a bit larger and turn it into a pillow cover at some point for the living room. It's already 15", so it's almost big enough to be a pillow cover, and it was really easy to put together. I love how great improv can be with scraps, how varied and interesting it can look when you just throw caution to the wind and start sewing bits and pieces together.

A little crazy triangles block

For links to past stops on the blog tour for Quilt Improv and loads of other fun bits of improv related inspiration, click here. The wonderful folks at Stitch Craft & Create were kind enough to offer up a book for me to give away as well, so to enter the giveaway simply enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. A winner will be announced Friday morning. Have a great day today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little Vintage Quilt Revival block

Just a quick little note this morning to share a block I made recently from the fabulous new book, Vintage Quilt Revival, by three super-talented ladies I'm happy to call my friends: Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt, Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced and Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts. If you haven't picked it up yet, I strongly suggest you do, because you'll get sound design advice, beautiful photography, and gorgeous patterns. You won't regret it!

This block is the Exploding Star pattern, which you'll find on page 106 of the book. I almost always use super bright colors in my blocks, so I wanted to try a different kind of color scheme for me, so I went with some really beautiful soft blues from Sweetwater's Noteworthy Collection paired with a bold gray Dear Stella print and my ever trusty Kona Snow. This block, and many others made by several other uber-talented quilty peeps, will be compiled together into sampler quilts for charity by Katie, Lee and Faith later this month. Stay tuned for more info on those, I can't wait to see how they come together!

I'm away this week on a trip to Denver, and will be back next week, so the blog will be a bit quiet this week. Have a fantastic week while I'm away, and if you need something wonderful to read while I'm gone, check out the rest of the stops on the Vintage Quilt Revival Blog Hop below:

January 13th (Monday):
Crazy Mom Quilts - Amanda Jean
Don’t Call Me Betsy - Elizabeth
Film in the Fridge - Ashley
Happy Quilting - Melissa
Noodlehead - Anna

January 14th (Tuesday):
I’m A Ginger Monkey - Katy
Quilting Is My Therapy - Angela
A Quilting Life - Sherri
Sew Mama Sew - Kristin
Tall Grass Prairie Studio - Jacquie

January 15th (Wednesday):
Christa Quilts - Christa
Diary of a Quilter - Amy
Quilting Gallery - Michele
Sew Take a Hike - Penny
V and Co. - Vanessa
West Coast Crafty - Susan

January 16th (Thursday):
Bijou Lovely - Holly
Don’t You Know Who I Am - Sukie
Lily’s Quilts - Lynne
One Shabby Chick - Amber

January 17th (Friday):
Swim, Bike, Quilt - Katie
Freshly Pieced - Lee
Fresh Lemons Quilts - Faith