Fabric Postcard

Fabric postcard

Fabric postcard – Size is 5 x 8 inches.

Nicole at the Finch Sewing Studio is celebrating the 1 year anniversary of her shop being housed in an old building in the historic business district of Leesburg, VA. I met Nicole through the DC Modern Quilt Guild and I have been an avid supporter of her business.

Photo from July 2014.

Photo from July 2014.

It hasn’t been hard to support her. I have had so much fun taking classes with my sister, my daughter, and my friend Anne at her shop. She always has an interesting and varied selection of modern fabric. She has inspired me to try my hand at sewing clothing that actually fits me.

Last night, knowing that I would see her today (to shop her Anniversary sale!), I made a little fabric card to give her.

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How did I do?

I didn’t take any “progress” photos. Basically, I new that I wanted to replicate the front and side of her building. I wanted the front of the building, but also the Finch sign and pretty bay window on the side. I searched on the Finch Facebook page, Instagram, and Google Maps for photos of the shop.

I wanted the card to fit in an envelope that is 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ which is a regular sized piece of paper folded in half. I sketched out the design in pencil.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

I realized at this point that the overall design had to be a little smaller than this to fit in the card and for me to do a satin stitch around the edges. I simply reduced this drawing to 85% on my copier and cut out the pieces for the front of house, side of house and roof to use as templates.

Everything sort of fell in place after that. A piece of Pellon Peltex (really stiff interfacing) forms the core of the card. I used Wonder Under to fuse the pieces to the card. I also had to interface the white building pieces to avoid having the blue of the sky or the red of the brick walk show through. Sewing themed fabric was incorporated just for fun. I debated about free motion stitching the “Happy Anniversary” at the top. I knew it would look messy. In the end, though, I decided to go ahead and do it. It is a hand-made card after all!

Happy Anniversary Finch Sewing Studio!

 

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Carol’s Convertible Purse

Purse!

Purse!

Backpack!

Backpack!

This project started with a fellow NeedleChaser guild member who showed her purse during “show and tell”. I thought it would be very handy to have a bag this summer that could also be worn hands free on my back. I bought the pattern and recruited a few friends to make it with me. This seems to be the best way for me to get something done these days.

Carol's Convertible Purse

Pattern and labels!

Boy, did I need those friends to get this done! The pattern is 12 pages long. There are a few variations you can chose which affect how and what you cut out. There are a lot of pieces and the very BEST thing about the pattern is the premade label sheet that you can see above. Most of the pieces are given as simple dimensions rather than pattern pieces and these labels made the chore of cutting everything properly much less daunting.

All of the pieces.

All of the pieces.

Of course, the reason there are a lot of pieces is the reason we like the bag – lots of pockets and a chance to use a couple (or more) coordinated fabrics for the outside.

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My fabric: Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent

I used this pretty AMH fabric for the outside but found that Tula Pink’s fabric went well with it for the inside.

Mix of fabrics

Mix of fabrics

The four of us met one morning at 10 AM with our pieces all cut out and ready to sew. At 5 PM we had them almost done.

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Nearly complete

Who would have guessed it would take that long? I ALWAYS underestimate how long it is going to take for me to sew something. Do you?

We had to each finish up individually and a week later, we have all done it!

I love my bag!

I love my bag!

I think that I will use this bag a lot this summer.

Out and about

Out and about

Notes:

1. To begin, I found it helpful to highlight the cutting diagrams I was going to use, once I decided on the options given.

2. When the outside and the lining are both made, the directions tell you to iron in a 1/4″ fold and then  topstitch the two together. Lynne chose to leave an opening in her lining and sew the two parts together inside out which seemed to give a much cleaner finish. It still needed to be topstitched, but the bags are already sewn together when you do this.

 

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Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes - dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:

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Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.

Front

Front

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!

 

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Flirting the Issue Skirt Sew-along

I heard Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color on Pat Sloan’s radio podcast recently talking about hosting a sew along for a free skirt pattern by Anna Maria Horner. The name of the pattern is called Flirting the Issue Skirt and you can download it here.

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Cotton voile fabric by Amy Butler

The skirt is very light and airy. The suggested fabric for making it is cotton voile which is definitely one of the nicest feeling fabrics you can wear! Sometimes voile is difficult to find and pricey compared to quilting weight cotton but Rachel gave a link to Pink Chalk Fabrics who has a great selection at a great price. Irresistible!

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Voile is lightweight enough that it would not make a suitable skirt in one layer. This pattern uses 2 fabric layers (an outside fabric and a lining) which are sewn together at the top of the skirt. Channels for elastic are then sewn in which create the waistband. It is very easy to sew this skirt, but threading all of that elastic and making the gathers even is daunting!

4 rows of elastic.

4 rows of elastic inserted between the outside fabric and the lining.

I suggested to my friend Anne that we get together and each make up a skirt. I seem to get much more done if I plan a date to do it with a friend. Do you do this?

Anne's skirt.

Anne’s skirt using Anna Maria Horner’s voile fabric

 

I have linked up at Stitched in Color where you can see the other skirts that were made during this sew along and see Rachel’s post comparing her two skirts – one made out of voile and the other made of quilting weight cotton.

Rachel's skirts from Stitched in Color. Voile on the left. Quilting cotton on the right.

Rachel’s skirts from Stitched in Color. Voile on the left. Quilting cotton on the right.

This was a fun project. The skirt is very comfortable to wear. Perfect for the warm weather ahead.

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I cut the front and back such that I could match those circles at the sides. It is very difficult to see the side seam which looks nice – but took extra time!

Other info for this garment (in case I decide to make another).

I used 1.5 yards of an Amy Butler voile for the outer skirt and 1.5 yards of cotton batiste for the lining. These 2 fabrics were perfect for this skirt. Unfortunately the only local source for batiste had very few colors options which is how I ended up with yellow.

The elastic I used was 1/4″ and was called “knit” elastic. The other option at Joann’s was “braided” elastic. The only difference I could see from descriptions on the packaging was that the braided variety narrows when stretched and the knit does not. I’m not sure the relevance of that to this project, but I decided to chose the one that did not narrow when stretched.

The 4 rows of elastic is very comfortable at the waist. I cut each piece of elastic the measurement of my waist, inserted it into the skirt, pulled and twisted and tried to get the gathers evenly distributed, tried it on and then cut off probably at least 3 inches from each end before joining them together. The finished waist is, in fact, about 6″ less than my waist measurement, but this elastic is so stretchy that it does not feel at all tight.

Who doesn’t LOVE a hem (or two) that can be finished by machine? Very quick and easy finish as the skirt pieces are exact rectangles and everything, including the hem, is right on grain. I did use the suggested pattern advice of making both the front and back the circumference of my waist. It appears as though some of the other sewists participating in the sew along thought their skirt may have benefitted by less width if they used a heavier fabric.

Anne and I both chose fabrics with a semi-large motif that we thought would look better matched at the side seams. An all over print would have eliminated having to fuss with that.

 

 

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Filed under Garment sewing, Pattern review

Fabricating Faces Workshop by Marilyn Wall

My self portrait

My self portrait

NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase hosted a lecture and workshop by Fiber Artist Marilyn Wall this past week. The workshop was called Fabricating Faces. We learned how to posterize a photo using Photo Shop Elements and then build a portrait using 4 different values of a single color fabric.

Here is how mine looked as I added layers to my portrait.

Two layers

Two layers

Three layers

Three layers (incomplete)

Layer 4

Four layers

In this final picture I haven’t completely finished my portrait. She showed us how to add the “glint” in the eyes with white paint or marker at the very end. I haven’t fused all my pieces down yet and done this eye detail which will make a difference as you can see in some of the photos below.

Marilyn Wall was such a delight to have as an instructor. If you ever get a chance to take a class from her, be sure you don’t miss out. Here are some other participants projects from the NeedleChaser’s workshop.

Marge Stemble's work

Fabrication Marge Stemble

Photo

Photo of Alice’s grandson

Fabrication by Alice Giancola

Fabrication by Alice Giancola

Photo of Donna's dog

Photo of Donna’s dog

by Donna Jacobs

Fabrication by Donna Jacobs

Pam's grand neice

Pam’s grand neice

Fabrication by Pam Zurer

Fabrication by Pam Zurer

Fabrication by Debra Lamb-Mechanick

Fabrication by Debra Lamb-Mechanick

Fabrication by Jan Gavin

Fabrication by Jan Gavin

As you can see, there was quite a variety of fabric colors and prints and they all turned out a little different.

Thank you to Marilyn Wall for teaching us this fun technique!

More workshop photos added after original post:

Fabrication by Renuka Algama

Fabrication by Renuka Algama

Fabrication by Clover Kemp

Fabrication by Clover Kemp

 

Fabrication and thread work by Joan Stogis.

Fabrication and thread work by Joan Stogis.

 

 

 

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Mid Atlantic Mod – sewing retreat

I am just back from a 4 day sewing retreat held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mid-Atlantic Mod was arranged as a gathering of three area modern quilt guilds – DC, Philadelphia and Central New Jersey (although there were a few members of other MQGs there as well).

DC Modern Quilt Guild members

DC Modern Quilt Guild members

What a weekend! It is such an absolute pleasure to get away and be with this group of quilters. For a “first time” event, it was extremely well planned by Katie, Jessica, and Andrew. The retreat started on Thursday and didn’t end until Sunday at 6 PM. Participants brought their own projects to sew but throughout the weekend, there were various optional activities that you could chose to do – or not.

There was a tote bag swap. We were given a yard of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen a few months ago to incorporate into a tote bag. On the night of the swap everyone who brought a finished tote bag, got one that someone else had made.

Tote bag swap!

Tote bag swap!

Tote bag that I made.

Tote bag that I made.

Tote bag that I received.

Tote bag that I received  - I love it!

There were 60 minute long workshops on Saturday and Sunday. I taught a workshop on English Paper Piecing. I love that modern quilters are interested in this age old technique. I believe that the reason for this is that it is such a portable project and doesn’t require any special or expensive equipment. Very intricate designs can be sewn together with just a simple hand stitch. Thank you to Paper Pieces.com and the Colonial Needle Company for donating supplies for my EPP workshop.

EPP hexagon "kit" donated by www.paperpieces.com

EPP hexagon “kits” donated by http://www.paperpieces.com

Needles and thread donated by the Colonial Needle Company

Needles and thread donated by the Colonial Needle Company

EPP - Old and new.

EPP – Old and new.

Click on Mid Atlantic Mod – English Paper Piecing to download a copy of the EPP handout that I made up for my workshop. I encourage anyone and everyone to give it a try!

There were 3 progressive quilt tops that were sewn during the retreat. Those participants that wished to work on one or more of these came prepared with a quilt block that met certain specifications and then those blocks were used to create a top as one person after another worked with them. Here are the final quilts:

Low volume with pops of color

Low volume with pops of color

Triangles

Triangles

Stripes and solids

Stripes and solids

These progressive quilts were not something that I wanted to work on, but it was VERY interesting to watch them change and grow over the course of 4 days. One lucky participant got to keep each one at the end of the retreat – I think that there was a random drawing of those who worked on one to decide who “won” it.

On Friday night there was a “mixer” and we were served hors d’oeuvres and cocktails made just for our group (with names like “seam ripper”) and persuaded to mix with each other by constant give aways being given to those who changed seats.

On Saturday night we had a pajama party and sewed in our PJs. The group made pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer.

Pillowcases made for ConKer Cancer.

Pillowcases made for ConKerr Cancer.

I traveled to the retreat with my friend Anne. While we were there one of the participants was selling a Featherweight sewing machine and Anne tried it out and ended up buying it.

Anne and her "new" sewing machine.

Anne and her “new” sewing machine.

We did so much sewing and had so much fun. Thank you so much to the organizers and sponsors. Let’s do it again next year!

 

 

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Schoolhouse Tunic and Arts Center Exhibition

A few weeks ago the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington DC opened an exhibit of quilts by local quilters.  DC Modern Quilt Guild members have a variety of quilts hanging there including one of mine.

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Stitched DC

My husband and I helped to hang the quilts on the day before the opening. The quilt below was made by a member of the Daughters of Dorcas quilt organization.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit.

My husband hanging the largest quilt in the exhibit. Photo courtesy the Anacostia Arts Center.

I wanted to make something new to wear to the opening reception. I had some Nani Iro double gauze fabric just waiting for this purpose and chose to make a pattern by Sew Liberated called the Schoolhouse Tunic.

Linda Fasules with "Zakka Style Quilt"

Linda Fasules with “Zakka Style Quilt”

The pattern comes in two lengths and I chose to make the longer version.

Carla Voorhees with "HST Journey"

Carla Voorhees with “HST Journey” (and me!)

I love how it turned out and it is beyond comfortable. Because the fabric was so precious, I did make a muslin first, but ended up not having to make any changes. This is a very quick and easy pattern to make.

Other quilts in the exhibit with their DC Modern sewists -

Susan Fuller with "Pinocchio"

Susan Fuller with “Pinocchio”

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Dana Seltzer with DC Metro Map

Anne Brill with "Four Flowerpots"

Anne Brill with “Four Flowerpots”

Natalie Hardin with "Little Star"

Natalie Hardin with “Little Star”

Meli Mathis with "Simply Styled Color"

Meli Mathis with “Simply Styled Color”

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Frederick Nunley (on the right) with his partner Keith and Shoofly Orange Slice. Photo courtesy Anacostia Arts Center

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with "Smooth Sailing"

Elle Sutherland Irby (and Miles) with “Smooth Sailing”

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Katte's Paintbox (back)

Lynne Mackay-Atha with Kaffe’s Paintbox (which is the back of this beautiful quilt)

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The front of the quilt above. Read her post  about the Arts Center choosing to show the back.

There are many more quilts to see and the exhibit is running through March 29, 2014. If you are in the DC area, make plans to go see it. There is a wonderful cafe in the center that is well worth visiting as well.

On Saturday, March 8th there will be quilting lectures and pop up shops at the Anacostia Arts Center.

March 8 event

March 8 event

Katie Blakesley and Laura Gunn will be speaking from 1 to 3 PM. You do need tickets to attend the lecture. More information and a link to buy them can be found here.

Finch Sewing Studio and Del Ray Fabrics will be selling from 3 to 5 PM.

See you there!

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