I can hardly believe it, but I’ve won the Extreme Makeover sewing challenge! I was up against some pretty talented ladies! Thanks to everyone for your support over the last six weeks! (well….seven weeks….we had two weeks for this last challenge.) I definitely think I’ve stretched myself as a seamstress and I am so happy with my tidy sewing room.
Here is what I made this week:
A trio of aprons.
This one is from the “Sew Liberated” book (I know, it’s been a theme over the last few weeks, but I have loved having the opportunity to sew from it!) My favourite part is the corset back. Check this out:
And then I made two half aprons.
This fabric from my grandmother was calling out to be made into aprons. I sort of made it up as I went, but I got the idea for a bow in the front from this tutorial. I had a little fabric left so I made a matching bread bag. It’s just a simple drawstring bag, but I got the idea here.
I always carry a reusable bag in my purse, but it is always coming unfolded. I couldn’t resist this tutorial for a fold-up pocket tote.
And then I made two skirts. The first is, once again, from Sew Liberated. The one in the book is covered with applique, I haven’t decided if I will applique this one or leave it as it is. I am really happy with the way it turned out, I’m definitely getting more comfortable with knits!
This second one is based on the two-tier skirt from Sew What Skirts. I love this fabric, and I loved the two-tiered look, but I have come to realize that I just don’t like the look of elastic waist-bands on skirts. I think I’d like to try one with buttons while I work on improving my zipper skills!
Finally, I worked on a very special quilt top. I found the traditional pieced blocks among my grandmother’s fabrics (so sorry for everyone who thought I’d pieced the whole thing myself – eek, I didn’t think of that when I was posting it…). I also found most of the fabrics she had used to make them. Last week I created the square within a square blocks and made the pieced border. (That border caused me a bit of trouble. I have never done anything like it before, and there were times when I wasn’t sure it would be worth it, but I LOVE it on the quilt!) This is definitely a quilt I will cherish as made by my grandmother’s hands and my own. In honour of my grandmother I am even considering hand-quilting it, but haven’t decided yet.
Total fabric used this week: 19 yards
Total fabric used over 6 weeks: 74 yards!!! If someone had told me you could use that much fabric in a month and a half I wouldn’t have believed them.
My sewing room has become a much more neat and organized place.
After: (that box is history!)
Whew! Must be time to go to the fabric store! (Just kidding….)Read More
I have completed my first UFO of the year! I had grand plans to finish one of the big quilts this month, but after opening the shop and then making the top and the dress, I found the month was quickly getting away from me!
So I chose a small UFO to finish. It was one I actually didn’t know I had until I opened a drawer looking for something else, and there it was. This was another unfinished project of my grandmother’s (those UFO’s do like to travel) and I had obviously tucked it away because at the time I didn’t know how to finish it.
This is what it looked like straight out of the drawer.
I can see why she abandoned it. The final border is so stretched and crooked that it would definitely bunch up and wrinkle if you tried to quilt this and add binding. The whole think looked like it was in need of a good iron.
I soon discovered why….
The quilt was made with the foundation technique (like paper piecing but using interfacing instead of paper). My grandmother must have been low on supplies because she used fusible interfacing on this one – sticky side down. Which meant that when I went to iron down the seams, all I got was a sticky mess on the bottom of my (brand new) iron. I turned it over and did the best I could from the front.
Then I removed the border. It was broadcloth, too thin and flimsy to help this quilt keep its shape. Luckily I also inherited my grandmother’s fabric stash along with the UFOs and was able to find a matching fabric for the border.
I quilted around the hat, quilt, and inside border, and used another matching fabric for the binding.
I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. I wish my grandmother could see her work and mine combined! (Although she might give me a lecture on how quilting by machine isn’t really quilting at all so perhaps it’s just as well…. )Read More
My mother’s house is full of boxes of things that were removed from my grandmother’s house after she passed away. It has been a slow and sad process to go through them all and decide what to keep and what to pass on to someone else.
Among many of the very ordinary things of daily living there have been a few priceless treasures.
Like my great-grandmother’s recipes.
I was really excited to find this one – a clothes pin apron!
Thinking of Gran today, with love.Read More
In the past two weeks I have been involved with 3 pattern tests and am happy to say that after spending all day seam-binding the last quilt, I’m done! The quilt is still top secret at the moment (don’t I sound like the sewing spy? I’d show it to you, but then I’d have to…ummm….poke you with my sewing needle? Ok…maybe I’m not really a spy….) Anyway, although I can’t show you the quilt (yet) I can show you my latest pattern test. I was very, very lucky to be able to test the Ruby Lou doll pattern from Sew Much Ado.
First off, I have to say what an amazing pattern this is! I have never made a doll before and she made the process extremely easy. It wasn’t as hard to make a doll as I always thought it would be. I am so proud of my finished Ruby Lou!
The PDF pattern for Ruby Lou is already available with a print pattern coming out soon. There are lots of other fun sewing tutorials on the Sew Much Ado blog too!
Can you believe that this is my 6th pattern test? I’m beginning to feel like a professional!Read More
It’s quilting month at Sew, Mama, Sew! As part of the festivities there is a quilt block sew-along with a new block posted every Monday. When I first saw this week’s block I did what I always do with projects I want to try – I bookmarked it. The sad thing is, I have so many projects now bookmarked that I never seem to get around to making any of them. And no matter how hard I try to organize them in my favourites (folders and sub-folders and sub-folders of my sub-folders) I can never seem to find the tutorial I want when I am looking for it. (If anyone knows a better way to organize these things PLEASE tell me. I need some serious help. Opening my favourites folder is a little like opening the kitchen junk drawer – the very idea of it stresses me out.)
Anyway, all that to say that I decided that instead of bookmarking it, and despite all the half-finished quilts in my sewing room currently, I would do something that I never do – I would make the block Right Now.
And I did! (Sometimes I even surprise myself!) I almost got stopped after my visions of a black, white and grey quilt were dashed when I discovered that I have absolutely no plain white in my stash (black, grey and cream just wasn’t going to do it for me.) But I persevered and I am really happy with the final fabrics I chose. And all but one of them is from my grandmother’s vast collection. (yippee!)
So then the fun part. Cutting the triangles, sewing them into squares, and then playing around with the endless variations of patterns. This is one of the things I love about quilts. I once wrote a book about how teachers can use quilting to teach their students math for one of my university classes and I spent hours hand-drawing the numerous possibilities for each type of block (I’m a geek, I know….) Here are only a few that my 16 sew-along blocks could create: (pardon the dark photos, it was night when I took these)
There is something soothing to me about arranging and rearranging quilt blocks. I don’t know why I love it, but I do.
In the end, I chose the random triangles. I liked the way it kind of dispersed the colour throughout the block. And I liked that the triangles just got to be themselves, without combining into any other shapes. Here it is, in it’s finished glory: I can’t wait for next Monday to find out what the next square will be!Read More