Starting Work on a Wardrobe

Last night I made a muslin fitting for a pair of pants I’m going to make myself. I am fairly pleased with the fit, though I’ll make a couple of minor adjustments. However, I did realize when I was working on the muslin fitting that it’s a bit of a waste of time, because I truly do use a thin muslin for the fitting piece. If I were to use a cotton piece of fabric instead, I could wear the fitting piece around the house – the fit wouldn’t have to be perfect – particularly since this particular fabric suggested cotton as one of the fabrics that could be used. Since I regularly buy Kona cottons by the bolt, I should be able to find something in my closet that will work for future fittings where I want to use cotton.

Anyway, I should be able to get the pants made today, as they are very simple, elastic waist with no pockets. After that is done, I’m going to try my hand at making a shirt with a zipper down the back. I’ve never actually made anything with a zipper before, so this should be interesting. Of course, I’ll need to do a fitting for that one as well, and since it is also made of cotton, I am planning to use a bit of my Kona cotton to make it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get two shirts out of this deal! I’m thinking about using some of my PFD (prepared for dying) fabric so that if it comes out well, I can dye it to suit whatever I decide I want it to be. Of course, in that case, I should probably wash the fabric in hot water first, so that there is less chance of shrinkage should I dye the finished piece later (one of the steps in dyeing fabric is to rinse in hot water until the water runs clear).

Also on the sewing front, in just three weeks I’ll be able to get a new sewing machine, which will do embroidery. I am planning to buy myself some t-shirts for the summer (really, buying t-shirts is generally much cheaper than making them yourself) and do some embroidery on them to spruce them up a bit. I thought I had a moth problem in my closet a few months ago, but the other day I realized that the only affected clothing are my t-shirts and all at the bottom – none of my other natural fiber clothing has holes! I think that the problem isn’t moths, but rather my jeans! I have noticed that the closure of my jeans pokes out and I think that’s what’s killing my t-shirts. Of course, this means that nearly all my t-shirts are pretty well ruined now, and I’m not really happy about that, because I practically live in the things when I’m not at the office (and sometimes even then). I think that wearing an undershirt will solve the problem, but usually I tuck in undershirts … so THAT means the only way to stop the damage is to tuck in my t-shirts. I CAN tuck them in, but I never do because … well, I’m fat. And fat girls don’t look good with tucked-in shirts, but we don’t look that hot with 10 little holes in the bottom of our shirts either. So I guess this is just one more reason I need to lose weight. /sigh We’ll add that to the way I look and feel about myself, the potential health problems, and the fact that clothing is so much more expensive when you’re overweight.

Anyway, I’m hoping this is the start of a new phase in my sewing experience – clothing. I guess maybe it’s more of a revival since I have done some garment sewing in the past? I’ve never done a lot of garment sewing like my mom did, but it’s time. Stick around and see if I a) can lose some weight; and b) actually make some decent clothing.


Wishes Block of the Month Quilt, January

Last night, I began cutting the pieces for the Wishes BOM Quilt‘s January block. Today, I finished the block. I decided to use the yellow, grey, white and black fabric I’ve been collecting.

Wishes BOM Quilt, January Block

Wishes BOM Quilt, January Block

To be honest, this is the most difficult block I’ve put together in a while. I quit quilting for a while, and then came back to the art in earnest last year. Most of what I’ve been making up until this point has been simple quilts, but I decided that I really need to expand my skill set, so when this BOM came up, I thought it was a great way to do just that. Although I’m not a big fan of sampler type quilts, I believe they are great skill builders, so I fully intend to complete several of them this year to give as gifts.

I’m really hoping, though, that the resulting left over fabrics from the cutting will be used at some point down the line in this quilt, because I have quite a lot left. If it doesn’t for some reason get used, I’m sure I can find something to do with it.

That's a lot of fabric to discard, so I'm hoping there's an opportunity to use it later in the year.

That’s a lot of fabric to discard, so I’m hoping there’s an opportunity to use it later in the year.

I’m pretty happy with the way this block turned out overall. I didn’t cut off any points, everything lined up fairly well, and it measures about right. Further, I really like the color combination on this one. Surely someone I know would enjoy receiving the quilt once it’s completed … right?


Last night I sat in my studio and contemplated the backing for the practice quilt, and I decided that I just don’t know what I want to do about it. I’m tempted to go buy a piece of solid fabric then piece a side strip to it using funky fat quarters. So, until I can decide what it is I need/want to do with the backing, I’m just going to leave practice quilt on the wall staring at me.

Tonight, my plans are to clean up my studio (which doubles as the master bedroom) and maybe start cutting a new quilt. I had originally thought to make the Craftsy 2012 BOM (Yes, the 2012 BOM), but now I’m leaning toward using the yellow, black, grey and white I’ve been collecting to make the Wishes Quilt from Fat Quarter Shop. On the other hand, I thought that the Wishes quilt would be great in some bright solids on a black background … I could do two, I suppose. Both quilts will be great skill-builders. The Wishes quilt is a BOM that’s current, so I’ll only be able to make a couple blocks right now, but that’s ok because I have another quilt I’m ready to start …

The first of the baby quilts I’ll be making for my daughter’s baby, due in July, is about to start being cut. I am going to pull out my QuiltCut to see if I can improving my cutting skills for the solid blocks – at this point, I think they will be six inch blocks. I’m looking forward to making this quilt!

Tomorrow, I will post photos of … well, something. πŸ˜€ Β I am a bit surprised I haven’t finished anything so far this year, so maybe the baby quilt is a good place to get that ball rolling. πŸ˜‰

My quilting story

Recently, I joined a Yahoo! group for people who own the Brother DreamWeaver sewing/embroidery machine. I don’t currently own this machine, but in March, I plan to buy the DreamCreator, which is one step down from the DreamWeaver. I was asked to provide a bit of background on myself there, and it started me to thinking about how I got into quilting. I thought I’d share the story here, because I don’t know if I’ve ever really told it before. But stop me if you’ve heard this one before …

In September 1999, I celebrated my eighth wedding anniversary with my husband. Things weren’t perfect between us; we’d had our problems, but ever the optimistic wife, I was certain things would continue to get better between us. We had two young children, a daughter who was six at the time, and a son who’d just turned five the previous month. My husband held my hand, looked into my eyes that night and said, “I’m glad we’ve stuck it out because I think things will finally start to turn around for us. I love you.” Two weeks later, he had moved out of the house, confessing to an affair, and I was left scared and alone with two small kids and a temporary job that didn’t nearly cover all the bills. Two weeks after that, I started a new job making considerably more money and he came back (coincidence? Maybe … or maybe not). At any rate, by the end of January 2000, it was over for good, and I was quickly turning into a workaholic as a way to keep myself from thinking about everything. I would go to work at 6 am after dropping the kids at daycare, pick them up around 5:30-ish, go home, make dinner, spend time with them doing homework and baths and a little tv before their bedtime at 8 pm, then work from the time the kids went to bed until midnight, when I’d go to bed myself. A few months later, the kids and I moved from that house to a townhouse closer to my parents, and in the fall of 2001, right after the World Trade Center buildings fell, I attended my first International Quilt Festival with my mom and a friend of hers. (After this point, I’m a little fuzzy on the timeline. I can’t recall if I made my first quilt using the MW machine mentioned below, or my Brother machine – in fact, I can’t recall exactly when I bought the Brother; it was either 2002 or 2003, but I can’t recall exactly. I want to say 2002 but I don’t have any photos to back that up. I have a photo of my first quilt that I’ve filed in 2003 photos, but the digital image doesn’t have a date attached, so it could have been a year earlier; I’m just not sure. I’d ask my mom but … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I love her but memory is not her strong suit.)

I’d never made a quilt, or even had a lot of interest in sewing, though I thought it would be cool to make a quilt. I don’t remember taking any photos at that first show – I probably didn’t think there was a reason to take photos, and probably didn’t realize that I COULD take photos if I wanted to – but I walked away in awe of the talent and skill that was represented in that convention center. At that point, I had a hand me down Montgomery Ward machine from my mom that I used to repair items and I’d made a couple of pairs of shorts with it, but nothing as big as a quilt. My mom made all my clothing growing up but she’d only made one or two quilts, and I recall that it seemed to be a daunting process.Β In either 2002 or 2003, I used my work bonus (or maybe it was my tax return) to buy a used Brother PC-8500 sewing/embroidery combination machine. I think I made my first quilt on that machine, but … maybe not. It could have been the Montgomery Ward machine …

What I DO remember, very clearly, is walking into the local quilt shop (LQS) and telling the girl that I wanted to learn how to quilt. She said, “Sure! Let’s get you signed up for a class.” I said, “No, I don’t have time for a class; I just need a book that has clear directions.” She responded with, “But you can’t learn to quilt like that! You really need a class!” After reiterating that I wasn’t taking a class, she finally went to the bookshelves and pulled out Alex Anderson’s learn to quilt book. I chose a pattern and we picked out some fabric, and after paying for my purchases as I was walking out, the girl that had helped me said, “We’ll be waiting to sign you up for classes when you can’t do it on your own!” The following week, I took my completed quilt back to the shop to show that I could indeed learn to quilt without taking a class.

The first quilt I ever made. A nine patch.

The first quilt I ever made. A nine patch.

It’s not exactly a great quilt. It has a couple of places where the material didn’t get caught in the seam, and the squares aren’t consistently sized. But it was DONE and I did it without a class.

From that point on, my house was never the same again. I began collecting fabrics, and making quilts. I don’t even have photos of all the quilts I’ve made, and I lost count many years ago. It’s great therapy for me, and it keeps me from completely losing my mind. Through raising kids, getting married again, stressful jobs and personal situations, quilting has helped me balance everything.

Being in the studio is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Practice Quilt Top Completed

I know I haven’t written in a while but it took me a week to recover from the London trip, so time in the studio was pretty limited. However, I have completed the practice quilt top.

Practice Quilt Top Completed


Sorry it’s not a great photo; it was taken with the camera on my Smartphone. Tonight I’ll start to piece a backing for it.

I’m trying to find the pattern I used for Chris’s quilt, because Kerstin wants a quilt like it in different colors. So far, no luck. 😦

Next quilt is the first baby quilt I’m making for Butterbean. πŸ™‚