My Personal Challenge

As I posted last time, one of my goals is to get better at making clothing. I still don’t have the revised pattern piece, but I did email them again this morning to ask about it and to point out that there is also not a notch for one side of the sleeve. I’m about to pack it all up and take it to my Mom’s to see if she can help me get it finished. I’m not happy about this because I was really hoping to have it finished by now!

Anyway, back to my original reason for posting. My goal is to get better at making clothing, both for myself and my husband. So I’m setting myself a challenge – one new garment completed each month from September until the end of 2015. I hope to complete more than one a month, but right now, that’s my goal. One garment each month. It doesn’t have to be for me, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. But it does need to be completed by the last day of the month. 

My garment for September will be a semi-fitted t-shirt for myself. I made the fitted version of Butterick B5215 back in the spring, and at first thought it didn’t fit well and that there were problems with the neck line (there ARE problems with the neck line, but I’ll save that story for another time). Well, it does fit very well, it’s really comfortable and I can conquer the issues with the neck line. In fact, once I put the shirt on the right way, the neck was perfectly fine. I’m going to try the semi-fitted version of the same pattern, and I’ll be starting it this weekend (and hopefully finishing it, too, which means my challenge will start in August, not September). I have plans to make either four or five of these shirts for myself, so it might be a couple months of t-shirt sewing in various colors. I will do a post on the fitted version as soon as I can get a photo of myself wearing it, and share my struggles with the neck at that time. 

Another thing I’m seriously considering doing is to take a fitting class with Craftsy, because I want to learn how to draft my own patterns, and I think proper fit is the first step in that process, not to mention that even when my measurements are the same as the information on the pattern envelopes, I don’t always get a good fit. I have found that in some cases, I could have made at least a full size smaller than the envelope indicated. I think learning how to get a good fit is also important when one starts to branch off into independent the pattern maker’s offerings, not because they aren’t as good as the Big 4 (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick and Vogue), but because I can pick up the Big 4 on sale sometimes for as little as $1 each, and the independents cost about $16 on average for a pattern. I’ve been a little wary of indie patterns because a lot of them are downloads, where you print them out on regular paper and then tape them all together. I’m not interested in yet another step in trying to make a garment – I want to pull the pattern out of an envelope, trace it off and GO. I would never use a pattern that I taped together to make a garment, so that would mean I would have to print it out, tape it together and then trace it. No thanks … I’m not that interested in anything an indie has come out with to go through all those steps. Heck, for that, I can learn to draft or modify patterns myself, which is why I’m considering the Craftsy class.

At any rate, my sewing plans this weekend are to maybe finish my button down shirt, if revised pattern pieces come from Butterick, and if not, I’ll start work on a t-shirt. I’d like to make a tee that I then put some embroidery on, but I’m going to make this first one to check for proper fit first. Then, if it works out like I think it will, I will make another one to embroider on. 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Backing

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. 😀  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. 😉

January 11, 2014 – A new quilt begins

Earlier this week, I decided to put Dr Seuss on hold so I can practice some free motion quilting (FMQ) so I can FMQ some of the Dr Seuss quilt. I really hate practicing on small squares though; I find that I do better with a larger project, so I started putting together the practice quilt for the Free Motion Fillers, Vol. 1 class from Craftsy.com.

Practice Quilt

This is a pretty easy quilt so far (I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point, anyway) and the cost wasn’t too bad – about $50 total. So I might just make a couple more to practice on as well. These are all solid colors, obviously, and I’m using Kona cottons. But next time I might try ordering some Moda Bella solids to see how I like them – I’ve never tried them and I would like to give them a shot. I like Kona, and it’s a good quality but I’ve heard that Bella is a bit better. I’m going to use white thread to quilt with I think … I think white will show up better than black across all the colors.

The last couple days

I’ve not been in the studio the last couple of days because I was in a course for work, and by the time I got home last night, it was after 7 pm and I still had some “homework” to do, and then tonight I went to dinner with my husband and son. The course was a real brain drain, but everything should be back to normal tomorrow.

On Wednesday, though, I decided to put aside the Dr Seuss quilt for a little while and start piecing the practice quilt for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers vol. 1. I began cutting pieces out for it and realized that I’d already cut one of the fabrics up – and each piece is one inch too small. And I seem to have misplaced some fabrics, so I need to get in there and see if I can find everything so I can do this quilt.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I will be able to get back to the practice quilt piecing and post some photos of my progress by the end of the day.

January 6th, 2014

Today, I went and bought some premium quality muslin to use for the backing of the Dr Suess quilt. Right now it’s clamped down to one of my cutting tables while the batting relaxes on top.

Relaxing quilt batting ... ahhh, this is the life!

Relaxing quilt batting … ahhh, this is the life!

I’ve been DYING to try out this method of pin basting – I hate getting on the floor to lay out my quilts, because it hurts my knees so badly, I end up rushing through the process. I saw this on a Craftsy class last week, so now of course I have to try it. I’ll post some photos of the process once I have it all figured out. This particular batting is 100% cotton made by Mountain Mist. To me, it seems really thin, but there is no scrim which might play a part in that. I’m not sure if I’ll like it but I figured you know, I already opened it, it’s laid out … why not just try it out? So I will … tomorrow.

While I’m waiting for the batting to relax (till tomorrow after work) I may start to cut out pieces for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers. Leah Day is teaching the class, and I’ve watched some of the lessons and tried out the designs, but I found after a few tries that I do better with a larger quilt sandwich than I do with little squares. Of course, my first try WILL be on little squares, but after a practice session I intend to try out the designs on the practice quilt. I don’t expect great results, but results that don’t make me want to burn the quilt will be acceptable. 😀

But then again, I’m pretty tired and I have to work tomorrow, so I might just relax and try to get some sleep tonight. Insomnia has been killing me lately! /yaaawn

Dr Seuss Quilt, Post 1

I made fairly good progress on the Dr Seuss quilt today. I sewed together all of the squares to make up the four rows, then I sewed the rows together to make up the main body of the quilt.

The main body of the top of the Dr Seuss quilt

The main body of the top of the Dr Seuss quilt

 

I’m not really thrilled with this quilt, though Travis’s friends Jayben and JT really seem to like it (Travis expressed no real opinion). There is too much going on here in the quilt, so when I make the Green Eggs and Ham quilt, I will use more solid and/or tone on tone fabrics to even out some of the busy-ness of the fabric. Also, as with all panels, this one wasn’t printed on the square, so some of the sashing is way off the row above it. It’s not a huge deal, I guess, and this section of the quilt is square … but the asymmetry of it bothers me a bit.

Tomorrow, I am planning to attach the borders (there are two, a thin one to frame the center and a larger one that has corner sets in each of the four corners) and start sandwiching it so I can get it quilted and bound. I started this quilt on December 28th, 2013. If I manage to make the progress I’m hoping to make, I will have it finished by next weekend – about 2 weeks from start to finish. I think that might be the fastest quilt I’ve put together in a long time.

Once this quilt is finished, I want to piece the free motion quilting practice quilt for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers. And once I have that pieced, I want to start working on some of the UFO’s I have laying around the studio (there are several, but I haven’t counted them; I probably should, to keep track of progress).

I have also set up a Facebook page specifically for my quilting stuff. It can be found here. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet but maybe I’ll figure it out as I go.