Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Block of the Month: July, Dresden Plates

I've had a bit of a hiatus from the world of quilting, and I almost missed making the Block of the Month for July!  Luckily, I was able to scrap together the blades for these Dresden blocks this afternoon.  I was surprised to see how efficiently a Dresden plate can use fabric.  The fabric eater here was definitely the doubling of the circles to ease the turning of the 1/4" seams.

The first plate uses modern styling, the fabric is a blend of scraps: Amy Butler, Tula Pink, and some owl fabric from Ribas y Casals in Spain.

The second plate is a traditional Dresden plate again with a motley crew of scraps, but because this plate required 4" length I as able to use the red from the last block.  I'm really happy with this traditional plate.  I like the contrast between the red and blue.  These are some cheery additions to the quilt.  I can't wait to see how it all comes together!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jeans, Jeans, Good for the Heart

I think July might be jeans month for me.  I started on the first pair after the cropped hoodie project (Her Pretty Ways, View A).  I had leftovers from the first trousers I sewed (remember the Clovers I did earlier this year?).

Using Jalie 2908, I made my first pair of jeans, and wow what a learning curve!  It took me nearly two weeks working a few hours a night, studying the instructions, looking at my jeans and that of every person I stood behind or near... I think the part that took me the longest (don't laugh) was the back pocket embroidery.  I was soooo scared it would look awful, that I fretted over it for several days.  It is a combination of hand-embroidery and machine stitching.

Fit-wise, the jeans are really nice around the thighs, but it's a bit tight at the waist.  I definitely "muffin-top" with these pair when I'm sitting.

I learned heaps after making this first pair, and here's a summary of tips and tricks from the first go-around...
  • top stitching can be very tricky over multiple folds of fabric such as near the back yoke and crotch area, be sure to have a guide on your presser foot clearly marked or a guide on the fabric
  • those bar-tacked reinforced areas are there for a reason (my fly began to unravel as soon as the stretch denim felt the pull of my mighty thighs).  I quickly tacked where they said to.
  • make sure the zipper guard covers the whole zipper
  • the stretch needle is a must for stretch denim, otherwise one suffers from skipped stitches
  • be sure to align the buttonhole with the actual button and try them on to check for fit before cutting it open!
  • top-stitch only once to define the curved stitch-lines of the outer fly otherwise it looks funny
  • pay attention to the orientation of the belt loops when attaching the waist yoke.  It is troublesome to undo and redo them.
These are the first pair... They were on the Sew Weekly here.

 The second pair came together much quicker. I went with one size larger with mixed results.  The jeans are comfortable, but maybe a little too big at the waist.  They are definitely wearable and comfy.   Instead of taking me two weeks, it took me only two afternoons (about 8 hours or so).  I wrote about them for Tuesday's "featurette" on Sew Weekly here.

I came up with a few tricks to make this pair look like my favorite pair...
  • double the top thread to get a thicker line of top-stitching (test this first on scraps as it may result in skipped stitches with funky tension, also, sew slowly)
  • use two different color threads - one for top-stitching, and another closer to the denim for construction, and subtler lines like those used to install the belt loops, and the curved stitch-line of the outer fly
  • although instructions say lay the zipper face down with the teeth aligned to center line, I'd actually move those a little left of the center line.  My zipper teeth tend to show a little on the edge since the overlap doesn't quite cover it.
I did some fun modifications using a ribbon on the pocket as a detail, and zig-zag stitching on the belt loops, but other from that I stuck closely to the pattern.  I  think my 3rd pair will be the best!  I'm going to try for a pair of "skinny" jeans that I can easily tuck into boots, or use as pedal pushers, and not suffer the "muffin-top" look.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Font: Kicks

Getting warmed up in the font arena...
I just finished a new font called "Kicks" and it was made... just for kicks.

Meant for scrapbook text, classroom decor, and lots of other fun stuff, Kicks is a hand-drawn font that finally helped me get over my "font-block".  It's available in regular and italic, single download, or family download.  I'm so glad I finally got this one out.  Look out for more in the near future...


Monday, July 16, 2012

Oslo Star Hat Pattern

The latest addition to my knitwear patterns is the Oslo Star Hat.  It's a knitted fair-isle hat in two colors.  The sample used Madeleine Tosh Merino Light and features a 4" brim folded over once.

If you'd like to knit it yourself, the first 10 downloads get the Oslo Star Hat Pattern half off with this code:  STAR50

You can also use the link here which automatically links to Ravelry with the coupon code already entered.  Let me know if you have any trouble with the links or the special offer code.

Friday, July 13, 2012