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A quilt for Baby Cora…and the rest of us

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I’ve made a few baby quilts in my day. When I started sewing with my own machine, in my own apartment, I made baby quilts…a lot of baby quilts. At that time, I liked not having to follow a pattern and making it up as I went along. And on those early ones, I did make it up as I went along. They were kinda rough. It was a time when I didn’t have a whole lot of sewing tools, and the tools that I did have were somewhat limited. I think my first sewing machine made three different stitches and a buttonhole, and that made sewing garments pretty darn challenging. Maybe that’s why I gravitated to quilts. These days I’ve acquired some better tools and I prefer sewing clothes, but when the situation presents itself, I can still get into sewing some straight lines and squaring a few edges.

Recently, the situation presented itself. A friend from work was/is having her first baby and her graduate students wanted to give her a present. I suggested a baby quilt. I told them that if they made the squares (with fabric markers), I would do the sewing.  We decided that each student would create a square with a two word piece of advice for Baby Cora–a verb followed by something else–and that each student would sign her square. After I got the colors of the nursery, I found some coordinating prints and fabric markers (fabric markers are key–sharpies bleed.) We gave out the fabric and markers and the students created their squares.

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Now, I love words and I love fabric, and truth be told I adore these students, so I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to like the squares that the students created. But honestly, I had no idea that these squares would be so awesome. Their words, thoughts, and handwriting are just so beautiful. They kind of took my breath away. And the idea that these young women are giving advice to girl who is yet to be born–and their pieces of advice are full of such strength, compassion, tolerance, and beauty–well, it was just what my weary and scared heart needed.

When I was a child I had a security blanket that was crocheted for me by my great-aunt Ruth. It had a chevron design in pink, blue, and white. I couldn’t sleep without it, and I probably had it for a little too long. I remember having to hide it when my cousins came to spend the night. But any shame I felt was offset by how safe and secure that blanket made me feel. Maybe that’s why I started making baby quilts in the first place. Maybe it was an unconscious attempt to spread a little comfort in a world that is sometimes scary and confusing.

I am going to turn fifty in three months, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve held that beloved blanket of mine. The last year has been scary and confusing. It’s made me especially worried for all of the young women I hold dear. When I started sewing this blanket, I thought I was making something that could potentially comfort Baby Cora, but as I read the words that these strong young women have written, I realize that I am the one feeling comforted. We are going to be ok. These women are strong, fierce, and courageous. They will show Cora the way. We are going to be ok.

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Jalie 3675

IMGP5673I’ve had my eye on the Charlie Bomber since this pattern was released!! After I got my pattern (paper not download) I started working on procuring some fabric. Although I desperately want to make a floral bomber, I couldn’t find any floral scuba that was jacket-weight. So I decided to try neoprene.

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I ordered some black/white reversible neoprene from Mood. It’s heavy duty fabric with a LOT of body. I also ordered some striped, ribbed trim. I’ve had all of these items stashed away in my sewing room for about a month or two, and then Jalie put out  this tutorial. I took it as a sign and set to work on my bomber without delay.

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I cut a size S and it fits perfectly. Although I’m sure the written instructions for this pattern are great (they always are), I did not use them at all! Instead, I opened up the YouTube tutorial, watched a little, pushed pause, and sewed a few seams. I did this all the way through and it was awesome! I wish all patterns had a set of video instructions.

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This was my first time sewing neoprene. It wasn’t too bad, but it was a little bit of a learning curve. The trickiest part was learning that neoprene does not forgive and forget. Ripped seams and needle holes do not disappear–it’s like leather in that way. Even so, I do like this fabric.

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I do love this pattern and if I can find some heavy-weight floral scuba, I’m making another one. I also think a wool bomber could be pretty cool! Louise wants a bomber too!

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BTW, the striped dress is also a recent make–McCall’s 7122 with short sleeves. I made it using some knit from CaliFabrics. This was the first time I ordered from them and really like the quick turn-around and fabrics themselves.

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I’ve made this pattern A LOT, but this was the first time with short sleeves.

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Kwik Sew 4175

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For the past two months I haven’t been much of a seamsta. Spring finally showed up and so I’ve been spending my weekends in the garden. However the Pattern Review Weekend is in less than a week, so I decided I better turn in my shovel and turn on the Bernina. I’m not sure what the weather is going to be–could be warm or cool–but I thought Kwik Sew 4175 could work for both if I had a cardigan.

Based on the finished measurements, I decided to make the extra small. Let me say that I never cut the extra small option–my bust is 35 inches and I’m usually a 12 in the big 4–but I was worried about how drapey the finished top would be. I’m not the tallest woman in the world and big, flowy tops don’t always work on me.

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I used a rayon challis that I bought from Fabric.com and stretch pleather for the contrast pieces. The top went together lickety split–the only tricky part was the pleather. I used my teflon foot, but the pleather was still stretching and buckling. I finally reduced the pressure on my presser foot and that fixed the problem.

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I think I’m going to wear it with these white-denim, Jalie Eleonores:

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And then I’ll take this new Jalie cocoon in case it’s chilly:

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What do you think? I also made a new Jalie raglan with a raised neckline:

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I might take it for back-up. This might be just the kind of comfy shirt I’ll need to wear so that I can carry  yards and yards of new fabric.

The Sudoku Wardrobe Contest

Purple Pleather Tweed

I am calling my collection: “Who doesn’t need more purple, pleather, and tweed?!” I chose this name because:

(a) It’s true. Do people really have enough purple, pleather, and tweed in their closets?? I don’t–although I now have more than I did before.

(b) It’s catchy and it rhymes, and for that I need to give props to my husband. He is the author of this title. After too many weird and failing attempts–including one that included Grape Ape (remember that cartoon??), another with “Purple People Eater,” and then one with Tweather (a combination of tweed and pleather), I jumped at his rhyming, yet comprehensive suggestion. Genious!

Here’s the final grid for the contest:

4X4 collage with patterns

By the contest rules, the grid needed to include: 4 shoes, 4 tops, 4 bottoms, and 4 accessories. All of these need to combine to make outfits on the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. I tried to photoshop a grid that included the original grid plus the full outfits, but I couldn’t find a way to get both diagonals in. Here’s an image with everything but the top-right to bottom-left diagonal:

5X5 collage

The rules state that you must make at least 10 out of 12 of the garments (tops, bottoms, and accessories.) The rules also say that accessories can include “sweaters, cardigans, jackets, blazers, scarf, wrap, purse, or glove.” Here’s what I actually made:

Tops:

  1. Jalie 2805–purple, long-sleeve crewneck
  2. Kwik Sew 4069–grey turtleneck
  3. Kwik Sew 4069–lavender turtleneck
  4. Butterick 5526–purple & white striped dress shirt

Bottoms:

  1. Jalie 3461–black, faux suede Eleonores
  2. McCall’s 7392–purple, button-front skirt
  3. Butterick 6326–black pleather skirt
  4. New Look 6312–pleather & tweed skirt with contrasting panels

Accessories

  1. Simplicity 2309–tweed jacket
  2. Butterick 6328–pleather & tweed jacket with contrasting sleeves
  3. Jalie 3353–oversized, cocoon cardigan
  4. Kwik Sew 3764–pleather, moto jacket

Although, I had a few failures and ended up back at the drawing board a few times, I ended up sewing 12 garments that go together to make at least 10 outfits. Here they are:

rows 1-4

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How about those electric-purple tights?????? I need new tights–maybe more of a muted purple.

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Now here are the outfits that result from combining the garments in each Soduko column:

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The picture-taking took so long, that I started losing light. The pic above is my desperate attempt to find places that were not in shadows. It cracks me up.

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Here are the two outfits that result from combining the diagonals:

diagonals

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This is a kooky outfit, but I gotta admit, I do love the way the sweaterknit looks with the tweed. I know it’s a lot of pattern, but I like it when different patterns kind of hurt your eyes, but kind of don’t.

These are actually my favorite outfits from this contest:

my favorites

So two months, twelve garments, and lots of pleather later, I am done!! This was really a fun contest. I liked the challenge of coordinating these garments in very specific ways. And, it turns out, I really like sewing with pleather!!!

Butterick 5526: Sudoku Contest

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I did it! I finished making my garments for the Sudoku Wardrobe Contest!! Tomorrow I will post my contest entry, but today I present Butterick 5526.

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I made View B using this purple and white striped shirting that I bought from Mood. I cut a size 8 and it worked, but just barely. Next time I might go up to a 10 or go down to 1/4″ seams. The pattern is pretty straight forward and I made it with no modifications. It was sunny in Boonetowne today, so I took some pictures outside, but the fabric looks all crazy and psychedelic. See:

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Do you see the wavy stuff going on with the fabric? It doesn’t look like that in person. I took some pictures inside and the wavy stuff disappeared.

 

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I like this shirt a lot. To me, it looks really crisp and I like that.Here it is with its Sudoku skirt:

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Stay tuned–tomorrow I post the whole Sudoku enchilada.

Soduko Contest: Kwik Sew 3764

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Y’all, this might be my most favorite thing that I have ever made!! It’s a great pattern but it’s also a little complicated. 5 zippers complicated.

Zippers 1, 2, & 3:

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Zippers 4 & 5

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I used this amazing pleather that I got from Fabric.com. It’s super soft and very “leather looking.” I used my teflon foot, which helped a lot, but it was tricky going because I couldn’t pin. Plus the leather side was a little slippery. I used a lot of wonder tape–especially with the zippers.

But honestly, even with all the tricky parts to this pattern, it’s my favorite make.

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The pattern called for a button below the zipper, but I went with a snap.

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Seriously y’all, I want to make more of these. How many pleather moto jackets should one woman have???? I say, as many as she can make!!

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Soduko Contest: McCall’s 7392

McCalls 7392

I’m trying to catch up on my posting!! This past week on my sewcation, I made McCall’s 7392. I made View B, at the View A length, out of a purple wool suiting that I had in my stash. I think I bought this fabric from fashionfabricsclub.com a year or two ago.

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I cut a size 12 and made no modifications. It went together lickety-split with no issues. The top stitching required some slow and careful stitching, but last year I splurged on a 1/4 seam foot and this foot makes topstitching so much easier. I even use this foot for topstitching that is less than 1/4 inch. The openings on this foot make it so much easier when straight lines are important.

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I got my machine serviced before the Soduko Contest began, and boy am I glad that I did. My programmable button-hole wasn’t working. It turns out the sensor on my button-hole foot was out of alignment and it couldn’t “talk” to the machine. Thank goodness that problem got corrected because the programmable button-holes really came in handy on this skirt. I feel pretty good about the button-holes themselves, but I’m not super keen on that button-hole an inch away from the hem. I followed the directions for placing the buttons, but if I sew this skirt again, I’m going to change the button placement.

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In the Soduko Contest, I’m going to wear this skirt with my grey turtleneck, grey boots, and a tweed jacket, but here it is with my oversized cocoon sweater:

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