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Up and coming (soon)!

2016 September 26

The past year has been full with preparation. I’ve been working behind the scenes and can finally share them with you. It’s so hard to keep a secret and I’ve been allowed to be a part of some super amazing projects since last April!

First off, I’ve been fortunate to work with Janome Canada as one of their Artisans for almost a year and a half now and I’m thrilled that they’ve just loaned me the next in their series of Skyline machines – the Skyline S9 – a combination sewing and embroidery machine! This baby has above and beyond the bells and whistles. (And I thought the S7 had them all!) Lots more to come about the machine later this year.

The photos above are a sneak peek at one of my first projects – a pillow with an embroidered butterfly using one of the Anna Maria Horner designs included with the machine. My girls have kept me busy with requests for embroidery on everything as I practice and prepare a new post series, coming later this year!

Creativ Festival is coming again soon – October 27-29 in Toronto – and I’ve been invited back! This time I’m speaking and teaching a Janome-sponsored workshop too – eeek! (Sooooo nervous, and sooooo excited!)

Remember the Fat Quarter Skirt tutorial above? I’ll be teaching a 3 hour hands on workshop where everyone will sew one! This is a great beginner project. And I’m thrilled to fuel lots of new sewists’ passion with the ability to sew a simple cute skirt! Of course if you are an advanced sewer and want to sew 1 or 3 of them, please come out too! I’ve got lots of tips and tricks planned, plus handouts and pattern information for sizes 2-6 available only with the class.

The Fat Quarter Skirt Workshop is at the Creativ Festival, Thursday October 27th from 9am – noon. Sign up today – the class limit is 20 people!

Be Brave and Sew – a Trunk Show

Also at Creativ Festival, I’ve been invited back to continue the series “Be Brave and Sew”, Part II! New projects, old projects and tons of tips and tricks. All to hopefully inspire everyone on the fence to become as stash-crazy as me! Or at least maybe to sew something once in a while *wink*. #sewistswillconquertheworld!

Be Brave and Sew – Part II is on the Creativ Festival Fashion Runway, Thurs and Fri at 2:30 and Saturday at 1:30. There are lots of free events planned, you can see them on the event schedule.

Last but not least (sneaky intro for later this week!) Janome has just launched the M Series and I was asked to make a set of Maker Aprons to go along with it, there’s a new blog series starting this week as well! You can check out the aprons on pages 10-12 of the M Series Look Book - almost 50 pages of free patterns, tutorials and tips from lots of super talented people.

All of these crazy-amazing opportunities couldn’t happen without you! Thanks so much for being here through it all.

My favorite part is always talking to other sewists as passionate and crazy about sewing as I am. (That’s you!)

I hope to see you at the Creativ Festival! If not, leave a comment sometime and let me know if you have any questions, or just tell me what you are sewing right now! I’d love to hear about it.

Re-purpose ruined leggings, sew them into bike shorts! {tutorial}

2016 September 20

My daughters love their leggings, into the ground – literally! They get run into the asphalt school yard, sidewalk, brick walls – you name it! Take a couple of active kids, add in some biking and school-related spills and you end up with a pile of leggings with holes in the knees.

Every year I collect the fall/winter leggings and instead of giving up on them, turn them into bike shorts. The girls wear them all spring/summer under their dresses and tees. It’s a great way to re-purpose and reuse their clothes. Chances are they will still fit and it’s not as hard as it sounds!

If you’ve sewn with knits before, you are good to go. If you’d like some tips or a refresher – you can check out 12 Tips & Tricks for Sewing Knits - lots of easy steps to get you started, and some advanced ideas as well.

It’s almost fall here and our shorts-wearing days are fast becoming few and far between. If you happen to live where the seasons are getting colder, save yourself some work for next summer and mend this year’s leggings before they are packed away – they’ll be ready to wear when you unpack them in the spring! #organized #momoftheyear

How to Mend Leggings with Holes in the Knees

Tip: This will work with track pants too!

Use this tutorial to fix your child’s (or your own!) leggings, by turning them into bike shorts. If you want, use the bonus tutorial to add in a little extra detail with some ruching and buttons.

You will need:

  • Ruined leggings (with a tear or hole at or below the knee)
  • Matching thread
  • Ballpoint/jersey or twin needle
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine and your go-to sewing supplies
  • Optional: Eight inches of ¼” elastic and six buttons

CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS.

 

Happy mending!

My Daughter’s Quilt

2016 September 17

Whew – time flies when you are turning your house upside down and moving everyone around! I want to make sure I squeeze a post into this week though, and I’m excited to share a throw quilt with you today.

Waaaaay back at the Creativ Festival in April, Rita from Fabric Please gave my youngest the cutest bundle of Kate and Birdie fabric. Four fat quarters to use for her very own sewing project! We decided that it should be a quilt and off we went one weekend, her and I sharing the task of piecing it together on her Janome New Home 3/4 size machine.

I have to admit, when we got the bundle I was not sure how we could create something large enough to cuddle under. But with some thought and a brilliant 4-at-a-time-HST sewing tutorial, we succeeded! I added a bit of fabric from my stash to the ends,some stripey red for the binding and we were good to go.

What about the backing you say? Ummm yes – the un-matchy backing fabric… (insert blushing embarrassed emoji here) She chose the blue ice cream flannel on her last trip to the fabric store. I almost couldn’t go through with it… I mean it DOESN’T MATCH! And it’s permanent… argh – in a quilt no less! But she was five and it was “perfect” to her – so that’s what it needed to be. Don’t argue with the child that wants to learn to sew! (She was also adamant that the middle striped block should be vertical – and not horizontal…. *sigh*)

In the end, I did quite a bit of the sewing, we worked together on the fat quarter HST’s and she decided on the final layout. We sewed them together and then it was up to me to finish the borders, binding and quilting. Which, I LOVE! It is a simple diamond pattern and it turned out great! I made them as large as I could and used the HST diagonals as a guide for the stitching. I’m definitely going to do more diagonal quilting like this in the future.

By the way there’s a #momfail video of her opening her “surprise” (finished quilt) and not giving me quite the reaction I was expecting. Ooops! She’s a good sport about it anyhow :)

Do your kids like to sew? What do they like to make best?

Oh – and she sewed wearing my second most favorite dress make – ever! That she just outgrew…. argh. I may never, ever get rid of this one!

Back to School… already!

2016 September 9

Not sure how the fall sneaks up on me, all of a sudden it’s our first week of school. It seems every year the summer goes by a bit faster. The re-set to our schedule is always refreshing, despite not wanting to say goodbye to our lazy summer pajama days!

Speaking of fall, our fall weather is not here! We abandoned our new “first day of school” jeans and grabbed shorts instead since we have had heat alert days all week and the kids’ school doesn’t have air conditioning.

As is the custom – we took “first day” photos on our front porch. I searched through the blog and found some photos of my oldest from 2012 – she’s so little! We’ve got 2013, then 2015 as well – it’s so fun to look back and watch them grow up.

This year my oldest is almost 9 and in Grade 4, the little one is 6 and starting Grade 1. Both of them have been great through the newly re-scheduled week and are loving it. I’m so glad they are excited to go in the morning!

I’m also looking forward to the second annual Daddy -Daughter Weekend coming up. LOVE that my husband and the girls can spend some fun time way together. I’ve been getting ready by making them all matchy pyjamas – so they don’t forget about me while they are away. (hee hee!)

My plans for the coming weekend? I’m hoping to get some quilting done! I’ve got so many almost-finished quilt tops and projects I’d love to finish up. It’s hard trying not to get too far ahead with plans, I’m hoping to recharge for the fall too!

What would you sew if you had an entire weekend to yourself?

My Six Year Old’s Cat Birthday Party

2016 September 2

Wow – did I just say six?! Craziness – my little baby is so big! This year for her birthday party she requested a cat theme and I was really happy to comply. This party was the simplest we’ve pulled off yet – just add cat ears to everything!

Since she is a summer baby, we have had parties each year at my in-law’s pool. A bit ironic, since real cats would have nothing to do with the water! It’s so nice to be able to sit around and let the kids work off their party-sugar in the pool.

I saved a ton of inspiration in my Cat Birthday Party Pinterest board. Thank goodness for all the amazing and creative people on the interwebs! We copied a lots of our ideas from there.

My oldest used her drawing skills to make most of the signs. I tried to make a cat cake – pink as per the party girl’s request. It turned out super cute – but my buttercream melted a bit in heat. The sides of the cake slipped and the cat ended up sitting in a puddle of frosting – yummy – but not exactly as planned. (Next year’s goal – better buttercream!)

All the party photos look a bit bedraggled since we couldn’t keep her out of the pool long enough to set up before photos. Life will go on! #justkeepingitreal

What is your favorite kids’ party theme? (I might be planning next year already!)

 

Quick Alphabet Panel Projects

2016 August 25

This blog post is brought to you today by the letters “L” and “B” and by the number 2! Kudos to everyone who remembers where that reference is from. Ah, the days of childhood!

When I worked with my sponsor Fabric Spark to make my daughter’s isogram mini-quilt earlier this year, I wanted to make sure I used up the other letters in the alphabet panel. Enter two quick and easy projects with the letters “L” and “B”. Fabric Spark is sold out of this Tamara Kate panel – but has the Joie de Vivre – Joyeax Alphabet from Bari J in stock – it’s just as pretty!

First, I sewed up a quick quilted pillow for my daughter’s friend as a birthday gift. I really, really loved making this pillow. Using up scraps and piecing them log-cabin-style made a quick and easy finish. (My husband had just bought me the perfect tulip bouquet for the photo shoot – super extra bonus points for him!) I always love the quilting, it’s just so satisfying – and always looks amazing. I even dug out my rusty free-motion skills to make a few loops as well. The automatic settings on my Janome Skyline S7 are really helpful – they set everything up for you!

The second project I made was a monogrammed hand towel for my mom’s birthday this July – though she may never use it for fear of dirt! Their last name begins with “B”. I used a simple hand-towel, turned under the edges of the fabric and stitched the letter on. If I had more time I would have loved to embroider some texture into the block. But since I was finishing it the morning we were leaving to take it to her – I wasn’t able to! #procraftinators #unite!

Since I think I have an “M” and a “P” in my alpha-stash (it’s a thing!) I am excited to make my kids some monogrammed pillows too. We are playing “musical rooms” in our house this summer. Moving the sewing room to the (much larger) basement space (yay!) so the kids will each have their own space. We’ve got a “Red Riding Hood” room on tap for the little one and a “pink/teal-blue/yellow” design up for the oldest. Kids are fun and I can’t wait to see how their rooms turn out!

Quilts at the Creek

2016 August 22

Before I get too far past the event – because it’s going on a month now (already!) – I want to talk about Quilts at the Creek. I was thrilled to be asked to speak in one of their Trunk Show presentations this year – and the venue and event don’t disappoint either. My kids even got to help with the Trunk Show on Saturday and they were so excited!

Quilts at the Creek is an outdoor quilt show held at Black Creek Pioneer Village – and it’s gorgeous! I’m sure you all know that I don’t profess to be a quilter, but I do love them and was blown away by how amazing they look when they are hung outside. It’s so different from the one-of photos you see online. And there are so many quilts in so many different styles. All of them hung side-by-side. Really something fun to go see.

The Trunk Shows are held in the Town Hall, which makes for a really unique set up! I loved talking to everyone I met and hearing about their sewing projects and experiences. I really enjoyed my Sunday presentation to a bit smaller group because I was able to hand around the projects and chat back and forth better with everyone. Hearing what you all have to say is my favorite!

This show really was for the whole family. Along with seeing the quilts, we were able to see Black Creek Pioneer Village. The kids loved hearing about how to weave fabric and rugs and how to make the yarn they wove with. My husband even enjoyed it. Lots to see and do, even if you are not a quilt lover.

I will leave you with photos of a few of my very favorite quilts, with close-up shots of the quilting of most of them. I’ve tried to credit each maker as best I can. Enjoy!

 

Under Another Cover – Kat Akerfeldt

Kathy Doughty (no quilt name given)

Celeste Compion (Meerkat Shweshwe) – Indigo Shweshwe Half Square

Yet Another Scrappy Quilt – Nadine Wright

Purrr…fectly Russian Blue – Joanne Hannon Shaw

My New Favorite Bag ~ the Chobe from Elle Puls

2016 August 15

I try not to start my blog posts with “I’m so excited to share” – but today I can’t help it – I’m really so excited about my new bag! It’s the Chobe from Elle Puls – same pattern designer that brought us the amazing Bethioua top. When Elke emailed me a few months ago, I was so happy to accept her invite to try the new pattern. My previous everyday bag’s zipper had just broken and this pattern was a perfect replacement – right down to the exact size and style! I took my Chobe on vacation in July and I’ve been using it every day since.

So I made it in gold! I really had to think hard about this… I’ve never carried around a gold bag – but I wanted to use my stash as much as possible. Maybe if we call it beige or champagne it would be ok?! I really don’t mind the colour now that I’ve made it. It helps that it matches everything – which is great because I’m a very non-fussy bag carrier and don’t switch them according to what I’m wearing. The thin stretchy hole-filled vinyl adds a bit of a sporty look. And I happened to have exactly the right Kona cotton to use as a lining. And exactly enough leather in the right shade to match for the base and shoulder strap!

I really like patterns that allow me to learn new sewing techniques, and the Chobe is great for that. The illustrated instructions are really easy to follow and allow for a super-professional finish.

Here are a few new things I learned:

  • Rivets! I got to use them for the first time and I LOVE them! They made this bag look super professional and I was really excited to learn that they are really easy to install. One of them loosened two weeks into my vacation, but that was easily fixed when I got home. And now I own the rivet tools I want to use them everywhere – yay!
  • Hardware. Ok, so I’ve used bag hardware before – but I love how ready-made these Snap Hooks look. And the matchy rivets and rectangular rings  - have I mentioned how much I love rivets yet?!
  • Recessed Zipper. I have a confession to make, the Cat-Eye Zipper pouch was supposed to have a recessed zip – but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work! I was so grateful for Elke’s straightforward instructions. It comes together so well and I’m so proud of how it looks!

Here are a few things I changed when I made my Chobe:

  • Cross-body strap. I used the snap hooks to connect a simple cross-body strap. I copied my well-loved Coach everyday bag and snapped them onto the same rings that connect the shoulder strap. This lets you remove the long strap for a cleaner look.
  • Flat Front. The fabric I chose didn’t really allow the pieced front to be made easily – since it has holes (and stretch), I needed to line each place I used it. Again, I copied my everyday bag and created a 2 piece front instead. The top-stitching makes it look a bit more ready-made.
  • Interfaced Lining. My bag was pretty un-structured because I used thin vinyl instead of the recommended denim. To compensate a bit I added a layer of interfacing to the lining and it’s worked really well.
  • Strap Attachment. Because I was so short on matching leather I had to shorten the shoulder strap and attach it creatively. I love how the straps are sewn on the outside of the original bag. But since my fabric was short I sewed them into the top seam instead.

Here are a few things I would do next time:

  • Up Cycling. With the Canadian Tuxedo back in style (denim on denim on denim!), I figure we could add a bag to the mix? The original Chobe is made from a recycled pair of old jeans. Down to adding the pocket and label. The casual style would be fun to pull off.
  • Outer Exposed Zipper. One day I will learn! For an outer zip to look professional the lining should match the outer, so the fabric doesn’t show on the outside of the bag. Argh. I did this the wrong way on my Makers Tote as well.
  • Height. I might make the bag slightly shorter – by about 2 inches or so – since my kids are older now and I don’t need as large of a bag to stash things!

Have you ever attempted to make a bag? How did it go?


In the end my on-loan Janome Skyline S7 sewed through layers and layers of leather with no issues what so ever. The hardest part was getting used to sewing the vinyl outer. I did find that since the pattern was in centimeters I needed to do a bit of conversion before I started. But Elke includes a printable ruler, and I typed all of the measurements into Google and let it convert them for me – easy peasy!

I am so proud of this bag! And am loving the interior fabric a ton. It was stashed to eventually become a skirt, but this seems way better, since I get to see it everyday! All of the professional tips and tricks, the instructions on how to make your own leather handle, the recessed zip. So good!

I highly recommend the Chobe bag pattern. Elke has done a wonderful job on it, and she’s included tons of creative ideas to make it your own – along with great inspiration photos as well. Hats off to her! This bag is going to be my go-to pattern for a long, long time.

My Sister’s Makers Tote

2016 August 8

It’s SUMMER! It’s been fun and busy over here – with things happening every weekend – as you can tell from the infrequent posting going on over here! After visiting Chicago, Minneapolis and Green Bay on a two week vacation and recovering from the craziness of Thanks to YOU Week and two trunk shows at Quilts at the Creek, I’ve been cottaging in Killarney, Ontario without cell service and then planning my youngest’s 6th birthday party – cat themed! Whew! I’m hoping to get better at quick, fun photo-based posts so I can share them all with you.

With all of this going on, I haven’t sewn anything significant in 5 weeks. I’m going a bit crazy over here and need to get my fix in! It doesn’t help that my sewing room is a mess – which is not really conducive to making anything. Since we don’t have any major plans before school starts in September, I’m hoping to blog about past projects and get on with making some new ones so I can share them with you in the fall. I’ve got some photos from a few years ago to share!

Today’s project is one of my favorite things – and I got to give it to my sister earlier this year for her birthday! I posted progress photos of the project on Instagram in black and white, so she hopefully couldn’t tell what I was making. It’s a fun series of photos to go through!

This Makers Tote is a pattern from Noodlehead, one of my favorite bloggers and bag designers – I love her simplicity. Nothing is over-complicated, the projects have clean lines and are super-useful – my favorite! The linen is my current favorite fabric crush, Mochi Dot from Moda, gorgeous!

This is also the first time I used by Annie’s Soft and Stable and I love the easy structure it gives the bag. I used it again in these cute purses for my kids and they stand up to wear so well. They keep their super-crisp shape no matter how much they get tossed around. And it’s great for creating a nice quilted look. The only thing I’m not crazy about is that it’s on the pricey side. In the long run, though, it is really worth it, since it does create a more professional looking project. (I’ve ended up with some Pellon Flex Foam and Bosal In-R-Form through different recent sales and I’m interested in comparing pricing and how the final product looks.)

The Makers Tote comes in two sizes, and I made the smaller version. I’d love to make the large one sometime as well. My friend Lisa (Lisa In Port Hope) made one and brought it to one of our sewing night and it’s a really nice size – perfect for carting larger projects around. I can also see my kids using it as a small overnight bag, complete with pockets for toiletries!

This bag, despite taking me a long time to sew in small time allotments, is really simple to make. It’s very straight forward, and if you have a bit of experience quilting, you can add that in as well. The only tricky bit is sewing the binding around the bottom curves. My Janome Skyline S5 (on loan at the time) handled it beautifully! I even surprised myself and hand-stitched the binding! Not so bad as I assumed, and very satisfying. We might eventually make a hand-quilter out of me – just hang on until my kids get a bit bigger first!

The only thing I changed from the original pattern, was to sew the free end of the zipper to the outside panel – since the one I used was too long, and I didn’t want to shorten it. If you do this, make a pretty cover for the end of the zip and be sure to leave enough room for it to open all the way. I really like how it looks – a bit cleaner without the end of the zipper hanging off the edge – but it was tricky to do, since it has to be sewn after the bag is fully finished. Maybe would be simpler with a properly sized zipper next time.

As usual, with any Noodlehead pattern, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this one as well. And have you seen her cute new free basket pattern? I’m going work that into my organizing plan somewhere soon!

Is your summer busy? What are you working on right now?

Pattern: Noodlehead Makers Tote Green Fabric & Stabilizer: Linen Mochi Dot, Horizon Flora by Kate Spain for Moda, by Annie’s Soft & Stable (from my sponsor, Mad about Patchwork) Orange Fabric: Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille for Moda (from my stash)

Thanks to YOU Week: 4th Blogiversary Winners!

2016 July 28

Hooray, it’s finally time to reveal who won the Thanks to YOU Week Giveaways!

As usual this is bittersweet for me, I’d love to give prizes to everyone! That said, I am super happy for the 15 winners! Many thanks to these amazing shops for providing our generous prizes!

All the winners have been emailed :)  

Frieda T. won this gorgeous bundle from Country Clothesline!
 

Gillian S. won 4 Charm Packs from Craft de Ville!
Rachelle B. won a $40 shop credit from Fabric Please!
Laura M. won this Half Yard Bundle of Eternal Sunshine from Fabric Spark!

Melissa G and Sherry VF each won a $25 Gift Certificate from Fabric Spot!

Genevieve C. won a $40 Shop Discount at Fabricville.com!

Donna V. won this Lecien jelly roll from Flare Fabrics!
Delaine E. won the August Full Stash Bundle from Fridays Off Fabric Shop!
Allison T. won a $50 Store Credit at Funky Monkey Fabrics!
Emma C. won this fat quarter bundle of Cotton + Steel Christmas fabric!
Melanie V. won these 3 fat quarter bundles from Meerkat Shweshwe!
Sarah C. won  $50 Gift Certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop!
Pauline P. won a bundle of Elixer fat quarters from Stay Home Fabrics!
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