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Piles of things…

2015 February 24

See that pile. That’s my stack of things I’d like to properly photograph and share with you. Add that to the envelope full of ideas I’ve got written down and “in general” things to do this week and I’ve decided to take the week “off”! (Yup.)

I’ve been trying to plan a week to go through (absolutely) everything in our house since September. Sort, give away, throw out, re-organize… I’m so excited that the time has finally come! In fact, I’ve been trying to sew clothing for one entire week as well, but that hasn’t worked out as yet. We’ve been in our current home for just over 7 years now and we’ve done this once before – but not on such a large scale. Since it’s pretty quiet around here it seemed like a good week to do it.

I worked hard yesterday and now my basement is filling up with an ever-growing array of baskets and boxes full of “similar things“, and “things that go together” and “things that don’t go anywhere“. The plan is to go through the whole house this way. Empty every drawer, closet shelf and box in storage. Only keep what is most important – then put them away at the end. That’s going to be the hard part! I’m excited, though, that there is likely going to need to be a trip to IKEA for some organizational shelving and boxes when we are done – hooray! (Something, anything, to keep me going….)

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. I’ll see you next week with the shweshwe winner (Last day to sign up is today – Feb 24, 2015) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to post a new tutorial for a cute zippered-something I’ve been working on. (YAY!) If you want to follow along I’ll be posting on Instagram, and I’ll try not to scare you too much with crazy photos of piles of things everywhere!

5 Extraordinary Girls {pattern review}

2015 February 19

I love the chance to use a new pattern, and this one is no different! It’s my stop on the “Extraordinary Girl” pattern tour, and I get to review both the women’s and girl’s version of this pattern from Filles à Maman. This post is also a futile attempt to show you all 5 of the shirts I’ve made without over sharing and too many photos! (These shirts are addictive.)

Hang in through everything and there’s a list of blog tour stops for more inspiration, and a giveaway! {Disclaimer: I received these patterns as part of this blog tour. All opinions are my own, I wouldn’t have made 5 of these if I didn’t like the pattern! Thanks for reading.}

I love the name of this shirt. I thought it was strange at first, but when I wore it I thought about the name and it actually changed my mood, for the better. It seemed the perfect thing to put on my kids too. They are extraordinary in so many ways! I decided to focus on my youngest today, but I did make a fifth shirt for my oldest as well that you can kindoff see on Instagram (it’s behind the flowers).

I haven’t used a pattern from Filles à Maman before, and I was so happy to find it was well laid out and easy to follow. The instructions for the girl’s and women’s patterns are the same. By the 3rd shirt I got the time to make one (with a serger) down to 1 hour. I can’t complain about that – it included cutting time!

I did use my serger for every seam, except the black one I made for myself. That was the last one I made, and the seams are more precise so it fits much better than the green and gray one. I will likely use the sewing machine for each seam, then serge to finish my edges on my shirts in the future. The serger works just fine for the girls’ clothing, since the fit doesn’t need to be as exact.

Both patterns cover a wide range of sizes. The women’s pattern is sized XS to XXL. The girl’s comes in sizes 12 months through 14. All steps in both patterns are well illustrated and the instructions are very clear. If you have a good handle on sewing knits you will not have any trouble with this pattern.

The sizing is true to the measurements as well. My 4 1/2 year old daughter is wearing a size 5 with the sides graded out to a size 6 to better fit her frame. The length is a 6, since she wears a lot of leggings, I like longer shirts! My shirt is a size small with the sides graded out to a Medium through the waist to the hem, and I used the Large length – again with the long shirts! Though, I think we are long-waisted, so the extra length adds just enough extra to compensate. This shirt also has a slight high-low hem, super comfortable, and I love how it looks.

I managed to use only stashed fabrics and my shelves are a little bit more empty as a result – hooray! I finally got to use the castle scene knit I let my 3 year old pick out over a year ago. It arrived and was so bright I couldn’t bring myself to use it. Now that I have I wish I had made something with it sooner – the shirt turned out just right to match her happy personality! The gray and green in my shirt are solid jersey knit  from Jo-Ann Fabric. The purple print is as well, it’s slightly sheer and works perfectly with a tank top underneath. I really like how the three-quarter sleeves turned out on that one.

Apparently, we were supposed to look serious in this photo. #whenkidstakeover

The Ann Kelle mermaid shirt was a bit of an experiment. Actually, I had totally different knits pulled out to make her second shirt – but I wanted to try something. Something that incorporated this sewing trend to add a bit of gold to everything! I decided to make the back and top yoke panel out of a woven fabric. And I used a stretchy gold fabric for the front and back neckband. SO much more fun that way! The green striped fabric is a woven I up-cycled from a large t-shirt.

Since the pattern calls for knits I was nervous that it wouldn’t fit, so I added 1 1/2″ to the centre back when I cut it out. Amazingly, and hooray, it worked. Though I would cut at least one size larger through the top of the shirt if I did it again. The shoulders really are too small because the woven fabric doesn’t stretch like a knit would.

Summary? Buy the pattern (it’s only on sale until Friday the 20th!). It’s great and I really like it a lot. I’ve already got another one waiting to be cut out. It’s purple, with bunnies – for my 7 year old , ’nuff said!

Find more inspiration from the other stops on the blog tour here:

Monday Feb. 16th ~    Call Ajaire The Crazy TailorFrom a BoxSew Out of Control

The Extraordinary Girl Shirt Patterns are on sale during this blog tour – February 16-20.  The Girl’s or Women’s Pattern is $9.79 $7.00, the Girl’s & Women’s bundled together is $19.58 $13.00.

There are two prize bundles full of patterns for you to win!  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, the giveaway is open until February 20, 2015.

Bundle #1:• Filles a Maman 2 patterns winner’s choice
• Sofilantjes – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• Julie pattern by Muffin Head
• AimeLea & Finn – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• FABulous Home Sewn -1 pattern winner’s choice
• Fancy Schmancy – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• E+M Patterns – 1 pattern winner’s choice
Bundle #2:• Filles a Maman 2 patterns winner’s choice
• Sofilantjes – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• Fancy Schmancy – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• MCM Studio Designs – 1 pattern winner’s choice
• MandyK Designs -1 pattern winner’s choice
• Striped Swallow Designs – 1 pattern winner’s choice

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meerkat Shweshwe – South African Fabric available in Canada & US! {+ discount & giveaway}

2015 February 17

I’m excited to bring you a fun and different installment to our Canadian Online Fabric Shop interview series today! When I was at the Creativ Festival last fall I found a booth for Meerkat Shweshwe – I was super curious about their fabrics (you’ll see why later), so I stopped to talk to them. Turns out they are a wholesaler for imported shweshwe fabric from South Africa.

I was drawn to their booth because of the unique selection of fabric. Nothing like you’ve seen before. Unless of course, you’ve got some shweshwe in your stash! Today I am interviewing this wholesaler and linking over to 4 shops that carry their unique fabric. There’s a discount for one of the US shops and a giveaway too!

I’m so excited to interview Céleste, the owner of Meerkat Shweshwe, today. We’ve been working back-and-forth for a month or so to get you some great information about this unique fabric. Including lots of photos, where to get it and how to care for it!

Thread Riding Hood: How did you get connected to selling shweshwe?

Céleste: I was born in South Africa, the home of Shweshwe, and brought up in a family of sewing and knitting enthusiasts. When my family moved to Canada in 2001 I could only get hold of Shweshwe on trips “back home” or when we had visitors from South Africa. In 2013 I visited Da Gama Textiles in South Africa to investigate becoming an importer and distributor of Shweshwe.

Thread Riding Hood: What is a bit of the history of this type of fabric?

Céleste: The history of all modern printed cottons starts with indigo dyed fabric. Indigo is a deep blue plant dye that originated in India and made its way to Europe in Roman times. Shweshwe’s history is connected to indigo dyed cotton prints in Europe, called “Blaudruck”. The name “shweshwe” comes from King Moshoeshoe I, who was given a gift of indigo printed cotton by French missionaries during the 19th century. When European settlers moved into Southern Africa, they introduced these indigo prints to the ethnic groups they met, who assimilated them into their culture. Although fashions changed and technology improved, Shweshwe has remained in demand in South Africa until today. It is sometimes called the “tartan” of South Africa. Click here for a more detailed history.

Thread Riding Hood: Why is shweshwe unique?

Céleste: There are quite a few differences between shweshwe and other fabrics.

  • The designs look like reproductions, but they are authentic classics from the days of the early development of automated cotton printing in the 18th century.
  • Shweshwe is still produced using an old method of discharge printing dating back to the days of early industrialization.
  • The fabric is only 90cm/36″ wide, because it is printed using technology from a time when all fabric looms were that width – think of original Liberty Lawns.
  • Shweshwe has a distinctive smell and stiffness from the dressing still used as in days gone by when this was protection for the long sea voyage from England to the colonies. One wash and the fabric is soft and lovely to use.
  • Shweshwe has an authenticated backstamp.

Thread Riding Hood: What do you love most about working with shweshwe fabric?

Céleste: First, Nostalgia. It harks back at the classic fabrics I grew up with, in terms of old fashioned quality, versatility and a 100% cotton with a good hand. Second, Innovation. Besides producing the blue, chocolate and red classics, they keep adding modern designs in vibrant colours to their collection. Third, Social Conscience. Working with Shweshwe connects me to creating employment in South Africa, and keeping this historic fabric alive.

Thread Riding Hood: What types of projects would you recommend using shweshwe for?

Céleste: It is super versatile and can be used whenever you would normally choose 100% cotton prints. It was traditionally used for dressmaking in South Africa, but nowadays you can find it used for quilts, home decorating, and crafting. It has become a popular item on fashion runways with South African designers for both men and women, even for weddings and shoes. Check my Pinterest boards for inspiration.

 

Thread Riding Hood: Anything else we should know about working with this fabric? Prewashing? Ironing? Care? 

Céleste: You have to prewash to get rid of the dressing and then it will shrink a little, as the threads settle after the dressing is washed out. Thereafter you treat it like all other 100% cottons. You don’t have to iron it, but if you want that crisp look of ironed cotton, you’ll get it in spades from Shweshwe! It is very durable: I have a dress I still wear that is 25 years old. 

Thread Riding Hood: Do you have a personal favorite story that involves a particular shweshwe project that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?

Céleste: In 2002 as a new Canadian I stumbled upon the Quilt of Belonging at the Waterloo Regional Quilt Festival. I volunteered to make the block for Namibia, because the South African block was already made. I used Shweshwe in the border of that block, never knowing that about 10 years later I would be importing it. You can see the block here.

Thread Riding Hood: How can we get connected to buying some of this fabulous fabric?

Céleste: At present there are four stores in Canada and the USA that sell Meerkat Shweshwe: Hyggeligt Fabrics, Greenwood Quiltery, Yardwork-Etsy and Whitby Fabrics Sewing Centre. I am a wholesaler and I do not do direct sales except for an annual promotion at Creativ Festival in the Fall.

Thread Riding Hood: How can retailers arrange to order this fabulous fabric for their inventory?

Céleste: I invite retailers to contact me if they would like to carry Shweshwe in their inventory. Minimum order is 10m and minimum cuts are 5m, but for a first time order I will make 2m cuts. I also invite anyone who uses 100% cottons to produce clothing or any other items to contact me if they want to place wholesale orders for their use. My email address is celeste@meerkatshweshwe.com

Meerkat Shweshwe (from Da Gama Textiles) is available at the following shops. Yardwork (below) has given you a discount to use in her entire shop!  Check the locations – there are three in Canada (2 selling online) and Yardwork is in the US!

Yardwork on Etsy (Brooklyn, NY)

Get 15% off orders from Yardwork using the discount code “REDTHREAD”! This coupon applies to any order over $8.00 and is valid until April 17, 2015!

Hyggeligt Fabrics (London, Ontario – available online)

Greenwood Quiltery  (Guelph, Ontario – available online)

Whitby Fabrics Sewing Centre (Whitby, Ontario)

Here’s your chance to enter to win eight fat quarters of Shweshwe contemporary and classic prints!

 This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today (Feb 17th) until midnight on Tuesday evening, February 24, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I asked Céleste to be a part of this interview, I have not been compensated by Meerkat Shweshwe to write this post. I find this fabric type interesting and thought you might too. Thanks for reading!

Feature Fabric Discount – Canadian National Fabric

2015 February 13

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! This week brings another online fabric store and another discount. Just right for weekend shopping. Especially if you can convince your significant other that your gift should come in textiles! My sponsor Canadian National Fabric is generously offering a Valentine’s Special of 15% off purchases between now and February 22nd! (Scroll down for details.)

I always love finding an online shop with a huge collection and I was happily surprised when I checked in on Canadian National a while ago. They have 1200+ listings! This includes quilting cotton (& extra wide for quilt backs), denim, felt, flannel, fleece, organics, sateen and ribbon. Enough yet? I’m certain there’s something here for everyone! Canadian National even has a “Cash for Stash” Rewards Program. How does getting paid to shop sound?!

In other exciting news – owner Brigitte is planning on opening a brick and mortar shop in Caledon, Ontario this May. Ann, one of my Instagram friends, let me know that they visited about a week ago and had a great time. I’m so excited for her. (and me, since I’m close enough to visit!)

Here are a few fabrics from their New Arrivals section that are sure to inspire. (Did you see that red hooded one down there? Gotta get me some of that!)

Take advantage of this Valentine’s Special and save 15% on your purchase at Canadian National Fabric by using the code “TRHValentine15”! Discount available from Feb 13-22, 2015. Everyday BONUS: Canadian National’s regular flat rate shipping is $5 across Canada, and you can also get Free Shipping on orders over $50 (before tax)! (Flat rate shipping info for US and International)

Valentine, I’m Stuck on You! {free printable & cheesy poem}

2015 February 11

Disclaimer: The following poem may cause hilarious fits of laughter OR make you wonder why I am brave enough to post this on the internet. You have been warned! 

Mom, I need some cards, post haste!

There really is no time to waste.

Valentine’s is coming soon,

the day of red, pink, white – maroon!

Computer bound, I went upstairs,

(because our office is up there).

Drew a heart, scanned in a name,

Thought up a pun (it’s kind of lame).

Printed them on card stock, quick!

It’s not so hard, there is no trick.

Shopped to pick up craft supplies,

and stickered frogs with googly eyes.

Another aisle, I’ve just begun,

Some washi tape, I’m on the run.

Now more stickers and tattoos,

Almost done, this is good news!

Back at home, the kids create.

Stickers, tape (they’re not all straight).

Pretty soon you’ll have a stack,

with maybe some stuck on the back.

Share them with your family

They’ll pipe up, “from You, to Me?

Share them with your classmates too,

lots of fun from me to you!

Hee Hee! That was a lot of fun to write! If you’d like to make some of these yourself, click on the links/pics below to get the free PDF printable in two sizes, as shown in the drawings. (These also work for the teachers, just attach them to a pack of glue sticks!)

4×6

4-up on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper

I’ve got a few more Valentine related posts you might want to check out! Though, none of them are as fun as the one above. (However, I did write this story once…)

Plated {an extra-large Quilted Dish Mat tutorial}

2015 February 9

Good Monday  to you! About a month ago Stay Home Fabrics and I planned a tutorial for you, and little did I know that the shop would get a new owner before it got posted! So, today I get to introduce the new owner and give you a cute (and easy) quilted dish mat tutorial. Disclosure: The fabric I’m using was given to me by Stay Home Fabrics for the purpose of creating this tutorial. This is a sponsored post, and my opinions are always my own. Thanks for reading!

If you haven’t made a dish mat before, trust me, you need one! This dish mat is simple with a pieced quilted top and a bath towel as the absorbant backing. I have made tons of these and been using them for years now. It’s perfect for drying the “almost dry” dishes coming out of your dishwasher – and great when you are hand washing as well! Plus, it’s way more absorbent than a tea towel and you can customize it in the perfect fabric to match your kitchen.

When I was playing around with ideas for quilting this dish mat, I was inspired by the look of plates on a plate rack, or lined up on a wall. The Joel Dewberry, Antler fabric would make fabulous plates, don’t ya think?! That inspired the round-ish “plates” lined up in rows with solid sashing between. I made this dish mat extra large because I always have tons of plastics coming out of the dishwasher  that need a little extra drying time. This will hold all of them! Hooray! (P.S. This would also make a super-cute table runner. Just piece a few end to end for the front and use batting and backing instead of the towel for the back!)

Before we get to the tutorial, I’d like to introduce the new owner of Stay Home Fabrics, Lisa Sali! And, before we get to her bio, I am 100% certain you want to know that they are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed between Feb 9 and midnight on the 11th!

I am happy to say that Stay Home Fabrics is not moving far, Lisa is located only 10km away from where Lindsay (the previous owner) was living! Here’s a bit about Lisa…

My name is Lisa Sali and I am the proud new owner of Stay Home Fabrics.  I am married and have 3 wonderful kids.  Sewing has been around me my whole life. Now that my babies aren’t babies anymore I have realized that sewing is something I really enjoy doing; from seeing how different colours and prints go together, to finding the right pattern, all the way through to seeing the final result of a project.

When the opportunity to purchase Stay Home Fabrics arose my husband and I were very excited!  As existing business owners we saw the importance of keeping the company located in Saskatchewan.  It is also an opportunity for me to do something that I truly love to do while still being able to stay home with our children when they aren’t at school.

I am looking forward to getting to know customers new and old and continuing to provide high quality materials in great colours and patterns delivered right to your mailbox. As always if there is something you would like to see on the website please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to find exactly what you are looking for.  Stay tuned to both the website and Facebook page as there will continue to be great promo codes and bundles available.

Now that you know more about Lisa, you can head over to the shop and get some fabric for your new quilted dish mat? (Maybe one of the 45 new Art Gallery prints they just stocked!)

Details:

  • Final Size: 30″ x 21.5″
  • Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout, except for binding
  • Press each seam right after sewing it.
  • Press seams open or to one side.
  • This tutorial assumes a bit of prior quilting knowledge, but, if you have a good 1/4″ seam you should be fine!

Materials:

  • 1 Fat Quarter Quilting Cotton (or large scraps) Joel Dewberry, Birch Farm – Antler in Damask for 2 plates
  • 1 Fat Quarter Quilting Cotton (or large scraps)  Hexagon Fabric for 1 plate & 1 partial plate
  • 1 Fat Quarter Quilting Cotton (or large scraps) Joel Dewberry, Prism in Egg Blue for 1 plate & 1 partial plate
  • 1/2 metre/yard Quilting Cotton  Joel Dewberry, Birch Farm – Horse Blanket in Burlap for 1 plate & binding
  • 1/2 metre/yard Quilting Cotton Freespirit Solid for plate corners & sashing
  • 1 regular size Bath Towel for the backing
  • matching thread for piecing
  • matching thread for quilting (bobbin to match towel)
** Pre-wash your fabric & towel if desired. I decided to wash the towel and fabric together because I know this dish mat will get a lot of washing! And I wasn’t sure how much the towel would shrink – don’t want to ruin all that hard work!

 

Cut the following pieces:

  • A – 5 fussy cut squares for plates – 8 1/2″ square
  • B – 2 fussy cut rectangles for partial plates – 5″ wide by 8 1/2″ tall
  • C – 24 squares for plate block corners – 3″ square
  • D – 1 horizontal sashing strip –  30″ wide by 2 1/2″ tall
  • E – 2 horizontal sashing strips – 30″ wide by 2 1/4″ tall
  • F – 2 vertical sashing strips – 1 3/4″ wide by 8 1/2″ tall
  • G – 5 vertical sashing strips – 2″ wide by 8 1/2″ tall
  • 3 strips for dish mat binding – 2.5″ tall by width of fabric (at least 40″)
  • 1 towel rectangle – 33″ wide by 24″ tall (this is over-sized and will be cut down after quilting)

Here we go. First, let’s get the fussy parts out of the way so we can get to the exciting part!

  1. Binding: Piece the three binding pieces together end to end, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. You should have a piece of binding just a bit less than 120″ long. Fold in half, matching the long edges and press well. Set aside.
  2. Prep the small squares: Draw a pencil line diagonally from corner to corner on the wrong side of each of your small 3″ squares.

Piecing:

  1. Place a 3″ square in one corner of a large 8.5″ square, right sides together, as per the photo below. Stitch along your marked line. Trim off the corner of both squares leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press open or to one side.
  2. Repeat 3 more times, once for each corner of the square. Press well.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each of the 4 remaining 8 1/2″ squares. Square the blocks up slightly if necessary.
  4. Use the 4 remaining 3″ squares to make the 8.5″ x 5″ partial plates. Make sure the corners are stitched on the left or right sides based on where the partial plates will be in the final layout.
  5. Lay your pieced plates out on a large surface, as they will be in the dish mat. Place your vertical and horizontal sashing strips as indicated in the drawing/photo below. Refer to the cutting layout above and letter designations in the cutting list to make sure each piece is correctly placed.
  6. Piece the vertical sashing between each plate to make the rows.
  7. Now add the horizontal sashing to finish piecing the top.
  8. Press well. Square to 30″ wide by 21.5″ high if necessary.
Quilting:
  1. Centre on towel with wrong sides together. Pin baste to secure. Every 4″ or so worked for me. I should be using curved safety pins… but since I don’t have any, these will do!
  2. Quilt through all layers as desired. I stitched straight(-ish) lines every 1 1/2″ across the width of the top. Match top thread to top and bobbin to towel.
  3. Cut the excess towel to match the edges of the pieced top. Square up the quilted fabric and towel if necessary.
Binding:
  1. Bind as desired, or use these instructions to attach via machine binding.

And you’re finished. Go dry your dishes in style!

Feature Fabric Discount – Fabric Spot!

2015 February 5

I’m so happy to feature another sponsored fabric discount for you today!  Fabric Spot is by far regarded as “the Canadian online shop that has everything – solids, loads of organics, tons of “whole collections”. You are going to find whatever it is that you need here! And, P.S. They ship internationally. (This discount is on for 4 days only! Scroll down to get the details.)

I was talking to their owner, Karen, and she let me know that Fabric Spot is now carrying the entire organic Cirrus Solids collection – all 21 of them - from Cloud9 Fabrics. I was fortunate to work with these solids last fall and I can tell you from experience they are beautiful. (There’s a free project coming soon, but I can’t say anything yet… hee hee!) I wish I could hand you a piece of this fabric, describing it doesn’t do it justice – I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.

This organic collection is super soft, a cross weave with yard-dyed goodness. It’s lighter, chambray-weight, makes it perfect for so many projects. As far as I can tell Fabric Spot is the only online shop in Canada that is selling them right now, and I would highly recommend getting some! Cloud9 Fabrics has provided two free quilt projects using this line – the Parcel Quilt, and my favorite the Digital Hearts Quilt. I’ve got to make that one, even a little part of it as a table runner or throw pillow!

It wouldn’t be fair not to mention that she’s also stocked the Bespoke Double Gauze from Cotton + Steel – plus lots more from their new collections! Eeeeeeek!

I’ve picked a few of my favorite Fabric Spot collections to feature below – they are all clickable, so link yourself over and enjoy some stashing. (With the discount of course!)

Save 10% on your purchase at Fabric Spot by using the code “LOVEFSPOT10”. Discount available from Feb 5-8, 2015 – 4 Days Only!

Crafting Con: Mario Inspiration!

2015 February 3

Good Tuesday morning to you all. Today I’m guest posting over at Friends Stitched Together for Crafting Con! This month’s theme is Mario and my job was to sew something and write an inspiration post. It’s the beginning of the month, and you can head over there each week to see the four contestants’ entries. I’m excited to see who will win!

As far as the project, my husband had the amazing idea for it and my oldest is super happy with her new Bimaa zip-up hoodie, but there wasn’t any inspiration in my sewing technique or construction methods. Pop over to find out what happened and get (the proper) construction details to help you make one for the Mario geek in your life. (And see why my favorite part is hiding inside the hood!)


Meanwhile, I am now always-and-forever-more going to remember how to add a zip-front to a non-zip shirt pattern…

Let’s check out some gorgeous fabric now shall we? I wanted to post the winner of the Country Clothesline giveaway (sponsored) that ended last week. If you recall, owner Sylvia put the lovely “Winter Blues” bundle (above) up for grabs and Sarah C. from Pennsylvania is the lucky winner! It’s in the mail and on it’s way as we speak. If you are in need of some springy inspiration to get through the end of winter you’ll be sure to find it in the Country Clothesline shop.

There’s more fabric-related fun coming this week, hope it’s begun well for you and see you again soon!

Bundle Up! Violette Field Threads – Annabelle Dress {pattern review}

2015 January 30

Disclosure: I have used my own fabric and supplies to make this dress. However, I was given the Violette Field Threads, Annabelle Dress pattern for free as part of the Bundle Up blog tour. My opinions are always my own, and please forgive me if I gush a bit – this is honestly the most gorgeous dress I have ever sewn. (Thanks!)

When I got an email asking if I’d like to be a part of this blog tour, I didn’t  sign up to make the Annabelle Dress right away. In fact, I tried to stay away from it. It looked tricky, and time consuming… and I really wasn’t sure I liked the sweetheart neckline. My oldest however knew it was love at first sight. Try as I might to convince her otherwise, this was going to be made, and I knew it. So I gave in and I’m so glad I did!

If you haven’t heard of the Bundle Up Sale, it’s put together by Pattern Revolution and each sale contains a new group of patterns in a different category – boys, women, etc. This Bundle Up Sale contains 11 patterns for girls – which of course I am interested in. Buy as little as 6 patterns and pay 1/2 price for each of them, or buy them all for even less! A great way to stock up a wardrobes worth of patterns for your kids! The sale started January 23rd and will end on February 2nd. If you want to buy any of the patterns alone, you can get them on the 16th of February from their respective designers.

I loved the experience of working with this Violette Field Threads pattern. I had not used their patterns before, and the instructions were very clear and thorough. I love working with good photos, and there are lots of them in these instructions. This dress is not as tricky as it looks! In fact, once you have cut the fabric out everything goes really quickly, considering the piecing required. I was surprised to finish putting the skirt together in only about 3 hours. The rest of the dress is very simple and the elastic back is great – no closures necessary!

I used gorgeous blue and teal chambray for the bulk of the dress, plus a fat quarter of white embroidered quilting cotton for the middle chevron. I haven’t worked with chambray before and now I can’t wait to buy some more! The drape is amazing and it is really nice to sew with. The weight is perfect for this dress and allows it to flow really well. It’s also going to be perfect for summer, since it breathes well and seems really comfortable and soft. I think my daughter will wear it every chance she gets, and probably to church this Sunday, even though it is supposed to be -20 C!

The suggested sizing on this pattern was good as well. My slim 7 year old usually fits into a size 4 or 5 bodice with a size 6 length. When compared to the measurements on this pattern, that was what they suggested and it worked out perfectly. I made a size 5 bodice and a 6 length, then took about 1″ off of the bottom before hemming. I like that the elastic back allows for easier sizing and the dress can be worn longer as well. The length in the hem allows you to make the dress go “right down to the floor”, as my daughter specifically requested!

There are only two helpful hints I would add about this pattern:

  1. This dress has lots of seams in the skirt portion, and the pattern explains how each seam allowance needs to be finished properly so they do not fray. I found my serger to be amazingly helpful in this process and it would have taken much longer to finish each one by grading and zig-zagging the edges.
  2. The fabric requirements are spot-on – you really need quite a bit of fabric to sew up a maxi dress! Since I am trying to work my way through my fabric stash, I wanted to use something I already owned. I think I tried about 10 combinations at least before I found one that had enough yardage. (and that my daughter and I could agree on!)

I’ve got at least one more of these to make for my youngest since I’ve promised her one as well. I can’t wait, it’s going to be so cute! I think this might be the pattern I use for their Easter dresses for this year and if I start now I won’t be rushing to finish them at the last minute as per the usual – wouldn’t that be nice!

Here is a list of the tour stops if you still need some inspiration. I’ve been following the tour along, and each blogger’s description really helped me to decide which 6 patterns I would purchase. (And they are now on my list for KCW next week!)
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Ups, Downs and Quilting. {+ giveaway winner}

2015 January 26

The title says it all… literally! I’ve made and photographed a dress with a gorgeous chevron pattern through the skirt (re: the ups and downs) – but more about that on Friday!

On a less literal note, last week was CRAZY on the sewing front. Everything I tried to make went haywire. Seam ripped threads were flying everywhere. I think I inserted the zipper on something 3 times. Note to self – don’t make a zip-up hoodie without sorting out the construction method first! On Friday I just gave up and cleaned my house.

Thankfully this week has been so much better. I took a bit of a brain break over the weekend and I’m happy to say that I am back! Today was much better and I was able to have one of the best photo shoots I’ve ever had with my oldest. I’ve yet to look at the photos properly, but it was all smiles and fun. SO Great!

I picked up and did a bit of quilt making again a few weeks ago. These photos have been patiently waiting to be published since then. I’m still working on my hourglass quilt since I received my blogger bundle from current sponsor Fabric Spark, last April. (edit: thought it was out of stock, but there are a couple still available here!) As you likely know by now, I am not a quilter. But I seem to have acquired about 7 fat quarter bundles that I have put together for future quilts, and I’m working my way through them. At this rate I will be done in 2024 or so. And by which time I will have stocked up on at least 35 more bundles. I may have to re-think my strategy!

Once I cut the “required amount” of squares, I was left with more uncut fabric than I was expecting. So, after I square up my blocks and calculate how big they will be once they are sewn together. I plan to decide if I should save the uncut pieces for the back, or if I add to the front. I’m trying to leave one night a week open to work on my quilts, I’d so love to see this finished!

We recently closed the giveaway for the book “Just for You” by Caroline from Sew Can She. This time the random generator chose Lori M. from Ohio as the winner. She will be receiving a copy of the book in the mail soon!

Hope your week has had a great start. Be back soon!

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