30.7.14

FWQ Progress: July


My Farmer's Wife Quilt project hit the wayside around May along with everything else non-wedding related. But, good news, I'm back on track! I jumped back in with the quilt-along block of the month, #23 Country Farm, and my excitement quickly turned to frustration. I don't know why, but this one really stumped me. I spent about 3 hours at it one night, measuring, re-measuring, even cutting out the bloody paper template, and just when I thought I was making progress, realized everything was the wrong size! %@#$!

Thinking that surely there must be a better way, I turned to the InternetThat's when I discovered Karen Walker's Farmer's Wife Quilt Revival Classes on Craftsy. Basically it's a series of pdfs that teach you how to cut and piece every single block in the quilt using modern techniques. Jackpot! That's exactly what I've been looking for! So I downloaded the first class and... bingo bango... I knocked out 4 blocks in one afternoon, the same time it took me to fail at one the night before! The classes are $8.50 each and there are 12 of them, released once a month, but to me it is well worth the money. Heck, with the time saved I'll probably come out even. 

Anyway, here are the four I made plus the quilt-along one. I'm super excited about this project again!

 #23 Country Farm

 #55 Linoleum

 #54 Kitchen Woodbox

 #48 Homeward Bound

#2 Autumn Tints

28.7.14

Deer & Doe Belladone Dress


There are a few sewing projects I finished right before the wedding craziness hit and therefore haven't had a chance to show off here yet, which is a shame because they're some of the best things I've ever made, in my humble opinion! Take this Belladone Dress, for example, from Parisian pattern company Deer & Doe. I made this for my bridal shower in May and was determined to wear it despite the chilly temps we had this Spring. That's what happens when you start making your own garments, you get attached. Anyhow, it fits me like a glove and I've worn it many times since, feeling like a goddess while doing so. If that isn't an endorsement for making your own clothes, I don't know what is.


I love the retro shape, which is why I chose to use this retro print. I picked up this fabric from the Fabric Fabric warehouse in Toronto years ago simply because I had to have it. As soon as I saw this dress pattern, I knew that this is what it was destined to become.



Obviously the back cut-out is a stunner detail and brings the style into this decade. In all it's amazingness, it was a bit of a bitch to fit, however. Getting it to sit flat was a task and a half and due to the back zipper, adjusting was nearly impossible without an extra set of hands (many thanks to Mikey J for that). I experimented with both darts and tacks to no avail, so ended up just leaving it as is. And, actually, I found that with a fresh wash and a relaxed posture the fit is fine. A dress that looks better when slouching? I can live with that. 


Pockets! Another design element I absolutely love in dresses and I love the style of these ones.


There are also lots and lots of darts in this dress, as well as pleats and a zipper. It was the first time I had made a hem facing too. That's a lot of potential construction hiccups, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out, often on the first try. I have no idea if that was a result of a good pattern or a sign that my skills are improving, but I did a happy dance all the same.


I did reinstall the zipper three times in order to get the waistband lining up perfectly, but I feel like that's pretty standard procedure for even skilled seamstresses. That's what I tell myself, anyways. What I learned about invisible zippers: (1) baste that sucker in place, and (2) place it as close as you can to the top because hook and eyes are the devil. There ya go.


I'm already thinking about what my next version of this dress will be. Chambray, perhaps? Chambray would make it a great transition piece for Fall/Winter. Hmmm.

We're Married!


Just over a month ago, on the first day of summer, Mikey J and I became husband and wife! The entire day was absolutely perfect, an overwhelmingly happy whirlwind that left us spinning for days afterward. I can't wait to share every detail with you, just as soon as I figure out how I'm going to organize it into blog posts, and more importantly, put it all into words. I'll likely spread it out into a few different posts, once a week. Stay tuned!

By the way, my Etsy shop is open again and lots of items are marked down!

5.5.14

April Photo a Day Challenge



This month I tried something new and joined in on the April Photo a Day challenge. You can read more about it on the Fat Mum Slim blog.

I'm not sure why. Maybe deep down I was searching for a way to get more involved on social media again. I've certainly been a little absent lately, with wedding planning taking over my life. But honestly, I just thought it might be fun. And it was, for the most part. I took more creative photos than usual and I felt more connected to my "followers" than I have in a long time. It felt like a true documentation of my life and who I am -- kind of like a visual journal.

However, I often forgot to post (usually over the weekend) and then tried to play catch-up and post three photos in one day or capture two prompts in a single photo. Towards the end of the month it morphed from something fun to something I had to do. I don't think that's really the point at all and more stress is not what I need right now (or ever). So I've decided not to participate in May. But I'm still going to try to take a photo a day, just unprompted and unguilted. :)

Here are all of my #fmsphotoaday shots if you haven't been following along on Instagram.


1.5.14

Hourglass Crib Quilt


The first day of May, huh? A lovely reminder of time whipping by and also of how horribly I failed with my farmer's wife goals for April. Not a single block sewn. However, I did make an entire quilt! So maybe I can be excused? Plus, I used one of the farmer's wife blocks to make it, so...

I made it for the newest addition to my family, my cousin's sweet baby girl. As you can see, again I jumped at the chance to sew with lots and lots of pink and red. The block pattern is called Big Dipper in the book, but I've also heard it called Bowtie or Hourglass. Take your pick.

More things I love about this quilt... 
I learned a nifty trick for constructing the hourglass blocks, which made it really quick to assemble. Two weeks, to be exact. I have also found that  I'm pretty partial to this type of straight-line quilting that forms a distinct check pattern on the back. And can we just admire the fun striped binding for a second? It's so fun and the perfect amount of contrast. I see a lot more striped binding in my future.


Now for the challenges. Or perhaps I should call them lessons. 

First, don't believe in magic. Haha! Let me explain. Although I learned a nifty trick for piecing the individual blocks together so that they formed beautiful centre points, I did not learn a nifty trick for sewing the blocks to each other. I assumed that if I consistently ironed all of the seam allowances towards the printed side, all of the seams would nicely nest together, like magic. Yeah, there's no such thing as magic in quilting, only math and detailed diagrams. Some of the joints didn't lie as flat as I would've liked, as a result.

Another very valuable quilting lesson learned was to never sew in strips. Sew in blocks. Meaning, sew the one block of 4, then join it with 3 other blocks to form a giant block of 4, and keep building. It's a little more time consuming, but much easier to keep all your seams matching up accurately. I sewed them in long strips and it was a little nightmarish in spots (evidence below). 

You know the expression "don't make mountains out of molehills"? That does not apply to quilting. A seemingly small mistake will come back to haunt you, sometimes multiple times. Fix it in the beginning and you'll save yourself a lot of frustration (sometimes, tears) later.

And remember that fun striped binding? Not so fun when you realize how difficult it is to match up those stripes on the bias. I got there in the end. Just something to keep in mind when measuring your strips.


Last but not least, I learned that quilting is a long game with a wide learning curve. My confidence was really high after taking that quilting course last Fall and I was expecting something closer to perfection than I was getting. Which is just silly. There are so many skills to master in quilting, it could take me a lifetime to achieve perfection, and maybe not even then.

Keep calm and sew on. I have another quilt in the works for May. I planned it all out last night and will begin cutting tomorrow. This one has to stay a secret, but stay connected to Instagram and you'll likely get some some sneak peaks. :)


27.3.14

FWQ Progress: March

Oh my goodness, where did March go? I know. Wedding planning. With only three months to go now, all the little details are sneaking up on us. But the good news is we got everything done, so we're still on schedule and I completed my four farmer's wife quilt blocks for the month. I may or may not have made them all in the last week, but that doesn't matter. My goal was one a week, and I did it!

#32 Farmer's Daughter
This was the Needlwork quilt-along pick for March. Isn't it pretty?
Now think about the fact that my finished blocks measure 6-1/2" square. Do the math. Each of those little squares is a measely 1-1/4" finished!

#71 Puss in Corner
Or birds in a corner. Clearly I need more kitty fabric.

#4 Basketweave
So simple and easy, I love it.

#108 Windmill
I made this block three times! I think the templates are about 1/8" off for the rectangles. Anyone else run into this problem? I couldn't find anything about it on the forums. Meh.

21.3.14

FLASH SALE


It's official. As of today, Dear Edna has been in business for four years! Definitely reason to celebrate. So... nearly everything in the shop is 50% off for the entire day! Woo!

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