Sunday, January 27, 2013

Burlap Flower Girl Dresses?....Yes Please!!

Well I am excited to say that I have finished the flower girl dresses! It fills me with such great joy getting to cross a project off my list. I am a true list maker (it drives my husband crazy) and I just love making them and then checking them off. My cousin's wedding has a bit of a country elegance feel to it's decor. When telling me about it she mentioned that she is using some burlap table covers, glass vases, twigs, etc and it started my wheels turning. Her colors are coral and turquoise and her dress is ivory. I just adore when people use a pattern in the flower girl dress so I was so excited to do the same for this wedding. We picked out this adorable polka dot fabric with a rustic country feel to it. I really wanted to incorporate some burlap somehow as to really get that rustic feel and....I just LOVE how they turned out!!

My daughter and another little girl are both the flower girls, so I did a 2T and a 5T. Above on the left are the little bodices before I sewed the shoulder sleeves together. It is fully lined with the waist seams enclosed in the bodice, so nice and clean. I used "the party dress" tutorial found over on The Cottage Home and made some alterations to make the dress work for this purpose. I then added some pearls around the middle to dress it up.
Next up, burlap! I just love how these rosettes tuned out. I used scrap material from the petticoat (pictured below) and swirled it with scrap muslin. I finished them with the burlap leaves and a few leftover pearls from the dresses. I attached them to pins so they can be removed for washing the dress or interchanged for other pins.
I just love them! The 2T is on the left and the 5T on the right.
I really wanted these dresses to twirl so I decided to add a petticoat. I used the "circle skirt" tutorial over at made and was so simple! This skirt was so easy to put together and it twirls like so other!! Please forgive the black elastic (it was all I had on hand and it goes under the dress anyways....)
When my husband saw the final dress he said, "When you told me you were going to use burlap to make Hadley a flower girl dress, I thought you were crazy. Yet somehow you found the only possible way to make it look amazing." Awww, I love that man!!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting back into the swing of things...

So I know it's been a while...Yes, Yes, a LONG while (2 months!!) My sewing machine is smoking from all the projects of the Holidays, and with no time to slow down in the near foreseen future. We had a wonderful Holiday season with friends and family all coming to visit us here in our home in Arkansas. Some of the most exciting (and scary) news of the Holidays is that we bought a house! The sellers accepted our offer just two days before Christmas, and we are set to close later this month. It is a home in need of some TLC and will keep us busy with projects for many years to come, but one that we have fallen in love with the potential of. We are so excited to get those keys and start getting out hands dirty. It is times like these that I am so thankful that I have a "handy" husband!!

It is only the middle of January and I am already behind on my project list....
Here is a rundown of what you may expect to see in the upcoming months:

-My beautiful little girl is a flower girl in two weddings this spring. My favorite cousin is getting married in March and then my sister-in-law will be tying the knot in June. I will be making the flower girl dresses for both of these weddings. Both weddings have a country elegance feel to them so we may actually get lucky and be able to use the same dress for both weddings, but change up a few of the embellishments. Fingers crossed and I just LOVE wedding planning, so exciting!!

-Well speaking of weddings.... of course I will be making wedding quilts as well. Anytime I make a quilt I change my mind at least 86 times on what design I will be using. I have already been through numerous options, and we will just have to see what the finished projects actually turn out like...

-Another of my sister-in-law's (I have four) has asked me to make a Kansas State table runner for her dining room. While it pains me to make anything Kansas State (we are die hard Jayhawk fans under this roof,) I do love my sister-in-law so I have agreed. Just like with my quilts I have already had numerous ideas running through my head for the design. I really want to try something new with this, especially since it is a smaller piece. I have been wanting to give "paper piecing" a try or maybe some handstitched hexagons. Any ideas are welcome!!

-Another friend has asked me to take a look at a special quilt her grandmother had made her as a little girl and make some repairs to it. Well my friend does believe I am a miracle repair quilter because "minor repairs" is stretching it. I do believe even the best of quilters can not fix holes through out the entire back from years of love. Needless to say I will be taking it all apart, mending, and re quilting.

-I am thinking of joining my first "quilt-a-long." There are so many to choose from but I have decided to try and follow "My favorite block quilt a long" over at Persimon Dreams. Hopefully By May I will have a quilt to show! Anyone out there have any experience with these?

-And lastly (at least for the next 15 seconds...) I really want to make my family a quilt for OUR living room! I had mentioned in an earlier post that I have never made a quilt for my family. Now I have made quilts for everyone's beds but I really want a cozy throw for snuggling on the couch. I think this may just be the spring this actually gets accomplished.....Okay maybe summer....maybe fall....

Whew!! I better get started!! I hope you had a wonderful Holiday Season and Happy 2013!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Block for a Beginner!

A couple of months ago I ran across a great sale on a fat quarter bundle of American Jane's School Days fabrics.  I love American Jane's fabrics because she uses such fun vibrant colors with a feel of vintage to them. This fabric line was perfect for making quilts for my kids elementary school teachers for their birthdays. I love getting a deal on a fat quarter bundle because you can really make quite a bit of quilt out of one bundle, depending on how many fat quarters are included. From this bundle, I have made two quilts so far, and I have plenty still left for a third. I wanted to show you a fun block I used for both of the quilts, and I feel it would be so easy for a beginner quilter. I threw both these quilt tops together in about two days of work and then machine quilted them at home on my machine and hand stitched the bindings. They both ended up around 50" square which is a really nice size for a throw quilt. Best of all both teachers loved them and seeing the excitement on my kids faces when they gave them to them, priceless!!

To start off you begin by cutting your fabrics into 5" squares. If you want to simplify this even further you could figure of the number of 5"squares you would need for your finished desired quilt size and buy the appropriate number of charm packs (remember these are packs of 5" squares.)

Next you will sew 9 of your 5" blocks together as shown in the picture. You sew 3 rows of three and then sew the rows together on top of one another.

Now the easy part, you line up your new large block (made up of your 9 squares) and cut directly down the middle horizontally as well as vertically. You now have 4 super scrappy blocks that look like you spent hours on them!! (Don't look too closely or you might notice I forgot to take a picture to show you how to cut them until after I had already sewn some together. For this reason, the top block doesn't exactly match, but I hope you can understand what I am trying to show you here.)

You can make so many different looking quilts with this form of block, and I love a neat scrappy quilt! The first quilt I made I used all these type of scrappy blocks and mixed and matched and then just sewed them all together. For the next quilt I sewed 9 of my 9 square blocks together for the center, added a border, and then used the scrappy blocks for the outside border, as shown in the pictures.

Have some fun getting creative and let me know if you have any questions or if this block works for some of your quilts!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

What do you get after 25 years of marriage.....Why a quilt of course!

I knew I had wanted to make my amazing aunt and uncle a quilt for their 25th year anniversary from their 24th year anniversary. When did I start working on it? A month before.... That's usually how things go in this household so I have become very accustomed to tight time frames. I had been looking for the perfect fabrics for their quilt for some time, but I just hadn't found anything that struck me. Therefore, it was time to get scrappy! I pulled out two different Moda scrap bags (I love these, yet they really can be hit or miss) and started matching other fabrics to them from my scrap bin. I love the colors in this quilt because some of them don't go together at all, but then they do in just the perfect way. I used over eighty different fabrics in this quilt and have mainly warm cozy colors, but them an occasional turquoise thrown in and even a hint of pink! Fun!!

Now that I had my fabric what to do next? Well, I have yet to ever follow a pattern for any quilt so why start now. First I just started cutting them all into even strips. Then I sewed these strips together to make blocks. When I laid it all out I just didn't love it yet. So I sat down and cut each of my blocks into an "X" making four triangles. Then I mixed all the triangles together and sewed them into new blocks, added some borders to offset the new squares, and the quilt top was complete!

I then went back to the fabric store for yet another fabric for the backing. I used a few leftover scraps from the front running through the back to give it a little "pop." I then machine quilted the quilt with an all over stippling pattern, bound it with yet another fabric from my stash, and hand stitched the back.  My favorite part of every quilt is getting to wash it for the first time. I love the way the fabric puckers together in just the perfect way to make it perfectly cozy. The quilt finished out at about 62 inches square, a perfect size for cuddling up on the couch! I love it!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival- A quilt for Hadley

Wow! So I just stumbled across the Blogger's Quilt Festival and it looks like so much fun!! Strolling through the many quilts on display took hours but Wow!!! In looking at all these beautiful quilts so many great ideas kept popping into my mind. My to-do list is getting longer and longer...  This spring seems to be a spring for weddings for my family and friends this year. I think a quilt makes an excellent wedding gift so I have really got my work cut out for myself and now so many wonderful ideas!

So I am new to the game when it comes to quilting and blogging but I thought it would be fun to at least submit an entry. I thought and thought about what my absolute favorite quilt would be and I must say, it is a quilt I made for my little girl, Hadley, for her fifth birthday.

If you have read my blog you know that I am a newbie to the sewing/quilting world. I have now been sewing/quilting for three years and I love it!! Last year for Christmas my then four year old decided she wanted a sewing machine for Christmas. This made my heart so happy. My parents bought her a little Hello Kitty sewing machine by Janome. Let me tell you if you are looking for a little girls' machine, look no further! This little green guy is great!! I even use it sometimes when I am too lazy to change thread or my sewing foot on my machine. Anyways, a couple months after that she asked me to make her a "flower quilt" for her birthday. Okay, by this point my heart is flying!! I was so excited!

 So I love a good scrappy quilt. I went to my stash and pulled all the fabrics that reminded me of my sweet little girl. I knew she wanted a "flower quilt" but I didn't just want to use flower prints so I decided to go with some dresden flowers. I pieced together my different sized dresdens and then hand blanket stitched them onto my quilt. I then took her first "big girl bedsheets" (the purple fabric with white polka dots) and used that for my border for the quilt.


As I mentioned, I love a scrappy feel which is why I then pieced together all my scraps in rows to the left. I then hand stitched "I love you. -mom" onto a row of the scraps, just for sentiment.

Then to find the fabric for the back. Hmmmm. I pondered this for quite some time. I wanted it to somehow go with my flowers but I wanted this quilt to tell a lesson beyond ages as my sweet little girl would keep growing up, even when I tried my best not to blink. While wandering around the fabric store I found these sweet little umbrellas by Riley Blake. I loved them!!

Hence Hadley's quilt became, "Find a flower in every rain."

I machine quilted the quilt with nice diagonal lines and then used some more scraps to make a nice ratty binding (something I find nice sometimes on a good scrappy quilt.)

And here is my "flower." Love!!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures : 41″x 45″
Special techniques used : applique, personal design, dresden flowers
Quilted by : Me!!
Best Category : Scrap Quilt, Baby Quilt, Throw Quilt

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Easy Quilter is Here!

Anyone know what this is? It's an "easy quilter!!" I found this thing on craigslist last week for pocket change, and I am so excited to give it a try. I absolutely love Craigslist for times such as this. I can try out something new, for a fraction of the price! I have always machine quilted all of my own quilts. In the beginning I started with nice clean straight lines (a great place for beginners to start), then ventured into diagonals, and eventually I got up the nerve to start free-handing. This contraption to the left will hold the quilt clamped in with the extra rolled up on the sides for the portion of the quilt you are working on at the time. Then you move the wooden frame by the metal handles on the sides to move the quilt according to your pattern. I'm very sceptical of this little thing but definitely worth a try. I have four quilts at present time that need to be machine quilted (can you say procrastinator...), but all of this will have to wait. I found out this morning that my daughter needs a cow girl outfit for her school program next Thursday. So I ran to my local Hancock's this morning and picked up some red bandanna fabric, lace (the sweet little girl kind), and silver sequins, and I have a new project for the weekend. I will post pics after the big show!! Has anyone tried an "easy quilter" before? What were your thoughts? I'm excited to try it out and hear from others who have given it a run as well! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pastry Talk

Precuts is a hot word for the quilting world. I remember when I first started quilting I would feel overwhelmed just picking out a background fabric and couldn’t dare to think about choosing 40 coordinating fabrics to put into a good scrappy quilt (remember I like them scrappy!) I would browse through modern quilting books for ideas and fall in love with the matchings and mis-matchings of colors, patterns, and textures that looked “Oh so yummy!!,” yet I wouldn’t even know where to start.  To say the least, picking out fabrics can be intimidating for the new quilter. That’s where precuts come in!!
What are precuts? Well precuts are exactly as the name entails, pre cut strips, squares, triangles, etc of fabric. The best part is that great designers who really have an eye for putting various colors and patterns together have already done this hard work for us and let me tell you they do a great job!  Depending on the manufacturer of the fabric you may run into slightly different names for these packs of fabric, but once you start working with them, you will be able to navigate through precuts like a pro! Precuts offer a wonderful alternative for those new to quilting for many reasons;

·         They are already cut improving cutting accuracy for your quilt so you just have to concentrate on the stitching accuracy,

·         They offer many different coordinating prints in each pack so you can get a great look even if you don’t have an overflowing scrap drawer (closet),

·         And lastly, they are just so much fun! I encourage you to check out some pre-cuts by Moda, Riley Blake, and many other designers and I can guarantee you will fall in love with some of the fabric pairings! Beautiful!!

Many of the names you will hear are names of pastries! Like we really need to be thinking of yummy yummy bakery findings while we are trying to quilt….I have listed a few of the popular names of precuts below to get you started:

Charm packs: Charm packs are stacks of about 20-40 different pieces of fabric precut into 5” squares. Occasionally you may find a charm pack cut into 6” squares so just keep an eye out on the label. Make sure you also read how many squares come in a packet you choose so you will ensure you have enough for your quilt.

Layer Cakes: Layer cakes are very similar to charm packs but are double in size, 10” squares. Most layer cakes contain around 30-40 pieces.

Jelly Rolls: Jelly rolls are 2.5” strips of fabric. They are the WOF (width of fabric) in length so usually about 44-45.” A jelly roll usually contains around 20-40 strips of fabric.

Honeybuns: Honeybuns are very similar to jelly rolls but are smaller. These strips are 1.5” x WOF. They usually have around 40 strips of fabric.

Fat Quarter bundles: These are my favorite!! I love to find a good deal on a fat quarter bundle! These are packs of coordinating fat quarters (1/4 of a yard of fabric cut lengthwise rather than widthwise.) Packs can really vary by how many fat quarters are in a bundle so make sure you take into account how many quarters you need. Many times you can use a bundle to make multiple quilts.

Turnovers: Turnover are stacks of 80 6" triangles. Lots of fun!!

 I hope this helps you wade through the waters of pastry chatter next time you are in the market for some quilting precuts! I used the pictures from which has a wonderful selection of precuts available to choose from with good prices. There are many other great options as well, just google “quilting precuts” and set aside a few hours! Once you build up your stash drawer (closet) you may find yourself buying these less and less, but they are an excellent option for a beginning quilter and the designers do such a nice job on pairing fabrics!! Good luck buying just one!!