Field Study for Easter (a bit late...)

A friend of mine asked me to make her two girls matching Easter dresses and a coordinating bow tie for her son. I gave her a few fabric ideas and crossed my fingers that she would choose Field Study in rayon challis (then I'd have a great excuse to buy a bit for me, too, right?). A girl after my own heart, she jumped at the idea!
Because the rayon challis is about 54" wide, I was able to order the same yardage that I would have for quilting cotton - so don't be turned off my the slightly higher price! The first thing that I noticed when I received the fabric was the beautiful drape. It is buttery soft with a slight sheen, and it gives a bit more than quilting cotton. In my amateur opinion, rayon challis is one of the best garment fabrics and I'm so glad that wonderful designers like Anna Maria Horner are offering their prints in rayon!
For the dresses, my friend asked that I make something similar to this tutorial. I used a template for the bodice of the larger dress and for the toddler dress I traced the bodice of an old 18 mo old dress. I was really nervous about the fit of the two dresses - I had the girls' measurements, but it's still a gamble!
I deviated from the tutorial a bit and added more gathering in the center front and back. I kept the shape of the bodice and the sleeves, though, as those wear the details that my friend really likes! Here are the two dresses, the larger dress is about a size 6 and the smaller is an 18mo:
Size 6 Dress front 
18mo Dress front
The back of the dress has a button closure. I used covered buttons, because I couldn't find a shank button that I liked!
Dress back detail

And here's the bow tie!
Little Boy Bow Tie
I was really happy with how everything turned out! The size 6 dress was a bit too big (which surprised me, since I used a pattern piece for the bodice measurements!) but my friend opted to leave it as is, so that her daughter could wear the dress for a few years. I think the dress will look great as a tunic for a few more years - and it will even layer well over a long sleeve t when the weather cools off!
Dresses and bow tie!

The long overdue quilt post!

Tomorrow Addy and I will be on our way to Illinois for 16 days. Now that the list-making and packing are done (I fit 2 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of sandals, heels, 2 dresses plus all other essentials for the trip in a small roller bag!!), I thought I'd blog a bit! This quilt has been finished for a few weeks, but we just found the time to take pictures of it this afternoon.
I started this quilt as part of the Sparkle Quilt-Along over at Canoe Ridge Creations and In Color Order.  The large blocks of print in the center of each sparkle immediately attracted me to this quilt, and reminded me that I had a small stash of Innocent Crush just begging to be cut up! I decided to use a landscape layout for these blocks, because I intend to hang this quilt behind our couch (one day, when our couch is actually up against a wall!).
Sparkle Quilt - front 
For the quilt top I paired a medium grey solid (similar to Kona medium grey, but I think it's a Cotton Couture solid) with 12 prints from Innocent Crush. I quilted horizontal straight lines with a chartreuse thread, and about 8" from the end I ran out! I finished the quilting with a bright blue thread, and then I went back through the quilt and randomly picked out a few lines of chartreuse quilting only to replace them with quilting lines in the bright blue. I love the effect of having the blue quilting lines sprinkled throughout the quilt. You can see a bit of the quilting in this picture, this is the end where I ran out of chartreuse thread:
For the back, I pieced all of my scraps together and filled in the gaps with some solids that I had on hand. The pink is Kona in pomegranate, the purple is Kona in eggplant and the brown is Kona in taupe. I love that the quilting runs vertically when the quilt is hung this way. I think it flows so well!
Sparkle Quilt - back
Another shot of the back:
Sparkle Quilt - back 
I left a label off of this quilt so that I could hang it with either side facing out.
Sparkle Quilt - back
Quilt stats:
Innocent Sparkles
42" x 56"
Fabrics: Innocent Crush, Kona solids, Cotton Couture solid (I think!)
Binding: Quilter's Linen in magenta, I think!
I'm so happy to have this quilt finished! I don't like to have a ton of WIPs, plus I wasn't in love with this quilt before the quilting. I think that's probably why I chose to quilt it with bright colored thread-I wanted to jazz up the flat feeling that I was left with when staring at all of the grey! Now that it's quilted, though, I'm totally in love with it. Unfortunately our living room doesn't allow for our couch to sit against a I'll just have to wait to hang this one.
I have a few more projects to share (some of which are gifts for friends in IL) so hopefully when I'm back at the end of July I will be able to blog a bit more regularly!

Innocent Crush Dress

I made this dress last year for Matt's work Holiday Party. I was still living in Illinois with Addy at the time, so I flew out to Seattle for the party. I never took adequate photos of the dress, until this fall! We had our family photos taken, and I decided this dress would be perfect. So after we spent some time walking through our neighborhood for the family photos, I asked Melissa to take a few of my dress! (And my coat, I'll show that later this week!)
The front:
A side view:
Fashion Fabric: Anna Maria Horner, Innocent Crush VoileTurn of Events in Indigo
Lining (not shown): Free Spirit solid voile in Powder
Pattern: Project Runway Simplicity 2922
I really like how this dress turned out. I made a muslin first, which was helpful. I took up the sleeve length a bit, because it looked a bit droopy. If I were to make it again, I would probably make the dress a bit more fitted (it is meant to be a sheath dress, though!), and I would omit the zipper. I find that sometimes zippers make it harder to wear belts with dresses, because they don't flow with the fabric. (See above photo...) And this pattern really doesn't need a zipper, it slips on quite easily.
I also added a lining to this dress. I was worried about the weight of the voile for a winter party, and I was a bit worried that the dress would be transparent, as well! It was super simple to add the lining, and I think it was worth the extra money I plopped down for matching voile. (And I may be a tiny bit anal about how I finish the insides of my garments. I did serge this, but I also love that the lining makes the inside of the dress as polished as the outside!)
I have absolutely no clue what size I sewed this dress up in. I probably graded the pattern to adjust for my small frame on top and wide hips, but even that is a guess this late in the game. ;)
This is probably my favorite handmade dress to date! I love the fabric, I love how it looks, and I love that it can be dressed up or down. (And layered! I wore a fitted turtle neck under it for the holiday party. I was toasty warm!)
*One thing I will add about the Project Runway line of patterns is that all of the design elements are mix and match. It's a very fun way to customize a garment, but it involves overestimating fabric yardage, because the pattern gives you yardage for cutting each element from a DIFFERENT fabric. I bought 4 yards of this voile (yes, I'm really that crazy), because I followed the pattern envelope yardage. When I bought the lining I only got 2 or 2.5 yards (I can't remember which!) and it was plenty.
All photos are the work of Melissa McClure. Check her out, she's fabulous!

Gifts for the A Family

As I mentioned in my last post, I sent gifts to a few friends' families for Christmas this year. The A Family has 3 kids, a big sister, little sister and little brother.
For the big sister, I made the children's messenger bag from the Oliver + S Little Things To Sew book. This bag is one of the reasons I bought the book. I love the simple design and the pattern even includes 2 sizes. The adult size would make a great gift as well!
I used a laminate from Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi line for the outside of the bag. The lining is a print from the DS Quilts line at JoAnn's. I was in a bit of a rush to finish all of the gifts that I planned, so I used premade bias binding and chocolate brown webbing for the strap.
I really like this pattern, and I won't hesitate to use it again. I chose my fabrics and cut them out in about an hour one night. When I actually sat down to sew up the bag, it took me less than 1.5 hours! I also love the compact size of the children's pattern, I think it would make a great purse.
DSC_0054 DSC_0057
The only change I made was to add velcro to the 2 front pockets shown in the photo. If I sew this bag again, I may play around with way of closing the main compartment as well.
For the little sister I made the Teddy/Baby Carrier, also from the Little Things To Sew book. The fabrics are all from Summersault by Erin McMorris.
Perfect for a front carry:DSC_0086
Or a back carry:
I couldn't resist, I made Addy the same carrier. :) These came together *really* quickly, and the pattern was great! DSC_0090
Finally, for the little brother I made a play mat that doubles as a toy sack.
I wanted to keep the design simple so that he could use his imagination. I fussy cut the buildings from a few fat quarters that I had stashed away. The rectangle of "road" in the upper left corner is a parking lot. I've been told that little boys love to park their cars when they play. DSC_0096
I wasn't super happy with how the toy sack looked when closed, but I ran out of ideas and didn't want to deconstruct the entire play mat. My hope is that the play mat is so well loved that it has no time to be used as a toy sack. :)
Along with the kids' gifts, I sent my friend a holiday table runner. If you want to see a pic, check out my last post.
My friend and her kids all loved their gifts, and I really enjoyed being able to surprise them with something special for Christmas. Feeling the gratitude of friends is the best gift I could ever ask for!