Sunday, August 1, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 2 - A Limerick Quilt

In early March, my daughter put together a Quilt-and-Read Along on Instagram. I had plenty of greens and lots of low volumes, and when Spring Break began, I was anxious for a project that did not include Google Meet, or screens of any kind. I started cutting. By the end of Spring Break, I had all the blocks made - or thought I did. And best of all, since I had the fabrics stashed already, this quilt (in my mind, at least) was "free".
Right before the end of the school year, I managed to get most of the blocks put together. This pattern looks so complicated, but when you follow Amanda's Limerick Pattern it's super easy. She gives great tips and directions for making this process go fast.
Once I finished the scrappy quilt, I decided the next job was to finish the Limerick quilt. The top was together after all, and it only needed borders. Unfortunately, whereas I thought I had all the blocks made, I had been wondering why I has so many low volume rows left over. The answer was that I hadn't made ANY of the low volume border blocks, and hadn't put the outside row of low volumes on the green blocks. Oops. And even worse, I had allowed the grands to create with the LV strip sets, and had even taken some apart for my scrap quilt, totally ignoring that voice in my head that said, "Are you sure???" It turned out OK, of course. I have bins and bins of scraps, and an entire 1 cubic foot bin of low volume scraps. Scraps were thereby obtained, cut up, sewn together, and placed in the correct positions on the quilt, and a (very large) quilt was born. It is currently sandwiched and awaiting its turn to be quilted. I love these greens. They are so fresh and clean. And the low volumes add so much dimension. If you want a tutorial on how to choose low volumes for your next project, check out @a.crafty.fox on Instagram. It's in her stories.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 1 - Two Finishes and a Scraptastic Quilt

As we all know, this past school year was a difficult one, and although my Harry Potter quilt came back from the quilter in December, it was summer break before I managed to get it bound.
I also got my Single Girl quilt back from the quilter this spring. I decided I wanted to make this one in 2011, and actually started it in 2014. I put it together in 2017, I think, and just managed to get it to the quilter this year when I saw someone else post a photo of their Single Girl on Instagram. It was obvious that if I waited to quilt it myself it would be another 10 years. There was just something very intimidating to me about this quilt from start to finish. This one got bound at the beginning of summer. I hope to get the quilt husband to let me take some photos soon.
My daughter made this stunning scrap quilt this spring, and then started another one while she was visiting. Nothing would do than I try my own version when she left. It helped alleviate the separation sadness.
I put these first 4 blocks together the day she left. It was fun putting the fabrics together and deciding just what went where. At first, I was very cautious, sticking with combinations I was certain would work.
But as I worked on it, I got a little more daring.
With each block I really began to feel the creative juices flow like I haven't felt in a long time. This was a great exercise in color theory and creativity.
It took a week, but I'm really happy with how this one turned out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sewing for American Girl Boy Dolls

Last Christmas, as my granddaughters and their friends were playing with their dollies, I heard them tell their brother over and over that he couldn't play with them because he didn't have a doll. To say the least, I was annoyed. After clearing it with his parents, I bought my grandson an American Girl boy doll. He had actually been wanting one for awhile, and honestly, it looks just like him. He named him Michael. So far, I have only found one outfit to buy from American Girl that would work for their boy dolls, and it was intended for the girl dolls. As it happens, it was an airline pilot outfit, and since his grandad was an airline pilot, you know he had to have it. I just can't imagine what they are thinking. If a young man has a doll that looks just like him, naturally he will want to dress him for various occasions. I just had to make Michael an all-occasion wardrobe.
It was fun seeing the photo of him opening his present.
Naturally, no young man (or doll) can exist for long without a good pair of jeans. Pixie Faire is the best source I've found for doll clothes for the American Girl boy doll.
These jeans are pretty authentic, with "designer" back pockets that actually work.
A pair of chinos is a wardrobe workhorse, and these (from a piece of khaki Kona cotton) should do fine.
Another must-have is a pair of dress slacks. These black slacks will be great for those more formal occasions.
No wardrobe can be without a white shirt.
A choice of shirts is always nice.
And a robe is a necessity, particularly if it matches one the young man himself already owns.
And a fleece hoodie is a good item to have on those colder days.
He seemed pretty happy with his birthday gift. As you can see, the bathrobe was a particular favorite.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sewing for Wellie Wishers

Last summer I posted about making doll clothes for Willa, my granddaughter's Wellie Wishers doll. I have two granddaughters who are just about a year apart, and both have Wellie Wishers dolls. Ella has a Willa doll, and Pippa has Camille. I like sewing for these dollies better than Barbie because it's just easier to sew the slightly larger pieces. The difference between the teeny pieces for an 11" Barbie and the slightly larger pieces for the 14-1/2" Wellie Wishers dolls is immense.
Ella got her doll first, so I've had a few more opportunities to sew for Willa. Camille lives in Canada, so I try to put a little something for her (and her mommy) in every package I send. Unfortunately, I'm not great about taking pictures, as usually it has to go in the mail that very day. This little outfit - an elastic waist skirt and a sleeveless top, was very quick and simple to sew for Camille (and it went with her purple shoes!,) although the knit for the top wouldn't cooperate. I forgot all about using ball point needles on reluctant knits. It's been awhile since I've sewn anything except quilting cottons it seems. I hope I won't forget again. The frustration of skipped stitches wasn't much fun. I finally discovered that the knit stitch on my Bernina is stitch #9. It's a slightly different stitch than the one on my previous machine, but seems to work well when I remember to use it.
I had a lot of fun making Willa this little raincoat. I tried it out in quilting cotton first, but then made it from a scrap of oilcloth I had leftover from making a cosmetic bag for traveling. The pattern was a commercial pattern I purchased at Joann's by Ellie Mae Designs. It was intended for 18" dolls, but I found a resizing chart for Wellie Wishers dolls on Rosie's Doll Clothes website, and I've found it works pretty well. I've only had one project fail using her resizing chart. Since it was my first, I decided it would be prudent to try it in the inexpensive Kona cotton rather than my limited supply of oilcloth. It turned out great.
And here's the same pattern in the oilcloth.
I also used a free online pattern to create this party dress. The pattern was from PA Country Crafts and was intended for the Merida doll from the movie Brave. My first attempt was too small, so I added about 3/8" to each of the bodice pieces, adding about 1-1/2" overall, and it fit perfectly. The fabrics were from the remnant bin at Joann's. I loved the tulle overlay, and Ella was pretty pleased with Willa's new dress.
Pippa got Camille for her birthday last year, and I thought it would be fun to make dolly a complete wardrobe. Camille got plenty of tops and skirts,
a pair of jeans,
a pair of shorts,
a pink party dress (from slightly different fabric,)
and a yellow raincoat.
The jeans were super fun and very trendy, with a dropped waist, a fake fly, and working pockets. They were kind of fiddly, but very fun to make. And naturally, all the pieces coordinate for that put-together look.
My only failure in downsizing American Girl patterns was this fleece hoodie. I used the 65% recommendation, but the jacket was too tight for Camille, which is really too bad because it is very cute and had a working zipper. I'm not sure if it was because of the thickness of the fleece or what. I may try it again at 70% and see if it fits better. It's really super cute. I really wish I had a Wellie Wishers doll for a model. So it's been fun to sew for these dollies. I'm glad that I've been able to help my girls enjoy their dollies.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Sewing for American Girl

About the time I figured out Barbie clothes, my other granddaughter received an American Girl doll for her birthday. Her name is Mary Ellen. Once she saw the wardrobe I made for Barbie, she asked me to make some clothes for her AG doll. I had some patterns I bought for my own daughter's AG doll (and never made,) so I agreed.
I started with a dress from the commercial pattern. It was very big on the AG doll. I have since found some patterns online that fit AG dolls much better. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take pictures of many of the doll clothes I made. Here's the first dress, altered to fit Mary Ellen.
As you can see, we now have an assortment of dolls, so this spring I made an assortment of fleece hoodies from the scraps from the mermaid tails I made for the grands for Christmas. (I also used the fleece scraps for the dolly sleeping bags I made for the dollies for Christmas.)
I each of the grands a nightgown or pajamas and a matching nightgown or pjs for their doll this spring as well.
And in the spirit of 1970s chic, I made some polyester double knit dresses for the dolls from some fabric a friend gave me. And most recently, I made all the dollies a swimsuit for their (pretend) days at the beach or pool, although I forgot to take pictures. Well dressed dolls are important.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sewing for Barbie

As a kid, I received a Barbie for my 7th birthday. My aunt had sewn her an entire wardrobe, and I was thrilled.
Just like today, the dolls were fairly inexpensive, but the clothes were more than my parents wanted to pay. I remember sewing Barbie clothes with my aunt and grandmother, and it seemed fun then. A couple of decades later, when my children were little, I tried sewing doll clothes again, and it was awful. I hated it. The pieces were small and the effort was too much for the output.
But for Christmas 2019, I got my granddaughter a Barbie, and decided to make some clothes. I didn't like it any better than I did when my girls were little.
A friend posted some Barbie clothes she had made on Instagram, and I responded with a minor rant about what a pain they were to make. My online friend gave me some great pointers on how to make them quick and easy, and even shared some patterns and pattern sources with me. I took the opportunity then to make an entire wardrobe (above) for my granddaughter's birthday.
Barbie clothes, and doll clothes in general, no longer hold any fear for me. In fact, I'm about to make another Barbie wardrobe for another granddaughter's birthday, which is coming soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Smocked Blessing Gown for Maggie


 When I went up to help mom and dad with Maggie after she was born, I asked them if they would like me to make her a smocked blessing gown.  They agreed, and I was so glad.

Unfortunately, other Christmas projects and a few unexpected sewing projects came up, along with difficulty getting the supplies I needed from my local heirloom sewing shop, and I found myself beginning the week after Christmas for a January 3rd blessing.  I discovered in the process that my eyes aren't as good as they were the last time I embarked on a smocking project, and that I was woefully out of practice.  I stitched at my daughter's over Christmas - at least as long as the light held.  I stitched on the plane on the way home, and at the USO while we waited half a day for our final flight.  New Year's Eve found me frantically embroidering the top and constructing the dress just hours before our drive to Atlanta the weekend of the blessing.

I improvised the smocking design, mostly because I found working from a pattern on an airplane fairly difficult, and because once I realize I had to have it finished in just a few hours, I needed to take a few shortcuts.  Fortunately, the dress construction fairly straightforward and it went together rather well.  I found the lace for the sleeves in my stash, thank goodness.

I planned to use lace for the hem, but didn't find any in my stash, and since I had forgotten to buy any, that was a problem.  Finally, my daughter who was visiting said, "Use rick-rack, Mom.  It's so sweet and innocent.  I love it."  I would probably never have considered it, but it worked well and ended up finishing the little dress nicely.

It was a pretty cold day for an outdoor baby blessing and a baby wearing a sleeveless cotton dress, but she looked beautiful, and I hope the dress will be an heirloom she can use for her own babies someday.