Sunday, May 18, 2014

Meeting Heather Ross

 Oh my gosh, what a thrill! Heather Ross paid a visit to Chicago on Saturday to read a story from her new book: How To Catch A Frog. I would have driven anywhere in the city and to most of the close in suburbs to see her, but she did me the favor of coming straight to my own neighborhood of Lincoln Square. She did her reading in my very own branch of the Chicago Public Library, Sulzer. Her visit was sponsored by the lovely little bookstore just a few blocks from my house, Book Cellar.
 In addition to her reading, Heather was kind enough to sign her book, and the one she published years ago called Weekend Sewing that my friend Ruth gave me for Christmas. I decided to dress up the girls in clothing I made using Heather's Crafty Chloe fabrics. It's hard to tell from the picture of the the girls with Heather, but the main prints feature unicorns. Heather's new fabric collection, Far Far Away features lots of unicorns too!
In addition to autographs and pictures, we also got a special gift of two signed prints (girls in swim suits - backview). Turns out Heather loves swimming. Also a set of charm squares from Far Far Away courtesy of Windham. Lauren wasted no time in laying out a quilt design in my sewing room and setting me to work cutting some colorful polka dots to fill out the quilt. We're in the piecing phase today. We all love our Heather Ross here!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Grace Modeling Her New Summer Fashion

 I did another pattern test for Patty Young's Modkid Boutique. This pattern is called the Zoey. It's a pattern for 2 separate tops and 2 separate shorts. It's a PDF and not a printed pattern. It's nice to be able to print the pattern each time you want to sew a new size.
I used some really old Patty Young fabric since there wasn't any test fabric sent along this time. I like the play between the bees on the shorts and the flowers in the top.
The shorts gather on the sides which is cute. I sewed a second pair of the shorts for Lauren in a denim pinstripe for a an older look. Both girls like the new pieces and wore them on spring break in Florida.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekend Sewing Zipper Pouch

 This post should also be titled: The Importance of Following Instructions

Usually I don't like to follow instructions, especially for sewing patterns. Especially when I read them and they seem to involve more steps and attention to detail than I want to commit to. Sometimes my sewing experience can carry me to success anyway. But there are times when my renegade sewing nature results in a fail.

 I was drawn to this pouch from the Heather Ross book: Weekend Sewing because of the boxy shape and the zipper that extended half way down each side. I've sewed a bunch of zipper pouches and clutches and even a full on purse or two, so I figured a book pattern for a zipper pouch wouldn't be any hard thing. I also admit that I don't read instructions all the way through before I start. I grab fabric and scissors and just go wild. I also don't pin things as I sew. I am so, so bad. But I sew so fast! Renegade!

 Half way through sewing, I realized that this project would have exposed inside seams and that the pattern called for sewing everything in parts that would then be closed up before the lining and outside were joined. I had assumed a lined bag would be sewn in a way that at the end you turn it inside out and viola - no exposed seams. I decided to cheat and use bias tape to close my exposed edges. It provided a fake piping look to the finished bag. I am ok with how that bit turned out. I like the pop of turquoise. The other thing I didn't do was leave the ends of the zipper free to be adjusted for the perfect fit when the bag was assembeled. The result was that as I sewed the last two parts of the bag together it was slightly off the whole way around. Slightly off resulted in the part of my cheating that is the big fail...once I zip the bag it is completely crooked.

So I just leave it sitting unzipped in my sewing room window. I love the Anna Maria Horner linen fabric so much and the red lining and red zipper and the turquoise trim look very jaunty. Next time I'll be sure to follow the instructions...well maybe not. Renegade!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Folklore Baby Knot Dress

 I almost forgot all about this one! Brought out of the abyss of photo archives are these pictures of a dress that a dear friend commissioned me to make for her niece. She helped me pick the fabrics. Both of us were in love with the bird print on the bodice and hem of this dress. I forget who designed it (a downside to hoarding fabric is that you eventually forget some details like that!). But I recognize the green Pearl Bracelet.

 Look at that lovely bird...fussy cut to be front and center on the bodice.

When it's for a gift, a Mommy Said Sew tag often finds it's way onto a garment. This one is peeking out from under the ric-rac on the apron. That pop of orange pulls all the different colors together. Below is a picture of the back. Because I love my friend so much, I agreed to the extra work of making this dress baby friendly. The entire back can be unbuttoned and baby can be easily dressed without it having to go over her head. I'm really kind like that.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Fox Knot Dress

My oldest kid is in a Chicago public school and like most of those, we get asked to raise funds in all kinds of different ways. Most of them are pretty fun. Walk-a-thons are neat and I don't mind buying a t-shirt here and there. But my favorite so far is the annual benefit gala or ball, whatever you want to call it. Some of the schools in our part of town have made it an art form. Ours is somewhere in the comfortable middle.


Last year I helped create a quilt that the kindergarten class auctioned off at the gala through a silent auction . In addition to that, I donated a custom item. Much to my delight, it was one of the few items that were auctioned off live during the gala. I was sorry I couldn't attend and watch the live bidding - I bet that would have been really neat, but nerve wracking. On second thought, I'm glad I missed it.
 
 In the end, the custom knot dress and ruffle pant set I donated went to one of the teachers. She paid a pretty penny above retail for it - yay for the school! She wanted this outfit for her niece. She and her mom stopped by my studio and looked through all my fabric and I think the choices they made are marvelous! This dress has a lot going on, but that's what makes it so cool. Nobody else has a dress like this one!

 From the mismatched vintage buttons to the Patty Young ribbon, nearly every designer I love is here. Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet, Anna Maria Horner, Joel Dewberry, and those crazy awesome foxes from Blend.

There's the back. That's the end. Oh and since it's a fall to winter dress the pants are a fine whale corduroy. Cozy.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sarah Jane Burp Cloths

So happy that another friend is having another baby - they just keep doing that! So this friend happens to share a love for all things Sarah Jane!  The balloon print is the sweetest one from her collection Children At Play. The mermaid and octopus are from Out To Sea. Wait till I get my hands on Wee Wonder - precious! Make me wish my girls would never grow up and I could make them pretty little girl dresses forever.

So these lovely burp cloths (cute fabric sewn onto pre-washed cloth diapers) will be catching that spit up and drool with style. I'm not much of an applique kind of girl, but I like how that octopus looks on to of the chevron!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Crochet Scarf Sample Sale in the Etsy Store




I'm making space by letting go some crochet scarves (and a few sewn ones too!) that I sewed to test patterns. These are brand new and one of a kind! Sale prices range from $15-30.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tote Bag and Clutch Purse Collection

I'm working up a collection of tote bags and clutch purses for the holidays. Stay tuned and I'll let you know when they are available in my Etsy store.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fold Over Clutch with Vintage Lace Overlay


Sometimes I take a good look at Etsy and Pinterest to get inspiration for what to sew next. I've been wondering what to make with some vintage lace that I have a lot of and some of the fall and winter weight fabrics I have like wool and velveteen. Here's the first result. This is a fold-over clutch purse. Basically it's just a zippered pouch made with some super special details. You can find an excellent tutorial for a zippered pouch on this website: Sew Sweetness.

What makes this one special is four details. 1. I used a nice bright green, tweedy wool fabric that adds a richness and depth. 2. For the front of the purse (just the bottom half) I sewed on this openwork piece of vintage lace. In the photos it might just look like it's the print of the fabric, but in person it's obviously a layered piece.

 

3. You can't see it but inside the bottom rectangle section of the clutch, I sewed in heavy weight interfacing to give that part of the bag shape and to allow the top section a breaking point to flop over. 4. Lastly, I made the fold over section shaped like a triangle so it has a slanted edge when it lays over the lace part on the bottom of the bag.

I love how it came out! It fits my wallet, purse and keys and I could probably squeeze in a few other things like a lip gloss. Now I just need a date night, so it can get out on the town!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spoonflower Fabric For VW Van Lovers


Baby Gift Set
 This is my first purchase from Spoonflower! I had to have an out of print design from the talented Heather Ross. My friends just welcomed their first boy (third child) but before he joined the family, they adopted and babied a Volkswagen Camper Van. I knew Heather Ross had done a fabric with that design several years ago and I was so glad to be able to order a printing of it from Spoonflower.

Baby blanket with one side white minky chenille and one side VW Van camping fabric.
 I ordered enough (2 yards) to get all of my favorite baby gifts sewn up. It costs more than retail quilting cotton but less than the hard to find, collectible prints by Heather Ross on Etsy. All-in-all, since I made everything it still cost me far less than if I'd bought all these products at a store. Being crafty has it's advantages!

Above is a diaper clutch. Closes with velcro and has enough room inside for a plastic wipes case, several diapers and a small tube of paste or hand sanitizer.

The much loved cloth diapers covered almost entirely with cute fabric. Go ahead baby! Spit up on these! I also made a ribbon lovey with pale green minky on the back for super snuggling.

And last but not least, another view of the blanket with that fantastic fabric...









Thursday, November 7, 2013

Back to Basics - Baby Gifts



Back to where it all started... I guess you can take that 2 ways. 1. We all started out as babies, me included. 2. I started sewing baby gifts after I had my first kid and MommySaidSew was born.

I've gotten a few orders recently from friends who are looking for those special, one-of-a-kind gifts for a new mom. Baby 1 is not born yet and the parent's are waiting to find out the gender. This baby is getting a little ribbon lovey and a stroller blanket with one side faux fur in a hip giraffe print. The bold yellow and green striped quilting cotton suits a boy or girl.

Stroller blanket features clips in the top two corners to keep it in place on a car seat or stroller.

Baby gift number two is another ribbon lovey for a baby girl. The giver wanted to keep it classic with black and white fabrics but make it fun with colorful ribbon. Your wish is my command!





All the gifts are ready to give with their MommySaidSew tags and washing/care instructions tied on.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Patchwork Scarf with Zipper Tape






Went through my scrap basket the other day and found some long pieces of zipper tape that were leftover from a project where I needed the zippers, but not the entire length. I've seen plenty of projects using the zipper-less pieces of tape that are leftover. I decided to use these to add something new to a scarf.

Since I was already in the scrap basket, I pulled out a bunch of coordinating pieces of all types. There is chenille (the fuzzy cream colored stuff), quilting cotton, voile and even some jersey. After sewing a long patchwork strip from all these and the zipper tape, I cut a piece of solid mustard colored voile for the back. The only thing left to do was sew a regular circle scarf. It is long enough to double up. It's shown here long so you can see all the pieces. Great piece for fall!