Oliver + S : Modified Jump Rope Shirt

I love the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress. It was one of the first garment patterns I sewed for Layla so long ago. Its that time of year now when I start thinking about refreshing her wardrobe because she’s outgrown everything she has. She’s looking more like a toothpick everyday because she’s just getting taller. Anyway, I figured I would start by making her a couple of new shirts.

I used the Jump Rope Dress pattern, but modified it by shortening it to a shirt, and using bias tape on the armholes to keep the shirts sleeveless. Its the perfect look for Florida, and she’ll be able to wear them anytime.

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The first one is this great Nani Iro double gauze. I love this print because its so muted, but so feminine.

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The weight is absolutely wonderful, and its so soft!

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Layla chose this fabric from the Jones and Vandermeer site. She caught one glimpse of this Cookie Book fabric from Kim Knight and had to have it.

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I’m so glad I got it for her because I’m partial to this top as well. I love the vintage vibe of the fabric, and the colors are perfect.

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I used a 28 wt Aurifil for topstitching to make the dark aqua from the flowers pop.

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This is just the beginning of the clothes making for 2015. I need to refresh all my patterns for Layla as she is in the next size up, and Wallace will probably need something other than Sketchbook shirts. And then there’s me. I’m making me-stuff too!

What are your favorite kid’s patterns?

-Meredith

Kids and Quilts : A Liberty Love Story

I finished up Wallace’s new Liberty quilt, and now he and Layla have coordinating quilts. Same pattern, different color schemes to suit them. I’m not going to coordinate outfits or anything, but I’m ridiculously excited about these quilts. 20150127-DSC_0003

I do love kids and quilts. I’m happy that Wallace is far less particular about his than Layla. After she was born, I made the mistake of playing the door mat when someone bashed a quilt I had made for Layla, and they gave her a “made in China” piece of garbage blanket that was fleecy. To this day she prefers that stuff to even the most buttery soft quilts. But I digress. Let’s talk about the kid who thus far appreciates whatever I choose to wrap him in. Seeing the two of them wrapped up in their quilts just makes my heart happy. Its a small, tangible portrait of my love for them. How I hope they always know they hold my heart!

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Wallace was definitely in need of a quilt upgrade. Aside from a couple of blankets, he is too big and too tall for me to cover him in any of the ones I made before he was born. I’m happy that this one not only gives him room to grow, but he’s already getting a lot of use out of it. Notice those wrinkles? Those are love wrinkles.

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Believe it or not, I kind of expect to make more coordinated quilts in the future. I’m sure I’ll make costumes, clothes, and toys to go together. Even though he’s only eight months old, Wallace is head over heels in love with Layla. He watches her every move, and the two of them share such a special bond. She entertains him and just bubbles over with love for him, and he giggles at her and crawls around wherever she roams. When she takes her baths, he follows her right to the tub and stands there and splashes the water. If she’s in trouble and has been sent to her room, guess who is right behind her trying to rescue her? These two do make my heart so full, and I just know they’ll be partners in crime throughout childhood. And I’m going to be very tired.

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About the quilt… I used one of my all time favorite Liberty prints, Queue for the Zoo, in the blue colorway for Wallace’s quilt back. Layla’s has the same print in purple. His quilt is bound with my latest chambray obsession, Robert Kaufman’s Chambray Dot in indigo. Go buy bolts of that stuff! You will thank me later. :) The dot fabric on both quilts is Nani Iro Pocho which I bought at Jones and Vandermeer. All the patchwork portions are various Liberty prints.

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The original post about Layla’s quilt can be found here.

I hope this post finds you warm inside and out.

-Meredith

Picture Perfect Binding : a tutorial

Ready for a binding tutorial? I’ve gotten lots of requests for a straight grain binding tutorial. This one gets your picture perfect, crisp corners, professional results every single time. Its the essential skill for finishing quilts, and you’ll want to add it to your repertoire! This method showcases straight grain binding, which is perfect for most every quilt with the exception of those with curved edges.

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After you have finished quilting and squared up your quilt (trimmed it down so that your edges are even), you will need to determine just how much fabric you will need for binding. To calculate what you need, simply determine the perimeter of your quilt, and divide by 42″. My quilt is 40″ x 48″, and I know I cut my binding strips at 2.5″. If I were using standard 44″ fabric, I’ll account for the selvages and only count 42″. So the perimeter of my quilt is (40×2)+(48×2)=176″. I divide 176/42=4.1 and I’ll want to cut a little extra so I’ll cut 4.5 2.5″x42″ strips, so I’ll need (4.5×2.5=11.25) 1/2 yard for the binding. The fabric I chose for binding is actually 60″ so I cut four strips. Okay. I promise that’s it for math. If you’ve stuck with me to this point, I promise you can finish this to the end with a gorgeously clean result.

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So once you’ve cut your strips, you’re going to need to sew them together. You’ll want to place them right sides together, and orient the short ends to be perpendicular so that you can sew a 45° seam by sewing from corner to corner. It would be easier to sew them with a straight seam, but that would cause too much bulk when you attached it to the quilt. I promise this will make sense later.

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After you have sewn your strips together to make one long strip (don’t attach the two ends to make a circle!), trim those triangles off so that you leave about a 1/4″ seam. You’ll press those seams open.

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Fold your big, long strip in half lengthwise and press it.

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Now you’re going to attach the side with the raw edges to the raw edges of the front side of your quilt. Leaving a generous 8″ tail, begin around the center of one the sides of your quilt, and using a 1/4″ seam and beginning with an backstitch, sew the binding to the edge of your quilt.

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When you approach your corner, stop 1/4″ before the corner, raise your needle. You will now fold the binding up, and then down the adjacent edge of your quilt. This will form a triangle on the binding. Begin stitching the next side from the top edge, and continue in this manner along the sides and corners until you are about 8″ away from your beginning seam.

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When you are about that far away, backstitch and remove your quilt from the machine.

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Now we need to trim the excess binding and attach the strips so that they become one. To do this, trim a couple of inches off the beginning piece of binding.

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We’re going to use what you just trimmed off as a guide for where to cut the end binding. Overlap the beginning and end pieces, and open up the piece you trimmed off.

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Using that as a guide, trim the end piece so that it is overlapping your beginning piece 2.5″ (the width of your trimmed piece). Then trim off another 1/8″ for good measure. When I was taught, the lady told me to give it a haircut. :)

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Okay. Now your ready to attach the ends. We’re going to do this the same way we attached the pieces to begin with with a 45° seam, but its just a little trickier since its attached to the quilt. But you can do it!!! Keep going.

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Attach the ends so that they lay perpendicular. Its a great idea to keep them intact with pins while you sew. Once your seam is sewn, trim it down to 1/4″ and press open. Then fold the binding in half (it will naturally want to do this), and stitch the binding to the quilt the rest of the way.

Now this next step is not necessary, but I’m mentioning because I almost always do it. I love to think my quilts will last forever, and in the name of preservation I will stitch all the way around the edges of the quilt with an overlock stitch to ensure there is never any fraying. Again, not necessary, but you may want to do this on the extra special quilts you’ve poured your heart into, or those that you’ve made with more delicate fabrics like double gauze or linen (because it tends to fray like crazy). Aurifil’s 40wt thread is perfect for this!

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So now you are ready to begin hand stitching the binding to the backside of the quilt. Before you start, its a good idea to trim the corners of the quilt. Trim only the quilt, and not the binding or the stitching! This will help your corners to be perfect and flat. Okay, so you’ll need a sharp needle with a small eye. My local quilt shop carries some called “straw needles” that I always use for this purpose. Thread your needle and tie a hefty knot at one end. You’ll want to use a thread that matches your binding, not the backing.

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Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt, and beginning at somewhere other than a corner, pin down the edge in a single spot. Insert your needle through the backing of your quilt and up through the binding just to the left of your pin.

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Now insert your needle into the backing just below where it came out of the binding. Going toward the left (if you are right handed – the right if you are left handed), penetrate the backing and batting, but not the front of your quilt, and bring your needle out and through the binding about 1/4″ away. Continue to do this (its called a slip stitch or blind stitch) until you reach the corner.

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Notice how you can’t see your stitches and the binding has been attached invisibly?

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Once you reach the corner, sew all the way to the edge of the quilt, and then fold down that angled corner. Insert your needle up through the binding at the bottom of the corner, then insert it back into the binding and up to almost the top of the corner. 20150122-DSC_0055You’re going to blindstitch that corner down in the same manner that you’ve been stitching the binding to the quilt. This helps your corners to stay intact and crisp.

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After the corner is sewn down, keep on stitching until you’ve made it around the quilt. Once you’ve done several stitches, your hands pick up the rhythm, and it becomes a relaxing task. Keep on practicing, and you’ll be speeding through hand binding.

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This method of binding is what was taught to me when I started out. The woman who was gracious enough to teach me asked me, “well do you want to learn the quick way, or do you want to learn the right way?” Without hesitation, I answered, “the right way!” because I know how much time goes into making a quilt, and I don’t want to ruin its appearance with a quick finish. If its worth making, its worth doing it well to the very end.

There are many ways to bind up a quilt. The popular thing to do these days is to finish it on your machine. There’s not a thing wrong with that, but my method is the one I demonstrated to you today because I’m all about taking things slow, cutting carefully, measuring twice, and making sure everything is done right. I encourage you to give it a go, and I don’t doubt for a minute that you will love your clean, perfect, seamless finish on that quilt you’ve poured so much love and time into.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section, and I will do my best to answer!

Happy crafting!

-Meredith

HST Redux : The Kitchen Mat Tutorial

I don’t have pictures for our next step in the Opposites Attract QAL so that post will be up in the next day or two, but I do have a great tutorial for using up some of those HST leftovers! Be sure to cut those carefully, and you’ll have a precut project on your hands to whip up in an afternoon.

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I got out my leftovers from my Handcrafted version of the quilt, and began playing out with layout. I loved the look of these hourglass blocks!

And now I get to show you how to make one of these kitchen mats for yourself! Besides your triangle scraps, you’ll need an old towel, approximately 3/4″ yard for backing, 1/4″ yard for binding, thread, ruler, mat, rotary cutter. IMG_7064

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After you arrange your blocks (5 blocks x 7 blocks makes a mat approximately 20″ x 28″), sew them together with a 1/4″ seam on one of the 90° edges (those are the edges that should be even and straight, while the slanted edge will need to be trimmed and squared up later on).

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Press seams to one side (opposing sides for each side of the block- so I pressed my seams toward the Handcrafted prints).

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Then with right sides together, sew the diagonal edge of your pieces together with a 1/4″ seam.

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You’ll end up with a block like this. I trimmed mine down to 4.5″. Most acryllic rulers have a 45° angle guide that you should be able to use to ensure you are squaring up properly.

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Once you have sewn your blocks and are sure of your arrangement (because its always good to double check you are happy with it!), sew each  block together to form short rows. Then sew rows together, and remember to press your seams open.

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Sorry for this AWFUL blurry picture!

Now you’ll layer your mat top on the towel and backing, cut them so that you have a couple of inches on every side of the mat top. Make sure your layers are flat, and baste the layers together liberally with safety pins. Depending on the loft of your towel, your mat may want to shift around when quilting, so you want to be sure to baste well to prevent that from happening.

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Once you are satisfied with your basting, use your machine’s walking foot, and quilt in the design of your choosing. After you have quilted the mat, trim your mat and square it up. Cut three 2.5″ X WOF (width of fabric) for binding, and bind up the mat like you would a quilt. If you don’t know how to do this, fear not! I’ll be posting a very thorough binding tutorial this week.

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This is just one way you can use those left over triangles from your Opposites Attract Quilt, or any other quilt or pattern that will leave you with extras. Don’t look at them as scraps, but use them as a precut project! Turn them into a fun time, and you’ll have something new for your house, or a gift for a friend in no time. I’ll be posting many more tutorials like this one in the coming weeks. I’m determined to inspire you one way or another!

-Meredith

Goodies Galore

Do you ever stalk the mail man or the UPS guy (lady)? I do. I love getting packages, especially when they are filled with pretty things. I had been doing really well about not adding much fabric to what I already have but… Liberty gets me! It does. And then I’m browsing the J&V site, and one thing leads to another, and I have a whole beautiful assortment of goodies that clearly need a loving home.

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I do have a plan for most of this, so it does feel justified. I mean, I already used this amazing Checkmate print from the Alice in Wonderland collection.

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The other Liberty prints are half yard cuts (the size I generally stash), which will no doubt be used soon.

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This Atelier Brunette blackbird print will become some sort of top for me. I cannot get over how great this fabric is, and I need to wear it!

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The Lisa Congdon print is so simple and sweet. I know it want to become some sort of garment, but I’m waiting until I know what pattern will be absolutely perfect before making the plunge.

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I may or may not have also gotten some Liberty swimsuit fabric to make myself and Layla new suits this year. :D No I have never sewn a swimsuit, but be sure I’m going to try it now that I have this print. Its so bright and beautiful, AND it will cost way, way less than buying a suit (which I HATE buying because it costs a fortune for glorified underthings!). Ahem.

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And while we’re on the subject of great fabric, look at these adorable cuts of Gallymoggers Reynard from the Alice in Wonderland collection that a friend surprised me with last week!

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I did make a “need” purchase from Hawthorne Threads. I had all but run out of all of my Aurifil so I stocked up on my favorite white thread in 40wt and 28wt, and I invested in a big spool of my favorite color #2525 because its basically the neutral of the exciting color family because it goes with everything. I did feel really boring just getting those colors, so I added a few small spools of various colors. I’m sure I’ll use them even though I don’t often use colored threads except for top stitching or when a garment needs that special touch.

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Last but not least, Flowery in Hand got me hook, line, and sinker. I don’t know how, but she has convinced me my phone needs a new Liberty print almost every day of the week. These are Poppy and Daisy, Strawberry Thief, and Margaret Annie.

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Now please tell me you’ve gone a little crazy on pretty things too! Have you gotten any of the new Alice in Wonderland collection? What about the new season of Cotton + Steel? Dish!

-Meredith

Liberty Love : A Boyish Sixteen Patch Quilt

Remember this quilt I made for Layla around this time last year? Well its one of my most favorite quilts. So simple, but so beautiful. Wallace is quickly getting too big for all the quilts I made for him before he was born, so I’ve started growing his collection with a quilt like Layla’s, only with a more “boyish” palette.

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It was such fun to choose Liberty fabrics in such a limited color palette. Having limited myself to blue and grey tones, I had to hone in on what exactly would work because I desperately wanted this to be cohesive, cool-toned quilt. I’m so grateful for friends who shared some of their fabric with me, and I’m ecstatic that I was able to use some of the new Alice in Wonderland prints that a friend surprised me with last week!

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The prints are Liberty, so they are mostly floral. But I think the overall tone of the quilt is masculine. Obviously men can wear florals, but I think you understand me. Just pretend.

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The grayish-beige dot is Nani Iro Pocho. Just like Layla’s this quilt top is absolutely dreamy. I’m quilting it now, and I can’t wait to show you the finished piece!

This quilt pattern is found in my favorite, most used crafty book, Liberty Love by Alexia Marcelle Abegg (of Cotton + Steel and Green Bee Design).

-Meredith

Opposites Attract Quilt Along : Sew [part one]

Do you have your fabrics cut?

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Today we’re going to begin sewing our blocks. Whether you are sewing a small quilt or a large one, I find it easy to tackle them [the blocks] in batches. Going in the order of the directions in the pattern, I’ve sewn up all the Small Introvert blocks first.

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I sewed up the HSTs, then attached them to the squares. Then made my geese blocks and finished them off. All 30 of them at one time.

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I’m making a twin size quilt this go round. I know if I can tackle 30 blocks in a day with two children hanging on me, you can do it too! So if you are getting late start (as though there is any such thing!), fear not! You can do this! Opposites Attract is a fantastic quilt for both the beginner and seasoned quilter. Wouldn’t it be fun to have such a quilt ready for Valentine’s day?

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If you don’t have the pattern, you can find it here in my Etsy shop as an instant download. I’d love to hear about your progress. Tell me about it in the comments, use #oppositesattractquilt on Instagram, and by all means upload your pictures to the Flickr pool! Let’s have fun with this and encourage one another. :) Its not much fun going at it all alone.

I hope you are having a beautiful Monday. Stop back by tomorrow to see a new quilt!

-Meredith

Sketchbook Shirts : Liberty + Chambray

I know I told you I would have this post up yesterday, but the weather was super dreary on Wednesday, so getting any good pictures would have been next to impossible. I hope waiting an extra day is worth it!

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I haven’t been doing much garment sewing lately, and I think that’s because my sewing seems to go in spurts. I’ll make several quilts, then several bags, then get on an embroidery kick, then make a ton of clothes. There’s really no rhyme or reason, I guess that’s just how I do things. Anyway, aside from making Wallace some pants before he was born (that he never fit into, by the way), I haven’t made him any clothing. But I was quite inspired to do so after seeing this new Liberty print. Luckily I was able to squeeze a long sleeved Sketchbook shirt out of a half meter!

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Of course I had other projects going, but when you get bitten by the inspiration bug, sometimes you just have to drop everything and follow along! I’m so glad I did because I’m loving how positively dapper Wallace looks sporting his new shirt.

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All he needs now is a chambray bow tie! And maybe a vest…

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As I was cutting out the first shirt, I thought “surely I’m going to be so in love with this I’ll want him to have another right away.” So I cut version B from this chambray dot that I’m so in love with.

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I had to use a bit of Liberty on the inside yoke. It was only right.

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Its a different look, but totally adorable.

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I’m definitely going to be using this pattern over and over and over. Its the Sketchbook Shirt from Oliver + S. Wallace is quite large at 8 months old, so I skipped to the 12-18 months size, and I’m thrilled that it works perfectly. He’s still got plenty of length so that when he starts walking soon and slims out, they ought to still fit. I’m definitely crossing my fingers!

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Have a great weekend!

-Meredith

Glitzy Super Tote

A couple of weeks ago I got a custom order for a Super Tote (pattern from Noodlehead). We went back and forth on fabrics and finally decided that Michael Miller’s Glitz fabrics were the perfect choice. My client actually decided on all the placement, so I can’t take a bit of credit for that. 20150109-DSC_0003

Isn’t it a fun bag?

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Both sides are different, and each outside pocket (fully lined) features magnetic snap closures.

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The outside fabrics are in the blue colorway (mist), and the white fabric you see is a metallic chambray from Andover (possibly my new favorite staple fabric because it is awesome). 

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The handles are lined with the pink colorway chevron print, and the inside lining features the pink colorway as well.

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The zipper is from ZipIt, where I get all of my zippers. This one is the 18″ version of my most favorite organic cotton gold tooth metal zipper. Gosh, I love it.

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This bag is so bright and fun. It has great structure without being bulky or heavy, and its the perfect size. I hope its new owner is as head over heels as I am!

Pop back in tomorrow to see the cutest little button down shirts. I’m finally making clothes for Wallace and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop!

Have a great day!

-Meredith

Quilted Crib Sheets

Desperation can sometimes lead to nasty results. We may throw caution to the wind, and make compromises to gain a little ground. Then again, sometimes it works out well. I’m happy to say that my latest “desperate” project was actually a raving success. Well, sort of.

Wallace has gotten used to being in our bed because its so much easier to nurse him there than it is to trek across the house in the middle of the night. Long story short, its bred some sleeping issues that I’m eager to break. To begin with, he needs to be in his own bed, but his bed isn’t nearly as appealing as mine without me or my cushy foam mattress. Unfortunately, it seems that crib mattresses only get so comfortable because they are made for utility and to avoid soaking up pee and any other fluid that comes from wee ones. So how am I supposed to convince this kid his bed is better than mine? Currently he hates the crib, and will cry for several hours without stopping. He’s not getting me in there, so making the bed itself more comfortable seemed like the best remedy.

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After some thought, I came to the conclusion that quilting some flannel crib sheets might provide the comfort Wallace craves. I grabbed some flannel I had on reserve for this very purpose, and decided to layer it with batting and quilt it. I always use Warm and Natural batting, and its perfect for these sheets because its solid and has a low loft. Once I quilted the flannel and batting together, I cut it down to size and made crib sheets.

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its fairly difficult to see the quilting lines, but take my word for it. :)

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They’re wonderfully soft! I would love to sleep on them every night. Wallace isn’t quite convinced yet, but they certainly are a big step up from just a plain sheet on a crunchy mattress. We’ll get there…I hope.

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On a lighter note, can you believe this guy is 8 months old?! Time just needs to slow down!

-Meredith