Field Day Blog Tour : A Churn Dash Quilt

Hey there! I’m so excited to show you my latest quilt top! Alison Glass sent me some Field Day fabric and some of Andover’s textured solids to play around with. I knew I wanted to use them together, and quickly decided they must become a churn dash quilt. The decision happened a little faster than the assembly, but thankfully this design can be streamlined very easily since almost everything can be done with chain piecing.

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I do love the way the solids play with the vibrant and bold colors in Field Day. The line looks cool in pictures (like the ones from Market you’ve no doubt seen!), but let me tell you, in person the colors are absolutely stunning. If you don’t have this line, you need it.

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Anyway, about those solids…. Had I been pairing solids with this quilt based on my own choices, I certainly would not have been drawn to browns. I’m never drawn to browns. But I really think they do well with this line. Also, they’re called Textured Solids because they really are heavily textured. In fact, I would not have ever thought to pair them with quilting cotton had they not both been sent to me together. The threads that are woven into the fabric vary in thickness, and that’s what give the fabric its texture. Also, its not tightly woven, so the fabric has quite a bit of fluidity. It does pair nicely with the quilting weight, but I would certainly suggest careful and accurate cutting, and keeping an eye on it as you’re sewing to keep in line.

And speaking of keeping fabric in line, the one part of this project that I wasn’t a fan of (though I am a big fan of the result), was the trimming of all those half square triangles. My word is that a tedious step. But its so rewarding to have perfectly even pieces to work with!

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See this print? Isn’t that mint color good enough to eat? I think it might be my most favorite print just because the color is so delicious.

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But this print… the design is so amazing. I think when I quilt this one, this is the fabric I’ll use for the back. But I do so love the minty one. Decisions, decisions.

I don’t really know what I was thinking when I chose this Timeless Treasures Crosshatch Sketch for the background fabric. I still don’t know what I think of it, but I don’t dislike it. I guess I’m deciding if its possibly a bit harsh for the pretty colors in Field Day. Or maybe its because I have black touching brown. I really don’t know. I like it. But it feels sort of rebellious.

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I’m thinking of circular quilting for this baby. Its actually not a baby, though. I want to machine quilt it, and if I go through with it, it will be the largest quilt I’ve ever [properly] machine quilted at 72″ x 90″ (twin size). I might have to take baby steps and spiral it rather than doing concentric circles so I don’t lose my mind. I’m pretty sure it would take like two weeks worth of Wallace nap times to do concentric circles without the quilt warping like crazy. And if you have circular quilting suggestions, throw them at me. Please. Also, wouldn’t it be amazing done up with the colors from Alison’s Aurifil set (by the way, its on sale right now)? I love the colors so much, and I need to expand my teensy collection, but I really want them in the 28 wt for quilting. I think it would be sooo gorgeous quilted in those pretty colors.

Anyway, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand time. Alison Glass is amazing. Inside and out, everything she does is just beautiful. It would be so great to support such a talented and genuine artist. So if you don’t have any of her new stuff, please go browse her shop. She has all sorts of goodies, and not only that, she has a big giveaway going on on her blog right now. You can head over there to check it out and hopefully win some awesome stuff! Good luck!

-Meredith

Blueprints

I started drafting my pattern for my Perfect shirt the other day. It was a rather tedious process, not only because of what is required to actually draw out the pattern, but also because I have a now ten-week-old who was extremely insistent on being held and entertained that whole day. Nonetheless, I took advantage of those brief moments when I was able to put him down, and got a decent amount accomplished. I still have to draw out the pattern for the sleeve and sleeve cuff, but I expect that will be child’s play after having done the front and back pieces which have darts. Hopefully it will be smoother sailing on a day that I’m not so flustered.

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Every time I begin a new sort of project, I get so taken with the process. Beginning to end, quality work is a time consuming thing. Whether its a small project that takes an hour or a more involved one that takes days or even weeks, I really don’t think people who don’t sew have a clue what goes into making what they purchase ready-made. Ah! Its so important to support those people who make things themselves, and who pay their employees fair wages. Truly! I don’t buy very many articles of clothing from stores since I’ve been able to make a variety of things myself. Sure there are things that I love, and that I want and will indulge, such as this Perfect shirt I’m attempting to remake. I don’t have a clue what different corporations pay their various employees, so perhaps I’m fooling myself thinking that if I shop somewhere a little higher end, maybe the person who actually made the garment is able to feed their family. But those people who are here in the US are likely making far better wages, and what a treat to be able to hand the money right over to someone who used their hands and their time to produce a usable good! I do hope we see industry and manufacturing make a comeback here. What a revolution that would be!

Aaaand what a tangent that was…. Can you tell I get a little passionate about things? I guess I just so love the thrill of putting to use something that I’ve worked really hard on, that its hard to understand how we ever gave away these fulfilling jobs. I just think its amazing to make something for another person, and then have them say how much they love that thing. To know that I’ve made something that will possibly last a few generations.

Anyway, I have a few things on my handmade agenda. I’m using a Cotton + Steel lawn and sheeting to make a designed-by-me dress for my sister. Seeing that one come to life is going to be so exciting!

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I picked up the horse print from Melody Miller to make a little something for Layla. Perhaps another one of these tops? The Nani Iro floral print will also become a top for Layla, but I’m thinking a really darling little buttondown. The Liberty is for my stash, and the tiger print canvas from Alexia Abegg will become a bag.

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These Anna Maria Horner knits are also destined to become garments. I’m thinking the green will be a cute romper for Layla, and the purple will be a skirt for me.

Now hopefully I can focus on one thing at a time and get all the things accomplished! I think that will be the hardest part!

-Meredith

Shop Sale

Hey everyone. I’m just popping in to let you know that I’m having a big sale in my shop. I’m hoping to sell everything I currently have listed, so I have coupon code to take 30% off your purchase! Use code SUMMER at checkout.

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As always, thank you so much for your support!

-Meredith

The Goings On

I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet this week! I had big garment sewing plans that got trumped when I decided to do a big destashing. I desperately need to make room in my studio, so I sold a bunch of fabric cuts and bundles on my Instagram destash account. There are still some available @meredith_destash if you are interested!

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I’m a bit in-between projects at the moment. Once I finish up a large quilt top I’m working on to show you next week, I’m going to get back to those grand garment sewing plans of mine. I need some more church-wear that’s nursing friendly. I do so miss my My Belles, so I think I may give that pattern the button placket treatment. And while I’m at it, I’ll post a tutorial like the one I tried to explain just in words, but this time I’ll add pictures. I’m sure it will be useful to someone- and not just nursing ladies, but anyone who would want to add a button closure to a garment.

Also on my clothing agenda is to make some button down, oxford style shirts like my favorite JCrew Perfect shirts. They’re in constant rotation, and I’d love to be able to sport them in the fabric of my choice. Wish me luck on that endeavor. If I’m successful you’ll hear my squeals of joy around the world.

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You know what else is on my mind? These Cotton + Steel basics. They’re kind of amazing, and I want all of them. There are like a bajillion collections coming out this month. What are you most excited to get your hands on?

I promise some more meaty, meaningful content soon!

-Meredith

Movies in the Park Shorts

I’m so excited to show you my new shorts!!

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These awesome shorts were made using the Movies in the Park shorts pattern from Indiesew. I used Robert Kaufman’s Chambray Dot in Black for the main fabric, and for the facing and pocket I used a voile Kokka print with Boston Terriers all over. I don’t have a picture of them, but gosh, are they cute!

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This is such a fun pattern to sew, and the way that the shorts come together makes it possible to get a totally custom fit. I cut the size small. Its a bit big in the waist, but I was bloated (yay, postpartum body issues!) when I was determining size. Ah, well. Better that they’re a little big rather than small. Anyway, I say that to say that’s its completely fine to cut so you have some extra room in the shorts, because the final step on the pattern is to close the legs at the sides. This gives you complete freedom to adjust for room where you need it, and overlap the sides a bit more where you don’t.

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The pattern calls for 12 buttons, six on each side, as the closure for the shorts (only the top three are functional.) Rather than attaching buttons all the way down each side, I topstitched the binding down from the pocket to the bottom of each side, then used four small buttons from the top of the pocket to the waistline to create my closure. Since I was aiming for a very clean, crisp appearance in this pair of shorts, I did without the large buttons because I felt they would have created too much of a focal point.

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The Movies in the Park shorts have a perfect rise, sitting just at the top of my hip bones. They look awesome paired with a button down or just a plain t-shirt. I’m definitely going to be making more! I think I need a pair in Liberty to pair with a denim popover….

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This pattern is very simple, straightforward, and fairly quick to sew together. The most time consuming part is just making sure that the sides are aligned to be a perfect fit, because for me that meant putting them on and taking them off multiple times. It was well worth it, though, because I really love the fit. I’m so happy I was able to make shorts that would fit my rear end, but I had the freedom to taper them in a bit at my legs so I didn’t have any flare (as is so often the case with store bought bottoms for me).

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I highly recommend the Movies in the Park Shorts pattern. I know that sewing bottoms (or even shopping for them) can be such a daunting task to so many women, but having the freedom to cater the fit exactly to your body makes these such an accessible pattern even to those who are fairly new to garment sewing. And bonus? This pattern is only $8! Go get it!

If you haven’t joined the Indiesew community, head over to their site and sign up. Its totally free, and their website is packed with patterns, tutorials, and even style guides. Its a great way to support emerging artists and to get to know others in the sewing world.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Meredith

The Tank Dress

Yesterday was my little sister’s birthday. I made her a dress, just knowing I’d be able to make her one that would fit her super tiny frame. Well I’ll go ahead and tell you that even knowing all of her measurements, I still managed to make her a too-big dress!

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Indiesew sent me the Tank Dress pattern to review. If you haven’t heard about Indiesew, they’re a fairly new company that features indie pattern designers in their shop. They have a great vision of bringing together the sewing community by making [primarily] garment sewing more accessible to everyone. Not only do they sell patterns of both known and up-and-coming designers, they also have a blog filled with instruction and inspiration. If you are interested in garment or accessory sewing, and want to support a great group of independent designers, definitely consider joining the Indiesew community.

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The Tank Dress pattern is by Caroline Hulse of Sew Caroline. Whether its from her blog, her patterns, or her debut line of fabric, Gleeful, you’ve likely heard of her as her popularity in the world of sewing is rapidly growing- and rightly so! She’s made the Tank Dress to be a great beginner pattern. If you’ve never sewn a garment before, this one is a great one to start with as there are only three pieces to this pattern, and you can cut out and sew a Tank Dress in just a few hours or less. She has lots of other great patterns too, which you can find in the Indiesew shop, which includes a knit dress and a top, and I’m sure she’ll be adding a few new patterns soon!

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Like I mentioned before, I wanted to add a bit of interest to this simple dress, so I added pleats to the front. To do this, I simply added 1.5″ to be cut on the fold (so a total of 3″), and sewed six  1/4″ pleats spaced about 1″ apart. Don’t you think it give the dress sort of a tuxedo vibe?

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I also lined this version of the dress because my main fabric is voile, which tends to be a little sheer. So I just lined my voile with more voile, which solved the sheerness issue and made for one luxurious piece of clothing. After I pleated the front section, I sewed my lining pieces to my main fabric with a 1/4″ seam so they would act as one piece from then onward. I trimmed down the seam allowance in the neck so I could use exposed bias binding. Its all the same color, so it doesn’t really stand out, but I preferred that look with the pleats over the interior bias binding. Though I used this method on the armholes as well, I didn’t trim those down because Abigail has tiny arms, and I didn’t think she needed more space.

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The back of the dress was cinched in with an elastic casing rather than shirring. And I didn’t need to finish any seams other than the pockets since I used French seams. Even though I’m probably overly attached to the overlock stitch on my machine, I do love using French seams on delicate and lightweight fabrics like voile and lawn because its such a clean finish.

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The one downer to the Tank Dress pattern is the price. Typically I wouldn’t bring any attention to the price of something- especially in the handmade community, but it really is a beginner pattern that needs very little instruction and requires the bare minimum in time and effort on the part of the person sewing. I’ve seen a drastic spike in pattern pricing on the part of indie community over the past year, and its a shame because I think it alienates many people who would potentially be willing to give garment sewing a go, and it also drives up the price of really “meaty” and instruction filled patterns. But the good thing is, Indiesew has a ton of other patterns that are much more reasonably priced given their varying levels of complexity. They really have a great variety of patterns to suit just about anyone. One such pattern that I cannot wait to show you is the Movies in the Park shorts, which I’ll be talking about tomorrow. They were so much fun to sew, and I can’t wait for you to see them!

And just let me end on this note: I do not get paid to write what I write on here. I have a single sponsor who requires absolutely nothing from me. I won’t lie to my readers to make a dime! What you will find in this space is honesty and nothing but willingness to see this creative community thrive. Please know that I will not throw out any criticism that I think would be hurtful, but rather only that which I believe is for the betterment of everyone out there. 

I’ll see you back here tomorrow in some new shorts!

Nani Iro Party Peplum Dress

Do you ever just get the urge to stop everything you have going to do something else? Something gratifying and fun? That urge hit me like a ton of bricks about mid-morning on Saturday. I purchased some of this gorgous Nani Iro print several weeks ago, and I knew I wanted to use it for a dress. I also knew that I wanted to make a nursing friendly Party Peplum Dress. I somehow managed to stay focused on the big project I’m currently working on, telling myself the dress would be my reward for finishing it- until Saturday, that is. When the morning nap time rolled around, I practically ran to purchase and download the Party Peplum pattern, and by the end of the night, all I had left to do was sew buttonholes and buttons onto the button placket.

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You know its coming, so I’ll just go ahead and say it- the double gauze is a wee bit sheer, so I lined it with my trusty Free Spirit solid voile. Also, I really wanted the stability that the voile would give the bodice when the two fabrics were combined, so I attached them prior to any assembly. The two worked together wonderfully.

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I would also just like to point out that I’m not as, er, busty as I look. I promise that the camera just added some poundage to the top half. Yes, my physique is different, but its not that drastic. Just nod your head and smile, k? Thanks.

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This dress is a perfect candidate for adding a button closure. The bodice is made to be quite loose, which ordinarily I would not like. But in this case, it meant I didn’t have to do any sort of bust adjustment, and I just added room for the button placket. To do this, instead of cutting on the fold, I cut two separate front bodice pieces. I added 1.25″ to the front center, and on the wearer’s right, I folded in 1/4″ then another 1″ and edgestitched both sides to create a placket for buttonholes. I didn’t take into consideration that I needed space for buttons next to the center on the left, so I ended up sewing a 3″ strip folded in half to a 1.5″ strip onto the edge of the left side, then turning it at the seam. I then folded it under about 1/2″ and edgestitched both sides. It was actually good I had to sew that extra bit onto the left side, as that gave the placket additional stability. I’ll do it that very same way when I make another of these, or use this modification on another shirt or dress. I don’t know if that makes sense, but if you want, I’m happy to do a tutorial. Just say the word.

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I’m so glad to be back to garment sewing. It feels so wonderful to be able to do a little selfish sewing again.

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Over the next few days I have some more clothing to show you. I’ll be introducing some new patterns to you from some great indie designers, and hopefully you’ll want to give them a try!

Have a great Tuesday!

Puppet Show Shorts and a Liberty Tank

As much as it stinks to watch Layla grow up, it does present a perfect opportunity to sew her new clothes. Yep. Glass half full.

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I really didn’t love sewing separates for her when she was smaller, simply because I thought dresses were cuter on her. Now that she’s bigger (4T-ish), I think shorts and tops are adorable, but I do still have a soft spot for dresses. I pulled out the Oliver + S Puppet Show shorts pattern (a very favorite of mine), and whipped her up a pair in the new chambray dot from Robert Kaufman. I love how quickly I can cut and sew those together! And thanks to Alexia Abegg, I knew to finish the bottom seams before I even began assembly, so that made the process even faster. Side note: learning new little tricks like that make me fall in love with sewing all over again. There are so many techniques to discover!

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The top. I really, really love that top. I based it off another top Layla has, and drew up my own pattern. It went incredibly well, and I think from start to finish I had it done in an hour and a half. So let me tell you about it.

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Its basically a lined yoke, gathered front bodice, and a simple back with single button closure. The arm holes (excluding the lined yoke portion) and neck are finished with neon bias tape. The buttoned section is finished with bias tape made from the Liberty fabric. So, so easy, but such a beautiful and feminine result! I really want to make a million of these! And I probably will.

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That dainty, yet beautifully detailed Liberty print is Lodden, and you can actually find the print in a few colors at Jones and Vandermeer. And I don’t want to be a total enabler, but they just got in lots of new Liberty and everything in the whole store is 10% off with code HAPPY4TH. Again, I hate to enable anyone, but that’s a darn good deal for a whole meter (not yard) of Liberty. You’re welcome. :)

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-Meredith

The Sawtooth Star Chronicles : P1

Layla and I used to spend heaps of time together. We had all the time in the world to ourselves before little Wallace arrived. Now our time spent together has to be a bit more “on purpose”, if you will. So we decided it would be fun to have our own special project that we work on every time we get some girl time. Since we both love sewing, and we both love fabric (perhaps even more than the sewing), we chose to work on a quilt. After looking through many blocks including the Economy block, Churn Dash block, and a many others, Layla decided she like the Sawtooth Star best.

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This project is especially fun for me because there is no plan other than making 6.5″ (unfinished) star blocks. Layla chooses any fabric she wants, I do the cutting, and then during our free time we sew! So far she’s had an absolute blast rummaging through my scrap basket, though she’s welcome to any fabric I have.

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I think my favorite part about sewing with Layla is that she is completely unrestrained by designer or collection or any other conventional way to pair fabric. She chooses a fabric that catches her eye, and then another, and that’s that; there are no rules. And her combinations look great! She pairs quilting cotton, linen, and double gauze, and she even has plans for velveteen and flannel. She’s just exploring the world that is my fabric stash, and having fun. And isn’t that what sewing is all about?

The plan right now is to just keep making up these little star blocks until we have enough to make a quilt in whatever size she wants. And what a special quilt it will be!

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I’m so thrilled to have this young lady around to remind what is really important- spending time together and enjoying that time we’ve been given to its very fullest! I hope this post finds you doing just that!

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Stop back by tomorrow to see a new outfit I made for Layla. Hint: a little chambray and Liberty, some Oliver + S, and a bit of self drafting by me…

-Meredith

Darling Ranges Dress : Take One

Back before I was pregnant, I was branching out on clothing patterns, and tracked down the Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen. I had wanted to sew the dress for a long time, and I was thrilled to get started. I cut out my AMH voile along with Free Spirit solid voile for lining, and got started. I was 75% of the way done when I found we were expecting, and kicked the dress to the curb, er, closet. Since I’ve been seeking out button down dresses and tops that are suitable for nursing, I remembered my old, neglected friend and decided I would finish her up. Sadly, there’s not a chance in the world that it will fit my current figure, so my first Darling Ranges dress has gone to live with my sister, who, by the way, looks absolutely stunning!

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Like many of the garments I sew, the Darling Ranges dress does not call for a lining, but I prefer to line (underline, if you’re picky) most every garment I make, but especially ones made out of voile or lawn as those fabrics are almost always sheer to some degree. For this particular pattern, I just cut the bodice and skirt pieces out of my lining fabric and attached that to my main pieces prior to assembly, and they acted as a single piece of fabric. This is the “proper” way to underline a garment.

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This dress is the size XS, and I’m thinking to make one that works for me, I’ll need to go up to a small in the bodice and do a full bust adjustment. I think that’s hilarious because I’ve always had a really small bust, but if I’m going to nurse and wear handmade clothing, it has to be done. Bleh. We’ll see how long it takes to work up the gumption to do that.

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I used some more of that neon bias binding that I love to finish the neckline. Having that little bit of stiffness from the binding made this step sooo easy.

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I love that the Darling Ranges Dress has an endless amount of tutorials on how to change just about any element of the dress. I think for me, I’ll try out the rounded neckline and maybe lower the waistline just a touch. And if anyone has any encouraging words to share to kick me in the butt so I can make this dress sooner versus later, please share! Or at least tell me that an FBA isn’t as bad as I think.

Wishing you a great weekend! PS: my sponsor, Jones and Vandermeer is having a sale while they’re on vacation! 10% off everything plus free shipping on all orders over $60 with code HAPPY4TH They have lots of Liberty, Nani Iro, ALL the Cotton + Steel, and tons more. Go check it out!

-Meredith