March 28, 2008

Fancy New Dress

We have gone out two nights in the past week and both nights I've worn this little number, newly constructed from four thrift store shirts (Total cost: about $3).

I really dig the horses print -the colors grab me. When I put it with the turquoise my heart just melted.

This was so easy to do - just four seams on the serger, and a few side adjustments. I love the way I feel when I have it on.

March 23, 2008

New Bag

Lots happening in the sewing room this week - took me a while to take pictures though! I whipped this up when I got tired of pawing through my mess of a purse looking for my cell phone, keys or wallet at key moments. I showed it to my husband. "You made that?" he asked in what seemed to be disbelief. "It looks professional!" Why... thanks, honey.

The butterflies are from a vintage pillowcase. The rest is scraps from prior sewing projects, mostly linen. If I was going to do it again (and you bet I will) I will use interfacing on the fabric for the main body and lining, and I'll add a pocket in the back for my planner. But I'm thrilled. It has lots of pockets. I know where my lip gloss is. There's place for pens. My Ipod is safe. I feel so...satisfied.

March 11, 2008

Linen and sweater skirt

At the thrift store I bought a pretty salmon colored cotton sweater with a beautiful knit pattern. It was a terrible cut but lovely knitting. Also at the thrift store I found a raspberry colored linen skirt that had cute pockets but was just too short. This weekend in a flash of inspiration I saw that they should be together and this was the result! I love the gentle scallop to the bottom edge, and tone-on-tone color schemes are very hip right now. I'm super pleased, and I have another linen skirt and sweater combo to try this out again this weekend. As a bonus, the sweater arms were chopped off to make some matching arm warmers...

March 08, 2008

In-Progress Garden Quilt

To be honest, I started with a strong bias against appliqué. It is so precise and perfect (italicized words should be said with notable distaste). I never imagined I would have appliquéd as much as I have. However, when I was spending a lot of time on my tuckus in school appliqué kept my hands busy and my mind less antsy.

In my early quilt frenzy I would go the library and rent 10-15 quilt related books each week, soaking up techniques, patterns and of course, beautiful beautiful quilts. I was unexpectedly inspired by Mary Lou Weidman's book Quilted Memories. All her appliqué is free-form, and sewn with abandon. As you might guess, I loved her "who cares what color thread you have!" approach.

So, class by class and block by block I worked on a quilty tribute to my beloved backyard garden, slugs and all. I had thought I would just stitch the randomly sized blocks together, but when I laid them out together they didn't cover enough space. I wanted a laying in the sun quilt, or a picnic worthy quilt. It had to be bigger. So I added borders last week using the fabrics from other squares in the quilt. I'm not sure the layout above is the most perfect layout a person could come up with, but I am certain that I need to get over it and stitch 'em together already so I can enjoy the quilt this summer!

I will show some of my favorite blocks in close up detail when it is quilted. But I thought it looked so happy laid out that I had to share this part early...

March 05, 2008

Recycled shoppin' bags

I've seen a lot of good solutions online to the plastic shopping bag problem. Let me show you the two that are working for me. Above: Our big grocery chain has these great roomy $0.99 bags with straps that perfectly slip over the shoulder. They also have an atrocious logo (I mean really, super ugly). that made me not ever want to use them. I solved that, with a net gain of two pockets! I cut the leg bottoms off a pair of thrift-store pants and sewed them on over the logo. People ask me about this bag (and its sisters) constantly.

This rumply thing is rumply because it gets used. It is made from an old super stretchy tee-shirt, and modeled after a standard plastic shopping bag. I have shoved so many groceries in this bag and it's never complained. But for such a big capacity it sure stuffs down small to fit in a purse! I love that I always have it to take with me for any quick run into the store. The straps on this one fit well over the shoulders too. Surely you have a stretchy tee that could have its arms cut off to make a bag? Just take a plastic bag and use it as a guide for where to reinforce the corners and straps. Don't bother finishing the raw edges, they won't unravel, and finished edges will just make the bag less stuff-able.

March 03, 2008

Quilt in a skirt

Ok, technically not a quilt, since there's no quilting. But patchwork that's not frumpy is still pretty exciting! I appliquéd one of my randomly sewn strips to a linen skirt from the thrift store. I'm pretty pleased. I had thought it might make the skirt stiff, or mess with the drape of the bias, but the skirt still feels nice and skirty. I may have made the strip a little too wide, especially at the top. I can't wait to find another good skirt for altering to try it again!

March 02, 2008

A very small quilt

I finally added the binding to this absurdly small quilt. It's 23" x 32". I don't know who will ever use it, or for what. It is perhaps too neon to hang on a wall. It all started when my grandma and I scheduled a private sewing session with a quilter she really loves, Ginny Taylor. I spent the time sewing strips together, cutting them into gentle curves, and separating them with assorted yellows. Ginny and I traded some fabric and I went home with a handful of partially pieced strips, which I finished sewing up a couple months later.

The quilt was small, and I figured I could add some borders to make it a baby quilt. But I got so frustrated when I didn't like any borders I came up with and finally in a fit of "just finish it already!" I quilted the darn thing. So now it's bound and done. A pretty piece of useless quilt!

I do really like the backing (from the remnant rack) and the random horizontal lines quilting went so quickly.