Monday, June 30, 2014

The Completed Chicago Quilt... Only two months later!

Despite my failure to post about it in a relatively timely fashion, I did in fact finish the Chicago quilt in time to gift it to my cousin at her baby shower the first weekend in June. That said, now seemed like a good time to show off the finished product as her son was born this past weekend as per the photos, mother and baby both seem to be doing well!

So here is the finished product, conveniently posed in front of color coordinated balloons.

When I last posted, I had finished piecing the front and back and was trying to figure out the whole "quilting" thing.  I ultimately decided to quilt around the shore and skyline to outline the image and try free form quilting for the lake and sky. Given this plan, I started at the straight shoreline to assure that the colored blocks on the back would line up with the image on the front. I also didn't have a lot of space so I had to roll up most of the quilt as I worked (as seen above) and quilt small sections.

The free form quilting was HARD!  I had no idea it would be such a challenge, or so fun! I get it now guys, I really do.  It didn't turn out perfectly, but it is solid and shouldn't fall apart, which was my real concern.

This image of the back provides a good sample of the quilting.

Once the quilting was complete, I finished the edges with wide bias binding.  Finally, I ran it through the wash several times to make sure that none of the threads would come loose (and tied off the few that did) because... Baby.

Then all that was left to do was attend the party!

One advantage of blogging several months after the fact is that the frustration of the learning curve and the many hours of picking out and redoing badly done stitches have faded from memory. Because honestly, this was probably a more ambitious project than a first time quilter should have attempted. It turned out as I pictured, I am pleased with the results, but this was a humbling experience.  That said, I may need to repeat this exercise, perhaps with a different skyline... Golden Gate Bridge anyone?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Britex Workshop Space Launch Party and a LOT of inspiration!

As per usual, I have gone far too long between posts, despite having a TON of blog fodder in my life the last few months!  I finished the Chicago quilt, gave it to my cousin and this past week the intended recipient was born! I learned a few fun pattern free projects (who knew a caftan could be so flattering!) and have several so far unposted tutorials to share.  I made a floral linen dress to wear to a hippie garden party wedding in the UK. I had an amazing vacation traveling around England and Scotland where I did some fabric shopping (Liberty) and learned about tartan weaving. I also dealt with some family health emergencies, spent far too much time on planes and bought an iPad mini, which I think will be beneficial in this whole "blogging" thing.

Despite all this good material, I had been content in lazily composing posts in my head and never sharing until yesterday when I attended the Britex Fabrics workspace launch party!

To launch the new workspace on the 4th floor (conveniently near the remnants) Britex invited a number of amazing sewing bloggers to speak as well as setting up some great crafts.  I attended as part of the Bay Area Sewists meetup group. I had never attended one of their events before, but all the women involved seemed delightful and I definitely plan on participating in the future!

Now I did make a headband, and sadly learned that I am none too proficient with the fabric glue... I actually looks pretty cute on, but the inside is a disaster... You can't really tell from these pictures, but trust me on this, grosgrain ribbon is much prettier when it is a) applied evenly, and b) not covered in glue.

The highlight of the afternoon however were the speakers.

Obviously I was not the only person trying to get a picture of these amazing ladies!

First up was Shams of Communing with Fabric. She did a show and tell of some of her recent work with a focus on closures.  A standout for me was a garment she had made for the fabric mart contest that used hardware store key rings for the closure.  She also raved about the folks on the button floor at Britex (3rd floor) so I may have to utilize their services next time I make a jacket!  She and several of the women at the talk suggested bringing the finished or nearly finished item to the store to "audition" closures in person. I think this is a great idea (and something I had never done before) as the closure on the garment, as opposed to just being held up to the fabric, can be quite different.

The second speaker was Beth of Sunny Gal Studio. sadly, I missed a lot of her talk as I was busy wrestling with my glue covered headband.  That said, she mentioned using many Vogue patterns as well as using scraps for linings which is functional rather than attractive. As a fan of the vogue patterns who has several garments which look downright bizarre on the inside I may need to start following her work.

Offering something a bit different was Jacqui from Birds of a Thread. She spoke on crafting an ethical wardrobe and discussed manufacturers with transparent supply chains so that the consumer could understand who actually made their clothes (or fabric as the case may be).  She suggested thinking carefully about our purchases and considering if we really need what we are buying. Of course this was after I had just bought yards and yards of remnant lace to make dresses that I will have little occasion to wear!

The last speaker I saw before I had to leave was Seamstress Erin, who, I have to admit, I now have a bit of a girl crush on... She is also tall and had to sew to get clothes long enough! She was once a theater major and sews costumes! She was wearing a large scale dinosaur print maxi dress! She is making a beautiful wedding jacket from the same (depressingly unfinished) Claire Schaffer pattern I have been working on for near 3 years now!  Not to mention that she has a PhD in biochemistry and is going to spend the months after her wedding traveling around Southeast Asia... Seriously? So cool. As I said, major girl crush.

Also, her talk inspired me to get back to blogging, so you can thank (blame?) her for this and future posts.

Sadly I had to leave before I could see the remaining speakers. The final two were Nicole from Nicole at Home and Laura Mae from Lilacs & Lace.

I also am grateful for the opportunity to take some time to explore Britex. When I went in the past I found it a bit overwhelming but now I think I would be in a better spot to actually shop.

And speaking of shopping, I did make a few purchases while at the store.

First I bought this lovely nubby material to make a lightweight jacket. 

I also bought this gorgeous gold lace and gold silk charmeuse.  My plan is to make a 60's style simple shift to really show off the lace, although I may need to buy different fabric for the underlay as I don't know that I got quite enough of the silk.

Continuing in the theme of lace over a silk shift, I also bought this unusual grey lace made from piping and a darker grey silk to go underneath.

Again, my thought is a shift, although for this one I think I would like longs sleeves made of just the lace.

That said, given how many unfinished projects I have sitting around, I am not sure when I will be able to get to these.