Halloween Witches!

My oldest daughter wanted to be a witch this year for halloween -- and little sister quickly jumped onboard. It wasn't too much of a challenge to make witch costumes but I did use the opportunity to make them each a black dress they could wear again after the holiday.

I went with black waterfall raglan knit dresses for their "witch" costume...paired with black and purple reversible capes. I picked up black leggings, matching black vans, and witch hats to complete the look. Simple as that!

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Gingham Geranium Dresses

I've been making Geranium Dresses for about 5 years now, since my oldest daughter was born -- it quickly became my go-to dress pattern for little girls. I was excited to hear that Rae was expanding the options and am now honored to be a part of the #geraniumxp fall tour.

I pulled together a sampling of a few of my early geranium makes to share. I've made them so often that I don't even have photographs of them all. I actually drafted a sleeve for the 18 -24 month size which you can see below...so I'm so excited to have a sleeve for all of the sizes now!

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For the Geranium Expansion Fall Tour I made matching dresses for my daughters.
The options I incorporated were:
- extended bodice
- peter pan color
- fitted sleeve

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I used a black and white cotton gingham with contrasting collars for the fabric. I found some vintage buttons from my stash to use for the closure. These dresses are perfect for fall and the sleeves work well for the weather transition.

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Driftless Cardigan

I've found that most of my handmade garments are for warmer temps so it's a goal of mine to make more clothing suitable for fall/winter. I recently purchased Grainline Studio's Driftless Cardigan during Indiesew's cardigan week -- and it has quickly turned into a favorite in my closet.

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I went with this lovely french terry yardage by Atelier Brunette (Twinkle Night) and I'm loving it -- it's super soft on the backside. The pattern whipped up pretty quickly too and I'm a big fan of the pocket placement. 

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Homemade Halloween Decor

I usually get an annual itch to make something for the fall season in the month of July. This year I followed my desires and finished up a few homemade halloween/fall decor items for our house.

I started this bat quilt last summer and wrapped it up this summer -- better late than never. I used this paper piecing pattern for the bats and pieced them together in a small throw-size quilt for the back of the couch.

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To fill in around the bats, I used a variety of black patterned fabrics and put everything on an angle to make it look like the bats were flying. I put this quilt on the long-arm quilting machine and did a series of free motion circles and lines for the quilting.  For the back I just pieced left-over yardage until I got the right size. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

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I bought a 1/2 yard of this halloween fabric a few months back with no idea of how I would use it. I usually have a project in mind before I buy fabric, but I love when it happens the other way around. With just a couple of cuts, I made a simple halloween garland for my fireplace.

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For the rest of the halloween fabric, I used it for the back of this skull pillow tutorial I found on Modern Handcraft. I'm just on a halloween roll now!

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And lastly, I found these cute pumpkin placemats on Pinterest and figured out a way to make some that are similar. I actually taught a class on them at my mom's shop last week and it was neat to see them made up in a variety of color palettes and fabrics. We used a washable suede for the faces and good thing because my daughter has already spilt milk all over them!

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OKAY, I think that's enough halloween for one post ;)

Tiny Silk Dresses

In addition to making myself a dress for some weddings we attended this summer, I also put together a couple of fancy dresses for my girls. A few years back I had a line of wedding and bridesmaid dresses and I still have a pretty nice stash of silk and decorative trimmings. So, I used this pattern to make each of my girls darling little silk dresses. 

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Silk is not usually something I would choose for two little girls headed to a wedding with the main goal of eating cake -- but, I thought that since I had a pretty good stash of it then why not? I did put a layer of netting over the skirt for my younger daughter because she has messier tendencies and I thought that that might hide any drink spills.

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The most rewarding part was seeing how excited the girls were to wear their dresses. And while they did get pretty dirty, a run through the dry cleaners fixed them right up!

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Cleo Skirt + Summer Showcase

I've had the pleasure of participating in the Summer Cleo Showcase by Rae of Made By Rae. Over the past week, a talented group of sewist have taken Rae's latest sewing pattern, the Cleo, and made it up in their choice of fabric. It's  been fun to see the different directions others have taken the pattern.

For my rendition, I chose a cotton lawn fabric -- a print by Lizzy House from her "Printmaking" collection.  I thought a lightweight lawn might give the skirt a breezy feel, perfect for summer. 

This pattern is a quick make which I'm all about. I chose the longer length with side seam pockets. It features a flat waistband in the front and an elastic waistband in the back which adds to the comfort factor of this skirt. 

Others have been posting their creations all week so if you'd like to take a look at the rest of the showcase, see the links below..

July 31:
vicky / @sewvee / sewvee.blogspot.co.uk
erin / @hungiegungie / hungiegungie.com
natalie / @sewhungryhippie / hungryhippie sews
teri / @teridodds1 / fa sew la

August 1:
tori / @thedoingthingsblog / thedoingthingsblog.com
lindsay / @lindsayinstitches
meredith / @thefooshe / oliviajanehandcrafted.com/blog
kate / @kate.english

August 2:
melissa / @ahappystitch / ahappystitch.com
julie / @nursebean82 / nursebeansews.wordpress.com
lauren / @laurenddesign / laurendurrdesign.com

August 3:
fleurine / @mariefleurine / sewmariefleur.com
bettina / @stahlarbeit / stahlarbeit.ch
allie / @indie_sew / indiesew.com/blog
darci / @darcialexis / darcisews.com
emily / @mycraftylittleself / mycraftylittleself.blogspot.com

August 4:
whitney / @whitneydeal / whitney-deal.com/blog
sienna  /@notaprimarycolor
amy nicole / @amynicolestudio / amynicolestudio.com
kim / @pitykitty
kten / @jinxandgunner / jinxandgunner.blogspot.com

Latest Quilts

Here are a few of the latest quilts I've been working on...and actually finished!

I'm part of the Blue Ridge Modern Quilt Guild and each year we do a block of the month series. For my 2016 blocks, I decided to really frame each one out and build the blocks up into a pretty large quilt. I'm happy to have this one completed -- a year long block series plus a few months of finishing it up means this quilt has been in the making for some time!

My husband's cousin recently got married and so for her bridal shower gift, I decided to make her a throw-sized quilt. I've been interested in making this triangle quilt for sometime so this was a good opportunity to try it out. 

And lastly, when I saw the Alice in Wonderland collection by Rifle Paper Co., I knew I wanted to make something with it. Instead of buying yardage, I bought 10" square precuts of the entire collection. Inspired by the Mad Hatter's tea party in the story, I went with the "Broken Dishes" block and used up every precut in my pack!

This is the largest quilt I've ever made. I'm using it on a queen-size bed, however, I added length on all sides for shrinkage and ample drape. AND I also quilted this myself on the longarm quilting machine!

Glory Tee Hack x 2

I recently came across two opportunities to hack my Glory Tee pattern. First, I noticed a shirt of similar design that my mom was getting ready to toss because it didn't fit her quite right. It was a short-sleeved tee with a peplum bottom -- JUST like the Glory Tee. I asked her if I could have it to work a little magic on. 

I decided to use the size 5 pattern to make a shirt for my daughter. I started with the sleeves and used the existing sleeve (with hem included) to cut the size 5 sleeve out of. 

Moving on to the front and back bodice -- I folded the front of the shirt approximately on its center front then placed my pattern piece accordingly. I wanted to keep the already completed peplum so I budded the bottom of the pattern piece with the beginning of the peplum.

With the remaining fabric from the shirt, I cut the neckband out.

The steps to put the tee together were a little different considering the hems were already complete -- but it all worked up pretty quickly! And here's a little before and after..

For the second Glory Tee hack, I did a simple extension to the peplum. By adding around 11-12 inches to the already rectangular peplum pattern, the tee became a dress. Fabric found here

Road Trip Case

After finishing up my Maker's Tote, I decided to make my daughters matching "Road Trip Cases" (by Noodlehead) for our upcoming vacation. I'm very jealous of the results -- I want my own! I had to hide these cases while I was making them because my girls wanted them so badly. I successfully finished them up and stocked them full of crayons/papers/stickers before our first road trip.

This was my first time sewing with vinyl (for the clear pocket) and it was definitely a learning curve. I used tissue paper because it kept sticking to my sewing machine. But after a few times, I finally got the hang of it.

Fabric is a mix of Cotton & Steel, Cloud 9, and Art Gallery Fabrics.

Blueberry Dress

I'm calling this my blueberry dress because I experimented with using natural dye (blueberries) to get this nice light lavender color. I made a few stitches through the yardage hoping to get resist, but ultimately failed. However, I opted to screen print white shapes to add some extra interest to the fabric.

I had a couple of summer weddings to attend this summer and the initial idea for this dress was to draft a comfortable, cotton dress to wear to those events. It's fully lined with pockets. I'm very happy with how the pattern itself turned out. From the tank bodice, low-scoop back, and midi length -- it's perfect.

Mountain Gems Improv Quilt

We've lived in our current house for just over a year and while I love our new home, I have this problem in our master bedroom -- there's no window! The room was intended to be a "media" room so the previous owners boxed in the window to create that dark cinema feeling. Our goal is to eventually put a window back in; but until then, I decided to create a large, light-colored quilted wall hanging as a place holder.

This is an improv quilt -- I simply started sewing together a series of fabrics I enjoyed and let the quilt develop on its own. The fabric is a combination of quilting cotton, double gauze, and linen. I titled it "Mountain Gems" because of the shapes and composition. 

After my first trip to Quiltcon 2017, I was inspired to experiment with my quilting. I quilted certain sections really tight, used different color threads, and incorporated hand quilting.

Ryan Top Dress Hack

After a few others took the Ryan Top and lengthened it into a dress, I knew I needed to do the same. I'm in love. The Ryan Top is generally a super quick sew thanks to the lack of set-in sleeves and minimal pattern pieces  -- but now as a dress..I'm excited for the possibilities! 

My first experiment with the hack was with a cotton lawn by Liberty of London. By simply adding a few inches to the hem, I had a Ryan Dress!

Typically when you alter length in a sewing pattern, you see the pattern adjustment line somewhere around the waist line. But because this dress has a square and straight hem, I went the lazy route and just added around 12" straight down from the hem, following the line of the side seam. I found that 12" was a little long, BUT really liked the look of a deep 2-3" hem. 

After the success of the first hack, I quickly decided to do another. This time, I went with a gray double gauze fabric from my mom's shop. SO, so happy with this one. Sometimes a fabric is just made for a sewing pattern.

I'm thinking linen and maybe a chambray version next. I'm interested in adding in-seam pockets and maybe even patch pockets to the front. We'll see!

Baby Bloomers Tips & Tricks

The baby bloomers pattern has been one of my most popular sewing patterns. It is super quick to sew up and is a good project for beginners. I cannot begin to guess how many pairs I've made for my girls and for gifts. Over the years I've received questions from sewers and I thought I would compile answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions here...

1. Cutting - There is one pattern piece that you cut two pieces from. Make sure those pieces are mirror images. I prefer to take my fabric and place it wrong sides together and cut two at the same time. Don't forget your notches.

2. Pattern Adjustment -- The waistband for this pattern is straight across for the front and the back; however, I know that some babies have larger diapers causing the back to not cover completely. A simple pattern adjustment can fix this problem. Add approximately 1" to the back of the waistband, sloping it down toward the front

3. Elastic - While the pattern does have recommended elastic measurements, I think it is a best practice to measure the child's thighs and waist prior to inserting elastic. My rule is to take the waist measurement (or thigh) and subtract approximately 1" for a comfortable fit.

4. Waistband - For an added professional finish and to secure the elastic, I often add a row of stitching to the middle of the elastic waistband. I start by bringing the finished bloomers to the machine not stretched....

Now stretch the elastic so that the fabric is no longer crinkled along the waistband. This requires a steady hand and a little bit of practice. Stitch right down the middle of the elastic around the entire waistband. If this is not your cup to tea -- you could also secure the waistband at each side seam with a small stitch or you could opt for the stretch stitch function on your sewing machine.

Maker's Tote

I bought the Maker's Tote pattern from Anna of Noodlehead awhile ago but didn't get my things together to make it until recently. I wish I hadn't of waited so long because I love this little bag! I'll be honest and say that bags are typically not my specialty. That's probably because of the odd sewing angles and specialty notions that I don't keep on hand. But I'm happy to report that this bag sewed up nicely and I'm very pleased with the results -- enough so that I'm already eyeing my next bag project.

Fabric is a mix of Cotton & Steel, Carolyn Friedlander, and things I've had in my stash for ages.

Mercer Tunic in Navy Windowpane

When I spotted this navy windowpane fabric on Indiesew's website, I knew I needed to snatch it and make myself a garment. I went with the Mercer tunic because I thought the fabric (which is a rayon crepe) would drape well with this pattern and make a nice breezy, summer top. I'm very happy with how it turned out!

I'll be honest and say that I did not plan for my placket to line up. As much as I love to sew and try to take my time, matching plaids/side seams/etc... is not often on my radar. But looky-looky, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much that center front buttonhole placket ended up fitting right in.

I recommend checking out the fabric selection over at Indiesew. Allie does a great job of sourcing apparel fabrics and that can give you a sense of security when ordering fabric online.

This mercer tunic is pretty much following straight from the pattern. I left the bias binding visible on the armhole and neckline to break the print up (since it is cut on the diagonal). I'm excited to get this Mercer tunic into my wardrobe rotation!

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Mini Quilts

When I started quilting close to three years ago, I pretty much had no clue what I was doing. My mom and her fabric store were a good jumping off point, but it took time just piecing fabric together to really get started. I stumbled across this mini quilt club and felt it would be a helpful way to learn to piece a variety of blocks. Fast forward to 2017 and I still had several of those mini quilt tops pieced but not quilted. So, I've been working my way through my stack and finishing each one...

Glea Dress - Variation

With all of these midi dresses popping up, I knew I needed to do a Glea variation with a lengthened hem line. I added close to 10" to the length of the dress which also increased the amount of buttons needed for the center front.

I altered the side seams to have a deep slit -- this helps with walking and gives the dress more movement. When I was sewing it all together I liked the idea of going sleeveless, so I omitted the sleeves, took about 1/2" off the armhole, and added bias binding. You'll notice a contrast binding tape, I already had some cut from a previous project -- so why not use it. 

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An additional modification that I made was adding pockets to the side seams. They are not exceptionally large, but enough to carry keys or other small essentials. Then topped it all off with a matching waist tie.

Fabric is Euclid (linen/cotton blend) by Carolyn Friedlander.

Hello!

I feel as though I am becoming reacquainted with an old friend, we're both a bit older and a tad bit wiser. I started blogging in 2007 under the name "Darling Dexter" and it was a good ride. I learned so much about myself, creative process, and life's adventures. I decided to take some time off from having an internet presence to clear my head and focus on my family. However, after some much needed time away, I missed being able to share an in-depth look at my design process and creations. So here we go...it's nice to see you again.