Monday, July 21, 2014

Stitch Swap Project: A Mini Swoon Square

I'm really excited to participate in the Stitch Swap Round-up! My partner was the lovely Janelle. She sent me a yard of the most beautiful aqua Riley Blake fabric I have ever seen. It is something that is perfect, and yet I probably wouldn't have picked it out for myself. I love it. I had high, high hopes for using up my entire yard of fabric in projects for this post, but then I remembered that I have an infant. Since our partners were assigned, Squish has sprouted four more teeth, entered into a sleep regression, and fought a cold. Actually, she's currently fighting another teething fever, so it's been rough. She's also decided that the sound of the sewing machine warrants a wake-up, so I've had to find a new way to sew without bothering her. It involves running the exhaust fan in the bathroom to mask the sound of my machine, which works 75% of the time. Baby steps.

Anyway. As I brainstormed ideas for this project, I originally wanted to create matching mommy-daughter hats. There is a great pattern in Little Things to Sew for hats, but my adult head is too big for the largest size. I have another pattern for an adult hat in Simple Sewing, but there wasn't enough fabric for hats for both of us. Then, I decided to enter a quilt in the fair, and I decided to sew up some of this beautiful fabric into a quilt square! Since I'm sewing a mini Swoon, it was difficult to show a lot of the pretty birds in the square, but by choosing to use it as "color 2," I was able to feature them.

Pattern: Mini-Swoon
Fabric: Riley Blake Enchant Birds Aqua (Aqua), Random Red/White Fat Quarter from my stash, and Kona Cotton Snow (Background)

I'm behind schedule because I ripped apart the top left square. The seams weren't lining up and I wanted this to be as perfect as possible. The small pieces are hard to work with, but I am really enjoying seeing this quilt come together. I chose a patriotic theme with two brighter squares (this one and one other) and two more subdued squares. I don't know what I'm going to use to bind it, but I've got three weeks to figure it out. 

Check out the rest of the stitch swap posts below! The fun is going to last all week.


Monday July 21st 
Stephanie -- Swoodson Says
Jamie -- Salutations Louisville
Ashley -- Sewing Sober
Kathy -- Handmade Dress Haven
Tuesday July 22nd 
Tasha -- Friends Stitched Together
Janelle -- Emmaline Bags
Kim -- Sew & Tell with Mama Eggo
April-- Open Sky Creations
Wednesday July 23rd
Amy-- Friends Stitched Together
Danica -- The Sewing Sparrow
Bethany -- Two Novembers
Jessica -- The Berry Bunch
Thursday July 24th
Chrissy -- Muse of the Morning
Fenna -- Fabulous Home Sewn
Melissa -- Rebel and Malice
Irene -- Sugaridoo
Friday July 25th 
Jess -- Gracious Threads
Emily -- Tangible Pursuits
Roxanne -- Pensebrox
Megan -- Upcycling? Refashion That Idea.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A State Fair quilt

Guys, I decided to do something that my husband has encouraged me to do for a long time.

I'm entering a quilt in the state fair.

Well, it's not a full-size quilt. I can't handle that right now. It's going to be a miniature replica of a full-scale quilt. My little squish isn't really letting me sew much right now (dang teeth) so something miniature is more my style. It's challenging me in new ways, because most of the blocks I've sewn have been large. The largest piece in this pattern is 2.5"x2.5".

There's a bit of a back story as to why I am doing this now. Earlier this year, I asked to give a talk about the history of quilting in Kentucky at work during a lecture series . My WOH job has several quilts in our collection, so I wanted to discuss the history behind quilting, and had planned to quilt several squares in similar styles to what is in our collection so we didn't have to display some of these fragile artifacts. I was turned down and told that I was not qualified to give a lecture because my degree is not in history. Though I have made several quilts for others and have been sewing for years, it was not enough. I decided to try this and in a way gain some street cred. I'm still really sad about the whole situation, but I wanted to turn it into something positive.

I hope to have pictures to show you soon, especially because one of my fabrics is the mystery fabric from my stitch swap!

The Kentucky State Fair runs from August 14-24 this year, so if you are in town, stop by and check out the quilts!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Oliver and S Sunny Day Shorts and other things

I have the itch to sew again, but I'm finding that I don't have much time these days. Something about parenting a child does that to you. Most of the time, I find myself zoning out on the couch after she goes to bed because I myself am tired after a full day of work at my job plus the other hours of the day where I am being a mom. I don't drink, so I pretty much just veg out with the iPad or a book (but usually a book on the iPad).

Last week, I found a bit of time to myself and sewed up a pair of Sunny Day Shorts from Oliver and S. Sewing shorts for little people is HARD. The leg openings are tiny and barely fit around the arm of my sewing machine, but I got it done and they are CUTE. You're just going to have to take my word for it until I take some pictures of the shorts themselves. I have a picture of them on my girl, but I don't want to plaster her face all over this blog just yet. She's my squishy bit and I'm not ready to share her.

I sewed the shorts out of the Lisette Aqua Dots fabric that I used for my last Family Reunion Dress. I had high hopes of making a matching mommy/daughter outfit, but they were squashed when I didn't have enough fabric for my pair. Oh well. Maybe next time. I really like the way this fabric sews, and I'm really really sad that none of my area Joann's have any more in stock (trust me, I called). It's a nice chambray with excellent drape, and these shorts are perfectly preppy while being a good length for an almost crawling baby. I guestimated the size of her waist since it was after bedtime and cut the elastic about two inches shorter than the pattern called for. Little miss is short and stocky like her daddy, so it worked out well. I also sewed a 1.5" hem instead of a 1" hem, but next time I make these I will just shorten the pattern by half an inch. By doing it the way I did, there are a few small puckers on the hem.

What else have I been in to? Well, I have decided to get serious about whipping my saggy mom body into running shape again. I've signed up for two half marathons this fall and it's about time to start training for them. The bit and I have been running after work, and on other days I've been doing workout videos on Fitness Blender. I also take a weekly barre class either at my favorite barre studio or at the gym.

So that's what's going on. I'm thinking about submitting a mini-quilt to the state fair, so I need to get cracking on that. There is also a little project I'm going to start on for my stitch swap! Good things are coming to the blog!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Another Family Reunion Dress

I've got the fever, and the prescription is...more Family Reunion Dresses!

Sorry. I'm corny. You've been warned.

When I posted about my daughter's Easter dress on Instagram, a friend of mine asked me to make her one. I don't think she thought I'd actually do it, but when she said that, I decided to surprise her with a dress for her own sweet girl. Because I work FT outside of the home, it took me awhile to actually get on it. But I found the perfect fabric at Joann's, and I bought all that they had to make a dress for my girl as well. I can't find it online, but it's Lisette Aqua Dots chambray. I didn't pre-wash it, just because so much of my time is taken up with cloth diaper laundry.

One thing I did this time was to print out the pattern on my home printer and tape it together. Last time, I had it printed at Staples and they don't print on big enough paper, so all the sizes were graded down. Once I got it taped together, I traced the 2T size and cut it out. I made this version with the sleeves, and it was a lot easier than I imagined beforehand. I love it when that happens. As I did last time, I sewed pleats instead of pin tucks. The fabric is subtly busy, so I thought that it would look better that way.

The front of the dress. I added the lace instead of the button tab.

The back. I bound the buttonholes by machine and sewed the buttons by hand.

The hem facing. I only had about 3/4 of a yard to work with, so I chose a complimentary fabric for the facing.

All in all, I'm really pleased with how it turned out. My friend really liked it, and I was glad to bless her with a beautiful handmade dress. I'm looking forward to making another family reunion dress for my daughter since she has outgrown the first one. It will be in the same fabric as the gifted one, but I want to make it sleeveless and try out a few lace details around the armholes. We'll see how it turns out.

 *I promise that I have a real camera, it's just hanging out with my husband while he works.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sewing for the girl: The Family Reunion Dress

The quick and dirty version since I am on my phone:

I decided in February that I wanted to make little miss's Easter dress. I love Liesl Gibson's patterns and have had excellent luck sewing them (the Everyday Skirt and the A Day in the Park Backpack tote), so I knew that the Oliver + S patterns were the ones I wanted. I picked out the Family Reunion Dress after much careful deliberation. Then I waited to find the perfect fabric. I struggled y'all. Then my husband said he wanted to see her in yellow, and the perfect fabric came to me. I had to hunt it down on Etsy, but before long I had a yard of Anna Maria Horner's Good folks cotton voile in Saffron in my hot little hands. Then I waited a few weeks to wash, cut, and sew it. Here are the results!

Notes: I bought the digital pattern and had it printed at Staples. The lady at staples scaled it to fit, so the pattern ended up being smaller. It was a happy mistake, because now I have the pattern in a 3-6 month size without having to grade it myself!

I also sewed the pleats inside out, but I liked the look better. 

I omitted the sleeves since we would be in Florida for Easter, and I think it turned out really well!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sewing for Myself: The Everyday Skirt Pattern from Liesl & Co.

So, a few nights here and there, I've actually had the energy and time to craft. A few months ago, I bought the Everyday Skirt pattern from Liesl & Co. I had been drooling over this skirt for months, but didn't want to buy it while I was still pregnant. I bit the bullet and bought it. At first, I got this gray fabric to make a winter version, but the quality was so poor that I scrapped everything. Luckily, I had a yard and a half of polka dot fabric I bought in the fall when I visited Morehead, and it was just enough to make the skirt. Seriously, it was a tight squeeze to fit the pattern on there. I'm so happy with how it turned out and that it's warm enough to finally wear it!

For this version, I made the large size, but it's almost too loose (a great problem to have when you are six months postpartum). It slides around a bunch on my frame, even though the back is elastic. I want to make several more of these so that I can live in them at work this summer.

The pattern sews up really easily and looks really professional. I love that about Liesl & Co./Oliver & S patterns! It's like a sewing lesson in a pattern. This is the first garment I've made for myself since the ill-fated Halloween costume of 2006. I'm more confident in sewing for myself now, especially because it looks good!

I think I'm going to try to make a knit version to hang out in on the weekends. I have a striped knit left over from making my nursing shawl (that I never use), so I'm going to try that. I'll probably size that one down to a medium as well.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Let's talk about the postpartum period

Okay ladies. Let's talk about the postpartum period. I'm not talking about the period of time directly after having a baby. I'm talking about Aunt Flow making her debut. I am six months postpartum, and yesterday I started my period for the first time since December 2012.

If you've never had a baby, I'm not trying to scare you. I don't want you to feel like I did. This is going to be slightly graphic. If you can't handle it, move along and DON'T READ THIS.




Okay. Yesterday morning, I woke up and realized that my period had started in a big way. My back was hurting and my front was cramping. I had a few pads left over from my postpartum bleeding, but they were ultra-thin longs. I thought it would be enough. As I was nursing, I felt a gush in my pad, but I didn't think anything of it. I went ahead and got dressed (wearing my polka dot skirt, a white shirt that I tucked in, and a cardigan), got everything together, and we were on our way to work. I was driving, and the entire time I was cramping pretty bad, so I took some ibuprofen. The cramps started to subside once I got to work. About 45 minutes after I got to work, I went to the bathroom and my heart dropped when I saw what was going on in my underwear.

In 2.5 hours, I had filled my pad with blood, bled through my underwear in the front, and onto the hem of my shirt. It's a miracle that I didn't bleed in the back. I said, "Oh my God," and immediately changed my pad. I had four pads that day and no tampons. I called my midwife, because I wasn't expecting this. I was so afraid that I was hemorrhaging. And I waited. My flow slowed down, but in the afternoon it got really heavy again. The cramps got so bad again that I left work early, driving to Target to pick up some overnight maxi pads (ultrathin; DON'T DO IT). I soaked through another pad then. Every time I coughed, I could feel a gush, and I was terrified. This time, I did bleed a bit onto my skirt. I changed my pad again and went to buy the pads, strips for Tony, and a pregnancy test. My midwife wanted me to rule out pregnancy to make sure I wasn't miscarrying. I wasn't pregnant. I changed my pad again, went to get Tony and Hyla, and then went home.

Throughout the night, I changed my pad a lot. This morning, the flow was so much that it couldn't hold it, so I got blood all over the floor in my bedroom, down my leg, on the wall somehow. It was terrifying.

I am saying all of this so that someone else will know that this is normal. My midwife told me that the first few periods can be extremely heavy. Both my MIL and mother have experienced this, and my friends on Hellobee told me the same. So why doesn't anyone talk about it? I know not everyone experiences super heavy periods, but at one point I thought I was in serious trouble. The flow is still strong. But I'm okay.

So, ladies, when you prepare for your first period, have the following:

  • Extra absorbancy maxi pads. Not the ultrathins. Get the big guns.
  • Super tampons
  • Puppy pads or chucks pads for your bed.
And most likely, you aren't dying. But I'm not a doctor. If you are worried, call your doctor.