Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cutting Into Liberty: An Anxiety-Ridden Hawthorn

I detailed my fall sewing plan a couple weeks ago, and between quilts, decided to get started.  A houndstooth dress is rushing the season, and I haven't purchased my wool coating or flannel for jammies just yet, but I had everything I needed to make my fall Hawthorn blouse.

After my last Hawthorn, though, I was a bit wary, especially cutting into Liberty.  I have to remind myself sometimes that it's just fabric; if something doesn't fit or is a bust, I can repurpose whatever I've cut and put it in something new, though smaller.  

Obviously, one of my alterations this time was to make the blouse version, version 1, with short sleeves.  I debated going sleeveless, because lord knows I love my cardigans.  But, short sleeves really do offer more versatility, especially in the South, when warm weather can stretch into October (though we've had some cool days so far!).

I also adjusted the side seams.  They're 3/8" instead of 5/8".  They're still snug, but I would say "form-fitting" instead of "sausage casing."  You can see in the above picture I thought I was being fun using bright red buttons, but they blended right into the fabric.  Womp womp.

I added a hem facing to the peplum instead of hemming it.  I just used some black bias binding.  This added structure and really didn't take away much length.  I love the design of this peplum.  While I wear my Vogue 8815 pretty often, the peplum has started to hang weird.  I think this one is much more organic and fluid.

I finished this blouse last Sunday--also the day I started it.  I bought a new pencil skirt from Loft and thought, I'll model it!  Well, like the fool I am, I forgot to check tracking and the skirt still isn't here.  Argh.  Hopefully soon.  I haven't worn it to work yet.

All in all, I'm much happier with this Hawthorn, and I'm hopeful it'll get lots of wear this fall!  It's officially the most expensive blouse in my closet, as the fabric was over $80, but hey, buy what makes you happy.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Finished: Donut Quilt

Yay, another finished quilt!  For those of you who really don't like patchwork, bear with me, I promise we'll move onto clothing soon!  (I just ordered a pencil skirt to go with that Hawthorn I have planned, so I probably need to sew it...)

I used Johanna Masko's Donuts pattern for this, but altered it slightly.  I started with the throw size, and decided, instead of borders, I'd add two more rows of Donuts.  I didn't repeat any fabrics , which is something the pattern recommends.  I also originally didn't want any left or right borders, but without them, the quilt was way too long and skinny--it just looked bizarre!  I added six inches to either side.

I'm completely unable to resist fall (or Christmas, but that's another story), and wanted another fall quilt for the collection.  I grabbed fabrics I loved that felt more like autumn for whatever reason--oranges, reds, and browns were prevalent.  I threw in some purples, blues, and greens for some pop, too.

I also used Essex Linen in Flax for the background.  I've only used Essex before in my Super Tote, which I loved.  Well, Essex is quite different to quilt with--I had a lot of shifting and stretching, which was a bummer.  I did, however, pre-wash my linen so I wouldn't deal with shrinkage.

Quilting this was pretty intense; I think I spent a total of nine hours working on it.  I straight-line quilted the donuts, 5/8" inside and outside and inside the donut holes.  I think quilted chrysanthemums in the spaces between donuts using the tutorial from Stitched in Color.  That really wasn't difficult, and I just practiced by drawing flowers in my work notebook between emails.  I also quilted with a loopy design on all borders and sashing--practicing it the same way as the mums!

Mums are so fallish to me, so I had to include them.  I used variegated 50 wt. Aurifil for the quilting, and I love how it blended in.  I thought about using orange Aurifil at first, but I already had the variegated in my stash, and it ended up being perfect.  There's texture, but you (hopefully) don't notice every single mistake I made.  I'd say I'm getting less horrible at free-motion quilting.  I'm not even somewhat good yet, but I'm getting more confident and trying new things.

PS--my Camille Roskelley Aurifil set arrived yesterday, so I really couldn't be more excited to try more patterns and open all that shrink-wrap on each spool.

The quilt is backed with two Dear Stella prints, and bound with another, all from their Piper line.  I originally bought both of these yardage cuts for clothing, but as I make more quilts, I'm using quilting cottons for quilts and apparel fabrics for apparel.  I'll probably have exceptions to that, but it's how I'm leaning now.  I used the Sprinkle print for one of the donuts too.  I thought it tied things together well!  Also, helicopters and confetti, what could be better?

This boy loves his quilts.

I also machine-stitched the binding!  That's unusual for me unless I'm in a hurry or am displaying something instead of using it.  However, I'm realizing with every binding that our couch is on its last legs and I end up in pain for days from the lack of hip support.  I was looking at hours on the couch with this quilt, versus 30 minutes at the machine, so I went with the machine.  I know a lot of quilters will cringe at that, but to them I say, you're welcome to buy us a new couch.

So that's the latest!  What have yall been up to?  I heard that new Robin Thicke song on the radio twice on our way home from Barnes and Noble this afternoon, so I've been singing it to annoy Nick.  Fun times!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fall Sewing Plans

A third one week?  You're asking yourself, is Emily feeling okay?  Well, no, I'm not.  I'm sick in bed at home, presumably with food poisoning, so I need something to pass the time between work emails.  Can I just say, isn't working remotely such a wonder?  I'm someone who feels terrible for missing work, and I don't take "mental health days" or anything (OCD with some overachiever playing heavily), so being able to work while propped up with pillows and some pets is fine with me.

Anyway, it's mid-August, which means fall is practically here.  Can you smell it?  In Charlotte, while we're a ways away from actual fall--at least a month--it is getting cooler and the light has changed outside.  Soon Pumpkin Spiced lattes will be available and I'll buy some mums for the front porch.  Soon!

I would like to sew some garments for fall, despite my lack of sewn clothing lately.  I find fall and spring clothes the best to sew, perhaps because they're my favorite seasons.  I'd love to sew more summer dresses, but if I even think of wearing a lining in the summer, I melt immediately.  Just like that, in my closet, from heat exhaustion.  And let's not get started on winter.  But fall is inspirational and beautiful.  I must plan!

Here's what I've planned so far:

First and foremost, I need a Colette Anise.  Need it!  Version 1, with covered buttons, please.  My mom gave me black-and-white houndstooth wool, which I was so excited to use...until I saw I'd need over three yards, and only had 2.5.  If you've made this, how are the cutting layouts?  Would 2.5 work?  Otherwise, I need to find some wool!

Next is the Colette Hawthorn (again), version 1.  I do enjoy a good peplum!  My reservations about this pattern are all about the bust, but I think reducing the seam allowances will help with that.  Plus, I have this amazing cut of Liberty stashed:

I could wear this with black pants to work, jeans on the weekend, and pencil skirts too!  I'd like to find red buttons but those are negotiable.

Third on the list--another Rooibos!  I really love the one I made last winter but it's wool gabardine and is heavy.  However, it's really cute and fits well.  Now, here's a crazy thought: what if I used the black and white houndstooth for this dress?  Is it too much?  For reference, here's a good example of the size of the pattern:

Is it too crazy?  In a bad way?  I need your thoughts!

Do PJs count?  These are on my to-do list for sure.  I change into pajamas as soon as I get home from work, so I really can't have too many.  I've heard awesome things about these--the fit is spot-on!--and really want to make some comfy pajama pants for fall--and also for Christmas!  (I can't be the only one who wears new pajamas on Christmas!)

Birch Fabrics is debuting their Charley Harper line--I'm dying, it's so good--and they'll have a flannel line!  I should use the cardinals for Christmas, right?

But for everyday use, Cloud9 has teamed up with Rae from Made by Rae for her new flannel line, Fanfare.  I think the Confetti print is perfect for jammies:

What are your fall sewing plans?  I'm also very excited to see the new patterns come out this fall.  I'm sure I'll need those too!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally Finished: Chicopee Quilt

I pledged to myself that I'd finish all my miscellaneous quilt tops (three from 2012) before the summer ended.  As of last night, I made good on that promise!

This was the second quilt top I ever pieced, and the first not using pre-cuts.  I won six one-yard cuts of Chicopee last summer from FreeSpirit and used them, as well as a random blue print and FreeSpirit Designer Solids in Nugray.  I think I bought the whole bolt of Nugray and I'm still working through it. 

I quilted it in diagonal straight lines about 1.75" apart.  I used medium gray 50 wt Aurifil, which I found Eleanor chomping down like spaghetti this morning.  It was still attached to my machine.  I don't know.

The pattern is Pow Wow from Cluck Cluck Sew.  I'd like to make another scrappier version.  Just add that to my list!

I backed it with two prints from Madrona Road and bound it with another Chicopee print.  This quilt screams late summer/early fall to me.  I also was a bit annoyed at the wonkiness of the backing when I first realized it...but it's grown on me!

And Schnoz likes it, so there you go.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Whereabouts

I've been absent lately, I know.  I haven't been sewing clothing much this summer--somehow, quilting snuck back in (I blame the flood of babies) and that's had my full attention.  I really haven't even missed sewing clothes, which is very unlike me.  I think part of it is I can afford clothing now--it's amazing when companies actually pay you a living wage--so I tend to buy before I make.  I feel terrible about that but I'm sure it's a phase and it'll wane eventually.

I do have one big plan for fall--the Colette Anise jacket.  More on that later, when I finally get around to seeing if that wool blend in my closet is two or three yards.

Like I said though, I have been quilting.  If you follow me at Squaring Up, you've seen the fruits of my endless labor.  Ariel and I have decided to take a break until things cool down a bit, so I'm going to post my patchwork over here for the next month or so.  I hope you don't mind!  If you do, just skip over my posts until my clothing mojo comes back.

Another one of our friends had a baby this summer--a little girl--and I decided we had to send her a quilt.  Nick has known her for years, though she still lives in Florida, and we sent her something for her first child (a boy) last spring.

She isn't especially girly, though she and her sister both are big fans of nature, natural products, and things like that.  No ruffles, no pink--it would be weird and slightly offensive, like I'm putting my tastes ahead of hers.  I knew I had to use Timber & Leaf for the quilt--the colors are soft and feminine without being saccharine-sweet--but I didn't know what pattern to use.  Churn dash?  Log cabin?  I came across the Sparkle Quilt on Jeni B.'s blog and immediately knew it was the one.  I'm really into big blocks, and lord knows I love half-square triangles.

I also picked up the idea of using FreeSpirit Solids in Pearl from Fresh Lemons Quilts.  I didn't want to use bright white as the neutral but I knew beige would blend too much.  Pearl is a great neutral because it works with blue, pink, yellow, green, gray--whatever you have.

This was the first time I've used different quilting patterns in one project: I quilted the blocks with diagonal lines about 3/4" apart, and quilted the sashing with a single serpentine pattern.  It made it so crinkly!

I also used the lightest pink Aurifil for the quilting.  I pre-ordered the Camille Roskelley Aurifil set, so I better get used to non-white thread!

I backed it with another Timber & Leaf print, which I originally bought for a Colette Pastille dress.  After reading countless accounts of how ill-fitting the pattern is, and how much effort it takes to perfect it, I decided to scrap that idea.  I love a challenge, but I don't want to spend three weeks fitting the pattern.  That's too much effort!

We'll send this out tomorrow--hopefully the new mom and baby love it!  Thanks for indulging in my quilting, non-quilters!  :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Mr. Nicholas Regnier and Ms. Emily Sposetta.

I'm keeping my name, but we are ecstatically married and couldn't be more excited.

And, most importantly, I never have to think about it ever again!

We got married Wednesday, July 31, on our third anniversary.  We took the day off of work, went to the jail, and were pronounced husband and wife by an older woman in madras.  We celebrated with pizza and cake from Publix.  We changed out of our clothes and went to Ikea.  

We woke up the next day, went to work, and felt like we had a fun, happy secret that was kept from the world.  It was wonderful.
Images by Freepik