Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spool Love Mug Rug

Come see me over on So Sew Easy this morning for a fun little tutorial with a little paper-piecing! This cute little sewing-themed project is the perfect size to try this technique out, or it can be super quick if you are already skilled at this technique.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Haven Acres Mini Collection is here!

Welcome to Day 3 of the blog tour for the Haven Acres Mini Collection! Jennifer from Jennuine Designs created this beautiful equestrian-inspired collection, consisting of a pretty blouse, well-fitting leggings, and a totally adorable cap.

Jennifer's design is unique, but I'm even more impressed with her pattern! It looks so professional - from the beautiful watercolour cover to the thorough and easy to understand directions and perfect pattern pieces! One of my favourite things about Jennifer's pdf patterns is that she uses layers for the different sizes, so you can just turn off the sizes you don't need and print just one size, or two if you need to grade between sizes!

Sweet Pea Cap

It's been a long haul, testing this collection over the last couple of months but Jennifer stuck to it and has this beautiful pattern collection to show for it.

The Dressage Leggings pattern has options for basic leggings or the equestrian-style paneled version, and each of those versions also has a regular rise or a high rise for the smaller sizes, to accommodate cloth diapers. The leggings fit great and the paneled pattern pieces are perfectly drafted to make them easy to put together, including an option for flat-felled seams for comfort. This first pair I made out of a tan ponte di roma - since then a few tweaks have been made to the pattern to perfect the fit.

The little red plaid blouse is the pre-test version of the Haven Acres Blouse - since then the length of sleeves and bodice have changed a bit and the front keyhole is a slightly different shape. I used a pretty soft cotton lawn plaid for a more country feel riding blouse, and she adores it. The blouse has the prettiest little peplum flounce with elastic casing at the waist, softly puffed sleeves in two lengths, and a bias-bound neckline with an elastic loop/button closure under a ribbon, or the option to add ties over the keyhole.

Here's the back of the Dressage Leggings for a better view of the riding-inspired panels:

And the last piece in the collection is the Sweet Pea Cap, the most adorable little riding-style cap because PONY EARS! (or so I am told by little miss.)

One of the testers also came up with a sweet design for kitten ears, which Jennifer kindly added to the pattern for even more options.  The cap is a super simple sew with several sizes based on head measurements (thankfully! My girlie has a huge head for a 3 year-old).

I did another pair of the Dressage Leggings and a blouse, all in colours to mix & match. For the leggings I used stretch denim with a red ponte di roma for the inner panels, and went up one size to account for the denim not being as stretchy. They fit like a dream on my skinny, no-butt girl!

Love the red topstitching. I had to use a regular needle in two passes instead of a twin needle because of the denim, and just regular thread to topstitch.

This version of the Haven Acres Blouse I used a soft jersey knit instead of a woven, just to try it out. I love the result!

Details of this blouse: I used her regular size, the size 3, just with a little added length to account for her long back. Instead of using binding at the neck, I drew a facing pattern based on the necklines combined with the keyhole facing.

I cut out the facing pieces from the same fabric and stitched them together at the shoulders. The I finished the outer edge with the serger (alternatively, this could be left raw, as jersey wouldn't fray).

Once I had sewn the shoulder seams of the blouse together as per the pattern, I pinned and sewed the neckline facing in place, and then stitched the keyhole opening as the pattern describes. From there it was simple to turn the facing inside and tack it down just at the shoulder seam. Alternatively it could be topstitched down all the way around, either very close to the neckline or close to the outer edge of the facing.

Thanks for the opportunity to test such a unique collection, Jennifer! I know there are more pairs of Dressage Leggings for sure and also another Haven Acres Blouse on the horizon for Abigail!

Check out the rest of the tour for more amazing versions of this collection!

[this post contains affiliate links]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Quilt Retreat 2015 is coming up!

Last year's retreat was such a success we are super excited about this one! 2013's retreat, the very first one, was great and we're determined to top it once again.

We've secured the same amazing, light-filled, spacious venue we've used in other years - Immanuel church's foyer!

A few more photos from the last two retreats:

The charity quilt everyone contributed to: 

Such a fun event, perfect timing to break up the winter blues. This year's Quilty Pleasures retreat (haha! I still get a chuckle out of that name!) is scheduled for Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 9am till 9pm. A whole day of sewing, chatting and yummy food that I don't have to cook! I'm in, for one! :D

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rainbow Diamonds Quilt

Finally finished! I actually started this quilt at last February's quilt retreat, so this one has been a very long time coming. A couple of years ago I was gifted a set of rainbow charm squares by a lovely group of ladies who were doing a swap. That started this quilt - I think there were 8 each of 8 colours, no doubles.

Then I cut some more from my own (very small) cotton scrap bin, and Suzanne let me dig through her scraps for the rest, till I had 13 of each colour total. I added gray to make them into half-square triangles. Part of the reason this took so long to make was because I couldn't decide how to arrange the blocks. There are just too many options with half-square triangles! I debating doing a spiral, chevron, or random placement, but eventually came up with this off-centred diamond rainbow.

The quilting was easy enough - just straight-line echoes in the gray. For binding I debated several options, but anything with a colour in it made that colour in the rainbow jump out, and the same dark gray made the gray the focus. I settled on solid light gray and I think it's just perfect.

I love the awesome backing! I found this great cursive script numbers fabric at IKEA a while back and knew it had to be a quilt backing. Especially for $3.99/metre! If I recall correctly, it's called Nummer. Slightly thinner quality cotton, but just fine for a backing.

At about 52" x 64", it's a great length for one person (even a tall one!), or it's also good across two laps - just what we need for the couch.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Princess Dress

A Christmas dress for my little Abigail! This is the first Candy Castle pattern I've used, after eyeing them for several years! It's the Princess Dress.

(sorry for the quality of the photos - it's dark, I haven't learned my flash properly yet, and she was not patient for long!)
I made the size 3T slim, as she measured perfectly for that size. There is only just enough ease in the dress though, so wondering if I should have done the regular 3T.

I found this fabric a couple of months ago - bought it from a lady who owned a dress shop and was going out of business. It's an iridescent satin, sort of silvery-blue with a matte back, and she had this matching crinkle-textured satin, also with a matte back too. I think I paid about $12 for 4 yards? So I was able to mix up the textures and contrast a bit in the layers.

The only stitching on the outside of the dress is the ruffle hems and the buttonholes. I wanted a beautiful finish for the gorgeous fabric, so I was careful to understitch or just press where needed.

The sleeves are also hemmed by hand.

The neckline is very pretty. I think it I were to make this over I'd go with a slightly higher neckline though, as when she moves around much it slides a bit low for my taste. Also, the sleeves are a bit close to the body so the dress lifts up a lot when she raises her arms. I think this is probably due to the sleeve head shape, a touch steep, maybe.

I didn't do bows at the back, thinking they would just be crushed when she sits. Not sure if you can see (this shiny satin is incredibly hard to take a nice photo of!), but I spread the gathers smooth at the point of each swag to keep the ruffles flat there.

Sad little Missy - turns out the inside is uncomfortable, probably the serging at the waist seam. I thought that might happen and now I wish I had handstitched the lining of the bodice over the seam as I've done in other dresses. Guess she needs to wear something under it now, or maybe I can figure out a way to make it smoother inside.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wonky Stars and Snowy Forests

Getting excited about the holidays yet? I'm featured on So Sew Easy again today - you can find my tutorial on how to make this pretty little Wonky Star Mug Rug there.

I've been working on a bit of abstract "art" the last couple of weeks, using the rest of the fabrics from that mug rug!

A couple of years ago I pinned this gorgeous paper-pieced block by Trillium Designs, thinking it would make a beautiful full-sized quilt, if only I could find the right scale of prints. I printed the pattern for the block, enlarged to 175%, redrew all the seam allowances back to 1/4", and then just started piecing. I mixed and matched strips to get a long, narrow forest of birch trees.

The gray/white branch fabric and the binding are from the Holiday Cheer line by Jan Shade Beach, as is the pretty red print for the raw-edge appliquéd cardinal. The wood grain and "snow" (glitter polkadot) fabrics are just from Fabricland.

I found the cutest wall quilt hanger at our local quilt shop and made a simple sleeve for it, just a 2.5" strip with both raw edges sewn into the binding and then handstitched onto the backing.

Be sure to check out my tutorial and more photos of the tiny wonky stars in my mug rug! Would make a perfect gift tucked into a stocking, or mailed in place of a Christmas card!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Michael Miller's 7th Day of Christmas - skirt tutorial

Merry Christmas! 

I'm excited to be part of Michael Miller's 12 Days of Christmas! They kindly sent a selection of fabrics from their new line, All the Trimmings (coming soon!) for me to play with. I fell in love with the sweet owls cuddling in a tree, and so did my little Abigail.

It wasn't hard to come up with a fun combination of fabrics from the same line to use for this yoked skirt with elastic waistband, ruffle and "ribbon" and bow!

Of course, her brothers needed a little something to coordinate! Bowties, using the free SisBoom Bosco Bowtie pattern.

Wanna make your own little lady this cute ruffley skirt? Michael Miller Fabrics has lots of fun holiday themed coordinating fabrics to choose from!

What you'll need:
  • main fabric (I used All The Trimmings Christmas Lovebirds Winter)
  • fabric for the yoke and trim (Candy Cane Stripe Santa)
  • fabric for ruffle (All The Trimmings Tangly Lights Candy)
  • 3/4-1” wide non-roll elastic
  • Thread and other sewing supplies
  • All seam allowance 3/8" unless specified.
  • Finish seams with your preferred method, such as zigzagging or serging the seam allowance.
  • I've done the math for all the sizes based on finished skirt measurements - you will be best checking your child's waist measurement and the skirt length, and then you can make any adjustments necessary.
Approximate waist
Elastic cutting measurement
Skirt length
6-12 months
12-18 month


Fabric 1
Fabric 2
Fabric 3
Size 6mo-3T
1/4 yd
1/4 yd
1/4 yd
Size 4T-6T
1/2 yd
1/4 yd
1/4 yd

Prepare your fabric. It’s important to prewash and dry the fabric the same way you will be caring for the garment. Once it’s washed, press and lay it out to cut the following:

Cutting Chart

Fabric 1
Fabric 2
Fabric 3

Main skirt (cut 1)
Waistband (cut 1)
Trim (cut 1)
Bow (cut 1 each)
Ruffle (piece to make your measurement)
6-12 mo
5” x 30”
4” x 20”
2.5” x 31”
all sizes:
5” x 6”
2.5” x 3”
2.5” x 44”
12-18 mo
5” x 31”
5” x 20.5”
2.5” x 32”
3” x 47”
7” x 32”
5” x 21”
2.5” x 33”
3” x 49”
8” x 33”
5” x 22”
2.5” x 34”
3” x 51”
9” x 34”
6” x 23”
2.5” x 35”
3” x 53”
10” x 35”
6” x 24”
2.5” x 36”
3” x 55”
11” x 36”
6” x 25”
2.5” x 37”
3” x 57”

Let's start with the main skirt. Take the main skirt piece (fabric 1) and stitch the short ends together, right sides facing. Finish the seam. Repeat this for the ruffle (fabric 3), piecing together your strips to make the required length. Press each seam to one side.

Make a narrow hem on the ruffle by pressing 1/8" toward the wrong side, then folding 1/8" more and stitching.

Run two rows of basting stitches along the top edge of the ruffle strip and pull up to gather.

Take the main skirt piece and pin the ruffle to the bottom edge, right sides together, pulling the basting threads to make them match. Pin well.

Stitch the skirt and ruffle together and finish the seam.

Press the seam up toward the skirt.

Take your bow piece (fabric 2) and fold in half so that the two 5" ends match, right sides together. Sew this seam, leaving a gap for turning about 1.5" at the centre, backstitching to reinforce each line of stitching.

Roll the tube you now have so the seam is centred, then press the seam open (this seam doesn't need finishing as it will be enclosed).

Now stitch each end closed, then trim each corner at an angle, taking care not to cut through the stitching.

Take the bow loop piece and fold it so the 3" ends are matching, right sides together and stitch.

Turn both bow pieces right side out and press each, centering the seam on the smaller piece.

Accordion fold the bow piece to make a pleasing bow and use a pin to keep it together for now.

Take the loop piece and wrap it around the bow and trim if necessary, then stitch the ends together and finish.

Turn the seam inside and press.

Accordion fold one end of the bow to feed it through the loop. Arrange the loop so that the seam is toward the back.

Now take your trim piece (fabric 2) and sew it into a long tube, right sides together. Turn it right side out, using a tube turner or a safety pin. Press with the seam centred.

Lay it out around the hem of the skirt to see how long it needs to be, mark and trim if necessary. Stitch the ends together.

Press the seam open. Topstitch one edge of the trim loop.

Now lay your finished loop of trim around the skirt. I chose to centre the seam where I wanted my bow, right next to a pair of cuddling owls, off-centred on the front of the skirt. Pin it carefully in place over the ruffle and topstitch in place.

Place your bow over the seam and handstitch in place.

Nearly done! Take your waistband (wider strip of fabric 2) and bring the short ends together, right sides facing. Stitch together, leaving a 1" opening near the end (to thread your elastic through), and then stitch the last approximately 3/8" again, reinforcing at each stop and start.

Finish each side of the seam separately and then press the seam open.

Finish the edge nearest the gap. Now fold that edge down enough to make a casing for your elastic. Topstitch the edge and stitch down the casing.

Gather the top edge of the skirt to match the waistband piece as described above. Stitch and finish the seam, then press it up toward the waistband.

Insert your elastic in the gap in the casing, using a large safety pin or bodkin to pull it through. Then overlap the ends by about 1/2", stitch together, and pull the elastic into the casing.

Handstitch the opening in the casing closed - and you're finished!

Enjoy your pretty skirt! And maybe try a matching bowtie from the scraps. :)

And just to show how much fun (hah) it was to try get photos of three wiggly kids, here are a few outtakes:

(thank goodness for leggings!)