Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flying Geese

The fourth block I did for Amy Smart's online quilting bee featured four flying geese wrapped around a little square. It was the first time I had ever done this particular quilt block, and I was intimidated. Oh my goodness, what is this little square on a rectangle and you cut away half the square and what is happening what am I doing aaaaaannd there's a flying goose. Hooray!

I try to push myself in both sewing garments and quilting. Earlier this year, I worked with triangles for the first time and did my little warm and cool zig zags. Now, I'm not only doing a new block, I was really focused on getting a large quilt together.
A substantial quilt! A full quilt.

I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I could focus on the construction without worrying about colors and pattern placement. I'm sure most quilters spend the majority of their time like I do--planning, rearranging, playing with pattern scale--but I knew I wanted to eliminate that process in order to actually accomplish the biggest quilting endeavor I have ever attempted.

I know myself, and if I start something this big and it takes too long, I will put it away for a long, long, long time.

Thankfully, Mr. Kopf was out of town for three days in a row and I was locked in my sewing room with my wheat thins and my diet coke all by myself! I booked it, and got all my rows of geese finished.

I knew I didn't want to do the whole thing in black and white flying geese, but by arranging them all at the bottom, I made a little forest. I love my little, mysterious, fancy quilted forest. I can't wait to show you the finished top!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Maxi Skirt

I've been wanting to put together a maxi skirt for about a year now, but something about it always dissuaded me. I think I was intimidated by the yardage I'd need to get. Would there ever be a fabric I'd want that much of? How do I work with something that long? What tutorial should I use? You know there are a gazillion out there.

I finally decided I'd just figure it out. I could do an elastic waist skirt--I had made like two in college--and this was the same thing, just much longer. This time, I also had a serger, and that was very helpful.

Yes, this is a model pose.
I found a really fun silky floral from Hancock fabrics, slapped it together, and now I need to make another one. Now I need to make a tshirt dress version. Cotton and Curls has a wonderful tutorial on that. Super simple, super easy, and not at all intimidating!

At some point, I'm really going to have this posing thing DOWN. You just wait.

Now I just need a teacher top to go with it. This tank is not going to fly as professional-wear!

I'd love to do this maxi skirt/t-shirt dress in navy blue or a bright green... oh the dreams that will have to wait until fall break! Back to the classroom!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The New Craft Room

My crafting space has been through several incarnations since we moved to this city, and all of them have been documented here on the blog.

On August 3rd of last year, I did a post about the crafting space in our tiny one bedroom apartment, which was half of our bedroom. Mr. Kopf was so, so sweet and patient. He would keep his little corner so clean, but right next to it was an explosion of fabric.

We moved into a two bedroom apartment, and then I finally had a space all to myself. I was really amazed at how well I filled out the space. Did I really have this much stuff?? Yes. Yes, I did unfortunately.

Finally, we have a house. We're going to be here for many years, but eventually we'll put some kids into those bedrooms and I am going to enjoy having a big craft room all to myself for as long as possible.

I have a beautifully big window, a desk, and a six foot banquet table that holds my sewing machine and my serger at the SAME TIME.

I have space for my giant cutting mat, and my tower of fabric is out in the open where I can see my projects, and therefore, not forget about them.

My ironing board is always up. I can't tell you how convenient that is.

My rolly chair is so much fun to roll in between the desk and the table. Like walking in heels on a hard floor, the sound makes me feel very important.

It was a wonderful combination to have this summer: a new big craft room and a lot of free time. I got a lot of things done this summer, and I'm just hoping the momentum carries over into the school year!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vintage Pattern Love

I bought a vintage pattern from a thrift store recently after finding out that my other pattern didn't work out :( It was ripped and the seller didn't want to send it on good conscience, but was very sweet about the whole thing. These things happen. I figured if I purchased a pattern that gave me a nice fitted bodice, I could do several things with it. I could add a band and a circle skirt and tah dah!: fifties dress. I could also do a peplum top since those are all the rage now, but I think my hips are a little too hippy for that.

Cutting out the pattern was fairly simple, and I traced it onto some sturdier paper afterwards. I don't want to handle something this old too often, especially if it works!

The muslin on the dress form looked nice enough, with fancy darts and tucks (I have worked with darts, but I've never done tucks before) but I could tell right away it was too big. I tried it on and it was just a size too large, so I turned to Colette Sewing Handbook for a lesson on adjusting patterns.

Adjusting a pattern is not the easiest thing ever, I have learned, but I have made too many clothes that didn't fit right because I didn't test or adjust the pattern. If I'm going to spend some good money on fabric, I don't want to waste it.

Do it right, and do it once!

Once I got started and figured out what I was doing, it was not that bad, just time consuming. (Though, to keep it in perspective, much less time consuming than starting over!) I slimmed the pattern by a quarter of an inch all over, as it was just a hair too big for me, brought in the darts and tucks, and brought out the hips a little bit.

The result was a second muslin that fit wonderfully! Time to commit to the real deal!

I worked with this cotton lawn from Lisette that featured popsicles and ice cream. A perfect fabric for summer, for teaching, and for giggles. I like clothes with a sense of humor. My favorite dress to teach in is covered in cats.

For my first foray into vintage clothing, pattern adjusting, darts and tucks together, and installing an invisible zipper, I feel fantastic about the results!! I feel very Mad Men in this top, especially paired with my favorite circle skirt from the Limited. I'd love to get a nice grey skirt together to go with it--I think the black may be a little harsh, but other colors might be too matchy-matchy.

Or should I go blue skirt? Mad Men ladies match pretty well. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome August

Well kids, it's that time of year again. Summer is winding down and school is starting up again, earlier for us teachers than students. I have had an absolute blast this summer but I'm so ready to get back into school. My friends ask "oooo you're going back to school soon. Is that a sore subject? Should we not talk about it yet?" with wincing faces like they're ready to apologize. "No!" I tell them, "I'm so excited!" I need routine and structure in my life... I need to work! And I can't wait to meet this year's students and get to know them. I've had so much fun teaching so far and I'm looking forward to continuing the journey.

So how did I do with my summer? Well, here's the list!

Some notes: Storyteller is appropriately halfway crossed off. That man lived a long life. Movies at the Park is just going to go off the list altogether next year. We never seem to get out there (mostly because it's Mr. Kopf's poker night and that is sacred). Expand my horizons happened in ways other than taking an online class (I'm saving that for the fall). Finished WIPs included the college tshirt quilt, but not the quilt I was really planning on finishing, and not the washi either... Judge me!

With the start of school quickly approaching (we start this Thursday!) I've been sequestering myself in my craft room, sewing non-stop! I call this "binge-sewing," and it has resulted in a backlog of posts and fun photos. While I'm busy setting up my classroom and attending meetings, I'll be posting these entries, so it will appear that I'm still living in the summer just a little bit longer. 

Here's a sneak peek of what I've been up to!