Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Contest Entry: Spoonflower Print

2017 Spoonflower T-Shirt

Voting begins November 17

What does Spoonflower mean to you? What kinds of things come to mind when you think about the brand? Is it sewing? Design? Community? Flowers? Spoons? Put it all down into a unique, never before seen surface pattern for a t-shirt that Spoonflower will be printing for 2017! Entries will be previewed on an 21" x 18" fat quarter size and should repeat.

Spoonflower Print

Monday, October 10, 2016

Contest Entry: "Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

Home is Where the Heart Is
What are the most important aspects of home life to you? What means the most to your loved ones? Keep it quirky or make it traditional–just be authentic! The lovely thing about tea towels is how they add a splash of personality to any kitchen. Deadline to enter is October 11th, 2016. Please note that designs can be all-over prints, or formatted as a recipe for a tea towel — the choice is yours! Prizes: Grand prize winner will receive a Maran Slipper Chair from Roostery, upholstered in Eco Canvas fabric in a design of the winner’s choice. Top 2 – 10 will receive one Orpington tea towel from Roostery printed in their winning design. Top 25 popularly voted winners will have their designs made for sale automatically, provided they are verified sellers.

"Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

"Home is Where the Heart is." Tea Towel

You can see my entry above. It's a fun mix of pinks and golds focusing on a very literal imagining of the titular theme. The anatomically rendered heart is one of my favorite things to draw, and it gets paired up with text which is something that is totally out of my comfort zone. The tea towel format for this month requires a border that can be used by Roostery as a seam allowance without cutting any of the design off. I went with the dark pink with a linen texture that will still work for people ordering from Spoonflower.

Claw Marks & Sparks
 This is the pattern featured as the backdrop for the towel. Then below is another combination of the same elements refashioned into a regular repeat.

"Home is Where the Heart is." Repeat

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Contest Entry: Pumpkin Pie Tea Towel

Grandma’s Kitchen
In the South, there’s such a tradition of passing down prized family recipes, and tea towels are a beautiful way to preserve this aspect of family heritage. This week’s design challenge is your chance to transform your treasured handwritten recipes into tea towels, and these crafty creations are perfect for everyday use and as gifts to family around the holidays. Deadline to enter is October 4th, 2016.

Pumpkin Pie Towel

This is my entry into the contest. This pie is my childhood favorite and I'm usually the one volunteering to make it for every major holiday. It's basically our family's official spin on the classic Libby's recipe: lots of fresh pumpkin, heavy on the spices, and featuring a toasted marshmallow topping. I was in my twenties before I realized that most people don't do the marshmallow bit!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Waistcoat Project

This is the first in a series of posts about my latest project, a fancy steampunk inspired coat. The pattern is loosely based on a Simplicity pattern, 2172, that I have been slowly altering as I go along. Here are a few sketches to show the basic idea for the coat.
The Simplicity pattern I'm using; all the new pattern pieces made moving everything to an empty tin box necessary.

This is my first sketch when I had simple dreams of adding a hood and maybe changing the neckline.

This is a much later sketch showing how I've chopped off the patterned skirt in favor of a pleated and much more dramatic one. This also shows the fancier detachable sleeve option. I honestly don't know how many sleeves I will make.

The plan at first was to do the pattern with a few small touches thrown in to make it my own. Adding a removable hood and changing the neckline slightly were quickly followed with making detachable sleeves, and adding a high collar in the back. The pockets became more subtle without the giant flaps.

The sleeve flanges disappeared, and after making a muslin to adjust the fit, (for which I have many photos that will be unloaded in the next post) the entire bottom half was literally cut off the coat.

The voluminous pleats that replaced the simple skirt were drafted and redrafted, and currently the muslin for that will serve as my new pattern. Making a new pattern piece as I have been doing for every other section would take an excessive amount of paper and effort.

I added trim to my mental plan in the beginning, this has evolved into a fantastic beaded lace along the bottom edge of the waistcoat. If you need a mental picture of my pleated madness. This requires a staggering 4 yards of trim to accomplish.

The fabrics I've chosen:

A magnificent chenille brocade for the exterior fabric in black and gold, this was the hardest to find and most expensive portion of the project. I needed 6 yards! I used Simplicity's estimate and added an extra yard for the hood.

The main lining fabric is a soft gold polyester satin with a crushed texture. This I got as a 12 yard lot so it eliminated the need for guessing yardage, and provided a ready made supply of fabric for my muslin fitting and pattern making needs.

A memorial day sale at Joanne's provided the fake fur that will line the hood. It was leaning towards black or maybe a fancy timberwolf colored fur in the beginning stages, but the white adds an elegant contrast against all the black. I bought a yard, and after cutting out the pieces I needed for this project, used a portion to make a fabulous cat bed.

The detachable parts are going to be held in place with hidden snap buttons, and the corset style lacing on the back of the coat will use metal D rings that will be riveted to the coat in place of the fabric loops in the Simplicity pattern.

The top four pieces of hardware are for the snaps, and the bottom three are the D ring components. And my upholstery/coat weight thread in matching black.

There are still a few smaller details that I'm working out. I've already ordered some pretty laces and I'll add them to this post once they're delivered.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Project Photos: DIY Cat Bed Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how to sew a fabulous, reversible cat bed with 2 fat quarters and some fluffy poly-fil. You can really use any kind of stuffing that you like, this was just the biggest bag of fluff that my Walmart carries. (it doesn't take anywhere near that amount of filling, I plan on using it for many more projects)

Bird Floral Dark Blue
I used one fat quarter of Spoonflower's fleece and cut a rectangle of white faux fur from Joanne's to match.

On the fleece, mark on all four corners a 4 inch x 4 inch square. I used a water soluble marker.

Pin the corner so the edges of the square line up with right sides together, 
and sew a seam along or just inside that line. Repeat for all four corners. 
I went over it twice with the zigzag setting of my sewing machine.

Then trim down the seam allowance and get rid of any marks that might bleed through to the other side.

You should end up with a floppy shallow box shape. Set it aside, and repeat all the steps on the fur.

Here I used a pencil because the marker didn't write as well on the fur fabric.

And now you have your second side finished.

Place the two halves together with right sides facing inwards. 
My fur was a bit stiffer than the fleece, so I placed that piece on the outside.

Line up the corners and pin both halves together.

This is mine all pinned up.

Go ahead and sew the two together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Be sure to leave a gap for turning, and this is important: be sure you can fit your hand through that hole.  

Turn everything inside out through the gap.

Push all the inside corners together to make a box, and get out a needle and thread. 

This is the part where you'll begin to stuff. It's hard to describe, but basically you are making a tightly stuffed ring around a more soft and fluffy middle section. If you get confused look at the guide above.

Try to imagine an invisible line going around the bottom of your box. 
Start by sewing along that line on the long side opposite the gap from corner to corner (A-D) 
through both layers just using a simple straight stitch.  
Mine was done using an upholstery weight thread for extra durability.

Grab your stuffing material, and pack it as tightly as you can around the back section also filling in those corners. This is where you really want to be able to put your hand through that gap!

Go around the edges with your straight stitch filling as you go. Start at D sew through C. Then do C towards B stopping at the gap. Then sew the other side from A to B. Stop here and stuff the middle. Close the loop by sewing B towards C finishing where you left off going from the other direction.

Stuff the last section in front of the gap, and close with a ladder stitch. And that's it, you've made a cat bed!

Even though my stitching is black, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it by parting the fur.

The same is true of the fleecy side since the stitching is deep within the folds of the bed.

The midsection is full and pillowy.

And the outer ring is firm, and comfortable.

Bird Floral Dark Blue
Adorable Photo Update: 7/22/16