It was so fun reading all the wonderful reader’s comments left on last Tuesday’s post, My Urban Tunic in Crossroads Denim. It became obvious to me that I am not alone in being apprehensive to make the jump from quilting to garment construction. Since I had such a successful run with my first project, I thought I would share a few tips I gathered from experienced sewists as I began my project.
1. Read through the direction thoroughly, until you totally understand the cutting and construction.
2. Prewash and press your fabric.
3. Transfer your tissue paper pattern onto a more permanent and manageable material such as Pellon. I used Red Dot Tracing Material and it worked great..
4. Make a muslin sample first. Ok, in reality, I made two, in two different sizes. Then combined the smaller top and larger bottom for my own personal, pear shaped pattern.
5. Find someone that understands garment construction to help tweak your sample for a perfect fit while you are wearing it. I was fortunate enough to have the incredibly talented Margaret Linderman pin and tweak, then cheer me on to the next step. Thank you Margaret!
6. You know the saying, measure twice, cut once? Well, here’s a new one for you – Gather the correct pattern pieces. Make sure you are following the correct cutting layout for the view or option you have chosen. Check it twice, then cut it once.
7. Take your time sewing. Read and follow directions carefully. Pin, yes pin, even if you think you don’t need to.
8. Take your time to press each seam neatly. Use steam or a pressing cloth when needed.
9. Practice any required topstitching on a scrap fabric first, before stitching onto your garment. You want it pretty and perfect the first time.
I am sure these tips would be obvious to someone that does a lot of garment sewing, but for me, it was definitely a learning process, so I needed all the help I could get!. Perhaps my list will save someone else a few steps on their first project!
Thank you to everyone else for all the wonderful comments. I wish I could send a pattern to each and every one of you.
If you live in the Northern California area, be sure to check out the East Bay Modern Quilters annual show, Stitch Modern 2015. Opening night is tonight, but there will be lectures, events and gallery hours throughout the month of April. Be sure to check out the calendar of events on their website: Stitch Modern 2015.
Need a boost of inspiration? Hungry for some eye candy? – be sure to follow the links to Carol Van Zandt’s blog posts with more quilt photographs from Quiltcon 2015. They are spectacular!
If you are a regular follower of our blog, you are probably a bit surprised that I am stepping out of my comfort zone of quilting on into the world of sewing clothes. Well, me too, but, there are so many new fabrics coming onto the market lately, that I have been tempted to try sewing clothes for myself. Past attempts have not been pretty, but I keep thinking that all this quilting knowledge has to account for something, right?
So, while at Quiltcon a few weeks ago, I spent some time in the Indigo Junction booth oogling over the great designs and debating whether I should give it another try. Before I knew it, I was getting a pep talk from two of the Indigo Junction gals on how I could totally do this! I left with their book, The Magic Pattern Book and thier Urban Tunic pattern. I came home determined to do this, and do this right, and wear what I made, with pride.
As soon as I arrived home, I received an email from Indigo Junction inviting me to participate in their Crossroads Blog Tour introducing the gorgeous new colors.
Ok, if I’m going to do this, I may as well dive in and do it with an entire blog tour and put my results out there to the blogosphere. Talk about motivation to finish a project! So I chose the prettiest color ever – Cactus Flower, and committed myself to participate in the Tour.
Then the panic set in. Oh my gosh. What did I get myself into? Patterns? Waist measurements? Take a deep breath and think positive, girl. You were going to make it anyway, right?
Once I got started, it all fell in to place. The denim washed lovely and was so soft and nice to work with. It ironed like a dream. Stitching through the denim was effortless, or as SNL’s Mike Myers would say in his Coffee Talk skits, “like buttah”.
Ok, I obviously didn’t think to buy thread to match the fabric. That is not something I worry so much about when piecing 9 patches.
Following the pattern was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I had my tunic constructed in no time at all. As I worked with it, I kept thinking of all the other things I could make with this fabric. It is such a great weight and has so many tempting colors.
Love the way the armholes fell into place. I have to say, I was a bit nervous. I have not had the best of luck with that on past projects. And the pockets? Those were downright fun to make! The only tweak I needed to make was to shorten the length to be able to wear it with jeans.
Perfect for running around town. I tried it out at the farmer’s market and with coffee with a friend.
It turned out crazy comfortable and just the right amount of sass for me. Love, love, love the color, too!
This is a first for me – being able to wear something in public that I made. I love this top! It is definitely a keeper! Thanks Indigo Junction for the encouragement, an easy to follow pattern – and your wonderful Crossroads Denim! I am excited to get started on my next project. Hmmmm, maybe something in the Mushroom Denim?
What would you make out of the Crossroads Denim? Leave a comment and I will pick one lucky winner to receive their own Urban Tunic pattern.
And . . . Indygo Junction is offering a discount code for blog tour readers. Get 20% off your purchase at by entering xroads20 at checkout on their website.
Check out all the amazing projects by the talented bloggers on the Crossroad Blog Tour. You will be glad you did!
I want to start with a riddle. Think of this as you read on, and at the end, I will give you an opportunity to answer the riddle for a giveaway!
What do a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
I feel like I have opened the door to a whole new world this past few weeks.
My husband gave me a beautiful book for Christmas, My Nepenthe, by Romney Steele.
If you live on the West Coast, you may know of the restaurant, Nepenthe. I think of Nepenthe as more of a destination than just a restaurant. For years, my family has been making the drive down the coast to spend a magical day in Big Sur, California. We visit some of the most beautiful coastline available, stroll through majestic redwoods and explore the bohemic lifestyle in this mystical place that inspired artists, writers and creative souls over the years.
But at the end of the day, we always, and I do mean always, stop to visit Nepenthe.
It is the perfect way to end a day in Big Sur.We relax and enjoy the spectacular views, have something to eat, and then search for a special treasure in the gift shop, The Phoenix.
It was on one of my first visits, I looked up at the vaulted ceilings in The Phoenix and noticed quilts hanging from the rafters in all their glorious colors. That is the day I found out Kaffe Fasset‘s family owned Nepenthe.
You would think that being given a beautiful book called My Nepenthe would be a very meaningful gift for me. But it even gets better.
Author Romney Steele is also co-owner of a very special cafe, oyster and wine bar in historic Old Oakland appropriately named The Cook and Her Farmer. My husband eats many of his lunches there, noshing on an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of savory mussels.
As much as I love the food, I also love simply taking in the atmosphere. Colorful jars of canned goods and bowls of fresh produce line the counters.They convey the spirit of her farm to table principles.
You can pull up a cheery, red stool to the warm, wooden tables for a casual and communal meal.
I am in awe of those able to convey their vision so clearly for others to enjoy. Romney’s bio describes herself as a writer, cook and visual artist. I would agree. Whether I am reading her book, sitting in her establishment or peeking at her blog, there is a vision that she is sharing. It is warm, and colorful, and I enjoy being a part of it.
So all of this leads up to my gift, the book My Nepenthe. A book of stories and tales of Big Sur. It is a story about food, family, how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters. It celebrates the magic and history of the family who started Nepenthe, Romney Steele’s family and yes, the Fassett family.
Ahhh, it’s all coming together, now isn’t it??? Kaffe Fassett is Romney Steele’s uncle!
I am sure many of you have read and loved the autobiography by Kaffe Fassett’s, Dreaming in Colour, which shares his stories of life in Big Sur.
Consider My Nepenthe as part of a series of books. The book is lovely. The stories are wonderful, the visuals are inspiring and the recipes are fresh and unique.
Even the design elements are delightful. Romney used Kaffe Fassett’s ever popular Millefiore design for the spine of the book, along with remnants of her grandmother’s smocks which were scanned and shared throughout the pages. It is so amazing to know a family such as the Fassett family could completely embrace the spirit of creativity.
Aren’t we fortunate that they did?
To end my story, I want to share a excerpt from Romney Steele’s blog,
She writes about her love of cooking in words that resonate with the way I feel about quilting:
“I often turn to cooking when I feel out of sorts, when I feel less than grounded, less than knowing my way. Cooking, like gardening, feels tangible. Whether slicing lemons for a bright marmalade, or turning over the soil to plant spring greens, both feel grounded in my history and in my present–in so much that is healing and gives me joy. Preparing and sharing food creates a feeling of well being, of time well spent and good work done. It’s also deeply meditative, restorative by way of making.” Romney Steele
Thank you Romney. Your words inspire me to be true to myself. To do what I do because it is who I am. But for now, I am yearning for the Big Sur Life and I just want to curl up in some quilts and read all about it!
So, dear readers,
What do a a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
What do you think they have in common? Leave your answer and share what inspires you as a comment. One of you will win a copy of our newest pattern, Making Waves.
I am excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Jessica J. E. Smith, also known as Jess,
who I met several years ago at International Quilt Market Houston. Jess approached me to share her two cents about a question I’d asked at a lecture we’d both attended at the show. After that, we spent the day walking the show floor, shared a meal at a Greek restaurant afterwards, and have built a great friendship ever since. She is bubbly, creative, and so much fun to share quilt-love with!
Jess owns The Quilt and Needle, an online an online quilting store and interactive community , She specializes in designing one-of-a-kind quilting patterns and hosting unique Mystery Quilt Weekend experiences to help quilters overcome their personal boundaries. I participated in one of these mystery weekends and, let me tell you, they are fun! Imagine receiving a pretty fabric bundle in the mail, getting online instructions every few hours throughout the weekend, and watching a beautiful design emerge as you sew–oh, did I mention that you are sharing this weekend in a forum with participants from across the globe? It’s totally fun! Welcome Jess–we are so glad you are here!
Mystery Quilts and Why They are Worth Making
I design quilts. I piece, I quilt, I show, I gift, I sell, and sometimes I even get to cuddle with my work. No surprise, I love what I do. But the best part of my job is designing and writing mystery quilt patterns. Why? To begin with, I adore surprises. Not just receiving surprises, but presenting others with puzzles and tricking (yes, misleading, fooling, generally hoodwinking) them so that they are truly surprised at the end of the process. That’s just plain good times. When I design a mystery, it’s like I am throwing a killer surprise party for every quilter who works on that project (only, way less clean-up is required).
For example, who would’ve thought that when you started out by sewing together these various squares with borders:
You’d get this quilt at the end? (These pictures were taken at one of our March Mystery retreats in Tomball, TX. The quilt pattern is Unexpected Twist.)
The fun of it all gives me a serious case of the warm and fuzzies.
If I am being totally honest though, the grand surprise of a good mystery pattern isn’t really the best part. Certainly, I started designing mystery quilts as a fun way to surprise my quilty peeps, but my true addiction to mystery pattern writing came when I realized that mystery patterns were an often unutilized tool to help quilters overcome their self-imposed limitations.
You know that quilt pattern you’d love to try, but you keep telling yourself:
“I am not good enough to make that!”
“I love that quilt! But I could never do that.”
“That’s just too much for me, I’ll stick with squares!”
“I’d never have time to do something like that!”
Anybody? Yeah, pretty much all of us, right? We come up with any number of excuses to NOT try that design that we are sure will defeat us. Put simply, we often fail at a pattern because we never allowed ourselves to try. For me, once upon a time, that unclimbable mountain of a pattern was a Feathered Star. But hey, look at me now Mom! I created a mystery pattern to help all of those quilters afflicted with the same irrational Featheredstaraphobia I once suffered from.
This pattern is Bella Cosa. There are no Y seams or similarly intermediate-level piecing involved, which is why this made a fabulous mystery pattern.
A good mystery quilt should lead the quilter through the process one simple step at a time, so the quilter doesn’t feel overwhelmed. If you don’t know the end product, you aren’t able to keep yourself from trying a fabulous design because of self-doubt.
Over the years I’ve often experienced the power of my mystery patterns helping other quilters achieve their own “unachievable”. In one of my first teaching gigs as a mystery quilt teacher, I met “Square Girl”. It was a six hour class. They came in with their fabrics cut, ready to sew, and completed a small top in a day. The mystery I was teaching was my pattern Phire’s Radiance, which is my take on a Lone Star. I walked past this girl while she was sewing and she was murmuring “I like squares… I like squares… I like squares…” as she pieced together this quilt full of strips, and diamonds, and triangles… maybe four squares in the entire thing. I was still pretty new at teaching and I remember telling my husband when I got home that I blew it… I would never see this girl again! I have to give her props though; she persevered and completed her small table topper in class.
This was her third quilt ever! Pretty amazing I think. Anyway, my next mystery program rolled around a few weeks later, and you wouldn’t believe who showed up to that class. Yep. Square Girl. And she was smiling. And she was motivated. She’d made a Lone Star and now she was ready to conquer the quilting world! She has signed up for every one of my mystery programs since then. She’s hooked. She’s a fabric addict. Now Square Girl is selling commissioned quilts to support her habit. She was recently commissioned to make the King size version of Phire’s Radiance (again, no ‘y’ seams or similarly intermediate techniques were harmed used in the making of these quilts).
Whoa. Just whoa.
So that’s why I do what I do. And that’s why it’s worth giving mystery quilts a try. You never know what you don’t know until you try something that you don’t know you are trying.
Thank you Jess! What a great topic! And BTW readers, Jess’s feathered star, Bella Cosa, was created using a line of fabrics that I designed a few years back! What a sweet quilt!
Want more? Jess will be visiting again on Friday to chat about her Crossover Quilts. She will present Schoolhouse sessions on both Mystery Quilts and Crossover Quilts at Interenational Quilt Market at the end of the month.
Urban and Amish Giveaway Winner Here!
And we have a winner! Congratulations to Houston Quilt Lady.
It’s inevitable really, the road to learning the quilting craft always passes through Amish Country at some point. While modern quilters may point to the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibition as a clarion call to explore quilt making, Amish quilts also cast their lure with minimal design layouts and vibrant coloration.
Urban and Amish Embraces a Hallowed Tradition and a Modern Aesthetic
Author of Urban and Amish, Myra Harder, comes by her love of Amish quilt making from childhood exposure to the Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Myra’s Canadian parents moved the family to Lancaster County and lived there for several years before heading back north. The time spent in that rural fastness had a strong impact: Myra’s mother learned quilt making from the Amish women and Myra spent many hours playing with Amish children and learning about their mode of life. Later, when Myra took up quilting, it was an Amish Pineapple quilt displayed in a Lancaster, PA shop that set her on her quilting journey. Myra is a twenty-year veteran of the textiles and quilting industries and attributes her fascination to an ancestral calling “to the cloth,” so to speak, as her family traces its roots to Moravian cloth traders in early colonial history.
Urban and Amish brings together two of Myra’s abiding interests: the Amish quilting aesthetic and the modernist trend in contemporary quilt making. Her tactic is to juxtapose them in 8 duets of quilts: one faithful to Amish tenets of quilt design, and the other, a modern riff on the theme block. The result is 16 quilt projects that can be tackled by all skill levels. The challenge, of course, is in the execution which is something she addresses in her book: color palettes, print or solids, scale of design, deconstructing blocks. It was interesting to learn that Amish color schemes are specific to each community–Lancaster County quilts do not use black as the darkest hue, navy is the preferred color. (That’s a factoid I’ll store for future use!)
Myra Harder’s Urban and Amish is available now through Martingale & Company. Visit the publisher’s website for additional information about the book and author. Ah, don’t neglect to scroll to the bottom for giveaway details–you could win an Urban and Amish eBook from Martingale!
Antique Ohio Amish Quilts from the Darwin Bearley Collection, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Staring November 15, 2014, and running through March 1, 2015, the quilt museum in San Jose, California will host an exhibition of more than 40 quilts from the Bearley collection. The quilts range from doll to bed-sized and cover a timeline from 1880 to 1940. The provenance of each quilt is fully documented with the story of the maker, recipient, and the dealer(s) who found the quilts.
Amish: The Modern Muse at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
To coordinate with the exhibition, the museum issued a challenge to Bay Area modern quilt guilds–East Bay Modern, Bay Area Modern, and South Bay Area Modern–to interpret the Amish style in a modernest vein. The juried exhibition will run concurrently with the Antique Ohio Amish Quilt show. Quilt artist Joe Cunningham will select the quilts that best represent a 21st century interpretation of traditional Amish quilt making. Of course, our resident modernist and guild member, Pati Fried, has a challenge contribution and she’s giving us a peek!
Giveaway Details Here!
Martingale & Company has kindly offered an eBook version of Urban and Amish for a lucky winner. Leave me a comment by Monday, October 13 and I’ll announce the winner in the Tuesday post on the 14th. Here’s your question: Why the hoopla, aren’t Amish quilts already modern?
Later gators, gotta go make another quilt–modern, but not Amish . . .
The term “stash” is quite familiar to any crafter, sewer, quilter, or scrapbooker. In fact, if you are true to your passion you probably have more stuff in that stash than any person could possibly use in one lifetime. We here at SHWS are always on the lookout for great stash-busting inspiration no matter the medium. Well look no more, our friend and crafter extraordinaire Lisa Fulmer has just released her book, Craft Your Stash. It is chockful of wonderful projects and inspiration to help you in using fabric, paper, stamps, stickers, buttons, bling, and so much more. So, don’t delay, order your copy today, you wont be disappointed. Lisa also provides suggestions how storing and organizing your stash.
Our SHWS Riff on Stash Busting
We tried our own stash-busting efforts and riffed on a couple of Lisa’s projects. Of course, we opted to use fabric because we have loads and loads of the stuff!
Jennifer: I took on a variation of Lisa’s heart-themed door plaque, but I opted for a pair of doorknob hearts as I’ve been known to decorate my guest room door with a welcoming gift of a fabric heart. I think Lisa and I must be on the same wavelength with the idea of embellishing doors with hearts–it is, after all, an expression of loving welcome.
I’ve got two special people I want to celebrate with a handmade gift and so I made a pair of hearts. If you’d like to bust your stash and make heart pillows, well, click the Pattern tab above and scroll to the Jack Sparrow Valentine pattern I posted there a couple years ago.
Laura: I was inspired by the Mosaic Scrapbook project in Lisa’s book.
My immediate thought was to make a toddler friendly Memory/Matching Game Board: bright, colorful, and portable! I also took advantage of this opportunity to use chalkboard fabric for the cover of the game board.
No blog hop would be complete without an enticing Giveaway opportunity–want to participate in Lisa’s the Craft Your Stash giveaway?
Want the details for the other giveaway? We too have a copy of Craft Your Stash we’d love to share with our SHWS readers. Leave a comment by Monday, October 6 letting us know: are you or are you not a hoarder of crafty items and would Lisa’s book be a good intervention for your habit?
Do check out the other bloggers participating in the blog hop–here’s the talented lineup:
Thank you all for the wonderful comments you left onlast weeks blog hop post. I LOVED reading every one of them. It is so nice to hear that everyone enjoyed the quilt so much. We are busy putting the finishing touches on the pattern and will let you know when it is available.
We had such an incredible response of favorite beaches, that I thought it would be fun to share ALL the 80-some beaches that were nominated. From Hawaii to Florida, the Bahamas to Oregon, Greece to New Jersey, and Mexico to Gilligan’s Island. There were favorites in Belgium, England and the lakes of Switzerland to California and the lakes of Michigan. They all sound lovely and I truly want to visit them all!!!!
Ocean View, Half Moon Cay, Bondi Beach, Daytona Beach, Westport, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Bear Lake, Hyams Beach, Coronado, Makena, Half Moon Bay, Cozumel, Kaanapali, Lake Erie, Sanibel Island, Wailia, Stinson Beach, Tuscanym Sardinia, Cecina, Pebble Beach, Nobska Beach, St Palais sur Mer, Long Sands Beach, Clearwater, Yacht Club Beach, Tacoma Chinese Garden Park, Sand Dunes Beach, St. Augustin, Kanapali, Virginia Beach, Sugar Sand Beaches of Florida, Kikaua Point, Magens Bay, San Jaun’s, Caladesi Island, Myrtle Beach, Coco Beach, Ocean City, Pismo Beach, Emerald Island, El Matador, Haceta Head, Lake Michigan, Sarasota, Sandy Point, Edisto Beach, Rainbow Beach, Ocean City, Sunoka Beach, Monterey, Long Island, Green Island Resort Beach, Devisl Beach, Jacksonville, Wasaga, Pebble Beach, Outer Banks, Clam Harbour Provincial Park Beach, Sunset Bay State Park, Cannon Beach, Van Buren Point, Piggots Bay, Horshoe Lake, Venice Beach, Oahu, St. Petersburg Beach, Hilton Head, Siesta Key Beach, Fairfield, Sea Island, Baja, Sunset Beach, Ana Maria, Koksijde, Cadzand, Huntington, Hallwylersee, Northumbria, Lake Tahoe, Hug Point, Wildwood Boardwalk and Skaha Beach.
Unfortunately, we had to choose just one. So, randomly picking from our trusty sand bucket –
“My favorite is Heceta Head, on the Oregon coast with a lighthouse and great tidepools.”
Congratulations Amorette – You will be receiving your bundle from Windham in the mail. Enjoy!
Looks like I’m not the only Yoko Saito fan in search of English-language versions of her patterns. (BTW: Here’s the link to my earlier Yoko Saito post.) World Book Media out of Salem, Massachusetts has entered the market with a Japanese Quilt Artist Series pattern line (translated into English) featuring Yoko Saito for their debut as well as Zakka Workshop projects–quick and fun scrap-friendly projects made in mere hours. Both product lines are available at World Book Media’s Etsy site.
Let’s take a look at the Yoko Saito quilt pattern fare:
Would you like to see more? Here are my top 2:
Yoko Saito creates evocative designs with such simple touches like outrageously perfect fabric choices. Also, her simple quilting motif enhances the blossoming cherry trees and stars without being overwhelming.
That melting snowman featured below is so charming and just a little poignant. (Plus she finds yet another perfect venue for her bare trees fabric.)
The remaining trio of patterns are fun projects for personal use and home decor. The Afternoon Tea Mats pattern makes me laugh for the eccentric use of language–short . . . cake maybe?
I’m looking for 5 winners this week. Yup, 5! No guarantees which pattern you’ll receive. Random drawing, random numbering on the patterns as well. Leave me a comment by Thursday, June 26 and I will announce the winners in my Friday post. Answer this question: Given the opportunity to win a pattern, would you go Yoko Saito neutral or color mad?
On Friday I’ll be featuring a small birthday project I adapted from the center wreath block of the Quilt-Along: Blackbirds & Blossoms Oh-La-La! I hope you’ll stop by and find inspiration!
Hello dear readers! Gwen Marston is always a hit when we feature her at See How We Sew. Today we’ll take a look at more quilts from her latest AQS title, Minimal Quiltmaking, and revisit past posts about Gwen written by our blogging sister Darra. Gwen and Darra have been both friends and collaborators for years. In fact, Darra’s skilled editorial hand can be experienced in a number of Gwen’s quilting books. Keep scrolling to find the name of the lucky winner of Minimal Quiltmaking.
And the winner is, Kathy in Florida–Congratulations! Many thanks to Gwen Marston for her continuing support of See How We Sew. Perhaps she’ll return for a visit soon?!? I hope so!
Final thoughts from Jennifer: I’m taken by Gwen’s works of quilted art. Can’t you just see these painting-sized quilts adorning the walls of a modern art museum? What if we started a grassroots movement to persuade our fine arts venues to open their galleries to our textile arts? Just a thought . . . we’ve got our Studio Art Quilters and any number of other art quilt groups. Time to come out of the shadows and into the limelight with the rest of the artsy crowd!