Quilt top pieces

October 18, 2007 at 4:55 pm | Posted in sewing | Leave a comment
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Ok, the quality of the picture is kinda shitty, but I am so proud of these little guys. These are the six I have pressed, out of the 13 completed squares. 7 more to go! As usual, I am handsewing them.

I am super into this quilting business. Quilting allows so much color freedom — all those colors you couldn’t put together if you were making clothing can be used in quilts. I am a color junkie. I hate white. Hate it. Makes me feel cold and sterile. I love nothing more than to be surrounded by riots of color. My house, if I ever have one, will be a schizophrenic’s nightmare. Schizophrenic? Hmm. Maybe I mean modern hipster. I don’t know. Someone who can’t stand chaos in their surroundings, even in the decor.

I have already purchased a couple more charm packs, and when I was in San Francisco I bought the Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide and some fat quarters from this amazing, adorable shop. Because I need more fabric. Sigh. My hobbies are taking over my room and my life. Double sigh.


Apron apron apron

October 12, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Posted in sewing | 4 Comments
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Fabric: from the Aviary Collection by Joel Dewberry, Sparrows in almond and Woodgrain in chocolate
Pattern: from Bend-the-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol

I think that the pockets are probably the cutest part:

Here’s a close-up of the binding on the pocket (I made the bias tape myself!):

I put little orange flower buttons on the pockets as decorative detail, but unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the completely finished item before I gave it to Heather.

Here she is:

I’m pretty damn proud of this thing. I made it in a week, which is unheard of for me, and I put a lot of effort into it. Bend-the-Rules Sewing is a great book, by the way. This is the first item that I’ve made without the use of paper pattern pieces, and I feel like, though it maybe wasn’t the most complex item I’ve made, I learned the most from it. I think that the open-endedness of this pattern, at least, speaks to the author’s creative make-it-your-own approach to sewing. Here are all of the things I learned while making the apron:

  • How to cut the appropriate amount of fabric for a project by using measurements instead of paper pattern pieces
  • How to make my own binding using a bias tape maker
  • How to properly attach a binding by slip stitching it down so that the stitches don’t show on the front of the fabric

But I feel like these are sort of the “actions” that I learned how to do. What I really learned was a better understanding of how fabric works, of grain and the importance of proper measuring, of what “bias” really means and why you have to cut bias tape on the, duh, bias, in order for it to curve nicely around corners and curves.

I really have outdone myself this time.

October 1, 2007 at 12:13 am | Posted in sewing | 2 Comments
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I finished my friend Heather’s apron* in exactly 7 days.

I started cutting the fabric last Sunday and I snipped the last loose threads tonight. I honestly don’t even know how that’s possible.

Let’s consider the things I did in the past seven days: four days of work, ceramics class, information architecture class, went out all day yesterday and last night (it was a busy weekend in Toronto: The Clothing Show, Nuit Blanche, and Word On The Street were all going on). And the apron was kind of time consuming, too. There was a lot of measuring (twice) and cutting (once), lots of ironing and pinning. I made pockets. I added a nice trim at the bottom. I made my own bias tape for the binding of the apron pockets and then hand-sewed the binding. I pinned and repinned and stitched and ripped out stitches and…how in the hell did I finish this thing?

I guess this can either be chalked up to the power of procrastination to light a fire under one’s ass (I will be seeing Heather on Friday in San Francisco, and I have approximately zero free hours until then), or it can serve to remind me that having 24 hours in one day is actually quite a bit of time if it’s used wisely.

(* — More pictures to come, including close-ups of the pockets and trim and stuff, but even though Heather knows all about the apron, I don’t want to give away too much before she sees it in person, hence the one ambiguous pic.)

Quilting: step 1 done!

September 12, 2007 at 11:56 pm | Posted in sewing | 1 Comment
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quiltsquaresfinished1.jpg quiltsquaresfinished2.jpg

Can it be? Have I actually made some progress on a project?

Last night, I finished sewing and pressing the last squares of the first step of my quilt. I sewed all of them by hand, something that I’ve never really done before, save for a few buttons and some pot leaf patches in high school (I was so fucking cool). Carolanne met me at work/school today and we started laying out the squares to form the larger squares that’ll make up the quilt top. I finished the rest at home tonight and started sewing them together. I did a couple by hand and then used the machine. I enjoyed doing the little squares by hand but I might do the rest by machine, since it’s not like I’m learning any new stitches at this point anyway.

The color scheme is brown and blue, and within that scheme, there’s light brown and light blue, medium brown and medium blue, and dark brown and dark blue. There’re also “tight” (busy) patterns and “loose” (um…un-busy? sorry. it’s past 11 pm, the time at which I hit a wall and my brain turns off, so I can’t think of a word to describe the opposite of busy in the context of fabric) patterns. I’m arranging the squares, which look like this,
in a sort of diamond formation. I’m trying to balance brown and blue, busy and un-busy. It’s really fun. It’s the intellectual side of crafting, where you have to figure out how things fit together. These fabric squares were a set, so most of the work was done for me, but I still had to arrange each diamond to the fabrics’ best advantage. I didn’t want two busy fabrics together, or two calm fabrics together, or two darks or two lights…it’s all about balance (I think. Did I mention I have no idea what I’m talking about?) and I did what I could.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is way past my bedtime.


July 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Posted in sewing | 2 Comments



A few months ago, a friend from grad school invited Alli and I over to her place to rummage through her fabric. Alli was going to look for some cool bookcloth ideas, and I, well, I just like not having to pay for stuff.

Turns out that Carolanne is a quilting goddess. I wish I had pictures to post here, but I don’t, so suffice it to say that both Alli and myself were blown away by the beauties that our friend had created. Combine that with 3 bottles of wine, a plate of cheese and fruit, and the most adorable apartment on earth, and it was a magical afternoon.

Of course, I walked away with a bag of fabric, mostly batiks, that will one day (hopefully) metamorphosize into a quilt. For now, I’m working on a batch of what I think are called charm squares. These guys are 40 little 5″x5″ squares, 20 patterns in coordinating shades of brown and blue. I looooove brown and blue together and took to those squares like flies to shit.

Carolanne taught me how to do the most basic of hand-sewing stitches, hooked me up with some muslin and sent me on my way. There was a moment there when I thought I’d lost the Omnigrid ruler of awesomeness that she lent me and was preparing myself to buy two, one for me and one for her, but then it turned out that it was in a dark green bag on a piece of dark brown cloth on the floor. After neglecting my quilt squares for a while, I’m back with a vengeance, baby. They’re pretty basic — I just sew two straight lines .25″ away from either side of the diagonal when a piece of muslin and a piece of patterned fabric are held together, then I cut along the diagonal and I have two squares, half muslin and half patterned fabric. Still, I am super excited for this quilt, mainly because it so far consists of only straight lines, and I figure it’s relatively difficult to screw up straight lines. (Knitting has been relegated to the back of the craft house for now, for such reasons as: it hates me.)

Oh my God! I actually finished something!

July 12, 2007 at 11:12 pm | Posted in sewing | 4 Comments


I just finished this skirt. I love the colors cause they’re spring/summer-y and I love full flowy skirts cause, well, I have an ass. Pencil skirts are my worst nightmare so whenever I make skirts they are, at the very least, A-line.

Here’s another view:


Finished objects, finally

January 2, 2007 at 11:36 am | Posted in sewing, shiny things | 4 Comments

This is a little black A-line skirt I’ve been working on for a while. Not because it was complicated, don’t get me wrong, but because I have approximately 80 projects going at any one time and sewing is probably the most frustrating of them -something always seems to go wrong. I had problems with the zipper on this one. It’s an invisible zipper but for some reason, my invisible zippers are usually fairly visible.

Anyway, when my friend Heather gets back, she’s going to teach me how to embroider and crewel (do crewelwork? What is the verb form of that word?), and I’m going to make some embellishments to the bottom of the skirt. I’m thinking flowers on long stalks. Not a chain of hippie flowers or crazy Victorian bouquets, but sort of ’50s-looking flowers. I don’t know. I can’t describe them and I don’t have time right now to find an internet example.

My friend Lisa taught me how to make necklaces and stuff over the summer. Of course, I immediately went out and bought a shitload of beads, and then never did anything with them. For New Year’s Eve, I wanted a necklace to go with the shirt I was wearing, so I made this one. I’m pretty proud of it and I think it looks cool. I’m really into black and red at the moment, don’t know why, cause my color of choice is and has always been blue.

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