quilting · sewing

Quarantine and me: Week 4

What a week! It started off with me registering for Grad school. I am attending Washington University in St. Louis, Masters in Law program. All classes are online which meant that I needed to get logged into their system and store all my IDs and passwords – which I did. The next day, my computer crashed! It won’t even turn on!

I can’t say I am surprised. The computer is about 12 – 15 years old, and I have been waiting for it to crash… but a week before school starts?? Needless to say timing is not ideal and with the “Stay home, stay safe” order in effect it’s not like I can go out and pick up another computer! So I took a deep breath and ordered one from Apple.com and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives before classes start on Monday.

On the sewing front I finished a total of 100 masks; 50 were donated to the Seattle Indian Health Board, and 50 were given to my brother and his co-workers. When my brother came over to pick them up it was sad not to be able to give him a hug. But I had to laugh that we exchanged homemade chocolate chip cookies – unplanned! Yep, we’re related!

Once I was done with the masks I finished this beauty! Which was mostly long arm quilting and binding it.

Quilt, pillow shams, throw pillow front, and smaller panel (pillow).

I saw this at the Quilting and Sewing Expo at the end of February… before shit hit the fan on this pandemic! I saw it hanging there and stood for about 5 minutes just admiring it! It was so pretty and unlike any quilt I’ve seen before…… so of course I bought the kit!

Image of full quilt! Love at first sight

It was designed by Sarah Watts for Ruby Star Society, and the kit includes a queen sized panel, two pillow shams, 18” throw pillow, an small panel to make a baby quilt (or wall hanging), and a extra panel which I made into a small pillow! The fabric is a beautiful sateen that is super soft and makes all the colors bright and beautiful

Wall hanging or baby quilt

I bought enough backing fabric to complete all the projects, including the binding, but after I finished quilting it I decided that the pink binding looked better, and added an extra pop of color.

Back of wall hanging

If I were 13 I would put this on my bed and never take it off….. but as it is, now that I have admired it, pet it, and added my ‘artistic’ touch to it, I will list it on my Etsy site. My hope is that someone who admires unicorns, owls, flowers, full moons and pretty birds will find it and claim it as their own.

Stay safe my friends,

Adventures · Projects · sewing

Quarantine and Me: Week 3

It’s now been three weeks of quarantine, and honestly, I’m scared and sad – mostly sad. I’m sad that this pandemic has affected SO many lives. If I think about it too long it becomes too overwhelming and too sad for me to process. I feel a constant lump in my throat and the littlest things, like seeing all the army trucks lined up outside of the hospitals in Italy, will start the tears flowing. There are parts of me that thinks that this is just a bad dream and that I’ll wake up and things will be normal again. But I know it’s real, and so this week I decided that the best way to combat this sadness was to take action:

Step 1: I mentioned last week that sewing was my therapy, and that I was working on this Blooming 9-patch quilt – I’m happy to report that this week I finished it!

I freaking love this quilt! I have wanted to make this quilt (for the 3rd time) for a long time. The pattern is from “Tradition with a Twist” – by Blanche Young – it’s seriously one of my favorite quilting books.

I used fabrics from my stash (#stashbuster) and realized that the pattern is similar to this virus in that it starts in the center and each color ‘spreads’ into the next with a 9-patch. Look close you’ll see what I mean.

Step 2: I joined my sewing sisters and brothers to make masks for those on the front-line of this pandemic. Actually, my first 50 are going to my brother and his co-workers who work in an assisted living facility. The next 50 will go to Crafters Against Covid-19 – Seattle who donates them to local hospitals. (check to see if there is a local chapter in your area) So far 4500 masks have been donated to area hospitals and clinics and that makes my heart feel better.

Pinned and ready to be sewn.
Sewn, and just needing side tucks.
finished and ready to be sent out.

Step 3: I hosted a virtual Happy Hour (thank you Zoom) and told the story of my worst date ever! It’s a pretty funny story, and it felt good to laugh with my friends, to see their faces, and to just check in to see how everyone is doing.

Step 4: Finally, I delivered cookies and an offer to help to some of my neighbors.

When I was done with that I felt a little better.

Stay safe my friends!

Projects · sewing

High-Lo Sheath Dress

It’s been a weird weekend here in the Seattle area- otherwise known as the U.S.’s Ground Zero for the Corvid-19.  People raided the Costco, Target and Fred Meyer’s last week, stocking up on toilet paper, bread, and water..??  Now everyone is holed up in their homes and events with 10+ people are canceled. The streets here are pretty empty – which means I bought gas, washed my car, and met a friend without waiting in line or getting stuck in traffic!

I also spent a LOT of time sewing, starting with this sheath dress from Butterick.

I used this knit fabric that I purchased last weekend, I believe it’s a poly-blend and a little on the heavy side.  I thought that if the dress was too heavy I could shorten the length to take off some of the weight.

Turns out – it’s not too heavy.  I made the view with the tie …

But the tie felt like it was too large/thick, and I knew it would bug me, so I took it off.

I can’t decide if I like it better or not… I’m not much of a tie person to begin with, AND, I can reach the pockets better without the tie….

I might see how I like it for now.   I’ll most likely wear this with a jean jacket or cardigan which will break-up the lines and give it some shape.

When the weather gets really warm I can always buy a belt or make another tie using lighter fabric. That’s the joy of sewing, I can always change my mind.

Adventures · sewing

Please Excuse Me While I Geek Out!

The Sewing Expo was in town this weekend and for the first time ever I decided to go!  I’ve been sewing most of my life so you would think that I would have gone to a sewing Expo at least once in 30+ years… but nope!  …. but I’ll be going again as often as I can for now on!

Vogue Fabrics – so many choices!

I took Friday off from work and drove down to Puyallup to attend my first class – which was a lesson on how to Brioche knit.  I’m glad I took a class because I would have never been able to figure it out on my own.

After class I visited the vendors and gave myself permission to stock up on fabric – AND DID I EVER!!!!  I’m working on some summer outfits and bought enough fabric to make all my outfits – and then some!

Polyester/Lycra for a pair of leggings

Cotton/Spandex border fabric for a t-shirt dress.

 

This is a poly blend, I think I will make a dress with it, at $5.99 a yard it was hard to pass up.

The next day I had an afternoon class (wax canvas tote bag), so I planned to get there in plenty of time to do more shopping.  I bought the new Oliso iron –  both the full-size and the mini since they were on sale (Expo special)  My old iron was on it’s last leg so I feel like it was past time to get a new one!



I looked at sewing machines – this Tula Pink Special Edition Bernina is high on my wish list.

I would love to host another retreat, so I picked up retreat brochures to review for when that time comes.

Finally, I fell in love with this quilt and could not leave the Expo without purchasing the kit!  It was the only quilting related item I bought and I can’t wait to get started on it!

I throughly enjoyed myself this weekend!  I was completely in my element, being around and talking with people who love knitting, sewing and quilting as much as I do. It seemed everyone was happy to be there, and I met some very nice ladies in both of my classes … I’m SO glad I decided to go and am looking forward to going again next year.

 

Projects · sewing

T-shirt Quilt: Part 2

I made another t-shirt quilt this week for a friend of mine’s daughter!

I love how this one turned out!  Once I had the t-shirts we scheduled a call to go over what her daughter wanted.  She pretty much left the design up to me, but knew that she wanted the borders to be a gray… and that she wanted the backing and binding to match.

Some of the shirts were smaller (child size) so I had to ‘build up’ some blocks to make them large enough.

When laying it out I thought it would be cute to have Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse looking out across the quilt to each other.

I quilting it using a longarm, and super fine thread that blends in so nicely with all the blocks.

Like I said, I’m really happy with the way this turned out.  this quilt is about 55″ x 55″ and I used about 15 t-shirts (a few front and back) to make it.  I have my listing up on Etsy if you’d like to your own t-shirt quilt.

sewing

Looking at 2020 Goals

Last week I told you about one of my goals for 2020: obtaining my Greek citizenship.  Another one of my goals is to get out of debt!  I will admit that I am one of the 169 millions of American’s who holds debt – and I hate it!  I was a pretty good money manager, up until about the time I opened my business.  I said it before and I’ll say it again:  I loved owning my own business, but man did it take a toll on me… physically, mentally and especially financially.

IMG_0187

I have no regrets – and I take full ownership of my debt.  I’ve been pretty steady with clawing my way out, but I am at a point where I want to claw my way out faster!  I think it was Suze Orman who said “Debt is Bondage” and man is that TRUE!!!  It’s been hanging onto me for too long now and it’s time to break free!

Dave Ramsey suggests that to help pay off debt one should get a side-gig.  So I make quilts… and sometimes I sell quilts.  I watch dogs via Rover.com – and that is fun, but during the winter months there just isn’t a lot of people traveling.  (no cash flow).

I am currently working on a t-shirt quilt for my brother and he is SO happy with it that he suggested I make custom quilts for people as a side-gig.  I typically don’t like to do custom work for people – after all I have enough projects of my own… but then I think “Debt is bondage – get your priorities straight!”

So I’ve added “Custom made T-shirts” to my Etsy store.  I’ve made each of my kids their own t-shirt quilt.. but I added lots of other stuff to ‘fill in the gaps”, so they are more of a memory quilt than a t-shirt quilt.

Drew's quiltDion's quilt

I also made my brother his quilt – he just wanted all his shirts sewn together – no sashing or extra stuff.  (my brother has ‘unique’ tastes in t-shirts).

Sam's quiltAnd, I can also do a t-shirt quilt that has sashing… I just don’t have a good photo of that style (but you can bet I’ll be working on one).

My debt is pretty large, but my determination to get out of it is even larger.  I’m curious to know what your side-gig is if you are also digging yourself out of debt.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you want a t-shirt quilt done… or know anyone who may.

Happy Sewing

 

Projects · sewing

How You Doin?

Well, here we are at the end of another year – and it’s time to check in on those resolutions we all set at the beginning of 2019!  Personally, I think I did okay.  As a reminder my goals were: image

I went to Greece, applied to Law School (twice) and am still waiting to hear whether I got accepted.  I started watercoloring… did it everyday for a month and then stopped (I will get back to it).  My fitness goal was to run 3 miles without stopping – I’m still working on that.  Drink more H2O – which I decided wasn’t specific enough and I deleted it instead of feeling frustrated every time I looked at it.

And the big one:  Finish 1 UFO per month!  That was the kicker!  I started out great – had the first three done before the end of the first month.  But then I started to tackle the projects that took a little longer… Like this Roseville pottery appliqué quilt, which slowed me down big time!   For the record, I still haven’t finished it, and now it’s going on 20 years as a UFO. Roseville pottery

However, I did complete 12 UFO’s – deleting a few that were on the list originally, and replacing them with a few that I decided were ready to be finished.

Here is my “Complete” list.  Over the next few months I may write about a few – if you follow me on Instagram @Sewtropolis and @Shop_Sewtropolis you’ll see pictures of almost everything.  IMG_6908.png

And my list as we reach the end of 2019!IMG_0121.png

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you were all able to reach your 2019 sewing goals.  I’m looking forward to everyone’s year-end wrap ups on Instagram!

Love,

Nikol

Projects · sewing

Let’s Talk Business Suits

I made my first business suit this year.  I used Butterick 6142 for the jacket and Simplicity 8056 for the pants.  I usually purchase McCall patterns and know what modifications I need to make to get those patterns to fit correctly.  I made the same modifications on both the Simplicity and Butterick pattern and seemed to get the fit close – but not quite right.

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I did make a muslin of the jacket and decided to go down a size based on the fit of that muslin.  But, the jacket still doesn’t fit quite right in the shoulder area.  I heard on one of my sewing podcast that a lot of people have fitting issues in the shoulder area due to our bad habit of hunching over our computers and phones.  Good to know for future projects!

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I didn’t make a muslin for the pants, but I did make my usual modifications and cut the size I normally wear for McCall patterns… and ended up with pants that are a  size too small.  I can still wear them, but at the end of the day I can’t wait to take them off!  (I’m not one for tight fitting clothes).

fullsizeoutput_822

I purchased the fabric for the suit at JoAnn Fabric… the good thing is I didn’t spend a lot on it, so I am considering this outfit my ‘wearable muslin’.  This weekend I’ll be making a trip down to Portland with plans to stop in at a fabric store known for its large selection of fabrics.  I’ll be on the look out for some nice suiting fabric for a fall/winter suit.  Wish me luck!

I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Nikol

 

Athena · Projects · Uncategorized

The Oslo Sweater and Possibilities

I’ve been obsessed with finding  patterns by indie clothing designers mainly because I want to see ‘what else’ is out there besides what the big patterns companies are offering.  I stumbled upon Seamwork magazine and fell in love!  They have a great online magazine, and if you subscribe, you get to choose 2 of their free patterns every month.  Sign me up!!!

The first pattern I downloaded was the Oslo sweater pattern.  To be honest once I downloaded it I was not looking forward to printing it off and taping all the sheets of paper together.  So I thought I would take it to Kinkos to see if they could print it off on a larger printer (hoping that it wouldn’t cost a fortune)  and lo and behold they had a printer on the floor – that I could use anytime  – no special skills required … and didn’t cost an arm and a leg!!!  I’m probably way behind the times here, but what a great surprise!!  It opens up a world of e-pattern possibilities for me!!!

For fabric, I chose a gray wool blend sweater knit from Pacific Fabrics – it was a little on the spendy side, but I thought the Oslo would be simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up too bad – so I splurged!

I have absolutely no room in Athena to cut out patterns, so I loaded up 3-4 other patterns that I’ve been meaning to cut out and headed over to the KOA’s day room to use the big tables they have set up.

Side note – they keep the day room locked because the kids like to go in and trash the place.  I had to ask them to unlock it for me and they made it clear that there were to be no kids in the room without their parents.  No sooner did the KOA guy leave when I looked up and there were 3 little heads poking around the corner to see if the room was empty! And then 2 more kids would poke their head in, then 3 more, etc. etc.  A few would walk in to see what I was doing, but for the most part they just hovered like vultures waiting for me to leave.  Ahhh kids!  Gotta love em!

Anyway, back to the Oslo!  I ended up being able to use my serger on the whole thing and because of that it took me about an hour to finish it!   It was SO simple! I’m glad I splurged on the fabric,  it turned out nice enough to wear to work. (which is where I took the pictures – sorry they are so aweful)  Had I bought a cheaper fabric it may have just ended up a ‘weekend wear.’

Next time I make it though I may try to make it a little longer.  I find that it sits right at the widest part of my hips – which is not flattering for me at all!

Another option may be to add patch pockets to the front – and maybe a closure since I kinda like wearing it closed.   I’d have to make it in a heavier weight fabric though if I were to do either of those, but I like this pattern because of all the possibilities – I like possibilities!

I like how the sleeves are done, I can either wear them rolled up, or down if I need them to be a little longer – again possibilities.

So that was one of my sewing project for the week!  I also worked on Athena, I took out one side of the overhead storage in the back, which gives me more room to add a closet!  No more fold lines in all my clothes – Yay!  It has really opened up the back area!  It doesn’t feel so cramped and now I’m thinking once I move out I’ll make that area the lounge area and put in a entertainment center…. the possibilities are endless, and I like possibilities.

 

Athena · Projects · RV Living

New Slacks and New Shower Faucet! 

This week I spent a LOT of time fixing up Athena!  After our “storm” last week I discovered that moisture has been making its way into the trailer though a side hatch door.  The storage area accessible by the hatch door is under one of the twin beds in the back   Well, moisture had no where to go except up – into the mattress.  (I discovered it looking for one of  the dogs toys).

One of the renovations I’ve been wanting to do is pulling out one of the beds and adding in more storage – so that is what I did.  I pulled that sucker right out of there and put in a portable closet so I have more room to hang my clothes and one of these days I’ll make it to Ikea or Target to see if I can find a dresser or some other storage unit that is tall enough (counter height) so I can cut out fabric.  Right now if I want to cut out anything I either do it on the floor or go to the ‘TV room’.

Anyway, once I pulled everything out, I had enough energy left over to put in a new shower faucet.  What a FIASCO!!!!!  It took me forever to pull the old faucet out – I swear that thing was welded in!  I ended up having to cut the plastic pipes and reassemble the whole thing with ‘up-to-date’ fixings.  But, four hours and three trips to Home Depot later – I have a new shower faucet and shower head!  BOOM!

So remember when I was telling you how I have been working on using up my fabric stash.  Well, I had this knit fabric that was kinda heavy that I can’t remember what project I had in mind when I bought in.  After weeks of thinking about it I decided to make slacks since I can always use work and weekend slacks.   I used Kwik Sew pattern 3115 which I’ve made plenty of times before – so much so that I’ve already added length and widened the band.  All I had to do was cut and sew.

Turns out that for years I thought this fabric was black when actually it’s a deep dark blue!  Ha!!  I normally wear either black or gray pants (minimalism technique) so adding blue gives me one more option – and it’s a deep enough blue that I won’t have to try and mix and match tops.   

I am really happy with the way these slacks turned out.  I widened the waist band so it sits a little higher on the waist… and work appropriate.  I’m tempted now to find more of this fabric and make another pair… but I have so many OTHER projects I want to get to.  More next week!!!

Nikol