Tuesday, April 23, 2013


It was school vacation last week so I didn't manage to get in a lot of quilting, but I did sew.

My daughter Grayson needed to come up with a costume for her role "Peaseblossom" in her school's upcoming production of I Hate Shakespeare.  "Peaseblossom" is a fairy from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Grayson's director wanted her to find a "hippie" dress in pink and green.  Not eager to spend our vacation in the car driving from store to store looking for the perfect hippie fairy costume, I suggested to Grayson that we make the dress.  

I sew all the time, but it's been a while since I've actually sewn clothing.  When I was in high school, I made a skirt or two and during my first pregnancy, I even made a couple of maternity dresses.  And when the kids were little, I used to make their Halloween costumes every year--of course now that they are older, they want to buy or assemble their own costumes and my days of sewing with Winnie the Pooh-colored fake fur are long gone.  

But I wasn't too worried about getting the job done--it was just a simple dress after all, and I've been watching Project Runway for years, so I was pretty sure I had it covered.  Grayson was hesitant, but I told her that if we made the dress it would probably save time, it would definitely save money, and she could have exactly what she wanted.  "Trust me," I told her, "It's what I do."  She finally gave in and off we went to the fabric store.

I had my first moments of doubt when it took her 90 minutes to choose her fabric and pattern--but I figured she was distracted by the less than desirable behavior of her little brothers.  My concern grew when I was trying to figure out the notions.  She had chosen a Burda pattern--German, I think--and instead of actually listing the necessary notions, the pattern had little pictures that I assume were supposed to be universally understood.  When even the store manager wasn't able to translate, I took my best guess and grabbed interfacing, elastic, and bias tape.  At the cash register, the total came to just over $40--not exactly the bargain I was looking for, but there was no going back.

Flash forward:

The dress took me two days to finish and left me with a few more white hairs and a bruised ego.  I struggled with the fabrics--one gauzy, one slippery.  Quilting cottons make so much more sense.  I struggled with the fit and had to adjust the bodice when the arm holes ended up too tight--apparently German women have unusually skinny arms.  And I struggled for an hour to fish the elastic through the waistband only to have to remove it when Grayson decided that she didn't want an elastic waist after all.   

But in the end, Grayson was really happy with her moderately priced, reasonably pretty, homemade pink and green hippie fairy dress.  And I was comfortable with the realization that I should probably stick with quilting.    All's well that ends well.

The pattern and fabrics -- floral on top with an underskirt of the green.
Please try to disregard that the pattern is classified as "very easy."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring, Really?

For the first time in months, last night I fell asleep to the sound of falling rain.  I was convinced that I would wake up this morning to find that the last remnants of snow had melted and that spring was finally here.  Instead this is what I found:

More snow.

For some reason, this morning I felt like this on the inside:

But outside it looked like this:

So I decided that if spring won't come to me, I'd make a little spring on my own:

I borrowed the paper-pieced tulips from an MH Designs pattern that I've had for a really long time, but that is actually still available on their website.  The MH Designs quilt is 11" x 18" and has 7 tulips.  I made it once for my mother-in-law, but never got around to making one for myself.  I don't know what took me so long!  The tulips are a breeze to make and really sweet.  My little quilt measures about 5 1/2" x 6" and here's how I'm going to display it:

I think it's darling on the little quilt frame that my mother gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.

Now I have something springy to look at while I wait for the view outside my window to improve.  Not a bad way to spend a Monday morning!