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Recent Baby Quilts

April 23, 2014
Yellow Stripes Quilt, at the office, ready to give

Yellow Stripes Quilt, at the office, ready to give

Baby quilts are fast and fun. I like making them not only because they are fast and fun to make, but there’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from giving them to babies with the hope they will drag them around in years to come and perhaps even haul them off to college.  The one shown above (and below) was made for Alaina who was born in March.

Yellow  Stripes

Yellow Stripes

I used different widths of mostly yellow fabric and just sewed them together.  The back is mostly some fabric with lemons on it, leftover from pillow cases made for Molly and Mr. Husband for their wedding or birthdays or something like that.

This baby quilt was for a friend of my brothers.  I probably wouldn’t have made it quite so quick if we hadn’t been disappointed by the weather and made to stay home from a much-anticipated long-weekend trip to Florida.

 

Purple and Pink!

Purple and Pink!

This one was also made with Width of Fabric (WOF) strips; these were all 4 inch strips.  Thank Goodness I have my  mom’s fabric stash to call upon!

Both were machine quilted with the walking foot on my Bernina. Also, both are ~ 42 inches by 55 inches. I base these baby quilts on the crib size batting.

I haven’t guest-posted lately on Molly’s blog, but her last entry about patterns got me inspired again.  She and I have talked about the pattern world often, and I am enjoying the accompanying discussion.

– Bia

All the Rage

April 18, 2014
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Why are there so many patterns for T-shirts?

They’re comfortable. They’re easy to draft. They’re easy to make. They’re basic. They can be dressed up. They can be dressed down.

I get it, I like T-shirts too. But I’m not going to buy 15 different T-shirt patterns that are only slightly different (I’m counting all those knit dress patterns too that are actually just T-shirts with a skirt attached). I don’t have an answer as to why it feels like the pattern market is suddenly flooded with T-shirt variations, but there are some thoughts on it:

  • Is the fit better or worse on some of these patterns? it depends on your body type and that’s too difficult to find out without owning the pattern and making it yourself.
  • T-shirts are basic, one might even say the epitome of basic clothing. Not only are they easy to wear, they’re easy to make and easy to fit. Knits stretch, giving the wearer (or maker) more physical flexibility and fit forgiveness.
  • Building a better mouse trap… or not. There is only so much uniqueness you can put into a T-shirt pattern before it becomes ugly or non-functioning in some way. That’s why they’re all so similar, with a flared hem here, and a three quarter sleeve there. Tack on a gathered rectangle of fabric and you’ve got a dress (which I find both unattractive and lazy, but that’s just my personal taste).
  • Why buy what you can get for free? I’m not a pattern drafter, I don’t want to be, but as a pattern user I’m pretty certain that making a T-shirt pattern is easy. Hence why there are so many free versions out there. So what makes the “for profit” versions better? That probably depends on the quality of the instructions, packaging, and extra variations. If I’m going to buy something so basic, I want plenty of options for pattern mixing.
  • “Everyone thinks sewing with knits is hard, so we’ll make it easy.” No, actually you won’t, because there are already so many tutorials out there showing how to sew with knits and it’s always been easy. Besides, anyone who’s afraid of screwing up the first time needs to find a new life philosophy.
  • It’s really starting to feel like every indi pattern company has this idea that they aren’t a real pattern company until they put out a T-shirt. If you’re going to do that, make it special. I’m not very impressed by most of them out there.
  • Who has T-shirt patterns you ask? Here’s a not-all-inclusive list (T-shirt dresses and such variations are included), in no particular order:

Colette, Sewaholic, Deer & Doe, Angela Wolf, Tessuti, BurdaStyle, Grainline, Jalie, Megan Nelson, Named, Papercut, Cake, Pattern Anthology, Tilly and the Buttons, Skinny Bitch Curvy Chic, Hot Patterns, Lekala, Style Arc, Soma, Twinkle Sews, Dixie DIY, and of course McCalls, Butteric, Vogue, Simplicity, and New Look. There are probably more.

I probably sound really negative and I am because I’m disappointed in the creativity being shown in this category. But I also understand the up sides, I even have my first Renfrew in the queue to be cut out. I think what gets me the most is that every time I see a new-but-boring pattern I think UGH, but all I hear (in my head) on the sewing blogosphere is AAHHH I’M A FAN GIRL. Why is there no criticism? Constructive, positive, or negative. Are we actually so afraid of hurting each others feelings? These people are trying to make money off of us, they deserve criticism now and then, that’s how they grow and get better! Why is it ok for us to rag on McCalls and Simplicity, but not the new releases from Colette for instance (I have not been impressed by them for quite a while by the way)???

Above is my favorite T-shirt pattern, B4198. It’s perfectly basic and that’s all it needs to be, it also probably cost me $1. Oh, and it includes patterns for athletic shorts, pants, hoody, and tank top along with the T-shirt.

In conclusion, too many T-shirts. Step it up pattern companies, I’m getting sick of this.

~Molly

Gathered Raglan

April 7, 2014

This was a really quick make.

gatheredstripes-3

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02/2013 #127

She needs a bra…

Fabric: Poly-cotton striped jersey

Design Likes/Dislikes: Raglan shirts usually fit around the shoulders better than traditional sleeves, and this is an interesting take on that idea with the gathers. Problem is the gathers make the shirt feel loose around the arm pits compared to the rest of the sleeves. The only other issue is the neck binding is too loose, I should have known to reduce the binding length when it fit around the neckline perfectly. Negative ease is better with knits.

gatheredstripes-1

gatheredstripes-4

Sizing and Fit: I made a size 34, and overall the fit is really good. The only way to alleviate the loose shoulder feeling would be to reduce the gathers and bring in the neck binding.

I'm not even pulling very hard...

I’m not even pulling very hard…

Changes: None

For Next Time: There are options for a short sleeved top and a dress in the same magazine, and those would be cute, but it’s unlikely that I’ll get around to making them.

~Molly

A Pledge for May

April 4, 2014
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‘I, Molly of Toferet’s Empty Bobbin, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavor to wear at least one me-made garment each day and at least one skirt or dress each week for the duration of May 2014. In addition I will attempt to photograph myself wearing said outfit and use these images as a tool to clean out and regroup my closet.’

It begins again. I’ve had mild success with Me-Made challenges in the past. I have plenty of garments to pick from, but having a constraint instead of just going to my closet to pick anything at all always seems to bog me down by the end of the month. The difference this year is that I work full-time in an office environment now instead of just going to class and lab.

So my pledge hasn’t changed much, and honestly I can’t think of anything better to spice it up. Any ideas? I do really want to get a picture of myself everyday because it helps me figure out if a particular outfit combination works or not. I’d like to start focusing my sewing on things I can wear to work, so hopefully the pictures will help me decide what works, what I need more of, and when I need less of.

~Molly

Birthday Pennant

March 26, 2014
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One of my good friends, Bridget, likes to celebrate her birthday for most of the month of March.  I didn’t even know when her real birth date was for a really long time, just sometime in March.  Being perpetually late to the party, I decided the day of that I’d like to make her a personalized present.  And now a week later, I still need to get it in the mail.

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I’ve also been struggling some to find interesting things to embroider that are also useful and don’t take a lot of extra sewing, and now I think I’ve finally hit on it.  I have a pennant for my alma mater decorating my cubical at work and I think it’s pretty neat and semi retro. Not that this is especially useful and it still involves sitting down at the machine… but it’s cute!

School spirit

School spirit

Mid construction

Mid construction

The finished measurements of Bridget’s pennant are about 5.5″ wide and 13.5″ long.  I drew two 6″ x 14″ triangles and after I finished embroidering them, sewed them right sides together using 1/4″ seams.  Next time I’ll probably allow for 1/2″ seams.  I took the opportunity to create a sort of stitch sampler using some of the instructions in Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond.  I’ve been wanting to expand my embroidery horizons, especially as I’ve been reading Julie of Button Button as she stitches a new sampler every month.  Most of these stitches I think you can classify as crewel, but I didn’t use wool thread just regular craft store stuff.

Whipped stem stitch in green and pink running stitch for the B, back stitch to outline the M and seed stitch in two shades of pink filling the M

Whipped stem stitch in green and pink running stitch for the B, back stitch to outline and seed stitch in two shades of pink filling the M

Long and short stitch to fill the C (not the best choice for a curve), buttonhole stitch outlining the D and some haphazard lattis work inside the D

Long and short stitch to fill the C (not the best choice for a curve), buttonhole stitch outlining the  outside and split stitch inside of the D and some haphazard lattice work filling the inside the D

I think the M and D are my favorites.

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~Molly

So much time, so little to do

March 21, 2014

Pedro is visiting this week end so there won’t be much sewing going on besides trying a new dress on her. Just thought I’d share a few bits of info that I like.

I’m pretty sure I need to start knitting again just so I can make this. Fun fact, I taught myself to knit in high school but only ever made simple scarves so I never really got into it. But this is so cool!

click picture for Ravelry link

click picture for Ravelry link

I’m not too impressed with McCall’s latest pattern release in general (straight from the bad part of ’90s style), but these Game of Thrones inspired costumes are actually really awesome (Cersei and Daenerys).

The patterns seem to match the show’s costumes pretty well even

Daenerys is my favorite character by far. And honestly, this wouldn’t be too difficult to turn into everyday clothing

~Molly

The Engineer Embroiders Over Lunch

March 14, 2014
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Happy Pi day!

I am so excited about this one! This is probably my all time favorite nerdy engineering saying, and it came from one of my favorite t-shirt. Said t-shirt is slowly shrinking in the wash (oh cotton, why must you tease us so), so I felt the need to continue the awesomeness in another format. Right now this is just a square of fabric, originally I was thinking couch pillow but I’ll have to ponder it some (suggestions are welcome).

builtonrockroll-1

And I really did do this during my lunch hour over the last 6ish months, surprisingly no one ever asked what I was doing but they are all dudes (and engineers). And since I made this “pattern” all by myself and am super proud of it, find the pattern here for free! So you too can nerd out with some stability jokes!

All back stitch, my favorite apparently

All back stitch, my favorite apparently

back side, lots of knots

back side, lots of knots

Here’s a sneak peak at an eventual, upcoming embroidery that involves the mysterious Pedro.

Can you guess?

Can you guess?

~Molly

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