Friday, September 19, 2014

The Bridesmaid Dresses

At long last! Pictures!

So I made some bridesmaid dresses for my best friend's wedding. They were super simple infinity dresses. Took about 2 hours each to make. But I love how they turned out! We all got so many compliments. If you would like to make one of your own, I used this tutorial.

infinity dress bridesmaids

Here we are with the lovely bride. This was a very handmade wedding. Bride's dress? Handmade by the bride. Her beautiful crown of flowers? Handmade by her sister (standing to the Bride's right if you couldn't tell from their amazing resemblance!). There were handmade decorations, our bouquets were also put together by her sister. It was pretty damn fantastic.

infinity dress bridesmaids before ceremony

infinity dress bridesmaids fun

We all styled our dresses differently, which was really fun. They were light and comfy, too. The fabric I used was a rayon/lycra blend I bought at Perfect for an outdoor, late summer wedding. I think my favorite compliment of the day was from someone who didn't know all our dresses were handmade who said how amazing it was to have dresses that looked awesome that we will actually wear again. So true! These can be dressed up or dressed down pretty easily- I hope the other bridesmaids wear theirs again!

infinity dress bridal party smooch

Here's the whole bridal party. Aren't we cute?? It was a very special wedding. I've known the bride and groom separately for years and it was me who introduced them! Isn't that awesome? Plus, Sofia (the bride) is also my future sister in law! I know, my life is like an awesome fairytale. I am going to have a best friend/sister in law. And I'm super excited about it!

Next week I'll have more clothes to share, so stay tuned! I wanted to share more this week, but it was cloudy every single day, so no good pictures were taken. Next week I am counting on the desert to produce some sunshine!

What have you all been working in?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

So. The lovely and talented Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts tagged me to join this crazy chain of bloggers answering questions about themselves. I'm really not sure where this started, but it's so fun to see how many people are participating! Seriously, just google Around the World Blog Hop and maybe add quilting and tons of results will pop up! Isn't it amazing just how many of us are tied together in this online quilting and sewing community? I think so! So without further ado...

1.      What am I working on?

rainbow catvent quilt
The Catvent Quilt Along top from last Christmas... Yeah. It's still just a top.

giant churn dash quilt
Mario's quilt also really needs quilting. I still don't even have a backing for it. Definitely need to finish this by Christmas.
Nothing major right now. I have 2 quilt tops I need to finish and turn into quilts. Aiming for the end of the year on those. I've also been working on making more clothes for myself, so expect to see more posts about that in the future. Really, right now I'm coming down from a month of intense, deadline-driven sewing, so I'm taking it a little easy. Just sewing what I want to sew, catching up on bee blocks, and planning for the future. So far, I am enjoying September very much!

sew simple leggings
Some leggings I finished this week.
2.      How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Hmmm. That's a tough one. I have a tendency to do what I want and not care about things like what the pattern tells me to do or worrying about trendy color combos. I try to just make what makes me happy (or what will make the intended recipient happy!) and not worry about anything else. I don't know if that really makes what I do different, but it definitely makes me happy!

elephant swoon blocks
Swoon blocks... still waiting to be sewn together...

mother day dumpling bag gifts
Mother Day Dumpling bags

3.      Why do I write/create what I do?

I create to fill a need. I don't do well with idleness and I find I am the calmest and most satisfied with my life when I am actively working on creating something. What I create can vary widely- I love crafts of all kinds, but I also love writing. Little known fact about me- I studied English and Creative Writing in my undergrad career with an emphasis in poetry. And those poetry workshops were the best classes I took in college. I've loved writing since I was really young. I still have the first book I ever wrote, laminated and spiral bound for the Young Authors program in Washington. Lately my writing hasn't been so regular, but I'm working on that!

So I guess long story short, I create because I love it, because I need to, because it's fun and fulfilling in a way that nothing else is. 

stitch and flip wonky quilt
A wonky wedding quilt I made for a friend
 4.      How does my writing/creating process work?

I think this one is even harder because it really isn't a standard thing. Sometimes I have an idea that I need to make or write RIGHT NOW or the WORLD WILL END. And I get started as soon as I possibly can, taking breaks only for my day job and sleep. But sometimes I have no idea what I want to do, so I just wander around my sewing room or doodle in my journal until I figure something out. Sometimes I work on something a little at a time, sometimes I focus on one thing to completion, sometimes I jump around from project to project. I guess my creative process is just really flexible and sometimes unpredictable. Which suits me just fine.

So now it's my turn. I suppose I will get the other ladies of the Fierce Quilters Bee in on this action- Kitty, Allison, and Sarah. TELL ME STUFF, GUYS. :D

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Wedding Quilt

Okay, guys, I finally have something awesome to show you. Are you ready? Let's pretend I took really awesome pictures and wasn't totally rushing 10 minutes before I had to get ready to leave, okay??

star in star wedding quilt

BAM. Star in a star in a star, self-drafted pattern. Then I added the fun border to make it a little bigger. It finished at about 85x85.

star in star wedding quilt

Look, a slightly different angle! I couldn't stand back far enough to get a straight on shot of the whole thing without the sun glaring off the camera lens... *sigh*

star in star wedding quilt close

See the glare?? And I was standing pretty close! I don't know if you can see it, but I quilted it with an all-over FMQ stipple. I need to start getting braver with my FMQ, man. I'm getting a little tired of the stipple!

This quilt was for my future sister-in-law's wedding, so it was very special! She also happens to be one of my best friends who I have know almost 10 years. I introduced her to her now husband, who I had known for several years, just about two and a half years ago. They're such a great couple! Their wedding was lovely and fun and everything a wedding is supposed to be :) And the quilt was well received!

Here are some progress shots of the quilt, just for funsies:

star in star wedding quilt progress 1

star in star wedding quilt progress 2

star in star wedding quilt progress 3

I also made the bridesmaid dresses- I will post pictures of those AND the awesome bathing suit I made for our little vacation following the wedding next week! August was a super busy sewing month, even though I didn't blog almost at all. But now I have plenty of fodder to keep this space busy for a couple of weeks! Stay tuned!

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

Just wanted to drop in and say hi!

I've been spending most of my free time frantically sewing things for the upcoming wedding. I haven't had much time to think about other fun things like blogging or my Etsy store or, you know, anything! I promise a full reveal post for the wedding quilt and the bridesmaid dresses, but here are some previews from Instagram:

convertible infinity bridesmaid dress

Please excuse the messy surroundings. We have not yet decided on a home for our records... Also, this one is a little big on top because it is for one of the *ahem* bustier bridesmaids. But I was so excited to finish it that I had to get a picture!

convertible infinity bridesmaid dress back

Infinity dresses are the best! We're going to look so fierce! (And don't worry, I won't be wearing a bra that shows to the actual event!)

star in star wedding  quilt

Here is the center of the quilt. It is actually almost done now! I finished the top last weekend and started quilting this week. I'm hoping to finish it up this weekend and then figure out something awesome for a label :D

How has August been for the rest of you? My energy is flagging for sure. Looking forward to September!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

At long last... A Clutch Tutorial!

OKAY! Guys. I did it. And I have new found respect for everyone who has every written a pattern or tutorial. It's a lot of work.

So without further ado... The Just the Essentials Clutch Tutorial!

A fat quarter or regular quarter yard of main (really you need a rectangle about 13x10.5 or two rectangles 6.5x10.5)
At least a fat quarter of lining fabric
Interfacing (I use Pellon SF101 for the inside and Pellon TP971F for the outside)
Narrow contrast strip for the wrist strap
Zipper at least 11" in length

Optional: D-ring and lobster clasp if you want the strap to be removable

FIRST. Cut your stuff!

2- 6.5" x 10.5" rectangles for the outside. These can be plain, patchwork, quilt as you go, appliqued, whatever you want! Get creative with it!
1- 6.25" x 10.25" piece for one lining wall
1- 8.5" x 10.25" piece for divider pocket
1- 13" x 10.25" piece for card slots
1- 2" x 14" piece for wrist strap OR TEST WRIST STRAP REMOVABLENESS

TP971F (Thicker stuff):
2- 6.25 x 10.25 pieces for outside (I cut mine a little smaller than the outside to reduce a little bulk in the seams)
SF101 (Thinner stuff):
1- 6.25" x 10.25" piece for one lining wall
1- 8.5" x 10.25" piece for divider pocket
1- 13" x 10.25" piece for card slots
1- 2" x 14" piece for wrist strap

OKAY. Is everything cut out now? Good! Let's move on.

SECOND. Fuse your interfacing to your fabric pieces according to manufacturer's directions.

THIRD. Make your card slots.

1. Lay your 13 x 10.25 piece on your table and get out a ruler that is close in size to your piece. I like to use my 9.5" square.

2. Line the ruler up at 3" from the bottom on the wrong side.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 2

3. Fold the fabric over the ruler, making sure it's straight.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 3

4. Slide the ruler out and finger press the fold. You can use clips or pins to old the fold if you like.

5.  Lay the ruler on top of the piece again, this time lining it up at 1.5" from the top of the fold.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 5

6. Fold the fabric up over the ruler, making sure it's straight before sliding it out. Finger press the crease and pin/clip in place if you like.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 6

7. Line up the ruler again (here is where having a slightly smaller ruler comes in handy, especially if you're using wonder clips!) at 2.5" from the fold. Make sure you're lining it up at the fold and not at the bottom!!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 7

8. Fold the fabric down over the ruler and make sure it's straight before sliding it out and finger pressing the crease.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 8

9. Are you ready! Last fold! Line up your ruler at 1.5" from the fold and fold the fabric up over the ruler. Finger press your crease and clip in place. After turning the piece over, it should look like this:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 9

10. At this point you'll want to measure your piece and make sure it's 6.25" tall. Sometimes mine are spot on and sometimes they end up a little big. If it's a little big, you can trim off a little bit from the top or bottom to make it the right size.

11. Now you want to iron those folds so they're nice and crisp. Then top stitch them in place. Make sure you fold back the pockets so you're only sewing through each fold and not through all the layers! Otherwise you'll just sew your pockets shut and that's no fun! After top stitching, it looks like this (I know this picture is terrible. I'm not sure what happened! Please forgive me):

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 11

12. Now you can sew the lines to make the actual slots! YAY! First, mark the center line (should be 5 1/8" from the side). Then make 3.5" on either side of the center line. Make sure you are only marking the actual pockets because that's where you will sew. You don't need to sew all the way up (though I suppose you could if you wanted to). They are very faint in my picture... My pen was dying.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 12

13. Now top stitch on those lines, being sure to reinforce the top of the pocket by backstitching. I usually leave my tails long on this side so I can pull them through to the back and knot them for extra security. When you're done it should look like this but less blurry (seriously, guys, I might get my fake photography license revoked for this):

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 13

YAY! Card slots are done!!

FOURTH. Make your divider pocket.

14. Fold your 8.5x10.25 piece in half and iron that crease. Then topstitch! That's it! Easy peasy.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 14

See how nice the topstitching looks? :)

FIFTH. Make your strap.

15. Fold your strap piece in half and iron it. Like you're making a quilt binding! I know my ironing board isn't much to look at...

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 15

16. Open it up and fold the two side in to meet at the center. Iron these, too.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 16

17. Fold your creased strap piece in half so the raw edges are inside the fold. Then stitch the two folded edges together. I also like to add a line of stitching to the other side so it matches. It should look like this when you're finished:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 17

YAY! All your pieces are ready to go! Now we can get to the really fun part!

SIXTH. Assemble your bag.

18. We're going to make a little sandwich. First, lay down your outside piece face up. Then lay the zipper on top of it face down. Line up those top edges!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 18

19. Lay your lining piece down on top of the zipper, face down, lining up the top edges and centering the lining over the outside piece. Pin or clip in place!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 19

20. Sew the layers together with about a 1/4" seam allowance. I like to use my walking foot for this. When you're done you'll have a nice little sandwich.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 20

21. Fold the pieces back and press with your iron. Be careful not to melt your zipper!! Then you'll topstitch next to the zipper. Remember this picture? YAY TOPSTITCHING!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 21

22. Okay, now we're going to do the same thing on the other side. BUT FIRST. Baste your divider pocket to your remaining lining piece along the bottom so you don't forget to add it in the final phase. Not that I have ever done that... ahem...

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 22

Yay! Almost there!

23. Now we are going to sew it all together! First, pin or clip your strap in place. I like to put mine a couple of inches down from the zipper. I don't usually measure. But I like it above the middle for sure. I also leave a little sticking out so that I can easily see where it is while I'm sewing so I'm not surprised by the bulk!

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 23

24. Now fold your outer pieces together and line them up so they are right sides together. Do the same with your lining pieces. It should look like this:

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 24

25. At this point, you will want to make sure you unzip your zipper about 3/4 of the way. Add a copious amount of clips or pins. Make sure your zipper is folded with the teeth facing the lining. This will make sure your corners are neat and tidy.

just the essentials clutch tutorial step 25

26. I'm sorry. I failed to get a picture of this step because I was so excited about getting it done! But now you will sew all around the outside of your bag, leaving a few inches in the bottom of the lining for turning. I like to go over the strap at least twice for security.

27. Seriously failing at pictures. Now you can clip off the extra bits of zipper ends and strap ends, clip your corners a little to reduce bulk, and turn your bag right side out! It's basically done! All you have to do now is sew the hole in the lining closed (I do it by hand with a ladder stitch).

WOW. Done! Aren't you proud?? You should be! HIGH FIVE!

If you make a bag, I'd love to see pictures! Just shoot me an email or tag me on Instagram (@crookedbanana). Let me know if you have any trouble with the tutorial or if you see any mistakes! My eyes are going all funny and crossed from staring at it so much.