Monday, May 4, 2020

Quarantine Frosting: Fringed Sweatshirt

I am a total magpie. I need sparkles and sequins and bright colors and funky (faux) furs and all the glitz and glam to survive. So being stuck at home in quarantine, deprived of so much beauty—while recognizing how much worse it could be—has been really getting me down. I try to cycle through my over the top earring collection, but even that can lose its sparkle after 7 weeks. I needed something fun and beautiful that is still practical for lounging. Enter: fringed sweatshirt.

I've had fringe on the brain for the past couple months, and had dreamed of sewing up fringed bodysuits and coverups to wear to festivals and events this summer that have sadly all been cancelled. I'm so happy that I found a way to make my "summer of fringe" dreams come true.

This was SO easy. I actually made two versions of this: one using the Mood fabrics free Bixa sweatshirt pattern (squashing the sleeves into one pattern piece since I wasn't using any contrasting fabric), and one done from a rub off of a beloved sweatshirt in my closet. The Bixa just didn't look right on me. I think perhaps the shoulders were a tad narrow, and it looked almost too tailored as a result, which is not what you want in loungewear. Thankfully I had rounded up when I bought fabric and was able to squeeze two out of one fabric order!! The second version, pictured, was the rub off, which fits my shoulders much more nicely. My measurements are 36-25-28, and was able to get two of these out of 2 yards of this sweatshirt fleece and 2 yards of 10" chainette fringe trim—hopefully that's helpful for figuring out how much fabric you'd need.

Here's how I did it, using zig zag stitch/serger except where noted:
  1. Cut fabric pieces as normal.
  2. Sew the shoulder seams, if applicable. The version pictured was a raglan sleeve, which doesn't have a shoulder seam, but the Bixa does.
  3. Sew in sleeves flat, without yet sewing the under arm seam or the side seams of the torso.
  4. Pin your fringe trim to the right side of your fabric at the underarm seamline, with the strings facing away from the edge. You want the bottom part of the trim tape (right where the strings branch off) to line up right at the underarm seamline, and the trim to end right at the seamline for the wrist and underarm. Get it pinned as precisely as possible, then cut it to size.
  5. Sew in place using a straight stitch.
  6. Pin the underarm and side seams RST and stitch as usual. If you placed your trim correctly, the zigzag stitch/serger will catch the trim tape in the middle of your stitches to keep it really secure and without cutting the trim at the top edge if using a serger.
  7. Pin the sleeve binding to the sleeve. If you cut your trim correctly to size, you should have no strings past the seam allowance. Sew to attach—you can do a basting stitch first and check the trim placement if you're not sure.
  8. Attach the lower edge of the torso and neckline as normal.
  9. Turn RSO and swish about in your fringed sweatshirt!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Miss Make's Looper Quilt Part 2: The Wedding Quilt

I have been bitten by the Looper Bug BAD. I whipped up a little crib sized Looper a couple weeks ago using castoffs from my Sun Flare quilt, and then almost immediately cut fabric for a throw sized Looper. This one is going to be a wedding gift for a dear friend, who isn't getting married for a while but I just couldn't resist while I was shacked up at home during quarantine.

The difference between doing a crib and throw sized Looper felt enormous. I didn't have a problem getting my stripes to line up on the crib one, but not. a single. stripe. lined up on this one. I am still at a complete loss as to what I did differently between them—my only hunch is that maybe I did something funky on the curved pieces but did them funky in the same way for all the crib sized quilt blocks, and it wasn't noticeable without a contrast to the straight stripe blocks which are certainly more accurate like in the throw sized. I had to individually grade adjustments into each stripe to get them to line up. It's still not perfect, but I got to a point where I just couldn't look at it anymore!

But, in the end, I still really love this quilt. I love the quilting lines (I was too impatient to wait for quarantine to be over to send this off to be quilted) and I love love love the fabric selection. I think my friends will treasure it, and possibly love it even more for the character baked into its creation.

Quilt Top: Kona Mulberry, Tomato, Candy Pink, Glacier, Robin Egg, and Celestial
Quilt Back: Alexander Henry A Ghastlie Screen Red from Stone Mountain & Daughter

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Miss Make's Looper Quilt Part 1: Crib-Sized Practice Quilt

Right as things started getting crazy with the coronavirus and people starting to lock down, I made this beautiful little crib sized Looper Quilt using fabric scraps leftover from my Then Came June Sunflare Quilt. The couple I made the Sunflare for as a future wedding gift is planning on having children so I'm holding onto this beauty for their first youngin' because I love a parent-child matching moment. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this little baby quilt. The colors (which I wasn't crazy about on my Sunflare, go figure) are so perfect and make me so happy.

Top to bottom: blue tencel stash fabric, Kona Lilac, Kona Orchid, Kona Baby Pink, Kona Peach, Kona Ice Peach. Backing: Kona Maize

This was my first time sewing curves—I have a bigger Looper planned as a wedding gift for a different couple, so wanted to give the curves a go before cutting into that special fabric. Each block was better than the last (you can see the top right block, which I did first, is a bit more squiggly that the others) and I’m now feeling much more confident in my curved sewing abilities.

I did some stitching in the ditch around the stripes, another first for me. I wanted the quilting lines to kind of radiate from the rainbow shape, so I measured quilting lines using a acrylic quilting ruler and a quilting marker that measured the same width as the finished stripes, roughly 2.5 inches. I did horizontal stripes on the top half, and vertical stripes on the bottom to tie in the seamline where the bottom two blocks are joined. I wanted to minimize the amount of threads on the "inside" of the quilt top area where the binding can't catch and secure them, so I stitched the background stripes in sets of two, stitching in the ditch again where I had to double over the outside edge of the stripes in order to turn back. A visual in case that doesn't make sense:

This worked really well, except where my fabric wasn't perfectly straight in that top block and it bubbled a little bit, but in the end you have to not let perfect be the enemy of the good—no kiddo will ever notice it so I am deciding it's not worth the extra effort of stressing over perfection.

All in all this was such an amazing learning experience—so much growth packed into such a small quilt! I already have my fabric cut for the throw sized Looper, AND have done some quarantine fabric cutting for a Then Came June Meadowland Quilt using scraps from my past 4 or 5 quilts. Definitely bummed about the quarantine situation here in the SF Bay Area, but making the best of a bad situation with as many projects as I can get my hands on!