Sailor Tops

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

Near the end of Selfish Sewing Week I made these two Sailor Tops and I never got around to blogging about them!  Eek, so behind. I didn’t want to miss the chance to discuss them because  A. I like them a lot  B. I cut into my Liberty fabric (so proud of myself!) and  C. I have a slight fitting issue with them and I’m curious if anyone else has, too.

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

I was pretty excited that I could access this pattern through Creativebug (affiliate link).  I am an affiliate for Creativebug but I pay for my own annual membership (it’s even cheaper now than when I bought mine!) and I find it super inspiring.  I’m a visual learner so I like that I can watch a video for the classes and everything is so pretty there!  Plus, it’s not always easy for me to take sewing classes near me so I’m happy get the experience of class every once in a while.  I was debating buying this pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts when I noticed on Creativebug and squealed with delight.

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

Such a cute top. It’s kind of a classic style but not boring and a fun top in a print. As I mentioned I used this classic Liberty print for one of the tops.  I’ve had this fabric for years and I love it so much. But, I was scared to cut it up.  What if I screw up and waste it!? What if I make something with it and then something more perfect comes along?! Ahhh!! All the questions! So, I went for it.  Done and done.  And, I like it.  Super cute on this summery top.

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

The other Sailor Top is in a fabric I picked up on a trip to Nashville, TN. It’s an indigo died, beautifully woven fabric with a bit of a looser weave.  I had to wash it a bunch of times to be sure the blue dye doesn’t rub off.  It seems good now.  It’s so soft and comfy and this top just fits beautifully.

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

I do like both of these tops.  I made them both in a Medium and the fit is good with one exception: It’s tight in a few places…a bit across the shoulders in the back and slightly in the arm scythe.  The tightness is more pronounced in the Liberty fabric, the blue fabric has more natural stretch because of the way it is woven.

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

I’ve talked to others who have made this top and have heard similar reports. If I make this again I will probably take the arm scythe down 1/2″ and see if that fixes both problems.  I’d probably lengthen it a little, too. Both issues are not enough to keep me from wearing the heck out of those tops! I’m eager for some warmer weather here so I have more opportunities!

P.S. I’m teaching this class (among many others) in my upcoming sewing classes at Rock Paper Scissors! Check them out and join me!

P.P.S. Don’t forget to enter the book giveaway! It ends on April 2nd and you all are helping me so much with deciding on a wall color!  Keep it coming.

The Paper-Pieced Home :: Book Review, Giraffe Pillow and Giveaway!

Paper Pieced Home Book _ Giraffe Pillow + Giveaway | a happy stitch

Guys! I tried my hand at paper-piecing and made a punk rock giraffe pillow! The pattern is from the new book The Paper-Pieced Home by Penny Lawson (more below on the giveaway!) and I’m up next on the blog tour.

Paper-piecing is one of those mysterious quilting things that people discuss with great fervor but it’s hard to understand what all the fuss is about until you give it a try. I have paper-pieced once before when working on this unforgettable quilt but I was excited to give it another shot. I’m happy with the results, I like this bright, funky pillow.

Paper-piecing is everything that people say…meaning it’s super fun and yields amazing results.  The folks at Interweave, the publisher, asked me if I wanted to make something from this book and write about it.  Considering the promise to myself of creative adventuring and taking on projects that bring me joy, I decided to go for it.  I want to get better at paper piecing and this seemed a super fun place to dive in.

Paper Pieced Home Book _ Giraffe Pillow + Giveaway | a happy stitch

Now, before I get into the book and details about this pillow in particular, I have to say that I intended for this pillow to live in the boys room but this guy, up there, kept dragging it down to the living room until I gave up and kept it there.  He has plans for this pillow and they involve cuddling during movie time.  I can’t say no this face.  Could you?

Ok, back to the book. The subtitle of the book is “Quilting a Household One Block at a Time” and it includes 40 different paper-pieced blocks and 14 projects.  The design is super retro with rotary phone blocks, box tv set blocks, layer cake blocks…it’s so fun. But, Penny keeps it classy by using linen and quiet colors so it’s retro without being retro-tacky.  Know what I mean?  It’s a tough balance but she’s good at it and even discusses how to make balanced fabric choices.  She describes how to paper-piece thoroughly, as well, so it’s good for beginners to paper-piecing.

The Paper-Pieced Home by Penny Layman

The Paper-Pieced Home: Quilting a Household One Block at a Time By Penny Layman
Published by Interweave/F+W ($26.99)

If you have never paper-pieced before it’s actually kind of genius (yes, I’m am now one of those people hyping it up).  You sew onto paper that has been printed with an outline of what you are making.  Sewing bits at a time and following the instructions closely, you can make literally any design.  There is obviously more to it but that is the main idea.   The book walks through all of that and includes all level of projects.  It a great technique but it did take me a bit of getting used to and some of my seams aren’t lined up perfectly.

As a beginner myself, I found the book clear and straightforward.  Penny makes it easy to follow.  There was only with one exception.  The book didn’t give me enough guidance on how to cut each fabric piece the right size.  I sometimes ended up with very small seam allowances. So, I would say err on the size of cutting your fabric pieces TOO big.

Paper Pieced - Giraffe Pillow

Either way, the resulting pillow is pretty fun and the whole thing is made with scraps of fabric. I love a project that helps me diminish the scrap pile.  The back of the pillow is envelope style closure, also from leftover scraps.  I decided to practice free-motion quilting on the block background which served two purposes. For one, it made it look pretty but it also diminished the visibility of the seam lines.

Paper Pieced Home Book _ Giraffe Pillow + Giveaway | a happy stitch
Paper Pieced Home Book _ Giraffe Pillow + Giveaway | a happy stitch

Now for even more fun stuff, I convinced the publisher to give me a book to giveaway and I added in some of my goodies to help the winner jumpstart their paper-piecing good times.

Drum-roll…J would like to announce:

Paper-pieced Home _Giveaway on a happy stitch

Leave a comment here to win the book, the fabric squares and 2 spool of variegated aurifil thread!  Tell me anything you want, I just like to hear from people!  (If you want to be really helpful, tell me what color you think we should paint our living room, as you might have noticed in the first pic, we can’t decide.) The giveaway ends on April 2, 2015 at midnight EST.

The fine print: one entry per person (U.S. entrants only.  Sorry, I cannot afford international shipping).  Be sure I can see your email, so I can be in touch if you win! J will be so mad if you win and I can’t get in touch with you! Don’t mess with J.

Paper Pieced Home Book _ Giraffe Pillow + Giveaway | a happy stitch

This book is going on quite an impressive blog tour.  And, the results are really exciting and fun, including an awesome rotary phone quilt and Andy Warhol-inspired watermelon.  Don’t miss it!

3/16       McCall’s Quilting
3/17       Love of Quilting
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner
3/18       Quilty Pleasure (Quiltmaker blog)
3/18       Imagine Gnats
3/20       Verykerryberry
3/21       Artisania
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt
3/24       House on Hill Road
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced
3/26       Pink Penguin
3/27       Bijou Lovely
3/27       Two Little Banshees
3/27       Charise Creates
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles
3/31       Poppyprint
3/31       One Shabby Chick
3/31       During Quiet Time
4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Interview

Disclosure: This book (and the giveaway book) was provided to me in exchange for this blog post. My thoughts on the book and the choice of what I made are completely my own, as always.

this baby of mine :: baby cloud mobile, dreamy swaddle blanket & artist rolls

new baby shower gift! A little over a year ago I was invited to join a community of bloggers, The Creative Mamas. We commune on Facebook; gathering as bakers, writers, designers of small imaginary worlds, sewists, hand-printers, and everything in between. It’s grown to be a group providing great support and inspiration for me.  I rely on those ladies for so much.  Heck, I am not afraid to say it…I love them!  The creative mojo and entrepreneurial smarts they possess is unparalleled!   Today is a special day for this group because we are celebrating a whole new life added to the collective.  Yay! (more…)

Selfish Sewing Week :: The Camas Blouse to Tunic

I’m thrilled to be sharing my Selfish Sewing Week making over on the Imagine Gnats blog today! Head on over to see how I altered the Camas Blouse from Thread Theory into a tunic.

camas blouse at tunic length

It’s been a while since my face has graced the blog, I just realized.  Hello everyone!

P.S. If you haven’t entered the Selfish Sewing Week giveaway yet, do it NOW!  It’s amazing! You could win over 30 patterns from indie designers!

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