Quilting in Progress! (sort of)

My quilting time is definitely limited these days, but I persevere. The quilt sandwich is complete, and I rushed a bit... this was my mistake. I did go through and pin baste. But, I tried skipping my usual stitch in the ditch then free-motion quilt process and have paid for it dearly!

My toddler is now totally intrigued by the sewing machine, and every time I was manipulating the quilt doing free-motion quilting, he kept running at me and the machine to slap and try to stop the fly wheel, which is a most obvious no-no! So, I'd stop sewing, and he'd run away cackling. In the meantime, I wasn't smoothing the fabric and I ended up sewing several pinches of fabric on the back side of the quilt!

((big sigh))




Ah well. One of my online artist friends said to keep it as a reminder of the the moment. It's an idea. I don't know if I can though, as the fabric just gets worse and worse pinched as it gets further away. I may leave one in, and un-sew and re-sew the worst ones.



On the Sewing Table and Post-Pregnancy Body Reckoning

Do not fear, my fellow sewing enthusiasts, my sewing table has not gone unemployed these last few months; not entirely unemployed at least.  I signed up for Kid's Clothing Week which was two weeks ago and also Me-Made May as inspiration to get my sewing-mojo back and... wait, let me backtrack here... What happened to my sewing mojo? SEWING mojo, where are you?!  I don't yet have an answer for that.

I have been tracing patterns and cutting fabric, but haven't really finished anything!  I start a project, and then migrate back into illustration and leave these projects all folded in their little plastic tubs for days, and then weeks, and now months.  (sigh)

I have taken the first step, though, toward welcoming new projects and completing them.  I went through my closet and started the daunting, and somewhat sad task of separating clothes that will never fit me ever again. And, this (really sadly) included a lot of my homemade clothing.  It was pretty depressing to see the Bombshell Dress in the pile of clothes going to charity alongside all of my homemade jeans and trousers, and several dresses.  You see, my 3 main measurements (bust, waist, hips) are no longer the same as before pregnancy (no surprise to many of you), but I was totally in denial.  I thought that things would at least get pretty close to what they were, but there's no way that my waist or hips are gonna shrink in that way ever again, and it's been almost a year since the little guy was born.  So, it's time.

Oh, I want to tell you it's been so positive for me, and that I can easily see the silver lining -- that it's a way to start fresh and make space for projects and clothes I love -- but it's been hard.  It's been really hard actually, and if you follow my blog, you know that I'm a pretty positive person.  And well, my self-esteem has taken a pretty big hit.  I finally broke down this past week and bought new bras.  Not a single one of my old bras fit anymore, and it was a big first step toward acceptance of the new me.  Okay, I do have a silver lining, and it's that I'm now a pretty standard bra size which means I can find them in my size in pretty much any brand!  Yippee!

And, here's where I end my own pity party... right here! Done!

So, what am I working on?


Pattern: Streaky Legs, Ottobre 1/2015
Fabric: in sweatshirt, single jersey, and microfleece


Pattern: Moneta, Colette Pattern 1028
Fabric: Dark Turquoise knit


Pattern: ??
Fabric: all kinds of quilting cotton already cut into squares

Remember these?  These were the remnants of the zig-zag quilt I made almost exactly a year ago!  I cut waaay too many squares thinking I was doing a rainbow HST quilt, but instead went with a zig-zag.  I have no idea what to do with them.  I've got colors ranging from brown/tan to bright yellow-green.  Do you have any favorite quilt patterns to suggest?  Let me know. :)

A New Year's Post

Each year, I start by looking back at the previous year and making goals for the year ahead.  This year is no different in that sense. I started by reviewing the work I had made, etc. but, I feel like I am in such a different head-space than I was a year ago.  Everything has changed.  My eyes have a razor-sharp focus on the prize, and the stakes feel so much higher now that I have a baby.

Last January, when I made my list for 2014 I was well into my pregnancy, but I could only imagine my future as a mom in a really vague way.  Here were last year's goals:
1) make some art:  get back into pen and ink, finish digital illustration commissions
2) make some things with yarn: finish hand-knit projects, use machine to stash bust
3) make some things with fabric: continue on the quilting and sewing goodness track
4) blog more efficiently and step away from the internet traps (facebook and cheesy news sites) 
With that nesting energy, I made things like there was no tomorrow.  I hit all of my goals - made some art, knit by hand and by machine, quilted baby F's zig-zag quilt, and blogged more efficiently.  I think I was kind of scared that there wouldn't be time after the baby came.  My fear of having no time to do anything was somewhat justified.  Luckily, I think F is very healthy and pretty independent, so that affords me snippets of time to work here and there when he's playing or napping.

Clockwise from top left: Mitered Detail Cardigan, Ottobre Nursing Top,
Wind & Storm Pullover (now lost at sea!!), Ottobre Kids, Laren Mitts, and the cover of Knit Now

Clockwise from top left: my entry for an artist's book collaboration, Ottobre kids, "playful" hand lettering, quilted zip bags, steeked fairisle vest, knit baby romper from Deramores, and Oktoberfest dirndl skirt & apron
Now I'm looking forward to 2015, and that same innate sense of urgency that came with pregnancy remains in my system.  Maybe it's the hormones? Whatever it is, I feel like I must create right now -- now or never!!  Yes, it's that dramatic a feeling.

Anyway, without further ado... my goals for the coming year:
  • Find my personal illustrative style, and figure out how/where to sell my art work.
  • Sew a few new non-maternity knit tops for myself.
  • Make another quilt.
  • Create another font.
  • Knit a bit.
  • Be a good mom.  (!!!)
Kind of a mixed bag of goals, right?
That last goal is so huge, it threatens to take over my brain. So, in the spirit of getting things done, I break down each goal into action-oriented tasks.  In terms of motherhood, what that means for me, is that I just take it one day at a time.

Happy 2015, everyone!  May it be a great year.

Nursing Top from Ottobre 2009


With my post-partum body changing so quickly, and the baby growing so quickly, I debated whether to sew anything for me for a while.  I started eyeing that red maternity/nursing top I made in the spring which was too big for me now.  I stared at it for weeks.  Then, a sewing buddy of mine offered to lend me a nursing top pattern she had in one of her older Ottobre magazines, and that was the clincher.  Chop-chop went the too-big nursing top!

I'm glad I decided to cut it up... I used up every bit of that tee, and finished off the rest of that thick red jersey fabric.  I didn't have enough for the inner panel, so I used a bit of this lovely stripe jersey I bought from a fabric store closing sale.  Glad I bought 2.5 m of it!  It's so soft!


Do I look maybe a bit tired in these pics? That would be because I am.  Hee hee. Somehow, the LD (little dude) started teething at 12 weeks and I've been coping with all that entails.  He's generally the sweetest little sweety, but when he's teething he turns into a puddle of moaning sadness.  It's heartbreaking and so I can't help but comfort him... at 2am... at 3am... at 3:30am.. etc...

So yeah, a bit tired, but it's getting better, and LD is learning to cope better.  I also have many more tricks up my sleeve now that it's been a few weeks!

---
Anyway, about the project:
PatternOttobre 2009, #6 "Loving" Nursing Top
Fabric: recycled red jersey from maternity/nursing tee made in May 2014
Modifications: shortened the sleeves 1", but I think I just need a smaller size on top
Recommendations: instructions for the innermost panel say to turn over the nursing edges and stitch, but I think this reduces the stretch of the fabric.  I'd overlock this edge instead.  I turned over the bottom edges and used a rolled hem foot... this is not a good application for it.  The jersey loves to roll, and it made for a curly half-lettuce bottom hem.

The pattern is a very straightforward 7 piece pattern (you cut the binding, elastic, etc. based on given measurements).  I made an EU size 40 using my full bust measurement.  Next time, I'll cut a 38 top, maybe even a 36 for the shoulders and sleeves, and keep the bottom 40.  It's easy to adjust since there's a separate waist section.  On me, though, this is more of a nursing tunic dress. I'll be making some adjustments, but I like the dress aspect of it.


The trickiest part of this pattern was the clear elastic!  My machine loves it to the point of squishing it all together and creating these teensy, tight gathers which I did not need for this particular pattern.  In the end, I found the solution to be paper!  Once I put the thin pattern paper between the foot and the elastic, everything went swimmingly... okay, not quite - that binding went a bit wonky, but I can live with it. 


This went so quickly after figuring out the best way to sew with clear elastic!

Overall, I'm happy with it - it's wearable, but the shoulders/neck are wide for me... it's tough to choose a size with such a variable bust measurement, but the jersey should be forgiving enough to allow me to make a smaller size top.  I will definitely make another!