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Quilts

Christopher's quilt Derek's quilt Jessica's quilt

These are all baby quilts. The trip around the world quilt is somewhere in California now. The sampler quilt and the thousand pyramids quilt were both done with a polar fleece backing rather than batting and backing. I tried this out on a quillow I made for my Mom, because it occurred to me that a polarfleece quillow would make a softer pillow than a regular quillow. Not only was this the case, but it had the added advantage that machine quilting it was a breeze. No special feet needed, and very little pinning, even. I thought that would be great for the baby quilts, too, making them softer for the babies and more washer and dryer safe for the mommies – and way faster for me to make, which is important, because I usually realize I have to come up with a gift about a week before the baby shower. These really are a good gift idea, because it means Mom always has a clean place to put the baby down, no matter where they are. For a long time, they play with the fabric, too. Most of the time, I do sampler quilts – 45″ x 45″, 9 blocks. It’s a fun way to experiment with different block patterns and create something useful at the same time.

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Easter Outfits

This is a picture of Audrey and Carolyn in their Easter outfits. Audrey picked out the fabrics herself. Now, I had decided to give up fabric buying for Lent, and didn’t give a thought to where I’d get contrasting fabric and notions. Thank goodness I never throw anything away! Audrey’s collar and cuffs were made from scraps I’d saved from a covered photo album, and the lace trim was a tiny scrap left over from an embellished sweatshirt I’d made for a friend. Carolyn’s collar, bow, ribbon ties and hatband came from the scraps of a maternity top I’d made, and the lace trim was cut from a table runner that had belonged to her great grandmother. It happened to be exactly the right size. I love when things work like that! (If only shopping for shoes were this easy. . .)

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Flower Girl

Alison & Audrey Wedding Dresses October 1996 – I think this is the first thing I did that you could call pattern drafting. Audrey’s dress was made to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, and I drafted the long skirt, then made the sleeves to match the bride’s gown rather than the bridesmaids’ gowns. I did know enough to make a mockup in cheap fabric before cutting the velvet and satin. Thank goodness.

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Costumes

Audrey Sheep Carolyn Cow Halloween 1996 – Audrey’s a sheep and Carolyn’s a cow.
Caroyln Dumbo & Audrey Odette Halloween 1997 – Audrey’s Odette from “The Swan Princess” (which she had to explain to everyone at nearly every house. . .) and Carolyn’s Dumbo.
Praying MantisFall 1997 – This fellow is a praying mantis. His Mom went into a panic when the school play’s theme was “animals”, the kids had to provide their own costumes, and this was the animal he chose. There’s a lot of velcro in this costume, including the pincers. You don’t want a second grader to be dressed in something he can’t get himself out of. . .
Update 2/2006 – I’ve received many requests for information about this costume, so to start, I actually made the pattern to add the pieces to one of those Simplicity Halloween jumpsuits with the separate hood.I made two ellipse-shaped pieces, sewed the curved sided together, sewed them onto the back below the waist, stuffed them through the back seam, and then finished sewing the back seam. The two extra legs on the waist are just flat pieces reinforced with buckram, and I added an elastic band 1 1/2 inches wide inside the costume, attached on the side seams where the extra legs were, and at the back opening. This kept them upright.

For the claws, I made the claw shapes, two top pieces and two bottom pieces for each hand, sewed them to each other at the palm, made a mitten for each hand, stuffed the claws and left enough space for the hand and sewed the claws to the mitten at the wrists and attached Velcro to the outside to secure them on the child’s wrists.

The hat was two pointy-ended ovals and a brim that I cut out of cardboard and fabric. The ovals got sewn together from point to point, then to the brim. I also made two small buckram-reinforced curves at the front of the brim for the mandibles. I hand-sewed the brim and most of the hat onto the hood piece (after I fitted it to the child – it tends to be a bit too big, I found) and then stuffed it and finished sewing. The eyes are just two halves of a Styrofoam ball painted black and hot glued on after the hat was stuffed.

Here’s a drawing in JPEG format for you. It’s crude, but I hope it helps. Let me know.

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Holiday Outfits

Carolyn & Audrey Holiday Dresses Thanksgiving, 1997 – this is a K.P. Kids pattern that I’ve used over and over. I changed it a bit, leaving off the collar and attaching ruffles to the bottom rather than making an underskirt as the pattern calls for. Both dresses use the same four flannel prints, just in different places. Carolyn thought this idea was just too cool.

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Holiday Outfits

Sophie's dress Christmas 1997 – I took a class with Linda McGehee at a sewing convention in October, and had to find something to try her spiraling technique on. Apparently, many quilters are familiar with this, but it was brand new to me. You take strips of fabric, sew them together, cut the ends nice and neat, then fold one corner over at the top so you get a right triangle, then twist the fabric as you sew the left edge to the right edge. When you’re done, you have a kind of candy-cane effect, and when you cut the tube lengthwise, you get strips of bias stripes on a 45-degree angle. You then lay the strips down on a backing fabric one at a time, laying each succeeding strip right sides together with the preceeding one and sewing 1/4 inch from the raw edges, through the backing fabric. Flip the strip over, press, then do the same thing with the next strip. You can make nice neat chevrons with this, but I chose to be a little more abstract and covered the non-matching edges by sewing solid strips between.

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Easter Dresses

Audrey & Carolyn Easter Dresses Easter 1998 – Audrey and Carolyn’s Easter Dresses. Audrey’s dress is the same pattern as Carolyn’s dress in 1996. Tracing patterns onto butcher paper is a Good Thing. I bought the hats cheap and then hot glued fabric from the dresses onto them. Carolyn’s dress was fun. I got to use my bias binding foot, one of my favorite presser feet. I cut off the seam allowance on the sleeves, which are butterfly sleeves caught together with a bow, and edged them with bias binding. The two layers of trim and bottom hem edge are also bias binding sewn on with that foot. All I had to do was fold the fabric across the grain and feed it through with the bias strips. The dress is fully lined with white cotton batiste.

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Baptism Dress

August 1998 – We finally got Carolyn baptized. Clearly, she wouldn’t fit in the family heirloom gown. I took a bodice pattern from a dress that already had sleeves I liked, and cut a yoke out of it using the collar pattern. I didn’t bother redrawing it to add seam allowances – it’s easy enough to do that just by using a guide arm on the rotary cutter. I cut a long straight piece and inserted it as a ruffle under the yoke, and just figured out how long I wanted the skirt, divided by three, added seam allowances, and cut strips that wide and attached them in tiers. Each layer is 2 1/2 times bigger around than the last one. The fun part was doing the pintucking in the yoke. Easy, easy way to do this. Make the pintucks in a piece of fabric long enough to fit both the front piece and the back piece with center front and center back in one long line. After making the pintucks, >then< lay the pattern pieces down and cut. No math, no worrying whether the pintucks will match at the seams.

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Class Reunion

Reunion Dress Front Reunion Dress Back November 1998 – I am very happy about this project. This is the dress I designed, from scratch, for myself for my 20-year high school reunion. I started off trying to combine patterns, then decided it would be easier to just make a sloper already. I’d been wanting to do that for ages anyway. It turns out, it was still pretty hard, as you can tell from the chaos in the sewing room in the background. (The dress is draped, BTW, on my duct tape double. What a great tool to have!) The fabric is a nubby-weave rayon challis. The fabric in the center is solid red, the sides and sleeve insets and drape facing is red shot through with olive. The olive fabric used for the edging, frogs, and sleeve catch is a mystery – I got it from a friend, and it’s delightfully soft and flexible. The sleeves separate down the outside and as I move, you catch the red/olive fabric underneath. To make the bottom of the top stick out a bit (to disguise the parts where >I< stick out a bit) I made a facing and stiffened it with medium-weight armo weft fusible interfacing. I didn't want any closure on the cuffs, so there is 2-inch wide elastic inside. The cuffs are small enough to slip over my hands, so the elastic doesn't gather the fabric, just hold the cuff in place. I also used elastic in the facing of the skirt (no waistband because I didn't want it to show through.) Rather than make cording for the frogs, which are two spirals and a loop, I took the leftover bias binding from the edging, which was 2 inches wide, and rolled it as I sewed the frogs. The other fun thing was knowing I could plan things like sitting - the front clears the top of my thighs and the back is just above the seat, so when I sit, nothing will bunch up. I can hardly wait the start the next project.

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