QuiltCon 2017: The Quilts, Part 2

In case you missed it, you can read all about my experience at QuiltCon 2017 here and journey through the first half of my favorites from the Quilt Show here.

A note before we begin: I took all of these pictures and you are welcome to use them if you credit me and/or link back to this post (because my iPhone skillz are #OnPoint). For each quilt I’ve included a section called “From the maker” where I’ve linked to his/her Instagram and the story of the quilt if they blogged it {most of them have done so and the stories are fascinating to read} – I hope you’ll take the time to explore the links and follow these mega-talented makers.

“Homespun” by Mary Kerr of Woodbridge, Virginia

This quilt was a part of the “Modern Traditionalism” collection and is the perfect balance. I love the modernization of the pattern (& quilting) design paired with the more traditional fabric chosen. Often with “Modern Traditionalism” we see the opposite: traditional pattern design + modern fabric. This quilt is so unique.

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Story of the quilt from the information plaque:

“This wonky star began its life as a piece of worn vintage top. By individually piecing the star points I was able to cut around the damaged areas and reinforce the fabrics as needed. The star is set with vintage muslin and bound with homespun fabrics from 1900. I did not attempt to remove the areas of discoloration. I feel they add to the Homespun feel of this quilt …the grey hair and wrinkles of our textile world. Donna James’s quilting perfectly compliments this off kilter star!”

From the maker: You can find more information about Mary here.

“Infused Plaid” by Cassandra Beaver of Urbana, Ohio

The quilting on this quilt is amazing! She really used the quilting in such a cool way to draw out the plaid design.

No surprise, this quilt won 1st place in the “Use of Negative Space” category.

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About the quilt:

“A simply pieced central design creates the basis for this quilt which allows the quilting to become the star of the show. Linear matchstick quilting is done using the same color of thread as the fabric it passes through. This process extends the colors of the piecing across the surface of the quilt and develops a plaid pattern in the process.”

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From the maker: You can follow Cassandra on her blog The (not so) Dramatic Life and on Instagram @cassandra.beaver for inspiration.

“Lincoln” by Kim Soper of Huntington, New York

I read about this quilt {here} prior to QuiltCon and couldn’t wait to see it in person!

The brief story of the quilt from the information plaque:

“This quilt (passion project!) developed out of a desire to create an entirely improv-pieced, recognizable image without use of template, paper-piecing, or applique. Using an iconic image of Lincoln that had been converted to WPAP (vector-based geometric pop art) by Ihsan Ekaputra, it was constructed using 6-inch blocks. The backing fabric is a repeating pattern of the original image of Lincoln. The binding is a nod to the vector-style of art on which the quilt is based. The end result is a quilt that is both identifiable as the intended image, and distinctly my own.”

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From the maker: You can read the real story of this quilt here and follow @lelandavestudios on Instagram for inspiration.

“Reject” pieced by Tula Pink and quilted by Angela Walters

It took me a minute to see the words, but isn’t this just the coolest?!

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“Say Anything” by Lysa Flower of Maple Ridge, BC Canada

I have seen this pattern before and was super excited to see it at QuiltCon! The design is so nostalgic and just plain awesome.

While trying to find the “story” of this quilt, I discovered that it’s going to be made into a pattern for purchase soon {#BeStillMyHeart} – details here.

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From the information plaque:

“As though I was struck by lightning. The inspiration and design to make this quilt happened that quickly. I was searching for something new to do with my cassette tape pattern (shown at QuiltCon 2016) then BAM! Memories flooded me with my first boombox…they ended with John Cusack holding a boombox over his head in the 1989 movie, Say Anything.

House rules for my paper pieced quilts:

  1. Three sides are shown of the object.
  2. Same family hues are used to accentuate depth.
  3. All lines are horizontal or vertical. Any diagonal lines are on a 45 degree angle.”

From the maker: Find more photos of this quilt here and follow @lysaflower on Instagram for inspiration.

“Still With Her” by Liz Harvatine of Burbank, California

love seeing activism quilts {is that a real phrase for those? I’m going with it}. I couldn’t help but see Hillary‘s logo during the election season and think “that would probably be a pretty easy quilt block to make” – and what d’ya know! – several people have already done that {here, here…}.

The story of this quilt is lovely…

“I made the basis for this quilt, a giant Hillary logo, the day before the presidential election. I felt so much hope and excitement and I channeled it into my sewing. The day after the election, all of that energy and feeling of promise was gone, yet it seemed so sad to leave this quilt unfinished. I decided to cut it apart and add to it; put it back together. I want to keep that feeling of hope. I want to build off of what could have been and create something even better in the future.”

Sewing is therapy for many of us. For me it helps me process things/feelings/situations I’m brewing over. I think the final product Liz created truly captures the feelings of so many after last November’s shock.

It won Judge’s Choice.

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The Design Source was obviously based on Hillary Clinton’s logo, but Liz used a pattern for the logo written by Maritza Soto {found here}.

From the maker: Follow @ladyharvatine on Instagram for inspiration.

 

“Gotham Transit Authority” by Catherine Jarett of Walnut Creek, California

As someone who loves to travel, obviously I thought this quilt was way cool.

The quilt is actually a map of the Gotham City subway – the fictional city where Batman lives {this was noted on the information plaque and not something I knew off the top of my head, ha!}. As noted by Catherine:

“Every line is a different color, planning and piecing were a fun challenge.”

I have found myself seeing quilt patterns in everything I see – road signs, company logos, on the floor (carpet, tiles, rug designs)… I can completely understand staring at a subway map and thinking: “Wouldn’t this make the coolest quilt?!” And it totally did!

A really cool added detail was in the quilting.

Around the edge of the upper right corner of the quilt, “gotham transit authority” is stitched and adds a really neat overlay detail. This quilt and the design were just outstanding!

From the maker: I can’t seem to find Catherine anywhere. For that, I totally admire her! Google is pretty powerful and if you can escape the internet monster, you go girl.

 

Craving more quilty eye-candy?

You can find photos and stories of all of the QuiltCon 2017 Award Winners here.

This recap from Quiltin’ Jenny called “6 Things I Saw at QuiltCon was so lovely. It’s worth reading word-for-word.

And if you still haven’t read my recap, you can find it hereAnd check out the first part of the quilts I fell in love with at QuiltCon here.

Already looking forward to QuiltCon East 2019! Can’t wait.

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Nashville!!!

QuiltCon 2017: The Quilts, Part 1

Remember that time I told you all about QuiltCon and promised some quilty-eye-candy?! Well, I got so excited about the quilts and couldn’t bring myself to exclude any from my top picks that I’m splitting this treat into 2 parts! Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon! {UPDATE: Part 2 is here!}

I’m sharing a few of my absolute favorites from the Quilt Show at QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah. There are sooooo many more that keep popping up on Instagram and the interwebs that I wish I had photographed and/or stared at longer. Hindsight is 20/20 and I’ve already made the request that QuiltCon last forever. Until then, this is all I have! 😀

A note before we begin: I took all of these pictures and you are welcome to use them if you credit me and/or link back to this post (because my iPhone skillz are #OnPoint). For each quilt I’ve included a section called “From the maker” where I’ve linked to his/her Instagram and the story of the quilt if they blogged it {most of them have done so and the stories are fascinating to read} – I hope you’ll take the time to explore the links and follow these mega-talented makers.

In no particular order…

“Bling” by Katherine Jones of Chigwell, Tasmania, Australia

This quilt won “Best in Show” which should come as no surprise. I got lost staring at it…seriously.

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The inspiration for this quilt was a princess cut diamond – stare at it for a few minutes and it will pop out at you. It’s enchanting.

From the maker: The entire quilt was foundation paper pieced in solid fabric. Watch this video of the designer describing her design {also she’s Australian so you’ll love her accent}.

And for good measure…here’s me standing beside this quilt because it was love at first sight.

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“Asterism” by Daniel Rouse of Oakland, CA

First, I love that this quilt is made from jeans. You know my love of upcycling AND [you don’t know this yet] I made a quilt recently from pants [that I promise to share soon].

Second, I love the use of light and dark to draw focus to the asterisks.

asterism-1

As noted in the information plaque, asterism is a group of three asterisks that serve as a visual section break in a longer chapter.

“At this dark pivot point in our history I look for the path that will lead us to a brighter future. I constructed the quilt top – both the improvised field and the precision-pieced asterisk medallions – entirely from used jeans, some of them mine and some second-hand.” – Daniel Rouse

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From the maker: Read more about Daniel’s quilt in this post on his blog. Follow Daniel on Instagram (@dsrouse) for more inspiration.

“Autumn is Wistful” by Chawne Kimber of Easton, Pennsylvania

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As a Southerner, this poem resonated deep within me. I may not have transplanted North as Chawne has, but I know what she is describing and longing for.

“Autumn is a time of transition and the move from warm to chilly always makes me homesick for the ‘South’ – a sort of mythical home. Thoughts range from food to the more elusive atmospherics of memory.”

loved reading the poem on this quilt and I loved looking up close at the details.

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The Design Source noted on the information card states that the technique is inspired by the work of Alabama Chanin. When I approached the quilt to study the details, I realized that the top (blue) layer is jersey {smart! No fraying} and saw the peek-a-boo florals were a vintage sheet {how perfectly nostalgic!}.

From the maker: Read the story about how this quilt came to be here and follow @cauchycomplete on Instagram for more inspiration.

“Blue and Green Quilt” by Shannon Page of Dallas, Texas

What I love most about this quilt is how the quilting was used (and not used) to construct letters on the quilt so that when it is hung you can see a message: “TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY”

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As Shannon states beautifully on the information plaque:

“The words drift in and out like a thought before bed.”

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From the maker: Read more about this quilt here and follow @nerdcamp on Instagram for inspiration.

“Cursive” by Paige Alexander of Easley, South Carolina

First, the maker is from my state! YAY! She’s a member of the Greenville Modern Quilt Guild.

Second, this quilt is beautiful. As someone whose sister taught her to write in cursive before she started school {#PerksOfBeingTheYoungerSibling}, it breaks my heart that cursive is not being taught regularly in schools any more.

This quilt won 2nd place in the “Small Quilts” category.

cursive-1

From a design perspective, I love the clean lines and how Paige arranged the colors of the fabric used for the lettering to fade – further emphasizing her statement.

From the information plaque:

“I appreciate the beauty of penmanship in everything from historical documents to thank you notes. Cursive was made for the Greenville MQG challenge, Black, White and a Pop of Color, although the idea was conceived much earlier. With the exception of two solid fabrics, the quilt, including the lettering was made from bias stems and hand appliqued. Lower case letters were chosen for the continuous free motion quilting where no i’s had to be dotted nor t’s crossed.”

From the maker: Read more about Paige’s process of creating this quilt here and follow @QuiltedBlooms on Instagram for inspiration.

“Go your own way” by Jessica Wheelahan of Sydney, Australia

I absolutely love the vibrant colors on this quilt!

And the hand-quilting … #TooSmittenForWords

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Quilt details from the information plaque:

“Inspired by a vintage block I picked up a time ago. I moved the shapes around and improv pieced these units using a tightly planned colour scheme to create movement within the quilt. Hand quilted with pride.”

Seriously, the hand quilting! I love the texture it adds and the mix of straight stitches with those cute little plus signs.

go-your-own-way-2

From the maker: Follow @birdie_beetle on Instagram for inspiration.

“Gradient Greys” by Amy Ellis of Heber City, Utah

First, I really love the neutral tone of the quilt and the pop of color the binding adds – making it feel like a fancy frame.

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Second, I love the mix of machine quilting (vertical lines) and hand quilting (horizontal lines).

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From the maker: Follow @amyscreativeside on Instagram for inspiration.

“I Know the Stars are There Beyond the Clouds, 2” by Heidi Parkes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Oh gosh.

I’ll try not to gush too long.

Ever since QuiltCon registration opened last summer, I’ve been following Heidi on Instagram and watching her process. Not only is she a super talented hand quilter, but she’s also an amazing yoga teacher {remember how I told you about her class?!}

I stared at this quilt so long I almost asked for a chair. It was mesmerizing. 

heidi-parkes-2

The story of this quilt from the information plaque is too beautiful to exclude:

“Just as we look to the sky, and we must remember the stars – we must also look deeper to find the root of our fears, attractions, and habits. While always influential, the unconscious mind can be as hidden as the stars.

A yearlong undertaking, this quilt is hand pieced with Korean Jogakbo (patchwork), using bed sheets and translucent fabric. The knots tied in front are inspired by African American quilts, and are used to represent stars, and to highlight the constellations/neural pathways represented in the quilt’s concept.

Physically expansive like the sky, this quilt is a space for meditative reflection.”

Yes, it is.

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Heidi’s creative use of darker fabric to create transparent details behind the design is so neat!

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I also love how you can see the hand stitches from piecing and the random use of different color thread. It makes it feel like a creative adventure that was exploding from within and Heidi had to grab whatever thread was closest just to get the excitement out of her head and onto the fabric. I love it.

heidi-parkes-4

From the maker: You can find more information about Heidi and her work here – and follow @heidi.parkes on Instagram for the most meditative inspiration.

 

If you’re craving more, check out all of the photos I took in this album on our Guild’s Facebook page OR browse the #QuiltCon or #QuiltCon2017 hashtags on Instagram.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon! {UPDATE: Part 2 is here!}

QuiltCon 2017: my experience

Guess what! I went to QuiltCon!

And it was amazing.

quiltcon-overhead

Overhead view of QuiltCon on Thursday – photo credit: @andrewjoslyn

This was my first time. The girls in my Quilt Guild talked me into signing up last summer and I’m so glad I did! Sign up was a bit of a catastrophe – the site crashed because so many people were trying to sign up so I didn’t get in until almost 30 minutes after registration opened. I wasn’t able to get the hand quilting workshops I wanted which was a bummer, BUT before sign-up had to be shut down for a few days, I was able to snag a spot in Violet Craft‘s paper-piecing workshop. 🙂

I’ve never been to a craft-centered conference so I only had professional conferences to compare to it and let me tell you – it was incredibly organized and even more professional than any of the professional conferences I’ve been to!

As if the workshops-selling-out-within-30-minutes-of-opening-half-a-year-before-the-actual-conference wasn’t proof enough, this conference is SERIOUS. The sewists in attendance are seriously passionate and so stinkin’ enthusiastic.

This was the best weekend I’ve possibly ever had (am I allowed to make that bold of a statement?). Being surrounded by makers who love sewing as much as I do and listening to the lectures, viewing all of the quilts on display and browsing the fabric, patterns, and supplies in the vendor booths was way too fabulous.

The event was held in Savannah, Georgia which was beautiful – and within driving distance {because my sister hasn’t had my nephew yet and it was super important I be able to escape if necessary – luckily that little nugget stayed put so his Aunt could nerd out all weekend long}. I wish I was able to plan a longer visit so I could’ve had time to explore the area.

Some members from our guild rented a house that was only about a mile from the Convention Center which was great. It was so fun to hear about the workshops and lectures the other ladies attended and see the fabric and patterns they picked up from the vendors or what they had made at the booths or in their workshops. Spending the weekend talking non-stop about sewing was just what I needed! I feel rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the crazy week ahead.

Thursday

The conference started on Thursday. I worked half a day so I arrived in the afternoon in time to browse the Quilt Show and a few vendors before the hall closed.

My friend Kristy greeted me when I arrived and gifted me this adorable lanyard to go with my nametag! I felt so fancy considering I wanted to sew myself something and ran out of time {despite the fact that I’ve been planning to attend since last summer..I obviously procrastinated a bit!}

badge

I owe Kristy a HUGE thank you. She prepared me for the registration process (without her I wouldn’t have realized I needed to be at.my.computer. the minute registration opened or I wouldn’t be able to sign up for anything!), she answered all my “what if” questions before the event (like: “will I be an outcast if I’m carrying an Adidas backpack instead of one I made myself?”), and guided me through the actual event so I knew where to find all the freebies and helped me spot all the famous sewing people. Everyone needs a friend like Kristy!

Okay, on to my experience…

I started my show experience at the Free Spirit booth where I made this pretty pin corsage!

free-spirit-pin

Wearing it made me feel like a beauty queen with a giant corsage. It was a really popular make-n-take so it was neat to see other’s versions throughout the weekend.

While zig-zagging through the vendors, I found a pillowcase kit that was just too cute to pass up! I’m not a huge fan of orange, but my friend Kristy pointed out that I could replace it with any other color from my stash [duh].

pillowcase-kit

I also spotted these adorable metal tags! I had fun digging through the packs and picking some out. They had them displayed on bags, but I think at least one of them will be going on a quilt. Aren’t they great?!

elkhorn-tags

The background is a fat quarter I got after doing Five Eight Seams‘ shop hop at QuiltCon.

I bought the kit and the tags from Elkhorn Quilt Company‘s booth.

I was almost done shopping until I ran across Patchwork Threads‘ booth. I spotted this shirt and knew I had to have it 😀

patchwork-threads-shirt

Friday

I took Violet Craft‘s Squirrel workshop in the morning. She generously allowed us to work on any of her paper-pieced quilt patterns during the workshop so I chose the Bunny from the Forest Abstractions Quilt pattern.

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I spy a Bunny ear!

I only finished 3 of the 13 pieces for the Bunny, but I’m optimistic about finishing him on my own! My plan is to use this Bunny in a quilt for the Hubs (which explains why I chose green rather than my usual florals 😉 ). I’m going to add some sashing to “frame” him off-centered towards the bottom of the quilt. I’d love to pretend I plan to make the full Forest Abstractions Quilt, but I don’t think I have the patience for that just.yet. I’m still dipping my toes into quilting 😉

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As my friend Nicole pointed out (she took Violet’s Stag class), the best part about Violet’s workshops was having the option to “splurge” [best $3 I’ve ever spent] on having Violet bring printed templates for you to use. I jumped on this offer and it was so worth it. It would’ve taken me so long to trace the templates and it definitely would’ve cost more if I had to go to a copyshop.

If you love the Bunny, you can find a quilt-a-long on Violet Craft’s blog HERE. Violet also recommended bookmarking this video tutorial she recorded with Man Sewing about paper-piecing. I’ll definitely be referring back to it as I finish up my Bunny block 🙂

After lunch, I roamed the Vendor Hall and Quilt Exhibit again. I wandered over to the Art Gallery booth with some friends and somehow won a half-yard bundle! I was thrilled – the colors in the bundle scream “Jordan!” so I can’t wait to decide on a pattern for them!

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The fabric is from the Pastel Thrift collection.

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Isn’t it beautiful?!

In the afternoon I attended Elizabeth Hartman‘s lecture titled “Selecting Fabrics and Colors for Quilts” I learned a lot about how to use colors and value {and got googly eyed over her flamingo quilt pattern}.

Saturday

sat-morning

I kicked off my last day at QuiltCon with a “Yoga for the Heart” class with Heidi Parkes. She is super talented and I had been hoping to get into her hand quilting workshop [no luck] so I was excitedly anticipating her yoga class. Wow. wow. wow. That might’ve been the best yoga class I’ve ever taken! I’m already planning the pitch to my guild to one day ask Heidi to come for a retreat {can you imagine a weekend of yoga and hand-quilting?! #DreamVacation}

After yoga I attended Mary Fons‘ lecture titled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: A Brief History of the American Quilt” which totally lit me on fire. She encouraged everyone to “keep searching” to learn the story of quilts – in our families, in our communities, in the world…

I have a quilt that was sewn by my grandfather’s mother. My Dad had the quilt and when I offered to repair some of the torn pieces he told me to keep it {YAY}. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t done the repairs I meant to have done by now, but I absolutely love the quilt. I took the quilt to a traditional guild that I am a member of and the quilt appraiser who was presenting that evening estimated it to be from the 1930s. My grandmother has told me a few stories about how her mother-in-law was part of a group that would work together to construct quilts. I plan to ask her more about the quilts in hopes of learning more about my history as well as the history of the quilts in our family (there are several more and they are all breathtaking!). I promise to share the stories with you as I learn them 🙂

Back to Mary Fons: She is probably the best presenter I’ve ever seen. I will definitely try to sign up for more of her lectures at QuiltCon 2019!

Friday night we went to dinner with a funny gal who works for Janome. My sewing machine has been in time out for a few weeks waiting on me to take it to be serviced. In the interim, my sister let me borrow her Kenmore machine. After switching over to my sister’s machine it became obvious that I’ve been struggling with my Brother machine for a while. The Kenmore is not any nicer, but it is in better shape (likely based on hours of use 😉 ). I’ve been tossing around the idea of upgrading to a “big girl” machine but I wasn’t sure I was ready. My fellow guild member who was friends with the Janome gal had already mentioned how much she trusts her so I didn’t think she’d steer me wrong. Having heard how great Janome machines are, I asked her advice on which machine was best for garment sewing. Without batting an eyelash she recommended the Skyline 7 and sealed the deal with “It’s the machine I’ve been waiting my whole life to be invented!” She told me more about it and then I played with it at Craft South‘s booth after my lecture on Saturday. It was mega-impressive. The Hubs had already encouraged me to take the plunge for a new machine – he’d even calculated a justified budget based on the number of hours I sew on average {he knows the way to my heart is through numbers}.

All that said, now I’m on a mission to reorganize [or just clean!] my sewing room so it’s up to par for MY NEW MACHINE. It’ll be here in a few days and I can’t unpack that beauty to the current state my room is in.

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The Janome Skyline 7 in the Craft South booth at QuiltCon

So stay tuned…and if you have any advice on working a Janome [specifically the S7], send it on! I am a bit nervous about the number of features and very much intimidated so wish me luck!

I’m planning a follow-up post to share with you some of my favorite quilts from the show. In the interim, you can view some of the quilts from the show in this album on my guild’s Facebook page.

{UPDATE: Part 1 and Part 2 of the quilts I fell in love with are posted}

Shoreline Boatneck

Since the holidays, I have been having a tough time focusing on a project from start to finish (I’d like us not to discuss how many WIPs are hanging in the closet of my sewing room right now). When I saw the call for testers for a re-release of the Shoreline Boatneck, I jumped on it! I knew the accountability [deadline] of testing a pattern would help my sew’jo return {and yippee – it’s back!}.

I’ve tested for Blank Slate Patterns before and I can’t say enough great things about 1) the quality of the pattern designs [& instructions] and 2) how well-run the testing process is!

I’ve been a member of the Blank Slate Patterns group on Facebook for a while so I’ve seen how versatile this pattern is. I knew it would be a great one to add to my stash.

shoreline-boatneck-tracing

Does anyone else obsessively trace their patterns with freezer paper? After reading Addie’s post about pin-free cutting, I can’t stop.

Fabric

I found some denim rayon at my local JoAnn’s to use for testing the Shoreline Boatneck with woven material (the pattern can be made in woven or knit – I told you it was versatile!). It is so very soft. I wanted material that would 1) have a good drape and 2) be a versatile color so I could wear it often 😉

Despite being soft and drapey, the fabric was actually really easy to sew!

shoreline-boatneck-sewing

Length

The original Shoreline Boatneck pattern had the option of being a top or a dress. Originally I was going to make the dress version, but when the option to make a tunic came up, I volunteered! The dress version looks a little longer than would be flattering on my short frame (I’m only 5’1″ for reference) so I knew a tunic would be ideal. I shortened the pattern from the dress hemline by 8 inches to make the tunic (not from the lengthen/shorten line which actually sounds intriguing after someone pointed out that would make the bottom more flowy).

The tunic falls just above my knees so it’s pretty much a dress on me 😉

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Fit

I made a size small based on my bust measurements and it fit perfect on the first sew! The pattern is not a fitted design (no bust darts) so there is some flexibility. I like that it’s a little loose but not in a way that looks like I’m wearing a muu-muu {but let’s be honest: This tunic is so comfortable it basically feels like pajamas}.

Because I was testing, I did not make any alterations or modifications to the fit. Even after testing, I still wouldn’t make any adjustments – it fits perfectly!

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Future Plans {& Inspiration}

There are so many ideas for hacking. Four hacks are included with the re-release!

Melissa has made several variations including the 3 below. Y’all know my love for a dress with pockets AND a cinched waist so you bet the middle one is on.my.list.!

shoreline-hack-ideas

Button-back hack instructions HERE | Details of the middle dress HERE | Hack instructions for the dress on the right HERE

There is something about this pattern – the top and the the dress – that look so perfect with plaids / checkers. I fell for the big gingham print version that Melissa made. I fell even harder when she mentioned it didn’t require a zipper {y’all know my love for slip-on/no-closure dresses!} – you can read more about this hack at the end of this post. The waist & bodice remind me of the Fen Dress a bit but without darts + side-seam pockets, perhaps it’ll be a faster sew!

mellysews-shoreline-dress

Y’all know my love of upcycling. A fellow member of the testing group posted a hack that I fell for! Ellen used a men’s button down shirt to make a Shoreline top and even kept the original hem.

My grandfather passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to get my hands on a few of his shirts to upcycle for my sister {who’s due with my nephew any.moment.now!} and I.

ellens-shoreline

Follow Ellen on Instagram for sewing inspiration: @ellen.mchugh

I also like the color-block version that Abbey of Sew Charleston made. Her top looks straight off the RTW rack (in the best way).

abbeys-shoreline

Read all about Abbey’s color-blocked Shoreline Boatneck top HERE

Browse the #ShorelineBoatneck hashtag on Instagram to see even more beautiful versions!

Conclusion: It’s a Wardrobe Staple!

This tunic has been on regular rotation since I finished it. For the most comfortable outfit ever, I’ve been pairing it with my frumpiest [coziest] sweater, leggings, moccasins and my favorite scarf {crocheted by my super talented boss}.

shoreline-with-sweater

Can we pretend this counts as professional wear? PLEASE!

Purchase your own Shoreline Boatneck pattern here. Then come back & share your version with me!

My most worn handmade garments

If you set a resolution for 2017 to build/expand your handmade wardrobe, this list is for you!

With almost 3 years (!!) of sewing garments under my belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my most-worn, most-loved patterns. I have learned a lot along this journey. While some garments were fun to construct [or maybe not so fun], they may not have turned out to be as loved in a day-to-day way.

My goal with this list is to provide you a few pattern recommendations that will surely be worth your time!

handmade-wardrobe

Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and recalled from memory; not from actual daily tallies of use [but wouldn’t that be a fun experiment?!].

Being that I have avoided adding closures of any kind to a garment thus far {no zippers, no buttons, no problem!}, I would say that all of these patterns are beginner-friendly.

beautiful-things

Along this journey to build my handmade wardrobe, I have discovered “my style.” It’s eclectic {code word for: comfortably weird}.

My style moves on a continuum between dressing like a tween to dressing like a 90-year-old. To be honest: it’s not much a continuum – I mostly cling to one end or the other without much that fits in between. But I think that’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes: You have the freedom to choose exactly how you want your garment to look. You want a dress to match your dachshund? Girl Charlee’s got you covered. Need bright green leggings to make spin class more appealing? Imagine Gnats has you covered.

You’ll see both extremes of my style throughout the list below. I can’t promise my style is in style, but it’s mine. And I’m embracing it 🙂

iris-apfel

Handmade Garments I wore most in 2016

TRANSITION PIECES

Below are pieces that easily transitioned from season to season [aka: just-add-leggings]. 

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress | pattern

out-and-about-dress

The 3 Out & About Dresses I’ve made so far – from L to R: version 3, 1, and 2.

This was the very first pattern I sewed {first dress ever} and it has remained my very favorite! I even turned it into a shirt once.

The dress transitions perfectly to fall with a few layers – just add leggings, boots, a sweater and your favorite scarf!

out-and-about-dress-2

During the cooler weather, I wear my long-sleeved version almost every week.

I just ordered some dark gray ponte de roma fabric from imagine gnats that I’m hoping to turn into my 4th Out & About Dress – stay tuned!

{Read all about version 1 & 2 here and version 3 here.}

Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress | pattern

tank-dress-2

When this pattern was first released, I didn’t think I’d jump on that bandwagon. I thought the hemline was “too trendy” {I’ve already confessed my inner 90-year-old}, BUT I love it. It’s actually really easy to construct since it can be made with a woven [non-stretchy] fabric.

My second version [pictured here] is my most-worn because: I raised the elastic casing on the back of the dress about 2 inches [I think]. I’m petite which often requires altering (usually raising the waistline in dresses works for me). In my first version {mentioned in this post}, I was having some bunching in the back above the elastic because it was sliding up to my waist. It was such a simple alteration that completely changed the comfort and fit of the dress for me.

I wear this dress to work with a simple black cardigan and platforms in the summer and transition to fall/winter by adding leggings and boots. I love the versatility of the dress – easy to layer from season to season.

Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress

fen-dress

My first version of the Fen Dress [pictured here] is my favorite.

{Read all about both of my Fen Dresses in this post and see my 1st Fen Dress in action in this post.}

Shwin Designs’ Day Tripper Top | pattern

day-tripper-top

I got this pattern a long time ago as part of the Pattern Anthology “Just Add Jeans” collection. Embarrassingly, it’s the only pattern I’ve sewn from the collection so far.

For my version, I accidentally omitted the shoulder tabs and waist band which shortened the top (perfect length for petite frame FYI).

{Read all about my Day Tripper Top in this post and see it in action herehere and here on Thanksgiving.}

 

SUMMER

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts | pattern

magnolia-shorts

These shorts got some serious wear this summer. In past summers I have lived in my black Patagonia elastic waist shorts. The fabric is great for the heat (light and quick-drying/nearly-sweat-proof). While I love them so much, they make me look like a soccer mom (but not the kind that dresses up to sit on the sidelines. I’m the soccer mom wearing big sunglasses trying to hide the fact that she’s napping in her bag chair).

The Magnolia Shorts helped my summer wardrobe appear slightly more pulled together. I used a crepe fabric that had been donated to my stash from someone’s attic. The fabric was perfect for the shorts – drapey and breezy. It made my version morph into a skirt visually {thus, taking my wardrobe up 10 notches}.

{Read all about my Magnolia shorts in this post and see them in action in this post and here on Instagram.}

*PS: If you’re looking for shorts with pockets, check out the Parkside Shorts {read all about mine here}! I made 2 pairs – you can see the second pair in action at the bottom of this post.

My Refashioned Housedress

housedress_before after

This was one of the quickest, easiest projects so far. It was an easy-breezy hack-and-hem into the most comfortable dress ever saved from a landfill.

{Read all about the project in this post. I’m feeling inspired for more refashions – hopefully I’ll find some fun ones for 2017!}

 

WINTER

Blank Slate Pattern’s Tulip Top | pattern

leopard tulip top

I found 2 versions of the Tulip Top particularly inspiring: Sewbon {I love the textured knit and really like how she lengthened it and omitted the sleeve cuffs & neckband for a whole new look} & Sew Charleston {I loved the short-sleeve hack – we’re both in the always-hot-state-of-SC so short-sleeves get a lot of wear}. I actually copied Sew Charleston’s short-sleeved hack in this version, but unfortunately this version hasn’t been worn as much as it should be.

Fun note about the Tulip Top – it was just re-released with a cross-over back option.

Also: I was recently shopping for my adorably preggo sister at Motherhood Maternity and saw a nursing top (similar) that made me think this pattern might be a fun modification for maternity (cross-over in the back) and nursing (cross-over in the front). I’d love to say I’m going to make one for my sister, but my sewing list is so long my nephew might be walking by then!

{Read more about my leopard print Tulip Top in this post.}

I hope this post has inspired you and given you fresh ideas to build your handmade wardrobe. I’d love to hear what’s on your “to make” list for 2017 – share in the comments below!

What I’m Lovin’ in December

The Hubs’ family from England came to visit for 3 weeks around Thanksgiving which is my excuse for missing what I’m lovin’ in November – but I do apologize! Hopefully this fun list will make up for it!

december

1. Challenging myself

While I have made it nearly 3 years without sewing a garment that required closures, I’m working hard to challenge myself to build my skill set to avoid stagnation {but isn’t stagnation so comfortable sometimes?!}

I’m currently working on a Darling Ranges dress that [obviously] includes a button closure. It’s cut and partially sewn. I’m hoping to finish it up in the last few days of my Winter Break so stay tuned!

darling-ranges

2. Knitting

Thanks to my friend Shanika for the support and encouragement (and many tips), I am making some progress on the shawl kit I purchased recently from an amazing local yarn shop, Copious Fibers.

first-color

3. Ugly Sweater Block

I ran across this paper-pieced pattern on Instagram and fell.in.love.! I found some hot pink cat fabric (the cats are wearing gold bow ties which screamed “pick me!”) in the remnant bin at JoAnn’s that I knew would make the purrrfect “Crazy Cat Lady Ugly Sweater Block.”

sweater-block

I turned it into a zip pouch {see it here} for my quilt guild’s annual holiday party Dirty Santa swap.

If you’re looking for some entertainment, browse the #UglySweaterBlock hashtag on Instagram to see all of the blocks others made – they’re hilarious!

4. This roll-up changing pad (DIY)

baby-mat-1

The mat is super-duper easy to sew and apparently it’s quite useful! I found the tutorial in a post full of practical baby shower gifts HERE via Sew in Love.

I made this gift last minute for the Hubs’ coworker so I used scrap quilting cotton that a friend’s mom donated to my stash and some double fold elastic I had on hand. I’m always excited when I can make a dent in my stash to create something handy.

baby-mat-2

5. Crafty Feast

As always, my sister and I had such a blast at Crafty Feast! It’s our favorite holiday market. We love the chance to support local makers and stock up on holiday gifts.

6. Self-Created Podcast

podcast

My friend Shanika launched a podcast with her friend Jernell and I am loving listening in on their conversations! They really balance each other and share some great tips {their Skin Care Episode has me wondering I haven’t invested in a good eye cream yet…}

As I finish this post, I’m launching Episode 3 so I can hear all their tips for self-care just in time for the new year!

You can find all of the Self-Created Podcast episodes HERE on SoundCloud & follow them on Instagram & Facebook for sneak peeks.

7. Resolutions

I’m not really great about setting [or sticking to] resolutions, but here’s one I think I will attempt to embrace 😉

long-walks

What are some of your resolutions for 2017? I’d love to hear them!

Sewing Revelations

With the new year fast approaching, I’m still bouncing around resolutions. Last year my goal was to continue to build my handmade wardrobe which I feel like I did a pretty good job of. Next year I would like to do the same but with intention. I want to be more focused and intentional about what I’m making. I want to waste less (time to bust my stash!) and focus more on making timeless pieces that better reflect my style.

I have found quite a bit of inspiration around the blogosphere lately which has led to a few personal “sewing revelations” that I wanted to share…

Revelations on not sewing everything

Crab and Bee recently posted about not sewing everything which really ignited some personal reflection.

crab-bee

Sometimes I feel crippled by my “to sew” list. The post sparked a reminder to myself that sewing is something that I enjoy and if I’m feeling pressured or frustrated with a project, perhaps I should re-evaluate why I’m making it. If it’s not something I enjoy sewing [maybe the material is hard to work with, the pattern is too difficult, or it’s something that someone else wanted but not something I wanted to make], I don’t need to pressure myself into making it.

Revelations on creating with intention

Over the past few years of sewing garments I have learned a lot. It has taken me quite a while to reign in my focus. Building a handmade wardrobe doesn’t mean you are immune to being wasteful or unintentional. We are just as vulnerable to sewing clothes that are ill-fitting, not our true style, or focusing too much on what’s “trendy” and not enough on what is our style. {I found this post particularly enlightening about how to stop sewing “unworns.”}

I have been trying very hard to be more intentional with planning garments to make with a focus of styles I know I will wear in more timeless fabric (i.e. more neutral, versatile prints and solids).

simplicity-quote

Revelations on purchasing something I “could” make myself

When purchasing something, I try to support local businesses and makers or source it second-hand for an environmentally-friendly option. Yes, I’m an Amazon Prime member, and yes – I occasionally get sucked into the Target spiral, and that’s okay too.

Sometimes the best option is to choose what will create the lowest level of stress.

For me, sewing is a stress reliever. It’s the place for me to dump my creative energy. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, an outlet like sewing is important for me to protect.

Over the past year or so, I have tried to step back from feeling the pressure to sew for others {to my fellow seamstresses out there: how do you handle this?}. I often get frustrated with expectations of others that I will sew things for them {not every gift I give has to be handmade..} and then get even more frustrated when I find myself volunteering {I have a bad habit of spreading myself thin} and even more frustrated with the guilt I often feel for not sewing something for someone that I wanted to {hello, anxiety}.

Purchasing a thoughtful gift can be just as special. Plus, it can be an opportunity to support a fellow maker!

Revelations of repairing old clothes

“…old is better than new, and when it breaks, keep fixing it.” – 91 year old, Eric.

worn-wear

{Click the image to read the full story}

I ran across the best post via Worn Wear on Instagram. Crab & Bee mentioned them which sent me into stalking browsing their feed. Equally inspiring are the repairs shared by Santa Cruz Gear Repair on Instagram.

I absolutely loved the post about Eric (above). He was gifted a handmade jacket which he then had modified to a vest that he has worn daily. Perhaps after all the work one puts into sewing a jacket, having the recipient modify it would be sad, BUT if it makes the piece something they can enjoy the heck out of, it’s so worth it! ❤

My take-away: I need to love my current wardrobe more. I should be repairing and investing in long-lasting pieces [handmade or otherwise]. I’ve never been big on “trendy” clothing {I’m always out-of-style} and have always appreciated quality {sewing has further pushed me into being a clothing-quality-snob now that I understand construction} so I have a good platform to start.

Revelations and inspiration for Refashioning

I tend to focus more on making-from-scratch and occasionally reusing/recycling material {like my Dad’s shorts for these baby shoes, a handkerchief for this zip pouch}, but I don’t find myself altering or repairing clothing as often as I wish I did.

My sister gifted me DIY Wardrobe Makeovers: Alter, Refresh & Refashion Your Clothes. She didn’t know I’d been following Suzannah’s blog, Create/Enjoy, for a few months now and loving it.

book

I have been known to refashion in the past {like this housedress and this skirt}, but it’s been a while since I have taken a look at my closet [or the thrift store] through the lens of planning a refashion.

I want to focus more on altering clothes I already have [handmade and RTW] so that they become pieces I want to and will wear more often.

Revelations on sewing as therapy

A few years ago when I was making jewelry and sewing bags for my shop, I realized creating had transitioned from being an enjoyable activity to share with those I love to what felt like a never-ending-cycle of trying to “stock inventory” for customers who were beginning to become more and more sparse.

My day job was feeding the fuel (financially) for my shop. Since my shop was only a side-hustle and never became a dependent income, I had the luxury of walking away before my creative joy was depleted.

I began transitioning to creating for myself with a focus on patterns and projects that excited me.

Since then, sewing has become so much more than just sewing for me. It is something that I retreat to in times of stress and something I “reward” myself with in times of celebration. Through my sewing journey I have not only learned so many skills, I have also learned so much about myself.

creativity

Conclusion

I’m not perfect. I don’t have the skill set [or the time] to make everything…and that’s okay! If I can make intentional purchases and use those to support my fellow makers as often as possible, that’s wonderful.

At the end of the day, the focus should be on joy. Creating should energize and inspire you. It’s important to show grace to yourself – it’s okay to say no to or walk away from a project that will not or is not bringing you joy. This is all easier said than done, but I will be doing my best to put it into practice in 2017 🙂