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Goal Tracking – March 2018

It’s time for another riveting installment of my goals for 2018 update!

Slowing Down

I spent a lot of time researching appliqué techniques in February in preparation for teaching myself how to do needle turn appliqué! I’m going to start with the Aeriel Grove pattern from Savor Each Stitch, which is a rather fitting title considering my goal. I’m going to use all of my Carolyn Friedlander scraps for the circle shapes and a low volume print of hers for the background. I’m going to take it one row at a time and see how I do. I anticipate this becoming a wall hanging or table runner, not a full quilt.

I also borrowed Heather Jones book, Quilt Local, from my library and started noticing things all around me that I could turn into quilts. I spent a good 4 hours plotting out an idea that was inspired by Broadchurch and I found that process to be very satisfying. I’m still working on the math so we’ll see how it goes.

Tackling New Things

I did some more hand work this month, this time with quilting. I can’t share what yet because it’s a gift for a very social media savvy human being, but it’s coming together very nicely and was the bulk of my fabric used this month.

Finish UFOs

I haven’t finished any of the UFOs yet, I am clearly suffering from “shiny object syndrome” and keep buying new fabric that gets used immediately, while precut projects are left in their newly organized spaces. I will get better with age and March is my birth month so this is my month!

Make More Separates

I made one Renfew for myself this month. I love that pattern so stinking much! Sometimes I see a fabulous knit fabric and just have to make it into a Renfrew because I know the fit is great and the pattern itself has the arm and waist bands that you can use or not, depending on the look you’re going for.

Use What I Have

I did not do so well at this goal yet again. I purchased 29.5 yards of fabric in January and 44.5 yards in February and have only used 23.25 for the year. My goal within this goal is to at least get my used number to be higher than the purchased number and the month of March includes two guild sewing days so I have high hopes. I’m not really proud of this, but when I heard the announcement that Free Spirit was closing I panic purchased some Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner. I’m so glad they were acquired and won’t be closing after all, but now I have about 9 yards of fabric with no immediate plans! The Cone Mills factory in North Carolina also closed in January so when I found that ThreadBare had a lot of their varieties still I stock piled those. All in all, 16.5 yards of fabric were what I’m calling panic purchases.

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Finished! Folk Floral Quilt

Back in September I shared my Folk Floral Quilt in the beginning stages and today I’m excited to share the finished quilt with you! This is it all bound and living in it’s rightful place on our bed! The bright cheerfulness of the florals really brightens the gloom of winter if you ask me.

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I love paper piecing, but reverse appliqué quickly became a favorite way to piece during the construction of this quilt top. I find the process very soothing and forgiving. If you don’t catch the fabric just right you can just add a few more stitches of wait until your finished and quilt over it. This pattern in particular is very forgiving because honestly, as long as you like the flower fabrics, who cares if the stems line up perfectly? I’d rather have a very big garden full of flowers than a few perfectly symmetrical ones.

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Now, if you’ve never tried Creative Bug, you can watch this class during a free trial and I highly recommend it. When I was researching reverse appliqué prior to starting this quilt the majority of the tutorials I found were for raw edge reverse appliqué and although 2 of my flowers ended up having a bit of a raw edge, that was not something I was striving for.

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A friend from our guild quilted this for me and even delivered it to me at work, proving yet again that sewing friends really are the best friends! She used a pantograph with leaves and stems in green thread which I had chosen. I toyed with the idea of having a floral pantograph used, but decided that it might take away from my flowers. I’m getting more comfortable quilting my own quilts, but this one was very large and I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable maneuvering that amount of fabric with my Bernina!

Goal Tracking – February 2018

Hello! Last month I publicly shared my goals for 2018 so that way I would hold myself accountable to someone (aka, anyone reading this!). I thought doing a monthly round up of how my goals are going would be an added way to help me stay on track.

Let me take you through my goals and share an update on each of them.

Goal-Setting

Slowing Down

I took the time to finish a dress hem by hand (a pleated circle skirt nonetheless) and didn’t rush any quilting projects. I completed two of my January block of the month and printed a new paper piecing project that I started collecting the fabric and notions for this month.

Tackling New Things

I hemmed my dress by hand and made a bathing suit in January! It was testing a new pattern so I can’t share it just yet, and I have a few changes that I need to make, but I did it! Oh and it has a built in bra so that’s two new sewing projects in one garment!

Finish UFOs

I haven’t finished any of the UFOs yet, but I did make an effort to better organize them. All UFO garment projects are now in two baskets in the hallway cabinet and all quilting UFOs are in plastic storage containers under the bed. I went so far as to add the threads and notions too so when I’m ready for any of these projects I’m 100% ready to roll.

Make More Separates

I made one shirt and thought about other separates. I looked into ways to improve my pants/jeans making skills and really wanted to take the Jeans Master Class with Lladybird in August at Pintuck & Purl, but that would have decimated by sewing budget for the year so I looked into online alternatives. I got really lucky and during my search got an email that the Sew Your Dream Jeans e-course from Closet Case Patterns was on sale! I promptly enrolled.

I plan to construct the jeans with my Bernina and topstitch with my Pfaff, but Hubert (my Bernina, named for the fabulous Hubert de Givenchy), is heading out to be serviced this week so jeans making will wait until he returns.

In January I also cut matching sweaters for my boyfriend and nephews and finished the one for Ryan. So even though it wasn’t for me, it helps me reach my goal to sew more seperates!

Use What I Have

I did not do so well at this goal. I purchased 29.5 yards of fabric in January and only used 14.75. I need to get my used number to be higher than the purchased number! February is a new month and a new opportunity to succeed. February is also the Fabric Extravaganza in Nashua, NH and a few friends and I are going to check it out so I’ll have to try and show restraint! 🙂

2018 Make Nine

Have you heard of the Make Nine challenge? It’s sponsored by Rochelle of the Home Row Fiber Company and this is my first time participating. My sew-jo was sorely lacking in 2017 so I’m using this as an excuse to get organized. My theory is that if I have a plan of what to make I’ll be able to set specific blocks of time aside to work on things.

Rochelle posted some questions to help people chose their Make Nine projects and I went through the exercise before finalizing my items and a few of the questions really stuck out to me.

What do you want or need? Be forgiving about pattern choice but get specific about what you want/need to make this year. NH has been so cold that I haven’t even wanted to wear any of my beloved dresses and this has really made me realize how lacking in the separates department I am. My favorite jeans from J.Crew are also starting to fall apart so I don’t even find myself reaching for those as much as I have in the past.

What types of things do you really LOVE making? What do you dislike making? If you hate making pants, you don’t have to put them on your list just to feel like you conquered some new technique. I love dresses. Modern, vintage inspired, maxi, tea length; give me all the dresses. Just because my wardrobe is lacking separates doesn’t mean I should abandon my beloved dresses. I do want to get better at making them though and plan to use more methods from my Couture Sewing Techniques book this year (and beyond).

Do you want to stash-bust? Why or why not? I really want to use some of my fabric stash. I feel like it’s taking over ever available storage space and I would like to get it down to a more contained area. Specifically my black ikea cabinet that is in the living room. I have quite a few patterns that I haven’t used yet and would like to make the time for a few of them instead of just using the same patterns all the time. At the end of 2016 I calculated how much money I had spent on sewing related items which was very eye opening for me. In 2017 I made an effort to spend less and did. I spent about 25% less in fact. I’m going to try and spend even less in 2018! I’ve been toying with the idea of allowing myself one new piece of fabric for every 3 or 4 stash pieces I use as an incentive to use what I have, but we’ll see. In future blog posts I may put an extra emphasis on when the fabric and pattern were acquired just to help me track.

Without further ado, here are my Make Nine items! My Make Nine 2018 includes a repeat so it’s only 8 patterns, but it’s 8 patterns that I’m very excited about!
1. Kelly Anorak- I have fabric, the hardware and lining fabric ready to go! I’m a little nervous for the snaps because the last time I set a snap on a dress I hammered by finger, but I bought a kit with all of the correct hardware and am excited to try! Plus, my fabric is a fabulous purple and my lining is Rifle rayon. It’s going to be a beautiful coat.

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2. Venti Tote- I want to make this for my nephew to keep toys in and perhaps another for myself! I let my sister chose the exterior fabric so now I just need to chose the lining and binding fabrics and order the stabilizer. Most of the quilting cottons in my stash are smaller pieces so they won’t work for this pattern, but if you’re a quilter with a big stash this bag needs about 5 yards of fabric.

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3. & 4.Elisalex dresses! This was one of the first indie patterns I ever used and I have 6 or 7 in my hand-made collection, but I haven’t made one since BHL did the refresh of the bodice in 2016. I’m planning a sleeveless green Outback wife barkcloth version and a short sleeved blue crepe version for this year. The barkcloth is all cut and ready to roll. I’m just waiting for the lining fabric to arrive, which is coming with the swatches for the blue crepe version from Mood! I was the lucky recipient of Dresses to Dream About for Christmas and now I’m obsessed with the idea of a blue silk crepe dress like the one Christian Siriano made for Michelle Obama. Stay tuned for more on that!

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5. Ginger Jeans- I have my cone mills denim ready for a second go at this pattern! I had left one of my sewing machines at my parents house when I moved, but recently brought Edith (My Smarter by Pfaff 160S) home to NH to live alongside her brothers Hubert (My Bernina 350PE) and Serge (My Singer Serger). Now I have construct with one machine and top stitch with the other, life is good!

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6. Quilters Planner Sampler- a bunch of us in my quilt guild purchased the 2018 Quilters Planner and I’ll be participating in their block of the month sampler quilt. My fabrics are picked and ready to go! I’m using a layer cake and coordinating solids all from my stash. The pattern calls for cuts larger than a layer cake, but I think with the coordinating solids I’ll be able to make it work.

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7. Lenox Shirtdress- I plan to make this pattern as is and then do some light hacking to use it as a shirt pattern too. Many fabrics have been chosen from my stash for these projects!

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8. Anderson Blouse- I love this top and have had the pattern pieces ready to go for at least a year. It’s time to get going! I do want to make a test version though before I cut into my precious Atelier Brunette lawn, but I can’t seem to find anything with the right drape that I don’t view as precious. Maybe I can find something on sale that would be wearable if too many alterations aren’t necessary. I just hate to use muslin when it’s not as drapey as the fabric I plan to use!

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9. Alphonse Trousers- I have my test pair cut and ready to go. I have a few pieces of fabric that I want to make this pattern with so I’m hoping for a good fit! Like the Anderson Blouse, I didn’t want to make a test of these using muslin because the finished garment isn’t meant to be made of a muslin like fabric. I bought the cheapest stretch twill I could find (from Mood) and am hoping for a wearable muslin!

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I’m hoping to blog more in 2017 so stay tuned for how these projects (and others) turn out!

Happy Sewing!

Hello 2018

I’m not really one for resolutions, but some yearly goals, sure! I’ve come up with 5

Slowing Down

My sewing time is limited so I’ve gotten into the habit of rushing through things to have something finished. Within a few uses I notice things that had I taken a tiny bit more time could have been better. So with that in mind, 2018 will be the year that I slow down!

In my life I have made 13 quilts (I’m including a patchwork duvet in that number) and 7 of those were made in 2017! The more I quilt the more I love it, but I’ve seen a sharp decrease in the numbers of garments made since I started quilting. I’m planning to make the sampler quilt from the 2018 Quilters Planner and Frances Firefly for my nieces first birthday (she is currently only 3 months old) so I’m also going to try and savor these projects and not rush them. Sometimes the week before my monthly guild meeting I go into a mad rush to have something to show at show and tell so that’s a habit I want to break. If I don’t have something to show, that’s okay!

Tackling New Things

This is tied to slowing down, but I want to do more hand work. I’m attaching my first bodice lining by hand as we speak and am scheduled to take Inspiration By Hand with Anna Maria Horner in April. I learned reverse appliqué in 2017 with one of her patterns and it may just be my favorite quilt I’ve ever made.

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I would also like to quilt more of my own quilts. I have a domestic machine and have used two methods from Walk by Jacquie Gering with great results. Some of the methods are more intricate so I can going to try them out on smaller quilts (like Frances Firefly!) so I’m not dealing with mounds of fabric everywhere.

Finish UFOs

When I moved in August I found 3 projects I had cut out and lost track of. They were in a serving dish in the dining room at the parents house. I usually cut fabric in that room so I’m assuming that’s how they ended up there! One of the shirts is a Granville that I cut out using Kona Cotton before I realized it wasn’t quite right for clothes so I’m going to scrap that one and use the bits of fabric for quilting.

Another item found was a pair of Ginger Jeans using Cone Mills Denim. I searched the house for those at least 2 years ago and was so sad to have lost the fabric, but now it’s back and I’m on it!

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Make More Separates

I love dresses and I wear them a lot! But that doesn’t mean my wardrobe isn’t missing separates. I find myself reaching for the same jeans and tops constantly. I need to branch out and make more of what I love. I started this year by making 4 Harrison shirts because it was what I always wanted to wear. I’m planning some trousers for 2018, to finish the long lost Ginger jeans and some skirts with pockets. On the shirt front I’m planning some Renfrews, a little light hacking of the Lenox into a shirt and the Anderson Blouse.

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Use What I Have

I don’t think I truly grasped how much sewing and quilting related “stuff” I own until I moved. At my parents house I did most of my sewing and cutting in the dining room, but my mom and I had a dedicated sewing room where everything was stored. My boyfriend already had a desk in the bedroom so I set my sewing machine up in front of his computer when I want to use it (which let’s be honest, is almost daily) and my serger is usually on the floor in the bedroom somewhere waiting to be needed. I brought my dark ikea cube shelves with me and have made an effort to keep all things sewing related within it, but I’ve slowly needed more space. I now have 3 baskets in other areas of the condo that are also filled with fabric, plastic project boxes under the bed, a bag of Anna Maria Horner scraps in the closest, my dress form and ironing board in the laundry room and a basket full of WIPs on top of my dresser. I really need to use the fabric I already own to try and get all things sewing related back to the one cabinet!

I’m turning a lot of these goals into my 2018 Make Nine which I’ll post about soon so stay tuned.

Happy New Year!