Drawstring Quilt

My family and I recently visited my brother and his family in Hawaii. My brother and his wife were super-hosts and planned such a great visit for us. I wanted to take a gift and decided on a quilt for my two sweet nephews.  Over the past year or so, I collected i-spy charms – 5-inch squares of novelty fabrics. Most were found and purchased on Instagram via the #thegreatfabricdestash hashtag.  I may have purchased a few on etsy.  The remainder of the fabrics were in my stash or were picked up as remnants here and there. There are at least eight Heather Ross in here. Her little animals and images are perfect for i-spy.

drawstring quilt
Drawstring Quilt : Rainbow i-spy style!

Rather than make a standard quilt, I used the Drawstring Quilt pattern by Tales of Cloth. This is a great pattern with a clever binding method that adds a drawstring casing around the perimeter.  The quilt is perfect to use a playmat or a picnic blanket that can be cinched up and taken along as a bag, toys and all. The instructions were detailed, clear and easy to follow. The included pictures were very helpful, especially for the binding steps.   The pattern makes a hexagon quilt using strips, but was easily tweaked to use charm squares.  My layout kept growing and growing and eventually became a fairly large octagon.

i-spy drawstring quilt
For the drawstrings and backing, I used Essex yarn dyed linen blend by Robert Kaufman. I love the durability and stain-hiding that the Essex adds, especially since this quilt will likely be used outside.
drawstring quilt
The binding is a new favorite of mine – tiny black and white stripes set on the bias. It’s from the First Crush collection by Sweetwater for Moda fabrics.  I’m glad a have another yard for future projects.
i-spy quilt

Choosing the fabrics (and raiding my stash for more), tweaking the color gradient, and then endlessly swapping and moving squares around was so fun.  I can’t count how many times the layout changed.  My girls and I loved playing i-spy along the way.  I can now easily point out every marble, elephant, piece of sushi, and sunglass-wearing pig on this quilt!! The good news is, I still have plenty of i-spy charms left to play again and make more quilts!


Quick Kid Projects

For Christmas, I made these Composition Book Covers for my daughter and niece using two fabrics from Amy Butler’s Love collection. I just winged the pattern based on the book measurements. If you look closely you’ll notice that I sewed the pencil pouch upside down on my daughter’s! No worries, it still holds the pencil snugly. This fleece robe is from New Look 6847, a versatile patttern, with options for unisex kids robe and pajamas (woven bottoms and knit tops). So far, I have only sewn the robe pattern.The fleece was chosen by my daughter at our local Hancock Fabric. I let her choose anything she wanted (but did strategically steer her away from the licensed character prints!). I have found that fleece is so easy to work with. Fleece edges don’t fray, so for the pockets, I just pinked the edges and topstitched the pockets right onto the robe. When sewing with fleece, I have used a regular straight stitch, although I’ve read that a stretch stitch is best. Rather than make loops to hold the belt, I just stitched it right to the back of the robe. One of my robes is finished this way and it makes so much sense, rather than always matching the belt to the robe after laundering or constantly rethreading the belt through the loops…especially for a little person.

Pillows in Amy Butler

I made these pillows for my mother-in-law for Christmas. They were well overdue as she picked out the fabric from my stash last Christmas! The design is similar to the pillows I made for our family room in late 2009.

Other than the brown linen, all of the fabrics are Amy Butler from my stash – the main fabric is Geisha Fans in Clay (Lotus Collection), the accent is Seeds in Okra (Belle Collection) and the stripe is Oxford Stripe (Lotus Collection).

Coloring Wallets

These coloring wallets were made at a friend’s request. She is gifting them to her nieces for Christmas. The design is a basic crayon roll enlarged to hold colored pencils or markers and with a pocket to hold a standard size scratch pad. I love the interior fabric, Always Peace by Michael Miller, designed to look like doodling on notebook paper. The main exterior fabrics are both from Amy Butler.

Apron in cotton lawn

My daughter outgrew her apron so a new one on my to-do list. Initially, I chose a “kiddie” fabric, but she grabbed this floral from my stash instead (“because it has pink”). Her choice worked for me, because this fabric was purchased with the intent of making a vintage-styled apron. This cotton lawn (from JoAnn’s red-tag area for $1/yd!) reminds me of something I might have found in my great-grandma’s kitchen! I love the feel of the lawn.

I used McCalls 5551, View A. This pattern is nice as it contains patterns for several different style aprons in kid and adult sizes. I also used this to help size the recent soccer apron. I cut out a size 6-7 thinking my daughter can wear it for several years. I was right….the apron nearly fits me! I can actually fold the bib portion over and wear it comfortably as a hostess apron. The pattern calls for lace trim, but I used magenta ric rac to add even more vintage feel. Here you see the apron being put to use. You can also tell it is plenty big for my four year old. Conveniently, the fabric matches perfectly with her new slipper boots from Grandma 🙂

Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules

I made the Puppet Theatre from Bend the Rules Sewing as a Christmas gift for my daughter. I also gave her an animal puppet-making kit (picked up at Michaels a year or so ago). The colorful puppets paired well with the Puppet Theatre and led to a hilarious puppet show on Christmas day with my sister, mom, daughter and me as the puppetmasters. It was one of those priceless moments that only happen with a little one around! I deviated from the book instructions slightly, because I didn’t use cuts of fabric. The main fabric with large circles is a nursery curtain panel and the white fabric with small dots is a coordinating crib sheet. Both are from Dwell Studio for Target. I lucked out and found these on a clearance endcap for $5 each because they were an internet return. I love the colors and happy dots! As a side note, if you are in the market for nursery linens, these are great quality – soft, smooth cottons. The curtains are fully lined, too.

The pattern and instructions for this project are straightforward. I suggest planning to make this over a few days. Sewing all of those long straight seams gets tedious 🙂 To make the project go a bit faster, you could leave off the ball trim and even skip the valances. I don’t know if using the curtain panel was a shortcut or not. It did save me from hemming the bottom, making a casing for the tension rod and hemming one side. On the other hand, it added a few steps adding pieces to create the window.

All of the white there in the middle section is feeling a little boring to me, so I may cut out some of the large dots and applique on the bottom valance.
Since my 63″x44 curtain panel was wider and shorter than the main fabric piece that the instructions call for, I had to make a few adjustments:
  • I cut about 1o inches off the side and hemmed to the book measurements (give or take). (the ten inches I cut off should work well to make the storage case.)
  • Then I cut the curtain into two separate pieces, across the width about 14 inches down from the top edge. I hemmed the top piece. I left the edges raw on the bottom piece.
  • From the crib sheet, I cutoff the elastic/casing off to create a flat piece of the white dot fabric. (I saved the elastic/casing…I’m sure I can use it later at some point.)
  • From the white dot fabric, I then cut two rectangles measuring 8″x16″and hemmed the long sides of each rectangle. I also cut my valances from this fabric.
  • I attached the bottom valance to the bottom piece of the main panel (and enclosed the raw edges) using double fold bias tape in blue.
  • Next, I sewed the short sides of each 8″x16″ rectangle to the far ends of the two main panel pieces to create a “window”.
  • From this point I just followed the book directions for finishing.

That lengthy explanation may make a straightforward process seem more complicated than it really is, but it might help someone!

Note that in these photos, the dowels are not inserted (they still need to be cut down to size), so the opening appears droopy. When the dowels are in place, the panel and window are nicely squared up.

Soccer Apron

This apron is for my co-worker’s niece. I loosely used McCalls 5551 for the sizing and made a Kids 10-12. The pattern includes three or four different apron styles with kids and adults sizes. The soccer prints are from Robert Kaufman. The main fabric is a black and white cotton gingham.

I have a knack for making the simplest projects complex…and time consuming. Because the gingham is so thin, I had to make the apron two thicknesses. I basically made two aprons, joined them right-sides-together and turned right side out. In the end the apron is reversible.

This is actually the second version of the apron skirt. Initially, I made a gathered skirt. It was so cute and worked well with the thin gingham…but I had to consider the gift recipient who was described to me as a “tomboy” who wouldn’t want anything too girly. I decided the gathers (combined with all the pink) pushed the apron into girly-overload. They had to go. I made the neck strap adjustable by using two d-rings.