My year in quilting

 

Jellyroll race quilt - quilting in progress

This year has been all about quilting for me.  I’ve been really enjoying participating in the Cambridge Modern Quilt Guild, which is full of extremely talented quilt artists.  And I do not use the word artist lightly!  My work is total amateur hour compared to many of these quilters.  With that said, I’ve been learning a lot and thoroughly enjoying the process.  Here are the highlights of my quilting progress since January or so. Continue reading

Aqueduct Quilt – finished!

Aqueduct Quilt - finished

My Aqueduct Quilt is finally finished, hooray!  This was a really fun and rewarding project, from the initial sketches through fabric selection, piecing, and quilting.  It took me about nine months from start to finish (with a long period of inactivity in the middle), but I’m glad I persevered and finally finished it.

You can read all about the design and sewing process in my series of in-progress posts.

And now, onto the photos!

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Carolyn Pajamas in railroad denim

Carolyn Pajamas in railroad denim - finished

It should be no surprise to anyone reading this blog that I enjoy sewing the same pattern over and over (and over…) again.  What can I say?  Once I go through the trouble of tracing, muslining, and adjusting a pattern, I like to get as much mileage out of it as possible.  Plus, there’s just something so satisfying about starting a project without all the fuss of fitting – just cut and sew.

So, here I present to you yet another pair of Carolyn Pajamas, this time in short sleeves and shorts for the upcoming spring and summer months.  The main fabric is a railroad denim that had been marinating in my mini-stash for over a year.  Since I don’t stash fabric, the fact that this piece had not yet been put to good use was driving me crazy.  It was one of only 2 uncut pieces of fabric that I currently own, and it was long overdue for its time at the sewing machine.  I had originally bought it to make a pair of pants, but I recently changed my mind and decided to use it for PJs instead.  Done and done!

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More flannel Carolyn Pajamas

Flannel Carolyn Pajama shorts - finished project

I sewed something!  Can you believe it?  I can barely believe it myself.  🙂  This is a pair of Carolyn Pajama shorts using the leftover flannel from my winter PJ set, which has been getting plenty of wear over the last few months.  I had just a bit (maybe 3/4 yard?) of fabric leftover and wanted to put it to good use.  Plus, this was a quick and easy project to lure me back into the sewing vortex after my unexpected and much too long hiatus.  (I’m wearing it with a hacked Renfrew tee that I made last summer, which has also gotten a ton of wear.)

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Carolyn sews the Carolyn Pajamas – finished!

Carolyn Pajamas in Shetland Flannel - finished

Winter is coming, and now I have a cozy new pair of flannel pajamas to enjoy the cold weather in style!  I never thought it would take me over three months to complete this project, but if life is going to get all up in my grill, the least it can do is give me a new pair of fancy PJs in the process.  🙂  I chose gender-neutral colors for this project since I still plan on making matching PJs for my boyfriend – stay tuned for that awesomeness!  For now though, let’s talk about this set that’s mine, all mine!

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Sarrouel Trousers in Loominous

Sarrouel Trousers in Loominous - finished

Damn right folks, I made another glorious pair of Sarrouel Trousers (aka #diapershorts), and I freaking love them!  I don’t know what it is about this crazy style, but I am totally enamored with these shorts.  They’re weird, they’re unflattering, but they’re so much fun to sew and wear.  I think the reason I love them so much is **because** they’re so unusual and non-traditional.  I spend so much of the year bundled up in boring old jeans and layers upon layers of sweaters that I find it really fun and exciting to wear something different for a change.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve already worn these out and about on the streets of Boston and for a full day of work at the university… and no one said a thing.  Really folks, no one cares what you’re wearing, so wear whatever makes you happy!  My floral rayon pair has become my favorite summer garment and probably my favorite thing I’ve sewn all year, and I wear them with pride on a regular basis.  I’m so glad I now have another crazy pair to add to the rotation.  🙂

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Three simple summer tops

Three simple summer tops

My streak of extremely simple projects continues!  This summer I found myself in desperate need of simple tops to wear to work.  I wanted all the following characteristics:

  • Short sleeves, since I always seem to get cold in sleeveless tops in air conditioned buildings.
  • Low enough neckline to be comfortable, but high enough that I won’t have to worry about flashing anyone.
  • Relaxed enough fit to not have to worry about showing off a full stomach, but close fitting enough to still be flattering.
  • Must be made of 100% cotton (to survive the 1-mile, often very sweaty, walk into work) and knit fabric (for comfort when moving around all day).

Ah work, you kill me!  So many requirements!  Of course, these are all self-imposed requirements, but they limit the available design options a bit.  I hemmed and hawed over what to do, and I finally decided on simple t-shirts, modifying my already-heavily-modified Renfrew pattern to fulfill my list of demands.  It was a good excuse to make a few fitting changes that I had been putting off, most notably a broad back adjustment.

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Lace and floral undies

So Zo undies with lace and florals - front

Another pair of pretty underthings to add to my collection!  As sewing time and mental agility have both been low lately, I wanted a fun, quick project to make the best of a few free hours this weekend.  After reading this bra-making post over at the Sewcialist blog while drinking my coffee this morning, I decided that something feminine and lacy was in order.  And besides, it’s lingerie month!  I still haven’t hopped on the bra-making bandwagon, but handmade undies hold a special place in my heart… err, lingerie drawer.  This pair of So Zo undies is very similar to my previous pair, with a few minor tweaks to improve the fit and durability.  In other words, I learned from my mistakes last time.  🙂

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Mis-proportioned cowl-neck top

Pink cowl-neck top - collar detail

Today I have a moderately successful project to share with you – a good idea in theory, but unfortunately met with poor execution.  I think my “dissertation brain” is starting to throw off my sewing, as I’ve been diving head first into projects lately without my usual level of prior thought, research, etc.  I can’t help but be reminded of the old adage, “measure twice, cut once.”  Lately I feel like I haven’t been doing any measuring at all, just cutting with abandon!

Here was my plan for this project, a simple knit top for summer:

  • Start with my modified Renfrew pattern
  • Add mini sleeve bands that I drafted last summer
  • Draft a drapey cowl-neck
  • Omit the hem band and add a shirttail hem instead

I thought this combo would make a fun little summer top to pair with skirts and shorts, but instead I wound up with a wrinkly and ill-proportioned mess!

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So Zo undies with lace waistband

So Zo undies with lace - finished

My adventures in sewing lingerie continue!  I haven’t yet taken the plunge into bra-making like much of the online sewing community, but I’ve sewn plenty of handmade undies and swear by them.  The latest addition to my lingerie drawer is a somewhat fancier pair of So Zo undies, my go-to pattern for comfortable, well-fitting, and flattering (seriously!) underwear.  The pattern is free and easy to use – check it out if you haven’t already!

So far I’ve only used cotton jersey and fold-over elastic (FOE) for my handmade undies, which is a great combo for everyday wear, but let’s face it, not all that exciting.  This time, I wanted to try a somewhat elevated version with different materials, both to inject a little excitement into my handmade lingerie wardrobe and also to learn how to sew with new-to-me elastics and trims.

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