Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Blog Page

For those of you interested in participating in the Four Seasons Quilt Swap (FSQS-fall), I have established a separate blog page: http://fourseasonsquiltswap.blogspot.com/

All future updates and information will be posted here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Four Seasons Quilt Swap - Quilters & Sewers WANTED!!

I have been so intrigued with the blog swaps I have seen lately that I am soliciting sewers and quilters for another. I have canvased other swap lists to formulate an initial list of crafty people to whom this link was sent. I've seen your work and it's awesome. The creativity is beyond my imagination. I hope this project is something you all will consider.

About me...I will coordinate the project. I have sewed since I was a girl (ahhh, dare I say 30+ years), and made quilts for the last 20 years. I have dabbled in many creative endeavors from scrapbooking to embroidery to smocking as well. As an engineer in my pre-momma days, I have the organization to keep a project going and to get it completed. Being a mom hasn't stiffled my sewing & quilting; I just lost the room I used to use due to baby #3. As my hubby says, I don't need a sewing room since the dining room has been converted with cloth. Just this year I have completed 25 quilts for Project Linus, and several quilt tops awaiting quilting.

Here's what I propose for the first swap...
This is the Four Seasons Swap. If all goes smoothly, over the next year we can collectively create a quilted project for each season. With Summer approaching it's end soon, let's begin with Fall.

Create a doll-sized quilt depicting your interpretation of fall. There are no design guidlines; use your imagination and you cannot go wrong. Keep the size between 12" x 12" and 18" x 18", with rectangular or square being OK. It may be for a wall or for a table (as in a runner or centerpiece). Please use prewashed cotton or cotton blend materials if possible. Embellishment with anything that sews on is great (ie., trims, ric-rac, buttons). Please no glue though. Specify to your swap partner how quilt should be washed. The back of your quilt should include a personalized label with the name you selected four your Fall quilt, the date and your name, at a minimum. The quilt top may be pieced, applique, or whatever floats your boat. Consider possibly a pieced quilt in fall colors, or something depicting fall, or a quilt for one of the fall holidays, OR WHATEVER SAYS "FALL" TO YOU!

August 18, 2007 - The deadline to commit to the swap challenge. The quilt must be completed by September 30, 2007 and mailed to your swap partner. Depending on the response, the registration may close.

If you are interested, email me
msolomo1@maine.rr.com . Please include your full name, mailing address, blog URL if you have one and whether you are willing to ship internationally. Note: your last name & address will not be given on the internet, only to your swap partner. I encourage you all to indicate some of your preferences to style and color so that you may be matched with an appropriate partner - both in what you like to make & what you like to receive. If you do not have preference and would rather be surprised, that is great too. By August 27, I will email each of you with your swap partner's information & quilt requests. I encourage you to post pictures of your quilts on your blog, as the person that you are making it for will not know who you are until it is mailed/received. I will also set up a group share on a photo site for these pictures to be viewed.

I encourage all of you to please spread the word about this to friends & family you may know that may be interested.
Please note I will be on vacation August 18-25, and will NOT be email accessible.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Making a Smocked Holiday Dress, Part II

OK, this may be a little out of order. I haven't yet got pictures of how I take the rectangular smocked panel and make it into a bodice front. Patience...I will ge there. But I think you can see how a piece of the checked material is attached atop the piping. Then I go to the "actual" McCalls pattern and mark where the smocking will be cut. Not until I do a couple rows of tight machine stitching (small zig zag) over this line, do I actually cut through the smocking. I added a lightweight cranberry bodice facing and piping around the neckline. The sleeves are finished with a narrow rolled edge hem like would be used on a quilt binding. A one-inch, interfaced button placket runs the entire length of the dress. That still needs to be added.

Poor quality picture - this is the actual dress material which is underneath the pinnafore. You can see how the greens in the smocking coordinate nicely. I have also added a narrow green piping on this dress. Again, more and better pictures soon. The dress does not have sleeves and collar yet!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Motto for the Day

No one actually expects the stamp collector to mail letters with his stamps. No one expects the coin collector to use his coins in a vending machine to buy a soda. So why does everyone expect me to use my fabric collection to actually sew something?

I am not a fabric-aholic. I am a fabric collector!

Btw... thanks mom for the fishy quilt fabric this week. You too, Debby for all the many scraps!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making a Holiday Smocked Dress

I'm making a smocked holiday dress for somebody. It's this dress. It's got cute ruffles, eyelet and smocking.

I chose a 100% cotton pink/red searsucker plaid for the pinnafore from this store. I did the last project with a 50/50 searsucker, and clearly like the lack of wrinkle better, but this resembles candy-cane so it'll be cute.

Step one...
Cut 2 bodice fronts. They're just rectangular pieces with a width 3 times the max bodice width and length from mid chest to knee. They're 3:1 ratio for the smocking. Don't know if it's easy to see, but next step is to draw gather threads every half inch or so. I should get a real pleater machine if I do much more of this! This step is quite time consuming, but given the cost of pleaters, does a decent job. Just have to be very consistent to make each pleated row the same.

Step 2...
Draw gathers to desired 7" width and knot off each row.
This next frame shows where I actally started the first row of smocking too.

Voila! The first panel is finished (there are two, ah!...). It's a little free-form...no pattern used. It has highlights of the kiwi green that is in the dress material. Haven't uploaded a shot of that yet! I am also adding bullion knots (or eventually flowers) in deep red. She showed me how - her smocking is GORGEOUS!! Thanks!

Step 4... I made a mini-piping to put at the top of the bodice where it attaches to the upper bodice. Apparently I haven't a picture of that step.
Stay tuned...

Monday, July 02, 2007

A First Party Dress

A Party dress for Sophie...

I'm making a dress for her 1st birthday. I used to sew a lot more clothing than I do now. I was frugal; who needed to spend $50 buying something that I could make from nicer material for $15-20. Then I got a high paying job and money was often more trivial than my time.

Different world now. No extra cash. Lots of time (ha ha)...in between watching the 3 kids that is.

The lavendar dress was done 6 years ago for my neice Alyssa. It was my first attempt at smocking & making clothing for something very tiny. Those little sleeves are challenging for large fingers. None the less, I think, despite the lousy picture quality, it was nice for my 1st attempt. My daughter looked so cute in it when it got handed down to us to wear, that I decided I wanted to make something special for her. I have made fleece suits for my boys, but those are easier. Use the serger, nothing is too fitted or detailed. No glory in the outcome either.

Sophie's dress is close to finished. It lacks one sleeve (fabric is re-ordered because I underestimeated needing to make 4 sleeves before I got it right!). It is hand smocked, and that part is gorgeous. Hope the closeup does it justice. Yoke and skirt front are all one piece. Collar is Egyptian cotton and has a lovely sheen. Also added fancy scalloped stitching. Should interface better next time. The skirt has 2 pleats and is nearly 55" around. There is an ivory cotton underskirt with 2.5" lace all around it. Very fancy!

I can hardly wait to start on one for her for Christmas...