Monthly Archives: January 2013

My First Quilt is Finished!

I finished my first quilt!  It’s been a long time coming (10 years) and a big sewing milestone for me.  This quilt has quite a story.  It is the very first quilt I started years ago with my mom as a surprise Christmas present for my best friend.  Let me emphasize:  first quilt and surprise present.  No pressure.

Yellow Brick Road Quilt

You see, my best friend is a fine artist.  She had taken me to a stained glass supply warehouse to pick out a few small sheets (around 8″ x 8″) of art glass for a surprise project she was making me for Christmas.  I had no idea what she was making, but it seemed she was setting the bar high.

Yellow Brick Road Quilt

My mom had recently gotten into quilting and I was home on Winter Break from college, so I thought it would be a great time to learn how to quilt with my mom and make a memorable gift for my friend!  My mom suggested the Yellow Brick Road quilt pattern.  It comes together quickly and the piecing is random, so it’s good for beginners.  After picking out fabric at the quilt store, cutting my pieces, and sewing my blocks, I started to have second thoughts. Quilting is a lot of work… and I didn’t even let her pick out the fabric like she did for me with the art glass.  I like the fabric, but will she?  Time out!

I decided to tell my friend my plan and let her pick out her own fabric and start over.  All was well in the end – she loved the quilt!  How exactly it all gone done in time is a little foggy.  With the time crunch toward the end due to starting over, I think I received a little extra help from Mom with the quilting and binding.  Somehow I don’t have any photos of that completed quilt.

Fast forward to January 2013 and the first quilt I ever started is officially finished!

Yellow Brick Road Quilt whole front

Yellow Brick Road Quilt back FMQ stitches

The back: Stitch in the ditch and echo quilting on the blocks. A few rows of a specialty stich for the border.

Yellow Brick Road Quilt

I’ll save the stories of the trials and tribulations of finishing this quilt 10 years after its beginning for another post.  Today I’m happy it’s a completed project I can enjoy!

What was the surprise my friend made (with the help of her handy dad)?  This amazing walnut nightstand with illuminated stained glass top!  Yea, she’s pretty great.

Stained glass nightstand     Stained glass nightstand top

Sewing Year in Review 2012

One of my goals for 2012 was to get back into sewing, crafting, and creating things in general.  In February my mom surprised me with a brand new Bernina 330 from my local sewing studio, Modern Domestic.  I had a renewed sense of motivation, and no excuses.

March – Mason Jar Sewing Kit & Pom Pom Necklace

DIY Gifts

My best friend’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day, so I jumped in with some DIY Gift projects I spotted on Pinterest.  She had recently bought her first sewing machine, so I thought of her when I saw this Mason Jar Sewing Kit Tutorial.  I also found this Mason Jar Pincushion Tutorial helpful.

I referenced this Pom Pom Necklace Tutorial for the second part of her gift (and made one for myself!).  Instead of using an old necklace, I was actually able to find a cabochon style jewelry setting and chain at Collage, a local craft supply store.

Mason Jar Sewing Kit Pom Pom Necklaces

May – Lampshade Recover and Beginner Blouse Class

I inherited a lamp from my grandma that has a small floral scroll design in the white ceramic base that I just love, along with the shape.  The shade was disintegrated so much that I couldn’t even use it as a template to make a new one.  This was a whole new territory for me, but once again found some tutorials and resources online (while surprisingly sparse) to give me ideas and paved my own way through this unique lampshade recovering project.  I wanted it to be a modern mix of new and old, and wanted a fabric that would give me some flexibility if I didn’t get it on there straight.  While I found some geometric prints that I really loved, I went with this print of random turquoise lines on white (Wired in Tears, Rendezvous by Khristian A Howell for Anthology Fabrics).  I learned a lot in the process and am really happy with the finished result!

Lampshade Recover

I also took my first clothing class at Modern Domestic.  The Beginner Blouse class used the ModKid Kyoko Misses’ pattern and was really easy to follow with our teacher Erica’s instruction.  I choose a lightweight voile for summer wear, but it does need a tank underneath.  The belt above the waist is from a different pair of pants.  I had to make some adjustments in the bust, but would be interested in how this would come out with a knit for more give across the back and shoulders.

Beginner Blouse

June – Favorite Things Skirts

With the warm summer months I noticed I was lacking skirts in my wardrobe.  I wanted a quick easy pattern so I could start wearing it right way.  A neutral fabric would be best, so of course I came home with this bright summer ikat print!  In usual Amanda fashion, I made this project harder than it needed to be — matching up the print with each of the 8 panels that make the skirt.  Next up, a more neutral version, in tiny multi-colored polka dots on navy!  I used the basic Favorite Things Skirt pattern for these.

Favorite Things Ikat Skirt Favorite Things Polka Dot Skirt

July – T-shirt Class

The T-shirt Class at Modern Domestic came at perfect timing for me and my interest in sewing with knits (without needing a serger, a whole different kind of sewing machine).  This class used the Jalie 2805 pattern, and I could not be happier with how this t-shirt came out!  It’s a great cut for me and I love the professional looking neckline.  I’d really like to make more but am cautious of going into knit t-shirt overload — they’re so easy to make!

Knit Tshirt Knit Tshirt Knit Tshirt

August – Colette Sorbetto Blouse

In August I thought I’d try the free downloadable Sorbetto pattern from Colette that so many have been successful with.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem the shape is right for me — too wide and too short.  It hangs like a tent and without even being hemmed it sits right on my natural waist.  For now it hangs in my closet unhemmed until I can figure out what to do with it to make it wearable.

Sorbetto Blouse

November & December – Yellow Brick Road Quilt

I started my very first quilt years ago with my Mom.  It was to be a Christmas gift for my best friend — and a secret!  I picked out the fabric and began sewing, and then I got worried that I had picked out fabric that I really liked instead of what she’d prefer…  So I decided maybe it’d be better if she picked out the fabric.  That “Round 2” quilt was completed and had a happy ending, but the first quilt sat in my Mom’s sewing room for years and years — until 2012!  I just finished hand sewing the binding, so technically it’s a finished quilt, but have decided to do some additional quilting on the quilt blocks.  It wasn’t without some trials and tribulations (read: bleeding red fabric, switching to a different border fabric at the last minute, starting the quilting with a specialty stitch on a machine 3,000 miles away), but I’m happy to say it’s done.  Much like the proud, euphoric feeling after finishing a big race (e.g. half marathon), I’m beginning to think of the next quilt I can make. Full quilt photos to come when it’s all officially, officially finished!

Yellow Brick Road Quilt

I also went to the May and December Crafty Wonderland Fair which provided a lot of creative inspiration and was just a ton of fun to walk around all of the booths.  I highly recommend going.

Here’s to creating, crafting, and sewing more things in 2013!