"not quilting"

Stowe Bag - for my Ballet Boy

Stowe Bag Grainline Studios

There is a Ballet Boy in my house. I often describe the same boy as awake or asleep. He’s never had grumpy, only happy or miserable. And he is almost never quiet if he is awake. A natural extrovert he loves to entertain and relishes a spotlight. He is almost perfect, but more than a little exhausting some days. So I was pleasantly surprised (and full of Mama pride) when my girls said they wanted to make him a bag for his ballet stuff as a Christmas present.

I picked the pattern - easy enough for them to sew but practical. The Stowe Bag from Grainline Studios is technically designed as a project bag, more for knitters. But it is just the right size for my Ballet Boy. And seemed to be an easy sew for the girls - with my supervision. They picked the fabrics. It was hard, I will admit, to let go of the green Marimekko but fabric has more value in use than on a shelf.

Granline Studios Stowe Bag

We made the bag in two sessions. I cut the fabric and they got everything prepped and the basics sewn. Then we finished off with the bias tape the next day. It was miraculously done in time for Christmas morning.

As expected the appreciation of the bag was lost on Christmas morning in the face of a Connor McDavid jersey and new Lego. But it’s been in steady use ever since. He takes it to each practice, it carrried his uniform to a gala event where he had a major solo, and it remains perfect in every way. Just like him.

The Blue Gala
Hattori Williamson Ballet

An aside: I could not recommend his ballet school any more highly. He is getting amazing opportunities, the families are wonderful, and his teachers - all former professionals - are incredible and kind.

Pattern notes:

We made the small size.

Pockets ended up being pointless. We did change the seaming to make more sense for things like holding his glasses case and slippers, but they just flop open. Would skip those next time.

We skipped steps 13 and 14 of the pattern because I mistakenly thought that was the bottom gusset creation which we determined we didn’t need. I might go back and do those steps.

Our bias tape is bigger than the pattern specifies. We were on a deadline and this one was in the stash, already made.

Patchwork Sleep Sac with Voile and Anna Maria Horner

Patchwork Sleep Sac

What do you give your best friend when her fourth kid is born, another friend is making and giving her the first quilt she ever made, and she is the type of person who hates extra stuff in her house? That was the challenge I had recently. I did not want to usurp our other friend's efforts nor did I want to contribute to the accumulation of baby stuff, but I still wanted to make something. In the end, I settled on the Sleep Sac from Anna Maria Horner's lovely book, Handmade Beginnings.

Anna Maria Horner Handmade Beginnings

With no flannel in the stash for the inside I went shopping. Then I went through my voile stash to make the patchwork front. It was a family effort. My kidlets worked on the layout of the patchwork and helped press as we go. This is the softest thing ever!

Conveniently, I had some bias binding in the pink already made. When Anna Maria's instructions suggested finishing it by hand like a quilt binding I decided to up my game. Some big stitches in beautiful Valdani floss instead. (Note to self, do that more often.)

Hand Stitched Binding with Valdani Thread

Next time I give this gift - there will totally be a next time - I would add about 3'' in length to the pattern. The new baby is 6 weeks old and nearly too long for this. It's also possible I will be making a second version for her. If not, her stuffies or dolls will be very cuddly in the future. 

Everyday Skirt in Juxtaposey by Betz White

Every day skirt by Liesl and Co.

Don't mind me, I'm just over here pretending it is spring.  Despite the recent snow on the ground I am feeling decidedly spring-like in my new skirt. Betz White's new fabric for Riley Blake, Juxtaposey, is the perfect fit for this time of year. The Everyday skirt by Liesl and Co is also a perfect fit for me. As soon as I saw the fabric and Betz asked if I wanted to play with it I knew these two beauties would be perfect for each other.

It is wonderful to see Betz White designing fabric again. She has a really strong, interesting sense of colour. Between her ornament patterns, eco-throws, and bags she also has a great eye for what looks good. 

Juxtaposey calls on textile design from around the world. Betz brings together motifs from different traditions, highlights her love of wool in the collection itself and with the llama featured throughout. It is one of those fabric lines with something for everyone. This floral immediately called out to me. 

Juxtaposey by Betz White for  Riley Blake

I will admit, I was hesitant about using quilting cotton with this Everyday Skirt pattern. I've only ever made it with rayon. As my butt is already big, would the gathers of the waist make it worse? Turns out, nope. That's because my butt is already big. The not a full skirt, not an a-line of this pattern just seems to work for me.

If it would ever stop snowing I will happily put this skirt into heavy rotation in my spring and summer wardrobe. My daughter asked for one as well. I'm all for cute, but that's a bit much! No, Juxtaposey is all mine. Well, at least in this house. You can get it yourself in stores now.

Every Day in Juxtaposey Fabric

Disclosure: Riley Blake provided me with the fabric to make this skirt. I purchased the Every Day Skirt pattern myself from The Workroom.

 

Tag Collection Makers Panel Plus Free Craft and Play Apron Pattern

Tag Collection Makers Panel from Connecting Threads

It feels like all I am doing here lately is hustling. Buy my fabric! Look what I made that you can make too! I promise, I am more than that. There is creating for the sake of creating happening. Just not much to report on yet. In the meantime... look what I made that you can buy!

As a partner to my Tag fabric collection I created a couple of fun panels. These are actually the colours I'd intended for the entire collection, but we made the switch to black and white during the process. Despite that, this panel was still destined for printing. I am so happy about that.

The message on the big panel is open to interpretation.

Make, Every Single Day

Make Every Single Day... Count... Beautiful... Funny

Make. Every. Single. Day

Whatever you like, however you want to use it. The coloured section is almost 20'' square. I've made it a pillow here, I've sewn it into a quilt that I still need to share with you. It would make an excellent tote bag (on my list). But wait, there is more!

Makers Panel Tag Collection from Connecting Threads

This is the rest of the panel. Four smaller versions with some fundamental quilting terms and two of my favourites - alliteration and Play! These panels come in close to 8'' square, bigger if you include some white space. I see these are small wrapped canvasses, the centers of improv log cabins, pockets... endless possibilities.

Speaking of pockets, I used a few of these on a new apron pattern. 

Craft and Play Apron

The pattern for the Craft and Play Apron is free! Something fun, super easy to make, and it takes advantage of those cool panels. But really, you could use any fabric you like. My beautiful friend G is modelling for me here, but I've been wearing my own apron while sewing. It keeps things rather close by. And for those of you that do craft shows, it would be perfect!

Download the pattern for free from Connecting Threads or Craftsy. Not everything is for sale. This is my treat for you!