Friday, March 16, 2018

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Lots of Little Dresses...

Hi, all!

Friday has rolled around again!  How is daylight savings time treating you?  I seem to be doing better with it this year than in the past - although I'm still revved up at bedtime, and start a little slower in the morning.  Here's to productivity, though - I do feel like I have a bit more energy and that translates to more sewing!   That means that it's time for us to get our whoop whoop on, so let's get started!


Did you know that it's very hard to get a good photo on a windy day?  Unfortunately, I didn't have any little models on hand for these dresses, so I had to hang them on the clothesline to get a good photo, and the wind was not my friend!

These pillowcase dresses are heading to Haiti in June with our church's mission team.  As I was told by a blog reader, girls who are dressed in nice clothes are less likely to be abused, so not only will these brighten up their day, they will also help protect them!

They are super simple to make, and if you're interested, I wrote a tutorial so you can make some too!  I wish I had known how to make these when my girls were younger - they would have loved them!  Emmy is still pretty sure she wants to wear one, so I've made her one too.  I can't wait to get a picture of her in it!

I did manage to get one fairly well-behaved shot of all of the dresses - they look so cute up there together!  

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And just a reminder - there's still time to sign up for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge and be eligible for the sign-up giveaway (although you can still sign up after this week!).  Click here to go to the sign-up post for more info!


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you - 

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday -

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I May Have A Scrap Problem - You Can't Make Just One!

Hi, all!

OK, today's Scrappy Wednesday post is going to be a little different, but I still think it counts if you think of it as using up really big scraps, and leftover notions!  So here's a little tutorial...

This past weekend our church quilt ministry group decided to branch out a little bit and make pillowcase dresses for our church mission team to take to Haiti when they go in June.  Now, this was the first time I had ever made a pillowcase dress - and I can't believe it took me so long to learn to make these.  And once you've made one, you'll find it's hard to stop!  So let's get started...

First of all, you'll need a pillowcase.  If you don't have one, dig into those leftover one-yard pieces you have sitting in your stash for the following:

1 piece 40" x 27" (pillowcase body)
1 piece 40" x 9"   (pillowcase cuff)
1 piece 40" x 2"   (pillowcase trim)

When I cut these pieces, I usually cut a width-of-fabric strip of each fabric, then layer them on top of each other (fold the biggest one in half) with the folds on one side and the selvage edge on the other.  Measure 21" from the fold side and trim all the pieces at the same time, cutting off the selvage edge.  Now all your pieces are the same size!

Now it's time to go to the excellent pillowcase-making tutorial I found on the web.  I can't do any better than this one, so hop over here, put your pillowcase together, and come back to learn how to turn it into a dress!

First of all, fold your pillowcase in half lengthwise.  Cut off the seam end of the pillowcase.  You can adjust the length of your dress by how much you cut off.  We made twenty by just cutting off the seam itself, and this next batch, we will cut off three inches for smaller girls.  

Now, on the not-folded long side, you are going to mark your armholes.  Put your ruler on the corner, measuring four inches down and two inches in. Using pencil, mark from the edge to the 1" mark in both directions.  

Now freehand draw a curve between the ends of your two lines.

At this point, because I'm going to cut both armholes at the same time, I pin the fabric all together on the dress side of the line, then cut out the armholes.

Now, go look in that stash of notions you've got tucked away and find a package of bias binding tape.  I'm happy to say that we've worked through most of the stash of tape I have been hoarding for years!  You'll need about a yard of bias binding tape, either double or single fold.  If it's single fold, you'll need to fold it in half and press it.  

This is a piece of double fold bias tape.  Do you see how it's not quite evenly folded?  That's not laziness - that's intentional.  If you put the larger side on the back of what you are sewing, then you'll be sure to catch it when you sew the top side down.  Unless you feel really comfortable with finicky sewing, I suggest you use the medium width binding tape - the tiny stuff looks great, but it takes concentration to sew it down!  Of course, I don't pin mine, just stuff the raw edge in as I go, so maybe it wouldn't be quite as challenging with pins....

Once you've got your binding tape, stuff the raw edge of the armhole inside it (narrower side on top, remember?) and stitch it down close to the edge.  I like to use my walking foot for this - just personal preference - but you may find it makes it a little easier too.

See how nice that looks when it's done?  Once armholes are finished, it's time to take care of the remaining raw edges. 

Your next step will be to pick out your ribbon.  You'll need two pieces about 30-36" long.  I like 5/8"-3/4" wide grosgrain ribbon, but you can use almost anything - wider satin ribbon, or I've even seen people use shoelaces!  But whatever you use, you'll need to make your casing just slightly wider than your ribbon.  So now, let's make a casing for the ribbon to run through!  

First step - turn under 1/4" and press.  Then turn under enough to cover your ribbon - basically the width of your ribbon plus about 1/4".  You can probably eyeball that measurement, but if you're not sure, you can measure and pin it.  Press that also.

Now stitch close to the long edge of the casing, being sure to backstitch on both ends.  

Put a large safety pin through the end of one ribbon, and feed it through the casing on one side.  

Repeat for the other side, and tie the ribbons together on each side.

And look!  You've got a super-cute pillowcase dress!  Sure to make some little girl happy - I know my granddaughter spotted this one and decided it was hers!

Now here's the skinny - this dress used up three bits and bobs of fabric that had been sitting in my stash for a long time, plus part of a package of bias binding and a partial spool of ribbon from that monster tub in my closet.  And now it is useful and will make a little girl's heart sing!  And all in all, it took about an hour to make (including making the pillowcase!)  How's that for a little instant gratification?  And like I said, it's hard to make just one - you'll be looking for little girls to give these to just so you can make more!  



Monday, March 12, 2018

Make-A-List Monday - I Need My Hour Back!!

Hi, all!

Another week begins - and there is so much on my plate I'm not sure where to start!  And with daylight savings time, I lost an hour this week - and I want it back!  But as the song says, let's start at the very beginning.... First though, let's see how last week's list went.

1.  Press under all the edges of the arches for my Half and Half quilt, and start appliquéing them to the background.
Well, I managed to get all the edges pressed under, but didn't have time to start appliquéing them.  And with some new work coming in, it may be a while before I can finish this quilt.  They sure are pretty, though, aren't they?

2.  Meet with a new customer about a t-shirt quilt. 
(Graduation t-shirt season starts early around here, y'all!)
Done - and this is part of the reason I have to step away from my Half and Half quilt!  But it's all good.

3.  Start work on a quilt for a special occasion.
Done!  The top is finished, and I have everything I need to finish it off - just have to get to work on it! This is a pic from the back side - I love the way it looks like stained glass!

4.  Mail off two Heartbuilder quilts.
Done!  I'm building quite a relationship with the lady at the post office...

5.  Order fabric for several upcoming projects.
Done!  I ordered for four different projects, and I still need to locate one more piece!  It sure will be fun to get the mail this week...

6.  Pick a pattern for this month's scrap quilt.
Done!  I'm planning on using a lot of 2.5" squares to make a special (and big!) quilt - this one may take more than one month to make!

7.  Prep for this Saturday's Piece*Love*Quilt sewing day!
Done!  We had so much fun - we made some pillowcase dresses for our Haiti mission team to take with them when they go in June.  I'll be doing a tutorial on Wednesday's blog post to share how we made them.  Just look how cute they are!  We made twenty dresses on Saturday morning, and we'll probably make more in smaller sizes in the coming weeks.

8.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Done!  We only had one request this week, for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer.  This quilt top was made and donated by Gayle B - isn't it beautiful?  I'm sure it's going to brighten that woman's days for a long time to come...

One thing I forgot to do last week was to draw a winner for the scrap bundle giveaway for the final week of the Scrumptious Scraps quilt-along, so I'm going to do it now!

Anne Marie is the winner of that last bundle of scraps!  I'll be contacting her directly to get her snail mail address and send it out...

So all in all, not a bad week!  I cut up a LOT of scraps, too, which is good because I'm going to need them for my project.  Here's what's on tap for this week...

1.  Keep cutting up scraps and working on my March scrap project.

2.  Write and photograph a tutorial for the pillowcase dresses.

3.  Make the t-shirt quilt blocks.

3.  Sandwich and quilt the special occasion quilt.

4.  Administrative work on Hands2Help!  More about that in a minute...

5.  Cut out a new baby quilt (once the fabric arrives!)

6.  Start deconstructing an old quilt top to be remade for a friend.

7.  Clean up my studio a bit.  (I just saw films of a hoarder's house that burned down nearby and I am convicted that I need to clean up some of those stacks!)

8.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

That will definitely keep me out of trouble!  And I've got another quilt kit on the way for another commission job - so I've really got to get some of these projects in progress finished up this week!

And now about Hands2Help - if you missed it Sunday, it's sign-up week!  You can read all about the Challenge here, and join in the fun!  There's a giveaway for folks who sign up by this Saturday, too!  At the time I'm writing this, there are 117 people signed up already - woohoo!!!

Today, I saw this on Instagram, posted by one of this year's charities, Little Lambs Foundation for Kids.  It is a letter written by a child in foster care, and it certainly highlights the need of these kids.  I am so glad we chose this group as one of our charities this year....  

So now, the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?