Seamripper Lane

Alex Anderson once wrote an article in her Quilter’s Newsletter column about respecting the seamripping so much she wore a gold seamripper around her neck. I hated that article so much I still remember it ten years later. I hated it because I am a sloppy finisher. I love design, I am full of big ideas and aspirations, but like a child when it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time around I usually just settle for a variation of the crappy homemade look because I feel like “whee, I’m done, on to something else!” I’ve recently come to realize how I’ve been shooting myself in the foot. Just like the giant bed quilt I finally made from a pattern instead of designing as I go along and literally cutting corners to avoid too much time planning instead of actually running the sewing machine needle through fabric. So anyhow, this post is dedicated to Alex Anderson because working on a quilt for someone else from a pattern, I also made a mistake (either that or: the pattern I so diligently followed left out a snowball corners step on one of the long panels on the edge of the quilt) which absolutely required a small detour down Seamripper Lane. I was so darn pleased with myself when I was back on track and everything, including my matched fabric seam, was back in place looking lovely. (new photo to come) That wasn’t so bad, I thought, hey , it was even really just a new kind of handwork, I can do it while watching tv!

So now for the meat of my little post: I just completed my second seam-ripping project of the month! I am in a Pretty Little Pouch swap with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, renewing my love of the new “modern” quilting fabrics, thinking a lot about color and my grandmother’s modern quilting style, and making swap blocks for the flickr 3×6 swap 3x6 Bee(they call them online quilting bees or “hives” now, I think this name should be reserved for group quilting, for instance, what I would love to see VMQG invite participants to do at the Vancouver Maker Faire next month). And so I made a sampler pouch with very little pre-design: once again, my sew first, think later plan was back in full swing, I immediately improved pieced a few modern-looking panels and handquilted them in the border crossing lanes last weekend. I even used pearl cotton left over from the shibori scarf project from last month on one side! Then yesterday I tried to put them together using covered zipper ends from the flossie teacakes make-up bag tutorial but did I follow directions?

No! I failed to account for the length of my panels, the length of my zipper, and the final measurements of my french seams (final width exactly equal to the working length of the zipper). But I was really pleased with my zipper placement and catching the folded-over lining on the inside, so I proudly took a photo of that.

But after I finished the seams, it was lumpy and awfully and the zipper end was distorting down into the corner seam on one end. Ugh, I didn’t know what to do. Well, actually I did, I enjoyed two episodes of Community with the kids while I removed the tiniest seam stitches from the entire pouch, twice (french seams are double seams sewn in reverse sides of the finished product). Then, because I really can’t stand unfinished seams in bags and pillow cases, I kindly serged the edges.
Not bad, I can even use the bag now, but I think I know who its for…the lovely woman watching my girls tonight so I can go to the Vancouver Quilt Guild Meeting with all my silk tie blocks for the Maker Faire. Hooray, my favorite night of the month!

And fortunately I can at least discuss this at the upcoming meeting this evening because my lovely friend Trina just offered me and awesome childcare combo (yaaaay, I think I will give Trina my sampler pouch tonight). I know that living in Vancouver alone has contributed a lot to the last few months of prolific sewing…but it comes at a price and I have really come to cherish these monthly meetings. They are the best group therapy ever and I have felt really happy and welcome and not-at-all excluded for being not hip enough to be modern! I feel sad that I am preparing to move back to Seattle just as I was starting to connect and crawl out of my cave. Fortunately, I have already joined the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild and I am also reconnecting with several Seattle friends including my “quilty” friend Toni at! Dang it, that girl just invited me to Aprons for Haiti too – now I have to finish it to send off, I am never good at keeping my crafts!

I’ve bounced back from my year and have been very very busy with a big quilt, a baby quilt design in progress, a ridiculous apron I started making myself for mother’s day, several small quilt panels and appliques for unknown or possibly swappable projects, and have also discovered the flickr quilting community (what happened in a year, a whole new hipster quilting community sprang up around me and I missed it!) of “Modern” quilting and I am making up for lost time with lots of little mini projects. And oh yeah, big ones too, I hope to insert a photo of the big Izumi Pond quilt I’m making for our Girl Guide District Commissioner if I can get around to basting it this week: I am still missing the two signature squares that are preventing me from completing the back.

Weekend before the wedding

Okay, I made a mistake and started my new job a week too early. So I finally cut the first dress on Saturday.

Then I started sewing. I made a piping from the dress fabric to help with the neckline corners properly holding the lining inside. This looked so great, Ive never done piping before. Also I am glad I chose to hand sew this to the front and hand sew the closures at the top of the box pleats. Some seams are better sewn by hand. I intend to sew the lining to the neckline by hand as well. We don’t need to discuss my time management at this point, but so far it looks really good. I have extra ribbon for their hair as well.

Update 12/29/2009:  Just a quick photo to prove I finished them.  I finished handsewing the sleeves to the columns at 2am in our hotel room the night before the wedding after leaving Vancouver that morning with 4 unattached sleeves.  This is testament to the weird pleasure I derive from sewing to deadlines despite really being aware that this is only a hobby.  A very manic sort of hobby.  Unfortunately we only had iPhones at the wedding and we don’t have another photo yet.


Flowergirl muslins

Masquerade wedding mockup dresses phase 1 – I’ve completed all but the hem on the first version of these dresses, looks like Ive got a hem line shortening for the younger girl who’s an inch shorter and that’s it.

I also have pictured the gold synthetic fabric between the fabric for the mockup and the original gold I thought was too dark and I will now turn into a dress for myself.  I really like this fabric (the middle one) and I hope the bride does too.

Reconstructed strip skirts

Back view of 1 of two reconstructed blue jean skirts I made for the girls last week. Quinn chose the fabric one day and I added a few stash fabrics, after making one for an adult friend two years ago who still raves about it. The ruffle was an addition so I could use full width fat quarter strips cut in half (9″ without being too short). Hmm I have front view too, with bonus dog nose!

I am on a roll with this publishing method I tell you, no doubt more mediocre photos coming soon.