week 5

Gypsy Wife Progress

So far I have kept up with the weekly blocks for the Gypsy Wife Quilt sew a long, hosted by GnomeAngel (of course, it’s only been 3 weeks….).  I have no specific plan for this quilt at all! I am picking fabrics just based on my mood at the time I make the block.  This could be bad or it could end up being a really great quilt….time will tell, I suppose.  I am mostly using Cotton and Steel Basics (from a kit by PinkDoor Fabrics) and the new Alison Glass Chrome collection (from Oh Sew Modern Fabric Shop).

I am having a bit of trouble following the pattern, probably because of my inexperience.  The written pattern does half square triangles by cutting actual triangles and sewing them together.  This is different than how I taught myself to do them, so I am frustrated.  GnomeAngel has graciously given alternate directions using the HST method I am used to, but my brain is also having trouble with her instructions because she does not want to give too much information about what is in the original pattern, such as specific cutting measurements.  I totally understand that.  It would be inconsiderate to offer the exact measurements to someone that hasn’t purchased the original pattern.  However, I ended up cutting and re-cutting my fabric because I kept misinterpreting her instructions.  Obviously, that is my own fault, but I was so frustrated with the last block, I almost quit!  I could not understand the alternate cutting instructions completely and then I was too grumpy to try to understand the original pattern.  Time to take a break!!!  In the end, I am up to date on the blocks and I started on some filler blocks as well.  35(!!!) filler blocks will be needed in the near future, so I thought I better get ahead on those.  I probably will not be able to keep up with the weekly blocks for the next several weeks due to work requirements, so I will have a whirlwind finish at the end, I suppose!

week 5

Where did July go?

So somehow I missed July.  I actually wasn’t that busy at my job and I sewed a bunch, but it didn’t make it to the blog!  Ooops.

I was able to make several bags and wallets last month.  I won’t go into major details, but I’ll show off a few.  I made two Gingham Totes from the pattern out of Anna Graham’s book Handmade Style.  Both were made using Essex Linen.  The pitbull fabric is from Spoonflower and the sloths are Cotton and Steel that I have been hoarding for a bit.  Both of these were custom requests.


I also constructed a variation of her Trail Tote bag (I made a size that falls between the small and large for which she has instructions).  I actually made two of these as well.  One just because I felt compelled to use this kitty fabric and the other was a custom request.



As I head into August, I am beginning a two month stretch of very busy times at my job.  I will be travelling for work and working at least 6 days a week.  So, of course, I decided to start 2 quilts!!  One is a long term project that I mentioned last time (Elephant Abstractions).  I plan to make some headway on that one this week as I am on a short vacation before the crazy begins.  The other quilt is the #GypsyWifeQuiltSAL hosted by Gnomeangel.  I didn’t do so great at keeping up with the last sew a long with Crazy Mom Quilts (the June Quilt is sitting in pieces on my ironing board).  However, the Gypsy Wife Quilt is to be done over the next several months.  I am going to try my best to keep up.  I am hoping it will help relieve stress too.  Although….last night I began the first block and I ripped out several seams, so that’s the opposite of what I was going for…..  I finished the block, and there is one wonky area where the seams don’t line up, but I’m calling it finished.  On to Week 2!!  I hope to keep myself in check by posting my progress here on the blog.

week 5

Summer Dress

For the past few years, I have made a dress for my sister for Christmas or her birthday.  Originally she told me she wanted a retro style dress, and together we found a shirt dress that we both liked: McCalls 6891.  The first one I made was sleeveless, at her request.  After that, I decided to experiment with sleeves.  (Experiment meaning, I don’t really know how to set sleeves….)  Because I took one sewing lesson about 20 years ago and the rest of my learning has been through internet reading, I find that I try to avoid sewing things that might seem difficult.  I’ve gotten lucky a few times and had a sleeve just fit perfectly, but most of the time, it takes me a whole day.  I am sure I am doing something wrong to make it so hard for myself, but I haven’t figured out what just yet.  Regardless, I like this dress better with sleeves.  I have made it four times now for my sister, using different fabrics (polka dots, retro cats..a personal favorite).  Each time I make one, I try to make the dress look a little different and to jazz it up.


This year I found the Ring, Ring fabric in Navy and Green by Kim Kight of Cotton and Steel.  I thought it would make a cute retro looking dress.  As I mentioned, I wanted to try something different this year, so I added a solid border to the skirt.  I also used a solid for the collar and for the cuff on the sleeve.

For the cuff, I actually found a tutorial online (which I can’t seem to find again to link…:-( Based on the tutorial, I just cut the contrasting fabric and then after doing a mock up in my head a bunch of times, sewed and cut out the notch!  I have problems with spatial things, so I had to think about that for a long time, but it worked!

Isn’t she cute modelling the sleeve?  The only problem was…I made one cuff and sewed it right onto the sleeve….but I hadn’t cut out the second cuff yet!!  DOH!!  I had to do the whole thing again.  Why, oh why didn’t I cut them both at the same time you ask??  Well, I wasn’t sure the first one was going to work because I was making it up as I went along…then when it did…I was shocked!  Doing the second cuff wasn’t too bad but I’m not 100% sure the notches are exactly the same.  Good thing you can’t really tell when the dress is being worn.

The collar on this pattern always, always frustrates me.  I think I got it to work perfectly one time so far.  I don’t know if it’s the instructions or me (or both).  I usually end up doing something on my own to make it lay flat and so far it has worked.  At least my sister hasn’t told me otherwise, but maybe she’s holding back…

I sewed this on my Juki and it was so fun.  Straight seams and a super fast machine?  Zippity do dah!!  I did have to switch back to my Brother for the button holes, and I am happy to say he did a great job.  (In the past, he has been naughty about buttonholes…I actually avoided doing the buttons for a few days because I didn’t want to fight the Brother.)  I found the buttons on clearance at JoAnns 🙂 Yay to savings.

In the end, I like this pattern (I guess so, since I’ve done it 4 times).  Will there be another retro shirt dress in her future? Maybe, I am always looking for new patterns to try out for her, so who knows?  This particular dress is my second favorite of the ones I’ve made (sorry, I don’t have a pic of the previous ones).  I think it has a “Lucy Ricardo” feel to it and I like that!!