Website Maintenance

My Friday finish isn’t a traditional one… but it was a long time coming! I’ve been meaning to do some site cleanup and add a page for my tutorials and patterns so that they are easier to find, and I’ve finally done it!

updated website

I will be updating these pages as more patterns and tutorials come along. I’ve got a few patterns in the works, so hopefully between 15 page term papers, I will have time to put those together. Let me know if any of these are helpful or if you make any of the projects, because I would love to see them!

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts

Noodlehead Cargo Duffle

I made the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle (free pattern) along with at least half the online quilting community with the intent of it being my overnight/weekend bag to go camping or traveling with.  I don’t get to make bags as often as I would like because I just don’t need that many!  I carry a diaper bag with my daughter, and a backpack when I go to school, and that covers about 98% of my life.

Cargo Duffle

This is an amazing pattern, considering it’s free!  The only tricky part is cutting out the fabric.  Just take your time, double-check the directions – and make sure you are not cutting out your fabric to the final dimensions before you quilt it.  Cut a little big, quilt, and then cut down to size.  It’s a little safer!

I made a few changes to the pattern… First, I quilted it on my longarm.  I just did straight line quilting because I had intended to make another one, and wanted to test my construction methods before getting fancy.

Cargo Duffle

I also added a lining instead of binding the inside seams.  I wanted pockets inside, and needed the lining to do that.  Lining Tutorial: Small Town Thread

I also never added the snaps to the outside pockets.  They are really more decorative than useful, so why bother?

Cargo Duffle

I added a zipper pocket to the inside, and a water bottle spot.  I’m not a fan of how my water bottle spot works, but the zipper pocket turned out great!  Tutorial for zipper pocket inside: Sew Mama Sew and UHandbag.  I also added a row of straight pockets.

Cargo Duffle

Since using this for awhile, I’ve discovered this bag is not what I wanted for an overnight bag for me.  It’s a little too small, and the handles are shorter than I like to carry.  The pockets would have been great for this use, if it was how I used it.

Cargo Duffle

It’s not a lost cause though!  It’s perfect to put my daughter’s clothes in for trips.  I can fit a week or more of her clothes in here, and fold it up and tuck it away if we unpack somewhere (like we did in the camper this summer).  We lived out of our bags for a month, and only did laundry once, so it was about 2 weeks of a 2 year old’s clothes in here.

Cargo Duffle

This was a fun bag to make, and I have two more bags from Noodlehead next on my list to make.  If only there were more hours in the day…

Fabric used: Linen for the base of the bag, and Chicopee for the handles.  I think the blue leaf fabric may have been from the Denise Schmidt line for JoAnn’s, but I bought it so long ago I can’t remember for sure.  The lining is Ty Pennington Impressions.

– Heather

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya QuiltsShow off Saturday at Sew Can She


Nature of Purple Quilt

I occasionally find myself in an odd place in the quilting world style wise – I am not super modern, yet to a traditional quilter I look modern.  I think one of my old guilds determined I was “modern” simply by my age.  I have embraced the “modern traditional” moniker, but it’s not always an easy category to fit in.

Nature of Purple cropped

This is my first go at a more definitively modern piece.  The pattern is not mine (probably takes away from the modernity, right?), but was a piece for the Carolina Longarm Association.  They are trying to put together a display with modern and traditional mini quilts that will all be the same two designs, but with a wide variety of fabrics and quilting styles.  It should be a really cool display once it’s done.

Quilt Name: Nature of Purple

Size: 29″ x 29″

Nature of Purple from below

I really enjoyed quilting this piece.  I loved combining the straight lines with the curves to create contrast within the piece.  I also really like the design I used inside the rectangles.  It’s a straight-line spiral, for lack of a better description, but is fun to use in a space like that.

I did learn some good lessons from this quilt – such as purple is extremely hard to photograph and the quilting does not show up well unless you are really close to it.

Dense quilting would also probably show up better with either a double layer of batting, or a higher quality puff or mixed cotton/poly blend.  I used a cheap cotton/poly blend I had laying around because I wan’t planning on quilting it this densely when I started.


Unfortunately, it is not an impressive piece when you see it hung next to other quilts.  There is a certain beauty in its simplicity, and the negative space leaves a lot of room to quilt, but it’s still a very simple quilt with very little piecing.   I feel like the photo below is a Where’s Waldo game, but you are looking for a small purple quilt that blends into the black background curtains. (Photo borrowed from Christa Quilts, link to her NQA experience roundup).

Christa Quilts Modern NQA Show

I entered it into the National Quilting Association show this year to get feedback and try to improve my quilting. As far as feedback, I found the comments to be very useful. The judges found a couple things on this quilt that I had missed, and called me out on errors that I knew existed.  It was also nice to receive more than one or two comments, which is more normal for a local level show.

Entering this quilt was a worthwhile experience, and it is pushing me to be better.  When I received the quilt back in the mail, I saw that it had been held for the category and a judge’s choice.  It’s bittersweet news in a way – it was good, but not good enough.  It just means I need to improve my work and make a better quilt next year!

Even if it didn’t win anything, I still like it.  I have it hanging above my longarm in my new setup.  I still love the purple.  I wish it quilted better so I could use it more often, but as you can see below the purple just absorbs all light and makes it look like a purple black hole.  Eventually, it will find its way back to North Carolina, but I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.

Quilting Studio

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsLinky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric


Michigan Quilt

The last quilt I finished before I had to pack up my longarm to move was the Michigan quilt for Anna of Life Sew Crafty.  She finished the quilt and blogged about it before I finished my blog post about the quilting part.  I’ll catch up one of these days!

Michigan Quilted

This was a very large quilt, about 96″ x 108″!  My husband and father in law were luckily both on hand to hold it and protect it so I could take a few photos.

Anna and I decided to do woods and animal type quilting inside the land mass portion of Michigan, and to do water texture with some fish in the blue portion.  In doing so, we inadvertently turned Michigan into an island, but I really love the effect.  I think my husband would be very happy with a whole cloth version of just the blue portion.

Michigan Quilted

There are a variety of animals and trees represented: bears, deer, elk, moose.  I did an outline just inside Michigan to delineate the land/water difference.  I did not stitch in the ditch because the seams were pressed open and did not want to risk having my stitching undo any of Anna’s stitching.

Michigan Quilted

This side angle shows the texture the best of the pictures I have.  I had to ship it off before the movers came so pictures are somewhat limited.

Michigan Quilted

As soon as I pulled this quilt off the frame, we started dismantling the longarm for the move.  Happily, she survived the trek and is up and running again!  I currently have no wait, and would be happy to quilt for you!

Taking down the longarm to move



2nd quarter 2015 Bee Blocks

I am a member of the Stash Bee, Hive 3.  Even with the craziness of moving, I have managed to finish my blocks – but was a little slow on proving that to the internet :)

April was my month to receive blocks, so I requested red-tan-brown-low volume blocks to help me get enough blocks to finally finish up my “Real World Red & White” quilt.  I think I finally have enough!  Thank you ladies!

2015 Hive 3 Stash Bee

I also took part in a very unofficial block trade. Aby made this lovely block for my red & white quilt.

Aby's block

And I made this block for a quilt being made for Aby. The request was for bright colors that read as solids with a white background. I played around and made this.  The quilt was actually finished before I managed to post about the block, and you can see it here.

bright solids block

This next block is my May block for Jennifer.  Her tutorial is here.  I’m excited to see this quilt.  I think it’s going to look fantastic!

May 2015 Stash Bee Hive 3

June’s block was for Sylvia at Flying Parrot Quilts.  She started her Christmas quilt early enough to actually finish it in time for Christmas!  Great idea Sylvia – I should follow suit, so my WiP Christmas quilt doesn’t stay in a box for another year!  The tutorial for her block is here.

Stash Bee Hive 3 June 2015 Block

Linking to some of the following: Scraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric


Round Trip Quilts – stops 5/6

Round Trip Quilts is the round robin bee I am currently a part of – Jennifer has a much better summary of the round robin on her web page than I am even going to attempt to cover.  We are on our last round now!  I can’t believe we’ve been doing this almost for a year.  It’s a been a fun challenge!

Leanne's Round Trip Quilt

I am totally stealing photos from my bee-mate’s blogs to illustrate the progression, but I personally find the progressions to be the most interesting part of these quilts – and there are links to their posts to see all the details.  Wow, this is a run on sentence!  Good thing I’m not an english teacher…

Leanne's Round Trip Quilt

I have had Leanne from Devoted Quilter’s quilt for the last 2 rounds.  We had to do a bit of rearranging after one member had to drop out, so that’s why I had her quilt twice in a row.  As you can see from my scribbles, I had a couple ideas of what I wanted to do, and was wishy-washy for a little while before finally just doing almost exactly what I was going to do in the first place.

Leanne wanted stars and components of stars.  Her original center was 4 Ohio stars set on point.

Mary of See Mary Quilt added the next border – with some stars and some color that Leanne had requested added.

Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe added some flying geese and lovely color to the mix!

Christina at WiPs and Tuts added some more stars to the mix.  Another thing I love seeing happen after each round is the direction that each person considers to be up changes.

Kim from Ties that Bind Quilting added a zig zag to the quilt.  Kim’s zig zag is the top part with the all white background.

Then it was my turn… I wanted to bring out some of the elements from the center toward the outside of the quilt.  I kept Kim’s zig zag going, but I used yellow to bring the yellow center outward.

Next, I wanted to play with some paper pieced stars and improv piecing.  I used (from left to right) the Caldonia Star from 627 Handworks, January and February 2013 Lucky Stars BoM ClubDark & Light Star from Quilter’s Cache.  I did gray low volume fabric for the background to pull the gray out from the original center blocks.  I chose to concentrate on making the stars in light and dark blue from Leanne’s center with the turquoise and fuchsia accents from Mary’s border.

Leanne's Round Trip Quilt

Leanne, I hope you like where your quilt is going!  I tried to leave you a lot of space to have some fun quilting on because I know you are enjoying FMQ-ing a lot lately.

Jennifer, I apologize for being so ridiculously late mailing this to you.  I knew I was moving, and had planned to be done much earlier, but it just didn’t happen.

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricPaper Piecing Party @ Quilt Art Designs

Oliver and S Class Picnic Blouse Pattern Review

I was going back through the draft section in my blog and discovered some old posts that never got published.  This is one of them, originally from fall 2014, but the information is still valid although old.

Pattern: Oliver and S Class Picnic Blouse 

Class Picnic Blouse

Pattern Description (from designer): The raglan-sleeve pull-on blouse includes gathers at the yokes, elastic at the shoulders, three-quarter-length sleeves, and wide hems.

Fabric Required: For the 12-18 month size, 1 yard.

Amount of fabric used: I am not 100% sure because my mom cut these out for me.  I think you could probably do it with 3/4 yards for the smallest sizes.

Sizing: My daughter’s chest is the 12-18 month width, and 2T in height, and it fits well.

Class Picnic Blouse

Alterations: None, other than to add the extra length to the shirt

Instructions: Through my own fault, I did not realize there was elastic at the shoulders to make the neck line.  This part of the pattern therefore confused me very much because it seemed like such a crazy way to make the sleeve and collar.  Once I figured out the reason there was a casing, it made much more sense.  Liesl never makes her patterns crazy, so I don’t know why I thought this one was.  When I make more of these shirts next fall, it will be much easier.

  • Tip: In the instructions, it recommends pulling on the elastic when cutting it to get the cut as close to the fabric as possible.  When I did this, I had the elastic actually pull out of the seam twice.  I found it was better to have a little over 1/8″ of the elastic sticking out and live with it not being perfect that to have the frustration of the elastic pulling out of the seam.

Class Picnic Blouse

Pattern Issues: No issues with the pattern that weren’t a result of me not reading through them completely before starting the project.

Fabric Choice: The green one is a 100% cotton shirting, and it was a dream to sew up.  The orange plaid one is a very loosely woven double gauze that was a nightmare to cut and sew, but the end result is so cute, it almost makes the hassle worth it.  The orange one is also semi-sheer so it probably should have been lined, or I should have used a double layer for the bodice portion.

Class Picnic Blouse

Finished Product: These shirts were the perfect shirts for a fall day.  They are comfortable for my daughter, easy to wear and play in, not fussy at all, and look great.

Husband’s opinion: Also a fan, wants me to make more of them.

Notes for future makes: No notes, great as is.

Final Thoughts: I am definitely making more of these.

Afternoon Blouse Pattern

Pattern: The Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren Vintage

Afternoon Blouse

Pattern Description (from designer): An easy summer blouse perfect for afternoons sipping tea (or cocktails), the Afternoon Blouse has been designed with beginners and advanced sewers in mind.  For the beginner, the flowing design will help to build sewing confidence with its choice of two decorative necklines and 1940s-inspired kimono sleeves. For the advanced sewer, this gorgeous blouse can be made in one afternoon using silk or rayon – a luxurious, quick and satisfying make.  While the Afternoon Blouse has been designed to be tucked into high-waisted skirts and pants for a vintage look, it also works perfectly worn loose with jeans and sandals for the modern gal, making it a truly versatile blouse.

Purchase Price: Full price is $12.50 US, but she had a sale after Thanksgiving.

Fabric Required: Oddly specific… 1.58 yards of 60″ or 1.66 yards of 45″.  I would say the conversion from metric to US is why it is so specific, but the metric also goes out to 2 weird decimal places.

Amount of fabric used: I squeezed it out of 1.5 yards of 44″ wide material.  One of my facings had some imaginative cutting done to do so.

Sizing: I used a 16 for the shoulders (closer to my high bust measurement), then went out to an 18 at the bottom of the sleeves for my bust size, then came back in to a 16 for the hips.  It was really big in the waist/hip area, so I had to take it in some more.  It’s also a little bit shorter than I prefer my blouses.

  • There are no finished measurements, so I had to go off the size chart.  I guess I need to start measuring pattern pieces, but it annoys me to pay good money for a pattern then have to measure pieces of paper to decide what size to wear.  Anyway, the size chart recommended with my measurements to do an 18 bust, 20 waist, and 14 hips.  If I had done that, the shoulders would have been way too big and the waist way too big.

Alterations: Once I tried it on after sewing up the side seams, it was way too loose in the waist/hip area.  I took off the blouse and decided to trace the side seams off my favorite Belcarra Blouse.  That reduced the sizing from an 18 in the bust, to a 16 at the waist and 14 at the hip.  This helped immensely, but I still need to fix the tenting effect in the front of the shirt.

Afternoon Blouse

Instructions: The instructions are good.  This was the designer’s first pattern.  Most of my issues with the instructions are my personal preferences from sewing different patterns by different designers.

  • I personally prefer to hem the sleeve after I sew up the sides to avoid any interior seams showing, but doing it first does make it easier to iron.  I think the best solution is to iron the seamline early, then sew after the sides are done.
  • I also under stitched the neckline.  It was a little tough at the corners, but it really helped my blouse lay flat and keep the insides where they belong.  I think every pattern on earth, especially ones aimed at beginners should mention that step.  I think at the end, there may be a step (step 3 in the “To Make Up” section) that hints at under stitching, but it would be hard that late into the blouse.  It also mentions top stitching as an option, which I don’t think would look very good on this blouse.
  • Printing: I did like that the pieces were tiled so that I only had to print off the pattern for the front that I was using.  On a larger pattern, I would probably prefer some more overlapping to save paper, but on a blouse like this I really appreciated not having to print every single option.

Pattern Issues: Why does it not include finished measurements?!?!  I keep getting tempted by cute patterns without finished measurements.  I know it’s harder to do the bust measurement with kimono sleeves, but at least give me the waist and hip finished measurements so I don’t have to take the shirt in after I’ve already made it…

Afternoon Blouse

Fabric Choice: I used a wonderful 100% cotton lawn by Yuwa.  This stuff feels amazing.  It washes up beautifully, and I admit to googling the brand in an attempt to find more.  It’s that perfect lightweight cotton that isn’t completely see-through like voile, yet substantial enough that you can actually wear it outside of the house without worrying if your bra is showing through the fabric.  The one I purchased from Imagine Gnats appears to be out of stock, but Fancy Tiger and Miss Matabi seem to stock Yuwa regularly.

The other consideration is whether or not you want the neckline detail to show.  I love this fabric, but it is so busy you can’t see that aspect of the shirt.  A solid or plainer design would show that much more.

Finished Product: I like the neckline and kimono sleeves.  I am probably going to end up with way too many blouses with kimono sleeves, but I like them.  I can see making this shirt again, and maybe trying the other neckline option.

Afternoon Blouse

Notes for future makes:

  • Make a swayback adjustment.  Just make one in every single pattern you will ever consider sewing in your entire life.  You know you need it, so don’t be lazy and just do it!
  • Also, add a couple inches to the length.  I’m a shorty, but I have a long torso and a short human to chase around, and I like my middle to be covered.
  • It has a weird tent like effect in the front.  None of the pictures of other people’s versions seem to do this, so I’m not sure why mine is.  I think I will add a dart next time to take in some of that excess.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I like this blouse and plan to make it again with a couple fit adjustments.

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