Now that Christmas is over, I can share the Spinnaker Quilt that I made for my dad.
This summer I went to visit my parents and Grandmother in Wisconsin. While I was there, my dad described a skirt he had seen and asked if I could recreate a quilt like it. He wanted a quilt made up of rectangles about 2 inches by 8 inches in yellow, red, and green with some white in there to calm it down a bit. His major descriptor was that he wanted it to be bright and cheerful. Later, the request was modified somewhat as he said it reminded him of the colorful spinnaker sails at a sailboat regatta.
I had already pulled some nautical fabrics before the spinnaker theme was requested, so I knew I was going in the right direction. My dad grew up around boats, and had a boat most of his life. Some of my fondest memories growing up are from sailing down the Columbia River at dusk.
Each of the 238 rectangles in this quilt measure 2.5 inches by 8 inches prior to sewing.
My trimmings turned out quite pretty, at least more so than usual.
The layout is 34 rectangles vertically and 7 rectangles wide. The top photo is prior to being sewn together – it was a risk to use the design floor with baby and dog around.
The back is pieced – I didn’t have enough of the one main fabric, so I pieced in the linen and anchor fabric as a design choice. Plus, I think pieced backs are kind of fun.
I chose to quilt it with a new panto – rounded rectangles. I wanted something masculine, yet the rounded edges helped to soften the design. I think a sharp quilting design would have been too much for this quilt.
I debated about the binding, but after getting some confirmation from instagram friends, I went with the gray binding. It fit the nautical theme much better.
And now for the stream of finished pictures… The quilt had been finished for several days before I finally had a sunny day to take them!
I had trouble taking pictures of the back thanks to my helpers – my two girls. First, the dog wanted to see what was going on outside.
After I closed the window, the daughter walked over trying to figure out why she couldn’t see outside.
It’s a very large throw, which made it a little difficult to get a photo of the entire thing inside my dry house. I don’t risk quilts outside when it is wet.
Lastly, the roll shows the binding color the best.
My dad loved it! Below is my dad’s view of the quilt being shown off Christmas morning. So much so that he said it was too nice to use and that he wanted to just hang it up. Luckily, my mom (who crochets, and therefore understands that things are made to be used) told him it was too nice not to use and that he has to use it. A successful Christmas quilt!
Linking up to: Quilt Story, You Flew Tuesdays at Feather’s Flights, Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Friday Favs Party at Nap Time Crafters, Anything Goes Mondays at Stitch by Stitch, and while not quite a work in progress (because I couldn’t share it during the progress) Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
I was searching for a tutorial on how to make a baby Santa hat, and found crochet and knitting tutorials and patterns galore but nothing for sewing with knits or fleece. I played around and made a couple cute versions for my daughter, so hopefully this very loose tutorial can help someone else.
If you choose to do the traditional santa hat, it is a bit easier. I used a serger for this project, but it was really just because I have a new serger that I was excited and wanted to use. A regular sewing machine would work just as well.
1. Measure your child’s head. My daughter’s head was a little over 18.25 inches in circumference.
2. Make hat width about half of the child’s head size. I made it 9 inches wide. Cut bottom 9 inches wide, and then go up about 2 inches on the left and right sides of the hat. For the band, cut white fleece rectangle 18 inches (double the red part’s width) by 6.5 inches. Make sure the direction of stretch is widthwise when cutting all pieces.
3. Cut the angle for the Santa Hat. I made mine 60 degree angles using the marking on my quilting ruler. I just cut up and let them intersect.
4. I cut the top part off because of how I was attaching the fleece pom pom. If you are hand sewing, I would just leave the angle and sew it on once completed. Don’t try to serge the fleece with the pom pom in it. Don’t ask me why I know that. Just trust me… it’s not worth trying to do no matter how clever it seems.
Example pom pom tutorials:
5. Sew together the red top angled part of the hat. If you are using a regular sewing machine, a straight stitch would work for this part.
6. Sew the white rectangle band piece with right sides together on the short end. Fold the band in half with right sides together. Sew the white band and red hat together. If you are using a regular machine, I would use a zig zag stitch for this part so that it will have some stretch to fit on your child’s head.
7. Fold the band down and it is ready for wear!
The skull cap version is a little bit more complicated, but not if you have a hat pattern.
Step one: Get hat pattern. If you have a knit hat on hand that fits, you can trace it and then add seam allowances to get the proper size. If you want to make a size 0-3 months, you can use the pattern provided at Zaaberry
. Her instructions on how to assemble the hat are very good and very well photographed, so I recommend using her tutorial for assembly.
Step two: Cut out two hat pieces and one band piece. The main hat pieces will be red and the band will be white. Take care to make sure the direction of the fabric stretch is horizontal so that it can stretch and stay on your little one’s head.
Step three: Make white pom pom or get pom pom for top of the hat. Or buy some pom poms from the store, whatever is easiest. Whatever method you use, make sure there is some thread or fleece or other method of attachment to sew into the hat. If not, you can hand sew it on at the end.
Step three: Prepare and Sew together the hat pieces. Fold the hat piece in half and sew the cut out portion first. Repeat for second piece. Then put the right sides together and sew the half moon shape leaving the opening for the head. Sew the rectangle band piece with right sides together on the short end. Fold the band in half with right sides together.
No seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t get one sooner. I love my serger. I have the super-basic Brother 1034D. It was supposed to be my birthday present back in May, but I wasted months trying to figure out why there is such a price jump in sergers and if the more expensive ones are worth it. I chose to get a basic serger and then I will get a cover stitcher at a later date. The combined cost will be less than many of the fancy sergers I was considering. Despite all my debating, I finally got my serger and I love it!
Why do I love it? It is amazingly fast, and the finish looks great. It is also easy to use.
I was a little intimidated at first, mostly because people talk about how hard sergers are to thread and to get the tension correct. I watched the video tutorial, and then set out to serge. I was a little upset at first because out of the box, the thread kept breaking and it was not working like the video. Then I discovered one of the spools had the edge with the cut in it up, so the thread kept getting caught and breaking. One of the bonuses of this almost tragic frustration is that I got really good at threading it almost immediately. In fact, I prefer rethreading it when I change thread color to doing the tie and pull thread through method that even the video recommended.
How did I get to love my serger so fast? I used it on real projects to learn. I know people advise you to practice on scraps first, but I get bored. So, after about 12 inches of sewing on scraps I jumped to real projects.
I had two knit projects cut out ready to go: the Bimaa Sweater (LouBee Clothing) and the Lily Blazer (Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop). It turns out I did not choose the easiest projects – not that the patterns are difficult in any way – I chose difficult fabrics.
For the Bimaa, I chose the lightest knit ever from JoAnn Fabrics. I made a 2T, because my daughter’s measurements put her in the 12 month size but I’ve read that it fits tight and I wanted it to fit over onesies. I should have done the 12 month length with the 2T width because the body and sleeves are about 2 inches too long. Oh well, room to grow right?
I followed the advice from the video tutorial to change the feed differential to 0.7 for light knits and had no issues putting the Bimaa together. The serger goes so fast I had to get over my quilter’s need to pin every two inches (and more often on curves). I felt very proud of my first knit garment when I finished it. There are a few seams that are not as attractive as they could be on the starts and stops, but it’s a learning process.
The only odd thing about this pattern is that the hood is huge! My daughter has a large head – like 96th percentile huge head – and she swims in it. It is also so big that it pulls the shirt too far back because of too much fabric weight, so it pulls at the neck. If I were to ever make this hoodie in the smaller sizes I would probably try to draft down the hood a little. Most likely, I just won’t make the hood option again until she is older. I will probably do the shawl option next.
For the Lily Blazer I chose a beautiful stripe that I am pretty sure I also got at JoAnn Fabrics. Knit stripes are probably not a good choice for a second garment ever made on the serger, but I went for it!
Most of the stripes ended up matching, so I’m pretty happy with it. I made the 12 month size. I love the ruffle on her butt when she is crawling around.
The only other change I made was to use snaps instead of buttons because they are easier to dress her with.
The way this is constructed it becomes fully lined when you are done which is very nice.
My only complaint is that the sleeves are too long with the cuff. I should have followed the baby example the pattern came with where the designer didn’t add the cuff and just hemmed the sleeves. Then, the length would have been perfect. As is, I fold the cuff up completely and the serged edge shows. The black thread against the dark fabric isn’t really noticeable so in reality, I’m probably the only person that will notice.
I can’t wait to keep using my new toy!
Linked to: Make it, Wear it from The Train to Crazy, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, You Flew Tuesdays at Feather’s Flights and Friday Favs Party at Nap Time Crafters.
A tale of two christening gowns: The heirloom and the Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress
Situation: The first was my baptism dress from when I was baptised and my mother passed it on to me to use with my daughter. I was baptized at 6 months so I thought it would fit my 9 month old daughter. Unfortunately, it did not fit. That left my mother and I to start making a dress Thursday morning for church on Sunday morning at 9:00 am with the added detail that 6 additional family members were arriving Saturday afternoon, so it had to be finished before then.
Solution: We chose to flip the Oliver & S Fairy Tale Dress. I wanted a peter pan collar and sleeves with an empire waist to echo my original dress that my mother had made. The fairy tale dress gave me that bodice top and the adjustments gave the long traditional bottom.
To accomplish this I had to make a couple minor adjustments to the pattern. I cut off the fitted dress at an empire waist height, and adjusted the skirt length to go down to the floor. I also took a lot of the gathering out of the skirt because of the silk dupioni fabric I chose to use, and I also felt like it would be overwhelming for such a little girl.
My daughter measured 19.5 inches at the chest which put her as a perfect size 6-12 months, but due to the compressed time frame I didn’t have time for a muslin and couldn’t risk it not fitting. Therefore, I made the 6-12 month size with the 12-18 month width as you can see in the bodice pattern photo. After it was finished, she had enough room that I’m sure the 6-12 month width would have fit perfectly fine but I just couldn’t risk it turning out too small.
I also added ruffle fabric for the skirt. I made the ruffle fabric about 4-5 inches longer than the silk just to cut down on bulk and make it easier for my daughter to move and easier for me to hold her.
To add the ruffle fabric I used the silk as the lining, but not as the lining like the pattern calls for. Due to the thinness of the ruffle fabric, I could not use it as an outer layer to attach the zipper to. I treated the silk and the ruffle as one (outer) layer of fabric with no lining. This (combined with the empire waist) led to a couple minor differences from the pattern:
– The skirt seams had to be finished because they were not sandwiched within the lining. The ruffle fabric does not fray so it did not need to be finished – I just cut it at the length I wanted.
– I did not use a side seam for the ruffle layer. I used the entire width of fabric by the length I wanted for the skirt and only had the back seam.
– Shorter zipper: with the empire waist there is no need for such a long zipper. I ended the zipper about three inches below the empire waist and it was long enough to get my daughter in and out easily. The instructions for an invisible zipper were good, but I hadn’t done one in forever so the Coletterie tutorial
helped fill in the blanks for me.
– Lining: My mom hand stitched the lining down on the inside of the dress. We also left the seam of the skirt and bodice upwards instead of ironing it down like the pattern calls for. That seam was then covered by the bodice lining.
– Hook at top of zipper: I left it off and it stayed closed just fine throughout the day.
This was the late night photo when we finished the dress Friday night – ahead of schedule!!
I added some silk flowers to both the bodice and the bonnet. I used this tutorial from Just Another Hang Up for the flowers.
The bonnet is a combination of several tutorials that I found online because I didn’t find a single one that was what I wanted. I got the shape from this one and the ruffle from this one.
I love how the combination turned out! The tulip sleeves, peter pan collar, and ruffle fabric made such a sweet dress. This may have taken more time to make than the time she wore it for, but I really love it and maybe someday this can be worn again. The wrinkles show she wore it most of the day.
Lastly, a vintage view of a beautiful girl in a dress made by her mom and grandma on a quilt made by me.
Linking up to Show and Tell, Made By Hand, Fabric Tuesday and You Flew Tuesdays.
I often feel like an impostor when I sew clothing. I am self-taught and learn a lot of things the hard way. Then, when I was watching Project Runway several weeks ago the winning designer (Alexandria) used chambray and the judges loved how she used the fabric! It made me feel a little better about myself. I am not an impostor when I used the same fabric in these shorts, and used it before Project Runway did.
That is not to say I am by any means anything other than a beginning seamstress when it comes to clothing, but I think I make nice quality garments for my daughter. If they weren’t, I would not let her wear them and I wouldn’t waste my own time to make them. There are already too many cheap, ready to wear options to waste time and fabric on substandard homemade substitutes. I aspire to fully support high quality and ethically produced clothing, but time and financial constraints exist. That was slightly deeper than I originally meant to go.
Now, on to the shorts. These are the ever popular Elegance and Elephants Bubble Shorts in size 6 months. The fabric is a blue chambray that is a nice weight for baby shorts. It was a little more challenging to sew with than regular quilting cotton because of the edges fraying more than I am used to. However, the fraying issue was not bad enough to deter me from sewing with this fabric again. It is enough of an issue that the seams need to be finished though. I used french seams to finish mine.
My daughter’s favorite part of these shorts are the tie. What’s better than a string to play with that you can’t drop or lose?
One final parting shot of her adorableness and the irony of childhood – every toy she could ever want and one of her favorites is an old remote.