Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Roundup

I've never done one of these yearly blog posts before.  Sometimes I feel like I don't sew that much, and I don't have much to show for it.  That may be a little bit true in regards to sewing garments for myself, but the truth is, I sew nearly every day, whether it be for work or at home, and I have actually cranked out a ton of goodies this year.  I feel like this year I really got in touch with the real me, and I've never felt more confident in my abilities.  

So, here we go!

In February, I attended my second annual Quilt Retreat, and had a blast.  I worked on my Jalie hoodie for most of the weekend, but when I got as far as I could go, I dug out this amazing Quilt UFO (un-finished object) and got all the pieces prepared for assembly.  I managed to join two rows together.  I really love this one.

Quilt Retreat - Feb 21
 I tried to finish said Jalie hoodie, but when I sewed up the sides and tried it on, it was way too small!  So, I stashed it in my UFO bin, and someday I might finish it and give it to someone.  I immediately picked out fleece for a new one, but as you'll see, I didn't get around to it until November.  
Jalie 2795 Hoodie - Failed Attempt - Feb 24
 I took some leftover foam from work and went to my dad's upholstery shop and reupholstered these 3 stools.  I've had these for a few years, and always wanted to redo them.  Aren't they cute?  I'm sitting on one right now.  :D
Upholstered Stools - Apr 2
 I started making church quilts, and quickly discovered that I love making quilts with big pieces.  So fast and satisfying!  And I still can't get over how sewing 10 1/2" squares together sharpens your sewing skills!  Even though I am a professional seamstress/upholsterer, I am amazed how much I learn from every single thing I make, no matter how simple.  :)
Church Quilts - Apr 7
 I got on a roll and made a few new tops in a row.  This was the first.  I still can't get over how well it fits, however, the armholes are too tight and I need to fix them.  Haven't gotten around to it yet.  But I really love this one.
McCall's 4659 - May 10
 In May, I joined the Prairie Quilt Militia, a private Facebook quilting group recommended to me by a new friend I made at the quilt retreat.  The current mystery quilt was called "Ugly Duckling", and the idea was to dig out all those weird fabrics that you don't necessarily like.  I was flabbergasted to see how much I loved everything I dug out of my stash!  I paired them with a nice denim blue to give the quilt some "rest".  This is step 1.  There are 12 steps in each mystery quilt.
Ugly Duckling Step 1 - May 27
 We had our last quilting bee before summer break at church in the beginning of June.  I made 6 of these, and my sewing friend, Kirsten, made 3 baby quilts.  We had a long sewing afternoon after this and hemmed them all!  That was rather a marathon.
Church Quilts (6 of these were mine) - Jun 4
 This was at that marathon hemming session.  This was my favourite quilt I made.  I love using graph paper and pencil crayons and playing around with designs.
My Favourite church quilt - Jun 4
 Also in June, Sparrow Quilt Co. opened up a longarm quilting studio above our local quilt shop, and since I already had several UFO's that were very near the quilting stage, I was thrilled.  I quilted two boy quilts at home with just straight lines, and I didn't enjoy the process at all.  I love this.  I was pleasantly surprised at myself that I truly am a professional seamstress, because nothing about this process intimidated me.  I'm in my element.
Longarm Quilting! - Jun 21
 I finished the first girl quilt, and I'm always amazed at how much I learn with each quilt.  I pinned the binding and did it by machine.  I wasn't thrilled with the result.  When I did the next two, I basted the binding by hand before machine stitching in the ditch.  World of difference!
Girl Quilt #1, Lap Size - Jun 21
 I was inspired by some girls in our quilting group that mentioned they quilt while camping!  So, I took a page out of their book.  While I didn't have power to bring my machine, I knew I had tons of cutting to do, so I took my cutting mat, rotary cutter, and a bag of fabric.  I got almost all of the coloured strips cut for the courthouse steps blocks for Ugly Duckling.  Not bad while on vacation, hey?
Ugly Duckling Step 2 & 7 (courthouse steps blocks) - Jul 12
 One of the ladies from our church quilting group asked me to make a t-shirt quilt for her granddaughter.  So, I picked out a pattern and started prepping.
T-shirt Quilt Pattern - Planning Stages - Jul 12
 She graduated from university and these are all her t-shirts.  I picked out some complimentary fabrics from my stash.  
Fabrics picked out for T-shirt quilt - Jul 12
 I did alterations on this adorable dress.  It was 5 inches too small at the bust!  So, I made an elasticized panel and stitched it in.  I also made straps.
Alterations - Jul 13
 And here's a trick I learned at the Bridal House.  Take a few tucks of fabric at the centre front of a sweetheart neckline, and it just looks so gorgeous.  I'm always thrilled how cute this turns out.
Alterations - Jul 13
 I made myself a dress out of a romper pattern.  I made a Pocahontas costume out of this a few years ago.  So, I sized it up and made it again.  Not my favourite, but it's comfy.
Simplicity 2222 - Jul 20
 I made a second version of Simplicity 2690, which I made last year in pink and have gotten a lot of wear out of.  I love how this one turned out.  I wore this to our family Christmas gatherings and finally didn't feel like a hobo!  LOL
Simplicity 2690 - Jul 21
 Since the spring, I've been mentoring Kirsten, the girl from our church quilting group.  We sew together every week, and it's such a blast.  I'm learning how to teach, and she's learning a ton and is going to be such an awesome seamstress.  One day I made us both denim travel bags.  I copied my husband's leather shaving kit.  Turned out great.  I used my upholstery skills to sew this one together.
Denim Travel Bag - Jul 23
 I made my third version of Simplicity 2690.  This one was my original idea.  However, expectation vs. reality didn't turn out quite how I wanted.  I did put elastic at the empire waistline, but it's a bit dowdy.  I wore it to church once, but I'm not a fan.  Womp Womp.
Simplicity 2690 - Aug 8
 I went back to the quilting studio and quilted my third girl quilt.  This time, I only did one.  The first time, I quilted two, and I wore myself right out.  I've learned my lesson.  Longarm quilting is very physical.  For this one, I chose a detailed pantograph and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  These baby quilts are a great canvas to learn new skills.
Longarm Quilting - Aug 9
I loved the process of making this girly little quilt.  I learned so much and was so proud of myself!
Girl Quilt #2, Baby Size - Aug 12
I finished the binding for this one right after the pink one.  That was all I had left.  And once I tried and loved the hand basting method, I dove right in and finished this one the next day.
Girl Quilt #3, Baby Size - Aug 12
I still can't believe I made my dream maxi dress!  I've been gazing longingly at the pattern envelope for a couple of years, and I've had this fabric picked out for almost that long.  It was a really quick and fun process, and I'm thrilled with how well they fit.  I got a lot of wear out of both of these on our road trip holiday.  I wore the green one as a nightgown.  It really came in handy.  I can't wait to take it to Mexico sometime!
McCall's 6559 - Aug 23
I seem to squeeze in projects for myself periodically between things for others.  I sew for others probably 60-70% of my sewing time.  So, when I make something for me, it's a pretty big deal, and it makes me very happy.  These jammy pants, however, did not turn out.  I tried to reinvent the wheel of my jammy pants pattern, and I should have left well enough alone.  So, I will be cutting these apart and making jammy pants for my friend who wears a size small.  LOL
Jammy Pants for me - Dud - Sep 9
To make up for the dud, I whipped up a pair of TNT (tried 'n true) jammy pants, and they turned out much better.  I slimmed the legs down from my usual wide legs, and I'm quite pleased with the result.  Also, Blue Camouflage!!!  Squeee!!!
Jammy pants for me - Success! - Sep 13
I spent a good solid two weeks making a quilted banner for our church's 50th anniversary celebration.  I remembered the few lessons of appliqué quilting I learned from my mom and I designed this awesome globe with a curved cross over it.  I got the images from Pinterest, and I blew them up like 400% on the photocopier at Staples, and I taped them together and traced out all the different shapes.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  I learned a few things that I will do differently next time, but overall, I'm thrilled, and I got lots of compliments from church members.
Banner for Church's 50th Anniversary - Sep 22
Here's a shot of my other favourite hobby, singing in my church choir.  And my little quilt banner in the corner!  :D
Church's 50th Anniversary - Me in the Choir! - Sep 24
While procrastinating one day, I rifled through my stash and picked out a bunch of lights, mediums, and darks for a new quilt project.  This is another mystery quilt from my group, but by the time I get around to them, they're not mysteries anymore!  LOL
Picked out fabrics for a new quilt - Sep 29
I made a pair of jammy pants for my husband's uncle, who used to be a school bus driver.  How perfect is this flannel?  It has yellow buses among other cars and trucks.  Cute.
Jammy Pants for Uncle - Sep 30
And I made the cutest girly jammy pants for his aunt.  And one of the best parts of making many pairs of jammy pants is the scads of leftover flannel!  I have so much, and I don't quite know what to do with it all yet, but I'm sure a great idea will come to me when the time is right.  It all fits in a bin right now, so the situation isn't dire just yet.  Hee hee.  What a great problem to have, right?
Jammy Pants for Aunt - Sep 30
After taking a nice long break from church quilts over the summer, I geared up for a new season, this time as the fearless leader of the group!  I whipped up a few before our first quilting bee, which was a resounding success.  We've had 4 bees already, and I'm learning a lot about leading, organizing, and delegating.  We're figuring it out as we go, and I'm slowly adapting to the process.  What a rewarding experience.
Church quilts - Oct 7
Kirsten made one of these earbud pouches before I did, so I was tempted to give it a try.  Actually, I kept going to the gym and digging my headphones out of a little ziploc bag, so necessity was the mother of invention in this case.  Haha!  Case!  Get it?  Anyways, it turned out great, and is really cute and really useful.
Earbud pouch from Pinterest - Not Fail! - Oct 26
I added another quilt to my roster.  It's okay, cuz I'm only at 3 quilts (not counting my previous UFO's, which are a lot closer to the finish line).  In our group, we get about 4 or 5 quilt patterns in a year, so I'm actually pretty reserved!  I love using up my stash.  This is for our Log Cabin Challenge.  I based the design off a quilt my mom made.  The red centre squares are inspired by her quilt, as is the size of the blocks.  The challenge for me will be finding darks and lights among my crazy prints!  It will be crazy, but I intend on keeping the values as controlled as possible, considering the fabrics I'm working with.
Test Block for new Log Cabin Quilt Project - Oct 28
And finally, in the beginning of November, I started my new Jalie Hoodie.  Only took 9 months!  Haha.  I've got it about half put together, but it's still not done.  Every time we go out in the cold, I wish it was done.  Necessity will push me to finish this one.  Hopefully not too far into January.  :)
Jalie 2795 Hoodie, round 2, finally started since February - Nov 8
Did I diligently work on the T-shirt quilt a little bit every week and save myself from cramming in way too much work before the deadline?  Of course not!  I tried really hard, but I still struggle with this concept.  It was really enjoyable to work on, once I got into it, but I left about 62% of the work to the last two days!  
T-Shirt Quilt! - Dec 17
I'm learning how much work is left after the quilt top is done.  About 25%, I've heard.  Even though I was up past midnight finishing the binding, I enjoyed the process.  I also kept a close eye on how much time I spent on each step, so now I have lots of good info for the next one.  I love this pattern.
Longarm Quilting - Dec 17
And the next morning at church, on the day of our big Christmas Choir performance, I got to meet the recipient and give her the quilt in person.  She was so thrilled, and it totally made my day.  I love this part of sewing for others.  It makes my heart grow three sizes.  :)
T-Shirt Quilt - Dec 17
Now that the T-shirt quilt was out of the way, I was free to make jammy pants before Christmas.  I did four pairs, and I watched listened to 6 Christmas movies in my sewing room over two days and finished the morning of Christmas Eve.  This is by no means the first time I've done this, but it drives me crazy and I really want to get better at this process!  
Jammy pants for Cousin - Dec 24
Isn't this gorgeous?  I was lurking Fabricland for weeks trying to catch a sale.  I love this print.  And I'm happy to say that I have lots of leftovers!
Jammy pants for Grandma - Dec 24
For Grandpa's pants, I pinned the pattern pieces together so there would be no side seam, and I was painstaking in my stripe matching.  I'm happy to say that it all turned out great!  I like being able to practice on things like this, so that when I get to make a coat or a dress with a stripe or a plaid, I've already done it a few times.  :)
Jammy pants for Grandpa (with perfect stripe matching!) - Dec 24
When we were on our road trip holiday this year, my hubby patiently came fabric shopping with me at Jo-Anne's, and he scored himself some sweet Spiderman flannel out of the deal.  Smart guy.  I never get tired of making new jammy pants for him.  :)
Jammy pants for Husband - Dec 24
After the Christmas festivities, I wanted to do something simple and selfish, so I dug out my Ugly Duckling quilt and worked on the courthouse steps blocks.  I plugged away at this intermittently for 2 or 3 days.  What I like about quilting is that you can have these little piles by your sewing machine and you can sit down and work on them for any amount of time, even 5 minutes.  Also, check out my new Kai scissors that Dad got me for Christmas.  I can't wait to try them out on jammy pants!
Ugly Duckling Step 2 & 7 (courthouse steps blocks) - Dec 27

Speaking of jammy pants, I had to take a break from Ugly Duckling and whip out two more pairs for the 29th.

Jammy Pants for Mom - Dec 29
So, naturally, I did both of them, from start to finish, on the 29th.  That's how I roll.  Haha.  Oh, and the Kai scissors are the bomb!  They are razor sharp, but not pointy scary, and I absolutely love them!
Jammy Pants for Friend - Dec 29
And since I made such progress on my Ugly Duckling squares, I felt compelled to finish them before the end of the week so I could say I finished them and add them to the end of this post.  And I did it!  I finished them tonight, the night before New Year's Eve.
Ugly Duckling Steps 2 & 7, courthouse steps blocks - Dec 30
 They were more challenging than I thought they would be, but I really enjoyed them and felt my sewing skills being stretched and improved.
Ugly Duckling Steps 2 & 7, courthouse steps blocks - Dec 30
 I made 24 blocks, and I was surprised at how long they took me, but once I laid them all out, I realized why they took so long.  That's a lot of real estate!
Ugly Duckling Steps 2 & 7, courthouse steps blocks - Dec 30
 They didn't even all fit on the table.  I had 6 leftover.  I loved seeing all the funky prints and colours come together in new and exciting combinations.  I'm excited to move on to step 3!  (There are 12 steps in total.)
Ugly Duckling Steps 2 & 7, courthouse steps blocks - Dec 30
I feel like 2016 was a very productive year for me, and I learned so much and got to make so many different things.  These were all things I did in my spare time; extracurricular projects, if you will.  If I posted all the cool stuff I got to make at work (restaurant boothing in the spring, and drapery studio stuff like pillows, floor cushions, and play tents in the fall), I could fill a book.  I'm blessed to get to sew and upholster for a living, and I'm happy to say that I've finally found my spark and my sewing mojo, and for the first time in several years, I'm motivated to sew lots at home in my spare time.  I'm looking forward to 2017, and my challenge will be to rotate between the dozens of projects I have, and learn to maybe, just maybe, conquer my deadlines and learn to work on stuff slowly over time instead of cramming at the last minute.  That being said, I did accomplish my goals this year before the deadlines, and I'm proud of myself for that.  There have been a few instances in the past several years where peoples' jammy pants didn't get done in time for Christmas and got either pushed into the new year or missed altogether and done before the next Christmas (or even the one after that).  I'm happy to say I'm completely caught up for the first time in about 4 years.

If you made it all the way to the bottom, thanks for reading and looking at all 48 of my photos!  I hope the new year brings you many blessings.  Happy New Year!

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