Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Twig & Tale ~ LEAF BLANKETS ~

Early this year I was thrilled to have the chance to help test a new pattern for Twig & Tale - a beautiful collection of New Zealand leaf blankets, that come in two people sizes and four doll sizes. While I initially only made the large blanket, I was happy to be able to test two of the doll sizes as well. So now, after waiting almost two months, I am so thrilled to be able to say that this pattern is now available on the Twig and Tale website and I can finally share my pictures. πŸ˜‚

The Twig & Tale Leaf Blanket pattern sales help fund reforestation projects in
New Zealand, helping to maintain the habitat of jaguars. This beautiful
project was the idea of the pattern designers daughter!
The deadline for the test photos was early February and as it was terribly cold around that time, I waited til almost the last minute before bundling up the girls and heading to the woods to try to get a few pictures. The day we went out it had begun to warm up after a really, really cold snap - I'm talking a below-zero-for-a-week cold snap. On picture day it warmed up to about 40 degrees. Not terribly warm, but it felt quite balmy after such cold temperatures! The girls were wonderful models and I basically just followed them around as they darted here and there and played. After thirty minutes or so we were properly cold and very happy to get into a warm vehicle and drive home. 

The blanket can be draped over branches and used as a fort. . .

The leaf blanket is meant to be a beginner friendly project and really is very easy, although I found it a little time consuming and awkward, since it was so large and I am used to sewing smaller projects that fit better underneath my sewing machine. There are three layers: top, a layer of batting, and a backing. The layers all all sewn together and  turned right side out before the quilting of  the leaf veins  is  done. 
Sweet Anne

Twig and Tale patterns encourage upcycling materials so for my blanket I used a green tablecloth my mother gave me (I never use tablecloths as tablecloths - life  with six children make a bare  surfaced wood table  an absolute necessity!) and some  yellow cotton print for the back. I used  a  layer of cotton batting for the middle, although the blanket did  not come out very squishy.  Next  time I may use a loftier batting or several layers of thinner. 

It also serves very well as a blanket! :D

The girls have loved using the big blanket as a play area. They generally like to have it laid out on the living room floor in front of the fireplace, where  they set up little fantasy worlds with their dolls (they are super into the LOL Doll craze. . .πŸ˜‘) although now that it is getting warm outside they like to bring it out to put inside their tent in the back yard.  

Anne's doll blanket - can you spot the embroidered ladybug? 

My rock-obsessed youngest daughter used  hers to collect her prettiest
specimens!

The small doll size blankets were fun to make and a much quicker sew. For Anne's, I used a bright  colored cotton scrap left over from Rosie's  Petal Dress.  For Rose, she wanted  green so  I used an old button up shirt that  was  her big  brothers. Rosie's leaf  was  pretty plain so I added an embroidered  spider.  She was  delighted. "Oh Mommy, is it a FRIENDLY spider?" πŸ˜‚ Anne then wanted   an embroidered bit of  something on her leaf, too, so we  added  a ladybug, although it's hard to see  due to the colorful print of the leaf!
Her hands were getting cold by this time but she was reluctant to leave the creek bed!

It was so much fun testing this pattern out. Twig and Tale is currently offering both the child  size  and doll size  blanket patterns as a bundle  for  a  great  savings.  The pattern bundle in on sale  til April 1st for $11.95. 

My sweet little pixie! 

Much love,

Sarah

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Spring

Another travelers cape. This time, in fleece. I got a 1.5 yard pre cut length and was able to get two capes out of it, one for my niece and another for Rosie!
I lined Rosie's with the blue and white print I used to line her Petal Dress last fall. It's so soft and lovely against the skin, while the fleece makes a great light layer that is absolutely perfect for this time of year. To close the cape I sewed on a black frog closure. It's a little big for her but she loves, loves wearing it and wrapping up in it at night after her bath or when she's reading books with me. It's like a wearable blanket!
She loves looking for fossils!
She needs her own cross body purse. . .mine was loaded with rocks she found
by the time we left!

This past week we have spent so much time outside. It's been warm and lovely and such a happy time, seeing the woods fill with little green growing things and buds swelling at the ends of branches and shrubs. When we are super lucky, we find a little wildflower or two hidden beneath dry leaves or peeking out shyly from under some brush. The trees are still quite leafless but a faint green mist is spreading and hanging in those expectant branches.
Benjamin followed the creek bed as far as he dared. . .

The cape also came with Rosie to the drum circle the night of the full moon and spring equinox. She didn't bring her wings (which I still need to blog about! They came out SO cute!) but the cape was better suited for the cool night air at the beach anyhow.
Fabulous moon in the western sky the morning of the equinox! This was taken from
my back deck early in the morning when I got my son David up for school.
That puppy kept looking at her and then at her pepperoni roll!
She did share. πŸ˜‚

Drumming in the spring!

Excitement was high!
Busy season is definitely upon us. Baseball, end of school programs, two birthdays, two weddings, Easter and the beginning of living history season. While I so love seeing the cycle of the earth I also enjoy the quiet cycle of our life, too, and how each season brings with it some of the same things as the year before - with children who are older, taller, and closer to adulthood and finding out what their path is through this world. 
I've been sewing a lot but nothing historical. I am not really sure how much living history I will be doing this year. I am sure I'll do some but my heart just isn't into it this year. I have become involved in some other things that leave little physical time for going to events and little mental and emotional space to devote to research and creating historic clothing. It's a strange, new, exciting time in some ways but it is such a good thing. 
I am sort of, possibly, maybe planning a new 1860s dress for a one day event I will likely go to in mid April. I have fabric for it and keep feeling a little urge to make a dress. Over the winter I splashed some bleach on my blue print dress since my sewing room/costume storage space doubles as our laundry room. I was devastated! That dress was just so pretty. But the fit was not quite right as the bodice was pretty long waisted for the period and I was planning to remake it anyway. Now, I can use the fabric from that dress to make a dress for Anne and possibly Rose as well. I have a nice blue and creamy-orange plaid to make into a dress to replace it and  I do think it will look nice once its made up. Soon? Maybe! We will see. 
For now, oh, many blessings and much love to you all. What a marvelous season we are in, with cool mornings and evenings and skies sprinkled with stars and flooded with soft moonlight, with the gentle song of mourning doves and fields and silvery creeks and rivers, released from their winter ice, flowing into larger rivers. The earth is good to us, despite how we mistreat her and take her for granted. We have so much to learn.

Love,
Sarah

Monday, March 18, 2019

Heart Blocks

I am sure you all have heard about the tragedy occurring this past weekend in Christchurch. It seems acts of violence targeted towards peaceful people gathering to worship is only increasing. This scares me and makes me hold my own little ones closer. Of all places where one should feel safe, a sacred place of worship certainly should be at the top of the list. My heart breaks for all who lost loved ones.
A facebook group I am in shared this post. I shared it on Facebook too, but as my page is private I am also sharing it here. This is such a positive project to get involved in and to show in some small way our love and light sending to our dear brothers and sisters across the world.


My blocks are so simple (I knew piecework would take me forever, so I did applique) but I treasure the time I spent on each one. May whoever ends up with these blocks know they are thought of and loved.


Much love,

Sarah

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Reverse Appliqued Sweatshirt

It's funny how fast circumstances can change. In general and specifically. Deeply and more shallowly. On the shallow end of things, I'm sitting here thinking that just a month or two ago I was struggling with my machine having to be repaired (and repaired again!) and  NOW. . .well, thanks to some a thrift store machine and the local Facebook garage sale group I have not one fantastic machine but three - AND a serger!
Now what in the heck to do with them?! I absolutely do not need three machines. Having one is very sufficient, with perhaps one as a back up. I gave my spare machine to my sons friend last summer when he came over for sewing lessons and it's brought me so much joy to see and hear about the projects he makes! Perhaps I need Judah to recruit another friend who has an interest in sewing!
So with the  new acquisitions I rearranged my sewing room a little, adding in a small table so my serger has a permanent place. I freaking love it. I've been contemplating getting one for a while, but have always been really intimidated by how complicated they seem. I remember back when I was a young teen and my great aunt asked me to make a few flower girl dresses for a wedding. She brought me over yards of thin poly satin, which frayed out almost as soon as it was cut. Back then I thought using a serger would be very helpful to finish those slippery seams so I borrowed one from a lady at my then-church. I could NOT figure out how to work that thing so I never did use it. I finished the flower girl dresses with bag linings and lots of fray check.
Yep... highly unfortunate motif placement. πŸ˜‚
For the last very long while I've finished my seams on all my garments via several different methods, depending on the garment, the fabric and if it is a historic garment or not. For 1860's women's clothing, seams left raw and pressed to one side are perfectly appropriate for sturdy fabric. For material that tends to fray or will get washed a lot (like childrens garments and mens shirts) I generally use a hand felled seam, which looks like little stitches on the outside of the garment. For items that have selvedge edges, the selvedge can often be left as a natural finish (like the seams of petticoats). For modern stuff, if I'm not lining, I always try to use french seams and if that isn't possible, zig zag stitching and topstitching looks nice and is sturdy. I did not NEED a serger but as I began to sew more with knits last year, the more I thought that having one would be nice, eventually.

Well, about a month ago someone posted in the local facebook group about a serger and a sewing machine for sale. They came as a set, so even though I didn't need the sewing machine (another Kenmore) at all, it was worth the price for the serger alone. Seeing the serger in all it's multi-threaded glory brought back horrifying memories of those flower girl dresses but this time I had an instruction manual to consult. I didn't have time to even sit down and look at the machine for several weeks, so it sat on the floor in my sewing room and I got used to looking at it.

When I finally did get time to sit down with the instruction manual and the machine I went through it carefully, step by step. I located and named all the parts of the machine, re threaded it and then just started using it! The best way to learn is to just DO! And the more you do, the better you will get. (I tell this to my kids all the time. You are never going to be great when you are just starting out! But starting out and continuing to DO means you CAN AND WILL GET GREAT AT SOMETHING!) The first session I had with the serger I merely overlocked all the edges on many squares of scrap muslin. After each square I played with the tensions a little bit and finally got to the point where I could see where each thread interlocked with the others to create the overlocked edge and two rows of stitching. The second session the tension was good so I made little towels for my girls LOL Dollhouse out of a few washcloths cut into quarters. Then, we made some little pillows and blankets for the doll house. Finally I felt confident enough to make a wearable garment so I pulled out the leftover black and red knit from my t-shirt dress I made last summer and made some leggings. The serger made the construction of these SO fast! Three main seams, a waistband, and I left the bottom edges just overlocked instead of turning and stitching a hem. I love wearing these leggings even if I didn't have enough material to even try to match the print.

My first proper project, though, is this sweatshirt and the shorts I made to go with them. This is a double knit fabric, one of those precut 2 yard lengths that WalMart sells. I think it was $4? I kind of planned to make it into a hoodie but I noticed my only pullover sweatshirt was getting ratty looking so I decided to replace it. The double knit is grey on one side, black on the other. For this project I decided to use it black side out.
The pattern is a 1984 dolman top/dress/tunic pattern that was given to me by our 4-H leader. While I probably will never use this pattern to make a dress like the one on the pattern cover, it is a nice cut and worked great for this shirt! To make the shirt a little more sweatshirty I added fitted bands at the waist and sleeves. For the neckline I serged the raw edge and sewed a row of machine stitching about 3/8" below it.
The fun part was embellishing this very plain shirt with a little bit of color. I decided to do reverse applique so I interfaced and cut out my design elements, pinned them to the inside of the front and stitched them down. Since this fabric is a knit and doesn't really fray, all I had to do was clip out the material inside the stitching lines on the outside of the shirt, about 1/4" away from the stitch line. I love how this came out and will probably use this technique again sometime.



I decided to use some more of the cotton material I used for the applique to make some shorts from a pattern I wanted to test out. These were also sewn on my serger and while I like the shorts, they did come out a bit big despite sizing down several sizes. I do hate how much wearing ease modern patterns have! The legs on these shorts are enormous! Still, perfectly wearable for around the house.



I've made a few more things since finishing this outfit with the serger, but for now I'm working on a project that is strictly machine-only. πŸ˜€ I'm sure I'll be using it again soon though! I'm looking forward, so much, to becoming more proficient with it.

Much love!

Sarah

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Luna Moth Wings


Wow, two posts within 24 hours! But I HAD to post these! 😍 These were a quicker sew than I anticipated, although they did take at least the six hours the pattern suggests as normal.

My applique leaves a lot to be desired but it works. :D

These are the Luna Moth wings, that I purchased as part of the Wings Bundle introductory sale back in October. I got all 3 styles of wings in all 3 sizes for only $18, which is an enormous savings! I haven't had a chance to work with the pattern until yesterday but I have been eagerly looking forward to this for months.

The straps thread through an anchor strap, and can be adjustable. 

This first set is for my 3 year old niece since I will be seeing my mom soon and wanted to have these done to give to her for our beautiful little lady. 😊 I will be making some more for Anne and Rosie. In fact, both girls already have their fabrics picked out and want their sets done to wear to our next full moon drum circle gathering later this month.

Don't you love her dress?! I found this second hand last summer
and it fits her so well this year. 

The pattern calls for 3 layers of heavy interfacing and a layer of thick batting to create the stiffness the wings need to sit prettily. Confession: I HATE interfacing. I don't like sewing it or turning things that are constructed with it but, undoubtedly, it does have its place. I did use 2 layers of interfacing on these things but omitted the third layer and the batting by using fusible foam. This made the wings fairly easy to turn right side out once the back was sewn to the quilted front, although now that they are completed the wings are a bit droopy. I plan to cut and cover two lengths of zip ties to hand stitch across the back of the wings, to give them the stiffness they need.


Rosie consented to model these for me (with the promise of helping me make a batch of rice krispy treats as reward) and I do like the size small on her. I worried these would be too small but I think they are just right for play, not too large to get in the way or be clumsy and big enough to look nicely proportioned. I do think the straps could be a tad longer to allow the wings to sit a bit lower on the back. The short straps would work really well for toddler age kids, but Rosie sadly is not a toddler anymore! 😭 My beautiful baby will be 4 next month.


I feel SO thrilled to have finally made these and love how they came out. I am part of the Twig&Tale facebook chat group and love seeing the versions everyone else makes. No two sets of wings are alike! These are a great canvas to imprint with your own personal artistic touch. I love this pattern!
Luna Moth wings by Twig & Tale

Much love,
Sarah

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Travelers Cape

Olord, I have finally finished the last of my outgoing projects for a while. I am thrilled to have nothing else due to send out til the end of the month so that means - I can make stuff for fun! :D I've had (mostly modern) fabric and project ideas piling up since the beginning of the year but haven't had the chance to start any of them til now. Right now I am most excited about finally being able to make WINGS! πŸ˜ƒ I'm printing off my pattern and getting started this afternoon! Yay!


I did squeeze in a quick project towards the end of January. Rosie had been asking for a cape like Anne's so I took an afternoon and made her one. 


While I had a lot of materials to choose from I decided to repurpose a cotton sweater I  had lying around. With careful layout of the pattern I had juuuuuust enough material to cut out each piece and match the striped design of the knit material. I had enough from the body of the sweater to cut out the body of the cape and used the sleeves to make the hood. 


The lining is what makes the cape fun and special, being a shimmery silver-and-gold polka dot material. It's rather thick, too, and adds stability to the outer layer, which has a tendency to want to droop. 

For Rose, I used the 3-5 year old size cut at the classic cape length and made the pixie style hood versus the round hood. I topstitched around the edges with some waxed green embroidery floss to add strength to the edge and some visual interest. To close it the cape I made a buttonhole and added a silver button. 

This came together so quickly that I made another cape in blue denim and lined with blue plaid cotton shirting, closed with a leather tab and button. While the blue cape was intended for Benjamin (who does wear it!) all 3 of the littlest take turns with it. I love seeing them all playing and running around with their capes on! 


I still haven't made my version of this cape but I will at some point. I just have way too many things I want to make and not nearly enough time!



Love,
Sarah