Cheers to the start of Q2

Kate Spain Central Park
I didn’t sew much in March. I had sewn up an order for my Etsy shop, but that’s pretty much it. Instead, I spent the end of the first quarter of the year with a sinus-muddled head and a persistent cough that has been keeping me awake at night and driving me mad.

So I gave up on sewing for a bit and started watching Downton Abbey–in bed, with the new tv that the hubs put in our bedroom. I stayed in bed until I watched all 3 seasons, which are happily available On Demand. I’m quite surprised by my new-found addiction to the show programme, since I don’t usually watch tv. Books are my thing. Except Downton Abbey is like a Jane Austen novel, only oh-so-much better because of the setting, clothing and characters–who create both chemistry and tension by the subtle nuance of facial expressions and excellent dialogue. Then this quote had me thinking that I should get back to sewing:

“You have a talent that none of the rest of us have. Just find out what it is and use it. It’s doing nothing that’s the enemy.”
— Sybil Crawley, Downton Abbey (Season 2, Episode 2)

You win, Sybil. (The part about doing nothing). Yesterday I started cutting fabric for Boo’s birthday quilt. The photo above is a collection of Kate Spain’s Central Park fabric that I was going to use to make Boo a quilt. I love every single print in the line. But even though there are blues, greens & purples, I couldn’t get over how feminine it is–too many florals, I guess. One of the first things I sewed for Boo were fabric boxes made with the animal print. It’s what got me hooked on quilting fabric, really, so the entire collection makes me a bit sentimental. I made the baby boots with this pattern.
fabric boxes Kate Spain Central Park
The bigger box fits diapers and wipes.
fabric boxes Kate Spain Central Park
So I bought another stack of fabric, mostly from Michele Brummer Everett’s collections: Seven Seas & Monsterz. The other prints are random fat quarters that I bought from Sew Fresh Fabrics. All of the fabric is 100% organic cotton.
Michele Brummer Everett Seven Seas & Monsterz
Today, I sewed up my first wonky star block! This tutorial is excellent–the photos make it easy to follow. Instead of using 4.5″ squares, I used 3″ squares to fit my quilt design. The finished block measures 8″x8″. It took a bit of effort to figure out where to put the points, in order for all of the critters to be right-side-up. Only 17 more to go!
My First Wonky Star Block
I am hoping to have this quilt finished in time for Boo’s birthday next week, but I think that’s a bit ambitious. I’m hoping to post a finished quilt soon–I need something to focus on so I don’t feel the effects of Downton Abbey withdrawal.

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Flashback Skinny Tees

Flashback Skinny Tee
I can see why the Flashback Skinny Tee is such a popular sewing pattern for kids–it’s an easy pattern to follow, it’s a quick project (2 shirts in 3 days! I am slow because of my Pinterest addiction…) and it uses very little fabric. (I blogged about the fabric here.) The finished tees are super comfortable and look freaking cute on Froo & Boo.

After decorating the Christmas tree, I found one box of lights that I didn’t use. So I thought it would help Froo & Boo to focus on the camera if they had something to play with.
Flashback Skinny Tee
Then inevitably, something goes awry.
Flashback Skinny Tee
So we moved over to the blank wall and tried again.
Flashback Skinny Tees
Flashback Skinny Tees
I especially LOVE how Boo’s tee turned out. I made it in size 2 and given that it’s a stretch knit, it fits him perfectly. After a trip through the washing machine, the fabric came out really soft. It was easy to sew through and it matches the navy blue ribbing. I tried to match the stripes at the sleeves, but as it turns out, you have to match the stripes at the armpits, not the shoulders. Oops. I sewed on a little whale applique that I had leftover from the Christmas present I made for Boo last year.
Flashback Skinny Tee
I used a tutorial from the purl bee to make Boo and my nephew a hooded towel. I am obsessed with the free iPhone app, LINE camera–it adds effects and graphics to photos that are really fun. There are so many options for customization!
Hooded Towel
Hooded Towel
The fabric for Froo’s tee is a poly-cotton blend and difficult to sew. My sewing machine kept eating the fabric at the beginning stitches, so I had to start about a 1/4 inch down the edge of my fabric. I added a cuff to the bottom of the shirt because I wanted it to look more like a sweatshirt than a pajama top. I took a gamble on the size and went up to size 5, but I should have made it in size 4, since the cuff adds another 2 inches to the hem. It’s a little long and not quite “skinny” enough, but Froo says she loves it nonetheless.
Flashback Skinny Tee detail
Here they are on their own:
Flashback Skinny TeeFlashback Skinny Tee
I am already planning a couple more Flashback Skinny Tees! They are so awesome. I usually find it hard to reuse a pattern, but I can see this one being used for a very long time. Even the hubs asked if I could make him one in his size!

Fabric Shopping in Vancouver

I am now home in San Mateo with Froo & Boo. We spent a wonderful week back home in Vancouver and now we are home with the hubs. My little brother said, “home is a who, not a where”. In that case, we have 2 homes.

On the airplane, Froo made 3 cards and Boo made one. Froo made one for each pair of grandparents and one for her cousin’s birthday. The airplane activities envelope pouch ended up being a lifesaver. Two pieces of paper with folded edges and washi tape were perfect as little envelopes for the cards. On the airplane ride home, Froo made a card for the hubs. One roll of washi tape rolled away during take-off and we couldn’t find it afterwards. Oh well.

We stayed with Mama & Yeye (my hubs’ parents) the entire week and they were the bestest hosts ever–thank you for making our stay comfortable and relaxing. They took care of Froo & Boo. They took us to eat at our favourite restaurants. They shooed me out of the house so I could meet with friends and go shopping. Except I didn’t want to go shopping because everything is more expensive in Canada. So I went fabric shopping instead. The pile on the left is from Fabricana in Richmond, the pile on the right is from Dressew in downtown Vancouver–Sewaholic has an excellent post about it here.

I recently bought the flashback skinny tee pattern after seeing some cute versions of it during kcwc. Froo will be getting a cream coloured knit tee with a pink floral print and Boo will be getting a tee with wide blue and navy stripes–it’s a stretch pique knit labelled “Lacoste knit”. The feathers and polka dot woven cottons will become Mary’s Fancy Sash Dress from the book Girl’s World.

Dressew is truly an amazing place. I went with a friend, the day before Halloween–it was incredibly busy. My friend was able to find really nice fabric to make table linens for her wedding. I found some navy micro fleece on sale and grey stretch french terry for Boo. But the buttons! Most of the button cards I bought were only 49 cents. I wanted to buy more, but I have a new philosophy on buying fabric: only buy fabric and sewing supplies for projects I have in mind and intend to make. Sounds simple, but I have trouble saying “no” to cute cotton prints and fabric on sale. I’m still wishing I bought more buttons.

When I got back home, I had a package from Fabric Depot waiting for me! I like the convenience of online shopping, but I have to say, buying fabric is such a tactile and visual experience, that it was really nice spending time at my two favourite fabric stores in Vancouver.