Posted in quilting

Traced templates

Traced templates, originally uploaded by cidellsews.

I mentioned in my last post that this is my first time quilting using templates. I’ve always been a big fan of stripping (chortle). So, for this one, I had some quilting template at the house from a bag project.

Since I am primarily a garment sewist I was searching for as much info I could about the Single Girl Quilt and there just wasn’t that much out there. So, I’m going to blog ad nauseum about my project.

The pattern comes with the 1/4 inch seam allowance added. So, I just traced with a super fine point Sharpie. That being said, I got about 1/3 of the way through tracing the approximately 40 pieces because I ran out of template plastic.

There are a slew of coupons from the Big Box Store. So, I’ll try to get down before the weekend and pick up three more sheets so I can at least finish piecing one square.

Posted in sewing


Hello Kids,

I did something really odd on Saturday. Nothing. If you know me, you know that I get up around six or seven on the weekends and go about my weekend. Yesterday, I slept until around 11. Went to the Walters Art Museum around 1:00 p.m., came home at 3:00 and crawled right back in to bed. Slept until 7:00 p.m. and went back to sleep at 11:00 p.m. and got up at 8:00 a.m. Normally, this kind of behavior would freak me out (I worry that people who sleep all day might be depressed — I was a Resident Assistant at my boarding high school and lived in an all girls dorm in college. Talk about bird’s eye view of disorders and depression). And, I haven’t let myself slow down the last month or so. But, yesterday felt glorious and I feel truly awake for the first time in weeks.

So, what took me to the Walters? Baltimore is pretty awesome in that our two largest art museums are FREE to the public. The Walters and the Baltimore Museum of Art both have amazing textile collections.

This time though, I went to see the ‘ArtBlooms’ exhibit — Garden of Eden theme.

And the St. Johns Bible exhibit.

The Walters recently let several staffers go and closed about 16 positions — all in an effort to keep the museum free to the public. I think that’s a pretty painful sacrifice to make and I don’t take enough advantage of the resources I have living in a City. Like FDR said, ‘Artists have to eat too.’

Today: Well, I should have worked on my AB Weekender or my summer dress, but instead, I tackled my Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt. And you know what? I forgot that I actually REALLY like to quilt! Seriously. I was totally in the zone today just cutting and piecing. This is my first time making something with templates. Which was easier than I thought.

You can cut in layers and you can use a rotary cutter! Each ring is divided into quarters. Below are quarters 1 and 2. Quarters thee and four will be a mix of 1 and 2. I’m going to have four like this, and four in another colorway, etc. These are so fresh and bright, I can’t wait to get a full quadrant done to show off!

The prints are from the lovely Cynthia at They are:Lizzy House and Anna Maria Horner.Two fabric designers you’ll be seeing a lot of here!

That’s it for my weekend! I still have a homework assignment to do. This week we drafted princess seams and yoked bodices. Now, I need to make them up in fabric for school.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sewing Christmas Wish List

I’m at home right now waiting for the heating repair folks. My heat went out overnight and it is COLD. Here’s hoping my 30 year old furnace is fine ūüôā ** ETA: Heat is back on and I’m off to work. It was an easy (free) fix!

In the meantime, I thought I’d post a couple of Christmas wish list items.

I love these pink Clover scissors. I know Fiskars and some other folks are making pink scissors, but I like the little holster these come with. Kinda shows that they are dangerous somehow!

I still want to quilt, but I can’t bite the bullet on the fabric. So, if I had a sewing Christmas wishlist, I would put some fat quarter packets on it.

This one is just about my vintage!

Having a large fat quarter set, I would get started on the Single Girl quilt.

There is also great crafty themed jewelry on Etsy. Lindsay T posted about a fun bracelet today too.

How much do we love this by chrysdesignsjewelry?

yarn balls by Maria Cavalerro

And this ruler bracelet by bronzegirl?

On a non-sewing note, I want a pair of uggs for Christmas (notice I write that lowercase because I think it was smart and sneaky to copyright ‘uggs’. That’s like copyrighting ‘sneakers’.) I really, really, really want a pair and have told anyone who will listen.

Either the super tall one of the ‘cove’ style below. Yes, I prefer them in cream and I know they would get filthy. But, they are so pretty.

Why I didn’t buy the non-copyrighted uggs when I was in New Zealand several years ago with my mom for $80, I’ll never know. I guess I didn’t think they would still be popular. Clearly, I am not a predictor of trends!

Posted in sewing

All the Fashion in the Western Reserve

My dearest childhood friend Stephanie lives in Youngstown, Ohio. We met back when our families were stationed in Germany during middle school. She has three great kids and a full time job so we don’t get to see each other too often. She’s just a five hour drive away so¬†Jordan and I took the long Labor Day weekend for a mini break in the Western Reserve. As per usual, I managed to squeeze in as much sewing / fashion related stuff as humanly possible. Since this is a long post with many, many photos, I’ll just help you along here here and let you jump to the parts that might interest you most. I was lucky enough to spend time looking at quilts and knitting at the¬†The Canfield Fair, fabulous performance costumes at¬†the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame¬†and checking out the amazing costume collection at¬†the Kent State Museum.

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Sewing Machine Tractor. Of course.

When Stephanie suggested the¬†Canfield Fair for our Friday plans I was all about it. And, not just in¬†for the deep fried cheese curds.¬† The¬†Canfield Fair is the largest County Fair in the country! I went online and saw they had quilting exhibits in addition to hand and machine knitting. There was fashion sewing too, but I didn’t grab any photos of those.

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While there were just a few items that were machine and hand knit, I was BLOWN away by the gorgeous hand and machine made quilts on display.
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After we left Youngstown, Jordan and I headed up to Cleveland for the remainder of the weekend. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was top of our list.

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As per usual, I beelined for the costume display.

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Oh, Queen Bey. Why did I recognize every single one of the seven costumes on display?

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Also, I totally want to be a Supreme.

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On Sunday, we drove an hour outside of Cleveland to¬†Kent State University¬†so I could see a few of the current exhibitions from their museum’s costume collection.

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Closing this weekend in the incredible Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion. Holy beaded beauty. Flapper Style is a wonderful collection of period pieces. The 40 pieces (mostly dresses and hats) are grouped by themes of Romanticism, Art Deco, Exoticism and Abstraction. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Following the incredible Flapper Style, I went to view the Fashion Timeline exhibit which does a remarkable job of tying fashion to current events. From the advent of fabric production to the invention and adoption of the sewing machine, fashion is tied together.

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They started with the mid¬†1700s and wrapped up with the mid 1960s (You can see the interactive timeline here). As I’ve noted before, I have very mixed emotions when it comes to vintage clothes. For me, it’s important to not look at¬†the amazing fashion of the past and idealize what were¬†generally crappy times for people of color and women. I love fashion and costumes and can deeply appreciate the clothes for what they are. But, it’s odd to stand around and admire an antebellum dress that was afforded on the backs of¬†¬†slave labor (says the girl who holds Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird up as her favorite books of all time). Or, love the ¬†details in a dress from the 50s and 60s and not think about the massive violation of civil rights in America. ¬†That said, the exhibit does a good job of noting the¬†part of¬†¬†our history¬†that made fashion possible, like the invention of the cotton gin. ¬†Or, acknowledging that women in the work place influenced and changed style very quickly.

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Here are a few of the pieces from the collection that really spoke to me.

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The final exhibition I saw was Fashion Designs of Southern Africa. While I was originally most excited about this new exhibit, I was underwhelmed in person. Perhaps it’s because I’m admittedly not familiar with designers from Southern Africa.But, I found the selections underwhelming with not enough context.

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So, that wraps up all the ways I turned our mini break into my fashion tour of the Western Reserve :-). If you can make it to Kent State I highly recommend you visit their compact but well curated costume¬†museum. And, if you’re at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, give yourself plenty of time. I could have spent hours and hours in there. We also did a bunch of other touristy stuff including walking and biking tours that I very much enjoyed. I can tell you for sure though, Cleveland absolutely rocks!

Posted in sewing

Here’s Where UFOs Come From (or, Starting a long-term project when you have just two weeks)

Yes, that’s right! I’m taking a break from my tuxedo jacket. In my quest to be chic, I realized I wanted my trench in time for the Netherlands in May.¬† So, I’ve started the Burberry trench coat!¬† I don’t know that it will be done in time given my upcoming travel and work schedule, but a girl should try.¬†The patterm is #128 from the January 2008 Burda. Note that this pattern does not call for the epualletes. I’m tight on fabric so I may not be able to add them.

After two days of rabidly pawing through my stash, I’ve gathered my supplies in one place:

The raincoating material is from Michael’s. Denver Fabrics had some too. I have to admit I now have this material in three colorways! And, I have plans for every single piece.

Red and black buttons from eBay. They are ginormous.

Burberry quilted warmer from Guss Woolens. It pickes up the burgundy stripes of the inside.

Black leather covered buckles courtesy of Lindsay T. They look fantastic against the red.

Matching striped lining I picked up at Jomar almost three years ago. This will be for the sleeves and the underside of some of the bulkier / thicker pieces.

I’m flying fast and loose here and not making a muslin. I added an extra inch in width to each sleeve for safety.

I also made a 1.5 inch FBA. My first time in a raglan pattern. It will have a bodice dart at the side seam. I know there are ways of rotating out the dart, but for using fabric that won’t ease well, I’m find with a side bust dart.

The coat will be unlined in the bodice, lined in the sleeves and have a button out warmer. I do still need to draft the warmer pattern and get that cut out. I’m not too worried. I have a general idea. I’m thinking cap sleeve raglan (enough to cover the shoulder pads).

I’m super busy this upcoming weekend so I plan to do all the binding¬†next weekend. Once it’s all bound, I’m hoping to take it with me to my parents place in Tampa and get the main construction done in mid-April while I’m there for a quick visit.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about my dinner tonight with some sewists / bloggers visiting Baltimore!