A Tetris Quilt for Scotch

Some people really love quilting, and that’s good for them. Me? I kind of like planning them, and then the rest ranges from “meh” to torture. For example, I had been planning a Tetris quilt in my head for years; it was going to be varying shades of blue, twin sized, and it was going to be an heirloom that my son would someday give to my grandkids…Why yes, I do have quite an imagination. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I finally decided to bite the bullet, I thought I should plan it out. The major snag in my plan was that the varying shades of blue I had envisioned were nixed in favor of rainbow colors by my opinionated toddler. Since it’s for him, I supposed I had to do what he wanted. So, rainbow colors it is. It was also supposed to be his 3rd birthday present, so I had Stacy from StacySews embroider a little “tag” for the back with his name and the month/year. Except that I suck, and so his quilt wasn’t even close to finished in time for his birthday, so he just got to see a quilt top on his birthday. So now, about 2 months later he finally gets to “nuggle” his quilt. I’m just glad I got it done, because it’s about to get super busy with all the weddings and showers we have going on over the next couple of months, and like every sewist, I feel like I should try to make something to wear for them. *Cue eye rolling* ๐Ÿ˜›

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It’s certainly bright, but it’s pretty much exactly what I envisioned, except for the color scheme.

Anyway, it’s a very basic quilt, just a lot of blocks sewn together. Each finished block is 3″ square, and I used this chart to calculate how big the quilt needed to be for a twin sized bed. Ultimately it’s a smidge smaller than the intended finished dimensions because of a snafu with my border. I bought every last bit of the grey the store had, intending to use it for the blocks, border, backing, and binding. So when I goofed up the width of the border I had to make it work. And even then I didn’t have quite enough fabric, so I came up with what I thought was a genius idea to make a “cast of characters” on the back using some leftover scraps.

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If I would have been thinking, I’d have taken a closeup of my nearly perfect quilting through both front AND back; I’m very proud of myself for my patience–not so much for my piss poor planning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only problem with that was that I then had to quilt it to match the front perfectly. It mostly worked, but it was a nightmare getting it pinned up and there was a lot of swearing involved. I also had to use even more of the color scraps to make a strip rainbow in the back to have enough fabric to get it to work. In the end, I just managed to eek everything out of the fabric I had, and there isn’t enough left to do anything with, so I’m calling it a win. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out overall, but I won’t be rushing to do another quilt any time soon, even though Irish has made puppy dog eyes at me about making him a quilt too. Eventually I’ll probably give in, but I need to forget the trauma of this one first. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m leaning toward a Super Mario themed quilt for him based on either this one or this one, but then there is this really cool R2D2 quilt too…

 

Make do and mend

So many of us say you can’t save money sewing, but sometimes the combination of good quality materials and workmanship that sewing your own clothesย providesย pays off, like when I can put new elastic in the waistband of these pants for a second child to wear. Amazingly, they still look pretty much as good on the outside as they did way back then (though the lining has faded with many washes and wears!), and I have 3 pairs of lined winter pants for these extreme tempsย (it was -7*F this morning!)ย for less than $3 and 10 minutes worth of unpicking. Supplex is the bomb, and if I ever find the stuff again, I’m buying the whole stock! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Update on the Tetris quilt: Progress has been made! I’m finished with piecing onย 15 of 26 rows. Since I seriously injured my tailbone (possibly broken, but noย x-ray to know for sure)ย in a fall down some stairs a couple of weeks ago, sitting in my sewing chair has been painful so I try to keep it to a minimum. I’m on the mend though, so I can hopefully get everything finished on schedule, even if it means a few late nights toward the end. Anyway, the quilt is crazy bright, but also kind of gorgeous if I don’t say so myself.

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But then again, it might be the kind of quilt that only the maker (and hopefully it’s recipient!) could love… ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Christmas crunch time, or why do I do this to myself?

So it’s December. I’ve been hearing Christmas music on the radio for at least a couple of weeks now, but it’s never really “real” to me until the first of December (or the second, that works too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) And immediately following–relatively speaking, of course–is Scotch’s 3rd birthday. And I realized this year that Scotch does not yet have his own quilt like big brother does.

*Cue frantic planning of said quilt.*

I’ve been dreaming of a Tetris quilt in varying shades of blue for a long time, but somehow I ended up letting Scotch choose his own colors, so there’s a little bit of everything in there. Scotch is a big fan of orange and purple, so it’s going to be red, orange, yellow, purple, and a kind of ocean green. Fairly traditional Tetris colors, or at least in my memory they are.

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This is the current plan, but I’m actually going to have to rework it a bit because the bottom 1/4 has too many of the same pieces touching each other, and that can’t happen on the final quilt or it will lose the effect. I’m hoping I can just redraw those few lines on the bottom and match them up with the rest so that I don’t have to redraw the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I even bought the fabric this morning, so it’s really going to happen. !!! I’m not 100% convinced about this, but the colors are very pretty, and somehow they work together. And even if they don’t, my son loves them and is super excited about his quilt, so I’m not going to argue.

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The colors aren’t quite right on my screen, theย purpleย is a bit more faded and a bit less blue, and the red isn’t quite that dark either.

I’m also not sure why I keep saying “never again” to quilting and then am sucked back in to making another quilt. This will be my 3rd, so it should go together flawlessly–or at least I shouldn’t bungle it too badly. It’s got to be easier than the queen sized one I made for our bed aย while back! I can still remember the horror that was shoving a queen sized quilt through my regular sewing machine. *shudder*

Also in progress: a couple of things for me for wearing over the various Christmas celebrations and I just finished the PJ shirt I started for Scotch like a month ago. I’d make him a couple more, but even as quick as they are I think I need the time for other things. What do you suppose the odds are of being able to finish the quilt by the first week of January? Slim to none? Or can it be done?

Measure twice, cut once…AKA Jalie 2111

I procraftinated on my wedding guest outfit to make my youngest a dress shirt to wear for the same wedding. It was perfectly drafted, everything sewed together nicely, and while I mad a few mistakes–most notably sewing the cuffs together wrong after getting those curves sewn perfectly–the end result is pretty darn cute.

But.

But.

It’s too big. *smh* And it’s all my fault too. You see, I made it based on Scotch’s neck measurement. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but seriously, this kid has a huge head and his neck is in proportion to it. He’s also one of those people whose height is “all torso”, which is the opposite of his brother. So because he’s all torso and has arms proportional to that, I just up and decided to add an extra inch in length the sleeves and the body of the shirt without taking any additional measurements. You can do that sort of thing on pants, just take up the hem and you’re golden. On a shirt, it’s not so easy–especially one with sleeves that have plackets and cuffs. I’m not taking that stuff off to fix it, so he’s just going to have to grow into the shirt…please just don’t let his neck get any bigger when that happens!

Sorry for the grainy tablet picture–I hadn’t used it before and didn’t realize there’s no flash?

The pattern was Jalie 2111, and it appears to be PDF only now. As I said before, it went together perfectly. All the notches lined up perfectly, the edges lined up perfectly, if you need a men/teen/boys/toddler dress shirt–buy it. Seriously. Jalie didn’t steer anybody wrong on this one, and you can’t beat all those sizes in one package (though I’ll admit that tracing it off is an exercise in extreme patience and good eyesight).

At least the project was a scrapbuster–it’s leftovers from this shirt for my husband. I was hoping to get that piece of fabric out of my stash, but unfortunately there’s still a piece that is too big to throw away and not big enough to do much of anything with…I hate it when that happens.

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PJs for Scotch

Fleece footed pajamas are ubiquitous, and also very hot. I finally had had enough of Scotch waking up every morning stinky from sweat. So last weekend I decided to take action.

Enter KwikSew 3126. It’s a toddler pattern I’ve had since Irish was a wee one, and it makes some really cute PJs. I also knew that I had some scraps of flannel in the stash from some PJ’s from Irish, so I got to work. I managed to get the measurements from an uncooperative toddler, and he was a perfect size T1 with the shirt length from T2.

The first version I made collarless because of the way I sewed the facings, and honestly, I wish I’d have just picked out the topstitching and made the collar–flannel doesn’t make very good bias tape. The seams are bulky, so they didn’t fit through the tape maker very well and it sews up bulky too. I should have known this, but I wasn’t thinking.

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OK, so I had to buy some red flannel because I ran out of the brown…I made it work though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The second and third versions have collars, but I used some white voile scraps from my stash to make the button placket facing and under collar. I wanted lightweight to reduce bulk, but the voile maybe wasn’t the best choice. A slightly heavier cotton would have been a better choice, but voile was what I had, so I made do. Again I used leftover flannel from pajamas from Irish, and I was a bit short, so made the sleeves and collars in contrasting colors. I think they turned out really cute. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cute!

I used my Singer 301a with her buttonhole attachment to make all the buttonholes, and while I’m getting better at using it, it still seems fiddly. I can’t complain about the quality of the finished product though. If anyone knows of a tutorial for tips/tricks on using one, I’d be interested.

Overall, I think they turned out cute, and Scotch wore the trial pair last night and didn’t wake up stinky!! Winning!

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Bonus action shot on big brother’s bed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Woodworking neglect

There’s a reason my blog is called splinters and stitches, and it has to do with the other hobby–woodworking. So here’s some of the stuff we’ve been working on the last few months (or in one case almost a year! ๐Ÿ˜ณ )

Last October-ish, we installed new windows in the toy room and our bedroom, I finally finished that job last month (and this post has been waiting for pics since then!). The trim has been up and stained for a while, but when we put the new windows in, the opening was slightly different, so we had to adjust the trim location, which meant that we had to do some drywall puttying, priming, and then painting. Which sucked. But, we got it done, and if you follow me on instagram, you got to see the whining that accompanied it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m only showing you the toy room pic because honestly, the trim and windows are exactly the same, and the wall color is still green, just a different shade, so it would just look like I forgot the flash or something anyway.

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Right before we moved here last summer, we started a pair of nightstands…and they still aren’t finished. They are however, nearly fully assembled (there was some warping issues with the drawers, so I have to recut and redo those. But check out how beautiful the tops are!

WP_20150429_09_13_15_ProThe last thing I made was a little something to help tame the toys. My kids are terribly spoiled with toys, and even with a whole room for storage/playing, the setup just wasn’t working. So I built these shelves which–while not perfect–are quite lovely, and do the job admirably. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are wondering, every piece of wood here is stained using the exact same stain color, American Walnut from Rustoleum. NAYY, hell, I just discovered the stuff when I wanted to stain the window trim. I actually love it though, because it’s so easy to put on, and those pieces are all done with a single coat. Amazing, and it *almost* makes staining less of a PITA. Almost.

Well I hope that my fellow Americans had an enjoyable holiday weekend. May we never forget those who laid down their lives so that we can be free.

A first (x2!) suit

My son is a second grader this year, and as tradition dictates, this is when the kiddos have their first communion. Knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy a new suit for him (taxes suck!), and that I had a pinstripe wool that’s either black or a dark navy (I’m still not sure) in my stash from a long ago failed project, I figured I could probably sew one up. I even had a Burda suit pattern in my stash. Add in that I had some leftover lining from my coat project a couple of years ago, and it seemed like it was meant to be.

EXCEPT.

It wasn’t. Holy cow. Burda magazine patterns might be drafted amazingly well (no dispute on that), but their “directions” and tracing layouts leave MUCH to be desired. For the sake of brevity, here’s a list of my issues (and they were many!)

  1. After spending probably at least an hour tracing out the pattern pieces from the maze of lines (of course the suit was the green set of lines–the hardest to see, IMO), I realized that I had forgotten to add the seam allowances, so I had to add them as I cut. Since so much of the suit is interfaced forgetting the seam allowances didn’t actually end up being the end of the world.
  2. My interfacing wasn’t sticking. Turns out, while it had always adhered in 8 seconds on other fabrics, I needed a full 15 seconds and some water misted on the pieces to get full adhesion with the wool. Many thanks to my Twitter/Instagram peeps for helping me with that when I was in full-blown panic mode.
  3. Um, the Burda instructions are terrible. Just terrible. Also, I’m pretty sure they tell you to cut the back lining pieces without the facings–which I learned that you absolutely should NOT do!! CUT THE FACINGS!!
  4. Because I cut the lining without the vent facings, I set myself up for a whole host of issues And if I’d been less freaking out because “OMG, I’ve screwed up and I onlyย  have a week to finish and …!” then I would have just cut out some facings with seam allowances and stitched them on. I was NOT that clear headed at the time.
  5. Also, I learned that you are supposed to have a notch thing on the center front of the jacket–as this was my first ever jacket (and I don’t even own another pattern to compare pieces)–I was unaware of the existence of a notch thing. I just very carefully blended my seam and hem allowances together. Don’t do that. Use the notch thing, or in the case of this pattern, MAKE the notch thing yourself.
  6. LOTS of handsewing and fray check.
  7. LOTS OF HANDSEWING. Oh, and LOTS OF FRAY CHECK.
  8. Did I mention lots of handsewing and fray check?
  9. Otherwise the jacket went together beautifully, and if it’s not your first ever jacket, or if you have a pattern with a better set of instructions handy, I’d recommend it. My first ever notched collar went in without a hitch the very first time.

I had hoped to bag the lining using the technique I used on my coat, but the Pattern~Scissors~Cloth blog is gone now, and she had the technique I knew with the pictures that made it possible for me to wrap my mind around it. Since I couldn’t use that tute, I just kind of winged it. (Likely would’ve had to anyway given my mistake on the vent/hem notch.) I ended up handstitching the sleeves because I couldn’t remember how to do them (again, losing that whole site was a major loss to the sewing community–she had so much awesome information on there) and I handstitched the whole bottom hem of the jacket up and around the vent and everything. That probably doubled all the handstitching I’ve ever done inย  my whole life to that point. Well, that might be an exaggeration. Maybe.

So anyway, I’m sure you’re all desperate to see the pictures of this monstrosity, right? I aim to please. The question is, bad pics first or good pics first? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Good it is then. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All right, I’m sure the curiosity is killing you, so here’s the bad…

All in all, while I still feel like it was a miserable failure because it’s not nearly perfect enough for my perfectionist self, Irish looked very handsome on his special day. (You’ll note I didn’t make matching slacks–sometimes you just gotta know when to quit.) And who knows, maybe he’ll even manage another wear or two before I pick the buttons off and throw it in the trash. I may leave it to the professionals when Scotch gets to his first communion though… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you!!

I just wanted to give a shout out of thanks to my readers who helped me the other day. Ya’ll had several great ideas, and ultimately I decided to try out Jalie 2107** for two reasons: 1) I’ve made it before for my hubby–erm sort of, and 2) it was already in my stash. I’m not always known for my frugality, (just ask my husband about my ability to fall in love with the most expensive item in the store!) but sometimes, it’s nice to be able to use what you have on hand. ๐Ÿ™‚ Which is kind of funny, since I had completely forgotten I had it until someone mentioned using a Jalie pattern…

So now I just need to call Grandma and have her get that one pesky measurement that I need to get started. Waist to floor–I took the inseam–why does Jalie have to do it different!?!? Argh! Thankfully, she’s a seamstress too, so I know that the measurement won’t be just a wild guess. ๐Ÿ˜‰

** It appears that Jalie 2107 is OOP. I could find the PDF file of the instructions, but couldn’t find it in the OOP section or just by searching the number on the site. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But if you can get your hands on it, the reviews for it are here.

Plea for help from my darling readers!

Do any of you know of a simple sewing pattern for making slim boy’s trousers? Something that doesn’t look “homemade”, but that doesn’t have so many details they take ages to make? He’s got a 21″ waist and a 22″ inseam. I’d like them a little longer, but I think I can fix that easy enough–though I’ve had some trouble with distortion on his PJ pants when I try to add more than about 4″. If anyone knows why I get distortion, I’d be tickled to know how to fix it. I’d also like the back to be elastic for more comfort and *fingers crossed* a bit longer wear in case he finally decides to get a bit thicker…ha!

Anyway, I found a pattern from MakeItPerfect called High Flyers that are similar to what I have in mind, but don’t know where to buy them here or if there is a better option out there. So if any of you have pattern suggestions (or even RTW suggestions that won’t break the bank!) I’d be more than thrilled to hear them. I know I’m not the only one with a scrawny (but adorable!) boy!

And in case it helps, for those who are still in the age group to buy jeans in the adjustable waist category, I can say that the ones by Levi (style 549) in the slim fit worked pretty well for us, even if they were just a smidge short most of the time for a kid of average height. (They aren’t cheap though, so definitely hit the the sales.) Sadly, my son has outgrown the elastic waistband size range, so I’m out of luck there.

Weekend Camping

My son turned 7 the other day–it’s still a bit surreal that he’s not a chubby cheeked toddler anymore–so for his birthday in lieu of a party we took him on a camping trip. A good time was had by all, but I think the kiddo had a better time than the rest of us. ๐Ÿ™‚ He took to hiking like a duck to water, and seemed to be nearly tireless–which when it’s hot outside is quite a feat!

Anyway, in honor of my post last week about stereotypes, I thought I’d help dispel another one. You know how there’s the saying about Kansas being flat as a pancake? It’s not really true. See?

Image from Kanopolis Lake State Park website. Click the picture to for more information.

Yes, we visited Kanopolis Lake last weekend. The hiking was beautiful, and there’s also horse trails and mountain biking trails (I’d never be able to bike in the sandy paths, but it would definitely be a fun and beautiful challenge for someone tougher than me). The tent campsite we stayed at was maybe a bit primitive for my taste, but then, I was only a girl scout for a couple of years, so I’m maybe a bit of a whiner on that sort of thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, here’s a couple of pictures that I actually took of the landscape, I thought it looked rather awesome considering this is the first year they’ve had much for rain in several years (portions of the plains have been in a severe drought for around 4 years I think). It feels like an eternity, so it’s easy to lose track of the time.

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The hills, they be sneaky…

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They hide this…

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So well that people think the whole state is flat farmland or prairie grass. Guess the secret is out now, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰