Row by Row Experience — have you played along?

Before this spring I’d never even heard of the Row by Row Experience, but from what I hear, I’m not the only one.

This nationwide shop hop is right up my alley, promoting brick-and-mortar shops and the quilters who love them. My work over the years with shop owners has given me a real love for the them and all the effort they put into have a local place for us fabric petters to converge. The folks behind Row by Row Experience are on the same wavelength and started this hop a couple years back to encourage quilters to seek out and visit their local quilt shop, then go on a little road trip to visit others. <3!

This year there are several shops in the Portland area participating, including Fabric Depot, Cool Cottons and Modern Domestic (is it weird that I’ve worked with all them at some point over the last three years?!). Each has a free row pattern for you, but you have to go into the actual shop to get it. And while you’re there… buy some fabric and notions.

Working with Fabric Depot, I got to design three different rows for the Row by Row Experience participants–applique, paper piecing, and patchwork.Row by Row - Bridge Row by Row - Mountains Row by Row - Sailboats

It’s been a bit crazy with thousands of patterns being taken and hundreds of kits bought. Awesome and nutty. It’s a challenge to try and keep up, but I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see people liking the designs. 

Get on in to your local shop and see what they’ve got. I’d love to see what you make!

Let’s Talk: Sewing Pillows

IMG_3043Head over to Sew, Mama, Sew for an inside scoop on how to make pillows that look more professional than a simple envelope pillow cover. I did a guest post for them earlier in the month, but forgot to get it published over here. Oops!

I’ve been making pillows for a while and have them up as PDX Pillows on Etsy and have figured out a few tricks that make a real difference in the final appearance.

One important thing that I don’t really talk about in the SMS post is the choice of pillow form. I prefer a down pillow form, but they can be hard to find (and expensive!). Instead I have been using the Home Elegance pillows from Poly-Fil. They have them at work and feel more like down than most other pillow forms. They sell for $20-25 for a 20-inch square pillow, so they cost a bit more than your typical stuffed pillow form, but they feel so much better. And really, when you’re leaning back against pillows on your sofa, you want them to feel nice.

Do you have other tricks for making nice pillows? Do you prefer invisible zippers or lapped? What’s your take on button closures?

 

How to: Flat Fell Seams

I’ve been working on mastering the Negroni shirt pattern and the flat fell seams were one aspect that I just wasn’t happy with on the first version I made. I also put the cuff buttonholes in the wrong place, so overall it wasn’t exactly my best work.

So of course for the next version I chose the softest, floppiest linen possible: Antwerp Linen in Chambray. It’s gorgeous, but made of 100% linen so there’s not much body to it and an incredibly soft hand. These are great qualities in clothing, but not so much for the construction part. If you choose to go this route, I suggest you invest in some good starch, Best Press, Flatter or something similar.

Because of my choice in fabric, I had to do a little extra with my seams, but first let me show you how to do a basic flat fell seam. These are perfect for the side seams of dress shirts and jeans, but are a good alternative with fabrics that like to fray.

First you will stitch a regular 5/8″ seam. I use my walking foot throughout because it works great and I don’t want to change feet unless I have to. If you prefer, you can use a regular foot for this part. Stitch, then press to set your seam.

Continue reading How to: Flat Fell Seams

Pattern Review: Sydney Top

Are you familiar with Seamwork? It’s an online magazine of sorts from the folks behind Colette Patterns that features articles about various aspects of sewing and includes a couple of patterns with each issue. When I got the May issue, I knew I needed to make the Sydney top that was featured.

I loved the cropped look since it would cover my shoulders in sleeveless dresses, but not cover my waist/hip curve (one of the few body parts I’m okay with).  I really, really liked the look of it. So when I had a recent Sunday morning all to myself, I set to it.  I found this grey, lightweight linen in my stash and thought it would the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe. Continue reading Pattern Review: Sydney Top

cozy textures & uncommon mirth