robot summer shorts

So, Summer Kid’s Clothes Week has come and gone… I didn’t get as much done as I wanted, as I was knee-deep in the Sea Breeze Mini QAL. But I did find time to make a few things that I’m happy with. First up, this fun pair of robot summer shorts!

RobotSummerShorts

I used the free Summer Shorts pattern from Caila Made, found here. This is a great unisex shorts pattern, and a quick and easy project. And I’m loving this playful FunBots print from Ann Kelle.

The only thing I did differently from the directions was to reinforce the seams for added durability. Made By Rae has some fantastic tips on sewing seams that are built to last.

RobotSummerShorts

Seeing as these are for my very active 2-year-old nephew, reinforced seams seemed like a good idea. Not to mention, no raw edges to fray with repeated washings. Definitely worth the extra effort.

RobotSummerShorts

I also added a bit of grosgrain ribbon to help identify the back from front :)

RobotSummerShorts

Can’t wait to show you what else I made, just have to wait for it to get to the recipient so I don’t spoil the surprise!

xoxo

sea breeze mini QAL: the big reveal!

You guys! It’s the big reveal day for the Sea Breeze Mini Quilt-A-Long! And my quilt is actually done! Woo! I had such a blast making this, can you tell?

sea breeze mini qal

I’m so happy with how the top turned out. The more I look at it, the more I love it! Such fun, vibrant colors. It just makes me smile.

I decided to keep the back simple and let the quilting be the main attraction. I used an awesome neon yellow thread from Coats & Clark. It’s intense, but I couldn’t resist!

sea breeze mini qal

I struggled a little with how exactly to quilt this. I knew I wanted to try something different and I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. And by the time I was done, I was much more comfortable burying my threads (bonus!). It just took a little getting used to :)

sea breeze mini qal

In keeping with the bold graphic look, I pulled a fun black and white print from my stash. Go big or go home, right?

sea breeze mini qal

So that’s it! I hope you love it as much as I do.

sea breeze mini qal

I’ve had such a great time being part of this quilt-a-long, I’m a little sad to see it come to an end! I’m completely blown away by all the fantastic translations of the Sea Breeze Mini Quilt pattern. What an inspiring group of quilters!

Thanks again to Angie for being such a fantastic host. Be sure to head over to Gnome Angel to see all the finished pieces. And you can vote for your favorite while you’re there! Voting is open 5 August 9:00am AEST – 7 August 5:00pm AEST (or for my friends in the States, August 4th at 4pm PDT – August 7th at 12am PDT… did I do that right?).

SeaBreezeMQAL

Have a good one!

xoxo

sea breeze mini QAL: meet my mini!

Hello all! Welcome to the halfway point of the Sea Breeze Mini Quilt-A-Long! Have you been keeping up with all the amazing contributors so far? It’s been quite a week! A big BIG thank you to Angie for being such a phenomenal host (and her incredibly kind words in my introduction on her blog!)  :)

This is my first QAL, and I have to say that I was a little nervous about joining in with such a talented group of quilters. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the quilting community is incredibly supportive and welcoming! And so with that, I was ready to jump in!

As usual, I gave myself some parameters to work with…

  1. I have to use fabrics from my stash.
  2. follow the pattern.
  3. break the pattern.

First, it was time to pick fabrics. Originally I was leaning towards prints, but ended up going for solids. What can I say? Old habits die hard! I decided on these awesome neon solids from Riley Blake. Aren’t they so fun?

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

Once I had my main fabrics picked, it was time to start playing with possible color arrangements. I planned on adding black or white for my background color but kept it open as I started to try things…  I made a quick mock-up in Adobe Illustrator and got to coloring! My only rule was I had to leave the block placement as it was in the original pattern. I went through quite a few ideas. Some kept closer to the original look, others went pretty far out there… I almost always try layouts out in Illustrator first, unless I’m doing improv. Just to give you an idea, here are some of the options I came up with.

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

It was fun exploring all the different ways you can break up the pattern. As usual, I used my family and friends as a mini focus group. And as usual, they all had a different favorite. I took cues from the ones they liked and came up with this layout. I love how the black and white balance out the neons, and it still really highlights the pattern. It’s simple and graphic, right up my alley!

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

This was my first time with half square triangles (HSTs), and I can see why they’re so popular. They’re incredibly versatile, and it’s a great way to get a number of blocks done quickly. If you haven’t tried them, you should give it a shot! This pattern has you make them in the traditional method, but there are a number of tutorials on how to create as many as 8 or even 18 HSTs at a time!

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

I chain pieced all of my HSTs, fast and easy. Then it was time to iron and trim. It’s been so hot in Los Angeles, I was grateful that I only had a mini’s worth of pieces to press!

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

I used my standard square ruler to trim the HSTs. It worked fairly well, but I can definitely see the appeal of the bloc loc. If you’re new to HSTs and a little worried about squaring them up, a helpful trick is to make your starting squares slightly larger than is called for. This will give you a little more wiggle room to get your seams perfectly lined up on the diagonal when you trim.

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

Such happy little scraps!

Sewing the quilt top was fairly quick. I had a few issues with things lining up, and I did have to rip out a few seams and try again. They’re not all perfect but I’m happy with the final result.

Sea Breeze Mini QAL

So here it is, my finished quilt top… Now I just have to quilt and bind this little bugger! Hmmm, what to do, what to do!

I’ll be sharing my finished quilt on August 2nd. Keep an eye on Instagram for some sneaky peeks until then. Be sure to hop over to Gnome Angel to learn more about all of the participants and see their fantastic takes on this great little quilt. There’s also still plenty of time to get in on the fun and make your own Sea Breeze Mini! Angie’s site has all the info you need to get started. The incredibly talented Ms Midge is hosting a progress link party here, go check it out! And if you’re participating, be sure to link up your progress so everyone can see what you’ve been up to :)

SeaBreezeMQAL

 

Have a fantastic weekend!

xoxo

my first aztec hooded vest

Seeing as Summer Kid’s Clothes Week is next week (eek!), I figured it was time to share my last project from Spring KCW!

Here’s my take on the fantastic Aztec Hooded Vest from See Kate Sew.

AztecHoodedVest

I held off on sharing during the actual week because I wanted to keep at least one thing I made a surprise for the recipient (well, his mom). And then, of course, I completely forgot about it! So I’m sharing it with you now… Better late than never, right?

The pattern is available from See Kate Sew here. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and it came together fairly quickly. I used a super soft navy sweatshirt fleece for the outside, and the inside is another favorite print from Jay McCarroll. I’m loving the combination of navy and mustard.

AztecHoodedVest

Pretty fun, isn’t it? And yes, it’s completely reversible!

AztecHoodedVest

As suggested, I added some topstitching to the outside to give it a bit of a quilted look. It’s subtle, but a very nice detail. And the open welt pockets are a fun addition. I love that the lining fabric just barely peeks out.

AztecHoodie_detail2

And what about that oversized hood? Too cute!

AztecHoodedVest

I think my biggest struggle was finding the right reversible zipper… Until I realized how easy it was to make my own! This was a bit of a “duh” moment for me. I’ve altered plenty of plastic zippers, but the thought of doing this to a metal zipper never crossed my mind.

AztecHoodedVest

It’s totally doable, and really not that hard! Here’s a great tutorial if you want to give it a try.

AztecHoodedVest

I bought a metal reversible separating zipper from Jo-Ann Fabric to start with. This one has a double-tab zipper pull (above left), which means that each side has its own pull. I wasn’t crazy about how it looked so I ordered a replacement pull like this (above right). I also picked up a few extra top stops (those things that keep your zipper from coming off the ends). These are good to have if you’re planning on shortening zippers. You can sometimes reuse the originals but they’re nice to have just in case one breaks. And keep in mind, if you’re ordering replacement pieces, make sure you order the correct size!

AztecHoodedVest

Over all, I’m very happy with how this turned out. I’ve already got a few more planned in my head… And is it weird that I want one in my size too?

Have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

improv mini quilt: radiant gem

Ok, I just missed getting this into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival going on (bah!), but I’m so smitten that I couldn’t wait to share it… Say hello to Radiant Gem! (I’m also calling it my happy accident quilt). This is my first attempt at improv quilting, and I think I’m hooked!

radiant gem quilt front

Remember the quilt I made for the Radiant Orchid Quilt Challenge? Feels like so long ago that I finished it! Not only was I left with a comfy quilt that makes me happy every time I look at it, I was left with a sizable pile of pretty little scraps.

radiant gem quilt scraps

Those scraps sat for some time, staring at me… Then one day I finally said enough and decided to throw them out. But as I started sifting through all the beautiful orchid hues, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I sat down at my machine, and set the disorganized pile of scraps next to me. And I just started sewing. No plan. No vision for the end result. I just sewed… Pick up a piece. Sew. Add another. Just keep going. (With lots of ironing along the way, lots). At some point, I stopped, set the improv “what-the-heck-is-this-thing” on the floor and stepped back. I walked around it, and wouldn’t you know it, a little gem had begun to take shape!

radiant gem quilt detail

I added a few more pieces where they were needed to emphasize the gem, and then I just grabbed all of the scraps of the same color and started sewing until the size felt right. It looked a bit plain so I added a few additional colors to the corners. So glad I did, I really love this little detail.

radiant gem quilt corner

I also decided to give matchstick quilting a try for the first time. It’s tedious but I love it. And the variegated thread is just perfect for this.

radiant gem quilt detail

I used a solid color for the back to really show off the quilting. And of course I had to do scrappy binding. The finished size is about 27×23 inches. Not sure what to do with it yet. Maybe a wall hanging?

radiant gem quilt binding

So that’s it. That’s how this little Radiant Gem came to be. I wish I had taken pictures along the way but I really didn’t think it would turn into anything worth keeping. Live and learn, right? ;)

radiant gem quilt detail

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

kid’s clothes week: just hatched leggings

These itty bitty leggings are just the cutest things, aren’t they?

JustHatchedLeggings_muchoxoxo

I don’t have a serger, and I’ve never really sewn knits on my standard machine (although you’d never know it by the number of them I have in my stash). I’ve wanted to try, but like so many people, I was a little apprehensive to take the plunge. So when I saw this pattern from Made By Rae, it seemed like a good starting point. Simple pattern, and only a small amount of fabric needed. Besides, how can anything so incredibly cute be intimidating? Right???

I read quite a few articles and posts with tips and tricks for sewing with knits (here’s a good one if you’re looking for somewhere to start). After all of the reading (and worrying), the biggest lesson I learned is that there’s really no reason to be afraid of knits! It’s that simple. Test your fabrics. Try things. Expect mistakes, and don’t give up!

My fabrics were all slightly different, and I learned more with each tiny pair of leggings I sewed…

white and black arrow

white and black arrow cotton spandex knit

fawn silhouette

fawn silhouette cotton jersey blend

feathers on silver peony

feathers on silver peony cotton jersey blend

These are so stinkin’ cute, and they come together so very quickly once you get the hang of things. With the number of people I know that are expecting little ones, I can’t wait to make more!

xoxo

kid’s clothes week: harem pants

I’m not sure how I feel about harem pants on adults, but they’re pretty cute on the littles. I knew I wanted to make some pants for my nephew and this seemed like a fun option.

harem pants by mucho xoxo

This pattern is from suburbia soup, and it’s just great! It has a few options to play with, which is always fun. After making the pocket version, I’m thinking I have to do the basic version too!

I chose one of my coveted Jay McCarroll fabrics for this because, well, it’s awesome! It has a graffiti-esque quality that I love, but it also feels somehow tribal. Perfect for the little dude man!

harem pant pockets by mucho xoxo

I was a bit unprepared for how much fabric this pattern takes, and I had to make a slight modification to the back by making it two pieces instead of one (just add the seam allowance to the center cuts). But it’s hardly noticeable with this print, yay!

harem pants back by mucho xoxo

I can’t wait to see how these fit the boy. More pictures to come, hopefully :)

***UPDATE***  If you follow Suburbia Soup, you might be wondering where the blog went… I managed to contact Venus and she let me know that her site isn’t gone, just moved. She’s still working out the kinks, but doesn’t have any plans to stop (hooray for that!). I’ve updated the link above, or just click here to stop by. And spread the word, she needs help letting people know she’s moved!  :)

xoxo

kid’s clothes week: little geranium dress

Wow! This week really slipped by, didn’t it? I’ve been having so much fun sewing that I’ve slacked on sharing what I’ve been up to… So here it goes! (I’ll keep it short for now, but I’ll most likely revisit many of these patterns again).

First up, one of the patterns from Made By Rae that I’ve been wanting to try…

geranium dress 1

This is the free version of her wildly popular geranium dress pattern.

It’s tiny, and oh-so-cute!!!

The fabric is Ric Rac Rabbits. I’ve had it in my stash for a while and I just couldn’t resist using it.

muchoxoxo geranium dress2

My gathering skills could definitely use some work, but it’s so cute that I didn’t feel the need to take them out and try again. Oooh! And I finally got the chance to try my buttonhole foot on my sewing machine. And a button sewing foot? I didn’t even know I had that! Am I way too excited about this? Absolutely!!!

I decided to add some little bloomers with my leftover fabric. I used the baby bloomers pattern from see kate sew.

muchoxoxo geranium dress3

They were quick and easy. They’re technically reversible (front to back, not inside-out), but I love the idea of the little bunnies on baby’s bum, in place of ruffles. These would also be cute with a simple t-shirt for less dressy occasions.

muchoxoxo geranium dress4

These patterns were so much fun! I have a feeling that I’ll be making more of both in the future :)

xoxo

radiant orchid quilt: hello triangles!

Can it be? Is my Radiant Orchid quilt finally done?????

radiant orchid quilt front

radiant orchid quilt back

This has been quite a labor of love. And hate. And frustration. And a fair share of cursing. And, well you get it…

radiant orchid quilt When I decided to enter something into the Pantone Quilt Challenge, it was less about winning and more about trying something new. And boy did I!

This was a fairly big step out of my usual color palette, and I have to say it was a fun little trip! I originally thought I would use all solids, but as I started planning my quilt, my little stack of Moxie by Erin McMorris peeked out of my stash and said “hey Amanda, can we come out and play?” I just love the colors and playful prints (you might recognize a few from my bubble pocket skirt). It’s hard not to smile when you look at them. Which is a good thing, because we were about to spend A LOT of time together! I added a few more colors to compliment the prints and radiant orchid hues I had already picked. I also found some beautiful variegated thread to use for the quilting and binding. radiant orchid quilt materials When it came to deciding on a pattern, my only requirement was that I had to try something new. I finally narrowed it down to two options– a triangle quilt, or something more simple and modern. I went back and forth on this and finally decided, why not do both! radiant orchid quilt I’ve never made a triangle quilt and I was looking forward to giving it a shot. I used a dear jane template to cut the 231 triangles, and it actually went surprisingly fast. Assembling the triangles was a different story. It was definitely a struggle in the beginning… Why won’t my pieces work? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I figure this out? Maybe I should just give up!… Yep, it was a bit of a roller coaster for a while. If you’ve made one, you probably know what I’m talking about. I learned a few things along the way, but that’s a post for another time.

radiant orchid quilt

It took a while, but once I got the hang of it, things went smoothly. And with every successful intersection, I celebrated a small victory! radiant orchid quilt By comparison, the back came together pretty quickly. I love the contrast between the more traditional front and the modern asymmetrical back. I chose to quilt only the diagonals, and I love how the diamond pattern looks on the back. And the variegated thread is beautiful! radiant orchid quilt I also decided to try scrappy binding for the first time. Originally I was going to piece the strips randomly but I decided I wanted to be a little more deliberate with the placement (OCD much?). I really didn’t make things easy on myself. I absolutely spent too much time on this. I love how it looks but next time I think I’ll go for random. radiant orchid quilt binding Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it? And I even had a label that matched the Radiant Orchid perfectly! radiant orchid quilt label Binding the quilt used to be my least favorite part, but with every quilt I gain a little more confidence. If you’re still struggling with your binding technique, here’s a quick video tutorial that I find very helpful. radiant orchid quilt This project has been quite an experience. It tested my patience. It tested my skills. It even gave me nightmares. Seriously. But in the end I’m very happy with how it turned out.

radiant orchid quilt

Quilt details:

  • Finished size- approx. 77 x 54 inches
  • Quilt design by me
  • Fabric- moxie print and an assortment of cotton solids (kona cotton, hawthorne hues and alissa haight carlton)

If you’re curious what other people have done for the challenge, you can visit the 2014 pantone quilt challenge: radiant orchid flickr group or take a look at the entries at either of the links below. There’s some really nice work!

Linking up with on the windy side and play crafts 2014 pantone quilt challenge Ok, time to curl up with my new blanket!

xoxo

a toddler backpack for my favorite kiddo

Toddler BackpackIt’s no secret that my nephew is the inspiration for many of the things I make. I made him a quilt last year for his first Christmas (one that I take great joy in seeing him sleep with and drag around now), and I knew I wanted to continue the tradition and make him something special this year.

Toddler BackpackI’ve had my eye on the toddler backpack pattern from made by rae and this was the perfect opportunity to try it! The pattern was easy to follow, and it all came together without too much trouble (which is good, because as with most projects, I waited until the last minute to get started).

I made a few additions, including a flat front pocket and gathered side pocket.

Toddler BackpackI also added zipper tabs. I love this detail, and I predict they’ll be helpful for little hands to hold on to when learning to use the zipper.

Toddler BackpackTwo inside pockets (the lower one is divided in two).

*I turned the backpack inside-out to give you a better look at interior :)

*I turned the backpack inside-out to give you a better look at interior :)

Fabrics: I used Retro Crosshatch, Pezzy Print and a black cotton bottom-weight, all from my stash. Feels great to finally put these fabrics to good use!

I added interfacing to the exterior and lining fabrics to help hold its shape. I’m glad I did this, it was worth the extra effort for sure.

Toddler BackpackConfession: I have never used piping, so I decided not to risk it this time. I love how it looks even without it, but I’ll definitely have to try it next time.

Toddler BackpackAt 19 months, he’s just big enough for this, and it will be a great size for him for some time. It can easily hold everything he needs for school/daycare, a trip to the park, or a night at the grandparents’ house.

Toddler BackpackI didn’t actually get a good picture of him wearing the backpack. The minute he opened it, it was on and he was running around the living room quite happily. That is, after he was done playing with the box!

Toddler BackpackSeriously, how cute is he?!?!

xoxo