Friday, March 25, 2011

Amy Butler Gumdrop Pillow Pattern Review

Last week I made 2 Gumdrop Pillows from Amy Butler's pattern and had a sew in with my Sew Mod group to teach them how to make the pillows as well. I guess I really made 4 Gumdrops since I made 2 inner pillows and 2 covers.
I have to say, they were totally easy and the directions were great. I like the fact that she has really well drawn diagrams as I'm a picture directions person rather than a word person.That being said, you should always read directions too! If you follow the directions and make them as is, you can easily get it done in an evening. I think stuffing the mass amounts of fiberfill into the shell took me the longest amount of time.
This would be a great pattern to make with a younger sewer for her room. It's almost instant gratification sewing/decorating.
I don't like cutting apart my patterns since I tend to lose the pieces, so I trace mine onto freezer paper and cut it out from there. I also cut my freezer paper templates to full size, so where it says to place the edge on the fold of the fabric, I fold my freezer paper and line the fold up on the pattern and cut it out.
One good reason to do it this way is that you can iron your template to the fabric so that there is no shifting, you can line your ruler on the edges easily and rotary cut out multiple layers at one time, so there is much less time spent cutting. It also makes it easier to fussy cut elements out, as I did on my Cosmo Cricket Snorkel Gumdrop (which the hubby called a beach ball).
I, of course, can't just let things be, and decided that I would make an inner Gumdrop and a washable outer cover as I was intending my trial run pillow for my 19 mo old nephew. I had seen this idea on a blog somewhere, but have no clue where at this point. Having never installed a zipper before, I did some research and found this fabulous tutorial by Kay Whitt of Sew Serendipity. It worked pretty spectacularly, except I installed it w/the zipper pull at the top of the pillow instead of the bottom. That being said, the pillow is sooo large, and the zipper opening soooo small, that it was a you-know-what to get that pillow in the cover! I ripped a couple of holes in the seams that I had to stitch back up.

Enter *brilliant* idea number two! Install 2 invisible zippers to make the cover open up in half. I totally screwed this up. First, I installed one of them w/the panels on the wrong side, so the pattern was all screwed up and I had to rip it out. I ripped the fabric while doing this and had to recut a panel. Then I sewed the seams together at the top and bottom, which means that it wouldn't open all the way up!!
At this point I gave up, had a glass of wine and watched Rick Steve's Europe Through the Back Door on PBS. The next night, everything went much smoother and it worked!!! It's not as pretty as I would have liked, but it's not bad. The seams where the zippers are are a little puckery, but they iron down fairly well. And it's significantly easier to remove the cover and put it back on than with the one zipper.
Lorrie found a make your own invisible zipper where you can make it as long as you like instead of being restricted to 20-22" invisible zippers that you can only get at JoAnne's. If I make a third pillow, I'm going to try that option and start it at the upper middle part and continue it to the opposite side upper middle part.
I think I may be a glutten for punishment.
Here are my final projects. I fussy cut out the largest blossom from the Optical Blossom Midwest Modern fabric for the top of my grey and citron Gumdrop.
The muslin covered inner pillows:
Pillow cover action shots:
Why is Kelly all smiles with her Gumdrop? Because she followed the directions as they are written and had hers done in an afternoon! I just notice how well Kelly and her pillow match my kitchen. Sweet.
The left Gumdrop is Lorrie's Kate Spain Central Park and the right is Paige's Amy Butler Midwest Modern 2 and Daisy Chain pillow.
A Gumdrop on a Tuffet!

Overall, I say this pattern is an A+ if you actually follow it as written.
I tried to link to Lorrie and Paige's Sew Mod blog for more photos and whatnot, but Blogger is being testy and refuses to let me link, so if you would like to see more photos from our Gumdrop Party, please click on the Sew Mod link located in the 'Fun Places' section in the right margin.
Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Previously finished projects

I forgot to share a monumental accomplishment! I finished the first block of the Baltimore Halloween applique quilt that I started almost 2.5 years ago! All that needs to be done is embroidered legs on the spider and feet on the owl. Ta da!!!
In the time that it took me to finish one block, an amazing hand appliquer friend of mine from my quilt guild finished and hand quilted the Ladies of the Sea quilt and has also finished the applique portion and is currently quilting the Baltimore Halloween too. She told me that I started with the hardest project, especially since it's my first ever hand applique. She also gave me some great pointers about using Ultra Suede to do the bitty parts like the beak and eyes and such.
Ladies of the Sea:
The Pirate Ship block:

Baltimore Halloween:

She pointed out how much bigger the pieces are in the Ladies of the Sea. They were indeed larger than the pieces in the Halloween quilt, but I think she was just being nice. I mean, those floral borders alone are insane! (Those aren't her quilts, just pictures of the pattern quilts).
I also finished my Limeade quilt made with silk dupioni. I hung it with 3M's picture hanging velcro strips, which totally rock. It's in a little nook/hallway going from my family room and bathroom. It's a weird angle with not much light which makes it hard to get a decent photo. The fabric glows and really brightens up that nook.
I don't know if you can see it or not, but if you look closely to the left side you can see that I used left overs from the blocks to make a scrappy binding. I had put aside one of the silks to use as a single fabric binding, but just couldn't use it all up on one quilt, so I saved it to use in the second quilt I'm going to make with what's left from the fat quarters I bought. I see something wavy in the remaining silk's future.
Here's a close up. I used a gorgeous turquoise metallic thread. The block in the upper right corner is really a peacock colored teal and a red/blue colored silk. The contrast is much greater in person.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Absolutely nothing exciting

Why no posting? Because the only thing I've been doing the last 2 and a half weeks is cleaning out my basement! I know you are all jealous that you can't be cleaning out the basement too. I've made countless trips up and down the stairs and to Good Will. It's rather cathartic to get rid of all that crap. And it makes more room for fabric storage! Yeah! The hubby pointed out that most of what we were getting rid of is stuff that my parents kept bringing over to us whenever they visit.
That was part of the plan though. Dad says he's giving it to me, and I get rid of it, otherwise Mom would want to keep it.
I drew the line at the car seat from the early 1970's. I asked Dad why on earth they still had that thing and he replied "I don't know. Your mother told me to put it in the attic, so I did." I pointed out to him that that was well over 30 years ago and I'm pretty sure that it's considered a death trap now, and you'd be arrested if you tried to use it as a child car seat these days. I told Mom it was still up in the attic and she was shocked. Same goes for the 'vintage' playpen that was also up there. Ugh.
We bought flooring last weekend too. It's so exciting. It's only taken 10 years to get the basement going.  I have 'sewing room' creep happening, much to the hubby's dismay. He had a cozy little sewing room in mind. I, on the other hand, have taking over the entire basement in mind. We'll compromise with me having half the basement, as I keep telling him. I explained to him that it's stifling my creativity to not have gi-hugic cutting and ironing tables and a 7ft x 7 ft design wall. And that I need my 'Studio' to be really cute. This is a non-negotiable point.
I know I'm painting it Restoration Hardware Green, but I'm torn between going Nicey Jane:
Or French General:

I could do Nicey Jane for the Spring and Summer months and French General for the Fall and Winter! Oooo, I think that's the ticket! Now I have to take a class on how to reupholster a chair and ottoman. Add that to the 'to do' list!
I have to say, it takes an insane amount of time to refold fabric to fit Ikea bookcases and wire shelving units, but it's worth it to see it all lined up and organized.  I put my French General, Christmas and Halloween fabrics into their own Ikea Billy bookcases w/doors.
The cd towers are perfect for holding precuts such as Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls, Honeybuns, and Turnovers. It's also good for smaller things like ric-rac and the like. You can see it a bit there on the left. Why so much French General? Because I have at least 5 quilts planned for it, one finished and one in process. One project is a king sized quilt that has instructions which says cut 1526 of piece A, and it gets worse from there!
My next task is to rip apart all the rest of my stash and sort it by color. This could take quite a while. It took a day to get the blacks and whites done.
I think I'll need to make a few projects in between. I can't go that long with out sewing something!