Hello, friends. I’m sure you’ve spent much of the day giving and receiving best wishes for 2013. I’d like to add mine to the mix. I hope this year is filled with joy and love, and when life gets a little gray, don’t forget about the joy and love that surrounded you in the past. I like to be hopeful at the beginning of each year. Even though 2012 was filled with a lot of bad luck as well as death and illness in our family, we have an overwhelming amount of love in our lives. 2012 was also the year we got married and shared one of the most special weekends of our lives with family and friends. A wedding is one big memory to hold on to, but my resolution is to strive to find joy in the smallest experiences and hold them as reminders that life is lovely, even if difficult. Here are a few small things from our holiday that brought me joy.
I’ve been an absent blogger – sometimes life take precedence and blogging doesn’t happen. It’s been a rough month for my family. Nonetheless, I want to celebrate the holiday season with a post about a very special gift I worked on for my niece Serena.
I’ve never made a doll before (excepting the owl, which doesn’t count in my mind), so I hunted for a pattern. Thanks to some Twitter friends, I found Wendy Gratz. I’ve followed her for some time because of her adorable embroidery, and I learned she has doll patterns too! I made the Abigail doll; she has cute pigtails, which is why I picked this one.
I mostly followed the pattern, though I hand-embroidered the hair instead of free-motion stitching with the machine. I picked an orange felt for her locks, in part because my niece is a lovely strawberry blonde. This took on a new meaning in recent weeks, when my grandmother Celia passed away – the only other strawberry blonde in my family. Her passing happened while I was hand-stitching the doll, which made this a very emotional, personal project.
Wendy encourages repurposing fabric, which is a terrific idea, though I didn’t have much to repurpose; instead, I purchased two fat quarters for her body and legs and then used my stash for the face, arms and boots. I picked a corduroy for the feet – fabric I’ve long meant to turn into a skirt (one of many WiP’s).
If you are a beginner to doll-making (as I was), I would recommend sewing the arms in one at-a-time, and do the same with the legs, rather than pinning it all and sewing at once. I also recommend a larger seam allowance for this project; a quarter inch was too small, given the importance of secure and even seams for such a (hopefully) highly used doll.
Due to some struggle with the seams, I’d call this project a labor of love. However, I will definitely make a doll again, and in fact I’m motivated to make some customized dolls now. I used to think that sewing dolls and doll clothes was… a little odd. But I totally get it now. Sewing dolls is equivalent to making toys – kind of like Santa’s elves – and that type of creative feeling is pretty fantastic.
I packed Abigail in a box along with other gifts for my family, and I’ll ship them off tomorrow.
Happy Christmas, all you Nerdy Sewists!
Though this post is about 2 months old, I didn’t want to publish it earlier because a) it would have ruined the surprise for my friends receiving these thank you gifts (the fourth and final gift gets to its recipient on Thursday) and b) it turns out to be a perfect Thanksgiving post because I am so thankful for the love and friendship I felt this year throughout the wedding process. So, eat on, hug a little and I hope you and yours celebrate friendship, family and love this holiday!
What wedding would happen without the help of incredible friends? Well, I suppose if you had a ton of money to hire a wedding planner with 10 hands, that would work too. But most of us rely on our friends, primarily girlfriends, for assistance. So, when I went on my honeymoon, I took my sewing machine with me to make some thank-you gifts for these amazing helpers.
First things first: this is where we honeymooned, Crested Butte, Colorado. Though I easily live in one of the world’s most beautiful states, this town takes the cake. The mountains and sun play together to reflect a little bit of heaven.
For five glorious days, we lived in a rented home by the river, with a rooftop deck and a hot tub. The dogs came with us. We watched Deep Space 9 on the iPad and drank beer. It was perfectly quiet. God’s country.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I had an entire room to myself for sewing:
I think I shocked a lot of people by bringing my sewing machine on my honeymoon. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way – and my husband didn’t mind it so much either. He came and read while I sewed, or went on a walk with the dogs. It was kind of, sort of, well, perfect.
I decided ahead of time that I wanted to make my girlfriends something for the home, and aprons seemed just the thing. I picked a pattern and a book that I had on my shelves for ages and couldn’t wait to try: I Love Patchwork: 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew by Rashida Coleman-Hale.
A few notes, in case you’re looking to make one yourself:
~ I used linen for just the apron front and the facing on the waist on two of the four aprons. I picked a matching cotton for the back, ties and facing on the other two. I really liked how the look turned out, and I’d recommend it in the future.
~ This project is a great scrap-buster. I pulled fabrics from my stash before heading on my honeymoon, but past that, I didn’t really think much about fabric choices. And actually, this is a great project for those small scraps that you might otherwise throw away because they’re too small for just about anything. Well, not too small for this! I now save smaller scraps, thanks to learning from this pattern that a scrap is (almost) never too small to be reused!
I can’t think of a better way to describe the Sewing Summit. It is just like summer camp – a real break from your normal life. You meet amazing people. You write home. And you don’t want to leave.
I was so excited about Sewing Summit – I had my heart set on going for more than a year before it happened. So when I landed in Salt Lake City, I had all kinds of expectations. The event itself more than met those expectations! So, here’s a list of my favorite moments from the weekend.
Hearing Joel Dewberry speak, who is not only one of my favorite fabric designers, but he’s also a cutie pie!
I got to go fabric shopping with my amazing twitter friends! Spending time with these lovely ladies was my favorite part of the entire weekend.
My Favorite Class:
Handmade Wardrobe with Mena Trott from The Sew Weekly. I had no idea this session would turn out to be my favorite, but Mena’s sense of humor and attitude about sewing and life is simply inspirational. I left wanting to sew more garments, which hasn’t been my strength, but Mena gave me hope!
An unofficial tutorial from Liz from Goddess in Progress, who showed me how to sew hexies with paper pieces. It’s my new addiction, and I wouldn’t have learned without her!
Favorite Jaw-Dropping Artistry Moment:
I got to see some gorgeous quilting in the Foundation Paper Piecing class, which I managed to sneak into after swapping with my friend Lorelai.
My Favorite Finished Piece:
A new iPad case, made with a Serger!
Most of all, I will remember Sewing Summit for my friends, ones I have known online for at least a year but finally got to meeting in person.
See, it’s just like summer camp! You make BFF’s and just don’t ever want to leave!