Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sunset Star Mini Series - Choosing Fabrics

One of my goals for the year is to take a few sewing / quilting classes to learn and work on new techniques.  I started on that a few weekends ago when my mom and I took a class on the Sunset Star quilt from Edyta Sitar's book, Scrappy Firework Quilts.

I signed up for the class a couple months ahead of time and spent most of the time leading up to the class wondering what fabrics I was going to use.  I wanted to only use fabrics from my stash and had planned to make just one block and finish it as a wall hanging.  My initial thoughts on color were to use softer pinks and oranges, set against a low-volume white/cream background.  As the class drew closer,  I still wasn't 100% sure on pink and orange, so pulled a few multi-colored fabrics from my stash, to see if any of them sparked an idea for a new color palette.

I really like the option on the left above.  Wouldn't the block look great in whites and blues to look like big winter stars or snowflakes?  I'm still tempted to make up a block for a pillow.  I really like the option on the right as well, but the color palette wouldn't match my decor at all. (To see what this might look like as a quilt check out Rachel @ Stitched in Color's pretty Vintage Tangerine quilt.)

I also pulled a couple options closer to the original color palette I had envisioned.

Still not having a "this is it!" moment, I pulled out my current favorite source of inspiration, Quilting from Little Things.  When I got to the "A Wing and a Prayer" quilt, inspiration struck.

I needed to go darker and add brown.  I started pulling fabrics from my stash - dark browns, dark pink/reds, oranges and golds.  I fanned out the fabrics to mimic the look of the starburst block they would become.  I added and swapped some fabrics to finalize my selection and also took some photos, which I changed to black and white on my computer to check that the values of the fabrics were overall going from dark to light from the inside to the outside of the ring, with a bit of overlap between rows so that they would blend nicely.

Here's the full-color version:

And after changing to black and white to check values:

I was pretty happy with how the values blended between rows, so the only fabrics left to choose were the low-volume whites I wanted for the background.  As it turns out I have a very small selection of those in my stash; luckily I had enough to work for this part of the quilt...did I mention that in my moment of inspiration I decided to go from a one-block wallhanging to a queen-sized quilt for my bed?  So much for being in this for the technique and not a new project! :)

Next time around I'll talk through the rest of the prep work for class, as well as some tips on strip-piecing I picked up in the class and a bit of what I'm thinking for the overall quilt design.  But first - how about a look at the fabric pulls I did w/ my mom for her block? (She stuck to the one-block wallhanging idea).

Like me, my mom also wanted to just use fabrics from her stash - batiks in particular.  We pulled out all of her batiks and spread them across her living room floor.  It was fun to sit in the middle of all the fabrics and start matching things up.  Here are the three options we came up with.

First, a pink and purple option.  We started with one of the fabrics at the bottom of the photo and went from there.  In this case the light pink fabrics would make up the outer ring of the starburst, so a dark background made more sense.  It happened that my mom had some yardage of a dark purple that worked perfectly for this option.  This picture doesn't do the colors justice - in real life that background fabric is a deep purple and less black than it looks here.

Next up a more earthy color palette:

I liked this option, but it was my least favorite of the three.

And last but not least another earth-colors palette, but this one more woodsy, inspired by the fabric in the background of the photo:

I really like this pine tree fabric and think it would be so fun to make a big bed quilt with this combination; definitely makes me think of cabins and the north woods.

So, which did she pick?  Tune in next time to find out and see her [amazing] completed block.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dreaming of Dresses

It's almost time for Kids Clothes Week and I am dreaming...mostly of dresses.  And maybe about pajamas, tops and shorts...but let's start with the dresses.

Last weekend one of my favorite fabric stores that specialize in apparel fabrics was having their annual anniversary sale.  I went in with no list or plan and left feeling so inspired.  Look at these beauties:

I started having visions of sweet simple dresses, soft and flowing and plenty comfortable for playing and walks and reading and going on adventures or just staying home and hanging out.

I ended up with two Anna Maria Horner Field Study prints; one a rayon challis and the other a cotton voile.  First up the rayon.  I love the white polka dots over this print and the mustard color feels perfect for a late summer / fall outfit - maybe a dress paired with some dark brown boots?

The cotton voile I ended up pairing with some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black:

My first thought was again for a fall outfit, with a top such as the Ayashe blouse made from the voile and pants from the linen, but I could see this also being very cute as a tank or short-sleeved top and shorts for summer...

My favorite fabric is this pretty blue Amy Butler Cameo voile; it goes with my daughter's eyes just perfectly - so of course I want to find the perfect pattern for it.  I bought the last three yards on the bolt so I can make a dress for now and still have fabric left for another outfit down the road.

I also bought a couple yards of this fox print; my daughter loved it and so far has asked for a blanket, skirt and dress to be made from it.  My thoughts?  One article of clothing, with the scraps going into a quilt, and I got the tree fabric from the same line to save for the quilt:

In looking at patterns for all these lovelies, these are at the top of my list:

The Roller Skate dress from Oliver+S.  There are some beautiful versions of this in their Flickr pool.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The Geranium dress from Made by Rae.
A couple of my favorites:

The Tea Party dress from Oliver+S (thinking the fox print for the bodice with something else for the skirt, but not sure yet).
Sidenote: Check out the Alabama Chanin-style versions of this dress; definitely on my someday list.

And now I have to put all this aside to focus this week on finishing quilting a big project and getting done my next block for block-of-the-month...