Silhouette “hug” quilt!

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I wasn’t able to do many handmade gifts for Christmas this year, but I did finish this quilt that I’m quite proud of!! I wasn’t planning on doing a tutorial when I came up with the idea. So I didn’t take many photos while making it, and this won’t be a “real” tutorial. But I wanted to share my idea and some knowledge I gained along the way!

I made this lap quilt for my father-in-law, and somehow conned my 20 month old into cooperating for the project. I didn’t even have to bribe her! It was a weirdly lucky day. Haha. It was also my first time ever making a legitimate quilt! *gasp*

I decided to make a quilt whose finished dimensions would be approximately 42″x60″ according to these handy guidelines. So for the quilt body I purchased 1 3/4 yds (or was it 1 1/2? 1 5/8? I can’t remember) of 45″ wide fabric – a quilting cotton for the front and flannel shirting for the back. The flannel shirting was soft and cozy, but the edges were super warped! Next time I would definitely go with a basic cotton flannel to avoid issues while aligning the edges. I also purchased the same yardage in a thin 100% cotton batting, and coordinating 100% cotton thread. This blanket is soooo organic 😉

To estimate how much contrasting fabric I would need for the “hug” silhouette applique (black quilting cotton), I measured my kids’ wingspan (fingertip to fingertip). It was less than 45″, so I figured I would just cut the applique out selvage-to-selvage. I then measured from the top of her head to mid-torso to estimate yardage. It was less than 18″, so I got half a yard of the black fabric just to be safe. It worked perfectly!

NOW, the difficult part…..tracing the child.

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I have an “aisle runner” that I purchased a few years ago for the specific purpose of tracing/creating patterns. It is a semi-transparent material that is similar in feel to non-fusible interfacing. It doesn’t tear as easily as paper, which is why I love it and why it worked perfectly for this project!

I rolled it out on the floor, said “Hey! We’re going to lay down like this *lies face down with arms outstretched* and draw around your arms, okay?! It’s a special picture for Grandpa!” And just like that, the kiddo said “okay!” and laid down exactly as I had done. I can’t guarantee the same results with other children, and I can’t even guarantee that my daughter would allow this to happen again either! Haha.
I used a washable marker to trace around her fingers/hands, arms, neck, head, and face as best I could. then I let her jump up and scribble all over it with some more markers (she was in heaven).

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Then I took a step back, realized it looked a little weird, and made some freehand adjustments. I even got the little one to lay down once more so I could re-trace her head in a different position. I decided to go for a stylized/cartoonish feel rather than trying to be ultra realistic. If you know you’re not going to be able to make it 100% perfect, it’s just going to end up looking stupid if you try to be uber detailed and all that. So go ahead and fudge it a little.

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I took one more reference photo so I could add the signature whale spout atop her head….

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And realized that I had taken a profile shot of her a few weeks before that I could use to freehand the face. Hallelujah!

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After she went down for a nap (which included much despair over being forced to put the markers away….), I cleaned my tracing up a little more and cut out a pattern. I then traced the pattern onto the black fabric with a pencil and carefully cut it out! Then I placed and pinned it to the quilt top piece.

I applique’d the whole thing using the applique stitch on my machine. It is SO not perfect. The fingers ended up a bit pointy. Some details were totally lost. But you know what? Nobody cares! It still looks great!

After the top was finished, I sandwiched the batting between the flannel shirting and the applique top. Trimmed up the edges. Pinned it in place. And began the lengthy process of machine quilting the dang thing! You can’t tell in most photos, but the quilt top actually has a herringbone pattern. I used that as a guide to sew straight vertical lines through everything but the silhouette. I freehanded some funky curves through the silhouette applique last.

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the applique is reversed from the pattern because I flipped the pattern piece upside down to cut it out! I liked it better with the head facing left, and it was easier to trace from the side of the aisle runner that didn’t have my scribbles all over it 😛

detail on the applique and quilting

detail on the applique and quilting

Seeing as I had never finished a quilt before, I had no idea where to start with binding. Luckily this tutorial is amazing and taught me all I needed to know! Pro tip: there is a reason they recommend to actually use a rotary mat and cutter while cutting your binding strips….I ignored this recommendation because I am lazy. I ended up with a super skinny binding because I had to go back and even out my edges later, which took a lot of the width off. The skinny binding then led to sore fingers and a much more frustrating binding process. DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, FOLKS.

so. hard. to fit all of that edge fluff inside that skinny binding!

so. hard. to fit all of that edge fluff inside that skinny binding!

SO SKINNY.

SO SKINNY.

Once the torturous binding was complete, I threw it in the wash so it would quilt up a bit and bam! Done! Beautiful and cozy! Throw it in the mail! Grandpa loves it and I think it is coveted by Grandma and Auntie as well 😉 This quilt size ended up being perfect for my father-in-law. He is tall and has a favorite recliner that he always watches TV in, so this is long enough for him to snuggle up in and still cover his toes!

Anyway, hope that was interesting to at least some of you 😉 I’m bummed I didn’t take more photos, I really love how it turned out! So here is a repeated picture from above. Haha.

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love, Rach

HALLOWEEN!!!

So guess what, guys. It’s my favorite season.

The season of PLANNING AND MAKING AWESOME HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!!!!!

I love love love the dressing up portion of Halloween. It is my favorite. And now that I have a husband and child to dress up in themed costumes with me?! MY LIFE IS COMPLETE.

While thinking about the costumes I am going to construct this year, I realized I neglected to post any photos of last year’s phenomenal family costume on the blog! The photos themselves are not very phenomenal — next time we’ll have to remember to take decent ones, but OH WELL.

Without any further ado, I give you….

KRONK, YZMA, AND BUCKY (squeak squeaker, squeak squeaken)!

 

First up - the most adorable Bucky the Squirrel ever. (her first Halloween!)

First up – the most adorable Bucky the Squirrel ever. (her first Halloween!)

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Close up of my Yzma makeup!

Close up of my Yzma makeup!

And my best Yzma face (I felt like I wasn't allowed to smile in this costume, haha)

And my best Yzma face (I felt like I wasn’t allowed to smile in this costume, haha)

obligatory adorable squirrel shot

obligatory adorable squirrel shot

the gang!

the gang!

my hubs is such a champ for wearing a skirt (don't worry, he had shorts on too)

my hubs is such a champ for wearing a skirt (don’t worry, he had shorts on too)

So, there you have it! The only photographic evidence in existence that we actually dressed like this in public. Haha!

The sad realization we had with these costumes, though, is that The Emperor’s New Groove is not NEARLY as universally well-known as it should be (in my humble opinion). I received many compliments along the lines of “I don’t know who you’re supposed to be but you look great!” and several people asked my husband if he was a Nephite. Luckily Bucky was usually correctly identified as some type of adorable rodent, even if she was confused for Chip&Dale a couple times. (Interesting observation: most kids would immediately understand if we merely said “Squeak squeaker, squeak squeaken!” )

I’ve saved the costumes of course, in hopes that one day we can bust them out again in a more cultured area where people know their Disney canon properly 😉

Here’s a clue about our costume theme this year:


if the original youtube uploader is infringing on Disney copyright by putting this video up I’m sorry for using it!

What are YOU doing this Halloween?!

love, rach

Oh and here’s a list of things I made for the costumes, for those who are interested! If you are trying to make a costume yourself and have questions, leave a comment!
KRONK: Crocheted hat (with floral wire and felt for the “stem”). Muscle shirt with felt appliques. Felt+velcro arm bands. Elastic waist wrap skirt. Long sash. He wore athletic shorts underneath and regular tennis shoes, because my hubs doesn’t ever wear sandals.
YZMA: Collar (made with floral wire, craft feathers, LOTS of hot glue, reinforced fabric, closes in the front with a snap). Painted cardboard earrings. Head wrap from an old t-shirt. I wore two sets of false eyelashes, and a black maxi dress borrowed from my Mom.
BUCKY: Hat (fuzzy fleecy fabric with ears attached and felt applique for the face). Puffy body (fuzzy fleecy fabric lined with an old t-shirt, sewn like a bubble skirt. Stuffed tail attached in the back). She wore a onesie and tights underneath.

Spit-spot!

Me + Halloween + copious amounts of hot glue + about an hour of hard labor =

“Close your mouth, Michael, we are not a codfish! Spit-spot!”

Voila! Instant Mary Poppins! Practically perfect in every way 🙂

(except not really):

About two hours before the Halloween party I was supposed to be at, and after days upon days of brainstorming…I realized that all I had to do to complete this look was make a ‘dickie’ collar for a white tuxedo-style shirt I already had. So I got out my trusty glue gun and bits of fluff that I had lying around and temporarily modified my blouse! Yes…I was glued into the shirt for the night. But don’t worry – I got out! And the hot glue came off (I think)! And it was only SLIGHTLY off-center! Perfect? Not by any means. Good enough for me? YUP!

I paired the blouse with the skirt shown in this post (high-waisted style), low-heeled boots, and carried around a lovely umbrella! Err’body got it. It was so much fun!!

And no, I don’t have any pictures of the full getup myself….partially because my hubster was out of town that night (thus thwarting our original Kronk+Yzma costume plan…silly work trips!), partially because my bathroom mirror is currently the reigning champ of being-the-only-mirror-in-the-entire-house-excluding-hand-mirrors…

…and partially because I look about five months pregnant right now.

…..literally.

So yeah, I was a pregnant Mary Poppins, and maybe it was a little weird, and maybe I felt a little huge (mostly thanks to the multiple “WOW you don’t look pregnant at ALL!” comments that I’ve been getting…), but overall I think Halloween was a success this year : )

And oh yeah, I really am having a baby girl! She’s due at the end of February, and the hubs and I are SO excited! : )


I promise these photos are much more legitimate than this one from my sister’s 6th birthday party.

— Love, Rach

PS – I’ve tried to spread the news to everyone personally, but seeing as I’ve got a pretty bad case of the pregnant brain (IT’S REAL. NOT A MYTH.), I’ve probably forgotten a few of you that I love very dearly. If that is the case…I’m sorry! I just don’t feel like having random peeps all up in my business, so I’ve kept it off the social networking radar for the most part : )

the latest from embroidery land…

I will give you exactly 30 seconds to get the reference here.

If you don’t get it by then, we are officially no longer friends.

……….

OKAY JUST KIDDING I STILL LOVE YOU! Please watch this clip from Nacho Libre and be enlightened:

And now go find a way to watch the rest of the film right now. I promise your life will be better for it.

So anyways, back to the embroidery business…

hug hug, kiss kiss, hug hug, BIG KISS, little hug, kiss kiss, little kiss!

I made this for my hubs! I wanted to make something for him that said “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH”, but in a less cheesetastic way, so that he might actually want to display it to the general public. And also because I’m just not a cheesy, lovey-dovey person like that.

One of our favorite movies is Nacho Libre. It gets quoted in our home at least five times a day, minimum. And I have always loved this sentiment! Thus the idea to recreate it with a needle and thread was born.

I’m super happy with the way it turned out. I love how simple it is, and the unique dimensions just tickle my fancy! I was so happy to find this frame that fit it perfectly.

AND, my husband is even going to take it to work to decorate his office. SCORE.

Anyway! I’m still working on a piece that’s superbly awesome, it’s just taking me a while because I’ve been neglecting it a little bit…but I will have it ready to show you shortly! Maybe stating that in writing will give me more motivation to finish 😉 thanks for checking this out!

Love, Rach

ps – see my previous embroidery post here [yes, sadly, there is only one other one at the moment] 

pps – I know my version doesn’t exactly match what Nacho wrote in the movie, BUT it goes with the verbal description of how he read the x’s and o’s. 🙂

What time is it?! Prom time!

Oh hello! Guess what I spent my weekend (and the first part of this week) doing?!

Making a prom dress, that’s what!!

My dear friend’s little sister is going to prom this weekend, and was having a bit of a dress crisis. She couldn’t find anything she liked, or anything with sleeves and a non-hoochy-mama-esque skirt length. Being modest and non-frumpy is rough.

So we took a trip to the local JoAnn Fabrics last Friday and came up with a vision for a ridiculously sparkly retro-style dress!
I also had the pleasure of introducing Becky to the amazingness which is the soft pretzels at the mall. It made the trip complete. I will have to write about my undying love for soft pretzels another time, because it knows no bounds, yo.

ANYWAY. Feast your eyes, folks! (and please ignore the cleaning supplies and other junk in my apartment, haha):

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Becky has some of the awesomest poses : )

We were both stoked about how this turned out!!! You can’t tell from these (crappy iPhone) photos, but it has pockets and the skirt is full so there’s mad crazy twirling potential : D

For anyone who’s curious – this is Vogue #V8615. It’s a “Very Easy Vogue” pattern, and I’d have to say I agree with that assessment! It was awesome and made so much sense. I followed it almost precisely (just adjusted the neckline and some sizing a bit) – something I rarely do when I sew. But I just loved this one so much! The bottom (teal) layer is a satin taffeta, and the top (shiny) layer is…some synthetic material that has left a sequin infestation in my apartment : P

This is the fourth prom dress I’ve made, and it turned out SO MUCH better than the other three. Sometimes I wish I could have a do-over with the dresses I made for friends before, using the skills I have now! They would have turned out a bajillion times better. Haha. So, sorry Kati and Heather and Sarah…but thanks for giving me the chance to practice! If you ever need a dress for anything ever again, hit me up : ) I’d love to have a do-over!

And, thanks for reading my blog, everyone who read this. I really appreciate that you care enough about what I have to say to take time out of your day to hear me ramble : )

love — rach

above photos taken by Rhonda, my iPhone.

photos BELOW were stolen with love from Becky’s facebook. THANKS BECKY.

Edited to add:

Photos from prom night! Becky’s Mom made some last minute additions to the dress, and they styled err’thang all retro-fab. I AM A FAN.

PS those sequins? Yeah, I found one stuck to my hubs’ leg the other day. In late August. After we moved halfway up the West coast. I AM SO IMPRESSED WITH THEIR STAYING POWER.

dressy!

Do you want to hear the story of my wedding dress? It’s a pretty good one, I think!

 © Terissa Tuckett Photography 2011

once upon a time, I got engaged! it was awesome!

I had always wanted to make my own wedding dress, ever since I learned how to sew. but, the hubs and I decided that we only wanted to be engaged for ten weeks. that is not much time to construct a wedding dress in, even for a lead foot seamstress like myself.

however, something else I’ve done ever since I learned how to sew, is repurpose clothing! “repurposing” is a fancy-pants word I learned a few years ago that means “taking something old/ugly/out dated apart and turning it into something fabulous”. my mom liked to call it “WHY DID YOU CUT UP YOUR BEST PAIR OF JEANS AGAIN?!” while I was growing up 🙂

I somehow forgot that cutting old things up was something I liked to do [warning: stress can make you lose your identity sometimes], until I read this awesome book that this awesome friend passed on to me. [tangent: I still have it and would love to pass it on to you if you need it! hit me up! it’s lovely.]

There was an ENTIRE section about vintage dresses and re-working them and different suggestions. “HOLY COW THAT IS WHAT I DO ALL THE TIME WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THAT,” I thought. “THANK YOU FOR THE FABULOUS IDEA, BOOK!!”

I went to my dear Momma with this idea. and whaddya know, she actually HAD some vintage wedding dresses lurking in a craft supply bucket somewhere! I went on a hunt, and found them within five minutes. the first one I excavated??

THIS beauty. I fell in love with it! The lace, the creamy vintage color, everything….love. love love love. I could see so much potential in this little lady.

photos courtesy of my 10yr old brotha

before I hacked it up, I brainstormed. then I woke up early one Saturday, grabbed the first sibling I could find [which happened to be the 10yr old brother] and said “Hey take a picture of me in this wedding dress!” oh that was one hilarious experience. his eyes got REALLY wide and he goes “….THAT is your dress??? Umm….okay…” and then he became the most serious little photographer I have ever met. until he accidentally switched my iPhone to the video setting.

I’ve actually gotten quite a few comments about how it’s too bad the 80s sleeves are out of style cause the original looks REALLY cute….yeah. Can’t say I agree 100%, but I still loved it all the same!

anyway. I slaved away, found parts of other wedding dresses we had lying around the house, invented fancy new ways to pin it all together [including this new method of stuffing your dress with blankets, sticking a Swiffer mop up the back, and propping it up on a chair in order to drape a perfect skirt….I call it the “I don’t have a dress form but what do I care?” technique [except that’s a little bit of a lie because I really really WOULD care to have a dressform…just in case you want to get me a birthday present or anything]]

…..And ended up with this!

It was lovlier than I ever imagined it could be. I was one happy camper.

 © Terissa Tuckett Photography 2011

and the best part?? my dress cost me less than $20 total. my Mom originally purchased the dress for about $5, the parts of other dresses I used were probably under $10, and the supplies I purchased were under $5. I don’t know if you get a thrill out of bargains like I do, but that just makes me all giddy!

so yes. that is my story of how a poofy-sleeved 1980’s gown was transformed into a lovely vintage-esque gown that was everything I ever wanted.

(right image) © Terissa Tuckett Photography 2011

even though the poof-tastic sleeves might have been good for our first dance (yep, that’s really what we danced to)…I am still glad I did this.

THE END 🙂

Love — Rach

wedding photos taken by the lovely Teri Tuckett.