East Dakota Quilter


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Bonnie & Camille-Inspired Triple-Zip Pouch

August marked the last month of my #birthdayclubhandmade swap… although I’m only posting about it now! I learned a lot from hosting my first swap, and I got to know some quilters a little better since most of my “sewcializing” is done online. August’s birthday girl listed as inspiration mom and daughter duo Bonnie & Camille. I present the Bonnie & Camille-inspired triple-zip pouch!

triple-zip-pouch-front-East Dakota Quilter

(Sorry for the poor iPhone photos; I was in a hurry to post the package!)

triple-zip-pouch-swoon-back-East Dakota Quilter

I found that, although I like Bonnie & Camille fabrics, I didn’t have many in my stash. However, I had lots of fabrics that were in more or less the right colorway. I also had a Thimble Blossoms pattern: the mini swoon.

The mini swoon finishes at 8″. To fit the back of the pouch, I reduced by half. The swoon above is just 4″! Some of those HSTs are 1/2″. Who knew something so small could take so long to sew?! I know the number of pieces is more important than size in determining sewing time, at least in theory. I always forget when I decide to sew something small, haha.

Each of the interior pockets is a different color, too. I stitched a piece of vintage ribbon into the biggest pocket. It matched perfectly!

Triple-zip-pouch-interior-East Dakota Quilter

triple-zip-pouch-vintage-ribbon-East Dakota Quilter

The triple-zip pouch is a pattern I have used before on several occasions. I love it!

Triple Zip Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

Triple Zip Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

On one hand, I’m sad the birthday swap is over. It was fun watching my Instagram feed to see what others in the group had made. On the other, I can’t wait for all of my sewing time to be spent on “me projects” for awhile! I also have a bunch of big life changes on the horizon, so fewer commitments will be a good thing. Thanks to everyone who participated or followed along!

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A New Favorite: Aneela Hoey’s All In One Box Pouch

There’s another birthday for my #birthdayclubhandmade in July, and when I saw the recipient’s inspiration board for the Heather Ross mini swap, which included hexis of a few munki munki prints, just a few photos down my Instagram feed from Aneela Hoey’s new all-in-one box pouch pattern, I knew it was a match made in heaven!

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

I’m usually good about giving away the things I sew. They’re sewn with a particular person and his or her tastes in mind. This pouch, on the other hand… I had to talk myself into packaging and shipping it. Guess I’ll have to make a second one for myself!

The pattern itself was well-written and easy to follow. I especially liked her method of boxing the corners, where you cut the fabric BEFORE you sew it — that was novel to me!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of sewing curved lines OR zippers, so combining the two was a bit of a challenge. (“A curved zipper?! What have I gotten myself into?!!”) But I didn’t even have to rip out the seam. I’d say it’s a project for an enterprising beginner or an intermediate sewer. The only seam I had to rip was the one with the pouch tab at the top. The thick layers caused me to sew a little crooked, and instead of stopping and fixing it right away, I thought I could fudge a little bit. The moral of this story is DON’T DO IT, haha.

I like that there is ample space inside the pouch but also some clear pockets for smaller items you want to be able to find quickly. It’s been a real pain finding my thimble and needle when I take my La Passacaglia quilt with me to a coffee shop. I also like the simple back pockets for storing things as you work. I might keep my mini scissors in the bag when I travel, but it will be nice to have a quick place to tuck it as I spread out my project. I love the pattern, and I think the finished product is a success!


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Tudor: Twice!

I made a Tudor Bag late last year for a birthday gift. It was the first bag I’d sewn, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make my mom a Tudor Bag for Mother’s Day. (You can buy the pattern and read the pattern maker’s blog entry about the bag here.)

Tudor Bag by East Dakota Quilter

I did a few things differently with this bag compared with my last bag. First, I installed the optional shoulder strap. It was extra-special for me that the hardware came from a trimmings store in NYC; I knew I would make the bag enough ahead of time that I was able to grab the items on a trip early in the new year. Second, the closure on the front of the bag has a zipper instead of a metal clasp. And third, I added a “bonus pocket” to the back of the bag — with no closure for easy access. (I accidentally aligned the pocket with the bottom of the bag, rather than the top of the purple trim, so it was shorter than I’d planned. Oops!) Fourth, I added purse feet. Fancy! Finally, I redistributed the widths of the interior pockets.

Tudor Bag by East Dakota Quilter - side

Tudor Bag by East Dakota Quilter - zipperTudor Bag by East Dakota Quilter - back

Perhaps the best feature of all? It goes with black! All the girls in my family wear way too much of it.

One final little perk I included was a pink flamingo notebook from Rifle Paper Co. Rifle is one of my favorite companies. When I was in Orlando, Florida, for a work event a few years ago and had two hours to kill before my return flight home, I decided to do something that would give me a sense of the local flavor. I am a nerd who actually looked up local stationers and found that Rifle was in nearby Winter Park, Florida. I figured I’d drive on local roads, check out the area, and buy some gorgeous paper yet besides. I arrived to a decent-sized space that was recently opened. The clerk was friendly but still new enough that she asked my opinion about whether a certain product should go “here” or “there.” I’ve been the biggest fan ever since. So when I was planning a trip to NYC a few weeks ago and saw on Anna’s (the illustrator/owner) Instagram account that she was attending a launch party for her recent collaboration with Le Sportsac, I jumped at the chance to say hello! Isn’t she gorgeous? Friendly, too.

East Dakota Quilter and Anna Rifle Bond

And guess what?! I snagged a sold-out pouch online in advance for my sister since I knew they’d go quickly at the event. I’ve been congratulating myself for about a week now. 🙂


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The Good News, Bad News Dresden

When there is good news and bad news, I like to get the bad news out of the way first. The bad news is two-fold: (1) the photo I took was a nighttime shot that doesn’t make the project look great but does a FANTASTIC job of capturing the threads on my couch, and (2) this pillow cover was meant to be a decoration for the holidays last year.

But I think the good news outweighs the bad by far this time. This is my first-ever Dresden block, and it worked great (once I took out one of the pieces)! It was finished well in advance of Christmas this year… which means I got to put out one decoration in advance of my husband’s strict day-after-Thanksgiving rule. I’m such a cheater! And I no longer have a WIP mocking me from atop my scrap fabric cart. Or at least there is one less of them. Plus, this project was a great scrap buster for all my leftover red, green, and Christmas fabrics. Success!

Dresden Pillow by East Dakota Quilter

In the spirit of finishes, I also made the unicorn herringbone skirt I mentioned in an earlier post. It fit okay, which was a small miracle considering all the changes I made to the pattern without knowing the first thing about sewing or designing clothes. There was enough room for improvement that, although I wore the skirt to work one day, I don’t think I’m quite ready to post it here. Stay tuned, though. I’m sure to have a more promising clothing finish soon!


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WIP Wednesday: Major Fabric (and Pattern) Purchases

There was only so long I could use scraps from my stash instead of buying new fabric. I may have gone on a bit of a spree. But at least I have a plan for every single yard purchased!

I plan to use this pattern to make an A-Line Skirt out of this unicorn houndstooth fabric.

A Line Skirt by East Dakota Quilter

I plan to use Alexia Abegg’s Michelle My Belle pattern (in the book Liberty Love) to make a dress with this swan fabric. Of course, if I decide to move away from the Michelle My Belle pattern, I could also choose from among the dozen or so 1940s patterns I purchased last week…

Yep, I’m branching out and attempting (or at least planning an attempt) to sew clothing!

Michelle My Belle by East Dakota Quilter

I also plan to use this fabric to make a reversible Christmas tree skirt. (I grew up on a farm and hope to have my own acreage someday.)

Santa at the Farm fabric photo by East Dakota Quilter

It all started when I saw a photo of the unicorn houndstooth on Instagram. I saw it was almost sold out and felt pressured to get some right away; I have waited to buy some really great fabrics in the past and missed out, to my regret! Some of this most recent fabric was even on sale… so I’ve decided not to berate myself for my fabric-buying weakness as long as these projects are finished in one year or less!


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It threw a little wrench in things…

My dad was out of town for his birthday, so I couldn’t send something to arrive that day. I am pretending it threw a wrench in my plans, but really, the gift I decided to make for him wasn’t finished until the day of his birthday, anyway. At least I called him!

I sew and draw and do right-brained things. My dad is an engineer. Growing up, I didn’t always see what we had in common. When I finished law school and was studying for the bar exam, I saw a job posting for an in-house attorney at a machine tool company. Naturally, I called my dad to see if he knew anything about the company. He did. I worked at that company for the next five years, until I moved from Chicago to D.C.

I will always be grateful to that job for bringing me a little closer into my dad’s world. He still sells tooling for machine tools, and my company sold machine tools. He could tell me things about our competition, and I would call to tease him when his competition bought breakfast for our office. I also understood more about the products that made up his work days and were responsible for his problem solving.

This was his first birthday where we are no longer working in the same industry, so I wanted to make something that was a little nod to both our differences and commonalities over the past few years. Presenting… the wrench pouch! wrench pouch by EastDakotaQuilter wrench interior by EastDakotaQuilter I figure he can use it to organize his suitcase since he travels for work most weeks. The wrench is a nod to our tooling/machining shared interest. And it’s sewn because he gave me the opportunity to follow my own path.

Happy birthday, Dad!  

 

Project details: I used the Open Wide Zippered Pouch DIY Tutorial (free) by Noodlehead. I made a hybrid size: the 12″ width of the medium bag, but 11″ tall instead of 9″. I wanted more of a square shape. I made the wrench paper piecing pattern myself in Microsoft Publisher. Then I ignored my own numbering scheme and had to re-sew the back end of the wrench. Twice.


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Steampunk & Scrapbooking: Today is brought to you by the letter “S”

Two of my great-aunts have supported my blog and are accomplished sewers/crafters themselves. Over the years, their projects have included cross-stitch, dolls, scrapbooking, costumes, and crochet. I have received a number of gifts from them, from handmade items (like the hand warmers below, teddy bears, and dolls) to family heirlooms.

hand warmers by dorothy

(The hand warmers came with adorable paper cutouts of hands inside to indicate they were NOT beer cozies, haha.)

I wanted to show my appreciation, but what do you give someone who can make things with more skill? –especially when I didn’t want to send something that would just collect dust.

For one of the two aunts, I decided on a pillowcase, but not just any pillowcase… an embroidered steampunk pillowcase!

My aunts have attended steampunk events the past few years. Since I have no experience with steampunk and a pretty fluid concept of history, I didn’t want to make a mistake and include items from different decades/centuries that didn’t make sense together. Then it dawned on me: I could embroider an image of my aunt in the costume she made!

I present Lady Leontine:

lady leontine pillowcase by eastdakotaquilter

lady leontine by eastdakotaquilter

steampunk detail by eastdakotaquilter

The pillowcase even has French seams! I used this super simple tutorial.

The second of these two great-aunts makes incredible scrapbooks. For her, I made a scissors-themed mug rug. The block was inspired by the one in the book Patchwork 318 (see a similar block here), although I had to make my own pattern since the book is unfortunately no longer in print.

scissors block by eastdakotaquilter

Also included in the package was a cute necklace I bought at a craft fair in D.C. called Crafty Bastards. The chain is tiny, but I couldn’t resist.


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Triple-Zip Pouch

I decided to use some fabrics purchased from Purl Soho in 2012 as the color inspiration for my wedding. I still really love the colors. Unfortunately, I am finding the repetitive blocks in the pattern I chose very tedious.

I decided to spend a bit of time last week making a quick project I could finish quickly to remind myself that sewing can be fun. (Yep, the wedding quilt is really that bad.) I made this awesome three-zippered pouch from the free tutorial at A Quilter’s Table.

Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

The fabrics are mostly from Leah Duncan’s Meadow line with a few from Heather Ross. I wish I had thought to take photos of all the pocket interiors. Each is different, and they’re adorable!

I bought my sister a small makeup pouch as a souvenir a few years ago. I noticed it was still in her purse last time I saw her and is a little worse for wear; I figured she could use a new one. Besides, who doesn’t love Happy Mail?!

If you have any tips for moving past a creative rut, I’d love to hear them. This one seemed to work for me!

 


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Sewing A Rag Doll

I have gotten some great gifts from my Great Aunt Carol over the years, but perhaps the most-loved of all were the dolls she sent my sister and me one year for Christmas. The dolls were the same style without being identical, which we loved. I named mine Elise; my sister named hers Gretchen. Here we are opening the presents. (I’m on the left with the new permanent teeth and awesome gold scrunchie.)

Christmas Dolls

Some of my earliest sewing (and hot gluing) projects were clothes for Elise. My sister and I created a doll suitcase out of a gutted casette tape holder. We loved the dolls and still have them–only a little worse for wear.

dolls from carol by EastDakotaQuilter

Remembering how much I loved my own doll, I wanted to make a doll for my friend’s daughter–the same girl who received the first quilt I ever made and the Sunday Brunch Jacket. I scoured the internet for a pattern. None of them seemed right. I concluded I didn’t just like having a doll, I liked having the specific style of doll I received from Carol–not too big, not too small, and cuddly. I had to make that doll.

Fortunately, my mom was able to help me create a similar pattern.

doll by EastDakotaQuilter

I bought the materials when my friend’s little girl was born… two years ago this Easter Sunday! But I was too scared to start. I was especially worried about sewing the hair. For one thing, my mom’s pattern didn’t have a seam in the back like Carol’s did, and Elise had yarn hair sewn into the back seam. For another, I wasn’t certain exactly how much hair (yarn) would be needed. And I was scared the yarn would be difficult to distribute evenly. What if it was thin on top and bunched at the nape of her neck as I worked my way down the seam?!

It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I will say I have an even greater appreciation for the doll Carol made me after trying to make one of my own!!! I definitely learned a few tricks in the process. And she looked like Frankenstein in the process.

unfinished doll by EastDakotaQuilter

One of my favorite things about the doll I got from Great Aunt Carol was the number of outfits she had. She could be dressed for tea one moment and wearing pajamas the next. I knew I wanted to make several outfits for this doll, too. My favorite is the pair of pantaloons made out of a lacy material.outfits by EastDakotaQuilter

doll outfits by EastDakotaQuilter

I also made one of Jeni’s drawstring bags to hold the extra doll clothes. She was gifted wearing the outfit most like a salwar kameez.

clothes bag by EastDakotaQuilter

My friend’s little girl scooped the doll up to give her a big hug right away. She “changed the doll’s diaper” (pantaloons) and wiped the baby with a baby wipe. Then she put the doll on a chair, realized it was as big as she was, and got scared, haha.

Did you have a favorite doll, or do you have a favorite doll pattern? Little girls seem to remember their favorite childhood dolls, so I hope this will be a happy part of my friend’s sweet little girl’s childhood.


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Drawstring Bags – Photographer & Knitter Gifts

Have you seen Jeni’s FREE drawstring bag tutorial on her website, InColorOrder? The bags have been popping up on Instagram for a long time. I liked them right away but couldn’t think how to use them. Then I had a few ideas!

One of my friends is a photographer. I made this bag for her.

drawstring bag by eastdakotaquilter

I bought the camera print probably over a year ago. I love photographs, but I didn’t want people to see it and expect my photos to be awesome as a result. They’re not. (Did you see that iPhone beauty above?! My camera lens has been severely damaged since July 2013.) Every time I saw the fabric, I thought “Laila’s the real photographer.” You can see her work here. I decided to use the fabric to make her something! I like the way it turned out.

drawstring bag by eastdakotaquilter

Another of my friends is a knitter. I actually don’t know her super well since she’s a friend-of-a-friend, but she has been very welcoming since I moved to D.C., where she’s been living for several years. She even invited me to join her book club. I just wanted to make a little something to say thank you, and when I saw this sheep fabric, I knew just what to make!

drawstring bag for knitting by eastdakotaquilter

inside drawstring bag by eastdakotaquilter

I was surprised how quick these were to make, especially since I sew slow. I’m excited to make more soon. You know, it’s tax day in the U.S. One of these bags could probably hold a lot of receipts! 😉