The Sweet Stocking is Here!

For the past several years, I’ve been plugging away at sewing quilted stockings for my family, only to find myself getting more and more frustrated with the lack of reasonably sized (ie, not big enough to fit a PS5) Christmas stockings that wouldn’t take forever to sew. I decided it was high time to design my own, and landed on what I believe is a perfectly pint-sized Christmas stocking!

My Christmas fabric stash is small but full of beloved, no longer produced prints, so I made sure to make the patchwork squares small for maximum fussy cutting with minimal fabric usage. You could also use the pattern to make solid stockings in just one print, or improv-piece the top to make something fun and unique!

The Sweet Stocking is made using simple patchwork squares, one template, and an easy sewing technique to make the lining and outer in just one seam! The hanging tag can be made from quilting cotton fabric or your favorite ribbon or twill tape.

This project is a great intro to quilting on your machine, with a small shape and lots of options- quilt in straight lines, a grid pattern, or free motion if you have the right foot. Alternatively, how lovely would hand quilting look on these stockings?!

These stockings are just the right size to stuff with little goodies like candy, nail polish, or pens, and would also be perfect for baby’s first Christmas or your favorite fur babies. I love how you can comfortably hang a couple of them on a small mantel or shelf.

Click here to go to the download shop to get the free pattern! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out, and use #sweetstocking on Instagram (tag me @katiegouwens) so I see your lovely Sweet Stocking photos!

Stretch Velvet Moneta Dress

dressphoto2I started this post with a rant about 2018 resolutions, talking about success and failure and goals for this blog going forward and blah blah blah, but then decided nobody actually wants to read that. So here it is– I’m planning on posting here more frequently, mostly about sewing/making things, sometimes about books or movies or TV or whatever I feel like talking about. So today, let’s talk about my Christmas dress and a few other random holiday things.

25005941_1961667747191906_7775360363180064768_n

I’ve been wanting to try Colette Patterns’ Moneta Dress for a while now, since it’s one of my favorite styles to wear and the no darts/closures aspect is appealing. I ordered 3.5 yards of wine colored stretch velvet from fabric.com, which is soft and silky, though maybe not quite as stretchy as I would have preferred.

My measurements were between two sizes, so I decided to size up since I didn’t want the dress to be too snug. I made quite a few alterations to the pattern, shortening the waist by 1″ and self-drafting a half circle skirt since gathering velvet sounded nightmarish. Cutting the velvet was awful, I’m not going to lie– it’s so slick and heavy, it kept falling off the table, and keeping the layers folded together was a task that took longer than the sewing itself.

Now I’ve sewn with velvet before and was well aware of the nap. While cutting the pieces, I was very careful to make sure the nap was going in the same direction on all the pieces…sadly, that direction was upside down. So instead of being a rich wine color, it’s a dark, nubby burgundy, and while I spent a lot of time being pretty upset about it with myself, I got over it. Sorta.

dressphoto1

Anyways, I’m mostly satisfied with how it turned out. I’d use the pattern and fabric again, and while I did use a serger for the inside seams (a total must– I would never attempt stretch velvet without a serger) I wish I’d used a coverstitch machine for the hems. And I’ll be extra careful about the nap!

Dress Stats

Pattern: Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns

Modifications to pattern? Shortened waist by 1″, used different skirt pattern piece

Fabric: no brand stretch velvet from fabric.com

Would make pattern again? Yes

Would use this fabric again? Yes, with extra care

 

Halloween Makes: Lined Drawstring Bags + Economy Block Table Runner

DSCN3465.jpg

Note: post contains affiliate links. There’s a lot of reasons I’m excited to be done with college, but one of the biggest is because I actually get to enjoy the fall and Halloween sewing! Fall is my favorite season, especially October, and I never feel like I get to slow down enough to really immerse myself in it.

giphy (2)

Sometimes you just have to set your 20 works in progress aside and make a Lined Drawstring Bag or two. I absolutely adore this pattern, and even though sometimes I may get impatient and try to skip a step, it’s always worth the time to follow it exactly and get beautiful results.

DSCN3470.jpg

My favorite is the “everything” size, and I knew I wanted to try a patchwork panel after seeing Heidi Kenney’s a while back. I did a simple log cabin block with my favorite Cotton + Steel “Lil Monsters” prints, plus Kenney’s tiny happy gourds (a fat quarter I’ve been hoarding for just the right project.) When I first started making these bags, I always wanted to skip making the strings and use twill tape, but laziness (I almost never have twill tape) won out and actually now I love choosing an additional fabric for the ties. I’ll always err on the side of getting to pick more fabric. The black and white stripe from C+S’s “Wonderland” is one of my all time faves– I love stripes!

DSCN3475.jpg

The mini bag is so adorable, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted the pattern! They definitely take practice– don’t let this size be your first one. But it is SO CUTE. I used another beloved stripe (Tula Pink Tent Stripe) and classic Mini Pearl Bracelets and lined it with C+S XOXO in Ghost White. Naturally.

DSCN3466.jpg

Lately, I’ve been completely smitten with economy blocks. I loved Creative Grids’ Pineapple Trim Tool (affiliate link) for making my Lagoon pineapple blocks (post soon here!) and made just two layers for the easiest, most accurate economy blocks out of my favorite Halloween prints.

DSCN3482.jpgOne of the blocks ended up upside down, but in the spirit of Halloween kookiness, I decided to leave it. It’s a small runner– about 12″ by 24″, but adds a cheery splash of color to the kitchen table.

DSCN3487.jpgI machine bound it with that same Rifle Paper Caterpillar Stripe as I used for my bag ties.

DSCN3488.jpg

This was my first try at free motion quilting, and I think it turned out ok but definitely not perfect. I wanted spiderwebs, and they turned out, once more, a little kooky.