Well, I didn't drive to Iowa yesterday. I am flying out tonight. The group I'm consulting with moved my presentation from yesterday to today. It has messed some things up, but....oh well!
I thought I'd take a minute today to show you a project I finished for Sweet Pea. Remember the other day when I gave you a sneak peek, and some of you were making guesses at it?
Well, here is the big reveal....
Tah dah!!!! It's a little basket for her to carry her Bitty Baby in. It's cute, huh?! The fabrics are all from JoAnn's. I decided since this was going to be a toy for her, I was not going to use expensive quilting cotton. :-) I think Sweet Pea picked out great fabrics.
All of this was done on my embroidery machine. It's a machine embroidery design by Shelly Smola, My Fair Lady called Baby Baskets. You can see more information about it here. Each piece between the pink "lattice" is a "block" that is made and quilted in the embroidery machine. (Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts, if you are reading this, I was wondering if each of these counts as a "block" for the 350 blocks project....) After you make all the blocks, you put them together using the pink "binding" strips.
I love the little canopy over the top. Sweet Pea said she loves that, too, because it keeps the sun off Bitty Baby's face. LOL. There is some Peltex in the canopy to keep it from collapsing. Pretty clever.
I used some of the scraps to make this little pillow to go with the basket. In the embroidery design, Shelly provides two appliqué designs and pillow patterns to go with the basket. One appliqué design is of a bassinette and the other is a train. Since we had this owl fabric, I went online and found this cute owl applique and substituted that for the design on the pillow. It is from SWAK Embroidery. The design is called Owl Branch Appliqué and came with four differnet sizes of owls. I used Shelly's instructions to complete the rest of the pillow though. And I quilted the pillow myself (front and back), since I was using a different embroidery design as my motif...and mine didn't come with the quilting in the embroidery design. But that's okay. I need the practice in free motion quilting! LOL.
Here is the back of the pillow I think it's pretty cute, if I do say so myself! For all of the white quilting stitches on the pillow and side pieces, I used Aurifil thread. Specifically, I used the 28 wt white. I thought it worked perfectly for this.
The "bunting" around the sides was also appliquéd in the hoop. There is a second version of the bunting included in the embroidery design that is more "chevron" style if you prefer that...maybe for a boys version. Very fun. For all the satin stitching on the buntings and the owl pillow, I used Floriani embroidery thread. I love the sheen and colors with Floriani for machine embroidery.
You can see how well Bitty Baby fits int here. You know what the next thing Sweet Pea will want is, right? A quilt for the baby! LOL. Actually, she's already asking me for two more of these for her bitty baby twins, one of which is a boy and one of which is a girl. We'll see if I'm up for that. haha.
As far as a pattern review:
The blocks stitched out beautifully and easily. Shelly provides incredible step-by-step instructions with lots of diagrams to help. Her instructions are just impeccable. Everything also went together really nicely. Everything fit, and the binding strips were just right for attaching everything. I also love the little flange going around the edges.
A few of tips I will give you if you make this--these are things I learned along the way:
- Cut your appliqué strips for the bunting 7.5" long, not 5.5" long or they won't be long enough. I think that's a typo in the pattern. I emailed Shelly about it, and she'll may update the pattern by the time you read this.
- When cutting the fabric to cover the handles, I would recommend cutting your strips 3" wide instead of the measurement included in the pattern. I had a hard time holding the fabric as I sewed it around the cord. I thought having the fabric wider helped me sew it better. After I sewed it, I cut the seam allowance down to about 1/4" to reduce bulk. But having that extra fabric while sewing gave me something to hang onto.
- I did add some Peltex in the bottom and around the sides to give it more structure. It really didn't need it too much...the stabilizer and batting give it some firmness. However, since it would get a lot of play, I thought it would be useful. There was enough leftover Peltex to trace around the base and cut out an oval to go between the outer and inner piece. I didn't sew it in, I just sandwiched it in there. I used some of the scraps and added a little more that I had laying around the house to form the sides. I cut pieces 4" tall by whatever lengths I had. I butted the edges up together and zigzagged over them to hold them together until I had about 54" in length (by 4" tall). I inserted it around the edge and got the right measurement I needed to fit inside, then butted up the ends and zigzagged it into a ring. Again, I just inserted it between the inner and outer piece before sewing the top seam.
- I had to do a little thinking about how to place my fabric in the hoop to make sure all the motifs were going in the same direction. There are a few tricks to doing that. I would recommend a nondirectional fabric if you're not up to that task. Or drop me a line. I can tell you how I rotated the fabric for each of the blocks. I wrote it down and can tell you how I did it if you can't figure it out.
- The last seam you sew is just along the bottom of the blue binding piece to sew the outside to the inside, capturing the flange on the inside. I pinned really carefully all the way around so that the bottom of the outer blue binding was lined up exactly with the bottom of the inner blue binding. My intention was for the needle to be "in the ditch" on both the inside and outside. I did great on the outside. But on the inside, it was a different story. If you look in the photo below, you can see inside the canopy that I wasn't too successful! You can see the stitching fell right in the middle of the blue binding along part of the canopy and down the side. I'm not sure why that happened. I think there was enough thickness that when I pinned it, it tended to distort things. In fairness, that extra thickness may not have been there if I had not put the Peltex along the sides. If I had it to do over again, I would try using my Clover binding clips to hold things together instead of pins. I think the would work better. Plus, I bent a lot of pins. LOL. Peltex strikes again.
Overall, this was a super fun project, and I think really successful! It's not perfect. I can see some things I could have done a better job on. But Sweet Pea loves it, and that's what really matters! Sweet Pea loved picking out the fabrics, she was happy to let me sew on this, and she is super happy with the outcome. Once, as I was sewing, Sweet Pea said, "Gee, I wish you were making this for me instead of some other kid. Oh, wait, this is for me!" Haha. I thought that was pretty funny.
This is a really fun project and would make a nice baby gift for someone. It also makes a great gift for a little girl who loves her baby dolls! Hope you enjoyed this pattern/project review! By the way, Shelly has lots of neat in-the-hoop designs...other baby stuff, quiet books, Kindle covers, and all kinds of other beautiful designs. I love her little in-the-hoop train line. Really cute (for those of you with boys to sew for)! I just love her work. Check out her site: My Fair Lady Designs.
Okay....I'm off to try that flight to Iowa again!
Until next time,
Notice: I purchased these embroidery designs with my own money, as well as all the fabric and supplies. I was not asked to write this review by Shelly or anyone else. It is just my opinion and experience with the design.